We will put money on Peters getting his racing bill to the winning post – but dissuading Israel from its annexation policy is much more demanding

Latest from the Beehive

Police Minister Stuart Nash had something to crow about – the Police had announced ten arrests and the seizure of eight prohibited firearms and six Molotov cocktail explosive devices in an action against a mob known as the Mongols.

Health Minister David Clark reminded us he still has a role to play in conquering Covid-19 by announcing the government is stepping up New Zealand’s Covid-19 testing system at the border as more New Zealanders arrive from overseas.

And Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters dismayed the Israeli government (well, it would be great to think he did) when he expressed the New Zealand government’s serious concern about its proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank.

We suspect it is more likely Clark will vanquish Covid-19 single-handedly with both hands tied behind his back – and maybe win a Nobel Prize for medicine – than Peters will dissuade the Israelis from an annexation programme which he said would gravely undermine the two-state solution, breach international law, and pose significant risks to regional security.

But we would put our money on Peters triumphing on another front, as Minister of Racing, with his plans to restructure the racing industry.  He treated us, in a despatch from the Beehive, to a copy of his second reading speech for the Racing Industry Bill which revokes the Racing Act 2003. Continue reading “We will put money on Peters getting his racing bill to the winning post – but dissuading Israel from its annexation policy is much more demanding”

Why Democrats should be wary about endorsing demands to “defund” the police

First it was Black Lives Matter. Now Defund the Police is sweeping much of the US.

The pressure began with the death of African American George Floyd and the  decision by the Minneapolis City Council to remove funding from the city’s police force.

There is no agreed definition of “defunding” and the issue is political dynamite for the Democrat Party, whose supporters generally back the idea.  In the run-up to the November elections President Donald Trump can scarcely believe his good fortune in scoring a law-and-order issue when his main campaign programme, a strong economy, is tanking.

There seems general agreement that, by and large, Black Americans (and to a lesser extent American Indians and Hispanics) don’t fare well at the hands of the police. There are scores of examples.

According to an August 2019 study by the National Academy of Sciences based on police-shooting databases, between 2013 and 2018, black men were about 2.5 times more likely than white men to be killed by police and black men have a 1-in-1,000 chance of dying at the hands of police. Continue reading “Why Democrats should be wary about endorsing demands to “defund” the police”

The government pours more millions into helping tourism and innovation – and it will help young people (some) in the Waikato

From the Minister of Tourism came an announcement on the distribution of $400 million.   He was outdone by the Minister for Research, Science and Technology, whose announcement involved a sum of $401.3m.

Much more bemusing was the announcement from the PM headed Free period products in schools to combat poverty.

This involved a a $2.6 million “investment”.  But the products (of the sanitary variety) are not  “free”  – taxpayers will pick up the tab.

If giving people something for “free” can be shown to reduce poverty, we can expect the government to extend its generosity (with our money) to a wide array of products.

Justice Minister Andrew Little popped into our considerations by announcing further help to deal with the adverse economic effects of the Covid-19 lockdown (along with $40m of lolly).

The Government will legislate to ensure businesses that suffered as a result of the Covid-19 response will get help to resolve disputes over commercial rent issues.

A temporary amendment to the Property Law Act will insert a clause in commercial leases requiring a fair reduction in rent where a business has suffered a loss of revenue because of Covid-19.

The $40 million will provide access to arbitration “in a timely and cost-effective way” to support small or medium businesses to reach agreement on a fair rent. Continue reading “The government pours more millions into helping tourism and innovation – and it will help young people (some) in the Waikato”

Robertson and Parker go on the front foot – the deficits are explained and lockdown decisions are declared legal

The Point of Order Keep on Eye on ‘Em Monitor taps into the proclamations, edicts, announcements, boasts and what-have-you that flow daily from the Beehive. 

Finance Minister Grant Robertson was one of two Ministers who turned to attack as the best means of defence yesterday.

He issued a statement to tell us the deficits and debt that disfigure the latest set of Crown accounts “show how quickly the Government got money out the door to help New Zealanders as Covid-19 hit the country”.

More fascinating, Attorney-General David Parker used a Facebook Live video speech to discuss the Government’s response to the Covid-19 epidemic – the lockdown, its policing, and so on.

In the speech intended especially for the legal profession, academics and media, he rebutted

“ … some of the speculation you may have heard questioning the legality of the powers of enforcement, including erroneous claims about the legal advice we have received”.

Hmm.  Isn’t this among issues that have been taken to court for a judicial determination or some-such? Continue reading “Robertson and Parker go on the front foot – the deficits are explained and lockdown decisions are declared legal”

Fulminate with Farrar – blogger files several posts which focus on frightening abuses of Covid-19 powers

We have been increasingly troubled by the abuse of executive power that inevitably stems from democratic governments introducing emergency measures in the name of public safety to protect scared citizens.

Our musings led us to Austria (where a bloke called Adolf Hitler was born) and an observation on Austria’s Parliamentary website on the necessity for the separation of powers:

History has time and again shown that unlimited power in the hands of one person or group in most cases means that others are suppressed or their powers curtailed. The separation of powers in a democracy is to prevent abuse of power and to safeguard freedom for all.   

More to the point of what has happening around the world in recent months, we found this:

As the coronavirus pandemic has spread to all regions of the world, we have begun to see governments respond predictably to the threat by agitating for increased authority. The worst of these, the Hungarian proposal, was easily enacted into law yesterday, setting a terrible precedent for other countries, in the West and around the world. At a time when democracy and rule of law are already weakened, these assertions of power should raise serious concerns, as leaders seek greater power in the short term without pausing to consider possible effects in the long term.

 The article urged: Continue reading “Fulminate with Farrar – blogger files several posts which focus on frightening abuses of Covid-19 powers”

A checkpoint charlie would be someone who doesn’t question the legality – but the PM seems comfortable they pass muster

We wonder if Stuart Nash is too busy trying to catch up with his small business duties to find time to reply to Point of Order’s questions about highly contentious goings-on in his police portfolio.

Nash was criticised earlier this week for providing the Epidemic Response Committee with scant information about the effect on businesses of an additional week of lockdown and another two weeks at alert level 3.

In his Police patch, meanwhile, the legality of checkpoints set up by Maori communities  has become a matter of confusion.

Point of Order has tried to establish if there is any statutory authority to legitimise these checkpoints.

Our questions to the PM and to the Police were not directly answered while our questions to Nash received only an automated response.  Continue reading “A checkpoint charlie would be someone who doesn’t question the legality – but the PM seems comfortable they pass muster”

You could try going to court to flush out legal advice on Police powers – but don’t expect a hearing in a hurry

It shouldn’t be necessary, in the circumstances, but the Government is being urged to release the legal advice it has received about Police being able to enforce the lockdown rules.

National’s Justice spokesperson, Mark Mitchell, today  issued a press release saying the government has a duty to release this advice.

There is “huge confusion” among the public about what the rules are, with both the Prime Minister and former Police Commissioner contradicting each other, Mitchell contends.

“Even now with the Section 70 notice from the Ministry of Health it’s important New Zealanders understand what powers the Police have and how those decisions have been made.

 When the entire country is in lockdown, the case for public interest could not be higher and far outweighs any decision to withhold the advice, says Mitchell.
Continue reading “You could try going to court to flush out legal advice on Police powers – but don’t expect a hearing in a hurry”

You will know the border has been reached when virus vigilantes stop you in the name of health and safety

Good questions were raised by “a Far North man”, who did not want to be named because of his fear of retribution.

Talking to the Northland Age late last month, the man said he was

” … scared. Really scared. Not because of some virus. We have ways to deal with this. I am scared because our authorities allow people to take the law into their own hands.

“People with no authority, people with no mandate, who are not elected to represent the people by democratic rules.

“They are allowed to form a private militia, select their own people and block public roads. They are allowed to take away one of the basic human rights from us, the freedom to move.”

Yep.  And so far as Point of Order can see, this is being done with the Prime Minister’s tacit approval.  Continue reading “You will know the border has been reached when virus vigilantes stop you in the name of health and safety”

Prominent British jurist sounds a grim warning about how to create a Police state but our Chief Justice is coy

Political commentators from the left and right sides of the political divide are questioning the powers being exercised by police during the nation-wide “lockdown”.

The Asian Invasion 2019  blog draws attention to the warning sounded by former UK Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption when he challenged Covid-19 actions by British Police, describing them as an “hysterical slide into a police state”  and labelleing the situation as “collective hysteria”.

He said:

The real problem is that when human societies lose their freedom, it’s not usually because tyrants have taken it away. It’s usually because people willingly surrender their freedom in return for protection against some external threat. And the threat is usually a real threat but usually exaggerated. 

And:

Yet in some parts of the country, the police have been trying to stop people from doing things like travelling to take exercise in the open country, which are not contrary to the regulations, simply because ministers have said that they would prefer us not to. 

Lord Sumption cautioned against blindingly accepting what scientists say, too: Continue reading “Prominent British jurist sounds a grim warning about how to create a Police state but our Chief Justice is coy”

Cops help iwi with roadblocks as a cultural response to Covid-19 – and perhaps to portend a policing “partnership”

The proposition that our Police are paving the way for a partnership in which former MP Hone Harawira and other iwi leaders police communities within the borders they define went unchallenged when put to press officers working for the Prime Minister and the Police.

The picture painted in the preceding paragraph was drawn from Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha’s statement on road blocks Harawira set up in Northland to check tourists’ health.  He declared:

” … we want to model what it looks like when iwi, police, councils and other agencies work in partnership”. 

But nether the Police nor the Prime Minister’s Office directly answered questions put to them by Point of Order about the legality of Harawira’s blocking public roads while policing the a border which he presumably established. Continue reading “Cops help iwi with roadblocks as a cultural response to Covid-19 – and perhaps to portend a policing “partnership””