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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.

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    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Bite-sized learning
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    1 week ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    1 week ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    1 week ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Interesting
    Within quick succession, Countdown maths wizard and twitterer Rachel Riley, alleged comedian David Baddiel and prominent lawyer Andrew Julius have all expressed very similar opinions / ideas:
    These #3billboards are going round London today, organised by ex-Labour people, horrified by what their party has become. Their principles haven’t changed, they’re ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Damn the Polls
    So, there have been a bunch of bad polls out for Labour, and even the Leftie's friend, Survation, have recently given the Conservatives a rip-snorting 11% lead.  You Gov's much vaunted MRP poll - which pretty much nailed the result in 2015 - is currently predicting a comfortable majority for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency
    The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Bi-Partisan Commitment To X-ing “P”.
    Pure Fear: Worse than Heroin, this drug’s addictive power was terrifying. People under its influence didn’t drift off to Elysium. Nor did it persuade inadequate individuals that they could conquer the world. No, this drug – pure crystal methamphetamine, “P” for short – unlocked the gates of Hell itself. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue
    As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Samoa’s devastating measles epidemic – why and how bad?
    Samoa are experiencing a devastating measles epidemic. It is possible that 2-3% of the population will ultimately be infected by the time it is over. Hopefully the mass immunisation campaign currently under way can mitigate some of this, for many it is too late. The first question many people ask ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • “It’s basic rights we are defending”: the Meghan Murphy interview
    Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer and journalist She runs the Feminist Current website which she founded in 2012.  She was a keynote speaker for the Feminism2020 conference in Wellington this month. When Massey University cancelled the original venue booking Feminism2020 was hosted in Parliament by MP David Seymour. Meghan ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • A week of protests in Colombia
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Colombia has lived through one week of protests against the economic measures taken by president Duque. What looked like a protest that would fizzle out after its first day on November 21st is still going strong. Part of the reason for the continuance ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-neutrinos–When you are your own opposite
    Around a million billion pass through you each second, almost all originating from our sun, but few of them are likely to interact with you enroute. I was reading in a physics magazine earlier in the week about the nature of neutrinos. These are extremely numerous elementary particles, but only ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Exoplanets, life, and the danger of a single study
    By Pallab Ghosh There’s value in covering new research advances, even when the underlying science is unsettled. But there are also risks. The recent announcement that scientists discovered water on the planet K2-18b, 110 light years away, prompted a media swoon. News stories, including a piece written by me, billed ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The Intersex Continuum
    I wrote this review a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of getting my head around the politics of transgenderism, and specifically the claim that intersex conditions lend support to the notion that sex is ‘socially constructed’. Since writing this review I have come across ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Leaving us with the bill
    Two weeks ago, Malaysian-owned oil company Tamarind declared it was insolvent and went into administration after a failed offshore drilling campaign. Tamarind apparently specialises in buying oil fields at the end of their life and trying to squeeze out the last few drops of pollution. But part of their scam ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How much does flying contribute to climate change?
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz How much does our use of air travel contribute to the ...
    SciBlogsBy Shaun Hendy
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The task before us
    Two weeks ago, the Zero Carbon Act became law. Right this moment, the Climate Change Commisison will be working on its initial budgets for 2022-25 and 2026-2030, and the UN has just given them a very clear steer:Countries must make an unprecedented effort to cut their levels of greenhouse gases ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2309) Mr. Spock
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    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles deaths and antivax misinformation
    Today the death toll from measles in Samoa rose to 32. All but four of the dead were less than 5 years old. Absolutely terrible, heartbreaking, news. That statistic alone should be enough to give the lie to the common claim by antivaccination activists plague enthusiasts that “measles is a ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia: the state murder of Dilan Cruz
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh It is late here in Bogotá, almost 11.30pm on Monday the 25th of November as I write this. The day began full of hope with yet more massive marches throughout the country, a mix of the International Day of Non-Violence Against Women and the National Strike. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
    Anti-fluoride activists are rubbing their hands in glee over what they claim is “yet another study” showing fluoride harms the brains of children. But their promotion relies on IQ relationships which the paper’s authors acknowledge disappearing when outliers or other factors are considered. And they completely ignore other relationships ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The rise and collapse of classical political economy
    The feature below is the conclusion of A History of Economic Thought, whose author was a leading Marxist economist in Russia in the early 20th century, Isaac Ilyich Rubin.  The book arose from a course he ran at Moscow University following the Russian Revolution.  First published in Russian in 1929, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2472) Bradman
    There are many thousands of asteroids with formal names, some humdrum but other more noteworthy (depending on your predilections). One of my favourites, the name of which I was involved in suggesting, is (2472) Bradman, named for the Australian cricketing great.  As a minor planet (synonym: asteroid) spotter, I have ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Some cheap soundbites i thought up while reading about the underwhelming Conservative manifesto
    Tory manifesto: big on austerity, low on promise, non-existent on delivery. The Tories: the party so big on ambition they couldn't be arsed writing a manifesto. MLK: "I have a dream!"BJ: "I'll just have a nap." Labour: Broadband!Tories: Narrow minds! Labour have hope, dreams and ambition. The Tories will save ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles vaccination required to travel to islands and Phillipines
    The Ministry of Health has announced that “people under the age of 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji” are now on the list of national priorities for MMR vaccination. Given the outbreaks of measles in Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji, the Ministry of Health is ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Giving the finger to Beijing
    Hong Kong has been protesting for six months for, demanding democracy, human rights, and an end to police violence. Today, they went to the polls in district council elections - a low-level of government with virtually no power, similar to community boards in New Zealand. But while the positions themselves ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia’s national strike
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On Friday 22nd of November a curfew came into effect and troops were deployed on the streets, here in Bogota. It was the first time since September 1977 that a curfew had been imposed on the city. The decision was a cynical pre-planned ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Government to fund lion’s share of Ohakea water scheme
    The Government will fund the bulk of the cost of a rural water supply for the Ohakea community affected by PFAS contamination, Environment Minister David Parker announced today at a meeting of local residents. This new water scheme will provide a reliable and clean source of drinking water to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Prime Minister statement on White Island eruption
    I have had the opportunity to be briefed on the details of the volcanic eruption of Whakaari/White Island, off the coast of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.  The eruption happened at 2.11pm today.  It continues to be an evolving situation.  We know that there were a number of tourists ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt funds $100k for weather-hit communities
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare have today confirmed initial Government support of $100,000 for communities affected by the severe weather that swept across the South Island and lower North Island over the weekend. The contribution will be made to Mayoral relief funds across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Death of NZ High Commissioner to Cook Islands
    New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tessa Temata, died in Palmerston North over the weekend, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today. Ms Temata, 52, had recently returned to New Zealand for medical treatment. "On behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we extend ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Wellington rail upgrade full steam ahead
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced construction is underway on Wellington commuter rail upgrades which will mean more frequent services and fewer breakdowns. The upgrades include converting the Trentham to Upper Hutt single track section to a double track, with a new signalling system, upgraded stations and level crossings, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Defence Climate Change Implementation Plan released
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw have announced the release of a Defence Climate Change Implementation Work Plan, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan.  The plan sets out a series of recommendations based on the 2018 New Zealand Defence Assessment, The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt releases funding to support South Canterbury
    A medium-scale adverse event has been declared for the South Canterbury district, which will see up to $50,000 in funding made available to support farming communities which have been significantly affected by recent heavy rain and flooding in the area, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two weeks of solid rain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech at launch of Rethinking Plastics Report
    Thank you Professor Juliet Gerrard and your team for the comprehensive and extremely helpful report and recommendations. Thank you too to all the stakeholders and interested parties who have contributed ideas and thinking to it. “Making best practice, standard practice” is a great framework for change and the action plan ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt pledges next steps on plastic waste
    The Government will phase out more single-use plastics following the success of its single-use plastic bag ban earlier this year and the release today of a pivotal report for dealing with waste. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed the Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealandreport, released by her Chief Science Advisor ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • International student enrolments grow in universities and the regions
    International education continues to thrive as the Government focuses on quality over quantity, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. The tuition revenue from international education increased to $1.16 billion last year with the average tuition fee per student increasing by $960. The total number of international students enrolled in New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to Government Economics Network 2019 Conference
    I want to talk about one of the most pressing issues in our national life: the housing crisis and the poor performance of our cities. The argument I want to make to you is that generations of urban land use policy have lacked a decent grounding in economics. The consequences ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • DHB leadership renewed and strengthened
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says new appointments to DHBs represent a significant changing of the guard, with 13 new chairs including four Māori chairs. Today 76 appointments have been announced to complement elected board members, as well as eight elected members appointed as either chair or deputy chair.  Four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tabuteau to advance New Zealand’s trade and political interests with European partners
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fletcher Tabuteau, is travelling to Germany, Poland, Austria, and Spain next week to bolster New Zealand’s political and trade relationships in Europe. While in Spain, Mr Tabuteau will represent New Zealand at the 14th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid. “New Zealand strongly supports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Kris Faafoi
    “I’ve spoken to Minister Faafoi, who has apologised for his poor handling of this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said. “I have confidence in Kris as a hardworking and effective Minister, but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner, and I’ve made my views on that very clear ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tonga-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Forum
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters met with Tongan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa in Wellington today. The pair signed a Statement of Partnership setting out joint priorities for cooperation out to 2023.  “We welcomed Prime Minister Tu'i'onetoa on his first visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister. Tonga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Shooting in Kurow
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says his sympathies are with the family of a man who died after being shot by Police in Kurow. “Initial reports are that Police were called by a family member to help the man who was threatening to harm himself,” Mr Nash says. “However ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government delivers funding boost for ethnic communities
    Ethnic communities will be able to plan and deliver more community initiatives thanks to an increase in Government funding, Minister for Ethnic Communities Hon Jenny Salesa said today. “Ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand is a place we can all be proud to call home has been a key priority of our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt supports Southland farmers in sustainability
    Healthier waterways, better productivity and farmer wellbeing are front and centre in a new project involving more than 1000 Southland farmers and growers. Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor today announced that the Thriving Southland Change and Innovation Project is the first region-wide extension programme supported by the $229 million Sustainable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Flood of support for Top of the South catchment
    Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Government funding support Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced in Canvastown today. “Every New Zealander should be able to swim in their local river without getting sick, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
    Onslow College in Wellington will get 20 new classrooms for more than 400 students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The much-needed investment will relieve growth pressure the school has been experiencing for some time. Seven existing classrooms which have deteriorated over time will also be replaced, bringing the total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
    More than 250 young New Zealanders will add international experience to their education, thanks to the latest Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA), Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This round of scholarships supports 252 recent graduates or current students to undertake study, research or internships ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to improve competitiveness and transparency in the retail fuel market
    Consumers will benefit from a more competitive, transparent retail fuel market as a result of changes the Government will be making in response to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s study of the fuel sector. “We accept the Commission’s findings and, as the Prime Minister has said, we’re ready to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government acts to sort out electoral ‘coin toss’ problem
    The Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider making changes to local electoral legislation before the 2022 elections to fix the problems that have arisen where elections are settled by a coin toss.  The Minister says the recount process in the Murupara- Galatea ward at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ to Join IMO Convention to Reduce Ship Emissions
    New Zealand will sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bill to empower urban development projects
    New legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities will tomorrow be introduced to Parliament, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said. “The Urban Development Bill gives Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to partner with councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Early Learning Action Plan to kickstart long term change
    Today’s launch of He taonga te Tamaiti: Every child a taonga: The Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 provides the foundation for long-lasting changes to early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   “Early learning will be one of the Government’s top education priorities going into 2020,” Chris Hipkins said.   ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Climate change lens on major Government decisions
    Major decisions made by the Government will now be considered under a climate change lens, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. “Cabinet routinely considers the effects of its decisions on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender – now climate change will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Tertiary Education Commission Board announced
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced the appointment of Māori education specialist Dr Wayne Ngata and Business NZ head Kirk Hope to the Board of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Dr Alastair MacCormick has been reappointed for another term. “Wayne Ngata, Kirk Hope and Alastair MacCormick bring a great deal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Next phase of Pike River recovery underway in time for Christmas
    The next phase of the Pike River Re-entry project is underway, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little says. “Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Insurance contracts to become easier to understand and fairer for consumers
    New Zealand consumers will have greater certainty about their insurance cover when they need to make claims as a result of proposed government changes. “Insurance is vitally important in supporting consumers and businesses to be financially resilient when unexpected events happen,” Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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