Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The natives are revolting and they’re ugly!

Election year is definitely the time that brings out the worst in people. The naked lust for power, the grubby broom cupboard alliances, the sickening photo opps, the name calling....

Yep this is the sort of behaviour we have come to expect from those who ‘lead’ us. Small wonder the place is going to the dogs. (Sorry doggies, no offence, I just haven’t found a better expression for such a state).

Over the last 12 months the parties have all had the old wrecking ball out desperately trying to clear away the debris from their previous shambolic caucuses. Already there have been a few squeals from those getting trashed in the worst possible way.

Labouring’s Crass Carter even had the temerity to lob a couple of grenades back at his leader Phil Pants, but because he throws like a girl they kind of bounced back and blew him to pieces, but not in the way he would have liked.

Of course Pants also had his pulled down over the Darien Hoose saga. I think ol’ Phil was a bit unfairly slagged on that one. He did do the right thing; it just took him a while to make up his mind.

Of course the more alert ones among you will have noticed that both these Labouring examples were gay. Do we detect a little anti-gay bias in the Labouring Party then?

Hell no, Damien O’Gonner was just messing with them when he said that!

Of course the National Disgrace Party has had its moments as well. Patsy Went Wong got herself in the hot noodles when her hubby used OUR MONEY to go and further HIS business in China. But notice how leader JiangQi  made excuses for her short term memory loss, then gave her time to make up an excuse, er get her story together, then tried to hide her and send her on holiday before finally having to ‘accept her resignation’.

Then of course we have the case of John Hatfield, the most balanced politician in Aotearoa. Two fucking big chips; one on each shoulder and a superiority complex that defies all logic. This man is often spoken of as being very intelligent but I guess it all depends on what you call intelligence. It might be just me, but I think offending everyone including the party that put you into parliament is not one of those qualities that define a smart person. The guy is obsessed with being the centre of attention, and like a hyperactive child he doesn’t know when to stop. Even the bad attention seems to be better than none for him.

Still well done HH, I doubt that you’ve only sunk yourself; I suspect your antics have also put a whacking great hole in your ex party’s waka as well.  

Then Acting Party leader Rodney Lied caught a whiff of mutiny in the air and tried to dispatch Heather Royboy. But our Heather is a soldier and she was more than a match for Rodders. Royboy must have one or two influential friends in the party hierarchy because although he somehow managed to lever her out of the deputy seat, he couldn’t get rid of her altogether and she remains steaming in the corner and no doubt plotting her revenge.

I suspect that one of those chooks might be coming home to roost at this very moment, because it would seem that Rodders now faces a challenge from Dong Brash. Now it might seem silly and I can understand you thinking he has nothing to fear from probably the world’s most boring man, but it rather looks like the old dullard also has some big Acting mates.

It really is bizarre and you would have to wonder if the Acting Party strategist is actually working for the other side to even think of bringing back old Dong. Mind you they do attract quite a lot of bizarre characters into their parliamentary ranks.

The party has only been around a little over a decade and it has already had three ‘colourful’ leaders. I’ve always felt Rogered Douglas was a weird old bugger and Prebs was known as Mad Dog Prebble with pretty good reason and now they’ve got Rodney Lied who is actually madder than the previous two put together. Dong would probably be perfectly well suited among this sort of company. However despite the fact the old duffer is unquestionably as mad as the other three, there is still one thing they all had/have that he does not - a personality.

Now it might sound shallow but the reality is that you do need some sort of personality to win an election and this is even more important in the case of a party leader. You don’t have to be nice, though. If that were the case, then horrible little vermin like Mulledloon would never have had a show. To lead a party in an election and get its fair share of votes, means you either have to be fawningly, falsely charming or foaming at the mouth despotic. But you have to have some sort of profile. Dong who?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Useless as tits on a GE bull

I often wonder what the bloody hell we have the Environmental Risk Management Authority for. I mean I know what we are told it is for, but that would appear to be something entirely different from what it is in practice.
I’d like to know also who actually pulls ERMA’s chain. It appears not to be the general public, for if it were so, there might be signs of ERMA taking notice of public submissions.
It seems to me that for the (roughly) $11M this lot cost us each year we don’t seem to be getting much consideration let alone protection.
I’ll give you a few for instances.
Instance # 1: In 2006 it approved Hydrogen Cyanamide (a.k.a. HiCane, Breaker, Gro-Chem HC50,  Hortcare Hi-break, Cyan or TreeStarT) for continued use on kiwifruit orchards despite the fact it is a known pesticide that can and does kill bees, which as most of you will know are essential for pollinating the kiwifruit.
Now this is no ordinary chemical although so-called ‘conventional’ kiwifruit farmers would have you think it is. Even the ERMA committee acknowledged the well-known HiCane flush that occurs when workers who have been handling the substance consume alcohol 24 hours BEFORE handling it or up to SEVEN days afterwards. It can be very nasty and in fact has in the past been used as an aversion therapy for alcoholics. The effects include a skin flush (usually the face), rapid heartbeat, nausea and sometimes symptoms akin to the hangover from hell.
So not only does ERMA not give a stuff about the bees or people who live near to orchards; it also doesn’t give a stuff about the workers on the orchards. This pretty much puts ERMA in the same camp as the orchard owners because many of them don’t give a stuff about any of the aforementioned either.
Instance # 2: In 2007 ERMA approved Sodium Fluoroacetate (1080) for continued use on our conservation lands and private property. They decided this, despite the fact that during the submission process several shocking examples of stock animals and pets killed by the poison being brought to its attention.
Of course the hoary old chestnuts such as 1080 is the only effective way to get rid of possums, which will have many with a knowledge of biodynamics laughing heartily, and the lie that it only affects the targeted species. They would have a lot of trouble convincing the owners of the horses and dogs killed over the years following 1080 drops of that one. And just to make sure that there is a flavour to suit everyone’s taste rather than simply exclusively target possums as they claim to be doing, they now have a range of 1080 pastes that variously mimic the tastes of peanut butter, apple, cereal and fish. Quite the unholy banquet for an entire range of birds and mammals!
ERMA also ignored the large numbers of submissions against the continued use of this poison, many of which came from professional and recreational bodies who derived a living or enjoyment form the land.
But what is really out of whack with this one is that we in New Zealand are the largest consumers of this vile shit that also affects our waterways. Most other countries have got more sense than to unleash this crap into their landscape, apart from us, Australia, Mexico, Israel and the good old USA. So who is ERMA serving with this decision eh? It can’t be bad for the shareholders in those companies that have a vested interest in 1080 sales to New Zealand can it?
Instance # 3:   December 14, 2010 and ERMA gives the go-ahead to Scion to plant up to 4000 Pinus Radiata with genetic modifications to alter plant growth/biomass acquisition, reproductive development, herbicide tolerance, utilisable biomass, wood density and dimensional stability. The trees will be planted at their campus in Rotorua in what Scion describes as conditions of containment.

But while it is probably true the trees won’t be going anywhere after they’re planted, they will have a pretty tough job ensuring no material FROM the trees goes anywhere else. I mean are they going to have security guards at the gate patting down every invertebrate that enters and leaves? Perhaps they are also proposing a no fly zone around the growing area as well. Maybe NATO could send spare a few of the planes they don’t appear to be using in Libya? Or we might be able to use our old air force crates which I believe are enjoying retirement in a bunker somewhere at the mo’?

But the one that really gets up my nose is Instance # 4. Now this bugger ain’t over yet, but that hasn’t stopped it costing us a lot of grief and I suspect a huge wedge of taxpayer dollars.

This instance is the ‘Open all options’ application by AgResearch, or if you like, ERMA decision 200223. This piece of stupidity was okayed in April 2010, but GE Free New Zealand took the matter to the Court of Appeal as AgResearch had not been specific enough in their application to ERMA.
Rather than tell ERMA exactly what they wanted to do and with what, AgResearch instead files what can only be described as a cynical application in which they listed about nine different species which they said they might or might not want to bring in and fiddle about in, er with their genes.

In other words they wanted to open the door and jam a brick against it so they could do whatever they want whenever they want without further recourse to that messy consultation thingy.

Sadly, at this stage the bastards are winning. Following the ERMA decision GE Free New Zealand applied to the High Court for a ruling that ERMA had erred in law. Justice Clifford of the High Court agreed they had, but when AgResearch appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal the judges there overturned the decision of Justice Clifford.

GE Free NZ then applied for leave to appeal that decision before the Supreme Court. Sadly for our democracy and a hundred other reasons, the old dodders at the Supreme Court rejected the application and concluded that it wasn’t really right for the High Court to decide that ERMA should actually base their decisions upon any specific information.

So I ask the question again – what the hell bloody use is an agency that is supposed to protect our environment if they give approval to applicants who rather than tell us what they are applying for, simply tap their nose and say ‘Trust us, we know what we’re doing”?   

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Freedom tastes of reality, but this just makes me sick

Freedom is a word that is bandied about a lot in this country and we are constantly told how free we are in New Zealand. And for the most part that is correct, although we need a little context here.
Obviously we have more freedom than, for instance the poor sods unlucky enough to have been born in Kazakhstan. As if it wasn’t enough having Sacha Baron Cohen making a mockery of them, they are not allowed to do any mocking themselves; at least not if it involves mocking their glorious President, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Not only has this man held elections recently in which he claims to have captured (good word under the circumstances) 95 percent of the vote, but he has also had critics dispatched very swiftly. One opposition leader recently allegedly shot himself in the back of the head....twice! Presumably his first shot didn’t do the job properly and he still had the presence of mind (even if his brains had just been blown out) to try again.
And just in case any other upstarts decide to make any less than flattering remarks about President ‘Nursie’, he has passed a ‘Father of the Nation’ law which makes it a criminal offence to publicly question the honour and dignity of the president. Although how this mad despot can possess any dignity or honour to impugn in the first place beats me.
So to return to my point; we don’t have to contend with that sort of crap. But that is still no reason for us to drop our guard because many of our freedoms are being eroded on an ongoing basis.
Take for example the suggestion from our own glorious pres, er Prime Minister JiangQi who wants to send the cops, navy and air force in to deal with the Greenpeace protesters who quite reasonably don’t want Brazilians carrying out seismic surveys with a view to sucking oil out of our coastline.
Hey Johnny, last time I looked it wasn’t against the law to protest, and anyway why is it always left up to members of the public to do this stuff because our no ‘nads pollies are too fixated on feathering their own already considerable financial nests?   
Another freedom that’s being eroded in New Zealand is our freedom of speech. Just last weekend singer Tiki Taane was arrested and chucked in the cells in Tauranga for singing an (admittedly stupid) song by NWA called Fuck The Cops during his set in the Illuminati Club, ironically. He was singing it when the cops came in to check the place out, and they obviously took it pretty personally. Not Tiki’s smartest move, but nonetheless it wasn’t hurting anybody and the actions of the cops will just encourage more youngsters to become alienated from the boys and girls in blue. The dimwits who carried out the arrest are bound to lose the case and will have negatively impacted upon police and youth relations.
But what the Tauranga plods did was just small potatoes to what Justice Hammond has just done to publisher Vincent Siemer. Siemer is the man who has been accused of and jailed for allegedly defaming Vector director and Korda Mentha boss Michael Stiassny. Now from my observations, Mr Siemer might be a little reckless, although if I was in his position and had lost a bundle through what he claims are the actions of Stiassny, I might be a bit touchy too.

However what really bothers me about this case is the fact that Hammond was allowed to sit in judgement upon it. It is clear that he had serious conflicts of interest as he knows Stiassny well and even Stiassny is alleged to have boasted about what a good friend of his Hammond is.  When challenged by Siemer about his suitability to sit in judgement in a case where Staissny was the plaintiff, Hammond claimed he had no previous involvement with him. But when it was able to be proven that he actually had been working with him for ­­seven months in an earlier case the Supreme Court via justices Blanchard, Tipping and McGrath issued a minute saying the judge had not accurately recollected the Paragon litigation in which he had been involved as a High Court Judge when he said that it was before Mr Stiassny became involved.” They concluded it was fanciful to suggest the judge should be embarrassed by this or that he should not be allowed to sit on the case.

Now call me a cynic, (and no doubt many will), but that just sounds to me like weasel words issued from three members of the brotherhood to protect the arse of another member of the brotherhood.

But the rot doesn’t stop there. Hammond also refused to allow Siemer to conduct his own defence and he was refused leave to appeal the court’s decision finding him guilty of libel and fining him $920,000; a decision the court reached in a ‘closed’ hearing.
Siemer laid a complaint with the Judicial Conduct Commission over his allegation Hammond had a conflict of interest, but that has apparently gone nowhere for the last two years.
Justice? I don’t think so. And you’d have to say our freedoms are looking decidedly less than we’d like to think they are.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Foolscap, (fṓṓlskap) n 1. a hat worn by a judge

Back in the old days (when I were a lad), every village had one; and seldom too many more than one. But now we have lots of them and furthermore instead of them being the harmless object of a little teasing and amusement for the wider population they get paid a six figure salary to make important decisions concerning our safety.
What AM I talking about?
Those of you familiar with riddles might have already guessed I am referring to that legendary figure the Village Idiot.
Due to some gross error of population control we appear to have allowed these people to breed and hence the proliferation of cretins we see today. That in itself is worrying enough, but sadly it hasn’t ended there. Instead our administrative masters (for that’s what they believe themselves to be) have gone out into the wider community and tracked down as many of these fools as they can possibly find and made them into District Court Judges.
After that, I’d probably better not end up before one of them. However even if I do, I doubt I would have much to fear, because for them to know what I have said about them would mean they could actually read and have had some sort of contact with the outside world since they were liberated from their playpens.
So what has got this particular grumpy old man so worked up about District Court Judges this time?
Well, the case of Paulus Niewenhuiysen is as good a place as any to begin. This is the lowlife who has been charged with drugging and raping a woman while out on electronic bail after being charged with supplying ecstasy, methamphetamine and cocaine.
He was apparently given bail after being charged in 2009 and had to stay at the Waiwera Holiday Park, which seems a rather bizarre place of detention. Anyway it is alleged he drugged and raped a woman whom he had lured there in February 2010 and he was taken back into custody at that time. But by May the judge decided he obviously didn’t pose any risk to the community and he was once more released on electronic bail to some address in Auckland city.
Now all of that was bad enough and sadly I don’t have the name of the former village idiot who decided that one, but now we hear that another judge, Ailsa Duffy has allowed his bail conditions to be further relaxed so the poor lamb can get some exercise! He will be free to roam about, and I say free because clearly the electronic bail was insufficient to keep him under control last time, until September when he will finally face the charges.
Judge Duffy has dug herself into an even bigger hole of incomprehensibility by citing the mental health of the accused as the reason for her decision and suppressing the legal arguments including those of the Crown prosecutor who naturally opposed the idea.
With logic like that you have to wonder whose mental health we care about as a society. Is it that of the accused or the alleged victim?
I find it even more baffling that this decision should have come from a female member of the judiciary whom I would have expected to have more compassion for the victims of crime. Or was it that the victim’s line of work counted against her? (She was a prostitute).
It doesn’t sound like justice to me and I would be surprised if terribly many other New Zealanders would think so either.
What’s even more worrying is that Judge Duffy is only one of many District Court Judges in New Zealand who appear to have no contact at all with the outside world. You only have to spend a day in your local court watching proceedings to see what I mean. Drunk drivers with up to a dozen DIC convictions are regularly given non-custodial sentences allowing them to remain with arm’s reach of their constant temptations despite a sentencing directive many years ago to judges that such people should go to jail on their third such conviction.
We need a new method for appointing judges and they need to have some kind of accountability. As it stands they are virtually untouchable. When was the last time a judge was actually fired? There have been a few quite serious dishonesty offences committed by judges over the years, yet I cannot recall a single one who has actually been fired. The only one who came close was Robert Hesketh who actually resigned over allegations he claimed expenses to which he was not entitled. But poor Hesketh was a victim in a way because he was being tutored by Judge Martin Beattie who was charged with the same things, but for some extraordinary reason his plea that he didn’t realise he wasn’t entitled did not fall upon deaf ears as Hesketh’s had and he was acquitted. The Justice Minister at that time was Doug Graham and he asked Beattie to resign, but he refused. In one of those amazing coincidences that sometimes happen in life (but which have no possible bearing on the case); Doug was at law school with Beattie.
Despite that case and several others since it would appear we still do not have the power to remove judges. Sometimes I think they could get away with murder if they wanted.
It’s time our legislators grew some ‘nads and changed the law so we do have the power to remove judges who commit offences AND judges who don’t enforce the law in the way it was intended.