Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: And meanwhile ...

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  • Paul Williams,

    But I'm quite happy to know people who actually think due process, the presumption of innocence, some curbs on police powers and all that wet liberal crap is a bloody good thing.

    Craig, National propose to introduce legislation enabling the Police to take DNA from people arrested for an imprisonable crime; merely arrested... I don't know that they even limit it to charged. That's as close to a Police State as I think NZ's come. I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

    I don't think it matters that you know people who're fond of the presumption of innocence, this proposal is so offensive to the most banal of legal principles, it can't make it past the Bill of Rights. The days of judicial activism may well be about to return.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    RB: Anything to say about Key actually talking to the Maori Party?

    Smart move all round, especially given Act's behaviour in the past three days.

    But it's just a media observation. I watched the late news coverage, and the physical dynamic was interesting. For Goff's stand-up, the journalists neatly fanned out around him. It looked orderly, and he was in control.

    The Key/Maori Party thing looked a mess. The frame I paused on was all over the place, with Key looking uncertain, Sharples and Turia kinda caught in the wash, and English looking in ominously from a distance. Sorry if that sounds odd. I might grab the report off the website and find the moment again.

    I just think there's some work to do yet to look prime ministerial here, and that Labour's swift change of guard has raised the stakes.

    And Hide? Slagging off Peter Dunne while all parties are still negotiating? I think one or two people might be wondering where that funny man in the yellow jacket has gone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    Anything to say about Key actually talking to the Maori Party? I thought that was never, ever going to happen -- and not as if it's strictly necessary.

    Sensible from where I am, difficult to say your are running a centre-right government with only Act on board. If you have the Maori Party as well then gives your claim some street cred. I credit John Key and his people with that much smarts at least.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    Craig, National propose to introduce legislation enabling the Police to take DNA from people arrested for an imprisonable crime; merely arrested... I don't know that they even limit it to charged. That's as close to a Police State as I think NZ's come. I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

    Except that there are quite solid criminology based reasons why it is a good thing from the p.o.v. of catching crims. The people who get arrested a lot but not necessarily charged or let off with a caution are often those who did stuff in the past and got away with it. Taking DNA means you can close old cases.

    The problems come with what happens next. Down south of the border here in England and Wales the police get to keep your dna pretty much forever and put it on the database. It is theoretically possible to get it removed if you are not charged or found innocent but it is very, very hard.

    Now up here in Scotland they must destroy the record AND the sample if you are not charged. I don't recall if they do that if you are not found guilty as well but it is easier up here to apply for that when the jury find in your favour.

    So the devil will be in the details. DNA is just too damn useful for the police to ignore it and people arrested constitute a particular proportion of the population. I have never been arrested for eg. and neither can I think offhand of anyone I know who has been.

    Oh yes, the other problem with England and Wales is that you can get arrested for, well, just because. The anti-terror legislation is so wide and the ability of the police to decide your demo is 'illegal' so seemingly spontaneous that doing anything other than keeping your head down and being a good consumer is grounds for arrest. People stood watching demos have been arrested, which means their data is on the database.

    DNA is not dangerous, it is what you do with it that is. Be interesting to see which countries the Nats take their model from.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Oh yes, the other problem with England and Wales is that you can get arrested for, well, just because.

    Yes, and we shouldn't forget that the NZ Police have at least their fair share of lying bullshit artists, and power-hungry rule-mad freaks. And that many of even the most minor and trifling offences are "potentially imprisonable."

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    "There are some people who look at a glass and say it's half-empty. Others say it's half full. And some folks only see something else to throw on the floor and break."

    Context is everything. The glass is half full/empty but of what?
    If it's whiskey, thank you very much. If it's water, oh well.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • JLM,

    My new conspiracy theory after listening to Rodney grandstanding about the ETS - ACT's role this term will be to keep the things about MMP that people seem to dislike most about it - "tail-wagging", etc - in public view so the anti MMP vote prevails in the the 2011 referendum. It wouldn't do to show MMP actually working as it should!

    ACT supports MMP in theory, but I bet they support right wing hegemony more, and would be happy to be subsumed into National and pull it rightwards.

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 241 posts Report Reply

  • Eleanor,

    is Annette the next sacrificial woman?

    This has nothing to do with the fact that Annette King is a woman, and a little to do with the fact that she is now 2iC in the Labour Party. Her 36 year political career shows some very senior appointments but is remarkably short of highlights, or any specific gutsy decision-making that I can find evidence of, or that you have pointed out verbwangle.

    I understand loyalty and I understand how worthy it is to build a strong team around you. But when her supporters are queried as to any excellent policy that Annette King has implemented, instigated or even initiated, it proves to be too much of a challenge.

    True, I have a major bug bear: I support regulation of complementary and natural health products. It makes complete sense in the interest of good healthcare.

    Yet through her condescending wringing of hands from a high horse from which professional practitioners, consumers and business people were not consulted or informed during ANZTPA development – and in fact we were belittled and under-estimated by her own office – King completely and utterly botched it.

    What an enormous waste of energy and time went into a failed process.

    I would like to admire her, I would like to support her, and I even thought at one stage it would be great if she stood for Mayor of Wellington. But then I applied a tiny bit of scrutiny, and drew a blank. She is simply taken for granted - and that lack of reasoning is questionable.

    wellington • Since May 2007 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    rb:

    Labour's swift change of guard has raised the stakes

    hmmm... are you convinced goff will still be leader come 2011?

    traditionally the person appointed shortly after an election loss ends up bumped in time to bring in new blood.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    "There are some people who look at a glass and say it's half-empty. Others say it's half full. And some folks only see something else to throw on the floor and break."

    Context is everything. The glass is half full/empty but of what?
    If it's whiskey, thank you very much. If it's water, oh well.

    I believe you'll both find that the liquid storage medium is precisely twice as large as is required.

    (nerd jokes. I've gottem)

    re: DNA. If the sample is destroyed if there is no charge laid, I would be a lot more comfortable with it than if it was stored 'just in case'. If that's a route the powers that be want to take to a logical conclusion, why not take a sample from every new-born child, just in case?

    Since 'cognitive dissonance' seems to be the phrase of the day, I for one find it rather odd that the same people who bleat about the worst excesses of the nanny state are (generally speaking) those who are most comfortable with some of it's more feral manifestations.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    That's as close to a Police State as I think NZ's come. I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

    Paul: In June this year, I wrote a PAR piece excoriating the Criminal Procedure Bill -- which passed with both National and Labour's support for various provisions I found severely rank. Canning deposisitons hearings, majority verdicts, weakening the concept of double jeopardy. sigh...

    I know Laura Norder is one hell of a _femme fatale__ who always slinks into view in election year, and while I'd avoid the hyperbole about a "police state" the passage of that bill was nothing to celebrate.

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

  • Rich Lock,

    DNA evidence would be rather easy to plant, much easier then finger prints and even criminals could easily do the planting (for a variety of reasons).

    I'm not sure about the planting bit. Do you have a source?

    However, crims in the UK are now well aware of the power of DNA evidence, and will routinely attempt to muddy the waters as much as possible. For example, it is now more or less a standard trick to empty the contents of publicly used ashtrays (or similar) into car ashtrays in order to disguise the occupancy/user trail.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    Since 'cognitive dissonance' seems to be the phrase of the day, I for one find it rather odd that the same people who bleat about the worst excesses of the nanny state are (generally speaking) those who are most comfortable with some of it's more feral manifestations.

    you mean such as farmers who bleat about dole bludgers, then demand govt money whenever that have bad flooding/drought/poor markets/etc?

    </pet peeve>

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    why not take a sample from every new-born child, just in case?

    We already do. It's called the heel prick test. We've been storing blood from every newborn dried on a card since the 1970s. As far as I know there has never been any intention to analyse their DNA for criminal identification though.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But it's just a media observation.

    Fair enough, as far as it goes -- but let me put it this way: You could always depend on Tony Blair on get the presentation slick as a well-buttered pole dancer, but how often was the substance infinitely more troubling? I'm just not fussed about fancy pageant walking, which Key can learn just as Clark did. Easy to forget that she wasn't exactly the most confident or sure-footed media performer for a long time.

    And would you want to get in Tariana Turia's face: "Darling, you look fabulous-ish! Kiss-kiss! Here's your mark, this is your script, shoulders back and tits out!"

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

  • Che Tibby,

    It's called the heel prick test. We've been storing blood from every newborn dried on a card since the 1970s.

    i've heard there is a *very* strong lobby to not use the heel prick for criminal proceedings. wish i could remember where i heard it though.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Dinah Dunavan,

    Did anyone else hear the conservative commentator on National Radio this morning saying he thought Palin, when describing Obama as "cool", meant "cool as in Fonzi"?

    Even I am too young to have ever thought Fonzi was cool. Maybe that's why McCain lost, those Republicans still think "cool" is a character in a 70s sitcom. Sheesh.

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Everyones cool in ALaska though. Positively chillin.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Interesting to hear on Morning Report this morning, the feature on Asian Expectations. There is a belief that National will keep the promises to clean up the streets of South Auckland so that dairy owners will feel safe. They expect that there will be quick action.
    What has been Helen's call? "Under promise. Over deliver."

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    andrew: if Palin is taken as the representative example, they jus' be so chillin, they even be mentally chillun.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1940 posts Report Reply

  • Jono,

    I was talking to a ex-policeman colleague yesterday and he mentioned the very, very, very high bar that was set for a case he was involved in where they didnt have the body and needed the heel-prick blood to match with (presumably, as he didnt go into details) other crime scene evidence.

    Did this also happen in regard to the Sounds homicide?

    Whangarei • Since Oct 2008 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    So the devil will be in the details. DNA is just too damn useful for the police to ignore it and people arrested constitute a particular proportion of the population. I have never been arrested for eg. and neither can I think offhand of anyone I know who has been.

    I agree the matter's not simple and that there's arguments in favour, but I remain concerned about the potential that the sampling breaches pretty fundamental principals of natural justice. It was for this reason I noted National's approach - to counter Craig's criticisms of Goff. Arrests might not be lightly made, but they don't determine guilt and precede even a charge. That hoary old presumption of innocence seems compromised to me.

    Paul: In June this year, I wrote a PAR piece excoriating the Criminal Procedure Bill -- which passed with both National and Labour's support for various provisions I found severely rank. Canning deposisitons hearings, majority verdicts, weakening the concept of double jeopardy. sigh...

    The link's not working Craig. However, I wasn't arguing that Labour wasn't pretty tough on criminal justice, they are, but I don't think a party proposing three strikes or life meaning life can hope to claim the moral high ground.

    __It's called the heel prick test. We've been storing blood from every newborn dried on a card since the 1970s.__

    i've heard there is a *very* strong lobby to not use the heel prick for criminal proceedings. wish i could remember where i heard it though.

    They do that here in Australia, at least NSW, too. I'd be interested to hear the arguments. I'd've thought the fact that they are provided only to do genetic screening, that they are taken without informed consent __of the individua__l and that the individual in question could not possibly have mens rea or actus reus might be sufficient?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    @ Eleanor

    But when her supporters are queried as to any excellent policy that Annette King has implemented,

    Land Transport Amendment Act, Electoral Finance Act, She wasn't popular with either of those but was able to weather the storm by opposition and the media.She also proved with the EFA that a majority of the House was in support which shows ability to engage other parties. I think that gives her skills. I vaguely remember her even working together with Chris Finlayson on a Law bill but can't remember off hand but point being, if she managed that, she probably is capable.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Lockwood Smith to be Speaker? Well I guess he's been round long enough to understand teh rules, and this way he gets kept out of policy...

    And they reckon Key'll take Welfare off Collins - please please please...

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/vote08/4757899a28477.html

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Ah - Helen's gone, Judith's gone - is Annette the next sacrificial woman?

    Oh dear, another outbreak of Clinton-Palin Syndrome, whose symptoms include opportunistic and fatuous cries of "sexist" and "mysoginist" when faced with uncomfortable scrutiny. It doesn't only insult the intelligence, but it also trivialises the real challenges women face in public life. Read the Tale of The Little Shepherd Who Cried Wolf three times a day, before meals, and don't call me if symptoms persist.

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

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