New Zealand’s Government has awarded ‘damehood’ – the second-highest honour in the country – to its former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
The award was given for “leading the country through the Covid pandemic”.
Who gave Jacinda this high honour? Her new Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins. Mr. Hipkins was Jacinda’s Minister for the COVID-19 Response, so by giving her the highest honour for handling the pandemic, he also implicitly ‘honoured’ himself.
Jacinda did some very unusual things during the pandemic. Her Government forbade New Zealand citizens from returning to their own country. She also supported a “two-tier society”, basically robbing unvaccinated New Zealanders of their constitutional rights and laughing about it:
How is heavily vaccinated New Zealand doing? Take a look at the Human Mortality database. In 2023, New Zealanders are dying at a rate around 25% above average.
A successful pandemic policy would not result in roughly 25% excess mortality in the fourth year of the pandemic. The officials insist that Covid is not responsible for most of these deaths, leaving the actual cause an unspoken mystery.
Most New Zealanders are unaware that their chances of dying have increased by a quarter because their country’s press is silent on excess deaths. The silence and lack of public awareness are not accidental: the Government is intensifying its crackdown on social networks and the media.
This June, the NZ Government revealed its initiative for “Safer Online Services and Media Platforms”.
The Government is proposing to create “a new industry regulator” armed with powers to punish “media platforms”:
The new regulator would make sure social media platforms follow codes to keep people safe. Media services like TV and radio broadcasters would also need to follow new codes tailored to their industry. The regulator would have the power to check information from platforms to make sure they follow the codes and could issue penalties for serious failures of compliance. This would ensure everyone is playing by the same rules and that consumer safety is prioritised.
While the proposal gives lip service to “protecting children”, it quickly advances to “hate speech”, the right of the Government to remove and block content, and more:
Continuing to remove and block access to the most harmful content – Government interventions to censor content and criminalise associated behaviour would remain at the extreme high end of harm. The new framework would continue criminal sanctions for dealing with ‘objectionable’ (illegal) material, including powers to issue takedown notices for this type of content.
There would still be a place for a censorship role, with powers to determine whether the most harmful content should be classified as illegal to create, possess or share.
Failure to comply with the requirements could lead to authors, creators and publishers being suspended, removed or prevented from accessing the platforms’ services. They may also be blacklisted if they show repeated harmful behaviour.
Regulated Platforms would need to implement approved codes of practice that meet legislated core safety objectives and minimum expectations. (emphasis added)
NZ plans to use Artificial Intelligence to carry out censorship. Processes to “prevent, remove or reduce exposure to unsafe content” will include:
- safeguards and barriers to deter the upload and creation of risky content – for example, time-lags or verification requirements for specific types of content
- methods to identify harmful content and prevent how it is shared and amplified. This would include ways to remove this content, such as:
- through human and Artificial Intelligence (AI) moderation practices
- downgrading content visibility
- removing recidivist individuals and entities – such as identifying bots and troll accounts that routinely post unsafe content
- using authenticity markers.
Anyway, I am not a citizen of New Zealand, so I cannot tell that country how to govern itself.
What I can say, however, is that I am very sorry for the fine citizens of that remote land, who lost their constitutional protections, are dying at excessive rates, are largely unaware of the danger they are in, and have a Government more interested in hiding the truth from the population and awarding highest honours to its own former members.
Does Jacinda deserve her damehood? Or does she deserve something else?