More rushed legislation under urgency

Yesterday, the government decided that once again, it was important to run rough shod over parliamentary scrutiny by passing a motion for urgency and introducing new Bills and asking for debate before anyone had even seen the legislation.

The Clerk of the House advises that urgency be accorded the introduction and first reading of the Taxation (Business Tax Measures) Bill, the Gangs and Organised Crime Bill, the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Amendment Bill, and the Sentencing (Offender Levy) Amendment Bill.

So this week we’re going to tax the crims, create curb-appeal police to clean up Wanganui’s ill dressed households on top of Chester Burrow’s fashion police, and we are going to take DNA samples from everyone arrested for an imprisonable offence to profile them against a database, all without proper parliamentary scrutiny. I seem to recall a certain Hon Dr Nick Smith bludgeoning the last government for “rushing” legislation (which had, in fact, gone through a proper select committee process) and calling it un-democratic. It seems the new government is no better.

Tumeke has an interesting take on the DNA bill and an “exclusive” on police profiling here.

NoRightTurn blasts the DNA Bill as a violation of the Bill of Rights Act, here.

RadioNZ has a brief summary here.

What I would like to know is; How the law will differentiate between a law-abiding person  with a gated driveway and a suspected gang house with the same? Are we not about to criminalise both? And what are the enhanced surveillance powers being given to police, ostensibly to fight the gangs? Will they be turned upon other groups that the police think are threatening? Just how are we going to define “gangs”?

The report on the first reading debate can be heard here. (audio)

And as far a taxing the crims, well, populist an idea that it is, is it even remotely practical in the real world? Are criminals as likely to pay their fines on time as anyone else?

I will stop short of damning it all outright, but I wonder if we haven’t traded in the nanny state for Big Brother.

48 Comments Posted

  1. nommopilot,
    I was trying to umbrella it. there is freedom to walk down the street, there is freedom to live, there is freedom to kill, there is freedom to breed, there is even freedom to rape and pilage. There is freedom to rape and pillage with fire or with cannons, fast or over a prolonged period.
    The thingis that we choose to ceed, or not utilise, these freedoms under the social contract in return for others under the same contract making that same agreement; the result being a right to not have that freedom utilised against oneself by the other members of the contract.

    There is no way that humans ‘should’ behave, only ways that best accheive a certain goal. For almost all goals prevalent in our society the best choice is to ceed certain freedoms so that we have protection from others and can accheive other goals. My point is that only so many freedoms should be sacrificed as are needed to accheive the goals so as to protect us from infringement on those goals such as through a dictatorship.

  2. Freedom isn’t Free?
    A word can have many associated truths – I think you All right.
    Darn Weather’s blown my uplink, but only for this and Nandor’s site – cute hey?

  3. that’s fine Sapient, however to use your definition freedom is impossible for a human being for there are many constraints that humans cannot exceed even were we to escape societal constraints. so there’s not much point in arguing it your way either.

    “freedom is the liberty to do whatever one wants, whenever one wants, however one wants. Freedom does not necessitate responsibility”

    maybe your right but what’s your point? that this is how humans should behave? we should seek a responsibility-free society?

  4. Frog,
    There is a rule in the New Zealand Legal System that all words in legislation are to be interprited in their common meaning should a definition not be provided within the legislation.
    The same page you cite also defines licence as;

    1 a: permission to act b: freedom of action
    2 a: a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful b: a document, plate, or tag evidencing a license granted c: a grant by the holder of a copyright or patent to another of any of the rights embodied in the copyright or patent short of an assignment of all rights

    So the weight is stongly on the definition with which i was working.
    Furthermore, a link down the bottom of that page to “freedom” provides:

    1: the quality or state of being free: as a: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action b: liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : independence c: the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous d: ease , facility e: the quality of being frank, open, or outspoken f: improper familiarity g: boldness of conception or execution h: unrestricted use
    2 a: a political right

    and under synonyms at the bottom of the page;

    license implies freedom specially granted or conceded

    But if we are working with different definitions then there is little point in arguing such facts as we would mearly be talking past another.

  5. Kahakitea! Thanks for the kindness…forgive my lazy research habits (dial-up) – was in beautiful Kinglake when all this went down.
    Certainly in the County Courts in Melbourne, several Judges were very concerned that the Burden of Proof had shifted:
    ie; Guilty until proven innocent.
    So – circumstantially jailed?
    I am tempted to make several innocuous observations here…suffice to say if in London, DC, Canberra (& hundreds of other cities) it were revealed that the IntServ. had a file on a Child, or an MP, there would be all hell let loose….here la-de-da – :might be the Gangster thing runs deep here – ain’t restricted to traditional Patches.?

  6. Frog said:

    wat – I somehow doubt you understand the true meaning of freedom. You speak of it as if it had no relationship to responsibility. You are speaking in favour of license, not freedom. I would prefer not to live in your world of anarchy, but in one where individuals take responsibility for their impact on the community.

    Shame on you Frog! I doubt very much that Wat is in favour of anarchy! Anarchy is a system where decisions are made and responsibility rests with those effected, rather than those who own.


  7. Frog,
    No, Licence implies that permission has been given; Freedoms exist always without regard to authority until, through the social contract, we agree not to exercise them in exchange for protection (from others exercising their freedoms) in the form of rights.
    Authority does not grant us the ability and freedom to do things, it only tells us what we cannot do or must do. An example of licence may be cops with guns or tasers whilst other members of society are not allowed to carry them, or a drivers licence for that matter.
    No frog, your freedom is nothing but licence bestowed by an all powerful and all knowing state; and nothing can be more compromising of our freedoms.

  8. # Mark Says:
    February 12th, 2009 at 9:51 am

    > PS: Missed the Case, but would this Scott fella like a DNA test?

    there is no sample of the killer’s DNA to compare it to, because the bodies were never found, and neither was the weapon.

  9. ah nandor…!

    ..welcome to the (contentious) world of link-whoring…!

    (hasn’t fwoggy put you on the most-favoured list yet..? that because of the ‘labour-hand-licking’ comment..?..)

    ..and farrar has his daily ‘must-read’..list..

    ..and..if he likes you..’ll get on that

    ..(and of the record shows.. will continue to be taking every opportunity to promote/help whoar..?


  10. Frog: Not my place to defend people (anymore). But I read the same piece and thought it a great example of asberger’s.
    True lineal component based thinking – it’s a rare gift that allowed the development of the very cyberspace.
    While the whole may not look true – it’s sum parts are razor sharp.
    Anyway, just my take, he can speak for himself I’m sure

  11. Sapient – you are defining license, not freedom with your comment. Your failure to understand the term is probably the greatest threat to my freedom.

  12. I presume the people who believe Scott Watson is innocent have logical reasons for saying so – they can’t have been taken in by his charm, because he doesn’t appear to have any.

    And it’s also worth remembering that, if Scott Watson is innocent, then the real killer is still out there…

  13. Scott Watson ? a rogue? probably best inside ? yes put not the guilty one
    try looking at the evidence held in the courts file you’ll be surprised

  14. I may be wrong but wasn’t the planted evidence in AA Thomas done around his home?
    For the lab to cross contaminate samples is possible, but to fiddle with their evidence on purpose would be a tough call.
    I can’t be as objective as I’ld really like to be either coming from Blenheim.

  15. Waqar Younis is cheesed i forgot – think I’ll retire- hell just say it Nandor – hand me that kaya dude…it’s about to start rainin.

  16. Do you? The only compelling evidence I can see is the hair match from the blanket. First pass over, no long blond hairs only stubby black pubes. Weeks later, with all the evidence pointing the other way, suddenly a recheck finds a long blond hair from Olivia Hopes head. Curious that the evidence bag by then had a 1 inch slit in the corner. Also coincidental that the test was taken in the same lab that hair taken from Olivias hairbrush was tested in. Shades of A.A.Thomas?

  17. Nandor I wouldn’t be hanging my colours too close to that Scott Watson mast.

    There are plenty of dodgy decisions out there to champion and I find that particular verdict to be a proper one.

  18. Want me to ask Mr Lloydd? And Malco Marshall the great off-cutter, Wasim Akram (military medium) and Kapil Dev never fazed me; and Imran Khan and Shoaib Ahktar, Muraali? ;
    sorry WI; Joel Garner, Curtly Ambrose, (but they are Black After All… that Shane Warne?
    Carted the lot on paper no doubt!
    All the Armchair Warriors I speak to, insist the best never came back – no reflection – it’s nice to hear from The Rest….nite boys

  19. Toad

    In the famous words of David “Bumble” Lloyd “ee don;t worry about Delahunty, I could play her with my c**k”

    However, unlike Lloyd the outcome would be an embarrassment for the bowler.

    And really, for a man who know a bit about the game of cricket you have committed a cardinal sin by comparing the pace of Thommo and Holding with the rest.
    While I do not seek to take anything away from the other bowlers you mention there is no doubt that Thommo in particular would have registered in the very high 160’s and even into the 170’s had today’s speed radar technology been around in his day, I suspect Holding was not far behind him.

    We used to have a saying, there were the pie throwers (Mills, Chats, Max Walker etc) then the quickies (Hadlee, Lillee in his later years, McGrath etc) and then the “oh crap its him” bowlers, those in that class were people like Thommo and Holding, thankfully I never had to face anybody of that pace.

  20. Um, BB, Tim Southee bowls very few no-balls (oversteps the mark)!

    His main difficulty at his tender age is that he tends to bowl too full if the atmospheric conditions are not conducive to swinging the ball. He could learn a lot from watching how Glenn McGrath bowled when the ball wasn’t swinging – off-cutters, leg-cutters, always threatening to hit the stumps, and always at a length and line that either of the drive or the cut were a dangerous shot.

    McGrath was never a really fast bowler or a swing bowler – 135-140km/h is not up there in the the Dale Steyn/Shaun Tait/Jeff Thomson/Michael Holding/Malcolm Marshall/Shoaib Akhtar/Lasith Malinga/Steve Harmison/Jerome Taylor velocity.

    But what McGrath did was good enough to be a world-beater, because he had such great total control over line, length and pace.

    As for Catherine, well, she might bowl a few maiden overs, off which (thanks for that comment greenfly) you won’t score BB!

  21. Toad

    I made a point of watching her maiden speech, the overwhelming impression I got from it is that she is a hater and wrecker.

    I have no time for anybody who continues to feed the grievance or victimisation industry (without which she has no purpose) and I also have no time for racist and sexist people.

    Perhaps I did overstep the mark (call me Southee) with the “mad” comment and if you took offence at that Toad then I offer my apologies, however, I do not back down from my comments about her suitability as an unelected MP.

  22. The Bro is spoken for (it’s why he’s angry).
    I however, will rush my availability thru Parliament at a moments notice Cath.

  23. bioneer – that candyfloss might be just what the little truants need to attract them back to school! The $3000 fine for their parents sure as hell aint gonna register with them, is it!
    Big Bro – speaking of school yards … I heard this little ditty as I passed through one today,
    ” Big Bro and Catherine
    Up in a tree
    giggle, giggle!!!

    You’re hot for her, bro, come on!

  24. big bro said: I congratulate the Greens for letting a person with an obvious mental illness be an MP. I do suggest that you get help for Delahunty soon though…

    BB, despite our mutual love of cricket, you are seriously testing our ability to have a couple of cold ones together somewhere watching the Black Caps thrash India later this season.

    I know Catherine very well, and have the utmost respect for her. To make allegations backed by no evidence, re her mental health is despicable – and just to set the record straight, I was equally critical of the allegation Labour made and have frequently repeated regarding Nick Smith’s mental health.

    Have you seen or heard Catherine’s “maiden” speech, in which she alludes to having been one of the few women to have lost her virginity twice?

    Very clever – way beyond the wit you or I could come up with. But the rest of the speech deals with issues that I am passionate about, and Catherine will be a great advocate in Parliament for the little people who are poisoned by toxic substances, have their livelihood ripped away from them by pollution, or are denied the education that all New Zealand’s children need to become functional and productive adults.

    Kia kaha, Catherine. And yaboosucks to you BB – you can do better!

  25. “I congratulate the Greens for letting a person with an obvious mental illness be an MP.”

    Thank you big bro! That coming from you with your obvious strength of character and good judgement makes us sure we’ve done the right thing.

  26. Wat D,
    Its a small price to pay isnt it.
    We can finally put an end to those nasty laws which stop me from selling candy-floss at school canteens -those nasty Greens.
    All we have to do is surrender our DNA (I dont mind if im guilty or not, after all our rights been waived) It can just float around on police databases as long as im alive.
    Its unfair to equate National with Big Brother just because they keep having to skip parliamentary scrutiny, -these things are to important to waste time questioning who’s interests are being looked after.

  27. “I congratulate the Greens for letting a person with an obvious mental illness be an MP.”

    glass houses big bro. it’s nice of them to let you comment on here…

  28. Whoops! Sorry about that….in the Philosophy Dept in th eighties there was a big debate about whether you gave three million chimps a typewriter to bash at random, at some point would we wind up with a finished copy of “War and Peace”?
    As Chief Banana Comptroller I found the constant demands were drivin me National…..brrr.
    However with the advent of computers we were able to run these experiments and indeed refine them.
    There are several models around of which Big Bro is one of my favourites.
    You just type in ‘Ignorant Boorish Insults from Right Wingnut’ and take your pick – someone must have hit the button true.

  29. I congratulate the Greens for letting a person with an obvious mental illness be an MP.

    I do suggest that you get help for Delahunty soon though, I doubt she will have the fortitude to last in that place without strong medicine.

  30. Yes it’s 10%; and enables access to immediate justice of the kind the Police are so fond of (at their discretion of course).
    The Courts here may as well install actual Rails.
    If you complain to th Ombudsman – he’ll fire it off to the Police own investigations, who, funnily enough, exonerate themselves, and I don’t mean maybe.
    I continued the thousands of hours of volunteer work when moving to NZ but have since abandoned it as the systems here have no integrity – there is nothing constructive to work with.

  31. And may i say; whoa? A Nandor blog! I just looked over the posts on the first page and im just in awe, lol. I do approve 🙂

  32. LOL, Eye witness testimony is the most uterly unreliable evidence that can be offered, we cover it extensivly in psychology, infact even a personality profile has the potential to offer more truthful and fair results; and that is baulked at, and rightfully so. It is a pity we put so much weight on such a pillar of jelly.

  33. In Victoria legal firms go on a list to be eligible to provide legal services to the Crown. The deal is they have to provide pro bono services to the community as a proportion of the Crown contracts the pick up. Can’t recall the proportion – might have been 10%.

    You are right Mark, we don’t have much of a culture of pro bono among lawyers – with the exception of those doing legal aid who only get paid for a small part of the work they actually do. Of course it is not very fashionable to defend legal aid lawyers, they do outrageous things like defend people with little money and try to ensure they get a fair trial. Despictable.

  34. Quite Right Too! Our Police have never got it wrong except for Arthur Thomas and never will…..oh and Clint…and…never mind.
    We lack Pro Bono Lawyers, ‘Uman Rights Lawyers’ and transparency in General.
    ‘Eye Witness Evidence’ was one area I covered in various Legal Practical and Medical(Psychological) Training – and I assure you – it is fraught with dangers.
    There’s a lot going on in the world hey? – but thanks for the Link – I’ll check it out.

  35. Mark, I suspect the police won’t be reopening files and checking DNA to see if they have convicted any innocent people. Its hard enough to get them to admit it might be worth a second look when there is already strong evidence of innocence, like in Scott Watson’s case.

    Having said that, the overturning of convictions by DNA evidence has yielded very interesting results. According to the Association for the Wrongfully Convicted, the kind of evidence most likely to lead to a wrongful conviction (based on cases where DNA clearly demonstrated innocence) was eye-witness evidence. And NZ’s Evidence Act codifies a significant flaw in that area (one I wasn’t aware of when I sat on the J&E Committee and scrutinised that bill).

    Anyway, as for the Organised Crime Bill, I’ve blogged about it on Dread Times if anyone is interested 😉

    ps Frog, I think you are confusing anarchism with individualism

  36. Oh bloody good answer Frog (if I may be permitted an enthusiastic Ozzie expression). Block it if you want; I don’t like being a Troll much (thought it’d be fun) so i’ll just be me.
    Don’t mind DNA being widely gathered. How many innocent Prisoners do we have I wonder? Might even free a few of them…
    Human rights in NZ are arbitrary and can be suspended indefinitely at the discretion of, a whole lot of people – the UN has a few other jobs just now.

  37. Kahikatea,
    I agree that the outcome would likley be supperior if everyone had there DNA on file, but that is significantly harder to justify to a population than only offenders and must be eased in much more slowly; i mean to say, at present there are still major limitations on the ability of police to collect fingerprints and many people who cry in outrage with even the mention of children having their fingerprint put on file voulenteerily.

  38. Frog,
    Well, really, freedom is the liberty to do whatever one wants, whenever one wants, however one wants. Freedom does not necessitate responsibility. If i had the freedom to kill it does not mean i have any responsibility whatsoever to bury those i kill, to respect them, to take care of their offspring, or anthing. However, we ceed our freedoms for rights, those rights entail responsibilities as the rights are formed by mutual agreement not to utilise said freedoms. What you refer to as freedom is not freedom but safety obtained through ceeding freedoms.
    Wat is -though it be rare- correct, any instance of the state deciding that it knows better than the individual is, however justified, an instance of big brother; any action of the nanny state is by its very definition a act of big brother as a presuposses that the acts of individuals would bring about an inferior consequence.

  39. # Sapient Says:
    February 11th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    > So long as the DNA is only solicite from offenders then there are no right implications, it is mearly a more effective form of taking fingerprints.

    I disagree – I’d much rather have them have everyone’s DNA on file. I think we would get much better legal and procedural protections against abuse of the information if everyone knew that their DNA was on the file too.

  40. wat – I somehow doubt you understand the true meaning of freedom. You speak of it as if it had no relationship to responsibility. You are speaking in favour of license, not freedom. I would prefer not to live in your world of anarchy, but in one where individuals take responsibility for their impact on the community.

  41. “I wonder if we haven’t traded in the nanny state for Big Brother.”

    Like your trampling of free speech isn’t Big Brother? Like the RMA isn’t Big Brother? Like the various bans and restrictions you force on people, under threat of state violence, isn’t Big Brother?

    But I get it. When you do it, the worse that can be said is that it is “nannying” by a wise and caring state for our own good. Yet when others use those powers you usurped from the people, and maybe take a few more, suddenly it becomes “Big Brother.”

    Big Brother is you. Bit by bit you took away our freedoms because you were arrogant enough to think you know better, and to think that your priorities and concerns must automatically trump everyone else’s.

  42. Well, they have released their anaemic stimulus package, which doesn’t really offer anything new accept some more money for renovating state houses. They did admit in their release that the Greens had already got money to insulate all the state houses.

  43. Well the fines for offenders will likely make only negilible difference and after the costs of enforcement are taken into account will likley b ineffective, though it ould provide a basis to arrest them again in the future, so it could have gains due to that.
    The whole gang patchs, etc is just a waste of money.
    But the DNA sampling has alot of potential, both beneficial and not. I think that it is perfectly reasonable to take DNA samples, it may potentially help substantially with solving larger crimes and save alot of money. So long as the DNA is only solicite from offenders then there are no right implications, it is mearly a more effective form of taking fingerprints.

  44. Already checked this with some senior Police who agree it wont make one wiggy bit of difference.
    Nothing on the Economy then?
    Are they wasting our time and money?

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