I also wonder if police speed cameras are less to do with actual road safety, and more to do with gathering revenue
Oh, bollocks. Speed cameras have been around for ages and the entire time they've attracted whinging about revenue gathering. We all know the speed limits and why we have speed limits and that we are required to obey the speed limits. Now can we get back to the real issues? There seems to be a campaign to intimidate journalists and their sources to not go sticking their necks out. Harmoniously stay in line and don't question the authorities. That's what we should be worrying about.
Marc, while I generally agree with you, I find your hyperbole to be considerably less than helpful. Here's an example of how things happen in a real authoritarian state. You may also like to think about how it is you can post comments like yours here without them disappearing and without fear of an unwelcome knock on the door. Is NZ even close to that level of authoritarianism? No. Your comparison with East Germany and Latin American former dictatorships remains ludicrous.
And apart from finding your OTT comparison a little rude - some of us live in properly authoritarian states and do actually need to think about what we say and write in public - I worry that comparisons like yours make it easy for sympathetic but complacently unconcerned people to write off our worries as the ramblings of loony left nutters. Sure, bad things happen, but NZ isn't like that, and besides, he must've had it coming, because all that abuse of power stuff happens overseas in awful little countries, not here in NZ....
So, yes, there is much in this case to be worried about, the government is showing a rather dangerous authoritarian streak, we do need to nip this nonsense in the bud right now because it could easily develop into something truly scary if we don't. But please let's keep it all in a proper, realistic perspective.
Now I've said what I have to say on this particular threadjack. I won't take it any further. Back to Nicky Hager...
Yeah, y'know, I was nodding along in agreement with you until this:
This is stuff that would have happened in places like East Germany until 1989, like in some Latin American former dictatorships, this is what goes on in such countries in some places still now, but I feared the day would come that this happens here.
Get a grip. Really. And perhaps acquaint yourself with a few history books, too. Yes, this government clearly has a nasty authoritarian streak, and there is a lot going on that worries me. But East Germany? Latin America? Really? Nicky Hager was bundled into a helicopter and dropped into Cook Strait from a great height, was he? No. In the real world, New Zealand has a very long way to go until it reaches even Singaporean levels of authoritarianism. As bad as things may be, it is still very much Amateur Hour in the NZ National Party HQ.
and more purple
I agree. I'm just more inclined to give MFAT the benefit of the doubt than I am McCully or Key, and if Rodney Hide wrote it, I'm inclined to add the kind of grain of salt that would have even the most hard-boiled hutong born and bred Old Beijinger muttering "go easy on that".
So, sure, if it was an MFAT screw-up - and they certainly do happen - then somebody should face the appropriate consequences. But I'm not convinced it was. Not yet, not from the evidence that's out there.
A propos of nothing: Was at Chaoyang Park this morning. Patriotic music piped over the speakers. We were up the northeast side, where there was some Cross-Straits shindig going on. S3kurity. On our way out some fresh-faced lad who looked all of 18 and just in from some village on the outskirts of Dachang tried to smile at me as we left. In other circumstances, especially had he not been dressed in 特.警 style get-up carrying a truncheon at a gate swarming with other gu@rds, some dressed like him, others in normal uniforms, checking bags, m3tal detectors, I may have responded other than by glaring at him and walking on. My impression is the situation was more normal in other parts of the park away from the shindig.
On that basis you’d have to reject the result of every election that is held for a single position, unless it was unanimous.
Brazil is heading for Round 2 of its presidential election. France and (I believe) many other countries have a similar system: If no candidate wins a majority in Round 1, the top two candidates have a run-off. Winner is first to win over 50%.
Further marks lost in Beijing (2008);
That's odd. I've renewed my passport here twice now. First time the Embassy was totally up front about how they most likely would not be able to get the new passport back within the PSB's time limit, but would give me a letter to explain everything. The PSB officer didn't look happy and asked me if that really was as quick as I could get in to the PSB, and I said yes, I'd just come straight from the Embassy, then it was all good. Second time round the PSB officer didn't even grunt, just did it.
We also had an incident here involving a staff member in distress (privacy; no details), and Chris Holah and her husband both went way above and beyond the call of duty helping us sort the situation out and get said distressed staff member safely on a plane home.
As for Rodney, I thought he was just gratuitously slagging off bureaucrats because... well, I only bothered reading because you linked to it with a strong hint there was more to his rant than I normally associate with screeds written by Rodney Hide.
The dragon opens an eye; a most unexpected contender. Well done sir.
Except that my experience of MFAT is the complete opposite of what Rodney Hide describes. In my experience they are superb, highly professional, highly competent. I'm still surprised at how badly they apparently screwed up in this case.