Posts by Andrew Geddis

  • Hard News: Auckland's future: Keep calm,…,

    The “calls” came from former North Shore comedy mayor and current New Zealand First MP Andrew Williams talking to Leighton Smith.

    Given the "Taxpayer Union's" linkages with one David Farrar, it's interesting to revisit how he treats the utterances of Andrew Williams on subjects he disagrees with him on:

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Digital Natives, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’m sure she can. I just don’t see what she brings to whatever it is that is actually different between the Internet Party and Mana. If there is nothing, then my comment that it’s a sham stands.

    I don't think anyone would claim that Harre was chosen to drive IP policy development in the IT/tech freedom area. I think the idea more is that she'll front that policy as developed by others, will manage the relationship with MANA and bring a general measure of competence and professionalism to the enterprise. Those political skills are why she's there, not her internet learnings.

    Does this make the exercise a "sham"? Well, political reality is that without a tie-in with the MANA Movement, the IP isn't going to get into Parliament. And without getting into Parliament, the exercise is a futile one. So stepping back and looking at this in terms of pure power dynamics, MANA actually held more cards in this liaison than did the IP. So if the price of a deal was choosing a leader that the MANA Movement could recognise as "one of us", then the IP pretty much had to pay it.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Digital Natives, in reply to BenWilson,

    But what on earth does she have to do with the Internet?

    I'm not sure the Internet Party has anything to do with the Internet. What makes you think that it does?

    More seriously, this rather upends the idea that Dotcom had pwned the MANA Movement. It looks more like the MANA Movement (and its sympathisers helping organise the Internet Party) have pwned Dotcom.

    (See how I used interweb speak to put my point of view?)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Digital Natives, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    The "Does this person have any interest in Māori issues?" questions would never get asked otherwise (although I'd like to see that question become commonplace.)

    Not so sure about that interpretation, Andre. I took it to be more of in the vein of "what on earth do the IP and MANA have in common?" - the assumption being that the IP leader will be some Pakeha tech-head who has no track record of interest in te tino rangatiratanga or the like.

    Of course, Espiner may be wrong in his assumption, but I wouldn't assume his line of questioning revealed any inside info. If he had a name, he'd have asked outright.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Circumstance and coincidence, in reply to Pete George,

    Because Dotcom is the person disputing Key’s story. He has an open interest in damaging Key and ousting him as Prime Minister.

    So basing our assessment of what has happened entirely on Dotcom's claims about what he says Banks says he told Key would be very silly. Accepted. But that's an incredibly minor point in the narrative thread, and has nothing at all to do with Campbell's story. So derailing things by asking "is Dotcom a good guy or not?" really does nothing to further discussion.

    FWIIW, I wouldn't believe a thing that comes out of Dotcom's mouth, unless there were some form of corroboration available. But equally, I think Key's track record for telling the truth in this area means he isn't entitled to much credibility, either. Meaning that we're left with circumstantial evidence as to who was meeting whom when and where, and what can we reasonable assume from such meetings.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Circumstance and coincidence, in reply to Pete George,

    I just don’t think it’s as simple as Key bad and guilty, Dotcom good and innocent.

    How is Dotcom's "goodness" or "badness" relevant to the present discussion? Let's say, purely for the purposes of argument, that Dotcom is a crooked copyright thief who made his fortune out of illegal activities. So what?

    The questions here are (i) what was John Key's knowledge of/involvement in the (as we now know, illegal) surveillance of Dotcom; and (ii) has he lied to Parliament and the public about this? There's no need to have any view of Dotcom whatsoever in order to examine these matters and draw conclusions based on the evidence that is available at the time. So you seem to be trying to create extra shades of greyness for no apparent purpose.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Standing together, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You should check, but I’m pretty sure their power comes directly from the law.

    That's just simply not true. Otherwise they would be called "legal panels". And why exactly do I need to check - I thought you were the scientist who should have some general idea about the systems within which he works?

    But anyway - an example. No-one in any NZ academic institution or other research facility will ever be allowed to replicate the Milgram experiment. It would never get ethical approval, full stop. However, there is absolutely no legal issue involved with it … if some Joe Public wanted to run it as a joke on his friends, no legal liability would result from convincing them they were actually electocuting some subject to the point of death. Which proves that "lawful" and "ethical" are not the same thing in the field of science.

    As for your claims that the ethical codes imposed on you by your employer and the scientific community generally don't "really" constrain you personally … good luck being an "independent scientist" without any access to research funding or institutional support or publishing. That would be the functional equivalent of a "legal advisor" who is not a "lawyer" - which is a thing, you know.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Standing together, in reply to Russell Brown,

    So there are those things to consider.

    Yes. And people don't make decisions about what legal steps to pursue in a vacuum - their advisors ought to be spelling out the risks involved in any particular course of action.

    It is, of course, not beyond the bounds of possibility that some advisors' advice downplays the potential reputational or other harm of taking action because there's not much money to be made out of "just ignore it - trying to do anything will only make the situation worse" (plus, if the advice is "do nothing", what do you need a lawyer for?). Not saying that this is what happened in this case, rather pointing out that there's a perhaps unconscious bias at work in favour of telling clients "here's all the great things that we can do to help you out!" , even if they aren't such a good idea down the road.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Standing together, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    There simply is no “code of ethics” for scientists that has any strength other than in the individual morality of the scientists themselves. I am moral because I am moral not because of any “code”.

    Oh, really? And so how do you explain all those ethics panels at my University? They are there to do much more than justto check that no laws are being broken in the research - and without their say-so, research doesn't get done irrespective of the "morality of the scientists themselves".

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Standing together,

    A parallel argument could be made in my profession that scientists should be allowed to research anything without regard to society or safety.

    No it couldn't. I didn't say "lawyers can do anything to advance the interests of anyone". I said that lawyers will use the tools that the law gives, within the bounds of legality and professional ethics, to advance the interests of their clients. Just as scientists will use the tools of their trade, within the bounds of legality and subject to the dictates of whatever ethical permission their institution requires of them, to research stuff.

    Could Mai Chen decline a distasteful job?

    Her firm could refuse to represent someone, yes. But why would she refuse to represent the Trust Board? And why would she refuse to send a letter to someone whom the Trust Board thinks has falsely accused it of something? She is, after all, running a business! And like I said - that business will sometimes mean you work for the "good" guys, and sometimes for the "bad" ones.

    Can I just note the irony at Mai Chen being quite a high profile media commentator on legal and constitutional issues, she's happily using her tool box (and let's not be naive here) to try and beat down uppity journalists from asking inconvenient questions of her clients.

    Not sure there is an "irony" here at all. In one role, she's a commentator. In the other, she's plying a trade. Those are quite different things (although I do suspect that she trades off the former when drumming up business to be the latter). And how do we know she was "happy" about sending the letter? For all we know, she agrees that NZ's defamation laws are overly strict and ought to be reformed … but in the meantime, the law isn't what she thinks it ought to be!

    Finally, not quite sure why it's the law firm that's getting blasted here for doing something that its client asked it to. Do we want to live in a world in which your legal rights are determined by the personal moral scruples of whomsoever happens to be your lawyer at that time?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 113 posts Report Reply

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