Posts by Russell Brown

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  • Hard News: Big Norms,

    Is it just me or do I detect a certain partisaness when I hear Scott Campbell and Duncan Garner reporting on Parliament?

    It often seems to me that Scott Campbell wants to be Duncan Garner.

    When he grows up, perhaps.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Big Norms,

    I disagree. It may not be exactly how I'd have worded it, but the wording is far short of the confusing law and order referendum.

    I'll grant you that -- the 1999 referendum question was so so meaningless I decided the only rational response to it was to spoil my ballot in protest -- but it's still unsatisfactory in my view. And even English said it wasn't a referendum on the law itself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Readers' Tips,

    We do like to share around here: and this is your chance to share your top tips with other Public Address readers -- better recipes; ways to save effort, money and time; shortcuts; hidden gems; painless solutions -- in pursuit of a happier planet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: If we only had time,

    It defies basic maths to suggest that it will cost the same to run a stand-alone CIR as it would to have the CIR voting slip handed to people at the same time they are handed their voting slips at the General Election. And if doesn't then Key is right, our bureacracy really does need a rocket up it's butt.

    It is worth bearing in mind that the one election in which there was also a CIR ballot was a shambles in which the votes took far too long to be counted and everybody complained.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Spectacular but useless,

    I'd also be grateful if anyone who feels there are methodological or technical flaws in the index could explain them in some detail. It will come in handy next week ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Spectacular but useless,

    As I know Russell wants to encourage public figure like Anderton to engage in this forum, this recovering alcoholic will (for once) bite his tongue and play nice.

    Hey, don't go too far ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Spectacular but useless,

    I think there is something published, I saw it on the NORMLNZ forums last night . . .

    No, the Herald story today is based on selected parts (ie: the parts the police wanted to give them) of a report that isn't published. Would the Herald play that sort of game with any other government agency?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Spectacular but useless,

    Jim Anderton emailed me ...

    An index helps us to decide the relative harm of each drug - so we have a good basis for comparing regulatory responses. For example, cannabis is less harmful than P, which is why cannabis is a class C drug, and P is a class A drug. It also gives us a basis for working out how much resource to put into education, treatment and enforcement. An Index is never going to be the final word on it, but that is not the same as saying it is useless. It is, after all, peer reviewed. The Index is a good faith attempt to put a figure on the harm drugs do.

    If you argue both that ‘drugs aren’t really very harmful’ and then reject the results of a study to find out how harmful they are, it implies your real point is: I don’t care how harmful they are. I think this is the underlying motive of most people who are arguing against drug and alcohol regulation. They know various drugs are harmful, but they don’t care.

    I do care.

    When ever someone points out drugs like cannabis and BZP are harmful, we get sneering accusation of running a reefer madness campaign.

    Once you admit they are harmful, then you have some questions about what to do next - how do you manage the harm? That’s a bit harder than sneering about fun police.

    Of course alcohol and tobacco do a lot more damage. I said exactly that in my speech releasing the index (you may have noticed that was way back in May.)

    We already have studies measuring the impact of alcohol and tobacco. We don’t need this index to repeat it.

    We know from those existing studies that alcohol has a smaller impact per user than really serious drugs like P. One direct implication is this: alcohol is not the most damaging in New Zealand because it is inherently the most damaging, but because it is the most widely used. That tells us what happens when we make drugs more liberally available. Harm results.

    I am certainly pleased to have a fair, independent estimate of how much harm in dollar terms. And I think anyone who doesn’t want to know how much harm drugs cause is not interested in knowing about the harm because they think the high is worth it.

    Hmmm ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Spectacular but useless,

    The Police are at it again, this time showing pot admissions to hospital.

    Grrrr. Why are they feeding selected parts of this report to the Herald but not publishing it?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Google Trending and MGMT,

    It prevents you playing music you've paid for on your own devices. It actually, ludicrously, makes it quicker and easier to get music from pirate sites than to buy it legally.

    Back to my beef: I can illegally download music at much better quality than I can legitimately buy it at. That's crazy.

    My guess is that the music companies and Apple will eventually reach agreement -- Apple has already moved on its pricing model for the TV networks, and Amazon will eventually be big enough that iTunes won't be so dominant.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19743 posts Report Reply

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