Chris Trotter wonders whether provincial and conservative New Zealanders will embrace diversity and multiculturalism with the same fervour as their fellow citizens in Grey Lynn and Wadestown

Chris Trotter wonders whether provincial and conservative New Zealanders will embrace diversity and multiculturalism with the same fervour as their fellow citizens in Grey Lynn and Wadestown

By Chris Trotter*

Some New Zealanders are convinced the Christchurch Mosque Shootings have made their country a better place. It’s not difficult to understand why they think that. The images we have broadcast to ourselves and the rest of the world have made a powerful statement about what New Zealanders believe themselves to be.

Inevitably, a significant number, both at home and abroad, have accepted this portrayal as the truth. Whether these images amount to anything more than a necessary salve for the awful wounds inflicted upon our body politic, however, remains to be seen.

The New Zealand people, like any people, are very far from being an homogeneous mass. We are divided along geographical, generational, racial, educational and occupational lines. And these divisions are only the broadest of the categories into which our nation may be sorted. Within each category there are bewildering number of sub-groups. What is clear, however, is that re-conceiving “the people” in this way makes all talk of them responding to events as a single, unified political organism seem fanciful – even dangerous.

Just how fanciful was thrown into stark relief this week by the response of the nation’s military veterans to the suggestion that an Islamic blessing be included in the Titahi Bay RSA’s commemoration of Anzac Day. It was as if a sudden gust of cold air had swept aside the funeral draperies in which New Zealand has swathed itself since 15 March, revealing a collection of faces very different from the Prime Minister’s dignified countenance. There was anger visible here and, if one looked hard enough, evidence of the naked prejudice we have been reassuring the world forms no part of “us”.

It wasn’t the only evidence on display. Among Cantabrians, opposition is steadily growing to the demand that their all-conquering rugby team, The Crusaders, should find a name less objectionable to Christchurch’s grieving Muslim community. On display here is the grim political logic of superior numbers and the visceral cultural assumptions that come with them. The Crusaders’ management team will have to weigh very carefully the likely consequences of any decision which could be interpreted as robbing the many as a gesture of goodwill to the few.

The brutal calculus of democratic politics cannot be wished away. Winning elections is not about appealing to “the people” as a whole, but of cobbling together temporary alliances out of such bits and pieces of the electorate as the political parties can persuade, however impermanently, to back them at the ballot-box.

For the moment, Labour and the Greens would appear to have the young, the well-educated and the generally well-meaning inhabitants of the three largest urban areas – Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Of those three groups, however, only the well-educated can be relied upon to remained steadfast. When it comes to actually participating in the political process, the young are notoriously unreliable. The generally well-meaning are similarly inconstant, as easily attracted to powerful counter-arguments as they are to the original proposition. When the whole of the mainstream media was singing from the same song-sheet about the Christchurch tragedy, they eagerly sang along. But, as that unanimity breaks up and dissipates amidst quarrels about Anzac Day and the Crusaders, so will their support.

The long-term prospects for the National Party, NZ First and Act should be rosier – at least theoretically. While centre-right and far-right ideas are subject to serious challenge in the largest cities; in provincial and rural New Zealand they enjoy considerably more support than the ideas of the liberal-left. In the small-towns and country areas of New Zealand, the ideas of the far-left only end up strengthening the convictions of their right-wing targets. 

What are the chances of these conservative New Zealanders responding to the Christchurch Mosque Shootings by embracing wholeheartedly the recommended responses of what might be called the “Liberal-Left Establishment”? Will they accept without demur (as they appear to have done the Government’s fast-tracked gun-control measures) the recommendations of everyone from the Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Paul Hunt, to the co-leader of the Greens, Marama Davidson, and her party’s Justice spokesperson, Golriz Ghahraman, for a strengthening of the laws against hate speech? Will the events of 15 March cause provincial New Zealanders to embrace diversity and multiculturalism with the same fervour as their fellow citizens in Grey Lynn and Wadestown? Is this the sort of country that conservative New Zealanders are now ready to sign-up to?

If it is, then the National, NZ First and Act parties had better file for liquidation. Rather than do that, however, one suspects they will turn to the likes of David Farrar for a thorough survey of just how transformative the events of 15 March have been in relation to the thinking of conservative New Zealanders.

Beyond shock and dismay; beyond the reflexive human responses of compassion and solidarity for and with the victims of the Christchurch attacks; how have conservative New Zealanders reacted? Did they approve of the Prime Minister’s hijab? Did they warm to the Imam’s prayer? Have their hearts and minds been opened to immigrant communities in a fundamental way? Or, has the response of what might be called “Official New Zealand” only highlighted how vast the gulf has grown between the ideas of what Donald Trump would call the “liberal elites”, and their own?

On the latest edition of Newshub’s current affairs show, The Nation, representatives of those liberal elites could be heard in full flight. Like their British counterparts in the 2016 debate over Brexit, they appeared to have little or no conception of just how divided “the people” of the United Kingdom had become. Not simply in relation to their feelings about the European Union, but over everything their country had become. That dislocation has only become more pronounced in the three years since the Brexit referendum. New Zealand’s political class would be well-advised to take on board the lessons of the Brexit debacle. Contempt for those sections of your population who either fail to understand, or refuse to get with, the “internationalist” and “progressive” programme, is likely to be repaid in kind.

Our own internationalists and progressives should also, perhaps, recall the tragic death of Jo Cox at the height of the Brexit referendum campaign. The committed “Remainer”, Cox, was brutally murdered on 16 June by Thomas Mair, a far-right British nationalist and fanatical “Leave” supporter. The nation was shocked and dismayed. All campaigning ceased as the United Kingdom came together in grief. A week later, on 23 June 2016, 52% of the British people voted to leave the EU.


*Chris Trotter has been writing and commenting professionally about New Zealand politics for more than 30 years. His work may be found at http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com. He writes a fortnightly column for interest.co.nz.

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"The New Zealand people, like any people, are very far from being an homogeneous mass. We are divided along geographical, generational, racial, educational and occupational lines. And these divisions are only the broadest of the categories into which our nation may be sorted. Within each category there are bewildering number of sub-groups."
- A bewildering number of sub groups? Everyone is different in someway or another and the only level of acceptable analysis is at an INDIVIDUAL level. I wish these indentity cultists would realise that by grouping people they are participating in discrimination themselves. That is always the case when a group is put before the individual.

Spot on Withay. Group identity, tribalism..call it what you like. It's bad news. And certain groups (best I not use the word cultures or religions here) are the biggest offenders here. But question these 'groups;' and their own written 'manifestos' and you'll be shot down in flames as a racist, supremacist, or worse.

Thanks rastus, hopefully our political parties with race or gender policies or quotas will realise what their doing and the precedent they are setting and correct it.

The sheer tempo of existing,working,socialising in the developed world has created pressures on all individuals alike. For instance the accessibility, speed and volume of electronic communications, brilliant tool that is, often offers scarcely any respite.When ill used it can too be devastatingly destructive. As a result I think society has become more defensive, watchful, insular even. At times of crisis those barriers are often put to one side, but not by all and not forever. Just ask the eastern suburbs of Christchurch how they thought they were treated by those of the west during the 2011 EQ’s and aftermath.

On point Mr. Trotter.

" on 23 June 2016, 52% of the British people voted to leave the EU." Ah, no, the turnout was 72%, not too bad all in all, but only 52% of 72% voted to leave the union.

so only 48% of the 72% voted to stay. Point being - those that cared enough to vote, voted to leave.

Those that didn't vote were obviously happy with whatever the winning option turned out to be.

Still not 52% of the British people

Also, I think perhaps it was more a case of more who wanted to leave, voted, I think the stayers may have been a bit blindsided and a bit complacent. Yes, their fault, but another referendum could reveal a different result, given all they voted on was leave or stay, they had no idea what sort of a buggar's muddle getting out would end up being, mainly because of the Irish border and that not all of the UK countries did actually vote leave.

Who says those in Grey lynn and Wadestown are more welcoming than us provincal folk. Never seemed to me during my visits to Bambino and SPQR the inhabitants have cast off insularity. In fact would be taken aback if a hijab floated in.

"Crusaders" clearly a wrong name after what happened in Christchurch. Equivalent to a team called "The Jihadis" turning up in Manchester after the murders there.
Even now the western invasions in the middle east are labeled "Crusaders" in middle eastern media. Millions have died because of theses modern day crusaders.
I'm going to suggest the name "Al Noor" meaning "The Light" which is a magnificent name for a team.
If you think that a "bit arabic" - thinking of the interconnections. Think of that beautiful name in English "Eleanor" Look up it's meaning. Also nuns habits and moslem hijabs. Made the connection ??

I think KH your understanding of history is rather woeful. The Crusades stop the Arabs from invading Europe and the cultural genocide that would have occurred. The Crusades were not perfect (just like our actions in WWII) but without them where would we be?

You obviously haven't been to Spain or visited Alhambra. The 800 year cultural legacy was impressive and positive. It turned into a soft 'invasion' over a very long period. Their tolerance contrasted markedly with what came later - the Inquisition.

David. While it's a common misapprehension that the expansion of Islam was accompanied by intolerance of existing cultural and religious practises of its conquered peoples, noFax's core assertion is valid - ie that advance of European thinking and values from its various scientific and cultural revolutions would not have occurred had the Ottomans not been stopped at Vienna.

And of course when the Ottomans were stopped at Vienna Europe was introduced to coffee.

I cannot remember where but I read that at one point during the crusades the Muslims had imprisoned many Jews holding them for ransome and they were stunned when the Christians turned up, paid the ransomes so they could then murder the Jews (descendants of those who killed Christ was the rationale).
I'm rather anti-Islam and would reduce immigration into NZ and would chose a rather different refugee intake so that makes me part of the un-educated nethanderal right-wing? However I do know that name has to go; it was quite acceptable before the massacre but now it must go. Note how polite the Islamic Kiwis have been about it. I fully realise how fans get behind their team and how big a sacrifice it will be for them but a new name or even no name but take its place. Maybe a buy-back scheme for crusader memorabilia?
If they haven't dropped the name by next season expect me protesting outside Eden Park when they play the Blues.

I wrote I'm rather anti-Islam and that is a more general anti any belief in a supreme being that is used to justify harming others. However the advert on Page11 of the Herald by the NZ Ahmadiyya community is a lesson in grace and tolerance that is admirable.
These are the Muslim's who have had their 'reformation' . It is a pity that like the Quakers were by other Christians they are met by persecution by other Muslims and now by white supremacists too.
In their advert they claim 'atrocious act of terrorism by a single misguided soul' - true it was one person shooting but I wish it could be said that NZ contains only a single evil person.

I reckon they have to consider the association of the words "crusade" and "crusaders" with white supremacists today. They revere the old crusades, use symbolism from it, the battle of Acre in 1189, being a particular focal point. The unnamed one had all sorts of stuff painted on his weapons, apparently, included among it, "Acre 1189". He'd also visited sites of the old crusades, no doubt to pay some sort of homage.
It will not go unnoticed in the light of the attack's location if the name is retained, among those who might seek some sort of revenge, especially when the team and supporters are overseas, clinging to the name could come across as some sort of implied support of white supremacists.
Me I'd be getting it changed, asap, but I guess I could still be pretty much on my own in seeing this aspect of it.

Not only the potential threat as you explain, but the simple fact is that this has now become an issue that will flare up over and over again in the media, an impossible distraction for the team to cope with.

That could fall into a slippery slope type arguement. If someone in the current day aligns themselves with something that has been and gone does that now make that something wrong? If I commited a crime and associated myself with the name PocketAces would that then make your name a symbol for something? No, not really, you didn't consent or have anything to do with what I did.
We should keep the debate to what the Crusades actually were in there own time period. Otherwise we give a wierd sort of "veto" or power to anyone who wants to do something bad and associate with something whether relevent or not.

I could not agree less. Whataboutery isn't an argument. The association with crusades, White supremacists and the location of the massacre make a bit of a perfect storm. White supremacists have brought the crusades in the original sense of the word right into the current time. I think the historical argument in light of this is the red herring.

Yes Pocketaces. The Crusader name is a current thing. The locals in the middle east today use it to describe the westerners who have come and killed them in the millions in recent times. It's not back then it's now.
As a name it means "Jahadi". Both versions, both names are plain unacceptable

Gee, I have to say, I hadn't thought of that, but it just adds more reason to get rid of the name

Sorry, but no on most counts. Crusaders were determined to secure the Holy Land from heathen invaders. Saladin had exactly the same motive. Jerusalem was the cradle of Christianity, and the cradle of Islam was 570 years later and 800 miles away (not a trivial amount in those days), so who had the greater 'claim'? And then there are the Jews, who had everyone beat by a couple millennia. Do Muslims revere Saladin, or any of their great military leaders of antiquity? They do? Yeah. Do Muslims repudiate the conquests of Andalusia or Sicily, or do they revere them? And of course all of this ignores the fact that until somebody started looking for something to be offended by, no Crusaders fan ever, even for a second, thought about them in these kinds of religio-historic terms.

And seemingly equating the Crusades with any sort of 'white power' movement is daft. My ancestors were Lebanese and Syrian Maronite Christians who had to flee in the late 1800s so they wouldn't be slaughtered by the Ottomans. Who should I complain to? That was a bit over a century ago, as were things like the Armenian genocide (that Turkey still denies happened) not a THOUSAND years ago. Uh oh, is this about the point where the SJWs tie themselves into knots (or headscarves, ha!) that others have mentioned comes in.

Islam didn't change on iota that fateful Friday, and out of the woodwork has come a slew of well-intentioned but largely uninformed, self-styled do gooders who are bent on making something out of nothing, with a couple scoops of glaring double standards to boot.

flebus. A foot note that might be of interest to you - my grandfather was a member of Dunsterforce, a WW1 long range SAS type of unit that battled the Turks on their western flank in 1918. Fighting with them were Armenians, survivors of the 1917 Turkish massacres. He heard their first hand stories of this terrible Turkish atrocity. Dunsterforce also supported the remaining survivors of Turkish massacres of Assyrians Christians, including a fierce fight with Turkish troops they attacked while they were in the very process of slaughtering christian civilian refugees. Grandfather was wounded twice during this fighting but survived.

You illustrate a compounding problem, and a very sad one too. Mostly, the generations born into the fast modernising world, say 1960’s onwards, have little interest let alone knowledge of history. Even the recent history you describe. It just became whatever might be on TV & then whatever entertaining web site.All what we are today has been shaped by history. Sad to say Satanyana’s warning falls on deaf ears. Must have been totally absorbing though listening to your grandfather. T E Lawence once described his somewhat haphazard operations in those regions as a sideshow in a sideshow, but a wonderfully unique life experience for your grandfather too, one can only guess. Hell they were independent, tough minded old buggers then weren’t they!

Foxglove. His brutalising experiences on the western front and in Iraq/Turkey saw him return to NZ a tough, hardened, even cruel, individual. Not what you would call a loveable or kind man; like many of his generation. From my childhood I remember these WW1 veterans and their thousand yard stares.
At the risk of sounding superior or elitist and probably being labeled a bigot, I question whether it is possible to form a credible position on the desirability or otherwise of immigration from theocratically governed or dysfunctional middle eastern states, without having a sound understanding of the history of those countries and the extent to which that history informs the cultural attitudes of prospective migrants.

when I started work, I met and got know really well an Australian who had fought against the Vichy French in Syria WW11. Lovely humorous man but give him a fright and he turned savagely at bay. Instincts that would never die.. In my teens I met Charles Upham twice and have to admit he put the fear of the devil into me. The ultimate hunter, no quarter given, no quarter expected. I like Kipling’s assertation, that in the animal world there is no right or wrong, only life and death. So too the battlefield.

Thank you for that, middleman. What a treasure to have those stories from one who lived through interesting times.

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Great Article. Plenty of food for thought re solidarity. Can a multicultural society ever really be united? New Zealand has managed without much violence since the Maori wars, but using that as an example Maori and Europeans are still distinct groups, people identify themselves as such. We have be co existing for 150+ years with varying levels of tension, but are still not 'one'. Maybe one day that will change but there are plenty who do not want to give up their cultural identity.
Within a week or so of the PM wearing a hijab in solidarity with the Muslim community we have had a Muslim majority country instate the stoning to death for homosexual sex. Lets not forget that Islam can be a very 'right wing' conservative religion that treats women as property and slaves, as evidenced by some of the Christchurch widows having never been shopping by themselves and not allowed to have drivers license because their male relatives have complete control of them.
This is where the 'left wing' liberals get themselves tied in moral knots. While the PM wearing hijab was great PR and photo op material that libs around the world gobbled up, does she really want to be seen supporting a religion which is the polar opposite of the Womens rights movement?
If we're all going to be 'one' who's 'one' are we going to be, because you can't be everyones 'one' at the same time?

Pricklybeard. Absolutely spot on

Pricklybeard. While the extent of media coverage featuring Ardern wearing a hijab has become nauseatingly hagiographic, even to the outrageous extent of her minor role in this event displacing the victims stories, I don't see her decision to do so at the mosque and first public ceremony as 'supporting a religion'. That the hijab is a symbol of the denial of rights that are fundamental to our secular society is not in question, but it is nonetheless a cultural practice of some migrants we have accepted as citizens. Just as other migrant groups have dress or presentation style preferences, why would a representative politician not adopt those styles when interacting with them at a solemn occasion. Would you, for example, not expect Ardern to pitch her personal presentation and behaviour to align with those at an Indian, Polynesian or Maori event, despite this requiring sometimes significant modification of her feminist and secular views?

My point was its a very fine line to tread; could she have achieved the same message without wearing hijab? The call to prayer at ANZAC day is another example; Do we need to all become Islamic to show we disagree with the killing of Innocent worshipers? They make up a tiny percentage of our population 1-2%, do we have Hebrew or Buddhist prayers? It all just gone a bit far.

Had a crazed coward gunned down worshippers at a synagogue, then yes, I would expect Ardern to adopt some outward symbol of solidarity with Judaism at a formal vigil. There is no 'call to (muslim) prayer' at ANZAC services; just this one in this most extreme of circumstances in this particular year.

While I am sickened at the blatant exploitation of this event by Ardern's fawning media promoters, I think she discharged her responsibilities in a fitting way for a head of state and would expect ( and I think get) a similarly considered and well weighted response if there were an islamist inspired atrocity in NZ.

Perhaps we should portray Christianity to be " a religion which is the polar opposite of the Womens rights movement?"

I mean, that is what Gloriavale and the Exclusive Bretheren practice, so we can tar all Christians and any support of Christianity with this brush right?

Yes, I can see very little difference between Gloriavale type chritianity and Islam (and I think society already does). Christianity plays very little part in the everyday lives of NZers and certainly the bulk of the population would not stand for a return to 13th century style Christianity, or Puritism etc. Islam hasn't yet gone through the kind of bloody reformations against oppressive religion.
If a gunman shot up Gloriavale would it be appropriate for the PM to wear their little outfits?

""If a gunman shot up Gloriavale would it be appropriate for the PM to wear their little outfits?"" the answer is YES if it the shooting was a deliberate attack on that communities right to exist.

I see once again you manage to separate out Christian cults from mainstream Christianity, but lump all of Islam together. Very duplicitous.

Discrimination (against women or people of other faith) and intolerance for liberal ideas (e.g. your sexual life is a matter of personal choice not religious expectations) is hardly unique to Islam. That is a common feature shared by all the three big western religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). However, this does not mean that Islam should be glorified. We should continue to have the courage to question strict religion practices that are not consistent with modern human values while being careful that we are not denying humanity of those who believe in those practices (and all their rights).

Well, if Gloriavale had been the target, would the women all come along to cosplay in Handmaid's Tale outfits? I have my doubts....

I'm inclined to agree with Withay and KH here Chris Trotter.
Lived in Wadestown. Inclusive? Mmm nah.
Lived in rural NZ. Inclusive? Too bloody right.
Acceptance of gun law changes by rural NZ - why are you surprised? Rural NZ probably knows the lethal power of firearms better than urban - they know only too well that at times they must kill an animal. Don't need MSSAs for that. Who can afford the cost of ammo anyway?

'response of the nation’s military veterans to the suggestion that an Islamic blessing be included'

This is disingenuous shit stirring. The reaction of the RSA was, according to media reports, in response to threats of violence from slime ball extremists, not to the proposal of an islamic blessing forming part of the ceremony. I wager that most ex service personnel would these days, especially in view of the awful events in CHCH, be open to an islamic prayer.

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I think Mr. Trotter is projecting his hopes and wishes rather than the reality on the ground. The people of Grey Lynn may welcome "diversity of cuisine" but not "diversity of neighbors" - notice how the number of Polynesians in these suburbs have collapsed as the liberals have moved in. I grew up in South Auckland and saw the rapid change in demographics that Mr. Trotter and is ilk love to praise. But I never saw any liberal uburbanites come to the Mangere Town Centre to soak up that diversity or send their children to a school that was 90%+ Polynesian as I did. As always the wealthy elites never have to face the consequences of decisions but working class people do.
Also, I wish some people would do some basic research on the Crusades before commenting. The Crusades are a complicated part of our history and not all of it is good of course but a very much a necessary fight. There is one undeniable fact - without the Crusades there will be no West. And unlike a lot of self-loathing Westerners today I think the West is best.

"notice how the number of Polynesians in these suburbs have collapsed as the liberals have moved in."

How much of this is because the liberals moving in, and how much is simply because as the prices went up the Polynesians were simply priced out, due to many of their own cultural practices?

It is the process of gentrification (which has it's up sides and down sides) but the point remains - the liberal elites don't live in diverse communities yet praise diversity.

The key is in the word, diversity, division, divisiveness etc.

It is hardly surprising that more homogeneous a thing or thought is, then there is less division. But of course it only means we agree on that one commonality, and yet have much more diverse opinions on other issues where there are differences.

The question is who gets to choose whether the divisions are equally deserving?

The important postive result has been the clear expression of belonging to NZ. It has been made by the families of those who were killed again and again. The entire nation was revolted and shared the grief. (How anyone can look at the photo of that 3 year old boy who was shot without tears in their eyes?) It was a reminder that within the envelop of being a New Zealander we can be diverse but once you chop the envelop into cultural and ethnic groups you have a big problem.
As a thought experiment think what would have been the reaction if that massacre had happened in Bradford or had been a Jihadi attacking Catholic churches in Bradford? In the UK they are beginning to live in ghettos.

I agree with "no fax" last comment

... why did it take the horrendous deaths of 50 innocent people , quietly at prayer , for the government of our land to take seriously the idiotically lax guns laws in this land ...

After Aromoana ... nadda ... after Port Arthur in Tassie ... nothing ... even during the Gnats reign , Paula Bennett refused to act , even when encouraged to do so ...

... and as for that prized prat who own the gun shop that sold these weapons of human destruction to the alleged killer ... words fail me ... what a 100 % twat ... closely followed by Mark Zuckerberg ... allowing the footage to remain on Facebook for 10 hours or so ... I am speechless !

You are incorrect about the gun laws not changing after Aromoana - that's where we got the current regime. These changes included more extensive background checks, photo licences, gun safes and the MSSA classifications. But even with gun law changes we have people committing these awful crimes. It's like these criminals don't respect the law!

... within days of the Mosques massacres in Christchurch , Gun City had sold out of AR-15 's ... they flew off the shelves ... who has them ? ... collectors , gang guys , Ma & Pa Kettle , nutters with a hidden agenda ...

Which gun has been most implicated in the USA in their massacres and outrages ... the AR-15 ... week after week , year after year ...

To be factually correct, handguns are by far and away the most used in mass shootings. The AR15 gets attention due to it's looks but is down the list somewhat.

A question then for PM Arden, why didn't she do what she has done now, back in Nov 18 when she was the Chair on the committee that was going over (again) these very gun law safety issues?

Part of the answer lies in the number 50.

Another question, how does a foreign national get to own a firearm in NZ? A NZer couldn't have bought that type of firearm and a license as easily in Australia.

Dale, in terms of what was done last November I've now seen several accounts that say this (including this one https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12219705); 

– the move was in fact to allow people to apply for firearms licences online, not just on paper and did not affect vetting requirements at all.

Those changes were made at the request of police, whose technical expertise on weapons sits behind the cabinet papers on the ban.

Having argued for such reform for many years, they did not come from a standing start.

Fair point. Maybe a better way of describing it is that, 'they are all guilty.'

As that article also said, 'Some politicians would and should have been feeling sick to their core on March 15 for having neglected firearms reform over three successive decades.'

'It was sheeted home that a failure to act can be just as devastating as an action.'

And this point nailed it,

'Political parties avoided singling out any minister or Government. It would have shattered the collegial response to the tragedy but it was largely because almost every party in the past has rejected an opportunity to act when they could have, despite persistent calls for reform.'

And as the article further notes; 'Former Police Minister Paula Bennett may have been the latest minister to reject recommended reforms but no party was blameless.' Yes exactly, if Bennet's failure was such a political crime, the opposition (Labour) would have been at her and National, but they were silent.

I agree with the sentiment of the article. When JA said this is not who we are, she should have said, this is not who most of us are but some of us certainly are. We assume we all think the same in these situations but of course we don’t. We all have our prejudices whether we are the semi auto gun owner who wants to keep the gun or the RSA member who doesn’t quite feel the love. We just have to be clear on what’s good and evil and stop the evil when we can.

This has opened up our eternal scab. We thought we were the multicultural miracle workers over the past 100 years or so, but life doesn't quite work out that way, does it? Humanity is very different. Yes we are all human, but we all have our own sets of values & part of the joy of travelling the globe as a young man was that they were all slightly different. That's where the joy came from. Each culture was different & you had to go there to feel it for yourself. These days, however, the new world is a globalised mixed of many cultures all trying to live in the same city, but all congregating together in their sub-cultures in different burbs. You only need to check out the China towns around the globe for a glimpse of the last 200 years worth of multi-culturalism at its worst. Sure they may live amongst us, but they also live separate to us. This is a natural phenomanom. People of like cultures tend to stick together, where-ever they are. I have friends in Amsterdam & Weert in Holland. They tell us about about their huge Islamic communities that have taken over certain small towns and large parts of bigger towns in their 'settlement process'. The same is true in Brussels. As much as I like my Chinese & Thai takeaways, that doesn't mean I want to live with them.
I'm beginning to understand how the Maori must have felt 150-200 years ago as ship after ship appeared from over the horizon & there was nothing they could do to stop them. We were the settlers back then. Tomorrows settlers have already begun to arrive in NZ & they're not Muslim, they're Chinese, & once more, sadly, we will not be able to stop them. The bad news for NZ Inc Muslims is that they hate Islam more than we do.

The error/mantra is of course that 'all cultures are equal' - the old relativity argument. But of course they are not. No-one would willingly exchange a quiet suburban life, even if complete with anomie and a sense of slight alone-ness, for total immersion in yer local gang. Or the human-sacrificing Inca. Or the pre-Luther Catholic Church. Or I could go on but the point is surely taken: some cultures are simply better for their community than are others.

But I am, as a long-lapsed Christian, an Infidel in Islam's eyes, a Mark for the gang-bangers, a beating heart ripe for extraction for the Incas, and a soul destined for Hell for the old-timey Catlicks. So, and little wonder, I quietly steer clear of each one of these to the maximum extent possible. Especially them Inca's.....

The people of Grey Lynn embrace multiculturalism and diversity just not in their suburb. It's the epicentre of wealthy, Range Rover driving, chardonnay drinking liberal elites. In the last census over 80% identified as European decent.

Go to most provincial towns and you'll see families from all cultures working and accepted into the local communities. I would suggest it's because generally the new arrivals are hard working people with traditional values just like the folk in these towns.

Brexit defies left / right labels - it’s more about the nation state versus globalism. In a similar way, in the NZ context many in the centre right now know they have more in common with the centre left than gun rights supporters, Crusader name retainers, and anti Muslim prayer protestors. In that sense there has been a coalescing, but I’m not sure it strengthens the centre left vote. Maybe it does increase the probability that one day we will see a coalition of the centre as the far right and left become less electable. Wishful thinking probably.

We are enjoined to embrace diversity, but why should we, do we have to, or too what level? - shouldn't we at least have the debate? Most NZers happy to embrace some level of diversity, if the people coming here do the same. It has to be give and take from all sides to be fair.