Nandor blasts useless tagging legislation

In his classic style, Nandor ripped into the House last night, telling those who support the tagging legislation that it is irresponsible to pass useless legislation just to send a message. He pointed out that everyone who spoke in favour of the legislation railed about the evils of tagging and its link to violence, while openly admitting that the Bill itself wouldn’t work. He called on Parliament to step back and take a breath.

Judith Collins would be screaming about the nanny state if we tried to tell her that she had to keep her Chardonnay under lock and key. But alcohol, which really does have a direct link to violence, would never face such a prohibition. This Bill is about being seen to do something about tagging, not actually doing something about it!

69 Comments Posted

  1. bigbluekiwi said: Could you say with any certitude that NO Greens are against this Bill?

    No – some, including bjchip, who is a regular contributor here on frogblog, did not support the Bill.

    But the repeal of section 59 has long been Green Party policy. That doesn’t mean every Green member supports it. What it does mean is that there was a consensus of those members who engaged in the policy development process to support it.

    Consensus doesn’t mean everyone necessarily agrees with a proposal. It can, and often does, mean that there are some who disagree, but are still prepared to agree to the proposal proceeding.

    IMO, consensus is a far better decision-making process than majority vote when those making the decisions are united by some common principles, as Greens are.

  2. Davec, do you want “force and associated violence and harm” to be allowed to happen to children? I don’t understand your opposition to an act that removes that right in the name of discipline.

    The original thread of this posting had nothing to do with that.

  3. Diciplinary smacking does not amount to ‘force, and associated violence and harm’.

    Well you would think that, if you don’t understand the difference between purpose and effect. And you obviously don’t.

    According to legal definitions it does, perhaps not to you. Anyway, Frog is getting sick of democracy. Perhaps it is because his arguments are weak. Perhaps the Greens are sick of democracy too. Perhaps it should state that it is not the most democratic party after all.

  4. All of us have different attributes. I hardly think it’s relevant that being the supporter of one Bill in Parliament would be the basis for her being selected at a particular position in the Green list. Could you say with any certitude that NO Greens are against this Bill?

  5. Apparently there is “huge” support for Sue Bradford in the Green Party: “voted number three on the list”.

  6. # bigblukiwi Says:
    June 25th, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    One important function of a democratically elected government is to govern. This may mean taking decisions that are not ‘popular’ – this entirely begs the question as to whether any petition can show what the ‘will of the people’ is!
    Yes except that the subject is Child Rearing
    The majority (by a country mile) 80%? believed that it was ok to smack (in moderation). The Childrens Commisioner claimed that studies showed it was never ok to smack and Sue Bradford called men who smack “perverts”. The comprehensive Otago Interdisciplinary Health and Development study showed moderate smacking to have no detrimental effects. All in all studies on smacking are equivocal when it comes to light occassional smacking. :mrgreen:

  7. Davec – you have answered your own comment.

    The purpose of the bill is to stop force, and associated violence and harm, under the pretense of physical discipline, being inflicted on children.

    Diciplinary smacking does not amount to ‘force, and associated violence and harm’. Smacking has not been banned and it was never the purpose of the Bill. As has been repeated ad infinitum, it only removed a defence which was being exploited. Period .

  8. One important function of a democratically elected government is to govern. This may mean taking decisions that are not ‘popular’ – this entirely begs the question as to whether any petition can show what the ‘will of the people’ is!

    If all decisions were at the will of the people we would not have a democracy but virtual anarchy, with minority groups missing out all the time and being bullied by ‘the people’. What you seem to favour may be government by internet poll. Imagine the chaos and unfairness that would engender!

    A government’s job is to lead not to follow. That is why we all condemn a ‘reactionary’ government, one who is entirely populist and reacts to what seems popular at any time instead of following some sort of policy stream.

    Look what happened under Howard’s government in OZ which was extremely populist and eventually thrown out, and rightly so !

  9. Move on. I’m bored. The same arguments, over and over and over – both ways. Seems you will never accept my point of view, and I cannot agree with yours.

  10. Toad

    It angers me no end that you and the Greens are so hell bent on corrupting the democratic process, what the hell is so wrong with letting the people have their say?

    Can I assume that retaining the anti smacking legislation irrespective of the will of the people will be one of the non negotiable items on any post election negotiations with the Greens?

  11. Toad says:
    “BB – what Sue Bradford (and I) know is that the wording of the referendum is both biased and flawed.”

    This reminds me of Mugabe’s cynicism.

  12. Oh, and in terms of the referendum, sure nothing may change.The same argument could be said of passing the law in the first place but we didn’t hear that from you guys then, did we?

    But if parliament does amend the law back there will be fewer being investigated for light taps on the bum

    Yet the PM is willing to spend millions on changing nothing instead of holding it at an election for lower cost, purely for political purposes.

    This is not about whether something will change or not, or whether the wording of a referendum is a cockup, this is about citizens exercising democratic rights. Helen Clark is trying to curb democracy.

  13. Toad, you`re wrong. Here’s why.

    I’m not only going to read the explanatory note I`m going to quote it in bold so you can read it. The purpose of the bill is to stop force, and associated violence and harm, under the pretense of physical discipline, being inflicted on children

    If that is not banning smacking, what is?
    And like I said, the effect of that amendment is the removal of the reasonable force defence, as stated clearly in the explanatory note. The removal of the defence is not the purpose. It is the effect. Quite different.

  14. davec – read the Explanatory Note again. The purpose was not to ban smacking – Sue Bradofrd has always maintained that parents who administer the occasional light smack should not be criminalised. The pupose was to remove the defence that abusers had exploited.

    BB – what Sue Bradford (and I) know is that the wording of the referendum is both biased and flawed.

    A “No” vote in the referendum actually supports the status quo re section 59 – parents who adminsiter a light smack for the purpose of correction are not becoming criminal offenders because the Police are exercising the discretion the law requires them to. They revealed the evidence of this just a day or so ago,

    So referendum passes, nothing changes!. Apart from Larry Ballcock and his Family Fist cronies getting a bit upset because they made such a hash of the wording of the referendum in the first place.

    National, Labour, Greens, Maori Party supported the current law, and will continue to support it, so nothing will change – unless there is clear evidence that it is criminalising good parents, which there is not.

  15. What does Comrade Bradford know about the referendum that the rest of us do not?
    She stated today that she was “relaxed” about it going to the vote and even talked about (this bit really cracked me up) democracy.

    Does that mean she and Labour will ignore the result when it comes back overwhelmingly against section 59 should the left manage to steal another election?

  16. Toad, youre wrong.
    The purpose of the bill, as stated was to not to remove a legal defence, that was the effect. The purpose was to was to stop force – ie ban smacking. Obviously it didnt stop smacking any more than this bill will stop tagging.

    So your point?

  17. davec said: So why did you support useless smacking legislation just to send a message then, Nandor?

    The amendment to section 59 of the Crimes Act was not just to send a message, although that was part of it. More significantly, it was to prevent people from using a defence in Court that had been shown on several occasions to lead to the acquittal of parents who had clearly been abusing their children, and to give children the same protection in law from assault as adults enjoy.

  18. eredwen

    So if it does not affect YOU then it is not a problem?

    How about I get one of the little scum to tag your house?, perhaps you might not be of the same opinion then.

  19. I spent time in Escondido in the US and they had no footpaths. In addition despite the Brisbane climate you weren’t allowed to use a clothes line. One subdivision in Queenstown (that I know of) doesn’t allow clothes lines.

  20. Good point Davec. The legislation officially sanctioned a particular theory of parenting (ie you should never smack). Most parents see smacking as a tool they wouldn’t want to throw out (entirely). The objective seems to be typified by the advertisement, showing the bully thrashing the kid (prostrate on floor shielding blows), the implication being. the law change will go some way to stopping this mans behavior. The light occasional smack was the fly in the ointment that had to be sacrificed for a one size fits all approach. The smacking studies are “equivocal” on the issue of light occasional smacking and the Otago Multi disciplinary Health and Development Study “Hits at Claims of Harm”.

  21. In his classic style, Nandor ripped into the House last night, telling those who support the tagging legislation that it is irresponsible to pass useless legislation just to send a message.
    So why did you support useless smacking legislation just to send a message then, Nandor?

  22. big bro asks:

    “So I should be “tolerant? when some low life tags my fence should I?”

    I reply:
    I don’t have that problem because I don’t have a fence!

    The local kids are free to walk through my place and many of them do use it as a short cut to visit their friends. Occasionally I have to talk to them about staying on the paths so that they don’t trample new seedlings.

  23. If the public were allowed to vote on the guys sentence, I suspect he would get a short one (eg One week).

  24. Lylla might want to reflect on:

    a) how much the public hates tagging; and
    b) how they feel nothing is being done to prevent it.

    No one is going to condone the killing, and no one expects anything less than a jail sentence if found guilty, but they simply aren’t going to shed any tears. I suspect many people feel that if one plays with fire, one may eventually get burnt.

  25. I spent hours walking on footpaths in Houston and saw a multitude of cycle tracks so I don’t know where that idea comes from.
    There are probably suburbs without footpaths because there is such variety but with the market demanding bicycle tracks and walking tracks they are being provided.
    Go here:
    And share my bus ride and look at old footpaths and then go to:
    To look at Sienna a new comprehensive community and see the new ones.
    I like the idea of the community fund.
    I don’t know of any connection between crime and footpaths anyhow.

  26. # toad Says:
    June 21st, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Well, at least I hope you would be sufficiently tolerant to not murder the tagger BB!
    As Lylla Harre commented (something like) “doesn’t the deafening silence (lack of out-cry from the presumedly stupid public) leave a knot in you gut”. If we were invaded by an enemy from outside the country we would expect our armed forces to shoot at them and when young people slip out of civil* society and become enemy agents the public expects some sort of firm action. In the public mind one tagger is just a member of the Orc Army and in this case somebody “got one”.
    *beyond the pale

  27. why boxing? wouldn’t it be better to teach disaffected youth something which doesn’t involve effective combat techniques?
    i for one am sick of hearing that youth don’t have enough to do. they have more than we had when i was a kid. “only” one picture theatre in town? we didn’t even have one in town. and no such thing as home entertainment either – even free-to-air tv would have been off air during potential mischief-making hours. we played sports – & if we weren’t in an official team we’d go & find a field & bring a ball & knock about with our mates. often when i go for a walk (yep even that is something to do!) i pass fields which are entirely unused. i read that in the west indies some kids are so poor they can’t even afford a ball, so they play cricket in the streets with a rock for a cricket ball! (& for a head too, i might add, until i remember some of the crazy things we got up to sometimes!) imagine how they would feel about our pampered youth’s claims of nothing to do.
    sometimes we’d play cards around each other’s houses. no great expense involved in that, nor any great requirement for facilities to be provided by society.
    these kids can afford paint cans – maybe they could afford a bit of canvass & teach themselves how to really paint – add a bit of beauty to the world instead of ugliness. instead i’ve actually seen legitimate art works defaced with street-kid scrawl. that’s just malicious.

    re: houston – didn’t someone say there were no footpaths there? that would make all manner of crime difficult.

    anyway i’m keen to read the speech this thread is all about. can someone give me a link?

  28. i think the whole point jh.. that this legislation dosen’t/won’t ‘work’..

    all seem to be agreed on that..


  29. If Nandor had a great set of ideas he (apparently) only got it across to the converted. Those who weren’t there in Parliament (perhaps) miss some of the context. While the blog topic is presented as Nandor blasting useless legislation and this could be taken as (blasting) a bad job. The only positive idea I can glean from the post (and discussion) is that taggers should be talked to and then we will find that they are bored, don’t have people to take them in hand and introduce them to (say) the boxing gym example, but I imagine there is more to it: a sort of deeper ideology involving a more thorough upside downing of society?

  30. yeah..good speech..i’ve linked it..

    um..!..why are you leaving parliament..again..?

    especially so when now is the time of need/for action..?

    why are you just leaving us to the tender mercies of the clowns..?

    could you possibly reconsider..?

    or else come an mp for the maori party..?


    i’m sure none of us would mind..

    the green party ‘had their chance’

    this vid couldn’t make it more clear..

    how they have ‘blown it’..


  31. Nandor, have I mentioned that you are pure distilled awesome? Thankyou for saying what anyone who actually follows this issue was thinking, rather than just kneejerking.

  32. There is no paradise on Earth, and Houston is not paradise. In summer it is more like Hell.
    What interested me about the graffiti control in Houston was that if I read about it from here I would instinctively oppose it because I do not like laws which make victims of crime bear the costs.
    But being there, and talking to the locals, and seeing the outcome meant that maybe if something actually works then it is worth considering. I don’t want to be in that category of person who said to one of the Select Committees “The problem is that the facts don’t fit the theory so we cannot accept them.”

  33. A FABULOUS speech Nandor!

    Thank you for yet another message of tolerance, balance and common sense.

    Your presence in Parliament will be sorely missed by many of us.

  34. All power to you my ex green mp friend. Nah!! Paragraph breaks make stuff readable – you don’t want to read that stuff – it’s a great story though but off subject except perhaps for an example of how to speak on any non-relevant subject

  35. My Grandfather (Older Fogie) tells this story of his father (Older Fogie):

    “When I was a bit older and at the smart confident rather cheeky stage of youth I received a real takedown from Dad. He was sitting quietly looking into the fire, “Would you like me to get you a book to read?” I asked. “Nae boy, ye need a book and read it well – when I gaze into the embers I can travel the world in my memories, but ye have ne’er been out of sight of the smoke of your own, chimney ”

    Then I remembered how father had enhanced our geography lessons with his descriptions of the seaports of other countries; of the people there and the trade transaction in each port. Some of the interesting information did not exactly fit into our school lessons though. Amongst other things, he told us about some of the conditions on board tramp-ships – how rats were very fond of eating the heels of sailors, especially in the tropics when bed— covering was discard-ed. A rat would sneakily approach a prostrate figure and cautiously sniff his breath to test the depth of sleep, then moving to his exposed heels,” gnaw away at the tough outer layers of skin without disturbing the sleeper but as soon as the rodent chiseled into the tender tissue there would be a yell and a vigorous kick sending the rat high in the air to plop heavily back on deck before it scuttled, out of sight. When dad told us about the sugar in the hold of one of the ships at Mauritius Is, his description was graphic enough to put us children off sugar for quite a while. He also told us that when he first went to sea as a cabin-boy he had, apart from his main jobs, to take a pipe, for a sick sailor, down to the galley-stove to re-light and them “pouff” to keep it alight until he returned to the sick man. That was his introduction to the pipe-smoking habit. Another time their leaking tramp-ship managed to make port in Ireland, where the crew came up against the ship’s owners when the sailors refused to take her to sea unless certain repair work was done. The kind Irish women, though poor themselves,, gave the sailors loaves of home-made bread to sustain them: while they awaited another ship as meantime the owners of the ship in dispute sent her to sea again after a quick unsatisfactory repair job – she was lost with all hands off the coast of Spain. No wonder father loved his next ship, the “Great Britain”. etc

  36. Well said nandor. The old fogies in parliament would do well to listen to what you said. I bet they never even considered actually going out to talk to the young people.


    Lighten up man.

  37. “Cities asked residents why they did not believe crime is decreasing. What makes them feel unsafe is things like the presence of graffiti (Helsinki, Graffiti presentation), litter, abandoned cars etc. Many cities started some years ago an approach aimed at responding to the environmental issues,..”

  38. I had a second look and you look a bit like a raving Ayatollah (defending a bunch of urban terrorists).
    your right about alcohol, there’s a double standard there.
    Legislation should send a message and stop lumping taggers with “young people?
    “Old mans law?…. well I remember a kid coming into our town who was creatively bent and he started a “robbing gang? and back in the 60?s there were a group of college students who were responsible for “thrill kills?… ie people go to all different points of the compass. That doesn’t mean the carrot (alternatives) aren’t as important as the stick.
    Further the fear of crime has a lot to do with things like graffiti and in a way these grafitti “artists? could be seen as marking territory in the community (sending a negative message). You seem to put a positive spin on it.

  39. I realise one isn’t obliged to know what one is talking about on the internet but…

    BluePeter: You might have noticed that they can be required to clean it up now. Instances of it were in the news. The headline pentalty changes in the bill were to increase the maximum fine and jail terms by a factor of – I think – 10ish.

    Ta da! You agree with Nandor!

  40. Is it an either/or?

    Yes, we need boxing academies, and other youth activities. Great.

    But we also need to remind those people who won’t join those provided activities – or, heaven forbid, have the initiative to think up with their own activities – but instead *choose* to destroy our property, that the pain involved in that decision is:

    to clean it up.

  41. I was struck by the absence of graffiti in Houston. Never say any. I asked a local why this was and he explained that the owners whose property is tagged are required to clean it up within 24 hours.
    Now this seemed wrong at first because it turns the victim into the criminal.
    However, the local explained that Houston has a large police force (for which it is often criticised) and the property owners can afford good surveillance systems which then attract the police at short notice. (They do not wait around to make sure the taggers are not armed before approaching them.) The end result of an incentivised property owner, combined with cheap technology and a responsive police force is there is no tagging.
    I am still uncomfortable with the victim/victim approach but it seems to work well and is accepted by the citizens because of that.

  42. I wish some of you would actually watch / read the speech before criticising. Most of your points don’t relate to anything I said.

    If you want an example of how to actually stop tagging, check out Billy Grahams boxing academy, which appears to have almost eradicated tagging in Naenae. How? By doing something for the young people in his town instead of trying to make them go away. Teaching them some discipline, good ethics and self respect. Even Don Brash thought it was good.

    That sends a much better message than passing a law criminalising the carrying of marker pens IMHO

    jh – what cutting wit you have.

  43. Awesome stuff Nandor. Well done on cutting through the rhetoric bullshit and hypocrisy that’s been surrounding this issue.

    Parliament is going to be a lesser place without you.

  44. You are not wrong Sam, when I was a kid there was somebody who went around Wellington painting “the larch” in some very prominent spots.

  45. >>Nandor’s point is tht the Bill doesn’t actually achieve anything.

    Neither will the ETS, so I look forward to the Green Party being consistent 🙂

    One thing is for sure, it is sending the wrong message to describe it as art, self expression, and the result of colonialism (for f**** sake).

    Take a zero tolerance to petty crime, and punishment should fit the crime. In this case, clean it up.

  46. Politicians do waste an awful lot of taxpayer’s money making things illegal that are already illegal. Could we get a bill passed to stop this?

    And why isn’t the government doing something about the quality of graffiti these days? Apart from a few good stencils, it’s mostly unreadable rubbish. What happened to the thougtful and provocative slogans of yesteryear?

  47. I’d make Blue-Peter the Green Tagging spokesman and send Nandor off to his house bus where he can make beads.

  48. Of course Nandors entitled to his opinion. I don’t think Nandor is a sensible type myself. Booooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  49. Should have said “…for allegedly spraying…”, since it was never proven that it was me who did it. I’ll leave it to your imagination as to whether it actually was!

  50. BB, Nandor’s point is tht the Bill doesn’t actually achieve anything.

    Tagging has been the offence of willful damage under the Summary Offences Act for as long as I can remember.

    I was myself charged with that offence for spraying “Stop the Tour” at Eden Park back in 1981.

  51. Couldn’t care less who is doing it. If you spray paint property belonging to others, without permission, then you should be made to clean it up. Why should the owner be faced with the trouble and expense?

    However, if you wish to spray paint your own wall, go for it.

  52. Bluepeter: I recall enthusiastic ACT supporters in Wellington regularly and frequently defacing all manner of personal and public property in years gone by. Off with their heads?

  53. Can’t say I know much about this bill, but we should take a zero tolerance stance to graffiti. Arrest those responsible, put them on work gangs, and make them clean up more mess than they make. The alternative is jail.

    This is the “Broken Windows? theory. Once you have a few instances, the problem quickly spreads.

    Nip it in the bud. And stop pretending it is art or in some way desirable – it is neither. The community (remember us?) does not want it.

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