South Auckland – the real issues

It’s worth picking a few quotes out of Sue Bradford’s speech on crime in South Auckland to Parliament earlier this week:

The law and order parties in this House were given a tremendous bonus a couple of weeks ago when the sequence of four tragic murders in South Auckland sparked a ferocious law and order reaction around the country, in the media and in this Parliament.

Kneejerk reaction has come from all sides. The Green Party understands the sorrow, anger and despair felt by all those affected by the recent deaths. And there is no denying the sense of personal insecurity and fear that comes from living in an area where violent crime is insidious and apparently unstoppable.

Somewhat unfairly South Auckland has become the metaphor for all the poverty and deprivation that that extreme right wing policies of the 1980s and 1990s created. South Auckland is huge and diverse place undeserving of its negative reputation, but there are times and pockets that remind us how how long the effects of Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson can linger.

I think the most telling figures in this debate have been those presented by Alan Johnson in the Herald last week. He says that in Manurewa there are places for only 36% of local preschoolers compared with a national average of 64%. In Randwick Park, site of the liquor store murder, there are early childhood places for only 20% of preschoolers.

That seems so much more important than the number of liquor stores in the neighbourhood. Which is not to say that liqour stores are not an issue.

To put it simply, children that grow up in financially secure households with access to quality education from preschool onwards are a lot less likely to go out randomly killing people when they reach adulthood.

Seems a simple investment to make really.  It’s not the only solution, but it’s a start that recognises the problem not the symptom.

73 thoughts on “South Auckland – the real issues

  1. The quote “To put it simply, children that grow up in financially secure households with access to quality education from preschool onwards are a lot less likely to go out randomly killing people when they reach adulthood.” is so true, but I personally believe there is a lot more. Here are a couple of extra points:

    * Overt racism is common in classrooms (usually originating from the other kids). I have personally seen five year old kids make racist comments in front of the teacher, and get away without even having anything said about it. It cannot be any fun for a kid always on the receiving end of this behaviour.

    * As well as the aboslute level of poverty, the relative level is also important. If everyone is equally poor, a society can still function better than a society with extremes of wealth and poverty. I’m not advocating making everyone equally poor, but I can see benefits in a more progressive taxation system.

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  2. frog,

    can you expalin what the speech writer (or Sue Bradford) was trying to say here?

    “The law and order parties in this House were given a tremendous bonus a couple of weeks ago when the sequence of four tragic murders in South Auckland……..”

    It would seem that the 4 murders were a bonus? To who?

    Are the Greens not a law and order party? So are the murder a bonus to the Greens?

    Or are the Greens not a law and order party (anarchist?)?

    Or is it to early in the morning and I’m missing something?

    That word bonus does not go well with the murder word.

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  3. Gerrit

    You aren’t wrong…the speech fragments are not anything I would want to hear… or have to admit to having written, but the Green’s are not a “law and order” party or an “anarchist” party if I understand the meanings properly, we fall somewhere between those extremes.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  4. What utter rubbish from Comrade Bradford, she attempts to hide the failure of the left over the last nine years by balming the Labour govt of the 80’s and the Nat’s of the early 90’s.

    Her side of the house have had ample time to do something about this problem and the best she can come up with seems to be that we should throw more money at these murdering scum.

    She fails to admit that after nine years of a soft on crime and soft on criminals govt (which the Greens have been a part of) things have got worse, she fails to see that SHE and and all left wing parities are part of the problem.

    A new approach is needed, the introduction of the three strike rule and the broken windows policy cannot come quick enough.

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  5. >>given a tremendous bonus

    What a truly ridiculous thing to say.

    Your approach has not worked. You’ve failed. You’ve failed because you ignore the root of the problem: the welfare state, bad parenting, an entrenched culture of violence and soft policing.

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  6. BP,

    “Your approach has not worked. You’ve failed. You’ve failed because you ignore the root of the problem: the welfare state, bad parenting, an entrenched culture of violence and soft policing.”

    Precisely who was responsible for the abandonment of an aim for full-employment in New Zealand? Certainly not the “Left” thats for sure.

    “You’ve failed because you ignore the root of the problem: the welfare state, bad parenting, an entrenched culture of violence and soft policing.”

    Theres ALWAYS has and always will be crime.

    So what will the abandonment of the welfare state achieve? Dependant becoming a massive financial drag on poor families, which means far less discretionary income and therefore less money to be spent on anything but the bare essentials. Result: Unpaid rent, unpaid powerbills, and other financial obligations, declining cashflows and business closures, which will result in further further layoffs, in a self-pertuating and cascading cycle.

    Not to mention the social ills that it will cause.

    Poorer nutrition, worse access to healthcare, overcrowding, increased transcience, EVEN MORE people with time on their hands and nothing to do.
    Its only thanks to the welfare state that the country hasn’t suffered another Great Depression. It could well have during the Reaganite engineered recession in the 1980s.

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  7. In Bangkok, they have no welfare state, and violence levels are lower than in London.

    I’m not advocating removing the welfare state. I’m in favour of redefining it. The safety net should be there, but the inter-generational dependence and lifestyle options should not.

    Devil makes work for idle hands….

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  8. Have reread the post again and while the speech makes pertunant points further down, it will from now on be tarred by that opening remark.

    What was the speechwriter thinking?

    From now on Sue Bradford will be know as the Green member who thinks murder is a bonus. Can you imagine next time she stands up in the house. All it needs for the opposition to call out “there goes Sue again, she who thinks murder is a bonus”.

    The Greens needs to get into damage limitation mode as it reflects very badly on the party.

    Because this is going to reflect very badly on the Greens. Can see the EB election brochure already

    “Greens think murder is a bonus”.

    Talk about an own goal.

    Same as John Key got pillorised for his recent misquoted statement about the natives and colonials living in peace, so will this quote haunt the Greens.

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  9. I say again the root of the problem is decades of balance of payments deficits.
    It’s so simple; if I, as an individual, am spending more than I’m earning then I’m going downhill until such time as I turn around my deficit.
    A whole family, village, suburb, iwi, nation, it’s still all the same.
    With less and less money all the other social, educational, health etc issues will go backwards too.
    Immigration does not fix it, it just masks it with fake money.
    Why is Bradford in the greens??? Please Sue come on and tell us something, anything you have done that is a green initiative!
    Maybe she is to the Greens as the Brethren were to the Nats.
    With friends like that…..

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  10. I think that the root of this post is that the media has been playing the sensationalist. This has shaped public opinion making people afraid. Out of their fear the ugliness that of the lock ‘m up through away the key attitude takes hold.

    Fear and sensationalism tools of despair.

    I agree we need to look at the underlying problems. First we must cast aside our preconceptions about what is right and left. We need to be grateful to for those that are wrong. With out them we would not be right.

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  11. “In Bangkok, they have no welfare state, and violence levels are lower than in London.”

    Oh come now, BP, you could surely have used a better example than BANGKOK!
    http://www.thailandqa.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1821

    How about Singapore? Though even now, the leadership has begun to recognise that the provision of social security services by government are becoming increasingly necessary in the globalised economic environment.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/HK23Ae02.html

    “I’m not advocating removing the welfare state. I’m in favour of redefining it. The safety net should be there, but the inter-generational dependence and lifestyle options should not.”

    If we were to take current orthodox economic assumptions at face value, then thats not an option. In 1993, Treasury developed a projection for social security that assumed an unemployment rate of 6%, based on the NAIRU model.

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  12. gerrit, Blue peter

    Come on you two, “a bonus” might be rather poor choice of words, but the basic truth can’t be hidden. Everytime someting hideous like these murders happens, those who cry for “law and order” shamelessly make political hay while the sun shines.

    Once again we hear advocates for “more police” and “send in the army” as once again we hear the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach. When I was in intermediate school, we all knew who the bad little bastards were, and that they would quite likely end up in prison. Was anything done at that time? By any agency? No. NO surprise to read later that many of them wound up in prison. Calling in the army or increasing police numbers is unlikely to stop them being bad little bastards in the first place.

    BTW, “send in the army”? I never had much respect for Mr Laws, but now I mostly have contempt. Utterly shameful that an elected politican and ex-MP should have such a poor knowledge of NZ’s constitutional history..ironically the same history that means plonkers like him can be elected.

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  13. >>these murders happens, those who cry for “law and order?

    Because clearly law and order is failing.

    Round-up the scum, stick them in prison, arm them to the teeth, and let nature take its course.

    Or keep doing what you’re doing. Which doesn’t work.

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  14. Only Sue B could see two murders as a “bonus”

    Any chance you can make her co leader BEFORE the election?

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  15. Gerrit & BB – I love how you have twisted Sue’s words. It is National and NZ First who have made murder into a bonus. They are the ones that are cynically capitalising on the murders. Turn off the spin machines, boys, you are making an ass of yourselves.

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  16. Really?..this from a person who has just posted a thread that reeks of spin all because Key has somebody doing his media training.

    You know what they say about being able to take it when you dish it out Frog.

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  17. By the way Frog, when you and Bradford lie about parties turning murder into a bonus you deserve all that you get in return.

    Sue said it was a “bonus”, not the Nat’s or anybody else.

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  18. Keep digging BB. She said it was a bonus for the law and order parties – meaning primarily the Nats and Winston First. How clear could it be?

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  19. Gerrit – If by law and order you mean bash everyone who doesn’t fit your idea of a “good” person, lock them up and throw away the key, then no, we are not a law and order party. If you mean a party who would build a society that looks after the basic needs of all its members, including protection from the predators among us and segregation and rehabilitation for those who fail to meet the minimum standards of a decent society, then yes, we are a law and order party. Somehow I suspect that you fit the former, conservative viewpoint of what law and order means.

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  20. Frog

    What it shows is that once again Bradford is not prepared to let the truth get in the way of her drive to turn NZ into a socialist/communist country.

    She is the one who seems happy to use the tragic deaths to political advantage, if it had been a Nat doing this you would be accusing them of everything under the sun.

    Bradford sees the deaths as a “bonus”, that is a statement of fact.

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  21. “yes we are a law and order party but hang on, no we are not”.

    That is pure spin, frog.

    While we might disagree on what law and order means, you and the green party cannot be both for and against “law and order”.

    Hence Sue Bradford made reference to the Greens seeing murder as a bonus.

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  22. Sue Bradford Saysssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssszzzzzzzzzzzzzz. :snore:

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  23. # Gerrit Says:
    June 29th, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    > Hence Sue Bradford made reference to the Greens seeing murder as a bonus.

    No she didn’t. she said she saw it as a bonus for her opponents, thus clearly the opposite of a bonus for the Greens.

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  24. I wonder if the so called Law and Order people would be willing to fund the justice system they call for, somehow I suspect not. I however would support such funding.

    Their are not enough prisons in NZ to hold all the criminals so what does the smart government do they invent parole a way to reduce a persons time along with concurrent sentancing which basically means for example if you are going to murder someone you should also go out and rob someone, rape someone, burn someone’s house down etc since you will only have to serve the longest sentance, this is absurd in such a situtation you should be facing life, as you have clearly told society that you do not wish to be a part of it. All of these concepts are designed to allow the country to save money housing people.

    I personally support a complete overhaul of the NZ justice system with a much larger emphasis on the victim, every crime has a victim if it didn’t have a victim it would’nt be a crime.

    I support youth intervention you must catch them early and try to use rehabillation, if you wait till they are 25, 30 it is too late and they are gone.

    I support 3 strikes and you are out policy. By out i mean permanant removal from society since you have clearly demonstated that you do not wish to live in society.

    I support the victim determining the sentance length, the jury should decide if you are inocent or guilty and then the victims can determine how long you should spend in prison. The criminal and the victim may reach an agreement where by the criminal pays a large sum of money/service/goods to the victim as restoration they then receive a reduced sentance. The victim also has complete control to decide the outcome of your parole hearing.

    Note under my system you may be found guilty of smoking cannabis but at sentencing time when the judge calls for the victim to come forth to pass sentancing no one will come forth so you will be allowed to leave.

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  25. Kahikatea,

    If Sue Bradford refered to the opposition as “law andorder” parties then she stands for no “law and order”

    Yes or No.

    It she stands against “law and order” then her comments are completely valid. She refers to “law and order” parties as receiving a bonus, meaning the opposition parties.

    If she stand for “law and order” then the comments refers to the Greens as well. Meaning the Greens receive a bonus every time there is a murder.

    Now you and I or frog may interpret “law and order” to mean different things but the gist of it is that we hould all abide by the “rule of law” or face the consequences.

    Yyou make not like a law but as a society we need to abide by them otherwise we have a worsening South Auckland situation. The place to change them is in parliament through our representatives.

    Surely as a society we should strife to live by the “rule of law” otherwise the lawless we see in South Auckland is but a reflection of the lack of “law and order”.

    With Sue Bradfords history of breaking the “rule of law”, as a (communist?) activist, surely the following question needs to be asked.

    Does she and the Green party believe and support “law and order” or in anarchy?

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  26. Turnip,
    No No No No No, allowing the victim to determine the sentancing would be terrible. the role of the courts in the case of criminal offence is to determine if the individual or group of subject has broken the terms of the social contract and what the approapriate punishment for such a violation is, the opinion of the victim should be irrelivant; it should be based on facts not trivial things such as emotions, its bad enough that we have to endure a common law system instead of the far supperior civil/continental law system.
    Additionally, in the case of victimless crimes such as cannibis consumption, they are crimes because of the perceived threat to society, so once found guilty, any group which claims to represent a part or all of society could determine the sentancing.
    Past their part in the events the victim has no place in the judical process.

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  27. Gerrit,
    although i am no fan of bradford, what you are saying is drivel.
    by “law and order” parties she is refering to those who dance about preaching about the virtues of a tougher judical system as the answer to everything without dealing with the accual matters whcih create the crime in the first place. and i imagine you know that.

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  28. Sapient,

    I know, but surely the speech writer should have made that distinction?

    All it need was one word added to make it clear.

    The “Opposition” law and order parties in this House were given a tremendous bonus…….

    This is not getting traction so the Greens may have got away with it. But then again the EB might use this in their new brochure?

    Problem with the law and order isssues is that we need a both a short term and long term strategy beginning with correcting law and order issues we face.

    Short term we have lawlessness that needs to be dealt with today. Which is were the “opposition” law and order parties are coming from. What do we do to protect people today?

    Long term we start by addressing those issue outlined in the speech.

    Leading onto teaching personal responsibility followed by how to belong and live in a harmonious society.

    Law and Order requires both a short and a long term strategy. So while we wait for the long term strategy to bear fruit, we need to deal with todays problems.

    And if we have to make it tough for todays generation, so be it. But we need to break the cycle so that the long term benefits can be achieved.

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  29. 100% rubbish Sapient the court determines if the accused has violated the rights of an individual or a group of individuals. Please stop it with the social contract bull sh*t.

    Under your system you ignore the human rights violations of the victim. Since the only person who has been harmed by the criminals actions is the victim. The state has not been harmed and the states only involvement is to act as an impartial entity to determine the accused gets a fair hearing.

    As far as the punishment for the crime this should be left to the people who were harmed within set limits. Instead of begging mercy from the judge you need to beg to your victim instead.

    This system you cling to is a fallback to the english system were violation of law was a harm to the crown. For example when you robbed someone you were not causing harm to the individual you were in fact harming the king by breaking the kings law. Of course this is absurd to any modern republican (you are a republican at least I hope so).

    The only reason we have laws and courts, police etc is to up hold and protect our individual rights. Individual responsibilty is the number one thing missing in NZ.

    As far as law and order goes teaching personal and individual responsibilty would go a very long way to help NZ.

    Why does everyone in this board behave like children and always look to the great and all knowing wizard of NZ the New Zealand parliment.

    Have you seen the retards we vote into that place and you really think the central stateist government has all the answers.

    This is how you sum up NZ’r. They all sit around the table moan about how bad something is then one of the retards says hey why doesn’t the NZ government do something about it. Its always the NZ government must do something blah blah blah, it makes me sick, next time you hear a retarded NZ’r say that tell them to grow up and stop being a child and do something.

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  30. Here is what I would like to see:

    Prisoners would work, just like everyone else. Skills would be taught. Those who thrive in these controlled work environments would receive extra perks and opportunity for parole. The revenue goes towards their upkeep and perks. Prisons are self financing, and the public receives subsidised goods/services. There would be some issues with completion/labour, but I’m sure these could be worked out.

    Three strikes and you are out. The aim is remove all serious and violent offenders from society, for the sake of society. Rehabilitation is available, if they choose to take it, else they’ll spend their life inside.

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  31. “I know, but surely the speech writer should have made that distinction?”

    No, they don’t have to. It’s quite commonly understood by people following the debate that law and order is generally used as a code word for “ridiculously tough on crime” politics. Not every speech has to explain everything fully- otherwise they’d be half an hour long!

    Really, you guys have been doing the spin cycle disturbingly often recently. The election’s not for a few months yet, I suggest you take a rest. :)

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  32. “To put it simply, children that grow up in financially secure households with access to quality education from preschool onwards are a lot less likely to go out randomly killing people when they reach adulthood.”

    A quote from Sue Bradford that I actually somewhat agree with. I am shocked! Well, agree with apart from the preschool education part.

    What children really need is not government-funded education programs for their parents to drop the kids off at while they go to work. What they need is their parents. They can learn about man-things from their father and woman-things from their mother. When you start having both parents working and think preschool education is a reasonable substitute for a stay-at-home parent you are likely to end up with the same problems you were trying to solve.

    Children need to grow up in secure households as Ms Bradford said, ideally with both parents (not always possible of course). Policies that support families (greater accountability for runaway fathers, income splitting etc) will reduce crime. Policies that incriminate or weaken families and the responsibility of parents (such as the repeal of s59, girls being able to have abortions without parental consent) will eventually result in more tearaway kids (on average) and higher crime. Childcare is no substitute.

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  33. Ari Says:

    No, they don’t have to. It’s quite commonly understood by people following the debate that law and order is generally used as a code word for “ridiculously tough on crime? politics. Not every speech has to explain everything fully- otherwise they’d be half an hour long!

    ………………….
    Of course good old Geoffrey Palmer [$5000 / hour(?)] decided that prison shouldn’t be for punishment. Being there is the punishment. :roll:

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  34. Turnip,
    A fallback to the english system? i explicitly state that i dont approve of the common law (english) system and instead support the civil law (continental) system.
    In what way is the Social Contract bullshit? the only reason the action of harming the individual is considered wrong is because of the social contract, whats more; the social contract is what creates those ‘rights’ you hold so dear.
    The duty of the courts is to determine if one party has broken the law (part of the the social contract) in their interactions with another party and determine what the appropriate punishment for such an action is.
    You seem to think that human rights are somehow relivant without the social contract which creates them? there is nothing wrong in and of itself with taking any action, it is the social contract, the agreement between individuals, that makes it so and thus acts as the basis for any judical action.
    Any violation of the social contract is a harm to society, and as for begging for mercy, that shouldint be allowed in the first place, you commit a crime, you get a punishment that fits that crime.
    The reason we have courts is to protect those in society with lesser power from those that have greater power and in so doing uphold the social contract and allow society to function.
    Another note, you seem to dislike the english system, yet it is probally the most similar to that you desire in all of western europe :P.
    I am republican in the sense that i would like a country governed by the people and for the people, but for all essential purposes nz is a republic since the queen has sworn not to interfare and our system is one of the best and most representitive in the world. far better than the so called ‘republics’ which are governed not by the people but by big business. (note: i know full well that NZ is accually a constitutional monarchy)
    I appologise for such a fragmented response, i just cant be bothered writing with a decesnt structure when its going to be ignored anyway.
    Ergh, Alliance left overs, they do spoil this party so.

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  35. ergh, my post still isint up.
    Frog, why not just disable the filter? i think we are all big enough to deal with afew foul words (i promiss to keep a civil mouth)

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  36. turnip28 Says:
    June 30th, 2008 at 8:39 am

    > As far as the punishment for the crime this should be left to the people who were harmed within set limits. Instead of begging mercy from the judge you need to beg to your victim instead.

    I’d rather have the state set the punishment. The victim is easy to bully, the state is difficult to bully, so the state is in a better position to make the judgement.

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  37. The law exists to protect violations of an individuals human rights the court exists to offer a place to hear and decide if someone’s human rights have been broken.

    Each individuals human rights are self evident, they are not derived from the state or a social contract. As you can see I require no social contract to derive my human rights. Instead I require a legal system that recognizes my self evident rights along with your rights and everyone elses.

    The criminal act is wrong not because it violates some social contract but because it violates someone’s right. One doesn’t break the law they actually violate a human right.

    Because the victim has been harmed then it is the victim who should be granted more say in the process. When ever a law is broken their are always two parties involved. Most current judicial systems ignore one of the parties and focus entirely on the accused, this is wrong. Instead what happens is that the state steps in and advocates for the victim and it usually does a horrible job. The victim should be able to seek damages from the criminal as well as have a larger say if they choose in their sentencing and parol hearings.

    As far as alliance throw backs I agree the green party is full of them and you would find they would be agreeing with you not me.

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  38. turnip,
    where then, do these self-evident human rights arise from?
    our ideologies differ substantially, my utilitarianism seems to clash strongly with your (i would guess) humanism, as such i do not beleive we would be able to come to a mutually accepted conclusion and as such there is little point in further discussion.
    It is one of the wonders of green arties that they can acomodate such differning opinions under a common goal, it is a pitty though that there are those who care less about that common goal than about their own personal agenda, it is them who weigh down this party.

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  39. Ari,

    No, they don’t have to. It’s quite commonly understood by people following the debate that law and order is generally used as a code word for “ridiculously tough on crime? politics.

    Well call me uncommon, I did not know there were degrees of law and order.

    In my mind you either have law and order or you dont.

    Now how to punish convicted people, yes that could be shades of colour.

    But law and order? No, that is black and white.

    I think you are confusing punishment as a means to keeping order, No?

    Where punishment is really the third element of law and order.

    So we should be discussing punishment not law and order. Order is created by punishing those who break the law.

    Pretty pedantic, but that is how it is and how easily people get confused when saying law and order when they really mean punishment.

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  40. I have to concur with the sentiment contain in statement that “children [who] grow up in financially secure households with access to quality education from preschool onwards are a lot less likely to go out randomly killing people when they reach adulthood”, and the spirit in which it was made.

    This, however, does beg the question: who is–and should be–responsible for children growing up in financially secure households, ensuring they have access to quality education from preschool onwards?

    In the vein of the discussions thus far, one way of (over-)simplifying this discourse might to be say that the response of the Left is “the State”, whereas the response of the Right is “the individual/the family”.

    I submit that the answer is more of a mixture of the two, and perhaps a whole host of other factors too. Yes, the state does have a role to play in ensuring the playing field is as even as possible, especially when it comes to access to quality education. However, with regard to “financially secure households”, families need to take the bulk of responsibility for ensuring this. And ultimately, the families of the accused (in the Navtej Singh case and others) need to take some responsibility for the actions of the accused.

    It was heartwarming to see Tariana Turia condemning the (Maori) community for failing to do enough to protect the Kahui twins. This shows community and political leaders and not averse to criticising their own (ethnic and cultural) communities. However, with the recent spate of killings, community and political leaders were deafeningly silent. It makes me wonder if it is because the victims here happen to be non-Maori?

    As an Asian person, it isn’t inconceivable that I reach such a conclusion. In fact, I cannot help but view the killings as an affront on my people and therefore a very personal attack (no pun intended). To compound matters, too much deference is being paid to the families and communities of the assailants, to the detriment of the families and communities of the victims, whose plight is either deliberately or inadvertently trivialised.

    I come from a country (Singapore) where corporal and capital punishment are both institutionalised and overwhelmingly supported by the general populace, and where, as a corollary of this, incidences of violent crimes and other aggravated offences are kept at a bare minimum. Do tougher penalties, punishments and sentences work? You be the judge of that.

    For the record, I was whacked as a child, both at home and in school, and as a result I am who and what I am today invariably due to the disciplined environment that I was brought up in. I used to be resentful for this; now I am infinitely thankful. I would much rather bear the scars of discipline (which I do not, by the way) than end up being a school dropout, lead a life of welfare dependency and turn to violent crimes and drug-dealing in order to supplement my income (aka the unemployment benefit). And discipline is not a pejorative term by any means. Discipline is what moulds success – in school, at work, in relationships, and in terms of your general disposition in life. We should be embracing discipline, not denouncing it.

    These are the views I have espoused to my peers in the Greens recently, who now think I’m being a reactionary bastard. Perhaps, but I am more inclined to think I am simply being brutally honest. I am not one to hide beneath a cloak of congeniality, masquerading as a mascot for unrestrained magnanimity. I am genuinely and sincerely–not to mention justifiably and rationally–pissed off with the crimes that have transpired. And someone needs to take responsibility for the actions (of the perpetrators) and omissions (of their respective families and communities) that have occurred.

    Returning to my utterances at the outset of my (some would say, by this stage, vitriolic) verbiage, I do think the state has to take some responsibility for the actions and/or omissions of the perpetrators. However, responsibility is ultimately vested in the hands of the perpetrators themselves and their families/communities. The sooner we search within ourselves, siphon away all spin and obfuscations, and arrive at this realisation, the better: for family, for friends, for loved ones, for community, for society, and ultimately – for self.

    – Shawn Tan

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  41. Shawn Tan:
    That is a very well balanced and detailed comment. Violent behaviour starts from a lack of discipline as a child. It brings to mind a particular piece of legislation last year, championed by the Greens, that reduced the ability of parents to discipline their children… What will the eventual result of this be I wonder? I think both you and I know the answer, along with most sensible NZers, which is why we are most likely having a referendum on the issue.

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  42. It does seem that many lack the ability to differentiate between sadistic violence in the home and measured and considered control and discipline.

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  43. Shawn Tan Says
    “I come from a country (Singapore) where corporal and capital punishment are both institutionalised and overwhelmingly supported by the general populace, and where, as a corollary of this, incidences of violent crimes and other aggravated offences are kept at a bare minimum. Do tougher penalties, punishments and sentences work? You be the judge of that.”

    People know how to deal with crime, but for what are taken as human rights and civil liberties. Most people support the death penalty here.

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  44. Contributions to this interesting thread, miss or gloss over a most important fact about human attitudes and behaviour:

    The CRITICAL time for human learning is in the first year (and after that, in the next very few years.)

    To quote Erasmus (an early observer/writer of child development):
    “Give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man.”

    In fact “seven” is getting a bit late in the scheme of things.
    The first year is the most crucial … followed by the next two. From then on everything added is very dependent on the original framework that was laid down.

    Those who rant about “solo mothers” and “bludgers” should reflect upon why a society decides to provide support for unsupported (or inadequately supported) sole parents. They also should reflect upon the fact that every child has a father.

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  45. The first 3 years are definately the most important. Equally important is to have all the methods available to parents at this time including smacking.
    I have found huge differences in the personalities of my 3 kids at this age, and the need for very different approch for diciplining each.
    I have yet to hear of a better way to develop a strong willed child than the occasional smack on the bottom, its quick, effective, and the kids learn quickly that the world dosn’t revolve around them.

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  46. eredwen Says:
    July 1st, 2008 at 7:47 pm
    Those who rant about “solo mothers? and “bludgers? should reflect upon why a society decides to provide support for unsupported (or inadequately supported) sole parents. They also should reflect upon the fact that every child has a father.
    ……………..
    people who contemplate having kids know the system, including the fathers who come around for a shag. :wink:
    I remember young guys who (eg) slept with a girl at 16 got her pregnant and had to keep paying maintenance until 20(?). Now days they don’t have to name the father.
    ========
    Children need quality early childhood education.
    How can I dry my nappies without a dryer?.
    My dog’s need more meat.
    My state house isn’t big enough.
    I need more money for a taxi to go to the supermarket.
    I’m pregnant again.
    No, I don’t no who the father is. :roll:

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  47. I have just been reading Russel Norman’s Maiden Speech to Parliament.

    It is very pertinent to this discussion!

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  48. I’ve just been watching “banged up abroad” and this chap who is trying to motorcycle from the US to the tip of South America gets taken prisoner by Marxist rebels. Very pertinent to some core Green Party people.

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  49. To Mr Dennis:

    Sue may disagree with me on this, but I believe the spirit of her Bill (as I would interpret it) was to criminalise the act(s) of inflicting physical, mental and emotional abuse on children through (over)use of physical force, rather than to criminalise the paradigm of parental discipline per se. Recognition that reliance on the concept of ‘reasonable use of force’ to justify child abuse is morally deplorable is, I believe, an uncontroversial notion. Where the discrepancy lies is whether the effect of the repeal of Section 59 is the a posteriori demonising and/or undermining of parental discipline.

    To put it simply, the repeal of Section 59 may have had unintended and unforeseen consequences – namely, as you pointed out, the constraining of the ability of parents to discipline their children. I would be most interested to ascertain just how much (physical) discipline the parents/guardians/family of the “killers” administered to them in their pre-adult years. I am curious too just how many of them remained in high school beyond the age of 16, and/or left with some formal qualification(s). I am inclined to think ‘not many, if any’. In fact, we all know far too many dudes roll like this, far too many dudes flow like this.

    And therein lies the failure of the school system to adequately deter acts of truancy, to instil a strong work ethic in students, and so on. Teachers, after all, play a seminal role in disciplining students – some of whom deserve a good old spanking rather than a class detention. I was caned in front of my entire form class when I was nine, which was enough to inculcate in me the virtues of respect for authority figures where warranted (I chatted away to my classmates when the teacher was instructing the class). In my culture, shaming is a strong deterrent. After the public humiliation of being caned, never again did I speak when the teacher spoke. Such is how life skills are enunciated, taught, transposed and embodied.

    To jh:

    I suspect most New Zealanders do not necessarily support the death penalty per se; they do, however, support harsher sentencing. The latter is much less controversial and much more palatable. That said, if you ask the average punter whether the most repugnant, reprehensible, repulsive and incorrigible offender should be put to death, and only in extreme circumstances, you are likely to get a sheepish nod of approval. I’m sure a great many on the Left would like to see the likes of George W. Bush be put to death; I for one openly advocate this. It appears the determining factor thus becomes how heinous the crime is. My proposal is that, rather than apply a blanket measure, appropriate penalties (including capital punishment) should always be administered on a case-by-case basis, and should always be based on the principle of proportionality, coupled with considerations of social utility.

    – Shawn Tan

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  50. Shawn Tan:
    I understand you may be trying to keep the party line somewhat, so appreciate your not-complete-agreement with me on the s59 repeal. But restraining the ability of parents to discipline was NOT unforseen, it was clear the law did this and that was the basis of almost all objections to it. In fact, this was confirmed by the Office of the Police Commissioner as far back as August 2005 I believe.

    Please note that the only authority teachers have to discipline is an understanding that they are taking the role of parents and have that right delegated to them by the parents. If parents cannot legally discipline, teachers certainly cannot.

    If you wish to remove the s59 defence from child abusers, the correct approach would have been to modify s59 to clarify that it was only allowing certain forms of physical discipline and not others, NOT repeal it entirely.

    I find your support for the s59 repeal, but also support for physical discipline at home and even at school, self-contradictory. I would certainly encourage you to stand by your convictions in future, especially in the upcoming referendum (by voting for smacking to be legal), rather than sticking to the party line against your best wisdom, as you try to do in this post.

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  51. To Mr Dennis:

    I am quite happy to criticise the Party where I see fit, just as I believe the Party was short-sighted in aligning too closely with Labour last election. Now it makes our attempts to define ourselves as an independent, third party somewhat challenging. The average voter arguably still sees us as Labour’s default support mechanism.

    I have also been a vocal critic of what I perceive as the Party’s overemphasis on environmental policy, and championing trivial matters such as saving the seagulls/albatrosses, bottlenose/hectares dolphins and some species of valley snail – when there’s a single mum languishing somewhere in Otara with four kids to feed, and many others who are more deserving of attention.

    I don’t think the smacking debate, which I’ve regrettably reignited, is a clear-cut, black-and-white matter. I believe it is logically consistent to physically discipline your child on the one hand whilst being constrained from physically abusing her/him on the other. Not all discipline, as you would be well aware, involves–or leads to–physical abuse. Therefore, I am a fervent believer in the regulation (for want of a better word) of physical discipline.

    As for your comments that “the correct approach would have been to modify s59 to clarify that it was only allowing certain forms of physical discipline and not others, NOT repeal it entirely” – I most certainly agree with you here. However, if you re-read my comments, you will see that what I support is actually the spirit in which Sue’s Bill was tabled. I may not have stated this explicitly, but if you read between the lines, you would have discerened that I do not support the repeal of Section 59 in its entirety.

    And yes, there was a time when I agreed with the repeal entirely; not any more. I’ve aged, Mr Dennis, and the more I age, the more conservative I get (thanks for the observation, Father Ted).

    As for my testimony in relation to being smacked by my teachers, I personally believe a law change is necessary to allow teachers to physically discipline their students (but that’s a debate for another time and place). I also acknowledge “the only authority teachers have to discipline is an understanding that they are taking the role of parents and have that right delegated to them by the parents”. This is the mandate with which teachers in Singapore administer corporal punishment, although a parallel influence too is the societal norm (which you will find prevalent in a number of Asian countries) of parents giving their implied consent to teachers to exact physical discipline.

    You will need to enlighten me as to the exact wording of the upcoming referendum. Should it prove to be in the vein of, as you suggested, clarifying which forms of physical discipline can–and should–be sanctioned (and hence legally defensible), then you will most certainly find my signature on the referendum.

    – Shawn Tan

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  52. I have also been a vocal critic of what I perceive as the Party’s overemphasis on environmental policy, and championing trivial matters such as saving the seagulls/albatrosses, bottlenose/hectares dolphins and some species of valley snail – when there’s a single mum languishing somewhere in Otara with four kids to feed, and many others who are more deserving of attention.
    ………………..
    I have a different picture of “single mum languishing somewhere in Otara with four kids to feed,”. Perhaps this is someone whose husband died of cancer, but more often a career solo mum.
    My wife wants to have kids and I don’t (that’s a long story) so I’m a bit envious (we don’t even have a a cat at the moment) but it irks me the way [my perception], we have a demographic that marries Daddy State and eats out of my pocket. I never used to fill in a tax return and I used to think of income solely as net, but now I’m seeing it a bit differently. In addition “welfarism’ seems to breed people who get into crime (like the Kahui family)- that of course is one of the most basic arguments.

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  53. Shawn Tan:
    Thanks for another great reply. I do understand your point on the spirit of the repeal, but unfortunately the courts don’t work on what parliament was thinking when they passed something but rather on the exact wording of the act, which in this case now makes smacking illegal. The upcoming referendum (provided there are enough signatures of course, which is highly probable) is on the question:

    “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

    I particularly like the question as it doesn’t ask whether s59 should be reinstated, modified or anything – it leaves this up to parliament. It just asks about whether smacking should be illegal or not. Clear and simple.

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  54. To Mr Dennis:

    I have to say this is a well-worded question. It is noticeably free of jargon (something I’m guilty of in my spiels; it’s a lawyer thing, so forgive me) – but best of all, it is not a leading question. (This, amongst other things, was the problem I had with the wording of the referendum regarding tougher sentencing from a few years back.) Where and when can I sign it?

    As for the exact wording of the Act, I would have hoped that the Courts had enough discretion to interpret the provisions on a case-by-case basis. Legislation is notoriously deliberately worded in an ambigious fashion to do just that – allow the Courts the latitude to interpret the law how they see fit. We now have, for instance, notions such as the ‘principles of the Treaty’, for better or for worse; it would have been nice to see the Courts do the same with ‘the spirit of the repeal’. But I suppose that is why the police currently have, at first instance, much discretion in vetting each formal complaint regarding childing abuse/smacking before it reached the Courts.

    By the way, the Asian Anti-Crime Group Trust (“the AAGT”), of which I am now a member (and apparently their Legal Advisor), is holding a protest march in Botany Downs this Saturday 5 July at 11.00am. We expect a turnout in the vicinity of 5,000 people (or so says one of the key organisers of the event). Details of the march can be found on this link:

    http://www.aag.org.nz/events/4/page-0/24.html

    Unfortunately, I won’t be able to be there as I have all-day lectures (seven hours, to be precise). But feel free to pass the word on. And we’d love to have you join the throngs. For the record, I actually drafted the AAGT press release regarding this march, but I won’t post it here as that would be grandstanding. (I am, however, happy to e-mail it to you.)

    To jh:

    The correlation between ‘welfarism’ and criminality is indeed of considerable debate, in academia and otherwise. I am inclined to believe that certain individuals possess a propensity for pathological deviance, and thus the two (welfarism and criminality) become interwtined, tendencies that are symptomatic of their predisposition. It was no surprise to learn that the killers of Navtej Singh, for instance, were either unemployed or on some government benefit. Idleness, an insidious by-product of welfare dependency, coupled with a faux victim mentality (that somehow everyone and everything has done them an injustice by rendering them welfare-dependent), allows for the mens rea of criminality to be engendered and exacerbated. And hence the transmogrification from beneficiary to criminal is complete.

    Can the double tragedy of welfare dependency and criminality be attributed to “the poverty and deprivation that that extreme right wing policies of the 1980s and 1990s created”. To a large extent, frog is right on this. But once again, I am uncomfortable with the hesitancy to rate individual responsibility any semblance of a mention.

    Yes, laissez-faire, market-driven policies of neoliberal economic theory have resulted in the creation of unbridgeable gulfs between the classes, compounding the incidences of poverty in society. Nevertheless, history has proven the resilience of the human spirit in times of harshest adversities and contexts of seemingly insurmountable odds.

    Once again, allow me to share with you a wee anecdote:

    My Dad was born in Shanghai in China, and grew up in abject poverty. This was also the period of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, where much of my Dad’s immediate and not-so-immediate family were being persecuted, tortured and killed by Mao’s foot-soldiers. His Dad (and hence my paternal granddad), who was a Professor in English, lost his job as it was a cardinal sin to the communist faith to be an ‘over-achiever’. His life was spared only because of his standing in his community. Nevertheless, his life was still in grave danger. My Dad’s entire family thus had to flee to Malaysia, where his Dad died soon after (at the youthful age of 43). Thus, at the tender age of 13, my Dad was left with the daunting task of caring for his Mum, siblings, as well as half-siblings.

    These factors are all ingredients that make up a recipe for disaster in most cases, and my Dad could easily have flipped and turned to a life of criminality. Instead, he persevered, attended school regularly, got his qualifications, went on and did his Masters, obtained a respectable civil service job (my Dad was Chief Tax Collector of Singapore at the time of our migration to New Zealand in 1996) – and the rest is history. My Dad is currently retired, and has been since the age of 45.

    I relate this story, not to glorify my Dad’s achievements (which I am, by the way, incredibly proud and envious of), but rather to demonstrate that it is possible to rise above your lot in life. My Dad did it, and so can anyone. My Dad could have spent his entire lifetime blaming the state (Mao’s regime), or the Maoist scum who made his (and his family’s) life a living hell, and so on and so forth. But he didn’t. He took individual responsibility for getting himself and his family out of the quagmire they were thrust in by external forces beyond their control. It is all a matter of one’s attitude, one’s mindset and one’s work ethic.

    So whilst I have bleeding-heart sympathies for those afflicted with ‘the lingering effects of Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson’, I have no sympathy for those who wallow in self-pity and shamelessly play the victim card. At some point, you have to take some initiative and individual responsibility, and pick yourself up. You cannot expect the State or indeed anyone to drag you up. Once the State has taught you how to fish, you must feed yourself for the rest of your life. Welfare dependency, and the welfare payment(s) that come with it, is a fish that will only ever feed you for a day.

    – Shawn Tan

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  55. Shawn Tan:
    That was a very good post and i agree with everything you said.

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  56. Shawn Tan: Excellent post and I agree with you. You ave every right to be proud (and envious) of your dad. I suspect he in turn is proud of you.

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  57. Shawn Tan: Another great post. With regards to the referendum most had hoped it would occur at this election but it appears Dear Leader has decreed that this will not be the case, for fear this could damage Labours election result even further if people are thinking of this as they vote. It will in all likelihood be a postal ballot sometime next year.

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  58. “Fairfax has a journalistic responsibility to keep editing jobs in our communities and regions ahead of short term cost cutting. It’s disappointing to see Fairfax joining the trend of laying off yet more local subeditors and replacing them with euphemistically named ‘centres of expertise’ in Wellington and Christchurch”
    http://www3.greens.org.nz/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=3282&qid=68277

    Is this the Naughtymatist Press sub editor?

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  59. I just ticked a positive to Big Bro, when I meant to give a big cross. Please edit that positive tick out! I cannot imagine anything worse than encouraging that far right extremist to rant any more than he already does so.

    Thanks

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  60. Typical Blue Peter,

    One of your ilk making a wrong into two wrongs. Typical!

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  61. I agree with Big Bro.

    Soft leftism hasn’t prevented serious crime. How long do you want to keep repeating a failed approach?

    Serious violent crime is most often caused by repeat offenders. A small group causing most of the problem. Another solution, as used in NY, is to go in hard on petty crime before it escalates. Put these people behind bars early , thus taking them out of society, where they can’t cause problems.

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  62. BB – perhaps the answer to crime rates isn’t left or right at all, but simply reflects the level of inequality in a particular society?

    As for the ‘broken windows’ so called solution in NYC, economists have shown a much greater correlation with the abortion rate a few decades earlier – a very uncomfortable finding, but it calls into question the tough rhetoric of the right.

    So far, the best correlation, (and the only correlation that any politician would want to touch), is the very close correlation with inequality. There are both right and left solutions to inequality, and which one is best depends on the circumstances and history of the nation trying to tackle it.

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  63. Yes, I’ve read Freakonomics.

    I don’t buy into the notion that income inequality causes people to commit violent crime. Rwanda and Pakistan have income equality, and they aren’t pleasant places.

    I agree that grinding poverty probably has more to do with it, so we should be looking at ways we can make New Zealand wealthier, and provide a liveable baseline for all.

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  64. Make more New Zealanders wealthier – mine the pockets of the rich!

    Mine baby, mine!

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  65. That won’t work.

    The money gets hidden or repatriates. Make it easier for the wealthier to live and spend here, and the money stays here. The UK is busy losing vast fortunes to Monaco and the US by using envy tax regimes.

    It bothers me not one bit that Peter Jackson has a fleet of planes. He’s far richer than most, and most would say “good on him, he earned it”.

    Except leftists. Who seem to think anyone with money must have stolen it.

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  66. The fruit already does.

    But it’s just never going to be enough for some leaves…….

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  67. The rich steal the land. The trunk (the workers) grows the society. The leaves(the greens)encourage the growth through that great energy the sun and that free spirit (at present) rain. The fruit (Nats and Acts and Maori Party) grow through the food from the trunk and the leaves (eats, roots and leaves) – damn those pesky commas – it grows rich with vitamins ($) and minerals (shares) it has mined from the trunk and leaves and then is plucked by those who own the land it is on. Remember the days of food mountains that rotted and died rather than the landowners share with the workers, and the sun carers, which were too poor to afford the fruit which had lived and prospered from them. That time is come again.

    Lefties don’t mind the rich. It’s when they somehow think they are better by dint of carving more money for themselves that I find distasteful. It’s when people like Mr Key want religious and morally structured conservative institutions to judge the poor. Like they judged the deserted women of yesteryear and found them the deserving poor or the undeserving poor by a few other persons’ individual judgement – very dangerous path to go down.

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  68. If Bill Gates came to New Zealand and brough his whole fortune and income with him Income Inequality would increase by a significant margin.
    Do you think this would increase crime?

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  69. The rich steal the land

    I paid for my land. I grew up working class. I earned all the money to buy my house by working and saving for many years.

    Are you saying I stole my land?

    The trunk (the workers) grows the society

    The rich don’t work? Every rich person I know works very hard indeed.

    Most people are poor for a reason. They make bad career and investment decisions and they don’t work and save enough.

    The genuinely incapable – the sick, the mentally affected – are an exception.

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