Are we a censored nation?

The average New Zealander has no recourse to obtain information on how the country is being run or to gain answers from governmental or official sources on matters that vitally affect him. To follow the suggestion to write to a minister, your member or a departmental official - for answers to questions or to express a point of view - is an exercise in utter futility.

Of the 285 individual letters, seeking information or answers, I've sent to MPs and other national institutions I received just 25 replies. Most were auto-responses, some were from secretaries who said they would forward the message to the addressee or to another minister and of the others only four replies were given, those from New Zealand First.

The Maori Party sent me several copies of a large publication expressing a somewhat slanted Maori Interpretation of the Treaty, such as a partnership. Well, what else would one expect?

I wrote three times to the new Governor General questioning some disparities in her maiden speech only to have her secretary finally and belatedly state he would not pass on the questions and the matter was at an end. Is her position sacrosanct?

Letters to the Prime Minister and four other members about the recent Resource Legislation Amendment Bill were answered with the same print-out of Nick Smith's laudatory justification of his bill but with no reference to the Mana Whakahono a Rohe additions. It is just possible letters opposing the bill were never actioned or their numbers were ever collated and reported. In fact there was no apparent reportage of the bill's passing in the media. But where does one find out? The National Party arrogantly ignored the results of the many council surveys of their taxpayers who completely rejected non-elected Maori inclusion in councils.

If all official sources of information are unavailable to the public then the only remaining recourse is the media. But most media, for undisclosed reasons, have either not considered or chosen to ignore the lack of resources available to the public. Surely the media should be a link between the public and officialdom. This apathetic media attitude probably means this letter will die on the iPad. We are truly a censored nation.

B Johnson, Omokoroa.


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