Anyone reading this on Mars might not know that it’s election season in New Zealand. According to some recent surveys here, there’s a fair bunch of Kiwis who don’t know either.
I’m not sure, myself, how you could miss it. The stink of hypocrisy is now stronger than the pong from Roto Vegas’ famed sulphur pools. There’s blood in the water too.
The political sharks are circling; any hint of weakness and they’ll surge in to bite you on the ass, or worse.
Perhaps like the feet washing up on the west coast of Canada, body parts will be floating in the Hauraki Gulf and Cook Strait before too long.
That’s why I’m voting for Laura Norder.
No matter which party forms a government after polling day, which is likely to be in late October; Laura Norder will be the winner on the day.
We’ll all be safer as a result; able to sleep in our comfortable beds knowing that whoever’s in charge Laura and her minions will be guarding our resting heads.
The stakes are high.
Just yesterday (18 June) a bill to hand out harsher penalties to graffiti taggers passed through parliament.
The vandals have taken over the suburb – Laura Norder breaks down
The new anti-tagging law, the grandly titled Summary Offences (Tagging and Graffiti Vandalism) Amendment Bill raises the fine for tagging from $200 to $2000 and bans the sale of spray paint cans to anyone under 18.
This is a win for the media too. Now they can stalk hardware stores seeking out criminally-minded shopkeepers who are willing to flout this very sensible law and sell spray paint cans to 15 and 17 year-olds.
In an effort to diffuse the potential of tagging and graffiti to push voters towards Ms Norder’s party (Stop’em with a Taser, then Flog’em) the Labour and National parties ganged up on the Greens and Maori Party MPs to make sure the legislation went through.
Labour’s Darren Hughes, speaking for the Government on behalf of Justice Minister Annette King, said tagging wasn’t simply a nuisance activity.
“It is an invasion of private and public property that is often intimidating and anti-social,” he said.
“It can’t be considered art, it is often mindless scrawl that causes great financial and emotional cost which the perpetrators seem to care nothing about.”
Mr Hughes said taggers were not just bored individuals, they were often linked to gangs and other forms of juvenile delinquency.
National’s Judith Collins said the first duty of any government was to protect its citizens.
“Graffiti helps create an environment in which people think they don’t have to respect the rights of others,” she said.
“If we continue to treat it as a minor issue, some sort of resistance artwork, then we will continue to see a breakdown of law and order.”
Graffiti and tagging is a scourge – it’s causing poor Laura Norder to have a nervous breakdown. But help is on the way. Not only did parliament pass the “no child with a spray can” policy into law this week; a couple of months ago it gave the city mothers and fathers of Manukau City their own licence to go hard against juvenile spray artists. On 16 April 208 the Manukau City Council (Control of Graffiti) Bill was passed through the house.
The bill gives the council statutory power to:
- Regulate the display of spray paint in shops and its sale to minors;
- Create offences specifically covering graffiti; and
- Remove graffiti on private property if it is visible from a public place.
It also gives police the power to require information and arrest a person suspected of an offence.
The Greens, the ACT party and the Maori party have all opposed these measures as being anti-youth, but what would they know.
Maori Party MP Hone Hariwira made a rousing speech against the bill, to no avail.
Yesterday a certain female member of the National Party made a complete ass of herself, by trying to link the murders in South Auckland, with tagging and gang membership, and suggesting that stopping tagging, will stop people joining gangs, which will in turn stop people getting murdered.
Well ma’am, I don’t mean to sound rude, but that’s bullshit, and I’ll tell you why.
A lot of the kids who tag were the same kids you found scribbling in class, and they scribble in class because they’ve been shunted to the back of the class by an education system geared to suspending and expelling black kids from school faster than anyone else, they scribble in class because they’re höhä with schools that don’t give a stuff for their future, and because they’re angry that their teachers don’t care about them either.
Tagging ain’t a step to murder, and anyone who says so, is a blind and lazy fool.
Laura Norder has nothing but disdain for such fringe-dweller opinions. There’s no doubt in her mind that young people are out of control. Making it illegal for them to have spray paint cans in their possession is the first step to restoring discipline. The only problem is, that for Laura and her frothing-at-the-mouth rabble, it doesn’t go far enough. Laura’s gang wants to outlaw gangs and that’s a good idea.
New Zealand = New Gangland: Laura Norder under attack
The Organised Crime (Penalties and Sentencing) Bill is also being introduced into Parliament this week and Laura’s supporters in the government and the opposition are right behind it. This legislation doubles the penalty for gang membership from five to 10 years and legalises police intelligence intercepts on communications between gang members.
This is what’s known in the literature as a “coercive anti-gang strategy” which relies on the suppression of gang-related criminal activity; and frankly, with respect to Ms Norder, such policies manifestly don’t work.
A useful study from the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARCY) suggests that pandering to media stereotypes and knee-jerk suppression reactions tend to be unsuccessful:
Rather than making assumptions about youth gangs, or drawing upon media and other stereotypes of gang life, it is essential to undertake a comprehensive and systematic assessment of a perceived gang problem. This assessment must take into account a range of views and perceptions, including and especially those of local young people themselves.
Listening to the little buggers! “Good God, Laura, it’s enough to make you reach for the capsicum spray and give these meddling liberal academics a dose of our own medicine!”
Rob White’s paper is sobering. It’s also quite useful in that it exposes the fallacies at the heart of the supression strategy that Laura and her cronies are pushing at the moment. This is an approach favoured by Laura’s uniformed thugs and her Greek chorus in Parliament, but on the ground in Otahuhu, suppresive measures simply don’t work. The supression strategy relies on criminalising the behaviour of gang members, without understanding it. It’s also the source of the media’s obsession with moral panics:
By circumventing discussion of social inequality, the focus on bad parents and bad parenting serves to justify increased punitive intervention into the lives of working-class families and youth in ways that simultaneously stigmatise them for their apparent shortcomings. Individualising the problem is achieved through making it appear to be a matter of parental (and, thereby, youth) choice in how people behave and act. Moralising the problem is achieved through stressing its origins as lying in permissiveness or lax discipline. Each allows scope for the imposition of ever more stringent rules to guide certain families deemed to be ‘at risk’.
It’s easier to focus on the bad behaviour than to actually address the root causes. Laura relies on this simplification to get her message across. It’s a vote winner. It’s also easier for the news media to pick up on the simple “crack down” approach. Laura Norder favours such coverage because it reinforces her moral authority.The media is directly implicated in both the formation and continued encouragement of youth gangs. It does this in various ways.
First, it creates a cultural climate within which negative perceptions of young people are in the foreground. Hardly a day goes by, for example, in which there is not some reference to young offenders in newspapers, on radio talkback shows and in television news coverage. The persistence and pervasiveness of such reporting and commentary means that it is hard not to be fearful of crime, and to be suspicious of young people…
This reinforces the perception that groups of young people are ‘out of control’ and ‘terrorising’ ordinary citizens. Thus, any portrayal of ‘youth’ tends to be linked to criminality, and the media discourses on ‘law and order’ frequently portray youth groups as criminal gangs.
Thirdly…the thrill and excitement of media attention may amplify the desire to be seen as a gang member. Reputation and status thus may be artificially created but have material and longer lasting consequences for the young people and communities involved.
A vicious circle really, but in this election year, we don’t want a solution, we want Laura’s quick fix. If I can’t vote for Laura, then Lawsy will have to be the second favourite. The loud-mouth mayor of Wanganui is Laura’s most ardent lover.
15 April 2008
WANGANUI DISTRICT COUNCIL
MAYOR SLAMS SHARPLES’ GANGS MESSAGE AS “APPEASING THE CRIMS”
Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws today slammed the reported comments of Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples on supporting gangs to combat youth violence as “yet more liberal appeasement of crims and cons”.
The Maori Party co-leader had singled out Wanganui’s gang patch prohibition bill as the wrong policy in dealing with gangs at a family violence conference in Auckland.
“Dr Sharples’ remarks are ill-founded, illogical and smack of appeasing crime and criminals. Gangs are petty terrorists and just because the majority may be brown does not excuse their illegal and violent methods.”
Mayor Laws said that the Wanganui community “has devised its own local solution to a local problem – and stopping gangs from freely marketing themselves in public places is one of those solutions. We don’t need an indigenous version of Neville Chamberlain lecturing us – gangs are an insidious menace to all law-abiding Kiwis, Maori or non-Maori”.
The gang patch prohibition bill has been introduced to Parliament on behalf of the Wanganui District Council by Whanganui MP Chester Borrows. A district-wide referendum in 2006 found strong support for the proposed legislation.
“The Jhia Te Tua murder trial reminds us that we are not dealing with benign organisations. They are anti-social, criminal groups who contribute nothing to our community. They are also the country’s prime manufacturers and retailers of illegal drugs.”
Mayor Laws said that the passage of Manukau City’s anti-graffiti bill through Parliament – along with Wanganui’s anti-gang bill – showed that local communities “are taking responsibility for local problems and devising local solutions. Ironically, that was Dr Sharples’ other message yesterday and now he is saying he does not like such independence”.
Ah, vigorous stuff and well said, but the little peoples’ champion went further in a recent comment piece for the Sunday Star Times:
South Auckland is the badlands of New Zealand. It is a place that has been created by both neglect and liberal handwringing good parts of it hostage to gangs, drugs and nihilism. It is not a place that you choose to live. It is a place that you end up.
[Read Lawsy's rant if you must]
He’s a straight shooter that Lawsy, he makes Laura a happy harlot. I salute his determined stance and it makes me wish I was 20 years younger so I could be out there shoulder to shoulder with Lawsy and Laura cleaning up those mean streets.The first step is to ban alcohol sales, or at least restrict them. Allowing these vicious young goons to access booze is like giving an arsonist a box of matches and a can of petrol. The right to drink should be limited to those who can hold their liquor and still drive!
“Harper, where’s my blunderbuss, I want go and bag me a Patchy, but first another bucket of Domestic and the keys to the Hummer.”