Blaming alcohol

June 18th, 2008 at 10:45 am by David Farrar

While there is no harm in a select committee inquiry into issues, the reality is that simply blaming South Auckland violence on the number of liquor outlets is, well, simplistic.

Whale Oil has done some research:

In Manurewa ward there are 33  off licence liquor outlets for a population of 80,000 or one booze outlet for 2400 citizens. H0wick has 22 off licence liquor outlets for a population of 40,000 or one booze outlet for 1800 citizens.Clevedon has 11 off licencecs for a population of 10,000 citizens or one for every 833 citizens.

Going by Clark’s ridiculous suggestion by rights there should be blood in the streets in Howick because of the higher booze outlets than Manurewa. Also going by Clark’s suggestion there should be three times as many bodies piling up in the streets of Clevedon than Manurewa.

Colin Espiner is also doubtful:

But I’m a little perplexed about Helen Clark’s decision to launch into the liquor industry. At her Monday post-Cabinet press conference Clark said she believed there were too many liquor outlets in Manurewa. That much most people seem to agree on. But she also said it was time to review the 1989 Sale of Liquor Act, which ushered New Zealand out of the dark ages of the bottle shop and into a more enlightened view of alcohol consumption, which was that supermarkets and dairies could sell wine and beer, but not hard liquor.

Since then the number of liquor outlets in New Zealand has almost doubled – hardly surprising, since every supermarket in the land now sells it. The Prime Minister says there is evidence of a causal link between density of liquor outlets and criminal activity. Therefore, she says, the density should be reduced.

What springs to mind when I hear this, however, is the old caution about not implying a causal relationship between two inter-related events. Is there more crime in suburbs with more liquor outlets because of the outlets? Or do the outlets naturally gravitate towards lower-socio economic areas where drinking is a way of life and there just happens to be more crime?

I’m not saying alcohol doesn’t cause huge harm in society – most people accept it does. But it is also something that is hugely enjoyed by a majority of the adult population. It is our social lubricant, whether we like it or not. Whether or not it should be is another question. Personally I would find life pretty wretched without a glass of wine at the end of the day, but I’m not into binge drinking.

But whether or not we as a society have a problem with alcohol – and if we do, how you solve it – isn’t something that can be tackled by some knee-jerk crackdown on liquor outlets.

Reduce the number of liquor outlets and you will make it harder for people to grab a bottle of wine or a six pack, but I suspect will make no difference at all to those with alcohol and violence issues.

If there is an inquiry I hope they will look at actual facts and figures such as how much alcohol is purchased at various off licenses. I suspect people will find the corner dairy doesn’t really sell a significant amount of alcohol compared to the dedicated bottle stores.

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46 Responses to “Blaming alcohol”

  1. labrator (1,846 comments) says:

    Well we’ve got the Labour inquiry, expect a website informing you which suburbs have the most number of liquor outlets in them and an advertising campaign telling you to demand that the next suburb you move into has no liquor outlets in it. It’s the Labour triple whammy for voter concerns: inquiry, website and adverts.

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  2. ghostwhowalks3 (387 comments) says:

    You forget that in Manurewa or Otara every corner shopping block with a dairy and so on has a liquor shop there. As the large malls made the local butcher, greengrocer etc redundant there shops are turned into liquor outlets.

    Plus clevedon is a huge sprawling rural area from the outskirts of Takanini all the way to Orere Pt. They dont have a bottle shop every kilometre like manurewa does.
    from memory Clevedon township has about 2 outlets and the next ones are 10-15Km away at Maraetai and another at Kawakawa Bay

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  3. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    Since the logic is obviously flawed, the conclusion is that the Labour Party think Pacific Islanders/Maori can’t handle their booze because they are pacific Islanders/Maori. Is it racism?

    Just off hand it reminds me of the forward to that great leftist tome: The Hollow Men. How the left love to publicly endorse every aspect of that book of truth. Interestingly, the foreward that they endorse says that men lie more often than women because they are men. Is it sexist?

    Are the Labour party Racist and sexist?

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  4. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Yes more the lets punish the good people whilst ignoring the bad people.

    If any of you Socilaist Goons need an example of politically correct then here it is

    Ambulance at the bottom of the cliff / being seen to be doing something.

    the rot started with the Norm Kirk Socialist governemnt in 1972 36 years ago and its going to take at least that amount of time to fix the problem

    the kirk government started the policy of individuals no longer hav ing to take responsibility for their action or their families actions.

    It promised a free ride in exchange for signing up to family destruction and other social engineering.

    It encouraged bad behaviour anti social behaviour. It empowered certain ethnic groups to see themelves elevated above the rest of society and being owed everything and anything they desired.

    the grand experiment failed and its architects including Clark Cullen et at are the culprits and singularly responsible for the mess we are in today

    They were warned and they ignored advice We now pay the price of their criminal negligence.

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  5. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    Quite how restricting the amount of liqour outlets is going to stop nutcases busting into retail outlets and murdering shopkeepers in cold blood is beyond me…

    If this murder had happened in a bank would there be calls to restrict banks in poorer neighborhoods, as criminals obviously want money, and we all “know” lack of money leads to crime.

    This whole thing screams of Dog Microchipping again.

    Nothing to see here, move along, smokescreen time..

    As I’ve said time and time again, half of these shops wouldn’t exist if spirits were allowed to be sold in supermarkets. They simply wouldn’t be able to compete – and the best bit, supermarkets tend to have decent security, be safer, and do a comparitively better job in checking ID.

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  6. Sam (498 comments) says:

    There is a bigger picture here, which is informed by the fact that we are highly mobile and liquour is always available elsewhere (or are there further probitive announcements to come…)

    It is pretty absurd given the push for environmental responsibility (and our Kyoto commitments) that we introduce new legislation that forces consumers to drive further to get their desired outlets…

    Mind you, Key will no doubt jump on the band/wagon with this move also…

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  7. dave (986 comments) says:

    If there is an inquiry I hope they will look at actual facts and figures such as how much alcohol is purchased at various off licenses.
    Perhaps they should also look at the types of people who are likely to frequent bottle stores. Its not the white, well heeled rich who buy booze in supermarkets. Then look at the types of people who have broken into bottle stores, stolen booze, assaulted or killed the owners over the past six our so years.

    I’ve done a little review myself.
    All are either Maori or Pacific Islanders
    . And probably poor. Some were out on parole.

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  8. tim barclay (886 comments) says:

    This is a disgrace from a person who has been Prime Minister for 9 years AND this is all a political party can come up with after taking political support from a community for over 70 years. The Labour Party comes up with reducing the number of liquor outlets. Whoop de do. Go Labour Party.

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  9. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    dave how dare you make such ‘cough’ racist remarks Forget that the facts are the facts You should know that in our politically correct and culturally senstive society speaking the truth will cause great harm to the perpertrators.

    I must ask that you refrain If as you alledge they are of ‘cough’ a non white Anglo Saxon origin then you must understand their actions are all the fault of the WAS who have traumitised them since TOW times and so they are suffering post traumatic TOW stress disorder.

    I know this cause Pita and Turia told me so.

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  10. Steve Withers (98 comments) says:

    DPF: I agree that the approach is simplistic. It seems to be a confusion of aims based on a further confusion of causes.

    Anyone who has lived in the Canadian province of Ontario, where all booze is sold via a government monopoly, will know that having fewer outlets does result in less drinking. The queues can be long, the stores distant, the product expensive (monopoly) and then there is the legal issue of how to deal with the empties: You have to return them for a refund of the deposit, but only to designated return points which are often further away than the liquor store. As of last year, kerb-side re-cyclers won’t take the glass you’re meant to be returning……and so on.

    Did I mention that in tougher neighbourhoods the LCBO (as they are called) stores have at least two uniformed security guards wearing bullet proof vests?

    I never drank so little in all my life.

    Having said that, murderous f-wits will get their booze any way they can. Never mind the CHEAPEST way is to just make it with yeast, sugar and something to ferment. Instead, they go shoot someone. These are deeply, deeply stupid people.

    The real problem is WHY they are murderous F-wits….and that one is more complicated to untangle while arguably being the most productive long term avenue for action. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help much with the soon-to-be-murderous f-wits waiting in the wings right now.

    What struck me while working in prisons was what incredibly stupid people most of these murderers are. When looking for killers in booze store shoot-ups, you will rarely find any sane ones with two clues to rub together. When profiling likely murderers, a good place to start would be the people who crash out of school early and head off into the haze of dope, booze and P and petty crime / burglaries that awaits many school leavers.

    Maybe dropping out of school should attract an indefinite sentence inside a special place for stupid people who haven’t broken any laws yet…..until they stop being stupid.

    It would at least be cutting to the chase in many cases for those remain forever stupid despite all encouragement not to be.

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  11. Neil (571 comments) says:

    I come from” arse town country”,as one blogger on this website described us in the Otago-Southland area.
    News lately has focussed on Manurewa and Manukau, people being very particular not to put a particular non PC vent on the whole place.
    To be frank, migrants from the Maori and Pacific Islands community with little in the way of a reading culture, mixed with other ethnic groups makes a toxic mix. Single parent families, large families and a general break down plus the presence of alcohol and get rich quick operations like gambling, make these areas no go areas for the general population. Just like in the ethnic areas of London.
    New Zealanders are at the crossroads in this global movement of peoples. Do we allow ethnic bastions to develop or do we try to create one country ?
    I know that my little town has security and a feeling of togetherness. Crime is relatively low.People care for each other and relate to each other. Mightn’t have a lot of wine bars,al fresco dining or the yuppy night life. Whose priorities are right ?
    The city lights of Greater Auckland might glitter, however the community hearts seem polarised into their own little ghettoes. Is this the New Zealand we want ?

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  12. george (398 comments) says:

    Shamefully, John Key appears to accept Klark’s “argument”.

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  13. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    George

    “Shamefully, John Key appears to accept Klark’s “argument”.

    What did you expect from a socialist?, one day we may see the reemergence of the real National party, until then I have no time for them.

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  14. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    Maybe dropping out of school should attract an indefinite sentence inside a special place for stupid people who haven’t broken any laws yet…..until they stop being stupid

    I was going to suggest that such a place might be the Labour party.. but that wouldn’t work on account of the ‘haven’t broken any laws yet’ requirement :)

    Steve, I agree with the sentiment of your comment. The problem isn’t the alcohol; it’s the reckless disregard for societal responsibility in favour of a total focus on self at all costs. Training about this starts in the family… an endangered institution in my view.

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  15. first time caller (384 comments) says:

    The Labour party are so hollow with all this stuff. If you check out their blog thestandard.org.nz you will see they are promoting a group “Drinking Liberally”. This group has regular meetings, and I note Dr Cullen went to the last one.

    Quite ironic this week don’t you think???

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  16. Brian Smaller (4,025 comments) says:

    More paternalism from the left.

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  17. GPT1 (2,103 comments) says:

    Classic example of post hoc ergo propter hoc.

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  18. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    While there is no harm in a select committee inquiry into alcohol issues, the reality is that simply blaming South Auckland violence on the number of liquor outlets is, well, simplistic.

    It’s also the kind of paternalistic bullshit from Clark that John Key would be (quite rightly) pilloried for if he came up with musings about too many liquor outlets in ‘poor’ areas. I guess there it’s just different for your middle-class white constituents in Mount Albert, newly trendy Kingsland etc. and so on, Prime Minister? Firewater bad for the darkies and po’white trash who just can’t help themselves. Places like Parnell and Ponsonby full of trendy bars and licensed restaurants? That’s different.

    I’m not saying liquor licensing laws are holy writ (if my memory serves, there’s been one, perhaps two, full scale reviews since they were liberalised in 1989), but could we have a debate that’s got some reality in the room. I’ll also be interested to see whether district commanders will be summoned before the select committee (and a full press bench) to answer some tough questions about their enforcement of those laws already on the books. I understand the answers will be less than flattering.

    IMO, there’s been way too much politically opportunistic posturing from all sides over open graves for my liking. But, OTOH, if Clark doesn’t deliver Labour a 3-5 point poll bounce with posturing I dont’t think even she really believes, they’re beyond help. And that’s what really matters, isn’t it?

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  19. dave_c__ (49 comments) says:

    Typical Clark and her acolytes ! No matter how ridiculous she/they appear with knee jerk reaction stuff, if theres a hint of making a vote or two out of it, she’ll do it
    Time to remove such a simpleton

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  20. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    What is the main driver of violent crime in NZ?

    Alcohol?
    Soft sentencing?
    Poverty?
    Liberalised attitudes towards social responsibility?
    Poor education?
    Ghettoes?
    Gangsta-Rap?
    Easy jail time?

    Which of the above would you tackle first and why?
    Helen says it’s alcohol. I guess because all the others on the list have been erradicated or don;t count after nine years on her watch.
    Simplistic, easy, lazy, shoddy vote-catching election-year stuff.

    Lee – MWT

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  21. Steve Withers (98 comments) says:

    Craig Ranapia: When people selling booze are being shot up in Kingsland, I’m sure well see the same reactions, depending on who is doing the shooting. Does anyone have any stats on the ethnic make-up of people who kill hoteliers and liquor stores operators?

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  22. RRM (9,636 comments) says:

    I earn over the average wage, and I couldn’t afford to buy booze from the Shalimar (= local off-license dairy) regularly!

    Booze heads will find booze somewhere. Blaming shopkeepers for the behaviour of the scum of the earth is unfair.

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  23. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    Craig Ranapia: When people selling booze are being shot up in Kingsland, I’m sure well see the same reactions, depending on who is doing the shooting.

    Steve: Kingsland is gentrifying, but not quite Ponsonby or Grey Lynn yet. Some pretty rough streets around there, but I’ve yet to see any credible reports that am influx of trendy watering holes had lead to blood in the streets. Instead of getting into ethnic profiling, Steve, it might be more pertinent to ask exactly what hard data Clark based her assertion that there’s some causual relationship between the ‘density’ of liquor outlets in ‘poor’ neighbourhoods, and violent crime. And if that data exists, how about some critical analysis? You know, the kind of standards of evidence-based argument and policy analysis I’m sure Clark expected her students to meet when she was a junior poli sci lecturer.

    As I said, I’m still to be convinced that there’s more here than entirely opportunistic election year knee-jerking. Which would be bad enough, but it’s also happening over open graves. And that’s intolerable, in my book.

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  24. dave (986 comments) says:

    Does anyone have any stats on the ethnic make-up of people who kill hoteliers and liquor stores operators?
    Yes, I do.

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  25. Rex Widerstrom (5,327 comments) says:

    I used to work at a radio station that served Clevedon, Pukekohe etc. From memory they were a well behaved, bucolic and somewhat placid lot (they elected Bill Birch as their MP after all) and I suspect the main purpose of their alcohol purchases was to get their sisters drunk ;-)

    RRM says:

    Booze heads will find booze somewhere. Blaming shopkeepers for the behaviour of the scum of the earth is unfair.

    Exactly. Even in the supposedly secure confines of a prison. Not smuggled in but made on the premises. I was assured it was healthy, as it had been brewed in the same bucket used for disinfectant, amongst other things.

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  26. Mr Nobody NZ (397 comments) says:

    As somebody who lives in Manurewa what a load of crap.

    If politicians are serious about fixing the issues in South Auckland perhaps they could start by looking at the complete picture instead of one small component of the problem where they feel they can get quick and easy PR points

    Yes the amount of alcohol outlets in South Auckland is a problem however so is:
    - The amount of people collecting unemployment benfits
    - The amount of low decile schools in the area
    - Policing Levels
    - The sentences that offenders do receive if they’re ever caught

    Nobody I’ve spoken to locally about this honestly believes anything is going to get better following these crimes. We will see the politicians flit in and flit out to grab their photo ops, some inquiry launched and in 12 months time be told how much better everything is. In the meantime those of us who live here will continue to go to sleep with a baseball bat beside the pray nothing happens tonight and if it does that the cops might actually get there in a reasonable time frame.

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  27. Bob (495 comments) says:

    I thought Helen’s comments were a knee jerk reaction, seeming to be wanting to do something. At my local supermarket I rarely see rough looking young people buying up large on alcohol. It is mainly middle aged people with a bottle or two of wine and a dozen beer.

    Apart from that it has been shown that people who are not normally violence prone don’t become so after drinking too much. In South Auckland there is a culture of bad parenting, unstable families and criminal tendencies. All around the world there are the rough areas in cities. South Auckland is ours.

    Judging by the news media it seem a lot of Islanders are involved in crime. Why not deport them back to the islands and let their own people deal with them even if they have citizenship rights. Rights come with obligations. I’m beginning to think we should bring in caning like Singapore preferably in public.

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  28. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    I think HC is looking at the wrong target, as per. Instead of aiming at the poor independent grunts trying to make a buck in a tight market, she should be looking at supermarkets. There is no way that small retailers are able to offer the prices that supermarkets regularly do. Even the liquor chains can’t manage that, despite the fact that supermarkets were allowed to sell wine and beer back in 1999 on the condition that they didn’t use them as loss leaders and only sold them as accompaniments to food. Now there’s a Tui ad for you. The next step for the supermarkets is to sell spirits and you can’t tell me they won’t act in exactly the same way with whisky, vodka and gin as they do with, oh for example, a bottle of chardonnay that they shove out the door at $5.99. Or a dozen Heineken at $16.99. $20 bourbon, anyone? Even though the law has not yet been amended to allow supermarkets to sell spirits, they are already building new areas for liquor. Maybe they know something the rest of us don’t. So, by Christmas, we’ll be seeing RTDs at $5 a four-pack…Lovely, if you’re a 16-year-old arsewipe who likes to have a wee drink before causing mayhem.

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  29. Brian Smaller (4,025 comments) says:

    I am wondering where phuli, sonic and GWW are on this. Why aren’t they here defending Helen and her inherent racism (telling Maori’s and PI’s that they don’t know how to handle their liquor and need protecting by the Great White Memsahib).

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  30. dave (986 comments) says:

    Apparently the police arent too worried about the homicides, the top cop in the area says that police are in high spirits after the homicides, as crime has not increased.

    High spirits!!

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  31. Bykmad (20 comments) says:

    Mr Nobody NZ has hit the nail right on the head. Labour blame Alcohol because it is easy to hang on a hook and point at.
    Look at the root causes. Low Education, No Discipline, No self pride and No Consequences.
    There is onle one way to reverse this trend, but Labour and probably National if they win the election, will not introduce a policy of No Tolerance of ANY crime because to do so will cost a lot of money upgrading a poorly funded and understaffed Police Dept.

    NZ removed the Cane and the Strap from schools, now they have removed a parents ability to smack a misbehaving child.
    The next move has already beed raised by Police. They need to have armed Officers on the street 24 hours a day seven days a week to be able to respond adequately.

    This country may have been Godzone in the passed, now it is rapidly turning into Satans Hell, thanks to the pathetic Politicly Correct crap that has been put in place over the years.

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  32. Lucyna (35 comments) says:

    Socialism drives people to drink. I wrote a post about this three years ago. The most noble thing Helen Clark could do right now is call an election.

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  33. Murray (8,841 comments) says:

    Banks, what about banks?

    Clearly too many banks encourages armed robbery!

    We must restrict the number of banks.

    People must also be banned going shopping then walking to their cars, this encourages bag snatching.

    How out of bloody touch can this delinquent government get? Meanwhile Key is happy to just trail along being a pale version of this epic failure. Tell your boy to get hard or go home David.

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  34. dave (986 comments) says:

    Hey, in this debate/discussion, are we allowed to say that it is family breakdown and bad parenting that is the cause or a high contributing factor to all these social evils. Or is that as bad as stating that most people who rob liquor stores are Maori and Pacific Islanders and such discussions are a no go for politicians, much like discussions on reforming/upholding abortion laws….

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  35. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    Hey dave, most people who rob investors through white collar crime are, er, white, as are most serial killers and those who go on gun rampages.

    However in today’s namby pamby, political correct society you get slated as a racist for pointing out these simple facts!

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  36. Murray (8,841 comments) says:

    Show me when you have been called racist for this chronic.

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  37. LabourMustBeLiquidated (288 comments) says:

    Well, have to say I saw it coming. Pictures of diseased livers and vomit spattered drunks coming soon to a bottle of beer or wine near you. If its good enough for smoking then I guess drinking is the next “logical” extreme. And then it will be pictures of obese people and clogged arteries on Big Macs. And then…

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  38. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    Another joke goes spinning over our beloved Murray’s head.

    Ah well.

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  39. Steve Withers (98 comments) says:

    Craig Ranapia said:
    “As I said, I’m still to be convinced that there’s more here than entirely opportunistic election year knee-jerking. Which would be bad enough, but it’s also happening over open graves. And that’s intolerable, in my book.”

    I agree. I said in my original response to DPF that the most effective methods of preventing such killings (to the extent it is even possible) would be more complex and longer term.

    Also my question about what ethnic groups were killing hoteliers and liquor store operators was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, though I can understand why that failed to come across clearly. The killers clearly belong to Homo Dickheadus whatever their ethnic origin may *appear* to be.

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  40. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (858 comments) says:

    well the last poor woman murdered in the area ran a bakery – perhaps bakeries promote violence and should be banned too?

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  41. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (858 comments) says:

    shock horror, sonic shitstirs, pretends was joking…again

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  42. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    sonic so cleva.

    he should be a mod on substandard

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  43. Murray (8,841 comments) says:

    All accusation no follow through with the lameass I was only joking bail out attempt.

    You ARE the joke you sad little time and money wasting cubicle monkey.

    Are you utterly unaware that we’ve seen you before so many times that you’re just a cartoon character of all noise and no substance.

    Even other losers don’t want to paddle next to you in the shallow end of the gene pool.

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  44. JSF2008 (422 comments) says:

    TV 3 news tonight, the poor chinese lady , killed by the (BRAVE ) maori /islander, YOU have to be a stunch TOUGH worriar league lover to bash a 80 year old to death , ,i mean hell the rich chinese women could have knocked your side ways stunch baseball cape asquere ie straight ahead.This elderly lady survived the japanese occupation, but didnt survive the scum that live in south auckland the thrash maori/islander, welfare liarbour supporters,IF you work you dont have time to shot ,rape and kill ,opps a lot of maoris /islanders IF THEY DONT GET OF THEIR OBESE ARSES AND WORK ,seem to commit home invasions KILL THEIR WELFARE PAYMENTS(their kids) rape bash snatch purses, and run over the owners ROB, DRUGS . HELENS PARTY ,allows these fat scum to PARTY ON, helen wants to get rid of boose shops,i would say send the islanders back to the islands and maoris to their treaty settlement areas FUCK to these dumbies we are not living some cheap scene out of south LA,.IE gangster rap( IDIOT SHIT)
    SOME ONE HAS TO SPEAK OUT, NON PC ,and that is me , post and be damned,punish me

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  45. JSF2008 (422 comments) says:

    Im back from dog training and i see im not banned yet,i see on the xtra home page that the family of the elderly chinese lady are scared to go home. Isnt NZ falling into a state of dispair,under liarbour. does helen care, give the women a glass of merlot, a huge pile of letters to the editor TO READ, and 30 radios tuned to 1035 am WGTN(talkback), and cut back on treaty settlements till the first nation (maori) START BEHAVING LIKE A CIVILIZED PARTNER,alright bro?????
    WE are to scared to stick our heads up and say whats in front of our faces,IN CASE we are called racists,but hell its the truth and might hurt warts and alland all

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  46. Sean (299 comments) says:

    sonic said “Hey dave, most people who rob investors through white collar crime are, er, white, as are most serial killers and those who go on gun rampages.

    However in today’s namby pamby, political correct society you get slated as a racist for pointing out these simple facts!”

    Ah, sonic, another non sequitur thread-jack. This thread is about the PM’s attempt to blame the recent murder of a shopkeeper on the availability of alcohol in South Auckland. No-one in this thread blamed white-collar crime on, er, anything.

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