Election Promises


It’s full on election time, we have had the first debate. One thing that I thought was very cool was that TVNZ ran the debate in conjunction with YouTube. People were invited to record their questions for the leaders of the Labour and National parties on YouTube. The questions and responses, such as this one on Law and Order are also available to view on YouTube which means everyone has easy access to the parts of the

debate they are interested in. Great use of new technology and kudos to TV One.

And the NZ Herald has regular features talking about the different offerings on a topic, from each party. Today’s topics are law and order. I was telling my wife about the Act policy which I like.

Key things I like are that you serve the sentence you are given and 3 strikes and your out. I think this policy is based on the system that made many of the streets in New York safe. The first time I went to New York and wanted to go to the Cotton Club, I was told that taxi’s would take me there before dark, but they wouldn’t come back to pick me up because it was too dangerous in Harlem and taxi drivers were being murdered. In recent years the Zero Tolerence policy has made the area much safer.

They also said that if you are sentenced to 5 years in jail, you should serve 5 years. This is something that we have been asking for for years. The problem is that parties make all these statements, but they have very little credibility because they never seem to follow through. I am thinking that one possibility is using our political system to vote for a party like Act on the party vote to give them the legs to push through one of these policies.

Law and order is an election issue and in my humble opinion Helen Clark and the Labour Party want everybody’s vote and are saying they are against gangs and organized crime, but sympathizing with the reasons people join them. The National Party doesn’t seem to be much better. John Key is saying that he wants to lock up recidivist criminals and will build a new prison to house them. In my humble opinion young gang members who go to jail will add to their ‘mana’ (in simple terms Maori for honor or power) within the gang and will be heroes when they come out. They will be looked after ‘inside’ by their gang family and life won’t be too bad at all.

My wife said, “It’s all very well them saying these things when they want to vote for you, but after the election all the promises go out the window”, well actually she said something more colorful, but she’s pretty much on the mark. How many times have we been conned by politicians, voting for them on the basis of their election promises and then when they get in they have loads of great reasons why they couldn’t go through with it, usually blaming the outgoing parliament.

The addage is that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, a politician will always get in. It’s funny really that at election time we elect people that mostly we don’t trust to keep their promises and give them a mandate to run the biggest organisation, our whole country!

My daughter’s home got burgled yesterday


She’s only been in her own home for 6 months and fortunately for us, she hasn’t had to experience this before. The last time my house (desperately seeking wood to touch) was just before she was born. They took 2 cameras (one with an SD Card full of priceless photos that hadn’t yet been backed up and a Play Station. All the appliances had been unplugged from the walls and it seems that they were disturbed by a neighbour coming home before they could get the rest of their treasures.

My daughter’s first reaction was, “I don’t want to live here anymore” and I had to explain that it doesn’t matter where you live, you are always at risk. Her house alarm gets installed on Friday so hopefully after that she will be fine. But it reminds me of how I felt when we got burgled. Again not much was taken but it was the feeling of being violated that is the biggest concern. Your home is the place that you are always supposed to be safe in and when that safety is taken away, what do you have left?

The other question arises as to what can you do if you catch a burglar in action. I know what I would like to do and would probably do if the situation arose or the opportunity presents itself. Many of the burglars today are in their early to mid teens and the law has no teeth to discourage them. Half of them, especially if they have no prior’s will be dealt a swift slap on the wrist with a “Don’t do that again you naughty boy.” One school of thought is that the parents should be held responsible, but given the defense that usually comes up of poor children who had a tough time and little opportunities as they were growing up. Well I don’t buy that. New Zealand is a country where anyone that is prepared to get their hands dirty can get work and can get a roof over their heads. We have a social welfare system that provides for that, you don’t even have to have insurance. We have very high employment here and if you genuinely can’t get a job, there is always the dole.

Given the way these people were organised unplugging all the appliances and having them ready for a quick getaway, this was no impulse job, they had done this before.

So if you catch them and deal to them, you could end up being the one up on charges. Where’s the justice in that? If I catch one of these beggars before the police do, they might accidentally fall over and hurt themselves. Maybe I could write ‘THIEF’ on their forheads in permanent ink? What do you reckon?

Our penal system is great, they don’t do hard labour, they get good meals, can study, watch TV, play sport, make things in workshops and learn new skills, like how to steal more and not get caught as often. Over 50% of the crims are recidivists, some because they consider life inside preferably to outside.

There have been suggestions of sendig them to the army and putting them through bootcamp without the option of leaving. For some of the younger ones, this could save their lives and teach them some pride. This is one of the perrenial suggestions, but of course the army doesn’t want them.

I quite like the idea, especially for violent offenders where there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever of their guilt and their are no mitigating circumstances, of dropping them on an island, maybe like Pitcairn, and leaving them to live or die, with no way out. Alternatively, let them build new roads or do something else useful, why should taxpayers have to continue to be punished by paying out $250,000 a year to house them i comfort in our prisons.

OK, I’m getting off my soap box now. Elections are coming soon and law and order will again be a major platform, but will they finally listen? See the problem with elections is that it doesn’t really matter who you vote for, a politician will always get in.