Tough on crime

Written By: - Date published: 9:22 am, March 26th, 2012 - 85 comments
Categories: class war, crime, prisons - Tags: ,

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of imprisonment in the world, and an international study has just highlighted the fact:

Politicians cuffed for filling jails

A political bidding war between the main parties to prove who is tougher on crime has led to New Zealand having one of the world’s highest rates of imprisonment, an international study has found.

OK – sorry to interrupt so soon, but this annoys me. Yes it’s mostly the politicians’ fault, but the media can’t escape their share of the blame for this. It is the media that sensationalises crime, uncritically repeats the nonsense claims and “tough on crime” rhetoric, and generally plays the part of enabler to our high prison rates. (Even the author of the piece quoted here has been known to buy in to this game for example.) It would have been nice to see some acknowledgement in this piece that the problem goes a long way beyond “the main parties”. Anyway, back to…

The comparative study of 11 countries’ justice systems found New Zealand’s is racist and punitive and imprisons people at a rate second only to the United States.

The United Kingdom Audit Office study looked at New Zealand, Australia, the US, France, Canada and the Netherlands among others.

It found New Zealand imprisoned offenders at a rate of 199 for every 100,000 of the population, second only to the US at 748. That is 25 per cent higher than England and Wales, and 33 per cent higher than Australia.

Between 2005 and 2008 New Zealand’s rate of imprisonment rose by 15 per cent despite the crime rate only rising by 4 per cent over the same period.

I was disappointed at the extent to which the last Labour government played the “tough on crime” card too, but when it comes to beating up hysteria on the issue it is John Key who really takes the cake. There are also questions as to how much the high incarceration rate feeds in to what some are calling “National’s Private Prison Industry Profiteers“. Hmmmm.

Crime is the child of poverty, and there is too much poverty in this country. Until we focus on acknowledging and dealing with that underlying issue, and until we mature enough as a society to focus on rehabilitation rather than retribution, our high prison rates are going to continue.

85 comments on “Tough on crime”

  1. Kotahi Tane Huna 1

    Crime is the child of inequality more than poverty – it’s too easy to point to “poorer” countries (or US states) with better crime statistics: Daly, Wilson, & Vasdev, Income inequality and homicide rates in Canada and the United States, Canadian Journal of Criminology, April 2001: 219-236

    • r0b 1.1

      Good comment – thanks.

    • prism 1.2

      Getting started in crime is probably affected by parents attitudes to personal ethics and whether there is a strong societal ethic. We can see a drop in societal ethics in NZ. Part of the results of that were being talked about on a report about chil d health on radionz this morning.

      When children are allowed to keep other’s clothes that they have stolen from school, even after having been named is good training for further crime. That’s a common occurrence which particularly hurts people feeling poverty but still keeping to personal and societal ethics which stops the easy response of encouraging their children to do the same.

      • aerobubble 1.2.1

        People need basic clothing, food, health, housing. It doesn’t change, we haven’t evolved to need more. Many of the foods, clothes, housing etc of the past are as good as ever (even better since so much crap comes out of the third world workslave shops). So why is it that we’d have any poverty. Well simple, when we go and vote we invariable choose the right wing of Labour or the rightwing National party, who both shift the weight on the poorest and lower the bar for the wealthy. Facts of basic economics suggest that to have the most efficient economy its better to reduce thw wealth of the weathiest and churn the wealth to the next generation. i.e. what we have now is a gridlock of baby boomers sitting on a pile of wealth and not spending it (or investing in for the long term). So no, its not just child learning to steal, its children listen to politicians telling them their scum for being poor, its the stacked bureaucracies and media suits with neo-liberalists far right libertarians. Government has forgotten to govern and instead taken what we had for free and sold it off to private owners, and when they can’t they PPP it. Summed up for me by a gold mine not having to pay royalty to the crown. WTF. What we’re facing, is just the stench of thrity years of bad government produce by mean minded lazy lower class managers led by the likes of Douglas and Thatcher/Reagan. There was essentially nothing original in anything they did, they took good government and abstracted out the humanity, the common sense and ignored why they could get away with it (why it was successful), i.e. cheap oil and lots of cheap credit.

        Summing up. Anyone on the right, or of the right of the Labour party, should be had up on crimes against humanity for continuing to peddle the lazy stupid easy theories of Roger, Margret and Ronald. See no, hear no, speak no.

  2. ianmac 2

    “….the media can’t escape their share of the blame for this.”
    There was a deal made I think in Sweden, that the Media would hugely reduce the excesses of reporting on crime. Alongside that was reforming the punishment of crime with a flow on of drastic reduction of imprisonment and a more inclusive society.

    • r0b 2.1

      Interesting! Could such a deal work here?

      • muzza 2.1.1

        The real question is – Is there the appetite? I would suggest not, given the way the govt looks to be heading along with private prisons.

        I seem to recall the Blair Labour government – “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”!

        Politicians are not interested in anything other than soundbites, and the papers love them!

  3. Lanthanide 3

    Maybe we just have better police? Maybe they’re harder working, better resourced, less corrupt? Maybe our judges aren’t swayed by defence attorney flim-flam as much?

    Wonder if the study considered these factors.

  4. queenstfarmer 4

    What is wrong with imprisoning offenders at a higher rate than other countries? Would you rather have offenders left free to wander the streets?

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      qstf: trust you to support putting more ambulances (prisons) at the bottom of the cliff. More than useless.

    • grmpy 4.2

      I would have thought Imprisonment was a function of both Crime and Apprehension……???

      • queenstfarmer 4.2.1

        Exactly. If our police force suddenly became less competent and effective at apprehending offenders, presumably Kim Workman and his allies would regard that as a good thing.

        • muzza 4.2.1.1

          “Exactly. If our police force suddenly became MORE competent and effective at apprehending offenders, presumably Serco and its shareholders would regard that as a good thing.”

          FIFY

          • queenstfarmer 4.2.1.1.1

            Why is that muzza? The Mt Eden contract is a fixed price contract. So how does the police becoming more competent and effective lead to Serco and/or its shareholders getting some benefit?

            • McFlock 4.2.1.1.1.1

              more apprehensions = more prisoners = more prisons = more prison contracts. 
                   
              Nice dodge with the so-called “police effectiveness” line, by the way. Gets you out of claiming that NZ is more full of criminals than anywhere except the states. So what happened in 2005-2008 to make the NZ police 15% more efficient? 

              • queenstfarmer

                But the argument is that we already have far too many prisoners. Quite how even more prisoners is supposed to benefit NZ’s only private prison operator of a fixed-capacity prison under a fixed price contract is not explained.

                So what happened in 2005-2008 to make the NZ police 15% more efficient?

                Who said they did? The increase in prisoner numbers may have been due to increased sentences or changes to parole law, which Workman no doubt also opposes.

                • McFlock

                  But the argument is that we already have far too many prisoners. Quite how even more prisoners is supposed to benefit NZ’s only private prison operator of a fixed-capacity prison under a fixed price contract is not explained.

                   
                  The argument that we have too many prisoners in NZ is different from pointing out who benefits from that condition. More prisons = more contracts in the future. Not to mention their current contract.

              • muzza

                And just imagine what could be acieved without civil juries, the gap between NZ and USA in terms of prisoners to population could really narrow down.

                The old saying bums on seats comes to mind when I think of private prisons. None will offer fixed price unless they assume the prisoner numbers will drop, in which case why is the government outsourcing? Simple answer is that there is the expectation that prisoner numbers will increase, hence the privatising, its really that simple!

                Once the system is private, and the numbers start to rise, then voila, build another prison!

                Its a very slippery slope, and becomes self fulfilling. What is is about 98% conviction rate in the US, with JP Morgan etc making a mint from more humans in prison, making munitions for the military etc.

                No Thanks!

                • queenstfarmer

                  None will offer fixed price unless they assume the prisoner numbers will drop

                  So right after claiming that Serco would like to see prisoner numbers increase, are you now claiming that Serco must have assumed prisoner numbers will drop?

                  Regardless, your assumption about fixed pricing is wrong. Govts / public authorities normally pay a premium for fixed-price contracts, because the provider takes the budget risk (which is almost invariably a budget overrun risk). The provider usually tries to take out various insurance policies against those risks as a result.

                  The Serco contract is to run Mt Eden prison which has 920 beds, and that is what the contract is based on. I suppose Serco could secretly be hoping that the Govt suddenly decides to stop putting prisoners into its brand new Mt Eden facility for no apparent reason, but I hardly think that is likely.

                  • muzza

                    “None will offer fixed price unless they assume the prisoner numbers will drop

                    So right after claiming that Serco would like to see prisoner numbers increase, are you now claiming that Serco must have assumed prisoner numbers will drop?”

                    Fixed price = total cost of the contract regardless of number of prisoners I assume? Why would Serco want less prisoners….to make more profit on the fixed price contract of course! That or Serco have a very high fixed price tender so they cover the various quotas with margin. Where can we get the details of the contract?

                    However, I was referring really to Wiri, where as I understand it the taxpayer is funding the facility and Serco will run the facility etc… Serco make profit from incarceration, so how many ways are they going to be able to fleece the taxpayer. One way or another the contracts will end up in Sercos favour!

                    Fixed price is not fixed price, when there are changes to scope in any contract is goes up for renegotiation

                    I have read that there is meant to be some directive which Serco are supposed to keep prison inmates below a set figure with rehab etc, but is that really going to be what the public calls for if the economic SHTF, and things get out of control?

                    I am 100% not in favour of private prisons, and this is going to go bad for all concerned, apart from Serco!

    • Macro 4.3

      “What is wrong with imprisoning offenders at a higher rate than other countries? Would you rather have offenders left free to wander the streets?”

      You ask two questions
      I’ll initially address the first:

      “What is wrong with imprisoning offenders at a higher rate than other countries?”

      Firstly, does it not concern you that we have this apparent high rate of criminality in our country? Are our Police that much more efficient at apprehending offenders? And if they are – why does the criminal offending continue to be so high, despite the apparent deterrence of apprehension and likely imprisonment?
      Secondly, prisons are not a very effective way of changing anti-social behaviours. In deed by imprisoning more people we are training more people to antisocial behaviour and are most likely to be exacerbating the problem rather than mitigating it.
      Thirdly, it costs a hell of a lot of money to imprison people. Not only do we have to provide secure accommodation and food and 24 hour surveillance. But the people who are incarcerated become unproductive to the economy not only for the time they are in prison but for a long time after as well.
      Fourthly, there is the ethical matter to consider. Is it absolutely necessary to imprison each and every offender, even though the crime may be one that carries a prison sentence? Imprisonment is the most ineffective way of changing criminal behaviour. Its function is merely punitive and to exact retribution. Imprisonment does not of it’s own amend behaviour, remedial programmes carried out in the prison environment are the means by which recidivism rates are reduced. Many of these programmes could well be carried out in the community (and are) thereby avoiding high imprisonment rates and more effective rehabilitation into society (ie more productive people).

      Now for the second
      “Would you rather have offenders left free to wander the streets?”

      Obviously it depends on the nature of the offence. There are some offences for which imprisonment is the only option. but for many of those in NZ prisons, they are there, not because of any heinous crime, but because our justice system is “tough on crime”. Theft of property is regarded particularly seriously in this country. It may however be better to have community programmes for property offences and non-association clauses. Short periods of imprisonment may be better than long lags in others – less time to develop criminal associations. The thing that everyone who is imprisoned loses is their self respect.
      Unfortunately the hysterical nature of the debate in NZ – typified by your comment – clouds the issue to how to deal effectively with each offender. The judicial system in NZ has been forced into this draconian attitude that is corrosive, unproductive, and exacerbates offending rather than working towards reducing it.

  5. Crime is not just poverty. There are obvious connections between poverty and crime. Of course if your partner ends up in jail you will be more likely to be poor, during and after due to diminished employment prospects.

    But it’s much more complex than that, with other important factors.

    Our widespread culture of violence is not just poverty.
    Our widespread misuse of alcohol is not just poverty.
    Our widespread misuse of tobacco is not just poverty.
    Our widespread misuse of other drugs is not just poverty.

    If we dealt with alcohol abuse and violence we would have much less crime – and probably much less poverty.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Similarly if we rationalised our drugs laws to something that actually made sense based on the level of harm imparted, we’d magically have less crime and imprisonment as well.

      • Pete George 5.1.1

        I don’t think there’s a magic mushroom solution, but we could probably do much better with our drug laws. Whatever is changed is an experiment though, New Zealand is a unique laboratory.

        • Lanthanide 5.1.1.1

          Yip. Pity Peter Dunne wouldn’t countenance such a “common sense” approach back in 2002-2005.

      • prism 5.1.2

        @Lanthanide
        I agree. The more laws we make that relate to people’s basic drives means there will be more miscreants, and the drug situation is an example. Marijuana banning is a good example. Though as we don’t seem in this country to encourage what would have been a normal range of business activity, there might be jobs in increasing the prison system. At least it would reduce the unemployment statistics, and increase opportunities for wardens. Privatise the prison system and create another service industry, harvest the have-nots for dosh.

  6. How was poverty connected to this?

    Court backs hardline sentence for ‘cowardly’ street attack

    Is it too tough on crime> Is this media sensationalising? Was it mostly mostly “the politicians’ fault”?

    Would more money somewhere have prevented it? If so how much, and where?

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 6.1

      “How was poverty connected to this?”

      It isn’t – see my comment above.

      Wilkinson, R. (2004). Ann N Y Acad Sci, 1036, 1-12. contains very good discussion of the issues involved.

      • Pete George 6.1.1

        Yes, there’s something unequal about some people’s behaviour when pissed compared to sober.

        There’s also something unequal about smacking someone in the head from behind.

        There’s something more unequal about smacking someone repeatedly in the head while they are unconcious on the ground.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 6.1.1.1

          What is your point, dickhead?

          • Galeandra 6.1.1.1.1

            His point may be that some people are bad bastards irrespective of their relatively impoverished upbringings.
            Rampaging capitalism has nothing to do with increased criminality or damaged mental health y’know. Though the link he provides reports that ‘Walsh was heavily intoxicated ‘ at the time of the assault we wouldn’t want to do do anything to impede lawful capitalists going about their daily work, would we? Roll out the RTDs and the baccy….. personal freedoms for vendors and customers you see.
            Synthetic pot etc not so much.

            • Kotahi Tane Huna 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Alcoholism and substance abuse also demonstrate a clear relationship with levels of equality.

              • james 111

                Kotahi
                Totally agree with you on this point,and I guess one can easily say if they werent stoned or drunk all the time. They could hold down jobs rather than be on the Welfare ,and would be earning more money not trapped in the poverty trap. So how is it the Governments fault to easy to blame them. I dont care whether its Labour or National in

                • Kotahi Tane Huna

                  Once again you demonstrate complete incomprehension. Alcoholism and substance abuse at all socio-economic levels within a society demonstrate a clear relationship with levels of equality.

            • Bored 6.1.1.1.1.2

              Thanks G, it seems to always come down to “punish” those who do the crime as opposed to giving them a reason not to do it.

              I have a theory that crime pays in a relative sense: if there is perceived benefit and advancement to doing it an individual will do it. If you are at the bottom of the social scale you have plenty of “relative” incentive. The same applies for those relatively advantaged corporate criminals who get relatively more advantaged by doing the financial crimes. I don’t see enough of them doing time yet.

  7. Peter Meyers 7

    Whats your point?
    Do the crime do the time and hope your butthole does not get bigger in prison.

    • Blighty 7.1

      what is it with the right and their disgusting fascination with prison rape?

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Childhood anal preoccupation remaining into adult maturity.

        Reminds me of Republican congressmen who push for bans on gay marriage and gay sex…then get caught propositioning policemen in airport toilets.

  8. james 111 8

    Peter
    Agree with you also our widepread Child abuse, and beating isnt poverty
    Our widespread Domestic violence isnt poverty.
    Thisis very poor parenting by people who are often trapped on welfare dependency ,and unfortunately have witnessed it all before with their parents ,and grand paretns. Many of these incidents take place where they are single parents, and the kids that get beaten dont belong to the boy friend.Giving them a whole lot of extra money to spend on Lotto Alchohol, Hooch will have no effect on those latent behavioural problems. People and ethnic groups need to take accountability for their own actions , and stop blaming the government. What is good is how much the crime rate has fallen under a National Government they have lived up to that promise.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.1

      Misunderstanding is rife on this topic. Levels of violence against children are higher at all socio-economic levels in more unequal societies.

      • james 111 8.1.1

        Please show the figures what are the % in demographic area ,and by ethnicity?. We all know the answer but are to PC speak up

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.1.1.1

          James111, take your racist dogwhistle somewhere else, you grade one creep.

    • Blighty 8.2

      crime has been falling for the past 20 years. National has done nothing spectacular, the primary reason for the crime rate falling is the falling proportion of the population aged 18-24 and male. Look at the prison stats and you’ll see there’s a huge demographic factor in crime.

  9. Bored 9

    Why the hell does the Maori Party support (supply etc) a government that has no policy to address why the penal system is disproportionately full of Maori? Why do they give supply to a government that wants to shut down regional prisons so that whanau will have to travel to see their incarcerated family members? If they are doing anything here I am not hearing it, it seems very quiet.

    • james 111 9.1

      Probably because they know that Maori are committing a high proprotion of the crime ,and the elders are to weak to speak out about it. What are you proposing one law for Maori, and one for others ? Yeaa that will really work wont it lower the Bar!

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 9.1.1

        We could never lower it far enough to accomodate your low-life ethics, James111.

        There simply is no depths of perfidy to which we could stoop.

        Perhaps I’m being unfair. After all, low intelligence is a gateway to racist attitudes.

        I’l rephrase.

        James111, there are no levels of stupidity to which we could sink to out-stupid yours.

        • james 111 9.1.1.1

          Never been before the court in my life so wouldnt worry me. Do they crime do the time no soft approach. You have to be accountable for your own actions and stop blaming a 3rd party. You make the decision not them they only act when you are caught.

          • Kotahi Tane Huna 9.1.1.1.1

            Who said anything about “blame”, James111?

            Do you think this is about making excuses for people? Low intelligence may lead to racist beliefs, but it doesn’t excuse them: you can’t blame your IQ.

            • james 111 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Kotahi so you would like to see a seperate justice system for Maoris so they dont go to prison so much Look forward to Shearer selling that to the Electorate in 2014 a sure winner I bet lol. Can just imagine what your mate Winston will say about it

              • McFlock

                rofl:
                   
                “bzzt —does not compute— insert generic non-sequiter to feign cognition— add Winston or Labour reference to provoke outrage—system restore—nominal behaviour restart—“

                • Kotahi Tane Huna

                  Oh well I tried 🙂

                  It’s a good thing James111 wasn’t there when Sir Isaac Newton had his revelatory encounter with the apple….

                  Newton: “Ye gods, that explains it!”
                  James111: “It’s a green apple.”
                  Newton: “What has colour got to do with it?”
                  James111: “So, you’d like to see them cooked differently!”

      • Bored 9.1.2

        James, you will note that I was not proposing one law for Maori. You are attempting to put words into my mouth: my comments are not meant to be racist, I suspect your response is.

        Please crawl back into the primeval ooze beneath the rock you slid out from under.

  10. Capitalism needs to create criminals to keep its middle class happy.
    http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2011/09/riots-from-looting-to-expropriation.html

    • james 111 10.1

      Dave One could equally state that Socialism needs to create a welfare state so they can control the masses

      • McFlock 10.1.1

        only if one has no understanding of socialism, particularly democratic socialism. 

  11. grumpy 11

    Seems to me that if you want to reduce the numbers in jail you either;

    a. reduce offending, or
    b. reduce sentences, or
    c. decriminalise some current offences.

    which way do we want to go?

    • Te Reo Putake 11.1

      d: Create some jobs and pay proper rates for the work done.
       
      By way of illustration; Whanganui in the eighties still had a large employer in the Eastown Railway workshops. Most workers lived locally, either in Wanganui East or across the river in Aramoho. Nowadays, there is no railway workshop, but a notorious gang problem. Guess which suburbs the gangs mostly live in? That’s right, Wanganui East and Aramoho.
       
      Where there are no jobs, crime fills the gap.

      • james 111 11.1.1

        How does that work Labour had lees people umeployed due to better economic circumstances, but the crime rate was higher than now?

        • muzza 11.1.1.1

          James you know that statistics , just like your keyboard skills, can be fixed!

          • Bored 11.1.1.1.1

            Actually, the crime figures are skewed the wrong way because there is insufficient prosecution of the swindling financiers etc responsible for the fraud (as demonstrated by SFC – one of the few prosecuted).

      • grumpy 11.1.2

        Nope, that’s still “a”.

    • muzza 11.2

      What about the root causes G?

      I’m a big fan of addressing the real issues!

      • grumpy 11.2.1

        I presume you mean (a) then…….

        First identify the “root causes” and that seems like a very difficult thing to do objectively.

        Just crying “racism” won’t wash.

        • muzza 11.2.1.1

          Well language can give (a) more than one meaning – reduce offending, can take various forms, but if having to choose one of your list, then that would be a starting point.

          “Just crying “racism” won’t wash”

          NZ has become a scared, mean, dumbed down country, where we are told we are offended at every turn. It would help to look at why the PC movement came about, and whats its purpose is likely to have been, and where it has gotten us overall.

          Meaningful debate has been removed from our landscape, and the leaders debate is left as the example to the public which gets associated with the word debate. This could not be further from the truth.

          Until regular people in this country take back control of the discussions, the slide will continue, its as simple as that!

          • grumpy 11.2.1.1.1

            ….common sense from muzza????…..can’t be Monday?????

          • Kotahi Tane Huna 11.2.1.1.2

            So far as I can see the only person trying to control how people discuss things is you.

            • muzza 11.2.1.1.2.1

              Kind of hard to tell, but given the echo of the word control, I will assume you aimed that at me…

              Having a bad day One?

              • Kotahi Tane Huna

                1. Yes, I did:

                “the PC movement…
                Meaningful debate has been removed from our landscape…
                Until regular people in this country take back control of the discussions, the slide will continue…”

                Regular people?

                2. No.

    • Lanthanide 11.3

      In an ideal world, grumpy, all 3.

  12. Clashman 12

    Another antiquated system that doesnt really work and needs a fairly radical rethink. The deterrent and rehabilitation effects of prisons are negligable and the costs are unsustainable particularly as it seems we are trying to catch up to the US incarceration rate. Its probably the only solution for violent criminals but there has to be a better and more effective way of dealing with the rest.

  13. DH 13

    “Crime is the child of poverty”

    I think there’s a need to quantify the term ‘crime’ here, only certain types of crime that bring imprisonment can be linked to poverty. There’s probably more while collar thieves than there are burglars & muggers, for example, but it’s the latter who end up in jail.

    We fill our prisons up with people who commit violent crimes, drug and physical crimes against property such as burglary. Look at the prison stats and you’ll find that over 90% of those types of inmates left high school with no qualifications and can be (broadly) considered uneducated. Take that a step further & one can state with reasonable authority that, generally, educated people don’t commit violent crimes. They can still be crooks, just different crooks, and for whatever reasons we don’t put them in jail so much.

    I think it’s more complex than a poverty/crime dichotomy.

    • grumpy 13.1

      Very true DH. We are talking “comparitivity” here. All countries imprison people pretty much for the crimes we do. Most for longer.

      Why then do we have such a high rate of imprisonment?

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.1

        All countries imprison people pretty much for the crimes we do. Most for longer.

        Where did you get that idea from?

      • DH 13.1.2

        I think its because for the last 30yrs successive governments have cast adrift the sector of society who are most predicated towards a life of criminal offending.

        National represent venality & selfishness, they don’t give a shit about the less fortunate. They have to pay some lip service to the issue to retain a degree of social cohesion but again it’s selfish in nature; they don’t want to be mugged on the streets they abandoned.

        Labour lost their way & just swept the underprivileged under the carpet with welfare handouts, it’s been apparent for a very long time that Labour really don’t want to know about them. I can’t recall a single initiative from Labour in the last 20-30 years that lead directly to creating jobs for the low socio-economic groups. Instead they stuffed the civil service with handsomely paid graduates.

        Crime may well have a lot to do with poverty but IMO it’s also a penance; a message that us comfy white collar class aren’t the only people living on this land. Unfortunately few people seem to receive the message.

        • Bored 13.1.2.1

          Beautifully put, could not agree more. The problem with those of us one step removed is that so long as the problem is “over there” we don’t care. Long term that’s a recipe for getting mugged.

  14. james 111 14

    Have you ever noitced that Idealism is fine but as it approaches reality it becomes cost prohibitive.

    • McFlock 14.1

      when did you last approach reality?

    • prism 14.2

      Idealism needs to have a pragmatic filter I think – with the thought ‘What is achievable here and if it isn’t much, how best can we expand its positive outcomes’. Instead it ends up just choosing the immediate goal with the biggest personal payoff which can lead to losing the whole impetus and integrity of an organisation.

      Idealism on its own can be a pain when there is no practicality applied but it keeps us from being smug and cold in our attitudes to others trying to manage a better life.

      • james 111 14.2.1

        Prism totally agree with you pragmatism can easily go missing, only to be taken over by the faction that is the most vocal. Not always the majority

  15. her 15

    There should be no victimless crimes. A simple fair solution that saves billions every year.
    The rest of the western world is moving in that direction and it’s only a matter of time before NZ and the US catch on to the benefits to all society.

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

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