Hard News: A painful reflection
I should note this this post is based on a very rapid apprehension of a lengthy report. There's much more detail in it and I'd recommend anyone interested read it for themselves.
Ross Bell, in reply to
It’s a bloody interesting read. A forensic analysis/chronology/DNA of a drug crisis – and all the points where it could/should have been stopped. All the players, and how they all failed (even the Public Service Assn getting in on the action, then a medical doctor saying nothing to fear for staff safety re meth… but the snowball continued). Hopefully government will learn from this, and find ways to avoid future hysteria.
I cannot resist:
National's housing spokesperson Judith Collins wants Mr Twyford to explain why taxpayers are compensating people for breaking the law.
Housing NZ to reimburse hundreds evicted on flawed meth testing
Reading your criticism of the media reports, the term "churnalism" comes to mind. These meth-industry press releases provided pre-packaged content that can be cheaply produced by media organisations. And they created a public panic with the information.
We complain about false balance in stories like global warming where media will engage "both sides" to create debate (where the other side is a crackpot or a racist). A little bit of actual balance wouldn't have gone amiss here.
Sheer incompetence from the then National Minister, an inability to comprehend basic science. That’s what lack of competence looks like folks.
Russell Brown, in reply to
Reading your criticism of the media reports, the term “churnalism” comes to mind. These meth-industry press releases provided pre-packaged content that can be cheaply produced by media organisations. And they created a public panic with the information.
Yep, that’s exactly what happened.
We complain about false balance in stories like global warming where media will engage “both sides” to create debate (where the other side is a crackpot or a racist). A little bit of actual balance wouldn’t have gone amiss here.
The Science Media Centre’s entry to the debate – which happened after the issue became proper headlines – was quite pivotal. Suddenly, we had two actual toxicologists talking sense. Only one of them, Nick Kim, kept on talking, but his role was absolutely vital.
The thing was the idea that residues from use only (and at very, very low levels) could cause the harm alleged never made sense. Where was the public health crisis that would imply? How come everyone who handled banknotes didn't get sick? And why hadn’t the tens of thousands of people who’d actually used meth in psychoactive quantities been hospitalised or died? It was weird that the idea was so actively entertained even by people who should have known better.
Russell includes the build up of the bullshit.. Page 24 has the killer “experts” sorted:
There was no New Zealand standard or guideline for methamphetamine testing and decontamination during this period. Housing New Zealand relied on the expertise of companies that were qualified to test for contamination.
There have been, it's important to note, journalists who have done really important work in reporting this story in the past couple of year
Including your good self. Well done on seeing it through.
thank you Russell - you add so much needed context most outlets consistently ignore/miss
kiwiwolf, in reply to
Unfortunately the "Government" of the time will learn nothing other than to ensure that in future they leave less evidence of their mishandling. The only benefit of the exercise went to the companies involved who were given a license to print money.
Katita, in reply to
As someone whose grandparents always lived in State Housing (and other extended family too) I've found the shift from an agency for social good to a government revenue stream (by way of dividend) completely unfathomable. And just like the private sector, you get the behaviours you incentivise. Suddenly we found ourselves in a position where beneficiary-bashing isn't just the norm. Removing due process and criminalisation of a whole underclass suddenly becomes acceptable too.
Thank you to all those in government, housing activism, science and journalism who not only saw something wrong but would not let this scandal lie.
BTW I heard Judith Collins interviewed this morning saying these 'criminals' should not get any form of compensation. Given the harm this saga has done to our most vulnerable families, I can only say there's a special place reserved for people like Judith and it aint with the angels.
linger, in reply to
Nah, Collins and her ilk should be held politically accountable for such attitudes in this life; otherwise they just keep repeating the same damaging lies. Problem is a large chunk of our opinion-obsessed mainstream media has spent the past decade choosing to support rather than challenge the blood-sport of beneficiary-bashing. (Not without an eye on the race to the bottom line: newspaper readership continues to skew older and more reactionary.)
Opposition leader Simon Bridges has hit out at the government on Twitter after Housing New Zealand said it would compensate people evicted from state houses after dodgy methamphetamine testing.
And Bridges also doubles down... appalling
The renowned deep thinker (and National shill) Mike Yardley weighs in:
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