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Tuesday, 13 August 2013


Fonterra's discovery and admission that tonnes of its products were contaminated by the bacteria that causes botulism, due to a dirty pipe in one of its factories, is a perfect metaphor for the undeniable fact that the '100% pure' and 'one of the least corrupt countries in the world' labels are lies. The truth is that there are dirty pipes oozing the botulism of corruption all over the place in New Zealand.

Even though the bacterium turned out to be another, similar one, because the testing had not differentiated them as it should have, the point, like the dirty pipe, remains. Indeed it is underlined by the fact that the initial tests did not know the difference between great harm and harmless, that the lab that did them did not have the necessary accreditation, and that the Hautapu factory had to closed down and cleansed before normal production could resume.

The New Zealand system is riddled with multiple watchdogs who have the same incompetence. For example, we have a plethora of incompetent judges (and cops), but the judicial watchdog, the Judicial Conduct Commission, is incompetent and grossly biased in favour of those he is meant to be exposing. Incompetence set to watch for incompetence is a species of corruption.

There are two kinds of corruption. Deliberate and accidental. But at base it is all the same. It is vanity. It can be the love of titles, seats of honour, official baubles--the corruption of greedy pomposity. It can be a taste for personal power--the corruption of overweening self-importance. It can be acting for a friend or someone with a title instead of democratic law--the corruption of influence. It can be making a decision for bureaucratic convenience, not true public service--the corruption of process over humanity. It can be not bothering to do your job properly--the corruption of irresponsible carelessness. It can be not bothering to do the job at all--the corruption of laziness and pretence. It can be not being up to the job--the corruption of incompetence. It can be the corruption of appointing people to positions for the wrong reasons, positions for which they do not have the ability or are disqualified by psychological shortcomings or psychopathic tendencies--the corruption of positions. It can be not bothering with the law or researching the facts--the corruption of wilful lawlessness and ignorance. It can refusing to admit a mistake in the face of the facts and the law--the corruption of wilful blindness. It can be not understanding simple words--the corruption of ignorant stupidity. It can be forcing people to comply with your dictates to satisfy pride, bureaucratic arrogance, or sloth--the corruption of petty oppression. It can be refusing to give a straight answer to a valid question--the corruption of the silent lie. It can be presenting false or misleading information and pretending it is true, or falsifying the law and the meaning of words--the corruption of outright lies, of deliberate evil. It can be offering a position for a vote or a wad of money˜the corruption of bribery. It can be acting out of hatred, malice or the desire for revenge--the corruption of wanting to do harm. It can be acting on shonky official advice--the corruption of careless and uninformed decisions. It can be political interference in due process, such as misusing a statutory authority--the corruption of abusing political position. It can be conducting a hearing with a closed mind, with the verdict politically dictated in advance--the corruption of prejudice. It can be unfairness--the corruption of denying natural justice, which we all have the right to under the Bill of Rights Act.