Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Dirty Politics

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  • Neil,

    It’s interesting that Ross is using Slater to do the dirty work. But he has had such a hard time poor thing. Slater may get to be expendable though if Craig gets involved funding a new party.

    The latest according to Slater’s fantasies is that sometime on Saturday evening Ross had some sort of serious incident – one presumes he treatened to self harm. (All that stress from people saying he harassed women gets to a guy after a while. Maybe needed a few drinks). Then either Ross or a friend, aka Slater, with him at the time rings for help – not the community mental health urgent response team, not the police, not Ross’ psychiatrist – no, they ring one of the women who he has harrassed and whose txt he will release to the media to try and discredit her.

    Then, apparently, she rings someone in the National Party who in turn rings Ross’ psychiatrist who does – nothing. So it’s then supposedly left to someone in National to do at least something so they phone the Police who presumably do a safety check which is what they would do in that situation.

    It’s hard to believe any of that but if true then the only person who acted in Ross’ interest was a National Party person – not any of his friends -and they did not, and never could have, have him placed under the act. They just asked the police to check up on him. The Police then may have involved mental health services.

    But until Ross gives the media the appropriate mental health documentation he will have in his possession it’s all pretty murky. But that’s how he wants it.

    Since Nov 2016 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Neil,

    They just asked the police to …

    Which would look less suspicious if National didn’t already have form for "just asking" the police to handle things for them, and being willingly accommodated even to the point of proven illegality (e.g. against Hager).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1940 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Neil,

    Meanwhile he releases private information to undermine the women he abused.

    while that may have been the intent of both Jami-Lee Ross and the ’supporter of the Botany MP with his permission’, the wider outcome is arguably that in the public eye its greatest impact would have been neutralising extant question marks hanging over the National Party:

    Even if Ross is banished, those people are still working to protect their own. Many in the National Party knew about Ross’ abuse, but didn’t do anything about it, because mistreating women is generally something to be ignored or suppressed unless your institution is going to end up looking bad.

    Displacing burgeoning calls for deeper interrogation of the culture of toxic masculinity in Parliament:

    If people can guess, ima little p*ssed at dominant privileged voices skipping over the racism and the sexual abuse at play in my workplace, long a problem but only recently spotlighted, as if it ain’t part of the ‘game’. This is real peoples lives we’re not talking about. FFS.

    By painting the issue as being to some degree reciprocal:

    The text – released on the same day that the National Party said it would review its culture – includes a slew of abuse and personal insults about Mr Ross’ appearance and personality.

    My impression of that news item – and I’m happy to be corrected – was that it was unprecedented – both in terms of the SOB running the story as a matter of ’public interest’ and the selectivity of the censorship.

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

  • mark taslov,

    More reformed Dirty Politics conduit David Fisher authors competing albeit remodelled version of Whale Oil’s story – “discovered” – “from a range of sources” – no names - more or less completely exonerates the National Party of any wrongdoing – hatchet job on Dirty Politics insider Slater.

    In the same edition as somewhat less reformed Dirty Politics conduit Matthew Hooton authors hatchet job on Ross masquerading as opinion piece about career politicians and reviving civic engagement.

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

  • mark taslov, in reply to Neil,

    Then, apparently, she rings someone in the National Party who in turn rings Ross’ psychiatrist

    Noting that elements of your version correspond closely with testimony from all sources to date – in your position as a mental health expert – with regard to Fisher’s depiction of "The urgency of the situation", would there be any scenario where it might be recommended procedure to initially contact work colleagues when presented with immediate threats to a patient’s wellbeing or is contacting mental health services/police directly always the best course of action?

    I note that health.govt.nz (pdf) states:

    If they need urgent help

    If someone has attempted suicide or you’re worried about their immediate safety, do the following.

    Call your local mental health crisis assessment team or go with them to the emergency department (ED) at your nearest hospital.
    If they are an immediate physical danger to themselves or others, call 111.
    Remain with them and help them to stay safe until support arrives.
    Try to stay calm and let them know you care.
    Keep them talking: listen and ask questions without judging.

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

  • Neil, in reply to linger,

    That bit turns out to be part of Slater’s fantasy.

    The Herald reports it was Ross’ psychologist – not anyone in National – who rang the police. National had rung the psychologist to inform them of the txt Ross had sent.

    It doesn’t look as though the mental health act was ever implemented – he was likely never “sectioned”. The psychologist could have done the 8(a) but not the 8(b). The first time he saw a medical practitioner who could was at the hospital. Without the 8(b) it would be police doing a welfare ckeck.

    The idea the National could have used the act to have Ross detained was always a nonsense – the act does not provide for that but far more significantly the allegation called into question the integrity of mental health professionals.

    Some knowlege of the acute mental health services would have made all that clear.

    Since Nov 2016 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Here’s some apparent context to National’s involvement

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    I was under the impression that mental health treatment is the domain of psychiatry, not psychology. So why a psychologist is involved seems odd.

    Anyway use of the privacy law to prevent actual facts of the situation emerges reduces media and public debate to speculation and conspiracy theorising. All good fun, but it would be better for freedom of information law to prevail over privacy law in cases where the latter is used to prevent allaying of public concerns about the disempowering of a parliamentarian operating as whistleblower. The public interest ought to be paramount.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Public interest is weighed up against personal privacy interests by certain officers of government and courts and media under specific legislative frameworks.

    Commenters on blogs are not part of that. I for one feel relieved not to carry all the corresponding obligations.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Neil,

    I’m not sure if my posts are showing up, but as ‘sectioned’ has only appeared in quotation marks in every news headline in which it’s featured that prospect had remained moot. That National could have *used* the police rather than the act itself was more my interpretation of linger’s point given how routine these types of callouts are.

    Police officers attended almost 35,000 mental health callouts this past year; 14,491 mental health incidents and 19,672 attempted or threatened suicides. That’s about 94 jobs every day,

    So given your knowledge of acute mental health services is there any precedent/official advice with regard to my question above?

    ETA Dennis Frank and Sacha’s posts only just showed up for me 4 minutes into editing this (which I assume may also be why Paul linked to the same story) so there may be some tech issues worth looking into.

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

  • Neil, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    I was under the impression that mental health treatment is the domain of psychiatry, not psychology. So why a psychologist is involved seems odd.

    There’s quite a range of professions that can offer mental health services - psychologists, social workers, counsellors, occupational therapists, nurses for example.

    The critical difference is only psychiatrists can place people under the mental health act.

    Since Nov 2016 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to mark taslov,

    So given your knowledge of acute mental health services is there any precedent/official advice with regard to my question above?

    Anyone can ask the police to do a welfare check on someone - that is not part of the mental health act and cannot in itself result in some one being admitted or placed under the act.

    The ability of the police to uplift someone from their home under the act is tightly constrained. It has to be done with the involvement of mental health professionals who must examine the person first.

    There has to be good cause to believe that a person has a mental disorder before the mental health act is activated and the police can then be asked to assist, if necessary, in transporting the person to a place for assessment.

    Since Nov 2016 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Neil sorry there appears to be some glitch in the site today, to be clear this was the question:

    Then, apparently, she rings someone in the National Party who in turn rings Ross’ psychiatrist

    Noting that elements of your version correspond closely with testimony from all sources to date – in your position as a mental health expert – with regard to Fisher’s depiction of “The urgency of the situation”, would there be any scenario where it might be recommended procedure to initially contact work colleagues when presented with immediate threats to a patient’s wellbeing or is contacting mental health services/police directly always the best course of action?

    I note that health.govt.nz (pdf) states:

    If they need urgent help

    If someone has attempted suicide or you’re worried about their immediate safety, do the following.

    • Call your local mental health crisis assessment team or go with them to the emergency department (ED) at your nearest hospital.

    • If they are an immediate physical danger to themselves or others, call 111.

    • Remain with them and help them to stay safe until support arrives.

    • Try to stay calm and let them know you care.

    • Keep them talking: listen and ask questions without judging.

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

  • Neil, in reply to mark taslov,

    Hi Mark, I work in the field but wouldn’t call myself an expert necessarily.

    It depends on the content of the txt the female MP received. If it said I’m going to kill myself now then the best course of action would be to ring the police immediately.

    But we don’t know the content of the txt. We do know however that Ross came to no harm and was assessed with some alacrity at a mental health unit which is good evidence the actions taken by the MP were appropriate to the level of concern raised by the txt.

    Informing Ross’ psychologist so they could take action was a sensible thing to do.

    It would be informative to know the content of the txt and if Slater was present when it was sent. Given that the following day, when he had been admitted, Ross released a private txt to try to damage the reputation of the very woman he had reached out to supposedly for help, one has to wonder what his motive for the txt really was.

    Since Nov 2016 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Neil,

    We do know however that Ross came to no harm

    Thank you Neil, though I’d generally favour leaving an assessment of harm to qualified medical health professionals on hand and/or the patient themselves.

    The reason I asked is that we’ve heard *a lot* about respecting Jami-Lee Ross’s privacy over the last week so I’m trying to establish whether a patient actually has any right of privacy at all in these types of circumstances or whether the protections are so toothless that a member of the public - on encountering an individual so distressed that further action is required - might be fully entitled to contact whoever they wish in lieu of the emergency services suggested above, which may include informing a political party, regardless of whether there might be a clearly established conflict of interest in terms of them receiving this type of sensitive information. Would it be correct to surmise that no such protections exist?

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

  • linger,

    I.e., can a random member of the public, who has been freely given private information by the individual concerned, in the absence of any explicit confidentiality conditions (*), be subject to laws preventing dissemination of private information? Probably not – because the member of the public would then have no statutory duty of stewardship of that information. The presumption is that the individual waived privacy for that information by voluntarily sharing it outside a protected domain. Which is admittedly problematic if that individual’s judgement was impaired at the time.

    (* As distinct from information held about individuals under conditions of client confidentiality, e.g. in legal or medical domains; and also as distinct from private information unlawfully obtained.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1940 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to linger,

    a random member

    Though I assume the answers would likely be the same – this wasn’t my emphasis. I was thinking more along the lines of the road code – how in the case of a crash which involved injury or even without injury in some cases – reporting the incident to the police is mandatory or face a $5000 fine.

    Whereas what we see here in the alleged instance of a potential harm is that people are entitled to contact "whoever they wish in lieu of the emergency services" – i.e not contact emergency services at all.

    I used ‘member of the public’ as opposed to ‘Member of Parliament’ to speculate on how this type of situation might pan out in the private sector, not a random member of the public but a colleague of the patient.

    i.e. if two people are working for e.g. a corporation whose leadership had just that week gone against medical advice in publicly naming the patient as a whistleblower, which led to the whistleblower then formally bringing allegations of a criminal nature to police, which the police are currently investigating, which led to further attempts by the corporation to attempt to publicly smear the whistle blower, which led to further escalation in the patient/whistleblower’s mental health state, which culminated in the patient sending a message "of concern" to the colleague:

    is the colleague fully indemnified in ignoring what might be widely considered reasonably held concerns as to the corporation’s “interest” in the patient’s wellbeing and the seriousness of the police investigation and completely within their rights in not bothering to inform authorities but instead notifying a member of their corporation, despite knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that the corporation is not – to put it euphemistically – working in the patient’s best interests?

    if serious injury or loss of life had ensued – how liable is a colleague if it were proven that this loss of life etc might have been avoided had they made contact with the authorities directly rather than placing that information in the hands of the corporation to use as nefariously as was adjudged commercially necessary under the circumstances?

    TLDR: if someone threatens suicide, are members of the public in any way obligated to contact authorities directly (and to ensure authorities are contacted) or is the law just kind of cool if we leave it to a mate to sort out and take their word that that’s what they did?

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

  • linger,

    Thanks for the clarification.
    As far as I am aware, there is no requirement for an untrained member of the public to specifically inform emergency services, and only emergency services, about a possible risk of suicide, unless some wider public danger is posed. Somebody receiving a suicide threat probably should contact whomever they believe is most likely to be able to successfully negotiate with that individual. Depending on the individual, that may very well not be the authorities.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1940 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to linger,

    True, thank you linger.

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

  • John Farrell,

    More echoes of the past - hacked emails allowed in health experts defamation case.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12165249

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to John Farrell,

    and here at Stuff:
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/108837888/whaleoil-suffers-new-setback-in-defamation-case

    originally from Newsroom:
    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/11/23/334667/whaleoil-and-peters-lawyer-suffer-setback-in-defamation-case

    I assume the Herald article is all their own work , but do note the difference in the two stories as to how long Graham and Slater would be required to be at court / on the stand:
    NZH: "He said the pair would be required to take the stand for up to an hour during trial."
    Newsroom: "The most efficient way of eliciting answers was for Graham and Slater to "attend court for up to one day to be orally examined.""

    When can we start chanting "Lock 'em up!"

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to mark taslov,

    Attachment

    Zhang Yikun with Andrew Little, Phil Twyford, Raymond Huo and Phil Goff.

    Again returning to Anne-Marie Brady’s point:

    “We need to upskill our local politicians and our national politicians in our public sector. In the ‘abc’ of the Chinese party state, we’ve got to be able to engage with China and understand it, but also recognise the risks.”

    and additionally:

    "One of the things we need to do in New Zealand is to start to see China the way it really is.

    One might expand that to also include local media vis a vis this paragraph from Tracey Watkin’s Friday article for Stuff.co.nz Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s on again, off again trip to China off again:

    The Chinese Government will see the change of government here as being less friendly to its interests than the previous National government, in particular the Labour-NZ First coalition’s moves on foreign house buyers, which it will see as directly targeting Chinese investors.

    Which does again highlight an absolute lack of understanding of the economic conditions and motivations of New Zealand’s largest trading partner as I mentioned a few pages back:

    the heightened specificity of the messaging could be construed as conforming to CCP policy, in tandem with the PRC Government’s insubstantive domestic attempts to crack down on the exodus of capital:

    This background – that the CCP is against rather than for the exodus of capital by individuals – is widely accessible:

    "The improvement in China’s foreign exchange reserves in July reflects the ramping up of efforts by Chinese authorities to curb capital outflows,” said IHS Markit Asia Pacific economist Rajiv Biswas. The government has been “clamping down on corporate outbound merger and acquisition deals, as well as tougher regulations on private individual remittances for foreign property purchases."

    There’s little one can suggest other than to read about it:

    What Is the Problem?

    The outflows have put significant pressure on the Chinese renminbi, eroding financial confidence and forcing the government to dip into its reserves to shore up the currency. The reserves increased modestly in March, suggesting a small improvement in the situation.

    Obviously the general population is more likely to pay credence to – checks notes – Stuff.co.nz’s Political Editor than a layperson – which is incidentally why I assume my considerably more generous comment was erm moderated from the Stuff website – moderation of factually based political analysis online likewise being something the CCP might be seen as gravitating towards rather than against.

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

  • Alfie,

    Back to the original Dirty Politics crew for a moment...

    Cameron Slater has been left partially disabled following a stroke.

    As you were.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Stuff was providing a platform for Taxpayers' Union propaganda only yesterday. With no qualifications, no context - just a simple copy and paste.

    Don't expect that to change. They've been discredited so often and so comprehensively and editors still couldn't care less. The copy is free, and no other criteria are needed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

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