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Milestone - Tactical Ninja

Apr. 30th, 2014

08:36 am - Milestone

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This morning I made my first ever donation to a political candidate. This guy - John Hart, standing for the Greens in Wairarapa.

Why? Because while he looks like a dyed-in-the-wool rugby-boy farmer type, talks like one, walks like one, and to all intents and purposes is a farmer, he's also a tech-savvy, forward thinking, smart man who recognises that our current farming practices are unsustainable and is implementing sustainable practices on his own farm successfully using technology.

So he's exactly the right mix of environmentally aware and identifiable-with by farmers to actually make a difference in the area where NZ most needs to change its attitude. He's walking his talk, I respect that. It's the kind of attitude we need in parliament and talking to our farmers. I gave him money. If you can, I really hope you will too.

Thanks for all the luck-wishes yesterday, btw. It went much better than expected. One down, one to go.

Meanwhile, the government has caved and will be implementing a ban on legal highs until the Psychoactive Substances Act is fully implemented in 2015, at which time any that pass safety testing will become available again.

In reading the response to this, I have come to realise that a lot of the moral panic around legal highs since the Act came into force has come from the mistaken perception that the Act somehow made these substances legal. It didn't - it actually placed more regulation around them - but it was an acknowledgement of the validity of recreational drug use (other than alcohol - oh what a can 'o' worms that is). And I think that might be at the root of what is upsetting people - the idea that our government is condoning drug use, and fear of where that might lead.

So I'm in there in the cesspit that is Stuff comments, amongst the panickers, trying to be a voice of reason, setting people straight on the facts about the PSA. It's.. not entirely fruitless. I know more people read than comment. And while blogs like Public Address get a lot of kudos from me for what they are doing, I honestly believe that people's attitudes are not changed by writing well-researched blog posts that are mostly read by those who already agree with you*. The people who are panicking are not reading Public Address, they are reading Stuff. And that's where the sensible people need to place their voices, even if it is distasteful and seemingly unappreciated. I've had a lot of insulting things said to me, but I get satisfaction from knowing that anyone who reads those threads will at least have a small chance of learning something that makes them think a bit more deeply than "Ban everything OMG!"

* Oh, the irony. ;-)

Comments:

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From:pombagira
Date:April 29th, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC)
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i was going to say a thing.. but i vanished in puff of boxes and files..

err..




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From:fengi
Date:April 29th, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
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I listen to the RNZ media podcast, and they mentioned some broadcaster freaking out because kids were lining up to get legal highs on Easter Sunday or something. They had a guest who pointed out it's a much better policy to have drugs which aren't poisonous and manufacturers that can be held liable, rather than a ban which is constantly being circumvented by more dangerous attempts to find a chemical loophole.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 30th, 2014 05:01 am (UTC)
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It seems unlikely that anyone was lining up to buy legal highs on Easter Sunday, because the shops would be closed. It's one of the main Christian holidays and shops need a special licence to open - which would be unlikely to be granted to a legal high outlet given the current environment.

I have yet to see any congregation of people outside a legal high shop, but I do live in a city where there are several, and I would imagine that in small towns where there may now only be one, everyone who wants to buy them going there would create noticeable traffic.

But yeah - that second sentence summarises the thinking behind the Act. I'm disappointed that what is essentially an unsubstantiated moral panic (in an election year) has caused the government to backpedal on its intentions. Still, unless they scrap the law altogether, there is still hope.
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From:pombagira
Date:April 29th, 2014 10:16 pm (UTC)
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the thing i remembered..

it was about the animal testing that has been associated with the psychoactive bill, which is also causing. .. adding to the moral panic of all drugs are bad because they are.. it is adding a level of how dare you test drugs for loosers on poor defenseless animals, cause all drug are bad..

making it more difficult to have meaningful dialogue with some people, because the focus becomes a weird drugs are hurting poor defenseless animals etc etc.. which to my mind could well be why this clause was put in the legislation to start with, to muddle up the waters, so to speak.

although it was my understanding that this animal testing had been removed? or changed? hmm...

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From:anna_en_route
Date:April 29th, 2014 10:44 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for doing this.

I miss having the kind of reserves to weigh in on what can be very ugly environment.

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From:tatjna
Date:April 30th, 2014 05:03 am (UTC)
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I keep playing a mental trick on myself, in which I pretend that I'm talking to people who have asked me for my opinion. It's a lot easier to be calm and rational and not bothered about the response that way. And the last few people who've insulted me have done so in ways that make them look bad rather than me, so that helps. ;-)
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From:tcpip
Date:April 29th, 2014 10:45 pm (UTC)
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I honestly believe that people's attitudes are not changed by writing well-researched blog posts that are mostly read by those who already agree with you*.

Well-researched 'blog posts do change the opinions to those who are open to such evidence. But that is a minority.

Self-interest on the other hand, is very convincing.
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From:c_maxx
Date:May 1st, 2014 03:46 pm (UTC)
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I agree sometimes we have to put the money where our mouth is.

The conservatives (nothing against an honest conservative [or liberal]) of various flavors don't tend to lack for money, so we gots to pony up as well sometimes...
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