It’s written in plain English, and it’s no surprise that Judge Adams has a Masters in Creative Writing and has written a book of poems.
“ Imagine a large, vacated, open-plan office. It is well-lit, day or night, and there are windows along one side. At one end, it connects, through a door, to another similar room; at the other end, a door connects it to a large kitchen-dining area. It is not flash but the basics are provided. The room is furnished with tables made of cardboard. Four large tables have been created; achieved by pushing six tables together, three on one side and three on the other. Sellotape strips join them together, and ensure that there is no gap into which a slip of paper could disappear. A single cardboard table stands at the head of each large table – this is the place for the table leader. The folding chairs have slightly padded seats. On these seats the counters will sit for several hours each day. This is the Waitakere electorate offìce.”
Some interesting bits from the judgment:
On Election Day I remember having a discussion on Twitter about what happens if it turns out there is more than one vote for a voter. I asked at a polling place but they weren’t too sure either. Basically, the election people find out what happened from the voter, and if they seem legit, they allow their actual vote.
“ All the polling place records are collected and a thorough check is made in order to discover if anyone has been given more than one ballot paper; this is referred to [as] “dual votes”. Where dual voting seems to have occurred the Returning Officer conducts a check – even having her staff call to the home of the voter – so that the voter can shed light on the matter. The rule is that dual votes are both disallowed but if enquiry shows that the real voter received only one paper, their vote is allowed.”
Nearly 400 votes weren’t counted because the voters weren’t enrolled to vote.
“ … In Waitakere, 393 people who cast votes were found not to be enrolled anywhere so their votes remained unopened, never counted. Those votes did not form any part of the official count.”
A National Party scrutineer wanted the building guarded by police. The judge: “The police were likely to have more productive tasks on hand”.
“ At approximately 8:15pm on the Wednesday evening a National Party scrutineer, Mr Mark Brickell, requested that I ask police to guard the building. He submitted that, if word leaked out that the vote seemed closer than the official count, there might be an attempt to interfere with the voting forms. I saw no evidence of any such risk; the suggestion had not been made earlier; the police were likely to have more productive tasks on hand; the building seemed secure. I provided a hand-written decision which gave my reasons. I permitted either party to employ security guards to attend outside the building provided they notified me, and I gave them my cellphone number for that purpose. I received no call. In the morning the ballot papers were still where I had left them.”
Best. Judgment. Ever.
“ … My favourite was the voter who emphasised their tick for Carmel Sepuloni by drawing a little orange heart in the rectangle containing her name.”
We don’t like admitting mistakes, or we love trees
Or we don’t know that we can get another voting paper if we screw one up?
“ … Quite a few voters had made ticks that they had scribbled over with the orange pen, but left a clear tick in another circle, which I took to be a clear indication of their preference. It seems that voters are shy of admitting they have spoiled their paper, because they could easily have obtained another. This might be fruitful area for voter education.”
The downside of transparent orange ink
Christopher Nimmo on the blog post: “But orange is just such a perfect colour for highlighting!”
“ … In one, the voter had made a tick for Carmel Sepuloni, and drawn a wavering line through her name. It is possible that the intention was to highlight the choice but I could not exclude the possibility that the voter had struck out her name. For me, this decision is much closer to my line than the previous decision. My level of doubt about whether the line was a change of heart of an emphasis is high; the possibility that a vote was intended is real. Nevertheless, close though it is to the line, I could not be sure that the voter clearly indicated that choice and for lack of clarity I treated it as informal.”
I think this all illustrates that in New Zealand the people dealing with votes actually care.
“I may heartily dislike the results of our latest election, but I couldn’t and wouldn’t dispute its validity. We’re lucky that way.” –Lucy Steward, comment on Legal Beagle.
Their reply to “Random” Pak’nSave Bag Searches. No comment on women with handbags or what happens if I did have something in my bag that I had bought from another supermarket.
I can confirm that our bag policy is applicable regardless of a customer’s age and is simply designed to prevent an ongoing shoplifting issue which we are trying to manage. We have a prominent sign in-store which clearly states that ‘We reserve the right to check all bags and may require you to leave large bags with a staff member while shopping.’
While I do appreciate having your bag checked is an inconvenience, unfortunately due to the level of shoplifting we experience in-store, it is an unavoidable part of how we are forced to do business, we would certainly prefer to not check customer’s bags but sometimes even with cameras and other security measures we are left with no option. I apologise if you felt you were unfairly treated and I hope you will continue to shop at my store.
My staff remain committed to giving our customers the best possible shopping experience, and by endeavouring to keep shoplifting to a minimum we hope we can deliver the lowest everyday prices.
I wrote about the Ministry of Education’s search and seizure guide for schools a couple of months ago, but I missed this article that contains some really disturbing comments from those involved in education. Basically, the police used to assist schools with draconian drug dog and weapon searches of entire schools, but have stopped after their lawyers realized that they’re probably not legal.
The rights of a few
“Education Minister Anne Tolley said a law change might be needed, because it was wrong for the rights of one or two pupils to take precedence over the rights of the whole school community.” [emphasis mine]
Because, you know, it’s only the students with drugs and knives that are being protected by making sure searches are reasonable! As Michael Bott points out later in the article, you’re violating the rights of every student when you conduct unreasonable searches en masse.
“Every step has to be taken to prevent [exposure to drugs and weapons].”
An extremely single-minded approach. When do strip searches become a reasonable step?
Exempting teachers from the law
“Crown Law is also investigating possible law changes to protect teachers from being charged with assault or false imprisonment”.
The police being the only sensible people in the room
“They will still help schools with searches but only when there is evidence of pupils carrying weapons or illicit drugs.”
“Screw reasonable suspicion and screw the police lawyers”
“Secondary Principals Association president Patrick Walsh – principal of John Paul College in Rotorua – said … it was unfortunate that police would now offer searches only if there was “reasonable suspicion that drugs are being peddled at the school”. The searches should continue until their legality was tested in court or ministry lawyers ruled they were unlawful, he said.” [emphasis mine]
What is this I don’t even.
“‘No other New Zealand citizens are subject to the same intrusive search criteria,’ lawyer Michael Bott said.”
Random drug searches of innocent pupils “were ‘deemed OK by virtue of their age and the fact that they’re compelled to attend the school’”.
Hekia Parata is the new Minister of Education, so hopefully she isn’t as ridiculous as Anne Tolley. Though, Anne Tolley becomes the Minister for Police and Corrections, so good luck with that everyone.
Image credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Lawlor http://www.flickr.com/photos/anhonorablegerman/5722364868/
Megaupload uploaded a $3 million+ viral video attempt in the form of a song, The Mega Song, to YouTube. Containing endorsements from many musicians that have contracts with Universal Music Group, they weren’t the happiest of campers.
Macy Gray sings in the video, which features will.i.am, P. Diddy, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian (who comes running whenever someone utters the word “endorsement”), Lil John, The Game, Floyd Mayweather, Chris Brown, Jamie Foxx, Serena Williams and Ciara on camera. (Side note: It’s accepted that Chris Brown can do endorsements now?)
Using YouTube’s content management system, which Universal has access to as copyright holders, they took the video down. They didn’t own any content in it. They just didn’t like it.
Now Megaupload aren’t the happiest of campers, and are suing Universal, trying to prevent Universal from interfering with the video, which is now back up, after YouTube appears to have asked Universal as to why exactly they took it down.
The New Zealand connection (read: Universal don’t know what their own artists sound like)
Wigmore, of course, doesn’t appear in the video at all, in audio or visual form (but was approached to sing in it), so perhaps Universal have forgotten what their artists actually sound like, and mistook Macy Gray for her.
Two takedown notices were received, the second one from will.i.am (well, his lawyer), who appears in the video, saying “When I’ve got to send files across the globe, I use Megaupload”.
Ira Rothken, lawyer for Megaupload, says that written permission in the form of signed Appearance Consent and Release Agreements were provided by everyone in the video, including will.i.am. will.i.am’s signed form, which you can read here (pdf, will.i.am’s real name is William Adams), is pretty convincing.
Dotcom says that will.i.am assured him that he “had not authorized the submission of any takedown notice on his behalf”.
Universal’s takedown rights “not limited to copyright infringement”
Universal claim that they can takedown the video under an agreement with YouTube–not the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In a letter (pdf) to YouTube from Kelly Klaus, a Universal lawyer, says that “As you know, UMG’s [takedown] rights in this regard are not limited to copyright infringement, as set forth more completely in the March 31, 2009 Video License Agreement for UGC Video Service Providers, including without limitation in Paragraphs 1(b) and 1(g) thereof.”
In that case the DMCA’s rules and protections around takedown notices wouldn’t apply. If this is true, YouTube isn’t exactly open about it. They claimed that the video had been taken down by a copyright claim in the message displayed when people tried to watch it:
Rothken says “What they are basically arguing, they can go ahead and suppress any speech they want without any consequences. That’s not a workable paradigm”.
This is, perhaps, a huge tick in the column against the Stop Online Piracy Act, which is currently being debated.
On 15 December I shopped at Riccarton Pak’nSave with a group of other young people.
After purchasing items at a self-checkout directly in front of one of your staff (really, she was right beside me), she requested to search my bag. I had not touched the bag during my visit so this request was not based on any actual evidence that I had attempted to steal something, like from a store detective or a camera.
It was extremely obvious that this was not a random search, as she called it. It was because of my age. Three other people from our group were selected for a “random” search. I wonder how many women with handbags were searched that day? I know my friend that came through the self-checkout after us wasn’t.
I declined the request.
I waited for the rest of our group and left the store. I was followed by a store manager who put his arm touching up against me, and tried to stop me from leaving. I declined again, which I have the right to do, no matter your signage, and walked away.
It’s disgusting to treat your paying customers like this.
Do you consider that bags contain personal possessions? That most people wouldn’t decline your request to search, because it makes them look and feel like a criminal? That searching personal possessions could reveal, say, a private medical condition?
I wonder what the purpose of these “random” searches are. Say I did consent to the search, I had items in my bag that I didn’t buy or steal from Pak’nSave, but that you sell. I didn’t have the receipt. What would happen then? Would you accuse me of stealing those items? Would you call the police on me? If not, why are you searching young people? Scare tactics? That isn’t the definition of a reasonable search.
If it is your policy to target young people or people with backpacks (read: young people), it needs to change. It is discriminatory and wrong.
If you weren’t the only supermarket at Westfield Riccarton, I wouldn’t shop with you again.
Update 28 September 2012: This post was written before I started working for a bank (who I love dearly), and at least some views expressed in this post have changed since then (eg. case-insensitive passwords (and ASB isn’t the only bank that does this) are irrelevant when users are locked out after three incorrect login attempts–Facebook does something similar to this, accepting the actual password, the password with the first letter capitalized (to account for automatic capitalization on mobile devices), and the password with the case of letters reversed (to account for the caps lock key being on), and that a charge for a bank cheque is not so unreasonable in the context of a lot of bank cheques being for a large amount). Also some bank policies have changed since this post was published (eg. ASB no longer charges $2 for automatic payments added/amended online–progress!) There is, however, no way of getting around ASB’s $0.20 fee for a Netcode over-$500-transfer-authorization if you don’t have a token–it is charged even if you call the 0800 number and ask them to release the payment. Except for a note regarding the previous sentence, this post hasn’t been edited from the original form.
And useful (see: next day bank transfers).
I’m with ASB and they are great, however no one is perfect. Here’s some things that I hate about banks in New Zealand. Many of these problems are shared by the entire industry.
Or the fact that ASB keeps trying to convert me to one even though I’m not allowed one.
Here’s mailer number one, received the week of my 17th birthday:
And mailer two, from today:
Irrelevant: check. Impersonal: check. You know how to make a guy feel special ASB. (Case in point: I’m not 18 so they couldn’t give me my own credit card even if they really really wanted to).
This is upsetting because I have a feeling tertiary accounts have less fees than youth accounts. At least, it isn’t emphasized that service fees apply to tertiary accounts like it is for youth accounts on ASB’s fee exemption page. Service fees apply for everyone, see comment from ASB below.
Stupid bank fees
ASB isn’t the only bank that charges stupid fees, but here are some examples of theirs:
$2 to set up or amend an automatic payment or add a person you might want to transfer money to again (like the power company, or mum). Online. On the internet. Changing an entry in a database. By yourself.
20 cents for each time you use Netcode, ASB’s text verification service, which you can choose to happen on login. Google, who isn’t even in New Zealand doesn’t charge for this (see below). Probably get charged 20 cents again by your mobile service provider for receiving the text. Some sort of verification is required for some transactions that take you over a $500 daily transfer limit, or if you’re sending money overseas. Alternatively, you can ring their call center to get transactions verified for [email protected]!! I wonder if the time of the person you speak to on the phone is worth less than 20 cents?See update at top of post–20 cents is charged even if you call the 0800 number.
Alternatively you can pay $12 a year for a physical Netcode token, which you’d need if you are regularly out of cellphone reception and probably if you travel overseas. RaboDirect provides these for free. BNZ provides the NetGuard card for free.
5 cents for each email alert. For the virtual stamp. Or the person who licks it. Or something.
20 cents for text alerts and text banking. I think they charge you when they receive a text banking message from you. Plus you probably get charged to send texts to them by your service provider. In contrast, Westpac provides a certain number of text alerts free per month as long as you log in to online banking that month.
$5 for bank cheques. Plus because you probably have an “electronic” account, and if you’re not a youth/student, a fee of $3 because that’s a manual transaction.
“Please note, your password must be eight characters long, and contain at least two letters (a-z) and at least two numbers (0-9). For example, redbus73 and 8cube224 are valid passwords.”
This is ASB’s. I assume other banks are as ridiculous. Would you like a nine character password? YOU CAN’T. MUST BE EIGHT.
Microsoft’s (now defunct) password checker says both of their examples are weak. ASB lets you use both of their examples as real passwords, because security.
Here’s an entry form I picked up from BNZ’s tent at The Show:
Note the classy clause at the bottom: “By providing your details, you consent to use contacting you about our products, services and promotions, from time to time (including via text message without an unsubscribe facility).”
Once you’re in, they have you.
I guess if you rang them they’d remove you from their text messaging scheme, but really, why not let people unsubscribe via text using common keywords like stop, or unsubscribe?
Visa Debit cards
And their annual fees. $10 a year for having the card. National Bank got half of the memo and isn’t charging the annual fee if you have their Freedom account. But you have to be earning $30k+ a year and pumping it into that account. Anyway, I like the image they’re using in their ads for it (see top image).
Sure, debit cards are great if you are under 18 or don’t trust yourself with a credit card. But really, if you can, you should just get a credit card.
Banks (looking at you Westpac and BNZ) seem to love converting people to these debit cards, even if the person already has a credit card with the bank. I don’t understand. Family members have received Visa Debit cards in the mail from Westpac, even though they have a credit card with Westpac. If you already have a Visa or credit card, why would you want a Visa Debit?
It’s a bit of a have, because people naturally think this is their replacement EFTPOS card and start using it, probably not realizing that once they start using it they’re going to be charged an annual fee. If they’re lucky, maybe the fee will be waived for a year or two!
When you go into BNZ to request an EFTPOS card, the tellers like to order you in a Visa Debit card instead*, because, you know, they know best.
*May have happened just once.
Lack of security
That’s Google’s 2-step verification programme.
There’s a number of ways to use it. I have the Google Authenticator application on a couple of devices (it works without needing an internet connection), I can get a code sent to me by text (for [email protected]@) if the application isn’t working, I can use the backup codes if I have to, and I can tell Google that it doesn’t need to ask me for a verification code on the computer I’m using for another 30 days if I trust it.
It works, it’s good, it’s free. And it’s not even protecting my money.
Side note: security has to actually be built-in by design and be compulsory for it to be useful. Kerry Thompson points out that security conscious people probably have limited use for 2-factor authentication systems, because they already take precautions. The people who aren’t security conscious are also the people who don’t think they need 2-factor authentication, they think they’ll be covered by the bank, or won’t use it because of the cost (hi ASB’s 20 cent per text charge).
See also: Google doesn’t have an eight character password policy and Google gives a detailed account of recent account activity (ASB shows the last time I logged in, but I rarely look at it, and out of context it’s kind of useless).
How about encouraging people to set up an automatic payment to a savings account every pay period and sign up for Kiwisaver?
Also, you would think an application that consists of one button would be easy to set up, but Westpac’s Impulse Saver requires you to apply to use it, and makes you wait for a callback from a customer service person.
Phone banking on mobiles
Westpac and BNZ seem to be the only two banks who try to ban calls from mobile phones to their phone banking numbers. It’s trivial to get around this with Westpac, just call their main 0800 number and press one to get to phone banking. On BNZ it seems like that works too, at least after their call center hours.
Visa and MasterCard undermining credit card PINs
Visa and MasterCard aren’t banks, but whatever.
McDonald’s, in association with Visa and MasterCard has the policy of not requiring a PIN or signature for credit card transactions under $35.
How they can guarantee security, I’m not sure, because they just took away the only security of a PIN or signature. I’m not sure why Visa and MasterCard don’t make this opt-in or opt-out.
Zero liability can’t apply if you don’t realize there’s a fraudulent charge on your statement, so good luck everyone.
Next day bank transfers
Or please stop relying on a cron job for transfers.
10 years after one-off payments were introduced, they still take up to the next business day to go through to accounts at other banks. I realize this might require some consultation with the People In Charge Of The Money, but can we please get rid of this? Thanks. Also, could we please do transfers on non-business days to accounts at other banks and get rid of the 10pm cut off for not-my-bank transfers?
“Inspired by a New Yorker story, Jumpers, written by Tad Friend, director Eric Steel decided to train cameras on the Golden Gate Bridge over the course of 2004 to capture the people who attempted to leap off the famed structure, the site of more suicides than anywhere else in the world.
He also tracked down and interviewed the friends, family members, and eyewitnesses to further recreate the events leading up to the incident and to try to explain what led these people to want to kill themselves, especially at this specific site.
The documentary’s primary subjects all struggled with mental illness, including severe depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders, and the documentary struggles to understand their illness while illuminating the anger and hurt of their loved ones.”
Eric Steel and his crew filmed the Golden Gate Bridge, which has become a suicide magnet, but has no suicide barrier, for 365 days during daylight hours. They captured 23 of the 24 suicides that took place that year (when I first watched this I didn’t realize that the 23 suicides shown weren’t reenactments).
Cue ethical dilemma of if you’re filming the bridge, and think someone who is hanging around the bridge is going to jump, should you intervene?
There’s some interesting interviews with family members, including one family who provide charming quotes like:
“We didn’t get a mental illness.”
“She wanted more and more support, do you think that was because of a medication change?” “No I think it was because she was ill.” “Oh ’cause she wasn’t feeling well.”
“I’ve always thought of myself as a stronger person than her.”
If you don’t want to watch the whole documentary, consider just watching Kevin Hines’ interview. He jumped, and in what could have been the last few seconds of his life, realized that he didn’t want to die. He survived.
About a month ago Social Innovation held the CERA Recovery Strategy Youth Jam at Hagley Community College because the submissions received so far on the draft Recovery Strategy were missing young people’s opinions. About 20 of us went over CERA’s Recovery Strategy for Christchurch, and as a group submitted responses to the questions posed by CERA about the strategy (we’re in the organisation spreadsheet under ‘Emerging Leaders Forum’). Excellent food was provided by The Sauce Kitchen.
These are the questions and some of our responses to them, from my notes and the spreadsheet. Longer versions of our answers are in the spreadsheet, typed up by some poor people at CERA from 49 A2 sheets.
On with the show.
We’ve highlighted the most important lessons we’ve learnt since the earthquakes began – but are there others?
How useful technology was – http://eq.org.nz, Twitter. Use existing technology more effectively. We all have cellphones, can we take advantage of them better? The Civil Defence website was a train wreck, just a big list of updates. Radio – are we meant to listen to a specific station?
The definition of “essential services” is different between people. For some people public transport is essential as it is the only way they have to get around.
There’s a reliance on volunteers – Student Volunteer Army, the EQ map etc.
Neighbourhoods could be trained – have their own Search & Rescue team, they are willing
Only a few schools were used as Civil Defence “bases” for shelter etc. – why not use more?
Businesses need backup plans, be able to work away from the office. Not just technology backup.
Need to be careful what is used as a memorial eg. the opposite of the CTV lift shaft idea
Communities formed and came together after the earthquakes – how do we glue them together so they stick once we have rebuilt?
Need to record down what has happened, capture stories – library is doing this, audio recording booth at The Show
Emergency kit – being prepared
Our ability to adapt to change
Together, do these goals describe the recovered greater Christchurch that you want? Are there other key goals we should seek to achieve?
Communication throughout the process
High speed broadband
Sustainably manage resources
Environmental need takes into account
Better air quality
Better ways to get around
Easy to commute to city
Modern tram system, not heritage – light rail
Precincts mean you know where to go, but variety is important
Attracting new people
Living in town
Death to malls
Democracy, voices heard, CCC open, transparent
Educated community, free seminars in first aid
Diversity – ages, backgrounds, ethnicity
Do not return to the way it was, new ideas, opportunities
Building community resilience
Engagement between locals and tourists -> interaction, not segregated
Positive spontaneous stuff
Sense of ownership of public space
Given demands on resources, do you support the priorities identified? [What priorities did we miss?]
Enabling people is important. Getting businesses back into their red zone properties
Hosting major events
Engaged and informed public
Schools and education
Safety and well-being
Economy, businesses, creation of jobs
Big infrastructure – stadiums
Focus on the word affected areas
Open spaces near buildings – somewhere to go if we have another quake
Getting people sorted, but fixing for the future
Safe place for youth day and night
Giving opportunity to voice ideas
Connecting the city with transport
Environment and sustainability
Acceleration as a priority is concerning – do it well
Decreasing reliance on infrastructure through design
Re-design, don’t just re-establish
Being the garden city
Get back the old before we build new things
Business connection hub
Youth input and consultation
Preserve heritage buildings
Significance of people losing their lives
Recreation centres/areas in residential red zones
There’s no perfect number of Recovery Plans, so if you think we need other plans tell us what and why?
Community – maintaining strength, each neighbourhood is unique and knows its own needs
Too much weight towards economic plans
Communication. Transparency and accountability for public spending
Energy, power generation, efficiency, localised, smaller scale
Recovery requires confidence – of insurers, banks, developers, investors, business-owners, residents and visitors. Will the proposed Plans provide sufficient confidence for people to progress recovery?
If youth involved, they will build where they want to live
Being involved at all stages. Accountability, communication, collaboration -> confidence
Investors can be part of something new
Insurers – will they insure, pay out, how much for?
Community involvement gives confidence, there’s safety in numbers.
Red zone people lack of confidence
What will ensure decision makers deliver the recovery we want, as soon as we need it, at a cost we can afford?