ACT’s fifth Candidate?

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, September 18th, 2008 - 49 comments
Categories: act, election funding, rumour - Tags: , ,

The word around the traps is that ACT will be announcing the name of its mystery 5th list candidate at its Law and Order policy launch this weekend and it’s rumoured that the candidate will be David Garrett.

Garrett is a Barrister and is also a legal advisor to the Sensible Sentencing Trust who drafted their draconian ‘Three Strikes’ law.

One of the closest supporters of the Sensible Sentencing Trust is the Asian Anti-Crime Group. The AAG is the same organisation that, according to documents released by the EPMU, met with Rodney Hide to push its social and economic agenda and cut a deal to mobilise the Asian vote for ACT in exchange for places on the ACT list.

As has been previously noted here the Sensible Sentencing Trust has also refused to register under the Charities Act or as a third party under the EFA so there is no public record of its financial or party political activities.

If Garrett is announced as fifth on ACT’s list then there need to be some serious questions asked about the connections between the SST and ACT and about the extent these ‘anti-crime’ groups are involved in party political campaigning for ACT while refusing to register with the electoral commission.

As Rodney is claiming to be ‘New Zealand’s leading proponent of accountability and transparency’ I’m sure he’d be happy to answer any such questions openly.

For the record I have no problem with ‘tough on crime’ groups working with ‘tough on crime’ parties but I definitely want to know who it is that is trying to win my vote and how much they are spending to do so.

Update: Changed heading to “ACT’s fifth Candidate”. I doubt they’ll get to five MPs. I must be having a slow brain day.

49 comments on “ACT’s fifth Candidate?”

  1. “For the record I have no problem with “tough on crime’ groups working with “tough on crime’ parties ”

    Even when they don’t respect human rights?… I sure hope not.

  2. randal 2

    the worst thing about all these right wing nutbar groups is their desire to crack nuts with a sledgehammer. they dont want to k now the truth about anything. they just want to crush anything and everything they dont agree with which unfortunately is most things except tight underpants and excess profits.

  3. i don’t think irish is saying he agrees with their views, he just doesn’t have trouble with cooperation between like-minded groups when it’s transperant.

    captcha ‘and the multitude’ – Labour’s re-election strategy? (three words, I know, weird)

  4. higherstandard 4

    IB

    From their website.

    “Is this group affiliated with ACT or any other political party?

    No, Sensible Sentencing is an apolitical organisation, we do not align ourselves with any particular political party or ideology, instead we seek to persuade politicians of all stripes to support our goals. We are currently giving Labour a hard time, but this is only because they are the party in Government. We will be equally hard on National or any other party that comes into power should they fall short in balancing the scales of justice so that victims get a better deal.”

    You can quote this back to them if your allegations prove to be true.

  5. Daveo 5

    higherstandard

    The AAG also claims they’re non-partisan even after the EPMU documents laid out their ACT affiliations in black and white including their shifty dealings with Rodney Hide.

    I’m really interested in the social and economic agenda stuff. Who’s funding these groups and what are they really playing at?

  6. Three stikes and your out for violent crime should be passed and made into law.

    [‘you’re out’ – it’s an abbreviation of ‘you are’ not the possessive of the second person. SP]

  7. gobsmacked 7

    ACT should put that angry dude from the (self-appointed) Anti-Asian Crime Group on the list. The media love him. And he could get the triads to “assist” any wavering voters to make up their mind.

  8. Matthew Pilott 8

    Brett Dale – how about one strike for white collar crimes? They hurt a lot more people.

  9. BeShakey 9

    Whew, thanks Brett. I was wondering what to think, and now you’ve told me. Gives a real insight into the intellect of SST supporters.

  10. gobsmacked. in the AAG-ACT agreement that Shawn Tan wrote, Peter Low was meant to be on the ACT list… if i remember correctly, AAG wanted 3 places in the top ten, but I guess it became impossible to have Low on the list when he went off at Sean Plunkett.

  11. Jasper 11

    I actually like the three strikes law.

    However, rather than doing anything draconian, the 3 strikes should be amended so that it only covers petty crime – graffiti, theft, vandalism etc.
    It’s often been said that our youth are “bored” and “lacking self awareness”
    I’m all for getting people with 3 strikes into the armed forces (navy, airforce, army) as cadets, for a mandatory sentence of 12 months. Cheaper than prison, and rather than teaching them further criminal skills, it’d give them some self respect, some dignity, and a realisation that they can actually help people. Most might actually like the army (most Maori do) while the PI’s tend to like the Navy. Seems the white boys go for the airforce.

    Keys Boot Camp thing is just laughable, and doesn’t really show any effort or thought apart from a “well they have to go somewhere” general train of thought… someone halt the caboose, the containers haven’t been hooked up.

    Sorry for the gross generalisations, but the reality is most disaffected youth are either Maori or PI. Poor self esteem, crap home life, and low literacy contribute. A dose in the armed forces would do them a world of good. It did me wonders.

  12. Pascal's bookie 12

    The ACT list sure is democratically selected from the sounds of it.

  13. @Matthew Pilott

    Absolutely. I’m getting tired of all these corporate crooks abusing their workers and getting the wet bus ticket treatment! It’s like those idiot employers who were taking employer KS contributions out of their workers pay. That lot deserve JAIL!

  14. jbc 14

    how about one strike for white collar crimes? They hurt a lot more people.

    Thanks for that insight.

    I’d still rather our whole family fall victim to a bank collapse than have one of my kids fall victim to a violent criminal – or even be killed by another kid having ‘fun’ with concrete blocks.

  15. Matthew Pilott 15

    Thanks jbc. It’s not much good, though, appreciating someone’s insight if you only apply it to one situation, and use the most narrow application you can imagine.

  16. jbc 16

    Matthew, I agree that white-collar crime does hurt a lot of people. Yes I think that white collar criminals get a way with far too much. Loan sharks, dodgy CEOs, vindictive employers: they are all scum in my eyes too.

    However (a very big however), violent crimes against people are a hell of a lot worse.

    generally speaking, victims of white-collar crime get to walk away.

    That white-collar criminals should somehow be treated more severely than those who commit direct hands-on crime against people I find absurd.

    But it seems I am holding the minority view here.

  17. Vanilla Eis 17

    jbc: It depends on the scale of the crime. I’m pretty sure that almost anyone with a Bluechip investment right now would gladly take a punch in the face to get the money they’re owed.

  18. Scribe 18

    SP,

    “transperant” is not a word. Were you looking for “transparent”?

    [I only raise this because you’ve played spelling/grammar police above. Why bother? People knew what he meant.]

  19. Anita 19

    Given Marc Alexander and Steven Franks are both on the National list and the SST has worked with Ron Mark in the past (I seem to remember) getting a high ranked ACT candidate is hardly political monogamy.

    It would allow me a new route for the political spit game, tho Franks and Alexander are usually all the promiscuity I need.

  20. Rex Widerstrom 20

    Whether white collar crime or the other sort (hoodie crime?) the problem with the “Sensible” Sentencing Trust is summarised succinctly in its name.

    They have the rather quaint belief that locking them up and, if not throwing away the key then hiding for increasingly lengthy periods, is the best answer to reducing offending.

    In my view, police, justice and corrections policy should have two primary objectives:

    1. To prevent the occurrence of crime.
    2. To prevent an offender re-offending.

    If those aims were met, the rest of us would not fall victim to crimes of any coloured collar.

    Ideas about punishment, retribution, bread-and-water, hard labour etc have a place in those policies only to the degree they achieve the aim of protecting society.

    Thus if we punish someone harshly because it feels good to do so without considering whether that is the best means by which we can prevent that person re-offending we are in fact placing society at risk.

    The SST sepcialises in righteous indignation and “easy” solutions centred on ever-harsher punishments.

    Since Act is a party which acknowledges in other policies that, given the right set of motivators, people will – and should be allowed to – make the right choices, it seems an incongruous pairing, if it’s true. I only hope not.

  21. From thier website: “We are currently giving Labour a hard time, but this is only because they are the party in Government. We will be equally hard on National or any other party that comes into power should they fall short in balancing the scales of justice so that victims get a better deal.’

    The problem of course here is that under Labour, crime is going down, they are claiming it is going up. Whats the bet if National came in, a year later they miraculously discover the statistics?

    Personally I think Garth McVicars exploitation of Harry Young’s greif over Edgeware Rd in Christchurch is the most discusting peice of politics I have seen in my life.

  22. From thier website: “We are currently giving Labour a hard time, but this is only because they are the party in Government. We will be equally hard on National or any other party that comes into power should they fall short in balancing the scales of justice so that victims get a better deal.’

    The problem of course here is that under Labour, crime is going down, they are claiming it is going up. Whats the bet if National came in, a year later they miraculously discover the statistics?

    Personally I think Garth McVicars exploitation of Harry Young’s greif over Edgeware Rd in Christchurch is the most discusting peice of politics I have seen in my life.

  23. Billy 23

    Who are these white collar criminals that are supposedly getting away with crimes?

    These guys?

    Her?

    Maybe these guys?

    It seems to me that this is a convenient myth used by the left to excuse violent criminals. (Who can’t help being violent because capitalism made them do it).

  24. Billy 24

    Oh fcku. My links didn’t work. Can we just take it as read that they were links to stories about the prosecution and/or conviction of white collar criminals.

  25. jbc 25

    I’m pretty sure that almost anyone with a Bluechip investment right now would gladly take a punch in the face to get the money they’re owed

    Interesting point. Very true.

    Many people would probably queue up for a punch in the face if they were rewarded sufficiently.

    There are already many who choose self-harm for some financial reward. Miners used to cut off their thumbs, I believe.

    But unfortunately violent crime doesn’t work quite the same way.

    What if they were told there was a small chance the punch would leave them permanently disfigured? Maybe a tiny chance they could fall and die? What if the punch was randomly delivered to someone in their immediate family?

  26. randal 26

    well all very good an’ all but the only sentence the sensible sentencing trust seems to support is hanging. they sure dont want to pay for more prisons and they sure dont want to believe erving goffmans contention that after seven years in jail that one is effectively institutionalised and permanently socially useless.

  27. Vanilla Eis 27

    jbc: Very good points, and I’m not trying to play down the effects of violent crime.

    However, I am trying to say that white-collar crime can have massive consequenses for the victims and that your statement:

    “However (a very big however), violent crimes against people are a hell of a lot worse.”

    doesn’t always hold true.

  28. Matthew Pilott 28

    Billy, jbc, I agree with both of your points in several respects. I was guilty of making a flippant remark in response to an orchestrated litany of flippancy from the SST, ACT and the AAG.

    I think Rex Widerstrom has put it better – harsher punishments for retribution, dressed up as “victims’ rights”, may cause more harm than good.

    If this lot really wanted to protect our society they’d be looking at best practice restorative justice and rehabilitation.

    Say I’m the victim of a violent crime. As a victim, I might feel aggrieved if the perpetrator gets a sentence of, say, 3 years. Especially if someone tells me it’s a light sentence. Would I be happy with 5? Maybe. 10? Probably. Would the offender be equally likely to reoffend after 3, 5 or 10 years? I’d suggest a ‘yes’.

    A knee-jerk comment is for ‘longer sentences’. Very little evidence they are a deterrent, or lead to better outcomes. So I thought I’d ask for the same, equally useless law for white collar crimes, and see what came of it.

    Billy, one extra “‘” at the end of those links, somehow.

  29. jbc 29

    Matthew, Vanilla, ok – I stretched that point a little far – took the bait and ran with it.

    Agree with Rex’s points.

    I think that certainty of conviction and consistency of sentence are most important. Although I do believe that there is a deterrent effect in the perceived harshness of the sentence – I accept that NZ might not want to take that to it’s conclusion. It is a discussion worth having though.

    Unfortunately I suspect that once an individual enters the criminal justice system it is already too late. Not saying that rehabilitation is impossible – just that it’s the old ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ scenario.

    Prevention is a tricky thing though. Alcohol is undoubtedly a big factor (esp during pregnancy). But I enjoy a drink myself, so who am I to deny that from others…

  30. Draco T Bastard 30

    First Link
    Second Link
    Third link

    Fixed Billy.

    Captcha: magneto monthly, The Standard likes X-Men comics?

  31. Billy 31

    Thanks, Draco.

  32. “… but I definitely want to know who it is that is trying to win my vote and how much they are spending to do so.”

    I’m sure you do unless of course it is the EPMU or CTU acting on Labours behalf ?

  33. Zarchoff 33

    “If Garrett is announced as fifth on ACT’s list then there need to be some serious questions asked about the connections between the SST and ACT and about the extent these “anti-crime’ groups are involved in party political campaigning for ACT while refusing to register with the electoral commission.”

    Well, grow some balls and ask then. In fact why don’t you lodge a complaint with the electoral commission. Of course, they might then investigate members of unions, on full pay, using union owned vehicles, in union time, putting up Labour party billboards!

  34. IrishBill 34

    Both the CT and the EPMU are registered as third parties under the EFA. They are both openly campaigning for parties that share their interests and will both have to account to the EC for their election campaigning activities and expenditure.

    I see no such transparency from the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

  35. David Garrett 35

    I see you are only interested in comments which, in the main, agree with your…”we submit freedom of speech so long as you agree with us” ??

  36. That comment was incomprehensible – are you drunk, David?

  37. David Garrett 37

    …it appears that you may not have censored my comment, but rather I didn’t understand how to make one… “type two words” and all that…

    The original contributor to this dialogue describes the “three strikes” law I drafted as “draconian”..I wonder if he or she knows the meaning of that word? I would bet money that he/she has not read my draft…

    Both of my dictionaries define “draconian” as meaning “overly harsh” and/or “cruel”…

    Well, the proposed law does the following: 1) defines “strike” offences as offences involving serious violence (they are also listed in a schedule to the Act) so there can be none of the ambiguity found in American versions of such laws; 2) requires a sentencing Judge to warn someone convicted of a second “strike” offence that if they are convicted of another listed offence involving violence, they WILL go away for 25 years to life. 3) makes it clear that the law has no retrospective effect.

    You say that is “overly harsh” or “cruel” ??

    If so, the nameless contributor demonstrates just how far he or she has departed from the views of ordinary New Zealanders.. and the Labour Party I once supported….

  38. David Garrett 38

    No, not drunk, just 50 years old and something of a technophobe/net neophyte….some of us still prefer the printed word!

    I note however that “Robinsod” wishes to hide behind a pseudonym while I am happy to use my own name…

    [lprent: so? I use a pseudonym that I’ve used for what? 20 odd years… Steve Pierson uses his. Both of our names are known – what does it matter?

    What is it with this recent crowd of infantile newbies and pseudonyms? Read what people write. That is what you should be making your judgments on, not if it is possible to isolate them in real life. If people choose to tell you what their background is, then fine. If someone is bullshitting, then you’ll usually find out pretty fast from the horseshit they spew.

    It is only the newbies that have an issue with this. Pseudonyms have been running as long as I’ve been on the nets. Grow up and run with the net. ]

  39. Pascal's bookie 39

    David the word you are looking for is n00b.

    And give over on the silent majority nonsense. They’re silent right? That means you don’t know what they bloody think, so so stop putting your crap ideas in their mouth.

    It’s exactly the equivalent of claiming that ‘the lurkers support me in email’, which is epic fail.

    If you don’t like pseudonyms, tough. It was good enough the pamphleteers in days gone by sonny jim, and folks have got their reasons. For the most part it’s about having arguments stand on their own merits and not getting distracted by claims on authority.

    Welcome to the blogs.

  40. David Garrett 40

    perhaps some kind proponent of free speech can spell it out for me…I note that the “type two words” box does not appear reliably…do you have to click the icon above the “speaker” icon to make it appear?

    Look forward to your reasoned comment on my post Robinsod; I realise that will be a bit more difficult than simply picking up on a typo…if you read it through a couple of times (to check for typos) you might even feel confident enough to use you own name…

  41. David Garrett 41

    sorry, aside from not understanding what “not getting distracted on claims on authority” is supposed to mean, I am still not convinced that there is any good reason to hide one’s opinions behind pseudonyms…newspapers stopped accepting letters to the editor from “Ratepayer” and “Mother” about 20 years ago…

  42. Draco T Bastard 42

    “not getting distracted on claims on authority’

    Well, considering that we’ve had people on this blog claiming to be the Owen Glenn. I’ve been on some forums where I’ve seen people claiming to be David Bowie, or the president of the US or Maggy Thatcher etc. As there’s no easy way to determine if anyone is telling the truth about the name that they’re using then there’s no point in actually taking any note of it or any authority that they may claim to have. You’re David Garrett but which one?

  43. Pascal's bookie 43

    That’s the one. No one knows David, so it doesn’t matter see? I could be a professor of some relevant subject posting under my own name, or under a pseud, or I could be a raving madman posting under a pseud, or under the name of a professor that I got from the phone book to try and boost my credentials.

    So it’s best just to ignore all that and address what people say and not get hung up on what identifier they are using. As long as commenters use a consistent pseud, what the hell does it matter?

  44. Pascal's bookie 44

    David, under your law, if someone’s got 2 strikes, and they get in a fight that would qualify for a third, they’d best make sure their victim can’t identify them yeah?

  45. David – with respect to the many bloggers who contribute to this blog, you won’t get a fair hearing here. Especially if you are the ACT number 5. 🙂

    My blog however welcomes everybody… I have even been nice to Robinsod lately.

    [lprent; then you’re doing better at that than I do. There are times that his flamewar igniting behavior makes me lean on the ban button heavily. It is easy to stay commenting on here – just stay in the bounds of behaviour (and read the Policy at the top of the screen). ]

  46. IrishBill 46

    David, I believe that any law that fails to allow for mitigating circumstances and case-by-case juridical judgment and instead treats crime in simplistic black and white terms is both draconian and an insult to our judiciary.

    While you are here would you like to explain why the Sensible Sentencing Trust is refusing to register as a third party and whether they will be supporting your campaign or ACT’s in any way?

  47. Matthew Pilott 47

    David – if you’re having trouble with the recaptcha (‘type two words’ box – it’s a tool the site uses to make sure that automated comments don’t get through, it takes a human to read and re-enter the words), you can click on the top button (‘refresh’, with the two arrows) to get a new set of words.

    You’re probably using Internet Explorer 6 or 7, on those browsers the field in which you type the words sometimes goes AWOL. Usually refreshing the challenge will make the entry field reappear. You may also need to refresh if the words are hard to read. Finally, select and copy your comment after typing it out before submiting it is an idea while you get used to it – saves re-typing the comment out if it doesn’t appear.

    On topic – is there any evidence that such laws actually serve any purpose? Let’s be honest, sentencing as a deterrent doesn’t work, and never has. You only have to look at crime rates in countries with the capital punishment to figure that out.

    Is there any evidence that a 25 year sentence is more ‘rehabilitating’? While I understand the concept of victims’ rights, what is overlooked is that the victim wants retribution – but the societally optimal outcome is rehabilitation. If, in acceding to victims rights we promote laws that don’t help society, we’re cutting our noses to spite our collective face.

    As I see it, such a law will make victims think that ‘the system’ is working, while doing nothing for, or having a negative effect upon, actual crime rates. In the end, it will just create more victims, at an exorbitant cost of incarceration.

  48. If anyone has substantive evidence that these groups are spending more than they are legally able to without registering (a number of advertisements in major media and you’d be over), then they should report them to the police for investigation. That would make things interesting!

  49. David Garrett 49

    I will respond to Pascal’s Bookie first, and then address the more numerous points in Matthew Pilott’s post. And at the risk of sounding naive (I am a “newbie” at this blog thingie) thank you both for actually engaging in debate. I would like to think that even on this “blog” there would be some attempt to do so, without just spouting “the party line.”

    Leaving aside that “fighting” would not be a “strike” offence, Pascal’s Bookie makes a valid point; it’s actually the same one which has been made to rebut arguments that rape should not be made a life imprisonment (or even capital) offence because to do so might encourage a rapist to kill so as to leave no witness.

    It is impossible to argue that the effect PB points to may not happen. However, I am a believer in Utilitarianism, and I believe that a “three strikes” law will both deter very many others from crossing that “third strike” line, and more obviously, will protect people – like the Panmure RSA victims – from thugs who have not merely three but 33 “strikes” before they get the chance to kill.

    Which seques neatly into Matthew Pilott’s first point, “do such laws work”? Well, the short answer is of course they do in a direct sense; had Bell and Burton not been released (both of them had lenghty criminal histories for violence prior to the sentences from which they were ulitmately paroled) neither would have been in a position to kill four more people (Bell three and Burton one)

    While I am all in favour of rehabilitation as an ideal – particularly for young or first offenders – frankly someone who has got themselves to the point where they are subject to a 25 year to life sentence has already proved that , for whatever reason, they are not capable of rehabilitation. Rehab thus becomes very much a secondary consideration to that of protection of society from them.

    One stat which should give you all great pause (please be my guest and check it); as at November last year when I obtained this information on an OIA request, 77 people were serving life sentences for murder who had, prior to being incarcerated for murder, served at least three prior prison sentences for violent offences.

    Since many “sentence episodes” (to use Justice Department jargon) cover multiple offences, most if not all of those 77 will have had many more than three convictions for offences of violence prior to the murder which now finds them behind bars.

    Think about that for a moment; 77 people – three busloads – would be alive today if, a the time they were killed, New Zealand had had a “three strikes” law as I have drafted it. And no-one would be in jail for the mythical “stealing a chocolate bar led to 25 years to life.”

    [lprent: Debate is what this place is for, and it is seldom that the commentators follow anyones party lines. For that matter neither do the posters – there is very little editorial control. Moderation is targeted at people who try to stop that debate with particular types of disruptive behavior. It is not targeted at people arguing points and engaging with others. There is a guideline in the Policy, but it is only a guideline. We allow quite robust debate here (the basis is that people should always be prepared to defend their points and ideas), but there always has to be a point. ]

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