Gutless backdown will cost money and lives

Written By: - Date published: 9:27 am, July 27th, 2010 - 62 comments
Categories: crime, Social issues - Tags: ,

So, National has failed to act on drink driving. The Director of the National Addiction Centre calls it “scandalous”.

While recidivist and youth drink drivers will, from early next year, be permitted to drive only if they have consumed no alcohol, the rest of the population will be able to continue to drive as intoxicated, as merrily and as foolishly as ever. Yet, New Zealand has a devastating road toll, and alcohol consumption is a major contributing cause. There seems to be no good reason not to lower the breath-alcohol level, and every reason to do so. The government’s failure of leadership will cost money and lives.

Why, then, the back down? Because drink driving is the common man’s crime – one that, among well-to-do middle class people, looms larger than most other criminal offences. This is why Steven Joyce has decided to stall legislative change to the breath-alcohol limit pending the results of New Zealand-specfic “research”. The Minister can’t really think that New Zealand is so different from Australia or Europe (where blood-alcohol limits are generally 50mg/100ml, as opposed to our 80mg/ml), or that New Zealanders are, in any scientifically significant way, so different from Europeans or Australians that we need to do our own, special research to find out whether a lower breath-alcohol level would work to lower the road toll. And anyway, what’s with National’s sudden fetish for evidence-based law-making: double bunking, anyone? National standards? 90-day legislation? Truth is, Steven Joyce knows that if the drink driving net is widened, lots more people will find themselves in court. Some of those people will look a bit like him. And that won’t win him, or his Party, votes.

62 comments on “Gutless backdown will cost money and lives”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    According to Guyan Espinar this morning on “Breakfast” Labour also balked at reducing the general blood alcohol limit. Probably for similar reasons.

    • comedy 1.1

      “Labour also balked at reducing the general blood alcohol limit. Probably for similar reasons.”

      I don’t think ‘they are fuckwits too nah ne nah ne nah’ is very helpful.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 1.2

      Fairly safe to say given they were in for nine years and did nothing as well. Its pretty damning of our polticians that they won’t put their own interests ahead of public safety.

      • prism 1.2.1

        ZB I think I know what you mean or are you being ironic?
        “It’s pretty damning of our politicians that they won’t put their own interests ahead of public safety.”
        Oh if only that were true!

    • I will be the first to admitt that the Labour Party failed to adress the drink drive problem. However it shows which way Espinar thinks when he has to point out that Labour did not lower the limit .
      What has that got to do with situation now.

    • Well it proves that Espinar means to defend National and to denigrate Labour whatever the debate. I would agree that Labour did not limit the alcohol limit but that is in the past . The overwhelming evidence is that drinking and driving kills!
      The answer is zero alcohol for drivers. Is it too much to ask for there to be a non drinker in a group party people . Sweden has zero limit and its common for the host of a party to ask who is the driver and then supply them with non-alcoholic drinks.

  2. prism 2

    And anyway, what’s with National’s sudden fetish for evidence-based law-making: double bunking, anyone? National standards? 90-day legislation? Truth is, Steven Joyce knows that if the drink driving net is widened, lots more people will find themselves in court. Some of those people will look a bit like him. And that won’t win him, or his Party, votes.
    Good point. Joyce found no joy for him when trawling through the suggestions to make a practical difference to the drinking and driving habits of NZs. The excess of alcohol that spoils lives with a loss of future achievement of that individual. Then there is the disaster on the roads and heightened police presence and surveillance of us all.

    So Joyce has picked out something to do so it appears that he is willing to tackle the problem whereas he is shelving it for later. Gutless Joyce and NACT – lazy useless politicians picking their favourite flavours from the chocolate box – leaving the ones not to their taste. Labour didn’t do anything about it, NACT was going to be so much better. Right!

    And now we find that for yonks a great number of recidivist drivers have received no assessment, assistance and retraining etc. before they had their licences handed back. What a pathetic country we are – she’ll be right, don’t fuss, can’t have a nanny state (that is an organised community setting reasonable standards on behaviour). We either don’t bother with laws and training for competence and understanding, or we bring in stupid arbitrary ones as in Auckland and fining people who don’t cross a bus lane at the exact (I believe, unmarked) dot on the road.

    • comedy 2.1

      It is undeniable that the pollies are fuckwits

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 2.2

      Same with Collins and gun control. They’ll legislate knives, gang patches and noisy boy racers out of existence (well in theory) but when it comes to stopping unimportant stuff like fire arms they pander to the masses.

  3. jcuknz 3

    The more rules you have the tougher they have to be because there are fewer lives to save?
    It is no laws that make a society a safe sane place but self discipline of its members. Perhaps and I guess most likely alchoholism is a sickness and simply connot be controlled by more laws.
    The proposed law changes seem most sensible to me but then I am a relatively sane sensible person rather than a political animal trying to make hay out of nothing.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    This is the problem with democracy. Politicians make policies to get them voted in next time rather than what is actually the best. What we really need is a beneficial dictatorship. 🙂

    • Richard 4.1

      What we need is a competent media to clearly communicate and critic the effects of government policies. And an educated, informed population that pays attention.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        Exactly and we haven’t had one of those since the 1980s when the MSM in this country followed the US ideal for news – infotainment. It tells you nothing and makes you happy to hear it.

        • E. Campbell 4.1.1.1

          Indeed, a questioning and critical media is now largely absent from New Zealand’s political discourse. A thorough examination of this decision, or rather lack of a decision, would be nice but we’re sadly probably not going to get it from the MSM.

    • Craig Glen Eden 4.2

      I am available to fill this role on Fridays I might need a little assistance on the other days of the week.

      PS I don’t need a credit card nor do my assistants.

      PPS mind you I am very important now so maybe the odd sandwhich and flowers on the tax payer aye.

      PPPS I come from a average middle class background I am educated and I am very aspirational.

  5. Andrew 5

    i would like to how many people have been killed, or have serious accidents with a blood alcohol level between 50 and 80mg / 100ml, and if dropping the limit from 80 to 50mg would actually make much of a difference or would just end up with loads more people being prosecuted for no real gain.

    i would have thought that targeting those that were 2, 3, or even 4 times the limit would be a better use of resources, as those are the drivers that are ticking time bombs.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      The person on NatRad this morning said that reducing it to 50mg/100ml would save 15-33 lives per year, 200-300 injuries and $100m in social harm.

      The AA spokesperson said that when you’re double the legal limit you are 200 times more likely to crash, and it is those people that they should be going after.

    • jbanks 5.2

      Evidence based policy is overrated around here. It’s all about the emotive headlines.

    • Puddleglum 5.3

      “i would like to how many people have been killed, or have serious accidents with a blood alcohol level between 50 and 80mg / 100ml, and if dropping the limit from 80 to 50mg would actually make much of a difference or would just end up with loads more people being prosecuted for no real gain”

      Andrew, I’m not sure there’s much merit in trying to split hairs the way Joyce appears to be suggesting. It would make as much sense to say we should research how many accidents are ’caused’ by the difference between 80 and 100mg with an aim to increasing it if that 20mg proved to have an insignificant or very minor effect. The fact is, this isn’t about the research, it’s about the politics.

      Also, have a look at your sentence above, Andrew, and instead of thinking about road accidents think about the same blood alcohol limit applied to any occupation: airline pilots, checkout operators, forklift drivers, assembly line workers, nurses, doctors, teachers, lawyers in court, etc.. Are you happy for anyone in those occupations to be performing them, habitually, with 80 mg levels of alcohol?

      There probably hasn’t been any New Zealand specific research showing the effects of 80 mg in such settings. Does that therefore mean – and it’s really a question for Joyce – that we should allow those blood alcohol levels in all occupations and perhaps make it illegal for employers to enforce or require ‘no alcohol’ (in terms of blood alcohol levels) in workplace settings on health and safety grounds? After all, on Joyce’s logic it would be an irrational prejudice without evidence to support it and so, presumably, employers would have to wait for a couple of years before the New Zealand specific research was done for their particular kind of workplace before enforcing any type of ban on employees’ blood alcohol levels.

      It’s only because it’s personal driving behaviour that we’re talking about that there’s this curious debate about how much alcohol should be allowed. Yet cars are just as risky as any of the work environments I’ve mentioned – in fact usually much riskier.

      We know everything we need to know about the effects of alcohol on the nervous system. It’s an anaesthetic (euphemistically called a ‘relaxant’). It progressively shuts down more and more of the nervous system right from the ‘get go’. The social relaxation/disinhibition – which is one of the main reasons people give for drinking – is one of the first signs of its effect. It’s related to a more ‘carefree’ attitude to risk (e.g., the ‘risk’ of speaking socially). Loss of our automatic motor control (controlled by the cerebellum) deteriorates just as fast, which is why the old tests of touching your nose with your finger or walking a straight line were used before the bag. Why would we want anyone driving whose nervous system and behaviour is being modified because of a freely chosen behaviour?

      It’s probably impossible to eliminate all contributors to driving risks. But those we can disallow should be disallowed (remember, we’re not talking about banning alcohol in society).

      In the bigger picture, this is just another social pathology that results from the way we organise ourselves. How many of us live within walking distance of our work, our friends, places where people gather for socialising? More and more we have to drive. Why? It didn’t used to be like that. My home town in England still (just) has pubs within easy reach of everyone (by foot) – though pubs are closing down at a great rate even in England with fewer, bigger outlets further from people. I don’t want to harp on, but all roads lead back to the same old rotten Rome, I’m afraid.

  6. prism 6

    For goodness sake we wouldn’t have laws and rules if they weren’t needed because in their absence the self-centred and powerful will dominate others and society becomes chaotic. Personal discipline cannot be relied on completely as you mention jcuknz.

    Laws made to prohibit and force behaviour or denial, that constantly impede us in petty or large ways and that are not accepted by the general population are the ones that become an imposition. Even then sometimes the greater good must prevail. (So I have to give up my wood burner for the sake of cleaner air and climate change, for a more expensive better one if I’m lucky, or have an expensive electric heat exchange that sucks up money along with the air.)

  7. randal 7

    the gubmint is backing down on everything.
    what we have now is gubmint lite.
    as hooton pointed out yesterday on 9-noon ,the gubmint is being run by a pack of juveniles out of kweewee’s office and they haven’t really got a clue about anything.

  8. Herodotus 8

    What is stoppiong some so called community minded polly from placing a private members bill. We have them for abortion changes, S59.”Truth is, Steven Joyce knows that if the drink driving net is widened, lots more people will find themselves in court. Some of those people will look a bit like him. And that won’t win him, or his Party, votes” would not the same be applied to any party (except The Greens). So if that is the case perhaps a better question should be “When is it acceptable to promote and pass laws that upset the voting public at large” We already have had Nanny State, now we are getting in every increasing frequency something similar associated with Nat.
    Or is there some other reason for this posting say attack Nat irrespective of how the MP’s on the left feel.
    This site is for me progressively trending away from what matters to the left to blind support towards Lab. The 2 are not totally compatible, and all this will do is present a weakened Lab and a greater weakening of the Left as the two become ever increasingly associated by many as beingthe same.
    “There seems to be no good reason not to lower the breath-alcohol level,” I thought you answered this, because of the political damage, otherwise get some private members bill that Lab endorses by wipping the crew of Mp’s, thus displaying where Lab stand in solidarity!!

  9. Clarke 9

    Translation of the National government’s policy statements on drink driving into English

    There will be no tolerance for drivers under 20, who will have a zero alcohol limit
    Translation: We have proven research that people under 20 do not vote, so it’s an obvious political win to give the kids a kicking – again. This policy will also result in additional support for National from the knee-jerk rednecks who constitute our rural support base, who regard the yoof as an existential threat to their way of life. We have concluded that there is no political downside to putting the boot in.

    More research is needed before the adult limit is reduced to 0.05
    Translation: Our current research indicates that state of the National Party’s coffers may be adversely affected by a policy that results in people drinking less, as the alcohol merchants will contribute fewer funds for the next election. In addition, a lower drink-drive limit may adversely affect the profitability of the Rugby World Cup for the hospitality sector, which will potentially have a negative impact on their donations to our party. We regard the additional deaths and injuries that will result from this policy a satisfactory social price to pay for our re-election – from a political standpoint, these are an acceptable level of casualties.

    Sentences for deaths and injuries caused by drink drivers will be increased
    Translation: Research indicates that our imprisonment rate is only the second highest in the western world, and our aspirations are larger than that. This policy will further increase the number of people in jail – a stated aim of this government – and will contribute to a higher level of profitability for the private prison sector. We think there are possible flow-on benefits that may result from prison companies making higher contributions to our funds for next year’s election.

  10. Bill 10

    Not defending drink driving in any way, shape or form. But drink driving is symptomatic of larger problems.

    Not so long ago it was possible and normal for people to transport themselves to pubs, or wherever, and back without the use of cars.

    But with the car came ever increasing distances between people and utilities alongside fewer and fewer public transport options. (The supermarket is usually a drive away as opposed to the short walk away that the local shops used to be. And there will often not be a bus option.)

    Meanwhile, as greater distance has become the norm, local facilities and activities have shut down. Including, but not limited to pubs.

    So we live in a social culture that to a large extent and for better or worse, revolves around alcohol consumption and yet our access to alcohol (and so, to some degree, society) has become increasingly problematic.

    Where I lived, it used to be common to walk for up to an hour or even more to get to the pub and walk the same distance back home. (Taxis were a very rarely used option) Not any more. We are convinced the streets are unsafe…and they kind of are because we don’t populate them any more. And our sense of normality has shifted so that anybody walking for an hour to meet up at the pub would we considered a peculiar individual.

    So I wonder if we are destined to shut ourselves behind the walls of our total entertainment centre homes and contribute even more to the break down of our society?

    • js 10.1

      This is where the “wowsers” arguments come from.

      “Someone is stopping me getting to a beer easily, so instead of getting off my fat, lazy, surround-sound ass, it is they who are wowsers trying to reduce my quality of life.”

  11. js 11

    One thing is certain: When pushed, Kiwis will risk death, theirs or someone else, in exchange for being able to drive home after a couple of beers. Someone mentioned juveniles.

  12. randal 12

    right on bill.
    you got it in one but what matters most is how much money you spend and if it goes to the justice industry then so be it.

  13. Bill 13

    How many glasses of wine translates to 80mg/100ml and how many to 50mg/100ml and what impact would the difference make to the sales and profit margins of the wine industry?

    Any figures on how many glasses of wine are sold at on-licences…particularly restaurants?

    Would those sales be roughly cut in half with an approximate halving of alcohol/blood levels?

    Hmm, I take it that Johnny Boy took absolutely nothing to do with this cabinet decision given his interest in (forgetitsname) winery and the potential big hit on its profit margins were blood/alcohol levels to be reduced?

  14. aj 14

    Look for Key to get shares in Taxi Companys. It will mean he’s about to reduce the limit to zero

  15. Pat 15

    Think how many lives could have been saved:

    “Lower drink-drive limits abandoned
    Published: 6:31PM Tuesday December 16, 2003”

    “An attempt to lower legal blood alcohol levels for drivers and introduce hidden speed cameras has been abandoned after Transport Minister Paul Swain failed to get enough support for the move.

    Swain had hoped to cut the legal blood alcohol level from 80 milligrams to 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood – a move that he claimed would save 14 lives each year.

    But on Tuesday, facing opposition from cabinet colleagues and the public, he admitted defeat.

    “It is clear from work that’s been done, that there is not widespread support in the community for this measure,” Swain said.

    http://tvnz.co.nz/content/243441/423466/article.html

  16. Rex Widerstrom 16

    Because drink driving is the common man’s crime one that, among well-to-do middle class people, looms larger than most other criminal offences. This is why Steven Joyce has decided to stall legislative change

    As opposed to doing 10km/h an hour over the limit? I know anecdotes don’t equal evidence but the vast majority of the people I speak to on law ‘n’ order issues (more than most people, I suspect) fume and rail against petty speed enforcement and have been caught by it themselves. They have not, however, driven drunk and support efforts to reduce it.

    I suggest that if you asked any group of people gathered anywhere but around the table of some “road safety” lobby group you’d get a similar response.

    So if it’s all driven by a fear of offending the “common man” can we expect an order to go out to the plods to set the margins on their speed cameras to a reasonable level, and to hand out warnings on the first one or two occasions rather than reflexively reaching for the ticket book?

    Because if we can, bloody good job, I say.

    • felix 16.1

      I’d like to see the plods set the margins on their cameras to sensible levels too.

      I propose 50kmph around town and 100kmph on the open road in accordance with the speed limit.

      • Mac1 16.1.1

        Amen, Felix. The limit is the limit. I have students who come into my classes and ask when they are late. They of course are wanting to know when the guillotine descends. I tell ’em. The bell is the bell. After that you’re late. Few are late. They just want to know where the boundaries actually lie..

        Speeders are the same. Tell ’em the limit is the limit. It’s not hard to fathom.

        I think de facto speed limits set by speed cameras are stupid. And they deny basic human instincts to push the boundaries. “But I was just over…..”

      • Draco T Bastard 16.1.2

        Actually, the reason the cameras aren’t set to that already is because of limits on the devices. They’re not 100% accurate. Back when the +10km/h was set they were considered to be accurate to +- 7km/h. I assume that they’ve gotten better since which is the real driver for dropping the margin from 10km/h to 5km/h.

        Average car speedometers have also improved as the older vehicles disappear from the roads.

        • Mac1 16.1.2.1

          Thanks, Draco, for the explanation. Could a speedometer be checked and even recalibrated in the WOF process for a more accurate reading, I wonder?

          • jcuknz 16.1.2.1.1

            Oh NO not another ‘little’ thing added to the WOF test. Actually I know that my speedo is reading slightly under becuase of the trailer speed cameras which read back at 48k when my speedo reads 50k. Only problem is will it be similar at 100k? Is that a sufficiently good excuse? 🙂 My bathroom scales are set at 11kg to read the same weight as my doctor’s scales at 90kg. I think only specialised garages have speedo testing gear, I’ve see it on TV but not at any garage I’ve frequented.
            When I was in Colorado a few years back I found they didn’t have WOF tests like us but rather emmission testing, for cars built after 1992. For once I thought they had their priorities right.
            I had to take the car to a building much like testing stations here and they put fans up against the radiator to avoid over heating as they ran the engine and we the public where confined to a waiting room. They thought that cars built pre-1992 were too few and too far gone to bother about.

        • Armchair Critic 16.1.2.2

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedometer#Error
          There will always be some error. GPS provides a good second opinion and by staying below the posted limits on both the car speedo and the GPS I’ve been pretty successful at avoiding a third opinion from the law.

          • Herodotus 16.1.2.2.1

            When towing on the open road the speed limit is 90km (light & heavy vehicle) the current form of policing does not recogise theis in operation, as speed cameras do not differentiate the vehicle approaching if it is towing or not. So we see in practice another example of the transport industry “getting away” without complying to the rules. Many truck and trailer units I have had difficulty in keeping up with them in my Toyota copy of a Ferrari just over the 100km mark on the Desert Rd. S is there a rule for them and another for us?
            http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/roadcode/about-limits/speed-limits.html

            • jcuknz 16.1.2.2.1.1

              Once I overtook a articulated petrol tanker, obviously returning empty to base, and had a real problem getting past. Now I might pass them when there are two lanes going up a hill but really they have far more grunt than what I have and I ease over so they can overtake me when they catch up with me again.

      • burt 16.1.3

        felix

        Why not just ticket directly from the vehicle management system once every second for every second over the limit? Hell man you want draconian and you are relying on a physically limited number of sampling points, off ya game toning, have you been drinking?

        • loota 16.1.3.1

          I’m pretty sure every city council in NZ will be rolling out computer recognition parking meter systems, where your movements and number plate is automatically recorded, if you stay in a P30 one minute over time an automated fine will be issued against your registration (no more parking wardens on mopeds needed), if you stay in a metered spot and your time runs out by more than a minute, an automated fine will be issued against your registration…and of course Council staffers will be able to record and track your movements around the city centre any time of day or night.

          Fun and games.

        • felix 16.1.3.2

          Gidday burt,

          If that’s possible, then why not? I’m so sick of people complaining that they get ticketed for being “just a few ks over” which usually turns out to be a few ks over 110.

          Call me old fashioned but 100k is not supposed to be an average, or a target, or a guideline. You shouldn’t be driving at 100k, you should always be under 100k.

  17. tc 17

    I find it intruiging that this NACT gov’t always grasps at opportunities to get tough on crime, road issues (banning phones) and other areas like welfare, industrial relations etc etc

    But issues around alchohol, be it raising excise or in this case discouraging consumption are pushed back, against all international evidence, as ‘needing further research’.

    Methinks that further research involves evaluating the impact on their investments and their backers agendas…….sod the great unwashed we may upset our backers appears a better motive.

    Love that selective choice of issues that require ‘more debate’…..mining/ACC/3 strikes etc didn’t need it did they to name a few. Joyce’s just the bloke to front this sham he loves it.

  18. Reality Check 18

    “So, National has failed to act on drink driving.”

    And in 8 years in government Labour did what to reduce the drink driving? a lot LESS then what national is doing.

    Before we go claiming that the Nats have failed, lets look in our own camp and see where we failed?

    • jbanks 18.1

      “It’s a bit rich for a government…that didn’t even bother commissioning the report, to be arguing we should be doing something.”

  19. Sarge 19

    I’ve got a good question. Can anyone tell me the number of crashes caused annually by drivers with a BAC between 0.5 and 0.8, ie. is there any evidence that this law will make the blindest bit of difference?? Cause I don’t know about you, but I like to base law making on facts and figures.

    • lprent 19.1

      At present the police don’t collect that data. In fact they’re prohibited by law from acquiring it. The only good aspect of this proposed legislation is that they will start collecting that data now.

      However there is quite a lot of clinical evidence from both here and overseas that shows peoples reaction times decreasing with almost any amount of alcohol in their system. Almost any other factors (like tiredness, age etc) that also slow reaction times are accentuated by almost any amount of booze in their systems.

      In the countries where the permissible BAC has been lowered, there have also been drops in crashes, and particularly in fatal crashes.

      Seems like a bit of a no-brainer to me (and I haven’t been drinking)….

      • Herodotus 19.1.1

        “In the countries where the permissible BAC has been lowered, there have also been drops in crashes, and particularly in fatal crashes.” IPRENT could this also be part attributable to the efforts car makers have made in protecting the driver and passangers, e.g.seatbelts from the 1980’s, side intrusion bars, air bags and the increased effort and skill in our medical field, the magic hour, helicopters and all that. As we all know the same stats can support both sides of an arguement !!!!
        What gets me is some of the underlying stats 1% of our pop get convicted from drink offense. Also wonder what the nos are of 2,3,4,5 … times people receive convictions. We cannot even cope with the 80 level, policing and the court system. What additional costs and resources are required to adequately police the current law?

      • jcuknz 19.1.2

        I was interested to hear the Aussie AA man on NatRad tonight, where some are agitating for the 5 be reduced to 2, being pretty non-commital over the benefits of reducing 8>5. I guess it depends on what you believe and what you read.
        The other comment I read was that many of us who are careful to make sure we don’t go over the 8 limit would be under the 5 if it was adopted. It is just the uncertainty of this that makes me against any change.
        The uncertainty as I mix a Gin and It by eye, how much wine and how much gin, topped up with tonic to make a long drink … sorry I don’t want to risk my licence. Even though I know it usually has less effect on me than a stubbie. I know that’s personal and not scientific but its how I feel.

  20. coolas 20

    Close Up poll tonight had 68% of 17.000 supporting reduction

    U turn by lunchtime?

    • Bill 20.1

      Yes, a U-Turn.

      Except it ain’t really a U-Turn. It’s just a bullshit game of manufactured perceptions.

      We know they wanted to mine. They tried to sell non-mining (at least on S4) back to us as them being responsive to our concerns….a pragmatic, caring and listening government.

      We know they are in bed with (or are the bed of) the alcohol industry. And they know they have no option but to lower limits. But first they don’t….. and then they do….because they listened (apparently).

      So you see how they propose impossible bad shit but back down (apparently) due to popular demand? And you see how that makes them responsive…a listening government to someone who isn’t paying close attention?

      And you see how that gives them a punt at a second term which gives the mandate to roll?

      Cunning little…

    • jcuknz 20.2

      Obviously the workers are overpaid, wasting their money on Television polls, and will moan when the bill arives at the end of the month.

    • jbanks 20.3

      So a ‘close up poll’ is a legitimate alternative to research as a means to justify a policy change?

      You’re doing it wrong.

  21. Bill 21

    What’s the limit for dak?

    Or methadone…which many people drive to the chemist to get and consume…. and drive back home or to work on?

    Or speed?

    Or coke?

    Or whatever other drug?

    Any legality/illegality argument cannot hold water when methadone is taken into consideration.

    And tendency of drug to incapacitate would seem unsustainable given that alcohol is one of the most irredeemably incapacitating drugs around…maybe with the exception of some downers.

  22. Rharn 22

    Key’s back down is nothing more than a sop to the liquor industry. The two year gap for bringing the public ‘along’ has more to do with allowing the industry to restructure the price of liquor so as to minimise the loss in profit that the reforms will cause to the bottomline.

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    To Protect and Serve: When the Prime Minister finds herself enmeshed in the coils of a full-blown political scandal, her colleagues and party comrades have only one priority: to release her as swiftly – and with as little lasting injury – as possible. Is this what Jacinda Ardern’s colleagues and ...
    1 day ago
  • The rot at the top.
    When military leaders cover up and lie to elected civilian authorities, the foundation of democratic civil-military relations is undermined because it is those authorities who are entrusted to hold the military accountable to the public that they mutually serve. But this is only true if civilian political authorities take their ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 day ago
  • Challenging the voting age in court
    The Make It 16 campaign to lower the voting age is launching this afternoon, and they have already announced plans to challenge the law in court:The campaign, named "Make it 16" will launch at Parliament on Friday, with plans to take their case to the High Court, testing the rights ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Israel’s elections herald a long siesta
    by Daphna Whitmore The long years of Netanyahu’s reign are drawing to an end. For years he has epitomized reactionary zionism as he oversaw hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers seize land in the West Bank. There are now 700,000 settlers, putting an end to the myth that Israel was ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 day ago
  • Petrol companies promise prices will come back down once peace is restored to the Middle East
    BP, Z and Mobil all insist that petrol price hikes are temporary, “in a very literal sense.” The nation’s major petrol providers are trying to allay customer fears over prices, promising that they’ll move to lower them again “immediately” when the Middle East is returned to its formerly peaceful state. ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 days ago
  • All Blacks unveil boat for Rugby World Cup 2019
    South African coach Rassie Erasmus says he has no idea what they’re going to do about the boat. In a highly anticipated press conference this afternoon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has finally unveiled the team’s boat for its Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign. In a press conference that went ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 days ago
  • An increasingly shoddy coverup
    The Operation Burnham inquiry continued to question senior NZDF staff today, and their shoddy coverup over their knowledge of civilian casualties continue to fall apart. If you recall, first, we were asked to believe that it was all a series of "mistakes and errors": a senior officer with multiple degrees ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    3 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    3 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    4 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    4 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    5 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    5 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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