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Reasonable doubt

Written By: - Date published: 6:10 pm, July 3rd, 2012 - 52 comments
Categories: police - Tags:

There’s some very wrong with the Police. A second murder trial in a month ending in acquittal (the Qwaze case wasn’t even a homicide). A case based on evidence that was never going to make it past reasonable doubt. This comes on top of the increased politicisation of the police and the grounds for two over-the-top armed raids being destroyed in court.

I’ll leave Imperatorfish to comment on the Ewen MacDonald trial. All it does to my mind is reinforce the need for a proper investigation into what is wrong with the police.

(don’t get me started on journalists skiting on twitter about being first to report the verdict by a couple of seconds – scoop of the century, fuckwits)

PS. Anyone saying “X did it” or similar will earn a ban. We won’t have that kind of prima facie defamation around here.

————————————————

Imperatorfish – The Ewen Macdonald Trial: A Hopeless Crown Case

I wrote the bulk of this post last week, when it became clear that Ewen Macdonald would be acquitted. I followed the case closely, but it was difficult not to. What caught my attention was not the sight of the Guy and Macdonald women crying in front of the camera every night, but the astonishing fact that the Crown didn’t appear to have any strong evidence.

However, the sub judice rule meant I wasn’t able to publicly comment until now.

It’s commonplace for the police and Crown to get an ear-bashing whenever the accused person in a high profile case is acquitted. Sometimes it’s deserved, but sometimes the jury just surprises everyone.

In the case of Ewen Macdonald the system has worked. The Crown put up a shoddy case full of holes and inconsistencies, but the jury weren’t fooled.

The evidence put up against Macdonald was weak. It’s all very well establishing a motive for murder, but motive isn’t enough. The crucial evidence supposedly linking Macdonald to the crime scene was a pair of boots the accused was supposed to own. Boots that were never found. Boots that may have been chucked out years ago. Boots that left prints possibly too large to be those of Macdonald’s.

Nobody should be fooled into thinking that the verdict suddenly makes Macdonald a saint, or some harmless salt-of-the-earth cockie. His earlier behaviour towards the Guys was appalling and inexcusable and deeply disturbing, and many people will remain convinced that a murderer has walked free. We’ll never know whether Macdonald killed Scott Guy, unless there’s an “If I Did It” book in the pipeline or a deathbed confession. I suspect Macdonald won’t get the superstar treatment David Bain got when he was acquitted.

Some people will say the system has failed the Guy family, but those people should not blame the court system. They ought to blame the police and Crown for bringing a case that was always going to end in an acquittal and more pain for the Guy family.

52 comments on “Reasonable doubt”

  1. Glg 1

    Did anything REALLY change after Dame Margaret Bazelys report? I have often seen reports of policemen assaulting people and none of the other police saw/did anything. If there is a culture problem (and it looks like it to me) the rot always comes from the top. We have seen gung ho anti-terrorist police going all Hollywood on us, the embarrassment of the Dotcom raid, politiscisation of the police etc etc.

  2. A case based on evidence that was never going to make it past reasonable doubt.

    I hate to disagree with you Eddie but … 

    I agree that the case was not going to make it past reasonable doubt.  I thought that there was a 60% chance or so that MacDonald did it but this was never going to be good enough.

    But the convention is that the Crown has to assess whether there is a prima facie case, that is there was a possibility MacDonald did it.  I think that the Crown got past this level if only just.  It is then up to the Jury to make the call.

    This means that cases will inevitably fail sometimes as long as the system is working properly.

    I agree with you about the Qwaze case though.  I do not know why the Crown had to appeal the original decision. 

    • North 2.1

      In R v Qwaze it was prosecutorial arrogance which drove the second trial. Of course I can’t prove it but I feel that Qwaze being a very black man had something to do with it as well.

      We are a nasty little bunch of people. Especially those of us who don’t occupy the bottom ranks…….especially those of us whose lives aren’t so utterly hopeless that there’s room for “aspiration”. How we love someone “below” us to kick.

      That’s why the punk Key was re-elected. Because we’re a nasty little bunch.

      • St L. 2.1.1

        I know both the prosecutors and the defence lawyers involved in the Gwaze case.. I can assure you that race had nothing to do with the decision of the Crown to appeal the first acquittal. It was far more a case of the Crown lawyers disliking being surprised by the defence and then losing.

    • Blue 2.2

      I agree Micky. I think this case was an example of the system working as well as it can. Yes, the police did not have enough evidence to clear ‘reasonable doubt’ but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have prosecuted.

      We’d all like to think that if a murder is committed there will be enough evidence to convict the killer, but sometimes there isn’t.

      I don’t think it’s reasonable for the police to just give up and not prosecute if they don’t have an airtight case against someone. The police put up what evidence they have and the jury makes the decision. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

  3. Anne 3

    I agree with you about the Qwaze case though. I do not know why the Crown had to appeal the original decision.

    I don’t profess to be at all familiar with the Qwaze case, but would they have appealed the original decision if he had been a born and bred middle class white New Zealander? Just a thought.

    • I agree Anne.  Qwaze appeared to be a very decent human being with a black skin.  I am struggling to work out other explanations for his treatment.

      • Inventory2 3.1.1

        @ mickysavage – I think the Police were led (or misled) by medical staff who put two and two together and got 22. Either that, or the ghost of Peter Ellis and the Christchurch Civic Creche miscarriage of justice had not been fully exorcised.

    • Te Reo Putake 3.2

      I think the medical evidence supported both the potential causes of the death of Charlene Makaza, actually. Going for a retrial does seem foolish, and I bet they aren’t going to consider that for a moment in the Guy case, but I’m OK that the original prosecution went ahead, because the Police did have reasonable grounds, given what they understood at the time, based on the advice they received from medical professionals. But the verdict of not guilty was the right one, I believe.
       
      So were the cops racist?
       
      Nope. Just wrong.
       
       

  4. There’s just one flaw in Eddie’s increased-politicisation-of-police theory. Charlene Makaza died in January 2007, almost two years before the change of government at the 2008 election. George Gwaze was arrested shortly after Charlene’s death, and was acquitted in 2008.

    Unless of course Eddie is suggesting that the Police were ALREADY politicised before the 2008 election; that’s a novel thought.

    As far as today’s verdict goes, the Judge as good as told the jury to acquit in his summing up yesterday. The Crown case was weak, and guilt was not proven. And only Ewen Macdonald will know whether or not he is a killer.

    • Gee …

      Agreed I2 about today’s verdict.

      If you want to freak out someone tell them that if proof beyond reasonable doubt means that you have to be 95% sure someone is guilty before convicting it means that 5% of people convicted after trial are actually innocent.

      Kind of does the head in doesn’t it … 

      • “proof beyond reasonable doubt” does not mean “95% sure of guilt”.

        • mickysavage 4.1.1.1

          Kia ora Graeme.

          I agree it does not but “beyond reasonable doubt” is not “beyond a shadow of a doubt”.  “Reasonable doubt” is not the same as “unreasonable doubt”.  There can be trials where an unreasonable doubt may nevertheless reflect what actually happened.  I suggested a 95% confidence level as an approximation for what “reasonable doubt” may mean.

          Do you agree that the test may mean occasionally that innocent people may end up in jail? 

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      Eddie was talking about the Qwaze trial that just ended. Not sure why you’re talking about something else.

    • Eddie 4.3

      I didn’t say the Gwaze case was politicised, just as I didn’t say the MacDonald case was politicised.

      Try reading the post.

      I’m concerned both at the poor quality of actual police work and on the flipside the politically-charged investigations (raiding media outlets at the behest of the PM during an election campaign!) and the over-blown armed raids.

      Perhaps I was too subtle in suggesting that the one is suffering because of the other.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    Deleted.

    • So you’re suggesting that political pressure was brought on the police to apply to the Supreme Court for an unprecedented retrial of a man already acquitted by a jury?

      Why? What possible gain would there be for the government? To me it smacks of vindictiveness and arrogance on the part of the police who originally decided that Charlene had been murdered when she actually died of complications from HIV-AIDS; and that takes the timeline back to 2007, when Charlene died.

  6. RedLogix 6

    I’m thinking that our national obsession with high-profile murder cases really does not help the process at all. It does nothing to promote probity and clear-thinking on the part of police and prosecution and creates a hot-house media culture which has to be entirely counter-productive.

    I have no problem with the Court process being open and scrutinised by the media; but in a sane and measured fashion…not the circus we have at present.

  7. Treetop 7

    It is better to let a guilty person go free, than it is to lock up an innocent person.

    The Office of the Commissioner of Police in four years have not got off there backside regarding Patrick O’Brien’s perjury confession, FFS how much more transparent can the man be. There is talk about a Truth Justice Commission on NZ Justice Forum and a petition.

    The police have to be held to account, their track record regarding historical cover ups is atrocious and they carry on as if nothing has occurred.

    I wonder what ACC has done with long term undercover cops re wages?

    Probably ACC are still paying them out to shut them up.

    • North 7.1

      Just bring on the Botox Banks prosecution I say ! I’d love to see that little talking-down bastard in the slammer. He’s malevolently wished evil on the rest of the world for decades and decades.

      Karma !

  8. Richard Christie 8

    I suppose we ought at least be thankful the police didn’t plant a cartridge case in Ewen’s bedroom or something in order to strengthen the case.
    They still haven’t owned up to the Thomas case corruption.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1

      Go back 10 years and they would have ‘assisted the evidence’ in the Scott Guy case as well.

  9. mike e 9

    The police are looking for no one else.
    All the circumstantial evidence points to Mc Donald .
    I think the Judges direction was poor.
    It looks like he,s going to spend some serious time behind bars any way who else had motive no one
    he is a conniving criminal.
    And has got away with murder but he will never see his children and wife again .so he is going to do a life sentence anyway.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 9.1

      ‘the police are not looking for anybody else’ is just one of those things they would say.
      It would be a bombshell if they didnt, the detective in charge would be looking for a new job

    • I disagree Mike; I think the Justice France’s direction to the jury was strictly according to Hoyle, and pretty much guided the jury to a not guilty finding. He clearly had concerns that a verdict that was against the weight of the evidence might be reached.

      There was strong circumstantial evidence against Macdonald, but the Crown lacked one vital strand that could not be disproven, and in my bush-lawyer opinion, the jury reached the only verdict it could have, properly directed as they were.

      I don’t think it’s a case of police or prosecutorial incompetence. The police will doubtless have taken the evidence to the Crown Solicitor for an opinion before making an arrest. I just wish the media would now stop hounding the families involved, and give them the space to come to terms with the events of the last two years.

  10. Populuxe1 10

    I don’t think you can be too hard on the medical team’s interpretations in the Makaza case – AIDS in children is fairly damned rare in the West (for which we can be truly grateful) and it’s unlikely they would have much familiarity with the way it presents in children. I doubt there was racism involved, but a dead little girl is certainly going to put the pressure on a jury. The police really can’t be blamed for doing there job in that instance.
    As for the McDonald case – sometimes that’s just how it goes in a functioning legal system, although it is perhaps symptomatic of the tendency of farmers to think themselves above townie laws.

    • Richard Christie 10.1

      I don’t think you can be too hard enough on the medical team’s interpretations in the Makaza case
      I certainly think you can’t be hard enough, they didn’t consider other possibilities, they saw what they wanted to see, they exaggerated – even to extent of inflating 1mm to 3mm tears to “a gaping 7 cm” gash.
      DSAC still peddle dodgy stats etc like the “1 in 4 girls..will be sexually abused by age 16.” myth.
      More than one player in the Gwaze prosecution was involved in the Peter Ellis miscarriage of justice.

  11. Tiger Mountain 11

    NZ Police culture in my personal experience tends towards being bent, violent, racist and anti woman. They have a track record of ‘stitchups’. AOS call outs being highly likely to result in execution by proxy. Weren’t taser and pepper meant to be used as a substitute where possible for lethal force? Instead they have become mostly compliance devices.

    There are now special ops and “spook” squads within the Police as Op 8 demonstrated. The friendly cop finding lost hikers may still exist, but not at Occupy, GI housing actions or union picket lines.
    There seems considerable disunity amongst the force. And certainly the case against MacDonald did not hold water for a jury in a conservative area.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 11.1

      This seems to get forgotten, the trial and jury was in Wellington. Not Palmerston North

      • mike e 11.1.1

        Ghost so what sort of character burns down their brother in laws house ,writes intimidating graffiti on his wife’s brothers new house, Kill neighbours Stags, leaves nasty messages in letter box’s, trashes close families new house,Then knows before any one else that he was shot not throat cut. had a dream about neighbours ute driving up to the steel gate with the head lights on he could see the steel bars in the gate as the ute drove up to the gate the early morning of the murder.Coincidental I think not.The boots’ the bike’ the comments on shot guns can’t be traced.
        The hall marks of a psychopathic conniving Murderer who has got away with murder.
        I think the Judge overstepped the boundaries in directing the jury.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 11.1.1.1

          The dive boots would be the right size ?
          there wouldnt be witnesses who heard 3 quick blasts, not the 2 that could be produced by the ‘supposed gun’. You wouldnt have a witness who though his alarm clock sped up due to power lines to get timing right.

          Relying on someone who remembered months later that he said ‘he was shot’ as opposed to others who guessed ‘throat cut’ ( ie a 50 50 chance of one or the other)

          Real murderers leave real clues and more motives than a little bit of male work rivalry.
          The arson and graffitti seem directed at the wife…. who is still alive

          • Kotahi Tane Huna 11.1.1.1.1

            “A little bit of male work rivalry”? Arson and massive property damage? And how do you reach the conclusion that it was “aimed at the wife” as opposed to at the the couple? We have McDonald’s own confession to go on here don’t forget – this from Stuff:

            The arson was just a bit of fun, he said. Putting an axe through every wall in their new home and plastering “f…… bitch slapper” and “f…… [w]hore” on the outside three months later was targeted at Scott and Kylee, yes, but there wasn’t a great deal going through his head at the time. “I was just doing it,” Macdonald told police.

            The case against McDonald was not proven beyond reasonable doubt in the minds of this particular jury, and that is the most charitable thing I can say about him.

            • ghostwhowalksnz 11.1.1.1.1.1

              the words are clue- is he really calling Scott Guy a ‘whore’

              • Kotahi Tane Huna

                Of course, how silly, abusing your spouse doesn’t have any impact on you, now does it? Still, I expect you know better than McDonald what was going on in his mind; it’s your word against his.

          • mike e 11.1.1.1.2

            A psychopath is very good at planning and lying.
            A bit of work rivalry what utter nonsense burning down houses etc maybe in your deluded world.
            If Mc Donald had been caught for these other very serious offences before the murder he would not have gone on to kill his rival.
            The fact he got away with the other offences without being detected showed he was an expert in avoiding detection.
            Scott Guy is dead the children have no father even Mc Doanalds wife knows it was him he was so cunning his wife knew nothing about any of the offences
            Psyhopaths know if they can get away with something they will keep on doing it and up the anti to satisfy their insatiable need

    • higherstandard 11.2

      “NZ Police culture in my personal experience tends towards being bent, violent, racist and anti woman. They have a track record of ‘stitchups’. AOS call outs being highly likely to result in execution by proxy.”

      Have you got the data for the number of AOS call outs in the last five years and how many of these ended up in a death ?

  12. BLiP 12

    .

    The jury apparently asked a question during deliberations, the details of which were suppressed at the time. Has that suppression order been lifted, anyone know?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 12.1

      Strange ! What possible purpose can it serve now the trial is over.
      Cant see how the judge will now call a special hearing to unsuppress it.

      Macdonald goes back to the district court in Palmy for the other matters, so it may be quite relevant to those

    • millsy 12.2

      Theres a lot about this case that we dont know about….

      • Frida 12.2.1

        yep. Farm hands…affairs….the rumours are circulating that’s for sure

  13. Kotahi Tane Huna 13

    Question: can you imagine anything like this ever happening in New Zealand?

    Still think we have an independent police force?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 13.1

      Its the French judge -prosecutor system

      • mike e 13.1.1

        Ghost he would have to take the stand under the inquisitorial system and would not be able to keep his body language in check or keep convincing people with his Lies and would slip up.
        David Bain’s first trial he took the stand and was found to be a liar.

  14. deemac 14

    or you can draw the conclusion that if you can afford a top lawyer, they will blow enough sand in the jury’s eyes to convince them of “reasonable doubt” so that the jury feel obliged to acquit.It is not a finding of innocence!
    And how do you KNOW the Gwaze case was not a homicide? There were as many opinions as expert witnesses.

  15. bad12 15

    I had to ask myself this morning how easily our minds are conditioned, how many of us all are secretly or openly holding the opinion that ‘he done it’,

    The jury heard the full 21 days of evidence from the prosecution not just the nightly gasp,shock,horror from the nightly dose on the news at 6,

    Not Guilty they said and i refuse to speculate beyond that, there are far too many of us far too willing to believe that as soon as ‘the plods’ arrest someone for something that it follows that the guilt of the person is established…

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 15.1

      Once the arson and vandalism came to light it was inevitable he would be charged, and inevitable that many will assume his guilt. Guilty or not he is the architect of his own misfortune.

  16. tracey 16

    rumour mill on override in feilding alleging mcdonald has done things not revealled in court

  17. Vicky32 17

    It’s commonplace for the police and Crown to get an ear-bashing whenever the accused person in a high profile case is acquitted. Sometimes it’s deserved, but sometimes the jury just surprises everyone.

    It’s already happening – see 3 News tonight!
     

  18. tracey 18

    Remember scott watson? Being a creep and a wanker doesnt make you amurderer, we need more convincing than that.

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    The Justice Committee has reported back on its Inquiry into the 2017 General Election and 2016 Local Elections, with a host of recommendations about how to improve our electoral systems. Some of their recommendations are already incorporate din the Electoral Amendment Bill currently before Parliament, but there's also a recommendation ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The Greens abandon NeoLiberalism
    Back in 2017, in order to make themselves "electable" in the eyes of rich people who oppose everything they stand for, the Greens signed up for NeoLiberalism, adopting a restrictive set of "Budget Responsibility Rules" which basicly prevented them from using government to make things better. Now, they're finally abandoning ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Lying about a failed war
    Since invading in 2001, the US has consistently claimed that their war in Afghanistan has been going well, even when it continued year after year after year. Of course, they were lying, and thanks to the Washington Post and the US Freedom of Information Act, we get to see just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Artificial Intelligence and You
    How should we think about artificial intelligence and the implications that it has for our work and leisure? There are many articles on artificial intelligence and its potential impacts on jobs, and the ethics of applications. These are important topics, but I want to focus on some less discussed aspects, ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 days ago
  • Statistical manipulation to get publishable results
    I love data. It’s amazing the sort of “discoveries” I can make given a data set and computer statistical package. It’s just so easy to search for relationships and test their statistical significance. Maybe relationships which ...
    5 days ago
  • More lies on the Twitter (Dan Hodges edition)
    The other big story concerning Leeds Hospital is Boris Johnson's bizzare behaviour at Leeds Hospital, where he was confronted by a journalist and challenged about a four year old boy with suspected pneumonia who was left sleeping on the floor, rather than getting  abed like a sick kid would in ...
    5 days ago
  • LabourActivistPunchedMattHancock’sSPADGate
    So, for a brief period of history, it was alleged that a protester had punched Matt Hancock's SPAD (not a euphemism; special adviser) when Hancock visited Leeds Hospital.This was reported by the likes of Robert Peston and Laura Keunssberg, as well as the less credible Guido Fawkes.  It also quickly ...
    5 days ago
  • France’s anti-Zionism is anti-liberté
    by Daphna Whitmore Last week France passed a law that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. It is based on a definition of anti-Semitism that includes criticism of Israel such as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Another bus lockout
    Over the past year we've seen major bus problems in Hamilton and Wellington, as drivers have sought better wages and an end to the bullshit of split shifts, which basicly see them "married to the job". And now its Auckland's turn. When NZBus's drivers planned low-level strike action of not ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Showing us how its done
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. But those targets are insufficient. Meanwhile, Denmark is showing us how its done:Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law on Friday, committing to reach 70% below its 1990 emissions in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Public sector dysfunction should not be allowed to undermine freedom of information
    Another day, another piece of legislation with a secrecy clause. This time its the innocuous-seeming Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill, which (after establishing a new body and making it subject to the OIA in three different ways) includes the rapidly-becoming-standard clauses enabling it to request information from other public ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • “This is England, this knife of Sheffield steel…”
    The state of the United Kingdom is fractured, torn up, shredded. The Empire is gone, it died a long time ago. And yet, the country is still tracking with a lead in favour of the ones who play to the ingrained, class-bound division for political gain. It is a disgrace ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • CORSIA, coming soon to an airport near you
    On 27 September, Greta Thunberg addressed a crowd of 500,000 at the School Strike for Climate in Montreal, saying: “You are a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases, it means absolutely nothing. Because ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Cloaking hate speech and fake news in the right to free expression.
    It should be obvious by now but let’s be clear: The same folk who regularly traffic in disinformation, misinformation and “fake news” are also those who most strongly claim that their freedom of expression rights are being violated when moves are made to curb hate speech (as opposed to protected ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • The Physics (and Economics, and Politics) of Wheelchairs on Planes
    Michael Schulson When Shane Burcaw flies on an airplane, he brings along a customized gel cushion, a car seat, and about 10 pieces of memory foam. The whole arsenal costs around $1,000, but for Burcaw it’s a necessity. The 27-year-old author and speaker — who, alongside his fiancée, Hannah ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Transgender Extremism
    We are very pleased to publish this submission is from Lucinda Stoan. She is a social justice activist, mother, and educator, based in Washington State in the  US.   This detailed and comprehensive source-linked overview of trans issues and what is at stake will be useful for many people, especially in ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Faafoi should be fired
    Newshub last night reported that Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi had apparently promised to help out a mate with an immigration issue. While its normal for people to approach MPs for assistance in this area, when you're a Minister, the rules are different: as the Cabinet Manual says, Ministers must "at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Adrian Orr – The Reserve Bank’s Revolutionary Governor?
    New Zealand's Underarm Banker: It bears recalling that the “independence” of the Reserve Bank Governor was for decades held up by neoliberal capitalists as the most compelling justification for passing the Reserve Bank Act. Interesting, is it not, how the ruling class’s support for the Bank’s independence lasted no longer than ...
    1 week ago
  • Driving Us Up The Poll.
    Rubbish In, Rubbish Out: Put all this together, and it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that anyone who responds positively to a pollster’s request to “answer a few questions” is just ever-so-slightly weird. Desperately lonely? Some sort of psephological train-spotter? Political party member primed to skew the poll for or against ...
    1 week ago
  • Jordan Williams, Colin Craig podcast series announced
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams. On Tuesday, Craig sent out ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • How plant-based meat is stretching New Zealand’s cultural and legal boundaries
    Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington and Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington Earlier this year, the New Zealand-based pizza chain Hell Pizza offered a limited-edition “Burger Pizza”. Its customers weren’t told that the “meat” was plant-based. Some customers complained to the Commerce Commission, which enforces consumer law in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    1 week ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A “coincidence”
    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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago

  • Record export highs picked for primary sector
    Sustained high growth in primary industry exports looks set to continue over the next two years with strong prices predicted for farmers, fishers, growers and rural communities. Minister of Agriculture and Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor today released the latest Situation and Outlook report for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • New partnership to boost screen sector job opportunities
    Auckland’s growing screen sector is the catalyst for a new partnership between the Ministry of Social Development and Auckland’s economic development agency Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED). The launch today at FilmFX in Henderson, is to celebrate the partnership which looks to capitalise on the social and economic development opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • A minute’s silence for Whakaari White Island victims
    A minute’s silence will be observed at 2.11pm on Monday 16 December in honour of the victims of the Whakaari White Island eruption, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed. “Wherever you are in New Zealand, or around the world, this is a moment we can stand alongside those who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZ to help fund fight against measles in the Pacific region
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced New Zealand will contribute NZ$1 million of funding towards the joint United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Pacific Regional Action Plan for Measles.   “Prevention through vaccination is the most effective way of avoiding illness and a costly health emergency. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand remembers Sir Peter Snell
    New Zealand is today remembering one of our true sporting heroes, triple Olympic gold medal winner Sir Peter Snell. “He was a legend, here and around the world,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “Our thoughts are with Sir Peter’s wife Miki and their family.” “Sir Peter is recognised as New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • PM congratulates Boris Johnson on election victory
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his election victory.  “New Zealand and the United Kingdom are close friends and despite our distance we are strongly connected by our history and people,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “I look forward to continuing to work with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Building a platform for the future of rail
    The Government has released its long term vision for a sustainable 21st Century rail network that gets our cities moving, connects our regions and gets more freight off the roads.   Deputy Prime Minister and State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters said the Government is committed to rebuilding New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister statement Whakaari White Island recovery operation
    I want to start by acknowledging the families who have experienced such grief and such loss since the extraordinary tragedy on Monday. Today was all about reuniting them with their loved ones. We've just come from the airport where many of them were gathered and in amongst what you can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand medical specialists to provide further support to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further support for Samoa’s longer term needs as it continues to respond to a devastating measles epidemic. “Samoa’s health system has experienced massive strain in the wake of the measles epidemic. The volume of patients needing care during this outbreak, and the number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Discounted electric-bikes offered to public sector workers
    Discounted electric bikes will be offered up to public sector staff across the country as part of the Government’s work to reduce transport emissions and support healthier transport options.  Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter officially launched the new initiative at Wellington Hospital today.  “The Government has negotiated bulk-purchase ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Australia and New Zealand confirm joint bid for FIFA Women’s World Cup
    The Australian and New Zealand Governments today launch an historic joint bid to bring the FIFA Women’s World Cup to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. Australian Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck and New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson will announce the bold campaign, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Blackwater gold mine gets PGF boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has approved a $15 million loan to help re-establish a gold mining operation at Blackwater Gold Mine, near Reefton, Rural Communities Minister and local MP Damien O’Connor announced at an event on the West Coast today. “This is great news for the Coast that could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being
    Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being A housing project by Kohupātiki whānau in Hastings is an outstanding example of a Māori-led housing initiative that can reduce financial pressure and reconnect whānau to their whakapapa says the Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Minister Mahuta officially opened the Aroha Te Rangi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government provides more funding for major community wetland restoration project
    Restoration efforts for a significant wetland in the Hawke’s Bay are getting more support announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage. “Wetlands are vital to healthy landscapes and ecosystems. They function as nature’s ‘kidneys’, filtering and protecting water quality, acting as nature’s sponges after rain and are home to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Housing First to help Nelson Tasman homeless
    Nelson has today seen the launch of Housing First Nelson Tasman. Today’s launch marks the expansion of the Government’s homelessness programme, Housing First, to the top of the South Island. “Housing First is a proven programme that puts people who are experiencing homelessness and multiple, high and complex needs into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New funding to support Environment Centres working for sustainable local solutions
    New Government funding announced today will help communities make a difference in tackling environmental issues Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced in Hawkes Bay today. The Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund is dedicating $243,101 to growing the capacity and capability of the Environment Hubs Aotearoa’s (EHA) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government takes bite out of loan sharks
    The days of vulnerable consumers falling victim to loan sharks, truck shops and other predatory lenders are numbered, following the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill passing its third reading tonight. “Too many Kiwis are being given loans that are unaffordable and unsuitable, trapping them in debt and leaving their families ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand safer as Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders Bill) becomes law
    A Bill that prevents terrorism and supports the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas has passed its third reading, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill is a carefully targeted response to manage the risk posed by a small number of New Zealanders who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Foreign Minister and Pacific Peoples Minister to visit Samoa
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Samoa on Friday, where New Zealand medical teams are helping Samoa respond to an outbreak of measles. “New Zealand has been working closely with the Government of Samoa and offering our assistance from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Pastoral Care Code will support tertiary students in 2020
    The Government has changed the law to improve student safety and welfare in university halls of residence and other student accommodation. The Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill passed its third reading this afternoon and details of an interim Code of Practice setting out the Government’s expectations of tertiary providers have also been released. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New infrastructure funding tool to build housing developments faster
    A new tool to help councils fund and finance infrastructure could mean some housing developments happen a decade earlier than currently planned, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. “This new tool, developed by the Government in partnership with industry and high-growth councils, will allow councils to access private debt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Vision to unite the primary sector launched today
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has welcomed the release of a bold new vision for the country’s vital food and fibre sector. “I’m delighted that New Zealand’s major farmer and grower organisations are today supporting the Primary Sector Council’s vision – Fit for a Better World,” he said. “The international consumers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ congratulates PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government on referendum
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has congratulated the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for completing a well-conducted referendum on the future political status of Bougainville. “New Zealand supported the referendum process by providing technical advice through the New Zealand Electoral Commission and leading a Regional Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Next steps for Upper North Island logistics
    In light of Cabinet’s position that freight operations on prime land in downtown Auckland are no longer viable, the Government will now embark on a short work programme to enable decision-making in the first half of next year, Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones says. Minister Jones is today releasing the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Surgical mesh restorative justice report received
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has received the report back from a surgical mesh restorative justice process undertaken by Victoria University. The process heard stories, either in person or online submission, from more than 600 people affected by surgical mesh. “The report made for heart-breaking and confronting reading,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai a milestone for drinking water safety
    The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai , introduced to Parliament today, is a milestone for drinking water safety in New Zealand and will help improve environmental outcomes for urban waterways, rivers and lakes.  “This is a breakthrough for New Zealanders in terms of providing safe drinking water throughout ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to new direction for criminal justice reform announcement
    Kia ora koutouE ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā matā wakaTēnā koutou katoaHaere ngā, moe maiKoutou ma ngā Rangatira Ko Anaru ahauKo au te Minita mo ngā TureHe Honore tino nui kei roto I ahau No reira tena koutou katoa Today, we are releasing two reports that are the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New direction for criminal justice reform
    The Government is looking to turn around the long-term challenges of criminal justice by taking a new approach to break the cycle of offending to ensure there are fewer victims of crime. Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New law sets up $300m Venture Capital Fund
    New Zealand firms expanding beyond the start-up phase are set for more support after today’s passage of the Venture Capital Fund Bill, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said. The Bill, which establishes a $300 million Venture Capital Fund, puts in place a key initiative of the Wellbeing Budget’s economic package. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand’s National Statement to COP25
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira mā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Señora Presidenta, Excellencies, Delegates. International action A common thread that runs through the Paris Agreement is the commitment we have made to each other to do what we can to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • $12 billion in extra infrastructure investment
    The Government is lifting capital investment to the highest level in more than 20 years as it takes the next step to future-proof New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced $12 billion of new investment, with $8 billion for specific capital projects and $4 billion to be added to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Strong economy, careful spending gives $12bn of surpluses
    The Government is forecast to run $12 billion worth of surpluses across the four years to 2023/24 as the economy continues to grow. The surpluses will help fund day-to-day capital requirements each year. These include fixing leaky hospitals, building new classrooms to cover population growth and take pressure off class ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Priorities for 2020 Wellbeing Budget outlined
    Budget 2020 will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also investing to future-proof the economy. When the Government took office in 2017 it was left with crumbling infrastructure, severe underinvestment in public services, degraded rivers and lakes, a housing crisis and rising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister welcomes data-rich coastline mapping tool
    The Minister responsible for the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 (te Takutai Moana Act 2011), Andrew Little has welcomed the launch of an online geospatial tool that provides data-rich, dynamic coastline maps that will significantly boost research and evidence-gathering under the Act. Te Kete Kōrero a Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Chief Victims Advisor reappointed for a further two years
    The Chief Victims Advisor to Government Dr Kim McGregor, QSO, has been reappointed in her role for a further two years. Dr McGregor has held the role since it was established in November 2015. She provides independent advice to government on how to improve the criminal justice system for victims. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand tsunami monitoring and detection system to be established
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare have today announced the deployment of a network of DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) buoys. “New Zealand and the Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. It is vital we have adequate warning systems in place,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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