Friday, June 13, 2014

High winds and low politics

Dr Teena Pulu Brown, who grew up in the Friendly Islands and today works at AUT University in Auckland, has published an angry and meticulous essay about the ways in which both the New Zealand government and Tongan leaders are playing politics with the suffering of cyclone victims in Tonga. 

Like Australia and the US, New Zealand is uneasy at the influence of China over Tonga, and is prepared to use aid, or the absence of aid, to drag Tonga away from the Beijing camp. Brown cites my blog post, 'Letting down the Family', when she discusses the cynical underfunding of disaster relief by our government:

Some New Zealand academics were quick to interpret the real politick at play. Pakeha (white/European) sociologist Scott Hamilton did not hold fire: New Zealand government was straight-up stingy...Tonga’s attention on China as its closest friend and development partner turned New Zealand icy. Hamilton thought New Zealand’s foreign minister Murray McCully was still sore with Tonga’s deputy prime minister Samiu Vaipulu getting his government a gifted plane from China (Hamilton, 2014).

The problem with Vaipulu’s plane was that it put Tonga’s domestic flight service, a New Zealand company called Chathams Pacific, out of business. Chathams said it could not compete with a Tongan government plane flown by a Tongan company, and so packed up and went home, complaining it was hard done by. Of course McCully retaliated because he could. He held the NZAID purse strings.

You can read Teena Pulu Brown's essay in full here.


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TROUTDALE, Ore.– The teen suspected of entering Reynolds High School Tuesday and killing one student before shooting himself was an active member of his Mormon church and was “highly regarded for his spirituality,” a church elder told NBC Wednesday.
Church elder Earl Milliron said Jared was very active in the church, along with his father, Michael, and older brother, Lucas.
Milliron visited the family’s home after he heard about the shooting.
“I just can’t believe it,” Milliron told NBC Wednesday.“He was very quiet, very serious about his church.”
According to Milliron, Padgett was a deacon of the church. His father was also an elder, and acted as a spiritual adviser to his church community.

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