Posts by Russell Brown

  • Hard News: Friday Music: The Gaffer Departs,


    I thought I'd post this in the comments so you can click to embiggen the pic.

    Again, thanks to Simon Grigg, who explained on Facebook:

    The Screaming Meemees, Sweetwaters 1983, about 8.30 on the Saturday night. It was taken by Greg Peacocke from the lighting tower and you can see both Adam Holt and Charlotte Dawson in the crowd if you hunt (near the front). I'm on the left-hand side on the side of the stage standing next to Greg Carroll.

    And how about that old-school concert PA!? They don't make 'em like that any more. Nigel Russell provided the detail in the comments:

    64 x Cerwin Vega D32 and 32 x D18 stroker subs with flares (designed in NZ by Rainton Hastie's brother Dean). Was Oceania's main rig till the early 90s

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21285 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Hekia's waynebrave, in reply to mpledger,

    @Matthew Hooton

    If parents, teachers and just about everyone have reacted badly to Hekia Parata’s online learning policy then she has only herself to blame. If she made the announcement with so little information than people are going to look elsewhere to see what she means.


    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21285 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cannabis reform is not a…, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    A rational sensible data driven approach to mind altering drugs would require people to change their minds.

    And we do not live in a rational space. Example: Parliament’s Health committee reports back recommending the reclassification of the NBOMe class of drugs as Class B under the Misuse of Drugs Act. They are currently regulated under the Psychoactive Substances Act, which is a catch-all.

    In my view, the NBOMe drugs are not at all good. Their effects are poorly understood but they can include acute responses and even organ damage and death. It would be safer if they weren’t in the market at all.

    But, from the report:

    NBOMes are usually sold in the same dosage form as LSD, and each is often mistaken for the other. In New Zealand, NBOMe and LSD seizures are reported as a combined total. The New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Customs Service have reported increases in the seizures of NBOMe and LSD from 836 doses in 2010 to 26,965 doses in 2014.

    It’s less that they’re “mistaken” for each other than that the (cheaply-and-easily-manufactured) NBOMe chemicals are almost always sold as LSD, to the extent that they have displaced LSD from the market. They are demonstrably much more harmful than LSD – and yet LSD is still scheduled as a Class A drug. It would be a rational move to down-classify LSD at least to the level of NBOMe. But we are not in a rational space.

    Ross Bell argued for NBOMe to remain under PSA regulation – because, I’m guessing, the penalties for use and possession are more rational. To take one example, this is important for emergency medics, because people should be more willing to disclose what they (or their mates) have taken, which is really important in the case of these drugs.

    Indeed, this is basically acknowledged in the report:

    Reclassifying the specified NBOMes and their structural analogues under the Misuse of Drugs Act would result in an immediate increase in the penalties imposed for breaches of the controls. The ministry’s regulatory impact statement notes that the growing trend of NBOMe misuse indicates that the reclassification is likely to result in short-term increases in harm to individuals and society, and in costs to enforcement agencies, advice, and treatment services.

    However, it is expected that this will only be short term and that the classification would reduce the supply and demand of NBOMes, resulting in a reduction in harm for individuals and society. A reduction in cost to treatment services is expected as fewer individuals use these substances.

    So, they say, the reclassification will cause harm to users and the people who try to help them. But only for a while. . Hopefully. If ever there was a screaming case for decriminalising possession, this is it.

    But back to the way the police report this, by combining NBOMe and LSD seizures as if they were the same thing. This makes no sense at all. Ask a fucking emergency doctor if they’re the same thing. They aren’t.

    We are not operating in a rational space.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21285 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Hekia's waynebrave, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Wouldn’t it be great if the Correspondence School had the innovative capacity to do that ‘NotSchool’ stuff. There are many people out there who could provide input about how to do it well. That would be an educational project we could support.

    Yes. The good thing about it is that it doesn’t set up kids to fail. Correspondence School is essentially an earnest attempt to replicate mainstream schooling, which wasn’t what a child who had grown actively hostile to that system needed.

    You probably know that NotSchool could have been properly adopted here, but lost out in an internal political battle at the Ministry of Education. We were very fortunate to to find Jean Hughes, who was actually being paid to oversee British students (after-hours, taking advantage of the time difference) but was able to add our son to her roster. She’s an amazing woman who now drives buses.

    He didn’t learn a lot via NotSchool – he learned a lot more on his own by playing video games, to be honest – but it was at least a place that didn’t make his world worse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21285 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Sweet Inspiration, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    BTW shortly thereafter, there’s this across town a bit at C1 – The Spinoff After Dark – the Spinoff crew and Steve Braunias …’with a selection of the best-looking guests from the festival’ – Russell, that must include you!

    Not formally. But I have promised to heckle from the cheap seats :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21285 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Hekia's waynebrave, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I suspect this is one way to get rid of those pesky kids with behaviour or learning ‘issues’ which schools do their best to dissuade from attending. If there is a ‘cool’ then that is an official option to send them to. Tidy solution for the Ministry and Minister.

    Ironically, we had the opposite problem – an insistence that the only acceptable path for our younger ASD son was for him to stay in school, even if that required him to be put on antipsychotics. It was basically bullying. That was primary school – the intermediate school was happy to hand him over in the end, but we were stuck with the same terrible GSE caseworker.

    Correspondence School didn't really work for him (he correctly determined that the website sucked and was unwilling to use it) and it was actually only a British-based online learning environment called NotSchool, backed up with an external enrolment from a local high school, that kept us clear of the truancy officer.

    Of course, we would have preferred having the option of an onsite learning environment that met his needs, but there really was nothing appropriate (and I'm still pissed off about that). Our nearby high school was also inflexible about reduced-hours attendance.

    It does make me think that had there been a suitable COOL available to us at the time, we'd certainly have tried it. In the event, he has missed out on socialisation, but that is better than the path he was on, which I'm pretty sure would have led to mental illness and lasting trauma.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21285 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cannabis reform is not a…, in reply to Ross Bell,

    Report released this year on Aussie Decrim models:

    This seems pretty emphatic:

    There is clearly a strong public health benefit to people who use drugs being diverted away from the criminal justice system and this is not a radical idea – it is already happening,” says Dr Hughes. “The research evidence also indicates that decriminalisation reduces costs to the criminal justice system and improves social outcomes, such as increasing the likelihood that people who use drugs remain in or enter the paid workforce.

    “In contrast, there is no evidence that decriminalisation increases drug use or crime,” she adds.

    Should someone tell Mike?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21285 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cannabis reform is not a…, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Which might encourage cops to set up checkpoints and search every likely looking vehicle, or scour student residences with drug dogs in order to fill their ticket quota and bring money in. (That sort of thing has been reported in US states with an infringement regime for cannabis).

    I think the revenue from expiation notices in South Australia goes into covering the costs of the scheme, but I don’t know what happens to any surplus.

    This 2000 paper looked at the outcomes of the first 13 years and found that cannabis use didn’t rise – but the number of offences processed really did:

    Impacts on law enforcement and criminal justice systems: The CEN scheme in South Australia had a major unanticipated effect on rates of minor cannabis offence detection. The number of offences for which cannabis expiation notices were issued increased from around 6,000 in 1987/88 to approximately 17,000 in 1993/94 and subsequent years (12). This “net-widening” is not related to any change in the pattern of cannabis use, but reflects the greater ease with which police can process minor cannabis offences, and a shift away from the use of police discretion in giving offenders informal cautions, to a process of formally recording all minor offences.

    Since the inception of the CEN scheme, the rate of payment of expiation fees has remained low, at around 50%. Substantial numbers of minor cannabis offenders received a criminal conviction for a cannabis offence as a result of their failure to pay expiation fees. The burden which this placed on the courts was not as severe as one might expect because significant numbers of those people who were issued with a summons chose the option of pleading guilty in writing and did not appear in person. The vast majority of those expiation matters dealt with by the courts resulted in convictions for the offenders, with similar fines imposed to the original expiation fees, plus the addition of court fees.

    There has been strong support by law enforcement and criminal justice personnel for the CEN scheme, and little support for a return to the former approach among those administering and enforcing the system (50). The CEN scheme has proven to be relatively cost-effective (8). The unit cost of issuing and processing an expiation notice, when paid on time, is estimated at approximately $30 per case. The total costs associated with the CEN scheme in 1995/96 were estimated to be around $1.2 million (not including police time in detecting the offence). Total revenue from fees and fines was estimated to be around $1.7 million. The cost-effectiveness would obviously be greater if the rate of expiation could be increased. It was also estimated that, had a prohibition approach been in place in South Australia in the same year, the total cost would have been around $2 million, with revenue from fines of around $1 million.

    The number of notices has settled down since, to about 9000 annually. But they’ve got a rather large meth problem keeping police busy.

    (Btw, check out the last two comments under that story. What is it with Australians and internment camps?)

    I don't think the traffic-ticket model is a particularly good one, but it plainly hasn't been the calamity that Hosking et al imagine in their minds.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21285 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Stop acting like the law is…, in reply to Worik Stanton,

    Which is what “decriminalisation” advocates wish for here with regards for cannabis.

    Sorta. I certainly wouldn’t reject decriminalisation – which means a bunch of different things anyway – as an incremental step. I frequently come back to civil unions > marriage equality as a comparison.

    The intriguing thing is that what people did in response to Prohibition has fed into what might turn out to be a very good model for legal cannabis – cannabis social clubs. In Europe, they offer legal supply and distribution (and choice, which is important) without the perils of commercialisation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21285 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Stop acting like the law is…, in reply to Alfie,

    Apart from the nonsensical Yardley rave, they also have a self-penned “Stuff Nation” (read amateur) piece today from a self-publicising US narcotics cop, telling kiwis that in his opinion, changing the law here would be a grave mistake and the sky will immediately fall.

    Graves is basically channelling pro-prohibition campaigner Kevin Sabet, almost word-for-word in some cases. I have no time for Kevin Sabet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21285 posts Report Reply

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