Gordon Campbell on UN hypocrisy towards Richard Prosser   5 Mar 2013

 

Gordon Campbell on the UN’s hypocrisy towards Richard Prosser

So the United Nations has reprimanded Richard Prosser for his “Wogistan” comments.

The United Nations committee on the elimination of racial discrimination described Prosser's comments as "inflammatory" and urged a stronger line from the Government.

"The committee regrets the recent inflammatory remarks by a member of parliament vilifying persons from Central Asia or the Middle East based on their skin colour and country of origin as well as their religion," it said in a newly published report on New Zealand's record on racial discrimination.

All well and good. Yet offhand, its hard to think of anything more likely to create sympathy for the New Zealand First MP. That’s because the UN has such a chequered record on human rights. In the latest example, the UN has just ruled itself immune from any claim for compensation for the way one of the ‘peacekeeping’ teams that it sent to Haiti (after the recent earthquake) then proceeded to carelessly contaminate a major river with its own faecal wastes, thereby triggering a cholera epidemic that has so far killed over 8,000 Haitians.

As the Economist magazine recently pointed out, if a business tipped industrial waste into a river in the United States, you could hope at least to sue them for negligence. Not so with the United Nations. Although 5,000 Haitians have tried to sue the UN for its lethal negligence, the UN has ruled itself above all that:

The UN said that no action against it was possible. In a terse statement, the office of Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general, declared the claims “not receivable” because of the organisation’s privileges and immunities. Apparently, there is no legal mechanism for redress against the UN, whern it violates human rights.

Immunity protects it from most courts. Although its agreement with Haiti provides for a claims commission to hear grievances, that commission has never been set up. So the lawyers for the cholera claimants brought their petition directly to the secretary-general. They demanded that the UN pay damages, accept responsibility, set up the claims commission and build the sewage systems that Haiti lacks.

Although the UN’s legal office took 15 months to declare itself beyond the reach of the claims, it offered little explanation. Its letter to the claimants’ lawyers said “consideration of these claims would necessarily involve a review of political and policy matters.” So is dumping faeces in rivers UN policy? The answer seems to be, as one of the claimants’ lawyers put it: “We make the rules, we interpret them, we enforce them, and therefore, whatever we say is right.”.

On that basis, Richard Prosser should get on pretty well with Ban Ki Moon, next time they’re out and about together in Wogistan.

Using Gold to Sell the Silver

Whenever the government wants to spend money on itself or its investor friends, all that talk about the need for austerity flies right out the window. Past example: bailing out South Canterbury Finance speculators. Latest example: the financially foolhardy partial asset sales programme. Apparently there will now be a million dollar advertising campaign piled on top of the tens of millions already spent on consultancy fees etc… in order to sell the government’s plan to unload Mighty River Power.

"Tomorrow will also see the start of a substantial advertising and communications campaign covering television, print and online media which will raise awareness of the initial public offer," said [Finance Minister Bill] English.

Right. So we need to spend a million dollars to whip up public enthusiasm for a partial sale that will lose money (compared to the cost of borrowing the same amounts and retaining the entire revenue stream). The partial selldown is opposed by most of the public, and only a relatively few and relatively affluent New Zealanders stand to profit from the share float, eventually at everyone else’s expense:

Key this afternoon said the share sale would be a "highly political process" and his Government intended keeping its promises about ensuring a high level of New Zealand ownership.

Earth to Key: there’s an even higher level of New Zealand ownership right now. What Key and English are about to do will actually reduce ownership by the New Zealand public, and render most of them vulnerable to price gouging on their power bills. Key is right on one point though. It is a “highly political process.”

ENDS

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share

News

Extension of NZDF commitment in Afghanistan

20 Apr 2015 News
New Zealand Government Extension of NZDF commitment in Afghanistan   The New Zealand Defence Force’s commitment of mentors... more

Bennett to honour New Zealand’s sacrifice in France

20 Apr 2015 News
State Services Minister Paula Bennett leaves today to represent the Government at World War One commemorations being held at sites... more

Business

Petrol price falls main cause of second quarter of deflation

20 Apr 2015 Business News By Pattrick Smellie
April 20 (BusinessDesk) - Falling petrol and diesel prices were the major factor leading to a 0.3 percent fall in inflation during... more

NZ dollar gains after Chinese central bank adds stimulus

20 Apr 2015 Business News By Tina Morrison
April 20 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar gained after the Chinese central bank added more liquidity to Asia's largest... more

Living

ANZAC to be commemorated in UK - with massive waiata

13 Apr 2015 ANZAC
Thousands of Australians, New Zealanders and Britons will gather in London on 25 April 2015 to mark the Centenary of the ANZAC... more

Gordon Campbell on the demise of Campbell Live

10 Apr 2015 Entertainment
  The imminent axeing of Campbell Live has been the inevitable outcome of a mindset which considers only (a) declining ratings... more

Property

NZ house prices rise 8% in March, led by 13% Auckland jump

14 Apr 2015 Property By Tina Morrison
April 14 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand residential property prices rose in March, led by Auckland where housing supply isn't meeting... more

NZ property values rise at fastest pace in 9 months in March: QV

1 Apr 2015 Property By Suze Metherell
  NZ property values rise at fastest pace in 9 months in March: QV April 1 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand residential property... more

Migration

PM plays down claim war criminals are living in NZ

2 Mar 2015 Migration
Prime Minister John Key says he is not aware of any suspected war criminals from the former Yugoslavia in New Zealand. The claim that... more

NZ migration rose to record in 2014

30 Jan 2015 Migration By Tina Morrison
  NZ migration surged to record in 2014, helped by robust economy Jan. 30 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand migration surged to a... more

Travel

Air NZ's Houston link paves way for United Airlines tie-up

17 Apr 2015 Travel & Tourism By Fiona Rotherham
  Air NZ's Houston service paves the way for partnership with United Airlines, analysts say April 17 (BusinessDesk) - Air New... more

Wellington Airport revised fees 'just within' OK range

17 Apr 2015 Travel & Tourism By Tina Morrison
  Wellington Airport's revised fees are 'just within' acceptable range of returns, regulator says April 17 (BusinessDesk) -... more

Sport

Para-Swimming stars heading to World Championships

18 Apr 2015 Swimming
Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) is thrilled to announce their team for the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow in July. ... more

Black Sticks win Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

13 Apr 2015 Sport
The Black Sticks Men have won the 2015 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in thrilling style with a 3-1 shoot-out victory over Australia. The... more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on UE pass rates & university dropout rates

14 Apr 2015 Opinion
Houston, there is clearly a problem with (a) the plunge in pass rates for University Entrance qualifications, which has been ... more

Gordon Campbell on a union victory in the fast food industry

9 Apr 2015 Opinion By Gordon Campbell
  Gordon Campbell on a union victory in the fast food industry Good to have a reminder of why trade unions are still essential... more

Kiwi Success

Smiths City names 'turnaround specialist' Roy Campbell CEO

14 Apr 2015 Appointments
April 14 (BusinessDesk) - Smiths City Group, the Christchurch-based retail chain, named Roy Campbell as chief executive, replacing... more

Appointments to Lotteries Commission

8 Apr 2015 Appointments
  Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced the reappointment of Judy Kirk as the Presiding Member (Chair) of the... more

Recruitment

Apprenticeship scheme launched

18 Apr 2015 Recruitment
The He Toki ki te Mahi Apprenticeship Training Trust was launched by Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Key at Rehua Marae in ... more

Chinese rail workers must be paid minimum wage

17 Apr 2015 Recruitment
KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New... more