National’s nanny state

Written By: - Date published: 1:40 pm, March 27th, 2008 - 73 comments
Categories: national, news - Tags: ,

Seems to me we need some consensus on what a “Nanny State” actually is.

Today the Nats have come out in opposition of some scholarships awarded for doctoral research by the Tertiary Education Commission – stuff like “children’s colour use and emotional wellbeing when drawing” being researched by Emily Crawford at Otago University. What could be more Nanny State or authoritarian than telling academics what they can and can’t research?

A few weeks back there were calls for legislation to ban the use of cellphones while driving in an effort to reduce crashes – despite the fact that we routinely participate in other equally risky activity while driving (neither was there any decent statistical analysis to shows that such a ban would even be likely to have an impact). No mention of the Nanny by the Granny though.

On the flip-side there was a public outcry from groups like Family First when the government moved to help stop people getting off beating their kids by repealing s59 – “Nanny state”. Similarly when the government moved to reduce our appalling rate of food poisoning by introducing stricter food hygiene regulations – “Nanny state”.

I don’t think you can have it both ways, National, The Herald, et al. At least not without a decent explanation.

PS. To any of the people who have had their research criticised by Paul Hutchinson feel free to get in touch if you’re reading this – perhaps we could discuss the possibility of a guest post by you in reply.

73 comments on “National’s nanny state ”

  1. Murray 1

    What could be more Nanny State or authoritarian than telling academics what they can and can’t research?

    Telling people what they can or cannot say during an election year.

  2. Murray 2

    What could be more Nanny State or authoritarian than telling academics what they can and can’t research?

    Telling people what they can and cannot say in an election year.

  3. gobsmacked 3

    Yawn. One of the oldest, most predictable populist targets in politics, guaranteed to get tabloid coverage in the media.

    The rules of the game are as follows:

    1. Be in favour of investing in research. Research is a Good Thing. Our best and our brightest, blah blah.

    2. Be against wasting taxpayers’ money. Especially on academics, because “ivory towers” are a Bad Thing.

    3. Be in favour of academic independence. Political interference is a Bad Thing.

    4. Be against the results of this independence. The government is to blame, because the government is spending Our Money, which is a Bad Thing.

    And so on.

    Stand by for a vox pop on TV news: “We ask the Big Question: Twilight Golf or a Tax Cut?”

  4. Murray 4

    I demand to know why my post keeps dissappearing. It is non-sexist, contains no swear words, and gives no one personally a hard time. Post it you cowardly fucking wanker.

  5. Murray 5

    What could be more Nanny State or authoritarian than telling academics what they can and can’t research?

    For the third time:

    Telling people what they can and cannot say in an election year.

  6. gobsmacked 6

    Oh, as for Nanny State, if you believe the media coverage lately, the government should be regulating the price of cheese. (That’s the government – not the bureaucrats. They are a Bad Thing).

  7. Murray 7

    oops sorry

  8. Tane 8

    Murray, you’re just caught in the Dad4Justice moderation trap, calm the fuck down, you sound you’re about to do yourself some damage.

    I’ll go and see what I can do to get you out of it.

  9. higherstandard 9

    Murray

    I think the computer network has performed indecencies on you.

    It happened to me a while back – despite not agreeing very often with the views on this site they don’t tend to censor.

  10. Tane 10

    No worries Murray, as suspected you share an IP range with D4J. Hopefully you won’t get caught in moderation now.

  11. National also has to recognise that fixing the housing problem will involve increasing the supply of residential land, through forcing reluctant local councils to re-zone land where they wouldn’t normally. I’m sure if Labour did this cries of “nanny state” would come flooding out of the National party. Once again, the Nats can’t have it both ways.

  12. My favorite is:

    “The government must get tough on crime”

    quickly followed by:

    “The government is wasting our money on prisons”

    Basically the Nats will find a reason to attack anything and in doing so are running down our country and our achievements. I guess that’s why they’ve decided to run a “New Zealand sucks” campaign.

  13. all_your_base 13

    So back to Nanny State, does someone want to tell me what it means?

  14. Murray:

    “What could be more Nanny State or authoritarian than telling academics what they can and can’t research?

    Telling people what they can or cannot say during an election year.”

    The Natioanl Party’s 1993 Electoral Act restricted expression prior to elections. So according to your definition the National Party loves the “nanny state” as well. I’m glad we’re all in agreement about that.

  15. Ari 16

    “Nanny State” is a disparaging term, mostly used by conservatives or populists, for a Government that is viewed as telling people what to do too often, and not listening themselves.

    I find this quite amusing, because National believes in a lot more “nannying” than Labour does- they want to tell us who we can marry, what we can research, what businesses we should run to be competitive, and they don’t want to listen when research tells them the environment needs some investment.

  16. Would just like to say – I find the misogyny inherent in the word “nanny state” to be distasteful. Like the term “dykocracy”, also often used by the NZ right, it betrays their fear and hatred of women in power.

  17. Tane 18

    HS, linking to a book titled “Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children (Hardcover)” isn’t an argument, it’s an example of exactly the kind of meaningless rhetoric we’re talking about.

    In your own words, what is a ‘nanny state’?

  18. Aj 19

    Murray

    “Telling people what they can and cannot say in an election year”

    Repeating this as often as you can doesn’t make it true. Any individual person can say whatever they think in any year in this country. There is no restriction at all on free speech.
    There is no restriction at all on free speech
    There is no restriction at all on free speech
    There is no restriction at all on free speech
    There is no restriction at all on free speech
    There is no restriction at all on free speech
    There is no restriction at all on free speech

  19. Ari 20

    Roger- totally agreed, but I have little hope of convincing National and their supporters that they’re being sexist and not simply funny. Maybe I’ll blog on that today… we’ll see 😉

    Oh, I totally forgot in my previous post- National really doesn’t seem to understand academic research. It’s not like corporate research- you don’t expect immediate gains from every project done, and you don’t scrap projects even if they provide no immediate benefit themselves. The point is to build up a body of work that’s all insightful, and most of the time people will build on that and make much more exciting work that WILL have some immediate gain.

    We owe the real inspirations partially to the people who did the drudging evolutionary and analytical research that freed our excellent research to focus on the curious ideas that didn’t quite seem to make sense at first, instead of having to understand the basics themselves. You can’t have a grand unified theory without people making hundreds of throwaway papers on potential particles or forces or whatever.

    Not to mention that being able to tell if a child is unhappy by the way they colour would be incredibly useful to help train parents who aren’t coping, or to help children who need some extra support.

  20. Billy 21

    I read the Herald editorial on the use of cellphones when driving. I found it very interesting, and highlighted many relevant passages. Only then I came to a roundabout so I had to put it down.

  21. mondograss 22

    There seems to have been a lot less “Political Correctness gone mad” speak these days. Nanny state seems to be the catch-phrase de jour. Just another way to dumb down the population by giving them some emotive soundbite to replace real independent thought.

    [Captcha: hangars diplomats – infiltrated by the US Air Force perhaps?]

  22. higherstandard 23

    Ari

    Although a majority of National, NZ First and United Future did indeed vote against the Civil Union Act. I can’t recall the Opposition parties telling people what they can research or what businesses they should run to be competitive.

    Roger

    Yes clearly all men the politicians in the NZ right fear and hate women, especially the womne on the right of politics, those on the right with spouses etc etc.

  23. Hey Billy, I’m glad to see you’ve regained your sense of humour.

  24. higherstandard 25

    Tane

    I thought you would be amused as to what other culture thought Nanny State means.

    In my own words – not that I’ve ever used the saying ‘Nanny State’

    I guess I’d say it refers to excessive state control in public and private affairs.

    As an example . perhaps our requirement prior to performing surgery where we now have to ask all patients whether they want to keep the tissue we remove from them (be it cancerous or whatever) in case it is a trewasure of their culture (you should see the looks on the patinets faces !)

  25. HS – should I have said “often used by people on he NZ right? I agree – not all right wingers are misogynists.

    Oh and yes, it is possible to be married to a women and be a misogynist Indeed it’s also possible to be a woman and be a misogynist. It’s about internalised notions of femininity and masculinity which effect people regardless of what group they belong to. But this is a whole other tangent….

  26. Tane 27

    I guess I’d say it refers to excessive state control in public and private affairs.

    Isn’t that a very broad and subjective standard though? And surely in that case isn’t National and every other party equally guilty of nanny statism?

    Heck, if I’m an anarchist I might call government enforcement of property rights nanny statism. Get your own damn police force and courts system!

    perhaps our requirement prior to performing surgery where we now have to ask all patients whether they want to keep the tissue we remove from them (be it cancerous or whatever) in case it is a trewasure of their culture (you should see the looks on the patinets faces !)

    That’s just cultural sensitivity, and it’s also about freedom of choice. People have a right to choose whether they keep tissue that’s been removed from them. Wouldn’t it be even more nannying to remove that choice entirely and instead decide for people whether or not they get to keep their tissue?

  27. higherstandard 28

    Tane

    As I said it’s not a term I use. I think the key word for people is excessive and their own measure of what is or isn’t excessive.

    I have no problems if someone wants to keep their tumour they can ask for it. For our staff members having to enquire of every patient (none of whom have ever taken up the offer) is patently absurd.

    RN

    Quite right

  28. Billy 29

    RN,

    If you are married to “women” you are not a misogynist, you’re a polygamist.

    ‘sod,

    Was that an olive branch? I am determined to be beastly to you for a slight the exact details of which I cannot now remember. Rest assured, I never lost my sense of humour and was being beastly in a self-deprecating and playful manner. I may even keep it up.

  29. djp 30

    it is public money of course the scholarships should be vetted… no one is trying to tell someone what to research *if* they are privately funded.

    Sorry AYB but this one falls flat

  30. Billy:

    While we’re nit-picking. More accurately, you would be a “polygenist”, which is gender specific. The term “Polygamist” isn’t.

  31. Actually that should have been “polygynist”, not “polygenist”.

  32. Murray
    Mar 27th, 2008 at 1:55 pm
    What could be more Nanny State or authoritarian than telling academics what they can and can’t research?

    Telling people what they can or cannot say during an election year.

    What could be more Nanny State or authoritarian than telling people what they can or cannon say during an election year?

    Silencing journalists.

  33. Billy 34

    killinginthenameof,

    Are you talking about Cullen telling the Herald to stop being so mean to him or he’d change the tax rules on them?

  34. John 35

    It’s simple. It is nanny state when you don’t agree with a law and common sense when you do. So, from National’s perspective when Parliament decides to regulate the ability of parties to buy elections it is nanny state, when it is a National voting block wanting to choose who can and cannot register a relationship with the state then it is common sense or worse – family values.

    Those who use the term tend to be hypocrites.

  35. all_your_base 36

    Vetted by whom djp? You mean by someone other than by the body that currently allocates such scholarships? I think I can see where this is going… perhaps you should apply for the job.

  36. gobsmacked 37

    “… no one is trying to tell someone what to research *if* they are privately funded.”

    And this is where the whole “taxpayers’ money” schtick is exposed for what it is.

    Alternatives: get a grant from the Coca-Cola Nutritional Foundation, to research the benefits of fizzy drinks on chidren’s health. I wonder what that research would “prove”?

    Or fund youself privately. We all know what that means for access to education and research.

  37. Pascal's bookie 38

    I don’t think Cullen said that Billy.

    From memory he was arguing by analogy, and saying that the Herald’s argument would mean that the Herald should pay more tax. His own argument meant the Herald didn’t have to pay those taxes. So kind of the opposite of what you accuse him of really.

  38. I am determined to be beastly to you for a slight the exact details of which I cannot now remember

    To be honest I can’t remember either, Billy. Knowing me it probably had something to do with your mum. I hadn’t noticed you being beastly (sorry) but I’m sure we can restart the whole thing from a clean slate… hold-on, was clean-slate a nanny state thing? I mean it kinda involved the government getting out of people’s lives after a certain period or is it nanny state because it treats minor convictions like red-marks nanny will remove from your good boy/bad boy chart…? anyway Billy, what I really mean to say is… um… oh goddamn! I’ve lost my train of thought…

  39. Steve Pierson 40

    djp. scholarship funding is vetted, by academic boards to ensure it has academic merit. If we care about research, we need academic freedom, to have academic freedom we need public funding (see gobsmacked), and that funding needs to be allocated on academic grounds not by politicians looking for a petty issue to blow up.

    I’m think of starting a running counter of the ‘waste’ National would cut – with an explanation of whether any of the things are acutally waste .

    So, far National has notional cuts of $170 – that’s $1.02 each a week dames and dudes – at the cost of a well-staffed public sector (no additional prison guards) and academic freedom for social research.

  40. Stephen 41

    gobsmacked, perhaps you know this, but I should point out that if ANY researcher came up with a research question that involved ‘actively looking for benefits’ as opposed to ‘looking for the effects of’ they would/should be laughed out of the country!

  41. r0b 42

    It’s simple. It is nanny state when you don’t agree with a law and common sense when you do.

    I think John nailed it.

  42. gobsmacked 43

    Stephen, heh, yes I was obviously exaggerating for (hilarious) effect. The basic point stands: pay, piper, tune.

  43. Dean 44

    Roger:

    “Would just like to say – I find the misogyny inherent in the word “nanny state’ to be distasteful. Like the term “dykocracy’, also often used by the NZ right, it betrays their fear and hatred of women in power.”

    It’s got nothing to do with misogyny. The word “nanny” can be equally applied to both men and women who choose to work in that specific field of child care.

    I would suggest to you that you’re simply trying to find outrage where there is none.

  44. higherstandard 45

    SP

    Not only is the funding vetted it tends to be available only if one meets fairly stringent criteria as below.

    http://www.tec.govt.nz/templates/standard.aspx?id=675

  45. Tane 46

    Dean, I’m sure not all righties use it in a mysogynistic sense, but many do. This is one of the milder examples:
    http://www.organonarchitecture.co.nz/Not_PC/Nanny2-9-03.jpg

  46. “Seems to me we need some consensus on what a “Nanny State’ actually is.”

    Isn’t the nanny state just the term for telling people what to do in some way. Ultimately all government action will be “Nanny state” type action, so I don’t see why people bother with the term – after all any political party will support a nanny state in some sense or they wouldn’t exist (unless the parties goal was to abolish government).

    I hate the term Nanny state, it seems like a cop-out way of criticising policies without actually describing what you think is wrong with them.

  47. Matthew Pilott 48

    My two cents: The term Nanny State is used when someone percieves that the State is infringing on their rights to act freely, but they are too stupid and too lazy to express themselves decently.

    If the Nanny Statists weren’t so stupid or lazy, they’d be able to accurately describe said infringement without resorting to visceral rhetoric.

    The main truth about the situation: For every Nanny State whinger, there is going to be an equally lazy and stupid person demanding that “the Government” “does something”.

    These two camps are like the non-buttered side of toast and a floor – they never meet except when forced together. They don’t seem to know the other exists, so they direct their vitriol against ‘the Government’, insisting that it is acting against EVERYONE’S interests (or not acting at all when it would be in everyone’s interests), while entirely failing to see, recognise, or even believe in the existence of alternate points of view (or having the energy or ability to express what the government ‘doing something’ would entail).

    It’s just a case of deciding where you fit in with an issue. The goverment has to walk the tightrope of managing these conflicting parties – this lot have done pretty well to my mind (although I’d happily see more action…oh I mean Nanny Statism…from them).

  48. Dean 49

    Tane:

    “Dean, I’m sure not all righties use it in a mysogynistic sense, but many do. This is one of the milder examples”

    Anything along the lines of the cartoon you linked to is just gross stupidity, we both agree. But I still contend that Roger is determined to discover outrage where there is none. He likens it to “dykocracy”, which is a stupid term but has nothing at all to do with the everyday use of the word “nanny”.

    It’s long seemed to me that although those on the right are pulled up and questioned pragmatically here on the standard (myself included on many occasions, and rightfully so), those on the left are allowed to get away with just the same kind of stupidy – for example Roger’s failure to understand income levels after tax, or Steve’s incredible lapse in posting a wikipedia chart and claiming tax rates were low in New Zealand.

  49. Billy 50

    “I hate the term Nanny state, it seems like a cop-out way of criticising policies without actually describing what you think is wrong with them.”

    I have the same objection to the meaningless “social justice”.

  50. I would say nanny state is a sound byte used for deriding policy when the same effect cannot be achieved with the merits of the policy. Closely related too political correctness. For oppisite effect (promoting policy when this cannot be achieved on its own merit) see common sense.

  51. burt 52

    all_your_base

    So back to Nanny State, does someone want to tell me what it means?

    I was going to rant about posting on a topic you know nothing about then I remembered this is ‘the standard’ and such behaviour is to be expected.

    Matt Nolan summed it up pretty well.

    I hate the term Nanny state, it seems like a cop-out way of criticising policies without actually describing what you think is wrong with them.

    Now what was the money quote again….

    What could be more Nanny State or authoritarian than telling academics what they can and can’t research?

  52. burt 53

    aj

    There is no restriction at all on free speech
    There is no restriction at all on free speech…

    So why can’t I legally put a sign on the back of my car saying “Don’t vote Labour” ?

    If there is no restriction at all then why is this illegal in an election year?

  53. r0b 54

    So why can’t I legally put a sign on the back of my car saying “Don’t vote Labour’ ?

    Just as a matter of interest Burt, what makes you think that you can’t?

  54. burt 55

    rOb

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, why I say it’s illegal is that I need to write my name and residential address on it for it to be legal. Therefore a sign saying “Don’t vote Labour” as apposed to “Don’t vote Labour – Authorised by burt from 17 burt street, burttown” is not illegal. Well that would also be illegal as the name or the address are not real. Shit this is getting complicated to explain without telling you who I am and where I live, thank god we haven’t got restrictions on my free speech….

    I understand there is an amendment going through so political parties can protect their own financial agents residential address, but I’m not a political party.

    BTW Have you heard any more about the EPMU registering as a third party?

  55. all_your_base 56

    burt, I think you’ve missed the point. People shouldn’t expect to have it both ways – huffing a puffing about ‘nanny state-ism’ when they don’t like something, then berating non-intervention elsewhere just ’cause they don’t like that either. Like ‘PC’ it’s a lazy, mean-nothing criticism.

  56. randal 57

    somehow when I think of a National nanny state I think of the wicked witch in the gingerbread house from hansel and gretel…

  57. r0b 58

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, why I say it’s illegal is that I need to write my name and residential address on it for it to be legal.

    OK Burt, I Am Not A Lawyer, but I think I can see how it is possible to construct that interpretation of the Act. It requires:
    * a very strict reading of the definition of “publish” (Part 1 Clause 4),
    * a very narrow reading of the exceptions (Part 1 Clause 5(2)) which allows editorials, books, publications of organisations to their members, blogs and so on,
    * and (to be fair here) what looks like a poorly drafted Part 2 Subpart 6 Clause 65 which uses the term “promoter” where I believe that “third party” would have been more appropriate.

    But it’s clearly a pernicious interpretation of the Bill Burt. Just like players don’t get prosecuted for technical violence on a Rugby field, just like the repeal of Section 59 has not resulted in a flood of parents being prosecuted for smacking, in the same way your bumper sticker (because it falls well below the threshold of things considered by the act) is not going to get you prosecuted. So go crazy.

    BTW Have you heard any more about the EPMU registering as a third party?

    Nope.

  58. Dean:

    “Anything along the lines of the cartoon you linked to is just gross stupidity, we both agree. But I still contend that Roger is determined to discover outrage where there is none.”

    Have you seen whaleoil’s photoshoped image entitled “nanny state”? It involves peter dunne and winston peters sucking on a porn-star’s nipples. Of course helen clark’s head has been photo shopped onto the pornographic image. Nuff said.

    “for example Roger’s failure to understand income levels after tax”

    Really? Care to show me a link to back up that petty little jibe?

    “or Steve’s incredible lapse in posting a wikipedia chart and claiming tax rates were low in New Zealand.”

    If you had read the link properly you would have discovered that the chart was based on figures produced by the OECD. Doesn’t come much more reputable than that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Income_Taxes_By_Country.svg

    http://www.oecd.org/document/60/0,2340,en_2649_34533_1942460_1_1_1_1,00.html

    Just calling you on your stupidity….

  59. Stephen 60

    Billy I *think* ‘social justice’ comfortably includes:

    1) Not being able to smack kids (is unjust to be able to smack kids, but not adults)
    2) Paying ‘youth’ the same as adults for the same job (is unjust to pay different wages for the same job based on age)
    3) (maybe) Is unjust to have marijuana and party pills outlawed while alcohol wrecks all sorts of havoc every day of the year.

    Obviously Green issues. So my guess is that it is simply justice, or what is ‘fair’ when applied to social issues…

  60. the sprout 61

    i like how those who’re first to bleat nanny-state are also the quickest to employ the coersive powers of the state against its own citizens, a la “arrest the lot, put ’em in jail”, “send in the army”, “they should be shot”, “blah blah blah” etc.

  61. Stephen 62

    (cont) not sure if people are just throwing term all over the place, rendering it as meaningless as these other terms though….

  62. Sprout that’s not “nanny-state”, that’s “daddy-state” and thus reflects the appropriate natural order of things…

  63. the sprout 64

    ah ha, yes true robinsod. for righties paternalism isn’t state interference.

  64. burt 65

    rOb

    So following on from the law of common sense approach “(because it falls well below the threshold of things considered by the act)”, how do you think a full size billboard approaching the Wellington Airport?

    If you think that exceeds the common sense threshold can you please explain to me where the line is between “not going to get you prosecuted. So go crazy.” and where the act starts being enforced. Common sense is a bit troublesome in the application of law, what bunch of idiots passed this nonsense bill?

  65. r0b 66

    Dearest Burt, every law requires interpretation by common sense. Do you know you are BREAKING THE LAW every time you drive at 50.5 kph in a 50 kph zone? You can play this silly reductio ad absurdum game with any law. If the EFB listed personal bumper stickers along with its other allowed exceptions (editorials, blogs, books etc) then you would be right here claiming that it was ILLEGAL to write “Don’t vote Labour” on an envelope and show it to your wife. It’s silly stuff Burt.

    Remember how the Kiwiblog right claimed that we would be inundated with prosecutions of innocent parents after the repeal of Section 59? Did it happen? No. These silly games are just more of the same nonsense.

    Anyway Burt, hypothetical question for you. Which do you think is worse:

    (1) violating the intent of the law while staying technically within its letter (eg driving at 49 kph in a 50 kph zone when current conditions actually make it unsafe to be travelling at that speed), or

    (2) being in violation of the letter of the law while clearly keeping its intent (eg driving at 51 kph in a 50kph zone when conditions are typical and it is safe to drive).

    Which is worse Burt?

  66. Peak Oil Conspiracy 67

    Phillip John/Roger Nome:

    You invited Dean to substantiate his claim. It’s possible that Dean had this thread in mind:
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2007/10/how_has_the_average_worker_done_under_labour.html#comment-354896

    I’d particularly refer you to this exchange:

    “# roger nome Says:
    October 18th, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Maybe you should scrap your last analysis and replace it with median wage increase, inclusive of penal rates – bloody slimy little man this deceptive BS pisses me off.

    [DPF: No what pisses you off is that you can never again on this blog post about how awful the 1990s were for workers without scores of people jumping in and challenging you. You misleading use of gross nominal wages instead of net real wages has been exposed]”.

    And you probably haven’t forgotten your mistake about the top personal tax rate in Australia:

    “roger, at what income level does the 59% [tax rate in Australia] come into play?

    I don’t care mate – john howard is all about the politics of communistic envy. When I was milking the cows this morning I was think about my $200,000 Fontera payout, then I about how lucky I am to live In New Zealand, where the struggling cow cocky can avoid nasty commie suckholes like John Howard who tax people like me at 59%. Then I thought “how great it is that we have hard working salt of the earth people like the good Doctor Cullen who leaves more dollars in my pocket’.

    But perhaps Dean was thinking of something else…

  67. Peak Oil Conspiracy 68

    On the subject of this thread, All Your Base, I understand the point of your post… but you say this:

    What could be more Nanny State or authoritarian than telling academics what they can and can’t research?

    I’m not sure that’s a well-grounded foundation for a discussion about nanny state politics. You’re talking here about “scholarships awarded for doctoral research by the Tertiary Education Commission”. That’s a two-step process: an aspiring student submits a research proposal, and makes a sufficiently compelling case for scholarship support. By necessity, the TEC must make a judgement call about the academic merits of a research proposal, otherwise it’d be obliged to award scholarships for all doctoral-level research.

    On your more substantive point, I’m not sure “nanny state” has a universal (or even widely accepted) meaning – a bit like how political correctness has become cliche these days. In some cases it’s just a label, and a lazy form of argument. Perhaps the closest one can get is to say the person complaining about nanny state feels a particular measure is an unwarranted intrusion into their private life. That’s a subjective concept, and it’s clearly not automatically going to apply to every regulation or ban.

  68. burt 69

    rOb

    Do you know you are BREAKING THE LAW every time you drive at 50.5 kph in a 50 kph zone? You can play this silly reductio ad absurdum game with any law.

    Not any law rOb, with the EFB it’s currently sitting somewhere between a bumper sticker and a billboard and nobody is prepared to take a guess where the law of common sense sets the threshold.

    You’re hypothetical question related to either side of a numerically posted limit and appears to have no purpose but divert the issue away from my original questioning of ‘aj’ over the statement “There is no restriction at all on free speech”.

    We do however seem to agree that aj has it wrong.

    However knowingly traveling at 51 kph against expected zero tolerance enforcement of the limit would not be following the intent of the law. Dangerous driving below the speed limit is still captured by laws regarding dangerous driving, careless driving, vehicular manslaughter etc. So you wouldn’t be given a speeding ticket (IE a limit infringement) traveling at 49 kph in a 50 zone, but you could still incur other driving related charges/fines. What makes 49 vs 51 better or worse… the outcome of the incident under investigation.

  69. r0b 70

    Not any law rOb, with the EFB it’s currently sitting somewhere between a bumper sticker and a billboard and nobody is prepared to take a guess where the law of common sense sets the threshold.

    I’m not at all sure that my interpretation is correct Burt, I’m not a lawyer, and its a complicated document. But all new laws require interpretation and testing. And plenty of people are prepared to “test the limits” – it’s started already.

    We do however seem to agree that aj has it wrong.

    Again, I’m not at all convinced. The interpretation that you want to push relies on somewhat bizarre interpretations of certain clauses, as above.

    You’re hypothetical question related to either side of a numerically posted limit and appears to have no purpose but divert the issue

    Well there was a point, but it gets rather lost in your wordy answer. My point was that evading the intent of the law (while technically keeping the letter) is to all intents and purposes breaking the law. And that’s what National did at the last election:

    http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_archive.html

    The Hollow Men alleges that National failed to maintain a proper separation between donors and politicians, and allowed big donors to remain anonymous despite knowing their identities:

    Hager names top New Zealand businessmen and women as the principal donors to National’s 2005 election campaign, including Alan Gibbs, Barry Coleman, Craig Heatley, David Richwhite, Diane Foreman, Doug Myers, Michael Friedlander, Peter Shirtcliffe, Rod Deane, Colin Giltrap, and Michael Horton.

    According to the book, donations were made anonymously through the Waitemata Trust, one of a series of secret trusts that gave substantial sums to National at the last election.

    Hager’s book alleges that Brash and his key advisors were in regular contact with the donors and regularly sought their advice on policy and strategy as well as soliciting funding from them.

    There’s a name for this: it’s called a corrupt electoral practice. Section 214G of the Electoral Act 1993 requires party secretaries to file an annual return of donations, including the name and address of each person donating over $10,000 a year, or just the amount if the donation is anonymous. In order to be considered “anonymous” for the purposes of the Act, both candidates and party administrators must be unaware of the donor’s identity (s3(1)). Knowingly making a false return is a corrupt electoral practice and carries a penalty of one year’s imprisonment and a $20,000 fine. And from the above, it seems that people in National have been knowingly making false statements, falsely claiming their donors are anonymous while knowing full well who they are and what they want, and using the trusts essentially to launder donations to hide this fact from the public.

    To all intents and purposes, in 2005 National broke the law governing electoral practice. They followed a similar “keep the letter but evade the intent” policy with the Exclusive Brethren and their 1.2 million dollar advertising campaign. There’s little point in denying this, because when it all became public, the public outcry cost Don Brash his political life. To try and limit the chances of such things happening again the law has been tightened up. The new law will need interpreting and settling in. That’s really about all there is to it.

  70. Dean 71

    Peak Oil:

    “But perhaps Dean was thinking of something else ”

    No, that was pretty much it. Roger seems to have a rather short memory when it comes to his own posts.

  71. Dean 72

    Roger:

    “If you had read the link properly you would have discovered that the chart was based on figures produced by the OECD. Doesn’t come much more reputable than that.”

    If you’d care to read the chart you linked to, you’d find that NZ was one of the countries to the higher end of the corporate tax rate.

    Sorry. Just calling you out on your own stupidity, as you say.

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