Editorials 15 March 2010

March 15th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald talks about respect for the :

Mr O’Connor’s approach is even more problematic. He says a lack of guilty verdicts in the District Court had shown society and criminals that insulting the police is acceptable. It has also made the police reluctant to charge people for low-level offending using the legal provisions. “Cases show that it’s something police are expected to put up with, but it shouldn’t be,” says Mr O’Connor. His response is essentially a zero-tolerance policy that would see people shouting obscenities at the police convicted for insulting behaviour.

This raises several problems. The first is that the courts are merely reflecting societal mores in their approach to such offending. Obscenities do not have the same impact as they did, say, 30 years ago. Nor are the police alone in feeling that respect for their authority has dwindled. The teaching profession, for example, suffers from the same ailment. When it applies a zero tolerance approach, it means large-scale suspensions and expulsions.

That is as misguided as a policy that would burden overloaded courts further with low-level offences against the police for little gain. Zero tolerance does not work because its inflexibility leaves no room to deal with an out-of-character indiscretion or suchlike. Its approach to minor misdeeds is also far more likely to create a climate of fear than engender respect.

I think there is some linkage between the fact that people can now call the Police c**ts to their face, and that some of those people then also go on to assault them.

The Press focuses on irrigation:

The selection of two irrigation schemes among the four winners of a competition to find projects with a long-term potential capacity to make a significant contribution to the Canterbury economy demonstrates the significance of the appropriate use of its resource to the region.

The fact that both schemes are extremely contentious shows also how arguments over the use of the resource are unlikely to be quickly resolved.

But if the judges are right, that these schemes are among a handful in Canterbury with the capacity to generate $100 million of revenue for Canterbury within five years and $1 billion or more in revenue within 10 years, it is obviously very important that the decisions that are reached on these projects are the right ones.

There is precious little else on the economic horizon with such potential.

I should get more excited about water issues in Canterbury as I know they are important, but frankly I don’t.

The Dominion Post looks at funding:

In short, the Government appears to have heeded OECD criticism in 2007 that the public science system was unduly fragmented, as well as Sir Peter’s advice.

Science might be finally emerging from the shadows, its non-sexy status having long been reinforced by an often scientifically ignorant public, suspicious of the work many scientists do – take, for example, widespread distrust of genetic engineering, despite the public good it might do.

Thus, science is so often in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Not last week, though. Then, two Wellington scientists were awarded the inaugural Prime Minister’s Science Prize for their research into the multimillion-dollar field of high-temperature superconductivity.

Both work for Industrial Research.Its chief, Shaun Coffey, says public-sector investment in the scientists’ endeavour has not only been repaid in terms of their work’s contribution to the economy, it has also positioned New Zealand “at the forefront of a new industry that is set to revolutionise the way electricity is used and distributed”. He knows the challenges ahead, however.

All eyes will be on the budget, as it has been made clear this is one of the few areas to get extra funding:

The ODT looks at the proposed tertiary education reforms:

Recent Cabinet decisions relating to funding for higher education and research suggest the Government is serious about its objective of raising knowledge standards and building a solid base for public and economic benefits from progress in science.

These are not easy decisions to make from a political perspective, since if they deliver hoped-for benefits they will do so only in the longer term.

There are few votes in such policies and it is to the Government’s credit that it is not afraid to embrace long-term goals for the greater good. …

The Government is in effect offering financial incentives for institutions tied to the improving educational performance of their students, which suggests that institutions with an aspirational goal of excellence, such as Otago university, can only benefit.

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26 Responses to “Editorials 15 March 2010”

  1. kowtow (8,475 comments) says:

    The Herald is talking absolute bollocks with the statement about “reflecting social mores”.

    Try call a judge a “usless fucking cunt” in his court room and the mores you’ll get are cell time for contempt,rightly so. The police as protectors of law and order deserve the same respect and considerations.

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  2. Grendel (1,002 comments) says:

    rubbish. the police deserve as much respect as they earn.

    they can whine all they like about it being a difficult job, but they chose to do it.

    yes it can be dangerous, so was being a bouncer but that did not give me any special respect.

    for me its easy.

    i have respect for the armed offenders squad as they do a dangerous job that they are highly trained for, and protect us when needed by putting their life on the line.

    i have respect for the homicide cops and the ones who actually follow through on investigating serious assaults on kids (not smacking), rape etc. it has to be a harrowing job, but it needs to be done and the ones who do it well, help a lot of people.

    but don’t expect me to show any respect for the cop who on the last day of the month, saw me driving 50KPH behind him about 10pm (no one else on the road for some reason), pulled across two lanes of traffic and up the ngaio gorge, pulled over, waited for me to pass, then threw his lights on and pulled me over for a ‘random breath test’. random my arse. of course nothing was wrong, i had not been drinking, i had not stolen the car, but i had to sit there for 5 minutes while the prick tried to find a way to charge me for something, all the while our friends cat who we were shifting for them was going apeshit in the cage.

    respect is earned, and not just by passing a course on how to be a cop.

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  3. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    As usual, the Herald talks Progressive rubbish, and ignores the real problem, that the political policies the newspaper and its so called “journalists” have pushed over the last few decadees are at the root of what is occurring.

    Police cannot maintain law in an amoral society.

    End of story.

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  4. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Respect for the law can’t be helped with the judiciary giving sex offenders/rapists home detention.
    It all adds up and the Police get the brunt of it.
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/97583/sex-offender-met-girls-bebo

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  5. eszett (2,408 comments) says:

    # Redbaiter (9288) Says:
    March 15th, 2010 at 11:25 am

    As usual, the Herald talks Progressive rubbish, and ignores the real problem, that the political policies the newspaper and its so called “journalists” have pushed over the last few decadees are at the root of what is occurring.

    Police cannot maintain law in an amoral society.

    End of story.

    And again, from the red corner, we have some mildly interesting apocalyptic theories. So would you care to elaborate, just to humor us.
    Just in what way are we an amoral society?

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  6. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Here’s a thought.

    NZTE and MoRST invest huge amounts in innovation – but they have large overheads. My understanding is that of the ~$700 million they dish out each year, a third is consumed in overheads.

    That means the money actually invested must earn a 50% return just to get to break even – let alone earn a return on the money spent. 50% average return is not realistic.

    That means when NZ governments increase investment in innovation, while everyone cheers it is almost certainly making the country poorer.

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  7. NOt1tocommentoften (433 comments) says:

    Ben “That means when NZ governments increase investment in innovation, while everyone cheers it is almost certainly making the country poorer.”

    This fails to take into account the benefits that New Zealand sees from such innovation. If you calculate these in then your claim cannot be correct.

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  8. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Just in what way are we an amoral society?”

    A big part of the problem is an education system that produces barbarian knuckle draggers like you.

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  9. Neil (586 comments) says:

    DPF shows the lack of knowledge of many North Islanders about South Island issues, especially water.
    In rural South Island communities like Canterbury,Otago and Southland the major issue is water. Especially for irrigation and catering for the ever increasing dairy industry. Water is becoming liquid gold.
    The way it is set up at the moment human consumption of water in some rural towns rules equally with stock water consumption – not a good look. Consents are now being requested for dairying water right up to Lake Wakatipu, absolute madness.
    Ecan got itself into bother over water in Canterbury and I can see Enviro Southland and the Otago RC having the same conflict.
    At last years SI National Party conference the questions to MP’s were dominated by water issues of Canterbury. Not too interesting for me from a small rural Southland town but my word indicative of future issues.
    The dairy boom has its positives, but my word it poses challenges. Clean water and adequate supply should be the priority for the general population.
    Put quite simply the question must be asked,”Are we using land wisely in some of these ventures like the McKenzie Country proposal and bringing in highly marginal high country land into dairying?”
    North Islanders should be aware of these debates. In the future water will be the new gold. Look for multinationals to muscle their way into these ventures.

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  10. cha (4,017 comments) says:

    A big part of the problem is an education system that produces barbarian knuckle draggers like you.

    So where the fuck were you educated?.

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  11. Pete George (23,562 comments) says:

    Water is becoming liquid gold.

    In some areas that has been the case for up to 150 years – since the gold rushes. Water schemes – many of them elaborate and expensive – were put in to feed the sluices. As the mining dwindled agriculture and horticulture bought the rights, which were essential to have and still are.

    Many of those who made money (and lost it) in the gold days were those supplying infrastructure such as water races and pipelines, and supplies. As now, a lot of NZ’s early wealth relied on water rights.

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  12. trout (939 comments) says:

    ‘Wars will be fought over water’
    The Far Right want water resources to be priced so that water use will be allocated to the use that gives the best economic return. But how can recreational values be priced? And as for SI rural village folk expect them to be forced to drink recycled dairy waste (purified of course – as we do in the big Auck).

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  13. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” So where the fuck were you educated?.”

    “Where” isn’t the whole problem Cha. You have to be retarded in one way or the other to allow the left to use you. (the way they have used you and eszett)

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  14. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    “Where” isn’t the whole problem Cha. You have to be retarded in one way or the other to allow the left to use you.

    And this is the language you use to argue for a respectful society?

    Don’t ever develop a sense of irony, ‘baiter. It would spoil the fun.

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  15. minto57 (197 comments) says:

    Those F’ing and Blinding should spend a night in detox along with a instant fine. Then maybe next time they will remember their manners.

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  16. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” And this is the language you use to argue for a respectful society? ”

    Much more honest than the language you and the Progressives at Public Address use Mr. Brown. Unless you first employ candour, you’ll never arrive at respect.

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  17. cha (4,017 comments) says:

    “Where” isn’t the whole problem Cha. You have to be retarded in one way or the other to allow the left to use you. (the way they have used you and eszett)

    I’ve been used, oh really, by whom?.

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  18. Pete George (23,562 comments) says:

    Unless you first employ candour, you’ll never arrive at respect.

    You’ll never arrive at respect if you don’t show it either.

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  19. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Sorry gentelemen, as much as I’d like to wipe the floor with you, I’ll have to withdraw as I’ve reached my 100 demerits limit (for insulting widdle Mal on GD) and have to go away for two weeks. Please feel free to carry on without me.

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  20. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    Turn it into something positive, old man – get cracking on that self-awareness course. You *can* do it.

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  21. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    Hmm, depends if there is some kind of objective standard for morality. If Redbaiter believes this, then it’s relatively logical in arguing for society being disconnected from morality (provided this objective morality is known and I assume Redbaiter believes he(?) knows). If not, he’s arguing for society being disconnected from his sense of morality. Well, in both cases actually, but in one he’s arguing that his morality is in line with the objective morality (presumably) and society’s is not.

    With regard to respect for police, in some sense media plays a role in that as it has given a reasonable amount of (at least partially deserved) bad publicity to the police in recent times. However, that said, media doesn’t highlight that the majority of police are probably doing their jobs well (I hope they are anyway!), but that’s not really a story, as it’s the expected behaviour. Furthermore, unfortunately in a sense, it does seem that individual police officers use discretion less than they perhaps used to, at least with regard to ticketing of speeding offences (and I assume this lack of discretion is ordered from above and effective in many other situations as well). While this allows for more consistent application of the law, it also furthers the perception of the police as “pricks”, “bastards” and so on, as 1) their ability to uphold the “spirit” of the law is perhaps diminished as is the confidence in their ability to deal with situations (lack of discretion implies that otherwise there will be a significant amount of relatively poor decisions made); and 2) they are seen as a tool of the politicking of whoever is in power to a degree (particularly in the case of speeding tickets) as discretion can in cases be perceived to have been removed for whatever the political issue or agenda of the day is.

    I will not argue for those insulting police officers to spend a night in lockup or equivalent, however, as people are entitled to express their opinions in the manner they choose and should be allowed to. The “right” to offend is an important hallmark of a democratic society in my thinking.* Station or standing should be irrelevant in this consideration. If I can call any other person a “prick” or worse, I should have the right to do so to a police officer.

    *I’ll note that I’m somebody who had no problem with the publishing of cartoons of Mohammed (particularly as the rule against it seems fairly recent given that Mohammed has been depicted throughout history but then, I don’t expect consistency from the religious).

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  22. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Grendel’s got it in one – respect must be earned. To a degree I feel sorry for the many decent police officers, but OTOH rarely if ever does one break the blue line of silence and testify against their fellows who are far from decent.

    As a result of the proliferation of officers who behave exactly as Grendel has described – in an intimidatory, overbreaing and disrepectful manner – they really are nothing more than a well-equipped street gang and until their superiors get serious about bringing them into line and punishing transgressions then I’m afraid the reaction of many people (myself included) to an approaching police officer will be no different than if we saw someone from the Mongrel Mob approaching… hope there are independent witnesses around, and get ready to defend ourselves.

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  23. kowtow (8,475 comments) says:

    Greddel does not have it in one.Courts command and demand respect as a matter of course. As I said try foul mouth a judge and you”ll get cell time ,nothing to do with changed mores or earned respect.

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  24. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    kowtow… you seem confused.

    Foul mouth a judge and you’ll probably spend a bit of time in a cell, yes. Will you emerge with newfound respect for him or her? Maybe, but if so it won’t be because they can wave their gavel and lock you up. On that basis I’d respect al Qaida because they could, theoretically, shoot me.

    There’s a difference between commanding obedience, which can be obtained on pain of penalty, and demanding respect. which can only be earned. And the police seem hell bent on regularly reminding us that they don’t deserve any.

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  25. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    @kowtow: If a person desires to do so but refrains, it is not necessarily because of respect, as your example demonstrates. In your example, it is because the judge can throw you into a cell. They have the power of imposing negative consequences upon you. It is not respect they demand, but situational obeisance (I don’t say this is a bad thing with regard to courts, as situations such as court appearances require some adherence to a certain level of decorum otherwise proceedings have the potential to be greatly extended with epithets flying from the lips of many).

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  26. Rufus (667 comments) says:

    Re: respecting the police

    I do, generally. They represent the law, order and justice.

    But it’s really difficult on a case-by-case basis sometimes, especially when you do say 54km on a quiet urban street and some young idiot straight out of police training comes screaming up behind you to ticket you for “speeding”. The irony was lost on him.

    Rufus

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