Posts by mark taslov

  • Hard News: About Campbell Live, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    <sob>

    Most ‘normal people’- I use that term pretty loosely – would recoil in horror at the prospect of there being a handful of people who considered them to be liars.

    It takes a special type of monster to cynically gamble on the probability that no more than 50% of people over the age of 18 will call them out on this compulsion. Most sapiens might hesitantly throw caution to the wind and just tell the truth, yet still we vote for this ilk + jesters like they’re going out of fashion.

    I'm glad to see that Hooton's vacuousness remains a reliable source of lightweight entertainment.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1758 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What would a harm reduction…, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    I guess another question would be:

    None of this is to say we should have an unregulated market. Freedom to use does not require an unfettered freedom of access to purchase, we need to be sensible about distribution and promotion. The nicotine model of availability in every dairy/supermarket/service station is a huge problem

    Is it really? For whom? It is certainly a problem for the buyer who has to ask for a menu at every purchase, but I’ll assume that the problem to which you refer is that declining smoking rates are not declining fast enough?

    Hesitantly I’d assert that the availability of tobacco products online or the illegality of selling electronic nicotine refills over the counter in New Zealand are arguably far bigger problems than the availability of tobacco every dairy/supermarket/service station.

    In 6, with insufficient detail, I’m assuming that you are promoting the transfer from one cartel to another, from the black to the white. Looking at this servo tobacco menu I notice that vast majority of the brands are foreign and looking at a RYO tobacco pouch I find no mention of the chemicals, ingredients or process. I have no easy way of ascertaining whether high nitrogen content fertilizer was used in cultivation. Without the branding I’m not sufficiently educated to visually identify a higher burley tobacco – a factor which may result in higher TSNA levels. Basically as a tobacco user, in terms of what I’m actually inhaling, I’m in as dark a place as I could possibly be, and that has nothing to do with the availability.

    Basically, with the TPPA looming, I’m skeptical about any proposal of a regulated cannabis market that doesn’t also venture to account for developing a domestically-sustaining industry.

    For personal use I’d like to see this precedent carried over:

    Here in New Zealand you can buy tobacco seed, grow the stuff, and, if you want to, smoke it quite lawfully. You may not lawfully sell it, barter it or give it away. The same regulations govern brewing, wine making and the distilling of alcoholic beverages. If you live elsewhere check your local legislation to ensure that you comply.

    Industrially we have this type of precedent to develop upon:

    In 2005 the Government approved regulations to allow the commercial cultivation of hemp (cannabis sativa) in New Zealand. Hemp farmers still need to apply to the Ministry of Health for a permit to cultivate, deal, breed, import or sell seed, and must pay a fee of NZ$500 per license, but no longer need to call their crop an experiment.

    In terms of education:

    5. As appropriate, transfer funding from law enforcement / healthcare related to War on Drugs policies into research and education initiatives (with a strong emphasis on metrics that measure the actual impact of the law reforms).

    Most notable about this paragraph is its brevity. Education, as if just typing the word is an answer in itself. Ideally, with the amount of drugs on the market (including those currently legal), and the vast amount of information available, one could suggest that a government issued (flying) licence (acquired in much the same way as driving licence – by passing a theory examination drawn from the most recent drug-code) would be the only way to adequately ensure the users had sufficient awareness. No doubt our Government would love this kind of income generation. Pragmatically something like that would flounder at the obvious hurdles, but this should give some sense of the extent of the education required.

    Education is the most important part of the exercise and arguably needs to be the first stage in the process, regardless of the legality of any of these products, education reduces harm. What we are seeing from the majority of elected representative currently could be dismissed as constituting the opposite of education.

    As a user of drugs, legal or otherwise, I contend that the Government is doing the barest minimum to provide a full and comprehensive education as to the harms, effects, benefits, processes and manufacture of the drugs I’m consuming. If they are providing this information they are doing the barest minimum to publicise this provision.

    As an omnivore, I contend that the Government is likewise doing the barest minimum to provide a full and comprehensive education as to the harms, effects, benefits, processes and manufacture of the food/drink I’m consuming. If they are providing this information they are likewise doing the barest minimum to publicise this provision.

    Education is easily glossed over, just ask Peter Francis Dunne, he is as big an obstacle to responsible education as you’re ever likely to encounter. That’s his legacy.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1758 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What would a harm reduction…, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    The first thing we need to do is to stop using the language of prohibition. To speak of “harm reduction” is to be colonised in the head by the War on Drugs.

    Great suggestions Mikaere. I’m not politically minded enough to discredit the process you outlined. From my limited perspective your process doesn’t strike me as being at odds with the way things could roll. However your post was food for thought and so I’d like to air a couple.

    “Colonised in the head” is perfect, and as a phrase it’s worth expounding upon. Our heads have been colonized, our bodies have been colonized and our land and property have been colonized in this war.

    However I hit a bit of a roadblock at your 3rd point, perhaps in only that I’d like to know more about the reasoning behind that, this would be helpful, for me at least.

    As an agriculturalist from an agricultural country I tend to look at things from the ground up. For my purposes I think I’d also like to make a distinction between raw products, value added products (processed) and synthetics. My thoughts are specifically related to raw products, entailing life of whatever variety, from Cannabis to Erythroxylaceae, from Echinopsis pachanoi to Lophophora williamsii, including and not limited to Copelandia,Galerina, Gymnopilus, Inocybe, Mycena, Panaeolus, Pholiotina, Pluteus, and Psilocybe.

    1. In terms of seed/ spore distribution, the significant harm to the cultivator and distributor at this point is arrest and incarceration; paranoia induced stressed, confiscation of property and fines.

    2. In terms of actually growing these plants the significant harm to the cultivator and distributor at this point is arrest and incarceration; paranoia induced stressed, confiscation of property and fines. Though there is the remote chance of a member of the public feeling the effects upon inhaling a whole plantation’s worth of dust in season; that’s a bridge better left to cross once, and only if, it’s built. Even then a court could rule for glasshouses in such a scenario. As far as I can ascertain it is not illegal to grow mistletoe, holly, Jerusalem cherry, yew, Ivy, Wintergreen, Manzanita and other plants that have been shown to be demonstrably more harmful. There are problems but plant cultivation is not significant amongst them.

    For all intents and purposes the chief harm in either of these steps is criminalization.

    Obviously the question would be, what becomes of these products once they have been harvested?

    Legalise cannabis

    I’m going to go out on a limb here, bastardise this word ‘legalise’, and claim that cannabis is already legalised, albeit legalised for the black market, in as much as it is addressed and restricted by legislation, the reality doesn’t eliminate cannabis from the market. Governments sitting on this legislation should be in no doubt that:

    A) It remains on *the market* (albeit not the white side of the market).
    B) It forces all would-be purchasers to procure the product from criminals.
    C) This increases crime.

    If seed/ spore distribution and cultivation were decriminalised what changes might we be likely to see? Would harm be reduced/ or safety promoted, or would this change have any impact whatsoever with regards to harm? The trends that may emerge from such a sea change could provide priceless data in terms of paving the way forward. At the least I’d be hesitant about forecasting any significant increase in harm from such a step.

    Given that New Zealand is run as an experiment – at least to the extent that it lacks much in the way of long term precedent (legal or otherwise) – I think rather than hypothesising ad infinitum, six steps ahead of ourselves, like nervy lab techs, we’d be best served by actually taking tangible coherent steps; the first being eliminating all references to seed/spore distribution and plant cultivation from our penal code. I venture that this might be a reasonable alternative to your 3rd step, though in doing so I would concurrently implement your step 5:

    5. As appropriate, transfer funding from law enforcement / healthcare related to War on Drugs policies into research and education initiatives (with a strong emphasis on metrics that measure the actual impact of the law reforms).

    Once these steps have been implemented, then our Government could continue to adapt and adjust according to *our* (their) abilities, taking into account all forms (direct or otherwise) of harm reduction with a longterm goal of minimising drug related cases clogging up the justice system amongst other potentially positive outcomes, done so with a large does of pragmatism, but I’m reluctant to suggest anything that would get too far ahead of the current game, because doing so or having done so would seem to be half the problem at this stage.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1758 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reviewing the Election, in reply to Emma Hart,

    So now, if you’re overseas and not voting from somewhere like the Embassy in London, you can download a ballot paper, print it out, fill it in, scan it, and upload it.

    They’ve omitted to mention the potentially preclusive step between ‘fill it in’ and ‘upload it’, namely getting the document witnessed. This was the reason I was unable to vote in 2014. This step could be as easy as taking the papers into the embassy for a signature or as difficult as having to pay to first have the papers translated, finding a JoP or equivalent, making an appointment and then travelling an unspecified distance to have those papers witnessed. It's all a bit easier said than done.

    In the report 267 sounds promising:

    In 2014, the numbers of overseas votes increased by 86.7% to 40,132 (21,496 in 2011).

    But scrolling down to 272:

    There were 52,226 enrolled voters with an overseas address on election day. About 40% of these electors voted.

    That’s significant and fairly pathetic when taking into account that about a million New Zealanders live abroad.

    with 70,000 overdue student loan borrowers, being required to divulge their current postal address is going to be problematic, it’s unnecessary. Moreover the requirement that the voting papers themselves must be witnessed and signed is going to cause unnecessary difficulty. Most odd about the enrollment process was that at no point was the applicant required to provide a scan of the passport photo page, the passport on its own should suffice for identification, given the advanced state of visual recognition technology.

    The Commission has identified some minor improvements that could be made to clarify the address details that overseas voters need to provide on the declaration form prescribed in the Electoral Regulations 1996.

    Given the poor showing as presented in 272, I’d have assumed that the commission could do a little better with respect to overseas voters. For clarification, I’m strongly in favour of the introduction of compulsory voting for voters *based in New Zealand*.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1758 posts Report Reply

  • Capture: Autumn lite, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Attachment

    I rarely drink but I just found a beer in the fridge. To Stella!

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1758 posts Report Reply

  • Capture: Autumn lite,

    Attachment

    One small step for lamb...

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1758 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Saving the St…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Ah, I love his debut and The Sparrow, but I've only listened to Chant Darling the once, I bought it for dad for Christmas a few years back but I wasn't so taken with the production. The way his voice works with the reverb is ethereal. Worth a re-listen obviously.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1758 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The Easter Show, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I just stumbled on the repeat showing; a great examination Russell. Obviously you can only ask about the hate speech so many times before leaving it to the audience to decide for ourselves, but I thought despite their fudge the responses were revealing enough. That last section was quite strange viewing after blindly discussing these kind of issues here for a couple of days. I particularly appreciated Clay’s perspective.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1758 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Saving the St…,

    That James Milne track is sublime!

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1758 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The Easter Show, in reply to nzlemming,

    If your post is a pure rebuttal to what you’ve read in this thread, I’d suggest your comprehension needs some work, because I haven’t read anybody say what you think they've been saying

    This is a problem. It was not rebuttal, I'll attempt to simplify. But please bear in mind, in my defense, that it was you and Rich who engaged me and not vice versa. Bored of my previous approach my post was in agreement, it was for the most part an attempt at an affirmation, it contained no unattributed quotes.

    I was seriously considering the priesthood as a career, right up until I left catholic school and started reading a bit wider than the school library

    In my end of the day para I am not equating individual words with beliefs. I'm pointing out just how ideologically or superficially Christian New Zealand appears to me.

    I was quite serious in initially asserting that iterations of the Government and its apparatus have perpetrated far more atrocities in New Zealand than the Church. That's no small thing to be glossed over IMHO. Given the degree to which I see New Zealand as a Christian nation *currently*, both then and now, a response like Rich's appeared to me as a deflection of Government culpability:

    But the ideology that justified colonial atrocities *was* christianity

    I'm going to put that one to bed now, to much relief no doubt. I didn't come here to talk about colonialism but you've furnished me with some interesting information and that last link you provided is excellent, though I find nothing too contentious in Belich's assertion that New Zealand's colonisation was "settler driven", he reminds us how deeply the culture of our early settlers has shaped our attitudes and aspirations, and continues to do so, Christianity being fundamental to many of these cultures.

    Regardless of whether you think anyone seriously believes that the current government even vaguely claims to be Christian, they say their prayer and we are in no doubt as to where this originates. To take for granted a free health care system, a welfare system, a superannuation system, the role that charity plays in keeping our ambulance service running, the tolerance of 'Religious instruction' in primary schools, the Waitangi day church service, the Oath of allegiance, is understandable. To discount the profound and enduring influence of Christianity on contemporary New Zealand culture is not unusual. But who's got John's back?

    "I, [name], swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God."

    I'll probably get cracking now, but it's been educational Mark, thanks for your time, always a pleasure.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1758 posts Report Reply

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