Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Because You Should Know

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  • Kerry Weston,

    Maybe if there was another 1981,

    1981's an interesting one - I was out protesting for that and have recently completed a history paper where I covered 1981, both anecdotally and big picture, in a seminar. In retrospect, 1981 was simmering for a long time, even General Kippenberger harrumphed about Maori not being allowed to tour SA post WW2. It was also an outlet for Maori grievances over land & general shitty treatment, but also a flashpoint for a mighty big social divide between old-school Muldoon conservatives and rugby fanatics versus those of us who were sick to death of rugby adulation, being labelled as commies if you didn't toe the line politically/culturally, who were fed up with women being 2nd class citizens and a complacent pakeha culture that was living in the past and still fretting for Mother England.

    So there was convergence of several issues, fired up by long-simmering anger. The fact the world's media was watching and NZ was out of step with other countries over sporting ties was a big factor too - that tour was the first to be seen live on TV in SA, so they got to see for themselves that all was not hunky dory.

    It was astonishing to re-watch Patu and other doco footage of the protests. The young students were pretty gobsmacked.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    In lo-tech news, "Samoan film censor opens door for lesbian vampires" says the Harold. And then chooses a screengrab of a male-female couple to illustrate the story.

    Well, unlike, say, Milk, in Lesbian Vampire Killers, the nasty lesbians get their comeuppance. With stakes. There's probably nothing in the least Freudian about that at all.

    And now I have a strange urge to rewatch Bordello of Blood, which is something I never thought could happen.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4286 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Ciavarella - him and his mate, both a pair of skunks. We'll find out when they privatise the prisons, aye?

    I found it interesting that Simon Power got curmudgeonly over Dame Sian Elias' comments about early release of prisoners etc. Amazing how the Chief Justice isn't worthy of respectful attention, while they swallow whole, without overt signs of indigestion, the fact we have the second highest rates of imprisonment in de world.

    Does this mean we're just a bunch of bad bastards??

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Well, unlike, say, Milk , in Lesbian Vampire Killers , the nasty lesbians get their comeuppance. With stakes.

    Dude! They're vampires!

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I would have been amazed if Power had not reacted that way, regardless of what sense Elias made. Happens anywhere when constitutional conventions are blatantly challenged. I doubt she is surprised.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15769 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    3410, are you saying things would have gone better with the censors if Mr Milk had sharper teeth?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15769 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    3410, are you saying things would have gone better with the censors if Mr Milk had sharper teeth?

    Please bear in mind that I'm a fairly dull-witted sort of fellow. With your help, the penny has now dropped.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I would have been amazed if Power had not reacted that way, regardless of what sense Elias made. Happens anywhere when constitutional conventions are blatantly challenged. I doubt she is surprised.

    Recommended reading for the week: Otago Law lecturer Andrew Geddis on pundit.co.nz.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • paulalambert,

    Craig Ranapia: Someone might also like to ask when the Government abolished a basic principle of British justice: That people properly charged with crimes are entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law?

    Could've beendrugs... the passage of the Misuse of Drugs Act, the presumptions for supply ?? The new Criminal Proceeds Recovery Bill further reverses the onus of proof.

    chch • Since Dec 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    At about the same time, my partner was a volunteer at our children's kindergarten, running the library there. He wasn't vetted, but there were tight and awkward controls on what he was allowed to do - so if a child tried to sit on his lap, he had to push them off, there was no hugging or comforting allowed.

    It just seems so unhealthy for a society to become like that. I remember when I first came to China, I was taken aback when people would randomly touch me, especially children. Over time I've acclimatized to this idea that here unlike NZ or the UK, society hasn't simply and conveniently labelled me a stranger danger suspect or potential pedophile by virtue of my gender, and that as an adult I am expected to exhibit the responsibility and love of any good uncle which may involve (eek!) physical interaction. I can imagine that may not translate well culturally, but major Tom, you're floating in the most peculiar way.

    Having followed the old Weatherston trial pretty religiously, the articles near the end of the week re the psyche reports seemed to mention disassociation a fair bit. In light of the example you just mentioned Emma, it's not hard to see how our people have become disassociated from the expectation of natural loving human behaviour in favour of distrust.

    It's likewise not hard to understand how this impending 'good parenting' referendum could come to pass. Out on a far flung limb I feel the essence of the whole original 'smacking' debate seemed tantamount to the Government declaring that New Zealanders in general don't offer enough love to children. The issue as it was presented was not that we should show children more love but that we should use less violence. The subtext is pretty disturbing, I know many New Zealanders who were never smacked growing up, but who despite their keenest protestations were sent weekly onto a rugby field to get the shit beat out of them by other kids, because "it's the game our family plays".

    How is this all connected?
    disassociation.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Happens anywhere when constitutional conventions are blatantly challenged.

    It was a speech to the Women In Law Society, in honour of Shirley Smith, first woman law lecturer in NZ, not a press release. The most pertinent parts of her speech, to me, were about mental illness - possibly up to 70% of male prisoners have an anti-social personality disorder and 50% of prisoners with major mental health issues don't get any sort of treatment. Clayton Weatherston anyone? He's mad as a snake - what will prison do to him?

    Abysmal failure by our govts, for decades, to adequately resource mental health brings us to this point. It's not the only reason, but IMO it has greatly exacerbated the problem.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Understood. The Geddis article that Kyle linked to is worth a read.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15769 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    . . . possibly up to 70% of male prisoners have an anti-social personality disorder and 50% of prisoners with major mental health issues don't get any sort of treatment. Clayton Weatherston anyone? He's mad as a snake - what will prison do to him?

    People with intellectual disabilities are jailed in large numbers all the time, mostly with society's full approval. Witness the "dumb crim" stories that regularly feature as trivial news fodder.

    Weatherston, though, is a much rarer beast. How come his academic colleagues didn't pick him as being "mad as a snake"? If there's a plausible early intervention scenario that would have prevented him killing I'd like to hear it, but I guess it lies outside the range of this discussion.

    As for what prison will do to him, probably much the same as whatever a secure psychiatric facility might offer. He'll be isolated for his own protection, and offered a form of therapy wherever he's incarcerated. In the meantime, the law affords him the opportunity to attempt a final butchery of his victim's legacy.

    Sian Ellis's suggestions are at least partly a result of the great emptying out of psychiatric institutions that started around three decades ago. A huge cost-cutting exercise was undertaken under the guise of reform. There's been a myth abroad for some time that free-market policies somehow raise the general IQ, and the needs of the vulnerable can be wished away. Much of the present bloated jail population is due to this cynical nonsense.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3291 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Hey Joe, didn't mean to cause offence calling CW mad as a snake, it's the chilling effect from the tv coverage - instant flight or fight response and I wanna run out of the room whenever he's on. It wasn't clear from the psych evaluations reported whether he had treatment for narcissistic disorder prior, or whether they'd just come to that assessment. Not that I picked up anyway, but I might have been out of the room.

    Have you read the full Elias speech? You can click thru from the Geddis link of Kyle's. It's interesting reading. She mentions a Corrections report of 2001, "About Time" on intervention strategies to avert risk, which she claims has languished, because it identifies those at risk as experiencing "an unrelenting series of adverse life effects" , such an idea being anathema in a climate intolerant of excuses and that stresses individual responsibility.

    You're quite right, it is due to that cynical nonsense. We are reaping the inevitable harvest that comes from economic policies that are not grounded in reality nor rank human values above theory.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Apropos the Elias speech, some more food for thought.

    "For boys who had been through the juvenile justice system, compared to boys with similar histories without judicial involvement, the odds of adult judicial interventions increased almost seven-fold," says study co-author Richard E. Tremblay, a professor of psychology, pediatrics and psychiatry at the Université de Montréal and a researcher at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center.

    The research team sought out boys from kindergarten who were at risk for delinquent behavior and who were enrolled at 53 schools from the poorest neighbourhoods in Montreal. Some 779 participants were interviewed annually from the age of 10 until 17 years. By their mid-20s, some 17.6 percent of participants ended up with adult criminal records for infractions that included homicide (17.9 percent); arson (31.2 percent); prostitution (25.5 percent); drug possession (16.4 percent) and impaired driving (8.8 percent).

    "The more intense the help given by the juvenile justice system, the greater was its negative impact," Dr. Tremblay stresses. "Our findings take on even greater importance given that the juvenile justice system in the province of Quebec has the reputation of being among the best. Most countries spend considerable financial resources to fund programs and institutions that group deviant youths together in order to help them. The problem is that delinquent behavior is contagious, especially among adolescents. Putting deviant adolescents together creates a culture of deviance, which increases the likelihood of continued criminal behavior."

    "Two solutions exist for this problem," adds Dr Tremblay. "The first is to implement prevention programs before adolescence when problem children are more responsive. The second is to minimize the concentration of problem youths in juvenile justice programs, thereby reducing the risk of peer contagion."

    Lord knows what Bob McCroskie and the SST would make of that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Kerry, not offended by your statement re. Weatherston, or any other aspect of your post. Sorry if it came across that way. Because of Weatherston's monstrous individuality I just don't know how far his case is relevant to the issues Sian Elias has raised, so I took your mention of his case as a hypothetical.

    "Mad as a snake" is, when I think about it, nicely put. It's an honest response to the can-this-really-be-happening sensation as each ghastly insane instalment is presented, along with the struggle to stay humane in the face of such slow-motion craziness, without becoming dehumanised. While monsters such as Weatherston are fortunately rare, there's plainly something badly wrong with a legal defence that facilitates a killer perpetrating further crimes against their victim in a courtroom.


    Steven Judd:

    "The problem is that delinquent behavior is contagious, especially among adolescents. Putting deviant adolescents together creates a culture of deviance, which increases the likelihood of continued criminal behavior."

    So true.

    I've recently had to deal - as neighbours - with people whose intellectual disabilities had put them offside with the law. While they were heavy alcohol abusers, I had the impression that this stemmed from learned behaviour, rather than a real physical dependency. In the prison culture booze is forbidden and cool, and being freed is above all the freedom to be "on the piss".

    An earlier generation would have classed such people as congenitally low IQ, and would have institutionalised them for their own protection. Instead of the shallow swagger and occasional misguided aggression they've developed, their lives would have been rather more infantile, with no emphasis on their rights. We should have progressed to a point where such people enjoyed protection along with the enjoyment of their rights. Instead we jail them and, as Dr. Tremblay notes, compound the problem.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3291 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Joe:

    There's been a myth abroad for some time that free-market policies somehow raise the general IQ, and the needs of the vulnerable can be wished away. Much of the present bloated jail population is due to this cynical nonsense.

    Kerry:

    You're quite right, it is due to that cynical nonsense. We are reaping the inevitable harvest that comes from economic policies that are not grounded in reality nor rank human values above theory.

    Two words: Social Darwinism. Apparently Darwin himself felt that if his trademark theory was applied to humanity, it would be vulnerable to power abuses of the worst kind. The global eugenics programmes of the early 20th century were just one example of it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3912 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    ok, so we'll spend $150K on an internet filter to keep children safe...

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/2607013/School-for-scandal

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • paulalambert,

    Steven Judd:
    "For boys who had been through the juvenile justice system, compared to boys with similar histories without judicial involvement, the odds of adult judicial interventions increased almost seven-fold," says study co-author Richard E. Tremblay...

    Thats a good study thanks. There is also a similar idea of "deviance amplified" by sociologist Jock Young.
    Bit of a no-brainer really... the old "welcome to the machine", grrr.

    chch • Since Dec 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • John Ormond,

    So, one bank has been caught trying to evade tax.
    Taxes are the modest price we pay for civilisation. If the (Australian) banks don't want to pay their fair share, then they really should go to Somalia, or Madagascar.
    If a Maori gang tried to steal hundreds of millions of dollars, they would individually and collectively be prosecuted. And the Proceeds of Crime Act brought against them.
    That is what should happend now to all these rotten banks, the directors, the CEO, the lower-down cheats. All of them, treated like the criminals they are.
    but of course, the banks will continue to prosper, but only as long as stupid Kiwis GIVE money to these banks, instead of finding an honest bank.. of which there are a few still.

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2009 • 1 posts Report Reply

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