Free Meth/The War on P

So almost 10 years ago, the National Government announced its ‘WAR ON P’.
Since then, usage rates have remained exactly the same, arrests have gone way up and things are actually getting worse.
Who would have thought? Why does this happen?
When meth first hit the scene, I was there. This was in the early 2000’s. All the gangs switched to making it or selling it and it became difficult to source other drugs. Many non gang sources did the same.
LSD, speed, oil, hash, ecstasy, ketamine, all those fun drugs which used properly, respectfully and by knowledgeable adults, can lead to a great night in, a night out out or ‘into the within’, disappeared. Cannabis was still plentiful but it became harder to get all those other things, and easier to buy meth. While its always been hard to get things like cocaine in NZ, the white powder of meth was easy. Its a shame its such a shit drug.
And the supply of that shit drug was endless, the demand grew with it. People have always used drugs and always will. People use the drugs they’re able to get ahold of. Whether it be a can of flyspray (cheap but not recommended) or a bag of meth.
When John Key announced the ‘War on P’ in 2009, I’d long ago left that world behind. But I knew what it would mean for those involved. Dollar signs.
true

Thanks to RNZ for the awesome pictures and the stories that prompted me to write this! http://shorthand.radionz.co.nz/brokenbad/index.html

The further the government tried to crack down on the supply of meth, the greater the demand for it and the more lucrative it would become, and the more addicts would be pushed into the inexorable meth madness thats has been created.
So whats the solution then Maxy boy? Pretty simple really. Make better alternatives available. Make all the alternatives available. The advertising exec in the RNZ story won’t be buying mth when they can go and buy coke. Poorer users will buy a cheaper high, one that won’t shit them out as bad as meth will. But still if people want meth, it can be for sale alongside everything else, sold by a pharmacist/retailer with detailed knowledge of the drugs and with information given on usage, treatment options, counselling etc etc.
Tax it. Just like we do with alcohol. Not ludicrously like we do with cigarettes. Use the proceeds to fund treatment, counselling, education and studies.
But if its legal then everyone will have access and everyone will do it? That first part is correct, just as it is correct right now. Its easier for a 16 year old to go and buy meth than it is to buy alcohol. But eventually if they want either they’ll get ahold of it. But the everyone will do it part? Not so much.
People that want to use drugs, will use them. The trick is, helping them to make the best decisions whilst they do so, and to minimise the harm to themselves, the community and society.
Its time to end the ‘War on P’, and the ‘War on Drugs’. Both have cost us billions and done nothing but destroy lives. I’d love to have an alternative catchy name like the ‘Peace on People’ but it doesn’t quite fit.
Its time we started doing what experts have recommended and what studies conform to be in our best interest. To be spending money on helping, not harming people.

Another great graphic from RNZ’s meth story of stories. Listen to them online now https://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/live/national

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Garden Place madness

So Council is now proposing another Garden Place
makeover? Hot on the heels of putting out the idea of turning
Garden Place into a shared space with roads through it and
carparks, an idea which was heavily opposed by the public,
they’re now promoting the same thing again? This time though
the idea is being put forward by private property developers.
Nevertheless the ratepayers will be the ones forking out for
another concrete covered revamp with even less green space.

What is most interesting is that Council has seen
fit to promote these private citizens plans so widely,
spending ratepayers money on communications staffers
time to prepare social media posts and press releases.

After Council overwhelmingly heard that there was no appetite
for another GP redesign or roads through the middle, the public
may have been mistaken in thinking the matter was put to
bed. It appears HCC is particularly keen to make this happen,
thankfully judging by the latest public response, Hamiltonians
have not yet got tired of saying No to things they don’t want.

As other developing cities around the world have started
adding more places where its safe to walk, it seems like a
‘Back to the Future’ move by Council to be moving the other
way. In 2015 alone they were talking about fning people
parking in the Ward Lane/Caro Street shared road. This never
came to fruition though and now the poles have reversed.

As the whims of Council change, we can only hope that more
consultants are not fowin in from overseas or Auckland at the
public expense to drip yet more concrete over poor Garden Place.
If they want to make it more family friendly, surely a destination
playground and having the library open would be better.

Originally published in the September edition of the Western Community Newspaper.

Trump v Trump – NZ News Sites Report the US Primaries

I gave up my daily habit of checking Stuff.co.nz and the NZ Herald sites a while back. Between coverage of Entertainment news and Crime reporting and cross-over ‘stories’ on reality TV and its ‘stars’ it just didn’t seem like there was any actual news.

I was comforted by the fact that if there was some, you know, news in the newspapers, someone else would link to it and save me the trouble of seeing more Kardashians than child poverty reporting. Of seeing more The Block stars than people from my block and the real issues people are dealing with.

Anyway, I wondered how NZ news sites were covering the US primaries, after seeing a story from The Guardian showing Donald Trump has received more media coverage than all the Republican candidates put together.

Surely our bastions of kiwi journalism (No not RNZ) wouldn’t be as bad as Fox News, CNN, CBS etc.

I used a simple metric, it’s called Ctrl-F (or Command F for you Applets). On the home page of each website, where a huge number of kiwis go to digest what the site has chosen to show them, you hit find, and type in the word, and see how many times it appears.

The first time I tried it, just after the Super Tuesday primaries, my hope in NZ news editing was, unsurprisingly intact! That is the complete and utter lack of hope, which has been evident ever since the lead up to the last election.

Mentions on the home page:
NZ Herald
Trump: 14
Rubio: 6
Clinton: 4
Cruz: 3
Sanders: 1

Stuff
Trump: 11
Rubio: 5
Cruz: 1
Clinton 1

Have checked back a few times since then and seen similar flows of numbers. Today for instance:

NZHerald:
Trump: 4

Stuff:
Trump: 3
Rubio: 3

No I didn’t miss anyone out in today’s ones. We seem to have a higher Republican coverage slant. No mention of Sanders historic and game changing Michigan primary win. Unfortunate.

Many Kiwi’s would assume Trump is on the way to becoming the next American President, based on their ‘headline only, quick glance’ consumption of news becoming more and more prevalent.

It’s a worry.

 

Against “conservative leftism” : Why reactionary responses to neoliberalism fail

The most pertinent essay for the NZ left in a long time

FightBack

NZ flag

by Daphne Lawless. For Fightback’s upcoming magazine issue on neoliberalism.

If you had told a socialist or a radical of a few decades ago that Marxist socialists would not only be defending the Union Jack-emblazoned New Zealand flag – a remnant of the British Empire, known as the “Butcher’s Apron” because of all the blood spilled on it, the flag of the colonialist, capitalist state – but marching behind it on demonstrations, they would undoubtedly think that you’d gone crazy. As recently as 2005, the “Defend Our Flag” movement was the preserve of conservatives like the Returned Services Association or the fascist National Front.

And yet, on the marches against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) signing on 4th February, Union Jacks were plentiful. On Facebook, socialists and radicals were calling supporters of Kyle Lockwood’s alternative flag, to be voted on in a referendum in March, “traitors”. How did this…

View original post 5,315 more words

Which Hamilton City Councillors Hate Cycling?

CyclingHCC

At a June 2014 Hamilton City Council meeting there was a discussion on the way cycle facilities are funded in relation to other transport modes. It was suggested that the group developing the Cycleway Plan take into consideration the suggestions that were being flagged through this Annual Plan process.

Councillors Macpherson and Gallagher put forward an amendment:

“That Council will equitably fund cycle facilities, at least commensurate with the proportion of cyclists in relation to other transport modes, and will lobby Central Government to restore the same level of partnership funding as currently applying to motor vehicle facilities.”

Those for the Amendment:
Councillors Gallagher, Macpherson, and Wilson

Those against the Amendment:
Mayor Hardaker, Councillors Chesterman, Yeung, Forsyth,Pascoe, O’Leary, King, Green, Mallett, and Tooman

The Amendment was declared lost.

Complaint to the Hamilton City Council on Banning Formal Oral Submissions #Ham10YP

Here is my email sent to the appropriate HCC addresses. I have also made an Official Information Act request for the feedback which supposedly led to this decision. Personally I doubt this feedback exists, except in some ephemeral anecdotal form in a certain Mayor’s head. Here’s this mornings complaint:

Good morning,

I am writing to make a formal complaint about the current Submission processes surrounding the 10 Year Plan and Hamilton City Councils ongoing submissions procedures.
Hamilton City Council must offer the option to submitters of presenting an oral submission to full council within the council chambers as it has always done.

The only chance for oral presentations during the submission period for the Hamilton 10 Year Plan has been through ‘Community Engagement Meetings’, a very informal space where public talk over you and you talk to a few councillors and a few staff. This is unacceptable. It is not an appropriate forum to give a full submission to reach all councillors, appropriate staff whilst being heard by the public gallery and any attendant press.

Council has stated that due to changes in local government legislation, the Council is able to use different ways to hear people’s views on proposals. You’ve stated you are able, not that you are required. Many other councils in NZ are continuing to have formal oral submissions heard and have also added community meetings to their process, thereby strengthening democratic engagement and offering more avenues of participation. Not less.

The contention from Council that you have had feedback in the past that the hearings process is very formal and people would like opportunities to share their views with councillors in a less formal setting” is wonderful and I’m glad some people can now happily attend a community engagement meeting. Conversely many people find the formal oral submissions in the chamber extremely important, and wish for this to continue.

Thankyou for hearing this complaint and I look forward to your reply,

Yours Sincerely,

Max Coyle


Will keep you updated by updating this post, on both the OIA and the complaint.

Cr Paul Eagle, We Need To Chat

Hi Paul, we’ve been friends for 3 years now. In fact this is our third FB friend anniversary. We don’t catch up enough to be sure, and its a real shame, maybe we should have had more chats.

Reading about your attacks on cycling infrastructure has lead me to doubt our friendship. I had thought to run away from this relationship, but perhaps instead I started to think, I should stick around and have a conversation around it.

Why exactly are you against it? What part of the cost/benefit analysis doesn’t seem overwhelmingly positive to you?

Very interested to hear your answers and open up this line of dialogue 🙂

Yours faithfully,

Max Dillon Coyle