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Time for a cross party consensus on crime

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, June 6th, 2011 - 68 comments
Categories: bill english, class war, crime, prisons - Tags: ,

Crime is one of those eternal political footballs. Whenever they are in opposition right wing parties accuse the government of being “soft on crime”. They prey on people’s fear and prejudice, and call for tougher and tougher action. All too often left wing governments allow themselves to panicked by this politically charged rhetoric, and (although they know better) they fall all over themselves to demonstrate that they too are “tough on crime”.

That was pretty much the situation in NZ up to 2008. The Nats ran their dishonest, cynical rhetoric, Labour did its best to look tough, and we ended up with the second highest rate of incarceration in the “developed” world.

Now that they are in government, the Nats are, naturally, much more realistic about crime. In fact Bill English recently described prisons as “a fiscal and moral failure”. Interviewed on The Nation yesterday, Judith Collins tried to weasel around the words a bit, but she couldn’t deny the fundamental point, and was quick to emphasise her “rehabilitation strategy”. Then finally yesterday, Heather Roy from ACT, also came out with agreement that NZ’s prison approach is not working.

It is time for a cross party consensus on crime, prison and rehabilitation.

Quick, while everyone seems to be open to talking sense, National and Labour need to get together, examine the evidence, and reach an agreement on what New Zealand’s criminal justice system needs to look like. At the very least there should be agreement on the importance of rehabilitation, sensible sentencing (no not these fools), and the need to reduce our prison population. Ideally there should be agreement to identify and address the root causes of crime, most notably poverty and social inequality (well a blogger can dream, eh).

There seems to be a golden opportunity here – who is going to make the first move? Hello – Labour? Let’s get evidence driven policy and practice, and take crime out of the political arena, preferably forever.

68 comments on “Time for a cross party consensus on crime”

  1. Carol 1

    Of course NAct have flogged the “tough on crime” line within an inch of it’s life. So for this coming election they are switching to the “tough on Bennies” line. And now they need to resuscitate lawn order so that it’s well enough to flog in a further diversionary assault at a later date.

    • ZeeBop 1.1

      The grey vote needs to know that the young will be working not in jail, National
      can’t win if it keeps up with implausible policies that harm the economy. National
      have finally discovered that being too hard on crime is counter productive.
      Now I wonder will they go so far as to realize that free trade policies deal
      to the quantity of trade not its quality, and so they might actually figure out
      that too much banking in the hands of foreigners is debilitating to the economy.
      The real welfare Bennies lives in a mansion overlooking Sydney Habour because
      the right in NZ will never discuss the over distortion of our economy by our lack
      of broadband fair taxation.

      Hide recently tried to explain why he left parliament. Rehearing Garrant
      astonishingly admitting he stolen a child’s identity, how could Hide
      have consider it to be okay for Garratt to have held on to the identity fraud
      for decades, Simple, quantity of Garrett contribution to pushing hardline
      anti-crime measured, like three strikes. So are National going to repeal
      three strikes as draconian step too far???

      Its about quality, politics and economics, we have easy times with cheap
      oil and cheap credit, and we got lots of parasite leeches who got where
      they did because they kicked the crime issue, or the bennie issue.
      But only because they had little or no opposition.

  2. I agree with you r0b but it does grate. IMHO Labour, to minimise political disadvantage, was tough on crime and a burgeoning prison roll was the consequence. There was no political advantage for Labour either, the redneck brigade do not respond to facts and figures and analysis, just chunks of red meat thrown in front of them.

    But it is too cute by far for NACt to back the country into this corner and then say “there has to be a better way” and demanding bipartisanship. There ought to be a political cost although I am darned if I can see how it can be extracted.

    The debate is similar to the superannuation debate. Labour does the right thing and sets up the Cullen Fund and Kiwisaver for the long term good fo the country and NACT trashes them for its own short term political gain.

    • r0b 2.1

      Yeah that’s it in a nutshell. As long as we keep electing Nat governments we’re going to keep zig-zagging between building up social and economic institutions, and tearing them down. Two steps forward, three steps back.

    • PeteG 2.2

      But it is too cute by far for NACt to back the country into this corner and then say “there has to be a better way” and demanding bipartisanship. There ought to be a political cost although I am darned if I can see how it can be extracted.

      That in a nutshell is one of the biggest problems with our politics. What can be scored and what shouldn’t be conceded comes first, what’s best to be done fades off into never never land.

      Of course it’s time we had “a cross party consensus on crime” and “there has to be a better way”, on a lot of things, but we’re not likely to because of pissy party paranoia.

      Far too often parties concentrate on trying to protect their own interests, and the interests of the people and the country go begging.

      • burt 2.2.1

        Far too often parties concentrate on trying to protect their own interests, and the interests of the people and the country go begging.

        I couldn’t have said it better myself. This is the crux of the issue and it’s a consequence of the predominately two party popularity contest we call politics in NZ.

        Keep this in mind when given the faux choice via the non binding referendum later this year.

      • felix 2.2.2

        What can be scored and what shouldn’t be conceded comes first, what’s best to be done fades off into never never land.

        As beautifully demonstrated by the bullshit from the National Party for the last decade that they’re now having to back down from because even fuckwits like Collins know in their shrivelled little black hearts that it was all posturing and bore no relationship to the real problem nor offered any real solution.

        The ACT mercenaries will keep banging the drum as long as they’re getting their 30 pieces of silver.

        Notice Heather positioning herself alongside the Nats and away from ACT? Rats and ships etc.

    • jcuknz 2.3

      ” Labour does the right thing and sets up the Cullen Fund and Kiwisaver for the long term good fo the country and NACT trashes them for its own short term political gain.”
      That is a load of garbage. National are increasing the amount workers and employers save if the workers have the brains to see the need for savings at the cost to their current lifestyle and reducing the bribery that Labour invented. I thought Labour’s scheme was pathetic based on my own experience of super as a worker .. such a timid requirement which should have been tied to cost of living rises, rising little by little until the % was a sensible proportion of worker’s income, like around 16%.. National should never have reduced it when they came to power but at least they are partially correcting their error.

      • mickysavage 2.3.1

        What the?

        Let us start with the Cullen fund.  Remember that?  Possibly the last chance to have a fund to help with super for baby boomers but National has neutered it.  And at a time that it is earning huge amounts payments have stopped.  What bunch of economic experts did this?

        And jcuknz I think you are saying that savings have gone up and National is to blame.  I must admit that I am saving more.  This is because I have no faith whatsoever in the current leaders and I thought that I reduce debt as much as possible.  It is this collective collapse in confidence that is fuelling savings.  This is hardly something to be proud of.

        And what is it with you righties?  The Government gives back money via working for families and kiwisaver for very good reasons and you go apoplexic.  Do you prefer that the money is given back to the uber rich rather than ordinary workers and families?

        • Colonial Viper 2.3.1.1

          Do you prefer that the money is given back to the uber rich rather than ordinary workers and families?

          Hmmmm, obvious answer is obvious.

        • The Baron 2.3.1.2

          Oh look, Micky has his panties in a knot yet again cos someone said something nasty about labour.
          Tell me, MS, is there anything about labour that you don’t clap like a demented seal for? Or in your world, does party membership mean that you have to suspend your ability to think rationally and independenty, and just go with the party line?
          Out of interest, how much of that party line did you follow at WCC? And is that slavish following why you only lasted one term?
          After all, noone wants a rep that is a blind ideological cheerleader after all – what do have any ideas, apart from how much you love labour?

          • mickysavage 2.3.1.2.1

            If you read my comments here you will see that I am being critical of labour’s law and order policies. Just in case they are too subtle for you I thought labour pandered without benefit to the law and order brigade and should have put an emphasis on alternatives to imprisonment.

          • lprent 2.3.1.2.2

            At least he does say what he believes will work and is willing to argue it.

            Do you realize that I cannot recall you ever doing the same? About the only thing I can ever recall you arguing for was tax cuts, and I cannot recall you havng a reason beyond your back pocket.

            From what I can see here you’re most notable as a critic, and one who is quite shallow and unwitty at that.

      • lprent 2.3.2

        ….and reducing the bribery that Labour invented.

        The important thing was to get as many people subscribed into the scheme as possible. You’re describing the marketing that always goes on whenever these schemes are introduced.

        ….rising little by little until the % was a sensible proportion of worker’s income, like around 16%..

        Yep, and you can imagine how much political will there would have been for that? Do you remember how much opposition that Nat’s had for the scheme when it was introduced? That they still have today, except there are too many voters who like the scheme.

        Remember what happened in 1975 to the last sensible super scheme that Labour put in

  3. Gus 3

    The problem that the current rethink is occurring not because the society has altered its perception of crime and punishment but rather due to economic conditions. If the politicians want to seriously achieve cross party then they need to start by putting all punishments options on the table including Capital Punishment and then listening to what the public have to say.

    Until that happens then the public will continue to feel that the current system isn’t meeting their requirements from a justice system and will politicians will see this as an area they can gain popular support.

    • logie97 3.1

      What is required is informed discussion over what actually works.
      Gus – listening to what the public have to say sometimes is a totally inappropriate way to form good law. By all means allow the public to hear what is being said and for what reason. The inference is that until the return of CP, you will not be satisfied.
      Should the public be able to tell a brain surgeon how he should run his operations?

  4. MikeG 4

    Unfortunately we have people like Garth “Is this Club Med Mt Eden?” McVicar who get in the way of any rational discussion.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/5102736/Anger-over-Club-Med-Mt-Eden

  5. Lanthanide 5

    Heather seems to be priming herself for a list #3 placement at the next election. This, and her ridiculous story about Labour wasting money by filibustering, has put her profile up markedly after many months with nary a peep. Hilary Calvert’s sexy eyes have probably only strengthened Roy’s position, too.

  6. burt 6

    rOb

    I think this post is absolutely on the money if I ignore the petty party point scoring which consequently is the problem with crime being an election football. I think pretty much any reasonable person knows that there are few things that need to be taken care of that are bigger than party politics. My big hitters would be social order, heath, education, infrastructure & welfare.

    Why stop on cross party consensus for crime. It’s folly to try to tackle crime outside of the context of what provides the environment that generates crime so why not form broad cross party consensus on the key planks.

    The clowns who currently thinks it’s just dandy to flip flop the school assessment systems, accident insurance systems, public health operating models, welfare and infrastructure priorities every time they get a turn holding the levers can still play with taxation, tourism, horse racing and the likes….

    • r0b 6.1

      Crikey. Burt and r0b in agreement? Maybe that apocalypse guy was right after all…

      As long as it can be based on *facts and evidence as to what really works*, I’m all for cross party consensus every time.

      • burt 6.1.1

        You touch on a key issue here rOb. (facts and evidence as to what really works) Crime is a prime example of how facts and evidence are selected according to world view. (an issue you have blogged about earlier).

        I’m not going to try and give an answer for how we have an agreed measurement system for something like crime, but without a stable base for measurement we really have no idea how effective our policy de-jour is. The red team hold up study [xyz] the blue team hold up study [abc] and hey look their is an election comming…. Who would have guessed we would suddenly be talking about time to change how we do this.

        If you want a cross party consensus on crime step one would be to take it 100% off the plate for the election. Test the kiddies who like to pull the levers to see if they really have the balls to have crime off the election manifesto (popularity contest) because with cross party consensus that is where it stays.

        • Adele 6.1.1.1

          Teenaa koe, Burt

          I would add another dimension to your other worldviews and that would be a Māori perspective. We have, generally, serious concerns with the twin notions of law and justice as practised in this country – a practise that has been prejudicial to the interests of Te Ao Māori since English law arrived onto these shores.

          Māori continue to be hugely over-represented in criminal justice statistics. Young Māori males particularly well targeted for officious attention and detention. From 2007, 16,000 Tāne Māori between the ages of 20 and 29 had a record of incarceration – 30% of all Tāne Māori in that age band.

          And because the prison system is more punitive than rehabilitative, these young men leave prison more criminally enmeshed than before they went in. The criminal justice system has failed Māori – and to the detriment of all peoples living in the land of the long white cloud (of delusion).

      • burt 6.1.2

        Actually rOb

        There is a game changer for Labour. Go into the election refusing to put any policy on Crime into the arena till whoever is still standing after the election returns to a cross party policy review. For this election, what have they got to lose !

        • PeteG 6.1.2.1

          Burt, I agree with that approach but don’t expect Labour to, they are too entrenched in old politics.

          I doubt whether any current parties would have the gumption to do this – but there’s a new party option that not only supports this approach, it is the whole basis for how it would operate – fact and evidence based, pragmatic and positive.

          The game can be changed if the old parties won’t.

          • wtl 6.1.2.1.1

            Seriously, are you going use every chance you get to spam blogs to try and promote the PeteG party?

            • PeteG 6.1.2.1.1.1

              Is it spam when the Labour Party is promoted (frequently), or the Green Party or the National Party?

              If you disagree with something just do it, better still with some reason or debate, I thought that’s what this blog was for. Don’t just throw around meaningless labels.

              • wtl

                What gets me is you twisted the debate into being able to promote your party. People were debating the need for a cross-party consensus on the issue of crime. To me, your contributions (2.2 and 6.1.2.1) were both solely directed towards pointing out that the current party-based system is ‘bad’, but wait, he’s my great new party that is going to fix this. A similar thing happened on the Dimpost the other day. To me, your comments didn’t contribute much in terms of constructive debate, instead your point was merely something akin to “my party is the better way”.

                As your party doesn’t actually have any policy (apart from “we’ll do what you want us to do”), I’m guessing virtually every post here could be used to promote your party in the same way. By all means, go for it – its not up to me to say what you can comment here. But it does mean your comments will become even more predictable and pointless – and fewer and fewer people will pay attention.

                • PeteG

                  wtl, I guess that stood out because no one else here ever tries to “twist” the debate to promote their angle.

                  You’re acting upset because of one post somewhere else the other day and one here. Gee. Just as well the promotion of the Labour Party doesn’t upset yet the to the same degree.

                  You obviously don’t like it or understand it so you can just just ignore it. That’s the best advice for blogging, pick your interests and ignore the rest.

                  • wtl

                    wtl, I guess that stood out because no one else here ever tries to “twist” the debate to promote their angle.

                    Promote their angle is one thing. To promote their own ‘product’ is another thing. As far as I can see it, you stand to directly benefit from your party gaining popularity. And I would think that I’m not to only one that has a dim view of comments that have an ulterior motive.

                    Just as well the promotion of the Labour Party doesn’t upset yet the to the same degree.

                    But other parties actually have policies. So there is a far amount of debate that go along those lines. e.g. Is the National asset sales policy good? What about the $15 min wage? On the other hand, when your sole policy is “we’ll do whatever you want”, there isn’t much debate that can happen. That is my main gripe about it. Its like a magic pill that can be proposed to fix any problem.

                    • PeteG

                      Since when did taking notice of the electorate become such a bad thing? Since when did open discussion and debate become a bad thing?
                      It’s bad for closed shop party control maybe.

                      Taking notice of the voters after the election is a magic pill.
                      It’s anti-control-freak.

                    • lprent []

                      Since when did taking notice of the electorate become such a bad thing?

                      Since the National party took power? It seems that the only way to get their attention is to get a whole pile of people out on the streets when they vaguely announce that they might head in a some direction.

                      If you wait until they actually announce the policy, then it is too late. They will have it run through three readings under urgency (with the final reading having significant changes to the bill after the second) and manage to skip or severely constrain the select committee process. In the latter case like giving only two weeks to read a bill and put in submissions and no days for hearing verbals – then essentially ignoring them.

                      I don’t know about you, but I tend to view those as being far more important direct issues in listening to the public that the vague waffle you’re peddling. Perhaps you should look at those as being a problem first. Because formal channels to provide input on legislation are far more efficient than informal channels.

                    • lprent []

                      It’s anti-control-freak.

                      Just as a matter of interest, when did you begin to hate the erstwhile “leader of the house” so much. Gerry Brownlee is the biggest control freak I’ve seen in parliament. I cannot recall seeing anyone even try to do some of the crap he did in the house. Even Muldoon had more respect for the institution.

                    • wtl

                      Since when did taking notice of the electorate become such a bad thing? Since when did open discussion and debate become a bad thing?

                      It’s not. Well, not necessarily anyway. As long as the electorate is properly informed and is making decisions based on the evidence available, it is a good thing.

                      But simply saying you will be ‘listening to people’, without even providing detail as to how you are going to do this is pointless. What do you propose? Open meetings? Online blogs? How do you make sure you are listening to everyone instead of just those with the most time or those that are the most vociferous? Sounds to me like your party will become the “Talkback Radio NZ” party.

                      There is only one way in which you can fairly represent the electorate’s wishes and that is through the use of referenda. However, as I eluded to earlier, arguably the key aspect is that people are properly informed before making their decision. This is the biggest problem with any such approach. How do we provide a system where voters can be involved and make properly informed decisions about the direction their country should take? How do you ensure that the information provided to voters is backed by real world evidence, and not just propaganda aimed at provoking an emotional response?

                      Taking notice of the voters after the election is a magic pill.

                      Exactly. The way you are proposing it, it is a magic pill. But of course magic doesn’t actually exist.

                      Furthermore, if you plan to run your party in the same way you make your comments here, frankly, I’m not interested at all. I’ve found you don’t tend to argue things in good faith and many of your assertions lack evidence to support them. And I’ve never ever seen you acknowledge that you are wrong. Seems to me that your ego is just as big as any politician or wannabe.

                    • PeteG

                      many of your assertions lack evidence to support them.

                      That’s a funny comment to make when you have also just said “What do you propose?” and then make all sorts of baseless assumptions, without any evidence.

                      It would be quite simple to see what is proposed, if you cared to look for evidence. I won’t put the link here again because someone might grizzle.

                    • wtl

                      It would be quite simple to see what is proposed, if you cared to look for evidence. I won’t put the link here again because someone might grizzle.

                      You are promoting your party via your website. Shouldn’t these proposals actually be ON IT? All I can see is some proposals to listen “via email, facebook and blog comments”, so that’s what I based my comment on. Why should I bother to look for evidence beyond what is in your website?

                      FFS, you then whine that I complained about you posting a link to your website out of left field, but refuse to link to information that is DIRECTLY relevant to this debate. That’s what I mean about not arguing in good faith.

                      Regardless, as I put to you before, the only real way of properly listening to the electorate is via referenda. And that comes with the caveat of needing to ensure the electorate is informed.

                    • wtl

                      PeteG: Upon thinking about this a bit more, I realise I was probably being a bit harsh towards you. It is commendable that you are trying to do your bit to improve democracy in NZ. Unfortunately, your comments on this blog have led me to have a rather poor view of you and that is partly why I reacted the way I did.

                      Of course it is understandable that you will want to promote your party through whatever means possible, but I do think you should be a bit careful about how you do so. I just don’t think being too blatant about it and using every opportunity you get is the right way to go. Naturally, it is your call. But remember that if I reacted in this way, I am probably not the only one who will have the same view, so you might want to think whether it really is a productive method.

                      Finally, my points about your other comments here stand. Too often it seems that you are just trying to use tactics that derail the conversation or simply push your viewpoint without listening to others, or being willing to back down. If you are serious about improving politics in NZ, I really think you should try to be more constructive and have a good hard look at how you are approaching things – especially if your goal is to ‘listen to the electorate’.

                    • PeteG

                      We haven’t released all details yet, there’s still work to do.

                      Electorate based referenda are certainly high on the list of considerations but they’re not something that can easily be committed to up front, it needs electorate input. National referenda are on a whole different level and with much wider considerations, it’s in the too much too soon category.

          • burt 6.1.2.1.2

            Thanks PeteG. In my opinion the link is relevant to the debate. Spam would be just hawking it everywhere. However you should type the link in where it says ‘website’ every time you post. Experience the real tight wire between being the voice of ‘PeteG’ and the voice of ‘Your NZ’.

            • mickysavage 6.1.2.1.2.1

              OK PeteG and burt.  Here are your chances.  I am saying that Labour was too tough on crime and NACT backed the country in a corner by whipping up hysteria suggesting that Labour was weak on crime.

              If there is going to be a consensus then it has to be about a movement away from incarceration as a tool and towards community treatment and rehabilitation.

              Do you both agree with this?  If so let’s keep talking.  If not you are stringing the rest of us along …

              • PeteG

                I agree with you there. It has been a populist escalation, both parties involved.

                Gluckman has a good handle on the whole deal – especially that no matter how good evidence and science gives answers it comes down to what politicians are prepared to do. Unfortunately political expediency rules too much.

                Giving good balanced information to the public is just about impossible when multiple parties and groups try and slew the debate their way.

                • Um PeteG here we strike problems.  

                  You are trying to say that both parties are responsible.  I am saying that NACT threw out the pieces of red meat.  Labour may have toughened up the law but they were mixed in their response and were painted as being soft on crime.

                  So do you agree that there should be a movement away from incarceration as a tool to deal with crime and towards community treatment and rehabilitation?

                  Yes or no?

                  • PeteG

                    Yes, it should be seriously considered for a significant proportion of criminals, especially those with mental health and addiction problems.

                    It’s not something that can have a quick solution, it’s a long term problem with a very difficult issues to deal with.

                    And there are associated issues as well that are as important – like early childhood monitoring and intervention for at risk kids. Pouring money into general ECE is not the answer to that, the ones most at risk may not be using it.

                    • Agreed so far (did I say that?)

                      The next step is a budget.  Do we increase taxation or cut something else.  If we cut then where?

                    • Herodotus

                      MS- here is a suggestion. The income from charging interest on student loans goes to ECE and primary eductaion. It is for me far better that every child gets a start than a few get the benefits at the back end. I would sooner have an all rounded balanced well equiped population, than a % getting the benefit of the interest free on $10b for higher education. That is costing us $500m p.a. on servicing alone, then adding in the bad debt w/o’s that occurs and the opportunity cost due to increased of the debt.

                    • Agreed H

                      Tertiary education should be as free as possible and tertiary graduates should pay a bit more tax.  As it was in my day.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Maybe if this economy could start creating decent jobs for our graduates to go to, that would give the young’uns something to pay tax on.

                    Put it this way, a capable grad should start on between $40K p.a. and $50K p.a. and within 5 years be knocking on jobs offering $60K p.a. plus.

                    Of course, in NZ that’s a laughable pipe dream for most of our young grads, which is why 1/4 of them leave this country soon after graduating. And I bet you that they are not the unmotivated, unambitious ones lacking vision who are going first.

            • Deadly_NZ 6.1.2.1.2.2

              Or if he edit’s his profile he can put the link there save a bit of typing. That is if he is a member of this fine establishment.

          • felix 6.1.2.1.3

            Nice one PeteG for putting your money where your mouth is.

            I happen to think it’s hilariously absurd but that’s neither here nor there, is it?

            Good for you I say.

        • logie97 6.1.2.2

          burt. “The clowns who currently thinks it’s just dandy to flip flop the school assessment systems, accident insurance systems, public health operating models, welfare and infrastructure priorities every time they get a turn holding the levers can still play with taxation, tourism, horse racing and the likes…”

          Therein lies the problem – the community is made of liberals and reactionaries. Where is your starting point as a term of reference. Don’t forget the “clowns” depend on popular vote to get into positions of influence. Perhaps you could go one step back further and ban all organised political parties. One could only get into parliament, assuming that was the chosen forum, through an exhaustive popular voting system at the local electorate level.

          Perhaps we need a federal system of governance. New Zealand electorates become prefectures. Power is devolved to the electorate – it becomes autonomous and responsible for its own health, rule of law, education et cetera.

          No let’s go further. Each family takes responsibility for its …

          wait a minute …

          Vote ACT?

          • burt 6.1.2.2.1

            Great example of reductio ad absurdum – thanks.

            Don’t forget the “clowns” depend on popular vote to get into positions of influence.

            Well yes, thats kind of the point of this thread, that crime makes a great political football and it shouldn’t be. I can see why you found it hard to rationally defend that position.

            You could have just said in one line that you think status quo electoral football for Crime is fine by you.

            • logie97 6.1.2.2.1.1

              Nope. The problem is that I do not subscribe to the current reactionary approach to law and order. I therefore hold an opposing position. When alternative systems, which by the way require the whole of society to take on board as well, are implemented the likes of McVicar get enough of a voice to frighten the pollies and we head down the reactionary road. Ne’er the twain shall meet.
              (As an aside I understand the Gluckman report is full of a lot of sense but far too difficulty for the “selfish gene” to begin to rally around).

  7. jackal 7

    It definitely is time for a consensus on crime and punishment. Presently jails just make criminal’s tougher. National and Act’s plans to further privatise our prisons will not help… In fact it will make things much worse. The negative implications to privatising our prisons have been shown in the various countries the Government is basing their changes on. National’s use of the multinational company Serco is simply abhorrent! They have no place running our prisons in New Zealand.

    http://www.serco.com/media/pressreleases/mounteden.asp

    http://antonyloewenstein.com/2011/04/21/sercos-record-on-managing-human-beings-far-from-ideal/

    So while most politicians have been happy to largely ignore the issues surrounding crime and punishment until the “get tough on crime” electioneering starts, our prison population soars and our entire society suffers as a result.

    There was a large push for prisoner’s right’s during the 1980’s in New Zealand (Sue Bradford being instrumental) that culminated in the implementation of toilet seats, televisions and a Policy and Procedures Manual (PPM) amongst other things. However, it’s been going steadily downhill ever since.

    When the Government of the day closed places like Oakley hospital, many of the mentally ill were simply locked in places like Paremoremo maximum prison. Mutilations and deaths were a common result of such uncaring Politicians and their despicable policies. There’s been no restorative justice concerning the many human rights violations their prehistoric policies caused.

    Some Politicians visited Paremoremo to gain a better view of how jails were being run. The prisoner’s who met with these Politicians at the time were then shipped off to D block and punished for being outspoken. That’s just one example of many concerning the difficulties surrounding the prison system. Most breaches of the PPM go unaccounted for these days. This is because prisoners have learned the hard way not to complain about such abuses of their human rights. Thus the cycle of abuse continues.

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    Too many NZ’ers have a harsh and vindictive view of others who they see as being “below their own station” in life. And the MSM cultivates this as well.

    Whether its bashing crims, bashing bene’s, bashing this group or the other, it seems to make us feel good about how shit everything is. And politicians know that they are on to a vote winner by being tougher on crime, tougher on bene’s, etc.

    As for the first move to make – put that asshole McVicar into a maximum security tank for a month or two and see how he likes the “resort-like” conditions.

    • PeteG 8.2

      Yep, but you left some things off the list – politicians bashing politicians and blog posters bashing blog posters.

      If the leaders of our country are supposed to lead and set an example then we would be a bunch of whingy nit picking negative destructive childish sods.

      • lprent 8.2.1

        …and blog posters bashing blog posters.

        Ummm, you mean like the continual attacks that have happened against this site and it’s authors since the site started by the likes of David, Cameron, Katie, many of the fools at No Minister, etc etc…

        In the beginning, we tended to shrug those off. Then we had clouds of their idiot minions over here like fleas after Farrar and Whale concocted pile of bullshit about where I hosted the site. Working through that pile of shit wasted my time, which with my shortage of time makes it quite personal. Some of our authors tend to be a bit more understanding. But they had to carry less of the workload.

        These days if I can see an opportunity to put the boot in then I will. It appears to be the only thing that these morons (and their minions) will understand. As a long term resident of the net, I’m also a passionate believer that there are idiots who just need to be dealt with. They appear to be too stupid to learn. If they do eventually learn, then they can do so where I don’t have to read them.

        • PeteG 8.2.1.1

          Lead by example.

          I know what it’s like, I’ve had my share of being attacked online too, and I’ve stood up and fought back. But the biggest fight is to fight against being dragged down into the mire and becoming as bad as everyone else.

          Lead by good example.

          • jackal 8.2.1.1.1

            I couldn’t agree more. It’s a difficult thing to not become negative about the current NZ blogosphere though. It seems to be that there is nowhere for people of differing mindsets to meet and debate without the usual nonsense.

            Not that I can really talk, engaging in a bit of trolling myself when the mood takes me. I guess the best thing is to be less emotional about things, which has it’s own set of problems as well.

            Strangely Bomber is the latest to declare an open war on the Jackal. Whatever that means? He’s not allowing my comments to be displayed on Tumeke anymore, which is a bit boring! I hear that Bomber has extended his “I can’t answer that” vetting to a number of Green MP’s and member’s as well regarding his “Why I wont vote Green’s” post. More of that hide in the corner mentality I was talking about.

            I’m also presently on a ban from Red Alert for running a “Who’s sausage will Heather Roy eat first?” competition on twitter… Although Mallard also didn’t like me trying to get him and Tau Henare to have a bit more of the old fisticuffs again, so who knows what the true motivation there is for his ban.

            Not to mention the permanent ban from Kiwibog, without any warning I might add. I can’t say I really mind. Strangely Whaleoil still allows me to post there, I guess he enjoys the insults.

            One thing is definitely true though, you can catch an administrator on a bad day, or a bad life as the case may be.

            [lprent: You can indeed – especially in my case if I have been wading through crap behaviors in the usual reverse sweep (but it has been pretty good today). It is the risk of walking close to the edge – you have to judge it yourself how dangerous it is. But it is always risky getting close to the edge because you don’t know what the mods will see before they see your comment. What we’re interested in is keeping the overall level of the comments up to standard. When we start trimming, we tend to cut a swathe across anyone too close to the edge.

            But most of the time we will just give warnings – which we expect people to read (this isn’t one). ]

          • lprent 8.2.1.1.2

            Lead by good example.

            I do – just probably not the way you’re thinking because it doesn’t feel like you have been around for long enough or deep enough in the net to understand many of the issues.

            I try reflect directly to anyone to whatever they are doing – but in excess proportion.

            If they attack the site, then I will attempt and usually achieve to gut them and leave their entrails exposed. This tends to reduce the spread of the trait at the cost of a few wounded egos.

            If they do behavior that will cause problems on site, then I will express similar but more extreme bad behavior as a moderator. Again it discourages repetition.  

            If they appear to be pontificating and making unsubstantiated assertions, then I tend to pontificate back to them by making similar unsubstantiated assertions about them. (you’d recognize that one).

            If they try to set their authority on my site, then I will respond with some real authority.

            If people are having fun, then I watch with amusement.

            If someone is making a good argument and I’m interested, then I’ll join the discussion if I have time. These days I seldom have that time.

            I gave up on the net being a particularly civilized place decades ago when it was emerging via the BBS’es and usenet. Instead I concentrated on acquiring the traits required to keep the fools down to a tolerable level when and where I have to read them.

    • R 8.3

      oh, no. That’s far too good for him. Force him to live on a benefit until he ‘benefits’ from his own agenda and is *sent* there. After all, that’s what privatising prisons, ACC and welfare’s about – it’s all money in the bank for our capitalist overlords.

  9. They have already got together on crime
    ie they committed fraud … it is called Kiwi Saver

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Dude if the entire monetary system is a fraud, why on earth are you targetting KiwiSaver for special treatment? Isn’t that targetting something akin like a subfraud within a larger fraud?

      Why aren’t you instead targetting something like say, Lotto?

      Bizarre.

  10. randal 10

    turn off all the teevee stations for six months.

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