On getting the picture but not being in it - Tactical Ninja
May. 11th, 2011
09:09 am - On getting the picture but not being in it
So this morning I accidentally stumbled over a question while googling for something else, which said "Is John Key running the country or is the IMF?" Being a bit curious about such things, I entered those search terms and found this. It's a piece about how the IMF in 2010 recommended 'further spending cuts' by government in NZ, including Working For Families (a tax credit for those with kids who work), student loans and free doctor visits. In the piece, John Key soundly rejected them.
Now, of course, his tune has changed. This budget he's expected to have a go at Working For Families and there's a rumour going around that interest will be going back on student loans. So, who is running the country? I fear the IMF more than I fear our bumbling, smarmy Prime Minister*, but if they're working together, we're fucked essentially.
How fucked are we? Well, I'm not gonna go into that because I can feel this blog getting more and more political and while I enjoy the occasional rant, I'm aware that it can be kind of boring to read. However, I looked at this article, which says the IMF supports sale of state-owned assets lalala...
* That article is him getting pwned by BBC's Stephen Sackur yesterday over our clean green image. The best bit is where he says the research of NZ's leading scientists into the pollution in our water is 'just opinion' and compares scientists with lawyers. *national facepalm*
But what really bothered me is this. Have a look at the IMF logo:
Notice something funny about that? Have a really good look.
Yeah, that's right. New Zealand is not even on their map of the world.
This might seem like a small thing, especially to those not in New Zealand. But you'd be amazed how often this happens. Yes, we're a tiny blip in the middle of the ocean thousands of miles from everywhere else. It's hard to fit us on maps and trimming us off is the easiest thing to do. But you know what? The fact that we're left off so many of them is a reflection of the way the rest of the world seems to view us.
We really are a tiny blip in the ocean so far away that it's ok not to give a shit if we're left out.
"I'm sorry, this service is not available in your country."
"Yes we can post that, that'll be $189 thanks."
"Sorry you can only have one internet pipe because they're expensive and you're so far away with so few people that it's not economic to put in another one, so you can have crappy internet forever." For those in the US, we pay approximately three times as much for about half the bandwidth that you do. We have bandwidth caps and our 'ultra-fast' internet is way slower than yours. Yeah, I know, No1curr. That's kind of my point. No one has to, because we're not even on the map.
"No I'm sorry, our airline doesn't fly direct to your country, you'll have to get to Australia first."
Have a visual demonstration of what I mean:
The United Nations logo only includes the Northern Hemisphere.
I think you get my point. "Worldwide" often does not include us. These might be silly logos but they reflect our reality, and while I'm aware that there are bigger issues in the world and that compared with many countries that are on the map we have it pretty good, the fact that we are little and distant makes quite an impact on our lives in the availability and cost of goods and services, and in our ability to get traction on the world stage for things that affect us. Never mind that the entire world is geared towards the Northern Hemisphere.
Historically, New Zealand has had to fight hard for a place at the Big Kids' Table, and even then I get the feeling we are often patronisingly tolerated rather than taken seriously. And other, larger and more powerful countries/organisations think nothing of stepping on us to get to China or *insert rising superpower du jour here*. So we negotiate a trade deal with China, now the US wants to get us in its pocket because we have good rep with China and it might give them an in. Not because we're a valued partner, but because we managed to do something they couldn't and now they want us to share our playlunch. And if we do it, they might pat us on the head and give us a cookie (as long as we acknowledge that they are the boss by changing our laws to suit their playground).
And then they'll keep on cutting us off the map.
Sorry, I ranted. This frustrates me because it's such a first world problem and thus utterly dismissable by anyone who doesn't actually live here, but still something that affects our lives daily.
Anyway, last night I reached 2000 words, cut out my Experimental Unitard, and tried not to feel like a paedophile while perving at the nice boys on Skins. And, I discovered that I have a 5 week break between the final test for State Crime and the start of Social Movements. Thank you universe! I plan to think about frivolous things of my own choosing and spend my weekends sewing backless dresses and unitards and knitting Universal Peace And Harmony.
And as a headsup to those in the same position as me, part time students are now in TEC's firing line. Yes, mine's the first comment, why do you ask?