Clean Green Propaganda
Some forms of propaganda are more obvious than others. At the height of New Zealand’s ‘clean green’ image campaign 14 years ago, tourists were astonished to see cars billowing thick exhaust, people burning rubbish in their yards and waterways clogged with inorganic and animal waste. It was not only the old cars shipped to New Zealand because they no longer met emission standards in Japan, it was also the statistic that New Zealanders led the world in per capita boat and car ownership. The clean green image was reality only to the extent the population was sparse across the landscape.
Helpfully, once Kiwis accepted the reality the community came together to effect change to live up to the image.
Currently, corruption in New Zealand is the common currency and the lack of any need to prevent or curtail it our pride and joy. Judges routinely make submissions to Parliament claiming corruption does not exist in the judiciary (including the current Pecuniary Interest of Judges Bill), the Auditor General gives speeches abroad on how corruption does not exist here and Transparency International New Zealand tells the public – with government funding – that it is not in the business of exposing corruption, will not expose corruption and, most of all, corruption does not exist in New Zealand.
We love it! We may be at odds with the United Nations by not adopting anti-corruption laws, but that is only because this organisation does not understand one nation exists that does not need to waste its time and resources in this area.
The problem with corruption is, unlike most State propaganda, you cannot look out your window and see government-funded claims corruption does not exist are farcical.
Then there is the public apathy. While Transparency International New Zealand has been publicly exposed as a State-funded club of 52 feather-nesting bureaucrats that turns down members who do not take the loyalty oath to tow the clean green line, we simply do not care. The reality is we still love this corrupt organisation telling us how corrupt-free NZ is.
We conveniently forget about the internal emails which exposed a judicial scandal that “would likely bring down (the Chief Justice) if probed” in the prelude to Supreme Court Justice Bill Wilson’s resignation. Of course, it was not probed because (a) it was considered to be an imprudent focus of our energies, or (b) we could not afford to replace all our judges. The answer must be (a) because we are corruption free.
We rationalise there must be a margin of error in the survey that found Kiwis twice as likely as Australians to have paid a bribe. If not, we could adopt Transparency International New Zealand Director Suzanne Snively’s opinion that the survey is skewed by Australian’s ignorance about existence of corruption in their country!
Does any of this head-in-the-sand approach assist us in the end?
Only when we become embarrassed by the ‘perception index’ and choose to improve our reality index will there be any real hope to weed out the endemic corruption which exacts an untold cost on all of our lives.