A sad ministerial resignation from Stuart Nash who wanted to do the right thing but just kept breaking the rules. The real attention should be on how the Prime Minister’s office staff, if not Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins themselves


A sad ministerial resignation from Stuart Nash who wanted to do the right thing but just kept breaking the rules. The real attention should be on how the Prime Minister’s office staff, if not Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins themselves, knew about Nash’s emails for two years, but left them out of an OIA request that should have released them. When Ardern gives her valedictory speech on Wednesday, we doubt the Nash saga will dent the fawning over her, because no other failure has. Meanwhile, prices, tax rises and job losses kick in, not just those widely reported losses by a handful of media personalities at what was Today and is now yesterday FM.


What follows is an account of life in New Zealand. A few small details have been changed. See how long it takes you to work out what they are.

A business opens, it is a new supermarket. The priest is there to lead the ceremony because without his God, retail just wouldn’t be possible. For twenty minutes, he speaks in Latin, talking to the gods and chanting at the shelves of food.

Everyone is quiet, patient, tolerant, submissive. The owner who has sweated blood to make this day possible finally gets to speak, looking apprehensive as he trots out a few lines in broken Latin before thanking the priest in English, then finally speaking briefly about the new business.

A ceremony is held to remember the Holocaust. A priest is there to open the ceremony. It takes up the first fifteen minutes, in Latin again. Some might think it offensive given the Jewish people have a different language and religion, but everyone demurs. The ceremony itself moves many to tears. The priest leaves halfway through. People suspect, but nobody knows if, the priest was paid a fee for his attendances.

Road signs are erected, the numbers tell people they have to drive at the comical speed of 30km/h. Nobody is actually going to follow it (then again, it is Auckland and there will be traffic). The signs also have wording in Latin. Almost no drivers can read Latin. Luckily the speed is not in Roman numerals, which would be XXX, so that’s something.

Lots of things are in Latin now, including the names of many government departments. It’s not very practical, but it’s not done to question it, either. Sometimes there is an English translation, but the Latin is in bold with the English in lighter font below.

Parliament passes laws saying there are holy ghosts in particular places. Nobody who has to follow the law has ever seen a ghost, but nobody is brave or rude enough to say this. They don’t want to offend the priests.

Other laws say you need someone well-versed in the scriptures to work in a government department. For example, if you want to be in charge of healthcare in New Zealand, understanding the scriptures is the first bullet point listed amongst the job requirements. If you are not familiar with the teachings of Christ, you will not go far in the public service.

If you want to develop your own land under the new Natural and Built Environments Bill, your development will need to be consistent with Christian belief systems. Specifically, the ‘wellbeing of the natural environment,’ as if nature is a being. People well-versed in scripture, drawn from the clergy class, will be put in key decision-making roles to see that it is so.

The science curriculum is being changed in order that intelligent design and creationism are given equal weight to what the rest of the world calls ‘science.’ Empirical observation, used to test hypotheses with deductive reasoning, the scientific method, is now on a par with quasi-spiritual beliefs about how the world works.

Children taken out of abusive homes and put somewhere safe can be reverse uplifted back to another abusive home. It seems insane, but the Government believes it’s more important for the child to be in a Christian home than physically safe.

Of course, none of this is true in New Zealand today.

Long ago the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the rise of universal human rights and democracy separated church and state. People of faith are perfectly free to believe, practice, and commune around Christian or any other religious beliefs. So they should be. But nobody seriously suggests those beliefs should affect people who choose not to hold them.

Make no mistake, though, in another very real way all of the above is happening in New Zealand today. The invention of the Treaty as a partnership requiring Māori world views be inserted into everything from ceremonies, to language, to resource management and the science curriculum is taking New Zealand back to the day when spiritual beliefs and the institutions that carried them dominated the right of free and rational people to live their own lives as they see fit.

ACT’s paper Democracy or co-Government? sets out how enlightenment values can be restored to New Zealand.

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