Lyndon Hood - corrector, Lower Hutt

Monday, November 03, 2008

[Update 26/11/08: Is not actually that bad]

DNA First, Questions Later

If there's one thing that actually give me a warm feeling to know I'm not voting for National, it's in their law and order policies.

A National government will as a matter of "as a matter of priority", add DNA samples from everyone charged with an imprisonable offense to the police database.

Charged. Plenty of these people will be found not guilty. Plenty of them are not guilty. In some cases, there won't even have been a crime. And in every case, they have to be treated by the law as innocent until proven guilty or we may as well give up the whole 'justice' thing now.

National intends to force innocent people to give a DNA sample, and then to keep that in their database forever.

I actually put it in a headline on the Scoop front page: "National Will Begin DNA-Testing Innocent People As Soon As Possible". We have a tendency to be flippant, but we do also try for accuracy. So I hope people realise it's not a joke.

Look on the bright side: at least they're not raiding everyone's medical samples.

Anyway - firstly: It is wrong.

Secondly: It is wrong.

Thirdly: It makes me wonder how someone could suggest it in the first place.

Talking to Nine to Noon, John Key mentioned his faith in his own judgment. That no doubt served him will in foreign exchange (where I get the impression you have to be decisive and mostly right) and overall seems to be doing quite well now. But I think in running a country you're only as good as your worst mistake.

I mention this because I'm reminded of the not-exactly boot camps: Involuntary programmes for off-the-rails kids based on an arbitrary combination of voluntary programmes for at-risk or not-at-risk kids. I've twice heard John Key call this his scheme - like he made it up and just expects it to work. People practising in the area hate it, mostly because they don't think it will.

In a similar case, Dim found the parole policy ill-advised. Or rather, igonore-advised.

Come to think of it, Don Brash demonstrably made up his own policy at least once; but he was worse at keeping his spokepeople - the one's whose job it is to actually understand the portfolio - in line when he did.

Don Brash also produced (and then finance spokesman John Key defended) a budget where the numbers for corrections seemed rather too small. In the apparent absence of an actual shadow budget this year, I have an issue with the parole policy costing - they estimate 512 extra prisoners and one more prison. Lord knows that's not every cost, but I'm thinking of one particular trap for new players.

While it's normal to project forwards to the third year, in the case of the three-strikes-and-no-parole scheme this approach is useless. Hardly anyone would be serving that extra time by the third year. By, say, the tenth, it will be much, much bigger and it will presumably continue to increase until their lifetime prisoners start dying.

I digress.

Perhaps the impression of personal interference is just the price Key pays for fronting a crime plan full of random hard lines. But to me it all makes it look like he's not as clever as he thinks he is.

And that an honest opponent of nanny state has more to fear than they might think from a change of government.


I note the ACT TV ad, apparently courting the 'people who hate the Greens' vote.

I wasn't looking at the TV on Saturday night, so I missed that they had actually just ripped off the Greens' image. I have professional reasons for agreeing with Mr Price that this sort of thing should be allowed (though sometimes decried). OTOH as things stand it is flouting the law. And it's amusing to see ACT abuse some's property rights, even though "intellectual property" isn't a very sensible phrase.

And I can't take Rodney Hide's environmental position very seriously. Mostly because, in terms of what actually comes up in Parliament, his solution to every environmental problem is to do nothing.

But what struck me, as a marketing thing, was the bit that encouraged people to be a real green, not a "watermelon green".

Why put that in an ad?

I mean, if you want to sound like you have nothing better to do than attack other parties and are maybe a little psycho, sure.

But my point is, how big can the target audience for that phrase be? Surely everyone who understands it ('Green on the oudside, red in the middle! Ha! Take that!') already knows who they want to vote for.

Elsewhere Elswhere

Just a theory on Labour's me-tooism on special welfare for fired people.

It's not that having the same plan as another part is really unusual. For example, I half expect National to complain that Labour has stolen its policy-stealing policy. And I suspect parties who aren't leading the government tend to call for thing as early as possible, and then by the time the actual policy work is done and government can announce it, they can claim it was their idea.

But what I'm thinking of is the "we've been developing this for ages" thing (rather than the "we promise not to announce new spending" thing). One time before when this happened National got the relevant cabinet papers and found that, yes, there had been work done one this, and cabinet had turned it down. The implication being, it suddenly became a good idea when the opposition announced it.

After nine years I imagine they must have, in that sense, been working on just about every policy position there is.

Personally, while I can sort of see the extra hardship in being fired as opposed to not having a job in the first place, I can't help thinking it would be simpler if we just had a proper unemployment benefit.

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