Home > The Body Politic > The “man ban”; animal testing; GCSB Bill; and compulsory miltary training

The “man ban”; animal testing; GCSB Bill; and compulsory miltary training

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The “man ban”…

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Labour’s hierarchy has  dumped the so-called “man ban” (hat-tip to right wing bloggers for mental short-hand term which is little more than  a  knee-jerk emotional response requiring no deep thinking).

As Labour leader David Shearer pointed out,

The distraction is turning our attention away from the issues that most New Zealanders are concerned about. They don’t want to know about what is happening in the Labour Party.

What they want to know is what we are doing on the issues that affect them. That’s power prices, home ownership and good jobs.”

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Labour backs away from man-ban plan

Indeed.

Looking back at the last couple of days, this has become a plaything for right-wing bloggers and the Topic Of The Day for lazy journos who can’t be bothered spending half a day researching on issues such as  “ministerial  release progress reports” which are little more than propaganda puff-pieces for National.

As Andrew Geddis pointed on on The Pundit,

My first thought is that the coverage of this issue is pretty revealing of the crappy state of political journalism in NZ. The media have essentially taken the narrative spin of a couple of explicitly pro-National blogsites (complete with the manufactured slogan of “man ban”) and replicated it verbatim – after searching out a few disaffected Labour-connected voices to underpin it. There’s been no attempt to set the issue in context (I’ve yet to see any discussion about the general issue of the ongoing, static under-representation of women in NZ’s Parliament), no attempt to look at overseas precedent (it took me 2 minutes on google to discover that “all-women short lists” are par for the course in the UK) and no attempt to compare Labour’s gender-representation record with that of anyone else.”

Acknowledgement: The Pundit – Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors

This was not handled correctly from Day One.

When it first came to my attention, my own response was a head shake; groan of despair; and a face-palm. (see previous blogpost: Facepalm #1: Labour) I could immediatly guess  the consequences; the response from the Right; and the frenzied headlines in my minds’ eye.

I was not disappointed.

Cameron, David, et al, had their fun. (Which is ironic considering that ACT is a Rich White Man’s Club that shafted it’s one successful female MP, and National has only 25% female MPs – the worst of the five main multi-MP parties.)

The greatest irony here is that encouraging a 50/50 male/female ration of  party candidates is nothing new to New Zealand politics. The old Alliance Party had a strict policy encouraging gender, geographical, race, etc, spread over it’s Party List rankings.

There was no grand announcement on this policy.

We Just Did It.

As such it never made headlines and people simply accepted that gender equality was an issue of plain Kiwi fairness and not this nebulous concept of “PC gone mad” – whatever that might be.

This is where Labour mis-calculated. They should simply have proceeded with the policy and not bothered with any media release.

By making a Big Deal about it, they simply fed the lazy mainstream media looking for Shock! Horror! headlines,  and voracious right-wing blogs which are always on the look out to deflect attention away from National’s problems (and they are legion, believe me).

My suggestion to Labour – Just Do It anyway.

And screw Cameron Slater, David Farrar, et al. Those two National sycophants won’t be voting Labour anyway, any time soon.

After Labour achieves 50% women MPs, it will then be up to National to play “catch up” – and right wing bloggers and commentators to explain why the Party of  Aspiration can’t do better than 25% female representation.

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Animal testing…

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The Greens have announced an attempt to amend the Psychoactive Substances Bill in Parliament  to stop animal testing for party pills.

This heinous aspect to the Bill would permit the exploitation of  animals to test party drugs to determine safety for human consumption.

In a recent blogpost, the NZ Herald was taken to task for mis-representing the Green position on animal testing (see: NZ Herald mis-represents Green Party spokesperson on synthetic ‘highs’). The journo responsible for that mis-reporting – Kurt Bayer –  has never responded to queries from this blogger as to whether the Herald would publish a correction to the errors in the story.

Even right wing, pro-business ACT MP, John Banks, has stated his opposition to using animals to test party drugs (see: Greens leading bid to stop animal testing for party pills).

Let me be totally blunt on this issue;

  1. If adults are foolish enough to ingest these “party” drugs or smoke synthetic cannabis – that is their decision. Let the consequences fall on their own heads if, after all the publicity, they still decide to use this crap.
  2. I’m all for testing. Go for it.
  3. But I see no reason to use animals to test substances that have no practical benefits, and are simply “fun drugs”.  It is obscene that National is even considering allowing  harm to come to animals simply to test these nasty drugs, which are  for “recreational” purposes.
  4. It is an indictment of our society that Parliament could even consider such an abuse of animals.

I hope National sees sense and deletes that part of the Bill.

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GCSB Bill – Key, Shearer, Dunne, & Peters

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Key is desperate to pass both the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Amendment Bill and Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill – both of which extend the powers of the State to access our communications;  surveil New Zealanders; and store vast amounts of information on us.

Once upon a time, if the State wanted more powers for the Police or spy agencies, they had to justify it with the public and seek consent.

Now, in 2013AD, it is the public that has to defend it’s right to privacy and why the various arms of the State should keep out of our lives.

It is hugely ironic that ACT, right ring bloggers, and other commentators support these two odious pieces of legislation.

Right wing parties such  ACT  usually advocate vigorously for reducing State involvement in our lives,

To this end the ACT Party upholds the following principles:

  • that individuals are the rightful owners of their own lives and therefore have inherent rights and responsibilities; and

  • that the proper purpose of government is to protect such rights and not to assume such responsibilities.

Acknowledgement: ACT Principles

The latest news is that Winston Peters and Peter Dunne – both with an eye on public opinion and the growing unease caused by these two Bills – are reviewing their support.

Peter Dunne

Mr Dunne says the review panel is a good start, but remains unconvinced that the bill in its current form provides enough protections to individuals and their private information. He says he doesn’t want to go into too much detail about other changes under negotiation.

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – GCSB bill needs more changes – Dunne

Winston Peters

Mr Peters was not impressed with the changes Mr Key has agreed to by way of giving the oversight watchdog, the Inspector General of Security and Intelligence, a panel of two to act as a sounding board.

“The surveillance panel was right only if the law was right and the law is not right.

“This bill does not work.”

Acknowledgement:  NZ Herald –Spy bill hits roadblock as Peters lays into Key’s changes

Both men must be considering one simple reality; as the implications of these two Bills grows in the  public’s  consciousness, do they really want to be associated with a growing Surveillance State; loss of privacy; and Big Brother?

These two Bills may be fast becoming  National’s “shower heads” moment.

The questions that demand answers are;

  • Do Winston  Peters and Peter Dunne want to be dragged down by National’s agenda on this issue?
  • Do they want to be tarred with the blackened brush of Big Brother?
  • Who stands for the rights of citizens?
  • And are Labour and the Greens prepared to turn the tide back?

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And compulsory military training

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I want to say goodbye - gunman's last wish

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – I want to say goodbye – gunman’s last wish

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This story undermines notions expressed by  folk with simplistic views that “a spot of military training” is all that’s needed to “buck up the ideas” of alienated young men and women.

Giving military training and putting guns into the hands of angry young men who feel resentful against society, is not a panacea for our social problems.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 11 July 2013.

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= fs =

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  1. mcclairy
    14 July 2013 at 10:47 am

    Sorry Frank, but I am still at the stage of ‘equal opportunity’ and ‘best person for the job’ stage. which by the way, could see an all female Labour/Green/Mana/NZ First Party one day as more and more women are crashing through that glass ceiling and showing their splendid worth in so many areas in society at large……the best person for the job just happens to be women angle in this scenario 🙂 🙂 Women themselves have earned the respect they now hold without the patronising positive discrimination. UK Labour may have got away with it but they have an enormous number of MP’s in their parliament that makes it possible to put up selected women in selected constituencies to achieve gender balance.
    Then there is ‘Identity politics’ which comes in many forms with its worst manifestation Zionist Israel. Political parties based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, whatever, can be a very slippery slope indeed. Imagine a Muslim Brotherhood rearing its ugly head one day in NZ, or a Papist Party, or ‘name your religion’ party and as a loyal proponent of separation of church and state I would be horrified. Then again I am not unhappy to see people of various religious persausions within a broad based party and that includes atheists.
    There just has to be a better way of achieving gender equality than that being proposed of late.Then again, I, like most, have been wrong on many an issue so open to persuasion but it had better be good. I post this with some trepidation…………. 🙂

    • 14 July 2013 at 1:04 pm

      And I agree that’s the other side of having a quota. or positive discrimination policy. It might be seen that having a quota is a form of patronising.

      In a way, The Alliance did away with the whole curly question by automatically alternating genders of the Party list from the very beginning. It never became a problem . So it was up the the Party members to pick who went where on the List. (I was at one of the Regional Selection meetings and more than one journo remarked how good-natured, transparent, and honest the process was. I think it was because there was such a unity of purpose that, in the end, it almost didn’t matter who got high up on the list. The end game was to put an end to neo-liberalism and turn the tide back to egalitarianism.)

      Then there’s also the whole question of what constitutes “merit” and who decides it. It could be argued that those who rule, make the rules… (Excuse the cliche, please.)

  2. mcclairy
    14 July 2013 at 11:13 am

    The last word on the GCSB and the Surveillance State…..

    “So what is a poor National Security State to do? Well, they might consider behaving themselves. Stop doing all the terrible things that grieve people like me and Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning and so many others. Stop the bombings, the invasions, the endless wars, the torture, the sanctions, the overthrows, the support of dictatorships, the unmitigated support of Israel; stop all the things that make the United States so hated, that create all the anti-American terrorists, that compel the National Security State – in pure self defense – to spy on the entire world.” Noam Chomsky.

    This is what the “GCSB Five Eyes EchelonSpy System” exists for – Assisting US/UK/NATO Wars OF Terror”. Just close the bloody thing down.

    • 14 July 2013 at 11:46 am

      Wouldn’t it be a fine day, Mcclairy, when provacations the West would cease and we’d have no need for this kind of shenanigans.

      Having said that, evidently much of the spying centers of economic matters, with spy agencies trying to determine what other states will bring to the negotiating table. The GCHQ in Britrain evidency got in deep hot water of spying on trade negotiations.

      As for closing down the GCSB – well, the good thing is we’d know where the several hundred million dollars would come from to feed children in schools.

      No secret where our preference would lie, eh?

  3. mcclairy
    14 July 2013 at 1:52 pm

    The PM is working for corporate USA as the Kim Dot Com fiasco, Warner Bros, Oil exploration and drilling has shown and a forerunner to the TPPA if the leaks are anything to go by. Fair Trade is simple, it doen’t need 600 corporate reps present unless it means, and we are not stupid are we people, this is going to ensure we are about to sign over our sovereignty to corporate interests and not NZ interests. What else can you expect from a PM who is more US centric due to his former career than he is a fair dinkum Kiwi. I wouldn’t put it past him to suggest we become a US Territory like Guam and Western Samoa, but after he gets his Knighthood. Can’t become the 51st State – we upset Uncle Sam with our Anti-Nuke policy……they never forget those Yanks.

  4. Hilary
    14 July 2013 at 4:17 pm

    27th July Nationwide protests against the GCSB + TICS Bills.
    http://t.co/vzoMDY6w4X

    Just thought I would throw that in there 😉

    • 14 July 2013 at 8:08 pm

      Thanks for that, Hilary.

      I think we can do better than that – I’ll put notification onto my blog’s Front Page for maximum effect. 🙂

  5. Hilary
    15 July 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Love it, you’re a champion 🙂

  1. 1 May 2015 at 8:01 am
  2. 4 October 2015 at 9:05 am
  3. 9 October 2015 at 8:02 am

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