Blair Anderson, on the hustings 'canvassing for opinion'

Blair Anderson, on the hustings 'canvassing for opinion'

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Guns or dogs - its all drug policy, stupid.

"Brian Rudman: Guns or dogs - controls are essential for the same reason" 25 Apr 2007 -

"The killer dogs were needed because the neighbourhood was unsafe."
At the root of Mr Rudman's concerns is drug prohibition. Arms, Drugs. Protection. Burglary. Violence.

However, in describing or comparing dogs to 'weapons of death' Rudman looses all reason.
NZ Herald: Opinion,

Just as 99.99999% of all NZ guns killed no one this day, 99.99999% of dogs killed no one either suggesting it is neither the gun nor the dog that is the problem 'in law'. It is the policy framework.

Dog biting is actually 'relatively' rare and leading to death truely exceptional. And exceptions usually make bad laws.

Even if draconian dog-laws such as Rudman suggests were able to be enforced it would make little impression on risk of or severity of incidence. It would assuredly lead to more dogs behind fences and on shorter leads resulting in increased 'risk to any and all' from unsocialised dogs.

Similarily, the unresolved tensions in drug prohibition policy are born out bad policy resulting all to often as murder and mayhem in the community. The intersect is there. [Try and take my dog off me 'unjustly'. You'll need the 5th Army.]

Just as guns often feature in drug related violence, it is not from the pharmacology of the drug rather 'the rules, stupid!' The rules' perverse consequence is alienation from rule of law, deviancy amplification and (apparently) the licence for prejudice.

The same can be said for dogs yet 99.9% of all dogs probably contributed both intrinsic and bankable benefit to the community today. So whats going on here? Like the drug debate, it seems always to be 'those' people, those dogs, that area of town....

Dominant groups use money, power, media, design and politics to subjugate subordinate ones. Dominant groups pass and enforce rules that define other's behavior as deviant.

A bit of othering sets the scene 'and the opinions of those people no longer count'. I don't expect an easy resolution of these tensions, especially when I hear on talkback and in media commentary the woeful thoughtless labeling. In this regard Mr Rudman is no exception. However, if its safer communities Rudman wants it is in the drug policy debate where the real social capital will be found.

Guns, Dogs, Drugs. We can't live with them but we can't live without them either. So we better start talking common sense.

Time to Talk?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Impacts of Climate Change in Christchurch

Report examining the phenomenon of climate change and the potential impacts and ways in which the Council is responding to various aspects of climate change. (the problem is, where is the baseline? Where is the numerate analysis? / )

Climate & Weather: Facts & Figures - Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand:

The woman who would be mayor - Christchurch News - The Press

STEPPING UP: a political unknown is lining up against one of the most recognised faces in New Zealand for the job as Christchurch's mayor. So, who is Megan Woods?

A political unknown is lining up against one of the most recognised faces in New Zealand for the job as Christchurch's mayor. JOHN HENZELL asks who is Megan Woods. Megan who?"

The woman who would be mayor
The Press | Saturday, 21 April 2007

Bob Parker's Mind on Alcohol-Related Harm

Conference Focus on Reducing Alcohol-Related Harm:
Tuesday, 17 April 2007, 12:33 pm
Press Release: The Alcohol Advisory Council

Preventing intoxication on licensed premises is just one of the topics under discussion at a two day conference to be hosted by the Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) in Christchurch next month.

“This will be the tenth Working Together Conference which is a significant milestone, offering the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of a decade focused on reducing alcohol-related harm,” says ALAC Chief Executive Officer Gerard Vaughan.

“The conference theme is Moving Forward Together. Participants already enrolled cover a wide range of groups involved in reducing alcohol-related harm including representatives from the Police and public health, district licensing inspectors, members of the hospitality industry, researchers, trainers, council planners and policy makers, councillors, Māori wardens, Māori health providers, Pacific providers, injury prevention and safer community co-ordinators.

“The conference will promote communication and partnerships, provide a forum for discussion and debate of critical issues, and present, demonstrate and showcase examples of innovative and effective national and local action,�" Mr Vaughan says.

Topics in the stream sessions range from reducing intoxication on licensed premises to looking at whether the current monitoring and enforcement system is working. There is also a panel session on the sale and supply of alcohol to under 18-year-olds. Associate Minister of Health Damien O’Conner will address the conference on the first day.

Topics covered by other keynote speakers include a look at the situation in Scotland from Alcohol Focus Scotland’s Chief Executive Jack Law; drug courts in New Zealand from Judge John Walker; the Police Action Plan a year on from Police Deputy Commissioner (Operations) Rob Pope; and Christchurch City Councillor Bob Parker on the role of local authorities in reducing alcohol-related harm.

There will be an opportunity for sector groups to meet on May 2, prior to the conference proper, which runs from May 3 to 4 at the Rydges Hotel Christchurch. Registrations are filling fast with registrations closing on April 24. For more information go to

Monday, April 16, 2007

Drug Use Among the Young Caused by Politics & Policy Failure

Drug Use Among the Young Caused by Politics & Policy Failure or another case of anthropomorphic mess, 'its the rules stupid' - mildgreens

Government attempts to persuade thousands of young people to stay away from drugs have failed and done nothing to curb the soaring popularity of illegal substances, a devastating report will warn this week.

UK: Britain's Fight Against Drugs 'A Total Failure' / by Denis Campbell, 15 Apr 2007, Observer

The study, 'An Analysis of UK Drugs Policy', has been written by two internationally respected experts, Professor Peter Reuter of Maryland University in the US and Alex Stevens, senior researcher at the European Institute of Social Services at Kent University.

Their findings are a scathing indictment of decades of education, prevention and awareness-raising campaigns intended to warn youngsters about the
perils of narcotics. The three main strategies into which successive governments have ploughed tens of millions of pounds - mass media campaigns such as 'heroin screws you up' in the 1980s, initiatives in schools aimed at pupils as young as seven and targeting of vulnerable groups - have made little or no difference, it says.

'Prevention is cited as the main policy area aiming to reduce drug initiation and continued use. The policy is predicated on the assumption that prevention efforts reduce drug use, but there is as yet no clear evidence showing that prevention has had this effect in the UK,' the authors conclude.

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence recently drew similar conclusions about the usefulness of drugs prevention campaigns.

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