NZ values are not worth signing up for!

David Seymour wants all refugees to sign up to our values before being allowed to enter our country. I wonder what he thinks our values are, because I certainly wouldn't want any refugee to be forced to support the values currently dominating Aotearoa:

I wouldn't want refugees to sign up to our family values when almost 30% of our children are living in poverty and we have rapidly growing inequities in the education and health of our children. We are the second worse country in the OECD for child health and welfare and domestic violence is rife.

I wouldn't want refugees to sign up for our humanitarian values when we are ranked 90th in the world for our per capita support of displaced people and refugees. Our human rights record is a sham when we sign multiple human rights treaties but don't honour them with action. We also have a growing problem with slavery and abuse of migrant workers.

I wouldn't want refugees to sign up to our values as global citizens when our climate targets are amongst the weakest in the world and we operate as a tax haven.

I wouldn't want refugees to sign up to our environmental values when short term profit comes before the state of our rivers and marine environments.

I wouldn't want refugees to sign up to our conservation values when more species are threatened with extinction in New Zealand than any other country.

I wouldn't want refugees to sign up for our values regarding housing when our homes are the most unaffordable in the world and we have 40,000 homeless.

I'm not sure what values Seymour thinks are special to our country and worth supporting other than tolerance of different religions and extreme political views such as his own. His own party supports the pursuit of personal wealth and the rights of individuals over collective good. These neo-liberal values have led to New Zealand having the fastest growing inequality in the developed world and a breakdown of our communities.

I would personally like to welcome far more refugees and embrace their cultural values that are often better than ours and have no relationship to the corrupt regimes that they are escaping from.

David Seymour is an ignorant man.


Armchair Critic said…
Mr Seymour is propping up a government whose standard is "it may be immoral, but as long as it's not illegal it's ok" and is therefore not to be taken seriously when he suggests he should be involved in a discussion about values.
bsprout said…
I agree, AC, but it is a great opportunity to expose the fact that the values we like to think are part of our culture are not reflected in the reality. I would love to have a discussion with Seymour regarding all the values he believes are indicative of our culture and society.
Armchair Critic said…
That doesn't surprise me. Your onging presence at homepaddock, when I last looked several years ago, showed that you have a high tolerance for people who can neither talk sense nor listen to it. Personally I haven't found any good reason to discuss anything with David Seymour.
Regarding our culture and values, I think that just because not all of us manage to live up to them all the time is no reason to despair. Values are in many ways aspirational, and expecting full compliance is like wanting your dreams come true. That is, it's unreasonable.
I think that trying to document values is futile, for the reasons above and because they shift with time. And as they can't be documented, they can't be signed up to by anyone.
Finally, requiring people to sign up to a values statement is not consistent with freedom of speech and freedom of thought, both of which are candidates in some form for our values.
blondewithaniq said…
Our values of which he speaks?Are they the same ones we are currently counting the cost of that his National Party peers consider exemplary?The value in spinning? Character assassinating?
Nepotism and Hubris over humility.
And subserviently adopting the foreign policy of the countries who caused them to be refugees?
I dont thinkthey should either.
Great writing.
Now can you critique Winston who potentially just lost my party vote for similar ill-timed idiocy.
bsprout said…
AC, I don't agree that core values do change, most ancient philosophers and the founders of most major religions promote very similar values. The way that they are interpreted and applied can vary and change but generally things like treating people respectfully and with compassion and using our resources fairly and sustainably have been constant themes. Rather than having to accept the values of just one community we should just promote the core values that are actually globally understood and can be listed. You are right that they will mostly be aspirational in many countries but I don't think that expecting to have them realised is unreasonable.
bsprout said…
blondewithaniq, I'm sorry, critiquing Winston is like trying to shape dry sand ;-)
robertguyton said…
"I would love to have a discussion with Seymour"
Could there be a more pointless exercise than having a discussion with David Seymour?
Measuring yourself against these people, responding to their abominable behaviours, engaging in their debates is the very opposite of what you should do. Create your own path, your own story and make it real. Too much time is spent playing the part "they" have designed for you, Dave.
robertguyton said…
a list of values, signed up for,implies some penalty for failing to hold to the sign-up-for list.
Do you have particular punishments in mind, Dave? Ostracising? Deportation? Public shaming?
bsprout said…
You are right to question spending much time at all in talking to Seymour about anything, Robert, he is just a seat holder for National and his party is probably polling at less than 1%. However a public discussion on the values New Zealanders hold dear would then provide useful impetus for policy change. I don't believe current policy priorities reflect most New Zealanders' values and the discussion could expose that.

The most successful bill boards for the Greens were the ones that featured children and had the words "vote for us", put in those terms, with that sort of value focus, is a powerful approach.
robertguyton said…
The Green billboards were stand-alone expressions of values the Greens hold. They weren't debates with fools, nor were they contrasted by 'the other argument'. The reason the billboards were successful was they were inspirational and pictorial. They weren't lists of values, such as you are promoting. They were non-specific 'stories' that viewers could identify with without feeling lectured-to. That's where you should be looking, Dave, at the success stories from your own team. Forget Seymour and his ilk. They offer you nothing but misery.
bsprout said…
"They offer you nothing but misery." No misery on my part, but a useful reality check. To only operate in forums and communities where people agree with you can provide a false impression of the world. To test an argument amongst supporters you never get robust criticism.

This post wasn't really directed at Seymour but more of a reminder that what we think are values that we hold dear are not reflected in reality. There is an arrogant belief in our wider society that our country has better values than others and it is important that we aren't complacent about what is happening at governance level and how it is shaping our culture and local communities.

I agree that long lists of values are not useful but phrases like "Clean rivers, healthy kids and good jobs" connect to core values most New Zealanders understand and this is the sort of approach the Party has used for a while.

Our Green Caucus is also focussing on achievements and promoting their effectiveness. There are weekly up dates (in Facebook etc) on their work and successes and I am currently involved in developing a communication strategy to ensure positive green messaging gets out into local communities through a multitude of pathways. This is how we are most likely to grow our vote. I do understand. Stop by for a chat sometime ;-)
robertguyton said…
I will, Dave. And there are no "forums and communities where people (only) agree with you", from my experience. Even Frogblog was populated with commenters who challenged the things I said, back in the day...
The only values you can rightly talk about are your own. Declaring that this section of the community hold this value, and that section holds another is a vain pursuit and likely to get you in a twist. Broadcast yours own, sure, but do it in a way that has integrity and doesn't hector. Images are effective, words, when used sparingly, quite good also.
bsprout said…
Robert, there is no one way of progressing change and gentle persuasion and living your values certainly has its place. We seem to have had a reversal of roles to a degree ;-) I do believe that rattling cages at times serves a purpose and I also think that different points of view being expressed in different forums means that those ideas do exist in those places and, while they don't always change hearts and minds, the shape of those ideas are more honestly represented.

In the last election campaign I was constantly being challenged by those who heard Key's version of Green Policies and he had expressed them with the sole purpose of creating fear and mistrust. One way to counter them is to always have a Green presence in those communities to create doubt around the spin. It is harder to fight an enemy where there is evidence that they aren't quite as evil as they were portrayed.

If there is a change in Government, which is more possible now than I had thought earlier in the year, then you want those who had supported the Government to be less challenging in their reaction to any future changes. It is also useful to have some direct lines of communication, even if they are a little fractious at times, so that any potential opposition can be predicted and managed.
robertguyton said…
"gentle persuasion"
Their story is toxic, Dave. Turn off your Tory Radio and get on with the job of crafting the new story.
bsprout said…
The new story is being written as we speak and being made all the stronger as the Government flails around in a mess of their own making. The only problem is that it will take a lot of time and patience to turn things around. So many Departments and Ministries are full of those who share a similar ideology and it takes a while to change systems.

One part of the story is to give greater self-determination to the regions. We could talk about how this could be done without local governance capture from those with less helpful agendas.
Armchair Critic said…
Mr Seymour wasn't particularly clear with what he was saying. I think that was deliberate; he only wanted to stir up some xenophobia and was using the nebulous idea of values as a vehicle to do it.
He was quite specific in referring to NZ values, though, and while as the owner of the site it's your right to do so, I feel like the goalposts have shifted when you refer to the universal declaration of human rights or major world religions because there is nothing specifically about NZ in either. I'm certain the link between religion and morality is weak, and I hope you're not suggesting people might be required to sign up to some homogenised version of the ten commandments. The closest thing I can think of to a NZ specific value is expressed by John Clarke as "...remember, we want good clean ball, and for god's sake, feed your backs..." Did you have something in particular in mind for NZ values? I'm certain Mr Seymour didn't.
I stand by my statement that values shift, and do so from observations of changes in the way in which society treats, for example, sole parents, the mentally ill and all the various queer folk. We still treat none of them as well as we should, but in many ways it is not as dangerous as it was thirty years ago. Is this a change in values, or a change in implementation? It looks like we disagree.
What we do agree on, as far as I can see, is that David Seymour has the wrong idea. We reached the conclusion on conflicting paths, and so what of it?
bsprout said…
AC my reference to the reference to the UN Declaration of Human Rights and world religions was in response to your suggestion that values change. I think core human values don't and to try and determine some values specific to NZ would be too difficult. You could speak to a range of New Zealanders who have lived here for many generations and get a range of answers from those with different early heritage: Maori, Chinese, Pasifika, Dutch, Scottish, Irish and English. The values on the West Coast probably differ from those in Auckland and women may have different values to men.

Our changes in values as that you suggest are more about living in a largely western, affluent culture that has been under a neo-liberal attack, we are experiencing a similar growth in inequality (and the social consequences) as our other Five Eyes nations.
Armchair Critic said…
Those documents are about rights, not values. Rights and values are different concepts.
Your last paragraph is difficult to understand in the context of your last six or so years of writing at this website.
bsprout said…
AC, I think we are talking about cross purposes, my definition of values just encompasses things that are held as important and upholding human rights would be one. I just used the declaration as an example of shared views on the treatment of others. I guess things like compassion and tolerance could be related values.

My last paragraph wasn't well expressed as you explained that you thought the the way we treat minority has improved and I ignored that (apologies) and started thinking of what has had an impact on the John Clarke description of us. The neo-liberal economic system has removed the sense of working as communities and teams as we used to and we have become a more individualistic society with more isolated and divided communities. I guess we were more egalitarian in the past and extremes of wealth and poverty are now more common. Canada, Australia, the UK, the US and us have all followed similar economic paths although Canada appears to have escaped that philosophy under a new leader.
robertguyton said…
Ahi kaa and rahui, those are answers and I'll leave it there :-)

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