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100% pure propaganda

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  • 100% pure propaganda

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    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 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 a 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, propaganda about the lack of corruption in New Zealand is the common currency and the lack of any need to prevent or curtail it the legacy we will pass onto our children.

    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 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 that one nation exists which does not need to waste its time and resources in this area.

    Then there is the public apathy. While Transparency International has been publicly exposed as a State-funded club of 52 feather-nesting bureaucrats we simply do not care. Our rating as least corrupt is in fact a measure of the success of this propaganda campaign, this score isn't a measure of true corruption but is entirely based on our perception as the "nuns inside the brothel" .

    The reality is we still love to hear that New Zealand is the most this corruption free country on the planet while ignoring the overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary.
    .

    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. 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.

    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.
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