Friday, July 24, 2009

Lucia Friday night free for all

I've just picked up my 8 year old from soccer practice at one of the local gyms. It is cold! Might have to crank up the fire tonight. I am so glad I don't have to go out again tonight.

I did the unusual thing of commenting on one of David Farrar's blog threads. So has Andrei, though he's more prolific there than me. Normally I don't comment there, as comments do tend to get lost due to the sheer number of commenters, comments and threads. But this provocation thing is really annoying me. More to the point, the National Government acting like clueless idiots is annoying me. I really had hoped for something better.

What does everyone think of competency tests for politicians before they take office? A simple IQ test would do, and then that way, those that have trouble differentiating between bludgeoning someone with a piece of wood and a simple smack on the bottom would be weeded out and prevented from causing any harm before they even got started! Pipe dream, I suppose, but really, when the PM doesn't understand a simple referendum question, you've got to wonder about the calibre of NZ's politicians.

43 comment(s):

Andrei said...

Hi Lucia;
I'll bet its colder where I am than it is where you are.

Got snowed in last Sunday; that's the third time this year - apparently it has got something to do with New Zealand not meeting its emissions targets by 2020.

More to the point, the National Government acting like clueless idiots is annoying me. I really had hoped for something better. You are surprised? I'm not - I'm sure I warned you a long time ago that this would be so. Sigh

ZenTiger said...

Hey, I hoped it would not be the case, but when all is said and done, my primary and overriding goal was to see Labour and the Greens out.

I remain pleased that is the case, in spite of everything. Although National might never again be called "Labour-Lite", I think we can safely call them fraternal twins, dopplegangers or equal opportunity socialists.

Lucia Maria said...

Hi Andrei,

Snow. Scary.

I probably would have had to wear a hat and a jacket and long pants this afternoon to pick up my son if it had been snowing here. As it was, I barely got away with putting on an extra jersey to go outside. I'm just glad my carpark was close to the gym and that my car is heated and that the car didn't break down.

Yeah about National.

The problem is, I'm a mixture of optimist and pessimist. I expect the worst, but keep hoping I'm wrong and put it out of my mind.

For instance, I keep hoping that writing about some of this stuff will have some sort of effect, but, sadly it's not. It was brought home to me the other day when I talked to my mother in law, who was convinced that voting in the referendum was encouraging the government to interfere in families when it was none of their business. Trying to explain the issues to her was like talking to a brick wall - the tv had already explained everything she needed to know.

I ended up going outside to hang out the washing while hubbie entertained her and the family.

Andrei said...

Snow. Scary

Not really - I take it as a sign that the planet is functioning pretty much as it always has done.

What is scary is the way Kiwis do not seem to value our Justice system and the concept of people being allowed to defend themselves against serious charges.

Once upon a time the left was interested in miscarriages of justice and rectifying them - now it seems they want to perpetuate them.

Andy Moore said...


Should smacking a politician as part of good democracy be a criminal offence in New Zealand?

Lucia Maria said...

LOL, Andy!

Andrei, only when it suited them (the Left). It's weird when there's no opposition to the government, apart from us that is.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Evening everyone.

You guys need to remember a little of Chinese military strategy. If you all had your way NACTionalMP would be tossed out in 2011. You need to,,learn to play a longer game. The wankers in the electorate (all 30% of them) who still think the sun shine out of Helen Clark's arse can easily put her evil regime back into power if they are given an opportunity. That's why National has to pander to them. When these idiots have experienced a little bit more unemployment and a little bit more finacial hardship they will gradually come to change their views but this process takes time. About three years I reckon.

What you are seeing is the foundations being laid for a twenty year term for conservative parties.

Gently gently catchee monkey.

Just be patient.


Good evening everyone!
Much as I often get frustrated at National's softness, Adolf has a point there.
Now, I am back home in New Zealand, I have certainly felt the cold in Auckland today.
I do hope there are plenty of logs for the fire when I make it back up north tomorrow evening.

ZenTiger said...

Hi Adolf. I'm not trying to catch National, I'm trying to make sure they don't catch me.

Currently they are standing around taking random shots at anything that moves, good or bad.

They need to figure out that shooting the good guys is going to reduce their voting pool.

However, presuming I survive, I'm still not going to help to hand the gun over to Labour. They shoot deliberately at anything that doesn't live in a swamp.

ZenTiger said...

I can't understand why Clayton was imprisoned.

The Chief Justice said that prisons are monster factories.

Mark my words, I predict Clayton will emerge a monster in many years hence, and society will be to blame.


I think the contrast between John Key and TOWMNBM is quite interesting.
John Key and National have been centrist and pragmatic, perhaps too centrist for many of us, but he and his government remains popular.
Yet, over in the USA we have a doctrinaire socialist in charge rapidly expanding the role of the state.
Yes, despite the adoration of much of the media, we now see him tumbling in the polls, with negative ratings from Rassmussen reports.
Things are so bad for The One, even the BBC World News and CNN reported the fact the other night.
I have despaired at National many times, but maybe there is method in their madeness.

ZenTiger said...

Doesn't quite work does it?

ZenTiger said...

Oops, my comment above related to my other comment further above.

FFM: By TOWMNBN, I presume you mean Obama. I have to agree, even though I'm not sure you should bandy his name about in that manner.

As far as National go, yes I agree they are mad. However, maybe you and Adolf are correct. They may well have a method. We shall see I guess.

Elections only come once every three years, unless suspended due to various matters of urgency.

No pardon will be given for Key's handling of the referendum however.

Ozy Mandias said...

Evening all.

Trust everyone has had a great week. Speaking of cold I am off to CHCH this weekend. Cant wait to get back to rednblack country and feel the cold down my back.

Zentiger - thanks for those generous words on my blog review. Anyone would think I paid you for those words!!!

Leonidas said...

She's been a strange week all round... I think, if anything Weatherston's trial shows that the system can get it right, also it's good the jury took more time (than the Bain trial) and this trial proves that using a line of defense does not guarantee acquittal. (take note stoopid Soo)and a month after sitting exams, finally got the last result back.

ZenTiger said...

What words? I keep writing them and they keep disappearing...It's a conspiracy I tell you. I'm going to have to investigate. The problem with writing a review and losing it is the next version has to be an improvement.

Six months ago it started as "nice blog", and now its gone through enormous change after multiple edits. It's probably up to "good read" or something heady like that.

Anyway, you're welcome :-)

Andrei said...

With all due respect Adolf but that is plain wrong.

If John Key and National wish to establish conservatism as a long term political strategy then the beginning of the term, just after winning an election is the time to do it.

That is when their political capital is highest.

As it is from where I sit it just looks like National's only ambition is to hold the treasury benches for the sake of holding the treasury benches. IE a party of no substance or principles.

Now why should I care whether legislation and policies I don't agree with are enacted by National or Labour or any other party.

I don't - its the policies and principles that count and as far as I am concerned we might just as well have Labour in as National at the moment.

I wouldn't care if National is a one term Government - in fact Adolf I might even promote the return of Labour if they don't smarten their act up in the hope that back on opposition benches National develops some spine.

Political panderers are nothing to me.

ZenTiger said...

Ah, Ozy: "That" review. I remember that one. Sorry. At least it seems you caught the gist of it.

Leonidas, hope the test results were positive? (presuming it wasn't a medical test for some foreign disease, of course)

Gooner said...

What Andrei said @ 9:07.

Lucia Maria said...


If National were acting in a way that was consistent with what you say, then I would be quiet and let them get on with it. However, undermining the family via the S59 repeal (amazing backflip, that was when most of the public was against it), and then undermining the referendum that could have given JK and National the public backing to remove the odious legislation that outlaws ALL discipline, including timeouts and threats of punishment shows that conservatism and understanding the foundations needed for conservatism are not understood, nor are they aspired to.

As I've said before, I can understand National not wanting to freak the beneficiaries out by slashing their "entitlements", but acting in such a way to continue supplanting parents with the state show them to be the enemy just like Labour are.

My gloves are off and will continue to stay that way until such time as I am completely convinced it was an overreaction. That's getting harder as time goes on.

So while I would like to believe National are the good guys, the evidence does not support that possibility.

Leonidas said...

dip. civil eng, sem 1
geology, 76%/B+
surveying, 83%/A-
material science, 83%/A-
eng drawing, 77%/B+
math3, 84%/A-
mechanics, 77%/B+

not sure how to feel about it, thought all A's was do-able.

ZenTiger said...

Congratulations. They all look like extremely respectable marks to me, especially given the long list - looks like quite a work load.

Leonidas said...

Yeah, there were a couple of tough weeks there. I'm a bit pissed with the B's, a bit like finishing 4th.... It is amusing how the older students (like me, with nippers) are sooo much better at time management the the just outta school lads.

ZenTiger said...

Aye, I can relate to that. Part of time management though is juggling those things to get through with slightly lower marks but a whole pile of other stuff handled.

My battle is often around the responsibilities of prudent time management with a great desire to do one thing to near perfection at the expense of all else.

At least that's how I put it. Others just think I'm a pedantic nitpicking abstract eccentric.

scrubone said...

Well, it doesn't really matter what bloggers think. We might think it does, and we give our opinions freely and strongly, but at the end of the day we (and it seems, 80% of the population) can be overridden by 2 people.

scrubone said...

Sorry, are we doing puns tonight?

Madeleine said...

Sorry I would have been here sooner but I was provoked by Lucia Maria's link to Kiwiblog to leave a comment of my own.

ZenTiger said...

When Weatherston's lawyer, Mrs Judith Ablett-Kerr was asked why she decided to defend Weatherston, she said "I was just playing devil's advocate"

ZenTiger said...

Hi Scrub and Madeline and assorted lurkers. Alright, one lurker.

Madeleine said...

Nice pun.

I'm doing legal ethics (finally) this semester and the first half of the course is the ethical case for defending "evil" clients.

To me its such a simple concept, I don't understand why everyone gets stuck on it or why half my classmates offer up the Nuremberg defence when they are asked to justify their profession.

ZenTiger said...

Seems pretty straight forward to me. On the other hand, is defending the guilty the best use of your time?

Let the incompetent practice on them, lest they inadvertently practice of the innocent...

Lucia Maria said...

Brilliant comment on Kiwiblog, Madeleine!

I watched a movie on TV a couple of nights ago. I think it was called Shooter, where a marine was called in under the guise of protecting the President from an assassin by figuring out where the shot would come from... But instead a shot came from his location, his hirers tried to kill him and and frame him for the person shot (not the President, an Archbishop to the left of him instead). Anyway, long story short, the hero gets help because he is wounded from a dead mate's girlfriend and she is caught up in his vendetta to get the guys who framed him. Unfortunately, the girlfriend is caught by the evil guys and the hero has to use his assassin skills to shoot the guy from a far distance while he has his gun on the girlfriend, trying to use her as bait to lure him out. The hero, of course, rescues her by shooting off the guy's arm (or arms) rendering him helpless and presumably harmless. But she, so traumatised by the whole thing, picks up one of the guns and staggers over and repeatedly shoots the bad guy many times until she's sure he's dead. Totally understandable given her state of mind at the time, but not self-defence as she was already safe from him.

Anyway, made me think. She couldn't have killed the guy with her bare hands, but with a gun, and being distressed, murder is too harsh even though she did kill the guy. Seems to come up in movies a bit as a natural human reaction, so as Scrubone says in his post, it should be catered for in law.

I.M Fletcher said...

Lucia, yeh I saw that movie, too. I think she'd been raped by that guy who was holding her, from what I can fathom. The ending of the movie was a bit weird as well. The bad government guys can't be held accountable for the bad they've done, but the 'shooter' is also let go because he can prove his gun wasn't the one used to shoot the archbishop. He then goes no a kind of killing spree at a cabin in the woods where the Govt guys are and kills them all - it seemed a bit extreme or something.

Lucia Maria said...


If the woman was raped, that would make her actions make even more sense. I missed that bit - didn't watch all the movie and by the end of it, our reception was so bad, we couldn't tell what was going on. You're right - the killing spree was extreme, but in keeping with the genre.

ZenTiger said...

He only killed a few people in the end. In the context of the movie, I didn't think it too many :-)

Anonymous said...

There is never method in madness. That's why they call it madness. If Phil Goff keeps bumbling the way he is and Labour split into two new parties, National will go further left to consolidate power and become what Labour were under Helen, more or less, unopposed. National cannot go right again without repealing their own laws.

Madeleine said...

How does a defence lawyer know if he or she is defending the guilty Zen? Until the defence is complete, the lawyer owes their client the presumption of innocence.

Being a defence lawyer is definitely not how I intend to use my time once I graduate. Given I cannot work due to the car accident, I intend to be a jurist, basically, I'll philosophise on the law, what the law should be and get published.

Glad you liked the comments Lucia. I'm planning a new post to counter the Law Commission's assurances that provoking circumstances will be accommodated in the sentencing flexibility available to judges. I have some new angles I've come up with since posting on Kiwiblog last night. However, I must reach a certain point in my research today (study deadlines) before I am allowed to blog.

ZenTiger said...

How does a defence lawyer know if he or she is defending the guilty Zen? Until the defence is complete, the lawyer owes their client the presumption of innocence.

In some cases, very true Madeline.

In the case of Weatherston, I personally would not have taken the case to "do my best" to argue provocation, especially given he admitted to killing Sophie.

The more the trial continued, the more I would be convinced doing my best could have an effect contrary to achieving a fair outcome. And doing less than my best is somehow dishonest.

I'm left thinking his lawyer may not have been operating from the high moral principles you are rightfully espousing. However, she is not on trial so I will withold judgement on that issue.

ZenTiger said...

Sorry, "fair outcome" not quite the right words. Perhaps "just outcome".

Certainly, the journey taken in this case was not fair or just, even though the outcome was.

Francisco Castelo Branco said...

Are you discussing law here?

Can you resume a little bit? to have more details ?


ZenTiger said...

Hi Francisco. The Friday Night discussion's can cover many topics.

Tonight is a bit on the upcoming referendum on smacking (recently, the law changed in NZ to make a parent smacking their child illegal)

There was a case where a man stabbed his girl friend 216 times and also mutilated her body. He claimed "provocation" which is a legal defence in NZ to reduce the charge of murder to a lesser degree of manslaughter. He failed to convince the jury that a reasonable person could be provoked into such a violent and sustained reaction.

Never-the-less, this case has reignited the debate where some groups would like to see this defence abolished. I personally doubt removing this defence would be wise.

In this discussion, Lucia used an example from the movie "Shooter" where a women killed her rapist/kidnapper/torturer, even after he ceased to be a threat. We could tell she did this as a reaction to the extreme trauma she suffered. I doubt many people watching the movie would judge her badly for this. The attacker brought his fate on himself.

Finally, aside from the general chit chat, Madeline pointed out that even the guilty have a right to defence, and with the presumption of innocence (or degrees of innocence and guilt) it is important for our legal system to have some-one who will defend the presumption of innocence. That concept underpins our legal system.

If you agree with me on that point, then you might be able to understand why the law making parents technical criminals for smacking ends a presumption of innocence for a reasonable action is actually a bad law.

The State also intrudes on the family, making a moral judgment that physical discipline is illegal. Some people prefer not to use physical discipline (or any discipline for that matter) to raise their children, and want to change the law to make every other parent do things the way they do them.

If we tried the reverse - make it a law that you MUST discipline your child to teach them right from wrong at a young age, and parents failing to discipline their children will be deemed criminals that will be investigated, perhaps the same people wanting this law change might learn something.

They tend to be the same people that talk about how important it is to tolerate other viewpoints, so I suspect the point would be completely lost on them.

Madeleine said...

What I wrote was not the sum total of my legal ethics argument Zen - not by a long shot.

I completely agree that if it becomes evident that one's client is asking you to twist and manipulate the law to gain something they are not legally entitled to (ethically speaking) then one should refuse to help the client. Every lawyer is aware of or has the potential to see means of achieving this, an ethical lawyer will refuse to.

Lawyers have a professional duty to zealously defend their clients and ensure that they receive what they are legally entitled to (ethically speaking) but that is where it stops.

Lawyers are under duties to others the same as everyone else. When they are acting professionally they are in a sense taking sides, taking their client's word for what happened - the benefit of the doubt sort of thing, and it is their job to do this; however, this fact does not extinguish the duty they owe others, it shifts the balance a little but it can still be outweighed by the duty owed to the victim as a fellow human being.

If you become aware or choose to remain blind to the fact that your client is using the law or requiring you to use it to gain more than he or she is entitled to or to harm another person then you should encourage your client strongly to do the right thing and if they won't you should refuse to act for them.

Was Weatherston's lawyer aware of what he was up to? I find it hard to swallow that she was not given what a crackpot he came across on TV as and how far-fetched his story was but maybe this did not come across to her when she was one on one with him - certainly he had charm or he wouldn't have been able to work and hook up with the likes of Sophie in the first place. He certainly was very clever so maybe alongside her obligation to grant him a prima facie benefit of the doubt meant she didn't see until the trial began and once you cross that point there are really strict rules about abandoning clients and refusing to follow their instructions - all deeply rooted in due process jurisprudence.

ZenTiger said...

What I wrote was not the sum total of my legal ethics argument Zen - not by a long shot.

I expected no less than a lot more from you :-)

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