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Posts Tagged ‘crime’

While the Left fiddles, the Right beats their war-drum

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While the Left has been fiddling about with much gnashing of teeth and tears of concern over the right of two Canadian neo-fascists to speak at an Auckland City council venue – National’s focus has been laser-like at regaining power in 2020.

Like rust, the Right doesn’t sleep. Their failure to install a fourth-term National government came about only because of a fatal mis-step by (most likely) someone in the National Party/Government in a clumsy, ham-fisted ploy to undermine Winston Peters and cripple NZ First in last year’s general election.

Whoever released Peters’ superannuation over-payments to the media did so with political malice-aforethought. It was an agenda to neuter Peters and his party, and it was executed with callous precision.

It failed  because Peters was canny enough to counter with a parry that revealed the ploy for the ruthless strategy that it was.

The black-ops plan succeeded in only alienating Peters and reminding him that National was not to be trusted. With thirtythree years political experience, Peters had no intention to be anyone’s “useful idiot”.

With no potential coalition partner on the horizon (unless one is manufactured by a National MP splintering from his party), National’s only remaining options are;

  1. Coalition with the Greens. Chances: worse than winning Powerball Lotto.
  2. Winning 50%-plus of the Party Vote. Chances: somewhat better than Option One.

National opened it’s 2020 election campaign with three salvos of highly publicised policy released with much fanfare at it’s recent conference.

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Charter Schools

For most middle and upper-middle class voters Charter Schools are a non-issue. Their children either attend State schools, Integrated Schools, or Private Schools. The common thread between all three is that they are established; staffed with qualified professionals; and the curriculum is bog-standard (with minor variations-on-a-theme.)

Charter Schools would appear to further  ghettoise education for lower socio-economic families – a fact already well-known as “white flight” from low-decile State schools.

National’s hard-line stance to increase Charter School numbers should it be re-elected to power is curious because it would not appear to be much of a drawcard  for propertied middleclass voters who tend to vote along self-interest lines.

Which indicates that the policy has other intentions; a toxic “witches’ brew” of  ideological (further) commercialisation of education and a subtle, well-camouflaged attack on teacher’s unions.

So: not specifically designed to be a vote-winning policy. More of an  weaponised attack-policy on State education and unions.

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Classroom sizes

Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising policy to be released was classroom size reduction. Made by current National Party leader, Simon Bridges on the day of the Conference opening on 29 July, he committed National to this radical (for Tories) social policy in clear english;

“All our kids should get the individual attention they deserve. That’s why I want more teachers in our primary schools, to ensure smaller class sizes for our children.

Schools currently get one teacher for every 29 nine and ten year olds. It’s lower than that for younger children.

Those ratios should be reduced.”

Mr Bridges’ newfound concern for classroom sizes harks back to several speeches made by former PM, John Key, in 2007 and 2008, where he lamented growing social problems in New Zealand.

In 2007;

“As New Zealanders, we have grown up to believe in and cherish an egalitarian society. We like to think that our children’s futures will be determined by their abilities, their motivation and their hard work. They will not be dictated by the size of their parent’s bank balance or the suburb they were born in.”

And again in 2007;

“During his State of the Nation speech on Tuesday, Mr Key indicated National would seek to introduce a food in schools programme at our poorest schools in partnership with the business community.

[…]

“I approached Wesley Primary School yesterday, a decile 1 school near McGehan Close, a street that has had more than its fair share of problems in recent times. I am told Wesley Primary, like so many schools in New Zealand, has too many kids turning up hungry.

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“We all instinctively know that hungry kids aren’t happy and healthy kids.”

In 2008;

“This time a year ago, I talked about the underclass that has been allowed to develop in New Zealand. Labour said the problem didn’t exist. They said there was no underclass in New Zealand.”

Once elected into power, National quiety dropped it’s concern for social problems. Social Development Minister, Paula Bennett, did not even want to countenance measuring growing child poverty in this country. It suddenly became the fault of the poor.

Now Simon Bridges has dusted off National’s Manual for Crying Crocodile Tears.

Ironically, in tapping into parental fears of over-burdened schools and their children suffering because of over-worked teachers, Mr Bridges’ policy commitment stands diametrically opposed to National’s doomed policy announced on 16 May 2012 to increase classroom sizes;

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The policy was announced by gaff-prone former education minister, Hekia Parata, who  clumsily (if honestly) admitted that the move was purely for fiscal reasons;

”The reality is that we are in a tight economic environment. In order to make new investment in quality teaching and leading, we have to make some trade-offs… ”

Teachers – and more importantly, voting middle-class parents were having none of it. National’s cost-cutting of welfare, health, and state housing was one thing. But interfering with their Little Johnny and Janey’s education? Like hell.

Especially when it was revealed that then-Prime Minister, John Key’s own children attended private schools with… smaller class sizes!

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The over-powering stench of hypocrisy further infuriated the voting public. The policy lasted twentyone days before it was hastily dumped;

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Simon Bridges was unequivocal:  a National government would spend more on education;

“National will invest more to make sure our kids get the best quality start to their education, but we will also demand nothing but the highest standards.”

However, National has not explained how they will pay for the cost of additional teachers. Especially as National continues to  advocate for a billion dollar mega-prison to be built;  promised to dump the Coalition’s fuel taxes, and has not ruled out offering election tax-cut bribes.

As National has been fond of demanding: where will the money come from for extra teachers? Is this National’s own multi-billion dollar fiscal hole?

It was left to Labour’s own education minister, Chris Hipkins to point out;

“It’s very expensive to make even a modest change to class sizes and I think that’s something we want to talk to the teaching profession about.”

However, barely a day after his Conference speech, Mr Bridges was already backtracking;

Simon Bridges admits his promise of smaller class sizes may not mean fewer students per classroom.

The National leader announced a new policy to reduce the teacher-student ratio, as a centrepiece of his conference address over the weekend.

However, many primary schools run “modern learning environments” with several classes in the same room.

Bridges told Kerre McIvor National’s policy is about the number of staff per student, not the number of students per room.

” So in those modern learning environments, that may mean more teachers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean smaller classrooms.”

At least Hekia Parata’s plan to increase classroom sizes lasted three weeks.  Mr Bridges’ ersatz “commitment” did not last 24 hours.

The Coalition should be making mincemeat out of Mr Bridges’ policy u-turn.

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Crime

An oldie, but a goodie.  Tories understand how to tug the fear-strings of a sizeable chunk of the voting middle-class. National and other conservative parties around the world are (in)famous for manipulating middle-class fears on crime for electoral purposes.

One of their 2011 election hoardings explicitly exploited  those fears;

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A recent video campaign on National’s Facebook platform has gone a step further into whipping up fear and paranoia;

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This is a shameful, naked ploy to play on peoples’ fears.

It was backed up by former mercenary, and current National Party “Justice” Spokesperson, Mark Mitchell, who tried to offer “alternative facts” relating to crime figures;

The Government needs to stop looking for excuses to go soft on crime and come up with a plan to reduce crime, National’s Justice Spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

“No doubt the report today from the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor saying that being tough on crime is to blame for rising prison costs and inmate numbers is music to Andrew Little and Grant Robertson’s ears.

“They’ve been looking for excuses to loosen up bail and sentencing laws so that the Government doesn’t have to go ahead with building the new Waikeria prison and can boast about reducing prison numbers.

“But the cost of prisons cannot be an excuse not to put people in prison, if that’s where they need to be. The priority must be to ensure that victims are kept safe from violent criminals.

“We know that the overall crime rate has been decreasing, but a lot of that is due to a reduction in lower-level offending.

“Violent crime has actually gone up four per cent since 2011 and this is largely the type of crime that people get sent to prison for. This is also the type of crime that has the most serious and long-lasting impact on victims’ lives.

Which is confusing as not too long ago, National was trumpeting several propaganda infographics on their Twitter account;

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Mr Mitchell is at pains to point out that  “we know that the overall crime rate has been decreasing, but a lot of that is due to a reduction in lower-level offending” – yet the infographics above make no such distinction. On the contrary, the second “broken bottles” infographic makes clear the figures relate to “Total Recorded Crimes”.

Perhaps they should get their propaganda straight.

In a startling admission, Mr Mitchell confirmed that ““violent crime has actually gone up four per cent since 2011″. It appears that the “Three Strikes Law” – enacted the previous year in 2010 – has failed to reduce criminal offending.

The questions that  Coalition government ministers should be putting to their National Party colleagues are;

  1. Is it not irresponsible to be exploiting fear about crime for electoral purposes? How will knee-jerk rhetoric assist an intelligent debate on imprisonment and rehabilitation?
  2. If crime, imprisonment, and rehabilitation require cross-party concensus, will National continue to pursue electioneering on “tough on crime”?
  3. If National pursues a get-tough-on-crime election platform in 2020, and if they are elected to government – how will they pay for hundreds more prisoners jailed? Will National borrow a billion dollars to pay for a new mega-prison? Will health, education, DoC, and social housing budgets be cut? Will National increase GST, as they did in 2010 (despite promising not to)?
  4. What is the limit that National will tolerate for an increasing prison population?

National has made clear that it intends to play the “tough-on-crime” card at the next election. The propaganda campaign has already begun.

The Coalition Parties need to formulate a clear strategy to combat fear-mongering by a National party desperate to regain power.

The question that should be put to National is; where will the billions of dollars for new prisons come from?

The prison population has all but doubled in eighteen years, and tripled since 1987, as successive governments have ramped up “tough on crime” rhetoric and pandered to fearful low-information voters;

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Tough-on-crime may be National’s default strategy. If addressed correctly, it can also be their weakness.

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References

NZ Herald: Steven Joyce says he would have advised against leaking Winston Peters’ super details

The Daily Blog: Real reason why National are considering cutting ACT off

NZ Herald: National Party conference kicks off with nod for Simon Bridges from former Australian PM John Howard

Massey University: Education Policy Response Group (p30)

Fairfax media: Parents’ choice driving ‘eye-opening’ segregation in New Zealand schools

NZ Herald: National will cut primary school class sizes if it gets into Govt, Simon Bridges tells conference

NZ Herald: John Key’s ‘A fair go for all’ speech

Scoop media: National launches its Food in Schools programme

NZ Herald: John Key – State of the Nation speech

NZ Herald: Measuring poverty line not a priority – Bennett

NZ Herald: Key admits underclass still growing

NZ Herald: Food parcel families made poor choices, says Key

Fairfax media: Bigger class sizes announced

NZ Herald: Key called hypocrite over class sizes

Fairfax media: Backlash forces Government class size U-turn

Fairfax media: Smaller class sizes under Nats, says Simon Bridges in major speech

NewstalkZB: Simon Bridges explains smaller class size policy

Radio NZ: No promises from Hipkins on reducing class sizes

NZ Herald: Simon Bridges says scale-back of Waikeria prison flies in the face of latest prison projections

NZ Herald: Sir John Key downplays Simon Bridges’ polling ahead of National Party conference

TVNZ: Simon Bridges says he’ll dump regional fuel tax if elected

Fairfax media: Does the Government have any money for this Budget? Yes

NZ Herald: Murder and mutilation comments emerge on National’s new ‘tough on crime’ social media campaign

National Party: Prison costs cannot be excuse to go soft on crime

Twitter: National Party – The crime rate is falling under National.

Parliament Legislation: Sentencing and Parole Reform Act 2010

Fairfax media: Key ‘no GST rise’ video emerges

Fairfax media: National leader Simon Bridges talks up ‘tough on crime’ stance

Fairfax media: 20 Years of ‘tough on crime’ stance sees prison population surge

Additional

Radio NZ: Charter school report silent on educational achievement

Other Blogposts

The Daily Blog: What everyone seemed to miss in their criticism of the National Party Conference

The Daily Blog: What the 2018 National Party Conference tells us

Previous related blogposts

Weekend Revelations #3 – Greg O’Connor and criminal statistics

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 7 August 2018.

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It’s official: ACT’s Jamie Whyte is several-sandwiches-and-a-salad short of a picnic

19 September 2014 3 comments

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mad ACT tea party

 

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There aren’t very many times I agree wholeheartedly with our Dear Leader – but on this occassion I believe he spoke for those 99% of New Zealanders for whom common sense is as natural as breathing air.

ACT – with it’s long line of loopy leaders and coterie of strange MPs – has a record for saying and doing things that can best be described as “unwise” (in a Judith Collins sense of the word) – or just down-right Full Moon Barking Mad to be bluntly honest.

Case in point;

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Election 2014 - Act policy a 'recipe for disaster' - Key

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Whyte’s comments were further reported;

Dr Whyte said he had no view on what weapons shopkeepers should arm themselves with but believed firearms were appropriate, “if they felt that there was sufficient threat”.

Full. Moon. Barking. Mad.

When Whyte offered his views on incest on the blog,  “The Ruminator“, ACT’s opponants (and there are plenty of them); the MSM, and blogosphere reacted with disbelief, derision and exasperation.

Personally, I took it as the musings of an “philosopher-intellectual” who had spent way too much time isolated in dusty University halls and had only recently returned to Planet Earth to mingle with us mere humans.  Kind of akin to a left-wing Labour candidate musing out loud about enforced re-nationalisation of all privatised state assets,  or their National counterpart musing out loud about banning all trade unions. Definitely  stuff not meant for public consumption and best kept to one-self.

Except it appears that the incest gaffe was not an isolated incident, and Jamie Whyte’s insane suggestion to allow store owners to “bear arms”  now  confirms his reputation as someone whose grip on reality is questionable.

It was left up to the Prime Minister, New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores chairman, Roger Bull, and others, to inject some sanity into this American Gothic nightmare scenario that an ostensibly  sober Jamie Whyte was casually promoting as a new way of life.

Key pointed out the obvious;

“The reason I think it’s a bad idea is that firstly you’d be putting weapons in the hands of people that are not trained.

Those weapons could be used [against] the very shopkeepers themselves. It’s a recipe for disaster.”

And Roger Bull said matter-of-factly;

“Our policy has always been if there’s a robbery, you comply with the instructions of the person and you do not try to do anything quick or sudden because you don’t know the mental state [of the offender].

You comply and get them out of the way as quick as possible.”

Let me illustrate the type of  wacky-doodle idea that Whyte is flirting with.

Soon after the September 11 attacks, more than one individual – exhibiting a decidedly  dubious capacity for logic – suggested on several internet fora, that passengers be allowed  to carry guns on flights, to protect against further terrorist attacks.

Yeah. Because gunfights on aircraft flying at high altitudes, is just such an amazingly good idea! Add to the scenario of gun-packing passengers,  growing incidences of  alcohol-fuelled high-altititude  high-jinks, and the threat of hijacking becomes the least of our worries.

Take the same concept of people feeling threatened by random, high-profile crimes from 10,000 metres, and relocate it to West Auckland, and the only difference is the absence of the likelihood of explosive decompression when bullets miss their intended targets.

There is a disturbing bizarre pattern to Whyte’s pattern of “thinking”. Whether it is simplistic notions of removing the Resource Management Act or Three Strikes for burglary, his “solutions” are predicated on a naive, almost  black and white world-view, that is reminiscent of an adolescent who has yet  to come to terms with the complexities of society. Generally, pre-adolescent teenagers, when faced with pressing social issues and problems, will  arrive at simplistic, knee-jerk “solutions” based on little more than their own limited life-experiences.

For a supposedly mature, well-educated, worldly individual to express similar naive beliefs suggests that Whyte’s own intellectual development has been ‘arrested’ at some point in his youth and has not progressed to understanding that the world around him is a vastly  complex, messy, inter-twined mass of human threads. Tug on one thread, and there is no telling where that pressure will be exerted.

It does not take a genius to figure out what is wrong with the picture of allowing store owners to keep firearms for “self defence”.

Aside from how such weapons would be stored – under the counter? Easily stolen or picked up by kids. Locked away – then not much use to a store owner facing a robbery situation.

Or a gunfight in a store with other customers present – who else would be injured or killed?

Whyte obviously has not thought the issue through to it’s ultimate, deadly conclusion.  And if he has, and if he is simply exploiting the tragedy of  murdered shop-keepers for political gain to win votes – what does that make him?

I would be hard-pressed to work out which is worse; a parliamentary aspirant with a stupid idea that would most likely end up killing more innocent people?

Or a parliamentary aspirant with an idea that is exploitative of other people’s grief , just to win votes?

Even the right-wing, lock’em-up-throw-away-the-key, Sensible Sentencing spokesperson, Ruth Money, opposed “a crazy increase of firearms behind every counter“.

When even the so-called “Sensible Sentencing” recognise a patently lunatic proposal, you just know it’s a step too far into Wacky-doodle Land

Perhaps Whyte should have stuck with legalising  incest. After all, what’s the worst that can result from incest? Idiot people with idiot ideas?

 

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References

NZ Herald:  Act policy a ‘recipe for disaster’ – Key

The Ruminator: Mr Ryght: An interview with ACT leader: Jamie Whyte

Previous related blogposts

ACT leader, Jamie Whyte, refutes cliched stereotype of solo-mothers?

Letter to the Editor: A great business opportunity, courtesy of ACT

And this is why we call them Right Wing Nut Jobs


 

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ACT

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 14 September 2014

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The lunatics are running the Asylum

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political pressure - how it works

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Nearly two years ago, Finance Minister Bill English expressed  a rather startling frank admission;  that prisons were a “moral and fiscal failure” (see: Prisons: ‘moral and fiscal failure’?)

As the ODT article reported,

Mr English said the plans had been in the pipeline for some years and were part of “this Government’s policy and public pressure for tougher sentences and a safer community”. But, he added, he hoped it would be the last prison the Government built because “they’re very, very expensive: $250,000 a bed [in capital costs] and $90,000 [per prisoner] to run it, and when we’re tight for money, it would be good if we could have … less young people coming into the … pipeline where they start with a minor offence and end up with a 10-year sentence.”

Mr English might have dispensed with the phrase “when we’re tight for money” because if, for large numbers of those convicted of committing lesser crimes, prisons do not work – over time, considerable evidence shows, they make communities less safe rather than more – it is arguably irrelevant whether we are tight for money or not.

Acknowledgment: IBID

It was an unusually candid admission, as right wing politicians often use the “law and order” mantra to (a) frighten people  and (b) promise to ‘crack down on crime’. National used this strategy in 2011,

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National hoarding staying strong on crime

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One of National’s “get tough on crime” policies was it’s so-called “Three Strikes” law – the  Sentencing and Parole Reform Act – passed two years ago  in May, 2011.

The system of ‘strikes’ would be applied for after each conviction, and escalate sentencing;

* Strike one: Judge decides sentence, gives a warning, offender eligible for parole.

* Strike two: Judge decides sentence. No parole.

* Strike three: Maximum jail term for that offence. No parole, except for manslaughter (minimum non-parole period of 20 years).

The list of crimes covered by the Three Strikes law is listed here: Sentencing and Parole Reform Act.

On 26 May,  then-Corrections Minister Judith Collins, rejected  criticisms that a conviction under the Three Strike offences could be for something minor,

“This bill deliberately puts in place an escalating regime of penalties, and I make no apology for that. An offender who is being sentenced at stage three has committed a third serious violent offence and has received two previous warnings about the consequences of re-offending in this way.”

Acknowledgment:  Controversy continues after three strikes bill passed

Despite Collins’ and other National/ACT MPs assurance, it appears that the Three Strikes law will soon swallow up Elijah Akeem Whaanga (21).

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Anger at 14-year strike 2 warning

Acknowledgment: Dominion Post –  Anger at 14-year strike 2 warning

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Only psycopathic, rightwing nutjobs were applauding this tragic waste of human life, and subsequent waste of tax-payers’ money,

Justice Minister Judith Collins said the case showed the law was working. Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar agreed, saying the sentence of two-and-a-half years’ jail with no parole was “fantastic”.

Acknowledgment:  IBID

Whaanga, according to the article (and reading between the lines) may be afflicted with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder – a nasty condition which affects the brain and mental developments of  unborn babies within the womb. It is caused by alcohol consumption by the pregnant mother.

The symptoms can include,

  • Learning disabilities,
  • poor academic achievement, math skills, abstraction,
  • difficulties with impulse control,
  • social perception,
  • problems with communication,
  • memory,
  • lack of attention,
  • judgment

See: Wikipedia – Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

Having worked with people with this condition, I can confirm that  mental impairment can be considerable, and no less a disability than other intellectual/mental disabilities. In many instances, a low IQ is clearly apparent.

If Whaanga has FASD, then putting him away for fourteen years would be tantamount to locking someone up with a mental disability who has difficulty managing and balancing concepts of right, wrong, responsibility, and consequences.

As Judge Adeane said,

“When you next steal a hat or a cellphone or a jacket or a skateboard you will be sent to the High Court and there you will be sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment without parole.”

It costs around $95,000 per year to keep a person in prison. To keep Whaanga in a cell for fourteen years will cost the taxpayer $1,300,000 .

If you think this is bad enough, imagine a hundred Whaanga’s at $1,300,000 per person. We’re talking over $130,000,000.

If that is not insanity from our elected representatives – please tell me what is?

For $130,000,000 the State could buy more effective social-support services, monitoring,and rehabilitation for people like Whaanga.

But that would take imagination and compassion.  Thus far, National ministers appear to demonstrate precious little of either trait.

Well, New Zealanders got their “tough on crime” government.

Now it’s time to pay for it.

I wonder how many schools will have to close to pay for Three Strikes?

Addendum

As more and more prisoners spend decades behind bars for their third strike offence, it will be a boom time for private prison contractors such as SERCO. Expect SERCO shares to rise every time a third strike offender is convicted and sentenced to their privately-run prison.

Memo To Sharebroker,

Sell: Mighty River Power shares.

Buy: SERCO shares.

Memo to National ministers,

Close:  ten more schools.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 30 May 2013.

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Acknowledgments

Newsdesk:  New Zealand passes 3-strikes law (26 May 2010)

NZ Herald: Controversy continues after three strikes bill passed (26 May 2010)

Otago Daily Times:  Prisons: ‘moral and fiscal failure’? (24 May 2011)

Dominion Post:  Anger at 14-year strike 2 warning (28 April 2013)

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Johnny’s Report Card – National Standards Assessment y/e 2012: crime

9 January 2013 6 comments

To Whom It May Concern; the following Report Card detail’s Johnny’s achievements over the last four years.

The following contrasts compare four years, ranging from the end of 2008 to the end of this year, 2012.

Whilst it is acknowledged that the Global Financial Crisis impacted harshly on our society and economy, it is also fair to say that National has had the benefits of starting out with a sound economy (surpluses, low unemployment, etc)  in 2008 and four years in office to make good on it’s election promises.

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Crime

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National hoarding staying strong on crime

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The rhetoric

We also need to ensure there is effective policing in all parts of our cities and in all areas of the country. We will not tolerate violence and antisocial behaviour. Under a National government, gangs will not be controlling neighbourhoods so posties can’t even deliver the daily mail.

The tragic events surrounding the parole of Graeme Burton show that Labour’s law and order policies seem to be based on the rights of criminals.

Let me say that under National, the parole system will be focused on protecting innocent Kiwis from hardened, unrepentant and dangerous criminals. Under any government I lead there will be no parole for repeat violent offenders.

We will do more than that to improve our criminal justice system, but for today let me send the clearest of messages. Those who break the laws of our society destroy the fabric of The Kiwi Way. No government I lead will put up with that. ” – John Key, 30 January 2007

See: The Kiwi Way: A Fair Go For All

Law and order is to National what environmentalism is to the Greens; it’s ‘raw meat’ for their conservative constituents – many of whom have little understanding nor interest in the root causes of crime. Poverty, unemployment; a growing wealth gap; hopelessness; alienation – these are   inconceivable to many National supporters.

So Key and his National  cronies, spin doctors, and Party strategists are on solid ground when it comes to this issue. Throw in a bit of beneficiary bashing…

We also have a serious and growing problem with long-term welfare dependency.”

See: IBID

And a bit of brown bashing…

I don’t think that’s necessary and I think my view is widely held by a lot of New Zealanders. If it was holding New Zealand back, sure we could arguably go and do that but that’s not where I see these things going. He can make any claims he likes. The Maori King entitled to a different view to mine, it doesn’t mean I’m culturally ignorant.

I don’t think it’s right. If someone wants to take that land grab, they can give it a go.

See: Government could nationalise water – Key

… and the Nats are practically guaranteed the government. Never underestimate the casual racism of a significant sector of our society.

This racism plays into the hands of National who regularly tap such latent conservative streaks in our society for their own political agenda.

More rhetoric

The Government is committed to keeping New Zealanders safe – on our streets and in our communities. We’ve delivered the lowest crime rate in 30 years, but we want to continue to keep driving the crime rate down.” – John Key, 3 July 2012

See: Prime Minister welcomes first action plan

Key has taken credit for a “drop” in crime on several occassions this year. But is he telling the truth? Telling lies? Or bending the truth and misrepresenting the facts to suit his Party’s agenda?

Let’s check the stats from NZ Police, shall we?

Crime trends for the year ending June 2008,

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Crime Statistics year ending 30 June 2008 - New Zealand Police

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And crime trends up to 2012,

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NZ Crime Statistics 2011-2012

Source

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And guess what…?

The trends clearly show a gradual reduction of reported crime since 1996/97.

For Key to claim this as a “success” for his administration reminds us, yet again, that the man will bend the truth to suit his demands. Quite simply, the drop in crime has been ongoing for the last sixteen years and has little to do with Dear Leader and his Party’s policies.

Reported crime was also dropping druring the 2000-08 Labour-led government.

Will John Key take credit for that “success” as well?

Addendum

If, as data shows, and as Key has been crowing, crime has been steadily reducing since 1996, why is National committing to spending $300 million for a new prison at Wiri, South Auckland, and a further $540 million to operate and maintain? That is $840 million of our taxes that could be better invested in upgrading delapidated state houses and raising this country’s children out of poverty.

See: Fletcher signs $300m Wiri prison contract

Could it be that the motivation lies with providing a profitable Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) with Fletcher Building,  Serco, Spotless Facility Services,  John Laing, InfraRed, Accident Compensation Corporation, and  Macquarie Capital? That’s nearly $1 billion going to private corporations for a prison we seem not to need.

Who sez crime doesn’t pay?

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Report_Card_Crime

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From Mini -True…

4 October 2012 2 comments

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… crime down – doubleplusgood!

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Full Mini-True Good News!

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Justice Minister Judith Collins said nationwide statistics showed the Government’s focus on crime was working. New Zealand’s crime rate was at its lowest since 1982 and, as a result, fewer criminal charges were laid against fewer people.

“I am particularly pleased to see fewer children and young people being charged with an offence and appearing in court – down by as much as 25% on the last year,” she said.

The rising conviction rate, up to 74% from 70% in 2008, showed good work was being done across the justice sector.

“These results are simply fantastic,” she said.

See: Prosecution numbers down

Dear Leader has achieved  his Party’s election promise,

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Memo to Mini-True scribes: delete previous inaccurate report,

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Full Mini-True Report for Deletion

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The past, he reflected, had not merely been altered, it had been actually destroyed. For how could you establish even the most obvious fact when there existed no record outside your own memory?” – “Nineteen Eighty Four”, George Orwell

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Teachers first – now the Police?

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Heroes

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Zeroes

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Watch a few minutes of Police Ten-7  and one is left with two, over-whelming, depressing  conclusions;

  1. There are idiots in society whom evolution has over-looked when natural selection was dishing out brain power,
  2. Police are not paid enough to handle those idiots – many of whom are off their faces on cheap alcohol; drugs; alcohol and drugs; and youthful stupidity.

Policing is not a job many of us would willingly do.  As one policeman’s wife recently wrote,

Due to understaffing he is often on his own in dangerous siituations waiting for back up. I would like to see people who complain about the Police let their loved ones go and do the job. Let’s get some of the MP’s out plodding the beat dealing with gang fights, domestic abuse, child abuse and drunk, drugged and armed offenders be called names I can’t repeat all for the occassional thank you and low pay. ” – Source

Since 1890, 29 policemen have been killed in the line of duty.

Others, like Gisborne policeman Nigel Hendrikse, was viciously stabbed by a gangmember and forced to quit the policeforce because of his injuries.

Considering the daily stresses and violence faced by these gutsy men and women in our police force, it beggars belief that politicians came come up with this kind of… crap,

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking

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Our police… over-paid ?!?!

One can understand politicians being over-paid.

One can understand Hollywood actors and fashion models being over-paid.

But what bureacrat or politician  could possibly suggest that police are over-paid?

Note the statement from Police hierarchy,

This would generate significant savings for them from 2015 onwards with new constables employed on much lower remuneration, existing staff frozen on their 2015 remuneration until proposed new rates catch up with them, which could be for 10 years or more, and a number of existing allowances removed for new staff. “- Ibid

It appears that National has not learnt a single lesson from the recent classroom size/teacher reduction debacle and is now targetting expenditure within the police budget.

This blogger’s first reaction was one of incredulous dis-belief; that National could even consider the notion of cutting police salaries.

Right wing political parties are usually mindlessly gung-ho when it comes to resourcing police and imposing harsher penalties for law-breakers. Part of National’s election campaign last year was a predictable “tough on crime”  theme,

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How National can “stay strong on crime”  when it plans to cut Police salaries defies understanding. Do the Nats expect crims to  hand themselves in after  phoning 0800-come-arrest-me ? (Considering how 0800 numbers seem to work miracles with Housing NZ.)

It is also difficult to understand the following,

  • How did the Police hierarchy and the Minister of Police arrive at a figure of 20% “over payment” for police officers? (Please, please, please don’t say “Treasury told us”. Please.)
  • What is “performance-based pay” and how will  “performance” be measured?
  • What will be the result of a policy of reducing salaries by 20%? How many police officers will end up moving to Australia?
  • How does reducing police pay meet John Key’s pledges to raise wages in this country?

A further question; is what  voters wanted when they voted  for National last year? To reduce pay for police?

It is also outrageous that “sworn officers would also have to work five hours’ overtime instead of three before they got time off in lieu“.  (Source)

Hell, why pay Police anything at all? They get a nice, blue, snappy-looking  uniform and shiny ‘cuffs and tasers – they want money as well ?!

It appears that Police Minister, Anne Tolley, having noted Hekia Parata’s public humiliation over the class size backdown, is keeping her head down. She is refusing to comment, claiming that it is  inappropriate for the minister to comment on wage negotiations.

National has opened a can of worms on this issue and appears to have learnt nothing from the late 1990s, when it went through a similar process,

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Opposition parties, Police Association attack review – 12 June 1998

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Whilst National plans to cut back on police salaries, to pursue it’s agenda of a balancing the books by 2014-15, other areas of government spending do not seem to attract the same fiscal razor,

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking

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Contrasting National’s plans to cut police pay with above stories of scandalous waste of taxpayers’ money may  elicit a mixture of head-shaking resignation, revulsion, and anger from the reader. Do not be alarmed: that is a normal response.

If you believe that Police are “over-paid” and that National is justified in cutting their salaries, you are most likely a  committed National supporter and loyal follower of Dear Leader. In which case you  are a part of the problem. (And if these cuts go ahead; and  next time you are burgled you have to wait a week for a police response team to arrive on your doorstep; you deserve everything  you get. You voted for this mess.)

National’s ‘cut & slash’ mentality was tried in the late 1990s. It failed then. It will fail again. This blogger can foresee the results, because New Zealander went through this over a decade ago.

The question is; will my fellow Kiwis who voted National last year ever learn a simple fact; voting for the Tories is an own-goal.  Key and his cronies may offer us ‘lollies’ in the form of tax cuts – but concommitant with that is slashed social and other government services. Tax cuts = cut services.

It can’t be made plainer than that.

Any New Zealander who doesn’t get that should look at Greece. There is a lesson we should all take note of.

In the meantime, National’s policy of cutting salaries and services will result in some very unhappy policemen and women. This blogger hopes that the Minister, Anne Tolley (not noted for her political astuteness) will understand the sh*t-storm about to hit her portfolio and close it down quickly by abandoning any notion of cuts to the Police.

Hekia Parata should have a chat with her.

Postscript

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Subject:   A blogger’s ‘take’ on threatened cuts to Police pay…
Date: Saturday, 9 June, 2012 7:35 PM
From:  “Frank Macskasy” <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
To: “Anne Tolley” <anne.tolley@parliament.govt.nz>
Cc:”Chris Hipkins” <chris.hipkins@parliament.govt.nz>, “Chris Laidlaw RNZ” <sunday@radionz.co.nz>, “Daily News” <editor@dailynews.co.nz>, “Daily Post” <editor@dailypost.co.nz>, “Dominion Post” <editor@dompost.co.nz>, “Hutt News” <editor@huttnews.co.nz>, “Jim Mora” <afternoons@radionz.co.nz>, “John Key” <john.key@parliament.govt.nz>, “Kim Hill” <saturday@radionz.co.nz>, “Listener” <editor@listener.co.nz>, “Metiria Turei” <metiria.turei@parliament.govt.nz>, “Morning Report” <morningreport@radionz.co.nz>, “Nine To Noon RNZ” <ninetonoon@radionz.co.nz>, “NZ Herald” <editor@herald.co.nz>, “Otago Daily Times” <odt.editor@alliedpress.co.nz>, “Q+A” <Q+A@tvnz.co.nz>, “Southland Times” <editor@stl.co.nz>, “The Press” <letters@press.co.nz>, “The Wellingtonian” <editor@thewellingtonian.co.nz>, “TVNZ News” <news@tvnz.co.nz>, “Waikato Times” <editor@waikatotimes.co.nz>, “Wairarapa Times-Age” <editor@age.co.nz>

Dear Ms Tolley,

For your perusal;

Teachers first – now the Police?

https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/teachers-first-now-the-police/

Regards,
-Frank Macskasy
Blogger

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Subject:  Thank you for your email
Date: Saturday, 9 June, 2012 7:35 PM
From: “Hon. Anne Tolley (MIN)” <Anne.Tolley@parliament.govt.nz>
To: “Frank Macskasy” <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>

 On behalf of Hon Anne Tolley, thank you for your email which has been received by this office.  Your correspondence has been noted and will be recorded. 

 Your email will be forwarded to the Minister for consideration, and a response will be sent as soon as possible.  However, if your email is bringing some information to the attention of the Minister, please regard this as a final response to your email.

 Kind regards

The Office of Hon Anne Tolley

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Related blogposts

History Lesson – Rua – Police

Other blogs

Minister’s rose-tinted glasses are two generations out of date

Media reports

Police say officers overpaid

Police union rejects bid for performance-based pay

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= fs =

From 2011 back to 1991?

1 December 2011 23 comments

Even without a Tardis, John Key’s National government is set to return New Zealand to 1991, as it plans to cut spending and make more state sector workers redundant,

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Yet, the NZIER is warning of dire consequences  should National proceed with more cuts to state sector spending,

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Many will recall that it was precisely brecause of severe cuts to state spending in 1991 that made New Zealand’s recession so much worse at the time. Ruth Richardson even boasted that her budget was the “Mother of All Budgets”.

Economic data is presented here, in graph form, and shows the immediate conseqences that impacted on New Zealand soon after Richardson’s Budgetary cuts were implemented. Unemployment skyrocketed to approximately 11% – the highest since Depression days in the 1930s.

It is generally considered that Richardson’s harsh cuts unnecessarily deepened New Zealand’s recessionary effects. It caused considerable misery throughout the country as businesses collapsed; GDP fell; the prison population increased; and credit ratings agencies downgraded the country.

As John Key’s government lays plans for implementing more state sector cuts, it is clearly apparent that New Zealand’s economy is still struggling,

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And just to really drive home the fact that matters are becoming dire,  ratings agency Standard & Poor’s today downgraded the credit ratings of our major banks;  ANZ New Zealand, ASB, BNZ, and Westpac New Zealand,along with their Australian parents.

Things are not looking terribly flash,

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Whilst it is abundantly obvious that we cannot influence events on the other side of the globe, and that the slow disintergration of the Eurozone; the economic downturn in China; and America’s mind-numbingly huge deficit – that our government can still play a role in what happens locally.

First and foremost, now is not the time to be cutting back on state sector spending and government workers. Adding to unemployment will not help matters and will simply,

  • reduce overall consumption spending by unemployed civil servants
  • make it harder for 154,000 currently unemployed to find jobs
  • reduce overall economic activity

John Key needs to read up on our recent history and learn from the mistakes of his predecessors, Jim Bolger and Ruth Richardson.

He needs to understand that government cutbacks during a recession will not help – and will actually make matters much worse.

Instead, the incoming government should be considering the following;

  • Shelve all plans for further cutbacks
  • Abandon further cutbacks of state sector employees
  • Implement a crash training programme for those currently unemployed, removing barriers such as fees
  • Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour
  • Compensate the increase in  minimum wage with a correlating tax write-off/reduction, for companies affected for one year
  • Increase the top tax rate for income earners over $100,000
  • Review Working for Famlies for those earning over $100,000

Some high income earners, businesspeople, and free marketeers may squeal at the above suggestions – but we either pay to keep our economy afloat and maintain high employment – or we’ll pay for  welfare, increased crime, social dislocation and other problems, as well more skilled Kiwis fleeing to Australia.

Why not pay to achieve positive outcomes instead of the proverbial ambulance at the bottom of the cliff?

Because either way, we will pay.

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Additional

Wellington hit with leap in mortgagee sales

Wellington furniture company in liquidation

Fourth National Government of New Zealand

The 1991 Budget and Tertiary Education: Promises, Promises…

Reserve Bank – Employment-Unemployment

Dept of Corrections: Prison sentenced snapshot trend since 1980

Annual figures for Bankruptcies and Liquidations since 1988

Chris Ford: National/ACT Coalition aiming to complete New Right revolution

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