Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: What we learned yesterday about the cannabis referendum

42 Responses

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  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This Kleiman fella sums it up beautifully. Can we just do what he says please?!

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2109 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    It's worth highlighting that in Labour's justice manifesto it commited to replace the Misuse of Drugs Act (as per Law Commission).... we don't need to wait until 2020 for that.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Tadhg Stopford, in reply to Ross Bell,

    A referendum without education is pointless if we are aiming for best practice. Everyone needs to understand about their endogenous cannabinoid system (thank you Shane le Brun, for showing me the way), otherwise they literally will not understand what they are deciding on.
    In fact, those writing the question won’t even know what they are asking us a question about.
    We will have an opportunity for multi faceted step change, let’s not waste that.

    Grey lynn • Since May 2017 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’m just mindful of of the fact that we’ve had two select committee inquiries and a Law Commission review that have all come to roughly the same conclusion: cannabis law needs reforming. And because of the politics of drug reform, it never bloody happens.

    Quite. I'd love it if the government did it by Christmas, but doing it by 2020 is a hell of an improvement on doing it never, which is so far what's happened.

    Yes, referendums are a gamble. The same gamble that actually gave us this Ardern government in the first place. If 3 referendums on MMP had not show the overall crowd wisdom of the NZ population then we would have a National government today, and legalization would be at the whim of Bill English.

    On the bright side, if the population gets it right, it's much more of a mandate than a mere law change at the behest of a government whose legitimacy is (completely wrongfully) being challenged. It might even serve to increase the turnout of the general election.

    Sure, there's a lot of detail to discuss. There's also 3 years to do it. I don't feel confident that NZ will make the right choice, but I do feel strongly that what they choose will be a good representation of what they want, and would respect it all the more, even it went against my wishes, than I do now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    On the bright side, if the population gets it right, it's much more of a mandate than a mere law change at the behest of a government whose legitimacy is (completely wrongfully) being challenged.

    No, no and fucking no - pardon my French. Guess what, there's always going to be people challenging the "legitimacy" of any Government and they're always wrong. And you know why? Because nobody has ever shown me the receipts for massive and systemic electoral fraud that would cast any election result into doubt.

    And here's another observation I'd like to make. You know another area of public health law where the politics is a minefield and the status quo is a hot mess that isn't working for anyone? (As many folks who've been thinking about the topic well above my pay grade have been saying for decades.)

    Abortion law reform.

    That's not being thrown open to a glorified opinion poll.

    And it shouldn't.

    Ardern and her Government are going to have to buckle down and make good on a lot of promises the Prime Minister unambiguously made on the campaign trail. And whatever bloody happens there, it's no less "legitimate" because it hasn't been kicked into touch with an ultimately meaningless plebiscite.

    Sorry for being a broken record here, but it matters.

    We elect a legislature to legislate.

    And whether you like it or not, (plenty of people don't, and I used to be one of them) I thought a major reason for changing our electoral system was so Parliament wasn't just a glorified rubber stamp for the Government of the day.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Well said, namesake. At some point, Parliament needs to repeal the wretched Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993, but for tactical reasons, it will have to be after Winston pops his clogs. Although a surprising number of godbots have suddenly realised its risks, given that Winston is now talking about a euthanasia referendum too...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 571 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Totally with you, Craig. Referenda are a crap way of making decisions, not least because it's well near impossible to capture the complexities of any given issue in a simple referendum question.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 825 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    (As many folks who’ve been thinking about the topic well above my pay grade have been saying for decades.)

    I’ve noticed even people in parliament using that unfortunate linkage between pay packages and quality of thought. It’s interesting to note, that people who live in slums are more likely to view there intelligence as stagnant than those who live in the leafy suberbs. NASA is now onto that squandering of intellectual resource, and crowd sourcing there engineering far and wide.

    It’s always amazed me how weed gets people so so politically enthusiastic. It’s almost the same as having an argument about religion. So maybe, just maybe a referendum will be a hell of a lot of fun jus for the hell of it.

    The real issue, isn’t just the dope, it’s the way we deal with all recreational drugs, including heroin and meth. I would vote to decriminalise the lot of it, and give alcohol the same treatment (treat it as a dangerous substance) That’s because responcable users etc, and it’s only the minority’s pooping on the party and all that.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    That Bishopric Brian Tamaki seems to be paid really well (or at least revels in the trappings of wealth) - he must be really, really good!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    That Bishopric Brian Tamaki ... must be really, really good!

    Rumours that the special DVD of his investiture included a bonus bloopers section proved to be unfounded.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Guess what, there’s always going to be people challenging the “legitimacy” of any Government and they’re always wrong

    No there aren't, and no they aren't. I don't recall any such challenges to the legitimacy of the last government, nothing like what we've seen in the last few days. And sometimes illegitimate governments are elected. Not in NZ from what I've seen, but it's not like democracy has never been subverted anywhere ever.

    Many did argue that the governments elected after losing the "popular vote", as happened often under FPP, were very much undermined in their legitimacy. It was one of the cornerstone arguments behind proportional representation. Which was a huge issue that was decided by referendums. Not shit-arse CIRs made by religious tools, but properly conducted referendums with public information campaigns beforehand, huge amounts of public discussion, and a clear process by which the change proposed was brought forward. Of course the politicians in charge still managed to exercise their "legislative power to legislate" to fuck with the system and have systematically ignored recommendations on it ever since. It was the ONLY process that we could trust for something as important as a constitutional change. Think on that, what it means - the other system (politicians just deciding) was literally seen as the inferior option.

    However much you think a referendum doesn't add legitimacy to decisions, there are still a lot of people who do think that. So when it's highly controversial and something of a moral issue rather than just a purely practical and technical one, AND the government is itself somewhat divided about it, the idea of a referendum is very sound.
    In this case, it probably comes down to being a referendum or nothing. I don't prefer nothing on this issue, thank you very much.

    At some point, Parliament needs to repeal the wretched Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993

    This is not going to be a CIR. It's coming from the government. It's an entirely different beast.

    It’s always amazed me how weed gets people so so politically enthusiastic.

    It's a very straightforward issue on which our political progress is nowhere near matching public opinion. There's nothing good about that. In a democracy, it's a failure. One that's been going on for far, far too long with far too many victims. I'm willing to take the throw that at least a referendum won't fail in this way.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yes, it's a fair point that not all referenda are the same. Handy summary here in Te Ara.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 825 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to steven crawford,

    I’ve noticed even people in parliament using that unfortunate linkage between pay packages and quality of thought.

    Sorry for the derail, but I'm genuinely mortified if that's how I came across. "Not speaking above my pay grade" is just an idiom -- which IIRC, came from the US military -- about not speaking above your level of experience and expertise. And yes, when it comes to abortion law reform in New Zealand, I'm perfectly happy to defer to women like Dame Margaret Sparrow who were on the front lines of activism quite literally before I was conceived.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    “Not speaking above my pay grade” is just an idiom – which IIRC, came from the US military – about not speaking above your level of experience and expertise.

    That's got me realising that I might have been getting a bit above my station:-)

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    US civil service, I thought. They have a set system of pay grades like military ranks.

    (as opposed to agreeing with the SSC that because their department has a similar number of employees to Google, they should be paid accordingly).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Anyone else feel the recent spate of articles about the PM’s pay like this might be a little (cough splutter) blatantly sexist even for the current phallocentric tyrany*?
    *phrase lifted from the super-awesome ‘skeletal lamping’ – still one of the greatest albums of the millennium.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2109 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Anyone else feel the recent spate of articles about the PM’s pay like this might be a little (cough splutter) blatantly sexist even for the current phallocentric tyrany*?

    Precisely. I just point out that it's the same as Blinglish got, for the same job.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2933 posts Report Reply

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