Apparently police want to talk to six people who were in the café during the talk, because, you know, they probably recorded the conversation as well! (Or they can provide better details than the camera footage the police have?)
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.
From their handy ‘How Conservative Are You?’ quiz.
Welfare reform so that there is no pay without work and incentives are toward working and couples staying together. No benefits (“no pay without work”). Concerning that they want to incentivize couples to stay together. Creates a, I assume, financial, incentive to stay in a domestic violence situation. Not everyone wants to have a partner and they shouldn’t be penalized for that.
That the legal drinking age be raised to 21 years of age. War on youth.
That the ban on smacking be removed with a return to parents being able to use reasonable force in correcting their children. The law already has an exception “if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances”. Force shouldn’t be used instead of proper parenting.
Tougher sentences for violent criminals along with a requirement that they work and learn while imprisoned. “Requirement that they work” seems like it would be slavery. Locking people up longer isn’t the magic answer to crime.
In sentencing ‘life’ imprisonment shall actually mean life imprisonment. As above, this isn’t the magic bullet.
That Citizens Initiated referendum should be binding if 67% or more of votes cast favour the proposal. (and apparently we’re having a referendum in 2014 – “That the 2014 election referendum should include the following questions …”) – Referenda are stupid in that questions are often worded in a way that solicits the response desired by the people behind the referendum. Binding referenda could unfairly affect minority groups. Here are some examples of ridiculous referenda we have had:
Should the number of professional firefighters employed full time in the New Zealand Fire Service be reduced below the number employed on 1 January 1995? (12.2% yes, 87.8% no – 1995 – 27% turnout)
Should there be a reform of our justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences? (91.8% yes, 8.2% no – 1999 – 84.8% turnout, held on day of general election) [emphasis mine, did 91% of New Zealanders who voted really support hard labour? Unlikely. Were they voting for better treatment of victims? Probably.]
I vote for compulsory military training. I vote against compulsory military training. (77.9% in favour, 22.1% against – 1949 – 63.5% turnout)
If I have crushed your Conservative Party dreams, and/or you’re not sure who to vote for tomorrow, check this website out.
Don’t give permission for the “bland” recording to be released.
Call the police on cameraman Bradley Ambrose, who allegedly accidentally recorded the conversation (which generally wouldn’t be illegal). Even though you’ve said before, regarding privacy, that “anyone who is innocent has nothing to fear”. Police get search warrants to search multiple media outlets.
Storm out of press conference after media ask questions about recording.
Compare what happened to the systemic hacking of murder and suicide victims’ phones in order to sell newspapers, ie. The News of the World.
Set the recording free
Chief High Court judge Justice Helen Winkelmann declined to make a judgement on whether the recording was public or private because it would be a “mini-trial” which would interfere with an ongoing police investigation.
So no tea tapes before election day on Saturday, unless some devious media outlet releases the recording even though they could face legal action(oh [email protected]@).
This is stupid, slightly racist and reads as “welfare recipients are lazy”, but I’ll play along.
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper admires the ant’s work ethic and would like to be like a hard-working ant, but unemployment is at 6.6% and at least three out of 50 people, including himself, can’t find jobs. If unemployment gets below 5%, the wasps who own the factories start to panic. If the wasps had to compete for employees, instead of the employees competing for jobs, the wasps would have to either raise their prices or keep less of the profits they earn from the labor.
There are more ants than grasshoppers, and ants are usually better qualified, because their parents got them access to better schools and healthcare. Some ants went to private schools and when they got sick outside of business hours, there was no hesitation in taking them to an after-hours surgery. Because their parents valued their education, they were encouraged to work hard at school and many ended up going to university. Because the ants have better qualifications, the grasshoppers are the last to get hired and the first to be fired.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.
One News, 3 News, PRIME News, and Campbell Live show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
The country is stunned by the sharp contrast!
How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Sue Bradford appears on Campbell Live with the grasshopper–and everybody cries. The Green Party stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, “We Shall Overcome”. The Green Party leader Metiria Turei condemns the ant and blames John Key, Rob Muldoon, Roger Douglas, capitalism and global warming for the grasshopper’s plight.
Many people on radio, TV, in newspapers and on the internet complain that grasshoppers are lazy and should just get jobs. Michael Laws says something about sterilizing all of them so they can’t have kids. He also says something about taking a shotgun to Sue Bradford and members of the Green Party.
John Minto exclaims in an interview with TV News that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
John further explains that the wasps are avoiding taxes by moving their money offshore, exploiting tax loopholes, and ensuring that the bureaucrats appointed to regulate their industries are their friends. He claims that last year the government found $1.7 billion to bail out the well-off shareholders of South Canterbury Finance, but didn’t want to spend $500 million to pay the minimum wage to caregivers staying the night looking after disabled people. He says that a social safety net pays dividends in the form of lower law enforcement and penal system expenses. He is immediately attacked as engaging in “class warfare”.
Finally, to gain votes to win the election, the government drafts the “Economic Equity and Anti-Ant Act”, retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.
Eventually, the grasshopper does in fact manage to find a job, working in the same factory as the ant now does. In fact, the factory started to hire lots of grasshoppers, since they would work more cheaply than the ants, the low wage still being a huge improvement over the welfare cheque that had previously enabled his “carefree” life.
This had unexpected consequences for the ant. One day, the factory foreman came up to him. “I’m sorry, Mr. Ant,” he said, trying to avoid eye contact. “I’m going to have to let you go.” Not long after losing his job, the ant became ill, he’d contracted cancer through exposure at his job. Because of deregulation and tort reform, the ant had no legal recourse.
Unfortunately, his health insurance had lapsed after he lost his job. While on a waiting list, he was last seen hanging out in an alley, filthy and wearing a “will work for food” sign.
This was eventually the fate of the grasshopper as well. One day the wasp who owned the factory decided that he could make even more money by closing the factory and opening a new one overseas, in a developing country, where the grasshoppers will work for even less money and the government environmental and safety regulations are even less “burdensome”. And the wasp lived happily ever after.
The moral of this story? Not everything is as simple as it seems. Also, that analogies with ants and grasshoppers end up being a bit batshit.
Whaleoil, Catcus Kate and friends have blogged about a letter mailed to prospective voters by Labour.
This is, I assume the abridged version of what someone sent Whaleoil:
“A very ‘classy’ threat from Labour (see attached), it makes me wonder how do they get information about my child… and even if info is accessible, the use of it is rather inappropriate.”
Here it is:
The first time I read it I thought the person meant the child on the front of the mailer was her child, because of the emphasis of her child’s details (careful editing?). That isn’t the case. Labour used the electoral roll’s information on gender, occupation and, I assume age, to target their mailer.
“You won’t be around”
The first time I read the main statement: “Under National you won’t be around to celebrate her 1st birthday”, I thought of death. But in the context of the second page, it becomes apparent that Labour is talking about having to work. If that was intentional, it’s distasteful, but not end of days stuff. Either way it’s a poor choice of words I don’t think illustrates the point well–there’s nothing stopping someone having a birthday party on a weekend instead of a weekday. Mothers who choose to work deal with this already.
One or five?
The second paragraph on the second page is misleading too. “But under National’s new welfare policy, beneficiaries who get pregnant will be forced to find work when their baby turns 1”, but so is Cactus Kate when she says the return to work is actually when the baby is five.
What I think Labour is trying to get at is if someone has a baby and already had a child, under National’s policy they will have to look for part-time or full-time work when the new baby is one.
“Those receiving Sole Parent Support will be expected to look for part-time work when their child is five years old and full-time when their child reaches the age of 14.
Those who have an additional child while on benefit will be exempted from work expectations for 12 months, in line with parental leave provisions. Work obligations will then revert to the age of the youngest child when the parent went on benefit.
For example, a beneficiary with a seven year old, who has another child, will return to a part-time work expectation when their newborn turns one. A sole parent of a fourteen year old who has another child will return to a full-time work expectation after one year.”
More from Cactus Kate
“And lets think from a working parents perspective, if the child has a party during the day they miss the bloody party don’t they as they are WORKING? Imagine picking this out of the letterbox when you know you will miss their birthday as you are working as most parents are. Like they should be guilty for not being there.”
Remember, this is the Solo Parent Support benefit. Why and how as a solo parent would you throw a party you couldn’t attend? If Kate means a couple where one parent is working and the other is throwing the party, it sucks if both parents can’t make it. But there’s nothing stopping the parent trying to get time off of work, or being flexible with the time and date of the party, eg. throwing it on a weekend.
Forced to return to work
I think the key message Labour is trying to push is that there would be no choice for you if you didn’t want to return to work. The intention isn’t to make working parents feel bad for going back to work when their child is one, but that they should have a choice whether to or not.
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The Conservative Party and I don’t get along. Their use of stock images of people in their advertising material (ht: The Egonomist) is one of the many things we disagree on.
Using the magic that is Google Image Search, I present to you the faces from the Conservative Party advertising that might seem familiar, but not because you would have seen them in real life.
But wait. If you want to play along at home, you can download their mailers that they’ve helpfully uploaded to their website and image search your heart out. By my count we’ve only had three delivered, so if you want a spoiler of what’s to come in your letter box in the coming weeks, here’s four and five in advance.