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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Chips fall where they may (+ MB Update)

UPDATE: The Greens grow a backbone

--------Gonzo Remote: observations with id - bomber blog--------

Thank Christ the Greens grew a backbone this week and finally stepped away from the idealistic utopia where principled decisions put aside the naked no holds barred reality of political bear pit fighting politics actually is. By voting against Labour on the ridiculous dog chipping farce and exempting 'working dogs', the four Green MPs sent two signals - one was to Labour reminding them the Green Party isn't a doormat to stupid legislation no matter how suck-up Jeanette wants the relationship to remain; but it also sent a clear message to the Green Party that its MPs have a will of their own.

Since the party voted in prissy Russel Norman as co-leader in an attempt to sell their image to Remuera Soccer mums, some of the MPs have felt unsettled by this softening policy. Personally I thought the last Green election campaign was an abortion that should have earned Norman as campaign manager a kick in the balls, not the co-leadership. But the party and Jeanette have decided to de-radicalise the message and appeal to middle class liberal pretension rather than grass roots anger - a move I believe will hurt the party: why try and broaden the appeal to people who will never vote for you?

The Greens are strongest amongst the under 30s and the message has to be radical enough to catch that age group's attention; by bucking the leadership's direction these four MPs have shown backbone and a level of political flair that will spook Jeanette and the Green party. The Greens haven't been around long enough to separate the politicians from the wider party membership but this vote suggests a flexing of muscle from the more radical part of the party and hopefully remind the Green Party membership that they aren't there to appease the status quo.

Martyn "Bomber" Bradbury

As one of the first to raise the issue back in March and still having had no response to those questions of how exactly the bureaucracy managed to steamroll the silly compulsory dog micro-chipping legislation past the minister and specifically what contracts did they sign up to in 2003 that locked them into ramming it through, I am at least glad to see that last night's vote in parliament exempted some dogs (working/farm dogs). It should have been all dogs; but United Future and the Greens just can't co-operate or even be seen to co-operate because of Peter Dunne's childishness and his unwillingness to jeopardise his Ministerial salary and the tactics of some of the Greens:

Greens MPs Nandor Tanczos, Keith Locke, Sue Kedgley and Sue Bradford voted with National, handing it a 61-60 win. It is understood Mr Tanczos made up his mind at the last minute. Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons was clearly angry at the result, though she said it would not sour caucus relations. "I have to say I am disappointed. I think the position that Metiria Turei and I stuck to – that it should be all dogs or no dogs – was a principled one.

Yes, it's principled and it was the right thing to do and should have happened but if that isn't going to happen why throw your toys out of the cot? If the call was either destroy all the forest or some of the forest then at least save some of it! Under their "principles" would they vote to destroy the whole forest? Their political strategy is, how can I put this, petulant - as petulant and stupid as their worm-charming nemisis.

My position on the debate is clear enough: micro-chipping is unnecessary, costly, is a method that restricts people's ability to identify them (tags are visible - chipping requires a machine), was lobbied for by the bureaucrats, SPCA, the Vets and dog-breeders for their own financial gain and finally will not stop dog attacks that were opportunistically made out to be the main reason. I reiterate that I do not like dogs and regard dog owners as misguided and dog breeders as people who ought to be banished deep into the countryside. People who allow dogs into their house make themselves animals. However, I defend their ability to have a dog without a micro-chip on the grounds of practicality and principle. What I have found disappointing is the dismissive (pro-Labour?) attitude from our regular lefties over this issue:-

"I confess, I've been struggling to work up any kind of feeling as tempers have flared and loyalties been strained over a proposal that didn't seem so controversial when it was first voiced amid the anguish of the attack on Carolina Anderson. I don't care that much, because - and I'm sorry if this shocks some people - I don't care that much about dogs."
-Doesn't stop him devoting an entire post to it though. That it didn't seem controversial to him shows what little understanding he has. Ignoring the plight of a minority? He conceeds: "I'm not even sure the law is really a good idea..." He mentions the SPCA without realising their conflict of interest and how that organisation operates. The problem is because it doesn't effect him he has voluntarily switched his brain off. It seems to be going around:

"So, a last minute (but carefully planned) "rebellion" (against what?) by Green MPs has allowed National to have its way on dog microchipping, and once again pandered to farmer's belief that they should be above the law. I'm disappointed - I see chipping as a basic animal identification measure, and one that should be universal - but like Russell, hardly devastated. The whole issue was basically displacement behaviour, with political attention focussed on it precisely because neither party could make any progress on more substantive issues. And now that its out of the way, possibly Parliament could devote some time to things that actually matter"
-A "basic animal identification measure, and one that should be universal" - for dogs? We aren't shipping the meat off to Korea, they are domestic, pet animals. In what Orwellian paradigm are we now living where Idiot/Savant, champion of freedom and critic of government databases and excess measures against the citizen would consider a micro-chip as a "basic" measure? And to dissmiss the imposition of an elaborate, costly and unnecessary system as a form of behaviour? He has really dropped the ball on this one. The issue is why the Govt. wanted it and what did they sign up to that put them in a position where they had to, ie. contracts that they could not get out of ala INCIS?

It's a sad day when usually thoughtful people cannot relate to others. So if they don't have a car I suppose they will regard a Government move to force a GPS transponder in every vehicle as a "basic identification measure", or if they don't have a bicycle they would see the resistance to the registration of all bicycles as merely "displacement behaviour" as part of political manouverings and nothing more. The last real rebellion against the Crown was over a dog tax. Some MPs (see below) seem to be encouraging non-compliance with this current law.

Act's bragging as the only party to have objected to it from the outset is worth noting given the Greens twisting. David Carter hails the victory as common sense (not too often Nat MPs and common sense are legitimately linked) and goes further in seemingly encouraging law-breaking :)

But Mr Carter says domestic dog owners need to target their anger at those squabbling political parties which refused to dump this nonsensical microchipping rule.
“Along with Labour, the inflexible United Future and New Zealand First parties should wear their fair share of the blame.”
Mr Carter is commenting on the narrow vote in Parliament today, which has cleared the way for compulsory microchipping of dogs - excluding working dogs.
“This legislation is stupid. People will just disobey it.
“Everyone knows microchipping dogs will not stop a single attack. Those who break the laws now, will continue to do so.”

Sparking a remarkably furious response from the Grey sensible shoe centre:
United Future leader, Peter Dunne, has lashed out at National MP, David Carter, describing him as "maliciously confused and deliberately wrong" in his comments over United Future's stand on microchipping of dogs.
"Mr Carter is claiming victory over Parliament's 61-60 vote to exempt farm dogs from the microchipping regime, while attacking United Future as a poodle for consistently arguing for the same thing.
"Yet even he can count sufficiently to know that his amendment would have failed without United Future's 3 votes in favour of it, so why is he continuing these canards?
"For the record, the one party that has not shifted its position throughout the debate of the last few months is United Future.
"National has flopped all over the place from supporting microchipping, to then not supporting it, to now supporting exempting farm dogs, while the Greens have simply been duplicitous, and utterly untrustworthy.

You will have noted by now that everyone is pretending their stance has never shifted.


At 28/6/06 3:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My principle would be 'the less micro-chipping the better'; not 'all or nothing'.


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