My Name is Lee Vandervis.
I am one of your elected representatives, a Councillor on the Dunedin City Council.
Today I am not speaking on behalf of the City or the DCC, but giving a personal view of freedoms in New Zealand, and how they have changed in recent years.
I have long been concerned about the erosion of freedoms by our Central Government, but in the past have kept my focus on local issues to help protect Dunedin citizens.
Central governments, both National and Labour have long ignored Dunedin and invested elsewhere because there are no marginal seats here, not enough swinging voters to change from the solid Labour vote.
Much has been changing in Central Government that is now beginning to have major effects for Dunedin, with increasing bureaucracy, constant increases in compliance legislation, and now serious erosion of our personal rights and freedoms.
For me Prime Minister Ardern’s self-crowning as the ‘single source of Truth’ with regards to Covid science was the last straw.
Too much from Central Government is now ruining peoples’ lives here. Lockdowns have been a Government-paid holiday for many, but for some have become lock-ups, with isolation causing mental breakdowns and cabin fever.
As a Councillor I have been confronted with severe mental stresses of people too fearful to leave their homes, small business owners whose livelihoods will never recover, and older people sure they will die if Covid comes. Some hysterical phone calls to me have gone on for half an hour and would have gone longer if I had not shut them down. Just last week I was rung by a lady asking if she was allowed to go outside without a mask.
How has the loss of so many Freedoms come about?
Let me step back in history to a time when we were hunter-gatherers with few possessions, and so nothing much to steal.
Theft only became a social problem when we became agricultural, and crops and land could be taken by force or by cunning. The cunning could take all the stored food but then next year everybody would face starvation again, so the really smart thieves learned to take just 10% of what was grown by the toil of others in return for ‘protection’. They would ensure that they were the only ones taking 10% and this elite became Governments.
Governments have grown and got greedy over the centuries however and many new kinds of taxes and protection services have been introduced.
Governments now control most of what we earn and supply a wide range of protections; police, military, health and safety, and education.
As a result of new technology and reduction in tribal warfare, living standards have improved massively in the last 200 years along with more leisure time, helping us achieve unprecedented new freedoms which have been hard fought for.
What does FREEDOM mean to you?
Is it to be ‘as free as a bird’, able to fly anywhere and chirp all it likes?
Many countries now have Constitutions that guarantee these new rights and freedoms, but here in New Zealand we have a less ironclad protection of freedoms called the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. The chirping is Right #14, Freedom of expression, and the flying is Right #18 Freedom of movement.
Since 1990 these Fundamental Rights and Freedoms have been taken for granted, and warnings that we must constantly be vigilant about their maintenance have been ignored.
In discussions of new Government Covid legislation I was surprised how few people knew that New Zealand has a Bill of Rights, and even fewer knew what was in it.
When I posted two topical Rights on my FaceBook page I was even more surprised at the 376 comments, most of them critical and some nasty.
Right #11 says “Everyone has the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment.” I am not against vaccination, but vaccines should only be administered to patients who are VOLUNTARILY persuaded that it will benefit them.
Right #14 says “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.”
I am exercising right 14 now, imparting information and some of my opinions.
It seems that many people feel so threatened by current Covid hysteria that they do not want the right to refuse medical treatment and they don’t want me to tell others about it either.
There is a strange social symptom of anxious or fearful people that makes them afraid of choice – To quote the DEVO chorus “Freedom of choice – is what we’ve got. Freedom from choice, is what we want.”
Freedom from our having choice is what our Government wants because it makes us more easily controllable, and the Government Elite less vulnerable.
People also don’t want to hear opinions that make them feel uncomfortable, and our Government of Elites has fanned such fears in order to pass laws that limit the our Rights and make us easier to control. ‘Freedom of speech’ has been reduced by new Hate Speech laws justified by the appalling Christchurch Mosque massacre with the dubious claim that Hate Speech radicalises potential murders. Benjamin Franklin said that “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
He also said that “If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.”
Check the meanings of ‘Groupthink’ and ‘Codependence’.
The Right to refuse medical treatment has been limited by new legislation including ‘no jab, no job’, justified by a nasty uncommon cold and difficulties insulating us from its spread and the claim that the new vaccination only works if more than 90% of us have had at least two doses.
The Right to Freedom of Movement has been temporarily removed by lockdowns, and even worse, effectively permanently removed for some 30,000 overseas NZ citizens trying to get back to New Zealand but blocked by the Government’s bizarre Quarantine Lottery, which the Elite politicians and sports people don’t have to play, but the rest of us do.
Our Government which claims to promote equality and a classless society has first set up Elite classes of their own that have Freedoms which we are being denied.
I have a Doctor friend who is unable to visit his close dying relative overseas because he has not won the Quarantine Lottery, so to travel overseas he has to resign his GP job because he can not be assured of getting back into New Zealand.
The Ardern Government has used unprecedented billions to undermine our Bill of Rights and buy media compliance to convince us of the necessity of reducing our Freedoms ‘for the greater good’.
All Freedoms come with limits and the responsibility not to harm others.
Freedom is not the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right. Our Government is not always doing what is right, but what increases Government power over us.
Is it right that we are losing: the Freedom from forced Medical Treatment, Freedom of Movement, Freedom of Association, and Freedom of Expression? My mother’s reassurance of ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’ no longer applies, and if I have said something today that someone here finds hateful I can be now be charged with a criminal offense that attracts serious penalties.
Perhaps the most important Right of them all is the last one in our Bill of Rights, #27 The Right to Justice.
We are all supposed to have the Right to the Principles of Natural Justice and our Rights or Interests protected by Law.
Natural Justice is the legal basis of all our Freedoms, but the Law is a blunt instrument and too often accessible only to the wealthy. Beware Law changes.
The current changing of Laws, for instance the delaying of Local Elections and the proposed passing legislation to forcibly acquire our most valuable 3 Waters Council assets, should have alarm bells ringing for all of us.
MP Mahuta’s attempt to have centralised co-governance with a Maori Elite over all Councils’ drinking water and drainage systems is the biggest attempted asset grab since the damaging centralised corporatising of our Electricity grid.
Beware false claims that Maori should have control because the Treaty of Waitangi guarantees that Maori retain their Rights over Land and Water.
Maori had no 3 Waters piped infrastructure systems at the time of the signing, and 3 Waters are not Crown assets, so there is nothing in our developed 3 Waters Council infrastructure for Maori to ‘retain’.
Beware also politicians twittering on that what they are doing is for “the people, the people, the people”, when it is usually for ‘the money, the money, the money’ to be controlled by their Elite.
Governments everywhere are driven to expand their power and control over us economically, and use our money to further their expansion aims.
Our Bill of Rights is sometimes all that stands against Government’s wider-control, so we need to know our Rights and work to maintain them.
So what can we do to try and regain the full Freedoms and Rights we had only a few years ago?
If you are not Free then you are a Slave…
As Ezra Pound said “A Slave is one who waits for someone to free him.”
We must not wait.
We can begin with ourselves, to decide that we really want Freedom of Choice, and that our Freedoms are worth fighting for.
We need to act, often in many small ways, to resist unnecessary impositions, to question new compliance rules, to debate with others personally, and on social media if you can bear the insults.
Read the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and decide what are acceptable limits on Freedoms which prevent your Rights imposing on the Rights of others.
Search both mainstream and less-Government-subsidised media to learn what changes are being made to our Freedoms, find out who is making those changes and who is resisting them, take notes and vote accordingly.
Look up the term Sovereign Citizen, and decide if you believe that people are born free with rights — but that these natural rights are being constrained by corporations and governments who are artificial corporations.
How much do you really need Big Brother protection and intrusions of the State?
Recognise that extreme cynicism gets you nearest the Truth, and that there is no ‘single source of Truth’.
Know that ordinary people are often afraid to speak out and often have similar concerns to you.
Listen openly to others, avoid pre-packaged views, don’t just accept the Party Line or running with the crowd.
To be free as a bird we need to be centred in our own nature, to be confident in expressing ourselves and to let our spirits fly…
Thank you for this opportunity of letting me exercise Right #14 of the NZ Bill of Rights.