Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: 2011: The Year Of What?

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    For reference, I primarily won’t vote Labour because of their policies:
    - I don’t support locking innocent people up without trial

    Serious question: which policy are you referring to?

    - I want the right to choose what I put in my body
    - I don’t want NZ entering into undemocratic ‘free trade’ agreements
    - I don’t want NZ troops sent off to colonial wars, however much they want to go

    It seems fair to note that Goff has publicly opposed the redeployment of the SAS to Afganistan since 2009.

    The incompetence of Goff is a side issue (and the fact Labour can’t find a decent leader is partly a consequence of their political stance)

    In think there are number of reasons for Labour’s leadership problems, but I really can’t see how that’s one.

    We’ve got MMP (still) and that gives us the freedom to vote for who we agree with, not be forced into a binary Labour/National choice.

    Quite.

    If Labour wants an enthusiastic support base on the Left, then it needs to radically rethink its whole policy structure.

    So they can finally poll as well the the Greens?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18883 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    if the question’s been framed as “do you prefer the Yellow peril owning all your shit or making some rich prick cry?” (and I can’t find the questions asked anywhere),

    Voters were asked which they prefer; partial asset sales or Labour’s capital gains tax.

    53 percent of respondents said they preferred capital gains tax
    31 percent said they preferred asset sales
    16 percent said neither, or didn’t know

    ...
    Just 51.5 percent of National voters like the idea.
    32 percent – one in three National voters – said they preferred Phil Goff’s policy
    16 percent said neither, or didn’t know.

    The question was reasonably neutral.

    It wasn't 51.5% of Nat voters liking CGT it was 51.5% liking asset sales
    Only a third of Nat voters like CGT, a large minority but not enough to concern National.

    It does remain puzzling that what is largely seen as a good policy by half of all voters (CGT) is not enough to cause voters to vote Labour. My personal feeling is it is a loss of confidence in Labour Leadership and since the election has very much been framed as about leaders ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3391 posts Report Reply

  • Lew Stoddart,

    Steve, if your contention is that pointing out Labour’s failure to perform constitutes ‘bagging’, then you’re an apologist for ineffectiveness.

    I want Labour to win. So I refuse to coddle and baby them and pat them on the head and say ‘there, there’ and blame everyone else when they suck. They have a responsibility to go out there and kick arses, and to find ways to do so even though the field might be tilted against them. And if they prefer to piss and moan and complain about how life’s not fair then I will attack them for their childish petulance, and criticise them as space-wasters who’d be better off making way for people who will.

    You should, too. if you don’t, you’re prolonging the delusion that such a course of action can work. It can’t. The longer they spend complaining to an imaginary ref about rules that don’t exist, the more their opponents get away with, and the harder it is to recover.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Serious question: which policy are you referring to?

    The jailing of Ahmed Zaoui.

    ... Goff has publicly opposed the redeployment of the SAS to Afganistan since 2009

    Which is good. But Labour in power has shown itself to fall quickly under the thrall of the securocracy and the free-trade advocates. Standing up to a soldier, diplomat or secret policeman and saying that we won't do that, we will never do that and if you think we should do that then I want your resignation is not in Labour's makeup.

    [labour leadership] [greens polling]

    In 2006 it looked like capitalism was beebling along nicely. Now, we've had bank collapses, rioting in several European countries and the likelhood of a major OECD state defaulting. How have Labour's polices changed? - marginally, if at all.

    I'd assert that if Labour were to turn themselves around and advocate truly radical policies, they might be surprised at the support they'd get.

    If they don't, I think the Greens will overhaul them within a couple of election cycles.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4459 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to DeepRed,

    you can own your future

    Labour's OwnOurFuture campaign was pretty well done. Will be interesting to see if they can pull off the focus and discipline required to convert that into votes across the country.

    The policy constraints on any major party are greater than for smaller ones who can afford to take a more radical stance. We need all of that. Hence the importance of maintaining good relationships with allies throughout the political cycle.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16662 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    What have Labour got to lose?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Serious question: which policy are you referring to?

    The jailing of Ahmed Zaoui.

    A shameful episode, but not a matter of policy so much as an extended outbreak of idiocy at the SIS and Helen Clark's notorious aversion to being wrong.

    Zaoui did receive a "trial", in that his application was heard and refused by the Refugee Status Appeals Authority, a judicial body, on the basis of information it received. And it was a vindication of the Authority that it subsequently conducted its own investigation, which debunked the claims of the SIS.

    What policy change would you propose here?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18883 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I’d assert that if Labour were to turn themselves around and advocate truly radical policies, they might be surprised at the support they’d get.

    Where would that support come from?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18883 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What policy change would you propose here?

    As a minimum, that if a refugee is believed to be a terrorist or other danger to NZ, that they be charged, indicted and tried in open court, with a jury, for a real offence.

    (That is no more or less than the rights a New Zealander has. If [insert right wing crazy NZer here] were to head off and train with a militia in Idaho for a few months, then hang out with neo-Nazis in Germany, topping their holiday off with a sojourn with the EDF, the government couldn’t do any more than keep an eye on them).

    More radically, I’d like us to close down NZSIS and GCSB and replace them with accountable groups within Police, Defence and MFAT.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4459 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    As a minimum, that if a refugee is believed to be a terrorist or other danger to NZ, that they be charged, indicted and tried in open court, with a jury, for a real offence.

    But the Authority is an open court. All its judgements are published in a database and subject to appeal. And I actually don’t think that juries would be fairer than the authority as it currently operates. A jury would not, for example, have conducted its own investigation the way the Authority did in Zaoui’s case.

    More radically, I’d like us to close down NZSIS and GCSB and replace them with accountable groups within Police, Defence and MFAT.

    Fair enough. That’s a policy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18883 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A shameful episode, but not a matter of policy so much as an extended outbreak of idiocy at the SIS and Helen Clark's notorious aversion to being wrong.

    Could it also have been the fear of looking "soft on terrorism"? Mind you, 9/11 was still fresh on Westerners' minds.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4304 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Sacha,

    Labour's OwnOurFuture campaign was pretty well done. Will be interesting to see if they can pull off the focus and discipline required to convert that into votes across the country.

    The policy constraints on any major party are greater than for smaller ones who can afford to take a more radical stance. We need all of that. Hence the importance of maintaining good relationships with allies throughout the political cycle.

    The Own Our Future campaign is a pretty good start. What it needs now is the dog-whistling Dancing Cossacks factor. The "Daisy" advert for Lyndon Johnson's 1964 campaign comes to mind, but with more 'compare & contrast' than just all-out negativism.

    Also agree on the potential allies thing. The online rants of a certain MP we normally regard as mild-mannered did come across as a bit Peoples' Front of Judea-ist - spending more time and energy attacking one's potential allies than the real enemy isn't a good look. PFJ-ism should be left to extremists.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4304 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What was the offence? Conspiracy to murder/injure/cause explosions?

    Where was the evidence? Witnesses?

    If a New Zealander was suspected of terrorism, that would be rightly required in order to convict them.

    For a foreigner, a collection of scuttlebutt is enough. Sure, it was documented scuttlebutt, but they didn't have anything that, even if proven, would have convicted Zaoui for an offence.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4459 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Where would that support come from?

    For the purposes of discussion, I would suggest an answer as:

    1) Traditional* Labour supporters who'll be staying at home this time around.

    2) Traditional* Labour supporters who'll vote Green this time around.

    *whatever this may actually mean. Please don't make me sleep with Chris Trotter.

    ETA: I have no idea how the numbers in either of those groups stack up.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2396 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Anyway, I digress.

    If one believes in managed capitalism, a firm but fair approach to keeping the Bad Guys inline and that such measures can ensure a continued supply of exciting new consumer goods, then Labour is a good party to back. Or National, if your parents were farmers rather than public servants.

    If you don't buy into that, then voting for Green or Mana doesn't actually detract from Labour's chances of winning an election.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4459 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    For a foreigner, a collection of scuttlebutt is enough. Sure, it was documented scuttlebutt, but they didn’t have anything that, even if proven, would have convicted Zaoui for an offence.

    But that’s not the test, and I’m not aware that it’s the test in any country in the world. Not everyone gets to enter and live in New Zealand, and people who seek to enter as refugees have to meet refugee criteria as set out in the 1999 Immigration Act. And that does not include anyone:

    who the Minister has reason to believe—
    (i) has engaged in, or claimed responsibility for, an act of terrorism in New Zealand; or
    (ii) is a member of or adheres to any organisation or group of people that has engaged in, or has claimed responsibility for, an act of terrorism in New Zealand; or
    (f) who the Minister has reason to believe—
    (i) has engaged in, or claimed responsibility for, an act of terrorism outside New Zealand; or
    (ii) is a member of or adheres to any organisation or group of people that has engaged in, or has claimed responsibility for, an act of terrorism outside New Zealand—
    and whose presence in New Zealand would, for that reason or for any other reason, constitute, in the opinion of the Minister, a threat to public safety; or
    (g) who the Minister has reason to believe is likely—
    (i) to engage in, or facilitate the commission of, any act of terrorism; or
    (ii) to commit an offence against the Crimes Act 1961 or the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975; or
    (h) who the Minister has reason to believe, in light of any international circumstances, is likely to constitute a danger to the security or public order of New Zealand; or
    (i) who the Minister has reason to believe is a member of or adheres to any organisation or group of people which has criminal objectives or which has engaged in criminal activities, and whose presence in New Zealand would, for that reason or any other reason, constitute, in the opinion of the Minister, a threat to the public interest or public order.

    If your benchmark is that the Crown has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the applicant has committed an offence in a distant jurisdiction, then that’s going to be practically impossible – or at least cost millions of dollars more than the refugee process currently does.

    I’m also not sure I’d like New Zealand to become a bolthole for Indonesian jihadis or European neo-Nazis. I can’t see how that would be good for the country.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18883 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I’d assert that if Labour were to turn themselves around and advocate truly radical policies, they might be surprised at the support they’d get.

    I think you misread the average New Zealand voter, they don't want radical they want justice, exactly how that justice manifests itself to individuals varies. Is there more justice in allowing those with "Hard Earned Money" to stuff it in their mattresses or buy a little bit of a power company to flog off at a profit as soon as it gains an attractive share price? with no tax I must add. Or is there more justice in adhering to the concept at the root of International justice, The United Nations, "To each according to their need, from each according to their ability"?. Is there more justice in caring about those at the "unfortunate" end of society?

    All the policies you quote, attributing to Labour, also apply to Nact, along with a bunch of more odious strategies for their wish-list of "Opportunities" for their mates and their retirement.
    I Love this Country, its People and its underlying egalitarian spirit, far more than I could ever love riches and the mean spirit of those that would take what little we have for their own comfort.

    It is not easy to oppose someone who smiles and waves, changes his colours and never admits to what he really thinks. He may as well be a cartoon character running in mid air and those that can still see his Emperor clothes will never expect him to fall.
    He has little,
    under his feet.
    Mr John Jandles.
    I feel comfortable,
    And relaxed,
    about flip-flops.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4861 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    For a foreigner, a collection of scuttlebutt is enough. Sure, it was documented scuttlebutt, but they didn’t have anything that, even if proven, would have convicted Zaoui for an offence.

    It was a bit more than scuttlebutt. Zaoui was tried and convicted of terrorism offences in Algeria, Belgium and France (in each case, in absentia). It really says something for the Authority that it was prepared to dismiss those convictions as unsafe.

    Anyway, you're right, I think we've done our dash on this one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18883 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    then voting for Green or Mana doesn’t actually detract from Labour’s chances of winning an election

    I disagree. Regardless of how stupid it might be, the public likes to vote for the "winning team". That way they feel like winners. By splitting the leftish vote both Green and Labour are seen as losers even if they combine to form the government . And yes I think that is stupid but it is an effect you see as polls start to influence votes.

    In some ways it is still a legacy from pre-MMP thinking and that fact that New Zealanders are still not really used to the idea of coalition government.

    One way around it might be for Labour/Green to form a public coalition right now so that it becomes obvious to everyone that the National/ACT coalition is balanced pretty closely with the Green/Labour coalition. ie if you vote Green or Labour it is not a wasted vote and you can be a winner.

    What that might require is a commitment from both Labour and Green to stand together on everything. For example the stupid idea of Goff debating with Key as if it was a two party race would be off the table.

    Instead we have Goff led Labour (snort) pretending it is a major party and The Greens running around saying "well shucks we can do a deal with nice Mr Key - he even provides vegan food at his meetings so we're all good with that". And yes I was being deliberately insulting because when adults behave like five year olds they deserve to be insulted.

    For Labour/Green it is about making certain National/ACT can't sell the country to the highest bidder and then retire to the Gold Coast, if that means setting aside pretenses about being a "major party" then so be it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3391 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    NZ has agreed to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. That places obligations on us to admit genuine refugees who would be in danger in their homeland.

    Liberal thinking also (pretends to) subscribe to the idea that one man is as good as another, and we shouldn't discriminate according to the colour of their skin, or whether they grew up in Rostok, Jakarta or Taranaki.

    So how is it justified to say that an NZ-born violent nutcase is entitled to the full benefit of the law, but a refugee (who, remember, has been conceded the right to come here based on international law) is judged by a different standard.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4459 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    One way around it might be for Labour/Green to form a public coalition right now so that it becomes obvious to everyone that the National/ACT coalition is balanced pretty closely with the Green/Labour coalition. ie if you vote Green or Labour it is not a wasted vote and you can be a winner.

    IF Kai Tahu's preferred Labour candidate is indeed the Labour candidate, this is precisely what we would hope to see.

    The last Labour member for Te Tai Toka has not been impressive, and she will lose the party more votes (both member & party votes) if she is selected again.
    The combination of Labour & Green is a winner for the South - dependent on who is selected.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    So how is it justified to say that an NZ-born violent nutcase is entitled to the full benefit of the law, but a refugee (who, remember, has been conceded the right to come here based on international law) is judged by a different standard.

    Because Article 32 doesn't require that a refugee facing legitimate expulsion be found to be a risk to national security or public order on the same terms as would apply to a citizen of the contracting state. There must be due process of law, but there is nothing to say that the standards cannot be lower than would be required to achieve conviction of a citizen.

    ETA: And also because, as Russell has pointed out, proof to the criminal standard is likely to be impossible by practical measures.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3908 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    So how is it justified to say that an NZ-born violent nutcase is entitled to the full benefit of the law, but a refugee (who, remember, has been conceded the right to come here based on international law) is judged by a different standard.

    But that's not what the Convention says. It does not require nations to accord everyone in the world the same rights and privileges as it does its own citizens. It says:

    Except where this Convention contains more favourable provisions, a Contracting State shall accord to refugees the same treatment as is accorded to aliens generally.

    And aliens do not have an automatic right to enter and take up residence in New Zealand.

    But UNHCR also says, in this guide:

    3.4.3.3 Exclusion and “terrorism”
    The question of exclusion frequently arises in the context of crimes referred to as acts of “terrorism”. In many instances, it will not be necessary to consider whether such acts give rise to exclusion: where the person alleged to have been involved in “terrorist” crimes fears legitimate prosecution rather than persecution, he or she does not meet the inclusion criteria of the refugee definition and his or her claim will be rejected on that basis (see above at 2.2.3.4). If it is established, however, that the person concerned has a well-founded fear of persecution for reason of a 1951 Convention ground, an exclusion examination is required.

    Cases of this nature must be handled with great care. On the one hand, it is important that persons who are undeserving of international protection do not obtain refugee status. On the other hand, the asylum claim of a person who belongs to a particular organization or who is suspected of having committed terrorist acts should be examined in a fair and efficient procedure in which the context and circumstances of the individual case are assessed against the criteria of Article 1F, including the requirement to establish whether the standard of proof under that provision (“serious reasons for considering”) is met.

    The host country does not have to convict an applicant of a crime beyond reasonable doubt. It must have "serious reasons" as defined under Article 1F:

    Article 1F applies if there are “serious reasons for considering” that the applicant has committed, or participated in the commission of, an excludable crime. Clear and credible information is needed to meet the “serious reasons” requirement. While it is not necessary to meet the standard of proof in criminal cases (e.g. “beyond reasonable doubt” in common law systems), the “balance of probabilities” threshold is too low. Likewise, a simple suspicion would not be a sufficient basis for a decision to exclude. The burden of proof lies, in principle, on the decision-maker. In other words, the State or UNHCR must show that there are indeed “serious reasons” for considering that the person concerned comes within the scope of Article 1F. This always requires an individualized assessment of the applicant’s conduct, including where he or she was a member of a repressive regime or a group that commits or advocates violent crimes, or if he or she took part in an armed conflict in the past. In exceptional circumstances, however, a reversal of the burden of proof may be justified.

    Zaoui was not a terrorist. But he had been convicted of terrorism offenses in three countries, which was enough for several countries to reject him. The fact that the RSAA was prepared to dismiss those convictions as unsafe suggests that our system went considerably beyond the Convention in safeguarding his rights. Eventually.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18883 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    So how is it justified to say that an NZ-born violent nutcase is entitled to the full benefit of the law, but a refugee (who, remember, has been conceded the right to come here based on international law) is judged by a different standard.

    Oh, and also because a person is not a refugee until they are determined to be such by the contracting state. Where there's a question about whether a person is deserving of refugee status or not, they have not "been conceded the right to come here". It's not automatic.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3908 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    aliens do not have an automatic right to enter and take up residence in New Zealand

    .. which has not however deterred Don Brash.

    Further, I note that the atliens have landed and are confused by our local customs.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16662 posts Report Reply

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