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Plucked from the headlines, online and in print

Meth market munted?


This nasty old recession is making things tough for everyone out there, even our drug-addled citizens.

A story on the Dominion Post website today says prices for methamphetamine are on the rise but the product is in short supply and lacking potency. Which is, when you think about it, a lot like politicians: the less they do the more they cost.

But back to the meth-heads. According to a report compiled by brain boxes at Massey University,  nearly 70 per cent of regular methamphetamine users said they commonly used social welfare payments to buy drugs last year.

Work and Income head Janet Grossman said last night that it did not seek information from other agencies, such as police, to identify drug users who might be on a benefit.

“Our job is to provide people with the financial assistance they are entitled to – not to monitor how their entitlements are spent.”

Maybe someone should be charged with taking responsibility for monitoring how those entitlements are spent.  After all, there are plenty of people out there working in jobs where they will lose their jobs and income if they take illegal drugs.

There are plenty of industries where the workers must agree to random drug testing. Why not beneficiaries?


Justice for all … well, some …

I know there’s probably some law expert out there who can explain in a logical manner just how our system is just and fair but for the life of me I can’t see it.

A bloke appeared in court in Christchurch yesterday charged with with being a disgusting person in public. Well, okay, that wasn’t exactly the correct charge but it was what he did: I think we call all agree that pressing your face against someone’s bum without warning or invite is fairly disgusting. And it happened in a library no less.

Tut, tut.

Philip Broughton, the pervy dude in question, was under the influence of alcohol at the time so couldn’t remember what he had actually done. However, he has been round guilty, didn’t get name suppression and has been jailed for two and a bit years for what the judge said was “disgusting, bizarre, and humiliating for the victim”.

Fair enough, you might say.  But what about the “comedian” who ended up in court for performing a sex act on his four-year-old daughter. He eventually pleaded guilty but was discharged without conviction because for some reason, being pissed was an acceptable mitigating circumstance in his case.

I certainly believe his actions were even more disgusting and bizarre for the victim, a child who will grow up with the knowledge of what happened because let’s face it, the judge might have suppressed this guy’s name but I’m pretty sure the number of people who know who he is far outweighs those who don’t so the victim’s identity probably isn’t a huge secret either.

So why did he get name suppression?  The judge said the effects of a conviction “outweighed the gravity of the offending” and awarded a discharge without conviction and continued with name suppression.

She (the judge) also said: he had “paid an extremely high price already” … his television career had stopped, his income had halved and “his aspiring career has all but come to an end”.

Whoop-de-fucking-do. He was drunk, so what. So are plenty of other criminals when they commit their crimes. And doesn’t every one of us have a reputation to protect? A reputation that if tarnished could limit our career opportunities?

He shouldn’t get name suppression and a slap on the wrist just because he’s a half-arsed celebrity.

Mike King*  didn’t when he got pinged for driving charges so why is this nameless “comedian” given special treatment? I can buy the fact that the suppression is to protect his daughter but that doesn’t excuse the ridiculous “discharge without conviction”.

A doctor’s report presented in court stated  he was off the booze and did not have any “paedophilic tendencies” but that doesn’t mean he didn’t commit the crime of a paedophile.

Not every murder has every day murderous tendencies but that doesn’t make them any less a murderer when they kill someone.

* For the record, I admire the fact that Mike King has had some trials and tribulations over the years with his drug problems and so on, but at least he’s been reasonably up front about them. And he’s a real comedian, unlike the nameless bloke who has been described in the courts as a “comedian”, which in itself is something of a crime. He’s not funny.


And the winner is …

Moon-gazer Ken Ring has been in the news again of late and while I’m choosing to ignore the whole “another quake’s coming” prediction, I can’t ignore the New Zealand Skeptics Bent Spoon award he has inspired.

These sensible citizens decided to give their annual award for “the most gullible or naive reporting in the paranormal or pseudo-science area” to the New Zealand media for promoting Ring and his theories. Well, that’s what it says on their website.

And yes, Ring did get a bit of publicity for his earthquake predictions and I’m sure those predictions scared the crap out of a lot of already scared people. Interestingly though, it’s not just the media coverage supporting Ring’s theories that scared people. In fact, it was probably the Campbell Live fiasco (when John Campbell lost his temper during an interview and proceeded to yell at him throughout without offering a chance of reply) that gained the most publicity and sympathy for the man.

Campbell apologised the next day for losing the plot but by that stage, the meltdown and shout-fest had already overtaken the actual message Campbell had been trying to get across.

I’m not sure how I feel about him getting this award and the ensuing press release from the group: isn’t it really just giving him more of that media attention that Skeptics New Zealand have already criticised?

As for what is science and what is pseudo-science: I’ve yet to see anyone show me they can predict an earthquake with any useful accuracy so I guess I’ll just carry on being boring and safe, making sure my survival kit is stocked up (I’m absolutely baffled by just how many people STILL don’t have one of these).


Taking the man out of mana

Apparently attacking your pregnant ex isn’t such a big deal. Especially if you have your mana to protect.

A manager at Te Papa had a row with his ex while visiting her and their toddler. The child got a bleeding nose after being hit by a door during a struggle between her parents and the fine, upstanding specimen of manhood that is her father (and the father of the unborn child) threw a hissy fit at his ex over a cellphone: he held the woman down by her hair, rubbed water from the toilet in her face and told her to “eat shit”.

What a class act.

But it seems the fact that he’d been drinking before the assault, that a conviction might impact on his ability to travel as part of his job and might even *gasp* severely impact on his mana meant he was discharged without conviction.

Somehow I doubt this man had any mana to start with.


How not to win sympathy for your cause

I can understand the whole peaceful protest thing that happened after the dude was shot in London a few days ago … people have a right to protest (peacefully) about things that raise their hackles. That’s one of the benefits of living in the free world. But the rioting?

What a bunch of pillocks. Yes, that’ll show the authorities … go smash up the places you live, destroy the homes and/or businesses of a whole bunch of innocent people.

I sometimes think that society is too far gone to be rescued.



A sensible decision

As a parent I know I have a responsibility to protect my child (not that he’s a child any more … he’s a fully fledged, hairy young man).

When he was just a wee fella, my most important mission in life was to ensure he was happy and healthy. But, as is often the case, there were times when he managed to evade all my best intentions and injure himself anyway and the result was skinned knees or a bruise or two.

Auckland dad Aarush Macwan had a momentary lapse of attention that resulted in the most awful thing any parent could imagine: the death of his son. I’m sure you’ve all read about the case of the family holidaying in Central Otago, stopping their van at Lake Dunstan and the driver/father forgetting to apply the handbrake. That the van then rolled into the lake with a two-year-old boy strapped into his car-seat is surely the stuff of nightmares for any parent.

His dad was charged with to careless driving causing death and I suppose that’s a reasonable outcome for what happened.

That he was today discharged without conviction is an even more reasonable outcome.

Yes, he wasn’t 100% attentive and that lack of attention caused the death of his son, but it’s fairly obvious that he had no intention of doing harm to his child. I’m sure there’s not a parent out there who hasn’t at some point lost focus or not paid quite as much attention as they should have. And I’m sure we all feel incredibly lucky that our children didn’t pay the ultimate price for that.

I understand the police made their rather fast decision to charge Aarush Macwan based on facts and not emotion but what about those parents out there who do purposely choose to put their children at risk? The mothers who allow their partners/boyfriends to bash their children then claim they had no idea it was happening when those little victims become statistics? Why aren’t they being charged with their crimes?

And yes, I can hear to do-gooders out there bleating on about how these women are downtrodden, that they don’t have a voice, that they aren’t able to break the cycle of violence. But the do-gooders need to stop wringing their hands and finding ways of deflecting the blame from those who allow their children to be abused and instead find ways of protecting those children.

We’ve all had bad relationships, some of us have been in violent relationships. Some of us were sensible enough to walk away.

Interesting, isn’t it: an obviously loving dad shows true remorse for his moment of inattention and ends up in court. Meanwhile, there’s still no justice for Chris and Cru Kahui.


Political correctness = crass stupidity?

The parents of a poor little kid in Toronto have decided to inflict their politically correct stupidity on the child by raising him/her as a genderless being.

They already have two children: a pair of quite feminine sons named Jazz and Kio. And yes, as the Daily Mirror quite rightly points out, those names do sound a hell of a lot like the latest model hatchback you’d find at your local car yard.

Anyway, poor wee Storm is being raised with no gender bias, with no one apart from his/her parents (not surprisingly, they were there when he or she was born), siblings and midwives knowing if he/she is a he or a she and will probably be a prime target for the bullies that every school has. Because any child who is different is always going to be a prime target.

Apparently, he or she can decide what gender he or she wants to be somewhere down the track.

While friends say the parents are quite normal, well-adjusted people, I have my doubts: dad David Stocker is a “progressive teacher” who wrote a textbook Math That Matters, which urges teachers to stop using everyday objects in maths questions and instead work with issues such as homophobia, poverty, child abuse and racial profiling to ‘spark discussion’ and increase students’ interest in ‘social justice advocacy’.

And the mother, Kathy Witterick, is homeschooling her eldest child Jazz. Well, she’s actually using a system she calls unschooling: where the child is taught something only when he asks about it.



Osama bin Gone

The jokes are popping up everywhere now that it’s been confirmed Osama bin Laden is dead.

Letterman used it for his top 10 list, suggesting bin Laden’s final words may have been something along  the lines of  ”I need a house full of Navy Seals like I need a hole in the head”.

There there are the reports that due to a paperwork typo, when he got to heaven instead of the 72 virgins he was expecting he was instead greeted by 72 vegans.

Ah well, RIP Osama bin Laden, World Hide and Seek Champion, 2001-2011.


The man for the job

You really have to wonder what possessed Mr and Mrs Guy to name their little boy Randy.

They must be proud of his career achievements, though. The headline on Asian Banking & Finance? “Randy Guy gets head job“.

Well, yes, I’m sure he did.

And no, I’m not pulling your tit. That really is the headline.


Bacteria found in Playboy Mansion hot tub!

Okay, so it’s not exactly “hold the front page” stuff but it is interesting.

And while I’m sure I’m not the only one fairly unsurprised by the news that a hot tub at the Playboy Mansion was a tad disease-riddled, I am a bit surprised that the bugs in question were legionella bacteria. I would have expected something a little, er, nastier.



Jillian "George" Allison-Aitken

I live in the deep south of New Zealand, where smelly dairy cows are taking over from sheep in the livestock stakes. My hometown is the small but perfectly formed city of Invercargill, which is also the hometown of the original boy racer, Burt Munro. Find out more about me here.


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