Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > Still someone else’s country

Still someone else’s country




Wellington, Newtown, 9 February 2013 – As the issue of state asset sales and other New Right policies are on National’s impending  agenda, the Newtown-branch of the Mana Party considered it worthwhile taking the time to look back at recent history. The events of today are firmly rooted in the past.

The New Right had taken power in Britain with the election of Margaret Thatcher in May 1979, and in the United States, with the election of Ronald Reagan in November 1980. Our turn came in July 1984, with the snap election called by an inebriated Rob Muldoon. (Intoxication on power and alcohol – not a very healthy mix.)

The Labour government that was swept to power (see: New Zealand general election, 1984) was not the Labour Party that people thought they were voting for. In total secrecy, Labour had been captured by a cabal of fanatical neo-liberal reformers. It was a government firmly under the control of  what we know today, as the ACT Party.

Twenty nine years later…

Mana’s Newtown Branch decided to hold a public screening of Alister Barry’s hard-hitting, insightful, 1996 documentary, “Someone elses’s country“. The story told within that hour-and-a-half documentary is as valid today as it was three decades ago. (In fact, watch “Someone elses’s country” and then watch Bryan Bruce’s 2011 documentary, “Inside Child Poverty in New Zealand” – and the linkages of the radical transformation of our country is all but complete.)

Prior to the screening, the audience was welcomed by Mana Newtown organisor, Ariana, who gave a brief rundown of the content and it’s impact on our society,


Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com Someone elses's country - public screening - 9 february 2013 - Mana Party


Many in the audience were young people who either had not been born in the 1980s, or were too young to remember the calamitous events that were unfolding. To these people, the events we now understand as Rogernomics and Ruthenasia would have been like the 1951 Waterfront Lockout dispute that rocked the nation.

Following Ariana, a brief introduction to the film was made by sitting Wellington Councillor, Bryan Pepperell,


Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com Someone elses's country - public screening - 9 february 2013 - Mana Party


Pepperell said,

It’s getting into it’s final stages where the agenda to actually get democracy out of the way of business is actually  now reaching a high-point.There’s an awful lot of window-dressing and democracy in New Zealand context has become that,  substantially window dressing…”

He then  shared with the audience when his first disquiet over the election of the Lange Government came to him,

When David Lange actually said on national television – and I remember the day when I sat and I watched it and I thought I can’t believe what I’m hearing – ‘from now on business is going to make the major decisions’. And that was actually a fairly startling thing as far as I was concerned… unfortunately poor old David probably got quite into something that was bigger than him, and here we are today with the consequences of those early decisions.  And of course the National Party is utterly committed to helping it’s friends further the direction that we started in.”


The introduction completed, the screening began,


Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com Someone elses's country - public screening - 9 february 2013 - Mana Party


For many of us who lived through the period, memories of the time came flooding back. In some instances, several people in the audience even recognisedthemselves – with much younger faces – in stills and video footage of protest actions.

It is also worth recalling that despite calls from throughout the country,  TVNZ’s Board rejected calls for widespread broadcasting claiming it it “too political”.

“Too political”?!?!

Of course it was bloody political!

It was so damn political that TVNZ’s boardmembers would have  soiled their panties at the thought of upsetting their Ministerial masters in the Beehive.

As the doco’s producer, Alister Barry , said in November 2009,

It was no accident that Someone Else’s Country wasn’t screened on TVNZ when it was completed in 1996.

It wasn’t that the Business Roundtable needed to actually tell the TV programmers not to screen it. Television executives knew perfectly well where their salaries came from and that TVNZ was being readied for sale.

Fourteen or fifteen minutes of every television hour – the very limit of viewers’ tolerance – was filled with messages carefully and expensively constructed to reach into their fears and appetites. Clutches of advertisements urged New Zealanders to “buy”, to think and feel like frustrated consumers. Airing a documentary which led viewers to think of themselves less as consumers and more as citizens capable of taking political action was not in the interests of the big corporations controlling the advertising dollar.”

See: Someone Else’s Screen

It was not until 2003 that TVNZ finally mustered the courage to air  “Someone elses’s country” – on a Sunday afternoon. Hardly peak viewing time.

Barry also had this pointed insight to make,

It had been anticipated by New Zealand’s New Right revolutionaries, that by the early 2000s our values would have changed and we would have come to think like them, accepting poverty and extreme wealth as both normal and necessary. To pursue personal advantage and to care less about our neighbours. But studies show that in fact our values haven’t changed much from those of our parents and grandparents.
What is happening though, is that we are forgetting how things used to be and who changed them. Even as the human and environmental costs of the neoliberal experiment increase, we are finding it harder and harder to imagine how things could be better.

I hope you will find this film a useful antidote to forgetfulness.”


Which is what this country so desperately needs – an antidote to the collective amnesia which so many of our countrymen and woman so often succumb to.

As this blogger noted above; imagine the disquiet and anger that would result if  “Someone elses’s country” was broadcast at prime-time, on a major tv channel – and then followed by Bryan Bruce’s, “Inside Child Poverty in New Zealand“…

Addendum 1

The neo-liberal agenda continues. National plans to partially-privatise three power companies; a mining company; and Air New Zealand (which was privatised once before on 17 April 1989).

National is implementing a privatised form of education via “Charter Schools”.

And the economy is to be further “de-regulated”  and made the rights of foreign corporations extended.

Addendum 2

In a society run along neo-liberal lines, it becomes dangerous to upsets one’s masters investors,


Hollywood gets heavy over Hobbit

Full story


And shame upon shame to Jackson and his mates for aiding and abetting Hollywood’s Heavies.

What are they hiding?



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Mana Party

Mana Party – Feed the Kids

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Anti asset sale rally – this Wednesday 13 February


frank kitts park no to asset sales 13 feb




= fs =

  1. Possum
    10 February 2013 at 2:31 pm

    frank due 2 the b.s. on waitangi wk, l and many others have lost faith in the party and whether they shld even be in govt….it was a absolute disgraceful behaviour and there is NO mana at all much like the maori party.

    • 10 February 2013 at 3:09 pm

      I don’t think the Mana Party itself was involved Possum? (Just guessing at this stage.) I think it was just a few individuals – especially from one family.

      • Possum
        10 February 2013 at 3:14 pm

        yes and who’s? not a good look at all and if thats how they behave it makes 1 wonder about the rest of the family although every family has bad apples, some more rotten than others.

  2. 10 February 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Things don’t change for the better in this declining country…

  3. mcclairy
    10 February 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Since 1987 the economic and social disaster which was Rogernomics followed by Ruthanomics took over my life and has been central for every opinion and decision I make on the body politic! Obsessive-Compulsive comes to mind :):) 1990 voted New Labour, then Alliance, then Greens, now Labour/Green and not sure I have truly found a political home but “keep on looking on the bright side” as Monty Python reminded us.
    Of course change was needed as Bruce Jesson wrote but it was their purpose which was mad – we couldn’t keep on keeping on with Muldoon running the country like a “Polish Shipyard”.
    Where to from here ? It is deja vu with the Key government using the Roger Douglas bible called “Unfinished Business” – if you have an old copy get it out and start ticking off and have a breakdown, or better still, a Sav Blanc and weep. I used to write copious L 2 Ed critiquing Roger Kerr’s pronouncements from BRT on high. Then I had a mad thought that if he had a suspicious accident and died, the police would make straight to my place !! Paranoia 🙂 The Herald used to publish my letters but then started editing beyond meaning and finally left out the last paragraph losing the punch line. End of relationship!
    Time to re-enact a Magna Carta and reclaim The Commons and chop off the heads of the modern day Robber Barons now in charge. What say you ?

  4. samwise
    12 February 2013 at 9:22 am

    Possum :

    yes and who’s? not a good look at all and if thats how they behave it makes 1 wonder about the rest of the family although every family has bad apples, some more rotten than others.

    Possum :

    yes and who’s? not a good look at all and if thats how they behave it makes 1 wonder about the rest of the family although every family has bad apples, some more rotten than others.

    Wtf are you on about? You can’t hold a guy and his entire party responsible for the actions of other members of his family. That’s plain crazy. So your telling us that if one of your family did something dumb that you responsible for it?????????

    You don’t like the mana party and we get that. but don’t use his family as an excuse to bash other people. It makes you look petty. And no I won’t be voting for Harawira but give the guy a fair go.

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