I have to tell you, I’m worried. This week, former journalist and UK Independence Party loyalist Suzanne Evans likened New Zealand to Nazi Germany. Yesterday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham said our government is throwing people into quarantine camps with a callous disregard for civil liberties.
With two such paragons of truth-telling and observation criticising our country, perhaps we need to ask ourselves the question – have we become a fascist state?
Let’s look at the facts.
First up, we did just have an election which was won in a landslide by a centre-left government. I’m sure if you asked them, Laura and Suzanne would explain to you how centre-left political ideology can be described as fascist. Anyone or anything that says it’s actually a right-wing philosophy would just be spreading fake news.
So yes, for the most part we do lock people up and we make them pay. So what is is like in these gulags?
I know what it’s like because a friend of mine was recently incarcerated after returning from an overseas trip, and trust me, his experience will shock you!
Despite being a New Zealand citizen, on arrival he suffered the indignity of having his passport scanned by an immigration official rather than a smart-gate and he was asked where he had travelled from. After collecting his bags, he was put on a bus to his quarantine camp. The bus didn’t have wifi.
His destination was one of the most notorious and feared prisons in New Zealand – the Stamford Plaza in downtown Auckland. His cell only had a king size bed and a 40 inch colour TV with multiple channels. After a few days the TV stopped working and he was frogmarched into a different room with a television that did work.
One day, I managed to have a conversation with him through the high intimidating fences that surround the Plaza. The screws had allowed him into the prison yard for the third time that day. I was worried. He confessed to me that he was only getting three large meals a day with multiple snacks.
My friend was lucky. He still had his smartphone. The authorities for some reason hadn’t confiscated that or his laptop so he was able to continue to communicate the horrors of camp life.
He texted me one day to say he’d been twice subjected to cruel and unusual torture. On both occasions a nameless official in a white coat had inserted a long plastic rod with a head of cotton into his nasal cavity. He was told it was a ‘routine’ medical procedure, but who knows?
He was released from custody after two weeks. He doesn’t talk about his time in prison much now. I suspect the trauma is too hard for him to bear and he’d rather just bury the memories.
This kind of thing is being repeated day after day across the country and affects hundreds of people. Sure we have one of the lowest rates of Covid-19 in the world but is the price worth it?
I worry about my friend’s long-term recovery from his ordeal and I worry about my country. I’m grateful to Laura and Suzanne for speaking out even though some might interpret their actions as a cynical manipulation designed to deflect attention away from botched responses to the pandemic in the US and Europe.
Editors note: Just to be clear, this is satire, as I’m sure you know!