From the middle of next year New Zealand’s prisons are set to emulate Australia’s and become smokefree.
It is a long overdue move. It was an anomaly that prisoners could still smoke in their cells as the rest of New Zealand moved increasingly towards a no-smoking regime.
School grounds, hospitals, and other government departments have gone smokefree, as have bars, restaurants and businesses, and, in Christchurch, there is even a smokefree policy in parks.
For many prisoners – two-thirds of inmates – an enforced cold turkey regime will seem a hardship or even a civil rights breach. But those who have committed crimes against society should not expect the right to smoke, just as they cannot legally have alcohol and drugs.
What amuses me is the policy dilemma for Labour. They instinctively are in favour of anything that is anti-smoking but against anything that they see as punitive to prisoners.
So how does Labour solve this dilemma? They run a blog poll to decide their policy
The Dom Post looks at the trans-Tasman relationship:
When Julia Gillard became prime minister of Australia, Prime Minister John Key was the first foreign leader to phone in his congratulations.
He needs to hope his fast dialling finger will deliver a better result than his predecessor, Helen Clark, achieved with her swift flight over for a cup of tea with Kevin Rudd when he got the job – in his time as prime minister Mr Rudd never quite made it to New Zealand for an official visit.
Mr Key, like Miss Clark before him, is smart enough to realise the onus is on Wellington to keep reminding Canberra what the “NZ” stands for in Anzac. The reality, however unpalatable it might be to some, is that New Zealand is simply not as important to Australia as Australia is to New Zealand.
Australia is New Zealand’s most important trading partner and its most important security relationship. …
Talk about whether New Zealand and Australia should take their relationship to the next level and look at issues such as a common border can wait until the Australian election is over.
Mr Key’s job is to ensure New Zealand’s interests are not damaged in the meantime.
Miss Clark and John Howard reportedly enjoyed a warm relationship despite their different political ideologies. The hope must be that the state-house son of a refugee and the daughter of a 10 immigrant from Wales can do the same.
The irony is that PM from opposite parties seem to have got on better than PMs from the same side of the spectrum.
It is one of our cultural stereotypes: the rugged, versatile, no-nonsense farmer – the sort of person for whom most regulations are made by townies for townies who have no real understanding of the demands and constraints of a working life in the country; and, further, how the red tape that such people unhesitatingly impose on the rural sector can seriously impact on proven working methods and productivity.
In no other sphere is this more pronounced, or more irritating to some, than on-farm safety: the rules and regulations promulgated by the Department of Labour, Occupational Safety and Health and ACC are frequently seen as at best a brake on freedom and individual responsibility and, at worst, the interfering actions of bureaucrats and the “politically correct”.
Sadly, the reality is that such organisations have reason to be concerned.
According to the latest figures released by ACC, farmers are killing themselves in work-related accidents at the rate of one every 28 days.
Last year, 13 farmers died in accidents on New Zealand farms.
There were 18,600 injuries on farms, with quad bikes, farm machinery and poor animal handling featuring as the most common causes.
Raw figures by themselves mean little. What would be more useful is the injury rate per employee.