Sometimes “The Law Is An Ass”

One of the most persistent cries this week – from even nice, well meaning people – has been, “the law is the law, you’ve got to obey the law.” But sometimes, to quote Charles Dickens, ”the law is an ass”.

The rule of law is important, but not an end in itself. Laws are supposed to serve the people. Not vice versa. Good law empowers everyone. Good law does not oppress anyone.

Laws are a product of society at a snapshot in time, more particularly the dominant sector of that society. There are plenty of laws that are or were designed to protect the interests of that dominant sector at the expense of other sectors of society. Continue reading

Affordable Housing – There’s No Nice Way To Do It

The old saying “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” pretty much sums up the affordable housing debate. There is no ‘nice’ way to make housing affordable again.

Higher density housing is a red herring. Anyone thinking of going down that path should have to spend a month on some of the English high rise housing estates or the high rise ‘affordable’ housing on the outskirts of most major cities of the world. High rise is best left to the wealthy who want to live in the inner city to make the most of the vibrant nightlife, cafés and restaurants, and harbour views. They can afford safe, well-built, well-maintained apartments.

House prices are high. Wages are low. It just doesn’t work, no matter how you spin it. To get affordable housing, the prices of houses will have to drop, and drop by a lot. Continue reading

Give Peace A Chance; The Greens Are Right, NZ should stay away from IS

It is a sad day for New Zealand when someone standing up for peace and freedom is lambasted as sounding as if she had just dropped in from San Francisco circa 1967. The throwaway comment from one journalist was “doesn’t everyone?” Well, no!

The arms trade was worth at least $395 billion dollars in 2012 (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) with 86% of the trade coming from United States based companies. A similar amount is spent most years. Clearly some people and organizations do quite nicely out of armed conflicts and are no doubt very happy for them to continue ad infinitum. Continue reading

Greens deal with John Key "political toxic sludge"

victor_billot_2008_web The Alliance Party says the Green Party has betrayed its commitment to fighting for a sustainable and just world by signing a memorandum of understanding with John Key.

Alliance Party national spokesperson Victor Billot says that Green claims of standing for social justice had been torpedoed by cosying up to the National Party.

“They are now in a close working relationship with the people who are destroying the planet they say they care about.”

He says that the news has been greeted with dismay by unionists, workers and activists.

“We now have a bizarre four colour combo running the country – blue for National, yellow for ACT, brown for Maori, and pale Green – add those colours together and what you get is something that looks and smells like toxic political sludge.” Continue reading