By-election day in Mt Roskill

mtroskillresult

A huge win with a very small turnout, about half that of the general election in 2014.

More than enough Labour voters turned out to vote, National voters couldn’t be bothered, or busy with Christmas shopping, or simply didn’t see the point.

2014 general election votes: 33,933
2015 Northland by-election: 29,590
2013 Christchurch East by-election: 13,726
2011 Botany by-election: 15,421

So Northland was an exceptional turnout for a by-election.

The Mt Roskill result in 2014:

mtroskill2014


Earlier

Today is by-election day in Mt Roskill, although about five thousand people have voted in advance.

avp_stats_3_12_16

Advance votes:

  • Mt Roskill 2014 general election – 7,218
  • Northland 2015 by-election – 13,869
  • Mt Roskill 2016 by-election – 4,969

By-elections generally have much lower turnouts but that’s significantly less.

I think that we are not supposed to discuss aspects of the election, the candidates or the parties involved on election day although it was fine while early voting took place.

If you are a Mt Roskill voter: Information for voters in Mt Roskill
– includes polling place locations.

Please don’t comment on here until after voting closes at 7 pm.

Results should become available some time after that and unless it’s close a final election night result should be known by 10 pm.

Shaw avoids electorate question

On The Nation this morning James Shaw was asked whether he had any ambition to win the Wellington Central electorate next election.

Shaw avoided answering this, diverting to the usual Green spiel about the party vote being all important – which it is.

But with Labour struggling so much the Greens must at least be considering going for some electorates.

Wellington Central would have to be on that list.

Metiria Turei’s desire to contest Te Tai Tonga is also an interesting change in focus for her.

Will Greens recommend voters give them the party vote but give Labour the electorate vote in these electorates?

Or will they at least quietly hope to pick up a seat or two beyond the list.

More than a Little Labour problem

Labour has been thrashed this week. First by polls:

  • Colmar Brunton 28%
  • UMR 29%
  • Roy Morgan 23%

UMR is the poll Andrew Little cited as proof that the public polls were wrong.

And political journalists have been scathing. A couple of examples:

Duncan Garner: After nearly 3000 days in opposition Little’s Labour has lost the ‘everyman’

It has been a dreadful end to the year for Andrew Little.

The latest Roy Morgan political poll has Labour at just 23 per cent, which would give the party just 28 MPs in Parliament.

…because Labour already holds 27 electorate seats, high-profile MPs such as Jacinda Ardern and David Parker would be looking for new jobs.

If Labour dropped one more per cent, Labour would not even get Andrew Little into Parliament.

That’s the ultimate embarrassment: when your leader doesn’t make it to Parliament.

This poll should be a major wake-up call, but it won’t be; my sources tell me no-one is planning to roll him over the summer BBQs.

Labour MPs clearly have low expectations in this caucus. They are happy for Little to take this one for the team and start again post-2017 with another duo of dancers.

So what has gone wrong? Shane Jones, Phil Goff, Clayton Cosgrove, Nick Leggett all deserting the Labour ship. Little has publicly slammed ex-Labourites as far right.

The ‘everyman’ has been ditched in favour of this current mob. This is a narrower Labour Party, the so-called broad church has been given its marching orders.

It seems to me that Labour doesn’t want the ‘everyman’ yet it wants his votes. I think Labour has lost the working bloke to NZ First and National.

They no longer identify with Little and his lightweight mob. I asked a press gallery journalist this week what was wrong with Little.

She said Little can’t explain anything, he has no charisma, he’s angry and, finally, he’s not John Key. I would add that Little fumbles and bumbles his way through interviews.

He lacks clarity and throws a few tired slogans at the public, who are likely to have tuned out a long time ago.

That’s how I see Little too. I thought he had promise two years ago, but he has failed to grow into the leadership role.

He is utterly uninspiring to most New Zealanders and the polls clearly show that. Who is he? What does he do in his quiet times? What makes him tick? Is he really as unfriendly and remote as the television suggests.

The answer is no, he’s not, but that’s how he comes across

After almost 3000 days in opposition, Labour looks more clueless now than it did at the beginning of that process. That leaves me to ponder this – are they finished as a major political party?

That’s a question that is coming up more often, a serious questioning of the future of the Labour party.

It is much more than a Little Labour problem. Is there any chance of them turning things around and rescuing the party?

Tracey Watkins: So much for giddy optimism: Labour and Andrew Little can’t bring themselves to speak the language of revolution

Andrew Little’s two-year anniversary in the Labour leadership rolled around in November and the lack of fanfare is a pointer to the quiet desperation in Labour’s ranks.

At a fractious front bench meeting on Monday, Little shouldered responsibility as leader for Labour’s polling slump.

There was lots of finger pointing. But there was also a sense of urgency about breaking the cycle. There was talk about taking risks. Even “breaking the rules” as one insider put it.

It’s not rules they need to break, they need to break out of a shrinking bubble, they need to stop blaming and dissing everyone and everything else for their problems that stretch back nearly a decade.

Little will spend less time in Wellington and more time on the road next year.

It’s been a tradition for years for party leaders to get out of Wellington on Thursdays – Little will extend that even further by spending most of the political week away from Parliament.

Disappearing into the regions could backfire by lowering his profile.

But he will get to shake a lot of hands. And trying to raise his profile hasn’t helped much either.

Labour is trying to shed him of an image as a leader who barks at every passing car.

Little’s big problem is that if he disappears he loses, and if he appears he loses.

It’s not, as some suggest, whether they are too left or too centre or too right.

They have a serious credibility problem. They lack clarity, they dither, most of their MPs seem to be marking time, they lack confidence and belief, they lack purpose.

The caucus looks like it is withering away, and even the promotion and defence of Labour here has become low key and muted.

The leader is a part of this but there is more than a Little Labour problem. But it will require a significant change to leadership to turn things around, someone has to lead change into a positive direction.

Andrew has to rethink his approach and he has to reform his own public persona. He has to start by really believing he can lead change. And then showing it.

And he somehow needs inspire his caucus MPs to lift their game substantially, because at the moment they don’t appear to care about their growing malaise.

Once, twice, Thrace

James Thrace posted this twice at The Standard wanting comments on it, so thrice might hive him some more feedback.


At present, we are seeing the long con strategy being utilised by National. Merkel’s Germany has been doing it to good effect.

How to do the long con.

1) Soften up the electorate as much as you can whilst retaining as many of the core policy settings that enable society to function (even while cutting funding left right and centre). This means temporarily swallow the dead rats.

2) Make the same soothing noises each time so as not to spook the horses.

3) Utilise the lack of MMP understanding to your advantage knowing that by and large, most voters don’t really care about the ins and outs. It suits National for voters to just know the ‘high level’ overview which is “vote for this party, and vote for that person”.

4) Incrementally, and surely, keep hammering home the same message of being “sound economic managers” and portraying the opposition as a bunch of inept muppets.

5) Constantly belittle any brainfart or policy ideas that erupt from those quarters.

6) Make any issues that crop up during your governing period anyone else’s fault but your own. Blame your support parties. Sheet home all responsibility to them (RMA delays = blame Maori party, Party Drug/Marijuana issues = blame Peter Dunne)

Once achieved, and the same message has sunk in, it’s odds on proof that the electorate is softened up and all the ducks are in a row, so now you can go hard.

Sell one message, and one message only.

Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.

Play to peoples wallets because 9 years of constant tax rises means people are poorer. Everyone is sick of hearing the same things – housing crisis, unclean water, mass sell offs of land etc.

Tax cuts, tax cuts tax cuts.

The majority do not care. The majority want more money to continue to obtain the things to buy to make their struggling, and probably miserable existence somewhat better. Consumerism has taught us all “feel down, buy junk, feel better.”

Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.

The majority listen, their ears perk up. More money say they! More money indeed say National.

Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.

9 years in power with constrained control under MMP, in order to keep selling yourself as the “long term” government is nothing. All people hear now are tax cuts. No one hears anything else. All talk of “30 new taxes since 2008” is ignored.

Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.

Overwhelmingly, the majority will vote for what’s good for their wallets. 9 long years of constantly struggling to get by and seeing more of your pay disappear each week means tax cuts will be a boon..

Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.

The opposition decries, “no, we can’t afford”. Shut up say the proletariat ‘You’re not the government, how do you know what we can afford. That John Key is such a nice guy’

tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.

The masses hunger. They want these tax cuts. Nothing will stop them now from getting them. The party offering the message, simply, must. WIN!

Election day looms near. The repeated mantra of ‘tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts’ has assumed a soothing quality to the soma’d masses. No one wants to be a Delta, or an Epsilon. We all want to be Betas. Only the best can be Alphas. Being a Gamma wouldn’t be too bad, but a Beta is better.

Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.

Election day itself

Party vote “tax cuts” say the masses. The dutiful tick goes to the party with the right message.

After 9 long years of softening up the hoi polloi, the governing party is returned with an outright majority. Too late, the people awaken. The look of horror is abject. The next three years is a selloff. Too late, the damage is done, the plan is to be carried out. The bankers and merchant men took over the country.

New Zealand. The greatest experimental country for neo-liberalism to mass transfer and consolidate wealth to the few, since, well, ever.


There are comments on it here:

Is the 3 strikes law working?

An in depth look at Stuff  – From bottom pinching to serious violence – is the three strikes law working? – (it is probably too soon to tell):

The very first third strike under the controversial 2010 law of escalating punishments for serious violent crimes played out the worst-case scenario opponents had predicted.

Bottom-pincher Raven Casey Campbell ticked all the “I told you so” boxes – a judge reluctantly imposing a disproportionate sentence for a comparatively minor crime causing no physical injury. Because the offence was Campbell’s third strike, Justice Toogood had to impose the seven-year maximum term for indecent assault, which spans everything from an unwanted bottom-pinch to a Malaysian diplomat following a young woman home and entering her bedroom with his pants and underwear down.

“It may seem very surprising that this consequence could be required by law for an offence of this kind, but that is the law and I have no option but to enforce it,” Toogood told Campbell.

Critics say the bottom-pinching case is absurd and reveals the law’s glaring design faults.

But proponents say Campbell’s case was simply the law working as it should. The sentence was not for Campbell’s bottom-grabbing but for his three accumulated offences, which included robbery and aggravated robbery. And the law’s in-built safety valve kicked in as it was supposed to.

The article looks at:

  • How the law works
  • The number of 1st and 2nd strikes so far
  • Disproportionality
  • Deterrence
  • Cost

At about $90,000 a year to keep someone in prison, Wood says it makes no sense to fund the most expensive accommodation for geriatrics posing no public risk.

However, just considering incarceration costs fails to factor in the high cost of crime, both in trial costs and the costs of injury, emotional harm and – in the case of murder – the lost potential of a life.

While three strikes warnings might not prevent further offending, longer prison terms inevitably will. However, Oleson says attempts to weigh the costs and benefits of the death penalty have delivered such wildly different results they seem meaningless.

Seymour says it’s too early to tell whether any costs will justify the public safety benefits. He’s open to a 10-year review, once enough cases have gone through the system to enable robust conclusions.

At its core, the three strikes debate remains a clash of ideologies.

“It’s an interesting puzzle,” Oleson says. “But the hard part is there are real people’s lives – offenders and victims – that are affected by these decisions.”

The debate will continue for years as more criminals work through to their third strike conviction.

HDCA: cot case bar set for ‘harm’

A judgment was been given on an application to dismiss a prosecution under the Harmful Digital  Communications Act that suggests that to succeed with a prosecution the victim would virtually have to become a cot case.

Judge C J Doherty ruled that the posting of semi-nude photos on Facebook had taken place with the intention of causing harm to the victim, but that there was insufficient evidence that “serious emotional distress” had occurred (as defined in s 4 of the HDCA).

It appears from this that the legislation, backed by this judgment, has set a very high bar for a prosecution under the HDCA.

This rules out a conviction under the act for malicious digital communications that may seriously harm someone’s reputation but that they don’t get ‘seriously distressed’ about. Getting very pissed off or angry or upset with a harmful attack would seem to be insufficient.

In this case an estranged husband still has to face a charge of breaching a protection order, but the judge ruled on a breach of s 22 of the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 (HDCA) “that the prosecution has not established a prima facie case that the complainant in fact suffered harm as defined in s 4”.

[3] The second charge alleges a breach of s 22 of the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 (HDCA) (“the second charge”). It is alleged that the defendant posted a digital communication, being semi-nude images of Mrs Iyer, from whom he is separated. The prosecution alleges that: in posting the communication, the defendant intended to cause Mrs Iyer harm; that posting the communication would cause harm to an ordinary reasonable person in Mrs Iyer’s position; and that posting the communication caused serious emotional distress to Mrs Iyer.

From the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015:

22 Causing harm by posting digital communication:

(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) the person posts a digital communication with the intention that it cause harm to a victim; and
(b) posting the communication would cause harm to an ordinary reasonable person in the position of the victim; and
(c) posting the communication causes harm to the victim.

4 Interpretation: ‘harm means serious emotional distress’.

Posting a digital communication

First the judge considered in detail whether posting to Facebook constituted a digital communication:

“the defendant claims the prosecution has not proved that a Facebook post qualifies as a digital communication, as defined by s 4 of the HDCA”

The HDCA definition:

digital communication-
(a) means any form of electronic communication; and
(b) includes any text message, writing, photograph, picture, recording, or other matter that is communicated electronically

The judge ruled against the defendant on that:

I am satisfied, without evidence of the precise protocol and technological basis of Facebook, that the photographs included on the [name of account deleted] account constituted digital communications.

It would have been absurd if posting to Facebook was not a digital communication.

The judge next found that the timing of the posting of the photograph had happened after the HDCA came into force on 1 July 2015.

The judge then considered intention  to cause harm.

[51] The evidence must tend to prove that the defendant posted the “digital communication with the intention that it cause harm to a victim” (in this case Mrs Iyer). Harm is further defined in s 4 of the HDCA as “serious emotional distress”.

[52] I have been unable to find the phrase “serious emotional distress” in any other piece of legislation. Accordingly, it does not appear to have been judicially defined, thus I must consider the definition in terms of the plain meaning of the words, and the wider purpose of the HDCA.

[54] It is clear from the inclusion of the word “serious” that the intended harm must be more than trivial. Being merely upset or annoyed as a consequence of a digital communication would not be sufficient to invoke the sanction of criminal law.

Also, I emphasise that the conduct criminalised by the HDCA is harmful conduct. Offensive, morally repugnant or merely upsetting conduct will not suffice. In order to attract criminal sanction, the conduct must go further.

[56] Turning to the purposive approach, in my view it is clear that the definition of serious emotional distress is designed to balance two competing concerns: the serious effects of calculated emotional harm, and the importance of maintaining free speech.

[58] This Parliamentary discussion reveals that any harm associated with digital communication must be taken seriously. It is important that the court does not assume that emotional distress caused by digital communications is inherently any less harmful than other forms of harm. From this, I interpret that the bar to a successful criminal prosecution must not be set too high.

But:

[59] However, it is also clear that the need to deter harmful online conduct must be weighed against the value of freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is a right protected by s 14 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZBORA). It includes the right to “impart information and opinions of any kind in any form”.

Although NZBORA rights are not absolute, s 6 of NZBORA requires that I consider s 14 when interpreting other statutes, a requirement that is reinforced by s 6(2)(b) of the HDCA.

This demands that the courts do not give an interpretation that would have an unduly restrictive effect on free speech. Indeed, this risk is heightened in the HDCA context, which criminalises expression that would not attract liability if it were communicated through a different medium.

Accordingly, I consider I must not reach an interpretation of “serious emotional distress” that is set too low. Taking a purposive approach requires that I balance the deterrence of online harm with the preservation of freedom of speech.

[60] The text of the statute and the wider purposive context both bring me to the same conclusion. In order to attract liability under s 22 of HDCA, conduct must be harmful to an identifiable victim. I conclude that the definition of “harm”, being “serious emotional distress”, may include a condition short of a psychiatric illness or disorder, or distress that requires medical or other treatment or counselling.

[61] The nub of this element is the intention of the defendant. An intention to elicit a serious response of grief, anguish, anxiety or feelings of insecurity would, in my view, qualify as intention to cause harm for the purposes of HDCA s 22(1).

[63] I stress that at this stage I need only find that the prosecution has made out a prima facie case. It is open to the defence to prove that the defendant was not motivated to control the complainant’s life, or that he could have achieved his motive without inflicting serious emotional distress. However, at this stage of proceedings I find that the prosecution has established a case to answer for this element.

Next the judge considered “where posting the digital communication would cause harm to a reasonable person in the position of the victim”

[64] The prosecution must prove that the communication would cause harm to an ordinary reasonable person in the position of Mrs Iyer (HDCA s 22(1)(b)). Section 22(2) sets out a non-exhaustive list of factors which the court may consider, including:

(a) the extremity of the language used:
(b) the age and characteristics of the victim:
(c) whether the digital communication was anonymous:
(d) whether the digital communication was repeated:
(e) the extent of circulation of the digital communication:
(f) whether the digital communication is true or false:
(g) the context in which the digital communication appeared.

[65] I consider that factors (b); (c); (d); (e); and (g) are relevant to the present
case.

[71] I find that the prosecution has established a prima facie case that the posting would cause serious emotional distress to an objective person in the position of Mrs Iyer.

Finally “whether posting the communication causes harm to the victim”:

[72] It is not enough to prove that the digital communication would cause harm to an objective person. The prosecution must establish that the communication did, in fact, cause harm to the victim.

[73] I have found that discovering the post of the photographs resulted in Mrs Iyer being frustrated, angry, anxious and very upset and that she considered taking time off work. (although she did not recall that she did so).

The only other evidence was from Ms Shroad who reported that at the time she viewed the post, Mrs Iyer almost cried and appeared “very depressed” and required someone to be with her for support. I hasten to add this was not a clinical diagnosis but a lay person’s description of what she observed.

Mrs Iyer did not elaborate on her frustration, anger, anxiety or upset. Ms Shroad did not elaborate on what she meant by “depressed” nor describe Mrs Iyer as exhibiting feelings of serious anxiety or insecurity. What Ms Shroad meant by Mrs Iyer needing “someone to be with her for support” was not elaborated upon.

While the evidence clearly points to some degree of emotional distress, it is not sufficient to satisfy me it has reached the threshold of serious emotional distress (as explored above at paragraphs [52]–-[60]).

I do not overlook the fact that Ms Shroad’s observation, while proximate to the time of discovery of the post, is not necessary determinative of the distress of Mrs Iyer; the distress may have manifest itself later. Nor have I ignored the notion that an inference might be drawn that the needing of support itself meant Mrs Iyer was suffering serious emotional distress.

But the absence of specific evidence as to the root cause of her need is a telling factor against the drawing of such an inference.

[74] The prosecution need only prove that the electronic communication caused harm; not that it caused harm immediately. Whether harm in the form of serious emotional distress was caused is a matter of fact. The prosecution has not led cogent evidence to this effect. Such evidence could have been provided by more detailed and specific evidence from Mrs Iyer as to her reactions, feelings or physical symptoms and their duration or by expert evidence, such as the evidence of a psychologist or counsellor. However, none has been led.

[75] On this basis, I consider that the prosecution has not established a prima facie case that the complainant in fact suffered harm as defined in s 4.

So in summary the judge ruled that:

  • Posting photos to Facebook constitutes a digital communication
  • The defendant intended to cause harm
  • The posting would cause serious emotional distress to an objective person in the position of the defendant

But

  • There was insufficient evidence of harm defined as “serious emotional distress”.

Based on this it seems that prosecutions for ‘harm’ under the HDCA will only succeed in fairly extreme cases proving “serious emotional distress”.

I don’t think this is the judge’s fault, he went to some length to understand and comply with the Act.

Those who deliberately set out to cause harm online shouldn’t have much difficulty keeping degree of the damage below this threshold, unless they misjudge someone’s emotional state and tip them over the edge.

The judgment is here: RESERVED DECISION OF JUDGE C J DOHERTY ON APPLICATION FOR DISMISSAL PURSUANT TO S 147(4)(B) CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 2011

Media watch – Saturday

3 December 2016

MediaWatch

Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

As usual avoid anything that could cause any legal issues such as potential defamation or breaching suppression orders. Also remember that keeping things civil, legal and factual is more effective and harder to argue against or discredit.

Sometimes other blogs get irate if their material is highlighted elsewhere but the Internet is specifically designed to share and repeat information and anyone who comments or puts anything into a public forum should be aware that it could be republished elsewhere (but attribution is essential).

Open Forum – Saturday

3 December 2016

Facebook: NZ politics/media+

This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is for you to raise topics that interest you. 

If providing opinions on or summaries of other information also provide a link to that information. Bloggers are welcome to summarise and link to their posts.

Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts.

Your NZ is a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
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  • Debate hard if you like but respect people’s right to have varying views and to not be personally be attacked.
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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 unless obviously malicious from anyone breaching site protocols, or spam.

Friday night Rock Star of Comedy

This is kinda weird for me.

Hardly anyone has exclusive use of their given name, but it’s strange when you encounter someone with your own name. That’s how it is for me anyway.

Here’s a dude I’ve seen mentioned online quite a bit but finally got around to checking him out.

Warning: bits of guitar and some un-PC content.

Mt Roskill poll v. political claims

There seems to have been a non-public poll done for the Mt Roskill by-election for Labour, but there are mixed messages.

A week ago in NZ’s feeblest John Key parrot is on the brink of a shellacking in Mt Roskill  Simon Wilson wrote:

Labour has a poll that puts their candidate, Michael Wood, 30 points ahead, at 58 to 28. That’s a spectacular fail in an electorate where National won the party vote in 2014 by 2000.

That would be a spectacular result, but without any details about the poll, when it was taken, what the questions were, and what the sample size and method were, it’s worth being very wary – especially when a party with a vested interest promotes the results.

This came up again today, started by a tweet from Labour MP Phil Twyford.

@PhilTwyford
Never mind Key’s spin, the Herald has the numbers on why Roskill is no slam dunk for Michael Wood

@BenThomasNZ
Even post-Trump, NZ spin is parties vying to claim that they will in fact suffer the most humiliating defeat

@PhilTwyford
Unlike Key we are not predicting defeat, just that Roskill may be close run and that we have to work hard for it.

@robhosking
Thought your internal polling was supposed to be putting you 30 points ahead?

‏@PhilTwyford
Don’t believe every bit of unsourced speculation you hear.

@robhosking
I didn’t say I believed it. But @simonbwilson was on NatRad this morning saying Labour had told him this. So either Simon’s bullshitting (which I very much doubt) or someone’s bullshitting Simon.

@simonbwilson
No reason to doubt my sources. Plural. Both parties have reason to argue it’s close. Both bullshitting? Oh dear, agony for another 28 hours!

@robhosking
Theoretically, that poll *should* be accurate [safe seat; 3rd term Nat govt, etc]. But things are weird right now.

@simonbwilson  Strong Lab cand + strong campaign. Weak Nat cand. Greens X. 3rd party votes off Parmar. By-elect. Crime. House $. Key says nah.

Most things point to a comfortable win to Labour’s Wood, but it may close up, that poll is over a week old.

But why did Twyford emphasise “Roskill is no slam dunk” and “Roskill may be close run”?