The bottle store that Highbury and Westbrook residents have been campaigning against has been given the green light against the community’s wishes.
Councillors Tangi Utikere and Lew Findlay lament the fact that the license wasn’t considered under the provisions of the new alcohol laws Parliament passed last year. They say they think the decision would have been different if Local Alcohol Plans has come into effect.
They are absolutely right and it is appalling that this has been able to happen.
It could have been different. If Judith Collins had listened to New Zealand rather than doing the bidding of faceless corporate lobbyists then our council could have put a Local Alcohol Plan in place by now. But instead Judith Collins actively undermined local communities by placing a one year ban on Local Alcohol Plans.
Labour tried to change this but National, Act and United Future voted us down.
So to all those people who are dismayed at another bottle store opening in your community, you have Judith Collins and the National Party to thank.
Here’s what I has to say about it – citing this very situation – when we debated the bill:
Almost the news we’ve all been waiting for: The Capital Connection is safe for another two years.
This is an excellent decision from KiwiRail. I’m really so pleased with them. Unfortunately the National-led Government still doesn’t recognise the value of investing in inter-city commuter rail like the Capital Connection or the proposed Hamilton to Auckland service but we can celebrate the fact that KiwiRail at least appears to.
So where to from here? It seems pretty simple really. If, after next year’s election, we have a Government that is committed to public transport and will change the way NZTA carries out its economic analysis of transport projects, the Capital Connection will be safe. If we still have the current settings then I think the chances it will last beyond 2015 are pretty slim.
While I agree with the calls for more people to use the service, the truth is that only when the Capital Connection comes under the same model as public transport services around the world will it truly be a viable service.
That’s the change we have to make and our opportunity will come at election time next year.
In the meantime… LET’S PARTY!
Air New Zealand has announced the return of direct flights between Palmerston North and Nelson.
This is excellent news. It always seemed ridiculous that people wanting to fly from Palmerston North to Nelson had to go via Wellington, Auckland or Christchurch.
This is just a trial, so its longevity will be entirely dependent on how much it is used.
Well done to the Palmerston North Airport management for securing this new service.
I just hope it doesn’t suffer from that same frequency of engineering difficulties the Wellington service seems to
The NZTA appeared before the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee today. Once again I was a substitute member so of course I didn’t turn down the opportunity to ask them some questions about public transport and the Capital Connection.
NZTA confirmed that congestion relief is the primary criterion they consider when deciding whether or not to fund public transport.
They are not interested in the needs of those people who use public transport. They are not interested in the needs of cyclists. They are not interested in the needs of pedestrians.
They only care about car drivers. For a public transport project to get funding, it must have an immediate and tangible benefit to drivers.
They went on to say that because most projects are co-funded by NZTA and local or regional government, it was the territorial authorities’ job to worry about the economic, social, environmental and safety aspects of the project. If those stacked up, then the council will put money forward. If there is congestion relief the NZTA will put money forward.
Because no project can go ahead without NZTA funding, it now appears it doesn’t matter how well a case stacks up economically, environmentally or socially, if there is no congestion relief (in the opinion of the NZTA) then the project has no hope of proceeding…..
….unless, of course, it’s a Road of National Significance.
Youth Parliament is back in 2013. On 16 and 17 July 121 young people, each representing one MP, will gather at Parliament to experience a slice of life as an elected representative.
I’m looking for the person who will represent Palmerston North.
I have asked all secondary schools in the Palmerston North electorate to nominate students they think fit the bill. If you are interested, find out who is coordinating nominations at your school or contact my office directly (details below).
Candidates will need to do the following:
- Write a 400-word essay on a political issue that is important to them,
- Speak for up to 5 minutes on an aspect of the mock bill the Youth MPs will be debating at Parliament,
- Get other young people to vote for them (the result is indicative only – a panel will decide the winner),
- Be interviewed by a small panel of people representing different Palmerston North organisations.
Get active, get involved and be heard!
I’d like to respond positively to his arguments. Grant says:
It’s a bit like making an argument that armed robbery should be dealt with by the courts, but possession of an offensive weapon should be erased as a criminal offence. Possession of an offensive weapon is a trivial matter that need not concern the police, it might be argued.
I don’t recall us banning the possession of firearms, knives, hammers or other items that can be used as offensive weapons. We regulate them – heavily in some instances – but that is not the same as total prohibition.
Before there is drug abuse, there is drug use that the user thinks is not too harmful. Before users know it, they are in over their heads. That’s how addiction works.
The best way to prevent addiction is to check it at the earliest sign of a problem.
One way to prevent harm is to discourage substance use in the first place – expensive treatment programmes for abuse are no match for this. Why would a responsible state wait for the use to turn into abuse before getting serious?
A powerful way of sending a message that drug-taking is a poor choice is to make it against the law.
Plenty to agree with there (and I’m glad Grant separates use from abuse) but by that logic we should ban alcohol and tobacco. Is that what Grant is advocating?
How many people do not consume illegal substances simply because they are illegal?
Some, yes. But not many. Thousands of people use cannabis despite it being illegal and by doing so commit a criminal act thus in a sense internally condoning criminal behaviour when they otherwise wouldn’t. The main reason most people don’t do ‘P’ is because it is nasty stuff that messes your life up. ‘P’ use actually peaked (as best we know) back in about 2002. The main reason it has been falling is that people are aware of the consequences of using it and don’t want to go down that path.
His true point is presumably that the health system would do a better job of getting lives back on track than the justice system does, though it’s not clear why he thinks the justice system’s role should be watered down.
Just ask! But I will defer to the Drug Foundation’s Ross Bell to answer this one. He said “you send someone away for a minor drug conviction and they can come out a meth cook.”
Ninety-five per cent of offenders sent to prison after being convicted of charges such as possession of drugs or utensils had at the same time been convicted of other more serious crimes, the ministry pointed out. That rather makes a lie of the artificial distinctions some politicians and lawyers like to make.
So put them away for the real crimes, not having an addiction.
If he plans to be consistent in applying the philosophy he seems to be espousing, perhaps he might also advocate relaxing transport law. The only person who will be harmed if I don’t wear a seatbelt is me, I might argue. True, the health system may have to pick up the pieces of my avoidable injuries, but my lack of seatbelt wearing should be a health issue, not a criminal one.
This is an interesting one. I use the seatbelt analogy a lot to discuss whether or not a particular intervention is justifiable. An argument could easily be mounted that it is a breach of your individual rights in order to save the collective cost of cleaning up the extra mess caused by your non-compliance. The same goes for prohibiting drug use. The question always has to be is it justifiable?
Requiring you to use a seatbelt is a small imposition and is hugely effective. Failure to do so results in a fine with no criminal conviction.
Judging the level of imposition caused by prohibiting the use of psychoactive substances is pretty subjective but let’s say for the majority of the population it’s not a big deal. However can we say it is effective? I think not unless we adhere to Grant’s argument that thousands more people would be using drugs if they were legal. And those convicted may go to jail and do get a criminal record that harms their job prospects in the future.
If we are considering harm-to-self vs harm-to-others in this argument, have a look at the drug harm index that indicates Alcohol is the clear leader in the harm-to-others stakes.
Let’s not be nuanced. Drugs are harmful and it is a naive state that sends confusing signals to citizens.
Again, I look forward to Grant launching his campaign to return to the good old days of Alcohol prohibition.
I appreciate Grant’s point of view and I hope this debate will be advanced by his contribution.
Remember a while back many of you signed a petition to Save the Capital Connection? It was tabled in Parliament on 28 June and the Transport and Industrial Relations committee has FINALLY decided to do something with it.
The good news is I am able to make a submission to them, first in writing then hopefully in person. The written submission has to be in on Friday December 7 and I’m working on it.
I figure this submission is on behalf of the users of the train and the people of the Manawatu, Horowhenua and Kapiti who don’t want to see it cut. So here’s your chance to say what you think should be in the submission. Either leave a comment here or if you have something lengthy to say, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you.