It looks like our government leaders have decided there’s one thing the disgraced US President Donald Trump can teach them. It’s to turn to the Twitosphere for communicating with their people.
Press statements have been spurned in recent days and they are tweeting to tell us what they think – for example – on mob rule in Washington and the dismantling of democracy in Hong Kong.
Their disapproval (as it happens) is disappointingly lacking in outrage.
On the positive side, their tweeting means they could dispense with the services of their press secretaries and trim the executive wage bill.
On the negative side, it means their official positions on the big issues of the day are not being recorded at Beehive.govt.nz, a website which claims to be and should be
… the best place to find Government initiatives, policies and Ministerial information
Not any more.
In recent days Jacinda Ardern has tweeted her reaction to the insurgency in Washington.
Like so many others, I’ve been watching what’s happening in the United States. I share the sentiment of friends in the US – what is happening is wrong.
Wrong? Is that as strong as it gets?
And where’s the merest hint of a denunciation of a President who incited the events that are “wrong”?
But wait. There’s more:
Democracy – the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully should never be undone by a mob. Our thoughts are with everyone who is as devastated as we are by the events of today. I have no doubt democracy will prevail.
Oh dear. It looks like our PM has decided her kindness should be extended to a fellow – or should we say fascist? – whose disdain for democracy and contempt for his country’s constitution has been ingloriously amplified in recent days.
When it comes to using The Beehive website to register her government’s position, alas, there has been no word from the PM on anything this year. At least, not that we found.
The last post in her name was on January 31 when she congratulated New Year Honour recipients.
But democracy is being assailed elsewhere in the world, most notably in Hong Kong.
So what’s New Zealand’s position on that?
Ah. Again we must turn to Twitter to check out Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s tweeting:
Aotearoa New Zealand is deeply concerned by the recent arrest of a number of pro-democracy advocates in #HongKong. This represents another effort to erode the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong and further undermine the one country two systems framework.
Point of Order must confess we haven’t been monitoring the Twitosphere and hence were oblivious to Mahuta’s 43-word declaration of this country’s feeble response to the Chinese despots.
We were alerted to it by a press statement from E tū which said the union had joined New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister, global unions and others in condemning the arrest this week of over 50 prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activists.
If trade union leaders hadn’t been arrested, by the way, would E tū have bothered commenting?
We ask because the union’s statement highlighted this:
Among those arrested was aviation worker Carol Ng, the chair of the Hong Kong Council of Trade Unions and former general secretary of the British Airways Hong Kong International Cabin Crew Association. Carol was released last night but the arrests are part of an ongoing and escalating intimidation of the democracy movement in Hong Kong.
E tū spokesperson Sam Huggard says the union extends its solidarity to Carol and other trade union and democracy activists.
“An attack on democracy is an attack on ordinary working people and communities and cannot be tolerated. We join with others in condemning this move and call on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to stop this intimidation immediately,” Sam says.
For the record, Mahuta has had nothing to contribute to the The Beehive website since – of all days – December 25.
On that occasion she issued a statement to say New Zealand welcomes the announcement of a deal between the UK and the EU, the agreement reached on their future relationship.