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

Puhoi - Warkworth "holiday highway" gets the big tick

25 Jul 2014 News By Suze Metherell
July 25 (BusinessDesk) - A board of inquiry has given the go-ahead on the $760 million Puhoi-to-Warkworth highway. Dubbed the... more

Applications for Waitangi Day Fund opened

25 Jul 2014 News
New Zealand Government Applications for Waitangi Day Fund opened   Applications for the 2015 Commemorating Waitangi Day Fund are... more

Business

Auckland Airport cuts fine deal in US$250M bond issue

25 Jul 2014 Business News
Article - BusinessDesk   Auckland Airport cuts fine deal in US$250M bond issue By Paul McBeth Jul. 25 (BusinessDesk) - Auckland... more

NZ dollar slides to 6-week low on intervention talk

24 Jul 2014 Business News
Article - BusinessDesk   NZ dollar slides to 6-week low as RBNZ's Wheeler invokes intervention criteria By Paul McBeth July 24 ... more

Living

NZ Film 'The Dead Lands' to Have Toronto World Premiere

23 Jul 2014 Entertainment
New Zealand Film Commission New Zealand Film 'The Dead Lands' to Have Toronto World Premiere Maori action epic The Dead Lands will... more

Anti-mining campaign doco debuts at NZ Film Festival

22 Jul 2014 Entertainment
Playing at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival, Cap Bocage is a close-up exploration of the forces that came... more

Property

NZ house sales fall in June, led by cheaper properties

14 Jul 2014 Property By Suze Metherell
July 14 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand house sales fell in June from a year earlier, led by properties of $400,000 or less, indicating... more

Average Auckland house prices reach record level

10 Jul 2014 Property
The average asking price for a home in Auckland has reached the record level of 732 thousand, 240 dollars. The figure is provided by... more

Migration

UK Tier 1 visa extension deadline looming

11 Jul 2014 Migration
If you’re in the UK on a Tier 1 (General) visa, you’ll need to apply for an extension as soon as possible. The deadline... more

NZ more appealing to ex-pats - survey

10 Jul 2014 Migration
Auckland and Wellington have become more appealing to ex-pats in the past 12 months, a new survey has found. Both cities both dropped... more

Travel

Cycleways bring economic benefit to communities

24 Jul 2014 Travel & Tourism
An increasing number of cycleways are attracting tourists to regions and scenic parts of New Zealand and a special session at the... more

100% Middle-Earth campaign wins prestigious travel award

17 Jul 2014 Travel & Tourism
Associate Tourism Minister Todd McClay has congratulated Tourism New Zealand on winning the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s... more

Sport

2014 Commonwealth Games: Judo medal for Manuel

25 Jul 2014 Commonwealth Games
Darcina Manuel, formerly of Gisborne and now living in Perth, provided... more

NZ Bronze medal for team pursuiters

25 Jul 2014 Commonwealth Games
Bronze for team pursuiters Published Friday 25 July 2014

more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on Gaza and burning the Israeli flag

24 Jul 2014 Opinion By Gordon Campbell
One of the selling points in New Zealand’s campaign for a temporary seat on the Security Council is that we have a pluckily... more

7 highly effective habits to stay healthy at work

23 Jul 2014 Column By Tricia Alach
The holistic helper's guide to wellbeing and work: part eight Like all good reports, my Wellbeing and Work series comes with an... more

Kiwi Success

Hon.Judith Collins announces appointments to Public Trust Board

23 Jul 2014 Appointments
New Zealand Government Appointments to Public Trust Board   Justice Minister Judith Collins today announced the appointment of ... more

NZ Government Minister Foss announces commerce reappointments

23 Jul 2014 Appointments
Commerce Minister Craig Foss today announced four reappointments to various independent Crown entities and statutory... more

Recruitment

750 additional Trades Academy places for 2015

14 Jul 2014 Recruitment
New Zealand Government   Hon Steven Joyce Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Hon Hekia Parata Minister of... more

Take a dip into global talent pool

9 Jul 2014 Recruitment
International candidates can bring added value, says recruitment specialist New Zealand's thriving economy has created a "unique... more