Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: This is your government on drugs

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  • Tom Semmens,

    The state house evictions program has got nothing to do with drugs or drug policy. The whole filthy process has been dreamed up so as to provide the flimsiest of fig leafs for helping to implement Bill English’s pet project of dismantling the state provision of housing and flogging off the state housing stock to the private sector at give away prices so the government can get out of housing.

    This catastrophe in housing has been deliberately engineered by Bill English (and incompetently overseen by his best mate, that glorious nincompoop Nick Smith) and as a monument to ideological fanaticism in the face of suffering and facts it gives lie to the corporate media’s love affair with the image of Bill English as “pragmatic” Bill, a “moderate” (oxymoron alert) “compassionate conservative” with innovative new ideas for the welfare state.

    The harsh reality is Bill English remains a neoliberal fanatic who only learnt one thing from the Douglas/Richardson/Birch era – that it was the process behind the imposition of ideologically driven extremist policy that needed modification, not that the whole fucking insane neoliberal project itself was bonkers and only suited for inflicting mass misery on the most vulnerable.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Doug Hood, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Right on Tom, English was the architect who made the policy on the hop, in association with the Treasury

    Kingsland • Since Oct 2009 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Lynn Yum,

    This is like I, Daniel Blake, except it is real and it is happening right now in New Zealand. I'm both angry and sad about this. Angry that government under National had became so out of touch, sad that once unimaginable bureaucratic persecution is actually happening.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2016 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Darlington,

    It remains to be seen whether Twyford has the nerve to walk away from the whole of the “meth contamination” boondoggle that ministers in the last government were happy to underwrite...

    I find that quite worrying. It's not clear whether the "meth contamination" panic is a scam for the benefit of testing and rectification companies, or part of National's war on state housing, or both. Whatever, it's something that Labour should be squashing like a cockroach now it's in charge, but Twyford isn't exactly filling me with confidence that will happen.

    Since Nov 2006 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lynn Yum,

    This is like I, Daniel Blake, except it is real and it is happening right now in New Zealand

    That's a good comparison.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Doug Hood,

    Right on Tom, English was the architect who made the policy on the hop, in association with the Treasury

    The weird thing is it never even looked like working. It's been a very failed policy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • LeighKennaway,

    The good news is that Phil Twyford visited Mr Erueti today to give a personal apology for the dreadful impact HNZC's policies and actions had on him and his family. The item on 'Checkpoint' with John Campbell is heartening listening.

    Lower Hutt • Since Feb 2016 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to LeighKennaway,

    The item on 'Checkpoint' with John Campbell is heartening listening

    Indeed. The 7 minute interview includes an explicit and scathing announcement by Twyford that Housing NZ's policy has wasted $75m over the last few years and will end.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Oh, man. There was a straightforward morally and evidentially correct way forward here and Twyford has taken it. It shouldn’t be amazing, but it is.

    If a tenant or someone in their family has an addiction problem, the first response won’t be to kick them out, it will be to help them get support and deal with that addiction.

    I’ve been sitting here thinking about why the last government would not say this.

    The video version:

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Why? Because they were complete arseholes and it would have ruined their narrative of "punish the poor".

    In other news, briefings to incoming ministers were finally made available yesterday. I don't think I have never known it to take this long to release them. But the usual link to previous iterations of the Beehive site is no longer available, so I can't check.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to nzlemming,

    I don't think I have never known it to take this long to release them.

    Someone was saying the 2014 election date was earlier so the BIM release this time seems extra late by comparison.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Sacha,

    Someone was saying the 2014 election date was earlier so the BIM release this time seems extra late by comparison.

    BIMs are largely prepared ahead of the election. They may be tweaked slightly, depending on who wins (as an incumbent might not need as in-depth a briefing on an on-going matter as a new Minister), but portfolios often change around after elections even if the GotD retains power. It's now been 2 months since the election. They should have been available before now. My guess is that Labour et al wanted to make sure their new ministers had time to fully digest them and get clarification before the media started hitting them with questions. Not as transparent as they're boasting.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Also, they have broken them down by sector and the link to the Housing and Infrastructure stuff is broken it should be https://www.beehive.govt.nz/feature/briefings-incoming-ministers-housing-infrastructure

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to nzlemming,

    Thought they may have been feeding stuff into the mini-Budget process, but I also would have preferred an earlier release.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to LeighKennaway,

    Phil Twyford visited Mr Erueti today to give a personal apology for the dreadful impact HNZC’s policies

    Nice, and also kind of odd that he’d apologise for something he had no control over while he’s yet to front up for his own actions fueling this type of thing.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Today's two Herald stories.

    The main feature on the Nelson medical cannabis activists.

    And my news story on what I've been able to glean of the new government's plans.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    both excellent reads, that section on the roots was an eye-opening detail, and now I'm learning about terpenes. To all involved; kia kaha!

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Hi Russell. How did you find Sue Grey?

    It's great to learn that she's been doing some good stuff in the area of medicinal cannabis and good luck to them on that front. The other domain where I've encountered her work, though, has been through her representation of and advice to the Brook Valley Community Group where both she and the group come across as sort of the opposite of worthwhile. Not just because she's been representing it as a lawyer, but because she seems to have been giving it some terrible legal advice to that group to continue pressing through expensive court cases against the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust with cases that are repeatedly being laughed out of court due to the lack of meaningful evidence, claims that make little or no sense in the face of actual evidence, and some ridiculous interpretations of law. (A brief summary of the outcome from Stuff.)

    The BVCG is on the edge of dissolving to avoid considerable court costs awarded against it, but it's encumbering the bulk of those costs on a bunch of volunteer and donation-funded groups. My first impression of her has been quite dismal in terms of an environmental lawyer.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Spooky, Izogi, I was just about to post something similar. Sue Grey is also vocally anti-vax, anti-community water fluoridation and anti-1080 use. Oh, and anti-RFEMR (ie non ionising radiation from mobile phones, mobile phone towers, wifi etc). In other words, anti-science. She promotes material produced by the Graf brothers (you can read about them in Dave Hansford's excellent book "Protecting Paradise'). As a small example of how she rolls, she recently posted a link to an article on 1080 poisoning bees, while neglecting to mention that when the article was published, in 1991, a 1080-jam bait formulation was used that was attractive to bees. This formulation was discontinued in 1995.
    And yes, everything you said about the BVCG. She operates as if she were above the law.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    This is an interesting read: Justice Churchman's judgment on the BVCG vs the BWSTrust. Their case was pretty crappy.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    In other words, anti-science.

    Off with her head!

    It must be a comfortable place to be, there, where Science is irrefutable.

    I am becoming increasingly concerned that those who do not live in that comfortable place, who are inclined towards a precautionary approach, are assigned labels which imply they are somehow not only anti- Science but anti-humanity as well.

    Case in point would be that stalwart of Public Good Dr-Lance-O-Sullivan. (And it is well worth reading that article).

    I have spoke with many mothers of children who were adversely affected by a vaccine.
    Mothers whose children were completely healthy and 'normal' before having the vaccination.
    In most cases it was acknowledged by the doctors involved that their child's condition was in all likelihood due to an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
    And...and this is the significant factor that piqued my interest ... was the high level of funded supports they were receiving. When I commented on this, I was told that it was because they(the Misery of Health) knew it was a vaccine related disability.

    But we never, ever hear about these cases.

    With the Good Doctor Lance..he kinda shit in his own pond that day..the haka, the ranting, the personal insults...one young Maori mother I met a few days later spat on the ground that the so called defender of the health of Maori had completely and utterly dismissed her and all the other mothers whose children had suffered adverse effects from vaccinations. I believe the primary duty of a community health professional is to gain and maintain the trust and respect of the community they serve.

    So...IMHO...good on those like Sue Grey, who question, and speak out and represent those with a different viewpoint.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Respectfully, Rosemary, this comment shows a lack of understanding of what science is about and how it works.
    Science is a robust contest of ideas. Most scientists I know have strong critical thinking skills that they don't hesitate to use on their own work. I can tell you that presenting your work at a scientific conference is not a comfortable place at all. If your evidence for your claims is unconvincing, you'll get shot down in flames.
    Talking about 'science being irrefutable' is a bit of a straw woman, as scientists don't claim this and I certainly wasn't. It's more useful to think in terms of scientific consensus, where the evidence piles up over time and a picture starts to emerge. Like on climate change; for practical purposes we should proceed as though the science were settled as the evidence is strong and compelling.
    Note that there's a famous saying that it only takes one ugly fact to slay a beautiful hypothesis.
    Also: the precautionary principle is only really useful where the evidence is too limited to be useful for decision making. By all means it should be used for new pesticides etc, but 1080 is extensively studied and well understood, and there are costs to not using it, as the PCE's report made clear.
    As for Sue Grey: well, she does represent those with a different viewpoint, I'll give you that. But she also blatantly misleads people and misrepresents scientific evidence. I don't see anything to celebrate in that.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    But she also blatantly misleads people and misrepresents scientific evidence.

    I guess like this scientist...

    and this one....

    Both of them thoroughly address the issues you raise....

    Devra Davis in particular spends some time explaining the difficulty shifting from one accepted scientific viewpoint to a complete opposite one.

    You bring up about pesticides.

    I know quite a bit about this topic...admittedly researched from the potentially biased position of someone whose family had suffered adverse effects of irresponsible and probably illegal use of a hazardous substance approved by what was then ERMA.

    Approval for the use of this agrichemical was gained on the proviso that it was applied according to certain standards and conditions. (as is usual under the HSNO Act)

    Various government and industry bodies were appointed to regulate and enforce these conditions.

    Sadly, when the shit hit the whirly thing, none of these agencies did the work they had been charged with doing under the various Standards, Acts and Regional Plans.

    None of them.

    And...I have evidence of this.

    Sound, solid and irrefutable evidence of the failure of these agencies to properly meet their statutory obligations to ensure the proper and safe use of this (and potentially any other) agrichemical.

    And....scientific evidence that the chemical that was touted as being 'safe' is, in fact, anything but...and this was through research funded by the company that held the patent.

    This is a complicated field. There are reputations to protect and funding for research to be sourced and I get that there is a necessity for many scientists to toe the line...

    But automatically denigrating those with alternate viewpoints without actually doing even a small investigation to gauge whether or not they might have valid grounds for concern is, well, just not science.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Rosemary, finding one 'expert' to back up your views is not the same as scientific consensus. If you want an expert consensus view on RFEMR hazards to health, go to the IARC monograph here: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol102/mono102.pdf
    Sue Grey is fond of citing this one, though needless to say she doesn't represent its findings honestly or accurately.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    As for the second youtube thing, yes it's true that the WHO have classified non-ionising radiation from mobile phones as a Class 2B carcinogen. This means 'possibly carcinogenic'. Other Class 2B substances include coffee, kava, pickled vegetables and aloe vera extract. The WHO classification was based on the IARC review that I mentioned above, and was a precautionary approach (appropriate I think) based on weak and limited evidence of an increased glioma risk in heavy mobile phone users. The sensible thing to do here is to limit the amount of time you have your mobile phone pressed to your ear.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

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