Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Greed is a sin but profit making is to be valued! huh

I guess I am happy to say that I am not alone in thinking that the price paid to farmers this year by Fonterra cannot keep rising.
Just like Corporate Executives, cannot keep demanding higher and higher salaries.

Hard to say I am a fan, of former French President Nicholas Sarkozy, but he also states that GDP (gross domestic product) is not an accurate measure of economic success. He commissioned a report and found that other principles should be factored in when measuring economic success such as sustainability and the environment. He is correct. What is the value of great material wealth but no air or water quality?
 Buying and spending are not everyone's idea of achievement. The latest round of asset sales is like a very exclusive game. Commoners like me simply don't play.

But I am in business and I do want to make a profit. However perhaps where I may differ is I want my business to be sustainable, I don't want to have a negative impact on the environment nor do I want to sell a product i don't believe in. I only want to be responsible for creating good will. I want my business to last for generations. I want to learn a lesson from Asia and build a business that last for generations and provides for my family. A lofty goal but not if careful lessons are followed.

What really annoys me the most is that there seems to be a culture of greed as an acceptable norm. I am far from religious but I was told greed is one of the seven deadly sins. I would go further than calling it just greed. The horrible sense of entitlement some business or corporate people display shows clearly how weak they are in real values. Wealth or money doesn't make you a bad person and I like luxury good as much as the next person. Where I may differ is when I do buy a luxury good or anything I try to look after it. I guess when I buy something I create antiques cos I keep my stuff a long long time.

Endless acquisition is dull. Having money and buying stuff is boring. If you like watching the Kardashians and think that that is a worthy lifestyle to aspire to I say good on you . I also say, so far they experience equal heartbreak, drug addiction, marriage break up and divorces if not more and their children cry and poop just like ours.

Money is, as the BNZ advertisement says, neither good nor bad. Lacking a moral compass in business may mean you do get very rich. But the legacy you leave behind should not be at the expense of underpaid or even ill or injured staff. The result should not be a damaged environment that you are responsible for but not held accountable.

I feel we have had one too many Cave Creek incidents and Pike River  should NOT have happened. The buck stops here and being responsible is one of the first challenges society needs to demand and I think this current Government needs to address.

In the meantime ... lets just get organised for next election and vote this morally bankrupt lot out.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

I know a lot more about abortion than any man!

I find it repulsive when Ken Orr is maintaining his crusade against abortion despite never having had one and to the best of my knowledge not fostering a dozen or so unwanted and neglected children. Perhaps if he actually spoke kindly with knowledge about the poverty children experience when they are not wanted I would have some respect for him. But these unwanted children grow up in dysfunctional families in over crowded homes.

Ask any social worker from CYfs what they think of abortion and I am pretty sure none of them see abortion as child abuse.

Professor David Fergusson concedes that 98% of abortions are authorised on the grounds of mental health, but that they do not improve the mental health of the women. Really ? Do you think spending the next 20 years raising an unloved and unwanted child is going to be the solution? Perhaps it is the reason for the confusion is that a women should not have to have a"mental health problem" in order to receive an abortion. Perhaps this male centred view is the real problem.

I speak on abortion with some authority as I have had the experience. I was 17 or 18 and despite having two trips to the doctor it was at 13 weeks after a false diagnosis of cysts on my ovaries. I had a week to make up my mind. I was single and not planning on becoming a single mom. I know for a fact that I would not have lead the life I had and married or travelled if I had not been able to access a termination. It was 1984 and I clearly remember being fully under an anaesthetic and after wards watching the 1984 olympic games in LA.

In 1986 I meet my husband and married and then travelled to the USA. There was no way I would have had this experience as a young single mum. In fact I am willing to bet that what causes the most problems for mental health is single parenting. Nothing grinds a person down as much as working 24/7 for no reward. Children or babies seldom say, thanks Mum I loved the bottle you woke up at 3 am to give me.

It's sexist of me to say this but seriously men need to stick to the stuff the know and be supportive of women's choices. It is still very much a mans world. If you disagree just imagine if it was our female mayor having the affair. The name trollop, slapper, loose women , whore, tramp etc . A man is just being a man.
we not in my world.

As the mother of three beautiful daughters and one grandson. I also hope all their children are wanted ones. But should accidents happen , and they do. I would like to think that choice to continue the pregnancy or not was hers alone. That is what a loving and caring society looks like, not one that casts doubt on a woman for her sexuality or choices.And don't get me started on RAPE!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Lying down Len Brown

Hmmm I am pretty annoyed that a man with no moral compass and no boundaries is Mayor of my town. Contrast this slimy lying low life with Lianne Dalziel the new Christchurch mayor. She is squeaky clean and has maintained a dignified stance her whole time in politics. I applaud her. Like Vicki Buck before her. No dramas or stuff ups.

Why do we accept the behaviour of cheaters and liars. Christ if the man is capable of lying to those he loves most, supposedly , his wife and children , what makes you think we will get the truth from Len? Why should a man with an impossibly large ego and no ethics make decisions that affect us. I don't trust him. He is weak and cowardly. He knew this would cost him so he played us all for fools.

Why is there such a disgustingly backward sexist culture in politics today? Helen Clarke did nothing worse than sign a painting in haste and she was treated horribly with gay rumours and being childless, stories portrayed her  as cold . That is not who she is. She is smart woman who intimidated lesser minds. She may have had a cold stare or the death glare but inside she was human and was hurt by comments just as Julia Gillard was.
 She also was a great strong woman who did nothing really wrong. Apart from her gender which was perceived as a weakness.
By whom? Weak cowardly and back stabbing men.

I think that women use a different measuring system to men. People before profits would be more women's than men's mantra.

 How long is a piece of string?
30 cm the women says, 12 inches the man says.
The woman must be wrong the man says.

The same goes for stupid old white men with opinions about periods and abortions. I really don't think you can measure these things scientifically.
Men are the cause of all abortions . Do you think that men will accept that headline?
Why then, should a man write that abortions cause women mental illness.

Perhaps the tools used to measure scientifically are not the same. The peniscope in my opinion gives a far less accurate reading than a vaginascope.
Just like, there are inches and centimetres, so are there different ways to measure things .

I think using the vaginascope the result would be that Len is wrong. However I am quite convinced using a different measuring scale , say the peniscope , the outcome would be different.
Neither of these devices are in common use yet, so it mere speculation but I am stating for the record. It may be time to raise the standard of candidate or introduce I want to change my vote clause!!!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Why I find the Americas cup so exciting and cannabis law reform so dreary!

I have never been a sailor but I am beginning to wish I was one.
 Instead I have spent the last 15 or so years actively supporting and encouraging all forms of cannabis law reform. And being a parent.

I have stood twice as a candidate for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party , once on the West Coast and once in central Christchurch. In the beginning I have to admit I seduced by the fun of doing cannabis law reform. I love cannabis. I love it!!!!
 After all I can see the fun in it and no harm. Cannabis law reform isn't hard core like the Anti aparteid marches of the early 1980's and in particular the anti-springbok tour were scary and often resulted in violent clashes.
I have helped with J days, sold raffle tickets and baked cookies to raise money.FUN.
I have travelled from Invercargill to Kaitaia to meet people and raise awareness .
I even trained as a drug and alcohol counsellor(AOD) and worked a couple of years at Odyssey house to try and understand the cannabis issue from every angle.
I have attended cannabis cups and worked inside the Daktory all in the name of the cause, however today I am wavering in my resolve.

I have been part of NORML and in January I went to California to the Norml (National organisation for the reform of Marijuana laws)
I was in San Francisco representing New Zealand.

I was shocked by how far we have fallen behind the rest of the world in law reform. How can we call New Zealand a just and fair society while ignoring the rights and wishes of the people?

In America today there is medical Marijuana easily available for any person who can be bothered to visit a doctor to get the permit to partake in pot. In fact the concern is, can legal marijuana keep it's counter culture roots or will the big corporations take over?

Gee, I wish that was our only concern.

One of the major areas that cannabis is being used very effectively is in PTSD. This is great for America as it is creating huge numbers of PTSD patients every week. Post traumatic stress disorder is also known as shell shock or battle fatigue. Many former Army and military personnell have endured stress beyond normal limits for long periods of time and alcohol and other drugs are always on hand to manage the problem. Unfortunately they create problems of their own with misuse and over use and dependency.

So after the Daktory I started the High Tea Cafe and now run the information and education centre for cannabis in a cafe environment. I have a small counselling case load but also provide space for those people who want to just discuss the effects of cannabis and discrimination. I also have wall space for local artists and hope to develop an artist in residence programme.

But as to the heady type of activism and law reform that makes me excited I have to say I am sadly deflated. Both by the Government and way the focus has been on psychoactive substances and P and the discussion as recommended by the Law Commission has not really taken place.
This Government and those previous have dodged the cannabis issue. I'm tired of waiting.

The Prohibition of Cannabis in New Zealand, to use a boating comparison, is like a bloody great barge in a narrow canal, it seems impossible to turn around.
By comparison the America's cup Yacht is a boat made of dreams, moving faster than wind. So is, the medical and recreational cannabis law reform movts. in America. Not to mention the plethora of associated products and businesses that support the legalisation and safe access to cannabis.

I want to feel the wind in my hair and the splash of sea spray and not to be bogged down by the pathetic excuse that we can't legalise or decriminalise cannabis in New Zealand for recreational or medical use, because of the conventions made in the US. The same country that made these conventions in the 1970's, now ignores them, along with the Netherlands, Portugal parts of Australia and other countries including Uruguay most recently.( I don't believe anyone in Government or in the Ministry of Health,  has seriously looked at the evidence for cannabis law reform  for decades, because they don't want to rock the electorate vote boat.)

Commitment and money put the New Zealand boat in the water, to compete with the Americans. We need the same commitment and amount of money to get the wind in our sails for cannabis or drug law reform . Sometimes it feels like there is no wind and the cannabis law reform Movt and  becalmed the boat which is in the doldrums.
And it is hard.

It is scary challenging the law, public opinion and the police but we are brave and we are strong.it is expensive and it is often lonely.
 Some of us are fearless.
 I am hoping that like the energy of the sailing and the excitement of the challenge we can inspire a last rush of power to fill the sails for the law reform movt. and together united as a group we can sail to victory with freedom or "safe access to cannabis" as our finish line or goal.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

So what will draw the attention of the GCSB?

I must confess to already accepting that this bill will pass. A pragmatic speech from Russel Norman confirmed this, by saying that this bill will be thrown out under the next Labour /Greens Government. That got me thinking about what would it take to be under surveillance? If you oppose the Government could you be spied on?
What does this mean for the opposition parties in Parliament now?
There have been issues swirling around the Beehive that certain MPs do not like having their private information tampered with yet are willing to allow a LAW that made what was ILLEGAL, now Legal.
 It is just wrong.

The level of security breaches, bungles, blow outs and cover ups is beyond a simple conspiracy theory. the game is pretty obvious. Rules are gone. this is a game with no rules. Plus how could you have faith in a Government that routinely fucks up data information NOVOpay was just one example. ACC Breaches and the MSD now wants to do drug testing. I do think they are capable of doing this legally. One thing I would never ever want to be openly sent would be anything to do with my health information after the ACC debarcle to another government department where I only exist as a number.

I am sure no one has noticed how the majority of the National Party MPs have had PR makeovers and no longer even speak regular english. Rather it's a serious , Look John , or Rachel or any other tv journalists name and the first sentence is Look (insert name) I'm not going to talk about that now. (drop vocal tone to Match Margaret thatchers) and continue to stare frostily before saying ,now if you would like to talk about the snapper quota or price of a latte , that's what people are really interested in.

How odd. I am 47 and have never had snapper until moving to Auckland. Snapper is not even caught in the cold south Island waters. we have cod. Red and Blue. One for each political leaning. I am pretty sure the greens would look down on eating fish and who would want to eat a green fish anyway? Maybe some lovely sea weed to go with the organic quinoa?

But back to wondering what is going to draw the GCSB to look at, ok SPY on us. The first thing I heard this morning was all activist will be targets of abuse and likely to be spied on. maybe just for a practice or training exercise.

I am an activist! Should I be worried. I wonder if I could un-activate and join the National Party or maybe move and join the Country Womens Institute I would be above suspicion? Hmmm it's got me thinking.
It is dehumanising a population to act in this way. It is anti-democratic but I saw that the National party could dispense with democracy way back in 2009 when they took over Ecan and then didn't hold a local election in Chch . See what happens when people have their rights eroded. Nothing. All the money s sucked out and the people are not the ones to profit. Just another good deal was made by some person somewhere else.

When a big heartless machine called a corporation poses as a person pretending to care you have a big problem . Cos the money will buy them the next election and the people who now don't care anymore cos they lost their democratic rights end up not voting and things just get better for the Corporations and the people

Shane, You're a WINNER Babe

If I were Kevin Rudd I'd be investigating the legality of the Australian TAB paying out on the lection bets before the election. I am pretty sure this has never happened on a horse race. No race , no dividend.

Psychologically saying you have lost before the race and paying out potentially has the power to change voters minds.
Who wants to vote for the identified loser?
It is a very powerful suggestive ploy , it works , but is it legal?

Everyone loves a winner and I am picking Shane Jones as the most outstanding candidate so far in our own Leaders race.I can already picture him wearing a Korowai as the leader with the most mana.

He may also be the under dog but we like that. Perhaps he is the Lady Di of politics, not the peoples Princess but maybe a Prince of the people. He certainly is well spoken and has great poise.

No one is perfect, most potential politicians try to claim they are prefect some are even pious. However usually pride comes before a fall and we all know Shane has owned up to being a person capable of making mistakes but owning them.

We all can admit to some minor failing whether it is swearing, indiscretions or gambling too much. Human beings have weaknesses.
 It is his candid nature that makes him a superiour candidate to David Cunliffe.

I live in New Lynn  and despite being from Christchurch, not Auckland, I am more well known and a familiar sight in new Lynn than Mr. Cunliffe.
 He suggested that he wants to keep his family protected . Um from his constituents? What is he afraid of ?Too precious.

 He doesn't live here and once again it seems to be a pattern for David. he isn't one of us.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Why Paula Bennett has it so wrong in drug testing beneficiaries.

I am a drug and alcohol counsellor who has worked at Odyssey House and met people your grandmother warned you about. As part of my training I was regularly required to collect urine from people on the drug treatment programmes. What did piss testing teach me?

Quite a few things but nothing about testing urine, reducing drug use.
In fact instead of drug testing beneficiaries we should be breath testing workers for alcohol.
Drug testing people is collecting health related information. This should be done in a medical centre and I would not trust WINZ to manage that information. Only people who have jobs that require a certain level of safety clearance like pilots or drivers need to be drug tested. 40 % of jobs listed at WINZ require pre-employment drug testing? I wonder why ?

I find it interesting and a little disturbing that this is happening in New Zealand when both America and Australia are moving in the direction of legalising cannabis as they have found it to be far superior and safer than alcohol for a population. why are we behaving so conservatively towards cannabis when we are reckless with alcohol. One in 20 deaths in New Zealand is alcohol related. No one has ever died of cannabis!

The thing with drug testing that many people don't know is that all drugs we  may consume legal or illegal pass through the body in 24 hours. So in effect any substance consumed before Sunday morning is most likely to be undetectable if drug testing occurs at work on a Monday or a Tuesday. In fact the only substance that remains in the body for longer is cannabis. Unlike alcohol and other drugs/chemicals cannabis binds to the fat molecules in our body and hangs around. So if your workmates have partied all weekend taking all number of substances and you smoked a joint at a friends house two weeks ago. Guess who the net traps? The cannabis smoker everytime. In fact there are instances of cannabis remaining in your blood stream for up to a month .
Is this fair?
And why the concern with illegal drugs when the only drug detected when drug testing is used in this fashion is cannabis. The other illegal drugs have long gone so not a lot to be gained.
I feel this sort of testing should not be abused but should remain used in the case of workplace accidents. What is needed is a reliable test on the spot. For those in work.

Drug testing beneficiaries is invasive discrimination.
Show me the jobs Paula!
Ok so no jobs , show me some training or meaningful work experiences such as courses and apprenticeships to get our young people up-skilled and into work.

How about random alcohol and drug testing in Parliament. who parties with celebs in the weekends?
who drinks in their office or comes to work hungover?
Surely if you want to pry into the lives of job seekers we should extend the same regime to those in Parliament.
No one likes being bullied and given that the job market seems to be shrinking every week opportunities for job seekers are few and far between. I think a job creation scheme is what is needed not more power to the great clobbering machine.
And refuse to take any drug test or share any personal information till well after the first and second interview.

I believe this time the Human Rights Commission may have some advice for Paula about to how to treat people with respect. As for the her statement that the welfare reforms are going to take some people out of their comfort zones, pretty farcical considering there is not much comfort in living on $258 .00 per week.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

We need to rethink our attitudes and approaches to suicide!

There is a debate going on about changes to reporting death due to suicide. On one side are the people who have often suffered a suicide in the family and want the matter to remain private, there are rules for the media that mean no reporting of the death is allowed and only the name and age and gender of the person is able to be reported however others feel that our suicide rate is too high and change is needed to reduce it.I believe by not reporting we remain in the dark and the secrecy surrounding suicides creates an unnecessary sense of shame.

Every road death in New Zealand is an accident we try not to repeat and by consciously looking for ways to make our roads and cars safer while saving lives. No one gets in a car and expects to die and yet we do know that there are risks to driving and we often say to our loved ones to, " take care and drive safely".
 Our road toll is about 150 less than our suicide toll each year. Perhaps we need to apply the same microscope to suicide as we have done to road accidents and shine some light on this huge death toll. I believe there are several things that we could do better and would reduce this statistic. It is too high. Can you imagine saying, "don't kill yourself tonight mate" , instead of, drive safely?
Perhaps we need to!

Earlier this year while in America I saw giant billboards advertising a Suicide Prevention Programme called Recognise the Signs, Suicide is Preventable.
We don't see what we are unable to recognise, and until we are taught to recognise depression our suicide rate will remain high.

Suicide can occur in clusters and can be a destructive spontaneous act. But surveys revealed that many young people think about suicide. In the United states 1 in 3 College Students thought about suicide. Thinking about suicide? Why?
 I believe if we were able to talk about suicide we could educate people about the warning sign that exist in many successful suicides. We could prevent a number of suicides.

As a drug and alcohol counsellor I have come across a number of people who are, A fair way down the continuum of mental health, if there was a line,- that had healthy and well functioning at one end and not able to manage at the other. Getting by most of the time would be in the middle. Suicide is at the not coping really! end of the line. Ones who have been able to talk about it to me are fortunately all here today. I do hear of many many people who have received treatment for depression and other mental health stuff that are not here today. Over 500 people a year in New Zealand are choosing to, Not Exist.

There are signs of suicidal behaviour and if you are not familiar with them, the first one is when someone actually threatens to suicide. This happens increasingly as people are intoxicated or are suffering poor health and have no real chance of improvement. Shock and disbelief play a role. People who use drugs and alcohol recklessly are also demonstrating a lack of regard for their safety. Withdrawing is also a factor. Feelings of loneliness or hopelessness that accompany depression. Hopeless and helpless are feelings that are reported by people contemplating suicide. Some of this behaviour is normal too for some people. However many people who are thinking about suicide do not discuss it. Don't panic.

There are factors that can also increase the risk for a person who maybe feeling contemplative about their own death such as recent bereavements or suicide of other family members or recent relationship break ups. The most definite warning sign is a previous attempt at suicide. Don't panic and try to remain calm.

Trouble with the law is also another trigger for many people. There are a large number of deaths that have occurred  while in custody and I believe there is also another significant number of preventable suicides from shame of being arrested and potential loss of status or earnings due to certain laws. Losing your drivers licence may seem like the end of the world for a young drunk sales rep. who loves fast cars. In a moment he  may decide that life is over and become yet another victim and statistic. Laws that are unfair or unjust can also provoke this sort of fear and suicide can be the result.

 One that stands out is prohibition of cannabis. There is no scientific study that can conclude that cannabis use causes depression or suicide. In fact most show the opposite and that cannabis has a number of beneficial uses. However instead of relying on 3000 years of medicinal use by the Chinese and safe recreational use for over 40 years with out a single death our funded researchers continue to perpetuate the cannabis myth that cannabis use can lead to suicide. There is not one piece of evidence to prove this.

I do believe however that people arrested for big cannabis offences, for the first time may be prone to suicidal behaviour, due to fear of imprisonment. There are over 500 suicides a year in New Zealand and there are over 10,000 cannabis related arrests. I wonder how many of these people have become so afraid to face the consequences of being exposed as a cannabis user or grower that they have killed themself? One factor with our current system is that it can takes many months if not years for the case to be heard. If you are innocent it may be financially damaging to your career or business in the time it takes defending the charges and then clearing your name after the fact.

Another group of people, have lost loved ones to suicide after they switched from using natural cannabis to synthetic cannabis and then experienced poor mental health  including dependency and psychosis. As the new fake cannabis are largely untested I am glad that they may be taken off the market.

I feel that there needs to be light shone onto the dark topic that is suicide and through shared experiences there can be greater understanding. We need resources and funding for any sort of education to happen. We also may need a law change for this to happen. Now that seems wrong to me.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A man a plan a canal panama!

At last we have a plan. At least there is a plan. It has been discussed and agreed that to change the cannabis laws in New Zealand the first thing we need to do is change the Government.

Last night a group of friendly cannabis campaigners went along to watch the VOTE , a TV show that debates an issue in front of a live audience and requests that the audience vote on a topic.
Last nights topic was, Should we decriminalise cannabis and other soft drugs?

The staunch cannabis crusaders tend to feel that cannabis is not at all like the synthetic versions as cannabis is a real and safe plant . We really just don't know what is in the mixes for sale in dairies. However in being aware of the freedom is choice credo , it would be wrong to favour what we like and ban what others may like.
It also occurred to many of the cannabis-only users that , if we legalise both synthetic cannabis and eventually plant or real cannabis, that the fake product will gather dust on the shelf.

But for change to occur step one must surely be to rid ourselves of the nasty oppressive undemocratic bunch we have in power.

One way to achieve this is to make sure as many non-voters from 2011 get on the roll and vote. I may be wrong but it is assumed , the people who did not vote , did not feel sufficiently engaged to vote. We need these people to vote as it is also assumed , that not many of the un-enrolled voters would choose to vote National.

To change the Government is the first step but we also need to build relationships with people outside of the Cannabis Law Reform Organisations as well.
 Step two follows that to build these new relationships perhaps we need to focus on the harm of prohibition and not focus exclusively on cannabis.
Safe access is the term I want to use. I mean safe access to cannabis but in order to not put people off with all the drug-talk we need to have some educational material printed.

What we need people to understand is, that prohibition of cannabis is costing this country hundreds of millions of dollars each year. this money could be much better utilised by spending it on health care in this country.

Also the those most harmful thing in this country  for those who use cannabis is the punishment. Most psychologists also know punishment does not usually stop a behaviour. Rewarding good behaviour is how we make better and more lasting behavioural changes.

Health problems especially addictions do not get solved or resolve in jail. They get banished underground. Most people with a drug problem use drug within 24 hours of being released from jail.

so to recap what we hope may be the start of a new and workable plan is;
Step two. View cannabis and other drug use problems as a health issue not a criminal matter.
Step three. Focus on the negative aspects of prohibition

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The law is for your use.Use it.

On Monday in Waitakere District Court I received a discharge without conviction for possession of cannabis. I used a lawyer.
I noticed that there were a large number of people also in court the same day. Many had their children or families with them. The lawyers and the court staff were mostly dressed in a way distinct to those charged. Money for nice clothes, suits, high heels and dry cleaning opposed to jeans , trackies, hoodies and jandals.

Money clearly has to be at the root of offending. I felt overdressed in court and yet have used my previous experience to always be well presented before the judge. I cannot understand those who appear who don't, with the exception of those caught and appearing on remand. 
Money is also the problem when it comes to fixing the legal problems. I was able to access money and pay a $2000.00 retainer. I still owe that amount.
Money has brought me better justice perhaps?

Perhaps that although I have broken the law, I respect those enforcing it and the law itself, but am grateful  that the system the courts and the judge has allowed me to the opportunity to continue to challenge  it. 
I have been campaigning to legalise cannabis or at least decriminalise it to reduce harm for over a decade. 
I am a school teacher.
In 2003 I trained to become an alcohol and drug counsellor.
I was arrested with possession for supply but this charge was reduced to the lesser charge possession simplictor. The police agreed to drop the utensils charge.
I am a mother of three and a Grandmother.

I believe the reason I have been able to get a section 106 was due to my need to travel outside New Zealand. The reason for much of my travel is due to cannabis law reform and research to complete the Thesis of my Masters degree on cannabis use. I have been looking at examples of law reform internationally. I am grateful the her honour allowed me to continue.

During the course of my case I also breached my bail conditions and smoked cannabis and the police kept me overnight.

My legal counsel describes this as a "remarkable" result given the starting allegations being a possession for supply. Is it?

I thank the Police for dropping the charges.

As part of my research I am correlating the data of crime statistics in New Lynn and Henderson while the Daktory was open with a before and after study. The reason many States in America are poised to decriminalise cannabis is, due to the lowered alcohol use, when legal,safe, access to cannabis is available. 

The Daktory was sporadically open for over three years. During that time, I collected information and data, when it is finally processed, should show a similar result to other studies where legalised cannabis has been available. It is expected that this study will yield the same results and outcome as shown in other studies. Where there is cannabis legally available from a dispensary. is there a  drop in violent crime due to the drop in alcohol consumption? It would be good to discover.

So perhaps the time has come for us to respect and use the law , the way it is intended and utilise the section 106 discharge in all cannabis possession charges where travel outside this country would be affected. 

After all, If you don't ask, You don't get!
I also had to pay a donation to charity which is the same as being fined. If I was not able to pay the cash it is unlikely I would have been discharged. However I guess If I could not pay a $700 fine I could not afford to travel outside New Zealand. So justice for me, this time, because I could afford it. The first charitable fund I want to establish when it is legal is a free lawyer for all those convicted who can't afford one and a hefty donation from those who can. 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

is Our PM a money man or an addicted gambler playing the pokies ?

I have been given a bit of thought to John Key  this morning on hearing that Solid Energy's dismal position of being $389 million in debt. When Don Elder resigned earlier this year the financial position of Solid Energy was not healthy and I considered the main reason must be in part due to the Pike River Disaster. I would think the person who also needs to have a closer look at the mining situation would be Phil Heatley minister of Energy.  Instead of keeping a close eye on the state of the companies that the government want to sell off ,  MP Heatley instead seems to be looking at off shore oil and possible fracking as future earners.Speculation or stupid gamble? Is it to steep a learning curve , too complex a portfolio or is Phil Heatley a bit of a gambler with our energy futures.

Know when to fold em, know when to roll them , in the Kenny Rogers song is close to how I feel as a citizen. I don't feel informed and I don't like what is happening.  I feel that there is either really bad communication or that The Government knew the figures were bad and the company would ultimately fail . If this is a company being prepared for public listing and sale it is a very poor contender.
Mercury energy is making a great profit and that company will be first sold seeing our power prices continue to rise as all profits leave our State ownership and return a dividend for those few, able to invest.

I wonder how long has the Government known about Solids Energy's financial collapse and how many more jobs have disappeared.
I am wondering if John Key isn't just in the death throes of financial wreck and ruin with our country yet being the professional money man he is , like a poker player he maintains the cool facade but never shows his hand. How many people have prospered under this Government? I have only heard of job losses and the odds against the ordinary person stacking up.

And like a all gamblers when the reversal of fortune occurs the losses get you to rock bottom fast.

Speaking of rock bottom reminds me of Christchurch who are commemorating the Two year anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake. The lottery there is called insurance.Odds are you won't get paid out and if you get a pay out for repairs what happens if your house is in a no rebuild zone?

This is the situation in Christchurch . Luck and fortune clearly has not been on her side and neither it seems has the very powerful MP Mr Brownlee been able to solve the Insurance deadlock.

So the reason I am more than willing to apply the DSM1V to back up my diagnosis that our PM may be in the grip of a serious gambling addiction and that possibly he is so pathologically affected he has been spending a large amount of time at the Auckland Sky City Casino. I wonder is the reason he wants to Build the JOHN KEY Convention Centre is to allow him more time to cruise the VIP and High Rollers area at SKY City. I am told he has even proposed a plan to speed up other of his gambling high roller pals with new plane routes from China and fast track these special clients through customs.

The biggest gamble he has taken yet is with our education system in Christchurch and the tool he is using , the Hekia, seems to be the wrong blunt sort of instrument. Were it a horse race I would n't pick her even as a rank and I mean really rank outsider. Where is the community involvement that can decide the best outcome?

So with 20/20 hindsight and a complex join the dots picture I can look back at this Government and see how they had no money to play with at the start of the game and it has all been a big bluff. However, as now the hand has been called, and John Key will need to show his cards. I am wondering just what he will do next. I believe each of the portfolios in trouble  had an element of gambling involved. this Government was willing to spend money on oil and gas exploration a huge risk which failed and a huge clean up  of the RNA showed the possible impacts and as yet no new jobs. Bad punt.

The education gamble is a ruse to turn schools into profit making ventures in a mixed partnership model. Christchurch people are not wanting to be the guinea pigs of this type of venture .Children deserve the highest quality of education to succeed not a failed model.

The old "look over there , the beneficiaries are stealing the ..." won't fly

Mr Key as it is you who we look to for leadership and also values. You are the one currently in charge of the game and all the coin. When big companies like Mainzeal go crashing , and Fletchers have a monopoly and a whole town  is desperate for a rebuild why are there the delays two years on? Why are so many old national Party cronies involved in Directorships of bad businesses? Get rid of the ticket clipping Shipleys as they bring no value to companies and no real expertise When will the Government  step in and solve the insurance payout and the zoning that is affecting the payouts ? Why are not sufficient numbers of young people in training and in Christchurch working? Why is youth unemployment at an all time high when the crisis in Christchurch can reduce it?

It looks hokey to me.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Don't close any Christchurch Schools

While it may be easy for number crunchers to add up figures when the sole focus of the exercise is economic, its obvious Hekia Parata has been TOLD it's not feasible (read Profitable) to maintain or rebuild many of the schools in Christchurch  and that lumping them all into one great big school stacks up really well, on paper. Cash up -move on seems to be one strategy.

But if Hekia Parata and the MOE did a level more careful analysis they would find out that schools have other values than just monetary ones. What is the real value or benefit perhaps to a community?
As a former teacher in a rural areas and former Christchurch resident I am familiar with many of the schools facing imminent closure. I can safely say the local school is often the hub of the community.It is a meeting point, a hall for hire, possibly a school pool for the community to use, social contact, employment and performs the requirement all children have to go to school.

After the Earthquakes many schools roles grew to become Quake Relief Centres providing water and food and information. When daily school life resumed children were scared, traumatised and changed.School was a return to time before the earthquakes and for many school represented stability. Not just for the children but the teacher and parents too.

But for the children school was the chance to resume a normal life , and practise the coping skills required to navigate through our new changed life and regain confidence. It is also the opportunity to celebrate their own survival and resilience and growth in the face of continued adversity.

I don't know whether its callous or moronic or both  but, not to make every effort to maintain Christchurch's excellent history of education, in a familiar environment -seems pretty little  to ask really!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Putting profits before people !

Morning. Have I got a story to tell.
Putting profits before people is when the very people that support your business are ignored, overlooked or taken for granted. In some instance such as my story, the client does not rate at all. The business has become immune to its service responsibility and client obligations.
In over 30 years of working in retail and hospitality I have never had to resort to calling the police on a customer and yet today I was threatened with the police when I demanded some better service!

I purchased an online ticket for my daughter aged 12 to fly to Chch. It wasn't a super cheap seat but it was not a full price fare either.
We arrived in plenty of time to board only to be told that my daughter could not board her flight as she was an unaccompanied minor. Ummm show me that in writing?
At no time during the purchase nor on the printed ticket was any warning about unaccompanied minors.

I was able to purchase my ticket but not use it.
So I asked for an immediate refund to correct the error so I could choose another carrier.
I was told that a refund would be made available through the flight centre and to contact them.

But I booked online, take some responsibilty please.

These are your airline rules and yet you are NOT advising passengers until it is too late!
I then said if you will not fly my daughter , and you have already flown her twice already this year then refund my ticket now so I can purchase another ticket today. Why should I be penalised for your failure to notify!!!

I was expected to leave without a piece of paper even confirming my refund.
I got more than angry at this stage and said NO!
I am not leaving this counter without some sort of acknowledgment that my money will be returned immediately. I asked to see the manager and a young fair haired man appeared.

I said there is a solution to be had here but you won't even look for an answer to the existing problem.

He then told me to leave the counter. I said NO way! I am not leaving without some proof of purchase and a refund in writing. Otherwise it would be easy for you to say I was too late , missed my flight and too bad.

While I was holding up the line trying to get some service a woman with a child asked to check in. she was on the same flight and I said look here is the solution. "My daughter can travel with her and her daughter and then she is not alone."

But now the flight had closed and the woman and her child were asked to purchase new tickets for the next available flight. So now 3 customers got no service and no flight and all had to pay for another flight.

Once again the opportunity to help people get to their destination was not their concern. The people were treated badly and the only reason would be to ensure the airline makes its profit.
What sort of business sells and item that is unusable once purchased???
What sort of business fails to advertise the fact clearly that tickets purchased are worthless and that your flight plans are of no concern to us. We got ya money!

The manager refused to print out anything in writing or even give his last name. That doesn't seem right.

Finally I did get my letter and it stated that it would be taking two weeks before I got a refund.

We walked a short distance to another airline.
The man there was helpful and polite and we were able to buy a new ticket and get on a plane at the other carrier.

Wish I went to AIR NEW ZEALAND first and I promise. I will never book a flight or fly Jetstar ever ever AGAIN!!!

I am contacting Fair Go .