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Garrett: Sterilise the poor

Written By: - Date published: 2:59 pm, March 3rd, 2010 - 96 comments
Categories: act - Tags:

Over at Kiwiblog ACT MP David Garrett is calling for a programme offering $5000 to poor brown people if they undergo sterilisation.

Or to quote him directly:

If say $5000 was paid to the likes of both parents of the Kahui twins if they chose to be sterilized, this would address many of ben’s and others’ concerns. Nothing compulsory, just an option. To take Kahui-King as examples, how much is it costing the state now to care for the children Maxyna King has had removed from her? How much will it cost to care for the 6 or 8 more she may have before menopause? How much is it costing for CYF to monitor the well being of Chris Kahui’s latest offspring? $5,000 to each of them is ludicrously cheap by comparison.

Now there is a chance that it is not the real David Garrett commenting but it seems legit and a quick call from the media to Garrett or David Farrar would confirm it.

I’ve heard MPs be racist like Carter’s “Hone” incident, I’ve heard them make misogynist statements like that idiot Tamihere’s frontbums comments and explicit homophobia is only recently something MPs avoid but calling for a programme of sterilisation? I would have thought that would be as unlikely as an MP turning up in the chamber dressed as Hitler and making a speech on… well… sterilisation of the poor.

And it’s not good enough to pass this filth off as the ramblings of a fool either. We know Garrett is a fool but he is a fool that taxpayers are paying to help make law.

And he believes in sterilising the poor.

He must be sacked.

Update: Not a single media outlet has said a thing about this filth. It seems an MP can have a ferry redirected or buy some McD’s with a ministerial credit card and it’s front page news but an MP calling for the sterilisation of the poor ain’t worth a single headline. Shame.

Update 2: Radio New Zealand is covering the story this morning. I can’t believe Garrett is still pushing the idea in interviews.

96 comments on “Garrett: Sterilise the poor”

  1. Peter 1

    Do you really expect sensible comments from an ACT Parlimentarian….

    Roll on 2011 when Rodders is evicted from Epsom taking his very strange cohorts with him…

    • Mr Magoo 1.1

      Some people do.

      I was called out for (half) jokingly calling them a party of white elitists.

      My response was that when it came to act, there was no gutter too deep in which you can sink.

      I stand vindicated….

  2. DeeDub 2

    Wasn’t Lhaws calling for this sometime last year? I believe he was planning on offering $10,000 though…..


  3. The Baron 3

    Irish, you’re being wilfully deceptive, and I suspect/hope you know it. While I don’t support the means, he is clearly considering the dire status of the children in those households, and trying to prevent more from meeting the same fate – not some vast conspiracy to destroy the “poor”.

    The left won’t get traction through treating the public like idiots, and resorting to hyperbole that can be easily defeated through reading the source material.

    Oh, and you forgot the token “class war” tag, by the way.

    • IrishBill 3.1

      It’s not class war it’s more like good old WWII war. You know, the one where our fathers fought the fascists to make sure sick shit like eugenics wasn’t spread throughout the western world.

    • A Nonny Moose 3.2

      Instead of saying “I don’t support it, but…” come up with a better solution.

      The philosophy is simple – better funded and maintained social and community systems.

      But of course that takes FAR too much money and time, and you won’t see benefits for years, maybe decades. Much easier to let people fail and do the cheaper solution – sterilization and prison eh.

      Damn those poor for the dog shit on your shoe, eh?

  4. Santi 4

    The right call. Those people, Kahui and King, should be prevented from breeding.

    • IrishBill 4.1

      There are probably a few people here who feel the same way about you.

    • Scott 4.2

      Neither of them were convicted over the death of the twins. So on what basis would we sterilise them? Because we don’t approve of them?

      • QoT 4.2.1

        They’re poor and brown, Scott, obviously they’ll just f$ck up any children they have.

      • Lew 4.2.2

        This is a good point. Garrett is proposing a lower threshold of proof for sterilisation than the courts would impose for a conviction.


        • QoT

          Ain’t it classic ACT/Sensible Sentencing Of Minorities Trust though? Oh, sure the courts didn’t actually convict them, but we know they’re Bad People so who actually cares about the rule of law?

          • Lew

            Yeah. Damn courts, have to uphold pesky shit like laws and the Bill of Rights and such. Unreliable, fickle things, full of people who actually have the best interests of society at heart…


    • illuminatedtiger 4.3

      Anyone else find it ironic that when brown poor folk are involved it’s called breeding whereas for others it’s “having babies”?

  5. Lanthanide 5

    The best thing you can do for the environment is not to have children. Yes you can buy eco friendly lightbulbs, re-useable shopping bags and bike everywhere, but all this pales in comparison to not having children.

    So the (hypothetical) government comes out and subsidises green technology to make it cheaper and therefore more attractive; why not offer people $ incentives to get sterilised? It’ll do far more in the long run than cheaper lightbulbs will.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Another way to look at it – if you can get carbon credits for planting trees, you should be able to get carbon credits for voluntarily sterilisation.

    • Uroskin 5.2

      Why not make homosexuality compulsory as well? I deserve carbon credits for being gay and not breeding, no?

  6. vto 6

    Is this like bankruptcy for people who default on financial obligations and cannot be trusted again, or for a long time? Would the procedure be reversible?

    • IrishBill 6.1

      Are you looking to sell?

    • Lanthanide 6.2

      Female sterilisation is reversible. Male sterilisation isn’t completely reversible, however I believe sperm will still be produced (but it is likely to be less healthy), as well as the option of freezing it a la sperm banks.

  7. Roger 7

    I think Garret was referring to child abusers with his ideas but they are still ridiculous regardless. It still highlights the self/other dynamic in his views which are not disimilar to the demonisation of Pihema Cameron who was stabbed by Bruce Emery. In this regard the relevance of referring to “poor brown people” by Irish Bill in this post does strike as true. It is frightening that thanks to the residents of Epsom, this muppet sits inside parliament’s walls with ideas like this in his head.

  8. Nick 8

    IB, who said anything about sterilising the poor?

    • Lew 8.1

      David Garrett. Are you paying attention?


      • The Baron 8.1.1

        Disappointed that you too Lew seem to think that the public are fools. The focus of this (extreme and unconscionable) messaging is clearly about perpetual child abusers.

        The only way you can make the link to poor work is if you allege that all poor people are child abusers. Pity we cannot get you to resign for such a slur.

        How about you and Bill get off your shrill, partisan, hyperbolic bandwagon and just ignore this?

        • Lew

          I don’t think the public are fools; in fact, quite the opposite. But two things: I do know how easily they’re swayed by something which sounds like a good idea, on the face of it; and I believe that this government has a foot-in-the-door agenda of getting the public to agree to small things, and then using those small things to lever open huge breaches in society. It’s happening with ACC, it’s happening with the probationary period, it’s happening with Auckland governance, it’s happening with taxation and the welfare system, and there are plenty more examples too.


          • The Baron

            … oh the old Trojan Horse huh. Pity that none of those boogeymen that you are worried about have yet materialised eh. Oh well, don’t stop shooting at shadows just yet.

            Come on Lew, you’re better than that.

  9. felix 9

    ACT have pretty much given up trying to hide their true natures. (Not that they weren’t quite obviously a bunch of fascists all along mind you.)

    Time to take a lesson from The Night of the Living Dead – “kill the brain, and you kill the ghoul”.

  10. grumpy 10

    If we had the death sentence for chikl killers, it would achieve the same result.

  11. Scott 11

    Does anyone actually remember that nobody was ever convicted for the death of the Kahui twins?

    I’m not confortable living in a society where we decide to sterilise people, not because they’ve been convicted of a crime, but because we’ve decided they’re bad parents or are a burden on the taxpayer.

  12. Xiao Banfa 12

    This isn’t actually the same thing as ‘sterilising the poor’. Classic slight of hand.

    I mean I’m a total social democrat and all that, but this idea is not as insane as you make it out to be.

    • Bright Red 12.1

      Yes it is.

      If you read Garrett’s post, he suggesting paying people to be sterilised. It’s a bribe for the poor not to breed.

      • Lew 12.1.1

        It’s a bribe for the poor not to breed.

        And that’s the exact pitch of the dog-whistle, as well: echoing the slogan, oft-repeated through the time of the last government, that welfare is “bribing losers to breed” — said by crazies from whom you’d expect it, like Lindsay Perigo, to people from whom it doesn’t come as a great shock, like Heather Roy, to those for whom stooping to this level marked a genuine hardening of heart in service of I-got-mine populism, like Bill English.

        This isn’t new; it’s old. It’s just National’s wing-man pushing the boat out so Key can pull it back in part of the way.


        • Lanthanide

          Actually I have absolutely 0 intention to ever have children (see posts above), and I’m not poor. I’d gladly take $5,000 to be sterilised.

          • QoT

            I have quite a few friends who feel much the same – of course being educated, young white women they’d doubtless face a barrage of “you’ll change your mind” and “maybe after you’ve had a few” and “but your kids would be smart! [and white]”.

  13. Nick 13

    Lew, where does Garrett advocate sterilising the poor?

    • Lew 13.1

      Did you actually read the linked and excerpted?

      Go on. Make an actual argument that he doesn’t. I want to see how many angels you can get on the head of that pin.


  14. Rex Widerstrom 14

    I would have thought that would be as unlikely as an MP turning up in the chamber dressed as Hitler and making a speech…

    Dream on, IB. You’re way behind if you think the likes of Garrett and Laws* would blush at such a thing.

    Here in Western Australia our politicians are rushing headlong (and, surprisingly, against public opinion polling, because most West Australians can’t get enough law’n’order… I think it’s slogan should be “The Masochist State”) to introduce a law which will allow Police to stop and search anyone, anywhere, anytime without the requirement that they suspect them of any wrongdoing.

    So into the chamber trots Liberal backbencher Peter Abetz, who speaks in support of the legislation, using the example of… Hitler.

    No, that’s not a typo.

    He compared a plan to erode civil liberties favourably to Hitler, saying the dictator gained support “because he provided people security in a time of anarchy”.

    I have a feeling it’s only a matter of time till Laws and Garrett also let slip their mancrush on the Fuhrer.

    * I’ve been using the “Lhaws” spelling of late, but realised that when he makes a truly odious statement and we spell his name like that, people Googling him won’t read realise that most people think Michael Laws is a knob. Did I mention Michael Laws Michael Laws Michael Laws Michael Laws Michael Laws Michael Laws? (sorry, Lynn).

    • Daveosaurus 14.1

      You could always take Laws’ obsession with the removal of the silent “h” from words, to its logical conclusion, by spelling his first name “Micael”.

    • DeepRed 14.2

      The same policy as the “sus law” practiced by the contorversial Special Patrol Group in 1970’s Britain. It, and the SPG’s reputation, turned completely to mud when the Brixton riots erupted in 1981.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    It’ll be interesting to see how the media handle this story.

    David Garrett = Hone Harawira … i.e. he is not a Minister, but an MP from a minor party that supports National on confidence and supply. So his words and deeds should be as newsworthy as Harawira’s. No more or less.

    TV news (both major networks) gave the following story a prominent place in their bulletins:


    So which of these do you think should be held up for scrutiny by our fearless media watchdogs?

    1) riding without a helmet for a few seconds on Parliament’s forecourt

    2) advocating sterilisation.

    Hmmm. Tough one.

    • comment on a blog vs someone who contacts the media.

      I’m not saying this shouldn’t be news, but our journalists probably spend too much of their time already surfing ‘blogs =)

      • gobsmacked 15.1.1

        Graeme, surely an MP making a public statement on a blog is more newsworthy than “someone who contacts the media”. Nutters do that all the time, but TVNZ don’t usually start their bulletin with “Leading the news … Curtis in Christchurch says his Telecom mobile won’t work, blames Zionist conspiracy”.

        It’s not a “gaffe”, a slip of the tongue, out of context, etc (you know the usual pull-back lines from pollies). It’s what Garrett sincerely believes. He’s an MP. It’s news.

        • toad

          Especially with Garrett, who turned up drunk on Eye to Eye and said some very unpleasant bigoted things.

          He has probably learned something from that, but when it is a Parliamentary recess and he doesn’t have to front at Parliament, has discovered the political blogs, and has had a few, the real David Garrett re-emerges.

    • BLiP 15.2

      All over Morning Report today – nice one RNZ!!

  16. vto 16

    Physical sanction has been common throughout history. Today’s abhorrence of such sanction is an anomoly in human history.

    Which leads to the question – do you think we have it right today? That we are at a pinnacle of human enlightenment? That the rest of human history has been wrong? And how would we know that?

    just saying…

    • Rex Widerstrom 16.1

      I disagree, vto. C’mere so I can slap you upside the head for saying that 😛

    • Mac1 16.2

      Most philosophies and religion lead us that way, do they not?

      Not a bad indication that the path of peaceful intent is preferable.

      Just thinking….

  17. BLiP 17

    Should’ve realised something was up with Garret when that slice of his holiday video from his trip to Aussie was leaked onto the internet.

  18. Nick 18

    Lew, Garrett never advocates sterilising the poor. Never. Ever.

    He advocates sterilising bad parents. Bad parents are on both sides of the poor/rich divide.

    It’s your stereotyping that needs attention, not my comprehension.

    • chris 18.1

      lol, like any rich parent would ever be sterilised

    • Lew 18.2

      It’s all in the choice of examples, Nick, and in who ACT represents as a matter of demographic reality. The party and its policies represent the richest few per cent of New Zealanders. To ACT’s constituency, the $5k Garrett proffered is peanuts; to the poor it’s as much as a quarter of a year’s income. The two examples he chose were poor brown beneficiaries. If he wanted to include non-poor bad parents, perhaps he could have, you know, included some of them in his exemplary rogue’s gallery. This last bit ties into the wider ACT, National and libertarian/objectivist narrative which I alluded to above: that the welfare state constitutes “bribing losers to breed”. The phrase isn’t some abstract idea; it’s a talking point which has been a commonplace of the economic right in New Zealand for the better part of a decade. What Garrett proposes represents the logical — you might say final — solution to this problem, given that background.


      • toad 18.2.1

        Hey, Lew, I’m right with you on this – apart from the “final solution” reference.

        Don’t think Godwining the argument, even with Garrett advocating eugenics, helps us in winning hearts and minds and, ultimately, the political struggle on issues of poverty and unemployment.

        • Lew

          That’s a perfectly fair enough call, toad, and I apologise.


          • Lew

            In my defence, I’m not as bad as Matt McCarten, who responded to a similar suggestion by Lindsay Perigo on-air by saying “why don’t you just put ’em into camps?”

            Ok, so “not as bad as Matt McCarten” isn’t exactly covering myself in glory…


        • felix

          toad I understand your apprehension, but when would such a comparison be valid if not in this instance?

          What if he proposes that poor people should carry ID papers at all times? What if he proposes fencing off poor neighbourhoods? When would it be appropriate to make the (glaringly obvious) comparison?

          • Lew

            Felix, how about when he actually does it, rather than just jawboning?


            • felix

              So he’s not actually being a Naz1, he’s just talking like one.

              That’s all I was saying too.

        • BLiP

          Godwins is an observation, not a silencing device designed to inhibit free speech or some sort of immutable middle class law for bloggers who like the play nice.

    • Scott 18.3

      And who decides who is a bad parent?

      • A Nonny Moose 18.3.1

        The Media? Because if Garrett wanted to hold up examples of Bad Rich Parents, I’ve yet to see tabloid style media coverage of an abuse case where the participants were a) white b) middle class or above c) not given name supression or had the story disappear real quick.

        I can think of the example of a ChCh businessman who had been charged for historical abuse of a special needs child, but he was given such a quick pass because of his privilege the story died within days.

        What did people say about his case? That his family and god will judge. And what do they say about poor bad parents? That it’s up to greater society to judge.

        • Captain Rehab

          I can think of a couple of high profile white middle class blokes who are currently before the beak for child abuse. I wonder if they’d take $5k?

        • pollywog

          “The Media? Because if Garrett wanted to hold up examples of Bad Rich Parents, I’ve yet to see tabloid style media coverage of an abuse case where the participants were a) white b) middle class or above c) not given name supression or had the story disappear real quick.”

          Liam Ashley…Parents send their mentally handicapped kid to jail to teach him a lesson. Kid gets killed in transit. Sorry, but Jail is not the place you want to send your kids to teach em anything.

          That’s your job as a parent to teach em about life ! If you think prison is a finishing school for wayward teens then you’ve failed and clearly have no idea.

  19. Nick 19

    What, so “poor” bad parents are unable to choose for themselves Chris, only “rich” ones are? Get real. Poor parents are just as intelligent.

    That typifies you lot – denigrate the poor and give them no credit; make them rely on the State forever, so that their kids become similarly reliant and unable to choose the life that’s best for them.

  20. Nick 20

    Okay Lew, I figured that’s where you were coming from, after all you were talking (above) about angels and pinheads!

    • Lew 20.1

      Well, Nick, what was meant matters as much as what was said. So it takes a bit of a stretch to do so credibly when faced with the background and context which listeners will bring with them to the debate. So, I say again, make an argument as to how he didn’t mean the poor, given that he 1) chose two poor people as examples; 2) proposed an amount of money which would only matter to poor people, and 3) represents almost exclusively rich people.

      Go on. Try and do it without repairing to the usual threadbare obduracy of referring just to the plain words, and ignoring everything else.


  21. A classic class struggle dog whistle Lew

  22. prism 22

    Why is it so terrible to talk about paying people to be sterilised? The majority of married people in NZ who want to be good parents either take birth control pills or have keyhole surgery after they have had two or three children.

    If people act out in a criminally or seriously neglectful way against their children it would be a sensible thing to hold out an offer of sterilisation. Their children are a burden to them, they either are bored with them or are so inconsistent with their attitudes that the children never know how to have a good loving relationship.

    The parents are shit role models, and screw their children up completely leaving society with the end result. We have read about crims and their parents being convicted of nasty crimes, and on they go having more, spreading the tragedies in widening circles.

  23. Nick 23

    Scott, what do you mean who decides? Adults, themselves, decide. Unless you’d have the State making that call for them.

    Lew, I thought money meant to rich people too? That’s why the Left always moan about tax cuts for the Rich isn’t it? Unless that is a facade.

    How do you know they’re poor? How do you define poor? There are some well off people on the DPB and there are certainly some well off people taking Welfare For Families.

    Garrett is as working class as they come. He is not part of any “rich” elite. He was unknown to ACT prior to the last election and is a former hard line Socialist.

    • Lew 23.1

      Nick, points in turn.

      1. Money matters to rich people, but to rich people of the sort ACT represents, five grand ain’t money.

      2. How do I know Kahui and King were poor? Are you freaking serious? How do you know the moon isn’t made of cheese? The idea that there are any substantial numbers of people who are comfortable on the DPB is propaganda. I know this, in part, because I grew up in a DPB household.

      3. The craziest righties often are former socialists. In our country there’s Douglas, Perigo, Prebble; in the wider world you’d be hard-pressed to go past folks like Irving Kristol. The thing which remains is their extremism; only the valence changes. As to him not being an elite: he’s a fucking criminal lawyer with practices in two countries.

      Come on, is that the best you can do?


    • Scott 23.2

      Nick, I’d be more sympathetic to your view that Garrett doesn’t want to forcibly sterilise bad parents, if he was not at the same time arguing on his own blogsite that bad parents should be stopped from having kids. See http://www.davidgarrett.org.nz/?p=718

      I say that one abused child should move the onus onto the parents of that child to show that they are fit to have the care of more children, and allow the authorities to determine whether they can

      Then on the same day he goes onto Kiwiblog and argues that sterilisation is a good idea.

      Join the dots.

      Garrett is clearly an embarrasment to his party. That’s saying something.

  24. illuminatedtiger 24

    In my opinion if you took away the compensation you’d be getting pretty close to Fascism.

  25. Jenny 25

    ACT, the self proclaimed anti-tax party is in full support of raising GST to 15%.

    These venal bludgers should not be made welcome in polite society, let alone have a seat in our highest legislative body.

    Roll on the 2011 election so we can be rid of them.

    Maybe there are some circles ACT MPs may be welcome in,

    But I am prepared to bet, that even the people of Epsom are aghast at the scale of ACT’s greed and self serving hypocrisy. Not even to mention their scape-goating and immoral hate mongering.

    Even the people of Epsom must be shuddering at the sight of these gauche carpet baggers descending on Auckland trampleing democracy and without any mandate at all, alienating $billions worth of public assetts to place in the hands of unelected, unacountable “managers”.

  26. Nick 26

    Lew, Garrett is not, and has never been, a criminal lawyer.

    He has a problem of articulating issues in the wrong way. As Lindsay Mitchell points out, no discussion is possible in this country about people’s rights and ability to procreate and parent, carte blanche, without someone inevitably turning it into a hysterical accusation of advocating eugenics.

    Let’s not forget what is driving this discussion. The horrid abuse and sometimes possibly merciful death of children who were never wanted, got in the way, provided a target for sadism or relentless cruelty for someone who hasn’t emotionally developed because they were treated the same appalling way.

    So should parents be stopped from having bad kids who will inevitably end up in jail and most likely dependant on drugs and the State? Of course they should! After all, they are prevented from having animals in the same situation.

    • Pascal's bookie 26.1

      “So should parents be stopped from having bad kids who will inevitably end up in jail and most likely dependant on drugs and the State? Of course they should!”

      You’re supposed to be pretending it’s a choice Nick.

    • BLiP 26.2

      What’s driving this discussion is the mendacious exploitation of child abuse by a failure of an MP in a failing party trying anything to get some attention.

      And as for your equating children of the poor with animals . . . yep, that’d be the ACT Party to a tee.

    • Lew 26.3

      Nick, So the full thrust of your rebuttal to me is that he’s not a criminal lawyer. I guess that means it is the best you can come up with.

      The reason there isn’t the possibility of having a discussion about “people’s rights and ability to procreate and parent” without the discussion turning to eugenics is because limiting those rights constitutes eugenics. These are fundamentally guaranteed by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

      Article 16 * (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.

      You or Lindsay might not like it, and David has already expressed his disdain for that declaration, but the fact is that New Zealand and its governments are bound by it, and we have laws on our books which implement these provisions in our country. Any government who dares repeal them is welcome to try, in the full glare of the world’s gaze. Until then, it’s a non-starter; it’s simply not up for discussion. And that’s how it ought to be in a civilised society.

      We need to find other ways to achieve toe goal of curbing child abuse. It’s not as if people aren’t working on it.


    • Jewish Kiwi 26.4

      No discussion about the rights of people to procreate can happen without accusations of eugenics because that is what eugenics is, tool.

      Via a judge or via a programme. The result is still the same.

  27. Olwyn 27

    Up until the destabilisation of the working class in the eighties and nineties, the situations Garret is referring to were very rare. Mothers stayed in hospitals with babies for longer, Plunket had much more to do with new mothers, and were able to give extra attention to those with problems. Buying a house with the cashed-up family benefit as a deposit gave couples an incentive to stay together, and of course, government policy involved full employment. The fact is, childcare is a socially acquired skill – we are too complex to assume is is “just there” as it is for cats, and uprooted, destabilised people do not easily acquire it. That is one reason why Plunket was invented in the first place; a migrant population had no forebears here to turn to for hints. Furthermore, the standard pattern for oppression is to degrade a group of people, and then punish them for their degradation.

  28. A Nonny Moose 28

    By the by…conspiracy theory. What got rammed through in Parliament that we’re not supposed to be seeing because of this dog n pony show?

  29. Lew 29

    Brace yourselves, we’ve got another poster child, and the wingnut machine is starting wind up again.


  30. SPC 30

    It is no coincidence that Garrett’s blogpost and his post on Kiwblog took place after their conference at which Lindsay Mitchell made a certain speech about “colour” and welfare (which Hide supported).

    The wider theme is not money to sterilise certain people in society, but about witholding entitlements (child tax credits) for babies born on welfare and about welfare term limits.

    The extremists of ACT appear to have been let loose to enable a more moderate policy to be countenanced by National – a wedge position to erode our historic welfare system.

    The media will assist National by raising as the DP did yesterday to extreme scenarios (UB) and of course in support for questioning inter-generational welfare amongst Maori – this is to condition us for whanau ora, to weaken MP in their negotiations with National and for National to gather support from the MP to weaken the wider welfare system in return for whanau ora.

  31. Vivienne 31

    During campaign 2008 Garrett referred to Pacific Island women as ‘dusky maidens’ and believes prostitution will always exist and is essential. That was the front runner of his behaviours and attitudes now being revealed to the country.

    The guy is a masoginist, a racist and all the rest of it. A very nasty man

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