Nats’ ‘NZ sucks’ campaign continues

Written By: - Date published: 10:56 am, September 26th, 2008 - 39 comments
Categories: crime, national, spin - Tags:

I remember the first time I met Simon Power, when he had just come into Parliament. He struck me as a man who would be a future leader of National and an excellent one at that – articulate, informed, and moderate. Oh, what he has let himself become over 9 years in opposition – just another proponent of National’s ‘New Zealand sucks’ campaign

Today, Power says “Labour should be ashamed that they’ve left it till six weeks before the election at the end of their third term to do anything much for the victims of crime”. He disses the new Victims’ Charter, website, and 0800 number but what does he propose in addition? Oh yeah, the Victim Compensation Levy that is somehow meant to collect $50 from every convicted criminal and distribute it to help victims with their costs. Yeah, that’s really great; a paltry sum that wil probably cost more to administer than it will raise, that’ll make victims feel better.

The fact is the best thing we can do for the victims of crime is reduce the conditions that lead to crime in the first place. The best things that Labour has done for victims is lead the creation of 350,000 new jobs. Unemployment has dropped by 100,000. Wages, particularly, at the low end, are up sharply. That has seen a huge drop in theft and injected money into depressed communities. More money for education and training has seen more young people with positive options in life. Reducing poverty, economic and social, is the best way to reduce crime.

Labour has done that and crime has come down. Despite the population growing 10% , better Police recording practice, and evidence of higher reporting of crimes, the number of recorded crimes in New Zealand last year was actually 12,000 fewer than in 1999 (and 14,000 more were resolved). Recorded crimes per capita are down 10% since 1999, 25% since the dark days of the early 1990s. [stats 1, 2]

Campaigning for ineffectual charters and impractical levies is all well and good but building a healthier soceity where fewer people choose to commit crimes is what really matters. Labour can be proud of their record, which is based on the ideal that New Zealand can be a kinder, better place to live; would that the Nats believed in this country, rather than always talking it down.

[Update: Turns out an international survey rates NZ the best country in the world for victim support. Power’s claims don’t stack up; it’s just more ‘NZ sucks’. Hat-tip, Russell Brown]

39 comments on “Nats’ ‘NZ sucks’ campaign continues”

  1. lprent 1

    The levy is a joke. It isn’t a policy to reduce crime. It is a headline.

    The most effective policies to reduce crime would be to reduce unemployment and make sure it stays down for generation. Labour has started that pretty effectively. I don’t actually see the Nay’s continuing with it. The only way that they will get the reduced wage rates that JK appears to want is to increase unemployment.

    The second is to either stop importing and banning precursors for P (and other such manufactured drugs) or legalise and tax them. The problem is that if there is a demand for manufactured drugs then there will be suppliers. I don’t see any policies from the Nay’s to do either (and for that matter from any party).

  2. Tim Ellis 2

    SP, I think you’re misinterpreting what Simon Power is saying. He isn’t saying NZ sucks. He’s saying New Zealand’s great, but the Government sucks.

  3. Tim. No, National attacks New Zealand at every turn. You will have noticed this tactic – ‘let’s find anything we can at least pretend is a negative about NZ, let’s attack the Government as being wholely responsible for this negative, let’s not offer any real solutions, let’s keep our fingers crossed this works until election day and our substantive policies to enrich the powerful, weaken work rights, and undermine the social wage get drowned out by our screeching attacks.’

  4. Matthew Pilott 4

    Where does he say NZ is great, Tim Ellis? I think you’re misinterpreting what Simon Power is saying. (Easy when he uses such awful phrases as “waits…to do anything much for the victims of crime“, I’ll conceed.)

    That is a comment notably missing from much National discourse. When you’re running a negative campaign I guess you can’t really afford to say anything nice about the country but it would be a welcome change.

  5. Daveski 5

    So when Labour is in opposition – very soon most likely – and they attack National’s record, Labour will also be running a “NZ sucks” campaign?

    Surely the alarm bells are ringing that the Maori party are distancing themselves from Labour?

    BTW I do agree that politicians demean themselves with the comments and the games they play. Clark’s bodies in bags comment showed a similar lack of judgement but not surprisingly has met with a deafening silence here.

    To suggest that the Nats have a campaign based on making NZ worse is nonsensical at best

  6. Felix 6

    Deafening silence? There was some quite heated discussion about that Daveski.

  7. MikeE 7

    “The second is to either stop importing and banning precursors for P (and other such manufactured drugs) or legalise and tax them. The problem is that if there is a demand for manufactured drugs then there will be suppliers. I don’t see any policies from the Nay’s to do either (and for that matter from any party).”

    Lprent – agreed.

    Law and Order policy should be victim focused, which means the removal of consensual crimes. Labour did a good job with prostitution reform. The next step for any truely liberal govt (I don’t care which side of the spectrum they are on) is drug law reform. Unfortunatley labour and the nats bollicked that up with BZP. I can’t see this happening with Anderton or Jacqui Dean anywhere near government.

    Though, why stop at P, surely the same applies to ALL drugs, its far better that they are produced relatively safely, rather than in backyards by gangs.

    The easiest way to destroy gangs, is cut off their finances by legalising drugs.

    I wish that our two liberal parties ACT and the Greens would grow a pair and campaign on this as part of their law and oder policies. Unfortunately it doesn’t win votes, even though it would be the right thing to do.

  8. Scribe 8

    Steve,

    Labour has done that and crime has come down.

    Yes, which is great. But how about violent crime? That’s gone up in New Zealand.

    Hon ANNETTE KING: It is fair to say that violence in New Zealand has been rising over many years — Hansard, April 16.

    I think the biggest issue in NZ on the crime/law and order front is P. We need real solutions to that problem.

  9. The point here is that Power is attacking Labour’s performance on the one measure by which New Zealand’s performance is stellar — support for the victims of crime.

    The International Crime Victims survey published in April this year rated New Zealand first amongst all countries surveyed on that measure, and commented:

    “The top position of New Zealand is corroborated by statistics on the numbers of clients of victim support according to the national victim support agency in New Zealand. In this country with a population of 4 million, circa 100,000 victims are assisted annually according to the national victim support organisation.”

    There are, of course, other, less flattering findings about New Zealand in the report. Funny thing is, Power knows this.

  10. Dom 10

    Daveski – the Maori Party’s never been THAT close to Labour so ‘distancing’ isn’t quite apt here. In fact, they are shuffling closer to National (especially with Sharples taking the Maori seats issue off their top priorities).

    As for the $50 idea – I think it’s great so long as Power intends to go around with a bag and collect this money personally.

  11. r0b 11

    Huh. Thanks for that Russell.

  12. Quoth the Raven 12

    I absolutley agree with MikeE.

  13. Pat 13

    MikeE and Quoth the Raven want drugs like P legalised?

  14. Matthew Pilott 14

    Pat – it’s not an uncommon view. Legalise and tax, control quality and come down like the Fist of God on those who supply to the underage, and those who commit a crime while under the influence (preferably make it an aggravating circumstance in conviction, not a mitigant).

    If it worked for alcohol I would support them, but I don’t see our society as ready for the lifting of prohibition (while paridoxically I fully acknowledge the abject failure of prohibition in most circumstances).

  15. Pat 15

    Legalising P might interupt cashflow for the gangs, but it would do nothing for our youth.

    A few months ago I rushed to the aid of a girl screaming for help at 2am. A group of young people were parked up near my house smoking P, and a small disagreement esclated into a fight (inside the car). Her screams sounded like she was being raped, or worse. Then I had to deal with the spaced out boyfriend who was pleading me not to ring the cops, and another passenger who became aggressive at my intervention.

    On my own, in the dark, with a bunch of irrational, aggressive, spaced out youths.

    You will never, ever convince me it is OK to legalise P.

  16. Felix 16

    Pat:

    I understand why you disapprove of P use – it’s not an uncommon view. And that sounds like an awful situation to get dragged into (good on you by the way).

    But in what way do you think the situation might have been different if it were legal.

  17. Pat 17

    Felix – other than smoking P, they weren’t doing anything illegal. So the situation would be the same. They would still have been in the car smoking P, and then spinning out of control.

    Except making P cheaper and more readily available (by making in legal) means the incident I was dragged into will become just your average Friday and Saturday night.

    A nightmare scenario.

  18. MikeE 18

    I think P is a disgusting drug and substance, but I don’t believe someone should be thrown in jail for what they put in their own bodies.

    Its as simple as that, I own my body, not society, and I am the only one who should be able to dictate what I put in it.

    And, P is a direct result of prohibition, demand for it simply would not exist at the amount it is today if not for prohibition.

    “The Iron Law of Prohibition is a term coined by Richard Cowan which states that “the more intense the law enforcement, the more potent the prohibited substance becomes.” This is based on the premise that when drugs or alcohol are prohibited, they will be produced only in black markets in their most concentrated and powerful forms. If all alcohol beverages are prohibited, a bootlegger will be more profitable if he smuggles highly distilled liquors than if he smuggles the same volume of small beer. In addition, the black-market goods are more likely to be adulterated with unknown or dangerous substances. The government cannot regulate and inspect the production process, and harmed consumers have no recourse in law.”

    Unfortuantely most people aren’t willing to have a rational debate on the topic, without resorting to “won’t someone please think of the children” type hysterics.

    Of course its a lot worse now that National, Labour, NZ First, UF and Mr Anderton all banned BZP, which provided a safer alternative to P, over the counter – and instead pushed the trade underground.

    Please give a rational reason why someone should be deprived of their liberty simply for what they choose to put in their body, providing they harm noone else. The argument was senseless for homosexuality, just as it as senseless for drug use (and yes it is the same principle).

  19. Quoth the Raven 19

    Pat – We’re not advocating the use of P. It’s a fairly stupid thing to do, but I don’t think that using P should be a crime. Do you consider that girl to be a criminal? If P was legalized would you start smoking P just because it’s legal? No you wouldn’t and neither would I. Going after every drug user and pusher is an exercise in futility and waste of time and money, that does no good for society. Legalize it and all drugs and spend that money on healthcare and education and stop criminalizing large sections of society. That’s what I think anyway and that it’s just wrong to legislate around what people can and can’t do with their own bodies.

  20. Quoth the Raven 20

    What MikeE said.

  21. Pat 21

    “Please give a rational reason why someone should be deprived of their liberty simply for what they choose to put in their body, providing they harm noone else”.

    Because often, whilst under the influence of drugs, people don’t behave or act rationally, and end up harming themselves and others.

    Because many drugs are highly addictive and ruin lives.

    Becuase guys like you might end up going out with my daughter.

  22. Felix 22

    Pat,

    You do realise that if those are your grounds for prohibition, we have to do the same with alcohol, don’t you?

  23. randal 23

    P users should not be put in jail but they should be sequestered from the rest of us till their deisre for the drug has abated and they have some notion of their addiction. according to Anne wilson Schaeff addiciton has as its primary goal to prevent the addict feeling their own true thoughts and feelings. It is obvious that New Zealand along with all the other western consumerist societies has a vested interest in self centred, externally referencing anomic individuals who in their false consciousness can only see happiness as possessing goods. until this is addressed and a form of spirituality that reduces this tension takes over then we are condemmed along with everyone else to be a nation of sad people.

  24. Pat 24

    On second thoughts, Felix, do what you want with drugs and alcohol, just don’t come anywhere near my daughter.

  25. Jasper 25

    I used to live down the road from a P lab. Until it blew up.

    The cops were told about it repeatedly, but as they didn’t have the resources to deal with it back in 2000, the manufacture, availability and desirability of P became far too entrenched.

    I believe that National was informed about the growing “ice” epidemic overseas in 1997? but chose not to do anything about it, in the view that NZ would be untouched.
    As it was never tabled, stored or documented anywhere, it was left to lie fallow.

    Much the same argument could be used in the debate with Clinton vs Bin Laden, but in this case, if the Police had been given the right powers as far back as 98, then P may not be such a big issue today.

  26. randal 26

    that is a very weak argument. the police have always had powers to deal with criminals. the problem is that National decided they were going to privaTISE THE POLICE FORCE in the 90’s and they have never recovered properly from that stupid and useless policy that was nearly enough to send the country down the road to complete anrachy. Just look at all the little turds driving around in big boor cars living their own truths. 20 years ago they would have been given short shrift but the serious lack of police numbers and the business model of LIFE has proven to be a complete failure but almost impossible to pull back with all the whingers wanting longer sentences etc etc but not want ing to pay the taxes necessary to keep people in prison. the media and the little people and their friggin opinions make it nearly impossible to do anything these days without a cacophony from the ignorati.

  27. Pat 27

    Jasper – a atretch to suggest National is to blame for the P epidmic! Couldn’t Labour, in power for 9 years, have taken more action to address it?

  28. Felix 28

    Oh well, for a moment there I thought Pat was up for an adult discussion. Guess not.

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    Unfortuantely most people aren’t willing to have a rational debate on the topic, without resorting to “won’t someone please think of the children’ type hysterics.

    MikeE, I don’t think you can dismiss people who recognise that legalisatoin of a substance might increase the availibility to that substance to children. I’d say it is a fact that this will happen.So are people’s rights to use something greater than the morality of enacting a law that will knowingly harm such parties?

    Please give a rational reason why someone should be deprived of their liberty simply for what they choose to put in their body, providing they harm noone else.

    We’ve done this before, MikeE, but use of such a substance probably makes someone, oh I don’t know, 12% more likely to harm someone else. Is that not reason enough to prohibit it?

    heh cap ‘bitterly fidelity’. Doing it tough huh?

  30. LindsayM 30

    Labour blows chunks!! What a lot of crap, blah blah blah about more jobs and less beneficiaries. What absolute crap and what blatant lies. You Labour creeps are going down for ruining potentially the best 9 years in recent history and there is NOTHING you can do about it losers!!!!

    [lprent: Well one thing I could do is ban you as an ignorant troll. I suggest you read the About and Policy at the top of the page before commenting further. ]

  31. lprent 31

    Pat: Personally I’d prefer not to legalize P. However I think that the only other recourse is to ban most precursors, ie what is required to make P and other such drugs.

    With the exception of pot (which I don’t care about – should be legal for anyone wanting to be a fool – and taxed accordingly), we have viable border defences to most ‘natural’ drugs. The effect of prohibition on those is to raise prices. That reduces demand.

    The current problem we have is with drugs that can be manufactured internally. The only viable defence for those is to also defend at the border. Stop some of the critical elements and you stop the problem by raising prices. If that means that some substances are taken off the market that have other uses, then it’d be pretty easy to look at the cost/benefits to society.

    What annoys me is this partial prohibition – it is ineffective and allows the drugs to get entrenched. No amount of policing is going to reduce it as long as the drugs are relatively cheap.

  32. Farewell Wiki 32

    Steve I agree that what labour has done has been somewhat effective, however there is no use in focusing on what they have done in the past because crime is still high, and it is still an issue for many. Can you please start posting on labour policies on crime, and other issues, rather than what there policies were in the past? Cheers

  33. MikeE 33

    “We’ve done this before, MikeE, but use of such a substance probably makes someone, oh I don’t know, 12% more likely to harm someone else. Is that not reason enough to prohibit it?’

    You mean like booze?

    Or gasp DHMO – which has a 100% correlation with violent crime!

  34. Matthew Pilott 34

    C’mon MikeE, you’re beter than this, that was truly pathetic! If you don’t want to discuss then just say the word.

    You mean like booze?

    Yep, just like booze.

    Imagine it was prohibited. Try and sell me the argument that legalisation will be an improvement, based upon the effect of booze on kids (not to mention adults and society).

    DHMO? How much more likely are you to commit a crime after, for a laugh, 1 hour of consuming 500ml as opposed to 3 hours after consuming 500ml? Correlation? Causation?

    Are you drunk and thought the DHMO arument would be a real crack-up? Otherwise I can’t see why you’d be making such terrible arguments.

  35. randal 35

    mathew pilott—please stop being kind to dumb animals.

  36. Jasper 36

    Pat – fair comment, but National certainly had the first opportunity to do something meanwhile, rather than continue to privatise everything, fight internally, and run the country into the ground.

    Labour should have done more, but the reality is, with more gang members than police officers in NZ – the cops are a tad hog tied.

    Compound that with the fact your bank teller earns more in a year than a police officer (and only has to deal with the occasional armed robbery) it’s no wonder that the police force is in such dire straits. I wouldn’t want to deal with the scum of NZ on a starting salary of 38K a year (ASB Bank Tellers start on 42K)

    Banning the importation of methamphetamine products won’t acheive much. There’s already plenty of drug smuggling boats heading out to sea to meet the boats from China, do their swaps and continue back to Westhaven Marina. Again, it’s a lack of resources and support for the necessary agencies.

    HNZ in Napier is sending a good strong message to those involved in manufacturing, who live in a HNZ Home. Only problem – HNZ don’t do anywhere near enough inspections to curb this issue from happening.

  37. Quoth the Raven 37

    Pat – P has been a worldwide problem. I’ve said this before it doesn’t matter what the government’s policies. Countries with the death penalty for selling it still have a problem. As I said it’s an exercise in futility to enforce prohibition. If it wasn’t P it would be something else. Face it humans are always going to seek some chemical to alter their minds there’s no fighting it.
    Lprent – Still won’t work. Most P isn’t manufactured from cold medicines. There are around half a dozen factories in the world that produce the precursors. If you really want to get rid of it you need to strictly control what comes out of those factories, a lot of what they make is siphoned off for drug making. To do that you need international cooperation. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  38. randal 38

    Just let them have it. Their brains will tutn to mush and their teeth fall out. anyone testing positive gets shipped out to Nauru for two years with no due process. q.e.d. gee thats the whole National Party. seeya guys. bye bye for now.

  39. As I understand it more cold medicine goes towards making P than fixing colds, additionally, I think but I’m not entirely sure (not an expert on the subject sorry!) that one of the most dangerous steps chemical wise is extracting the ephedrine from cold medicine. So certainly further restrictions on that could reduce some of the danger involved in making P.

    While I acknowledge that the arguments against prohibition are quite strong, the only thing I cannot reconcile is the addictive nature of drugs. Addiction doesn’t exactly make for fully informed decisions.

    Marijuana how ever, which I’m strongly against myself, despite the massive damage it does to teens aged less than about 16 (and I have seen myself happen to people close to me) probably should be legalised. It has serious effects on the frontal cortex, so legalisation but very strong provision to prevent under 16s having access to it.

    I’m not at all surprised they are claiming we are terrible for victims rights when we are best in the world, kinda fits the pattern eh. Drowning in red tape? 2nd most business friendly country in the world. My main concern, especially given the rights easy run with the right biased media, is that should national win, in a year or so’s time we get, hey look, NZ is great!! Look at all these things, best in the world for victims rights, 2nd best for business friendliness.

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