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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33, No. 3 18 March 1970

[Letter from Kevin P. Clements]


I cannot say of Mr Mitchell that he has been the most successful pressure group on campus in 1969, and in fact I considered treating his article with the contempt which it deserves. However, many people who had worked damn hard for 1% A.I.D, felt affronted by his twaddle so I thought I would give him the satisfaction of a rejoinder.

Second, there is nothing reprehensible in my original statement and I don't want to withdraw anything I said last year. New Zealand has not taken its international responsibilities seriously and the fact that we have fought in every bloody conflict since the Boer War only proves this point.

Third, I still don't want to be part of a W.A.S.P. right backlash, whether it be in relation to race or development. We know Mitchell doesn't mind, he is the backlash.

First, thanks for acknowledging that 1% A.I.D, was the most successful student pressure group in 1969. (We always had a sneaking suspicion that we were but having Mitchell say so is some indication of the extent to which we managed to penetrate the total political spectrum from far right to far left). Before we know where we are the Aid Rhodesia Society will be clamouring for New Zealand assistance to Southern Africa.

Fourth, Mitchell's non-arguments:

(a) No-one in 1% A.I.D. has ever said use aid as a bribe, nor has it been implied in any of our statements, (b) It has certainly not been proven that it is poor business to invest in a developing region. On the contrary, developing nations will only achieve 'lift off if there is some degree of capital investment as well as an investment of necessary skills.—Why doesn't Mitchell read Teach Yourself Economies? It's a very simple book and readily available, (c) 1% A.I.D. is not a Christian organisation and it has never mentioned increasing aid as a sop to the Christian conscience—as the founder of hristianity said "The words are yours." Could it be that Mitchell is feeling quilty about something and is transferring his guilt onto the first unblemished organisation he sets his beady eyes on?

Mitchell develops these arguments with fairly addle-headed logic and finishes off with a lot of nonsense about naked Emperors. It would seem that Mitchell should try and concentrate on what 1% A.I.D. really said and did rather than what he imagined it to do and say. It is sort of permissible for farmers to exaggerate but sometimes the bull's wool isn't thick enough to cover our eyes.

Kevin P. Clements

(Editor's note: Mr Clements' letter has been abridged through the omission of a personal reference to Mr Mitchell.)