Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kiwiblog Spindoctoring on the Offenders' Levy

In response to this piece at Kiwiblog:

To summarize the situation, this offenders' levy is a $50 fee charged to all convicted offenders at time of sentencing. National introduced it (it was in their 2008 campaign) and considers it a significant and worthwhile source of new income for their victim support scheme, while Labour considers it a "gimmick" which will not raise significant new income because of the cost of collecting it. From here, it is one big argument about the numbers.

From Simon Power's announcement:
The levy is collected after reparation and before fines, and is in addition to any sentence or court order.
This is the main point that i feel Kiwiblog has willfully ignored. How many of the 55% of offenders from which the levy has been collected have outstanding fines? In my view, any money raised from such people is not new income and should not be included in the figures when working out whether the levy raises enough to cover it's own set-up and administration costs. Rather, since the offender has not earned an extra $50 anywhere, it will mean he will pay $50 less off his fines. It is simply a transfer of funds from the account to which the fines are due into the levy account.

It is the same smoke and mirrors as when Kiwiblog says things like "The government has saved $X Million in spending cuts and redirected them into higher priority areas." This is looking at a spending reshuffle and trying to sell it as a spending cut, which it is not. With the offenders' levy, DPF is looking at (specifically in the case of offenders with outstanding fines) a spending reshuffle, and trying to sell it as a revenue increase, which it is not.

Discussion on the numbers coming soon. [EDIT: or maybe not]

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Re Goff's "firing squads" comment - It wasn't that bad

Kiwiblog and Whaleoil often have interesting things to say, which i appreciate when i read. Other times, they are partisan beyond sense. One example i can't ignore:

This is all about a quote from Phil Goff (source: here)
I saw the army out in the street and I thought court mar­tial, fir­ing squads you just can’t believe how low a small minor­ity of peo­ple can get,”
Which imo means the idea crossed his mind, a normal human instinct in such a situation. DPF even admits to having this reaction here. Note what Phil Goff did not say - anything about considering such a measure, or even actively thinking about it. There is really nothing he said that DPF didn't, so it is odd that DPF said the following: (also here)
"Interesting that Phil Goff on radio said that army should shoot looters. Wonder how his caucus feel about his law and order policy?"
Now this looks like a quick joke at Goff's expense, especially considering it was only on twitter. Although it does misrepresent what was said, it's not an accusation. This is in contrast to Whaleoil's post (here) where he says:

I won­der per­haps if he will ask Phil Goff he sim­i­larly regrets his com­ments made on BFM on 28 Feb­ru­ary where he said:

I saw the army out in the street. I thought, okay, court mar­tial, fir­ing squad. You just can’t believe how low a small minor­ity of peo­ple can get. You know, to exploit people’s mis­ery in this way is just beyond forgiveness.

As you can see that is a whole mag­ni­tude worse than any­thing Judith Collins sug­gested, which was a long prison sen­tence. Phil Goff mean­while was con­sid­er­ing fir­ing squads.

The media really needs to ask Phil Goff what he meant by think­ing of fir­ing squads. I mean seri­ously they do. “Beyond for­give­ness” and “court mar­tial, fir­ing squads” for looters!

Will Grant Robert­son ask Phil to retract?

Now this also misrepresents what Goff said, although the actual quote and context was provided, and is an accusation. This is what i mean by "partisan beyond sense." DPF involves himself in this accusation by linking to it with the statement here:
"Talking of due process though, Whale Oil has a quote from a senior politician calling for looters to get court-martialed and a firing sqaud. Go check it out – you may be surprised with who the politician is."
Whaleoil then continues his behaviour here. An extract:
"It is clear that he isn’t jok­ing. And even if he was he shouldn’t have been."
I don't think Phil Goff was joking either when he suggested firing squads - his comment was never a suggestion!

I don't find it enjoyable to read such false accusations all in the name of partisanship. Stick to something i do enjoy - partisan critique of Labour's actual policies.