It’s a crime

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 am, February 2nd, 2009 - 36 comments
Categories: crime, Media - Tags:

I have a crime to report. Someone has kidnapped one of our most insightful journos and replaced them with an illiterate wowser.

How else to explain writing an article called “Collins must collar rising tide of crime ” when any journalist with a modicum of professionalism knows, having read the stats, that crime is not rising but falling?

36 comments on “It’s a crime”

  1. agreed, that article’s well off form for Armstrong. his health is deteriorating, maybe that’s got something to do with it.

  2. BLiP 2

    What is up with Armstrong? Has he been got at by the Goober’s traitor journo’s turned spin doctors? Do they have something over him that has resulted in his latest effusive National Party knob-gobbling?

    I’m wondering if the Gallery has decided to give the gNats a free run for the first 100 days and then will resume their role as commentators and not cheerleaders, and fact checkers not policy pushers.

    Has anyone seen http://www.mediamatters.org ? We are starting to need something like that for our own media – would require heaps of work, though. Anyone interested?

  3. Greg 3

    Yeah but isn’t violent crime rising?

  4. Lew 4

    Greg: Yeah but isn’t violent crime rising?

    Reported violent crime is rising. The police themselves say this is to do with higher reporting of domestic violence.

    L

  5. Lew 5

    BLiP: Aside from your use of terms like `knob-gobbling’, there’s a credibility problem:

    Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

    Partisan media agencies don’t have very much. The world doesn’t need a left-wing version of Fox News. There’s plenty of misinformation being put about by the so-called left as well – and far more genuine error and incompetence and overwork. Read Nick Davies’ Flat Earth News.

    I might be interested in being involved with a bipartisan analysis and fact-checking agency, but you’re right – it’s a simply insane amount of work, and thankless at that. Even in a tiny media ecology like NZ’s.

    L

  6. @ work 6

    Maybe he means Asian crime?

    (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  7. jbc 7

    Reported violent crime is rising.” I find it curious how the violent crime stats are often brushed off with this. Some even go as far as suggesting that this is actually a good thing – but remember that this is not the first time this explanation has been used. I vaguely recall it being trotted out in the 90’s too. Do the police ever offer that explanation when reported crime is falling?

    The brits have their own twist on this problem.

    Surely at some point the rise in reported violent crime will become a real problem though. Sometime within the next 3 years I suspect.

    Bottom line is that I’d trust the police crime figures about as much as I trust a fund manager’s advertised returns.

  8. Lew 8

    jbc: Bottom line is that I’d trust the police crime figures about as much as I trust a fund manager’s advertised returns.

    Yes, the age-old conundrum of how to measure crime rates. If not the police, who would you trust? Who doesn’t have a dog in this fight?

    L

  9. Tim Ellis 9

    Serious violent offending has risen. Armstrong just doesn’t spin a story in the direction you would like it to lead, SP.

  10. Lew 10

    Tim: Serious violent offending has risen.

    No, reported serious violent offending has risen. If you want to argue that it’s not for the reasons the Police claim (higher awareness, better responsiveness, etc), then it’s incumbent upon you to demonstrate why the police are wrong. JBC has started, and it’s certainly an arguable case. So argue it.

    L

  11. Jimbo 11

    Lew,

    I don’t understand why you’re so excited about the “reported” aspect. So what? Even if you’re right that the stats only show a greater level of “reported” crime, why are you so happy about it?

    “Reported” crime being up ALSO means that the problem is BIGGER that we previously thought and needs additional measures to deal with it. Or is my simplistic mind missing something?

    (As an aside – how do you know that the “unreported” element has not also increased, in real terms? Let’s face it, saying that 40% of domestic violence (or whatever) now gets reported is total guesswork – by definition no-one knows how many “unreported” incidents there are!)

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    I don’t understand why you’re so excited about the “reported’ aspect. So what?

    I was going to answer this but you answered it yourself in the last paragraph. Which just shows that you’re not ignorant of the facts but that you don’t want to believe them.

    In answer to your last question in your last paragraph – statistics. You go out and you make surveys and then extrapolate those results to the rest of the population using a process known as statistical analysis. It’s not perfectly accurate but it’s not far off and it’s certainly better than nothing.

  13. Rex Widerstrom 13

    BLiP:

    The trouble with mediamatters.org lies within its mission statement:

    …systematically monitor a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation… [my emphasis]

    There’s something not quite credible about pointing out bias in the media from a position of… well, bias. I’m not denying Media Matters does a good job – but it only does half of one.

    If someone, of any political persuasion, truly believes that the media need to be held to account for inaccuracy then they should have the integrity to do so even when the correction disadvantages their “side”.

    And besides, imagine a “Media Matters” run by commenters who contribute regularly here, for instance. The standard of proof required to get everyone to agree that a correction be issued would be so high, its accuracy would be unquestionable 😀

  14. Rex Widerstrom 14

    Lew points out:

    Yes, the age-old conundrum of how to measure crime rates. If not the police, who would you trust? Who doesn’t have a dog in this fight?

    Like jbc I don’t trust the Police’s statistics. That’s because I have personal experience (as a journo) of one district under reporting violent crime so as to make their clean-up rates look better. They’ll massage them to tell whatever story is most advantageous at the time: Copping a bit of flak? Reduce the stats and we look effective. Want more power? Increase them and we’ll get it to fight “growing lawlessness”.

    Just like unemployment figures based on WINZ’s criteria are unreliable, so most people use the Household Labour Force Survey as a measure. Statistics NZ doesn’t have a dog in any fight.

    It would be a simple matter for the data collection instruments already used by Statistics to collect a variety of information to have added to them some questions about crime.

    Have you been a victim? What sort of crime? Did you report it? would give us vastly better data than we get from the Police, and more questions would of course allow even better analysis.

    So why don’t we?

    Because that would help end the “law and order auction” that – despite recent calls for it to end – neither National nor Labour are willing to stop in their chase for the fear vote.

  15. jimbo. the issues around crime stats have been covered and re-covered, see our archives.

    what lew says is what the experts say, and i tend to believe them (if their arguments make sense) rather than people trying to make reality justify their iedology.

  16. Lew 16

    Jimbo: I don’t understand why you’re so excited about the “reported’ aspect. So what? Even if you’re right that the stats only show a greater level of “reported’ crime, why are you so happy about it?

    Oh, no, I’m not happy – I just think it’s important to understand the difference between the two things. All statements like `crime is up’ and `crime is down’ are actually based on evidence which says something else. How the evidence becomes the statement is a matter of explanation – or you might call it `spin’. Certainly the police have a motive to make reported crime look higher as a result of their actions while arguing that the actual crime rate stays the same or drops, just as other groups have motives to explain it in other ways.

    So I’m arguing that if the police say reported crime is up due to higher reporting rates, then that’s a good thing – IF you believe the police rationale. If you don’t, there’s an onus on your to provide an alternative (more credible) rationale. This is by no means impossible – depending on the numbers in question it might even be easy – it can’t just be stated blankly as fact without any supporting evidence as Tim has. The police, for all they have a reason to make themselves good, do a huge amount of work with crime figures, and are subject to a whole lot of oversight on matters like this. That lends them credibility.

    “Reported’ crime being up ALSO means that the problem is BIGGER that we previously thought and needs additional measures to deal with it. Or is my simplistic mind missing something?

    Well, it means the problem is bigger IF we previously presumed that we knew the full extent of the problem. Agencies who deal with crime statistics on a habitual basis tend to be extremely cautious about presuming such things. Technically, reporting rates are best understood as a lower bound.

    L

  17. BLiP 17

    Lew and Rex

    Yep – fair enough, lads. I concede, Media Matters is biased and probably not a good model for a credible check on the NZ MSM. A bi-partisan approach would be best.

    I wonder where it comes from that the left feels just as agrieved with apparent MSM bias as the right. In some ways I think the MSM is trying to have its cake and eat it as well – attempting fairness but actually annoying everyone.

    I dunno. Now, where did I put my thinking cap . . .

  18. Lew 18

    Rex: Good, you proved my point – a case, if somewhat conspiratorial, against the police explanation.

    Yes, I agree that there are better ways and more credible authorities – university criminologists, for instance, do a great deal of research in the way that you describe. As to why we don’t do more – I guess (I don’t know) it’s for logistical reasons. It’s incredibly time-consuming and expensive to conduct research of this type, and methodologically more complex than you make it seem. There are also political problems with entrusting this sort of things to `leftist academics’, which in the context of the law and order auction are non-trivial. However I agree that that’s what we need more of.

    L

  19. Lew 19

    BLiP: The Center for Public Integrity isn’t quite what you seek (it deals in original long-term in-depth investigative journalism, not tactical fact-checking), but it’s a useful organisational model in principle.

    L

  20. BLiP 20

    Jimbo Said

    ” . . . I don’t understand why you’re so excited about the “reported’ aspect. So what? . . . ”

    As I understand it, the events leading up to and including the shooting on Western motorway, for example, would have been reported by heaps of people – the way the police gather their statistics, each report is counted so you get a situation where one event attracts mulltiple reports so, hey presto, “rising crime statistics”.

    Further clouding the data are, for example, the advertisements encouraing greater community action in the quest to eliminate domestic violence. In the past a “domestic” would have gone largely unreported but nowadays, I understand, there could be three or four reports for the same incident.

    I like the idea of putting the collection of crime data into the hands of the professionals at the Department of Statistics (is this the only “Department” left in government these days?) who have nothing to gain from providing anything other than accuracy.

  21. Jimbo 21

    Lew,

    I’m not sure why the onus should be on the public to prove or disprove anything about the crime stats – you’ve said that a couple of times in your posts above. It’s the people who run the “reported” line (i.e. police, etc) that need to do the justifying, surely?

    Step 1: Crime figures come up, and show larger number of convictions, investigations, etc.

    Step 2: Police (or whoever) says “Don’t worry, actually only “reported” crime is up” (and actual crime has fallen?)…

    Step 3: I say “How do you know that? What methods are you using the work out the etimated “unreported” crime figures? Isn’t this total guesswork since “unreported” crime is, by defintiion, something we don’t know about.”

    Step 4: ???

    The crime stats are of course not a perfect measure. But they ARE the measure we have and they DO show an increase in (reported) crime. If, however, the police believe that crime is in fact FALLING because unreported crime is falling (something that is pure hypothesis), surely they’re the ones who have to prove it…?!

    How does the Police estimate the “unreported” crime, and what makes them think that this sub-set of crime is now smaller than it used to be?

  22. Jimbo 22

    BLiP – that’s crazy if one crime gets counted multiple times. Certainly should be changed if that’s the way they currently do it. Agree with your suggestion that Dept of Statistics should collect (or at least audit) the stats.

  23. Lew 23

    Jimbo: I’m not sure why the onus should be on the public to prove or disprove anything about the crime stats – you’ve said that a couple of times in your posts above. It’s the people who run the “reported’ line (i.e. police, etc) that need to do the justifying, surely?

    On their own, those figures don’t tell us very much – methodologically speaking, you can’t validly look at an increase in reported crime and assume that there’s been a commensurate increase in committed crime; there are a lot of other factors in play. There are a bunch of possible explanations for the change, and `crime has gone up’ is certainly one. In a way it’s like assuming from a 10% increase in vehicle traffic that the price of fuel decreased by 10% – there’s probably a link between the two figures, but it can’t be relied upon without further evidence.

    In any case, the Police do justify their arguments. You can disbelieve or query or argue the toss, but fundamentally if you aim to discard their explanation, then without an explanation of your own you’re saying nothing more than `I reckon …’, and that’s noise, not signal.

    BLiP’s also right – there are a lot of methodological problems in play. Yeah, they’re the figures we have, but rather than just pretending their imperfections don’t exist, it’s best to try to mitigate against those imperfections.

    L

  24. Lew 24

    I should add that while the police do justify their arguments, they also trade heavily on their credibility as the police force – which isn’t ironclad.

    L

  25. Rex Widerstrom 25

    Perhaps those here who deal more in statistics than do I could comment on whether a “snapshot” would be of much use. Like, for instance, a section on crime in the Census.

    While not perfect, would this not allow us to do two things:

    1. Compare the accuracy of other statistical measures, most notably those of the Police; and

    2. Track change across the entire populace over time, albeit a very intermittent sample rates.

    The only cost I can see in this – which I’m in no way offering as a perfect solution – would be in a bit more analysis and reporting, which surely wouldn’t be huge?

  26. Jimbo 26

    Lew,

    You raise some fair points, but I think you overstate the “vagueness” of the figures.
    It’s not at all like your “10% increase in traffice MIGHT lead to 10% decrease in fuel”. The stats we’re talking about are direct stats about the point at issue. Police are asking us to read/interpret those stats with reference to another factor (unreported crime) for which they cannot give us any information at all…!

    When most people think of crime rates, they think “how many times have the police had to deal with a crime?”. The Police obviously have stats on this, and that’s what gets reported to the public at large.

    There is no possible way to track every crime committed in NZ – surely looking at how many the primary crime-enforcing government agency deals with is a pretty meaningful proxy?

    What we’re now being told (and what Steve said in the original posting) is that “any journalist with a modicum of professionalism KNOWS” [emphasis added] crime is falling.

    If the stats show an increase, but we’re supposed to read that as an overall fall, then unless I’m missing something the police should really be proving to us why they reckon “unreported crime” has dropped by a greater factor than the increase in reported crime.

  27. Lew 27

    Jimbo: You raise some fair points, but I think you overstate the “vagueness’ of the figures […] Police are asking us to read/interpret those stats with reference to another factor (unreported crime) for which they cannot give us any information at all !

    Yeah, it comes down to a judgement call, and it’s a very complicated multivariate problem. Your argument is logically valid – you can’t count what you can’t know. But I’m inclined to believe the police on this one because the thing about the It’s Not Ok campaign is that the police will have been consulted on and planned in advance for its launch, and will have (reasonably, because the effects of media campaigns are somewhat predictable) been expecting an increase. When they got the sort of increase they expected, it makes sense to call that a correlation. Unless there were other factors which might have themselves led to an increase in the incidence of (rather than the reporting of) violent crime (in particular domestic violence), then I’d say it’s a fairly strong case regardless. Weaker cases are accepted all the time, absent a better explanation.

    For what it’s worth, crime reportage is a pretty good (and pretty standard) measure of a community’s confidence in a police force; a better measure of that, I would argue, than of crime incidence (though they’re dependent variables). Suppose a government starved the police of resources such that they couldn’t respond to some crimes: people would stop bothering to report them. You’re arguing that since the police have been involved in a campaign which improves awareness of certain crimes, and improves their ability to respond to them, that the incidence of those crimes has increased. Does it therefore follow that if a police force became less competent or trusted and crime reportage went down, you’d argue that the incidence of crime had likewise decreased?

    I work with vague figures on a day-to-day basis (I sometimes, facetiously, refer to my business unit as the Department of Meaningless Numbers) and I’m generally pretty cagey about anything where a correlation isn’t pretty clear; I believe that conservative assumptions about data minimise rash responses. Notwithstanding Rex and jbc’s objections, it seems to me a less-rash assumption that the police know what they’re doing with their statistics than that every extra reported crime means an extra crime committed.

    But it’s something about which reasonable people can disagree.

    L

  28. jbc 28

    Lew, “Who doesn’t have a dog in this fight?”

    [excuse the huge pause – I hadn’t meant to do a “hit and run” comment – lots of interesting and good points on this diversion from SP’s post]

    Much has been said on this and from my own point of view I’m more interested in the honest reality than any particular angle. More than that, I hope that whatever is presented in the media is the honest reality. That “rising tide of Asian crime” article a couple of years back really was a low point – because it was clearly untrue.

    In this case I’m not sure if “rising tide of crime” is accurate – but then I’m equally unsure that crime is decreasing as some would like us to believe. I think we have no option but to trust the police numbers .

    One plausible explanation for the overall decrease in reported crime is that there is increased apathy in reporting minor dishonesty and property crimes. Certainly not a stretch to believe that.

    During the 1990’s my house was burgled twice, my car was broken into several times, stolen once, neighbour assaulted (detectives woke me up with a knock on the front door), and I witnessed an assault on a taxi driver in the city (I called the police and stood by the taxi until they arrived – they were fantastic). The last year before I left NZ my house was tagged once per month on average. All of this in sunny Pt Chev.

    All but the tagging was reported to police. The latter I handled myself (with industrial solvents, gloves and a wire brush) because:
    a) didn’t want to waste police time.
    b) unlikely that it would resolve the problem.

    Based on my own experience I wouldn’t call police for minor crime unless it was required for an insurance claim that was worthwhile making. Police roaming the house at night leaving fingerprint powder everywhere is just not worth the hassle. [yes, in the 1990’s police actually visited on the night of the burglary]

    Earlier today I looked at the police stats and dug a little deeper with the same stats on the statistics.govt website. Fiscal years 98/99 – 07/08. Total violent crime rate rose from 105 per 10,000 to 138 per 10,000 population. About a 30% increase.

    Increased reporting of domestic violence? Perhaps – that’s one category of violent crime that I can understand being kept silent. The thing that gets me is that this increase is spread quite broadly: robbery, grievous bodily harm, etc. It just leaves me a little skeptical of the “increased reporting” line. Why wouldn’t you report a robbery in 1999?

    Perhaps I’m just getting suspicious and over-skeptical as the years tick by – although I think I’ve always been suspicious of people wielding graphs with a vested interest in the numbers.

  29. Draco T Bastard 29

    Police are asking us to read/interpret those stats with reference to another factor (unreported crime) for which they cannot give us any information at all !

    http://www.courts.govt.nz/media/fact-5-3-april-2006.pdf

    They carry out surveys and have a reasonable account of how much crime actually happens in the community. Reported crime does not equal the actual crime rate – It will be less. So, when the number of crimes reported goes up and the surveys say that the amount of crime in the community stays the same or goes down then the police can say that the reported crime has gone up but crime has stayed the same or gone down. They actually do have the numbers to back up what they say.

    But it’s something about which reasonable people can disagree.

    No there isn’t. They could argue methodology and numbers but the overall result will be the same.

  30. jbc 30

    DTB: “They carry out surveys and have a reasonable account of how much crime actually happens in the community”

    Courts know about unreported crime? Hows that?

    But I couldn’t find that from your link. Digging further on that survey gave me this:

    New Zealand Crime & Safety Survey 2006 (NZCASS)
    Key Findings report

    News media fact sheet 1: Responding to crime trends

    1. Is crime going up, down, or staying the same?

    The NZCASS cannot provide a definitive answer in respect to all forms of crime. This is due to significant methodological changes in the survey design from the two previous surveys (the NZ National Survey of Crime Victims) in 1996 and 2001.

    and this:

    2. Why can’t you say what the crime rate is?

    The survey cannot say what the crime rate is because it does not cover all the crimes that occur.[…]
    At the same time, police figures do not tell us what the crime rate is either. The Police only record offences reported to them.

    Which doesn’t actually shed much illumination on the comments above. It’s a light with a broken filament… and flat batteries 🙁

  31. Lew 31

    jbc: In this case I’m not sure if “rising tide of crime’ is accurate – but then I’m equally unsure that crime is decreasing as some would like us to believe. I think we have no option but to trust the police numbers .

    This is almost my argument – qualified by the idea that if anyone is more credible or has a more sound explanation, let them come forth.

    Perhaps I’m just getting suspicious and over-skeptical as the years tick by – although I think I’ve always been suspicious of people wielding graphs with a vested interest in the numbers.

    That’s not over-skeptical, that’s prudent.

    The NZCASS cannot provide a definitive answer in respect to all forms of crime. This is due to significant methodological changes in the survey design from the two previous surveys (the NZ National Survey of Crime Victims) in 1996 and 2001

    Yes, this is a problem with regard to long-term crime statistics – when you change or improve or tune your methodology, results are often no longer comparable.

    DTB: They could argue methodology and numbers but the overall result will be the same.

    In cases like this, there is no `right’ answer upon which we can agree. Methodology determines results to a large extent.

    Jimbo and I disagree over points of methodological validity and interpretation – I accept that his arguments are valid, he seems to assume that at least some of mine are valid, though we both prefer our own. That’s the definition of reasonable people differing.

    L

  32. Draco T Bastard 32

    But I couldn’t find that from your link.

    I used that link more as an example. It was late (early?) and I should have been clearer.

    The point is surveys are taken. From those surveys you can extrapolate out what the general crime rate is and compare with reported crime. If reported crime goes up but the general crime rate as determined through surveys stays the same then there’s only one conclusion.

    Courts know about unreported crime? Hows that?

    By taking surveys. Here’s the link to the full report.

    It measures the amount of crime in New Zealand in 2005 by asking people directly about crimes they have experienced. The survey includes crimes not reported to the Police, so it is an important complement to Police records.

    The new survey leaves out a few crimes but I’m sure the police and the courts would have access to those statistics as well.

    The NZCASS covers reported and unreported personal and household crime experienced by those aged 15 years or over, but not commercial crime, crimes against people living in institutions, nor ‘victimless’ crimes such as drug and alcohol offences. It involves a survey of 5,416 people. The data relates to the 2005 year.

    Collate all that data from police and courts and you will end up with reasonably accurate crime statistics.

  33. Lew 33

    DTB: If that indeed gives us `reasonably accrate crime statistics’, then you’ve just solved one of the fundamental problems in the discipline of criminology and the sociology of deviance!

    The trouble is that, while multiple sources and types of data certainly result in more information and can indeed result in better information, they only rarely result in more accurate information without very careful handling. Collating and correlating information from diverse sources is methodologically far from trivial, as you make it seem. In principle, what you describe is fine. Practice is somewhat different.

    L

  34. Draco T Bastard 34

    If that indeed gives us `reasonably accrate crime statistics’, then you’ve just solved one of the fundamental problems in the discipline of criminology and the sociology of deviance!

    I didn’t suggest the needed questions or what their weighting would be so, therefore, I can’t have done that.

    I didn’t imply that it would be easy either – that’s you reading into what’s written that which is not there. My implication was that the collation was needed for better understanding.

    Even then it doesn’t remove the fact that the data does exist, contrary to some claims, and it’s on this data that the police claims are being made. So far I haven’t seen anyone bring up anything to counter the police data or it’s interpretation.

  35. Lew 35

    DTB: Yeah, we mostly agree.

    So far I haven’t seen anyone bring up anything to counter the police data or it’s interpretation.

    Nor I. Except Rex, who doesn’t offer an alternative.

    L

  36. Rex Widerstrom 36

    Sorry for the huge delay in responding and I guess no one will read this now. Bugger.

    With respect Lew I’ve offered two alternatives, perhaps not very clearly though:

    1. A dedicated survey similar to the Household Labour Force Survey. The Household Crime Experience Survey, if you will… a weighted sample of households asked about their experience of crime.

    2. An add-on section in the Census (not great, but a measure against which Police stats could be compared over time or correlation or lack thereof). About the only advantage over the HCES idea I can see would be lower cost.

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    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
    2 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 ...
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago

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