Russell, I could understand and probably agree with your argument here, if it wasn't for the broader context of what has been going on between police and activist communities in the last few weeks.
Activists are angry that their houses have been raided, some at gun point, at dawn, people have been arrested, bail has been denied despite the fact that it appears it should have been granted under the new Act, people are being labelled terrorists when to date there is little evidence to support that.
Many of those supporting the people arrested, some of whom are still in jail and have been moved to another city, are incredibly frustrated with both the police and the prison system - for example, you have to write to the exact right address of the prison your friend is in, in order to get a letter to them. In the case of Auckland Central Remand there appear to be three different addresses listed, meaning in order to be sure your letter gets through you have to send three copies. Not to mention the totally different policies on visiting, putting money into prisoners' accounts, and much more, from each different prison. I recommend people check out Maia's blog for an insight into the difficulties involved.
Imagine that you then go to a protest about the issue, feeling is high, but generally ok. There is a heavy police presence and a high level of resentment, but things are not out of hand. Then a Labour delegate wades in, hits someone with a megaphone, and pushes his way out through the police line, without any response from the police. Instead a protester who confronts this delegate is dragged away, pushed to the ground face down, and arrested. Of course the temperature went up considerably after this, and, as has been pointed out in another thread, Good Policing would have got it back under control through showing restraint.
Perhaps sometimes we expect super human responses from our police. But given the context swirling around yesterday's protest - the raids and arrests, Greg O'Connor calling for tasers and denying the Bazley report showed any problem with the police culture, shooting a man with a hammer dead, and of course the distrust in the force that has grown out of events related to Louise Nicholas and other women - I think that at the least the police could have been even handed yesterday. If they weren't going to arrest Richards for hitting two people with a megaphone, why were they willing to arrest protesters for lesser offences?
Russell, you don't seem to have activated the Discuss button on your latest post?
Richards has long been a hot-head, in the sense that he literally gets red in the face when angry and that rage is often quite close to the surface. The TV One coverage was very very damning of his actions (and the bizarre combination of inaction and action on the part of the police). They interviewed Richards and asked him about the hitting, he bald faced denied he had hit anyone. They then cut back to the coverage of him clearing hitting people with the megaphone, with a voiceover along the lines of "the camera doesn't lie". The police came out looking very bad, IMHO.
The police seem to be determined not to make any friends at the moment. I can't understand why.
Why should Ovens be responsible for the actions of her partner?? She did the right thing in walking away, he didn't, but now somehow some of the blame accrues to her? I don't understand that either.
Rob, I've moved on from National's view of the portfolios and am trying to point out that even if you look at how Labour has valued them in the recent past they were not highly valued in and of themselves (meaning, without the influence of other portfolios that the person held eg Maharey, Birch).
Gotta love that graffiti Jeremy, thanks for putting a smile on my dial :-)
Craig, I wasn't arguing that the portfolios are trivial, just that it is kind of weird for National people to be arguing that they are a promotion when they value them lowly themselves.
Let's look at how Mallard's three new portfolios were ranked by Labour, in Dec 2006:
- Broadcasting - Steve Maharey, no. 4 in Cabinet
- Labour - Ruth Dyson, no. 11 in Cabinet
- Environment - David Benson-Pope, no. 14 in Cabinet
(I'm assuming here that the Herald article has listed the ministers in cabinet ranking order btw, apologies if they have not!)
So again, two of the three of the portfolios were held by people with lower cabinet rankings than Mallard now has (no. 10). And somehow I don't think Broadcasting was the reason Maharey was at no. 4.
All of this said it will be very interesting to see how Mallard handles the labour portfolio. There are some key issues coming up in terms of whether the Govt continues to raise the minimum wage, and whether they adopt Darien Fenton's member's bill on independent contractors. Also I am curious about how Mallard's labour role might interact with Carter's education role, given that the primary and secondary teachers' negotiations seem to be turning into a possible major industrial dispute.
Sorry InternationalObserver, I don't get the joke there, maybe I'm a bit dense tonight?
Jackie, I have similar hopes of Carter. Mallard had a real affinity for ECE (or as close as we've ever got anyway), partly as a result of some strong ECE advocates who had influenced him earlier in life. Maharey just didn't seem to "get it". Carter has real possibility.
It will be interesting to see how Carter handles the current negotiation rounds for primary and secondary too. I get the impression Maharey has been quite hands off.
So is the plate supposed to have stuff on it then? ;-)
On the issue of Henare's interesting proclamation that Mallard has been given a "portfolio promotion":
Mallard was no 7 in the Cabinet rankings (front bench) and is now no 10 (second bench). The portfolios Mallard has picked up have National shadows who are ranked 26 (Broadcasting, Jonathan Coleman), 28 (Labour, Kate Wilkinson), and 5 (Environment, Nick Smith, who also holds Conservation & Climate Change, while Mallard does not). So it's dubious for National to claim that the new portfolios are promotions (with the highly arguable exception of Environment) when they value them so lowly in their own caucus.
Quite apart from this, it's well known that Sport and RWC are great junket portfolios (even when our teams lose). I can't imagine Mallard's new responsibilities will include expectations that he go to every major sporting event NZ competes in...
Oh dear Deborah, people will start thinking we are the same person!! ;-)
Oh Craig, don't start me on Clark's ridiculous "defending the honour of a woman" argument. Given her normally reasonably feminist stance I was surprised she could get those words out of her mouth in that order when she wasn't making a joke or being sarky.
Thanks for the update on the view of Henare's prospects inside the beltway - I hadn't heard anything at all, so appreciate your insight.
Steven, in the absence of a response from you yet (and acknowledging that I would be unreasonable to expect one so soon!) I'm wondering if you meant that I was somehow expressing some justification of Mallard's actions, based on Henare's? To be clear - I am not. Hitting is never ok (except maybe sometimes in genuine self-defence). I'm not interested in any "Mallard was totally wrong but..." sentences. I'll state it again - Mallard was wrong. Period.
In real life it is possible for both sides of a situation to be in the wrong, but one more wrong than the other. It seems to me that that may be the case here, and I'm just a little frustrated at the massive media (and political) attention accruing to one side, when there appears to be zilch accruing to the other. Yes Mallard should be the main story here (sick of it as I am). It seems to me there must be a paragraph in that story though that covers Henare??
Sorry steven, you're going to have to explain to me what you mean here.