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Jarrod Gilbert is tilting at windmills

Written By: - Date published: 7:33 am, November 27th, 2015 - 38 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, class war, corruption, crosby textor, democratic participation, Dirty Politics, Ethics, health and safety, human rights, john key, Judith Collins, law, Politics, science - Tags: , , , , , ,

Is Jarrod Gilbert’s call for an end to the gradual crushing of academic research in New Zealand quixotic? Probably.

Looking specifically at academic research into crime data, the rot began in 2008. The National Ltd™’s Crosby Textor election campaign essentially exploited the unfortunate fact that most voters are driven by emotion rather than rationality. All sorts of despicable tactics were used and among the most successful was the manufacturing of fear. To this end, the ideological branch of National Ltd™, the ACT Party, was employed to fabricate the idea that all New Zealanders were at serious risk from ever increasing violent crime unless they voted National Ltd™.

Several horrible crimes in the lead up to the 2008 election were thoroughly exploited for shock, especially within the Asian community. Neck minit, astroturf groups were marching in the streets, the MSM was pumping out wall to wall shock horror headlines, and National Ltd™ was pounding the “get tough of crims” drum. It worked.

Obviously, then, once elected, National Ltd™ had to be seen to be doing something about the appalling crime rate. Up steps its first Minister of Police, Judith “Oravida Ancient Kauri Exports” Collins, and she had a neat little trick up her sleeve.

Until her appearance, the collection of crime statistics was a ramshackle, district-by-district operation. Different regions classified different crimes in different categories, using different criteria. It was easy-peasy for the police to massage figures in order to meet targets or generate political outcomes. Collin’s solution to that was to standardise the collection of statistics, not a bad idea on the surface. As from 1 July 2010, New Zealand adopted the Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC).  This resulted in “reported crimes” becoming “recorded crimes”. Geddit? Previously, three people might “report” the same crime but it is “recorded” just once. Nifty, eh?

By 1 October 2010, the crime rate was on the way down. Now, in 2015, the official crime statistics show the lowest number of recorded offences in nearly 30 years. Unbelievable. 

Helping police avoid criminal charges, arming them with tasers, and the “standardisation” of crime statistics were about the only things Collins ever did in the police portfolio. She went on to become the National Ltd™ Justice Minister in which position she was able to do beneficial things. Things like travelling overseas on the public purse to promote her husband’s business lecture the Chinese about corruption.

Next up in the Minister of Police portfolio was Anne Chopper Tolley. Never happier than when removing civil liberties, National Ltd™ used her to ram through some more draconian police powers. Tolley, surprise, surprise, had just the statistical data required. Turns out, however, the data was fabricated. And Tolley knew. Didn’t stop her lying through her teeth and nor did it stop National Ltd™ from bamboozling the public. Also, if John Key is to be believed, Tolley never told him that Maurice Williamson was meddling in an active police investigation. Tolley has since moved on to a new National Ltd™ role designed to deliver better public services by introducing high stress levels into the lives of cancer patients.

Tolley’s replacement was Michael “Worm Farm” Woodhouse. Although a blithering incompetent, Woodhouse clearly demonstrated his ability to justify National Ltd™ malfeasance through the dodgy use of dodgy statistics and blatant lies. Being more concerned with making zero hour contracts legal and helping out National Ltd™’s farmer lobby, Woodhouse doesn’t appear to have done anything at all so far as his police portfolio is concerned. Except cover for the police. If John Key is to be believed, Woodhouse didn’t even tell him that Mike Sabin was being investigated by the police several months before the last election.

mike sabin and john key

Not much chance of Jarrod Gilbert getting any help from the Minister. What about next up the ladder, the Prime Minister. Nah! He’s the reason.

See, so far as John “The Liar” Key is concerned, academic research and freedom of speech are component parts of truth and reality, the arch enemies of his ideological God, “The Invisible Hand”. As the National Ltd™ Cult of Neoliberalism’s current carnival barker, John Key is required to deny reality by mastering mendacity. He has managed to create an efficient and highly-effective Dirty Politics Machine with such power that even secret SIS information has been used and twisted to stomp rival politicians and game elections. John Key’s Dirty Politics Machine has an early warning system to detect brewing troubles and a database of likely troublesome individuals. The moment an inconvenient truth is spoken, John Key’s Dirty Politics Machine attacks whomever needs to be silenced. There is no consideration of any of the new data, just as there is no consideration of the likely consequences should the data be accurate. Just so long as the data has even the potential to rattle the cognitive dissonance created by neoliberal scripture, it is individuals who are to be disposed of, with malice and without delay. While operating largely under the radar, John Key’s Dirty Politics Machine does come complete with the above-surface, MSM-supplied Distraction and Division Tool (DDT) which . . . oooh, look, pandas; oooh, yuck, rapists and murderers; anyone for a new flag?

John Key’s Dirty Politics Machine has been running hot as other Beehive Priests of National Ltd™ work full-on eliminating any likelihood of just about anyone getting in the way. Remember back in 2011, that BBC “Hard Talk” interview with John Key . . . oh, how we all chuckled when he said if you don’t like one scientist’s opinion, you can get another one. Well, turns out that in New Zealand his statement is now, largely, true. The “rolling maul” is gathering momentum as it nears the try-line.

With science now dealt to, the only remaining sector of academic research left to polish off is that anathema to neoliberalism, the humanities. In order to deal with trouble from that arena, National Ltd™ has decided that any information generated by the function of government belongs to it, and it alone. The constant threat of a visit from the Head Office Human Resources Manager to announce imminent “transition and transformation” unemployment keeps public servants and contractors focused on this imperative. As a result, the Official Information Act is now moribund and access to information beyond the scope of the Act is granted only to a chosen few and under strict conditions.

So, since Jarrod Gilbert’s issue is the result of a top-down, nearly complete National Ltd™ agenda, where to now? The Ombudsman? Nah, not gonna work.

The Office of the Ombudsman has been so deliberately underfunded that it can barely do its job; it certainly cannot do its job in a timely manner. Whether it was due to strains caused by resourcing or political pressure, the Chief Ombudsman, Beverley Wakem. has spectacularly demonstrated she really doesn’t quite get how the Official Information Act is supposed to work. Also, Wakem, is old school; she genuinely believes that people who become Ministers of the Crown are motivated by altruistic intention, that they understand the concept of ethics, and they are actually capable of feeling shame. Watching National Ltd™ handle Wakem is like watching Vito Corleone playing with his grandchild.

Maybe Jarrod Gilbert could try again with the police. He just needs to settle down a bit, you know, shut up and play the game. He’s had his media splash, made Woodhouse squirm in red-faced embarrassed but resounding silence, and delivered the police a bloody nose. Maybe in a few months, a year at the most, things will settle down and, who knows, perhaps the police vetting of research might actually result in the police making positive changes they can announce alongside the, slightly delayed, release of unwelcome research reports. WIN/WIN?

Nah, not gonna happen. The police force has a looooong memory, never fails to nurse a grudge, and will not resile unless it absolutely has to. Like just about every Police Commissioner before him, Mike Bush is primarily involved in cleaning up messes left over from the last Police Commissioner. One recent big mess, the Kim Dot Com fallout, is nearing some sort of denouement and the law has been changed to allow what was previously illegal to become standard operating procedure. Yet, believe it or not, there is still action needed within the police to fully complete the required changes left over from the Louise Nicholas outrage. The Teina Pora mess is currently stinking up Police HQ, and the Scott Watson case and compensation for David Bain have come back into view. Bear in mind too, that when a new mess pops up Bush is not adverse to employing a little Dirty Politics himself in an effort to make it go away quickly.

Alongside the heritage messes, the current, endless stream of fuck-ups, and significant reductions in the level of confidence the public has in the police, we see the Ombudsman excoriate Police Commissioners year after year for their tolerance of the blatant and deliberate flaunting of OIA requests. When it comes to that particular aspect, Bush, personally, has form; not that the Ombudsman would know, or even that the local National Ltd™ MP, none other than Judith Collins, is keen for accurate statistics being made available to her electorate.

So, what do we have:

  • the Police Commissioner with his own statistical data mess to clean up from when he was head of Manukau Counties
  • the Ombudsman not fully knowing how the OIA should work standing around wetting her pants about the refusal by police to release Mike Bush’s burglary statistics
  • and, the last thing National Ltd™ wanting is for anyone who knows what real, accurate, and useful data looks like to get anywhere near the basis for its contrived “reduction in crime”.

Sorry to say, the public hasn’t had a chance since 2008, and Jarrod Gilbert, along with all academic researchers and scientists haven’t got a chance. Jarrod might “officially” be “approved” by the police, and their contracts might “officially” be sweetened up a tad, but nothing will really change for the better; it will only get worse. At least, for so long as National Ltd™ is in power. And for so long as Beverley Wakem will not recognise the need for her Office to have greater powers. And for so long as Mike Bush refuses to obey the law.

38 comments on “Jarrod Gilbert is tilting at windmills ”

  1. George Hendry 1

    It probably is quixotic. And yet, thanks to the fact that Don Quixote did it anyway and gave his name to it, some of us still remember the term over 400 years later.

    The more hopeless things seem, the more important it seems to go on doing something, any little thing. Thanks for pointing out the difference between reported and recorded crimes, which I hadn’t realised.

    People are waking up. Only one at a time it’s true but that’s a lot more than none. And when enough of them have, the naked prancing of this government will become indecent exposure.

  2. Pat 2

    “And when enough of them have, the naked prancing of this government will become indecent exposure.”

    nice line

  3. ianmac 3

    “This resulted in “reported crimes” becoming “recorded crimes”.”
    Very interesting BLIP. No wonder we have improved so much. Statistics eh?
    Of course the drop initially would lead to current consistency wouldn’t it? Therefore from say 2014 – 2015 this could not explain a rise or fall.

    • BLiP 3.1

      It has taken a few years for ASOC to bed-in because of the shambles the previous system was, delays in the police actually doing exactly what is required, and insuffient resourcing for the police to do the job. Also, ASOC methods change year by year. At that link you will see the caveat . . .

      . . . When comparing 2014 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

      As far as I can tell, taking away responsibility from the police hasn’t changed the fact that they can be gamed – its only changed who can game them. With National Ltd™ now in charge, I simply have lost any faith I might have had in the crime rate statistics.

      DISCLAIMER: I am not a statistician, in fact, I’m one of those people who has to close my eyes and count backwards when giving change, although its got easier since we got rid of the 1 and 2 cent coins 🙂

      • ianmac 3.1.1

        Thanks BLiP. I wonder if the reported drop in staffing/funding is because there is such a “drop” in crime? If so the frontliners would be pretty pissed off if the workload is much the same but fewer staff.
        (I reckon being barefooted helps with calculations. 🙂 )

  4. Shona 4

    Great writing Blip. Brilliantly summed up!. I remember Bush from his time on the cannabis squad in the Far North. Smarmy, untrustworthy and sloppy as hell. Prone to having invalid search warrants and interrogating preschoolers about their parents supposed dope crops. A first rate dickhead!.

    • Anne 4.1

      BLiP hits the jackpot every time. His posts, when they occur, should be spread far and wide.

      Collin’s solution to that was to standardise the collection of statistics, not a bad idea on the surface. As from 1 July 2010, New Zealand adopted the Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC). This resulted in “reported crimes” becoming “recorded crimes”. Geddit? Previously, three people might “report” the same crime but it is “recorded” just once. Nifty, eh?

      And don’t forget the “crimes” reported that prove not to be crimes. You know, vengeful and vexatious complaints based on zilch evidence. I suspect they are more prolific than we know.

      In fact this is the M.O. of the present government – standardise everything. A great cover-up strategy which allows then to get away with murder.

      • BLiP 4.1.1

        You are far too kind . . . don’t stop. 🙂

        I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head with your statement that National Ltd™ is working to standardise everything. John Key even wants standardised human beings who demonstrate overt patriotism. Concomitant with National Ltd™’s standardisation is control of the what the standards are, how those standards should be measured, what quality controls are put in place to ensure the validity of the component data, and, most import, total control over the information generated as a result.That way, any information presented will always show how National Ltd™ is improving things even when everyone knows the opposite is true. Its just it can’t be proved because only standardised people can access it.

        • Smilin 4.1.1.1

          Yeah Key ,he is a fuckn megalomaniac thank god he’s waterdown since 39-45
          Take your pick totalitarianism, fascism and a traitor to the nation
          Tellin us how it has to be after 20+yrs rippin off unsuspecting wage slaves. Destroying our core govt services
          Wake up, anyone knows what this govt is and needs -OUTED

  5. savenz 5

    Great analysis!

  6. Realist 6

    If any lawyer hugged crims the same way Gilbert does they’d be treated similarly by Police. He’s a gang fan boy and that’s not healthy at all. His “research” promotes the gang life. We already know enough about gangs. Society doesn’t want them.

    [You will provide evidence of your allegations that Jarrod Gilbert “hugs crims”, is a “gang fan boi” and “promotes the gang life” or this will be your last comment in this post – BLiP]

    • ianmac 6.1

      I seem to remember photo somewhere where fan boy Key was hugging a Cameron Slater. They both belong to the National Gang I think.

  7. Ross 7

    I agree with your analysis but this comment needs addressing:

    “The Teina Pora mess is currently stinking up Police HQ, and the Scott Watson case and compensation for David Bain have come back into view.”

    David Bain is wanting compensation but he won’t get any. A guy who says it’s his “core belief” that he didn’t murder his family, and who also said that even if he did murder them he has served his time and should be free, all of which Bain said in an interview with Melanie Reid on 4 March 2012, is clearly not deserving any compo.

    [lprent: If you want to quote from something, then link to it.

    Otherwise, everyone should assume you are deliberately lying by ommission. Just as I assume you are doing here in lying by quoting without the context of a link. Providing a link means that people can check your interpretation. Only a liar would be worried enough not to link to it. After all you had to have it in front of you to quote from it right?

    If I see you lying like that again, I will assume you don’t want to comment here and I will remove your ability to comment here. Besides I really don’t like STUPID arseholes commenting here. ]

    • Ross 7.1

      I would love to link to the video but it’s not where it should be. 🙂 Though you will see one of the commenters refers to David’s “core belief” comment (see link to video below).

      But when the video was available, I took notes. What I said was absolutely correct. Here’s my verbatim notes: “You would think that whether you believe that I’m innocent or whether you believe I‘m guilty, you’d say ‘well, if he’s guilty, he’s served his time, let him get on with life…’”. Reid asked David about how he coped being in prison for a crime he did not commit. David said: “I kept coming back to my core belief – I wasn’t there”.

      You will note that I referred to the Melanie Reid interview on 4 March 2012. What is incorrect about that?

      If you’d like to discuss this issue off-site I’d be more than happy to oblige.

      http://www.tv3.co.nz/Mar-4—David-Bain—The-Interview/tabid/2059/articleID/76018/Default.aspx

      • ZTesh 7.1.1

        Good point. And no offence to Lprent but I don’t see the same rigors applied to comments that support the consensus view?

      • ZTesh 7.1.2

        The point is that Gilbert didn’t request any information under the official information act.

        He was applying to be part of a research group that was able to bypass the OIA and be put in a trusted position whereby they were working alongside the cops and had access to confidential and sensitive police information and systems (this is all in the stuff article published today if you read the contract here;

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/74427295/our-job-is-not-to-censor-were-not-serving-the-political-elite-business-or-corporations

        Clearly they have a vetting procedure before people are given access to Police systems and information, which you can’t really fault them on. I do find it interesting that Gilbert won’t release the exact grounds by which the cops rejected him, because having done some requests under the privacy act it they have to have extremely strong grounds to withhold personal information about a person. So he could easily appeal that and take it higher and higher, so why isn’t he?

        And this also has nothing to do with the OIA, he hasn’t made any requests for information under that and as he notes in his original article, he could successfully receive the information he wanted under the act.

  8. Murray Simmonds 8

    A very repressive government, one which was hell-bent on closing down academic debate of its policies among a host of other undemocratic practices, has just been booted out in Canada and replaced apparently by a sane, reasoned, democratically-oriented alternative.

    Its high time we did the same.

    Great post, Blip – one of the hardest-hitting (entirely appropriately) that I’ve read in a while.

  9. Magisterium 9

    This resulted in “reported crimes” becoming “recorded crimes”. Geddit? Previously, three people might “report” the same crime but it is “recorded” just once. Nifty, eh?

    On what planet is this NOT a good thing?

    • McFlock 9.1

      Well, it depends what you’re trying to measure. We have the justice department figures for convictions, so counting reports by multiple people measures the immediate impact of the crime on society. Either method is valid for different reporting objectives.

      The problem here is that the stats measure different things so there is no longtitudinal frame of reference, but this is not made completely explicit by the time the government’s announcements hit the news. Is a drop in the numbers a drop in crime? Who knows. The government sure doesn’t want us to.

    • kenny 9.2

      I don’t think Blip is saying this is a bad thing, just that the Nats are using this to say crime has reduced under their watch.

  10. He may well be tilting at windmills, but only because he literally has no other choice (other than a complete change of career).

  11. greywarshark 11

    A very powerful post BLIP. I think all those who have been watching the trends of police behaviour and stats will recognise its factual basis. There are some really good police working away, doing good things in the community, but in the main they are becoming distant and wearing their impact vests, and soon their guns, and then they’ll show us who’s boss. Too much concentrated power with the police being the go-to people for too much.

  12. Tory 12

    ‘all sorts of despicable tactics were used and among the most successful was the manufacturing of fear’

    Totally agree, the fear that Cunliffe could get in scared the shit out of me, so it was 2 ticks National.

    Its interesting that the left has never got over ‘snatching defeat from the jaws of victory’, and rather look inward, the preference is to blame anyone and everyone. Cunliffe proclaiming his sorrow for all things sunk the lefts election aspirations and perhaps you need to wake up to that.

  13. Philj 13

    I had a break in of my property and rang the police. They weren’t interested. They gave me the impression it wasn’t even worth recording! This could explain the ‘improving’ statistics.

  14. Observer (Tokoroa) 14

    To: Blip

    Among other things that you do so well, is that you write very well.

    Lucid; every paragraph important and intriguing. The hollow persons who get named by you, are obviously terrified of John Key and do anything to appease his twisted mind.

    The grubby hands of the Ombudsperson (Wakem) working desperately for the harassing PM (waitresses as well as parliamentarians of the Opposition) whilst ignoring her call to be straightforward with the New Zealand citizens. Without fear or favour. She even afraid to ask for more resources.

    We shall be patient. The voters are besotted with the devious and kinky Key. But they may lose their attachment to him – as and when Billy English has to screw the population in order to pay the odd $98 Billion debt that he has run up for John Key.

    All chickens come home to roost. You have shown us limb by limb that Key is a mangling strangling fox wreaking havoc in nation wide chicken coup.

    • Tracey 14.1

      Former Judge Peter Boshier is now Chief Ombusdmen. I have alot of respect for him but the post has no power over cynical political abuse.

      Perhaps they wanted him off the Law Commission. Maybe he was showing up Dr Mapp 😉

      • Ergo Robertina 14.1.1

        Maybe it has ‘no power’, but it can name the abuse and advocate, and Wakem’s evasions had become utter farce. It’s wider than Key (although he embodies it)- it’s the culture that’s developed around information in the past decade or so. Wakem pretended things were kind of OK.
        I don’t know anything about Boshier. I’m disappointed Ron Paterson isn’t chief ombudsman, as he did a great job as health and disability commissioner, and is an ombudsman.

      • North 14.1.2

        Boshier has not shown the colour of a toady in his prior role as Chief Family Court Judge. I knew him at university and remember him as not unadept at ‘politics’.

        That might be a good or bad thing but my observations and mental noting over the 40 plus years since have me seeing his skills in that regard as potentially for the good in such a role.

        He is as far as I know honourable.

    • Tautuhi 14.2

      Unfortunately we gave the fox the keys to the chicken coup, however I bet he will not be here to clean up the mess?

  15. ZTesh 15

    Sorry duplicate comment but I put this in the wrong reply field…

    The point is that Gilbert didn’t request any information under the official information act.

    He was applying to be part of a research group that was able to bypass the OIA and be put in a trusted position whereby they were working alongside the cops and had access to confidential and sensitive police information and systems (this is all in the stuff article published today if you read the contract here;

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/74427295/our-job-is-not-to-censor-were-not-serving-the-political-elite-business-or-corporations

    Clearly they have a vetting procedure before people are given access to Police systems and information, which you can’t really fault them on. I do find it interesting that Gilbert won’t release the exact grounds by which the cops rejected him, because having done some requests under the privacy act it they have to have extremely strong grounds to withhold personal information about a person. So he could easily appeal that and take it higher and higher, so why isn’t he?

    And this also has nothing to do with the OIA, he hasn’t made any requests for information under that and as he notes in his original article, he could successfully receive the information he wanted under the act.

    • BLiP 15.1

      . . . And this also has nothing to do with the OIA, he hasn’t made any requests for information under that and as he notes in his original article, he could successfully receive the information he wanted under the act.

      Any request for information to an agency or individual subject to the Official Information Act is automatically deemed to be such a request. The agency or individual may decline the request on privacy grounds and its at that stage such a denial can be challenged.

      Also this: http://pundit.co.nz/content/my-2-cents-on-the-jarrod-gilbert-affair

      • ZTesh 15.1.1

        Nope that’s not the same.

        They are trying to work alongside/with police so they can freely access the data/information they request, bypassing the OIA. Hence why they have to sign a contract. You don’t have to sign a contract to receive information under the OIA….

        • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.1.1

          What part of “automatically deemed to be such a request” are you having trouble with?

          The OIA applies regardless. Do you understand that?

        • BLiP 15.1.1.2

          . . . They are trying to work alongside/with police so they can freely access the data/information they request, bypassing the OIA. . . . . .

          No. You cannot “bypass” the OIA. That’s why it is illegal for the police to refuse to hand over the information until a contract is signed. Nor can information be refused on the basis that the intended recipient is “blacklisted”. The police force does not have the power to refuse to provide information outside of the provisions of the OIA and nor does it have the power to “blacklist” someone. To “blacklist” someone is to arbitrarily remove the requester’s statutory right.

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