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.
In which Paula Bennett says: “We will not tolerate any meth use in HNZ properties,”
Sounds like more than just taking advice and makes a lie of the claims that they couldn’t influence HNZ. Deflect and deny! Awful.
I think the answer is much more likely to be in the entrenched risk aversion of the Wellington bureaucracy rather than in any nefarious scheme.
I was watching the interview with Judith Collins from Breakfast this morning (from this article) where she is saying that the Minister couldn't possibly question the HNZ experts and this is exactly what I was thinking.
In my experience, public servants are trained to be risk averse above all else. This risk aversion falls down a little when the claim after the fact is that the Minister was "just taking advice". Although I'm sure it helps that Judith Collins can now pass the blame onto someone else.
This RMA hypocrisy is astounding but not surprising. I guess they’re just showing that only rich people should benefit from “freedom”.
I’ve got no comment on the Budget or Grant Robertson yet, but I can’t believe anyone ever took Steven Joyce seriously as Finance Minister. I always just saw him as the Minister for Getting National Re-Elected.
I'm feeling pretty angry about this even though it's on the other side of the world. I've been back living in NZ for five years now but spent the previous five years living in Shepherds Bush, not far at all from this fire.
I don't really know what to do with my anger so thought I'd write a comment here.
It feels like a tower block in a modern rich country just shouldn't go up in flames from what was probably a small house fire. You see the Daily Mail and the Sun headlines for years where the talk about "health and safety gone mad". Governments that continually talk about cutting regulation and red-tape.
We forget, until a tragedy like this happens, but this is the reason that regulations and health and safety exist. They were born out of tragedy but then slowly die from neglect.
We hear about "personal responsibility" from certain politicians when they try to cut services. It often feels like the mantra of personal responsibility only cuts one way though. Anyone responsible for this might receive a stern talking to after years of inquiry. The victims are dead or homeless. Senseless tragedy.
Even Theresa May was diminishing any sort of responsibility here with what I thought was a very wishy-washy statement about maybe investigating something in a while and maybe learning something from it.
It's obviously early in the process so unclear what caused the fire and what caused it to spread so quickly, but it is apparent that something has gone badly wrong, either by accident or by negligence. The company responsible for the refit of the building has come out pretty quickly to say that they were totally following the regulations.
I've definitely notice this getting worse in the past couple of months.
The nuber of times recently when I'll open a "geographically anonymous" story with an interesting headline, only to close it moments later because it's either from somewhere I don't care about, like Hicksville, Arkansas, or it's from the Daily Mail.
This strategy might be getting them clicks in the short term but if it leaves readers disappointed it won't work in the long term. It is already putting me off, and I can't be the only one.
Here's my take: Politicians lie. They are known liars, being as trust-worthy as real estate agents and car salesmen. Because of this when a lie is exposed, no one cares because they all do it. Or they were misquoted. Or they didn't understand the question. Or they were misinformed.....
The polls don't change in the event of lies because if my blue (or red or green) politician is found to have lied, the voter won't immediately switch to support red or green, they'll just tell themselves that the other side lies too so it's all ok.
And if politicians aren't lying then they are telling half the truth. Think about the debate about health spending: National says they are spending more than ever on health, Labour says that health spending is not keeping up with inflation and population growth. Both statements are truth but both only tell half the story.
Do politicians actually lie more now, or do they just get found out more?
I'm so old I remember when public address wasn't Rob Salmond's personal NATIONAL IS BAD MMMKAY blog
I like Rob's articles much better when they don't seem like they have come from the printing presses of Labour's PR dept.
There is some good analysis and description of the issues here but I feel like many of his articles would be more at home on the Labour Party blog than on PA.
In terms of the actual Treasury estimates, the one I find most laughable it the expectation that net immigration will fall to 12,000 from 68,000 within three years. John Key keeps touting the immigration figure as a measure of his government's success. An 80% fall in immigration without any policy change seems like a joke.
Thanks for your considered response here. I've definitely seen that this is something that you're passionate about.
Unfortunately, the mere fact that these drugs (cannabis and anything else that might be useful medically) are illegal hampers any efforts at research and clouds any judgement about their use.
Hopefully we're slowly moving to a place where drug efficacy becomes the issue rather than legality. I'm hopeful that things have changed at least a little but the wheels move slowly.