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Monday, June 30, 2008

Matariki holiday - today?

Re the Matariki Day public holiday idea. Scratch Queen's birthday. Insert Matariki Day - but not on the first Monday of June. It doesn't feel right then. Too soon. It's got to be at the beginning of the middle of Winter and certainly not more than a few days after the middle of winter. I don't know the dates at which the Matariki can be viewed as it rises above the horizon - I've no idea about how different Iwi used to mark the new year.

I think that calendar dates such as Easter that are calculated with some sort of star chart and an algorithm and can yield dates a month apart, are to be avoided. So given that I'm mainly concerned with the timing in terms of a schedule of public holidays that conforms to our own seasons and is reflective of our national heritage, Matariki in mid to late June seems appropriate. The shortest day is June 20-23 and reflects the solstice that is marked by most cultures.

I mentioned in that 2005 post:

To replace Queen's Birthday: "Matariki/Winter Festival"
On second weekend of June on Monday

The Maori New Year is perhaps another way to look at it than merely a Winter festival - and the date seems a bit too early. Given that by removing Queen's Birthday holiday we have a very long wait till Labour Day (even if it was moved forward to early October as part of a Spring Festival double-ended long weekend) placing the Matariki holiday late in June creates a more even time spacing between well-needed public holidays. The last possible day for it would be today. The last day of June and the last Monday of June. Perhaps the last Monday of June?

Mugabe - Anglophile

Just watched Simpson's BBC report on the Zimbabwe situation. He interviewed Tsvangirai at a house in Harare at the time Mugabe was being sworn in. He did look relaxed, considering the slaughter and intimidation. The parliamentary observers from Africa made it quite clear the election was a sham.

Kenya's PM (himself a victim of political intimidation, and now working in a compromise national unity government) has said:
"We want the African Union to send troops to Zimbabwe. The time has come for the African continent to stand firm in unity to end dictatorship,"
There's a long way to go before that happens. I think the AU force in Darfur proves that even when there are "troops on the ground" they are under-resourced, under-staffed and on a limited mandate. Indeed the Darfur troops are there because the Sudanese regime let them in. I can't see Mugabe ever doing that. Unlike the Congo (that Mugabe help invade) there is nothing much left in Zimbabwe to loot.

I had a weird feeling the other night - while I was watching a bit of the tennis at Wimbeldon on TV - and I was aware that this is what Mugabe was watching. He's sitting there, his nation a mess - and he's watching this very English game on his TV. He's the patron of the Cricket Association as I understand it. Everyone in Zim speaks English. Their parliament is in the old building and looks just as it always has under white rule (only there are no whites there now). He is such a hypocrite. All the British-bashing is a put on. The real foreigners interferring in Zimbabwe are China and South Africa - at Mugabe's behest.

That pesky Neutron bomb

Hager claim raises fresh leak worries
New questions are being asked about National's internal security after revelations of John Key's relationship with controversial Australian strategists Crosby/Textor.
Author Nicky Hager has revealed the relationship between the Australian firm and Mr Key, including details of meeting dates and focus group research. The firm has courted controversy for tactics including push-polling. Co-founder Lynton Crosby was largely credited for former Australian prime minister John Howard's 2001 Tampa campaign.
But the firm is also in high demand both in Australia and Britain after running numerous successful political campaigns.
National used Crosby/Textor before the 2005 campaign but was sensitive about details of the relationship getting out; senior party figures denied using the firm except on an occasional basis, though it later emerged in Hager's book The Hollow Men that they had a more extensive relationship.
In yesterday's Sunday Star-Times, Hager claimed National was paying co-founder Mark Textor about $10,000 a visit and had him conducting monthly focus groups for the party. Mr Key had hired the company shortly after becoming leader, Hager said.
A spokesman for Mr Key said yesterday the party did not comment on its business arrangements. It is understood, however, that the substantive detail of Hager's claims about the relationship are correct. But his possession of such closely held details are likely to rekindle unease about internal security - National has consistently claimed it was the victim of a computer hacker after hundreds of former leader Don Brash's private e-mails fell into Hager's hands.

Labour have claimed they have a ‘neutron bomb’ up their sleeve which is the identity of the leaker to Hagar, apparently Clark knows who it is, Culllen and Peters knows who it is, I wonder who could have leaked the files from within National so much so that their identity being revealed would be a ‘neutron bomb’….

Neutron bomb
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A neutron bomb was a type of tactical nuclear weapon built mainly by the U.S. specifically to release a relatively large portion of its energy as energetic neutron radiation. This contrasts with standard thermo-nuclear weapons, which are designed to capture the intense neutron radiation inside the bomb to increase its overall yield. The technical term for the neutron bomb was "enhanced radiation weapon" (ERW). In terms of explosive yield, ERWs were about one-tenth that of a conventional fission type weapon.[1] While significantly less in explosive power, they were still much more potent than any conventional bomb

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Sunday News Roast

On the Sunday News Roast tonight at 7pm, Sky Digital 65, Alt Tvs News and weekend newspaper critique show that is Unfair & Unbalanced, THE SPIN STARTS HERE with the best political news team on television with your host Bomber and Phoebe Fletcher from the Auckland University Media Department, the last man to be convicted of sedition in NZ, Tim Selwyn, Political Editor of the NBR, Ben Thomas and Kevin List from Scoop.co.nz

News that caught my eye this week
1: Story in the papers last weekend heaping praise on the advertising company that had come up with the TV series Mad man advertising campaign, it was remarkably favorable for a campaign that had managed to be offensive to women, homosexuals and Jews.

2: What is one to do with Mugabe? Isn’t it time to put pressure on China at the Olympics as they are one of the largest foreign aid doners to Zimbabwe and in 2008 are looking at $500 million in trade.

3: Arctic was predicted to be Ice free by the end of the century, then it was 2050, then 2030, then 2013, now it is predicted that it is a 50/50 call as to whether the Arctic will be Ice free THIS SUMMER! We are in total denial with the speed and consequences of global warming, add to peak oil prices heralding the end of the cheap oil era, and I’m seeing no leadership from either major political party. And what Hansen had to say this week...
"We're toast" is how a top NASA scientist describes the dire condition he predicts if the world doesn't get on a "very different path" regarding global warming.

Exactly 20 years after warning America about the phenomenon, James Hansen says the situation is so bad the world's only hope is drastic action.

Hansen has told a U.S. congressional panel the world has long passed the "dangerous level" for greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and needs to get back to 1988 levels.

He says Earth's atmosphere can only stay this loaded with man-made carbon dioxide for a couple more decades without changes such as mass extinction, ecosystem collapse and dramatic sea level rises.

4: The smacking referendum, National playing the democracy card, Family First playing the same game as Karl Rove used in 2004 for the Bush re-election.

5: Laws & Order- Michael Laws on gangs...
"There is only one way to deal with these petty terrorists. That is to outlaw gangs and provide police with the resources to crush them," he said. "If that involves bringing in the army, then so be it."
...John Key’s slip up on Breakfast with his claim that Prison is too soft, and his version of NZ history.

(and the fact that this week when Nelson Mandela turns 90, the US Senate just got around to taking him off the Terrorist List)

In the Weekend Newspapers with Ben Thomas, Political Editor of the NBR and Kevin List from Scoop.co.nz
STORY 1 – Nat's secret advisers accused of dirty tricks across Tasman - sst
JOHN KEY'S public image has been all about the self-made man. His success as National Party leader has been credited to his "quick political instincts", his "intuition", his "natural" and "spontaneous" character and his skill in "creating strong visual images that push all the right buttons".
Some journalists have asked: "Who is giving John Key all this good advice?" But they have merely been pointed to the crew in his parliamentary office. Asked last year if he was getting media training, Key replied: "No. Should I be? I guess there's part of me that says I've got my own natural personality and it's served me well over the last 45 years. I'm not convinced I should try and make myself into something that I'm not."
But Key has not been disclosing an important secret about his leadership: that each step of his campaign to become prime minister has been overseen and directed by the same professional manipulators used (and also kept secret) by his predecessor, Don Brash. They are the Australian political tacticians, Crosby/Textor. Their role advising Key is known to National Party staff, including some who are uneasy about Crosby/Textor's involvement, but has been kept secret from the public.

This is HUGE news, the dirty tactics team of Crosby and Textor have been involved in some of the dirtiest of tricks in recent democratic history, helping John Howard lie over the Tampa story, claiming Sue Robinson supported late term abortions, the Maaaaaaaori get too much campaign of Don Brash. John Key has taken them back on and look at the way Hagar shows their tactics up – the Hollow Men doco may have the impact National feared the Book didn’t.

“The techniques dig out feelings of prejudice, fear, selfishness and hostility and spread these ideas throughout society. The idea is that both the positive image building and attack lines will be repeated and repeated until they're echoed by talkback hosts and political columnists and start to sound like truth. The branding of Clark as "out of touch", for example, has gone from "embryonic" to widely repeated today.”

Three years ago National had a secret agenda to implement a radical right wing privatization agenda that National clearly hid from the electorate, we are 5 months out from an election and we still have no idea what National Party Policy actually is. Does a leopard change it’s spots?

STORY 2 – Why the Conchords really took flight - HOS
They're New Zealand's hottest international artists, have been nominated for an Emmy - and are now worth millions of dollars. But it appears a relatively paltry sum of $300,000 was the real reason TVNZ turned down comedy duo Flight of the Conchords four years ago. That much-criticised decision by TVNZ's commissioners led the Conchords, Wellingtonians Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, to seek fame, fortune and their own show overseas.

Too many baby boomer sales managers are running programming in TV now so that it is safe and bland and the pressures of prime time mean no show can find their rhythm long enough to attract an audience that gets the audience numbers prime time demands. The only place that could act as an embryonic channel is C4, and they are getting over a million a year from NZ on Air to move away from music and play Battle Star Galactica, and Alt TV that makes more locally produced programmes than both major networks combined doesn’t get a cent!

STORY 3 – The truth about David and me – The Weekend Herald
Working with David, Michael Bassett's account of his part in the life of David Lange, comes heavily weighted with the trappings of scholarship, and its author hasn't stopped short of proclaiming his lingering affection for David in support of his claim to objectivity. Let's have none of that here. No, the first time I ever met Dr Michael Bassett I felt my flesh creep. It's plain from the book that I did a poor job of hiding it.

The book with the largest Yoko Ono complex ever published get’s a kicking from the women apparently responsible for the collapse of the Lange-Douglas relationship, for a book about remembering Lange it is only about resurrecting Douglas.

“Working with David does much to suggest that David hit the mark. The writing is purple, overheated, even foam-flecked. The method is unusual for a scholarly work. It starts with an idea or, more often, with a slur, and looks for facts which back it up. If the author can't find any facts, he makes something up.”

STORY 4 - Poll: Labour loses more ground in Auckland – The Weekend Herald
Labour's support in Auckland has dropped dramatically in the Herald's latest DigiPoll survey after a month in which violence in South Auckland and soaring petrol prices dominated the public's attention. The June Herald-DigiPoll shows Labour's support in Auckland has dropped to 28.2 per cent - 10 points down from last month when it was sitting on 38 per cent support. It is also well behind National, which 58 per cent of decided voters in Auckland supported. National also increased its nationwide support to 54.9 per cent - its highest level since the Herald-DigiPoll survey began - and widened the gap between the two parties from 15 points in May to 22.5 points this month. Labour's nationwide support has dropped four points since last month to 32.4 per cent, but the drubbing in Auckland - often described as the place elections are won and lost - will be of major concern for the party.

Are these Polls legit? They were wrong in predicting the result last time, aren’t people hurting in the pocket mainly from events beyond a Governments control leading to support of a Party that hasn’t even shown people what their policies are. Is it over for Labour?

FINAL WORD – Season two of Let’s be Frank starts on Tuesday with Oliver Driver talking to Haarmeet Sooden about 4 days inside an Israeli prison, this week saw Nandor step down from Parliament, he has been an amazing leader and was the face of the real change MMP brought about, the activist community desperately needs his leadership now he is free from the constraints of Politics. And finally I am stunned that those four Police were found not guilty in the pepper spray torture and cell black bashing of Rawiri Falwasser, get better work stories by beating an unarmed mentally ill man and get away with it AND they won’t even allow the media to see this action to judge for ourselves whether this was warranted or unwarranted.

Ben Thomas NBR column

The winter of business discontent
Things used to be easier for cub reporters looking for "business" opinion on an issue. A quick call to the Business Roundtable's energetic chief executive Roger Kerr, a soundbite about the need for more deregulation, and that was commerce and industry listened to for another day.
But Kerr was seen as emblematic of the economic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s whose image, if not substance, Clark wanted to move away from. He was also seen as a chief agitator in the "winter of discontent" that followed the election of Helen Clark's Labour government in 1999. In this period, business interests threatened to rebel against the social democratic-styled programme of the government, including its employment law reform, and confidence plummeted.
The pragmatic Clark knew that a three-year stand-off with business would make for a rough ride in government. But despite the protestations of some of Clark's natural constituency, government always trumps business in displays of naked power, and so an uneasy consensus was forged through the work of Clark's business contacts like Warehouse founder Stephen Tindall.....

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Zimbabwe - Notional unity

Al Jazeera reporting that voting is now over in Zimbabwe and the results will start to come in tomorrow. As the picture above confirms, Tsvangirai is still on the ballot. The ZANU PF thugs are on the streets checking for the ink marks that prove people have voted in an attempt to foil the MDC's boycott. The obvious thing for the opposition to do would be to vote - vote for the MDC candidate. But there are reports - limited reports - also of these ZANU PF operatives trying to get the serial numbers of ballots so they can match them to voters.

I still think the decision to pull out was wrong. Has it stemmed the violence? Has it brought a solution closer? Or have they pissed away all the hard work because they are divided and in disarray?

Talk of a national unity government of MDC and ZANU PF is entirely impossible without the removal of Mugabe and his key cadre. Which brings us to the crucial role of South Africa.This story from a leading Jo'burg newspaper destroys any credibility Mbeki and his mates have in dealing fairly with the Zimababwe crisis:

Information at the Mail & Guardian’s disposal points to a cosy relationship between the defence forces of both countries, as well as government-to-government arms transfers. This appears to conflict with President Thabo Mbeki’s mediation role between the ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC, which demands neutrality.

The M&G can also reveal that private South African companies have sold arms to Zimbabwe and that these transfers must have been approved by government’s National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC).

The committee is chaired by Minister of Provincial and Local Government Sydney Mufamadi -- who also happens to be Mbeki’s envoy in the Zimbabwean negotiations.

This detestable book

That's how Margaret Pope has described Bassett's Working with David book in the NZ Herald today. Although only a small fraction of the way through it at present, I have some sympathy with what she has said in the article and I'm getting a strong and acrid taste already about where Bassett is heading in his tome on the machinations of the Lange government:

Working with David does much to suggest that David hit the mark. The writing is purple, overheated, even foam-flecked. The method is unusual for a scholarly work. It starts with an idea or, more often, with a slur, and looks for facts which back it up. If the author can't find any facts, he makes something up.

This is the book's idea of me: I was a rigid and old-fashioned Labour supporter, an old-style socialist, ideologically opposed to the economic changes of the 1980s. Taking advantage of the prime minister's infatuation, I seized my chance to bend him to my will, leading him to fall out with his finance minister while I took control of his office and brought about the destruction of the fourth Labour Government. It's not surprising that reviewers have resorted to asking if the author could possibly be serious.

And earlier she proclaims:

the first time I ever met Dr Michael Bassett I felt my flesh creep.

Well the feeling was, and still is, clearly mutual. And to be fair, when you see his photograph on the inside dust jacket, he does appear to be creepy. He's got that creepy look in his eye.

Bassett mentioned that when asked what he saw in her, Lange replied "she thinks like me." Now this strikes Bassett as absurd and he can't make much sense of it, but after reading Pope's scathing reply I think Lange might have seen a fellow soul, a less ideological person than those surrounding him at the time, and perhaps someone he could talk to removed from the sort of inside scheming that Lange accuses Bassett of in his memoir - and that Bassett by his own account seems to confess with some pride in his own book. He was eternally "doing the numbers" and involved himself in plots and maneoverings aplenty. Lange had no time at all for that side of politics. That might have been part of the attraction to Pope, seeing as how she was not born and bred Labour. It's hard to tell at this point.

In reading Bassett and Pope, the struggle has all the hallmarks of jealousy.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Capill - the inside view

Notorious paedophile Graham Capill is up for parole. The prisoner I spoke to - at length - about his time in the same unit as Capill paints him out to be a grotesque and utterly unlikeable character:

The Parole Board has described a proposal paedophile Graham Capill be freed early from prison so he can be assessed for a sex offenders' programme as "novel".

Capill, a former head of the Christian Heritage political party and a former police prosecutor, is serving a nine-year jail sentence for the sexual violation of three young girls, aged between five and 11.

The Parole Board today released its report on Capill's first application for parole since he admitted his offending and was jailed in 2005.

The board said he had been an "exemplary" prisoner but it would not release him until he had attended a child sex offender programme.

Exemplary? I was told of what they said he would do as he interacted with his children on his visits. Not worth repeating for the sake of good taste. I hope it wasn't as bad as what they made out.

As for his character, Capill was always right and everyone else was wrong. I was told that he was smarmy, looked down upon everyone (and this wasn't an exclusively sex offender unit either - it was for different categories of lower security older men) and generally, he thought he was God. The impression was that this guy is an awful human being, totally unremorseful, totally unable to respect others. I hope he has his parole declined till well after he's been through every damn programme they can possibly think of.

Capill's conduct in prison had been "exemplary" and he had excellent support, the board's report said.
"There have been no misconducts. Amongst the papers we have you are described as being polite and compliant and you have obviously spent your time well in prison."
Capill had support from some people whose names were withheld.
His wife is understood to be standing by him despite his convictions.

Where do we start? That it is "support," especially amongst religious sects, that provide the space of trust available to perpetrate sex crimes against children in the first place... that being polite and compliant is ample evidence of the type of smarmy manipulation that allowed him to perpetrate his sex crimes against children in the first place... That while she might not have been a silent partner to the offending her role is still questionable in the minds of many... Where do we start?

Keys' version of History - "First lesson in business, don't get emotional about a stock."

We may be many voices but ultimately we are one people. One of the unique things about New Zealand is that we are not a country that's come about through civil war or a lot of fighting internally. We're a country that peacefully came together - Maori and the Crown decided from both partners' side that it was in their interests to have a peaceful negotiation. That's what the Treaty was, a founding document - a development document - for New Zealand, and I think that we could work things out in a peaceful, sensible and mature way has actually been a defining part of New Zealand's history. It's very important, and it's important we honour that now.

Hmmmm, National claim Cullen said a similar thing, but Cullen was talking about the Parliamentary system, the Herald in possibly their most biased piece against the Labour Government this year makes it pretty clear which version of history they support. In the rest of the Prime interview Key does acknowledge the musket and land wars, but you get the real feeling that Key honestly sees the process as casually as he has spelt out, which as Idiot Savant points out on No Right Turn

But then, can we really blame him? He's simply repeating the myths he was told at school back in the 60's and 70's, an era when our education system wasn't exactly known for its accurate portrayal of New Zealand history.

…I think Savant is onto something here, but I think it goes beyond mere education I don’t think Key has an ideology, he says he didn’t have a position on the Spring Bok tour and I believe him, it wouldn’t have mattered to Key that a racist regime was playing Rugby in NZ, those aren’t considerations in the managed equations he runs inside his head. Likewise with Maori Seats, he has no problem calling for their abolition because he doesn’t see our shared history as a struggle for sovereignty and identity and all that entails, I think he sees the relationship as a managed process that needs risk removal, the Maori seats risk total dominance to the direction of NZ Incorporated and that simply must be removed. Certainly Keys version of history helps insulate his direction, but he is a ruthless operator minus the restrictions of ideology, he dumped those as too inefficient early in his State Housing upbringing, this is a multi-millionaire Merchant Banker who thrived and succeeded in the bowels of the financial worlds most spiteful and back-stabbingly greedy environment, and he did so without the constraints of a belief system, he is an evolved Gordon Gecko, charmingly ruthless with a gun for a smile.

Don’t worry, the not-independent Police investigating Police Authority is investigating!

Conduct Authority investigating Whakatane police cell incident
The Independent Police Conduct Authority is still investigating police conduct in an incident which resulted in four policemen facing trial for assaulting a prisoner. Sergeant Keith Parsons, Sergeant Earle Busby, Senior Constable Bruce Laing and Constable John Mills were found not guilty by a jury in Tauranga District Court yesterday of nine charges of assaulting Rawiri Falwasser with batons and pepper spray in a cell at Whakatane Police Station on Labour Day, 2006. Authority chairwoman Justice Lowell Goddard said the authority was notified by police of a complaint by Mr Falwasser's family in late October 2006. It began an independent investigation at that time, which included interviews with Mr Falwasser and members of his family. The authority also monitored the police criminal inquiry into the incident. Authority investigators were provided with all relevant information including copies of closed circuit television footage. Justice Goddard said the investigation was put on hold when charges were laid, but would resume now the trial had concluded.

I’m not going to hold my breath that the not-independent Police investigating Police Authority will find anything untoward and that these good fine Police were just ‘DOIN THEIR DUTY” with this cell block bashing on a mentally ill man with pepper spray usage bordering on torture. Why can’t we the public who pay for the police see what ‘DOIN THEIR DUTY” looks like? If their force was reasonable, why can’t we see it? Why can’t we see the Police spraying a mentally ill man with Pepper Spray 32 times while battening him? I’d love to see what our boys in blue consider acceptable, they certainly got a more interesting work story didn’t they?

Nandor shatters shackles of time

Nandor shatters shackles of time
Nandor Tanczos left Parliament yesterday, saying he was going away to cleanse his soul and wouldn't need to know the time any more.

So he took out a hammer and pounded his watch to pieces.

The Green Party MP came to Parliament with a bang in 1999, a dreadlocked Rastafarian who admitted smoking dope and campaigned for it to be legalised.

He said in his valedictory speech that being an MP had changed his life.

"I came to Parliament thinking you're all a bunch of bastards," he told his colleagues.

"And I was wrong. There are many good people here. The very notion that all politicians are dishonest is misconceived."

Mr Tanczos said he believed most MPs came to Parliament with honest intentions, but many were compromised by it.

"How many times have Green MPs spoken in this House and had other MPs sidle over and tell us quietly, 'We agree with you'?" he said.

"The danger is the system changes us as much as we change the system, if not more.

"And that's why I'm leaving. The problem isn't how many people enter this place with honest intentions, but how many leave with them intact."

Mr Tanczos revealed he had avoided question time whenever he could.

"It's a time when I'm most ashamed of being a member of Parliament," he said.

"You all know what I'm talking about."

That was a reference to the abusive shouting and bad behaviour that go on during question time.

"We should grow up," he said.

"This is our national legislature. We should treat it and the positions we hold with more respect."

Mr Tanczos said the media carried blame as well.

"The buzzards who sit watching us up there, waiting for the next political corpse to pick over ... They will always report a fight, but stand to talk about anything real and most of them flap their wings and fly away."

He said the first thing he did when he came to Parliament was buy a watch, and he had been "cuffed to the prison bars of time" ever since.

"So today I remove that shackle, because when I look at the state of our rivers, our atmosphere and our people I don't need a watch to tell me what time it is."

And with that he left the debating chamber, walking over the shattered remains of his time piece.

He is the Politician who most represented the new realities of MMP and he walked in hallways of power where only the wealthy and connected strolled, and he was deamonised for it. He is a great man who has done some amazing work and his passing from Parliament is merely a transition towards what he will become leading the debate outside of those stifling boundaries, but his passing should be acknowledged and recognised for the great work he has done on wiping petty crimes from your personal records and his Waste Minimization Bill will do more to cut back on waste than any other single piece of legislation passed in Parliament, even those who disagreed with him found his reasoning on issues difficult to negate, which is why so many fell to personalizing attacks against him.

You’re an example to the rest of us Nandor, thank you for representing us so well and I look forward to your leadership back in the activist community

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Bassett tome

Working with David | Inside the Lange Cabinet

Michael Bassett

Publisher: Hodder Moa


I was probably his earliest backer for public office...
Lange had a magic about him that no other parliamentarian rivalled...
He was an excellent chair of cabinet in his heyday...
However there was another side to David Lange...
Grossly overweight...
He never possessed more than the haziest of political philosophies and increasingly seemed to be in politics more for the theatre...
His strategic skills weren't plentiful, although...
Adept at the tactics of self-preservation...
Susceptible to the attraction exerted by strong-willed women throughout his life, he gradually succumbed to one in particular, with whom he fell desperately in love...
The reforming zeal had gone out of him...
Lange lost his concentration, shrugged off his friends and supporters, and became dependent on the advice of his new found love of his life...
He turned to alcohol...
He had virtually destroyed his government, and his colleagues in effect forced him from office...
Careered into a darkness of ill-health, alcohol and political make believe...
Monitoring his decline was the sadder because no one else in my experience displayed such a multitude of talents when he was on top of his game...
Major contributors to the book...
First is Sir Roger Douglas...
Mike Moore...
Richard Prebble and Bill Jeffries...
Stan Roger...
David Lange's medical caregivers...
Alan Gibbs...
Roderick and Gillian Deane...
But my greatest debt, as with all my writing, is to my wife Judith. Her historian's judgement often influenced my own. She read and re-read drafts, and listened to endless discussions with friends about David Lange's gradual disintegration, occasionally likening it to that said to have occured ceaselessly between the Duke and Duchess of Windsor as they mulled over the abdication...

And so our odyssey through the mind and memory of Michael Bassett begins.

I've already noted that the positive elements in favour of Lange are being ruthlessly qualified. His own marriage and that of Lange's relationships are now also of interest.

In Lange's memoir, My Life (2005), he poured only bile upon Bassett:

He had a waspish manner...
I asked Bassett to see me in my office...
"This is a mistake," he said through very tight lips. He told me at one point he would never speak to me again unless he had to, so the news was not all bad...
Bassett was always venomous...


The "Treelords" deal signed yesterday, and introduced into parliament in a bill, is a great step forward from the grid-lock over the central North Island forests that has existed since the Crown made a commitment to un-steal it. Handing it back has been fraught and negotiations have been long. Meantime the Crown Forestry Rental Trust has racked up millions and been used to fund studies into claims - which was a good use of the money despite the allegations of over-spending.

Cullen seems keen to make progress. As Finance Minister it would be sensible and prudent to remove the huge liabilities the CNI forest claim represents on the Crown balance sheet. How much of this has to do with saving Nania Mahuta's arse from electoral oblivion I do not know.

I hope the settlement is satisfactory to all involved.

The Tsunami of psychopaths breaks

Minister acts on parole killing
Details of an explosive report on police and parole blunders that led to a hardened criminal killing a woman in a car crash could soon be revealed. The Crown Law Office has filed an urgent application to revise suppression orders that have stopped publication of the report for six months. The highly critical but heavily suppressed report says police and probation staff contributed to enabling a paroled criminal to be on the loose when his car hit a vehicle carrying the 20-year-old woman.

When I read the lost report from Corrections that showed the parole conditions of the 150 most serious offenders in the country last week, I wrote about the inevitability I felt reading through all the notes of some of the ticking timebombs our parole board were releasing into some of our weakest communities. Our righteous anger at crime has been whipped up by talkback reactionary Sensible Sentencing lynch mobs feed by a ‘if-it-bleeds-it-leads’ ratings addicted media creating a level of public debate on punishment that foams and brays with such hatred that it has warped public policy to levels that make NZ one of the most imprisoned societies on the planet. There are repercussions to anger and hatred as public policy, and those ramifications are a prison system so under stress that violence and corruption have become the everyday and rehabilitation has been completely ignored so much so that the human beings who have served their time are now so damaged that they decompress with disastrous results on an unsuspecting and frightened public. National will malform this abomination even further by privatizing prisons, beside the ideological argument that the democratic state should be the only power that can hold you against your will as opposed to a corporation, this change of power structure makes profit the motivating factor as opposed to rehabilitation, more prisoners in more prisons for longer becomes the strategy for private prisons and it sees them get involved in public debate pushing for harder sentences by using victims pain and anguish to sell what becomes a very vested self interest. As a community we need to dump the pitchforks and burning torches and rethink the entire strategu here, when National are PROMISING that their hard tough line will require the building of a new prison, that is a sign that the debate has lost all rational compass and we are now in the unchartered waters of the feral mob.

Hookers happy with law change

Hookers happy with law change
Sex workers feel safer since prostitution was decriminalised, politicians have been told. To mark the fifth anniversary of MPs voting for decriminalisation, sex industry representatives and politicians gathered at Parliament yesterday. The Prostitution Reform Act makes it compulsory for prostitutes to practise safe sex; gives them coverage under employment law; and introduced occupational health and safety guidelines to the trade. A Justice Ministry committee's review of the act found that 90 per cent of sex workers felt the legislation had given them rights and more than two-thirds felt they were able to report violence and abuse to the police.

There is an issue with decriminalization that the Government haven’t really sorted out, now while I agree with prostitution decriminalization on the grounds of freedom and health and security for prostitutes the problem for me is that there isn’t a regulatory body that is checking up on the place of business to enforce health and safety practices and make sure the women there are in fact choosing to work here and I don’t believe any woman who has crossed a border to work here as a prostitute should be able to work here as it opens the industry up to abuse by organized traffickers. While it was a feel good moment to extend protections to women who work in a dangerous profession, flinging the door open without funding the checks and balances is simply irresponsible.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Get Better Work Stories! You can beat a mentally ill man on tape and get away with it!

You are fucking kidding me! There is no limit to the beating and torture our cops can met out to a mentally ill man all caught on tape! UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE, my faith in the system just sunk to a new low!

Jury clears four policemen of assault
Four police officers accused of repeatedly using pepper spray and batons on a prisoner in a cell have been found not guilty on all charges.

Sergeants Keith Parsons and Erle Busby, Senior Constable Bruce Laing and Constable John Mills are accused of assaulting Rawiri Falwasser at the Whakatane police station on Labour Day 2006.

The four faced nine charges between them and all of them face assault with a weapon.

Judge Patrick Treston, at Tauranga District Court, finished summing up the case this morning.

"Effectively there are nine trials going on at the same time," Judge Treston told the jury.

He said the jury would need to consider the evidence in relation to each charge and each defendant separately.

Judge Treston outlined the defence of self defence and defence of another person. He said the jury had to take into account what they believed the defendants were thinking at the time and whether they were in fact acting in self defence or defence of another.

Judge Treston said if they believed that was the case then they would then have to decide if it was a reasonable use of force.

He said there had to be a balance between the threat and the force used.

"I say that because you can't use a sledge hammer to crack a nut," Judge Treston said.

This really is your last warning on global warming

NASA scientist issues dire warning on global warming
WASHINGTON -- "We're toast" is how a top NASA scientist describes the dire condition he predicts if the world doesn't get on a "very different path" regarding global warming.

Exactly 20 years after warning America about the phenomenon, James Hansen says the situation is so bad the world's only hope is drastic action.

Hansen has told a U.S. congressional panel the world has long passed the "dangerous level" for greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and needs to get back to 1988 levels.

He says Earth's atmosphere can only stay this loaded with man-made carbon dioxide for a couple more decades without changes such as mass extinction, ecosystem collapse and dramatic sea level rises.

Hansen is head of the Goddard Institute of Space Sciences. He's sometimes called the godfather of global warming science.

The Associated Press

We are toast, the only hope is drastic action and we are decades away from mass extinction, ecosystem collapse and dramatic sea level rises, all the stuff I've been blogging on for some time now. We are in denial, the worst is to come and let's remember when it does come who should get the blame.


I love the NZ International Film Festival series - it starts in Auckland on the 10th of next month and rolls through each week: Wellington, Christchurch then Dunedin - but the tickets all have service fees now. Every class of ticket and mode or issuance now carries a service fee. That annoying little * that means your ticket is well and truly being clipped. It's 50c per ticket in "service fees" at the counter if you pay in cash! Include it in the door price or you are just being wankers.


Mail and telephone. A ticketing agency service fee of $8 per transaction applies
Internet (www.the-edge.co.nz). A ticketing agency service fee of $5 per transaction applies
Counter Bookings and Door Sales. A ticketing agency service fee of 50c per ticket applies
**A $5 transaction fee (i.e. 50 cents per ticket) applies to the Ten-Trip Pass when purchased over the counter.

Keeping the peace

Last year my 7th wish was:

7. Police Act review by Parliament upsets police senior management by tightening quality control of applicants, making senior officials more accountable, limiting their use of weapons, declaring they have no exclusivity in many respects they are assumed to now, and beginning the mechanics of a formalised local accountability.

It's in the parliamentary process now having gone through a select committee. It reinforced the highly centralised Police we have now. Absolutely no local accountability whatsoever. As it says in the very begining of the Bill it is "an instrument of the Crown" and lists its predecessors back to the armed hooligans who ethnically cleansed the outer districts of their Maori inhabitants and enforced martial law over their lands. Many of whom were later given that land by the Crown. So that's what we're up against here. They're proud of their long history.

So it was heartening to see calls the other day for them - if not to be instruments of the community - then at least to be instruments of the Crown that are supervised and held accountable in some way to local representatives. I'm not sure about the Mayor of Invercargill's ideas of going the whole hog and directly electing the Police Chief however:
He supported New Zealand following the American system of having an elected chief of police in each city, he told the Southland Times.
The chief would be voted in on his policies, which could include a "no gangs" policy.

You get some idiots when that happens. And we've got our own idiots like Laws trying to convince us that using the army is a good policing idea.

They have mixed government appointed/democratically elected District Health Boards, they used to have Education Boards, they could have District Police Boards too. We operate very similarly to Britain in many aspects, but certainly not in our policing. In the England and Wales:

The territorial forces use the boundaries of the local government areas [...] These forces provide the majority of policing services to the public of England and Wales. These forces are known as "Home Office police forces" due to the Acts of Parliament that established them. It should be noted, that despite the implication of the term, all police forces are independent, with operational control resting solely with the Chief Constable of each force (or the Commissioner with regard to the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police), with oversight from a Police Authority for each force. [W]

But of course, NZ isn't based on England and Wales, it's based on Ireland and a unitary colonial force. In the UK the Police Authorities are a mix of Home Office appointees, magistrates and local authority members.

The NZ police, like so many other police organisations, take a lot of cues from London it seems:
29 September 1829: The Metropolitan Police was founded. It was depersonalised, bureaucratic and hierarchical, with the new police constables instructed to prevent crime and pursue offenders. However, in contrast to the military gendarmerie forces of continental Europe, the British police, partly to counter public fears and objections concerning armed enforcers, were clearly civilian and their armament was initially limited to the truncheon. Uniform was blue, resembling the navy rather than the red of the army, who had policed with firearms and a heavy-handedness which had long caused public consternation. A fear of spy systems and political control also kept 'plain clothes' and even detective work to a minimum. The force was independent of the local government; through its Commissioner, it was responsible direct to the Home Office. The new constables were nicknamed 'peelers' or 'bobbies' after the Home Secretary, Robert Peel. [W]

John Key slips up on Breakfast

John Key slips up on Breakfast

National have announced that they are going to be so hard on crime they are going to need to build ANOTHER prison, my god as of our imprisonment rate isn’t bad enough National wants to put MORE people into prisons! Oh and I think we can safely assume that National will get the Private Prison Industrial Complex into build and run this prison, allowing the American example of Privatised Corrections to rear it’s ugly malformed head in our country.

Interestingly on Breakfast this morning, where Simon Dallow actually forced a really good interview out of John Key, after accusing National of being the political arm of the sensible sentencing trust, Dallow asked Key if he thought the mix between punishment and rehabilitation had gotten out of hand, Dallow was expecting Key to say that it had and we needed to do more about rehabilitation, but unprovoked John Key said that Prison had become too soft, he started to spout the same bullshit Simon Powers always serves up and John says, “Do you know some Prisoners choose not to work in Prison”, a surprised Dallow asks doesn’t Key think losing your liberty is punishment enough, in his zeal Key realizes that he may have overstepped the mark based on Dallows’ surprised look and quickly starts talking about how Prisoners need to be sent a message, creepy, very, very creepy. As John starts getting pressed on questions and with his Poll lead looking so strong the mask seems to slip now and again and we start seeing glimpses of what he is really about, and the glimpse is turning a little ugly.

Okay for a kneejerk reaction

New police powers to curb teen drinking
Police will be given new powers under changes unveiled by the Government to crack down on teen drunkenness and adults who supply minors with alcohol. Christchurch MP and Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel said yesterday she was drafting a bill that would make the supply of liquor to minors illegal. Currently, it is only illegal to sell alcohol to those under the age of 18. Under Dalziel's proposed legislation, only parents, guardians, or those authorised by them, will be able to offer alcohol to minors. The legislation being drafted, tentatively entitled the Sale and Supply of Liquor and Liquor Enforcement Bill, will also: Give police new powers to caution young people for drunkenness. Cut the alcohol limit to zero for drivers under the age of 20 who do not hold a full licence. Ban from holding a manager's certificate for five years anyone prosecuted more than three times for selling alcohol to minors. Allow councils to set tougher standards for licensed premises, including opening hours and proximity to schools.

For a Kneejerk reaction this isn’t too bad, but for it to be really effective booze should have been banned from Supermarkets and Dairys.

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, pepper spray no evil.

Beating, pepper-spraying by police 'not justified'
The Crown says four police officers had no justification for repeatedly using pepper spray and batons on a prisoner in a cell. But the defence says the officers were doing their duty by following a tactical plan to subdue a violent and psychotic individual. The jury in the trial of Sergeants Keith Parsons and Erle Busby, Senior Constable Bruce Laing and Constable John Mills is expected to retire today to consider its verdict. The four officers are accused of assaulting Rawiri Falwasser at Whakatane police station on Labour Day 2006. They are standing trial at Tauranga District Court, where Crown and defence lawyers gave their closing addresses in front of Judge Patrick Treston yesterday. Prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch told the jury that the case was "an instance when a fellow citizen was deprived of his liberty". Mr Pilditch said police had the right to use force, but the issue in this case was whether the force was reasonable and necessary. He said police could use reasonable force to search, fingerprint or photograph a prisoner, or for self-defence, but in this case, Falwasser was not violent and had made no threats of violence. There was no dispute his behaviour was erratic and bizarre, but he was suffering from a psychotic episode and did eventually respond to calm, patient requests to be fingerprinted and photographed. Mr Pilditch said instead of hitting Falwasser across the head and arms with batons, and pepper-spraying him inside the locked cell for 10 minutes, the police officers could have used other methods, such as calling a police negotiator.

This case only came to light because the assault was caught on tape from surveillance cameras in the room, and I honestly believe that if the camera hadn’t been there, there is no way this would have gone any where as a complaint. The attitude of the Police has been one of ‘context’, they have argued that they have the right of force and the question here is was that force acceptable, they claim that it was, and this is the reason why I’m so shocked by this case. How anyone can defend the 23 shots of pepper spray at Falwasser is difficult to understand, Pepper spray can only be used if someone is advancing, for most of this Falwasser was in his cell and the Pepper Spraying in a confined cell amounts to torture in this case, and watching NZ Police shrug off such torture as mere routine and well within their rights is astonishing because I honestly believe that they think they are right and that the casual violence of this entire case is the everyday for them. It is their attitude towards what they have been accused of that gives real clues to how they operate when the camera isn’t running.

Get Better Work Stories?

Eighteen police officers have been disciplined for using the Facebook social networking website to brag about dangerous crashes. Photos of police vehicles that had been driven into lampposts and other cars were posted on a group on the site called "Look I’ve Had a Polcol". Polcol is slang for police collision. One picture showed a uniformed officer giving a thumbs-up in front of a wrecked patrol car pinned underneath a fallen tree.

The group, which had more than 200 members before being closed down, also contained stories about collisions with pedestrians. "Ran over a drunk. I believe he has a permanent limp and a hefty payout. I was given a three-month holiday from job driving. Ooh, bummer," one member wrote.

In this latest escapade
where police meet Jackass in the United Kingdom, rebel cops and dangerous drivers unite over their mutual fascination with the carnage and aftermath of serious crashes. Preserving the moment with a photo, these bastions of society then go and trade their memoirs on Facebook with those who are breaking the law; some go so far as to boast of the injuries they inflict on others.

Looking at this story and its accompanying pictures, I am struck by how this article reads like an advertisement for the New Zealand recruitment campaign for police, 'Get Better Work Stories'. Visualise wiping the over-zealous 'thumbs up' and add in an aftershot of this guy standing around the barbeque discussing it with his mates over beer or some zappy grey and red graphics and you get the picture.

Produced by M&C Saatchi, the campaign conveys a message that police are not driven by the desire to create safe communities but primarily the desire to boast about witnessing crime to your mates. The television advertisements are divided into two kinds: one that positions having a boring job as something that makes you weak as a male and the other positioning respect as something you gain from your involvement in combating crime as an extreme sport. The office worker who sends his baby to sleep speaking of his boring life is clearly the emasculated opposite of the cop who runs criminals down 'easy: good thing we get paid to keep fit'. While I empathise that we certainly need to be able to make pursuing a career within the police an attractive option for our youth – let's face it the police perform a lot of positive work within our communities – do we really need to send the message to our future preservers of the state that the definition of an exciting day is engaging in sadistic voyeurism?

I'm not sure that these advertisements and the way they sensationalise crime are the best way to instill public confidence in the police, or that they set a positive role model for recruits. On the website, many of the personal testimonies from police officers currently in the force read as noir-styled tales of the the underworld, detailing the pleasure in punishing. In the words of one 'fall guy' who acted as an undercover drug buyer for police upon seeing his catch outside the High Court: 'I cracked up laughing, at which point his drug-infused brain finally put two and two together. He changed his plea. Catching baddies isn't always that easy, but it can be fun'.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

3 days to Z day.

Tsvangari still enjoying the hospitality of the Dutch. The ANC are finally weighing in.The pressure is building. If Zuma says it is out of Mugabe's control, then is it in South Africa's? Of course it is:
"We cannot agree with Zanu-PF. We cannot agree with them on values,"Zuma said.
"We fought for the right of people to vote, we fought for democracy."

Paddy Ashdown, warned that:

Military intervention in Zimbabwe had to remain an option, the former high representative for Bosnia told the Times of London, while also lamenting the "thunderous" silence of South African President Thabo Mbeki.

"The situation in Zimbabwe could deteriorate to a point where genocide could be a possible outcome -- something that looks like Rwanda," he said [...] were the situation to deteriorate to that point, military intervention, with Britain playing a "delicate role" due to its history as Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler, would have to be an option.

"I think the UN Security Council resolution and the UN secretary general's statement yesterday [Monday] is likely to be influential and have an effect," he said.

"Secondly, the key person in this is Thabo Mbeki, and so far his silence has been thunderous.

"If it were the case that in addition to all the other African friends who have so far supported Mugabe, Mbeki, who is under pressure to do this anyway from within South Africa, were to come out in a very strong statement, I think that would have an effect.

"So there is a diplomatic game to play through here and I think it's not without hope of success."

Meanwhile in New York:The UN Secretary-General has spoken out about Mugabe, and the security council has unanimously condemned his regime. And a good comment to that article because it highlights the role of our mate, the casual Friday Police Commissioner:
Zimbabwe police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri said the police had been "shocked and surprised" by Tsvangirai's decision to seek refuge in the Dutch embassy. What a joke! Not too long ago policemen under Mr Chihuri's very command detained and severely assaulted Mr Tsvangirai in a police station under his command so badly that one side of his face was severely swollen and he had to seek medical assistance in South Africa. No formal charges where laid, they simply took him inot the police station in order to assault him. It is now abundantly clear that ZANU-PF have absolutely no concept whatsoever of the the most basic tenets of the democratic progress. Completely bankrupt when it comes to innovative and workable policies that can restore the Zimbabwean economy they have proven beyond any doubt that they are nothing more than brutal thugs who will even kill fellow human beings in order to cling to power for a few days more.

Information, please.

So it's rush hour and basically people are running to catch the bus or train. And it's raining, then hailing. All with massive gusts of chilly wind. People seem well dressed this evening, but it's miserable.

And the displays at Britomart station are all saying the next trains are two hours away. This throws me as in it's 24 hour time so I wander round thinking I've got 20 minutes. Then I realise the time doesn't make sense and it's not for hours - walk to the mezanine level and there's masses of people swarming around on the platform below. Go upstairs and ask the lady in the information booth at the ticket counter if there are delays of two hours. And she says, "You'll have to go downstairs and ask them". But, I explain, it's saying two hour delay - is that right?. "I don't know, you'll have to go downstairs..." But, I explain, I want some information about the trains. "I don't work for Violieaiu [or whatever the fuck they call themselves now] I work for..." She wouldn't be working there for a second more if I had anything to do with it. You would be out the fucking door lady. You get off your fucking fat arse and waddle down there and have a bullshit conversation with some fucking liar Veoliaeuo idiot about what the fuck has happened in the Newmarket-Bermuda Triangle and then you waddle upstairs and tell us about it - because lady, that's the only fucking thing any of us want to know.

So anyway, fellow commuters, that's when I swore (not nearly loud enough) and stormed off with arms flailing briefly in exasperation and defeat - walked out towards the bloody rain, and the bloody wind, and the bloody buses.


If you can't hear the burbling, crackling, English-as-a-second-language, echoing PA system announcing whatever indecipherable excuses and whatever, then neither can we.

Pick up your fucking telephone or whatever and ask them what the fuck is the estimated time of the next trains out. That is the one piece of information that the information lady at the information desk ought to be able to answer rapidly and accurately. She is situated in the very next booth, seamlessly in fact to, or really in, the ticketing counter. Situated in the Britomart railway station. All the other bullshit - it can weight. Tourists who want to know about photographing Kiwis, or someone wanting a bus to Howick or whatever can get fucked - what is the status of the train system NOW? I don't care if you work for Bobo the alcoholic clown, I don't care if you work for MOTAT, if you are in the information booth and there's some bullshit with the trains then I expect you to know. If the trains are fucked for this evening (and they've been fucked for decades so why should this evening be any different) the commuters have to make immediate decisions about catching buses or cabs or whatever. Without having to be told by you, lady, to go down to the platform to be told the information that you should have known in the first place. It's called: I N F O R M A T I O N. Try providing it sometime. People will thank you for it.

Zimpossible elections - four days to go.

Many .zw websites just are not functioning at the moment so getting information about what is happening in Zimbabwe is largely through other means today.

The Chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, George Chiweshe has said in a report that:
"We don't have a war. We will be able to hold credible elections"
Credible elections can take place, eh. Like the last lot of ballot-stuffing and misreporting was credible too I suppose. This is the same man who was an army general and prosecutor for Mugabe and appointed by him to rig the elections.

The MDC headquarters in Harare that was raided by the police, for the fourth time, yesterday is located on Nelson Mandela Avenue. He is currently in the UK, I understand celebrating his 90th birthday. He looked rather frail from the pictures, but surely his moral strength still has some weight, especially combined with his personal relationships with the players in his northern neighbour's crisis. Is he turning a blind eye? Is he not wanting to publicly undermine his successor, Mbeki?

Thankfully it appears Zimbabwe's other neighbours are preparing to act with more responsibility and humanity than South Africa. Meanwhile Tsvangirai is still at the Dutch embassy it appears. The MDC under so much pressure that a reversal of its election pull-out would not surprise me either.

Another prick in the cacti of the Zimbabwe apparatus of state oppression:

Michael Laws – a clown too far?

'Petty terrorists' must be stopped - Laws
Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws compares New Zealand gangs' lawlessness to violence in Zimbabwe and says the army should be called in to crush them if necessary. His comments come after several gang-related incidents in Invercargill and Hawke's Bay last week. "There is only one way to deal with these petty terrorists. That is to outlaw gangs and provide police with the resources to crush them," he said. "If that involves bringing in the army, then so be it." The influence of gangs in effect created "homes-away-from-home in prison". "Until politicians and police headquarters grow some testes, then gangs will continue to recruit new kids, engage in organised crime and kill people."

Oh Lord, where to begin? I used to like Michael, after reading his very good book, The Demon Profession , you got the real feeling that Michael was a very principled voice within NZ First and took his responsibilities as an MP very seriously, however since then he has bloated into Talkback reactionary dog whistle speech that seems more intent at creating heat than any light. This latest outburst is perhaps his worst to date, setting the Army on NZ citizens because we have decided those citizens are ‘terrorists’ is perhaps the most ill thought out, backward, fear mongering bullshit I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading. The Army? Michael wants to turn the Army on it’s own citizens? He then, without even understanding the irony, invokes the collapse of Zimbabwe as a reason why we should use the Army, of course in Zimbabwe Mugabe has in fact used the Army on his own citizens and managed to do that by painting his opposition out as traitors and terrorists. The way we deal with organized crime in NZ is by reforming the old SFO and attack the financial structures that allow Organized Crime to prosper and have the assets to keep ahead of the Police, as for street gangs, the societal alienation that drives much recruitment for gangs needs to be tackled while a much quicker Court system would hand out quicker Justice so that gang members do perceive that there is a direct counter reaction to their actions, with Court cases taking almost 2 years at the moment, there is no immediate effect felt. These are structural and resourcing issues and would go much further in finding solutions than the madness of suggesting we have the Army turn their guns on a splinter group within society and crush them in some type of bloodbath that Commissioner Laws envisions would be an Apocalyptic cleansing of the filth from the planet, only someone drinking deeply from their own well of bullshit could ever believe that is a solution.

Asian backlash building for sometime

PM urges community to engage with police
Prime Minister Helen Clark today urged the South Auckland community to work with police and not take the law into their own hands. She also gave details of a bill to look at alcohol sales which has been raised as an issue in recent violence in the area. Three people of Asian descent have died in homicides in the South Auckland area in the past two weeks, and in at least one case, the shooting of liquor store owner Navtej Singh, there were criticisms of the emergency service response. An Asian anti-crime group was set up three months ago in South Auckland and it is now taking a more proactive attitude. "We are forming to protect our own people," member Peter Low told Radio New Zealand. "If the police don't do it, we are going to do it ourselves. Simple as that."

This Asian backlash to perceptions of being the target of crime with calls for vigilante groups has been bubbling along for sometime now. When I was researching for Stake Out 3 years ago, we looked into Asian Crime and found that much of the community simply didn’t feel like they could reach out to the Police as there were few Police who could speak their language or understand the cultural nuances and there have been trust issues that were never resolved. What needs to happen is the Police need to sit down with the Asian community and start building trust so that the Asian community believe that they will be understood and will be treated fairly and that our Police force isn’t corrupted by bribery, get these understandings running and calls for vigilante groups will dry up, they are a symptom of a community that feels unsafe, the Police need to do more to make them feel they will be responded to, it is a process that has woefully been undervalued for a long time.

NZers aren’t as stupid as National hope

Taxpayers don't want cuts if services suffer - survey
The majority of people don't want bigger tax cuts if it means cuts to public service spending or more government borrowing, a new poll has found. The Public Service Association commissioned UMR Research survey of 750 voters found 60 per cent did not want tax cuts bigger than those in the May budget if that meant reduced public service spending or increased Government borrowing. Thirty-three per cent supported tax cuts anyway including 13 per cent who strongly supported them.
Women were more opposed to cuts under the scenario than men - 63 per cent and 57 per cent respectively, and people on lower incomes were more opposed than wealthier people. Another scenario put to voters was whether they would prefer to keep taxes as they are and keep user charges for services low or cut taxes and have higher charges. Nearly three in four respondents or 71 percent said they preferred to leave taxes as they were while 23 per cent would still prefer cuts.

This isn’t good news for National who have sold their entire strategy on greed, but as NZers start really looking at Party policy, note how the last three polls in a row over the weekend showed Labour slowly going up with National support slowly going down and as we get closer to the election NZers will start to focus more and more on the detail and will want to know exactly what it is National will do. 3 years ago National had a secret right wing privatization policy that they intended to implement once they were elected without telling the electorate, has 3 years really changed National that much?

Labours’ Liquor solution weak as piss

Clampdown on liquor sales looms
The Government has revealed tough measures to clamp down on liquor sales, including allowing councils to prevent outlets opening near schools and to limit opening hours. Prime Minister Helen Clark said yesterday the Cabinet had considered a raft of changes to liquor laws, including tougher controls on the supply of alcohol to young people and putting more restrictions on the location of off-licences. She said the Government had prepared legislation to build on Labour MP George Hawkins' private member's bill, which gives more community input into granting liquor licences.

This doesn’t go far enough! We need all booze out of Dairys and Supermarkets and strict zoning that doesn’t allow wholesalers to set up shop in suburban areas, while acknowledging that we have a problem with booze, Labours’ solution doesn’t go anywhere near confronting that reality.

Smackers try out American tactics that helped Bush

Smacking petition runs out of time
Prime Minister Helen Clark has virtually ruled out a referendum on smacking at this year's election, saying there will not be time to organise one. Campaigners trying to overturn the anti-smacking law yesterday handed in their second attempt to gather the numbers required to force a referendum. But the Prime Minister indicated that any referendum was likely to be later, rather than sooner. Asked why it could not be held at the same time as the election, which must be held by November 15, she replied: "Just in terms of sheer organisation, I do not think that is possible"

In 2004, Karl Rove made sure that gay marriage was a referendum issue during the Presidential election and they used that to whip up hard core Christian support, that is the exact tactic that these ‘spare the rod spoil the child’ nut bars are trying on here. I’m glad Helen Clark has shut down any chance of them turning the same trick in our election. Don't you love how the pro-beating your kid for Christ lobby went to Smackdown WWF to collect names for smacking? Tumeke!

Tsvangirai flees to Dutch Embassy - Latest

Good sources reporting Mugabe's opponent is taking refuge at present inside the Dutch Embassy. He can't use the UK or US embassies because of the politically damaging look of going to those Mugabe has painted out he works for.

A Zimbabwe blogger starts his post from yesterday thus:

This morning I woke up to the sound of my cell phone beeping messages about what was happening in Harare. The day started to roller-coaster forwards from there, fuelled by adrenaline and anxiety.

While I was scrambling to get the pages of the blog to open up to add news received via sms and emails, the question going through my mind the whole time was ‘Will the MDC call the rally off or not?’ At that stage my mind hadn’t reached far enough forwards to contemplate whether they might consider pulling out of the run-off.

The opposition are in a sad state of disarray. The Guardian reports the MDC Headquarters in Harare have been stormed by police. The police we shall continue to profile.

The people can still vote can't they? It still is a secret vote isn't it? Tsvangirai's name is still on the ballot isn't it?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Does Tsvangari believe that only God will remove Mugabe too?

Pulling out is a bad move for Tsvangari and democracy and the security situation. All that sacrifice to get to within five days of the election is now thrown away. This is a huge disappointment. To prevent violence in the remaining five days they are about to ensure it continues for the next five years.

At some point you have to bite the bullet - and persevere. The MDC's decision to contest the run-off has arguably resulted in the deaths of 70 people. What did they die for? So they can whimp out at the last minute. If they aren't going through with a farce, why did they start going through with it on March 30th after Mugabe had rigged the first vote? What did they think would happen? If they weren't prepared for the violence then they should have called it off then - not now when 70 of their supporters are dead. The MDC leadership is weak compared to the unity of ZANU (PF) and it shows. Mugabe is running rings around these amateurs. I hate to see this happen.

As we continue to detail the security apparatus that keeps Mugabe in power I draw our reader's attention to a couple of police reports on their website.It's just breath-taking. The Police Commissioner - pictured during a staged photo-op on some ZANU-PF Orwellian named "Villages 1 and 2" of a "Resettlement Area" (that's him in uniform with track shoes on, centre) - hardly inspires the confidence of the international community, let alone the millions of people he is actively persecuting. The prefix Comrade, as I understand it, marks him as a ZANU (PF) member.Highlights:
An unholy alliance has been forged between MDC(T) and several civic groups
have rabidly become anti-government
UK and USA who heavily sponsor the destabilisation crusade in Zimbabwe
the heinous activities by the misguided opposition
MDC in their selfish efforts to gain political power
All this is sabotage, a manifestation of sheer hatred of Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe's government
and Justice Paradza, a criminal fugitive now based in New Zealand were also lined up to come back and take over judiciary functions

An overtly political document, the police report paints themselves as instruments of ZANU (PF). The supposed MDC documents in the annex that openly talk about bribing election officials seem obviously bogus to me. It's bullshit, but I note it says Mrs Mugabe may be planning to take her children to Malaysia. It also says that the Reserve Bank is being looted before the regime collapses. Mugabe is to be sent to the Hague. All through it is talk of "our friends" the British, Americans and Australians. The classic Mugabe evil trio. Like Mugabe himself might have penned it in places, like the bit about inviting in "former Rhodesian security forces" and white farmers will be "coming back to their farms" and the black people since resettled there will be given "a maximum of 10 hours notice to vacate the houses" for the incoming white farmers. Fabrication from begining to end. And this is concocted by the police.
And no reports whatsoever of the violence from ZANU (PF) operatives and gangs, whatsoever, because they are co-ordinated by the police. Co-ordinated or condoned by officials like the improbably named:The war mantra Mugabe once employed against the White government is now being applied to his own people as if they were the enemy. Ever since 1980s select Zimbabweans have been dealt to as deemed politically necessary, but now it seems that a majority of the population is now in this enemy camp.

Bush militarism with cult overtones and Zimbabwe. Perhaps that was what ended that great Empire so long ago. Then again, maybe that was how it was created. Maybe I've been reading too much Wilbur Smith. Will the new one that takes its name go the same way? I note the government websites feature a banner of the Zimbabwe ruins - they are looking eerily similar to what they are doing to the country right now.


And we welcome aboard Auckland media studies scholar, Phoebe Fletcher, as a co-blogger. Her first post is below.