Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: P is for Politics.

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    You'd have to imagine that's Mr Prast's chances at the Mayoralty, fanciful as they were to begin with, now completely up in smoke. Yes, pun intended.

    Two points worth making here:

    The incumbent President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Great Britain didn't see their electoral prospects go "up in smoke" when they admitted to previous drug use.

    And a less charitable soul would suggest that current and habitual chemical enhancement is the only rational explanation for the clown troika of Messers Banks, Brown and Williams. I guess the difference is that Obama and Cameron stood behind a serious and well-scrutinized policy platform.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    I don't think I'd be making the same claim if Prast had admitted smoking Pot, Craig. If Obama had said he'd had a wee crack habit before deciding to run, I think we'd probably be looking at the first Female President of the USA.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1127 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Yeah, but if P worked as advertised in the Herald, Prast would have chopped several peoples arms off, be robbing dairies to pay for his habit and living in a gutter in Otahuhu.

    Instead he's had a very succesful career in the arts and to my knowledge has committed no acts of senseless violence. His worst crime seems to be Mercy Peak.

    I'm not arguing that meth makes people nice to have around, and quite undertstand that (like booze) it makes for a far less pleasant vibe in a club than E.

    But that doesn't mean that it's instant underclassness in a point bag, or that all the problems of violence in NZ could be solved if we could stop people getting hold of Codrals.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4359 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    If Obama had said he'd had a wee crack habit before deciding to run, I think we'd probably be looking at the first Female President of the USA.

    It's not improbable that he didn't try it - I'm not trying to smear his character here, just to say that as a young slightly rebellious guy who admitted using both marijuana and cocaine it's certainly possible. But the difference between a single use and a habit seems pretty large to me.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2119 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    P is for plastered too...
    of course elected officials will still continue to abuse the "legal" highs while they can, witness the wonderfully named new UK MP Mark Reckless...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I feel a little sad that this is sufficient to end a political career. It is entirely possible that it means bugger all to his abilities as mayor and might even make him better at it (having had some experience of one of the issues our society faces).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I don't think I'd be making the same claim if Prast had admitted smoking Pot, Craig. If Obama had said he'd had a wee crack habit before deciding to run, I think we'd probably be looking at the first Female President of the USA.

    But Obama did admit to using cocaine, and considering the circles that David Cameron moved in before entering politics it's not beyond the realms of plausibility that a line or two of nose candy passed his nasal membranes.

    I'm not defending P in any way shape or form, but given my own rather messy relationship with alcohol (and the long unpleasant history of piss-head politicians) I don't know if an admitted history of drug (ab)use is an automatic credibility killer.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    If Obama had said he'd had a wee crack habit before deciding to run, I think we'd probably be looking at the first Female President of the USA.

    The one with the glasses, or the one without the glasses?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4060 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    I'm not defending P in any way shape or form, but given my own rather messy relationship with alcohol (and the long unpleasant history of piss-head politicians) I don't know if an admitted history of drug (ab)use is an automatic credibility killer.

    Certainly it shouldn't be, and each person has to be judged on their own merits. But the question is whether, with the media environment around P, someone who admits to having had an "issue" with it can maintain credibility. It seems significantly less likely to me.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2092 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    The one with the glasses, or the one without the glasses?

    Don't think alcohol is the issue here.;)
    I'll get my coat.
    FWIW, I like the one and truly honest bit of information that Simon Prast owned. Not the bullshit I had become used to hearing from other candidates

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5923 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    But the question is whether, with the media environment around P, someone who admits to having had an "issue" with it can maintain credibility.

    A matter of distance, surely.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2119 posts Report Reply

  • helenalex,

    I was also around the club scene when P arrived and I was lucky enough not to know anyone who got seriously fucked up by it. And I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one who heard all the 'if you smoke P once you will turn into a psychotic addict' bullshit and assumed that it wasn't any more dangerous than any of the other drugs the media and Jim Anderton had been having hysterics about. I mean, once you've been told that nitrous is really dangerous you tend to discount that source of information. It was only once my druggie friends started talking about how dangerous it was that I realised that there might be a real problem.

    I tried P a couple of times. It was pretty lame. I miss real speed, partly because doing lines always felt kind of cool, and partly because it was a lot easier to get to a good level, rather than straight up to 'letsgoletsgomustdanceoratleaststartmovingnoworIwilldie' and then back down again.

    Since Jul 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    No shit, pretty much my first thought when I heard that Simon Prast was standing was "what about the P use?" As Damian notes, it was the kind of thing journalists would talk about.

    My next thought was that it would be broached in an interview with Carolyne Meng-Yee. And it was, although I don't think Prast really front-footed it. It feels like he thought he might get through the interview without having to talk about it. Duh.

    Did he begin using "P"?

    "I don't want to discuss. I have tried everything that wouldn't kill me. I have danced with my demons and embraced them and we have parted as friends and I don't regret a second."

    So I phone him back later. Did he have a problem with P?

    "'No' is the answer," he replies.

    But has he used it? "Do we have to go into this area?" he retorts, uncharacteristically angry. "I have been as frank as possible. I don't want this to be the headline."

    He called Meng-Yee back later to confirm his use and offer his views on drug policy, which I don't think we'd have heard otherwise.

    As Ross Bell of the Drug Foundation pointed out, drug policy is important enough to be discussed in its own right, rather than sprung on a mayoral campaign.

    I honestly don't know what Prast thinks he's doing standing. He has an endless guest slot on Mikey's Friday Drive show, in which he talks urbanely to callers and frankly says little worth hearing, occasionally admitting there are things (transport policy) that "I don't really have any thoughts about". I found it embarrassing to listen to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Those of us who'd been there during that time knew the reality. We knew that not everyone who smoked P became an addict - not even the 90% put forward by the anti-P lobby groups. And not everyone who became an addict sold their body, or went on a murderous rampage. There was a massive chasm between the media and police hype, and the reality. But certainly more people were finding the downside than any drug I'd seen before.

    Yes, exactly. Smoked methamphetamine has a higher hit-rate of real addiction problems than any other drug I've seen. Dependence on it made for alarming personality changes in a couple of old friends of mine, which fortunately weren't permanent. But it's no fun having to ask your old friends not to come around.

    On the other hand, as you say, the large majority of people won't get that far; they'll be occasional user or weekend warriors.

    I had to turn off Paul Holmes' P "doco" when he started raving about some "revolting" harm-reduction pamphlet that opened with the line: "You’ll fly through the night with the greatest of ease." He blathered on about how terrible reduction was.

    Actually, what he was quoting was the standard CADS informational on amphetamines, and the full line, not quoted on the programme was:

    Speed can be the ultimate party drug. You’ll fly through the night with the greatest of ease. While you’re having a great time, your body will be drained of vital ingredients, which could turn out to be the least of your problems.

    The rest of the information in the pamphlet is also pretty straight.

    It does worry me that the well-meaning people behind the Stellar Trust will really mess things up for the likes of CADS -- who have to work with so many drug-dependent people, the ones who can't fork over thousands a week for celebrity treatment -- if they let people like Tom Claunch dictate their lines.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I found it embarrassing to listen to.

    I'd trust your call on that one, Russell, and that's what we should be focused on -- you know, that boring policy shit. And that's the point I was not making terribly well: You don't have to be some wide-eyed tweaker to think Obama and Cameron's policy positions are a little more important than what they were toasting their muffins with twenty years ago.

    And am I totally out of line in finding Rudman's valentine to Andy Williams ever so slightly cringe-inducing? Even if I didn't thoroughly despise Williams, I'd find this a rather tiresome exercise in self-conscious contrarianism:

    For central government it's something of a nightmare. While both Mr Banks and Mr Brown in recent weeks have been biting their tongues and trying to keep relations with the government civil, Mr Williams thrives on winding Wellington up.

    If he's not messaging Mr Key at 3am, he's using the Official Information Act to dig out the embarrassing details of Local Government Minister Rodney Hide's "official" trips to London and North America.

    He has also campaigned loudly on behalf of a better deal for victims of leaky homes, alleging the Government stood to gain $2 billion from house repairs.

    Like his two main rivals, eccentricity is part of Mr Williams' make-up.

    Around Easter this year, at the height of the furore over his peeing incident, he fired off an email to two of his persecutors saying, "Two blokes got crucified this week ... and both will most certainly rise from the dead to come back to haunt a few people".

    A couple of months later, Mr Brown, under pressure because of his expense claims, declared he was "under extraordinary scrutiny and maybe Jesus Christ was the only one to withstand that and come out completely pure".

    There was much simulated shock from opponents after both comments, but they were soon forgotten. As Mr Williams argued on Saturday, we like a touch of eccentricity in our mayors.

    They're not the messiahs, Brian, they're naughty little boys. Not for the first time, I have to wonder if keeping the media entertained is really the highest goal of a functional democracy. Greater Auckland might actually need a grown up with a grasp of policy and the ability to build bridges rather than pre-emptively fire bomb the foundations, even if it bores Mr. Rudman and his colleagues to sobs.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    It is always pretty hard to trust a user, whatever vice. Cred does go out the window with the many stories that wander the grapevine.Consequently Prast probably has fallen into a hole, but with Banks' family history, who knows, anything goes? Maybe Prast figured he has just as much chance as the others so far. Let's face it, what a selection.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5923 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And if you want to talk about drug abuse that should be a career-killer how about the euphoniously named noob Tory MP Mark Reckless -- who was too fuck-faced to make a Budget vote.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • richard,

    Thinking back, George Bush refused to answer questions on his cocaine use (although the answer is widely assumed to be "yes") while Barack Obama was open about his drug use (including cocaine) in a book he wrote before he was actively running for public office.

    But neither of them called the criminalization of cocaine hypocritical. Whereas Prast did not even bother to dress his comments up in a Dutch/PAS "harm minimization" argument -- he just sounded whiny.

    [This reminds me of a friend of mine went to college with Obama, and was excited to be called by the New York Times as a part of an in-depth profile they were doing shortly after Obama secured the nomination (I think -- a huge multipage paper of record -style piece in any case), but was a bit disconsolate that they did not use any quotes from him. My feeling was that if wanted to be sure of being quoted in the article, the best approach would be to cheerfully recall a few drug-fueled parties with the candidate. However, the friend in question is fairly straight edge, so (presumably) neither inhaled nor subsequently embellished, and thus stayed on the print equivalent of the cutting room floor.]

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    After being selected as Metro magazine's Auckland Man of the Year 2003 Prast was looking for an even bigger high... and with a law degree under his belt he was taking an informed risk apparently.

    His admission of p-smoking had to be dragged out of him and you wonder how many other people he lied to about his use while he was hooked. It's a shame because he does actually have a fair management record from helping to set up and then running Auckland Theatre Company and AK03.

    The funniest thing was the former head of the territorials and UN peacekeeping in Israel, Tenby Powell, putting his hat in the ring on behalf of right-wingers worried about Bank's growing unpopularity and the Herald mentioning that he is Sharon Hunter's husband (now running the companies her PC direct fortune bought) but not his military accomplishments. Hilarious. A bit like Willie Apiata running for Mayor and the Herald referring to him as a pig-hunting farmer. It almost had "glowing follow-up ten-page feature article planned (endorsing Tenby and his celebrity wife)" written all over it. All pictures of Tenby brandishing a p-pipe will be most welcome.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    If Obama had said he'd had a wee crack habit before deciding to run, I think we'd probably be looking at the first Female President of the USA.

    I was under the impression admission of hard drug use no longer engendered the mandatory sex change in the U.S.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    @Russ: Yeah when I said he "front-footed" it and was being "forthright", I guess I should've said he "eventually fessed up". But he didn't need to at all, was my point.

    It is always pretty hard to trust a user, whatever vice

    I guess this sums it up for me Sofie. (and @Lucy, @Rich and @Ben) It's about the people who get addicted to addictive stuff (and I'll exclude smoking here, because it *generally* only leads to health problems rather than social ones). I don't think they are cut out to run a major city. If he said he'd tried it once or twice, that's one thing. Smoked it occasionally, that's another. But to say it was becoming a problem, well that just doesn't sound like the sort of person I want in charge of stuff I care about. I'd rather someone who was stronger, with better self-control.

    This of course is not my sole voting criteria - "policy" is also useful, but having had a P habit in what can only have been the reasonably recent past is an automatic exclusion from receiving my vote.

    If it were a choice between Banks and Prast, I'm sorry to say, I'd vote for Banks. I really would. Thankfully it's not... come on down Andrew Williams!

    (joke)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1127 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    A bit like Willie Apiata running for Mayor and the Herald referring to him as a pig-hunting farmer.

    Thing is, if he did run, he just could win. Disciplined, knows how to keep his mouth shut. Takes orders well. cares about man and country (ours). and..and photogenic! The man is made of win really, but can he play Rugby? Probably.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5923 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner,

    I know it's not Friday, but this does seem appropriate. Sorry if you've seen it before:

    Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Takes orders well. cares about man and country (ours). and..and photogenic

    Yeah... he is a Mowwwwrie though. I just don't think the City of Sails is ready for that ;)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1127 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Bit of make up an do wonders!
    Can do wonders. My c and my colons keys are dying. c's, colons, most bloody annoying. (cant even do grumpy face now.)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5923 posts Report Reply

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