Posts by Craig Young

  • Speaker: The crisis is all around us,…,

    Am I the only one who wishes Nicky would write another piece of incisive investigative journalism? For example, I'd be fascinated to read his perspective on the Middlemore hospital situation. And yes, Nicky, that is a hint!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 474 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fentanyl: it's here,

    Helen Clark supports festival drug assays and supervised injecting rooms: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12017963

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 474 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fentanyl: it's here,

    At least MDMA proper may have psychotherapeutic benefits for trauma relief if certain clinical trials pan out overseas, but we do need to rationalise our MOD Act when it comes to harm reduction, harm magnitude and severity and risk minimisation. If the problem is adulterated MDMA, and the aforementioned clinical trials show the efficacy of intervention, a medical MDMA legislative reform campaign may be our next avenue.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 474 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: A submission on the…,

    I'm afraid I disagree with Graham on this one. Let us not forget that the National Party relied for its continued governmental survival in the nineties and most of the tweens on a retinue of political remora fish. Many people are annoyed at the continued existence of mandateless microparties that break away from more established political parties that can win constituency seats in Parliament and turn out not to be viable at the next election- Mana Wahine, Tuariki Delamere's political vehicle, Mauri Pacific and the Kiwi Party are all examples of such. I concede ACT, United Future and the Maori Party at least did win constituency seats, but let's face it, it is the National Party that benefits from the absence of accountability to the electorate that the absence of waka-jumping legislation promotes amongst some more unscrupulous List MPs.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 474 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A medical cannabis korero by…,

    It's a shame we don't have an entrenched Bill of Rights so a court case could be fought on that basis.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 474 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: A Small Official…,

    "Small?" The Official Information Act urgently needs a systematic and thorough overall review, in order to protect democratic accountability and transparency, and preserve the principles of open and accessible government on which it was originally based.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 474 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: If Australia Jumped off a…,

    Not if it involves the rights of vulnerable minorities, however. No way would I ever support a racist Maori seat erasure referendum akin to the one favoured by Hobsons Pledge. Civil liberties and human rights concerns should never be put to referenda if it involves their abridgement or contraction due to circumstantial anxieties or moral panics. The ordeal faced by LGBT Australians over marriage equality has convinced me of that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 474 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: If Australia Jumped off a…, in reply to Lindsey Rea,

    Even so, overseas referendum results on euthanasia reform don't tend to be one way- as I've noted, there tend to be some pro-reform outcomes- enough for some religious social conservatives to get extremely cold feet when it comes to ones that involve that particular social issue. And row incessantly with those of their ilk who blindly back binding referenda for that reason.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 474 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: If Australia Jumped off a…,

    But nevertheless, the points raised, Graeme, are also salient when it comes to binding referenda- their expense, the possibility of manipulation by predatory corporate elements, and more important priorities for government expenditure when it comes to concrete social spending after a period of relative neglect. I am not opposed to legislative reform in the context of medicinal and recreational cannabis, but I would prefer that it is achieved through the process of parliamentary muster, select committee deliberation and then passage. For that matter, I know many people within the disabled community who view euthanasia and assisted suicide as little more than neoliberal eugenics and oppose such referenda on the basis of libertarian outcomes in Oregon, Washington state, Zurich and Colorado when it comes to that issue. I think binding referenda are appropriate for questions like electoral reform and other constitutional issues (but I prefer a written constitution to referenda precisely because it makes a more nuanced and deliberative contribution to public policy debates possible).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 474 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: If Australia Jumped off a…,

    Excellent article, Graham. While I was working for Gaynz.Com as their political correspondent, the issue of referenda came up a great deal, given the large number of anti-LGBT referenda held against marriage equality at the state level during the Noughties in the United States. Given that I do not believe that human rights and civil liberties should be subjected to populist grandstanding and infringement by tyrannical majoritarianism, I realised that I opposed binding citizens referenda for exactly that reason. And I was fairly consistent about it, much to the displeasure of some on the New Zealand Left who tried to recuperate it for progressive objectives, for which it was not fit for purpose.

    I have been pleasantly surprised about the second thoughts from elements of the conservative Christian community in New Zealand over this issue, for that matter. While Family First and the Conservative Party appear addicted to it and ignorant or unaware of critical voices, opponents of euthanasia decriminalisation are quite aware that in a number of cases, binding referenda have been used for that purpose, and I gather antidrug conservatives are similarly anxious about the prospect of recreational cannabis decriminalisation through the same route.

    Family First, the Conservative Party and other referenda boosters appear to have nothing more than nihilist contempt for representative, deliberative democratic government. Binding referenda are, as Graeme says, a waste of money and there are other, far graver public policy priorities for urgent expenditure, given the last decade of neoliberal neglect and retrenchment of social spending. They do not address the fine detail of public policy, as Russell states above, and they are prone to exploitation by predatory spinmeister public relations and advertising companies.

    I'm surprised at New Zealand First on this issue, too. Surely, given its core elderly constituency, one would have thought one of their policy priorities would be increased health spending for that voter base? I'd rather spend money on that than potty populist plebiscites.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 474 posts Report Reply

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