Laws investigated for smacking

January 19th, 2014 at 6:40 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Police are investigating former Whanganui mayor Michael Laws after an allegation of child assault was made against him.

Laws, a former RadioLive talkback host and current Whanganui District Health Board member, was reported to police after allegedly smacking one of his children.

The incident allegedly happened at Whanganui Hospital last year. Laws, 56, was there with his three youngest children – Lucy, 9, Zoe, 7, and Theo, 5 – to visit their mother, Laws’ former partner Leonie Brookhammer, who suffered a stroke in August.

The Herald on Sunday understands the alleged smack was witnessed by a nurse in the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation ward. She reported it to the DHB and complained to police.

The Herald on Sunday asked police whether Laws was under investigation for allegedly hitting a child.

A spokesman replied by email saying: “Police can confirm they are investigating a child assault complaint made against a 56-year-old Whanganui man.
If correct, and the Police do prosecute, this could be hugely beneficial to the Conservatives as a high profile trial will put the spotlight on the law they want to over-turn.
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Laws on child abuse

August 18th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Michael Laws writes in the SST:

In the week that former teacher James Parker was sentenced to preventive detention for his unchecked predations upon young boys in Northland, social development minister Paula Bennett announced tougher measures to combat child abuse.

Those policies that have drawn the most commentary and criticism relate to parents rather than paedophiles. Parents or caregivers who have seriously abused their kids will not automatically be allowed to have any more. And those who are suspected of being serious abusers will be banned from associating with any children, including their own.

In announcing these intended policies, Bennett rightly highlighted New Zealand’s appalling rates of child abuse. They are an enduring stain upon our country and particularly the Maori culture. Maori children are among the most endangered on the planet. In part, it is the ethnicity of the primary offenders and victims that has delayed proper government action. It is considered both uncultural and uncool to highlight Maori child abuse statistics, even though they are blindingly obvious.

Rightly, Bennett’s solution is universal. Stop habitual abusers having any more children and intervene swiftly where serious abuse is suspected, regardless of colour, culture or creed.

Sadly, but unsurprisingly, it is two Maori women who are leading the resistance to Bennett’s overdue toughness – associate health minister Tariana Turia and Greens co-leader Metiria Turei. Their argument is that Maori parents will unduly suffer and Turei raises the additional spectre of Aboriginal adoption. In fact, Turei goes further than that. More Maori parents abuse their kids because they are poor, she contends. If we removed “poverty”, she contends, “we’d remove a huge stressor on families that is connected to increased rates of child maltreatment and neglect”.

Yep, if you’re on welfare – or poorly paid – then abusing your kids is a natural response.

Which is bollocks. Abusing your kids is a deeply unnatural and sick response, and most parents on benefits or the minimum wage, don’t abuse their children.

Absolutely. It is beyond unnatural. Most of us feel protective and get distressed when we see any child in distress – ever a total stranger. To allow, or even be responsible, for harming your own child is as unnatural as it gets.

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Mayoral contenders

August 11th, 2013 at 11:27 am by David Farrar

Cherie Howie at NZ Herald reports:

Firebrand former mayor Michael Laws says Wanganui people are urging him to don the mayoral chains again.

Laws, who retired from the mayoralty in 2010 after six years, has confirmed he is thinking of standing again, after a “delegation of folk” offered their support.

My theory is that you only openly talk about standing if you have decided to stand.

Reuben Shadbolt, son of longtime Invercargill mayor and former Waitemata City leader Tim Shadbolt – is to contest the Auckland mayoralty. He is also seeking a Whau Local Board seat.

Don’t think Len will be too worried.

And 3 News reports:

Two new candidates have stepped up to challenge Lianne Dalziel for the Christchurch mayoralty

Paul Lonsdale, who is the central city manager of the city’s Business Association, officially announced his plans to stand as an independent today.

The 52-year-old has lived in Christchurch for over 40 years and helped get the Re:Start container mall project up and running.

“I want to give people a choice,” he told 3 News this morning. “It’s an opportunity to create some debate and flush out exactly where people sit in Christchurch and how they see the future.”

The long-time local says his connections to the city’s business community would help the city get back on its feet.

Lonsdale is a serious candidate, and will indeed give people a choice.

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Will Laws restand?

June 23rd, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

Former shock jock Michael Laws – once an MP and mayor of Wanganui – is thought to be considering a rerun for his old mayoral job.

A source told the Herald on SundayLaws has been sending more emails recently about civic affairs.

Laws was weighing up the position, but would not announce he was standing until the last minute, the source said.

“It certainly wouldn’t surprise me.”

Well that will liven things up if he does stand.

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Laws on Denniston

May 26th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Michael Laws writes in the SST:

In the wake of the Government’s commonsense decision to allow opencast coal mining on the Denniston Plateau, it was no surprise that the greenie lobby would scream betrayal.

The mining will occur on conservation land – a title that means not much except that no-one lives there, and no-one wants to.

The mine will occupy less than 5 per cent of the total Denniston conservation area, which doesn’t have national park status.

More importantly, the approval granted to Australian miners Bathurst Resources will create more than 400 jobs, rejuvenate an emaciated economy and add some extraneous conservation measures like a 35-kilometre predator fence. In short, it’s a win-win.

Not so, shouts the green faction – supported by the Labour Party nay-sayers. The latter are simply in anti mode – the psychological pit that you can get into when in opposition for too long. In government, they would have done this deal in a heartbeat.

They call out for jobs, yet have opposed pretty much every job creation project in the last four and a half years.

No, the real saboteurs here – the real betrayers – are the environmentalists. For too long their selfish sentiments have robbed New Zealanders of projects and jobs.

Their only answer is that huge sectors of New Zealand should stay as they are because they have always been like that. They oppose any and all extractive industries – from coal to oil to mining – anything that has the potential to endanger their utopian nothingness.

Indeed, the pervasive theme that emanated from the Denniston greenies this past week – including the increasingly hysterical Forest and Bird Society – is that coal is bad. Evil, even.

This mine could have been located in an industrial wasteland – they still would have objected.

That is a key point. They are not opposed to mining in certain areas. They oppose mining everywhere and anywhere. They have a quasi-religious belief that it is wrong to extract minerals from the Earth.

In fact, the quality of the Denniston product is amazing. Even at the current depressed prices, the project makes financial sense to Bathurst Resources because of that quality. Most of it will go straight to China – to fuel its staggering growth and provide energy for its latest power station and steel developments.

For the greenies to try to halt China’s almost linear expansion, by trying to derail this West Coast project, makes King Canute look like a veritable sage by comparison.

The coast has been mining high quality coal for well over a century – if it doesn’t provide such fuel, then another country and economy will.

Meanwhile, there will be a shiver of upset in some urban liberal quarters that such mining occurs. Their best collective idea is not to export coal – but to export Kiwis. To any economy that offers jobs, because neither the West Coast – nor New Zealand for that matter – offers sufficient skilled manual work.

So the greenies will do what their Pavlovian urges demand. They will clog the courts with their useless petitions to try to delay, obfuscate and upset. Knowing that they don’t have any legal chance of upsetting Conservation Minister Nick Smith’s decision.

They will even parade New Zealand overseas as some sort of environmental pariah.

And that is sabotage of the worst sort – if they can’t get their way then they will attempt to bring the whole house down. They must be condemned as the irrational zealots that they are.

The challenge for those opposed to mining at Denniston, is can they point to a single mine in NZ that they do support?

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Laws on child poverty

May 19th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Michael Laws writes in the SST:

Because most New Zealanders are not convinced that New Zealand has a child poverty problem. We have a piss-poor-parenting problem, yes. We don’t have an inadequacy of resources.

Which is where the Children’s Commissioner and the liberal lobbyists have it all wrong. They quote statistics about kids going to school hungry, about inadequate rentals, about hospitalisations and woeful child dental care, as if no argument is required.

Look at those poor kids, they declare. There’s the proof of child poverty.

No, it isn’t. It’s proof that thousands of Kiwi parents are making bad choices about their priorities. And that the welfare and community organisations that are supposed to be supporting them . . . aren’t.

Indeed, it’s a dual failure. The parents aren’t up to their role and the agencies are ineffective with their assistance. And that includes churches and other social agencies that prefer to lobby for more money, rather than use their funding appropriately.

While it is not as black and white as Michael paints it, he is largely right.

However hard any family life might be – however tough the financial circumstances – there is no parental excuse that allows a child to go to school hungry. Look into any one of those homes and you will find two conspicuous absences.

First, an inability to put the kids first. A belief that alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, partying, the church tithe are all – somehow – more important than the kids.

The inability of a generation of social workers and social agencies to make any impact upon those priorities is their greatest failure. There is enough government assistance, there is enough private philanthropy, there is enough knowledge.

But what’s the argument of so-called “child poverty advocates”? Give the parents more money. Which they’ll misuse, in exactly the same way that they’re doing now. Their internal priorities still won’t change.

We in fact have a very generous welfare system. The combination of direct benefits, working for families payments, accommodation subsidies, and early childhood education subsidies is considerable.

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Plunket to replace Laws

October 24th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Dom Post reports:

Broadcaster Sean Plunket will be taking over Michael Laws’ Radio Live show next year.

Laws made the announcement on his talk back show this morning.

The former Whanganui mayor said his replacement was to be Sean Plunket, who would take over the show after March 31.

‘‘I have decided to pursue something new, something, exciting and something that I’ve always wanted to do.’’

Become Deputy Leader of NZ First? :-)

Radio Live will be interesting with both Plunket and Garner taking up shows there.

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I thought it was Laws

November 23rd, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I saw the headline:

Shock jock on threat to kill charge

and thought the Police have arrested Michael Laws for his public musings that he thought certain journalists should be shot as they were rabid and might infect others.

But no it is not Michael, rather:

Controversial former radio host Iain Stables was late for an important date yesterday afternoon. …

Appearing for him, lawyer Mike Antunovic said it was a first call-over and he had been told Stables would be there to face charges of threatening to kill, assault on a female, intentional damage and two counts of common assault.

I liked Stables when he was on air, but he really does seem to have gone off the deep end recently.

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Laws assaulted?

August 8th, 2011 at 8:55 am by David Farrar

Anna Leask at NZ Herald reports:

Broadcaster Michael Laws is sporting a black eye after he was assaulted in a Wanganui bar by a man he said “hit like a girl”.

Maybe it was a girl? :-)

More seriously, I do hope the Police find out who did it. Assaulting people just (presumably) because you don’t like their views is not on.

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Mair v Laws

July 22nd, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Just seen this old story:

It could be the scrap of the century. Former Wanganui mayor Michael Laws will face Whanganui Maori activist Ken Mair in the boxing ring later this year.  …

Mr Laws, now a councillor, and Mr Mair, Maori Party co-vice president, will box to raise money for earthquake-stricken Christchurch on December 3, the Wanganui Chronicle reported.

Good on them for boxing for charity, but what a terrible dilemma. Who the hell do you support to win?

I guess in the end, I should look on it like I did the Iran-Iraq war – you just want it to go on for ever, with maximum causalities.

So here’s hoping it goes the full 15 rounds!

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Holmes on Laws on Paralympics

February 20th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Like many, I was disgusted with what Michael Laws said about paralympians last week. Belittling the efforts of those who spend eight hours a day training to be the best they can be was very stupid, and Paul Holmes let loose in response:

Some of the finest, most inspirational men and women I have ever known have been Paralympians.

But Michael Laws thinks Paralympic sport is ludicrous.

No, Michael, it’s not ludicrous. It’s actually brilliant.

It’s brilliant that it exists and it is genuinely brilliant to see.

In Christchurch this summer, at the Paralympic World Championships (as opposed to the Paralympic Games themselves), those of us there watched the brilliant South African Oscar Pistorius run on his carbon-fibre plates.

Pistorius is one second slower over 100m than Usain Bolt. Bolt, of course, does not have to endure the pain of the impact on the point where the prostheses meet the flesh. But Paralympians will never tell you about that because Paralympians, in my experience, rarely complain.

This is something many people don’t realise – many paralympians battle significant pain when they compete – not just your normal pain of exertion.

No, Michael. Paralympics is not ludicrous. Going out to Howick and shagging a P addict on bail who’s called you up on the radio programme is ludicrous. Having the cops come round to your home because you’re being beaten up by your wife is ludicrous.

Fighting desperately over an “H” in the name of a town is ludicrous.

Ouch.

I wanted to cry when I read Michael Laws’ comments. After the decades of struggle by Paralympics to be recognised not as some kind of therapy for cripples, but as genuine sport performed with dedication by physically impaired people, we get an ignorant comment from an intelligent broadcaster who should know better. …

Believe me, no one makes it to the Paralympics unless they are the best of the best. And every day there is the hassle of getting up, perhaps getting through the spasms, getting into the chair, getting to the toilet, getting clean and getting into the day. Paralympians are people who never gave up.

Paralympians are different from able-bodied sports people, that is true. But the runner is different from the shot-putter and the shot-putter is different from the soccer player. What about it? The runner does not say the shot-putter is not a sportsman.

I have a picture in my mind from the Olympic Pool at Barcelona during the 1992 Paralympics. It has stayed with me forever. A young woman lifts herself out of the pool. She levers herself out, really.

She has little stumps for legs with little feet and little toes. She has only one arm and it is a stump too, with a little hand and little fingers. I suppose thalidomide might have been involved. She is truly, stunningly beautiful. She has won her event. Her radiant smile I will never forget.

Words matter, Michael. Words are the most powerful weapon a human being has. Words can build up, they can save a soul, they can make someone feel love, they can cheer the down-trodden and the sad and those who lack purpose.

They can lift the heart and restore the spirit. But they can destroy too, and hurt, and demean those who do their very best to achieve against the odds to become talented, winning sportsmen and women.

One of Paul’s best ever columns.

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Pick on someone who can fight back

October 10th, 2010 at 7:46 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

Radio host Michael Laws has come under fire for calling Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand a “large, fat man” who has “never left” the buffet table.

His bosses at RadioLive have also been slammed – for saying they are comfortable with the remarks.

At least one complaint from a high-profile sporting personality has been laid with the Race Relations Commissioner, Joris de Bres.

De Bres and media commentator Brian Edwards said they were appalled by the crass comments, which lacked good taste and decency.

They may not be racist,but they are lacking in decency. Sir Anand has performed his duties very well, and without controversy. He has done nothing to deserve such nastiness. And especially nasty is the fact that unlike most NZers, Sir Anand can not respond.

There have been some former GGs I have had misgivings about – the ones who take stances on political issues. But Sir Anand has behaved as impartially and neutrally as you would expect from a former Judge and Ombudsman.

By coincidence I got to meet Sir Anand a couple of days after his appointment was announced, as I was the guest speaker at the Wellington Central Rotary Club, of which he is (and remains) a member. It was very obvious he was held in high esteem by the club members, who were of course delighted with his appointment.

With the combination of Henry and Laws, I’m tempted to say that perhaps the PM should just re-appoint Sir Anand to a second five-year term.

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Laws vs Sperling

August 14th, 2010 at 9:39 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The woman at the centre of the Michael Laws affair is a former P-addict and prostitute.

Jacqueline Sperling, 39, said she had explicit text messages from the Whanganui mayor.

Mr Laws announced yesterday that text messages between him and a woman were about to become public. He apologised to his family.

However, the woman said she had shown emails to only one friend and had not shared the text messages with anyone. …

Michael Laws has brought shame on himself needlessly by panicking, according to his managers at Radio Live.

“He thought he was being blackmailed and some private messages were going to be made public and he decided to jump in. He thought that he should front-foot it,” Radio Live general manager Mitch Harris said.

But Jacqueline Sperling, the woman at the centre of the controversy, said she had not gone to the media or tried to make the texts public. On a posting on Radio Live’s Facebook page, she said he “fell for a bluff”.

I actually tend to think Laws did the right thing. Sperling was obviously trying to get Laws to think she might release the texts, and I don’t think you ignore stuff like that – it then gives that person power over you. While a bit embarrassing, he has removed the shock value from them, if she does now release them.

Having said all that, I am mystified about what the fuss is all about. People sexually attracted to each other send dirty messages – this is not new.

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Where’s Cactus?

August 13th, 2010 at 10:02 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Whanganui Mayor Michael Laws says a political agenda is behind the imminent release of his “intimate” text messages.

The claim follows a bizarre statement being released by Laws today, where he admitted a secret relationship with a woman whose life experiences were “completely different” to his.

Just wondering if anyone has seen Cactus lately?

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Laws & Peters?

July 28th, 2010 at 11:07 am by David Farrar

Vernon Small writes:

Speculation is rife that NZ First leader Winston Peters and his former adviser Michael Laws are to team up again as part of a “relaunch” of the party this year.

Neither Mr Laws, who is to stand down as Whanganui mayor this year, nor Mr Peters would confirm the rumours. But MPs from both sides of the House and sources close to NZ First said they were aware of plans.

One source said Mr Peters had indicated he wanted to relaunch the party this year.

The annual conference will be in Christchurch in late October.

Speculation about Mr Laws has focused on the Whanganui seat, held by National’s Chester Borrows with a majority of 6333.

But he has also been linked with Dunedin North, held by Labour’s Pete Hodgson, who is retiring.

If NZ First won an electorate seat, it would then qualify for list seats even if it fell short of the 5 per cent threshold.

Mr Laws said he had nothing to say about the issue. “I am not interested in talking to you at all.”

He is a former National and NZ First MP who quit Parliament in 1996 over a Napier City Council poll he had organised. The poll was signed off by a fictitious Antoinette Beck, who was later revealed to be Mr Laws’ parliamentary secretary, Louise Sampson.

If Michael thinks he can trust Winston, well good luck to him with that.

Ironically a Laws led NZ First would be far more palatable than a Winston led one, but I can’t see Winston handing over power.

UPDATE: The NZ First President says he knows nothing:

NZ First’s party president knows nothing of any plans for Michael Laws to stand for the party, and says he would know if such plans were afoot. …

NZ First president George Groombridge said he was confident he would be kept in the loop.

“I am in charge of the governance of the party… things are going along very, very smoothly and I would have heard if anything like that had happened because I am in constant touch with our leader.

“That’s a definite no.”

I would say the President is as much in the loop on Winston’s plans as he was about the Spencer Trust and those undeclared donations. You think he would have learnt a lesson by now.

UPDATE II: The MP.Peters stock on iPredict has gone from 15c to 35c today, so some people think it is happening.

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Laws on crime

June 6th, 2010 at 11:27 am by David Farrar

Michael Laws writes:

SO NOW we know. The price of a life in a court of law – two years and 10 months. And now we know something else: why parliament passed the three strikes legislation over the objections of jurists, lawyers and justice officials.

It is a deliberate decision to remove judicial discretion when it comes to repeat serious violent and sexual offenders.

Schoolteacher Hawea Vercoe met his killer just seconds before his death. Isaiah Johnson Richard Tai. A 21-year-old orchard worker from Opotiki who had never achieved anything in his brief life and who was the contrast of his victim – also Maori, a school principal, a father and a local body politician.

They had both been out clubbing, they met, argued and then Tai king-hit Vercoe. As the teacher lay on the ground, a witness reported seeing him line up Vercoe’s head like a goalkicker and deliver the fatal blow.

Tai denied the kick until CCTV evidence was produced. Only then did he change his story and change his plea. He gambled on confessing to manslaughter, and his gamble paid off handsomely.

He is likely to be walking the streets of Whakatane, on parole, by next Christmas.

What I ma interested in, is how many other convictions Tai had. The judge referred to a history of violence, which suggests there have been some.

The facts suggest that murder was the appropriate verdict. And that life was the appropriate sentence. Tai’s decision to kick the helpless Vercoe in the head took this case way beyond the accidental killing category. It was an act of wanton thuggery.

I think a case could have been made for murder. Not for the punch. But a massive kick to the head is very able to kill – and did.

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Laws retires as Mayor

June 4th, 2010 at 4:52 pm by David Farrar

Michael Laws has announced he will stand down as Mayor of Whanganui, but is standing for both the Council and DHB.

I may be wrong, but I would not surprised to see Michael No 2 on the NZ First list next election, and helping run Winston’s campaign to get back in.

If they succeed, that will help Labour’s chance of getting back into Government, and Laws would be a Minister in a Labour-led Government.

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More on Laws

March 8th, 2010 at 9:40 am by David Farrar

I blogged yesterday on how the Herald on Sunday front page headline gave a false impression about Michael Laws.

Leonie Brookhammer (Laws’ wife) has put out a press release (Whale has it here) as the HoS story was so misleading.

An extract:

I have no wish to expose my private life to more media scrutiny, and I did not wish to answer personal and offensive questions from Auckland journalist David Fisher over the past couple of days. But today’s ‘Herald on Story’ story misrepresents my personal situation and is full of inaccuracies.

Over the past five years, and since Michael has been mayor of Wanganui, our family and our personal life have been the subject of ongoing malicious rumour and hurtful gossip. These rumours appear to come from the same sources and are always at their worst in election years.

Michael has a very high profile and has taken the lead, on behalf of Wanganui, on a number of controversial issues. As a result, our house and our family have been personally targeted by anonymous cowards who regard any association with Michael to be fair game.

Our daughter Lucy’s diagnosis of leukemia, and the associated complications and treatment, has placed enormous stress on us and particularly myself. I have not slept properly in the last three years.

The rock throwing incident – which showered glass all over my childrens’ bedroom in the early hours of the morning , and came when Michael was representing majority opinion on the spelling our city – continues to have ongoing effects. I lie awake listening for the next incident. …

It is also not fair for the media to imply there was a domestic violence incident that required a Police call to our house earlier this year. It was not. Michael is not that kind of person, abhors violence and has never lifted a hand to myself.

But that kind of malicious story is being regularly fed to media to discredit him. And both my family and myself are considered fair game in making that happen.

The press release really speaks for itself.

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A misleading front page

March 7th, 2010 at 11:50 am by David Farrar

The front page of the Herald on Sunday proclaimed that the partner of Michael Laws had moved out after Police were called to his place in an incident classified as domestic attendance.

Only when you turned to the inner pages, and read the full story do you get the all rather important detail:

The partner of controversial Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws has moved out after he called police to their home.

I suspect 95% of people who read the front page headline about the Police being called and her moving out, would have assumed she called the Police and that Laws had behaved in some sort of threatening way.

Such a misconception could have been easily solved by making it clear on the front page that Laws called the Police. I wonder if it was a deliberate decision not to do so.

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Laws on National Standards

January 31st, 2010 at 11:01 am by David Farrar

Michael Laws writes:

And so into this surreal realm has been injected the future discipline of national standards. An idea so sensible and overdue that one wonders what took so long. The logic is self evident. Except, it appears, to the teaching profession.

In steeling themselves against such external discipline, teacher unions – and their membership – have made themselves utterly risible. They are opposed to defining standards of age-group achievement, opposed to parents knowing their children’s level of competence against those standards, and opposed to schools providing such information to the Ministry of Education.

Basically sums it up. Worth reminding people that Labour is also opposed to parents knowing how their kids are doing against standards.

Why? Because they are scared witless by the concept of accountability. That a national tool might soon exist that identifies under-performing schools, under-performing teachers and under-performing kids.

The Government does want to know which kids are not meeting the standards. Not to punish the kids, or the schools, but quite the opposite. They want to then deliver extra funding to those kids and schools to maximise the chances of bringing the kids up to the desired standard before it is too late, and they become one of the many who leave school unable to read, write or count.

There is another subterranean theme running through the union dissent. That not all their membership is opposed. Many teachers see national standards as their chance to shine. They perceive them as an opportunity to test their imprint upon their charges. To establish a baseline for the norm of achievement for their age and socio-economic charges, and then beat it.

Better still, to be able to communicate the truth to the individual parent without having to find distracting commentary. And confirm bad teachers in their midst.

Little wonder that the School Trustees Association has thrown its public support behind Education Minister Anne Tolley, and dismissed the objections of teacher unions as illogical. The opportunity to be open, honest and transparent around what a child knows and what they do not, has the capacity to revolutionise teaching standards.

It is only the Luddites who are opposed. They, rightly, fear change. Because it will require them to justify their existence and their methods. And that is no bad thing.

Some people welcome accountability, and some fear it.

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Astroturfing?

January 26th, 2010 at 9:29 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Anonymous internet comments praising Whanganui’s “celebrity” mayor Michael Laws have been traced back to his own publishing company.

A person using the pseudonym “Wangas” has praised Mr Laws on a variety of issues, including the “H” debate and television presenter Paul Henry’s use of the word “retarded” on air.

At least two of the comments were sent using an email address that can be linked to Mr Laws’ publishing company, Darius Press. …

When approached by The Dominion Post, Mr Laws said he did not write the internet comments himself – but they could have been made by people close to him.

“I don’t make anonymous comments, it’s not in my nature,” he said.

“All I can say is I don’t make anonymous comments and I’m not prepared to speculate who it could be.”

The mayor, newspaper columnist and radio host said he often commented online, but used his own name and made it clear that the comments were from him.

“I heartily enter in online debates.”

He said the email address linked to Darius Press was used by employees of his company, including people who did research, communications and website work.

He would not say how many people worked for Darius Press.

I don’t think it would be Laws. If he was astro-turfing, he is smart enough that he would set up a fake or generic e-mail address to use.

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Laws on Three Strikes

January 24th, 2010 at 7:53 am by David Farrar

Michael Laws writes:

In short, the policy properly aligns sentencing for serious criminal acts with parliament’s intent. The great frustration for generations of politicians has been that they create the law, only for the courts to screw it up.

Sentencing is a classic example. The law isn’t even much use as a reference given that the courts can, and do, set their own generous compensation to mitigate any maxima. To make matters worse, parole provisions frustrate even that intent. Now violent and/or sexual offenders get a strike for their first offence, no parole for their second, and the maximum prescribed sentence for their third. …

We want the deranged, the psychotic and criminal classes as far away from us as possible, for as long as possible. Releasing the addled and anti-social back into our community can only create new victims. Indeed, you might argue that the cost of recidivist reoffenders – their arrest, charging, legal aid, trial, sentencing and the like – is actually more expensive than throwing away the key. Certainly for their victims.

And, although criminals are not the brightest species on the planet, neither are they wholly moronic. The three strikes policy has the capacity to reduce offending by scoping a harsher environment. The Californian experience shows that the stick can work: the policy sends an understood message.

Not much to disagree with there.

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Laws and Mair both happy!

December 19th, 2009 at 11:05 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The decision to allow the spelling of Wanganui with or without the “h” has been welcomed by both sides in what has, at times, been an acrimonious debate.

Mayor Michael Laws hailed the move by Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson to overturn the Geographic Board’s decision to go with the “h” as an “early Christmas present for the city and district”.

Ken Mair, a Maori activist and one of the driving forces in seeking a change in the spelling of the city’s name, said after conveying the decision to local Maori at a city marae: “We recognise it was a difficult and courageous decision to make, but the correct one.

Maurice will be pretty happy with those headlines, even if Colin Espiner calls him a whimp.

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Laws calls for cash to sterilise

October 30th, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws says giving the “underclass” money to be sterilised will address our child abuse problem.

Critics last night labelled the suggestion “totalitarian”, “draconian” and “reprehensible”, and questioned his appropriateness as a city leader.

Mr Laws said the children of beneficiaries, drug addicts and criminals had little chance in life. He offered his observations after he was approached for comment on the death of two-year-old Wanganui boy Karl Perigo-Check, the son of a convicted murderer and gang member.

“If we gave $10,000 to certain people and said ‘we’ll voluntarily sterilise you’ then all of society would be better off. There’d be less dead children and less social problems.

It is a fact there are some people who are not fit to be parents. And when they do have more children, the kids get removed from them at birth. I’m not sure how many are in this category, but there are a few.

I doubt anyone sensible advocates compulsory sterilisation. No state should ever have that power. Even the thought makes me shudder.

But if a parent has a history of child abuse (for example), should there be an incentive for him or her to get sterilised – such as a cash payment as Laws suggests?

Personally I don’t think it is a good idea. For one thing people can end up as parents, even if sterilised. They partner up with someone who had kids for example.

But also it is still pretty creepy to have our own version of China’s toasters for sterilisation policy. Now sure China was aimed at everyone – to keep overall population down. But I don’t think bribing our own citizens to get sterilised if a great innovation.

Also many sterilisations can be reversed anyway.

But Laws is right that something needs to be done. He hasn’t got the solution, but the status quo is not acceptable.

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Where is my certificate?

October 24th, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

A group of Otaki primary school pupils have been honoured by Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres for acting with dignity in dealing with criticism from Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws.

The pupils, aged 11 to 13, at Otaki School’s kura kaupapa unit, were upset with an angry reply from Mr Laws, whom they wrote to in August urging him to insert the letter “h” in Wanganui.

Mr de Bres presented the girls with certificates yesterday to honour their stance.

“Your message to stand up for yourself is clear. You acted with real dignity and calm and quietly stood up for what you thought when dealing with such rubbish from Wanganui’s mayor.

I didn’t know you can now get certificates for standing up to Michael Laws. In 1994 I announced his mock assassination, and I never got a certificate. All I got was to appear in court. So where the hell is my certificate???

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