Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Too Good to Be True

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    Sky is a monopoly provider in this regard, and should be broken up or at least made to play fair.

    Clearly it's not a monopoly, as TVNZ and 3 sport bid for, and get sports. TV3 got the rugby world cup, and TVNZ is getting the Olympics, which are the two things that most NZers would want to see over the past couple of years in terms of sports.

    It's just willing to spend money, there's nothing stopping anyone else spending that money, they just have to make it back in a different way.

    I really don't get why people see sport coverage as some sort of essential right. It's just another form of entertainment. It's like arguing that Survivor should always appear on free-to-air TV, or Dancing with the Stars.

    But then again, they would not have access to live top grade sport - other than netball and some motor racing.

    Yes, the basic essentials of life. Food, water, clothing, shelter, and access to free-to-air top grade sports.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Stanley Pointen,

    "I really don't get why people see sport coverage as some sort of essential right. It's just another form of entertainment."

    Kyle, sport is not just entertainment. In this country, it is a cultural icon; a big part of our national psyche. Remember the reaction to the New Zealand performance at the last rugby world cup? The Highlanders have clearly turned you off sport entirely.

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The Highlanders have clearly turned you off sport entirely.

    Grant Robertson for Minister of Sport. Only hope.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Kyle, sport is not just entertainment. In this country, it is a cultural icon; a big part of our national psyche.

    and perhaps if it wasn't so important we could concentrate on other matters that are actually beneficial to our country. Not against anyone who loves sport, but honestly, thats what it is,,, just sport.(moves quietly to the corner)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    ...if it wasn't so important we could concentrate on other matters that are actually beneficial to our country.

    In terms of men and sport, I'd prefer that the testosterone gets burned up in a form competitive tribalism that falls short of killing people.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    While people are searching the New Scientist archive for material, last week's (24 May) had an article titled 'Science Rules OK!' that had the information of a study done in UK prisons on random drug testing. Positive tests for opiates (heroin) or tranquilisers went up from 4.1 to 7.4% after testing. Because they clear the body faster than cannabis so the prisoners were switching drugs.

    It was reported in the BMJ, vol 312, p 1411.

    The NS article is at:
    <http://www.newscientist.com/channel/being-human/mg19826571.900-science-rules-ok-running-societies-the-rational-way.html>

    Though login is required for the full fat. General message of the article is do proper case controlled studies and don't ignore them if your favourite policy (sexual abstinence, drug testing) is shown not to work.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Mikaere - I'm not playing the legal game - but risk & knowledge.

    The Greens Drug Policy Section 1 & 3 - sweet as no issues.

    I don't want the drug legalised or normlised, possibly the parking ticket style of policing might be handy here (agree to disagree stage).

    Section 2.3 on growing your own contradicts the notion of making it legal. If it's grown there'll be a market, medical, green dollar, or commercial hydro style.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • paulalambert,

    Shep
    risk and knowledge
    for whom ?

    Cannabis and mental health - to B or not to B (again)
    http://ukcia.org/wordpress/?paged=3

    Cannabis Smoking Not Linked To Lung Cancer, Case-Control Study Says
    http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6912

    Study: Smoking Pot Doesn't Cause Cancer--It May Prevent It!
    The Greatest Story Never Told
    http://www.counterpunch.org/gardner05032008.html

    chch • Since Dec 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Julian Melville,

    Kiwi Marina Erakovic has made it round 2 (first NZer to do so at a grand Slam for >10 years), and it’s on at 9p.m. NZT. Lets see whether they show it…

    I guess that's "yep". Watching it right now.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Omar Crawford,

    I wrote an article a few years back in the student media discussing the use of cannabis as medicine. One of the things I read at the time has always stuck with me.

    Legal philosopher Douglas Husak proposes that the fundamental question that should be asked regarding the legal status of drugs is not 'should drugs be legalised?', but, 'should drugs be criminalised?'. It is the second question that must be convincingly answered in the affirmative by those who support throwing people in jail, or for that matter any criminal sanction. For a free society to be worth its name, punishment by the state should only occur for very good reasons.

    Drug abuse is a health issue and is unlikely to be solved by jail time. Drug use by teens needs to be addressed by families and communities in a way that encourages openness and honesty. Somehow I don't think random drug testing and overblown propaganda are the way to go about it.

    Melbourne • Since May 2008 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    You post makes it sound as though Sky has actually performed a public service. I may be wrong, but I reckon the residents in the households who cannot receive Sky would beg to differ; about half the population.

    Furthermore, Sky recently reported 40 per cent increase in half year net profit...I wonder if they will use this money to launch more re-run channels. They might get in some quality progamming from Canada for you.

    Cheap shot re the Canada thing, Simon. I'm a New Zealander, lived there for 25 years, and am back in September. Does the fact that I'm currently spending a year overseas render me incapable of commenting on NZ issues?

    Also since when is it impossible for 50% of the population to receive Sky? The satellite coverage is pretty much 100%. If you mean only 50% in fact have it then yes, that's true. But that is not always a matter of "can't". I could afford Sky but decided my life wouldn't end if I couldn't see live sport, so didn't waste the money. And yes I do see it as a waste of money. Sky's programming is average and overpriced for what it is.

    But this isn't about whether Sky is performing a public service. Anti-siphoning and must carry requirements are one thing (there may be some merit to these, I don't know enough about them), structural separation is another. This isn't a Telecom-style situation where the government sold a complete network to a private company who then mercilessly exploited that for the next 20 years. Sky built its network from the ground up with no government assistance whatsoever. What sort of incentive is that for infrastructure investment if you sink hundreds of millions only to have it yanked away from you?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Paula there is a question of credibility with your source.

    I trust this one.

    http://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/2000/27-11-00_press_release.html

    "University of Otago Respiratory Research Group to strongly endorse warnings by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand against tobacco and marijuana smoking."


    http://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/2002/22-11-02_press_release.html

    "Results showed that use of cannabis increases the risk of schizophrenia by 30%."

    " daily use in young women was associated with a more than five-fold increase in the odds of later depression and anxiety"

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Shep -

    It's worth noting that first study didn't actually look at cancer rates at all, merely other respiratory symptoms (which are known precursors to cancer in tobacco smokers). But yes, inhaling burning organic matter into your lungs is not generally regarded as health-promoting.

    - But then, neither is prison.

    As for the second study, the Otago results actually showed a 300-400% increase in schizophrenia-like symptoms (3% of control group vs. 10% of experimental group) ... both figures remarkably high.

    The 30% increase was from another study to be published in the same issue of the BMJ, out of Wales. Note the huge variation between the two studies.

    A third, Australian, study reported the "five-fold increase in the odds of later depression and anxiety."

    - But then there is a significant question of cause and effect. It seems likely to my mind that those who are already predisposed to some of these conditions are more likely to use cannabis in the first instance (e.g., for self-medicating purposes). Alcohol is another drug to which many with these conditions turn.

    i.e., it's getting close to saying "Anxiety rates high in group of people who use drugs which relieve anxiety."

    My two cents: Children and teenagers should be very strongly discouraged from using drugs. Adults are responsible for what drugs they choose to take. All drugs can have negative health consequences, and that includes the prescribed and legal social ones. Prison is far worse for your health than any drug. Its personal and social costs are truly terrible.

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

  • Paul Campbell,

    Shep: all that study really says is SMOKING is bad - what does it say about brownies? (I'd guess 'fattening' rather than cancer)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2606 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    [Sorry, this is a very unsubtle plug for an article on cannabis science and the media...]

    Reefer Madness was a 1936 propaganda film describing what happened when pushers lured high school students into trying "marihuana". The tragic consequences included a hit and run accident, suicide, rape, weird orgies and a general descent into degradation, debauchery and despair.

    The film was originally financed by a church group and had a clear message: Cannabis, the "smoke of hell" and "the devil's harvest", will inevitably lead to drug-crazed abandon, insanity and death.

    Cannabis use has become much more widespread in the last 72 years. More than 50 percent of us have tried it at some stage, and those of us who haven't probably know plenty who have. Few today, even amongst pot's most vehement detractors, would argue for the full accuracy of the film's conclusions.

    However, a more subtle form of reefer madness persists in the way the effects of cannabis use can be presented by the media. Alarming sounding statistics are often relayed with little attention given to context or negative research findings, and stories are run under shocking or sensationalist headlines.

    An example of this is what happened with the Lancet meta-study on cannabis and psychosis published last July. The main report headline, that smoking cannabis increases the risk of schizophrenia by 40 percent, was very widely reproduced in covering media stories. However, the Lancet paper actually stated that the risk pertains to a small proportion of heavy users, and noted that it was related to quantity - the more you use, the greater the risk. It also suggested that 800 cases of schizophrenia would not have occurred if none of the UK's 6.2 million cannabis users had ever tried it.

    Read on... When truth and balance go to pot

    And also, on drug testing in schools - it's a pity Northland's Business of the Year (2007) director didn't read this research from closer-to-home.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Paul - that's the point.

    So much of the pro-marijuana lobby use the word 'safe' or other mitigating language.

    dc red - absolutely - Prison is a mad hell of a concept & for the vast majority of prisoners <3yrs sentences just shouldn't be an option, similarly it may be acting as a repository for the mentally ill.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    I don't want the drug legalised or normlised, possibly the parking ticket style of policing might be handy here (agree to disagree stage).

    But it already is normalised. Do you know anyone who can't get hold of marijuana if/when they want ? Why should we waste police time on responsible adults using a recreational substance, assuming use is reasonable and the adults are not in high-risk categories ? And if someone does have a problem, can you explain how a parking ticket is going to help ?

    Section 2.3 on growing your own contradicts the notion of making it legal. If it's grown there'll be a market, medical, green dollar, or commercial hydro style.

    Seriously, would you trust tobacco or alcohol companies to responsibly market marijuana ? Under the "grow your own" proposals, any black market would be a) smaller than we have now and b) highly distributed and viral in nature which therefore reduces the need to those seeking marijuana to come into contact with dealers.

    I am convinced that part of the P problem is that marijuana users are introduced to it via tinny houses and other dealers (who are into it for the money, not as a community service).

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Eddie, give me a break. The basic Sky package including sports is $65 a month, or $15 a week. Those who call this a 'sports tax' are right on, in my opinion. I guess people could have given themselves a $15 a week tax cut by dropping Sky and not have to wait for Cullen's cuts in October! But then again, they would not have access to live top grade sport - other than netball and some motor racing. Sky is a monopoly provider in this regard, and should be broken up or at least made to play fair.

    Stanley: Give me a break. Free to air sports coverage is not a fundamental human right, and I'm going to call diddums on TVNZ when (gasp!) they got fucking out-bid for broadcast rights. Do you really think TVNZ buyers just sit back and take Three's sloppy seconds!

    And to horrify "nice soft lefty" Eddie Clark some more, I totally agree with him. I don't think charter funding was ever intended as a slush fund for commercial formats like Dancing With The Stars, or extending the run of Sensing Murder counting as an appropriate use of funding intended to facilitate productions that "would not otherwise be commercially viable".

    BTW, if you want to talk about "a level playing field", how about TVNZ using chater funding to cross-subsidise its Olympic coverage? Broadcasting Minister Trevor Mallard is not amused

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Kyle, sport is not just entertainment. In this country, it is a cultural icon; a big part of our national psyche.

    So are black singlets and gumboots. I don't expect to get them for free however.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And can I just say, as a general sidebar, I do love the way TVNZ is a 'public broadcaster' when the begging bowl is out. When comes to fronting up to public scrutiny of how it spends millions of dollars in public funding in the media or in front of a select committee... not so much.

    (And for the record, I'm all for selling TVNZ off which places me well outside the political mainstream, and I don't have fits of the vapours at the notion that TVNZ actually turns a profit now and then. My point is this: You don't take public money, then try to dodge the public scrutiny and accountability that comes with it. As my Granny used to say, you can have a bob each way at the track, but not in life.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Parking tickets are about curbing peoples behaviour, directing them to other modes of transport and to raise revenue for the council to support public transport.

    I like this idea to deal with drugs, and it should have wider applications too where instant fines for various behaviours are handed out - you can argue the toss later if you want or pay up and take the hit, get over it and move on.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Paul Wood,

    Boo hoo. Having a nurse in once a day to shoot you full of surgical grade heroin is probably "safe" too. My main objection to drug use is that it tends to be the province of narcissistic tossers with little concern for their families and dependants. I prefer my brain chemistry and perceptions of reality baseline thanks.

    Christchurch • Since Jan 2007 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    My main objection to drug use is that it tends to be the province of narcissistic tossers with little concern for their families and dependants.

    O RLY?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Paul Wood,

    Danielle, if you really want to debate this one, bring it on.

    Christchurch • Since Jan 2007 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    Andrew, is "drug use" limited to illegal drugs ? Or does having a glass of chardonnay reveal a tendency to be tosser with little concern for one's family or dependants ?

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

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