Saturday, November 29, 2008

'Thief' billboard attracts complaint

NZ Herald:
The Advertising Standards Authority has received a complaint about a billboard which allegedly shows a thief stealing electrical transformers from an Auckland advertising company.

The article goes on to explain that the photo was taken by a witness to the theft who watched him dismantle and steal 15 transformers worth $5,000 and continues

But a disgruntled member of the public has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, apparently over the fact that the billboard breaches the suspect's privacy by calling him a thief before it has been proven in court.

Madness! The person was seen removing the transformers, he was either legally entitled to remove them, or he wasn't. If he was legally entitled, he can sue for libel, if he wasn't then he is a thief, convicted or unconvicted, and the owners of the transformers have every right to display his picture in an attempt to recover their property.

To me, it seems another example of the growing attitude in our society to turn our faces away from nastiness until it escalates to the point where we can no longer ignore it because our noses are rubbed in it by the likes of William Bell or Nia Glassie's killers. Our society was so dedicated to pretending that nothing was going on that we left things to grow worse until it was too late

I'd like to see the name of the person who lodged the complaint about this ad revealed. They're either somehow connected to the thief, or are see-no-evil busybodies, in either case I'd like to see them publicly humiliated too.

Until we as a society can face up to the abuse and ratcheting levels of crime it will continue to get worse.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rodney Hide, MP for Epsom

As well as being leader of ACT New Zealand, Rodney Hide is my local MP, a position he's held for just over three years.

In the lead up for the 2005 general election, the ACT party seemed finished, founding leader Richard Prebble had resigned and the party was polling well under the 5% threshold to remain in parliament, things looked hopeless for ACT unless they could somehow win an electorate seat. In an interview with the student newspaper Salient, Rodney described winning Epsom as his most memorable moment in parliament
"Without doubt, off the top of my head, it is winning Epsom in 2005. because we had such a trauma for 18 months with everyone, everyday writing us off, and then to sneak through – and it was an enormous amount of work from myself and a number of supporters."

Until a few days out from the election nobody really expected him to do it, National had abandoned the centre and was trying to collapse ACT's vote. The leafy tree lined avenues of Epsom housed one of Auckland's most blue ribbon electorates that had voted National since some time in the Precambrian, yet Rodney and his team were out there every day knocking on doors waving placards and doing everything else you could imagine to promote themselves.

On election night, Rodney had the numbers to take Epsom and the party had just enough votes to bring in Heather Roy as a list MP.

For the last three years Rodney has worked hard as our local MP, turning up at all types of community events and even becoming a "television personality" with appearances on talk shows and his spectacular run on Dancing with the stars. Spectacular mainly because he managed to survive on the popular vote for several weeks despite the judges wanting to write him off ... sounds a lot like his political life.

In the 2008 general election Rodney increased his personal vote winning Epsom by a large majority and ACT increased its party vote and now has 5 MPs in parliament. As I am writing this the new National ministry is close to being announced, possibly only hours away, and it seems highly likely that Rodney will be a minister outside cabinet.
(Update 6PM) It's been announced that Rodney and Heather Roy will both be ministers.
His job now, is to stand for the values that ACT was elected on and to effectively represent those views in parliament, but he also needs to remember that he is there, not because ACT passed the 5% threshold, but because the people of Epsom put him there. We look forward to seeing him doing as good a job for us this parliamentary term as he did in the previous one.

Originally published on Qondio

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nia Glassie case - another mindless knee-jerk reaction

Today's Herald reported
Abuse sentences to be reviewed "Justice Minister elect Simon Power says the new National government will consider toughening up sentences on child abusers in its first 100 days.

His comments follow guilty verdicts in the case of Nia Glassie, the Rotorua toddler whose three years of life ended in months of torment and her brutal slaying."

The facts of the case are that the existing laws were not applied. Neighbours stood by pretending they didn't see the abuse. I don't know if Nia Glassie was seen by medical services before her fatal injury, but if she was they also stood silent. In most of the recent cases of child abuse leading to horrific injuries or death to young children, those who had the power to step in to save the child chose to stand back.

There seems to be an on-going tendency for politicians to call for, or promise stiffer sentences, when there is no evidence that there is any real need for them. To the contrary, it seems that the existing law is sufficient, just not applied. Presumably they do this because it gives them the opportunity to be doing something, even if that something is completely futile.

We need a change to society's attitude, we need people to come forward and bring these cases to the attention of the authorities and we need the authorities to act. Until that happens, it doesn't matter how severe the penalties are, if the law that is set up to protect children isn't being applied, it doesn't matter how severe the penalty, that law is a waste of space on the statute books and a shame on the people of Aotearoa / New Zealand.

Of course, we need our elected representatives to earn their salaries and address the actual problems, not just make empty noises that will not make an iota of difference when it comes to protecting the next Nia Glassie.


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