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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Did a Labour Party MP accidentally rumble the new fish and chip club 2014?

Did a Labour Party MP accidentally rumble the new fish and chip club 2014 in David Shearers office last month?

Did the club consist of Pagani, Shearer, Parker, Nash and a well known right wing strategist?

Did the Labour Party MP complain about the strategist being in Shearer's office?

What happened to the complaint?


Friday, March 30, 2012

Citizen A online NOW - ACC fratricide, Ports of Auckland legal failure and convention center bribes

Issue 1: Teapot tape decision, ACC infighting and a surprising declaration of war against Finland - has it been a bad week for John Key?

Issue 2: Ports of Auckland - nil. Maritime Union - 2. What's next for this  industrial relations weeping wound? 

Issue 3: When is a convention centre not a political bribe? 

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV


Thursday, March 29, 2012

The National Party self-mutilation over ACC explained

The factional war within National that is driving this self mutilation over ACC leaks is an example of tory's at their most masochistic. The unity that kept them stable enough for the election has evaporated.

Joyce has become our first tzar by staking out his new authoritarian capitalist super ministry squaring off against Bill English and in that wake is Crusher Collins trying to line up her credentials as Key's replacement.

This is ACC fratricide between Boag and Collins and sadly Nick Smith was collateral damage from friendly fire.

Make no mistake, this is a factional war within National, Ministers are falling from the heavens like murdered angels and if Crusher is connected to the dirty deeds done dirt cheap duo of Slater and Lusk, she'll be cast down from Olympus as well.

Slater is one of Collins favorites, it seemed very unsurprising that details turned up on Whaleoils site.

Collins looks nervous.


Post haste

An essential government-operated monopoly service that has millions of customers used the increase in GST in October 2010 as an excuse to put up the standard rate of their product by 17%.

From July - barely a year and a half since that massive hike - the price will increase again, this time by 14.5%.

The total increase of this product from two years ago - during which time inflation has risen less than 5% - is a staggering 28.5%!

There's more gouging going on here than a French rugby team. They justify the rise as compensating for less use of the service. So the question is, will ratcheting the price of the basic service up by 28.5% over the last two years reverse that trend?

I'm beginning to think it doesn't matter much to them; they regard the product's demand as relatively inelastic with a captive consumer base and are prepared to make drastic increases to try to support revenue. This is a sad game for a state monopoly to play; they are cutting their own throats in the long term. Thanks, Dr Cullen, you rich prick.

Why are we arresting medical marijuana users? Is it time to call for a truce on the war on drugs?

In Afghanistan they've accepted reality. The US has realized that they can't win this war and are trying to negotiate a truce from the Taliban. I suggest that we should be looking at the reality of the war on drugs and call a truce on marijuana.

If the US can realize how counter productive their war on terror in Afghanistan is, why can't we in NZ realize how counter productive our war on drugs with marijuana is?

We have one of the highest rates of incarceration for personal marijuana use and the hundreds of millions we waste on policing marijuana prohibition each year demands all educated people to actively ignore this farce at 4.20pm every day. Or 4.20am, depending on your internal body clock.

The conservative elements of society that justify the status quo refuses to enter the debate because they know they get a pasting when the issue gets aired and have to rely on some backwards 'morality' hang up to explain marijuana's continued illegality.

If this was about our 'health' then the Government would arrest every employee of KFC, as the double down burger will kill more people than marijuana ever has.

The prohibition debate must be advanced some how, now that the political voices have all been silenced. The Greens don't touch the issue any longer in their continued march towards suburban credibility, Labor have always been weak, National love killing any buzz and Peter Dunne has done more for the alcohol and tobacco lobbyists to kill off reform than anyone else.

So where to now for the debate?

My hope is medical marijuana, which is why this story gets me so mad...

Activist gets off cannabis charges

A Golden Bay activist caught growing 62 cannabis plants to help her husband relieve the phantom pain he suffers following a double amputation, has succeeded in getting the charges thrown out.

...what a despicable waste of time, taxpayer resources and anguish. Look, we all know the marijuana laws are bullshit. As a substance, marijuana is far less lethal than booze and tobacco and it's unregulated illegal status only empowers criminal organizations.

Who the fuck has a problem with cancer patients, AIDs patients, Parkinson's sufferers, chronic pain sufferers or double amputees growing their own and smoking a joint? How backwards a society have we become because of these stupid prohibition laws to justify this type of response to the ill using marijuana for pain relief?

Why not allow green speakeasys to be created where smokers can have an Amsterdam experience? Funds of which help discount medical quality marijuana for medical users. There is a way to regulate and tax the marijuana trade that not only eliminates the cost of policing but generates revenue at the same time while keeping a large chunk of people out of prison.

The utter silence from our political leaders on an issue as black and white as marijuana is difficult to sustain as we continue to try and lock up sick people who have committed no other crime than growing and smoking their own. Shouldn't the Police have more important things to do like investigate REAL crimes rather than arresting double amputees who smoke weed?

It is time to call a truce in the war on drugs over marijuana and as adults seriously embark upon working out how we implement a new regime that brings the black market out of the shadows and contribute to the economy while locking less of our citizens up for a drug that has none of the lethality of tobacco or booze.

It's time we grew up over this.


When will Radio Live get rid of Michael Laws?

Laws lashed for line on violence

The Families Commission has joined the father of a prominent domestic abuse victim in criticising broadcaster Michael Laws' suggestion that women who stay in abusive relationships deserve what they get.

Yawn. Is it radio ratings time again? Almost like clock work Laws seems to brain fart something disgusting into the public sphere right when Radio Live needs ratings and this latest voyage into redneck theology damning women who stay in abusive relationships demands an answer to the question - when will Radio Live stop being a redneck station and get rid of Laws?

It's not just the harm Laws causes to almost every single minority group in NZ, his right wing hate mongering simply makes no economic sense. The redneck radio market is dominated by ZB, by being another redneck radio station, Radio Live offers the market nothing. It's a rational I used in Metro last month to kill off the never rating Kiwi FM and relaunch it as 'Radio NZ 2' which would be a liberal talkback station. My argument being that the redneck talkback market is at full saturation and a liberal talkback station would offer the market something it currently doesn't get. With Kiwi set to be axed in June, I think it's an idea that has generated a lot in interest at the board level of RNZ, and could be launched if they manage to dislodge the only internal element trying to block the idea.

By justifying violence against women who don't leave abusive relationships, Laws has passed even his base benchmarks for generating offense, why Radio Live seem to think that equates into increased market share is utterly beyond me when Laws has lagged in ratings ever since he started at Radio Live.

I suspect his ability to stay on bleating right wing hate has more to do with the large redundancy clause in his 5 year contract than any actual faith in his abilities as a broadcaster.

Never before has having Mediaworks over a barrel sounded so ugly.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Global warming maybe worse than current predictions

Temperatures could rise by 3C by 2050, models suggest

Global temperatures could rise by 1.4-3.0C (2.5-5.4F) above levels for late last century by 2050, a computer simulation has suggested.

Almost 10,000 climate simulations were run on volunteers' home computers.

The projections, published in Nature Geoscience, are somewhat higher than those from other models.

The researchers aimed to explore a wider range of possible futures, which they say helps "get a handle" on the uncertainties of the climate system.

People planning for the impacts of climate change need to consider the possibility of warming of up to 3C by 2050, even on a mid-range emission scenario, the researchers say.

The study - run through climateprediction.net with the BBC Climate Change Experiment - ran simulations using a complex atmosphere-ocean climate model.

The representations of physical parameters were varied between runs of the model, reflecting uncertainties about precisely how the climate system works.

And the forecast range was derived from models that accurately reproduced observed temperature changes over the last 50 years.

The low end of their range is similar to that of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its 2007 report, but the high end is somewhat above the range their analysis produced.
So climate change brought on by a dramatic increase in temperature is going to be far worse than the officials are suggesting. Meanwhile the climate deniers are proven wrong again and again...

Experts claim 2006 climate report plagiarized

Poneke climate denial deserves contempt

Kiwiblog 6 - 7 metres: Yeah — I know.

La-la Land again: Jim Hopkins gets it wrong

A visitor from La-la Land: Garth George gets it wrong (again)

Egg/face interface for Hide and the climate cranks

Herald censures IPCC on flimsy grounds

Dominion Post editorial as shaky as Herald’s

The right wing denial campaign holds hands with this Government in stymying the debate and shutting down any real legislative progress to transform the NZ economy into a sustainable one.

This is a Government who wanted to denigrate conservation land with mining based on lobbyist valuations that were a joke using a false Eden Park analogy.

This is a Government who dumped 100% pure as a tourism brand to water down the criticism that we are environmental hypocrites.

This is a Government who stole the water rights from South Islanders so that they could hand over more water rights to Farmers who pollute and filthy our clean streams.

This is a Government who want to privatize our state assets so that they can take the money from assets we collectively own and hand it over to the Dairy industry for MORE irrigation for MORE cows for MORE pollution.

And this is a Government who are allowing Solid Energy to build a lignite production facility in Bill English's electorate to power his Brother's Federated Farmer's industry cheaply yet we have 1000MegaWatts of wind power and between 360Megawatts and 630MegaWatts of hyrdro power yet to be tapped into, so why, oh why would we use the dirtiest, filthiest 18th century technology for the 21st century?

Solid Energy’s lignite should “remain in the ground": PCE
Solid Energy’s lignite should “remain in the ground” says environmental watchdog
State-owned coal miner Solid Energy’s plans to turn low-grade Southland lignite coal deposits into massive new industries “make no sense” and the coal should “remain in the ground”, says a report on the proposals from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Man made pollution is warming the planet dangerously towards a tipping point which could crash our collective civilization, of that there is zero doubt, yet a report put out by Greenpeace shows how one of the largest secret corporations in America, Koch Industries, is spending tens of millions on inaccurate and misleading information regarding climate change.

Koch Industries funded 20 organizations central to the global media echo chamber that was Climategate.

Yet despite the lies from the right and the right wing blogosphere in NZ, the science keeps showing us that global warming is happening and we can link now the terrible floods in Australia and Brazil and snow storms in Europe to global warming.

The right wing have managed to pollute the debate so that inaction is the only result, we need to wake up to the reality that the hyper consumer culture and the neoliberal financial structure it relied on is not just bankrupt literally, it is no longer sustainable beyond the constraints of the biosphere.


NZ Police: bullets fired = x

Don't usually rate TVNZ for their investigative work (resources seem so often to be devoted to mainly sensationalist and trivial matters) or their ability to criticise the NZ Police - perhaps that is unfair on both counts. Last night's Close Up show on the police shooting and killing of a teenager last year was good journalism and even if the walrus went easy on the NZ Police spokesman it was still a good interview.

A year on from the fatal police shooting of a teenager outside of Napier, police say they have almost wrapped up their investigation into the matter.

Lachan Kelly-Tumarae, 19, was shot after police said he fired a shotgun in Fernhill, about 18 kilometres south-west of Napier.

But his family are demanding answers after his clothes were returned with what they say seemed to be 13 bulletholes - seven in his trousers, five in his t-shirt and one in his shoe.

The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Superintendent Andy Lovelock, has admitted he got his facts wrong during an interview on TV ONE's Close Up last night, and has spoken again to ONE News to set the record straight.

The most astounding revelation was when the spokesman refused to say how many bullets were fired - just (if you can forgive the expression) point blank refused to answer. He said it was a secret - they wouldn't be telling. He mumbled something about it coming out in a different forum!? Really. Gob-smacking. Like we are in a police state, but everyone is just too polite to mention it.

They shoot someone to death on the street, it's now a year on, and the NZ Police refuse to say how many bullets they fired. Unbelievable: the secrecy and the arrogance behind this cover up. The clothing shown on TV was, without exaggeration, simply riddled with holes.

Big chunks of the t-shirt were cut away. The spokesman said they had been retained by forensics. Really? So it wasn't to get rid of all the other bullet holes? Say it ain't so. If it is subject to forensic examination as he claims then all of that material will be available - let's see it then. Forensics or fabrication?

When asked about the bulletholes last night, Lovelock said: "There is one bullet hole in the clothing which is linked to a shot that hit Lachan in the abdomen, and that's the only one that is linked to a bullet penetration."

However, speaking today he said there are at least four holes in Tumarae's clothing associated with bullet wounds.

"There's a second shot that hit Lachan in the leg," he said. "The bullet passed through the leg and into his other leg, so in terms of that one bullet itself there's three holes in clothing.

"Now the family are aware of that particular shot, as they are in terms of the abdominal shot. Those two shots collectively are the cause fo Lachan's death."

And here we go with the old story changeroo. Nek minit different story. Credibility where art thou?

Like most fatal shooting incidents the NZ Police initially make up a story to present themselves in the best possible light - before they have established the facts or debriefed their own members responsible they will come out with a phony holding story for the media.

And as it always turns out the NZ Police media spin is nothing but a lie because they come out with different versions of events as the days roll by and the questions mount. As defendants and as witnesses the NZ Police would be considered unreliable at best. The number of rounds fired changes, the sequence of events change, the number of officers involved and what they were doing changes, the descriptions change, and the claimed facts lurch from the unsubstantiated to the untenable. Eventually when every officer has had time to compare notes and reherse their testimony - a process taking months - the cops will finally go public with their version. It isn't good enough and the "independent" police complaints authority is an under-resourced rubber stamp that lets it happen by being unable to adequately hold them to account.

Lovelock has also admitted Tumarae had not fired at police before he was shot, but said he was armed with a shotgun and had threatened the officers.

"When he alighted from the car the firearm was loaded and he had a bandolier of ammunition slung around his body," he said.

"There were two boxes of cartridges in the car and he presented his firearm immediately at police that were close to him, and in turn at the police officer who was also nearby and later discharged his police Glock. The result was Lachan ultimately died from firearm injuries caused by police."

Forensic evidence revealed Tumarae only fired his weapon while he was still in the car, which his family says left a hole in the passenger side foot well.

But police have implied the officer acted in defence.

"Implied" because the story is dodgy as and must still run the gauntlet of the various reviews and possibly a private prosecution. Did he "present the firearm" in a threatening way to the officers? Was it loaded?

Lovelock would not say how many times the officer who killed Tumarae fired his Glock, "because that's a matter we need to keep for later in the investigation".

Shhh, it's a secret. Is that what we expect and accept from these government-sanctioned killers?

If they refuse to release that basic information then what possible credibility does the rest of what they say have?

Of charter school

The government has announced the Charter Schools panel:

Education Minister, Hekia Parata, and Associate Education Minister, John Banks, are glad to announce the appointments for the New Zealand Model of Charter School Working Group.

As anticipated the retreads are back to kick some heads for the Tories, namely Catherine Isaac, the Actoid who lost out on a No.2 list pozzie when their vote collapsed under the weight of Don Brash's kamikaze assault on the leadership - she was on the welfare razor gang last term now she's heading the show. I note too that the Maori Party's own retread, Hana O'Regan, who was on their foreshore and seabed panel last term is also in the group.

The announcement doesn't mention any Maori Party minister involved, just the newbie Education Minister, Parata, and Act's leader, Banks, who - astoundingly given his past comments deriding the teaching profession - finds himself as Associate Education Minister. But the fact O'Regan is there suggests the Maori Party have had an input, even if it is as minimal as nominating one one of their own. I doubt they would have influenced the terms of reference. It is still more about enriching private interests and smashing the teacher unions in the final analysis, rather than lifting educational outcomes.

Also appointed are former Christchurch Mayor and founder of Discovery 1 and Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti, Vicki Buck, CEO of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu - The Correspondence School, Michael Hollings, and Dr Margaret Southwick of Whitireia Community Polytechnic.

Founder of Onehunga Business School & Just Water International CEO, Anthony Falkenstein, University of Auckland Director of Alumni Relations and Development, John Taylor, and the Dean of Te Puna Wānaka and the Director of Māori and Pasifika Studies at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, Hana O’Regan complete the Group.

But where are the actual teachers or people specifically involved in the compulsory education sector? Apart from Vicki Buck, it doesn't look like anyone has that experience, and none of them appear to have had any recent coal-face/chalk-face roles in a school environment which they are now tasked with creating. There's a lot of business types and academics in tertiary settings. I would have expected a former principal or two would have been on the panel, but no, not from what it looks like. This won't help the impression that this group is more an ideological think-tank implementing a pre-set agenda than a working party developing pragmatic solutions.

As the title would suggest they are out to create a template, to accelerate the under-funding and privatisation of education. And what about the title? It doesn't even sound grammatical to me:

[...] the New Zealand Model of Charter School Working Group.
“I look forward to working with the Group who will now begin consulting with the community and fleshing out the policy issues around how best to develop a New Zealand model of charter school,” says Mr Banks

Something is wrong with that. It's rather awkward.

It should be "schools" - plural - shouldn't it?
A NZ model for charter schools - that makes more sense. The NZ model of charter school working group - that makes more sense than putting "of" in there doesn't it? This quasi-privatisation initiative is off to an unimpressive, quasi-literate start.

It's time to sack Tony Gibson for crimes against the economy

Ports of Auckland - 0

Maritime Union - 2

Bad luck Tony Gibson. Despite the black ops campaign Slater and Odgers seem to have run for PoA. Despite the mud slinging from far right Christian radio. Despite the anti-Union hysteria generated by the mainstream media. Despite Len Brown becoming a scab mayor. Despite the claims it was militant unionists when it was militant bosses. Despite the disgusting way a wharfie had the terminal illness of his wife revealed. Despite the murky behind the scenes machinations of Council Controlled Organisations picked by Rodney Hide for privatization purposes. Despite saying that there was no way the workers could gain back their jobs. Despite this entire farce being a manufactured crisis from day one.

Despite all of that.

The employment court has for the second time slapped down the PoA bad faith bargaining campaign in a decision that would make even the most hysterical anti union yob pause mid spittle and admit the tactics to date have had nothing to do with productivity and everything to do with ideology.

This war represents the attempt by big business to stamp the low wage economy all over workers faces, and there can be no fence sitting. If destroying working class job security and just terms of employment are really the future of NZ, then we have no future.

It is time for this right wing joy ride to end, Tony Gibson is threatening the entire NZ economy by destroying the PoA, it is time he was arrested for crimes against the economy.


Treaty of Waitangi or Cheaty White Hangi?

Dear Finland - we are really, really, really sorry for Gerry Brownlee, he's a bully who should pick on a country his own size.

It's interesting that the Finns highlight and have a go at the perception that white people conned the indigenous culture out of their land in their counter satire against us.

Isn't that a fascinating insight that the domestic hobbits won't like acknowledging?


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Finnish riposte

Finnish TV comedian responds to Gerry Brownlee's rant. It's in English and directed to the NZ public. The succinct analysis of colonisation is at 2:40.(via NZHerald)

Mana AGM 2012

The Mana movement's AGM was held over the weekend at a Marae on the shore of Lake Rotorua. It was the second AGM - even though the party is less than a year old!

At this time last year Hone was being chucked out of the Maori Party. How things have changed in such a short period.

Hone fought a by-election to re-establish his mandate, became a parliamentary leader on the front bench, worked with the disillusioned and marginalised to get a popular movement and organisation up and running, and at the general election Mana got more party votes than Act (who spent ten times as much in the election campaign). Mana stood candidates in all the Maori electorates and about ten general seats - a huge logistical task for a small party in its first year. Apart from returning the leader, Mana supporters reduced Te Ururoa Flavell's massive majority in Waiariki to 1800 votes - these are substantial results.

There is plenty to be satisfied with in the achievements of this movement to date. The members at the AGM were ambitious and have begun laying the groundwork for an electoral onslaught come 2014.
Over 150 members were present and representatives from all over the country (and Australia!) were there. Some familiar faces from Left causes, some faces who had left the Maori Party, many new faces, and - hearteningly - many younger members.
And Matt McCarten - founding President I think he was, and guru regardless - gave the closing address. He was fit and fighting. I don't know if it's because of his recent health issues or not but his stutter is only occasional now and I'm beginning to think he's using it to keep people on their toes. He started one sentence with "Ow", Ow-Ow-Ow... In the context I thought he was going to say "Aotearoa", but it turned out "Our country" :)
The officeholders are pretty much unchanged, except from Pitman as a VP. All were elected unopposed:
Annette Sykes, President
John Minto, VP Tane
Mereana Pitman, VP Wahine
Rob Saunders, Treasurer
Gerard Hehir, Secretary
Not surprisingly for a new movement members are still grappling with internal structure and how to fit everything together. The main issues seem to be: how to get traction and members in the South Island, esp. Christchurch (but a big delegation from Dunedin was there and also from Poneke where the Te Tai Tonga (Southern Maori) electorate encompasses the Wellington suburbs, so the electorate is not without representation), and how do non-Maori interact within a party based on kaupapa Maori. I'm not saying any of this was resolved exactly, but those were the two big issues from what I saw.
Matt also had some fascinating information about the Ports of Auckland dispute, but that's off the record.

Sky City to gain $25 million from 350 more pokies in dirty deal with Government

The dirty deal between Sky City and the Government to bribe us with a convention center in return for more pokies looks like it will go through this week.

It's a filthy deal for two reasons.

The first is that this represents out right political bribery. We will re-write NZ law, law set up to protect us from the scourge of pokies, we will re-write that because Sky City is buying us a pretty convention center.

Have you ever felt so cheap?

If Sky City get 500 more pokies, they gain $35 million more, 350 pokies will gain them $25 million more. That's not civic generosity, that's a God damned scam.

The second reason this is a filthy deal is that by handing the convention center to Sky City it dooms the St James. The St James is a beautiful building being left to rot and decay, the old Auckland Council's submission was that the regional funding available for the convention center goes to the Aotea Center who would refurbish the St James and use that as an arts and cultural events venue. By giving the convention center deal to Sky City, the National Government has signed the death warrant for the St James.

My main concern however is what else is in this deal? Sky City were pushing hard to have advertising regulations loosened as well as the extra pokies. That would mean a double blow to Auckland, more pokies and more ability for Sky City to suck people into those pokies.

To date the only issue Steven Joyce has with this entire grubby deal is that it needs to look paua shell tacky Nu Zilind enough to satisfy his largesse.

Welcome to the new crony authoritarian capitalism. Our Cabinet looks a shade of Junta this year don't you think?

Ugly, ugly deal.


Will John Key now be prosecuted for wasting Police time?

Well, well, well - so turns out that the Police won't be charging anyone over the tea pot tapes after all. What a none surprising surprise. This should NEVER have been sent to the Police in the first place.

Let's remind ourselves what exactly happened again so the full contempt for John Key's actions can sink in.

Key, on the advice from Joyce, decided strategically to attack the media over the tea pot tape scandal because internal polling done the night before showed NZers disliked the media more than they disliked John Key. This after Key had ridiculously framed the issue as similar to the Rupert Murdochs phone hacking scandal and after Key had tried claiming that his supposed breach of privacy in a public place was akin to being a parent and having a discussion about their childs suicide published in the media???

These two jaw dropping excuses to bully the media became farcical when Key claimed that it wasn't a waste of Police time because the crime rate had dropped and they had plenty of time on their hands???

The arrogance of this man is astounding.

John Key standing up for the principle of not being secretly recorded is possibly the sickest part of this joke. Firstly what expectation could the PM seriously have had of privacy during a publicity stunt he himself has called, and secondly for a PM who rammed through the power to illegally spy on citizens to now stand for the principle not to be secretly recorded is hypocrisy so rank it should make educated people vomit.

So far Key has justified gagging the media with Police because taping him is like phone hacking a murdered childs family, because youth suicide might increase and because the Police have plenty of time on their hands??? Now he wants to turn the other cheek?

I'm sorry, this entire fiasco, generated from National Party internal polling that suggested NZers hated the media more than they hated John Key was Machiavellian in the extreme and evidence of how cynical and calculating Key really is once you cut past the vacant optimism.

The only thing that came out of this fiasco is Key's actions ended the honeymoon the mainstream media were still giving Key up till that point. It's interesting to note that Key was the one who ended the cosy relationship and it wasn't the media growing up and holding him to account.

Will John Key now be prosecuted for wasting Police time?


Monday, March 26, 2012

Redneck kneejerks for private prison profit

It's kinda disgusting isn't it? The way politicians manipulate the righteous anger whipped up be a 'if-it-bleeds-it-leads' media myopically focused on crime. Read the following report and feel ashamed at how easily we have allowed media generated fury at criminals become warped by the political wolves who feed our anger with medieval law and order policy...

Politicians cuffed for filling jails

A political bidding war between the main parties to prove who is tougher on crime has led to New Zealand having one of the world's highest rates of imprisonment, an international study has found.

The comparative study of 11 countries' justice systems found New Zealand's is racist and punitive and imprisons people at a rate second only to the United States.

The United Kingdom Audit Office study looked at New Zealand, Australia, the US, France, Canada and the Netherlands among others.

It found New Zealand imprisoned offenders at a rate of 199 for every 100,000 of the population, second only to the US at 748. That is 25 per cent higher than England and Wales, and 33 per cent higher than Australia.

Between 2005 and 2008 New Zealand's rate of imprisonment rose by 15 per cent despite the crime rate only rising by 4 per cent over the same period.

Surprised at New Zealand's high prison population, the authors conducted their only case study on New Zealand.

They found despite New Zealand being ranked first in a global peace index which looked at issues such as corruption, violence and crime rates, only 57 per cent of New Zealanders felt safe, a rate comparable with Iran and Bulgaria.

New Zealand also remanded more offenders in custody at a rate of 43 per 100,000, compared to 30 in Australia and 25 in the UK.

The study found that since the mid-1980s a "bidding war" between National and Labour over who was tougher on crime had led to a dramatic increase in the prison population.

"This means the use of harsher sentences without reference to their impact on crime trends or generally agreed opinion about their penal effectiveness," the report said.

It also found Maori suffered from "structural inequality and systematic criminal justice system bias".

...and now we have the private prison industry in NZ making a profit from incarceration. The billion dollars of taxpayer money being sunk into the Wiri private prison should shock us all. This is privatization on a sweeping scale. What the recent prison closures really represent is that by 2015, 20% of NZs prison population will be held in private prisons, and that will make us one of the largest percentages of any country in the world.

The warping effect of private prisons is already worming its way into policy. The 3 strikes policy benefits private prisons as does the new Corrections Amendment Bill currently being walked through Parliament. The new Bill will enable prisons to include all sorts of petty infringements that added up will deny a prisoner bail. You can immediately see the benefit of such petty rules like 'drinking too much water' to the private prison industry. Bail denied for petty rule infringements is more time in prison, and more time in prison is juicer profits for SERCO.

We are building an empire of misery in our prison nation. The fruits of this harvest will reap a sour corporate profit margin that will taste bitter in the communities left dealing with these damaged inmates once they are thrown out onto the streets.

The utterly counter productive lynch mob redneck law and order kneejerks have been high jacked for corporate profit. How terribly ugly of us.


Ummm - why are children being assaulted by Telecom youth brand at skate park?

I don't understand any of this? Who the hell has green lighted children to be assaulted while handing out spray cans at the Victoria street skate park? I walk past this skate park every day, there's been no aggro in the past, how come as soon as a subsidiary youth brand of Telecom gets involved there's kids getting assaulted?

The Skinny & Serenity National Grom Skate Comp has a hell of a lot of explaining to do. At the very least, the Police should be called for the assault.

Is this what Telecom meant when they said they were going to be aggressive in the teen market with Skinny?


NZ - now one nation under CCTV (10 reasons to hate new Search & Surveillance Bill)

You stupid cop worshipping authority sluts.

We are a nation of sleepy hobbits easily manipulated by Shire Volk into handing over vast unchecked powers to the State. With the passing of the draconian Search and Surveillance Bill last week, a little part of progressive NZ died as the Police managed to get a wet dream wish list of spying powers through without any real safe guards whatsoever. Effectively we've just handed the eye of Mordor over to the state.

This isn't a left wing or right wing issue, this is about freedom from an all pervasive state. It is about the very values of a progressive democracy, and to allow the State such powers with no judicial over sight and no checks and balances is more proof that we are sliding further and further into Authoritarian Capitalism with every passing week. The saddest thing is that we all just let John Key do it.

The irony here is that NZers are the first to rear up on their hind legs and bleat 'NANNY STATE' when a Government attempts to remove the legal loop hole that allows abusive parents to get away with bashing their kids, yet not a whimper from them when the State allows 70 agencies the ability to break into our homes and spy on us with all of the 'authority' of a fucking Justice of the Peace.

This is Nanny State on meth. We are becoming a functional police state, not a liberal democracy.

This legislation represents the largest erosion of civil liberties since the 1951 lockout, we should all be deeply ashamed at the way we've allowed our rights to simply be taken from us in this manner. The blood we've spilt on foreign beaches defending our democracy and freedom has been squandered and wasted. Why bother paying such a steep price for freedom and democracy when we so willingly hand its fruits over without a word?

We deserve contempt for this. For the slower members of the herd, here are the 10 reasons we should never have accepted the Search and Surveillance Bill.

1: These spying powers are not just for the police - they can be extended to 70 other Government agencies. Why the hell should the Pork Board be allowed to break into your home and plant spy cameras?

2: The so called safe guards for the other Government agencies is that to use these powers will require the signature of the Minister. Seeing as John Key signed off on the new BMW's 4 separate times and claimed he still had no idea what he had agreed to, a Minister's signature as a safe guard is as flimsy as an umbrella is at protecting you from tsunamis.

3: The ONLY submission received in support of these dizzying new powers was from the Police, EVERY OTHER SUBMISSION was against it. How can we formulate public policy as sensitive as the power to spy on one another when the only support is from the ones gaining these new powers?

4: NZers have lost their right to silence, the Police can force you to answer questions on mere suspicion of you committing a crime now.

5: NZers now have to hand over any information to the Police not if they prove you are guilty of anything, but based on suspicion and if you refuse to provide this information, you can be jailed for 12 months.

6: The Police no longer have to get a search warrant based on evidence to spy on you, they only have to get a surveillance device warrant which can be obtained by any officer of any of the 70 Government agencies who can now ask for it based on no evidence at all, just their 'suspicion' that you might be involved in a crime. This surveillance device warrant can be obtained from just a bloody JP.

7: The Police and 70 other state agencies won't even need a warrant of any kind once you are arrested if they think further evidence is at another address. So you could be arrested on suspicion, and your car, workplace, friends homes etc etc can be searched without any warrant.

8: The powers are sold as being used against 'organized crime' but the definition by the Police of 'organized crime' is 3 people who know each other.

9: Even if the agency doesn't find what they are looking for as outlined in their suspicions, any evidence they do find can still be used. This means the spying is pure fishing expedition, the 'suspicion' used to obtain the spying warrant doesn't even need to match what they find.

10: These NZ spying powers by every Government agency go well beyond anything in Europe, Canada, Australia or even the US.

I've watched the progress of this Bill from the very start and with hand on heart would have sworn there was no way this would have advanced as far as it has. I thought the fiasco of the so called Urewera terrorism trial would have put a screaming halt to these new spying powers. To my genuine shock it was used to ram through retrospective legislation legalizing illegal Police spying tactics.

I honestly don't think most NZers have any idea what they've given away and that if there had been a real attempt to educate NZers of the ramifications of just allowing these powers to be available to 70 agencies then there is no way it would have passed.

This abomination that erodes so many of our civil rights should never have been allowed to pass. The history books will be far more damning of our collective apathy on this than the current entertainment driven media are.

Sleepy hobbits reap what they sow.


Sunday, March 25, 2012


Cost of 2011 ACT campaign? $617,035

Cost of 2011 MANA campaign? $60,082

MANA winning more votes than ACT despite ACT spending ten times more? Priceless.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Authoritarian Capitalism vs Democratic Capitalism

As Nick Smith plummets to earth and one of the major intellectual weights and legislation over seer's gets knee capped from inside, us dear mortals should realize that within National there is a ferocious battle of the angels raging.

On one side sits Bill English and on the other side sits Key and Joyce. Ever since the neo liberal agenda culminated in it's predictable implosion due to unregulated greed in 2007, Governments have been straining to follow any example of capitalism that gives them power, and they've found it in the authoritarian regions of the world, in China, in Russia, in South America. Authoritarian Capitalism performs better than Democratic Capitalism and we can see this ideological changing of the guard in our own Government.

The tensions brewing between English and Key as Joyce creates a super Ministry able to counter Treasury are becoming increasingly apparent. Such a sudden ratcheting up of power accumulated to fewer people is happening all the time now. In Christchurch it is happening, it's just happened with vast new surveillance powers awarded to 70 state departments, and it's happened with the announcement of a strangulation of local councils.

The ideological war between social democrats and free marketeers is becoming one of democratic capitalism vs authoritarian capitalism. Under authoritarian capitalism the mantra is 'lowest cost', so regulation, labour laws, environmentalism, rights and civil liberties - all of these fruits of a progressive liberal democracy become 'nice to haves' that an authoritarian capitalist state won't fund.

As citizens have been warped into consumers, NZ's once famed egalitarianism has been watered down to a mere airs of casualness that allows the classes to mingle while the guns are left at the door. John Key's smile and wave laid back style makes him the perfect wrapper to sell this alarmingly sudden compression and accumulation of State power.

With such cultural touchstones, our fascism was always going to be this casual.


GDP predicted .6% - GDP achieved .3%. Fail? Epic.

Weather and World Cup fail to lift GDP

The economy dawdled through the last three months of 2011, gross domestic product growing just 0.3 per cent - half the pace expected by most forecasters - despite the twin boost of good weather for farmers and the Rugby World Cup.

From 2008 Treasury claimed we would get 1.5% growth, 2.3% growth and then 3.2% growth. We actually got -1.1% growth, -.4% growth and -.1% growth. Treasury have been out by as much as 3.1% of GDP as little as last year. The reason Treasury keep getting it wrong is because the current free market meltdown is beyond their ideological paradigm.

Treasury are confronted by economic conditions created by the neoliberal deregulation they so slavishly worship, meaning Treasury doesn't have the intellectual capacity to look outside their free market paradigm.

What we are getting from Treasury is a mish mash of austerity cut backs resting on future growth predictions that make Hoover's constant claim of 'prosperity just around the corner' in the wake of the 1929 stock market collapse, look pessimistic.

Paul Krugman in the New York Times points out that Europe is hardly out of the woods yet...

We dumped the lessons of managed Keynesian capitalism for this neo-liberal monster. In the 70's the real economy and the financial economy were evenly valued, 40 years of neoliberal deregulation and the real economy is valued at $8 Trillion where as the Financial economy is valued at $300 Trillion - the utter imbalance built by ignoring development for Milton Friedman free market dogma has created not only an unjust system, it also has created acolytes within Government and the business media community whose blinkered attachment to failed free market theology makes them all part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Why we should listen to Treasury on increasing class sizes when they can't comprehend the economic future their free market fetish has unleashed should take a very short time to answer.


True cost of Urewera case closer to $14 million

The pantomime of farce that the Police used to try and convict the so called Urewera terrorists has come to a sad and sorry end that should serve as a constant reminder of what happens when you don't have enough internal checks and balances on the Police.

The cost to the taxpayer for this fiasco is utterly intolerable. Forget the visible $6 million in legal costs that eclipses any legal case before this, it's the secret $8 million in surveillance costs hidden from public view in the budgets of the GCSB and the SIS that need to be added, meaning this entire fiasco is actually closer to costing us $14 million!

They had to fly in special ops from Afghanistan for this expensive police paranoia. Was Helen Clarke more motivated by the cost of the on going surveillance and needing that to end which was an over riding decision to green light this operation? Was stopping the surveillance costs more of a motivation than any actual defined genuine risk? Because a $14 million fishing expedition that gained nothing but contempt and anger is hardly a positive measure of public spending is it?

Busting a merry militia of weekend role players is hardly terrorism is it?

BTW - Activists NEVER pick up guns. I've been an activist all my life, never needed a gun once. By picking up a gun, what are you actually saying? 'My argument is so much better than yours, I'll shoot you to prove it'? As activists we win by making better arguments, not by the threat of violence.

It isn't just this disgusting cost financially and socially that must be worn by the rest of us, we also have to accept the Police gaining the power to break into our homes and spy on us with minimal judicial oversight after the National Party passed retrospective law under urgency to put a legal fig leaf over ongoing Police surveillance tactics that were shown to be illegal.

So we pay for Police paranoia, and have our civil rights eroded at the same time?

Hobbits. Sleepy. Reap. They. What. Sow. Make a sentence.


Citizen A - Nick Smith, strangling local councils & Treasury advice for teachers

Issue 1: Nick Smiths resignation - How did Key handle this and does ACC's behavior suggest bully tactics?

Issue 2: Treasury suggests better outcomes for teachers by adding 3 students to classrooms. If Treasury can't get their forecasts right, should they be messing with education?

Issue 3: Government announce the slow strangulation of local councils but who actually benefits?

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fishing Expeditions

Due for the final reading today in parliament is the odious Search and Surveillance Bill. It's a wish list for the NZ Police and other government agencies, a serious erosion of civil liberties, and runs as part of an authoritarian stream of bills. Mr Bradbury has also commented extensively on this subject.

Listening yesterday to the committee stage I heard nothing to allay any fears since the bill was introduced in 2009. The dumping by the Minister (Judith Collins) of a massive supplimentary order paper with little time to digest and respond to it is a shabby way to make amendments, but is all too typical of how parties operate when in government. Considering how long the bill has been around you have to impute a malign intent when there is last minute rushes this way.

At this stage I don't know what's in (or out of) the bill - will have to listen in if it goes through tonight. The 'fishing expedition' parts allowing the cops to commence surveillence without a warrant are the most dangerous - I hope this has been dropped.

The bill's contents and SOP are online.

Operation 8 question

Today's Questions in parliament. Number 8 - ironically:

8. HONE HARAWIRA to the Attorney-General:
What is the likely total cost of the “Urewera Four” case to the Crown, from the start of surveillance of suspects to the close of the trial on Tuesday, including all of the different government departments that were involved?

And maybe a supplimentary could be asked as to what possible cost any retrial might be.

Pity the main figures in this - the then Police Commissioner Howard Broad and the then Police Minister (Annette King?) and PM (Helen Clark) - aren't made to answer these questions. To a large extent the current National government have been left to pick up the pieces, wipe the egg off the face of the NZ Police and defend the action even though they had nought to do with "Operation 8".

The government was trapped by the NZ Police's own hype, the budget already expended and the institutional pressure building up to eek out a consolation dividend by pursuing the lesser charges to the very end.

I wonder what figure Finlayson will tell us? It must be in the millions if they include everything.

PoA u-turn over manufactured crisis

Despite the black ops campaign Slater and Odgers seem to have run for PoA. Despite the mud slinging from far right Christian radio. Despite the anti-Union hysteria generated by the mainstream media. Despite Len Brown becoming a scab mayor. Despite the claims it was militant unionists when it was militant bosses. Despite the disgusting way a wharfie had the terminal illness of his wife revealed. Despite the murky behind the scenes machinations of Council Controlled Organisations picked by Rodney Hide for privatization purposes. Despite saying that there was no way the workers could gain back their jobs. Despite this entire farce being a manufactured crisis from day one.

Despite all of that.

Union Power holds the line. The legal position of the PoA has never looked sound from a good faith position and the Judge has called ten on that. This decision should deeply shake the faith of all those who have sided against the Union in the belief that it was the Unionists generating the problems.

If the Unions win here, it will be a shot in the arm for the entire movement and show other workers that fighting for their rights can work. There is far more at stake here than just the Ports.

PS - Let's hope as ratepayers that whatever money has been paid for online black ops is refundable.


$6 million terrorism cock up - a day of shame for NZ Police

When this bullshit piece of American knee jerk legislation, the 'Terrorism Suppression Act', was rammed through Parliament because the US had barked its orders in the wake of September 11, the Greens and Maori MPs warned in Parliament that these powers would not be aimed at terrorists and would be used on activists and Maori.

Lo and behold it was.

Let's be clear, yesterdays decision to find the Urewera 4 guilty only of weak guns charges is an embarrassing day of shame for the NZ Police force.

The cops had their bizarre fantasy concoction of guerrillas in the mist styled narrative slapped down. What happened here was errorism. Errors in thinking from activists running around with guns in the first place and errors in thinking by the Police misreading weekend role players as a legitimate terrorist threat.

A jury of peers felt less sure of naming the over the top aspirations of left wing activists and Maori nationalists as evidence of organized crime, a distinction the Police weren't capable of judging once they became tunnel visioned.

Police over reaction has cost us a staggering $6 million in tax payer dollars, but the damage in relations between Tuhoe and the activist community towards Police has run into the billions.

For the Police to enter the Tuhoe community in the same set of circumstances that led to the original Tuhoe grievance will become a PHD level study in Police stupidity.

It isn't just this disgusting cost financially and socially that must be worn by the rest of us, but because of this Police zealot blindness we all have to accept the Police gaining the power to break into our homes and spy on us with minimal judicial oversight. The National Party passed retrospective law under urgency to put a legal fig leaf over ongoing Police surveillance tactics that were shown to be illegal.

So we pay for Police paranoia, and have our civil rights eroded at the same time? How the hell has this abomination been allowed to warp all that is good around it?

In the wake of this horrible example of why you want to keep the NZ Police within as many checks and balances as you possible, the new Search and Surveillance powers are to be debated which will simply throw away many of the current checks and balances.

This case has shown us why the NZ Police need to be kept on a shorter leash and the mass expansion of spying powers National intend to hand all state Departments is something that we should all resist.

NZ is a liberal democracy, not a crypto-Police state. The Jury recognized that yesterday.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Treasury fantasy to gut education

When the Treasury shit kicker says education results have been 'static' - you all understand NZ's public education ranks near the top right? So it remaining 'static' is actually an incredible result.

The problem in NZ is the so called 'long tail' those students who perform very poorly, and we know who they are, they are those living in lower socio-economic environments! That's a pure underfunding issue, and it sure as hell won't be solved by adding 2 to 3 more kids per class room. This is a cost cutting measure, to dress it up as a solution when it can't even acknowledge the issue correctly shows that Treasury are part of the problem.


ACC soap opera becomes Shakespearean tragedy - In defense of Nick Smith

Oh what a wicked tournament of lies this ACC fiasco has become.

Let's be clear. I don't care IF Nick Smith has had sex with Bronwyn Pullar. I don't really care all that much that Nick wrote on ACC letter head that he had known Bronwyn before her accident and can attest to the negative impact it has had on her since.

Yes I know Nick over stepped himself with the letter, and yes naughty, naughty. But this sexual innuendo and apparent over stepping of Cabinet protocols all pale into insignificance to the central issue here, that NZers are getting dicked around by bloody ACC who will use every excuse under the Sun to deny compensation.

Even National Party activists deserve to be treated with dignity and watching ACC throw Bronwyn to the Police over a faked allegation that she threatened to expose ACC negligence in return for compensation boils my blood. I say faked because the doyenne of the right, MFB (Michelle Fucking Boag) was in that meeting. Say what you will of 'chelle, but she ain't stupid enough to rock up to ACC in the capacity of a support person and threaten them with a bribery option. That ACC are trying this on is extraordinary.

We are seeing an arrogance on behalf of ACC that should be deeply concerning. They actively decline people requiring help, through their own negligence they release confidential papers and when called on it, bully and intimidate a woman who has an existing complaint against them.

This is a story of a department out of control and drunk on it's own power, it has bugger all to do with Nick Smith.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jury pondering

The absurdity of the lawyers' rhetoric to one side, the element the jury in the Urewera 17 4 must grapple with is: was what the so-called "terrorists" were doing in the bush - the training bit - unlawful? That is what it will turn on in deciding whether or not the group was a criminal one. The jury has already had "some difficulty" with this:

The 11 jurors resumed their deliberations this morning at the High Court at Auckland.

Justice Rodney Hansen told them that he had received two questions from them.

One of them expressed they were "some difficulty'' with the organised criminal group charge and asked whether they could move on to the firearms charges.

They retired shortly before midday on Thursday but did not resume on Friday after one of the jurors injured herself at home.

Justice Hansen told the jurors they could consider the charges in any order that they liked.
He said working through the other counts may help them to resolve any issues they had in relation to count one, the organised criminal group charge.

The jurors have photo booklets and more than 1300 pages of transcript of evidence to draw on during their deliberations.

They have also been told that they can review footage captured by covert police cameras in the Urewera bush.

Now if the jury focus on the firearms aspects first and decide that they are guilty on those counts it makes it a lot easier for them to think that the group must be, automatically, a criminal one. Not criminal because the training and exercises are in itself a criminal offence (which is what the Crown are trying to say) but because the criminality comes from the possession of firearms. That threshold is far too low, but that is the risk. Conversely if the jury finds no criminality with the firearms side then it makes it very likely - I would think - that the criminal group charge would fail as a consequence.

At the moment it is still wide open, with a possibility looming that there may be a hung jury on the criminal group charge. But at this stage, with all the botched police work and prosecution antics having eroded the strength of the original charges, any conviction at all on anything - no matter how small - would be welcomed by the Crown. The most of a win the government can salvage in these circumstances would be a Pyrrhic victory - the offences are relatively minor, the cost to the NZ Police of their "Operation 8" and the Crown prosecution in the millions.

How long does the jury need? They've been deliberating a couple of days and have had the whole weekend to think about it. Is this time span just what happens when a straight forward matter is deluged by the prosecution in reams of evidence?

As for the defence, they have done as well behind the scenes in the pre-trial process and in the media as they have done in the trial - pretty good considering the resources of the government.

None of them gave evidence in person at the trial. They didn't have to and they didn't. To some people exercising a right to silence is proof of some guilt - it isn't. Having taken the stand in my own defence in a sedition trial I know only too well that it is perilous and can be quite counter-productive if the actions of the defendant cannot be explained without jeopardising other people or things a defendant wishes to protect. It isn't hard to twist things to make people look unreliable in such a situation. They were right not to go into the witness box.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The tactics behind Shearer's speech: Building the progressive majority

Political blogger: 'Labour driving me away'

Labour stalwart Brian Edwards says the party's move to the political centre, which was further hinted at in new leader David Shearer's speech last week, is driving him away from the party and into the arms of the Greens.

In my opinion, the tactics behind Shearer's move to the centre represents the first strategic understanding of the mechanics of MMP Labour have ever exhibited and Brian Edward's response is the exact sort of thing Labour tacticians would hope for.

The upper middle class audience Shearer pitched to were as important as the faint dog whistles Pagani built into his speech. Shearer has a long way to move core Labour to the centre and his upcoming speeches trying to re-oriantate Labour's perception to being National lite will require much louder dog whistles.

Labour will aim at an Orewa speech in Ponsonby, and by publicly denying any belief in 'gotcha' politics, Shearer side steps the predictable outcry of him playing 'gotcha' politics these up coming speeches will generate.

The challenge for the left as Labour concedes to a smaller party strategy by moving to the center, is how the other two party's on the left respond. MANA and the Greens now have real movement to expand their voter base, and the challenge for them is to chase that left vote effectively.

The left have to wise up to MMP and start building the progressive majority of Labour, the Greens and MANA. The brutal math of Parliament was the reason I first argued for the formation of a political party to the left of the Greens using Hone's electorate seat, and the left is going to have to accept Labour's move to the center as a means of winning that brutal math equation.

The Greens have to have respect from Labour post any 2014 election with real gains in Cabinet and MANA should be given more freedom to move in the Maori electorates against the Maori Party.

David Shearer can go as far to the center as he likes, as long as he has strong allies like the Greens and MANA to drag him all the way back to the left once elected to create NZ's first truly left wing Government.


Right wing Christian Radio on the attack against Unionists

Who would Jesus strike for?

On top of the black ops dirt that Cameron Slater is running for the PoA, he's managed to worm his way into hard right Christian broadcaster Radio Rhema to appear regularly spreading disinformation to those who believe the earth is 6000 years old. Not a difficult task.

But last weeks farce where Slater was able to libel a union worker and then have Helen Kelly's complaint to the station about that libel made public by the host is a step too far, even for right wing Christian radio, so I've shot off a complaint to the BSA...

I would like to complain and get a formal explanation from the BSA.

Last week on Radio Rhema, the host Pat Brittenden was allowing Cameron Slater to libel a Union worker. Helen Kelly from the CTU rang and left a phone message to complain about the libel and then incredibly had that complaint made public!

How can the President of the CTU leave a phone message complaining about the manner in which one of her members has been libeled on air, only to have their complaint made public by the broadcaster and mocked?

Far right Christian radio must still be bound by the broadcasting standards authority, can the BSA please explain how a complaint about content can then be made available to the public in the manner in which Radio Rhema has?

I have blogged this issue and am awaiting your immediate response on this it.

Here is the website of the radio rhema host where he makes Helen Kelly's complaint public.

...who had any idea that Jesus hated unionists? Slater is running a very sophisticated black ops campaign for PoA and any where it pops up and deforms the normal standards required in broadcasting, it should be shut down. I'll wait to hear back from the BSA on whether Radio Rhema should have mocked a content complaint in the manner in which they did.


The truth behind the public prison closures

As Tumeke pointed out last week, the Government are set to close 3 prisons (2 announced now, one more in the future) in an announcement on the 28th with hundreds of jobs on the line.

What is driving these closures? The Government pretends it is 'human rights issues' because the prisons are so old.

With all due respect this Government has done more than Clayton Cosgroves hair plugs to denigrate the human rights of prisoners. Sure Labour couldn't help sing the redneck happy clap two step shuffle with the electorate over longer and harder sentences for prisoners, but this Governments feral attitude towards human rights for prisoners has seen double bunking, the removal of prisoners voting rights and a erosion of prisoners legal rights. When the National Party of all people bleat that they are doing something for prisoner 'human rights' one should feel terrified.

Who is driving these prison closures? The private prison industry.

What the mainstream media has still not been able to put together is the following reality, these public prison closures will mean that the prisoners will be re-housed into the new billion dollar tax payer funded private prison.

I'm surprised that Tumeke will once again be the first to point out the bleeding obvious to the mainstream media - when you compare the current prisoner muster with how many beds SERCO will now control in that muster, these prison closures will mean that by 2015, NZ will have 20% of their prison population controlled by the private prison industry. NO country on earth has that many prisoners in private prison custody, how come no one in the mainstream media even seem aware of these numbers?

The driver behind these prison closures are not 'human rights' as National pretend, it's about transferring the largest number of prisoners into private prisons in a shorter period of time than any other country has ever attempted.

What we are seeing is the wholesale privatization of prisons with out so mush as a whimper from the mainstream media.

We are a nation of sleepy hobbits being led by a mainstream media too blind to see. That we will have the highest level of prisoners in private prisons in the shortest period of time with almost zero debate actually astounds me.


In defense of interest free student loans

For everyone moaning about interest free loans and why should the poor subsidize middle class educational aspirations - if you charge interest, the graduating student adds those interest charges onto their end fee - so every time you use a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer etc etc you will be paying for their interest built into the fees they will be charging. Removing interest free on student loans builds the cost into the fee later down stream and then EVERYONE pays more. That this very simple truth is utterly ignored by the right in their drive to inject user pays into the heart of education to kill off the remaining social contract isn't surprising, but I can't wait for the impacts of the increase in fees to start biting if student loans were removed. It's a case of NZ once again trying to save a dollar today which will cost us a thousand dollars tomorrow.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

q+a review

I'm told the grand old cyclops of NZ broadcasting was as race baiting in his Waitangi Day column as he was so as to generate controversy for his return on Q+A. It was that craven. Just because TVNZ broadcasts to the public doesn't make it public broadcasting.

The panel this morning is that awful Dr Claire Robinson and the excellent Bernard Hickey of interest.co.nz and former Green Party MP Keith Locke. Good to see Q+A following Citizen A's panelist selections. First up is an interview with the Minister for Managed Declines, Bill English. If they don't point out the looming war between him and Joyce now Joyce has created an alternative to Treasury with his Soviet Super Ministry, I will throw the remote at the TV. Robert Fisk has been conned into talking to Holmes, Paul's previous contribution on Syria was a bizarre commentary piece about what the Syrian protesters would do to the face of the First Lady. Creepy.

The one thing I can salute q+a over is that they have cut back on the number of stories and focus more on fewer things. Makes for more depth. The News bulletin still clunks, and the opening monologue is still the best part of the show.

I am betting it will take English less than 5 seconds to blame the Christchurch Earthquake for his inability to get into surplus, Bill does it in 3 seconds. As far as Dr Optimistic is concerned, the surplus he's promised that no one else believes will be met are still just around the corner. The credibility gap between Bill's words and the reality seem almost delusional, we are not going to be in surplus by 2014. He's blaming welfare dependency and uses the debt bogeyman to justify more austerity. Shane is a new interviewer and he's getting bounced all over the place by English. Guyon Espiner used to glad hand National Party MPs because he loved the right wing, Shane does it because he's a lot slower in the ring.

English is going to close down 3 prisons, not 2 prisons and he's trying to justify it from a 'safety' point of view. He's closing down these prisons to re-house the prisoners into the private prisons and is aiming to hack out about 400 Corrections staff. This will mean NZ will have the highest % of prisoners in private prisons than any other country on the planet.

The joke explanation as to the debt bogeyman is just so untrue and fear mongering to justify austerity.

Shane lifts his game focusing on the Auckland property bubble. Bill seems genuinely concerned about that and his claim the banks won't fund a bubble is pointed out as plainly untrue with banks now offering 90% mortgages.

Bill has the audacity to claim a mandate to use asset sales to fund infrastructure when Government should be funding that infrastructure through taxation, not flogging off our assets. His explanation that we will all gain because kiwisaver accounts will buy into them is such a desperate stretch that it seems difficult coming from the lips of an adult.

Disappointingly weak interview, no wonder Bill English ended the interview with a grin the size of Greek debt.

Bernard points out how tough making that surplus is going to be. Keith notes all the Government will do is cut expenditure to get to surplus. The National Party representative Dr Claire murmurs something none committal. Bernard keeps pointing out how mythical the surplus will be. Everyone except Dr Claire criticizes asset sales, she immediately claims National has every mandate under the sun to sell assets. What she misses is that 68% of the enrolled electorate didn't vote for this Government. The mandate is a technical one, not an ethical mandate.

Fisk is on. He is a current affairs God. Paul should bow in his presence. Fisk provides the kind of political commentary this country could only dream of generating.

Keith and Bernard earn their fee on the panel and make erudite points, Dr Claire flounders. She's not actually very good is she?