Archives for September 2022 | Josie Pagani



Western feminists must find a voice to support Iranian women

This year I’ve offended the Russians, the Chinese, jihadists, the Labour Party, and monetarists. So, now: Western feminists.

Days after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini deposed the Shah of Iran in 1979, feminist icon Kate Millett jumped on a plane to Tehran. She joined arms with women demonstrating against the mullahs’ introduction of a mandatory dress code for women.

Veiled women, alongside unveiled women, threw their fists into the air, demanding gender equality. Kate Millett was arrested and expelled for accurately calling the Ayatollah a misogynist.

I’ve been trying to work out where Kate Millett’s successors went for the next 40 years while we have been confronted by a gender apartheid.

In her Stuff column, Josie argues that the Western progressive movement needs to move on from cultural or gender relativism and rediscover the moral clarity of icons like Kate Millett.

QE2 Memorial Day

Josie hosted Today FM breakfast on the Memorial Day for Queen Elizabeth 2.

Here are her thoughts on the passing of the Queen.

The real significance of her death goes much deeper than this. It is the final death knell on an era that actually had already ended.

This is the moment that the 20th century becomes a chapter in the history books.

This felt not just like watching a moment in history, but watching the embodiment of a now vanished past, pass finally into history.

For all the majesty of the funeral last week, there was one stark fact that stood out to me. This was Britain's Queen. It was hard not to notice that there was nothing particularly Kiwi about this ceremony.

Will New Zealanders decide to become a republic? Well, it's too soon to tell. The polling is pretty 50/50.

Where we go next as a country remains to be seen. But for today, for this day, Queen's Memorial Service and the Queen's Memorial Day, we will say with respect and gratitude for her service, we'll never see her like again.

Listen to the editorial here:

Voters want fairness

New data by global polling company YouGov, not yet publicly available but presented to a Toronto conference I attended this week, reveals seismic changes in what voters want governments to do.

The cost of living worries 78% of people. It simply costs too much to exist.

Most voters don't blame this crisis on government Covid spending, demands for higher wages, or more money to slow climate change.

We blame disrupted supply chains, the war in Ukraine and inequality. Around the world there is a sense that big corporates are making hay while the rest of us suffer.

Seventy-six per cent of voters think that inflation is increasing inequality, and pulling communities apart. Even if you can weather the rise in prices, you're worried about how this will divide the nation even further.

People expect governments to do more. A whopping 84% of citizens think that it’s a government's job to help (followed by central banks at 79%).

Josie's Stuff column is here.

A fresh take on the Treaty

The Treaty was signed between the Crown and Māori. Before we begin to examine what constitutional arrangements will follow our mourning, we need to discuss the promises the Treaty makes.

A timely intervention has arrived in a new book by Ned Fletcher, The English Text of the Treaty of Waitangi. It demolishes the argument that there were two unreconciled versions of the Treaty. He shows the English version is the same as the Māori version. Pākehā who signed on behalf of the Crown were not trying to trick Māori. Sovereignty, or kawanatanga, meant the same to English signers as it did to Māori. The Crown would dispense justice, preserve the peace and good order, and regulate trade.

Māori and the Crown both understood that Māori would be able to keep tino rangatiratanga over providing to Māori the services that today we see as the services of the modern state.

Fletcher’s fresh take on the Treaty is extraordinary. Almost 200 years ago, its signatories had in mind a better model for helping Māori children than giving Oranga Tamariki and Kainga Ora te reo names.

Instead, the Treaty’s signatories contemplated Māori self-management of at least some money, decision-making and responsibility for Māori housing, healthcare, and education services.

Josie's Stuff column has more, here.

What we can do about China’s treatment of Uyghurs

While the world is intimidated by China’s economic and military might, appeasing them must never be the basis of our foreign policy. We stand up to bullies, whether they are vicious mullahs of Iran inciting the murder of Salman Rushdie, or Russian President Vladimir Putin snarling threats to use nuclear weapons.

We could take a lead from Rewi Alley, who has been at the centre of New Zealand's relationship with China for 70 years. Prime Minister David Lange called him ‘’New Zealand's greatest son’’. His story is personal: I knew Rewi Alley as my great-uncle. When Rewi Alley saw injustice he asked, ‘’What can I do?’’, not ‘’How do I feel?’’

What a great starting point for action.

In her Stuff column, Josie argues New Zealand can represent hope, as we once did for the oppressed of apartheid.

Liz Truss is not the leader the world needs right now

Liz Truss will be the latest leader not up to the job of defending fundamental ideas of liberal democracy – equality before the law, and the rules that bind us.

If leaders don’t defend democratic institutions, we end up with leaders who are more weather vane than signpost. Politicians who change their views to suit public opinion end up as insipid alternatives to the ‘’strong man’’ autocrats who promise to blow the whole system up.

You and I might have just lived through the end of a brief interlude of liberal democracy. If the rise of democracy and the rejection of colonialism defined the second half of the 20th century, its collapse could be the defining trend of the 21st. Unless we fight back.

Liz Truss will not be one of those leaders who can make a passionate defence of liberal values or understand the seriousness of this moment.

Josie's column in Stuff.

Get Email Updates