No excuse for fleeing

The Herald reports:

An unlicensed driver “panicked” and fled after she fatally struck and ran over a motorcyclist.

Fatima Mohammed, 48, driving a Honda CR-V, did not stop after running over Ian Charles Johnson with both the front and rear sets of her car’s wheels at a Hastingsroundabout last June.

Police found her later at the house of a friend.

Johnson, 73, died in Wellington Hospital almost three weeks after the crash, having suffered multiple injuries including fractures of his ribs and spine.

Accidents can happen, and we should not judge too harshly drivers, unless they are clearly reckless. But what we should be harsh on is leaving someone to die, and not stopping. When you flee the scene of a serious accident, you are saying you care more about what happens to you than the injured person.

Judge Mackintosh said a case of this type was difficult because careless driving was a charge with a lower penalty and there was no way she could impose a sentence which reflected the emotional impact on the victims.

The maximum sentence for a charge of careless driving causing death was a short term of imprisonment but in such circumstances it had to be commuted to a community-based sentence.

She ordered three months of community detention with a curfew to be at home from 7pm to 8am every night.

She also imposed 150 hours of community work, 12 months of supervision, and ordered reparation of $15,599.

The maximum term for careless driving causing death is only three months. Bot for failing to stop, it is five years. For the latter offence, community work seems inadequate.

This could explain the brickbat

Audrey Young writes:


Goes to Luke Somerville, spokesman for Renters United, for his wholly negative response to the pet bonds policy to encourage landlords to let tenants to have pets: “Every renter has a story about their landlord trying to charge them hundreds of dollars in rent for a mark on the wall. What’s to say we are not going to see more of that now?” (RNZ). Hey Luke, how about talking on behalf of the tenants who want pets?

It was such a totally negative response to a policy that so many renters are genuinely keen on, that it made me wonder whether the spokesman was a partisan operative.

It turns out he was the campaign manager for Julie-Anne Genter. That would explain it. Perhaps the media should report this, when they quote him as a so called spokeperson for renters. The other spokesperson just got elected as a Green Councillor, so it would be interesting to know if there is anyone involved with Renters United who is not a Green Party operative.

As their main policy is to bring back Muldoon style rent controls, I suspect not.

We still have an inflation problem

The drop in overall inflation to 4% is welcome, but it masks we still have a real problem.

This shows the annual inflation rate for both tradable and non-tradable inflation. Most of the tradable sector is international, so we have benefited from the trend there. But non-tradable (generally domestic) inflation remains very high at 5.8% and has barely come down from its peak.

I would not be counting on interest rate reductions too soon.

UK Labour Deputy Leader in trouble

The Guardian reports:

Angela Rayner has pledged to step down as deputy leader of the Labour party if a police investigation finds she has committed a crime, amid allegations of breaching electoral law and avoiding capital gains tax.

Greater Manchester police (GMP) said on Friday that they were investigating the sale of her council house in March 2015, after she was accused of giving false information about where she was living for the first five years of her marriage before she was elected as an MP in May 2015.

The issue basically is:

Rayner bought her council house on Vicarage Road, Stockport, in 2007 for £79,000 with a 25% discount under the right-to-buy scheme.

Government guidance says a tenant can apply to buy their council home through the right-to-buy scheme if it is their “only or main home”.

Mark Rayner, now her ex-husband, had a property of his own about a mile away. They decided to keep their separate properties after their son was born prematurely in 2008, as Rayner said she needed a lot of support from a wide network of friends and family during this period, a decision that was maintained even after their marriage in 2010.

For the eight years that Rayner owned her Stockport home, she was registered on the electoral roll as living there and insists it was her “principal property”, while her partner lived at his home.

However, neighbours at the two properties have rejected her claims that she lived apart from her husband for the first five years of their marriage, with her brother living at her house from around 2012, according to reports. Daly has made GMP aware of these claims.

It is an obvious nonsense that she actually lived apart from her husband for the first five years of their marriage,.

Ministry of Education Cuts in Perspective.

NZH reports 565 positions to go.

4,509 – 565 = 3,944 remaining employed.

3,944 – 2,700 (in 2017) = 1,244 to get back to pre-Labour (Hipkins) level.

While it is hard for people to lose positions many of the new roles since 2017 have done little or nothing to help the children of NZ get a better education. If fact – the attendance and success of those students – has moved inversely to the willy-nilly employment strategies of Iona Holstead and her Deputy Secretaries.

I haven’t seen it announced that Holsted (and her off-siders) have accepted responsibility for both the dire situation with the education system and the fact that 565 have been shown the door.

There is little integrity if the top 12 have not fallen on their envelope openers and allowed Stanford and Seymour to bring in good people and bring the system change that our children, families, society and economy desperately needs.

Alwyn Poole
Innovative Education Consultants

Graham Adams on MACA and the Court of Appeal

Graham Adams writes:

The Court of Appeal itself found MACA “difficult and complex legislation”.

The court’s treatment of Section 58 of MACA is proving particularly contentious. It sets tests for customary marine title — including that the applicant group “holds the specified area in accordance with tikanga; and has, in relation to the specified area, exclusively used and occupied it from 1840 to the present day without substantial interruption”.

The majority judges decided that a literal reading of the second leg of the test — with its emphasis on exclusivity and continuity since 1840 — would be too onerous because it would mean virtually no claims could succeed. That outcome, it declared, would be “inconsistent with the Treaty/te Tiriti”.

Further, the majority judges effectively said they were choosing not to apply the plain words of Section 58 because it considered they were not consistent with the Act’s stated purposes.

In any event, the result of the attempts by judges in the High Court and Court of Appeal to square the circle between the actual words in the legislation in Section 58 and what they thought would make better and more consistent law is that we now have the novel concept of “shared exclusivity”. (This has prompted some observers to recall George Orwell’s quip: “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.”)

That strained notion is designed to solve the thorny problem arising from the overlaps among competing claims; in fact, six or more claimants per area is common. A reasonable person might quickly conclude that multiple credible claims over the same area would clearly breach the requirement in MACA for individual iwi and hapū to have used and occupied a territory exclusively for 184 years. However, our judges have somehow circumvented that obstacle.

That manoeuvre has been made possible in large part by the magic of tikanga. The courts have embraced the findings of pūkenga (specialists in Māori lore) to reconcile how several competing tribal groups sharing an area can plausibly pass the test for exclusivity. The fact tikanga is fluid and includes cultural values, customs, oral history and ancient legends — and varies from one tribal group to another — has provided a dimly lit path through that particular conundrum. Apparently, sharing can be part of tikanga and that trumps Western notions of property rights, as well as the obvious meaning of Section 58.

Effectively the Court of Appeal has over-ruled Parliament’s clear intent that customary title needed to be based on exclusive use, and has changed it to non-exclusive. This is a major change.

Those opposed to the courts’ expansive interpretation of MACA are pinning their hopes on Winston Peters obliging the judiciary to respect what Parliament actually said. NZ First’s coalition agreement with National, under the heading “Equal Citizenship”, promises the government will, in light of the Court of Appeal judgment, “amend Section 58 of the Marine and Coastal Area Act to make clear Parliament’s original intent…”

When the courts rewrite the law, it is the job of Parliament to change it back to its clear intent.

Fire and Emergency costs blowout

The Taxpayers’ Union has looked at the ever-increasing costs of FENZ.

The merger was mean to see operating costs decline by over 10%. Instead they have increased by 40%.

Management and support staff have increased by 31% over the five-year period from 2017/18 to 2022/23 whilst career firefighters and volunteer numbers have only increased by 5% over the same period.

I’d rather see those numbers reversed – 31% more firefighters and only 5% more managers.

The Cass Report

The BBC reports:

Children have been let down by a lack of research and “remarkably weak” evidence on medical interventions in gender care, a landmark review says.

The Cass Review, published on Wednesday by paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass, calls for gender services for young people to match the standards of other NHS care.

She says the “toxicity” of the debate around gender meant professionals were “afraid” to openly discuss their views.

Sadly medical professionals who had concerns were hounded for voicing their concerns.

Dr Cass told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that clinicians were concerned about having “no guidance, no evidence, no training”.

She said “we don’t have good evidence” that puberty blockers are safe to use to “arrest puberty”, adding that what started out as a clinical trial had been expanded to a wider group of young people before the results of that trial were available.

Young people who are gender incongruant should not be given treatments that don’t have an evidence base behind them. I absolutely support interventions that have been trialled and which have conclusions about effectiveness and benefits and risks.

“It is unusual for us to give a potentially life-changing treatment to young people and not know what happens to them in adulthood, and that’s been a particular problem that we haven’t had the follow-up into adulthood to know what the results of this are,” she said.

That is startling.

The report recommends that clinicians should address issues patients may have, that are not necessarily related to their gender identity, when they are referred to the new clinics.

Dr Cass says these “holistic assessments” should include screening for neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism, and a mental health assessment.

She said the assessments would address what she called “diagnostic overshadowing” – when patients’ other healthcare issues were overlooked in cases of patients questioning their gender.

She told Today that many of the more than 3,000 young people being seen by gender identity services were birth-registered girls presenting in early teens, “often with quite complex additional problems”.

She said about 15 years ago only 50 predominantly birth-registered boys were being seen by gender identity services.

Basically the report concludes you shouldn’t just conclude that gender incongruence is the only problem and hence a gender change is the only solution. In many cases it could well be the best solution, but not all.

The fact that there has been a 5000% increase in referrals is an issue that needs more research into why.

“What’s unfortunately happened for these young people is that because of the toxicity of the debate, they’ve often been bypassed by local services who’ve been really nervous about seeing them,” Dr Cass said.

“So rather than doing the things that they would do for other young people with depression, or anxiety, or perhaps undiagnosed autistic spectrum disorder, they’ve tended to pass them straight on to the Gid service.”

“There are few other areas of healthcare where professionals are so afraid to openly discuss their views, where people are vilified on social media, and where name-calling echoes the worst bullying behaviour,” she said.

Her report added that the “exceptional” toxicity has had a negative impact on the quality and availability of evidence.

The bullies on social media have a lot to answer for.

The report also warns that younger children should be treated with a “more cautious approach” than adolescents when considering whether to allow them to change their names, pronouns or clothing – known as socially transitioning. 

It says those who have not yet reached puberty should be “prioritised for early discussion with a professional with relevant experience” and they should be put on a separate care pathway than older, adolescent patients.

I’ve made this point before. There younger the child, the more cautious one should be about conclusions.

Another badly designed cycleway

A reader writes in:

I was in Palmerston North last week.  A bike path was added to a busy intersection (Rangitikei St and Featherston st).

The main upshot of this is that they added islands  (pedestrians walking across bike lanes), and added Bus stops in the middle of the road (I kid you not).  All cars will be blocked behind it

To make it worse, this blocks busy entrances to McDonalds drive thru (on the West side) and Countdown (on the east).  On Fridays there were often queues on the road for McDs.

These are the photos of the bus stop

This has been picked up by the Manawatu Standard.

The worst thing is – PNCC commissioned it but Taxpayers also paid for about half.  And it looks like they will now have to pay again to fix this mess which nobody in their right minds thinks was a good idea.  

They were working all year so I expect it was approved by the previous government.

The worst thing is (as someone who lived in the area for much of my life) is that it was completely unnecessary.  There was already plenty of room for bikes to safely use the road.  And there are plenty of very quiet back streets to get through as well


Guest Post: Whats the Politics of Israel’s attack on the Iran ‘consulate in Syria?

A guest post by John Stringer:

I teach WWI, WWII and the Cold War. As an historian and classicist, I follow war, both historic and contemporary, with interest.

Motivations for the Iranian ‘consulate’ attack in Syria by Israel this week, might include:

1. A preemptive strike to take out a big group of important Iranian military leaders and thus hobble Iran’s near-future war-making capability.

(Ironically, no one talks about Syria these days, or despot Assad, where atrocities and genocide on a much bigger scale than in Gaza, has been ongoing). Remember the 2013 chemical weapon attacks (tests?) by Assad against his own people?

2. To actually provoke a wider war with Iran so this confrontation can be resolved once and for all, before Iran develops nukes.

3. To keep America in the fold with Israel (ie against Iran) because America is softening in support about the Israeli Gaza action. Any Iranian retaliation will almost certainly include an attack on American assets (Iranian proxies have done this recently, hitting US bases). They might even attack mainland America with cruise missiles, which would be foolish in the extreme (like Pearl Harbour). I think they’ll take out a big American symbol (Statue of Liberty? An aircraft carrier?) and attack US bases in Syria or elsewhere with drones.

4. To provoke an Iranian attack and draw the Saudi’s in on Israel’s side (the Saudis hate revolutionary Iran). ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ It would then be Israel/US/Saudi Arabia, a strong coalition to confront Iran. It might scare off the Arab States rising. Many fear Iran and might quietly support the confrontation. Many Arab States don’t want the 1979 theocratic Iranian Revolution spreading. The Saudis spend almost 8% GDP on military. Huge.

5. Netanyahu’s unity government might need a bigger enemy than Hamas to maintain government. Remember, Israel has been politically unstable in elections recently, very divided, like America, with deadlocked elections before Nety managed to form a Govt of most parties. If it fell, Israel would be very weak indeed, and her enemies would take advantage.


If as is likely, the Middle East conflict expands, watch Putin. Will his gaze move to the Baltics? Perhaps Estonia, where there is a 1/4 Russian minority (vestiges of Hitler’s 1930s re -amalgamations: Sudetenland, Rhineland, Danzig corridor, etc). The prime minister of Estonia is a middle aged woman whose parents were Kulaks, persecuted and murdered by Stalinist Russia -perhaps one of the worlds worst genocides. Expect her to fight hard, and evoke NATO.

The Poles would certainly act against Russia. Poland is ready for war (5% + GDP on military spending, well trained infantry, and now modernised with American hardware, not old Soviet). France is also awakening. Their main focus is nuclear and deterent rather than convention war. But that ramps up the threat of tactical nuclear threats.

If Trump is elected, as is most likely, in October, I suspect he will pull out of Ukraine war support, to force the Europeans to step up (especially Germany and France) and refocus US attention and treasure in the Pacific (China containment) and the Middle-East (the bigger threats to America).

Kapiti Expressway to go to 110 km/hr

Simon Brown announced:

Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) will begin consultation this month on raising speed limits for the Kāpiti Expressway to 110km/h.

“Boosting economic growth and productivity is a key part of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and this proposal supports that outcome by reducing travel times and increasing efficiency for travel in and out of Wellington,” Mr Brown says.

“The Mackays to Peka Peka and Peka Peka to Ōtaki Roads of National Significance (RoNS), which make up the Kāpiti Expressway, were started by the previous National Government and were designed and constructed to a high safety standard. Since these roads opened, no one has died in a crash.

They’re great roads with excellent engineering and clearly safe in good conditions for 110 km/hr, as already occurs for the Waikato Expressway and the Tauranga Eastern Link. The combination of the Expressway and Transmission Gully has transformed driving in the Lower North Island.

The drop in the death toll to 0 is of course also very good news.

Was Hawkesby entirely wrong?

The BAS ruled:

Comments by radio host Kate Hawkesby suggesting Māori and Pacific patients were being prioritised for surgery due to their ethnicity were misleading and discriminatory, the Broadcasting Standards Authority has found.

It is a fact such patients are prioritised. The exacts words Hawkesby used were not correct, but the fact there is prioritisation was correct.

The decision relates to a 19 June 2023 broadcast in which Hawkesby discussed Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand’s new Equity Adjustor Score in the Auckland region. This system uses five categories to place patients on the non-urgent surgical waitlist, including clinical priority, time spent waiting, location, deprivation level and ethnicity.

Hawkesby made statements to the effect that the score meant Māori and Pacific people were being “moved to the top of surgery waitlists”. The BSA found this gave the misleading impression ethnicity was the only, or the key factor, involved in the assessment, and this meant Māori and Pacific patients would be given immediate precedence on the surgical waitlist.

Hawkesby was wrong to say that ethnicity alone would move you to the top of the waitlist. It would move you higher, but not to the top. Whether such a distinction is so significant enough to require a sanction is debatable.

“Hawkesby’s comments played into the stereotype that Māori and Pacific peoples disproportionately take up resources and are given undeserved special treatment in Aotearoa New Zealand’s society, at the expense of other ethnicities. While not said explicitly, in our view, the exaggerated and misleading nature of Hawkesby’s comments had the effect of evoking this type of prejudicial bias,” the BSA said.

While her exact comments were wrong, it is also wrong to say that Maori and Pacific people do not get special treatment. Whether it is deserved or not is a matter of opinion, not fact.

A reader points out:

Even if we ignore the arguably implicit “within the same acuity” suffix to Hawkesby’s comments, some very basic modelling (based on, and not taking into account deprivation or the remote location loading (which would disproportionately increase scores for Maori and PI compared to others), a Maori with P4 acuity will have a higher score than a ‘other’ ethnicity with acuity P3 if they have both been waiting between 81 and 93 days, inclusive.
It’s unusual for BSA to take such a hard line on broadcasters when there is not an absolutely clear breach of accuracy.

This is shown by this graph:

Useful context on public sector job cuts

The Herald reports:

From the gory details of job-cuts news, you’d think the public service was being eviscerated.

While the media’s view of the cuts is incomplete, it’s also true that departments have been leaking the particulars faster than a Wellington water pipe (and to be fair, formal update announcements have also commenced).

Consequently, we know of proposed and completed redundancies of some 1000 people to date (give or take), as departments pare their spending in line with reduced and revised Budget allocations, now being finalised for announcement next month. …

But those figures remain eclipsed by the number of staff added through just the second half of last year: 368 additions at MBIE (a 5.9 per cent increase); 405 additions at MSD (a 4.5 per cent increase); 12 additions at MPI (a 0.3 per cent increase); and 77 additions at MoH (a 10.5 per cent increase).

All up, the public service expanded by 4.1 per cent in the last six months for which we have data, which amounted to an addition of 2580 net new employees, as of December 31.

So in the last six months of 2023, the public service grew by around 430 staff a month. The reductions announced to date basically just wind back less than three months of job growth. We have Stuff and Radio NZ doing multiple news bulletins a day about the fact the size of the public sector is going back to the size it was in September 2023, instead of December 2023!

The big picture is that the public service workforce is now 65,699 strong, an increase of 39 per cent (18,447 fulltime equivalent (FTE) employees) since June 30, 2017, just a few months before Labour’s coalition Government was sworn in that October.

So it is around a 1.5% reduction so far.

When Max Rashbrooke is being the voice of reason, that should be a wake up call to others to reduce the hysteria.

Don’t flee the country with kids

The Herald reports:

A Kiwi mother fled New Zealand with her three young children while her husband was at work, to get away from a marriage punctuated by abuse. But she has now been ordered to return her tamariki to their father – despite an Australian judge conceding he had exposed them to family violence.

The order was made under the Hague Convention – an international agreement that helps children return to the country they usually live in if they’re taken or kept overseas, so that parenting arrangements can be made. 

This is not surprising. If one parent unilaterally decides to leave the country with the kids, they almost always end up in the wrong – as they should. Unilaterally deciding that kids should have no contact with their other parent is not a decision for one parent to make. It is a decision for courts to make. And the level of potential harm to kids should be very significant to justify effectively removing one parent from their lives.

Taking the kids to live with her family in Australia seemed like her only option to get away from Ben, who she said subjected her to assaults, financial and emotional abuse and controlling and coercive behaviour.

It wasn’t. You can move out. You can get a protection order. You can move into a refuge. You can get your partner arrested if he has broken the law. None of these are easy, but deciding to flee the country with the kids is not the only option.

Alice outlined the abuse she had been subjected to – giving the judge examples – and raised “a litany of complaints” about his parenting.

She also believed Ben had, throughout the marriage, embarked on “a deliberate campaign to undermine her and her parenting” that included constant criticism and gaslighting.

Umm, criticising parenting styles off even skills is not a valid reason to have your kids stolen from you. And it isn;’t that uncommon parents do disagree on such things.

Ben denied the majority of Alice’s claims, telling the judge that she was “volatile, quick to anger, lacked emotional regulation” and was usually the aggressor in any conflict.

But he “readily made concessions against self-interest, without apparent hesitation” regarding some family harm incidents.

He even told the judge he was willing to foot the bill for the children coming home, and if Alice came with them he would vacate the family home for three months while she got resettled.

Sounded a decent offer.

The judge released her decision five days after the hearing.

“On either parent’s evidence, their relationship was conflictual, punctuated by frequent separations and reconciliations, and marred by acts of family violence,” she said.

“Each parent contends that the other parent was the aggressor, and that they were the victim.”

She said both parents had tried to provide honest and genuine information – but she felt some of Alice’s evidence was “coloured by her desire for her and the children to remain in Australia”.

The judge said it was not for her to decide how the children should be parented or their custody managed – her task was to assess whether they would be exposed to grave risk as defined under the Hague Convention if she ordered their return to New Zealand.

So sounds like fault on both sides.

Alice felt her experience of family violence was “minimised” in court, which was proof the Hague Convention was unfit for purpose in 2024.

“Should it be the discretion of a judge to determine whether or not abuse of any kind is ‘bad enough’?” she said.

Yes. Who else would decide? Any abuse is bad, but for one parent to lose all parenting rights, it needs to be substantial.

Two more strikes for the nasty party

Stuff reports:

Labour leader Chris Hipkins has ordered his senior MP Peeni Henare to remove posts on social media ridiculing government ministers including a cartoon image of ACT Leader David Seymour with faeces coming out of his eyes and an anus for a mouth.

It says something about the judgment of the former Minister that he would think it was appropriate to post such a cartoon.

Just imagine the outcry if a National MP had posted such an image of Jacinda Ardern or James Shaw?

It follows Labour MP Willie Jackson, on Thursday, calling Media and Communications Minister Melissa Lee “stupid” …

Labour seem to want to live up their reputation as the nasty party.

The sentiment was echoed by Seymour, “ACT’s a free speech party and he’s got every right to post what he wants, but everyone has the right to decide what they think of it, too.”

“My biggest worry is democracy needs a competent opposition, I just hope this post isn’t the best they can do,” said Seymour.

Labour seem to like polling in the 20s.

Four dead, more injured in Australia reports:

Four people are dead and many more injured after a mass stabbing inside a packed Westfield at Sydney’s Bondi Junction, with shocking footage emerging of families fleeing for their lives.

The horror unfolded at 4pm on Saturday afternoon when a man began stabbing shoppers at random, including a woman and her nine-month-old baby, before being shot dead by police.

Terrible for those at the scene, plus their families and friends.

Stories are already emerging of heroic Australians battling to take down the knifeman, with some throwing tables and chairs at him and astonishing footage emerging of one man taking him on with a bollard. 

Good on ya cobbers.

The Attorney General said there is no information that proves the attack is terror-related, but the AFP are consulting with NSW Police are will activate a joint counter terrorism team if necessary.

When the attacker is stabbing babies, it is highly likely to be terror-related.

UPDATE: Now five dead sadly, and nine stabbed.

Kudos to the senior female officer who confronted him and shot him. She saved many more lives, by not waiting for backup.

Looks like she is an Inspector.

Lessons from NPR

NPR is the US public broadcaster. Uri Berliner has worked for them for 25 years and has written a thoughtful piece on how they lost their way. There are lessons here for other broadcasters.

  • In 2011 their listeners were 37% liberal and 26% conservative, in 2023 it is 67% liberal and 11% conservative
  • Was unbalanced on Russiagate interviewing Adam Schiff 25 times, and not covering well the conclusion there was no collusion
  • Ignored the Hunter Biden laptop story as it could help Trump
  • Dismissed the possibility that Covid-19 was a lab leak, now deemed likely
  • Decided that America is systemically racist their mission was to change it
  • Diversity became the “North Star” for NPR
  • Union contract requires journalists to follow language and style guide of journalism affinity groups such as MGIPOC (Marginalized Genders and Intersex People of Color mentorship program) and Gender-Expansive, and Transgender People in Technology Throughout Public Media
  • Have been instructed to avoid the term “biological sex”
  • With the Israel-Hamas war, highlighting the suffering of Palestinians at almost every turn while downplaying the atrocities of October 7 and overlooking how Hamas intentionally puts Palestinian civilians in peril
  • At NPR HQ they have 87 registered democrats on staff and 0 registered republicans
  • Despite the diversity push, no increase in black or hispanic listeners. Has become media for urban white progressives

He ends with some good advice for the new CEO:

Her first rule could be simple enough: don’t tell people how to think. It could even be the new North Star.

As I said, many things in his article have relevance for NZ media.

Yes Minister strikes again in NZ

Many will recall this Yes Minister episode about how there was a very good hospital with only one problem – no patients.

Well Radio NZ reports:

A brand new surgical building the size of a provincial hospital is sitting empty on the grounds of North Shore Hospital, its opening delayed and no new date set.

There are lights on and hospital beds in place in the four storey, 150-bed Tōtara Haumaru building, but it could be months before there are patients.

You would have thought that during the many years of construction for the new surgical building, someone would have been recruiting staff so it would not just sit there empty for the best part of a year!

Nanny state in Georgia

Reason reports:

In August of 2018, the Widner kids—then ages 13, 11, nine, and seven—were members of a swim team at their local YMCA, which was about two blocks from their house. One day, after swim practice, the 7-year-old, Jackson, lagged behind while the rest of his siblings walked home, and stopped by the grocery for a free cookie.

A store employee thought it was so unusual to see an unaccompanied 7-year-old that a store employee called 911. Then, instead of letting him leave, the employee told Jackson he had to wait for the police to arrive.

This became part of a pattern; indeed, Jackson’s semi-independence attracted police attention on no fewer than three occasions, leading to two investigations by Child Protective Services (CPS). …

After the police finally brought Jackson home, they informed his father, Glenn, that it wasn’t safe to let a child his age wander around outside.

“You just can’t raise kids like that anymore—it isn’t safe,” said the cops.

Glenn begged to differ, reciting statistics that kids today face no greater risk from stranger danger than previous generations. Nevertheless, the police summoned child protective services.

Soon thereafter, Beth got a call from Jackson, using the new watch phone his parents had gotten him after the August incident. He said the police wanted to speak to her. Once again, cops had detained Jackson for being outside unsupervised.

Beth got to the grocery parking lot within a couple of minutes. She found Jackson seated like a suspect in the backseat of a cruiser. The complaining witness watched as the police let Beth take her son home. Beth wasn’t told what to expect further, and she didn’t hear from child services. But she later learned that child services had been informed about Jackson’s flagrant act of unaccompanied bike riding. …

One of the police officers accused Glenn of “breaking the law” by letting Jackson go out alone. “What law is that?” Glenn inquired.  The officer replied, “You can Google it.” The most senior officer accused him of neglect and “contributing to delinquency of the minor,” and told him not only could he be arrested, but he might face felony charges and spend time in jail.

This is awful over-reach. I live near a playground and sometimes I let my kids to go to it a few minutes ahead of me, while I clean up the dishes.

I’m actually pretty cautious and won’t let my seven year old walk or scoot around the neighbourhood alone, but will sometimes say yes if he has a similar aged friend with him. At some stage I’ll loosen the strings more.

These are decisions for parents to make, based on how well we know our kids, and our neighbourhoods. There is no role for the Police except where a child is manifestly too young to be outside alone, or is lost.