Bill Daly: a super bigot for the super city?
Out in West Auckland, a veteran of a somewhat more obscure strand of New Zealand politics is hoping to use the super city elections to revive his career. Bill Daly, who is standing for the council in the ward of Waitakere, was the leader of the explicitly anti-semitic and racist organisation the New Zealand League of Rights from the 1980s, when it boasted hundreds of members and regularly received coverage in the mainstream media, until 2004, when it was quietly wound up.
The group Daly led was an offshoot of the Australian League of Rights, which was founded in 1946 by Eric Butler, a fundamentalist Christian and admirer of the Social Credit economic theories of CH Douglas. Butler, who had been placed under surveillance during World War Two because of his support for Hitler, believed that the world economy was controlled by Jews and communists who were determined to destroy traditional Christian morality, drive farmers and small businesses to the wall, and dilute the purity of the white race by promoting immigration and inter-ethnic marriage. Douglas' kooky economic theory, which seemed to show that sinister cabals of bankers could use interest charges to impoverish the rest of society, was used by Butler and his co-thinkers to explain how the Jew-communists carried out their conspiracy.
As the leader of the League of the Rights, the editor of its journal On Target, and the proprietor of its bookshop, Daly was Butler's key lieutenant in this country during the 1980s and '90s. He wrote many pieces for On Target, often spoke on behalf of his organisation to the media, and frequently crossed the Tasman to appear at events organised by the Australian League.
Two of Daly's main causes during the heyday of the League of Rights were the defence of apartheid South Africa and the denial of the Holocaust. The League argued that the apartheid system was a just solution to South Africa's social problems, and consequently opposed any attempt to use sporting or economic sanctions to isolate the Pretoria government.
Daly attempted to use On Target and the League of Rights bookshop to spread the argument that Hitler's regime had been innocent of the deaths of large numbers of Jews. His efforts did not go unnoticed: in January 1986, the journal of the Australian League of Rights reported that:
Across the Tasman Mr. Bill Daly, National Director of the New Zealand League of Rights, is now being pressured to stop selling certain books, one of these being "The Hoax of the Twentieth Century", also banned in Canada. Mr. Daly is threatened with the secret courts, which operate under the guise of Human "Rights" Commissions. Australians should take note, and act, before they also feel the lash of the totalitarians.
One of the best-known works of Holocaust denial, Arthur Butz's The Hoax of the Twentieth Century argues that death camps like Auschwitz and Belsen were actually hospitals and shelters for displaced people, and that claims of mass killings of Jews were invented by Zionists because they offered an excuse for the founding of the state of Israel after World War Two.
In 1993 Daly launched an attempt to bring David Irving, the world's most famous Holocaust denier, to New Zealand to deliver a series of lectures. Daly's invitation to Irving created intense publicity after Jewish groups denounced Irving and asked the government to deny the pseudo-historian permission to enter New Zealand. Irving eventually cancelled plans for a visit, but not before he had appeared on New Zealand television and radio to make explicit his admiration for Hitler and his denial of the Holocaust. In the September 1993 issue of its journal, the Australian League of Rights complained that the criticisms of David Irving were part of 'an international conspiracy' run by 'those with a vested interest' in 'the Holocaust legend'. Daly and the League were unafraid to offer Biblical justifications for their opposition to race-mixing, Jewish bankers, and other symptoms of the decline of Western civilisation. In his texts and his speeches, Daly often presented himself as an instrument of God's will, and just as often accused his enemies of Satanic inspiration. In a 1991 letter to the journal of the Australian League of Rights, Daly made his theology explicit:
The disorder and utter nonsense now seen everywhere is merely proof that without reference to a higher authority human beings simply become mad. Much of the madness today can only be described as diabolical. How else do we explain the behaviour of someone who will protest against the killing of whales, seals, or some other virtually unknown species of animal or insect, but condones or even advocates the legal execution of some of next year's one-year-old children? How do we explain priests and bishops supporting a conference to discuss ways of making practising homosexuals feel part of the 'Church'? A priest or minister of the 'old school' would have had no hesitation in replying that these human and social defects are a result of what was called original sin, and that without the constant Grace of God, and of minds directed upwards, then man automatically 'falls'.
When it is set beside the articles and speeches which record his political past, the statement Bill Daly has produced to promote his candidacy in the super city elections seems relatively unremarkable. In his text, which is included in the candidate information brochure which has been delivered along with voting papers to homes across Waitakere, Daly criticises 'reforms to councils without public input' and calls for 'binding referenda' on important issues. He says that New Zealand should 'reestablish a sound manufacturing base' and 'work towards energy independence'. The only hint of his former views comes from his statement that he would like to 'correct faults in the financial system so that everyone can have prosperity and security'. As I noted in a post a couple of years ago, this sort of language is often used by Social Crediters who believe that a sinister cabal of bankers controls the world economy, enriching themselves and preventing general prosperity by charging interest on loans. But Social Credit is not a necessarily anti-semitic ideology, even if many of its adherants, from Douglas and Butler on, have been anti-semites. It would seem unfair to condemn Daly, then, merely on the basis of the coded support for Social Credit economics in his election statement.
Is it possible, given his innocuous election statement and the decision to fold up the New Zealand League of Rights back in 2004, that Bill Daly has abandoned the bigoted views which once made him a target of criticism for anti-apartheid activists, Human Rights Commissioners, and Jewish community groups? There are certainly cases of high-profile members of the racist right turning their backs on their old beliefs. Ingo Hesselbach, for instance, is a former leader of Germany's neo-Nazi movement who converted to anti-racism, wrote a fine, apologetic memoir called Fuhrer Ex, and established a group called Germany EXIT, which helps other contrite fascists to leave behind their old lifestyles and contacts.
Sadly, a number of recently-published texts by Bill Daly suggest that he has not renounced his old beliefs. Although he wound up the New Zealand League of Rights, he continues to publish material in the journal of the Australian organisation, and he also seems to have begun writing for local blogs in an effort to advance his racist viewpoints.
A rambling article by Daly called 'Helen Clark's Mission and the Great Liberal Death Wish' appeared on a website called Guerrilla News a few months ago. Daly's piece claims that Helen Clark was part of a conspiracy to 'globalise' New Zealand by filling it with non-whites, gays, and other degenerates, and obscuring its white and Christian heritage:
the liberal mind seeks to undermine national and cultural traditions, especially any Western Christian influences; then denies any unique differences between individuals, families, communities, nations and races; this in turn leading to the faulty notions of equality...Clark said only a few weeks ago that the Auckland suburb of Mt Albert is 56 percent white, with various percentages after that of Maori, Pacific Islander, Asian and others. Clark said that this is fine, if this is what the future of New Zealand is to be that's great, she said...
By the time the rest of New Zealand is reduced to 56 percent European, Mt Albert is more likely to resemble something akin to Haiti. Crime is higher in all those parts of Auckland where there are the greatest mixture of races. There is more rubbish lying about. There are more vicious dogs. There are more domestic problems and violence...Auckland is on its way to becoming a disparate appendage of New Zealand, an untidy, congested place made up of various enclaves, the sort of place other New Zealanders should visit to learn how not to do things. Already it is a political and economic drain on the rest of New Zealand. Auckland is actually proof that forced multi-racialism does not work, unless the desired outcome is deliberately intended to be less social harmony.
Daly's article for Guerilla News recycles many of the themes of his texts and speeches from the 1980s and '90s. Daly identifies all that is good in our society with 'Western Christian influences', criticises human rights and racial equality as 'faulty notions', and claims that the mixing of the races is having disastrous consequences in Mt Albert and in other parts of Auckland. If races keep mixing, and the white proportion of the population declines, then we will soon be living in a society as poor and desperate as Haiti. We can only avoid this dire future if Auckland's races are separated, and then kept separate.
Daly's argument about the apocalyptic effects of race-mixing is as bankrupt now as it was in the '80s, when he used it to defend apartheid in South Africa. The crime rate is actually lower in diverse Mt Albert than in some of Auckland's whiter, more homogenous communities, like Papakura and Pukekohe. Some of the Auckland communities with the largest numbers of immigrants - Botany Downs, for instance, which has high numbers of immigrant Chinese, Koreans, Tamils, and Sinhalese - have the lowest crime rates. It is income levels, not racial mixes, which correlate with crime rates in Auckland. Poorer suburbs tend to have higher crime rates than richer suburbs, whether they are very racially mixed or not.
Nor is there evidence to suggest that domestic violence is most prevalent in parts of Auckland where races are most mixed, and where numbers of whites are lowest - people who run refuges have repeatedly stated that battered women come from all parts of the city and all ethnic groups.
Daly remains a Holocaust denier, as well as a racist, if a letter he wrote to the magazine of the Australian wing of the League of Rights last year is any guide. Daly's letter commented on the experiences of Frederick Toben, the high-profile Australian neo-Nazi and the Holocaust denier, in Britain in 2008. Toben was arrested after landing at Heathrow airport, and imprisoned for a month while German officials tried to have him deported to their country, where he faced charges of Holocaust denial. Toben was eventually released, and allowed to return to Australia, where he was jailed in August 2009 on a separate charge of inciting hatred against Jews. Daly's letter was written in response to a League of Rights article defending Toben from his accusers:
I wonder if it would be a safer line for people sympathetic to Dr. Toben's views to argue, whenever challenged, that "since this seems to be an on going controversy perhaps there should be some sort of independent international investigation into why these deniers say what they say." I doubt that it would ever happen, at least not in today's environment, but it might be a safer response than saying "I question aspects of the holocaust". In the meantime you'd all better not have a holiday on the European Continent.
Daly's letter was clearly an attempt to offer advice on how to steer clear of the laws that Germany and a number of other countries have against Holocaust denial. Since it's not legal for people to openly deny the Holocaust in some parts of Europe, he thinks they should use an alternative, vaguer statement. Daly's epistle does not include an explicit denial of the Holocaust, but it leaves little doubt that his views on the subject are unchanged. If Daly were no longer an anti-semite and a Holocaust denier, would he be writing a letter to a magazine which specialises in anti-semitism and Holocaust denial, a letter which gives advice to Holocaust deniers on how to avoid legal prosecution?
Bill Daly is very unlikely to win one of the two Waitakere seats on the Auckland super city council. His election statement has been reproduced in a number of papers and newsletters, and on several websites, but he is running a low-key campaign, and he should be no match for heavyweight centre-left candidates like Sandra Coney, Paul Walbran, and Penny Hulse, not to mention the former Shipley government minister Marie Hasler.
But Bill Daly's campaign raises some troubling questions, because of the distance between the man's innocuous election statement and his real political views. How, we might justifiably ask, can voters be expected to make an informed choice about a candidate like Daly when he chooses to disguise his real political programme, and when the media fails to make that programme clear? And are there other, perhaps more popular, candidates for the super city council whose real political views also remain obscure, for most of the electorate?