Race and the law

Written By: - Date published: 1:30 pm, March 11th, 2010 - 31 comments
Categories: law, racism - Tags: ,

Is race a factor in the NZ legal system? The answer seems to be yes. In a couple of recent high profile cases where the victim is an ethnic minority, killers have received extraordinarily light sentences. In early 2009 Tane wrote:

Bruce Emery’s sentence of just four years and three months on a reduced charge of manslaughter for chasing 15 year old Pihema Cameron 300 metres down the street and stabbing him to death with a knife is a stark reminder of the institutional racism that still exists in this country. Let’s not pretend for a second that Emery would have got off so lightly if he was an unemployed Maori and his victim a middle class Pakeha child, tagger or not.

Now we have another case with similar overtones. Yesterday, Scoop reported (on a 95bFM interview):

Selwyn Manning talks to Paul Deady about how the Indian community in New Zealand is appalled at the verdicts handed down to Manurewa liquor-store owner Navtej Singh’s killers. The offender who pulled the trigger, leaving Mr Singh to die in his wife’s arms, was convicted of murder, but all five of his co-offenders received aggravated robbery convictions… This appears contrary to recent case law precedence and the Indian community wants to know why.

Those who have been following this and similar cases see a clear pattern emerging:

Indian Kiwis hurt by a seemingly warped New Zealand justice system

The verdict of the jury (and the court) in the murder trial of the killers of Navtej Singh, Manurewa liquor store owner who was shot in his store last year in a gang robbery, has sent wrong signals about the fairness and the consistency of the justice system in New Zealand. …

Members of Auckland’s Indian community are also confused and perhaps perturbed by the justice system which appears to be giving a signal that the killers of Indians have an easy exit from the justice system. As a journalist who has covered three recent violent deaths and funerals of Indians in the local media, I can appreciate such concerns which have high elements of merit in them. …

President of a Sanatan Pratinidhi Sabha, (a Hindu religious group), Jayati Prasad strongly deplored the law and order in the country. He claimed that democracy and equal rights were only confined to paper while in reality, the situation reeked of racism, discrimination and lopsided treatment, and questioned why others in the group escaped serious conviction. He called it a shameful judgement and condemned the action of the police that led to Navtej’s death. …

Racism within the legal system is just one aspect of racism within our society generally. In other news today:

Racial discrimination at worrying levels: watchdog

The Human Rights Commission says racial discrimination and harassment in New Zealand is worrying. In the annual Race Relations Report released today, the commission says it received 1253 race-related complaints and inquiries last year, which is “significantly higher” than in previous years. Complaints related to race accounted for 55.4 per cent of all discrimination approaches.

“Data on racial discrimination and harassment from 2009 are a cause for concern,” said Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres. Also on the rise is public perceptions of discrimination against ethnic minorities, especially Asians. …

Now is not the time for the legal system to be sending all the wrong messages.

31 comments on “Race and the law”

  1. Ari 1

    Wait for all the law and order types to start their blatant hypocrisy about how these cases were DIFFERENT. 😉

  2. SPC 2

    Before I jumped to any conclusions, I would like to see evidence that different sentencing by judges does occur in such cases. This may be a case of locals jumping on the Oz bandwagon about their police to a concern about sentencing.

    It’s too easy to cite one or two cases, I would like to see a comparison to the average sentence for the offence.

  3. SPC 3

    As not all trials have the same jury there will be inconsistency.

    The major area of contention appears to be the reduction of murder charges to manslaughter and complicity in someone’s death only resulting in aggravated robbery charges.

    On the latter point, not everyone is convinced that being complicit in armed robbery makes one an accomplice to murder – unless judges direct juries on this point there will be inconsistency. If judges mention it, but do not clearly direct juries there is still some discretion left to the jury.

    Given past murders of Asians included the murder charge and conviction against all accomplices, it’s hard to say discrepancy is based on the victim being Asian.

    In the matter of cases which are genuinely problematic – the road rage case where the victim was Asian and another where the householder murdered someone (not Asian) tagging their fence – both involve inadequate conviction and sentencing. The only reason for it appears to be that neither act was premeditated – though taking a knife to a confrontation and then chasing after someone while carrying it, is hardly innocence in action is it? So here the (property owning householder) jury was not sending a message as much to those carrying knives as those who tag suburban property fences.

  4. grumpy 4

    Charges of Racism are difficult to sustain in this case.

    All parties were brown, either Indian, Polynesian or Maori. Are the complaints about low sentences (and they are low) on the basis that the victim was discriminated “against” or the protagonists were discriminated “for”.

    It seems the allegation is that some “brown” people are discriminated against and some “brown” people discriminated “for”.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    It would be interesting to see how consistent each of the judges criticised here was in other sentencings. Some judges tend to be a lot more lenient generally. Therefore, to cherry-pick from those cases to find ones that suit the judicial racism meme may produce misleading results.

    For instance, when I worked in the High Court many years ago, one of the judges on the bench at that time was Justice Hardie Boys. We used to refer to him as “Softy Girls”. Say no more.

  6. PK 6

    ***In a couple of recent high profile cases where the victim is an ethnic minority, killers have received extraordinarily light sentences.***

    Following the logic above the perpetrators of crimes against Maori or Pacific Island people receive harsher penalties than those who attack Indians. Or at least are more likely to all be charged and convicted of the same level of offence.

    From the Pacific Scoop article:

    “In another gang related case involving six members of JCB gang which attacked and injured members of PDBs in Otara, South Auckland on October 22 2005, Justice Winkelmann ruled that all six were guilty and the verdict of guilt suggested that the jury was satisfied that while Levi Smith was the principal offender, the remaining five were part of a criminal enterprise and knew their action could result in serious injury or even worse.

    For the August 2007 murder of the three-year-old Nia Glassie in Rotorua by her loved ones who should have protected her, the court ruled heavily and convicted more than one relative for murder and manslaughter for a group crime and came out with little mercy on the offenders for a heinous crime on a defenceless baby.”

  7. Wait for all the law and order types to start their blatant hypocrisy about how these cases were DIFFERENT.

    What blatantly hypocritical type fails to recognise the glaringly obvious way in which these cases actually were different? In the interests of not attracting the attention of the moderators I won’t speculate.

    [lprent: The moderators usually don’t give a shit if you make a point (rather than just relying on stupid stereotypes that will bring down the wrath). But why bother, the text of the relevant decisions will probably be posted by now. Read them and quote. ]

  8. Scott 8

    There is an obvious flaw in this argument.

    If Bruce Emery got a light sentence because he was white, why did the people involved in the robbery of Navtej Singh’s liquor store receive such lenient sentences? They were Polynesian.

    • r0b 8.1

      The post is largely about the effect of the ethnicity of the victim(s), not the attacker(s).

      • Scott 8.1.1

        That’s not what I took from the post. You raised the Emery case, and made a point of quoting someone who thought the ethnicity of the attacker affected the outcome.

  9. The light sentences handed down to most of the group that killed Navtej Singh have caused consternation within the NZ Indian community.

    What sentences?

    [and why is the introductory paragraph different on the home page from the post? have I just not noticed that it does that previously?]

    [lprent: The default is to just grab ‘x’ characters rounded to words from the post. However you can also write a separate excerpt specifically for display on the front page. Most of the authors do this if their first paragraph doesn’t explain the post well (which they often don’t). Think of it as an artifact of the new site format. ]

  10. r0b 10

    What sentences?

    As per the first Scoop link “all five of his co-offenders received aggravated robbery convictions”.

    [and why is the introductory paragraph different on the home page from the post? have I just not noticed that it does that previously?]

    It has been that way since the upgrade to the new format (if the post author uses the feature).

  11. Neil 11

    oh yeah. what would judges know. give David Garret a call and cry into a few whiskeys.

    • r0b 11.1

      oh yeah. what would judges know

      Apparently not much Neil, since the government wants to take away their discretion with the three strikes legislation.

      • Neil 11.1.1

        just like you, no confidence in the judiciary.

        • r0b 11.1.1.1

          The judiciary is human, with human strengths and weaknesses. They should be left with their discretion (no three strikes). But they aren’t above criticism, and if their decisions appear to be racially influenced then it is perfectly legitimate to point that out.

          • Neil 11.1.1.1.1

            it’s very tenuous. the Emery case and the killings of Indian shop owners is quite differrent. but what’s your remedy – instructing judges much like Garret wants to do?

            • r0b 11.1.1.1.1.1

              what’s your remedy

              My remedy is sunlight and plenty of it. Raise the questions, discuss the issues, make society aware of and alert to potential problems.

  12. “all five of his co-offenders received aggravated robbery convictions’.

    And their sentences were what? Maybe they’ll all get 14 years. Unlikely, certainly, but it’s kinda odd to complain about the sentences people receive when they haven’t even been sentenced.

    And I think I recall comments here to the effect that some of those convicted of the killing of Michael Choy (high profile, ethnic minority victim) received sentences that were quite harsh (perhaps not you, though?).

    • r0b 12.1

      And their sentences were what? Maybe they’ll all get 14 years. Unlikely, certainly, but it’s kinda odd to complain about the sentences people receive when they haven’t even been sentenced.

      Beg pardon, I should have said “the crimes of which they were convicted” rather than “their sentences”. The point still stands though, that according to the Scoop reporting they have been perceived as being treated extremely leniently.

      And I think I recall comments here to the effect that some of those convicted of the killing of Michael Choy (high profile, ethnic minority victim) received sentences that were quite harsh (perhaps not you, though?).

      No I don’t recall taking part in that discussion.

      Have to go for now, but may be back later.

  13. Kevin 13

    Afghan Kiwi Taxi driver murderer = 15.5 years
    White cop murder – 6 years
    Indian grandfather murderer = 3 years
    No its not racism, its our totally dysfunctional, arbitrary criminal justice system to blame. Still presided over by the same people who caused its demise, with no accountability whatsoever

  14. xvx 14

    Kevin: Have you read the sentencing notes concerned? They are likely to be publicly available online, although may not be.

    Rob: The semantics of sentence/conviction are key. Sentencing is still largely a matter of judicial discretion, although following a very defined process. There are good reasons for this – allowing the courts to tailor sentences to different precise facts and different personal backgrounds being the main one. Convictions are a decision of the jury, as directed by the Judge. To establish a judicial inconsistency in between case and the JCB and Glassie examples, you would have to review the different instructions given to the jury by each Judge. If the Judge gave similar or the same instructions – which I expect – then the discrepancy is down to the jury – not the Judge.

    And simply criticising the legal system for apparent inconsistency in jury decisions is pretty problematic, because the people who make up juries aren’t lawyers or Judges. If randomly chosen jurors are racist – that presumably shows racism in society generally, not racism in the legal system. But, of course, because jury confidentiality is absolute, we can’t know if jurors are racist! Because we don’t know at all what goes on in the jury room. There may be good reasons for the jurors’ verdict – but we will never know those reasons, because – again, for good reasons (freedom from intimidation being an obvious one) – jurors can’t disclose their deliberations.

    • r0b 14.1

      Rob: The semantics of sentence/conviction are key

      Yes, I accept that I was sloppy in my description there. And I haven’t tried to finely dissect responsibility between judge and jury, I have lumped them all together as “the legal system”. I don’t think that it is invalid to do so. What people see is the end results of this system. What people see, and respond to, is the various punishments that get matched to the various crimes.

      In the Navtej Singh Singh case the Indian community very strongly perceives that the end result of the system has been unjust, and according to the reporter quoted they have sound grounds for that belief. That seems worth pointing out, and seeing in the wider context of the issue of racism generally in NZ, which was what this post was about.

  15. Kevin 15

    The main reason for the jurors wierd virdicts is they are heavily instructed by the judges not to find guilt at certain levels. Hiding behind nonsense like deliberations cannot be disclosed is nonsnese – it could be anonymised. One of the ways judges excuse crime is this intent nonsense – you have to have intent to convict for murder. We’re already being buttered up for this in other high profile cass going on at present. Any rational compassionate human knows, if you go into a shop to rob someone and that person gets killed its murder. Juries should be anonymous from the defendant. Basically the jury system and the whole judicial system isn’t up to dealing with the thuggery and corruption of modern crime.

    • killinginthenameof 15.1

      I think one of the biggest problems with crime policy in NZ is that people as stupid as yourself think that you have something worth while to add. Quite simply, you are not a very smart person, and would be far better off leaving running the justice system to people who actually have a clue.

      I’m sure you don’t tell your doctor how to diagnose you, how pilots to fly planes or how a computer technician to fix your computer, yet apparently in this country, it is ok for every man and his dog to think that they know how to reduce crime.

      Unfortuantely it is always the stupidest people (like yourself) who think it is approriate to give your opinion. Unfortunately these are the same people who are the most impervious to evidence and counter argument, the most anti intellectual, the most willing to spout uninformed crap.

      Please for the good of the country, get some perspective, expericance some reality, and think before you next open your mouth or pick up your keyboard.

  16. xvx 16

    Rob: The problem is that there is a strict divide in the system, so it’s inaccurate to lump them together. We can isolate where the inconsistency is easily enough, by comparing the Judges instructions to the jury. If they are inconsistent, then the problem is that one Judge erred in law and gave the wrong instructions. If they are consistent, then…we have no idea what happened, because no one in New Zealand has – or can – study what goes on in the jury room.

    Accusations of racism are very serious. By asserting that the legal system is racist, you are effectively accusing Judges and lawyers of racism. If, however, it is the jury that is racist (if, indeed, racism is present here), then:
    1) This might just indicate racism in the general population, reflecting the Human Rights Commission’s statement. If racist is prevalent within our society, and we use randomly chosen juries as finders of fact, some juries will probably be racist. I don’t really see any way around this.
    2) Because we can’t isolate what goes on in the jury room, we don’t know whether racism is a factor here – so possibly we need to limit or pierce jury secrecy. But that’s deeply problematic, because of the potential risks to the jurors, the risks that jury deliberations may be altered for the worse by the observation, etc. I don’t know if we’d get better or worse outcomes that way.
    3) We need to consider ways that the jury system can be altered to eliminate racism amongst jurors – but I don’t know how.

    Pointing a finger at the legal system may be what some in the Indian community are doing – but that doesn’t help to solve any problems, and without further information, we have no idea whether it’s justified. We don’t know what instructions the Judge gave the jury or what factors the jury considered. Any criticism of the legal system without a little more information is a mindless kneejerk.

    Kevin: The Judge instructs the jury on the law. Your declaration that this causes weird verdicts would only make sense if different judges were giving different instructions in like cases. I really doubt that.

    The requirement of intent is not nonsense. It is what separates murder from manslaughter. If I punch you in a brawl, and you fall backwards, hit your head, and die (similar cases are surprisingly frequent), I have committed a less serious crime than if I intentionally knocked you over then bashed in your skull. The key difference is intent. If the law did not require intent to be proved, accidents would be criminal; crashing your car, through no fault of your own, could make you a murderer.

    That would be nonsense.

    Your rambling about the jury system is frankly unrealistic, and your description of the justice system makes me suspect that you have very little knowledge of it.

  17. r0b 17

    xvx: This is a much more interesting discussion than I was expecting from this post! Thanks for stopping by.

    The problem is that there is a strict divide in the system, so it’s inaccurate to lump them together.

    The solution that you appear to favour is to subdivide the system so that no one is responsible for its outcomes, except perhaps juries, who (for perfectly good reasons I agree) we can’t inspect. It won’t do.

    In a world where we hold teachers responsible for the outcomes of the education system despite the vagaries of the humans in the loop (pupils), in a world where we hold medics responsible for the outcomes of the medical system despite the vagaries of the humans in the loop (patients), we are also entitled to hold legal professionals responsible for the outcomes of the legal system despite the vagaries of the humans in the loop (juries).

    Particularly so in the case of the legal system, for two reasons, the first abstract and the second practical. (1) The whole mythology and stated purpose of the law is about impartiality and fairness. If the system fails at that it fails at everything. (2) The system has explicit mechanisms for identifying and countering bias, one of those is jury selection. It isn’t good enough to shift the blame to racist juries when such juries themselves represent a failure of the system. No, of course in the real world it will never be perfect, but it has to be as close to perfect as it can get. Glaringly racist outcomes – as we appear to have in the cases discussed in this post – represent failures of the system no matter how you slice and dice it.

    Accusations of racism are very serious.

    I quite agree, and I don’t make them / repeat them here lightly. But on the other hand the legal system is not above criticism, and such accusations certainly need to be made if they seem to be warranted.

    Any criticism of the legal system without a little more information is a mindless kneejerk.

    Not your finest contribution there!

    I’m out and about in the field today, not near computers much, so probably no chance to continue a discussion until late tonight.

    • SPC 17.1

      “Glaringly racist outcomes as we appear to have in the cases discussed in this post represent failures of the system no matter how you slice and dice it.”

      rob, your conclusion of racism is not based on appearances, let alone fact, all you have is the appearance of inconsistent results. You have chosen to agree with others citing the reason for this as racism. Their doing so is to try and coerce jury and trial outcomes they are happy with (the tough sentence line favoured by some victims of crime – here manifested in group cause identity politics). This is us and them politicisation of crime and the court process.

      To the specifics.

      There are two cases – of Asians being killed and in one case all involved were found guilty of complicity in the death (during the course of robbery) and in the other only one was.

      There are two cases of people being killed in unpremeditated (non crime related) acts of violence (road rage and the fence tagging) – one victim was Asian and one victim was not. In both cases the conviction was for manslaughter and the sentences were very light .

      It’s not that much to go on to make a charge of racism.

      Some also cite our prisons as being 5 star hotels – are you going to support that as well?

  18. deemac 18

    not sure about the racial aspect or even if it was down to the judge rather than the jury. The standout odd thing about this case is surely that the law has clear rulings on common purpose yet only one person was found guilty of murder. I am quite confident that all the main protagonists would have been found guilty of murder in a British court.

    • Rich 18.1

      One should remember the case of Derek Bentley who a “British court” wrongfully convicted of murder. This was a case where Bentley and accomplice, Christopher Craig burgled a warehouse. Craig (who was under age and could not be hung) shot a policeman. Bentley was convicted of the murder under the doctrine of a “joint enterprise” and sentenced to death.

      Bentley’s conviction was quashed (posthumously) in 1998. The appeal judges in deciding that and other cases have substantially narrowed the definition of “joint enterprise”.

      There have also been various abuses of the common purpose doctrine (in Ireland and South Africa) to (wrongfully) convict groups of people for a murder committed by one of the group.

  19. Rich 19

    I think the jury, who will have heard *all* the evidence, rather than a few hundred words of distorted newspaper articles, were in the best position to decide on guilt or innocence. In this case, they clearly decided that apart from Kee, who shot Singh, the other defendants didn’t murder him.

    As Graeme rightly says, aggravated robbery is itself a serious offence, carrying a 14 year maximum sentence.

    The justice system is not there to provide victims and their families with an instrument of retribution.That’s a lynch mob, not a court.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Climate Change: We must do more
    Like many people, my submission on the Zero Carbon Bill urged more ambitious targets. And if the select committee was in any doubt, they're needed:An assessment backed by the world’s major climate science bodies has found commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions must be at least tripled and increased by ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    20 mins ago
  • Cracking down on mining
    NZ Energy and Environment Business Week reports (in Scoop) that the government is finally moving on reforming the Crown Minerals Act, including banning mining on conservation land and repealing the hated Anadarko Amendment:The Government is planning to change the Crown Minerals Act’s purpose from “promoting” mining in light of changing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    54 mins ago
  • Fluoridation – A new fight against scientific misinformation
    Anti-fluoride campaigners think a new Canadian fluoride IQ study is the best thing since sliced bread but the scientific critiques warn they are wrong. Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty The new Canadian ...
    1 hour ago
  • GM Strikers Are Waging a Battle on Two Fronts
    Reprinted from Jacobinmag by Jane Slaughter and Chris Brooks Almost 50,000 UAW workers are on strike against GM and a two-tier labor system that undermines worker solidarity. But members may need to wage a battle on two fronts — against the company, but also against their own union leadership. Forty-nine ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    17 hours ago
  • Who Will Be Fed Next To The Hungry Gods Of Politics?
    Before Jacingrant There Was Gracinda: Grant Robertson and his 2014 running mate, Jacinda Ardern. She stood at his side: loyal and obliging, as she had ever been. The media dubbed this duo “Gracinda” – a sort of political “Brangelina”. The other young people who worked alongside Robertson were also ambitious ...
    1 day ago
  • Simon Bridges: the 15 March Christchurch massacre and winning at any cost
    . . Just when you thought Simon Bridges couldn’t sink any lower – he has. After the March 15th  Christchurch terror attack, the (current) Leader of the National Party issued strong committments to support urgently needed gun law reform; “We will be ready and prepared to be constructive and to ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Only the least intelligent students, with bad parents, will attend the nonsense climate strike
    We all know that bad parents simply don’t care about their children’s education. Most truants have loser parents, and grow up to be involved with crime, or in low paid employment usually like their parents. The nonsense so-called “climate strike” coming up will be attended mostly by the least intelligent ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    3 days ago
  • Professional Internet Trolls being used to push manmade climate change lies
    Is the terrorist Organisation Greenpeace and the loony Green parties around the World hiring professional internet trolls? I have noticed a trend lately where if you post research, news articles or even comments that show the manmade climate change scam to be just that, you are immediately attacked, often within ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Strike!
    Today is the first day of the global climate strike. Led by schoolkids, people all around the world are going to protest to demand action on climate change. New Zealand isn't doing it till next Friday (join us!), but if you want to get active early, there's plenty to do ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Squandering our opportunity?
    The Herald has a story today about the 400 MW of wind power currently under construction. Good news, right? Except that none of it is being driven by policy (instead, its about replacing Contact Energy's Taranaki Combined Cycle gas-fired power plant, due to shut down in 2022), and most of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Protect The King!
    To Protect and Serve: When the Prime Minister finds herself enmeshed in the coils of a full-blown political scandal, her colleagues and party comrades have only one priority: to release her as swiftly – and with as little lasting injury – as possible. Is this what Jacinda Ardern’s colleagues and ...
    3 days ago
  • The rot at the top.
    When military leaders cover up and lie to elected civilian authorities, the foundation of democratic civil-military relations is undermined because it is those authorities who are entrusted to hold the military accountable to the public that they mutually serve. But this is only true if civilian political authorities take their ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • Challenging the voting age in court
    The Make It 16 campaign to lower the voting age is launching this afternoon, and they have already announced plans to challenge the law in court:The campaign, named "Make it 16" will launch at Parliament on Friday, with plans to take their case to the High Court, testing the rights ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Israel’s elections herald a long siesta
    by Daphna Whitmore The long years of Netanyahu’s reign are drawing to an end. For years he has epitomized reactionary zionism as he oversaw hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers seize land in the West Bank. There are now 700,000 settlers, putting an end to the myth that Israel was ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Petrol companies promise prices will come back down once peace is restored to the Middle East
    BP, Z and Mobil all insist that petrol price hikes are temporary, “in a very literal sense.” The nation’s major petrol providers are trying to allay customer fears over prices, promising that they’ll move to lower them again “immediately” when the Middle East is returned to its formerly peaceful state. ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • All Blacks unveil boat for Rugby World Cup 2019
    South African coach Rassie Erasmus says he has no idea what they’re going to do about the boat. In a highly anticipated press conference this afternoon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has finally unveiled the team’s boat for its Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign. In a press conference that went ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • An increasingly shoddy coverup
    The Operation Burnham inquiry continued to question senior NZDF staff today, and their shoddy coverup over their knowledge of civilian casualties continue to fall apart. If you recall, first, we were asked to believe that it was all a series of "mistakes and errors": a senior officer with multiple degrees ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    5 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    5 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    6 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    6 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    7 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    1 week ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    1 week ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago

No feed items found.