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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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If I could, I would

8 June 2021

One of my fantasies is to buy a big block of land, erect a wall around its perimeter, go off-grid and simply set up my own principality.

Of course this is completely impossible and impractical -- as I said, it is a fantasy.

However, those who might consider such a scenario to be a form of utopia can be forgiven for holding that perspective because it seems that each and every day we see increasing evidence that the world is becoming a more dystopian place.

The influence, power and abuse of same exercised by governments and their agencies continues to grow and the freedoms, rights and privileges enjoyed by the citizens of supposedly "free and democratic" nations dwindles on an almost daily basis.

In fact, more and more we find that yesterday's rights are tomorrows privileges as rules, regulations, restrictions and laws strip away the very things that many of us have enjoyed for decades -- either in the name of safety and security, or as a method of generating extra revenues for the crown's coffers.

Although it's happening in New Zealand, it's also a global thing with the effects of this shift towards totalitarian control becoming increasingly apparent even in the most proudly "free and democratic" nations.

Last week, for example, The FBI tried to force a newspaper publisher to hand over the list of IP addresses that had accessed an article it printed.

Although they have since dropped the demand, the fact that they would even attempt such a move speaks to the contempt that is now shown for the concept of privacy and freedom in "the land of the free and the home of the brave".

Closer to home, this story exposes just how disingenuous our own government has been in respect to the openness and transparency associated with its own actions.

Might I remind the Prime Minister and her team that "only those with something to hide have anything go fear" from OIA requests?

Of course no rant from me would be complete without a mention of drones... and last Friday saw the close of public submissions on the proposed new rules from the Ministry of Transport. Through these proposals, the MoT would effectively classify harmless childrens' toys as something more dangerous than a firearm -- requiring individual registration and ridiculous restrictions that are completely unrelated to any proven risk.

Even more interesting...

Although I, as a 68-year-old, qualify for the pension, I do not claim it because I am quite capable of earning enough to support myself. Although many have said "you should claim it, it's your right and you've paid for it with your taxes", that is not the way I think. My belief is that people should be entitled to taxpayer-funded support solely on the basis of need rather than entitlement. I don't need the money so I don't take it.

However, my wife has a different outlook to myself. She, at 65, has decided to claim her pension and I fully support her in that decision. I do not believe that she should be required to live her life by my principles, she is an individial with the right to self determination and I respect that.

However, the crazy, crazy thing is that MSD won't pay her a pension without me fronting up and providing all sorts of government-issued photo-ID and other stuff. Of course in the process of moving every few years my passport has disappeared, my firearms license expired years ago and my driver's license seems to have gotten lost somewhere. (I did try to apply for a replacement for my license but according to the NZTA website, you need government issued ID to get that replacement -- WTF, my license *is* my government-issued photo-ID. Catch-22?)

And excuse me?

It is not ME who is claiming this money, it is my wife. The money is not means-tested but I have provided my tax number and our bank-account details for them to check my income but still they refuse to pay my wife a cent until *I* provide extra ID information for myself.

What the hell is going on here? Why do they need info from *ME* when it is my wife who is claiming her entitlement? What possible kind of scam can they be trying to avoid -- I know I can't think of one.

How does this gel with the current WOKE mindset -- where a husband could (if he chose to) deny his wife the pension by simply not providing HIS information to MSD when requested.

What happens in an acrimonous relationship where the husband refuses to comply? This would leave the wife unable to claim the entitlement owed to her by taxpayers.

So, until they sort this mess out I shall take a pragmatic approach and deduct the amount my wife should be receiving from her pension from the tax I regularly pay the IRD. I'm pretty sure that'll get someone's attention. Once they pay her what she's owed, I'll forward that to the taxman to square things up.

Once again, I can only think this is an example of an increasingly totalitarian form of governance which, in response to the questions I asked, simply said "reasons".

These, and many other reasons, are why I would love to build a wall around my little principality and tell all other governments to get stuffed.

However, as I said at the start... this is obviously just a fantasy and instead I resign myself to being increasingly stripped of my freedoms, my rights and my privileges for "reasons".

How do readers feel about the way things are heading?

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