Mike Sabin and methamphetamine

MP Mike Sabin is being investigated by the police for assault, and it appears that National are looking at possible replacements for him in his Northland electorate.

Sabin has a history of involvement in drug enforcement and education.

Before becoming an MP in 2011 Sabin was a police officer for ten years (including drugs detective) and then in 2006 founded a business called Methcon that somehow made money out of addressing the P problem. They described themselves as:

New Zealand’s only specialist methamphetamine education provider

Sabin’s website profile goes into more detail.

Mike took leave without pay from the police in 2006 having founded a world-first company,MethCon Group Ltd, the aim of which was to provide employers, government agencies, community organisations and members of the public with better education, policy and strategies to respond to New Zealand’s growing P problem. Mike delivered hundreds of seminars and presentations in businesses, schools and communities from Te Kao in the North to Wellsford in the South, gaining a respected public profile and connectivity with communities and organisations around the North.

Mike quickly rose to national prominence as managing director of Methcon Group with frequent media appearances and commentaries. The business quickly expanded from Northland right across the country with Methcon Group gaining recognition with a number of business awards, while Mike himself was recognised with national leadership awards for his commitment in this area.

While researching solutions to New Zealand’s methamphetamine crisis Mike traveled extensively into the United States and Europe and provided research and recommendations to the previous government and the new National lead government, which have given this issue considerable priority.

Mike’s is now considered one of the country’s foremost authorities on matters related to methamphetamine and drug policy which is also reflected internationally in his roles on several international drug prevention policy organisations, including being one of two representatives for Oceania on the World Federation Against Drugs. Mike also attended and gave an address at the United Nations in Vienna at the 10 year anniversary of global drug policy in 2009.

On Youtube: New Zealand’s first methamphetamine education DVD.

Coincidentally I watched a documentary last night on methamphetamine in Fresno, California. The widespread inter-generational addiction problems are awful. And the prospects for kicking the habit don’t look great.

A comment here yesterday from “Concerned Citizen”:

This Sabin idiot gave us the most ridiculous speech about drug addicts one day. He said it was proven that forcing them into rehab was the only way to get results. Hello!! Anyone who has had anything to do with an addict would know that forcing them to do anything won’t work. They have to want to get better. Ruling people with a big stick hasn’t got you anywhere much now, has it Mike?

In a Radio NZ interview in 2008:

Mike Sabin: There are programmes. The effectiveness of them, and the ability to actually have a mandated programme. So in words what we’re talking about is this notion of you only get off drugs if you want to is actually quite incorrect.

With some of the more powerful drugs if you force them into a corner and you give them a hard option or a really hard option they will take the hard option.

And some of the results we’re seeing in the United States with drug treatment courts. You know forty to sixty percent of people are getting clean within three months. Recidivism rates dropped from sixty percent down as low as five percent.

That may not be his current thinking on cessation methods.

Reported in Australia in June this year:

No known treatment for ice addiction, inquiry told

Australia urgently needs to step up research into treatments for ice addiction, health and drug experts say.

Unlike methadone for opioid users, a substitute for methamphetamines largely does not exist.

The Australian Medical Association has told a Victorian inquiry into the supply and use of ice that urgent research is needed to develop suitable treatment and management options for methamphetamine dependence.

Clinical drug experts have joined the call, saying Australia could be leading the way in looking for more effective long-term treatment for people using crystal methamphetamine.

The head of clinical services at Turning Point Drug and Alcohol Services, Dr Matthew Frei, said pharmaceutical treatments for ice were undeveloped and there were limited options for long term therapy.

And Sabin in Australia about the same time:

Prevention the cure for ice scourge, expert says

PREVENTION has to be the cornerstone of any strategy to arrest Victoria’s ice scourge, an international expert says.

Mike Sabin, a former New Zealand Police detective who has become an internationally recognised expert on methamphetamine, said prevention was often the “poor cousin” in drugs strategies, after treatment and enforcement.

“Don’t ever think you can arrest your way out of this problem,” Mr Sabin said.

Mr Sabin said strategies aimed at tackling health issues like heart disease, skin cancer and obesity focused on prevention and ice use should be treated in a similar way.

“It’s an entirely preventable health problem,” Mr Sabin said.

“The key to tackling this problem and every other drug problem in this state and every other place in the world is prevention.

The generation of tomorrow had to challenge the belief that drug use was a rite of passage into adulthood, he said.

Prevention is obviously best – if it works. Preventing the manufacture of meth, prevention pushers from getting people hooked and preventing addicts from obtaining supplies have all proven to be very difficult.

Working with drug addicts is very difficult. Meth addicts have a reputation for violence. Keeping them off highly drugs like methamphetamine has proven to be difficult.

Meth Help – “These pages will help you to make a change, find out about treatment and all the ways you can get support along the way.”

National plans to replace Sabin

While the police and the Prime Minister’s office are not saying anything about the investigation of MP Mike Sabin for assault there is some information being eked out, including possible plans to replace Sabin in the Northland electorate.

Mr Sabin, 46, is understood to be receiving support from a caucus colleague.

They should be supporting each other in general anyway, that support is presumably in relation to the investigation or about moving Sabin on.

Party president Peter Goodfellow told the Herald National’s hierarchy was unaware of any allegations, historical or recent, against Mr Sabin before this year’s general election. He refused to comment further.

Covering themselves for allowing Sabin to stand in the election. It doesn’t answer whether the allegations were known before Sabin was appointed chair of Parliament’s law and order committee. Cameron Slater claims that National have sat it “for weeks”.

Slater also said “there is little doubt that there will be a by-election in Northland”.

Nevertheless, the Herald understands senior Northland National Party figures have already been discussing potential candidates to replace him in the event of a byelection.

So Sabin’s future as an MP looks shaky.

CIA “Queen of Torture” revealed

NZ Herald reports that CIA’s Queen of Torture outed. Like other media outlets they don’t name her but make it very simple to find out her identity.

As with other reporters, Mayer acceded to the requests of the CIA not to name the officer, although she has been identified in other contexts.

However, in response to Mayer’s article and the investigation by television’s NBC news channel that triggered it, the investigative website The Intercept decided to “out her”.

So it’s a quick and easy task to find this. It’s odd when media act responsible and compliant with non-disclosure requests but effectively reveal anyway. The Herald says The Intercept…

was doing so over “CIA objections because of her key role in misleading Congress about the agency’s use of torture, and her active participation in the torture programme (including playing a direct part in the torture of at least one innocent detainee).”

Many of the incidents involving the 49-year-old career CIA officer have been described before. However, because of redactions in official reports of CIA activities, few were aware the operative featuring in them repeatedly was the same woman.

She was criticised after 9/11 for potentially failing to prevent the attacks.

She was harshly criticised after 9/11, when it was revealed that a subordinate had discovered beforehand that two al-Qaeda suspects who later joined the hijack team had entered the country, but failed to notify the FBI.

She went on to become a “key architect” of the “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” (aka torture).

That was the key CIA claim for the torture programme which the Senate’s latest report dismissed as “wrong”.

“She wrote the template on which future justifications for the CIA programme and the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques were based,” the report concluded.

And she made more major mistakes, including feeding falsen information and extracting false information from Khaled Sheikh Mohammed.

She attended the waterboarding at a so-called “black site” in Poland of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the al-Qaeda No3 who masterminded the 9/11 attacks, even though she had no reason, as an analyst, to be there.

She wrote enthusiastically that Mohammed was “going to be hatin’ life on this one”, but accidentally fed the wrong information to his interrogators, who used it to extract a false confirmation.

The information – that there was an al-Qaeda cell of African-Americans operating in the US – led to a manhunt for black Muslims in Montana.

And she was instrumental in an innocent German being abducted and tortured.

She also demanded the rendition of a German citizen named Khalid al-Masri, who was arrested in Macedonia and flown to Afghanistan for interrogation, though the man of the same name the CIA was hunting did not have a German passport.

He was released as a victim of mistaken identity five months later and compensated.

She was promoted and…

… in 2007 gave evidence to Congress on the use of “enhanced interrogation” in which she insisted: “There’s no question, in my mind, that having that detainee information has saved hundreds, conservatively speaking, of American lives.”

That has been claimed to be false testimony to Congress.

She would appear to represent many of the major mistakes made with the torture programme.

The CIA’s arguments for suppression of her name are vague and unpersuasive, alluding generally to the possibility that she could be the target of retaliation.

That’s ironic given that she was significant player in developing and executing a torture programme that appears to be more about oppressive retaliation than legal interrogation.

The Intercept justifies outing her:

The person described by both NBC and The New Yorker is senior CIA officer Alfreda Frances Bikowsky. Multiple news outlets have reported that as the result of a long string of significant errors and malfeasance, her competence and integrity are doubted — even by some within the agency.

The Intercept is naming Bikowsky over CIA objections because of her key role in misleading Congress about the agency’s use of torture, and her active participation in the torture program (including playing a direct part in the torture of at least one innocent detainee). Moreover, Bikowsky has already been publicly identified by news organizations as the CIA officer responsible for many of these acts.

Naming Bikowsky allows people to piece together these puzzles and hold American officials accountable. The CIA’s arguments for suppression of her name are vague and unpersuasive, alluding generally to the possibility that she could be the target of retaliation.

The CIA’s arguments focus on an undefined threat to her safety. “We would strongly object to attaching anyone’s name given the current environment,” a CIA spokesperson, Ryan Trapani, told The Intercept in an email. In a follow-up voicemail he added: “There are crazy people in this world and we are trying to mitigate those threats.”

However, beyond Bikowsky, a number of CIA officials who oversaw and implemented the program have already been publicly identified—indeed, many of the key architects of the program, such as Jose Rodriguez, are frequent guests on news programs.

Trapani also argued that the Senate report is “based only upon one side’s perspective on this story” and that an article about Bikowsky “doesn’t require naming a person who’s never had a chance to rebut what’s been said about them.” When The Intercept asked for the CIA’s rebuttal—or Bikowsky’s—to the critical portrayal of her in the Senate report, Trapani declined to offer one. He noted that CIA Director John Brennan had disputed the report’s contention that the agency had misrepresented the value of the interrogation program.

Innocent people were abducted and tortured. US and International laws and morals were stomped all over. In part this was able to happen because the CIA acts in secret and tries to maintatin secrets to hide from responsibility.

The world deserves much better from the world’s greatest power. Power corrupted is dangerous and despicable and should be openly examined to reduce the chances of it happening again.

If there’s a bit of colateral damage in torturers being ostracised and becoming potential targets of retaliation then tough. It’s not like they are being tortured.

Open Forum – Monday

22 December 2014

This is open to anyone with any topic. It’s a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome.

Some basic ground rules:

If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.
Debate hard if you like but respect people’s right to have varying views and to not be personally be attacked.
Don’t say to a stranger online anything you wouldn’t say to their face.

Moderation will be minimal if these guidelines are followed. Should they ever be necessary any moderator edits, deletes or bans will be clearly and openly advised.

Caution – serious Slater allegations

While Slater is prone to over selling and under-delivery on scandal stories but he claims that the Mike Sabin assault story will lead to a by-election in Northland and there is another serious claim against a different National MP.

if there’s any truth to The coming by-election in Northland

The story itself, which National have sat on for weeks, is almost too horrible for words, and there is little doubt that there will be a by-election in Northland.

Word from Fraser House is that senior whip and pink cocktail drinker Chris Hipkins is sitting on another ethics story where a senior National Party figure has been nailed for wife beating, and doing a whole lot of things that are not OK. Combine that with the Sabin story and it really looks like John Key doesn’t care about ethics.

…then National have more major problems to deal with.

But when Slater says…

This is the problem you get when you have an ethically challenged party hierarchy.

…then you have to take the irony into account when considering his claims. Slater has National MPs he supports (sometimes for money) and those he acts against.

And another warning directly from Slater:

It’s politics, the court of public opinion rules.

He has a record of framing the narrative hoping that mud will stick regardless of the full facts of a story.

Obviously there is something to the Sabin story. If it’s subject to police inquiry then National can’t front foot it.

The “wife beating” rumour is more of a problem to deal with because there is nothing in the public about it.

But if these are swept under the holidays rug then Key could find it challenging starting 2015 positively.

UPDATE: Radio NZ reports PM’s office confirms complaint about MP

The Prime Minister’s office says it is aware of a complaint that has been made to police about the National MP for Northland, Mike Sabin.

Savage Insult

An insult to Mickey Joseph Savage:


I see grating clashes in that image, one of which is linking “the architect of the welfare state” with a symbol of crass consumerism. Demeaning and insulting.

‘Blackmail’ blows back on former NZ First MP

Both Asenati Lole-Taylor and her husband have been broken rules accessing criminal records at the Department of Corrections.

Earlier this month it was reported that the husband of ex NZ First MP Lole-Taylor lost his job “after inappropriately accessing the criminal records of a former party official.”

Husband of ex-MP loses job for peek at records

The Corrections Department confirmed manager Dennis Taylor, husband of Asenati Lole-Taylor, is no longer employed after an investigation into a complaint by former director and Mana electorate chairwoman Marise Bishop.

Her historic drink-driving convictions were divulged to senior party members when she sought re-election at a 2012 convention.

Bishop laid the complaint in June. At the time Lole-Taylor said the allegations were politically motivated and “blackmail”. She could not be reached for comment yesterday. It is understood Corrections has written to her.

Lole-Taylor was the party’s Corrections spokeswoman until September’s election.

It was known before the election that this case was pending. Lole-Taylor was retained on the NZ First list but dropped to a virtually unwinnable position at 16 – NZ First have 11 MPs.

Stuff now report that Lole-Taylor also broke rules at Corrections.

Former MP Asenati Lole-Taylor ‘broke rules’ by accessing records

Former NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor inappropriately accessed the criminal records of a former party official, the Department of Corrections has confirmed.

Dennis Taylor, her husband, lost his job last month after an investigation found he looked up historic convictions of NZ First’s former director and Mana electorate chairwoman Marise Bishop.

Now, in a letter to Bishop, Corrections has revealed the investigation found Lole-Taylor, who was a rehabilitation and reintegration services adviser at the time, also broke the rules.

But because she quit Corrections after becoming a list MP in 2011, they can take no action.

NZ First can probably avoid having to take any action as well but they have not responded to approaches for comment.

Bishop, a former Defence Force communications operator and sales consultant, was stunned by the findings, saying it was “unbelievable.”

“I am still comprehending the outcome,” she said.

However, Bishop has taken a complaint to the Privacy Commission and may decide to raise the matter with police.

Her historic drink-driving convictions were divulged to senior party members when she sought re-election at a 2012 convention. But she had already disclosed her record to the party’s executive board.

At the time, Lole-Taylor said Bishop’s complaint was politically motivated and “blackmail”.

Lole-Taylor has a record of making ludicrous claims against critics.

It’s ironic that she accused Bishop of blackmail when she “broke rules” to access confidential information that she used to try and politically damage someone else.

Lole-Taylor was eight on the NZ First list in 2011. Once could wonder how well she was checked out for that.

This attempted political hit job is unlikely to be one that Winston Peters will want to talk about. His latest crusade has been based on information he has been given from within the Department of Defence.

National’s Sabin in assault inquiry

Mike has been National MP for Northland since 2011. He got 18,188 votes to the Labour candidate’s 6,826 in the recent election.

Stuff reports that police have been investigating an assault charge against him – Nat MP in police assault inquiry.

The investigation is related to events in Northland, but detectives working on the case are based in Waitemata, north Auckland.

The investigation was moved south from Whangarei because Sabin was a police officer based there until 2006.

The officer in charge, Detective Inspector Kevin Hooper, refused to confirm Sabin was the subject of an investigation.

Detective Inspector Bruce Scott, the crime service manager for Waitemata police, referred inquiries related to Sabin to the police media section.

“We have no comment on any investigation that could or could not be happening,” he said.

Sabin also won’t say anything about it.

When approached Sabin at home at Coopers Beach, in the Far North, he immediately demanded the reporter leave his property.

“I have got nothing to say,” Sabin said.

Asked if he would comment on the police investigation, he replied: “No, no I have nothing to say – I want you to leave my property.”

Not commenting suggests he doesn’t want to talk about it rather than there being nothing to talk about.

But there would appear to be something known to journalists about the investigation:

A relative of a complainant also would not comment. “I can’t say much mate, sorry,” he said. “I just don’t need the grief at the moment.”

This is the only media article I can find on the issue.

An investigation is just an investigation. Assault can range from minor to serious.

Sabin is an ex police officer and has been a prominent spokesperson on methampthetamine.

He is Chairperson of Parliament’s Law and Order committee and is a member of the Justice and Electoral committee.

If he has been involved in an incident that has resulted in a police inquiry into assault then it’s newsworthy, but with a lack of detail it’s not possible to make any judgement on it.

Open Forum – Sunday

21 December 2014

This is open to anyone with any topic. It’s a mostly political blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome.

Some basic ground rules:

If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.
Debate hard if you like but respect people’s right to have varying views and to not be personally be attacked.
Don’t say to a stranger online anything you wouldn’t say to their face.

Moderation will be minimal if these guidelines are followed. Should they ever be necessary any moderator edits, deletes or bans will be clearly and openly advised.

Dunedin’s Mayor Cull misrepresents fraud report

In response to the damning Deloitte report detailing a possible $1.5 million fraud (for as far back as was decided to investigate) Mayor Cull has made some very questionable statements.

On Radio NZ (Council under fire after fraud report) Cull says:

“Deloitte have concluded that there was no other staff member that benefited financially from the fraud.

“There were control failures and responsibilities but it was clear there was only one perpetrator in the council.”

That’s not what the Deloitte report concludes at all. Under Were other Council staff involved?


Cull is wrong on a number of counts.

  • Finding no evidence is quite different to “concluded that there was no other staff member that benefited financially”.
  • Obtaining vehicles at a discount to wholesale market value is a financial advantage.
  • Deloitte said that the police “may be interested” in staff members who paid for vehicles that the Council received no proceeds or was paid materially less than market value.

Some of the staff members at least will have known they were getting a bargain at the expense of the ratepayers. And paying Bachop rather than the council, especially in cash, was imprudent at best.

And there is major redaction of details.

In addition under Limitations the Deloitte reports says:

2.14 There is an inherent risk there are other material frauds at Council not identified in this investigation.

For Cull to put all the blame on one dead person and claim the report concluded no one else in Council benefited, when the report went as far as saying the police may be interested in staff members involved, gives me no confidence at all that the Mayor of Dunedin takes this seriously enough.

He seems more intent on sweeping embarrassments under the carpet.

His serious misrepresentation of the Deloitte report gives the impression he could be seriously misrepresenting the interests of the city’s ratepayers.


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