National plays the lauranorda card

Written By: - Date published: 8:47 am, September 4th, 2017 - 42 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, bill english, crime, democracy under attack, drugs, election 2017, making shit up, national, paula bennett, police, Politics, same old national, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Things must be getting desperate in the Beehive. National has announced a good old tough on criminals policy. But the announcement did not go as well for them as they could hope and serious questions about Paula Bennett’s competency have arisen.

First of all the details. Drugs are bad, gangs are bad, therefore the Government is going to tough on gangs. From the Herald:

National is defending its hardline new anti-drug measures, saying the serious criminals and gang members they target have “fewer human rights than others”.

The party has today unveiled plans to reduce drug addiction by introducing hardline anti-gang measures and funding more places in rehabilitation centres.

National leader Bill English and police spokeswoman Paula Bennett announced the $82 million package at a drug treatment centre in Te Atatu.

Of that total, half would be spent on creating 1500 additional drug treatment places and funding education and prevention services.

The other half would be invested in a crackdown on gangs and drug dealers.

That includes giving police new powers to search the cars and houses of gang members at any time to check for firearms.

There would also be higher penalties for manufacturing and distributing synthetic cannabis – from two years to eight years. Penalties would not rise for possession.

There would also be new measures to stamp out drug distribution domestically and internationally. Compulsory police vetting will be introduced for anyone working at ports, mail centres or airport baggage centres.

Bennett’s rhetoric, that some people have less human rights than others, is really unfortunate. One of her tweets was even worse.

Her understanding is also questionable. Because there already is power for the police to conduct warrantless searches of houses and cars for arms. Section 18 of the Search and Surveillance Act  2012 says:

18 Warrantless searches associated with arms
(1) A constable who has reasonable grounds to suspect that any 1 or more of the circumstances in subsection (2) exist in relation to a person may, without a warrant, do any or all of the following:
(a) search the person:
(b) search any thing in the person’s possession or under his or her control (including a vehicle):
(c) enter a place or vehicle to carry out any activity under paragraph (a) or (b):
(d) seize and detain any arms found:
(e) seize and detain any licence under the Arms Act 1983 that is found.
(2) The circumstances are that the person is carrying arms, or is in possession of them, or has them under his or her control, and—
(a) he or she is in breach of the Arms Act 1983; or
(b) he or she, by reason of his or her physical or mental condition (however caused),—
(i) is incapable of having proper control of the arms; or
(ii) may kill or cause bodily injury to any person; or
(c) that, under the Domestic Violence Act 1995,—
(i) a protection order or a police safety order is in force against the person; or
(ii) there are grounds to make an application against him or her for a protection order.
(3) A constable may, without a warrant, enter a place or vehicle, search it, seize any arms or any licence under the Arms Act 1983 found there, and detain the arms or licence if he or she has reasonable grounds to suspect that there are arms in the place or vehicle—
(a) in respect of which a category 3 offence, a category 4 offence, or an offence against the Arms Act 1983 has been committed, or is being committed, or is about to be committed; or
(b) that may be evidential material in relation to a category 3 offence, a category 4 offence, or an offence against the Arms Act 1983.

The actual policy talked about giving police powers to search the cars and houses of people who are subject to new Firearms Prohibition Orders.  This is a rather big detail for Bennett to ignore.

National has gone into a bit of a tail spin and this morning on Morning Report Bill English said that Paula Bennett had misspoken and did not mean what she clearly said and tweeted.  He also confirmed that he did not correct her at the time she made her comments even though he was standing next door to her.

I am pretty confident that if these changes were made then the Courts would rule they are inconsistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.  The last attempt, Tau Henare’s attempt to take away rights of most people in prison to vote was ruled to be inconsistent with the Bill of Rights.

This policy is also arbitrary.  Why only target gang members, why not all persons with records of serious offending?  And why only Arms offenders?  Why not other offences such as assaults on children, or benefit fraud?

Jarrod Gilbert has captured the essence of the problem in this article in the Herald.  His conclusion aptly describes how troubling Bennett’s comments are, and what she should do.

We are rarely challenged by human rights in New Zealand on easy issues, we are challenged by difficult ones. That is when our commitment to them is tested. If we are prepared to run roughshod over them in situations like this, I fear what happens when we face a crisis, such as an act of terrorism.

The proposed law will not have any meaningful impact on the drug trade in New Zealand. But it does speak to who we are as a country. Paula Bennett ought be called out in the strongest possible terms for this cynical politicking.

Our country, and the principles of Western justice that underpin it, are more valuable than a political party’s advantage on the hustings.

It’s not that I think we shouldn’t vote for Paula Bennett. I think she should resign.

42 comments on “National plays the lauranorda card”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    These are the National Party’s true values on display. Bennett hasn’t learned to conceal them.

    Beneficiaries already have fewer human rights, but that’s ok, apparently.

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    Gang members should be denied the right to vote, doncha think, Paula?

  3. mac1 3

    What does this policy announced in this way say? The policy is desperate, ill-presented and dangerous in its implications of National’s attitudes to human rights.

    John Key promised action on gangs and “P” eight years ago.

    This means they are either ineffectual and long on rhetoric but short on delivery; or, they didn’t actually mean it, preferring to press this button at three yearly intervals.

    We’re had union bashing from ACT, law’n’order from National, so we await attacks upon communists, reds under the beds, and the red/yellow/black/green peril.

    Meanwhile police stations are closed, services that deal with addiction and mental problems are reduced, and youth are offered little hope by this government.

    • solkta 3.1

      Desperate all right. Part of the policy launch was the announcement that drug dogs would be introduced in domestic airports, just like they promised last election:

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10346853/Nats-reveal-crime-crackdown-measures

      That article includes:

      “Prime Minister John Key denied the law and order package was timed to be announced as the election campaign got under way, and has been under development for eight to 12 months.”

      But still not implemented..

    • simbit 3.2

      The PM’s Chief Science Adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman, recommended we ban cold and flu remedy (the stuff that works, not the stuff subsequently sold that doctors admit doesn’t really work). Wonder what the productivity cost was on that?

      Anyways, it was a naive and misguided policy given the ingredients can be imported in bulk. NZ really doesn’t understand health and safety although you are far from alone in that.

      • Wonder what the productivity cost was on that?

        I keep wondering what the productivity loss is from people getting sick because others went into work sick rather than staying home and getting better.

    • The policy is desperate, ill-presented and dangerous in its implications of National’s attitudes to human rights.

      National, like the US, the USSR and China don’t believe in human rights:

      Opposition to Article 25 was particularly vehement in the Reagan and Bush I years. Paula Dobriansky, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs in these administrations, dismissed the “myth” that “‘economic and social rights constitute human rights,” as the UDHR declares. She was following the lead of Reagan’s UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, who ridiculed the myth as “little more than an empty vessel into which vague hopes and inchoate expectations can be poured.” Kirkpatrick thus joined Soviet Ambassador Andrei Vyshinsky, who agreed that it was a mere “collection of pious phrases.”

      US dismissal of the UDHR in principle and practice extends to other areas.

      • eco Maori/kiwi 3.3.1

        + 100 DTB

      • greywarshark 3.3.2

        Interesting with this Noam Chomsky link that as he talks they put up various quotes or display books on the subject. But they only stay on screen for about three seconds, too short to read and absorb anything. Even when bringing information to the people that the video said don’t know what is going on, the desire for speed and demand for instant understanding with no reflection, echoes the very approach that is warned against in the link.

        Technology is just too slick, and is trying to take over our thinking processes – ‘You’re too slow, we will tell you the answer and save you working it out for yourself.’ F..k that. Thinking for myself has been laborious throughout my life, but I now have ideas of my own that I have checked against experience, observation, and others’ proven correct or inadequate.

        • You could always pause the video.

          Even better – go read some of his books. Check what he says against what others say about what they have found.

          Technology can’t take over your mind unless you allow it to but it can be used to get information out to more people in better time than even just thirty years ago.

          • greywarshark 3.3.2.1.1

            You miss my point. I was looking at the video, I had information right in front of me but it was set at a speed that doesn’t enable people to think. Why would I want to stop the video every three seconds? The interaction between humans should be at human level.

            As for looking up stuff, I only have a limited amount of time, so why do I have to look up a book when someone has gone to the trouble to prepare a complex video. I just want it to allow for time to pass beyond short-term memory and some thought.

  4. He also confirmed that he did not correct her at the time she made her comments even though he was standing next door to her.

    He not only didn’t correct her, he said he was chuffed NZ doesn’t have a constitution so the government can get away with stuff like this. The heady scent of good governance, folks!

  5. Ad 5

    Love to see National’s policy in the Supreme Court. If the NZ Police haven’t learned from their multiple evidential failures over the last three years, they need more lessons.

    Slightly tangentially, is Labour proposing to reinstate the voting rights of prisoners? It was wrong to have that right taken away.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      The Supreme Court can’t strike down the law.

      The appropriate court for the National Party is situated at The Hague.

      • Ad 5.1.1

        No, there’s a “declaration of invalidity” they can do. Bit toothless.

        Really up to Parliament to react to a Supreme Court decision – they can’t be forced.

    • eco Maori/kiwi 5.2

      I will be dragging the NZ Police asses over the hot coals of the NZ Supreme Court soon .

  6. greywarshark 6

    Would there be a way of turning this law against politicians. Geting big money from corrupt practices etc, the people could mount a legal challenge to some of their possessions and make them forfeit land and some of their baubles got as a result of dodgy dealings! Perhaps we could get $1 billion back from all of the billions that has gone into providing these types with theit advantages and cushy numbers.

  7. Anne 7

    Somebody correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t this ‘lady’ shelter a member of the Mongrel Mob [was it?] in bygone years when said Mob member was in a relationship with her daughter? She had a different attitude in those days.

    • mickysavage 7.1

      It was her daughter’s ex boyfriend. He might have been in a gang.

      So I wonder how she would feel if the police searched her property just because he was living there?

      Stuff reports this:

      “She was criticised for compromising security when it emerged that, from September 2006 to July 2007, she gave a home to pregnant daughter Ana’s partner Viliami Halaholo while he was on bail for an attack that left a man with a broken jaw and gashed head.”

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8698697/Benefit-of-the-doubt

      • tc 7.1.1

        Like nationals police would akshully apply the law to a club member.

        Love to see a journo ask her about that though, she may spin herself into a mr whippy cone.

      • Anne 7.1.2

        So I wonder how she would feel if the police searched her property just because he was living there?

        Well the police would have to search her too because they would suspect she was an accomplice even though there was no evidence to suggest as much.

        I wonder how she would have liked it if they went through her drawers and rummaged through her personal belongings like they did to Nicky Hager’s teenage daughter – and in her presence too. How disgraceful was that?

        If the Hager incident had happened under a Labour-led government I am certain they would have been furious and demanded an explanation from the police. A head or two would surely have rolled.

        • greywarshark 7.1.2.1

          It was better to do the searching in her presence than secretly so she didn’t know what they had been up to.

          • Anne 7.1.2.1.1

            They should not have been searching through her private space in the first place. If they had asked her to turn out her drawers for them that wouldn’t have been so bad. But to summarily rifle through her belongings was a violation of her privacy and it probably had psychological repercussions for some time afterwards. The teenage years are a vulnerable time in anyone’s life and the young lady had done nothing wrong. Nor for that matter had her father but that is another story.

  8. Keith 8

    This “policy”,if it can possibly be described as such, screams of poll driven desperation.

    Nationals biggest contribution to the methamphetamine plague that haunts this country has been to do even less, ironically, by cutting the police budget and freezing it.

    It is no exaggeration that National have been enablers to the gangs and dealers by their ideological penny pinching and even worse in many respects doing NOTHING about treatment for those who want to stop but cannot. How many families have been torn apart by this drug and have no where to turn?? And I mean nowhere!

    Forget the human rights aspect as whatever this panic is designed to achieve won’t happen anyway. As it stands in law as you state, the police only have to suspect someone is in possession of firearms to search without warrant but listening to Paula this morning she seems to want to make it harder for police by raising the bar at the silly amateur level of , to quote Bennett, “really really suspect they have firearms”.

    Honest to god, 9 years it has taken to wake up only because they are sinking in the polls and this is the best they can do.

    National are so bereft of ideas it is sad and embarrassing. Time to find a real job Paula!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      Nationals biggest contribution to the methamphetamine plague that haunts this country has been to do even less, ironically, by cutting the police budget and freezing it.

      Their far bigger contribution has been to foster economic and social conditions that cause illness and disease, especially in the field of mental health.

  9. Dr Jarrod Gilbert: National Party’s drug and gang policy is cynical and dangerous

    We can roll our eyes at that nonsense, but Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett’s latest effort is far more sinister.

    National is proposing to give police powers to search gang members without a warrant. Allowing police the power to march through people’s houses at their will is a power that if targeted against anybody else (the parents of wealthy school children, for instance) would be seen as completely outrageous.

    But as Bennett said, ‘some people have fewer rights than others.’ And that’s a statement that should trouble us, particularly when the Prime Minister supports it by saying, ‘it’s good that we don’t have a written constitution it’s enabled the country to deal with issues in a practical way.’

    The lesson we need to take from this is that National have no conscience and will do anything to anybody at any time. From that it becomes obvious that we need a way to ensure that the government can be held to account for when it does atrocious things like take unalienable rights away from them.

    • Jono 9.1

      Agreed the Nats are going more Orwellian by the day. Those rights of gang members will be the first on a slippery slope including anyone the Nats don’t like including left wings activists. Do they want to devide to the point of civil war???

  10. “The last attempt, Tau Henare’s attempt to take away rights of most people in prison to vote was ruled to be inconsistent with the Bill of Rights.”

    It wasn’t Tau Henare’s Bill … it was Paul Quinn’s.

  11. adam 11

    What cracks me up, is ever since NIXON tried this policy – IT HAS NEVER WORKED! Show me one country where a hard line on drugs has worked, don’t bother looking, becasue you can’t.

    Even the Philippines is finding that it just does not work. No matter how many people you kill or lock up, people will still use drugs.

    Where is a policy of sanity around drugs working? A few places actually. Portugal – working well, the Netherlands (yes they been less liberal than they were, and that is working), the UN – the what…

    http://herb.co/2017/07/05/un-worldwide-decriminalizing-drugs/

    Look even our own.

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/health/94411364/Drug-Foundation-calls-for-decriminalisation-of-all-drugs-regulated-cannabis-market

    The national party are once again out of step with rational thought, victim blaming and trying to create a climate of fear.

    THIS IS A HEALTH ISSUE. Drugs are a health issue plan and simple. And until we grow up and treat it as such, scum bag politicians like paula bennett will try to score points off the suffering of the criminalisation process.

    As for hooten, he is a low life who has a track record of scoring points off peoples pain and suffering. And the places and people who help him do that, are scum too.

  12. David Mac 12

    I think the best way to hobble the meth trade would be to focus on the motivation for being corporately involved, oodles of cash. We have the technology that could throw up flags when a long term beneficiary registers a 2017 Fatboy or Camaro in their or their accomplice’s name. Problems arise with highlighting the baddies, 1000’s of good fish also need to pass through the Big Brother net. How to target, spotlight and fine-comb the baddies without picking through everyones’ laundry? Focusing on confiscating the proceeds will diminish the motivating force to get involved and provide additional funding to address the health issue that a screaming P habit is.

    I wonder what effect the legalisation of recreational cannabis use would have on P demand and consumption? The traditional argument has been that weed is the first rung on a ladder that many will go on to climb further up. I’m not so sure, I can buy booze many times stronger than the stuff I choose to drink. Tobacco users can buy a product stronger than the one they choose. A few go chasing a bigger buzz, if not P, they’ll find one elsewhere and if hard-out consumers their lives stand a good chance of crashing regardless of the vice’s form.

    • solkta 12.1

      P is not a stronger version of cannabis and cannabis is not a stronger version of alcohol. All ‘gateway’ nonsense. I know a lot of old time cannabis users and I can’t think of one who would be even interested in using P. People choose the drug that makes them feel how they want to feel.

      • Incognito 12.1.1

        People choose the drug that makes them feel how they want to feel.

        Sure, when you’re talking about so-called recreational users but it is a whole different story when talking about addicts.

  13. Ms Fargo 13

    Bill is clearly afraid of her. When he could have stepped in and said “just to clarify…” he knew he’d be publicly humiliated by her if he did. So he chose to keep quiet and just see if they could get away with it.

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