Friday, March 22, 2019

Good on David Seymour...

... who isn't afraid to say:

"You do not defy terrorism and defend our democracy by throwing out democratic procedure such as parliamentary scrutiny and the public's right to submit in full, at the first sign of trouble...
"We're missing out on the opportunity to make better laws and have more details come to light about how we can do better..." 
"But we're also, symbolically, allowing the terrorist to achieve his goal and dishonouring the victims by changing New Zealand away from a place that has a sober law-making process with parliamentary scrutiny and public input, and rushing things through at the first sign of trouble.
"I don't think that's a good way to respond."
Neither do I.

A balance needs to be struck between emotion and reason. Unfortunately, though understandably, the balance is tipped too heavily towards the former right now.

A small voice also nags away at the back of my mind that would-be terrorists will only see this ban as a challenge not in the sense of a hurdle, but a provocation.

But even if this particular passage of law is the correct and popular action, will the next be? What about privacy and hate speech laws? Do we want controversial and wide-ranging legislation enacted in haste with minimal debate?

Immense caution is required about the precedent being set.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Two strongly contrasting views

When I think about Christchurch I imagine what it would feel like if one of those young men were my son and it reduces me. To write any words from outside of and about the mosque members grief feels disrespectful. But plenty are being written. And some are worthy.

Yesterday Chris Trotter spoke on radio saying New Zealanders must not beat themselves up over the Christchurch terror act. His analysis of what happened and how we should react is here:

What happened at the Linwood and Al Noor mosques was horrific, but it wasn’t our doing. As we begin the long journey towards recovery, it is vitally important that we keep that fact squarely before us. New Zealand is a good place. New Zealanders are good people. We are not responsible for Brenton Tarrant’s dreadful crime. This is not us.
Today Anne Salmond writing in the DomPost infers New Zealanders are responsible if only indirectly:

In the wake of this terrible tragedy, let's be honest, for once. White supremacy is a part of us, a dark power in the land....In its hard version, it's violent and hateful, spewing out curses, incarcerating young Māori in large numbers, denying them a decent education, homes and jobs, telling them they have no future, and are better off dead.....The Muslim community has suffered a terrible, heart-breaking loss, and it needs all our love and support. It is not the only group who are targeted by white supremacists, however, and there are more ways of killing and maiming people than with a gun.

Interestingly Chris Trotter predicted this sort of reaction:

 The Prime Minister will, doubtless, come under increasing pressure from angry and misguided persons to curtail the rights of New Zealanders articulating unpopular views concerning Maori-Pakeha relations, the Islamic religion, multiculturalism and immigration policy. In defence of the liberal-democratic values that Tarrant assaulted so violently, Jacinda should calmly resist all such calls. We must not allow the unanimity of our grief to be translated into a demand for unanimity of opinion.
I hope, in this instance, Trotter's pen is mightier than the sword.