This isn’t NZ as it should be

25/11/2022

WorkSafe keeps telling us everyone should come home healthy and safe.

Of course they should, even though some workplaces are potentially more dangerous than others.

Until recently shops wouldn’t have been among the riskier workplaces.

But an increasing number of ram raids and other brazen robberies has changed that.

Dairy and Business Association chair Sunny Kaushal warned that someone would die, and now someone has.

. . . “This incident has left us numb with sadness. It’s quite shocking, very horrific,” Kaushal told AM co-host Ryan Bridge. 

Kaushal said fellow dairy workers will be scared when they go to work on Thursday. 

“They would be fearing for their life everywhere. We were thinking this would happen and the worst has happened and it’s just not good. The family of this young fellow would be looking for answers,” Kaushal told AM.

Kaushal told AM he and the Dairy and Business Owners’ Group have been warning the Government an incident like this would happen for a long time. 

“We saw this would happen. This was the worst fear and last night it has happened,” he said. 

We have been warning the Government and the authorities for a long time that this is coming and no action is taken and the Government has not taken any action.” . . .

Heather du Plessis-Allan opines:

. . . With all those ram raids, daylight robberies, tobacco thefts, we could see this coming. 

I’m not going to lay blame on anyone for this other the person who did it. Because no one put the knife in their hand. They did it, it’s their fault.

But I’m talking about the politics of this.

Because this is very, very bad for the Government, but especially for Jacinda Ardern. 

The public fury at what’s happening to our shopkeepers and shops is at fever pitch.

We have bystanders now chasing and confronting robbers in baklavas out of sheer frustration at the fact that the authorities seem to not be doing enough.

People are going to be very angry that it has now claimed a life.

And they will blame the Government because it is the Government they look to, to do something. 

And nothing has been done other than a pitifully slow roll out of bollards to a handful of shops.

It doesn’t help Labour that they are perceived as ‘soft on crime’.

They’ve repealed the three strikes law, they’ve given millions to the Mongrel Mob, they’ve emptied the prisons, and they’ve admitted jail is not a solution for them.  . .

This isn’t New Zealand as it used to be and should be again.

Prisons are, as Bill English said, a moral and fiscal failure, but until there are other ways of keeping criminals from endangering others, where else should they be?

Causes of crime are multiple. Addressing them will take time and money.

That will be no comfort to the family and friends of the murdered man, nor to all the other workers who fear for their safety and who deserve more from the government than kind words.


Combatting youth crime

18/11/2022

National has launched a plan to combat youth crime:

National will crack down on serious repeat youth offenders like ram-raiders to turn their lives around and to protect the public, National Party Leader Christopher Luxon says.

“A ram-raid every 15 hours shows that Labour’s soft-on-crime approach is failing,” Mr Luxon says.

“No place is immune from the youth crime wave, but some are being hit harder than others. For example, 20 per cent of all recent ram-raids were in the Waikato. Gang membership in the Waikato is up 70 per cent over the past five years and gangs are recruiting nearly three times faster than Police.

“Enough is enough. My message to young offenders is that under National, you will face consequences for your actions.”

Making young people face consequences will reduce offending, making communities safer but this isn’t just about makign them face consequences, it’s about helping them become better people..

National’s Combatting Youth Offending Plan will:

1) Target serious repeat offenders

National will create a new Young Serious Offender (YSO) category, targeting the ringleaders of crimes like ram-raids. This will apply to offenders aged 10 to 17 who have committed a serious offence such as a ram-raid, other aggravated burglary, or serious assault at least twice.

Consequences will include being sent to a Young Offender Military Academy, electronic monitoring, or being subject to an intensive supervision order in their community.

2) Create Young Offender Military Academies

National will create Young Offender Military Academies where YSOs aged 15 to 17 can be sent for up to 12 months. The Academies will provide discipline, mentoring and intensive rehabilitation to make a decisive intervention in these young offenders’ lives. The Academies will be delivered in partnership with the Defence Force, alongside other providers.

This will feel like punishment to some but it will also help them change direction and give them the skills to live better, crime-free lives.

3) Back Police to tackle gangs

Some serious youth offending is being driven by gangs. Young people are stealing to order and committing ram-raids as a form of gang initiation. As previously announced, National will give Police greater powers to tackle gangs including by banning patches and stopping gang members gathering in public.                               

4) Empower community groups to break the cycle of offending

National will fund community organisations and other non-government agencies to break the cycle of offending. Some YSOs will be ordered to undergo intensive supervision by community-based organisations. This will mean they face consequences for their actions and are equipped with tools to turn their lives around, while remaining connected to their families.

“New Zealand’s youth justice system works well for the majority of young offenders; 80 per cent of first-time offenders who interact with the youth justice system are dealt with quickly and put back on the right path.

“National’s Combatting Youth Offending Plan targets the most serious repeat young offenders and will disrupt crimes like ram-raids by removing the ringleaders, some of whom have gang connections.

“Labour’s current approach is to wring its hands and do nothing. That’s not working for business owners getting a call at 2am to say a car has smashed through their shop, which has been looted. Doing nothing is also not helping offenders whose lives are destined for mayhem and misery unless there’s a circuit breaker. 

“National is the party of law and order and we will not ignore the serious challenges that New Zealand faces.”


The Common Room – Is it time to get tough on crime?

10/11/2022

Over at the Common Room Sunny Kaushal, asks, is it time to get tough on crime?

Well over 1 million Kiwis were the victims of crime last year. Sunny Kaushal, who represents the dairy and small business owners who are so often those victims, challenges the current soft-on-crime approach.


Perpetrators get more than victims

02/11/2022

This has to be a contender for the biggest government failure to deliver:

Newshub can reveal a $20 million fund set up by the Government to support victims of non-fatal strangulation has actually helped more alleged perpetrators than it has victims.

It can also be revealed that despite promising to have specific staff in our country’s courts trained to recognise the signs of family or sexual violence, the Government’s failed to introduce a single one. 

The National Strategy and Action Plan to Eliminate Family and Sexual Violence was launched in December 2021, with Jacinda Ardern at the time saying: “As Prime Minister I take responsibility of lifting the wellbeing of our tamariki and their whanau.”

But Newshub can reveal two Government initiatives meant to help victims of family and sexual violence in our courts are falling way short of their targets.

In 2020, the Government earmarked $20 million to support victims of non-fatal strangulation in court. The cash was meant to fund 870 expert medical witnesses per year who’d testify in court in order to “prosecute perpetrators” and “secure earlier guilty pleas”.

But so far they’ve only been used in 86 cases and more than half of which were used by the defence to support alleged perpetrators. . . 

This is not only failing to deliver for the victims, it looks like they’re treating alleged perpetrators better than the people they’re charged with endangering.

Despite the severity of these issues, no one from Government would speak with Newshub on camera.

We first went to Justice Minister Kiri Allan who wasn’t available to speak on camera. Both the Prime Minister and Minister for Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence Marama Davidson said these specific initiatives weren’t their responsibility. . . 

Not the PM’s responsibility.

That is a very clear contradiction of her statement at the launch that she takes responsibility and yet another example of a government that is so much better at making announcements, and announcements of announcements than actually making sure that they deliver on their announcements.

Failing to deliver for victims while spending more on the alleged perpetrators is a new low for the government that is failing to deliver on its promises to improve wellbeing for all New Zealanders.

 

 


Rural round-up

08/09/2022

In defence of the Kiwi diet – Jacqueline Rowarth:

Dr Jacqueline Rowarth disagrees with UK author George Monbiot’s argument that the average New Zealanders diet meat-loving diet could be devastating for the planet.

Overseas experts are not necessarily experts in the New Zealand context.

It seems to be taking us a very long time to realise this, even though we acknowledge that New Zealand is unique.

The country’s geological youth and maritime climate, combined with relatively recent settlement and educated population, mean that the development of the country has followed a different pathway to that of most countries. . . 

Rustling in the spotlight after hundreds of sheep stolen from North Canterbury farm :

The scale of a North Canterbury livestock theft reported to police on Sunday is uncommon, Federated Farmers says, but it estimates rustling is costing New Zealand farmers around $120 million a year.

Farmer Maury Leyland posted on Twitter about the theft of “hundreds” of sheep on Friday and asked for information.

“Beyond gutted, we have had rustlers on our farm in [North] Canterbury,” she wrote.

“Hundreds of sheep stolen. Yards, dogs, and truck must have come in. Someone must have seen something.” . . 

New apricots launching – Stephen Hepburn :

Tastier, juicier and brighter — new types of apricots are to be launched on the domestic and overseas market this summer which, long term, could bring millions of dollars to the Central Otago economy.

The newly established NZ Summer Fresh company announced yesterday it planned to commercialise the first three new apricot cultivars released by Plant & Food Research after nearly two decades of research and development.

Company chairman Stephen Darling said more than 50,000 trees of the new varieties, covering 60ha, were under trial in Central Otago and parts of the North Island.

The three varieties — yet to be properly named — have the potential to give apricot growers a significant boost and lead to increased planting of the fruit. . . 

Forestry conversion: effect on stock numbers expected to become clearer – Sally Rae:

While the increase in farm sales into forestry is yet to lead to a significant reduction in stock numbers, it can be expected very soon, Beef + Lamb New Zealand says.

B+LNZ’s latest stock number survey highlighted the extent of farmland being converted to forestry and said the real impact on livestock numbers was yet to be realised, while the hidden costs were “the demise of rural communities” and labour availability.

In a statement, B+LNZ economic service chief economist Andrew Burtt said there was usually a lag between farm sales and plantings, and planting was constrained by availability of seedlings and labour.

Sheep numbers nationally were steady over the past 12 months and beef cattle numbers fell only slightly, despite unfavourable conditions in some regions. . . 

Milk pick up off to a slow start :

Fonterra says its milk collections for July were 2.4% lower than July last year.

However, this represents only 25 of the full season forecast collection.

“Extremely wet conditions were experienced throughout July, but milk volumes have generally been comparable to the previous season.

“Calving is in full swing in the North Island, with the South Island starting in early August,” it says. . . 

Fonterra launches wellbeing nutrition solutions brand :

Fonterra is taking another step in implementing its strategy to be a leader in nutrition science and innovation with the launch of a new wellbeing solution brand, Nutiani.

The new business-to-business brand is targeted at both the multi-billion-dollar medical and everyday wellbeing nutrition markets.

Fonterra’s Chief Innovation and Brand Officer Komal Mistry-Mehta says the creation of the new brand brings to life concepts that help customers tailor their products to meet consumers’ evolving wellbeing nutrition needs.

“Our health and wellbeing customers are facing growing pressure to accelerate their innovation pipeline to respond to these dynamic consumer demands, yet they face common challenges during new product development and are looking for partners to fill their capability gaps. . .


‘Tax is love. Enjoy its fruits.’

18/07/2022

Dr Oliver Hartwich writes, we are paying the price for economic mismanagement:

We can reasonably expect New Zealand’s economy to enter recession after the Reserve Bank raised its Official Cash Rate again by 50 basis points.

No one likes being in recession, but current circumstances make it almost desirable. Accelerating price increases and tight labour markets are both signs of an overheated economy. 

The Reserve Bank therefore wants to engineer an economic downturn to let off some steam. This would relax both the labour market and consumer price inflation. . .

That’s what it wants, but it won’t be easy with a very tight labour market.

With Kiwis leaving and fewer migrants coming here, labour constraints could therefore remain, even in the face of a recession. That would make the Reserve Bank’s job much harder.

However, our central bankers will be concerned about more than just the labour market.

Because next year is an election year, the Government will be tempted to soften the downturn. This might take the form of fiscal stimulus and transfer payments – but both would counteract the withdrawal of aggregate demand the Reserve Bank wants to achieve.

It is possible that the Reserve Bank would struggle to meet its goals despite sustained increases in the OCR. 

Instead, it would see the economy showing simultaneous signs of overheating in the labour market, declining economic activity and consumer price inflation. In a word: stagflation.

Some will argue that it is mainly the Reserve Bank’s fault for having led us into this mess. And they would be right. This is a recession we did not have to have. . . 

It could have been avoided had the Reserve Bank not flooded the country with cash, and the government been disciplined in its spending.

The Reserve Bank can only do so much. The best it can do is emphasise the return to price stability as its main goal.

The remaining responsibility for economic management, however, rests with the Government.

Demand-side management must be avoided, no matter how tempting it may seem. And in order to boost the supply side, the Government must make doing business easier and cheaper.

The Government’s economic competence will determine how long and how deep our economic downturn will be. 

How much confidence can we have in the government’s economic competence?

Worry not, Dr Bryce Wilkinson writes ‘from’ the Beehive to rebut our misplaced fears:

We in the Beehive are aware of some unfounded dissatisfaction amongst the great unwashed.

There are stories of a health system in crisis. This is not so. If it were, we would have told you.

The real emergency is, as everyone knows, climate change. Think not of hospital shortages today. Think instead of all those who are going to drown in 2100 because they did not notice sea-level rise. Subsidies for electric cars are more important than yet more money for hospitals.

There are also stories that the amalgamation of Polytechnics has destroyed their creativity and independence.

This is absurd. Our new structure has at least 21 people with “chief executive” in their titles. The 21 oversee the chief executives of the 16 polytechnics. What chief executive would not welcome such support?

Some are complaining that the top boss is earning $13,000 a week while on ‘special’ leave. That is what we call a fair go for the ordinary bloke. Others can learn from it.

School truancy. Another problem inherited from the other lot. What everyone is missing is how much worse it would be if parents were paying directly for their truant children. Private schools are the pits.

Some are concerned that around 40% of school leavers are barely literate. Will they be able to pay enough in taxes to support our retirement? Perhaps not, but again think of how much worse it would be if parents had greater school choice.

We had to shut down partnership schools because too many parents did not understand that state schools were best. Imagine if we told parents which schools were poor performers. There would be chaotic disruption. People need government to protect them from themselves.

There are stories that people are feeling unsafe in the streets. There are shootings. It is said that police are powerless to prevent reoffending by ten-year olds because of the laws protecting minors. Nor can they do much about hardened criminals given our lenient courts. Our judges even struck out Parliament’s three strikes legislation, before we did. If they do not understand our constitution, who does?

All such complaints are unkind. You are paying for approaching 450,000 public sector employees who wake up each morning thinking only of how they can best help you each day.

Our excellent governance arrangements ensure nothing stands in their way.

Tax is love. Enjoy its fruits.

Feeling reassured now?

Enjoying the fruits?

Or worried that the fruits are rotten?


Theodore Dalrymple – Shocking Truth About Crime

05/02/2022


Rural round-up

09/12/2021

More than 300 lambs worth $40k stolen from Ruawai farm – Sally Murphy:

The Kaipara mayor, who is also a sheep and beef farmer, has had $40,000 worth of stock stolen.

Jason Smith had 307 new season lambs disappear from his Ruawai farm between 17 November and 1 December.

Smith said the farm manager noticed they were missing last week when they were being mustered to the yards to be sold.

“This is not just a small number of like 10 sheep or three steer missing, this is 307 lambs it’s a sizeable mob for someone to walk or drive away. . . 

Forestry on farms fires up speakers – Shawn McAvinue:

Is forestry a threat to rural communities or an opportunity too good to refuse?

About 70 people attended the panel debate “Plantation forestry — threat or opportunity?” in Dunedin last week.

Independent debate chairman Stephen Woodhead, of Milton, gave each of the four panel members 10 minutes to speak.

Ministry for Primary Industries Te Uru Rakau forest and land use senior adviser Duncan Harrison, of Christchurch, said a Ministry for the Environment report published in October estimates up to 1.37million ha of new forest — a mix of native and exotic — could be planted in New Zealand between 2020 and 2050. . . 

Forestry operators hope for recovery after ‘perfect storm’ hits log prices :

Forestry contractors are bracing for a tough summer as they wait for log prices to recover and harvesting to regain momentum.

Prices were at near record levels earlier in 2021, but last month sunk to lows not seen since late 2015.

As a result the amount of logs heading to ports had slowed significantly, with many harvesting crews being told to work at a reduced capacity, or down tools.

China is New Zealand’s largest overseas market for logs, accounting for about 70-90 percent of exports. . .

Golden Shears cancelled for second year due to Covid-19 uncertainty :

New Zealand’s major shearing event has been cut for the second year in a row, with organisers sighting uncertainty due to Covid-19.

The Golden Shears had been held at Masterton’s War Memorial Stadium each March for 60 years.

The 2021 competition was called off at just four days’ notice after a Covid-19 alert level change.

Golden Shears International Shearing Championships Society president Sam Saunders said cancelling for the second time was an extremely tough call, as everyone on the committee knew how important the event was to the farming community and Masterton. . . 

Exploring regen-ag with an evidence driven approach :

Ngāi Tahu Farming will transition an iwi-owned dairy block to regenerative agriculture principles and practices, while measuring multiple variables to build a data set that demonstrates the difference between its conventional and regenerative dairy systems. The trial was influenced by an earlier collaboration with the Next Generation Systems programme.

Ngāi Tahu Farming is designing a farm-scale trial that will transition an iwi-owned dairy block to regenerative agriculture principles and practices. This trial will see Ngāi Tahu Farming monitor and measure multiple variables, to build a data set of information that demonstrates the difference between its conventional and regenerative dairy systems. The farm-scale trial will build on a completed trial of regenerative practices on an iwi-owned 114-hectare dairy support block.

The design of the dairy system trial has also spurred discussion about te ao Māori and farming values within Ngāi Tahu. A new iwi consultancy group has been formed for the purpose of helping Ngāi Tahu shape the mātauranga Māori principles in the trial, and to help filter information coming out of the trial back to the iwi.

The decision to undertake these trials, applying a scientifically rigorous approach, was influenced by Ngāi Tahu Farming’s earlier collaboration on Farm Soil Health with the Next Generation Systems research programme, led by Dr Robyn Dynes, strategy lead and senior scientist at AgResearch, and funded by Our Land and Water. . . 

Waitiri Creek not your usual winery – Cy Sinderson:

It’s said that a business is always a reflection of its leadership. So, a CEO who has been given no mandate to grow his or her business from the shareholders will always cultivate a culture of conservatism within the company. On the other hand, a CEO who has been given a free hand is far more likely to create an atmosphere where risk taking is actively encouraged.

With that in mind, it’s easy to see why Waitiri Creek is not your usual winery. Having an owner and general manager with the business reputation and overall clout of Alistair Ward means that his family’s boutique Otago winery is never going to follow the same safe path that so many other wineries tread. In his other life as a director on multiple corporate boards and co-owner of corporate advisors Campbell MacPherson, Alistair is used to dealing with weighty business transactions like mergers, acquisitions, divestments, capital raising and debt finance. And when your clients include a rollcall of national heavyweights like Hynds, Fonterra, Holcim and Ravensdown, you are not used to dodging the hard decisions.  So it is of little surprise that Alistair has dared to continually steer guide the family vineyard into new territories. . .


A complete meth of drug policy

28/07/2021

Shane Reti says Labour has made a complete meth of dealing with the drug that is doing so much damage to addicts and the country:

Labour’s short-sighted decision in 2018 to scrap National’s highly successful Meth Action Plan – and its outright refusal to accept that New Zealand has a gang problem – is contributing to a surge in gang membership, meth use and misery in New Zealand’s most deprived communities, National’s health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

Ditching something that works because it comes from a political opponent is rank stupidity.

Wastewater testing shows meth use is highest in locations with higher levels of gang membership per capita, notably Northland, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay.

“The rise in gang membership and drug abuse go hand-in-hand,” says Dr Reti. “It’s an indictment of Labour’s ‘nothing-to-see-here’ approach to crime, which is now causing lasting damage to communities across New Zealand.”

Meth use is widely recognised as a major factor in domestic violence, social deprivation, crime and social harm. It also helps to enrich criminal gangs, whose membership has ballooned under Labour.

Labour purports to want to address child poverty but its inaction on meth is adding to the problem.

The cross-agency Meth Action Plan introduced under the last National Government implemented policies to crack down on the supply of meth, while providing a health-based response for the victims of the drug.

This is the sensible approach to drug policy – being tough on suppliers and compassionate with addicts.

Using $10 million set aside each year from the proceeds of crime fund – money seized from criminals – the plan gave Police and Customs the resources they need to disrupt supply chains and crack down on gangs.

“This plan was working, with a 50 per cent reduction in usage among adults between 2009 and 2015.

“Labour’s decision to cancel this programme three years ago was baffling at the time, but with meth use and gang membership both climbing, it’s absolutely clear now it was the wrong one.

Rather than hiring gang members to run rehab programmes for their own victims, Labour should swallow its pride, admit it made a mistake in cancelling the Meth Action Plan, and go back to what was proven to be working.

“At the election, National released set of proposals that would build on our past success in reducing meth use, and would tackle the meth problem from all angles, addressing both demand and supply.

“We’re calling on the Government to urgently reinstate the Meth Action Plan, and to commit to tackling both supply and demand for methamphetamine in New Zealand.”

National has a plan to tackle meth supply:

  • Increase funding for drug intelligence to enable Customs and Police to identify drugs coming into the country.
  • Deploy the latest detection technologies at New Zealand’s airports, ports and distribution centres, where the majority of illicit drug shipments are arriving without detection.
  • Improve the use of data and artificial intelligence to analyse drug use, criminal networks and patterns of supply so enforcement agencies can better disrupt supply.
  • Target criminal gangs, their precursor supply chains and drug distribution networks with additional focus and resourcing for Police.
  • Crack down on illegal smuggling of cash and money laundering to prevent domestic gangs and the international syndicates they work with from extracting super profits from meth distribution.

National also has a plan to tackle demand:

  • Deploy the Matrix Methamphetamine Treatment Pilot Programme across several District Health Boards to provide direct support to those recovering from methamphetamine use.
  • Add 13 detox beds for methamphetamine across New Zealand, ensuring every District Health Board has at least one.
  • Ensure at least one methamphetamine specialist per District Health Board is available to assist with in-patient detoxing from methamphetamine.
  • Establish a contestable fund of $50 million to pilot new or scaled-up whole-community harm reduction programmes.
  • Establish best practices for frontline police to refer meth users to DHBs, Ministry of Social Development, education resources and community-based support.

Reducing the harm meth does requires a two-prong approach to reduce supply and help the uses.

Labour’s policy has led to an increase in supply and created more addicts.


Fewer police, fewer prisoners

11/01/2021

Labour’s promise to give us more police is on hold:

The Government has lived up to its soft-on-crime reputation by pushing pause on its plans to increase police numbers by 1800, National’s Police spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

In 2017, Labour promised to grow the Police’s ranks by 1800 over three years, but it never got close. Instead, it tried to fool the public by claiming its promise never included attrition. Former Police Minister Stuart Nash shifted the goalposts last year, saying the net increase of 1800 officers wouldn’t actually happen until 2021.

Now it’s been revealed that police stopped training because they got ahead of their five-year budget, according to the Police Association. The 1800 target is unlikely to be met until 2023.

“It is disappointing to learn that Police have deferred all upcoming intakes until at least May because it feels there is now ‘less of a need for recruits’,” Mr Brown says.

Less need? That’s not what the crime statistics show.

“There were more than 270,000 victims of crime in the year ending October 2020. I don’t think they would agree there is less need for police officers out on the beat.

A six-month drought of new cops hitting the streets doesn’t make sense when there has been a 13 per cent increase in gang membership over the past year and we have seen an increasing amount of gang and gun violence on our streets, Mr Brown says.

“Many of these promised new police officers were meant to be focussed on organised crime and drugs.

“This is yet another broken promise from the Labour Government, which shows it is not fully committed to stamping out crime and keeping New Zealand’s communities safe.

“National is committed to keeping New Zealanders safe and giving Police the resources they need. We will grow police numbers and increase the allocation of officers to rural areas, including expanding one-person police stations to two-person police stations.”

Remember that Labour not only pledged to increase police numbers, it also wanted to reduce the number of people in prison?

Could it be the delay in increasing police recruits is a cunning plan to reduce the prison population? No, not deliberately but that will be a consequence.

After all if there are fewer police there will almost certainly be more crime that isn’t solved and therefore fewer prisoners.

 


Yeah, nah to Assange

07/01/2021

Let’s not say yes to this request:

Julian Assange’s father has called on New Zealand to offer his son asylum after a UK judge blocked a US extradition attempt today. . . 

The mixed ruling found the WikiLeaks founder’s precarious mental health would likely deteriorate further under the conditions of “near total isolation” he would face in a US prison.

Lawyers for the US government said they would appeal the decision, and the US Department of Justice said it would continue to seek Assange’s extradition.

After this development, Assange’s father John Shipton added his name to a letter calling for New Zealand to offer asylum to his son. . . 

Even without Covid-19 dangers and restrictions are we under any obligation to let this man have asylum here?

The application to extradite him wasn’t turned down because of the weakness of the case against him but because his precarious mental health would likely deteriorate further under the conditions of “near total isolation” he would face in a US prison.

Could we, and should we accept him in that state and if we did could we give him the help he needs when our mental health system is overloaded?

Our borders are closed.

Should we make an exception for Assange when thousands of New Zealand citizens and permanent residents are having to wait weeks for places in managed isolation; families are in forced separation; people can’t get in to visit terminally ill family and friends or to attend funerals; and lots of other people with far stronger claims than Assange’s aren’t being permitted to come here?

Yeah, nah.


Rural round-up

05/01/2021

Cherry crops ruined by rain – Jared Morgan:

Central Otago cherry growers have lost millions of dollars of crop after 36 hours of persistent and heavy rain destroyed yet-to-be-picked fruit.

While damage was still being assessed some growers estimate losses at between 30% and 60% and more rain is forecast.

Growers in Earnscleugh, near Clyde, took advantage of a brief reprieve from the rain yesterday morning to assess the damage to what were bumper crops in a season plagued by concerns about labour shortages.

The area was one of the hardest hit by the rain which began on New Year’s Day and did not let up until about 8.30am yesterday, causing the Fraser River to breach its banks coupled with localised runoff from the hills. . . 

Waitaki District flooding: clean-up underway :

Farmers in the Waitaki District, which was inundated with heavy rain at the weekend, remain in clean-up mode today.

Parts of the region were battered by torrential rain on Saturday, flooding streets and closing roads.

Campers at the Otematata River had to be evacuated as the river threatened to break the flood bank.

Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher said it’s been a mixed bag for farmers in the district. . .  

Plea to report farm thefts as high season for crime nears – Lawrence Gullery:

Police and rural leaders are urging those living and working on the land to report crime as the traditional spike in summer theft approaches.

FMG Insurance said its claims data showed January was when thieves set out to steal from rural properties.

And FMG manager advice services Stephen Cantwell said theft was the leading cause of farm contents claims.

“In our experience lower value quad bikes are the most common stolen item on the farm. . . 

New Zealand cheeses could face renaming under EU rules – Dave Gooselink:

There could be some new names on your cheeseboards in summers to come if the European Union gets its way. It wants to stop Kiwi cheesemakers from using names like feta and gorgonzola.

This creamy cheese has been in development at Whitestone for the last two years, using a unique mould strain found in North Otago.

“When we talk about it, it’s like that style of a gorgonzola, but we’re calling it Oamaru blue because it’s here from Oamaru,” says Simon Berry, managing director of Whitestone Cheese and spokesperson for New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association.

Developing unique varieties is set to become more important. The European Union wants to ban other countries from using ‘their’ cheese names in local products. . .

Chops gained with time – Abbey Palmer:

For 15-year-old wood-chopper Jack Richards, it is all about not trying to “run before you can crawl’’.

The Eastern Bush resident was one of the youngest contestants to have a crack at this year’s Tuatapere Sports Day wood-chopping competition, an event he has taken part in for the past four years.

Axemen from across the country made their way to the Southland town yesterday for the annual event on the first day of 2021 to go head to head in the challenge.

When Jack was watching his parents take part in the sport when he was just 11 years old he thought, “why not give it a go?”. . . 

Carter joins Ruralco board – Sudesh Kissun:

Former Agriculture Minister and Banks Peninsula farmer David Carter has been elected to the board of rural trader, Ruralco.

Carter took up his directorship at the co-operative’s annual meeting last month, replacing former chairman Alister Body who stepped down after nine years on the board.

Carter, one of National’s longest serving MPs, retired at the last general elections after serving as a parliamentarian for 26 years and in a number of National governments as a cabinet minister, including Agriculture Minister and Speaker of the House.

He says joining the Ruralco Board is a chance to offer his experience to his first passion—New Zealand agriculture. . . 

UK farming to begin ‘new era’ in 2021, NFU president says

British farming is set to begin a ‘new era’ in 2021 as the UK leaves the Brexit transition period and implements a new agriculture policy for the first time in 70 years.

This is according to NFU President Minette Batters, who said in her new year message that 2020 was a ‘year like no other’ for British food producers.

“While we have all seen significant changes and challenges in the past 12 months, I would like to thank the public for their continued support for British farming and all it delivers; we simply wouldn’t be where we are today without it.”

She added that the successful conclusion of a deal between the UK and EU was a ‘very positive step forward’, and it should ‘provide comfort’ to farmers and the public. . . 


Threatening freedom

11/12/2020

A university or polytech graduation is one of a very few times most people have their achievements celebrated in a ceremony.

It’s not just the short walk across the stage, the hand shake, and, for a first degree, the placing of the trencher on the head of the new graduate.

It’s the total ceremonial package as well as the time spent with friends for what might be the last time in years as people who have spent three or more years together go to further study or work in different places.

Many thousands of students had their graduations cancelled by Covid-19 and  this week Otago University and Polytech students have had theirs cancelled for safety reasons.

Otago University cancelled Wednesday’s graduation ceremony after a specific threat:

. . . Police did not reveal the nature of the security threat or its precise timing, but said it related specifically to university graduation ceremonies.

University of Otago vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne said yesterday’s decision to postpone was made quickly after a strong recommendation from police to do so. . . .

Polytech students have had to accept similar disappointment:

Otago Polytechnic said it made the “devastating decision” following advice from police..

Without knowing anything more than there was a threat which police, and the institutions, have taken seriously, it is impossible to know if they have overreacted.

The decisions to cancel wouldn’t have been taken lightly and the search for the culprit will be taken very seriously too.

It must be not just to hold the person or people responsible to account but also to deter anyone else who, for whatever perverted reason, might think doing something similar would be a good idea.

The threat to harm people should the ceremonies have gone ahead is bad enough, the threat to the freedom to do what we want to do, where we want to do it makes it worse.


Two reports and an apology

09/12/2020

It is natural to seek to determine who is responsible when an atrocity has occurred and to find someone to blame.

That is not always possible.

The report from the Royal Commission on the Christchurch Mosque murders found several government agencies could have done better but did not point the finger at any individuals.

However, Judith Collins is correct to point out who was responsible:

. . .“The atrocities committed on March 15, 2019 were the actions of an evil terrorist designed to spread fear and silence those who did not share his world view. But the actions of New Zealanders since then in denouncing him and what he stood for is proof that he failed. . . 

“The Opposition stands ready to work constructively with the Government to ensure sure we learn from this event and make New Zealand a safer place for all five million of us.

“Ultimately, the person responsible is the one serving a life sentence without parole. But it appears certain systems within Government could have, and should have, performed better.

Brenton Tarrant admitted committing the crimes. We will never know who the individuals in the government agencies were whose work fell short of what should have been required.

But we need to know that the required changes to fix the shortcomings are made.

“In principle, we support strengthening the role of our security and intelligence agencies but we must tread carefully to safeguard New Zealanders’ rights and liberties.

“We cannot end up sacrificing our liberal democracy, otherwise we will end up with the sort of New Zealand this terrorist was trying to create.

Among those rights and liberties are freedom of speech which must be protected.

“It is clear this terrorist should never have had a gun license and we support moves by the police to improve training and firearms licence vetting.

“But more needs to be done to get guns out of the hands of criminals, and National’s proposed Firearms Prohibition Orders are a crucial tool that we need in this fight.

“We have shown that, as a nation, we are not prepared to give into fear, we are not prepared to tolerate extreme hate, and we are not prepared to let anything like the wickedness that took place on March 15 ever happen in New Zealand again.”

No laws can ever make a country and its population 100% safe.

In addressing the shortcomings that enabled the March 15 attacks to happen the government must make sure it doesn’t over react and mistake excessive restrictions for safety.

The Royal Commission report was released yesterday. Another report has yet to be made public:

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins must immediately release the Roche/Simpson review report into our border testing systems, National’s Covid-19 Recovery spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

The Government commissioned this report under urgency in late August after its border testing systems failed spectacularly, and Chris Hipkins told Parliament today a copy of the report was sent to him on 30 September.

“The report should have been released before the election – but as we learned today in Parliament, the Government has simply sat on the report since then. The Minister would not even commit today in Parliament to releasing the report before Christmas,” Mr Bishop says.

“This is simply unacceptable. As the Minister himself said when announcing the report, ‘the Group’s formation represents another key step in our ongoing battle against Covid-19. As has been our approach from the start, we are continuously reviewing our systems and finding ways to improve. That approach will continue’.

“Getting our border response right is critical for the future of this country. With businesses closing down and Kiwis losing their jobs, we can’t afford to waste time not considering this report.”

It was also revealed in Parliament today that the Ministry of Health disagrees with elements of the report.

“The suspicion must be that the Ministry has spent the time since 30 September fighting to stop the report being released and trying to change the findings of the independent panel.

“There is now even more reason for the report to be released without any changes that may be insisted on by the Ministry of Health. The Government appointed these independent reviewers and the public deserves to see their findings.”

The mosque murders were atrocious but another terror attack is a remote possibility. Community transmission of Covid-19 owing to holes in the border is much more likely.

Whether or not the MoH agrees with the report, the review was done by independent people and not only do we have a right to know what their findings are, we need to know so we can be be sure that any issues it highlights are addressed.

While we await the release of the report, we have had an apology:

Parliament’s Speaker Trevor Mallard has apologised for comments he made last year claiming a rapist was working on the premises.

He made the remarks on RNZ shortly after the release of a report which revealed frequent bullying and harassment at Parliament.

Mallard later told reporters a staffer had been stood down and a “threat to the safety of women” removed.

In a statement released today, Mallard said it was “incorrect” of him to give the impression the man had been accused of rape “as that term is defined in the Crimes Act 1961”.

Mallard had provided a personal apology to the man for the “distress and humiliation” caused to the worker and his family, the statement said.

“Both parties consider this matter is now closed and no further comment will be made.” . . 

There is no mention of compensation for the worker who lost his job and we’re very unlikely to find out how much he received.

It will have been made by Parliamentary Services which is not subject to Official Information Act requirements.

One report has been released, another has not and we’ll almost certainly never know how much Mallard’s loose lips have cost us. And quelle surprise, his apology was announced when all attention was on the Royal Commission’s report. Given this is an open and transparent government, that would just be an unfortunate coincidence, wouldn’t it?


Who’s hiding what?

30/11/2020

The Royal Commission into the Christchurch mosque shootings has imposed a 30-year suppression on evidence given by ministers and senior public servants:

The commission’s report, which will be released by the Government on Tuesday, December 8, is expected to detail any failings within government organisations, including police and the spy agencies, in the lead up to the terror attack – including how the terrorist obtained a firearms licence.

Among the widespread suppression rulings made by the commission are the permanent suppression of the police staff involved in granting the Australian-national a firearms licence, including the two people who vouched for the terrorist.

Stuff has previously reported on police’s failure to properly scrutinise the terrorist, wrongly licencing him to purchase the stockpile of semi-automatic guns later used to murder 51 people.

Islamic Women’s Council national coordinator Anjum Rahman was concerned the suppression of evidence given by ministers and chief executives, in particular, might prevent accountability for negligence, wrong-doing, and incompetence. . . 

The commissioners decided the evidence provided by Government agency chief executives and current and former Cabinet ministers should be suppressed for 30-years, allowing public release in the future when national security concerns “dissipate”.

“Historians and others will have a legitimate interest in understanding in due course what those officials and former and current ministers had to say to a Royal Commission like ours.” . . 

There is a case for suppressing evidence that could be used as a how-to for other would-be killers. But surely all evidence provided by public sector CEOs and cabinet ministers  can’t fall into that category.

It’s not just future historians who will have a legitimate interest in understanding what these people said.

Survivors, victims’ families, many of whom may well be dead in three decades, and the wider public have a legitimate interest now.

The 30-year suppression begs the questions: who’s hiding what?

Another question is, what sort of administration error allowed the gunman to get a firearms licence when he shouldn’t have?

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) wrote a report for the Royal Commission into the attack.

It found the terrorist should never have got the gun licence because he did not have appropriate referees – but police gave it to him anyway. . . 

Mahrukh Sarwar and Nour Malak investigated how police let the terrorist get a gun licence that allowed him to buy the weapons he used in last year’s attack.

“If the police had followed their own processes, we are saying they should not have given him the licence,” Sarwar said.

The police forms show one referee must be a spouse, partner, or next-of-kin who normally resides with or is related to you, and the other must be a person who is unrelated to you, over 20 years old, and knows you well.

But the terrorist’s referees were his online gaming friend and the online gaming friend’s father.

The young Muslims say this was an administrative failure by police that had a huge cost. . . 

If information that could answer how that happened is suppressed, can we be confident that whatever shortcomings led to it have been fixed so it never happens again?


Life without parole

27/08/2020

Brenton Tarrant has been sentenced to life without parole:

Terrorist gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant has accepted his fate and will spend all his remaining years in prison, with no chance of ever being released. …

Justice Mander said he had “listened with sadness” to those who had read their victim impact statements in court during the four-day sentencing hearing. He summarised their views and situations, and referred to kind, forgiving, fine people being killed. 

He said he had little doubt Tarrant had come to New Zealand to target the Muslim community. He had travelled in Europe and developed deep-seated views about the “cultural displacement” of Europeans by migrants.  . .

“You remain empty of any empathy for the victims. You remain detached and appear entirely self-centred,” Justice Mander said. . .

He rejected the idea of any credit for Tarrant’s guilty pleas, and his claimed change of views. He noted Tarrant remained entirely self-absorbed and had offered no apology or public acknowledgement.

His regret seemed centred on the waste of his own life . . .

Tarrant’s is the face of evil. This week he had to face the victims of his crime.

Many of them forgave him, showing the face of good.


Don’t babies’ lives matter?

24/06/2020

Another horrifying addition to New Zealand’s roll of dishonour:

An Auckland father who admitted bashing his newborn baby repeatedly for the first four months of her life – causing 14 broken bones – has been jailed for more than four years.

People imported indignation, contravening social distancing requirements, to march in protest against a murder, heinous as it was, in the United States a few weeks ago.

There won’t be a march against this and other similar crimes against defenceless children, not that it would do any more good than the Black Lives Matters marches did here.

But worse, nothing more will be done to address the causes of this and other crimes against children which will inevitably add more abusers to that roll of dishonour.

Why don’t babies’ lives matter?


Officer down

19/06/2020

A police officer has been killed while on duty:

Statement from Commissioner Andrew Coster 

It is with a heavy heart that I confirm that one of our colleagues injured in the incident in Massey, West Auckland, today has died.

This is devastating news and absolutely the worst thing for us to deal with. We have lost a colleague and friend in our Police whānau.

Our thoughts are with the officer’s family and loved ones, and with the other officer and member of the public who were injured in the same incident and their loved ones.

From the information we have this was a routine traffic stop and is the type of work our officers do every day to keep the public safe. At this stage there is nothing to indicate that the job was going to be anything out of the ordinary.

At around 10.30am, a police unit has performed a routine traffic stop on Reynella Drive.

The attending officers were shot and a member of the public has also been hit by the vehicle.

The second officer and the member of the public are in hospital where they are being treated for their injuries. The member of the public has minor injuries and the officer has serious injuries.

The alleged offender has fled the scene and enquiries are ongoing to locate them.

While efforts to locate the offender are ongoing staff in Tāmaki Makaurau will be armed.

Our priority is to support our officers and to locate this alleged offender as soon as possible.

This incident points to the real risks our officers face on the streets, doing their jobs, every day.

Staff safety and welfare are our absolute priority and our whole organisation is in a state of shock after these horrific events.

Further information will be released as it becomes available.

This is a tragedy for the officer’s family, friends and colleagues.

Such killings are rare but this is a reminder of the danger police face every day and night.


How many more out there?

17/06/2020

Very soon after the Christchurch mosque massacres, people started asking how Brenton Tarrant had been able to obtain a gun licence. More than a year later, it’s found he shouldn’t have:

The March 15 terrorist was wrongly granted a firearms licence due to a string of police failures, sources have told Stuff.

The terrorist, who pleaded guilty to New Zealand’s worst mass shooting in March, was not properly inspected by police vetting staff when he applied for a firearms licence in 2017.

Stuff has been told that, among other errors, police failed to interview a family member as required, instead relying on two men who met the terrorist through an internet chatroom. 

More than a year on from the March 15 terror attack, police insiders say the error was the product of a long neglected police firearms system that did not have the resources to properly handle applications. 

“This was avoidable. If police had addressed some of the issues with administering firearms years ago, this could have been avoided,” a source said. . .

The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) highlighted shortcomings in the system in a submission to the Royal Commission into the killings last year:

COLFO chair Michael Dowling said it was clear that the alleged perpetrator should never have been deemed a ‘fit and proper’ person to own the guns and large capacity magazines used in the attack.

“He was able to slip through gaps created by a system chronically stretched by poor resourcing and funding, as well as a lack of expertise and knowledge.” . . 

“We don’t know the background checks into Tarrant, but we do know he had travelled to unusual locations internationally, was not a New Zealand resident for long and was not involved with firearms as a hobby.

“Despite this, Tarrant applied for, and received, his firearms licence in 2017.

“This raises serious concerns for vetting procedures and whether the 2010 police vetting guide was adhered to during Tarrant’s licencing process. We understand that his referees had never met him in person, nor did they include a family member.” . . 

Not having the resources to handle applications properly might be an excuse for delays, it’s not an excuse for failing to follow the correct procedure and for granting a licence to someone who so obviously didn’t meet the required criteria.

This appalling systems failure led to the death of 51 people and injuries to several more.

It also led to the contentious and expensive gun buy-back scheme that may have done no more than take firearms from innocent people and left more with criminals.

Yesterday we learned that another systems failure led to two people with Covid-19 being grant compassionate leave from managed isolation after arriving from the UK:

Two Kiwi women – one in her 30s and one in her 40s – arrived on June 7 on an Air New Zealand flight from Brisbane, before staying at the Novotel Auckland Ellerslie hotel in managed isolation.

The pair was given special dispensation to leave isolation on June 13 to support grieving family after a parent’s death in Wellington. Officials were adamant the pair travelled in a private car and did not use public facilities during their journey.

Bloomfield confirmed the pair was not tested for Covid-19 before being allowed to leave the Novotel in Auckland, but had complied with the terms of their special dispensation and underwent testing in Wellington. 

The women are now in self-isolation in the Hutt Valley.

“The relative died quite quickly, the exemption was granted and the plan was approved,” Bloomfield said.

“Again, I just want to support the efforts that these women have gone to abide by the agreed plan,” Bloomfield said. 

But the emergence of the two cases has sparked an immediate change in policy, with the Government temporarily suspending all compassionate exemptions at the border.

It would only be reinstated once the Government had confidence in the system. . .

Yesterday we also learned that two teenagers ran away from authorities after being allowed special dispensation from Covid-19 related quarantine to attend a funeral in Hamilton.

They have since been located and one is in managed isolation while the other is in an agreed community arrangement, director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed this afternoon.

He did not know how many days their whereabouts were unknown. . . 

Speaking to Heather Du-Plessis Allan on Newstalk ZB Tuesday evening, Health Minister David Clark did not seem to know about the runaway pair.

“I’m not aware of the details of that case…I have not had a briefing on that, I will seek a briefing on that.”

Clark said he was disappointed to see that the measures he thought were put in place to prevent another outbreak didn’t appear to be.

“If it is as you described it, then it underscores my request to suspend compassionate exemptions until we ensure that the system is working as intended.” . . 

Working as intended?

How hard is it to test people when they arrive and again before they are permitted to leave isolation or quarantine?

No wonder National’s health spokesman Michael Woodhouse is questioning whether the Ministry of Health is following its own protocols:

. . . Both cases recently arrived from the United Kingdom and left managed isolation on compassionate grounds after six days with no Covid-19 test. However compassionate leave to exit managed isolation can only be given after seven days and a negative test according to guidance from the Ministry dated 9 June.

“Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield claimed in the press conference that going forward they will now test on exit in case of compassionate grounds, but the Ministry of Health website said this was already the case and the ministry simply failed to fulfil its own procedures.

“It’s fair to expect there will still be the occasional case of Covid-19 pop up as we recover from the past few months, but we need to be positive that the Government has the appropriate protocols in place to identify and trace these cases so they don’t become a bigger cluster.

“New Zealanders have done the hard yards over recent months in flattening the curve of Covid-19, the Government can’t let this hard work go to waste due to sloppy lapses in procedure.” 

Covid-19 spread through New Zealand because our borders weren’t closed soon enough and people who came in were trusted to self-isolate themselves.

When the disease is still rife in so many other countries it is not surprising that people coming in to New Zealand have brought it with them.

But it is sheer incompetence that allowed people to have compassionate leave without being tested and let a couple of teens to run away after a funeral.

Tackling Covid-19 has come at a huge cost. Opening the border is necessary to help with the recovery and for compassionate reasons but it must be done in a way that doesn’t risk the spread of disease here.

The answer isn’t denying compassionate leave to other innocent people, it’s following the necessary protocols to test people, and get the result of the tests, before allowing that leave.

Police and health are two of the basic public services we should all be able to trust and that requires systems we can all have confidence in.

But the serious failures in these cases undermines confidence and raise another very big question: how many other people have been given gun licenses who shouldn’t have and how many others have come through the border and been let out of isolation or quarantine without testing for Covid-19?


Importing indignation

11/06/2020

The murder of George Floyd was heinous and the protests in his home state and home country are understandable.

But do those protesting understand what Theodore Dalrymple calls those pesky statistics?:

To the citizens of most Western countries, the numbers of people killed by the American police are rather surprising, to say the least, but so are the numbers of police killed.

Roughly speaking, a policeman in the United States is about fifty times more likely to be killed than to kill, and this is without taking into consideration that the majority of the killings by the police are at least prima facie justified by self-defense or the interruption or prevention of a serious crime. Let us exclude only half of those killings on these grounds (probably a gross underestimate): This means that a policeman is 100 times more likely to be killed than to kill.

Let us also suppose that the police are killed by black and white in the same proportion as blacks and whites commit homicide in general (again, a generous, that is to say a conservative, assumption). This means that a policeman is about fifteen times more likely to be killed by a black man than to kill a black man, and again this is not to take into account the fact that many of the police killings would be at least prima facie justified.

A black man is about thirty times more likely to be killed by another black man than to be killed by a policeman (and some of the police are themselves black, of course). A white man is only fifteen times more likely to be killed by someone of any race than to be killed by a policeman. Are the police biased against whites? . . 

None of this alters the individual responsibility of the policeman who must surely have caused the death of George Floyd. (Would the latter have died anyway, even if not under arrest and treated in the way he was treated?) Nor does it alter the responsibility of the accessories before the fact. But it does cast a strange light on the rioters, and even on the peaceful demonstrators, most of whom seem to have expressed little concern, much less moral outrage, at the much more frequent murder of blacks by other blacks, or at the comparatively high rate of the murder of policemen. (The general homicide rate in the U.S. is about five per 100,000, that of policemen fifteen per 100,000.).

Now, it might be argued that an unjustified killing by an agent of the state is far worse than any other kind of killing, so raw statistics do not apply. I can see that this argument has a certain force. On the other hand, the killing of an agent of law and order also has a special seriousness, for it undermines law and order itself. And egalitarians who uphold the sanctity of (or at least the inalienable right to) human life are ill-placed to claim that one killing is worse than another. . . 

Black lives matter, all lives matter.

So why no marches for the persecution of Christians ‘at near genocide levels’?

Why no protests against all sorts of atrocities in many different countries?

Is there something about the USA that makes this crime much, much worse than many others committed in many other countries?

And why are we importing indignation anyway? Don’t we have more than enough to be protesting about here?

How about the death of one year-old Sofia Taueki-Jackson a couple of weeks ago?

Or the four year old Flaxmere boy who has been discharged from hospital where he was being treated for permanent and severe brain damage?

Perhaps it’s too soon to be indignant about the unexplained death of a young child in Palmerston North. It might have been the result of illness or accident.

Or it might have been yet another to add to the sorry toll of babies and children maltreated and killed far closer to home than Minneapolis.

Anna Leask wrote of the 61 little names on New Zealand’s roll of dishonour:

A child is killed every five weeks, putting us high on list of world’s worst offenders.

Sixty-one. It’s the number of children who have died as a result of non-accidental injuries in New Zealand in the last 10 years.

Their names are scars on a shameful landscape of child abuse – Chris and Cru Kahui who would have turned 10 today, Nia Glassie, JJ Ruhe-Lawrence, Jyniah Te Awa.

Thirty-one of those young ones were violently assaulted. They were kicked, punched, thrown, stomped or bashed to the point of death.

New Zealand has the fifth worst child abuse record out of 31 OECD countries and on average a child is killed here every five weeks. . . 

That was written four years ago. How many more little names have been added to that roll of dishonour since then?

The Child Matters website says:

Between 1 January 2019 and 30 November 2019, 11 children and young people have died as a result of homicide in New Zealand.

The Homicide Report

Released 13 May 2019

  • Every 8th homicide victim in New Zealand from 2004 to 31 March 2019 was a child
  • More than two thirds of the victims were aged 2 or under
  • Of the cases where the killer’s relationship to the victim was known, 27% were mothers, 24% were fathers, and 17% were de facto partners.

We don’t need to import indignation, there’s far too much here that ought to be raising anger and sorrow.

So why have the protests in the wake of Floyd’s death spread here?

Is it because it’s far easier to borrow another country’s ire than address the problems in our own?

Or is the murder just an excuse for protests that are really about thinly veiled anti-Americanism?


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