April 30th, 2014



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. ;-)