The toll of NZ reforms
Unlike most developed countries in the world, paying toll fee's
for the use of roadways is a foreign concept to most New Zealander drivers -
apart from the odd bridge crossing. As many first time travellers into other
parts of the world will acknowledge: you seem to be stopping all the time to pay
for the 'next sector of motorway' before you can continue on with your
Initially, the introduction of such user-pay schemes is not
met with fervent favour from the general populace, as is the current situation
in NZ. Deeper issues, other than the need for safer, quality roading are
emerging like "isn't this just another multilayered taxation
opportunity for the NZ Government"... at least the quality of the roadways
gives motorists improved travelling conditions.
More significantly is the future stage we will experience:
privatisation of Transit NZ, and the sale of the organisation into overseas
control -– part of the global trend. Looking even further into the future -–
but not too far away, we will ultimately see the integration of user I.D
surveillance systems (for travel domestically and internationally), along with
the mark of the beast system (an implant in the body for buying and selling).
Imagine, the convenience of not having to stop to pay tolls because you are
laser scanned as you speed down the freeway past the 'electronic toll-way',
most appealing! And of course tracking citizens as they travel, for billing and
other purposes will be fairly straight forward. Sounds like something out of
a sci-fi movie! In the light of global terrorism, social outcries over
kidnapping, heightened anxiety over security and bible prophecy: sounds
New Zealand -– a change of heart?
Meanwhile in accordance with other global trends, the NZ
government is quietly making veiled threats in the direction of actively joining
the war against terror...and may even participate in the battle with Iraq.
Perhaps feeling slightly 'out on a limb -– and alone',
the NZ government appears to be becoming a little more open and honest over
significant historical issues which have hurt certain global relationships over
the past two decades - our defence policies have affected our trade with other
nations, particularly the USA and Australia. In NZ, we have largely down-played
the issue, possibly in the hope that it would go away. But it can't go away -
because in the global sense, 'no country's an island', we cannot act
independently of the bigger picture.
With regard to 'Closer Economic Relations' between NZ and
Australia: the relationship, whilst moving ahead into greater economic and trade
unity, has hiccupped politically in recent times over social security payments
for New Zealanders living in Australia and business taxation issues. These are
surface issues -– and the process of developing a free trade market between
both countries is progressing.
In the larger perspective, or what we could call 'the
backdrop' sits our other historical ANZUS ally partner, the USA. The damaged
relationship with the US is again coming to the fore as NZ struggles to
establish solid trade agreements. NZ sits significantly at the bottom of the
Pacific rim -– a strategic position the US would dearly like to have access to.
The NZ/US relationship began to sour back in 1984 when NZ, under Prime Minister
David Lange announced a 'nuclear free policy'. The implications on our
future trade with 'offended big brother nation America' was perhaps
overlooked, or at least severely underestimated and forecasted. The old adage,
'you can't have your cake and eat it too' would seem appropriate.
Interestingly, many US political figures (no doubt with good
memories) involved in 'the NZ betrayal' of 1984, are now back in positions
of authority under the current Administration.
To make matters worse, the buddy-buddy relationship which has
developed between the Australians and the Americans, appears to be making us
jealous. Far more serious implications exist which could see NZ 'completely
left out' of important trade deals -– and worse still, we could lose some of
the valuable agreements we currently hold with both 'allies'. The Herald,
3 October 2002, "...New Zealand has long sought an agreement with Chile,
bilaterally and as part of a 'Pacific Five' free trade area covering
Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore and the US...
New Zealand has a free trade agreement with Australia and a
closer economic partnership with Singapore and the hope in Wellington is that
Singapore might be brought into talks with Chile.
Singapore and Chile are negotiating trade agreements with the
United States. Australia is negotiating a partnership with Singapore..."
NZ is sitting precariously 'alone', and finally waking up
to the idea that we cannot 'buck global trends'. We will now observe NZ
politicians scurrying from place to place, trying to get back in touch
with our globalist friends in high places. Policy will have to change.