General chat

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NZ plummets in energy investment ranking, Government happy

New Zealand has dropped from 14th to 46th in a ranking of attractiveness to energy investors. This isn’t surprising after the Government put significant limitations on oil and gas exploration.

‘Green’ or alternative energy prospects don’t seem to rate – I’m still unclear how we will meet al our energy needs if we transition away from fossil fuels completely as some want.

NZH:  Survey of top energy executives shows NZ has become a lot less attractive for investors

An annual survey of the world’s leading oil executives, which ranks the ease of investment into oil and gas producing countries, shows New Zealand has dramatically dropped down the list in terms of its attractiveness to investors.

The Fraser Institute, which has run the survey every year for 12 years, asks executives to rank provinces, states and countries according to the extent to which barriers to investment in oil and gas exploration and production are present.

New Zealand’s attractiveness to investors has dropped from the 14th highest country/region to 46 in the space of a year.

“This drop is based on poorer scores with respect to political stability, environmental regulations and protected areas and taxation in general,” the report said.

The Opposition is critical.

National’s Energy spokesman Jonathan Young put the blame for the drop squarely in the lap of the Government.

In April, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern banned future offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand with the exception of Taranaki.

The ban took the industry by surprise because it was not part of any confidence and supply or coalition agreement and had not been explicitly promised by Labour during the election campaign.

According to some industry players surveyed in the Fraser Institute report, this was a key reason for the drop in New Zealand’s attractiveness.

“New Zealand’s move to ban new offshore exploration is a deterrent for investors,” one said.

“Jurisdictions that are openly hostile towards resource development, like New Zealand, cause investors to take their investment dollars elsewhere,” said another.

Young was not surprised by this and said the ban had “scared off” potential investors and would cost the economy tens of millions of dollars.

It’s not surprising – it looks like to an extent at least it was the intent of the ban, or it must have been at least a predictable consequence.

Energy Minister Megan Woods is unrepentant:

“We’re incredibly proud of the fact that New Zealand is leading the world on a managed, long term transition to a clean energy future.”

Hardly. The Government has limited fossil fuel exploration possibilities, but I have seen little of the other side of the equation – alternatives.

“International investors will consider a range of information when making decisions about where to invest, including the likelihood of a discovery and the likely value of any potential discovery.”

Climate Change Minister James Shaw was not surprised by the survey.

He said because oil and gas exploration was being phased out in New Zealand, there was not actually much more investment in the sector that was needed.

“So it’s unsurprising that investors in that industry would be saying that over the long term it’s not a place they wanted to end up.”

Shaw needs to come up with a credible path to sufficient alternative energy to replace fossil fuels, otherwise we will either have an energy shortfall, or will have to rely more on more expensive imports of fuel.

I’d love to see polluting fuels phased out, but I would also love to see a realistic and viable plan for what will replace them. At the moment I see little more than pie in the sky idealism.

Energy of dreams – ban them, and alternatives will come. Maybe.

 

Changes proposed for End of Life Choice Bill

David Seymour is recommending changes to his End of Life Choice Bill after getting feedback from public submissions (a record 37,000) – and by the sound of things, to get sufficient support from MPs.

NZH: Act leader David Seymour recommends changes to End of Life Choice Bill

Seymour has written a report on his End of Life Choice Bill for the Justice Select Committee considering the bill containing proposals he says seeks to put the best possible version of the bill forward to MPs to ensure it gets through its second reading.

Seymour’s report set out both minor and substantive issues raised by submitters on the bill and the public during the select committee process and during consultation, analysed overseas evidence and proposed a range of changes to the bill.

“My findings are that there is high public support for legislative change in New Zealand, there is no risk of coercion of the vulnerable, and that the provision of palliative care is complementary to the provision of assisted dying,” Seymour said in the executive summary.

But due to concerns on those matters he recommended the following :

• A binding referendum at the next election

• Limiting eligibility to the terminally ill

• Clarifying that access cannot be by reason of mental health conditions and disability only

• Incorporating the Access to Palliative Care Bill sponsored by National MP Maggie Barry.

The report also suggests an amendment to clarify the role and protection of pharmacists, nurses and medical practitioners.

The proposed law change as it stands would give people with a terminal illness or a grievous and irremediable medical condition the option of “requesting assisted dying”.

“It allows people who so choose, and are eligible under this bill, to end their lives in peace and dignity, surrounded by loved ones.”

If it is to go too a binding referendum then Parliament shoukd be putting the best possible Bill forward and then leave it to the people to decide. The people should be able to decide how they die if they get an opportunity to make a choice.

General chat

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Reactions to Kirsty Johnston’s “I’m angry about Grace Millane’s murder after a year reporting on rape”

Kiwiana: “Thank you for this powerful piece, it exactly summed up how I’ve been feeling this year especially.”

Damian Light: “Thank you for your words and your courage. I’m sorry you’ve been at the receiving end of appalling attitudes, it shows we have more work to do. Kia kaha”

Peter Aranyi: “Good on you Kirsty. Bloody terrible.”

Richard Hills: “Thank you for writing this. The stories I’ve heard and know from women I know and women I knew who are no longer with us make me feel helpless and distressed for our community. I can’t imagine how they feel or how you feel about what you’ve heard and they’ve experienced.”

Alan Perrott: “Well done, I hope it’s widely read.”

‘pretty snide for aa white guy’: “Kirsty, thank you. I do get it, I think. Certainly I get it more after reading this. I am sorry that this is where we are at. And I want it to be better. I will be better.”

@kmccready: “The women in my life have said exactly the same. Some manage somehow, I don’t know how, to blot it out.”

Steve_Hale: “Thank you for writing this. Every single day I think about my 12 year old daughters safety and that extends to the safety of her friends. I believe that fathers who love their daughters care deeply about the safety of young women. Becoming a father certainly changed my outlook.”

Alisa Smith: “Maybe if people like you keep writing articles like this, and people keep sharing and discussing them, one day women and young ladies will be able to go into the world unafraid. Maybe.”

‘Men’ have a collective problem with violence, abuse…

‘Men’ have a collective problem with violence, abuse, murder, rape, misogyny – and should do more collectively to address these problems and the ingrained cultures that contribute to the problems.

Obviously not all men are violent, not all men are thugs or rapists or murderers. It can be quite confronting to be held responsible as a gender for individual crimes, rapes, murders, assaults. We are not all responsible for specific crimes. But we are all responsible for the social culture in which they occur all too frequently.

A number of women have been expressing themselves in reaction to the shocking murder of English backpacker Grace Millane. There has been a lot of emotion, and I think that in the heat of the moment some things that have been said maybe be a bit over the top, off the mark and unfair.

But I think we should listen, learn, and resolve to do more to stand up to the debilitating and destructive behaviours that cause so much grief and anger.

WARNING: the following may put some male noses out of joint. But I think that men should read, digest, and consider carefully what is being expressed.

Women, many women, have to deal with problems that most men have to deal with, and that most men are probably largely unaware of.

Kirsty Johnston: I’m angry about Grace Millane’s murder after a year reporting on rape

I was angry before Grace Millane’s death and I’m seething now.

In the days following Grace’s death, I tried to explain this feeling to the men in my life, to tell them why many women felt so upset by her killing.

“It could have been any of us,” I said. “It is a reminder that we aren’t yet equal. She was just a kid. She was just trying to live her life.”

I watched them grapple with this idea, to try not to get defensive. I wondered how it must feel to be on the other end, to be told that you have the power to be frightening. I felt sorry for them, these men who I love. Right now, however, I’m too tired to make it okay for them. It’s been a long year. I’m tired of explaining. I’m tired of feeling second-class. And I’m tired of being angry. It’s a burden none of us asked for.

I have spent most of 2018 writing about rape. It wasn’t planned. It began with a single story about unresolved sexual assault cases handled by the police, and grew, and grew.

After every article, more women came forward to talk to me about sexual violence and their experience with the justice system. For a while, I became part reporter, part counsellor. I didn’t mind. Journalism is as much in the listening as the telling. But unlike with previous projects, this time the stories stayed with me, waking me at night, leaving a deep aching in my chest around my heart. Sometimes, I felt sick, my throat constricted. Worst was when I felt the deep chill of recognition settle in my bones.

It was deeply confronting to realise these women’s long-held secrets were so similar to my own. As I listened to them, memories long-repressed began to bubble to the surface. Small things, like unwanted touches or sexist comments. Bigger things, like sexual coercion or a lack of consent. Other things. Cowering in corners.

With the lid lifted, it felt like I was viewing the world through a new lens. Everywhere I looked was rape culture, the dominance of the patriarchy, ingrained misogyny. Once you see, I said to one victim, you can’t unsee. She said, “I wish I could. I don’t want to be this person.” Same, I said. It’s exhausting. As the year went on my heartache shifted to anger. In June, after a nasty incident at a bar, I wrote a furious column about male entitlement, begging men to think about their behaviour. In response, I got emails threatening rape. My anger twisted to despair.

The only thing that saved me was the kindness of other women.

Wouldn’t it be good if the kindness of men also helped saved people from angst, saved people from violence and abuse, saved people’s lives?

It can, and does. But not enough.

I think that men as a group need to listen more, learn more about the problems they are being linked to and are a part of.

‘Men’ cannot be held responsible for individuals, for individual murders, for individual rapes, for individual assaults, for individual families battered and scarred by violence.

But as a significant segment of a society that is too often violent and dysfunctional I think men have a collective responsibility to stand up and confront the issues more and better.

Many men lead non-violent lives, many men are members of decent families and decent communities. But our society as a whole has a pervading sickness, not just a sickness of violent behaviour, of abusive behaviour, but a sickness of attitudes and behaviours that disrespect, demean, destroy.

This is too prevalent in family and social situations. It is also too prevalent in politics. It is far too prevalent in online forums, social media – as a society we haven’t adapted well to technological changes. Yet.

When it comes down to it we don’t care about women enough. Most men do not know what it is to be afraid, to realise if your worst fear comes true, there is nothing you can do.

We as men can imagine what this may be like but will probably never understand how it feels.

I can’t speak for women, but I can try to understand their angst and anger better.

And as a man I should do more to make our society less violent, better. I think this will benefit from collective action from men.

I admit that some of what I have read lately, including from Kirsty Johnston, got my hackles up a bit, made me feel indignant, dumped on. Maybe that’s in part because I know, I feel, that men are not doing enough to address male problems in our society. Society will only change for the better if we change – change our attitudes, change our behaviours, and change what we do (from little to more) to confront a beast of a problem.

 

General chat

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Tougher measures against drug dealing, police to go easier on users

The Government announced new measures to combat drug problems, especially synthetic drugs that have been causing a number of deaths. Two common ingredients of synthetics will be reclassified, making selling them punishable by up to life imprisonment, balanced with instructions to police to go easier on drug users.

Generally this is a big and welcome step forward, but it has a complication – it’s common for drug users to also sell drugs to finance their habit.

And Police have expressed concerns about what the changes will mean for them. They already use their discretion in dealing with drug users.

Beehive: Crackdown on synthetic drug dealers

I don’t know why they have chosen to focus just on the getting tough bit in their headline.

The Government is responding to increased drug-related deaths by cracking down on the suppliers of synthetic drugs while making it easier for those with addiction problems to get treatment, Health Minister Dr David Clark and Police Minister Stuart Nash have announced.

“Under current laws synthetics and other dangerous drugs are killing people and fuelling crime while dealers and manufacturers get rich. The current approach is failing to keep Kiwis safe and can’t be continued,” David Clark said.

“It’s time to do what will work. We need to go harder on the manufactures of dangerous drugs like synthetics, and treat the use of drugs as a health issue by removing barriers to people seeking help.”

I hope the measures will work better – they should – but it is not going to solve all drug problems.

The Government has today announced a suite of measures to tackle synthetic drugs. The measures include:

  • Classifying as Class A the main two synthetic drugs (5F-ADB and AMB-FUBINACA) that have been linked to recent deaths. This will give police the search and seizure powers they need crackdown on suppliers and manufacturers, who will also face tougher penalties – up to life imprisonment.
  • Creating a temporary drug classification category, C1, so new drugs can easily be brought under the Misuse of Drugs Act, giving police the search and seizure powers needed to interrupt supply – an important part of a health response.
  • Amending the Misuse of Drugs Act to specify in law that Police should use their discretion and not prosecute for possession and personal use where a therapeutic approach would be more beneficial, or there is no public interest in a prosecution. This will apply to the use of all illegal drugs, so there is no perverse incentive created encouraging people to switch to a particular drug.
  • Allocate $16.6 million to boost community addiction treatment services, and provide communities with the support to provide emergency “surge” responses, when there is a spate of overdoses or deaths, for example.

“To be clear, this is not the full decriminalisation of drugs recommended by the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry. These are immediate steps we can take in response to the challenge we face with synthetics. We are considering the Inquiry’s recommendations separately,” Dr Clark said.

National have grizzled about it being a path to decriminalisation but given their lack of action through their 9 year term i feel like telling them to get stuffed.

Police targeting dealers

Police Minister Stuart Nash says frontline Police are targeting dealers and suppliers with an increased focus on organised crime and trans-national crime as a result of extra resourcing in Budget 2018.

“Misuse of drugs remains illegal and people should not be complacent about the risks of getting caught. Whether a drug user ends up getting Police diversion, goes through an alternative resolution process, or is referred for health treatment, they will still come to the notice of Police,” Stuart Nash said.

That’s fine, when a user isn’t also doing some dealing.

Police Association:  Police Association conditional support to drug initiatives

The Police Association supports the government’s move to go after the manufacturers and suppliers of lethal synthetic drugs.

Association President Chris Cahill says he is pleased to see a commitment to classification of two synthetic drugs as Class A, and the intention to create a temporary drug classification, C1, so new drugs can easily be brought under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The association supports a greater focus on treatment of drug addiction rather than prosecution. However, there is concern about some aspects of the government announcement.

“It has an air of drug reform on the fly, rather than a more considered debate and informed legislation. I am worried that by codifying Police discretion the government is potentially asking officers to be the spearhead of decriminalisation. If decriminalisation is what parliament wants, then that’s what the law should say,” Mr Cahill said.

Police officers already use discretion and follow very clear guidelines to determine whether a prosecution is appropriate for the particular person and whether a prosecution would be in the public interest.

“This is often a difficult decision, taking into account factors about the offender, the offence and the victim. Evidence of discretion-in-action is apparent in research from Massey University’s Dr Chris Wilkins which notes that apprehensions for cannabis use have declined by 70 per cent between 1994 and 2014, and about half of all arrests now result in warnings only,” Mr Cahill said.

“Now the government wants officers to apply that discretion when it comes to drug users who are suffering from addiction or mental health problems so, instead of going to court, they can undergo addiction treatment. However, we know the treatment facilities are just not available.

For this all to work it is critical that substantially more treatment facilities and options are made available.

Russell Brown has a good post on it –Just quietly, this is a big deal

Finding the actual nature of that balance has not been an easy matter, and both official and independent expert advice has been sought on how to manage it. But this is what they’re doing, per this morning’s announcement:

Amending the Misuse of Drugs Act to specify in law that Police should use their discretion and not prosecute for possession and personal use where a therapeutic approach would be more beneficial, or there is no public interest in a prosecution. This will apply to the use of all illegal drugs, so there is no perverse incentive created encouraging people to switch to a particular drug.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Misuse of Drugs Act will be amended to guide Police discretion in such a way that the default will be to not prosecute personal use and possession of any illegal drug. The government is at pains to emphasise that this is not the full Portugal-style decriminalisation  repeatedly called for in last week’s Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction, and you may even expect reform advocates to play it down a bit.

But it’s a really big deal.

If you are interest in these changes Russell’s whole post is worth reading.

Air NZ strike notice lifted

Air New Zealand strikes planned for three days before Christmas have been called off. This will be a relief for the many people who would have been affected.

I presume some sort of agreement or compromise has been made between the airline and union, but I also expect there would have been a lot of anger expressed to them. I don’t know how badly pay negotiations were going, but threatening to strike at Christmas looked a bit like industrial blackmail.

General chat

“Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

Do it here. Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.