Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Undie Wankers

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  • Petra,

    In relevance to New Zealand 2009, I find the colour bar assumption a little questionable (but it seems to be very fashionable on this group). More questionable still is the assumption of plentiful employment, jobs in fact being extremely difficult to find these days, even for those with qualifications.

    Sure, these are not the best of economic times, and jobs are thinner on the ground than they used to be, with many more layoffs expected. But TradeMe currently has 5 pages of jobs listed for Dunedin alone. Not all of them are what you might call a "good job", but so what? On my travels, as young'un, I cleaned toilets, worked in bars and hostels, did shop work, fruit picking, flower planting, factory work, whatever was available. Those jobs were quite character building, I thought.

    And why should these guys get off so easily when they've caused a fair bit of public property damage and terrorised the less belligerent locals?

    I stand by my view that they should be expelled until such time that they can re-enter Varsity as adult students.

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Foam rubber cushions make a hell of a lot of black smoke.

    My parents scared me off any furniture arson early with a precautionary story about a friend of theirs who'd fallen asleep smoking on a vinyl couch and died of asphyxiation from the toxic fumes. Not that normal smoke can't kill you (or that I was ever going to be inclined to couch-burning), but it left an impression.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    There is a lot of anger towards these morons in this thread. I certainly have no interest in defending their actions - let the police/prosecutors/courts deal with them.

    But where did the angle that these kids are some kind of upper-class oiks come from? I have no idea about their backgrounds, but these are Otago Uni students (and/or Canty ones) we're talking about - not Oxbridge or Harvard students. (I only mean that in a cost per degree way - not in quality of education).

    Sure, not everyone can afford a university education, but referring to these students as white, rich and privileged only seems to vent anger against a strawman stereotype.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Leopold: actually there's probably more money to be made hitting the council up for protection money "for every $100 you give me I'll ship a couch to Chch and sell it to students there"

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    But where did the angle that these kids are some kind of upper-class oiks come from? I have no idea about their backgrounds, but these are Otago Uni students (and/or Canty ones) we're talking about - not Oxbridge or Harvard students. (I only mean that in a cost per degree way - not in quality of education).
    Sure, not everyone can afford a university education, but referring to these students as white, rich and privileged only seems to vent anger against a strawman stereotype.

    Fair cop. Guilty as charged.

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Critic is trying to fronting a discussion on solutions to the problem on facebook.

    From memory, in1994/5 there were no arrests at WSU protests, NZUSA or constituent association events either (I could be wrong on this last part).

    Please Paul. Would I let a whole year go by with that? We had one arrest when Lockwood Smith came down to open the Performing Arts Centre at Kings High School (he refused to come near campus for the 6 years he was Minister), and about five or six (including myself) at the National Party Conference in August 1995.

    I stand by my view that they should be expelled until such time that they can re-enter Varsity as adult students.

    I keep having this discussion down here.

    Students like everyone, should face fair punishment for their actions. The police have already indicated that diversion won't be offered for any of the people arrested over the weekend, so they're likely to face convictions and fines, assuming no one did anything stupid enough for a jail term. That's as it should be.

    The expulsion of students from university for something that they did in the weekend is foolish, and would apply to very few people in society. Ordinary folk keep their job if they get arrested for being drunk and throwing stuff at police, why shouldn't students?

    For all the gripes that I hear about students having their own special legal system with diversions to maintain their careers, I fail to see why that should be turned around and they get pinged twice for something - police and university punishment.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Sure, not everyone can afford a university education, but referring to these students as white, rich and privileged only seems to vent anger against a strawman stereotype.

    Fair criticism.

    Worth remebering, though, that it does take a bit of cash to send your kids to a hall, where most first-year Otago students live - you can't do it on even the full student allowance, for instance, not without some serious saving first. The discussion has been around students who have moved away from home to go to uni, and by and large that is the reserve of people with resources.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    There is a lot of anger towards these morons in this thread. I certainly have no interest in defending their actions - let the police/prosecutors/courts deal with them.

    Yeah, I can't for the life of me figure out where an urge to run riot against a society such as this would come from...

    Not that I condone any of this or would so much as partake in the odd riot passing by my window, but I'm equally staggered by the punitiveness of the judgementals.

    Firstly;

    I stand by my view that they should be expelled until such time that they can re-enter Varsity as adult students.

    Reminds me how the first universities in western Europe were developed under the aegis of the Catholic Church. Thankfully the concept graduated to one of research, non-secular education and (eek) enlightenment. But yes we could revert and start expelling students for their sins, and just pray that our next nobel winning physicist doesn't have a penchant for getting on the piss.

    Secondly;

    Am I alone in thinking that some of the Dunedin student rioters have a nerve feeling sorry for themselves and their potentially blemished brilliant careers?

    Why has New Zealand set it's legal system up in such a way that minor indiscretions could in any way blemish people's careers at all? What is the purpose of that?

    Sorry Mr 46 year old accountant, we're going to have to decline application because it appears you rioted when you were 18.

    What's the purpose? Does it appear that this criminal record 4life strategem is an unprecedented winner? The attitude seems no less petty than those of the townsfolk from 'The Scarlet Letter'.

    Where are the spikes pegging these ethical principles? Sure we're against smacking and violence (off the rugby field) and what have you but we're for blemishing 18 year olds (with nerves) careers 4 life. Blemishing society.
    A surefire nonwinner folks,

    Clean, Green and Mean.

    Call me old fashioned, but I think it may be more positive to hold those arrested somewhere for a couple of weeks to account for and reconsider their actions.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    The discussion has been around students who have moved away from home to go to uni, and by and large that is the reserve of people with resources.

    Oh sure, I agree with that. I came late to this topic and after reading through 100-odd post in one sitting I was amazed at the assumptions made about these students. Possibly our host set the tone by referring to "daddy's membership at the Northern Club".

    I only see these kids as as young, first-time-away-from-home morons. Not that different from a lot of my fellow students 20 years ago. But I agree that it seems extra stupid that they are not actually "rioting" against anything in particular. Or maybe they are just fighting for their right to party. Heh.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    Reminds me how the first universities in western Europe were developed under the aegis of the Catholic Church. Thankfully the concept graduated to one of research, non-secular education and (eek) enlightenment. But yes we could revert and start expelling students for their sins, and just pray that our next nobel winning physicist doesn't have a penchant for getting on the piss.

    Really? It reminds you of that? Good grief!

    I'm not talking about perceived sins under some fundamentalist religious order of days gone by; I'm talking about actual criminal behaviour resulting in damage to property and persons. I have no problem with people getting on the piss and going a bit wild. I do have a problem with willfull damage and violent actions against others (even if those others were nasty fascist policemen, oh my!)

    Also, in many professional environments (law enforcement, education, social work, many corporations both public and private), if you do something so egregious in your spare time that it brings disrepute upon your profession, then you will be either sacked or punitively dealt with by your employment body. In this instance, a few bad eggs are bring disrepute upon all of studentdom, Otago Univeristy as a whole, and possibly Dunedin as a city, too.

    Sure, Mike Mechanic may not lose his job for drunken charge of a riot, but Andrew Accountant with a view to parnership with Taylor McLachlan probably will (or at the very least lose his prospects as a potential future partner).

    Actions have consequences, even outside Medieval churches. And these bloody selfish few are destroying it for everyone else - they will pretty much dictate whether or not Undie 500 will even continue in future years. Now that is not fucking fair.

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Prince,

    I stand by the rich, white and privileged comment...

    Rich enough to spend at least $120/week on a flat in order to be within 2 minute pajama walk of lectures. I know that $120/week sounds like a bargain if you live north of Dunedin but given that the loan is only $155 then extra money has to come from somewhere, I'm too cynical to believe that this involves working all summer...
    Castle St destroys the idea that all students are turning up at the foodbank, unable to get a job because their study would suffer.

    Students regularly receive discharges without conviction (after using up their diversion) due to a conviction harming their future career. Labourers are never so lucky. In my book this makes students privileged.

    Feel free to canvas Castle st for me but I'm happy to wager a fiver that the majority of the residents are white.

    If I was convicted of bottling a police officer I could expect to lose my registration, and subsequently my job, and profession. There are thousands of people in the same situation; nurses, teachers, doctors, lawyers. However, I've always believed it was wrong to throw a bottle at a person, police officer or not.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    A couple of things that have been over-looked in the discussion both here and at large are a) the lower drinking age and, b) the marked increase in recent years by the booze barns near the campus to cynically promote binge drinking.

    With 18 being the drinking age, access to alcohol is much easier for first and second year students. Those that can't handle it properly end up doing dumb stuff at a slightly younger age.

    The booze barns have really hyped the binge drinking culture in recent years. The Cook has been especially bad for this. Sure, it's always been a student boozer, but they introduced the "Cookathon" as part of Orientation a few years ago. This was an easy way to get hordes of first and second years into the Cook.

    It's now held three times a year, so obviously they're making a lot of dosh from it. But it's a pretty cynical way to make money. The block the Cook's on always reeks the next day, too.

    Their license is under review and I hope they have much tougher restrictions put on it.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • Sharon C,

    Sure, not everyone can afford a university education, but referring to these students as white, rich and privileged only seems to vent anger against a strawman stereotype.
    Fair criticism.
    Worth remebering, though, that it does take a bit of cash to send your kids to a hall, where most first-year Otago students live - you can't do it on even the full student allowance, for instance, not without some serious saving first. The discussion has been around students who have moved away from home to go to uni, and by and large that is the reserve of people with resources.

    I would agree with the latter comment. A friend's daughter - along with much of her Wellington social set - is in her 2nd year at Otago. Last year, she complained she was the only one in her hostel that had to have a job for spending money. Most of the others were down from Auckland on substantial allowances from mummy and daddy - and came from 'absolute, like, mansions' - and this from a Seatoun girl!
    She's flatting this year, and still has her job. She is most grateful for care packages sent from home - Tamiflu, home baking and the odd chocolate treat. Some of her former hostel mates, however, have mothers who take it in turns to do the grocery shopping on-line for their darlings' flats ... and have vast quantities of food and booze delivered every week from the nearest supermarket to grotty dwellings in Castle street.
    It's not hard to see how a certain sense of entitlement would ensue ..

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    Sorry Mr 46 year old accountant, we're going to have to decline application because it appears you rioted when you were 18.

    Unlikely. They suffer the consequences of their actions for a while, takes them a bit longer to get off the ground, and then after proving themselves for a number of years that they have developed positively as a human being then I doubt very much that they would suffer all that much over crimes committed when they were 18.

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    but referring to these students as white, rich and privileged

    Er, because that's what a large majority of them are ?

    I went back to university a few years ago and the harsh reality is that most are from good, solid, middle-class backgrounds and either went to private schools or upper-decile state schools.

    One lecturer often used to take the piss out of the class for being precisely this and no one batted an eye-lid, because they all knew he was right.

    Also, as a basic indication of how richer students seem to be these days, there are cars outside virtually every flat. Not just crapheaps either, a lot are standard suburban cars, there's even some SUVs / Remuera tractors.

    I went down Castle St and Dundas St last evening and every flat had a car outside it.

    Yet when I was a student in the early '90s, it was something of a rarity for someone in a flat to have a car. If students are supposed to be poor, then how can they all afford cars and to run them ?

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Er, because that's what a large majority of them are ?

    The generalisations on this thread are getting a bit overwhelming. Students do have some diversity, and no doubt the ones on Castle St include people who are struggling through by working while studying, hefty student loans, just as much as those funded by their rich white parents. I don't think family membership of the country club was a prerequisite to get onto Castle Street. $10 to put towards a keg would have gotten most people three or four jugs and sufficiently trashed to be idiots.

    There's a trend in New Zealand to attack students for their perceived wealth. There's an allowance which is means tested on your parents income, long after you've left home and become an adult, a student loan scheme which is justified because of your possible future vast earning potential, and now throwing the book at students because they're all rich white snots. It's a disturbing trend and it leads not only to public outrage, but terrible government policy choices.

    Whether or not students are wealthy, either on their own, or through family money, or poor, shouldn't we be calling for them to get the same treatment as any other dickhead that drinks too much and does stupid shit?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    yeah what Kyle said ... sure there are some kids with more money than sense ... if they had sense to go with the money they wouldn't be living in a cold flat on Castle St.

    Most students are living financially on the edge, they've just left home and high school and are learning financial coping skills the hard way.

    Throwing bottles at the police is just plain stupid .... then again learning to not be around, or in the way, when a riot occurs is probably a life skill worth learning.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I went down Castle St and Dundas St last evening and every flat had a car outside it.

    Yet when I was a student in the early '90s, it was something of a rarity for someone in a flat to have a car. If students are supposed to be poor, then how can they all afford cars and to run them ?

    To pick that apart a bit, if there is a car outside every flat, that falls well short of every student having a car. Apart from that, second hand cars are far cheaper now than they were 15 years ago. For example.

    I'm sure that the average punter at university comes from a family better off than the national average, but let's not get carried away.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Diversion is apparently not going to be offered to these "rich prick" kids
    Although it is up to the Police to offer it, most first time minor criminals get it as right but it is only offered once
    Most "rich kids" only need it once because they are quick learners unlike habitual criminals who are certainly not

    Just watching the "list" on Court days proves that, quite a mixture of people and ages completing Diversion and a depressing bunch of slow learners getting fines and time

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    A couple of things that have been over-looked in the discussion both here and at large are a) the lower drinking age and, b) the marked increase in recent years by the booze barns near the campus to cynically promote binge drinking.

    This. Anyone who thinks there isn't a supply angle here isn't thinking like a booze baron.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    To pick that apart a bit, if there is a car outside every flat, that falls well short of every student having a car. Apart from that, second hand cars are far cheaper now than they were 15 years ago. For example.

    The used import boom explains a lot.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Prince,

    3 or 4 jugs? That's a pre-pre-drink appetiser... must have been a while since you were at a student pissup...

    The majority of students on Castle street are there by choice, with the flats tenanted as early as July of the preceding year. If they were poverty stricken they would be flatting in the NEV for half the price. The campus is a landlord's dream. People rent a flat in Hyde St for the year for the sole purpose of participating in a race to dress up and drink a keg as quickly as possible. It's arguable that the Castle St riots are actually landlord instigated, in order to keep the rents high, due to the novelty factor of having your house on the riot street.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    To pick that apart a bit, if there is a car outside every flat, that falls well short of every student having a car.

    And most still don't; I'd be giving far less lifts if it were otherwise. It's often not the cost of the car, it's the warrant (and generally repairs, if it's your general student-quality car) and rego and fuel. OTOH, at my last flat two out of the three cars were acquired by parental gift, for whatever that's worth.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    A couple of things that have been over-looked in the discussion both here and at large are a) the lower drinking age and, b) the marked increase in recent years by the booze barns near the campus to cynically promote binge drinking.

    This. Anyone who thinks there isn't a supply angle here isn't thinking like a booze baron.

    Yeah, not to mention the way it's marketed. "Export Yourself!"

    Export yourself, alright.


    I'm not for banning booze, by any means; but I am for banning its advertising. The ads target young people, driving a culture that believes it's not a fun party until you're pissed as, bro.

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Dinah Dunavan,

    I work (some of the time) at Otago Uni. Yes, there are some brown faces, and no doubt some of the students here come from lower socio homes, but the dominant group are white and obviously have money and a strong sense of entitlement.

    On a tangent. Our neighbour's son (18 year old Maori, who lives with him mum not his Dad, our neighbour) recently spent 6 months in jail on a drugs charge (possession) which was dropped. You can bet if his daddy was a rich white man he wouldn't have waited a trial date, and eventual dropping of all charges, in prison. So what are the chances of the boy becoming a mongrel mob member now, do you think.

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 186 posts Report Reply

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