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Open mike 03/12/09

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 3rd, 2009 - 32 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:


Topics of interest, announcements, general discussion. The usual rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

32 comments on “Open mike 03/12/09 ”

  1. Ron 1

    I was interested and horrified to hear Garth McVicar on the death of Wanganui prison inmate Taffy Hoten: “There’s not going to be any tears anywhere I mean, the justice system is failing, but ultimately there’s justice at the end of the day, it appears.”

    Given McVicar has also recently said that they’ll be pushing for the Death Sentence in the future I think we have a fight coming.

    • prism 1.1

      I didn’t hear whether his lobby group had been able to establish their charity status so that they still get the handouts that provide the fuel for the continued rant.
      It was under consideration and the committee? were considering withdrawing the status. What is the latest? McVicar said that he wouldn’t be able to carry on if status wiped.

      • Angelsadvocate 1.1.1

        For your information Mr McVicar does not get paid for the work he does on behalf of past, present and future victims. As a victim I would not wish the life I now live since by daughter was killed on anyone even those ill informed about the Trust. Believe me, if the trust is denied the status as a Charitable Trust there will be many people myself included demanding change. I also contribute to “the fuel for the continued rant” at my own personal cost. Why? because my 20 year old daughter was killed. Her death could have been prevented if police and corrections were doing their job to ensure pubic safety rather than pandering to the “status”, rights/needs of the repeat criminal offender. on parole and given a new identity, a new start in life under the Police Witness Protection Programme.

        • lprent

          Personally the victims support side of the SST seems to reasonably effective from what I have anecdotally heard. The problem is that they seem to do less of that than they do pushing a political agenda.

          That seemed to occupy the majority of the SSTs time and funding over the last few years as far as I can see, and looks suspiciously over-funded. The speculation is that it is largely funded by offshore private prison companies. To date the SST hasn’t convinced virtually anyone that they aren’t just a conduit for pushing covert political lobby funds.

          They should either get a lot more transparent about their funding or stop being a charity and become a taxed lobby group.

    • Dave 1.2

      Garth Mcvicar is a calm and rational man. Id like to see your source for claiming he wants to reinstate the death sentence. I think youve made that up.

      I know the family of Kylie jones. I saw what that animal did to her. Its easy for you to jump on your moral high horse about Garth saying there will be no tears, because you still sleep at night. You go about your normal life happy as larry. The people who are left after a crime like this, never get to go about their normal life again. I had the most tenuous connection possible to Kylie, the crime was almost 10 years ago, and I still wake up in the middle of the night to check the house is locked, even though I know it is.
      Things like that are across the board, with her family, her fiancee’s family and her friends. we’re talking about 20 or 30 people who have a huge hole in their lives.

      Then there’s Taffy. Someone who not only made a concious choice to rape and Murder another human being, who managed to go ahead with it despite her screams and pleading. But who was comfortable enough with what hed done to take her bank cards afterwards, withdraw her money and spend it on booze and KFC for his mates.
      He had a party while her fiancee sat at home wondering where she was, phoning anyone and everyone.
      No one has moved on from that, and his parole hearings were going to start in only another 8 years. And everyone was going to have to relive it again from scratch.

      His death has brought relief to the family that you could never understand. Everyone reads about these horrendous crimes, and everyone imagines themselves in the families shoes and thinks gosh wouldnt that be awful. But untill you sit there, with your family in ruins, with police coming and going through the house, not giving you information making you wait days for the tiniest scrap, being able to stand at the drive way and see the crime scene and know this persons body is still there. Until you experience a total paradigm shift of genuine horror like that. You can have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

      There’s not going to be any tears anywhere.

      In fact, I drank champagne.

  2. A disturbing number of such people are dying in prison (Antonie Dixon another one). Convicted admittedly of extremely unpleasant crimes, it is disturbing because it looks like some prison staff adopt an “I know nothink’ approach to what in some cases appear to be proxy executions. McVicar definitely supports, just not openly yet, the return of capital punishment for sure.

    • Angelsadvocate 2.1

      Maybe you should spare a thought to the distrubingly increasing number of innocent victims who have had theirs lives ruined or taken from them by the people who are in prison. Maybe the offenders have woken up to the fact, albeit to late, that they are not nice people and cannot live in a controlled environment like prison let alone out in the community so have decided to end their heinous lives themselves. Don’t think you can blame the prison staff or anyone else. The responsibility lives with the offender and if he/she choses to take their own live so be it.

      • Well Angel I am with Russell Brown from another blog who maintains that victims of horrendous circumstances should get a free pass basically. But I see McVicar as an opportunist advancing his political agenda on tragic events such as you describe.

        In the long run we are all in this together, if we allow an unequal society we all reap the crap that results. Societies with less inequality do better.

        Some of these alleged prison suicides are actively encouraged in the absence of mental health care, and some of them are clearly murders. I don’t begrudge you for cheering when some sick soul expires but this is not where a civil society should be heading.

        • prism

          It is sad that little seems to be done to cut the number of crimes. Many people have been calling for a limit to alcohol sales by time and place for instance. It seems that the other problems that confront politicians and movers and shakers are seen as more serious yet a huge amount of our country’s cash is lost through crime and its aftermath.

          But politicians can’t steel themselves to do what’s necessary, carrot and stick stuff. Those prisoners who haven’t become Hannibal Lecters should be trained and taught skills so they can find a job, and moved out of prison. They would see education as a hard punishment at first. Many have never disciplined themselves to learn at school or have had unknown disabilities, deafness, mental illness etc. The other prisoners, who have shown themselves to be repeatedly violent or repeatedly to prey on society need custodial sentences, long ones perhaps whole of life. Such people may be mentally ill but once it has taken that line, they need to be locked away, for public as well as their own safety.

          There is always demand for a bold politician to show leadership (that word has so many facile meanings at the end of the day). But it is usually a cry for more punishment. We need to be selective and keep the worst repeat offenders locked up, and habilitate the others who, once they have proved themselves able to conduct their lives, would be released on suspended sentences into a job on the outside. We should also not let the police trade new identities and clean slates with crims for information, as in a recent case.

          The tragedies go on and the media suck up the grief like thick spongey towels. Thursday morning we seemed to have each family member of the murdered Christchurch woman commenting, one reading a prepared statement, about their grief after the killer Peach was convicted. And the same refrain, that the sentence isn’t long enough, that the loved one has had life extinguished while the killer goes on, and it is all true and sad to hear repeated, with so little effective change being made.

          I wonder how much hands-on work is being done to reduce habits of violence being passed on from adults to children. There is much education, and publicity as for White Ribbon Day. But do sports people after a few drinks think its okay to attack others? Policemen think its okay to gang up and
          intimidate women or men? What are NZ’s attitudes really? And what about the angry, violent women who assault? I wonder is any academic studying the crimes who can put some context on them. Greg Newbold for instance.

          How do parents teach their children to handle rejection, bullying, abuse etc.
          It would be interesting to know if the demand that women name the fathers of unplanned babies causes resentment and the extreme tension that boils over into attacks on the women, and perhaps the attacks on babies are from fathers linked to the child in this legalistic and moralistic way. I wonder if there is informed comment on the crime stats.

  3. Jenny 3

    Oil company and automobile industry lobbyists get their way with the public purse.

    In the age of climate change and predicted sea level rise, an undersea tunnel to accommodate even greater car use, is a scandalous and irresponsible use of a huge amount of tax payers money.

    The parliamentary opposition parties particularly, the Greens and the Maori party need to be challenged to join a grand coalition against this lunacy.


    Auckland bridge fix for $86m then $3.5b for tunnels

    The Dominion Post

    Last updated 05:00 03/12/2009

    The cost of upgrading Auckland’s harbour bridge has doubled, it has emerged, as officials take the first steps to replace the route with tunnels.

    The cost of strengthening Auckland Harbour Bridge’s clip-on lanes was set at $45 million when announced in 2007. Yesterday, New Zealand Transport Agency’s regional director, Wayne McDonald, said an extra $41 million had been approved to complete work.

    The announcement came as the agency lodged notices of requirement with the Auckland City and North Shore City councils to earmark land for two road and two rail tunnels under the Waitemata Harbour. The estimated cost of the routes is $3.5 billion.

    Mr McDonald said it was important to recognise that the 50-year-old bridge could not continue as the city’s main harbour crossing.

    The 1.2-kilometre bridge has an average of 154,000 vehicle crossings daily, at times reaching 200,000. About 60 more cars are estimated to join Auckland roads every day.

    He said repairs to the bridge required 43 per cent more steel than originally estimated. The complexity of the work had also increased labour hours, he said.

    “The scale and complexity of this project is huge. The initial funding approval was an urgent measure to address an urgent need. As the work has progressed, the need for further investment to complete it to the required standard and extend the service life of the bridge has become apparent,” Mr McDonald said.

    The strengthening is expected to be completed next year and keep the bridge open for heavy trucks for the next 20 years.

    NZTA has filed documents with Auckland City Council and North Shore City Council to ensure land on the proposed tunnel routes remains free. They will link the central city at Victoria Park to North Shore City at the Esmonde Rd Takapuna interchange.

    • Agreed. We are quite possibly at peak oil now and these plans for the construction of motorways for decades on end appear to me to be severely short sighted.

      We should be electrifying the rail system and building the Queen Street tunnell with the money that would otherwise be used on the bridge replacement.

      To make such a decision would require political bravery and the ability to anticipate the future.

      So I am not holding my breath …

      • Bored 3.1.1

        I am looking forward to walking across the current bridge, hesitating only to avoid the cyclists and trams in the centre lane, perhaps buying a snack from a vendor parked under the arch….a lot of people think I am joking and that “technology” will save us.

    • prism 3.2

      Good info Jenny.
      Interesting bit on What Works The ST 2/11 on NZ geology. Wonder what Auckland harbour rock base is like. And who decides on tunnel which Banks says he prefers? Questions! Surely LTSA can’t be the lone decider. And why more connections at Takapuna? Why not spread to say Point Chev across?

      What role has ARC got? Will that be vanishing when the all-Auckland crowd get power?

  4. vto 4

    Imagine if we were allowed to keep kiwis as pets. And native frogs and lizards. And, well every native creature. It would surely boost the populations of those endangered species. Sounds like a good idea … Sounds a tad foolish that we can’t …

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Not all animals can be tamed and the main benefit of maintaining the population only exists if they’re in the wild.

  5. prism 5

    The company has to make a profit if it makes an investment. Straightforward and incontrovertible. That’s what electricy company Mighty River head Doug Heffernan said this morning. Also that there are no price controls, no limits like cost plus which I suppose is more like a not-for-profit system.

    It’s what you get when you have privatisation of infrastructure, ie electricity, prisons, health services, old age care, contracted out needs. The company carrying them out has to make a profit. Why should it be a holy grail that private companies do it better, cheaper, more efficiently? Every hour paid for by the contracting organisation is diced and sliced, and the worker dangling at the end of the key ring gets as small a portion as possible and probably poorer work conditions. If the org priced on cost of labour plus administration, it would be cheaper. And keeping them efficient, and up to standard, there would need to be adequate overview, it’s necessary but merely privatising everything is no answer.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    Majority favour MMP – poll

    A new opinion poll has shown MMP is the favoured voting system.

    So, why are we having the referendum again?

    • Pascal's bookie 6.1

      It’s annoying, but if MMP wins the first round in any sort of knockout, that’ll be all she wrote for at least a few decades.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    Garth George: A taskforce not to be reckoned with

    The description of the report by Finance Minister Bill English as “too radical” is the final absurdity. The report is not just too radical; it is economic and social bullshit, a serious waste of taxpayers’ money, and every copy should be recycled into toilet paper.

    Another Garth George opinion piece that I mostly agree with.

  8. Armchair Critic 8

    Two more disappointments from the right today.
    1. Auckland City Council continue with their policy of abandoning the homeless to their fate. Why use a carrot and stick approach, when you can just use a stick?
    2. A constraint on the gas supply to Auckland is identified. So, as Minister of Energy, Gerry Brownlee calls the interested parties together and then proceeds to issue a statement saying “there’s nothing the government can do.” Why actually solve infrastructure problems when you can leave it to the market? After years of failing to plan, now the various parties are going to get their act together. And all because Gerry told them to.

  9. a little disappointed that no-one’s pointed out John Key being a ‘fast follower’ yet…

  10. kiwiteen123 10

    I move that this country has no confidence in the official opposition.

    “The Opposition aims to hold the government accountable and to present itself to the electorate as a credible government in waiting’

    The opposition led by Phil Goff and the Labour Party has failed to meet these aims.

    They have not managed to hold the Government accountable on the issues that really matter and instead have focused on the petty things. The job of the opposition is to ask questions and publically hold the government accountable for their actions. If the National-led Government was so minded they could do what ever they wanted with the opposition doing nothing.

    The Labour Party (and Jimmy) have not presented themselves as ‘a credible government in waiting’. They are failing (or should I say “they have not yet achieved’). They are ineffective and present themselves as tired faces with tired policies from the 1980’s. In the latest poll, Phil Goff was at 5%.

    They present a man who appears to be drunk onto television prattling on about how bad Roger Douglas is/was and that New Zealand started to go down hill from his time. I’m sorry but, what party did he belong to?

    For the Labour Party to gain real traction, they need to have a turnover. They need to remove the old faces and bring in new ones. They need to scrap the leader and his deputy and gamble on a younger face.

    As I see it, the real problem with the Labour Party is that their more experienced members are too old and their brighter faces are too young. For the time being, Labour is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    I move that this country has no confidence in the Labour-led opposition because they fail to hold the government accountable and they fail to present themselves as a credible government in waiting.

    • Armchair Critic 10.1

      KT123 – You need to read the whole wikipedia article that you sourced that quote from. Even with a tiny imagination it is clear that Labour has held the govt to account.
      As for presenting a credible government in waiting, the next election is a long two years away. And what with a week being a long time in politics and all that….
      Why are you trying to run this distraction, are National so bad that you need to divert the attention away from them with crap like this?. Honestly, it stinks of desperation.

      • kiwiteen123 10.1.1

        @Armchair Critic Please do provide the quotes from the article that you a referring to.
        @Lynn National was a bad opposition under Shipley and English. I know that. I never said otherwise. Where did I even mention history? As typical you completely change the topic to suit you.

        • Armchair Critic

          I didn’t quote anything KT123 – you did.
          I just cut and pasted “The Opposition aims to hold the government accountable and to present itself to the electorate as a credible government in waiting” from your comment and googled it. The first thing that came up was a wikipedia page on the official opposition in NZ. Coincidence? I doubt it, it is a long quote.
          So now you are writing rubbish, as a distraction from how awful the government actually are, based on information from wikipedia and you can’t even acknowledge it. Weak.

          • kiwiteen123

            I am an avid user of Wikipedia. (check my profile, same name.)
            I am not denying that I sourced it from wikipedia.
            My point was, What do I need to read on the wikipedia page that makes Labour a good opposition.
            I can’t see it there.

            Of course you weren’t quoting it, that’s why I asked you to quote it.

            • Pascal's bookie

              I, for one, am not too sure what your complaint about Labour as an opposition actually is.

              It seems that you don’t think they are a credible opposition simply because Phil Goff is polling so low. While that means that they obviously aren’t in any sort of position to govern, that’s all it means.

              An opposition, by definition, will tend to be polling lower than the govt. Especially at this point in the cycle, and especially after having so recently been in power for so long.

              If you define ‘credibilty as an alternate government’ solely by whether or not they have the support to govern, then you are not really giving any opposition the chance to fill the definition, so your complaint is rather senseless.

              I suspect the phrase means something else.

              You say:

              If the National-led Government was so minded they could do what ever they wanted with the opposition doing nothing.

              and I’m, again, a bit confused as to what you might mean.

              This is what governments are like. They have the power to govern despite the opposition. That is what governments are, the group of politicians in parliament with the confidence of the house, and the votes to do whatever they want, over the objections of the opposition.

            • kiwiteen123

              @PB Well reasoned but I fail to agree… National is leading Labour by 22%. In my opinion, to be a credible opposition you need to be within 10% of the Government.
              The Government is leading the opposition by 58 to 31. (I got these figures from a Wikipedia page btw.)
              “No matter who loud you shout, you will not drown out the voice of the people” Marches, protests and talk-back calls mean something to the Government. The opposition has failed to get the country behind them in holding the government to account.
              I look forward to another mature and insightful discussion with you, PB.

              • lprent

                That is a good rule of thumb for an election year.

                There isn’t an election this year. There is unlikely to be one next year. The next election is likely to be in November 2011. Because a good rule of thumb is that governments that call for early elections tend to get punished for early dissolutions.

                Please look for the “engage brain” switch. Turn it on.

            • Pascal's bookie

              Sorry KT, but polling isn’t the point of credibility. Credibility as it applies to oppositions goes to whether or not they could credibly govern if they had the support.

              The fact that they do not have the support is what makes them oppositions. ( The following is longer that I intended, but the last para hints at what credibilty actually means for oppositions)

              This government for example, has the support to govern, but they at times make an awful hash of it. I’m not here talking about policy that I disagree with, but the mechanics of governing.

              Look at the scramble to get an ETS, where they pork barreled the maori Party to get over the line. The forestry issue relating to treaty settlements needed to be resolved one way or the other, but the least credible way of doing it was the way they chose. It would have been far better to keep the two issues separate and dealt with on their respective merits, instead, neither issue was dealt with on the merits.

              Or the gang patch legislation fiasco which ended up trading ACT votes against themselves for the 3 strikes bill.

              Or the ACC legislation which Nick Smith had to hold back from bringing to the house because he didn’t have the votes.

              Or Gerry Brownlee’s management of the house, with urgency brought in, but then the house having to stop sitting because they run out of things to do.

              The underlying issue to this events is that this government, for all it’s popularity, is incoherent. Key has tried an experiment with getting as many parties on board as he can. Good on him, he can do that, but it comes with costs.

              Were we to face some sort of dire emergency, the system would survive fine (I’m thinking here about a war of necessity or a natural disaster) but only because the solutions to those types of events are generally non ideological, so parliament tends to act in unison.

              With a crisis that was prone to ideological solutions however, this govt would struggle. Should a major trading partner, or a central player in the world economy face a genuine collapse or crisis, what would this government do? There would be the same mad dash for votes in the house that we see over any issue that is ideological, with the lead party, National, flailing around trying to find which of it’s smaller partners it wants to wag it’s tail.

              And that is why we have a credible opposition. National are not prepared to do anything too radical, or even to put a mark n the sand about much. Most of the position taking under Key has been done by the junior partners in govt, with the Nats picking sides between them on an ad hoc basis. the explanation for that strange behaviour, is that key is all too aware that in Labour there is a credible opposition that people will vote for if he moves too far from the centrist pragmatic branding that he carved out for himself.

    • lprent 10.2

      kt123: So young, so inexperienced, so much learning to do.

      Also your history is crap. If you want to look at a really pathetic opposition, read up on the 1999-2003 national party. They really did bring a new meaning to the word ‘pitiful’, with exactly the the issues that you’re describing in age ranges.

      They basically spent 4 years wondering why in the hell the electorate rejected them and back-biting themselves. This opposition has pretty well pulled itself together in less than a year.

      Labour looks pretty good to me as an opposition at present. Mind you, they’d better be. Otherwise I’d be kicking some arse.

      In the meantime they’ve managed to get the 1000 cuts campaign underway that is required to destabilize a government (with a bit of help from here). Of course the NACTs are so disorganized that it has been pretty damn easy to date. The wingnuts are starting to do their bit out on the right…

      Policy is Labours issue next year, to be done by the end of the year. They started the discussions at annual conference. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes next.

  11. TF 11

    ACC’s reserves are now above forecast by $739 million (5.4 percent), a further improvement over last month

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