18 July 2019
Mayor, Councillors and CEO
Carterton District Council
RE: DEMOCRACY/COUNCIL REPORTS AREA OF LIBRARY
I have recently been trying to familiarise myself with the Carterton Council accounts and operations. This has not been easy, it is so complicated and in such disarray I felt compelled to write this letter of complaint and of course solutions.
The area I was directed to was one poorly organised shelving unit beside the huge toy library area. I was looking at reports from 14 years ago. I asked staff about the current relevance of some documents, they had no idea. Since then I have found out they were obsolete around 10 years ago. What were they still doing there? How many are still there.
Council/library/events centre public employees are well trained in toy sleepovers and providing for children and tourist enjoyment. I believe their time and resources would be better spent on a community knowledgeable in the area of democratic process, rather than promoting wearing of gumboots as FALSE HOPE. This would give better value for money to ALL ratepayers and EVERYBODY’S hope for wellbeing. As an oppressed UN Civil Society Activist in the area of mental health and neo-liberalism it would be a huge help to me – ignorance is my greatest enemy.
This ‘democracy/government’ area of the library/events centre needs to be much bigger, more inviting and interactive for people. There are videos already available and we could make our own instructional videos for people to play and find out about participating in democracy. People don’t even understand what a democracy is, or what politics/political parties etc are either (eg socialism, capitalism, neo-liberalism) or how those people and beliefs impact on their day to day lives. We could have posters/charts etc which showed how things worked overall and on a small scale, all along the wall – with links to online information as well. The Council building does not have the facility, nor staff who are respected/trusted enough, for this information to be disseminated from there.
I have begun to wonder why the Events Centre has a huge area of display for tourists, new residents and children, while majority of LOCAL RATE PAYERS who fund this get NOTHING from it. I completely reject the idea overwhelming tourism and huge numbers of new residents are good for any local community or our finite planet.
We all know people are being driven mad and killing themselves, driven from the area or into dangerous situations, resorting to crime to survive or becoming overwhelmed with addictions and harming those they supposed to care about under this extremist neo-liberal economic model (which is also illegal from my research). There is now extensive reliable information on the internet and a world-wide backlash against this failed economic experiment. Sadly the very powerful and rich people who profit from it are NEVER EVER going to give up their excesses without direct and lawful action from those who suffer under it.
An urgent large scale project to establish this display would be extremely useful in the run up to the local body elections. I am sure privileged children and other non-essential activities could be deferred while this area is reconstructed, without using extravagant costly marketing ideas or requiring new equipment.
Residents could ask questions directly of current councillors or people running for council, look these people in the eye and be able to shake their hand. Rate payers could meet at the library to talk to councillors/candidates about their concerns and see what ideas they have for solving them. Maybe a schedule for the day/week? See if we can organise some debates and 10-20min speeches, this should be a council DUTY in a democracy. (Has anything been organised?)
These meetings could be live streamed if appropriate (just like Jill Greathead did for the Wairarapa Voice political group – who subjected me to horrendous discrimination and insults about my disability and civil right to freely participate and disseminate information in a public propaganda meeting attended by the Business Round Table/NZ Initiative, Swiss Ambassador, LGNZ – a propaganda organisation for neo-liberal mayors and NZ First).
There is democracy information online, however to access it requires a significant amount of skill, knowledge and guidance about where to go. A new bright modern clear display would bring attention to this vital information of how a government and democracy works. People like myself who understand more of the process, are most interested in reading the details in reports and to know where to look for information and answers to valid serious questions. From personal experience mainstream media do not provide that information or opportunity.
There needs to be a MUCH BETTER filing system, and it needs to be kept current. I believe this would be extremely beneficial to the wellbeing and essential education of our community. I know the majority of citizens currently participating in democracy are affluent educated ‘professional’ people, only concerned with themselves, their businesses, families and their neo-liberal ideology. NOTE: Neo-liberals believe in forcing disabled and under/unemployed people without their own home/land, to beg for shelter, justice and food from charities. Over the past 30 years New Zealand has proven without doubt this is undignified and DESTROYS WELLBEING, it does not improve it!
We are No 5 in OECD for suicide, No 1 for youth suicide, women self-harming, domestic/flatmate violence and homelessness. Where once we were one of the most socially advanced, peaceful, ‘civilised’ countries on the planet we have regressed over 800 years to be one of the most socially depraved, violent, dysfunctional and uncivilised. Please refer to the most recent laws that have denigrated citizens Magna Carta rights – via Legislation NZ website).
I would like to see well presented ratified copies of UN treaties on Economic Social & Cultural Rights, Human Rights, Disabled Rights, Against psychological Torture and of course Civil Rights (which I have serious issues with at the moment). There are also many New Zealand constitutional laws which local and central government are defined/controlled by, they are only useful if those being ‘harmed’ know what they are and how to use them, which is the most important part of being a citizen in a democracy. There should also be hard copies of these treaties and laws available for people to take with them for free, nothing extravagant (just photocopies).
The business of democracy is a serious one, which involves unnecessary suffering and deaths of citizens, destruction of ‘Kiwi’ cultural rights and traditions, homelessness, poverty, inciting racism and bigotry, domestic violence, unemployment, suicide, crime and more. This display should be treated with the same seriousness to reflect that, eg not set out in a ‘child like’ way. And definitely not set out to misinform citizens that we currently have a well functioning democracy and government, because we definitely DO NOT.
Knowing from personal experience how ineffective current wellbeing and democracy services and library staff are, there will need to be extensive education in this area. Working on this democracy project might be sufficient to educate staff so they know how to answer ratepayer questions. Relying solely on a computer to provide the information is not appropriate or effective, which is reflected in the horrendous state of our community and society. That is something I am aware of from my perspective as an intelligent educated disabled person rotting in poverty, on welfare being denied health care, welfare, housing and justice services required under New Zealand and international law.
Much of my knowledge, anger, unwellness and resentment comes from knowing the history of government, ‘socialist type laws’ and democracy in New Zealand. It is vitally important to show people comparisons and time-lines of when some of our unique constitutional laws were introduced, especially those that attempted to make us all one people in the most just, egalitarian ‘civilised’ country on earth. The fight against wealthy global elites who exploit peasant citizens for their own advancement is very old. That our country adopted their preferred extremist neo-liberal economic model is deeply distressing and of course achieved exactly what these cruel greedy powerful families wanted. Uncivilised societies will always revert to their most basic instinct of survival of the fittest – especially when their most basic human needs for safety, work, shelter and food security are removed.
Given my extensive knowledge of law, disability and the role of government in a democracy I am sure I could be of use to those developing this exhibit/information hub. It is crucial nothing important is left out and it is presented in a way that 80% of adult rate payers are able to understand and USE effectively. I don’t think hidden behind a column right beside the toy library is an appropriate place – after all children don’t pay rates and these topics are far beyond their comprehension and/or responsibility. There are extensive areas for young people in the events centre/library, which from my personal observation are not used for anything important.
The excessive amounts of public money going into technology at the library has been most effective in improving the gaming experience for children and isolating people further with laptops. I apply the saying ‘garbage in, garbage out’, distracting children and adults with fictional stories, those things which aren’t important and manipulative ‘games’ is having a serious adverse impact on democracy and wellbeing in our society.
I vehemently disagree with the current neo-liberal controlled ‘Labour’ government, who have yet again dumped responsibility for solving the serious failures with their economic model onto ‘the community’ – ie wellbeing. There is absolutely NOTHING we can do locally about an extremist illegal form of economics that essentially advances globalist rich ‘big business’ people, while disadvantaging local small to medium sized businesses and further terrorising and profiting from the poorest 20-40% of our population.
Mayor John Booth and others have expressed how great it is that wellbeing has been put back in the hands of locals. From personal experience I know things are only going to get worse for me and others like me. I know the ignorance, bigotry and hate majority of people in this community have towards people who don’t work (or don’t have enough work), have disabilities between the ages of 17 and 70 years old, are victims of violent crimes and being denied extensive ACC/health care, welfare, homes and justice they are entitled to from central government under law. I know how badly women who have all their basic needs for safety, shelter and food security met, treat women like me who don’t.
I have no access the current myriad of ‘wellbeing’ religious, social enterprises, government and charity organisation and am in fact defamed, degraded, rejected, marginalised and police are used to terrorise me instead. Terrorise me for asking for the professional health care, welfare, housing and justice I am entitled to under multiple laws and court decisions. I am then further rejected and ignored because I am now a dysfunctional reflection of what is happening to me (a situation author and journalist Chris Hedges calls Anomie). Although my case is severe and extremely telling as to the levels of corruption and dysfunction within our current democracy. The only reason I don’t act on the suicidal ideation I now live with as a result of the harm I have been subjected to, is my concern for my fellow man and knowing cruel people associated with our government purposely drive me to suicide to silence me and what I say.
As an impoverished disabled artist, poet and intellectual, left to rot on welfare by ACC and others, it is my duty and obsession to truly reflect society – what I express is in opposition to the ‘ka pai’ HOPE marketing and propaganda we are subjected to constantly. When those with power exercise censorship and oppression to reject that truth, the psychological impacts for many are toxic rage that will not be silenced – whether we like it or not. For the miserly amount I am given on welfare (most of which my landlord and government get) I spend upward around 90 hours a week working for the good of my community by being focussed on my perspective from the bottom rather than the top. If ACC and others are going to deny people like myself the right to work and live with dignity, then I am going spend every waking hour dedicated to righting that very serious wrong – crime.
Please advise if the Councillors intend to redirect efforts of council, Events Centre and Library staff into putting together a professional and effective display of how to participate directly in a democracy. As effective as the work they did catering to the wants of children over the school holidays.
My rates spent on sleepovers for stuffed toys, groan, really? Did all those children who participated have safe stable decent homes to live in, with safe stable content parents? The PRIORITIES of our deeply dysfunctional society and those who lead it is the biggest barrier to justice, right, peace and a civilised society.
UN Civil Society Activist