Saturday, December 16, 2006

"Unlimited access to drugs" in prison

What d'you know? "Unlimited access to drugs" in prison. Not long ago I raised this subject and was told by Crasster that, "Drugs in prisons are not tolerated by any prison officer."

Just yesterday I spent too long sitting in the sun talking about this very subject with someone who has firsthand experience. It was easier to get drugs inside than outside, they said. The "top dog, head honcho"(not a fellow inmate you understand) could get you anything you want. That was twenty years ago, I offered. Could have changed. Maybe.....

Perhaps this report is based on a tissue of lies. If not, perhaps Rimutaka is a one-off. Would you put money on it?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Recorded crime and victimisations

When you read or hear about recorded crime continuing to trend down, as publicised by Statistics New Zealand today, bear the following in mind; (It is tucked away within the report released today).


The data is not designed to establish how many people have been victims of crimes, or the number of crimes committed. This type of information is best obtained through victimisation surveys that include crimes that were not reported to the Police. Research indicates that many crimes are never reported to the Police in the first instance. The 2001 New Zealand National Survey of Crime Victims (NZNSCV) showed that the number of offences recorded in police statistics in 2000 represented 15 percent of the estimated number of victimisations. Crimes most likely to be reported include those that involve insurance claims, those where injuries require medical treatment, and crimes discovered by the Police as a result of police practice (eg policing of liquor bans).

UPDATE; See how the headlines misreport, Crime Falls Overall - Long-term crime statistics show overall criminal offending has fallen in the past 10 years, due largely to a big fall in dishonesty offences.

Where is the word, "recorded"?

The "gorilla" in the room

In NZ we ignore it too. In fact we positively encourage the "huge gorilla" in the room by aiding and abetting it.

It's for your own good

If you still enjoy your butter and full milk, STOP, right now. That's today's message from one of Nanny's little helpers. For your own good you must start consuming synthetic spreads and manipulated milk. Then you too could eke out a few more years on this planet of busybody, anti-smoking, anti-drug, anti-alcohol, anti-billboards, anti-cars, anti-christmas, anti-travel, anti-shopping bags, anti-gambling, anti-hunting, anti-fishing, anti-swimming pools, anti-exotic trees, anti-dogs, anti-cats, anti-hydro, anti-wind turbine, anti-nuclear, anti-soft drink, anti-taser, anti-gun, anti-profit, anti-GE, anti-cows, anti-smacking, anti-party pills, anti-noise, anti-speedway, anti-immigrant, anti-foreign ownership whiners.

Pass me the butter please.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

National - authoritarian and illiberal

Here's National being more authoritarian and illiberal than even Jim Anderton. Does Otago National MP Jacqui Dean really think that banning party pills will get rid of them? What evidence is she basing that on?

More phoney excuses

The soon-to-be-introduced roadside testing for impairment from drug-taking is quite extraordinary. I don't accept what the police are saying.

"If someone is tired or has a medical condition they won't exhibit the same signs as someone who is under the influence of an illegal drug."

Here's just one of the tests;


A driver must maintain his balance while standing upright, with his hands at his sides, head tilted back and eyes closed.

But be assured,

Random tests will not be conducted but if police believe a driver is impaired they must initiate a drug test.

For now but you can bet that will be the next step.

But it's how they justify these things that really rankles. The road toll has come down significantly so that won't work as a reason.

Ministry of Transport figures showed drugs were suspected in 36 crashes in the year to December 31, 2005. Drugs were proven in three whereas alcohol was suspected in 383 crashes.

The evidence of drug-use causing accidents isn't compelling.

So the agent of the state sets an arbitrary target road toll, 300 by 2010, and then complains about looking like we are not going to reach it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Repressive government

It's true I have been feeling grumpy and gloomy since Brash was dumped. While there was a glimmer of hope he would make PM there was something to feel slightly optimistic about. So maybe I am being supersensitive but it seems every which way I turn, the damn government is sticking it's nose in. Switching on Parliament to catch Brash's speech yesterday I got the whining NZ First MP Barbara Stewart telling those protesting about regulation of the natural health products and dietary supplements industry "no regulation is not an option". This morning I see the anti-scalping bill, Major Events Management Bill, will outlaw the sale of tickets to a major event for more than the original sale price.

And of course these odious acts are accompanied by the justification that, the rest of the world does it. NZ was once a radical country. Historically, it has often led the world, sometimes, I admit, in ways I may not have agreed with. As an excuse for meddling and squashing entrepreneurship, it doesn't wash.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Who said it?

As a Minister in a new government almost ten years ago.....and still a Minister today.

"We want to create an environment which encourages NZers to move away from welfare dependence to employment. And for those who still need welfare support, we want to move away from a welfare mentality to a greater acceptance of social obligations. This govt will instil greater levels of parental responsibility. Breaking the cycle of dependency means taking primary responsibility for our own welfare and the welfare of our families."

Barring unemployment, in 1997 there were 191,500 people on the three other main benefits - today there are 223,000.

"Bloggers out for the count in MSM contest"

From today's DomPost, there isn't much here I'd argue with;

We can beat that!

There is a lot of fuss about the US rate of unmarried births right now. Here is more coverage;

The National Center for Health Statistics, the statistical arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has released a report, "Births: Preliminary Data for 2005," that shows the nuclear family is in meltdown:

* Out-of-wedlock births reached 1.5 million last year, or 36.8 percent of the total.

* Among non-Hispanic blacks, the illegitimacy rate reached a staggering 69.5 percent.

* Among non-Hispanic whites, the rate is up to 25.4 percent.

* The illegitimacy rate for Hispanics increased by 1.5 percent in just one year, and now stands at 47.9 percent.

* Of these nonmarital births, 52 percent were to women without a high school diploma vs. just 9 percent to women with a graduate or professional degree.

You may be confused here by the two apparently different Hispanic illegitimacy rates. The first mentioned is the rate of illegitimate births per 1,000 unmarried females and the second is the percentage of all Hispanic births.

According to the NZ Yearbook 2004, ex-nuptial births comprised 44 percent of all births in 2003 and 75 percent of all Maori births were ex-nuptial accounting for nearly half of NZ's ex-nuptial birth rate.

The stereotypical American loves to be biggest and best at everything but I'm afraid we have outdone them in this particular contest.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sycophantic babble

Whoever wrote today's DomPost editorial (a homage to John Key) is illogical. He or she criticises the government's plans to "clamp down" on third party advertising as "undesirable". This is straight after praising National for promising to support such legislation, "to be part of the solution rather than just a critic in the wilderness." (The writer obviously wants monopoly on that position).

As well, "He has put his stamp on the party and he has shown he knows where he wants to go and how he wants to get there."

The people who would persuade us to hitch our star to Mr Key's wagon are either hearing things or reading between lines. I've been paying attention and there is no 'getting' to where John Key wants to be. We are already there. Anti-nuclear, soft on welfare, and paternalistic toward Maori.

Teenage Benefits Passport To Long-Term Dependency

Teenage Benefits Passport To Long-Term Dependency
Friday, 8 December 2006, 5:11 pm
Press Release: Lindsay Mitchell

At least 37,600 or 37 percent of current domestic purpose beneficiaries first received a benefit as a teenager.

In 1999 the equivalent figures were 17,723 or 16 percent.

Welfare commentator, Lindsay Mitchell said, "Because the Ministry of Social Development can only supply data from January 1993 the actual numbers are likely to be much higher. But the significant increase between 1999 and the present shows clearly that people starting on benefits as teenagers are very likely to stay on welfare long-term."

"Additionally, many of these parents did not start their benefit careers on the DPB. Most started on the unemployment benefit."

Across all benefits there are currently 39,259 single parents with dependent children who first received welfare as a teenager. 53 percent are Maori, 34 percent NZ European and 9 percent are Pacific Islanders. 6 percent are male.

"Having children as an alternative to completing an education or finding a job should not be financially feasible. It is time for the government to look at closing this gateway to dependency and poverty."

Name and shame Dads

The agency that will replace the failed UK Child Support agency is called C-Mec (that should make a difference) and they plan to publish the names of fathers, who have been prosecuted for not paying their liability payment, on the internet.

I've blogged before about the escalation and the size of the child support problem. Welfare is at the heart of it. We continue to focus on an effect rather than the cause.

Methadone for prisoners from today

Can't help but wonder if these two issues are related. From today all NZ methadone programme offenders who go to prison will still be able to receive treatment. Last month the UK government was forced to pay substantial compensation to prisoners who had been refused methadone in prison. There may still be a retrospective problem.

And here's a thought. What about the heroin addicts who were on the waiting list to get on the methadone programme? An addict who committed a crime because he couldn't get on the programme gets no treatment but the one who committed a crime despite being on the programme does. Hardly seems fair.