Lest we forget

April 25th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Last Post. The video was for British Remembrance Day, but is equally appropriate for us.

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Nivea and ANZAC Day

April 26th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Duncan Stuart blogs:

Yesterday the manufacturer of the skincare brand Nivea, managed to show their facebook fans just how venal a corporate can get. What they did was publish a photo of an ANZAC Day poppy, in the foreground of a New Zealand flag, and insert their Nivea Creme logo into the middle of the poppy.

What the hell were they thinking? For a start, let’s overlook the complete lack of connection between skin creme and the disastrous Allied WW1 campaign that saw nearly 70,000 allies and 60,000 Turks lose their lives. It was a military fiasco of dreadful proportions: a combination of appalling strategic thinking from the British High Command, enmeshed with sheer guts and courage at the troop level.  The courage and heroism of those poor soldiers, damned to die by poor planning is rightly remembered on ANZAC day in my country and in Australia.  But what has this got to do with skin care? Nothing whatsoever – so what was Nivea trying to say?

We’ll ignore the fact that they commandeered a trademarked logo of the RSA (the Poppy) or that they they used a national flag to herald their brand.

What really stinks is that here is a corporate who think that nationalism, remembrance and other important values that have helped define our national culture are somehow up for grabs by the corporate sector.  Their Facebook stunt showed utterly no respect for the individual feelings of families who lost grandfathers at Gallipoli. Nivea showed a shameless, venal motivation simply to appropriate our community of feelings, and hijack these for the purposes of branding. They found a parade and stuck their big banner in front of it.  I can almost hear the PR and marketing team right now. “JB, sir…we can own this event.”

Well they can’t. Brands are mighty powerful things, but the moment they start trying to own deeper and sacred national values – and by sacred I do not mean sporting – then they cross the line which all brands must respect. Authenticity.

Well said.

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Jackson and ANZAC Day

April 25th, 2013 at 10:13 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Sir Peter Jackson might not have been a New Zealander if not for the courage and tenacity of Kiwi soldiers in World War I.

The Lord of the Rings director said his British grandfather, William John Jackson, developed a respect for the Kiwi character while fighting alongside the Anzacs at Gallipoli.

When Sir Peter’s father emigrated to New Zealand years later, his decision was influenced by the stories he had been told about the country’s inhabitants.

“My dad always told me that the principal reason he chose New Zealand to emigrate to after World War II was the high regard his father had for the Kiwis he encountered at Gallipoli,” Sir Peter told the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

William Jackson, the grandfather Sir Peter never met, won a Distinguished Conduct Medal at Gallipoli, and fought in most major battles of World War I. He died in 1940, aged 51.

He was lucky to survive. The death toll was horrific.

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An ANZAC Day post from Gallipoli

May 6th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

I’ve become quite addicted to Today I ate a baguette blog – a travel blog by a former ministerial staffer.

Her post on ANZAC day at Gallipoli I thought was worth blogging about. The photos and commentary capture the essence of ANZAC Day so well.

I’m seriously considering going over there for the 2015 ANZAC Day. Yes I know it will be insanely crowded, but it will be an incredible experience.

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The SAS

April 25th, 2011 at 12:55 pm by David Farrar

The Press editorial on the SAS:

Just five days before Anzac Day it was revealed that SAS troops were part of an operation in Afghanistan last August in which nine Taleban fighters were killed. Critics of New Zealand’s deployment there have sought to portray the operation as some sort of “revenge killing” following the death in action of Lieutenant Tim O’Donnell. This suggestion was not only incorrect but was also an affront to the SAS.

Undoubtedly SAS troops would have been angry at O’Donnell’s death but these soldiers are also part of one of the most professional and disciplined military forces in the world, which does not undertake unauthorised revenge or rogue operations.

Their job in Afghanistan is to protect the provincial reconstruction team from insurgents and inevitably this involves military action when intelligence reports indicate the presence of Taleban fighters.

And the operation in August had been mandated by both the Afghan Government and the International Security Assistance Force of Nato.

The real message that should be taken from the SAS raid is that it is a reminder of the valuable work being carried out by New Zealand soldiers in a range of overseas theatres. In doing so, these military personnel continue a proud tradition of this nation consistently punching above its weight in its contributions to war campaigns and peace-keeping operations.

The Press is absolutely right.

The people who called it a revenge killing should be ashamed. The job of the SAS is to stop the Taleban fighters from killing people, and the harsh reality is they do this by killing them. It’s not revenge – it’s war.

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Editorials 26 April 2010

April 26th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald looks at Pharmac:

The drawing up of free-trade agreements is always an exercise in compromise. Sometimes, unpalatable concessions have to be made with an eye on the bigger picture. …

At the forefront of American concerns will be two issues – the strength of our dairying industry and the role played by Pharmac, the Government’s drug-buying agency.

The US farming lobby will want little conceded, while American pharmaceutical companies want Pharmac’s role drastically reduced.

The drug companies say an end to New Zealand’s anti-competitive drug-funding system would give its people quicker access to new and expensive medicines.

US drug companies can introduce these new and expensive medicines at any time. Whether or not they gain a subsidy from the state is another issue.

Trade Minister Tim Groser has described Pharmac as “an outstandingly successful public institution”, which has saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. The estimated savings in a five-year period are enough to have built the Starship hospital.

Mr Groser has also said that, as the principal economic adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, he had negotiated with the US on Pharmac 10 years ago and had seen no need to make concessions.

That is reassuring. But the issue will doubtless be raised again, as New Zealand covets a free-trade agreement with the US. Hard choices will have to be made.

The Government has already bowed to pressure and allowed some slippage in Pharmac’s integrity. With the taxpayer uppermost in its mind, it should hesitate before venturing further down that path.

I agree Pharmac is of great value to New Zealand. The gains from a free trade deal would have to be significant for us to agree to changes to Pharmac.

The Press remembers ANZAC Day:

The history of Anzac Day remembrance has been shaped by memory and ideals – memories and ideals that have changed over the decades since the landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.

The commemoration therefore has reflected the great alterations that New Zealand has undergone in those 95 years.

Yesterday’s services saw the men and women of World War II and will continue to see many of them in future years. But their number is dwindling and thoughts thus turn to the Anzac Days of the future. …

Voices last week were raised, predicting a decline in turnout over the coming decades, but that is unlikely to eventuate. The respect for what our fighting men and women achieved and the honour they brought us is now deeply and uncontroversially embedded in the nation’s psyche.

The Press pages on New Zealand’s military history, which we printed in the lead-up to Anzac Day, are but one example of this. They were prized by readers, and schools have taken them in large numbers. A hunger exists for hearing again the old tales of valour and service.

The men and women who performed those deeds will not be forgotten and Anzac Day will live on in their honour.

While on TV, once again I found Maori TV did best.

The Dominion Post looks at Fiji’s proposed media restrictions:

The primary function of Fiji’s proposed new media regulator is “to encourage, promote and facilitate the development of media organisations and services”. It sounds reasonable.

There is just one problem. In order to perform its duties the Media Industry Development Authority is being given the power to fine and lock up journalists, editors and publishers, censor news reports, search premises, seize documents, and shut down news organisations.

Coating a dictator’s iron fist with a veneer of legality does not soften the blow.

The commodore is labouring under a misapprehension. The misapprehension is that he is the big man in the Pacific.

He is not. He is a tinpot dictator who has gained power at the point of a gun and is destroying his country’s economy and prospects and the institutions, already weakened by three previous coups, that underpin good government.

The news media is one of them. Journalists, editors and publishers will bear the immediate brunt of the latest restrictions, but the real losers are the Fijian people, who have already lost the right to learn what is happening because of “emergency” regulations put in place last year.

Free speech is a fundamental pillar of democracy. “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter,” said Thomas Jefferson, the author of the American Declaration of Independence.

Another great Jefferson quote.

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Remembering those who died in service

April 25th, 2010 at 11:51 am by David Farrar

I don’t think today’s generation can ever truly grasp the sacrifices made by previous generations. Today a single solider getting wounded in combat is a front page story.

How would we have coped with wars when the dead numbered not in single figures but in the tens of thousands. When not only did everyone lose someone they knew – everyone lost multiple friends and family.

So today I think of the following New Zealanders:

  • The 6,500 who served and 229 who died in the Second Boer War
  • The 103,000 who served (over 10% of our population) and 16,697 who died in WWI – the highest casualty rate of any country
  • The 204,000 who served in WWII, and 11,625 killed – the highest casualty rate in the commonwealth
  • The 1,300 who served in the Malayan conflict, and the 15 who died
  • Those who served in the Indonesia-Malaysia conflict
  • The 5,094 who served in Korea, and 33 who died
  • The 3,890 who served in Vietnam, and 37 who died
  • All others who have served

It is hard to comprehend having 42% of service age males, fighting overseas in a war, but that is what happened in WWI.

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ANZAC parasites

April 21st, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

War veterans are angry that Peace Movement Aotearoa is running a white poppy fundraiser just a day before the annual RSA red poppy day street appeal.

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Judith Collins said the white poppy appeal was “incredibly disrespectful to those who served their country”.

“Peace Movement Aotearoa should be ashamed of themselves,” she said. …

Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association chief executive Stephen Clarke said the organisation was concerned at the intrusion. Red poppies had been sold every year since 1922 to raise money for veterans’ welfare services. It raised $1.4 million last year.

It was a clear case of “trading off” on the red poppy brand, Mr Clarke said.

However, PMA co-ordinator Edwina Hughes defended its white poppy appeal and the timing. Her organisation was not competing with the RSA. There was nothing to stop people wearing red and white poppies together.

This is scummy parasitical behaviour.

PMA have every right to raise money. They even have the right to raise money the day before ANZAC Day.

But using a white poppy, the day before ANZAC Day, is designed to con people into thinking that it is somehow linked to the RSA poppy collection. The colour change by itself is not distinguishing enough.

In effect PMA, is stealing money from the RSA, so that rather have the money go on assistance to veterans, their widows and children, it goes to:

One of the first scholarships was awarded to Victoria University student Marianne Bevan to fund a visit to East Timor to study militarisation, violence and gender issues in the country’s recently established police force.

That is fine for those who wish to fund such stuff, but I suspect many people who buy a poppy the day before ANZAC Day will assume it it going to the RSA.

PMA should apologise for their behaviour.

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The trans-Tasman relationship

August 21st, 2009 at 7:28 am by David Farrar

While I have reservations over aspects of the EU, I love the fact they have a common currency and almost no borders. Hence I am a fan of New Zealand and Australia removing as many barriers as possible.

I don’t see much merit in political union (unless both islands gained statehood giving us more grunt in the Senate) but am persuadable on a joint currency etc.

The possible revival of the ANZACs could be hugely popular, as ANZAC Day on both sides of the Tasman becomes more and more hallowed by the public. The Herald reports:

New Zealand and Australian defence chiefs will soon begin discussions on setting up a joint Anzac rapid-response force.

The shape, size and operations of the proposed force – disclosed by the Herald in May – have yet to be considered, but Prime Minister John Key and his Australian counterpart, Kevin Rudd, believe the close ties between the two defence forces should be formalised in a new transtasman unit.

Whether it is practical or not has to be worked through, bu the principle is exciting. It may also give opportunities for NZ soldiers to serve on missions they previously could not.

Colin Espiner also reports on the travel plans:

Trans-Tasman travel is about to get easier, but passport-free visits are unlikely.

Travellers between New Zealand and Australia will be able to use electronic passport control and bypass queues for baggage screening from the end of this year, under changes to New Zealand airport arrangements announced by Prime Minister John Key in Canberra yesterday.

Electronic-passport kiosks, called smart gates, will be installed at Auckland International Airport’s arrival hall in December and in Wellington and Christchurch from the middle of next year.

The kiosks will be available to departing passengers in Auckland from late next year and in Wellington and Christchurch by mid-2011.

They allow travellers aged over 18 with an electronic passport containing a biometric chip to be able to scan their own passports and use facial-biometric technology to identify themselves and go to departure gates without going through immigration control.

Most New Zealand and Australian passengers arriving in New Zealand will no longer automatically have their baggage screened under changes announced by the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry.

I like self service kiosks. Air New Zealand has done a brilliant job with its technology and the e-pass and m-pass. Queues are almost a thing of the past. If this can be extended to security checks, all the better.

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VUWSA and flag burning

May 7th, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Having failed to burn a flag on ANZAC Day, certain idiots instead burnt it at an SRC discussing ANZAC Day. To e fair to VUWSA it was former executive members rather than current ones. NZPA reports:

The New Zealand flag was set on fire today at a meeting called to resolve whether Victoria University students should lay a wreath on Anzac Day.

Joel Cosgrove, a former Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) president, burnt the flag after making a speech against New Zealand imperialism.

He and fellow Workers’ Party members Marika Pratley, a former VUWSA executive member, and Alastair Reith doused a New Zealand flag with an accelerant and lit it, student magazine Salient said.

Staff from the student bar swiftly put the fire out, and ejected Mr Cosgrove, who later said he had been served with a trespass order banning him from the Student Union building.

Interesting is this statement:

The Workers’ Party action was nothing to do with VUWSA, president Jasmine Freemantle said.

Yet Freemantle is a member of said party I understand – is she saying she knew nothing about it? UPDATE: I am told Freemantle resigned some time ago from the party.

The original Salient story is here.

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VUWSA and VSM

April 30th, 2009 at 12:22 pm by David Farrar

It is time for National to live up to its core principles and make a commitment to voluntary membership of student associations. VUWSA gives us two good reminders of why students should have the choice about whether or not they hand over millions of dollars every year.

First have a look at this story and comments at Salient about the VUWSA Exec refusing to lay a wreath for ANZAC Day. Scores of angry students – but you know not one of them is legally allowed to quit as a member and get his or her fee back – or refuse to join up and spend the fee joining a group they do wish to belong to.

The other going on is at Salient itself. I’m not going to cover the full story, as it is on Ethical Martini, but Salient (which is funded by VUWSA compulsory fees) threatened Dave at Big News with a defamation suit over a very trivial issue (involving someone from the Salient office spamming his site). Now student media of all groups should be the last to be trying to use defamation laws aggressively against people. Again – if they actually had to earn their money – not get given it by statute – this silliness would largely disappear. Fortunately Salient have withdrawn their threat of legal action.

If you want to give 200,000+ students a choice, then e-mail Minister of Education Anne Tolley and ask her to stick it on the agenda for 2009 or 2010.

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Will VUWSA President be flag burning tomorrow?

April 24th, 2009 at 4:56 pm by David Farrar

I am reliably informed the VUWSA Executive has decided that ANZAC Day glorifies war so they won’t be laying a wreath tomorrow. This is the body every student at Vic Uni is forced to join.  I bet you 95% of students would disagree with them.

Even worse I am told it is likely the VUWSA President will be burning a flag during the dawn service tomorrow.

Someone remind me again why National is continuing to force students to fund the muppets?

UPDATE: Sources tell me that due to her position, it is very unlikely the VUWSA President herself will burn any flag, but some of her comrades may do so. We’ll find out.

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Poneke on ANZAC Day

April 25th, 2008 at 10:30 am by David Farrar

Poneke reminds us how lucky those of our generation are:

I am from only the first generation in human history whose young men – teenage boys — were not forced by their country’s leaders to fight and kill the young men and teenage boys of other countries and be killed by them. My parents’ generation was the last such generation so far, and, I fervently hope, the last ever.

As a parent, scarcely a day goes by that I do not give thanks to having grown up in relative peace and that there is a good chance my children will not be forced to fight and maybe die in battle against someone else’s children. …

It’s Anzac Day today, and like she started doing several years ago, my daughter, 15, is attending two services. She is one of a growing number of her generation who have taken a great interest in the sacrifices made in battle by her forebears and sets out to honour them by attending Anzac Day events. I asked her this morning why, and her answer was simplicity itself.

“To pay respect for the people who died in wars,” she said. “The First World War could have been avoided but if people hadn’t stood up to Hitler he would have taken over Europe, and much of the world, so we were fighting for peace, odd as that sounds.” …

“I don’t like it when people protest at the cenotaph. They shouldn’t be protesting at the soldiers. They were only doing what they had to. They should be protesting at the governments that started the wars.”

We shall never forget, certainly not now that our children are ensuring that their great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents who were forced to fight and die in terrible, often futile battles long ago, will not be forgotten.

Poneke is such a good blogger, he should consider writing for a living :-)

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