Depth psychology and New Zealand society
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Letter to Prime Minister Clark on the police shooting of an unarmed man at Waitara


18 August 2000


The Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister
Parliament Buildings
Wellington        

Dear Prime Minister,

The Centre wishes to express to you if it may its concern over the Waitara shooting of Mr Steven Wallace.

The Centre's interest is this matter stems from its view that the underlying reason for the shooting was the introduction into this country of a system of operation of the mind the Centre describes as cognitive totalitarianism. In essence this means that since circa 1985 those in positions of power in this country - be that power governmental, business, media or police - have gradually moved away from an insightful understanding of why Western democracies came into existence - and how they therefore need to be governed - toward an unconscious method of operation based on abstract rules of the mind as to how societies must be governed in order to be successful. As part of these changes came the idea that business, because it created the wealth, was to be given special status in the economic life of this country. It is the view of the Centre that what happened next is that those who held that special power unconsciously turned the power they held as businesses into power they held as individuals. That in turn lead to the behavioural excesses of those in positions of power that were and are common in New Zealand life. The culture of WINZ (as was) is the most easily recognisable example.

It was this culture of power over others that has led, in the view of the Centre, to one of the driving forces behind the work of the Centre. The de-humanisation of New Zealand society.

Therefore, the Centre takes the view that the lives of the disadvantaged in this country do not register as meaningful in the minds of the powerful. A person wielding a baseball bat and threatening two police officers is, in the value system of the powerful, no longer registering as a human being. There is no conscious disparagement of the powerless in most cases, just a set of behaviours toward them which do not include any understanding of the fact that all human beings in a democracy are equal by virtue of their individual membership of the human race. It is this individual membership that sets democracies apart from totalitarian regimes and is the reason for the existence of universal suffrage and equality before the law. In New Zealand, since 1984 there has been a movement away from the understanding of people in terms of this their primary definition toward secondary or tertiary definitions such as dole bludger, and businessman.

The list of examples of disparaging behaviour of the powerful toward those in lesser positions of power is indeed extensive.

It was Prime Minister Lange who said in the television documentary "Revolution" " . . . we treated the people with contempt." It was Prime Minister Bolger who said that the people should regard the business sector as heroes. It was also Mr Bolger who said, tellingly, that everyone wants to feel important. It was aspiring Prime Minister Mr English who said some time ago that " . . . the young are getting sick of paying for the old." It was the then Minister of Social Welfare, Mr Sowry, who said in the house at the time of the debate over the Community Wage legislation that " . . . even the terminally ill are capable of productive work."

It is not surprising that a remark such as this from a Minister of the Crown in a so called Western democracy - and the Minister of Social Welfare to boot - should be considered so typical of New Zealand life that it went largely unreported by the media.

In any other country in the Western world that statement would have led the news and in, for example Britain, would be a resignation matter, smacking as it does of the world view of the German National Socialist Party.

What was the Employment Contracts Act Prime Minister, if it was not a piece of legislation that trained those in positions of power - in this case business power - that those they needed for their businesses were disposable consumables? It has always been of great interest to the Centre that the end product was going to be " . . . good for New Zealand." Either those who propounded this cognitive totalitarianistic view were grossly unintelligent or they derived pleasure from seeing a twentieth century democratic society functioning as a nineteenth century business, producing large profits for the few from low wages and a reduced standard of living for the many. If the human beings were to be removed from the geographical entity called New Zealand, all that would be left would be a few rocks surrounded by sea at the bottom of an M class planet.

What of the culture in Inland Revenue Prime Minister? This is an organisation that hounded some of the citizens it exists to serve to their deaths. Life is cheap in the brave new world of the new New Zealand. Perhaps Aldous Huxley did have a contribution to make.

What message, in respect to the value of human life in New Zealand, did the so called "mother of all budgets" send when, by cutting benefits, it severely limited the ability of vulnerable human beings to survive in their own country?

What of Mr McCardle? This Minister of Employment believed his power gave him the right to decide for the sick and the unemployed of this country how they should view the world, and that that world view was to be that of the National - New Zealand First Coalition Government. Under Mr McCardle's regime an unemployed or sick person was considered to be of less worth than a convicted criminal. A convicted criminal can not be forced to carry out community service without his consent in order to comply with the provisions of the Forced Labour Convention 1930, but Mr McCardle's Community Wage legislation meant that an unemployed or sick person would be denied that same protection.

In respect of the Police, the Centre has been interested for some time in the nature of their television advertising.

Some time ago now, there was shown a police advertisement in which a young police woman was taking part in random breath testing. The Centre's interest is in the way she spoke to a motorist who passed the test. She said "Well you go and have a nice night". The Centre was struck immediately by the patronising tone and attitude of the woman actor, and more importantly by the fact that the Police allowed such an advertisement to go to air.

In a free democratic society the power the police have is not the power of the individual police officer to allow or not allow a citizen of that free democratic society to go about their business, but is to use the power of the state to investigate the righting of wrongs done to an individual. This is what the Rule of Law means. It means that the wronged individual surrenders to the state his right of redress as an individual human being in order that emotion and the subsequent atrocities of revenge - which are not considered acceptable in a civilised society - are removed from the resolution of the offence against the victim and are replaced by the products of knowledge and reason. In the case of crime and its resolution against the victim; the judicial system. The Rule of Law does not mean simply obeying the law.

In New Zealand Prime Minister, the Centre would suggest that the advertisement under discussion gives an insight into the unconscious operation of police officers.

The power becomes theirs as individual people and instead of saying to the driver of the car "I'm sorry to have bothered you", thereby showing an understanding of the right of a New Zealander to go about their lawful business, the police officer gave them permission to do so.

It is the view of the Centre however that police officers in this country are no different in their personalisation of the power they hold than are, for example, officers of the Department of Inland Revenue.

This personalisation of power and the consequent diminution of the value of those outside their own field, is the consequence, as the Centre has suggested earlier, of cognitive totalitarianism which was given birth by so-called Rogernomics.

As the powerful sow Prime Minister, so shall the people reap.



Yours faithfully,





J M STEVENSON (Mr)

DIRECTOR





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