For those who aren't aware, New Zealand is having an election next… - Tactical Ninja
Sep. 11th, 2014
For those who aren't aware, New Zealand is having an election next weekend. If the current government gets back in it will be their third term - NZ has a three-year election cycle and it's not common for a government to last more than three terms.
I would like to see this government gone in a fortnight. They have moved our country a long way into neoconservative territory and the list of things that are getting worse not better is long. This article sums it up for the interested.
As usual when an election approaches, the soundbites are getting worse. Yesterday I saw two that made me spit tacks.
The first was a huge banner showing a picture of the leader of NZ's left-progressive party, the Greens, with the caption ABORTION UP-TO-BIRTH FOR UNBORN PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES. It linked to this page by ProlifeNZ, which is basically a blog post that calls the Greens 'the abortion party' and implies that the abortion-to-birth thing is a main plank of their policy. In the post, the policy is actually linked. That was probably a mistake on their part, because I went and read it, and found the bit about up-to-birth abortion. It said this:
"Allow terminations after 20 weeks only according to current practice."
So what the Greens are actually going to do is continue the current practice, which says about post-20 week abortion: "it must be necessary to save the life of the woman or prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health."
So the prolifers are implying that the Greens will make abortion on demand up to birth legal and be complicit in potential eugenics, why? Because the Greens *will* decriminalise abortion and they don't like that, so they're trying to stir up outrage against them in order to further their own agenda.
It makes me spit tacks that they can get away with this kind of misrepresentation.
And then I saw this: The National party plans on making all prisoners work a 40 hour week. "So what?" I hear you say. Lots of people think this is a fantastic idea. I've heard people say that prisoners *should* 'earn their keep', that they should be offered work and education skills because this will help reduce recidivism, and because prisoners work in prisons in Norway and Norway has a very low recidivism rate.
Which is all well and good, except...
1. NZ already has work and education programmes in prisons, which are currently utilised by 59% of prisoners. National plans to make it compulsory for all who are eligible. I can't find figures on how many are currently eligible and whether that's actually more than 59%. The thing is, this isn't a new idea.
2. The only study I could find on prison labour and recidivism suggests that when controlled for other factors that are associated with recidivism, there was no difference in recidivism rates between prisoners participating in prison labour and those not participating. So making them work doesn't reduce recidivism.
3. In Norway and other Scandinavian countries, the prisoners do work. They also live together in small communities instead of being crowded into large facilities, have amenities instead of losing them, and the prisons are state funded instead of for-profit. They get to vote. In other words, the only punishment they suffer is that of the loss of their freedom. In every other way, they retain their rights and dignity as citizens. It is this culture of humane treatment and enfranchisement, the minimisation of alienation through prison, that is considered the factor behind the success of the Scandinavian prison systems. National is not suggesting any of these other changes, merely making prisoners work. It's not enough.
In fact, what they are suggesting is much closer to the US prison system, which allows for slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for crime under the 13th amendment.
The recidivism rate in the US is 52%. In Norway it's 20%. I know who I'd be copying.
I needed to get that out of my system. I know I'm preaching to the choir here. Mostly it just pisses me off how many otherwise intelligent people get sucked in by these populist soundbites and end up voting for or against parties based on them, without doing their research.
Please please PLEASE, make an educated vote not a manipulated one.
PS Finland's gonna look a whole lot better if the current government is re-elected next weekend.