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Archive for 1 July 2013

Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams

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– Politics on Nine To Noon –

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– Monday 1 July 2013 –

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– Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams –

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Starting today, as with Citizen A,  this blog will be posting regular links to  Radio NZ’s Politics on Nine to Noon and Focus on on Politics. This will give visitors to this blog access to three excellent political programmes on one website. Click on the “Broadcast” category at the top navigation bar for past programmes.

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Radio NZ logo - Politics on nine to noon

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Click to Listen: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams ( 25′ 07″ )

 

  • The Auckland transport plan is out today,
  • The Ikaroa-Rawhitit result and its implications,
  • What lessons NZ’s Labour can learn from Labor over the Tasman?

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ

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Nigella Lawson, GCSB, Christchurch re-build, and Malcolm Burgess on Campbell Live

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Nigella Lawson

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Is that the applause of millions of women (and men!) I can hear as Nigella Lawson re-takes control of her life?

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Nigella Lawson moves out, blender and all

Acknowledgement: Fairfax Media – Nigella Lawson moves out, blender and all

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If there’s any possible good that came out of this ghastly incident, it is that women (and a few men, perhaps) around the world have witnessed the stark reality that spousal abuse is not confined to just their lives. Even the rich and famous can be affected by this kind of violence.

On 18 March 2013, Judge Peter Boshier (Law Commissioner);  Jennifer Wademan (Barrister), and  Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts (Solicitor) presented a report entitled Domestic Violence and the Impact on Children’s Lives at the 6th World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights in Sydney, Australia.

The contents of their speech was disturbing, as well as instructive;

For a country with just over 4 million people, New Zealand has a staggering 80,000 domestic violence cases a year. This level of abuse has resulted in over 200 women and children being killed as a result of domestic violence in 12 years and countless numbers of adults and children carryingthe physical and psychological effects of that violence with them through their lives. The cost inhuman and economic terms is horrific.

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New Zealand has a history of high levels of domestic violence, in part, we believe, because we are open about the problems that face us. While international research estimates that up to 80% ofdomestic violence goes unreported, and certainly that has been our experience in practice, in 2012 New Zealand Police recorded almost 47,000 incidents of domestic disputes, and initiated almost 100,000 Family Violence investigations. Of these investigations, children were present in almost 60% of cases.  If we assume the average household has 2 children, then at least 65,000 children were affected by domestic violence, in one year, in a country as small as New Zealand. Tragically, a third of all deaths from domestic violence involve children.

Source: Ministry of Justice – Domestic Violence and the Impact on Children’s Lives

I have little doubt that Ms Lawson’s experience at the hands of her husband three weeks ago was a nasty, violent, and humiliating experience. I also strongly suspect that what went on behind the walls, closed doors, and curtained windows of their family home was most likely  no less violent.

If Charles Saatchi could almost throttle his wife, in public, in a fit of rage – god only knows what he got up to out of sight.

There may well be women in our own country, also  the victims of spousal abuse, who have seen Ms Lawson make the decisive move to leave her violent husband and seek refuge elsewhere. Abused women and their children may see Ms Lawson as having escaped – and this may encourage them to do likewise.

How many will be thinking,

If she can do it, then so can I!

Whether Nigella Lawson may appreciate it or not, she may well have saved the lives of women and children here in New Zealand and around the world.

The next time I see her on TV, I’ll see Ms Lawson in an entirely new light; a woman with inner strength and a survivor.

Let’s hope others do as well.

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I have a date…

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… with a Parliamentary Select Committee in a week’s time.

Yep, I sent in a submission to the Intelligence and Security Committee regarding the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill. This is the Bill which will legitamise the Bureau’s spying on 4.4 million New Zealanders.

As the Clerk of the Committee, Lesley Ferguson wrote in an email to me,

Thank you for your submission on the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill. A copy of your submission has been distributed to members of the Intelligence and Security Committee which is considering this bill.

 The Intelligence and Security Committee is to hear submissions orally. In accordance with your request to meet with the committee to give further evidence, a date and time of  Friday, 5 July 2013 from 10.20am to 10.40am has been allocated for you to appear before the committee to present your oral evidence.

 The committee will have read your written submission. It will therefore not be necessary to read your written submission to them. Instead, the committee will be expecting you to elaborate further on your written evidence.

 The venue for the hearing is Select Committee Meeting Room 2, Bowen House, Parliament Buildings, Wellington. Please ensure you are at the venue at least 15 minutes before your allotted time.

 Please provide me with the name(s) and designation(s) of those who will be presenting to the committee.

 Your submission is released publicly upon you giving oral evidence to the committee.  The committee intends that hearings will be conducted in public. You may however apply for any or all of your evidence to be heard in private or secret. The committee would require reasons before agreeing to such a request. Please contact me if you wish to make such an application.

 While the evidence you provide to the committee is covered by parliamentary privilege, please note that a Court ruling held that a person may be liable in defamation if that person makes a defamatory statement in a situation that is protected by parliamentary privilege (such as an oral presentation to a select committee) and later affirms that statement (without actually repeating it) on an occasion that is not protected by parliamentary privilege.

 

 Now all I have to do is figure out what the heck I want to say…

I have a couple of ideas.

Anyone else?

By the way – I wonder what the SIS and GCSB thought of my submission?

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The Christchurch re-build…

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… seems to have engendered a detente between the Mayor and Christchurch City Council on one side, and Gerry Brownlee and Central Government on the other. It’s probably a somewhat shakey detente – one liable to crack, splinter, and fall apart at even a low  political seismic event.

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Govt announces Christchurch rebuild funding

Acknowledgement:  NZ Herald – Govt announces Christchurch rebuild funding

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It was only a month ago that Key was pressuring Christchurch City Council to sell it’s strategic assets to finance part of the rebuild,

It is for the council to say ‘do you want the nice-to-haves.  Then they’ll ask how are you going to pay? That could be through rates or asset sales.

Key referred to  “partially floating assets, so the council remained in control but still raised money”, was “ incredibly logical .

Acknowledgement: Fairfax Media – Asset sales could help pay for rebuild – Key

Mayor Bob Parker and the Christchurch City Council rightly rejected the idea. After all, why should Christchurch be asset-stripped simply because of events beyond it’s control?

At least National’s decision to partially privatise state assets was as a result of it’s own folly by giving away billions in tax cuts that the country could ill afford. Future generations will be the ones to pay for National’s short-sighted decisions.

If Christchurch needs extra cash to assist in it’s rebuild then I have a suggestion: bonds.

Like the War Bonds during World War 2,

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War Bonds

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But instead of Bonds for Destruction – these would be Bonds for Construction! Not Bonds to Bomb – but Bonds To Build!

If every New Zealander, on average, bought $100 worth of  Bonds To Build that would assist Christchurch to the tune of around $440 million.

The government could assist by diverting  student debt repayments from New Zealanders abroad, into Bonds To Build.

It might even help if National post-poned further partial SOE sales and instead encouraged “mums  and dads” investors to buy Bonds instead.

Imagine stirring up our latent patriotism as Kiwis; getting kids involved to save their “pennies” and with every dollar, they bought a Bond To Build! I’m imagining Campbell Live jumping onboard and going school to school to film children buying Bonds.

Perhaps it sounds ‘goofy’ – but if bonds were useful during wartime, then just maybe we could resurrect this old idea and put it to good use again.

I know our household would be “in”!

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Malcolm Burgess on Campbell Live

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On Wdednesday night, 26 June, TV3’s Third Degree presented evidence which was the clearest indication to date  that Robin Bain did indeed commit familiy annihilation, killing his wife and children, and then turning the rifle on himself.

The evidence was in the form of marks on Robin’s thumb and finger which have been recognised by forearms experts as gunpowder residue – caused when a rifle clip is reloaded, and thethumb or finger scraps against the top of the ammo-clip.

Pictures of Robin Bain’s hand, and the gunpowder residue marks are visible – when you know what to look for,

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Bain case - Two dark lines on thumb point to father as killer -  image

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robin_bain_hand_with_magazine_marks_circled__david_bain_case__2_3_4_N2

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The twin lines are the same width as the top of the ammo clip, resting to the left of  Robin Bain’s hand. Third Degree conducted tests with the rifle and found that similar marks were left on the thumbs/fingers when others re-loaded the rifle; twin streaks. Gunpowder residue.

The following evening (27 June), John Campbell interviewed Asst Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess,

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Campbell Live - David Bain - asst police commissioner malcolm burgess - new evidence - gunpowder residue

Acknowledgement: TV3 – Campbell Live – ‘It isn’t a powder smudge’ – Asst Police Commissioner

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Burgess’s responses to John Campbell’s questions were enlightening…

At 5:00, Burgess suggests that the marks are not gunpowder residue but cuts,

“ …one of the other alternatives that hasn’t been properly considered is that this is in fact a nick on Robin Bain’s thumb…”

John Campbell then pointed out that Police Pathologist, Dr Alex Dempster photographed and recorded every cut and abrasion on Robin Bain’s hands, and said, “he appears not to have photographed the cuts”.

Burgess couldn’t answer Campbell’s question, except postulating that “beyond perhaps observing that he would’ve clearly been  interested in fresh injuries   this indeed, if it is a nick or a cut,  does not appear to be a fresh injury”.

Campbell then pointed out that the distance between the two marks on Robin Bain’s thumb was “absolutely consistent with the distance – absolutely consistent with the distance in  the magazine [clip] – and  absolutely consistent with the kind of smudging that we see from the residue of  people who have  been loading magazines after discharging”.

Burgess steadfastly rejected the new evidence and said,

I’m not convinced that what we’re seeing is indeed what  was portrayed last night”.

Campbell then asked Burgess if the NZ Police would conduct similar tests to that carried out by the Third Degree team on 26 June. It was a fair question.

However Burgess’s response was luke-warm, at best,

Well, I guess we’re always open to look at exploring,  or I guess eliminating doubt, John, but that works from the principle that indeed what we’re seeing there is a powder smudge. I guess what we’re saying and what we’re suggesting by virtue of the fingerprint evidence is that perhaps that’s not indeed the case.  That’s it’s a cut, or a nick to the thumb, or some other mark there rather than a powder smudge.  So I think you’ve got to be a little careful which, what the basis of your hypothesis is before you start reaching [for] firm conclusions. We’re very happy, and indeed had we known this story was going to air in the form that it was , we would have been very happy to discuss the fingerprint evidence with Mr Bain’s team and see whether that enabled them to reach a [garbled] sustainable conclusion

When Campbell asked if the Police was not going to “stage any kind of test” to see if it was possible that the marks were gunpowder residue, Burgess replied,

Well I think the key for us is to try and  determine whether in fact  it’s an injury, whether in fact  the fingerprint evidence  can help us make that call – ”

Campbell, “How will you go about  determining that?

“ – and that therefore  in fact eliminates or tends to eliminate the possibility that it’s [gun]powder [residue].”

Burgess added near the end of the interview,

We’re interested in trying to establish the truth

No, he’s not.

He’s not trything to establish the truth whatsoever. His purpose is  solely to protect his backside and that of the NZ Police as a whole.

Every response from Burgess referred to “fingerprint evidence”. In Burgess’s  mind,  according to those  finger-print records taken by Police in 1994, the marks were  “cuts or nicks”, and not gunpowder residue.

He has already pre-judged this issue and come to a pre-determined conclusion: they are “cuts or nicks”, and nothing more.

Is it any wonder than police have stuffed up so many investigations, which have resulted in innocent people ending up in prison? How can an investigation be conducted with an open mind if officers like Burgess are pre-disposed to an outcome?

This is the kind of thinking that over-looks critical evidence.

This is the kind of thinking that sends innocent people to prison.

This is the kind of thinking  that misinterprets evidence.

For example, Robin Bain’s fingerprint file doesn’t show two cuts at all. It shows one mark on the lower part of his thumb that could be anything (which, remember, Police Pathologist, Alex Dempster, did not record as a cut or abrasion when he examined Robin Bain’s  hands),

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Campbell Live - David Bain - asst police commissioner malcolm burgess - new evidence - gunpowder residue - fingerprints

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So where is the second “nick or cut” on Robin Bain’s thumb-print? It isn’t there.

I won’t be waiting for the Police to review this new evidence. Burgess has made it abundantly clear that they have already dismissed the marks as “nicks or cuts”. Accepting the marks as gunpowder residue would mean the following;

  1. The clearest evidence yet that Police bungled the most basic aspects of the murder/suicide investigation,
  2. The best evidence to date (aside from the bloodied sockprints) that Robin Bain was the killer.
  3. An inability for the Police to consider new evidence where it threatens their image and reputation.

Of those three points, I find #3 the most disturbing.

With a supercilious smile and more than a hint of arroganance, Asst Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess  essentially told the public to “go get stuffed”; the NZ Police  will not countenance new evidence that may threaten their credibility or reputation.

This is ominous in a way that I can barely describe;  the Police are refusing to  look at new evidence impartially.

Does this mean  that their  first obligation is to themselves and their own reputation,  and not the law?

If so, they have become a law unto themselves.

If you doubt what I am telling you –  look at the video again.

Now tell me it doesn’t make you uneasy.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 29 June 2013.

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