This is why name suppression law must change


On the day Justice Minister Simon Power announced name suppression laws are to be changed  so it is harder to get we got  a very good example of why they need to be.

Two people have been charged with fraud after police investigated voting irregularities.

They applied for name suppression, which was declined. They then applied to the High Court which granted suppression for 48 hours.

However, before that happened the names were published on blogs and Twitter.

Those posts have now been hidden or deleted but many will have already read them.

 I came across the names on an RSS feed before I knew they’d been suppressed. It doesn’t make any difference to me but it could to people elsewhere. Their right to know appears to trump the accused people’s right to suppression but the names are suppressed, at least until Thursday.

I doubt if the people charged would get suppression under the proposed law change. This case is a very good example of why the change is needed.

Word of the day


Aeoloist – a pretender to inspiration; a pompous, windy bore who pretends to have inspiration or spiritual insight.

Will the next revolution be tweeted?


How local body candidates use the internet and social media was the starting point for my chat with Jim Mora on Critical Mass  today.

Local Government NZ’s website Elections2010 was a start but hasn’t been used well.

However, maybe social media isn’t the best medium for campaigning anyway. Certainly Malcolm Gladwell the author of  The Tipping Point doesn’t think the next revolution will be tweeted.

Although  Tim Adams questioned this in the Observer.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. It’s nieve in Spanish, neige in French and hukarere  in Maori – what is it in English?

2. Who said: ”I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is:  I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute.”? 

3. Who were the first three presidents of the United States?

4. What is uxoricide?

5. What do PR, and SOA and SOB stand for in medicine?

Points for answers:

Andrei got four right and a bonus for correcting my spelling.

David got 2 2/3 with a bonus for extra information.

Bearhunter got three and a bonus for lateral thinking.

Gravedodger – I think an aegrotat is used for illness or indisposition of the student not communications but I’ll give you a bonus for answering under difficulty plus four right.

PDM got 1 1/3 with a bonus for imagination, history, geography and social studies. (Having been to weddings in Argentina, I agree about learning from other cultures).

Adam got two and a bonus for the deputy.

Spud got all 5 and wins the electronic bouquet.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Ticked, numbered, posted


The local body voting papers have been sitting on my desk since they arrived a couple of weeks ago.

The Regional and District Council choices provided little difficulty for me but I laboured over the health board options.

It’s impossible to know enough about 12 people from throughout the whole of Otago to rank them intelligently.

There were a couple I wanted to put in the last two spots but that would have meant putting people about whom I knew little or nothing in spots 6 – 10.

In the end I ranked the five I supported and left seven blank.

It’s all pretty academic anyway. The voting power is in Dunedin so candidates from the regions don’t have much chance. But that doesn’t mean much anyway when the people elected aren’t answerable to the voters but the government.

The government should accept that it’s not worth wasting money on health board elections which are really only pretending to give people a voice.

With that in mind I ticked, numbered and posted my ballot paper but, even given my respect for democracy and the right to vote, I didn’t do it with any great enthusiasm.

Close to the line may be entertaining, crossing it isn’t


The lesson that you can’t always judge nationality from appearance was brought home to me when travelling by train from Dundee to London.

The only other occupant of the carriage looked West Indian but I’d heard her speaking and her accent was home counties’ English.

After a stop the carriage door opened, a young man poked his head in looked around, saw the other woman, looked at me, said, “Bloody foreigners  should go back where they belong”  and walked out again.

Had he been blind and heard us talking it would have been me who was the victim of his invective because my voice would have shown what my appearance didn’t – I was a foreigner.

I was reminded of this yesterday morning Paul Henry asked the Prime Minister if the Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand is a New Zealander and if the next GG would look and sound more like a New Zealander.

Sir Anand was born here though his parents weren’t. I think at least one of Paul’s parents wasn’t born here either. That isn’t reflected in his name and appearance as it is in Sir Anand’s, but that doesn’t make him any less a New Zealander.

My father was an immigrant too. He and my mother gave me a name from his home country which many other people find difficult to pronounce. But I look like a Pakeha, shortened my name so it’s easier to say and I don’t have to put up with people questioning whether I’m a New Zealander.

I don’t know what Henry was thinking when he made those stupid comments yesterday, but bad as they were, the response from TVNZ was worse:

“”The audience tell us over and over again that one of the things they love about Paul Henry is that he’s prepared to say the things we quietly think but are scared to say out loud,” she said.

I have no doubt some people do think that people who don’t look Maori or Pakeha and have unusual names don’t look and sound like New Zealanders. But there is no need for someone of  Henry’s undoubted intelligence to sink to that level of ignorance and voice those thoughts, and a public television company shouldn’t condone it.

No matter how long we and our families have been in New Zealand, we’re all descended from immigrants. Until relatively recently most of us were of Maori or British descent. However, now there are growing numbers of people from many different parts of the world, some of whom look different and have names some of us find unusual.

I’m not sure what New Zealanders look and sound like now because we’re much more of a melting pot and that’s a good thing.

The fabric of our nation is enriched and strengthened by cultural diversity. We should celebrate and enjoy our differences and appreciate that although we don’t all look and sound the same, we’re all New Zealanders.

Henry has apologised.

I hope that means  he and TVNZ understand that while going close to the line can be entertaining, crossing it is not.

UPDATE: Henry did a straight to camera apology this morning.

October 5 in history


On October 5:

869  The Fourth Council of Constantinople was convened to decide about what to do about Patriarch Photius of Constantinople.

1143  King Alfonso VII of Leon recognised Portugal as a Kingdom.

1665 The University of Kiel was founded.

Seal of the University of Kiel

1789 French Revolution: Women of Paris marched to Versailles to confront Louis XVI about his refusal to promulgate the decrees on the abolition of feudalism, demand bread, and have the King and his court moved to Paris.

1793 French Revolution: Christianity was disestablished in France.

1864 Louis Lumière, French film pioneer, was born (d. 1948).


1864 Calcutta was almost totally destroyed by a cyclone which killed  60,000 people.

1866 The Maungatapu murderers were hanged in Nelson.

Maungatapu murderers hanged in Nelson

1869  A strong hurricane devastated the Bay of Fundy in Canada.

1877 Chief Joseph surrendered his Nez Perce band to General Nelson A. Miles.

Chief Joseph tinted lantern slide.jpg

1895 The first individual time trial for racing cyclists was held on a 50-mile course north of London.

1903  Sir Samuel Griffith was appointed the first Chief Justice of Australia and Sir Edmund Barton and Richard O’Connor were appointed foundation justices.


1905 Wilbur Wright piloted Wright Flyer III in a flight of 24 miles in 39 minutes, a world record that stood until 1908.

1910  Revolution in Portugal, monarchy overthrown, a republic declared .

1914  World War I’s first aerial combat resulting in a kill.

1930  British Airship R101 crashed in France en-route to India on its maiden voyage.


1936  The Jarrow March set off for London.

 1942 Richard Street, American singer (The Temptations), was born. 

1943  Steve Miller, American musician (Steve Miller Band), was born.

1944  Royal Canadian Air Force pilots shot down the first German jet fighter over France.

1944 – Suffrage was extended to women in France.

1945  Hollywood Black Friday: A six month strike by Hollywood set decorators turned into a bloody riot at the gates of Warner Brothers’ studios.

1947  The first televised White House address was given by President Harry S. Truman.

1948  The 1948 Ashgabat earthquake killed 110,000.

1951 Irish singer Bob Geldof was born.

1953 The first documented recovery meeting of Narcotics Anonymous was held.

1962 – Dr. No, the first in the James Bond film series, was released.

1966  A partial core meltdown at the Enrico Fermi demonstration nuclear breeder reactor.

The Fermi Station (NRC image)

1968  Police baton civil rights demonstrators in Derry – considered to mark the beginning of The Troubles.


1969 The first episode of  Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on BBC.


1970  The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) was founded.

PBS Logo.svg

1970 British Trade Commissioner James Cross was kidnapped by members of the FLQ terrorist group.

1973  Signature of the European Patent Convention.

1974  Guildford pub bombings: bombs planted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed four British soldiers and one civilian.

1984  Marc Garneau became the first Canadian in space, aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger.

1986  Israeli secret nuclear weapons were revealed. The British newspaper The Sunday Times ran Mordechai Vanunu’s story on its front page under the headline: “Revealed — the secrets of Israel’s nuclear arsenal.”


1988  The Chilean opposition coalition Concertación (center-left) defeated Augusto Pinochet in his re-election intentions.

1990 After one hundred and fifty years The Herald broadsheet newspaper in Melbourne, Australia, was published for the last time as a separate newspaper.

1991 An Indonesian military transport crashed after takeoff from Jakarta killing 137.

1991 – The first official version of the Linux kernel, version 0.02, was released.


1999  The Ladbroke Grove rail crash in west London killed 31 people.

Cullen report cover

2000  Mass demonstrations in Belgrade led to resignation of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević.

2001  Robert Stevens became the first victim in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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