Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Never let the facts ...

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    Here's Ralston, not letting the facts get in the way of a good rant,

    I don't bother reading (as opposed to skimming) Ralston's columns at the best of times, but caught this rather icky column over the last bagel brunch of '07:

    There is, apparently, one niggle for the party leader. Chortling Labour MPs refer to it as their "neutron bomb". It is a rather scandalous tale about a senior National MP timed to detonate when the election campaign begins.

    According to your political persuasion, it is a measure of Key's confidence, his humanity or his lack of political experience that he has not taken the MP concerned out and shot him. He seems willing to risk the damage the ancient scandal might cause rather than the fuss a summary caucus execution might cause.

    Hum... perhaps Bill could have taken the moral high ground - or his editor exercised some real live editorial judgment - and declined to set the stage for another round of shit-flinging. Anyway, if its the 'neutron bomb' I've heard of, I suspect its just going to blow up in the face of the person who throws it. Might be time to invest in a pair of thigh-high waders.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11622 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    Agreed, Fishers article in the HOS was good.
    I thought the way he introduced the story was excellent... first time in a long time that a story of over a few paragraphs (in the HOS) has grabbed my attention and made me want to read the whole story slowly and carefully.
    Usually, I just skim read.
    It will be interesting to see what happens next with a more balanced view of the story available to the general public.

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    if its the 'neutron bomb' I've heard of, I suspect its just going to blow up in the face of the person who throws it

    I think you might be confusing nuclear weaponry with molotov cocktails :-)

    But on point - I tried a few comments like this on DPF, but it's about time these inconvenient facts got a little more airplay.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2971 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    We got back from a week on Waiheke on Friday. Ably assisted by what I am sure has been the best New Year weather in the last five years it was magic over there. I didn't want to return to the rat race only 45 minutes on the car ferry away.

    Hopefully the weather will stay as beautifully clement for you as it was for us!!!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But on point - I tried a few comments like this on DPF, but it's about time these inconvenient facts got a little more airplay.

    Hum... We might not be talking about the same thing but if Labour wants to reduce the campaign to a Ratshit Galucoma gossip column, go to. If you're thinking of something that's actually marginally substantive, why don't you christen Legal Beagle with some good old fashioned muckraking? Just don't do it on the Labour Party's timetable while pretending you're shocked and appalled by it all.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11622 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Craig, the last time NP supporters started wittering on about scandals about to be brought up by Labour it was as cover for their own muck racking, conveniently passed through the likes of Wishart and friends.

    I cannot speak for Graeme but I suspect when he says "back on point" he is talking about ACC and Affco not Ralston's sad musings which you chose to bring up.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1612 posts Report Reply

  • casahuia,

    Perhaps Bill could have taken the moral high ground - or his editor exercised some real live editorial judgment - and declined to set the stage for another round of shit-flinging.

    Pardon me but aren't we all just SICK TO DEATH of the predictably boring shite-flinging that our national politics has settled into. What happened to policy and issue-based debate rather than the boring, demeaning, and cancerous ad hominem attacks our politicians seem hell-bent on stooping to on both sides of the house. Is this because they are both so centrist that there is little difference of note between their politics that they have nothing to debate other than who is shagging who and who forgot to pay tax on what? Bunch of arse. The only light in all this boringly predictable quagmire of feculence is good old Tim Shadbolt - if only he were in Parliament - at least he has the courage to stand up for what he believes even if it means going against his political leanings and threatening to supporting those smarmy-veneered marshmallow puff National goons!

    Sod them all, I'm voting McGillicuddy Serious Party in.

    Since Feb 2007 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    While National know doubt sees a good populist line in the Affco shooting story, I thought the political right were sticklers for the sanctity of contract?

    Does McGillicuddy Serious still exist?

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I cannot speak for Graeme but I suspect when he says "back on point" he is talking about ACC and Affco...

    Precisely.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2971 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Does McGillicuddy Serious still exist?

    MMP kind of killed it (if your vote counts, there's not much point using it on the joke party), but there is a current MP who was a McGillicuddy candidate in 1993.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1823 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    He seems willing to risk the damage the ancient scandal might cause rather than the fuss a summary caucus execution might cause.

    Or has calculated that whatever it is is more likely to backfire on Labour, especially if it's historical. They've managed to shoot themselves in the foot fairly reliably over the past year.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17983 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, the last time NP supporters started wittering on about scandals about to be brought up by Labour it was as cover for their own muck racking, conveniently passed through the likes of Wishart and friends.

    Graeme: Apologise for the misreading.

    Don: Care to put up or shut up - because I keep hearing the claim, but the evidence never seems to follow. Funny, isn't it?

    I find it kind of icky that Ralson would be boasting about being fed sleaze by anyone (and if he's making it up. I'm all for APN sacking him after he's written a govelling apology to the Labour caucus). And good luck finding any statement I've ever made regarding Wishart and his tawdry rage that isn't venomously contemptuous.

    I brought it up just to make the point that Ralston's columns are seldom read by me, and not taken seriously on the rare occasions I do. Nothing in Sunday's effort has changed my mind.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11622 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Wishart and his tawdry rage

    Whoops... for once an accurate typo, because I find it hard to believe Investigate is produced or read by people who are exactly overflowing with joie de vive. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11622 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    I've no doubt that the AFFCO vs ACC matter will be sorted in the courts, and that AFFCO will lose. What's saddest to me about this story is

    The sad, ironic note of conclusion is that Joel Storey now does wear a gang colour -- the red of the Mongrel Mob whose bullet wrecked his life.

    I mixed a bit with a a few 'youth gangs' last century, but they were nothing like (and nowhere near as popular) as todays 'youth gangs'. I'm no fan of Rankin et al but if we don't do something quickly we'll be fuct pretty soon. The same warnings were made (and ignored) about P and look where that got us.
    At Xmas dinner my 8-10 y.o. nephews were showing me what gang signs they could throw. Being white middle class boys in 'good schools' I'm not too worried (for now) but it shows how gang culture is going mainstream. And look where the mainstreaming of porn culture got us.
    I wonder when Reality TV will bring us Boyz of The Cripp Mansion??

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    Just back from an idyllic three days on Waiheke. A wedding and old friends, lovely weather and sheltered beaches. According to Metvuw Russell, you will cop a bit of rain through Wednesday but clearing with the next high after that. The water trucks were in evidence so I guess they can do with a drop. Sorry it looks like it might be falling on you.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Re: Affco et-al

    Its an interesting point that while I've heard of this case off-and-on over the last year or two, the 'minor detail' that AFFCO had opted out of the normal ACC plan and had insurance with another provider had entirely escaped me... I guess thier expensive PR was working, because that really does put an entirely different angle on it.

    But it still strikes me that being the victim of crime isnt the sort of "work-place accident" that one normally associates with Employee protection.... unless its a crime related to the work-place like a bank teller or shop assistant being shot during a robbery... But I'll leave that up to the Lawyers.

    My main point is, surely, being shot isnt actually an accident.... it was done on purpose.... and initial responsibility of costs should fall on the shooter....

    Presumably, said gang member doesnt actually have the funds available.... but when the person responsible cant pay, thats when "the state" intervenes....

    ???

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    FletcherB:
    From memory the shooter has not been caught/charged. The police say the know who it was. Maybe the victim and his mate aren't willing to name names?

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    FletcherB - yes, my understanding is that ACC covers (and is intended to cover) a lot of injuries that don't fit the standard definition of "accident". It covers a whole raft of things where individuals are injured and can't as a general rule seek recourse in the civil courts. It's pretty murky stuff for the non-lawyer though as you suggest.

    So it's title is a little misleading. Maybe the "injury compensation corporation" would be better.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    My main point is, surely, being shot isnt actually an accident.... it was done on purpose.... and initial responsibility of costs should fall on the shooter....

    Presumably, said gang member doesnt actually have the funds available.... but when the person responsible cant pay, thats when "the state" intervenes....

    This isn't the US. We have a criminal justice system to punish people who shoot people, and a no-fault accident insurance scheme to help (some of) their victims, without having to tithe 50% to the lawyers. The major flaw in the system is that the coverage is not comprehensive enough.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1593 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Yeah I was going to make the same point - it's a "no fault" scheme - that means you get ACC no matter who was at fault and no matter whether they have money or not - in the US you only get it if the other guy actually has money, and after your lawyer has taken his cut - it used to be that way here too - I can remember when as a kid people would think twice about giving friends a ride in their car

    What AFCO have done is a deal with ACC saying "we think it can be done cheaper" and offered to provide what ACC would provide at what they thought would be a lower cost to them - like all insurance it's a risk, a bet against the world - and they lost - they were possibly stupid to make the bet and unlucky

    It could as easily have been a runaway car slamming into the parking lot - being a drive by shooting, a deliberate act, just muddies theissue - ACC pays out no matter what the cause

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 1958 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    FletcherB: The ACC system's intention is to remove much of the American tort crapshoot (and resultant lunacy) from NZ's legal system. The result is that it pays for the costs of treating drunk or otherwise law-breaking drivers (such as those who crash while fleeing from the cops), and other people whose injuries aren't strictly "accidental". By removing the right to sue for injuries caused by a third party, we end up being in the gun (as it were) for this case.
    The alternative, and it would rapidly become a very slippery slope, would be to allow recovery against parties who cause intentional injury to another. I say it would become a slippery slope because such allowance is easily extended to drivers who injure cops when they crash into police cars during a pursuit, followed by innocent victims of pursuit crashes, followed by innocent victims of DUI crashes, and suddenly we're back to the point which ACC was meant to avoid, where everyone has to carry liability insurance.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3733 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Yeah, I understand all that... and generally I think what we have is a better system...

    I guess it all comes down to the "borders" of where ACC's coverage and AFFCO's alternative deal meet (or dont?).

    It just seems illogical and unfair, intuitively, that my employer might be responsible for things that happen to me that are not of its making...

    But ultimately, I realise that what seems intuitive is not always the legal case, and if the leagal beagles (sorry) have had their say and decided it's AFFCO's turn to pay, then so be it. They should just shut-up and pay.

    I also wonder why AFFCO's making all the noise? Surely its the insurance company thats up for the million dollars? Or were they "self insured"? Or did they not insure themselves properly against all the risks they were relieving ACC of?

    Also, they want to be carefull.... talk-back radio and questions in parliament are cheap, but If they kick up too much of a fuss they might spend more on PR and legal than the medical costs they are trying to get out of?

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Fletcher: you have to read the article RB posted about! There it's laid out fairly clearly that while this is indeed unintuitive, it IS what AFFCO signed up for.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • Ben McNicoll,

    Is the article paper version only? I can't find it on the herald site.

    Or did I miss a link to it somewhere?

    OOOOOO!!!! In firefox 3.0 beta2 you can drag text in a textarea, and it pulls a transparent preview of the selected text with it. It's purrdy!

    Grey Lynn • Since May 2007 • 108 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    And a couple of other things:
    - while it doesn't make me any more sympathetic, AFFCO's profit last year was only 1.2m. In 02 and 98 they made a loss. This is a pretty chunky sum for them, big company or not.
    - I can see how the dope-smoking rumour could start. Unpleasant repetitive jobs are made easier by a wee toot, and AFFCO has had repeated trouble in the past with this. (Remember the stoush over covert surveillance in the showers a couple of years back?)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

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