ANZAC day, redux.

April 25, 2019

WHite poppies for peace

I’ve written about my great-uncles on my mother’s side before, in relation to the NZ obsession with glorifying the massive military defeat at Gallipoli.
Some years, notably during 2014-2018, I have just re-posted those old articles (the earliest sits in my archive here on November 11, 2008) but this year I thought I’d add to the narrative.

I’ve been doing research, off and on, into family history since around 1978, after my grandfather died. That was when I first heard the stories of his two older brothers, Jack and Bob, who went off to fight in France in 1917 & never returned. My mother’s eldest brother is named John Robert in their memory; he was born over a decade after their deaths.

Due to the massive amount of funding the Ministry of Culture and Heritage poured into WW1 commemorations, all of the files from deceased soldiers have been digitised, and sit in the Archway collections of the National Archives. As a peripatetic researcher, I troop through there occasionally during visits to Wellington, so I went looking for Jack & Bob Stevenson a couple of years ago. Yes, their entire military files were available to view; and I looked.

I have no images of these two, the brothers of my grandfather.
They were country boys, educated in a rural school up to age 12, then put to work on the family farm, Blackburn, which was at Alfredton – a location variously described as ‘Pahiatua’ or ‘Kaitawa, Pahiatua’, on their NZDF signup forms.
They were the two eldest, of nine offspring of Alexander and Jeannie Stevenson.
Aunt Margaret became the family housekeeper after her mother’s death; Aunt Jean married and moved to Palmerston North. The men stayed on the farm, gradually being permitted to take wives and have children. My grandfather waited until his 30th birthday in 1928, for that permission.
Bob and Jack were thus single when they went to France, in 1917.

I will illustrate the service of a young farmer in France, with Robert’s record.
Robert Stevenson, aged 21 years. Height – 5’11”, weight – 172lb, complexion – fair, colour of eyes – bluish-grey, colour of hair – brown.
My mother, Beth, was 5’10 at 19 years old, when she married my father. In all other respects, apart frrom gender, Robert matches my mother. My sister also carried the brown hair, but is of shorter stature. We all carried the bluish-grey eyes.

Robert signed up on the 30th May, 1916, at Trentham Army Camp, as a private #26197,  in F Company 17th Regiment.
On 21st November 1916, he was promoted to Rifleman, and moved to 4th Battallion of 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade, and it was with that status that he arrived ‘in field’ in France in March, 1917.
He had sailed from Devonport to Sling Camp, that huge staging post of ANZAC soldiers; and then crossed to France after the New Year, being staged at Etaples on 9 January, then St Omer from 8 March 1917.
The rest of the details of his service are slight.
He was wounded in battle in October 1917, and died of his wounds 13th Ocober 1917, the death certificate signed at ‘No 47 Casualty Clearing Station, France or Belgium’; buried at Dosinghem British Cemetary, Western, north of Poperinghe.
The Field Service Report of the Death of a Soldier was signed by a superior officer at Rouen, France, 27 December, 1917.

The official records continue to show bureaucratic action right up to October 1923, when ‘Medal Action Complete’ is noted on 8 October – almost a full six years after his death.
He was posthumously awarded the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal, whcih were sent to his father as next of kin, at Kaitawa, Pahiatua.
Prior to the delivery of medals, there would have been ‘the telegram’, followed by the dispatch of a Scroll of honour in 21 July 1921, a Plaque on 18 November 1921, and a Certificate (of service, presumably) on 10 November 1922.
The dates are significant – the 11 November 1918 was the date of the signing of the Armistace, and in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles, which awarded such huge damages to France & Belgium, to be paid by the German State. The bureacrats of the NZDF seemd to have been at pains to close off documentation before those significant anniversaries rolled around each year.
The seeds of WW2 were sown in those years of the 1920’s, when rampant inflation hit Europe as the war rebuild carried on. The Black Friday of 31st October 1929 happened just as the nations of Europe were begining to think the worst of the recovery was over.
In NZ, our farmers slowly went to the wall; despite my great-grandfather Alexander Stevenson forbidding any more sons to go to war, their efforts were not enough to survive the downturn.
Other, better historians than I have chronicled those years – I recommend Tony Simpsopn’s The Sugarbag Years, or anything by Keith Sinclair on that period.
John A Lee wrote during the 40’s about the privations of the working classes during the late 20’s and the Great Depression; my grandfather had all of his works on the bookshelf, a fact I should have noticed as a teenager. I collected the volumes again, in my forties, from second-hand bookshops in Wellington.

For our family, the patriarch decided, in his fervent Calvinism, that he would not be mortgaged. The produce of the farm was not selling for enough to cover the seasonal purchases of seed, and there were issues of getting produce to market, so he sold the farm out from under his remaining five sons and their families, around 1933. All were sent down the road, except for Aunt Margaret, who accompanied him to a small bungalow in Palmerston North, where they lived near Aunty Jean & Uncle Reg Forbes.

My grandparents functionally separated, my grandmother taking their two toddlers & becoming the unqualified teacher at Kaitawa School; my grandfather went swagging, begging work and a roof over his head wherever he might find it.
They were both so ashamed that this had been their reality, that when WW2 began, and younger men were conscripted into the Armed Forces, they never spoke about the years apart, after my grandfather obtained a position managing a farm at Motea, near Dannevirke. They lived there well into the 1960’s, raising four children in total – two born before the Great Depression, and two born after they reconciled in 1939.

These stories came painfully into the light of day after my grandfather died in 1978, just shy of his 80th birthday & Golden Wedding anniversary. My teenage years were bookended by school holiday visits to my grandmother, retired and living in Hastings, and the gradual teasing out of those stories.

We are a family of war resisters – Uncle Bob was withdrawn from high school in Dannevirke & put to work on the farm during WW2, lest he be press-ganged into service.
He was 16 years old when my mother was born in 1944; quite recently, we had a chat about that, and he said it was dreadful – all of the siblings were the height of adults at 12 years old, so he was perceived as a young man shirking his duty, and presented with white feathers if he was seen in town with his mother.
At my mother’s funeral in 2015, he was still resentful of his father’s attitude, which had caused him to be questioned about his lack of war service throughout his adult life.
Both of my mother’s brothers are still alive; and there are still conversations to be had.
Uncle Bob left the farm after the war, going to live in Auckland and becoming a mechanic, later owning a small fleet of courrier vans and a property of ten acres at Waimauku, where we visited as ‘country cousins come to town’ in the 1970’s.
He was always a gentle man, and despite his lack of education, a sensitive and knowing person. His sister June had training as a hairdresser, Mum went to Teacher’s College at Ardmore in the early 60’s, and only my younger Uncle Dave stayed in farming, being one of the first to take up deer farming in earnest in Waipukurau in the 1970’s.

In my generation, there are Accountants, Nurses, a cousin with a PhD in Maths, a Pharmacist, along with a few of the cohort without tertiary degrees who are mechanics, truck drivers, an airhostess, an IT professional. My own trajectory through academia is neither unusual nor taken for granted. These days, we meet at family funerals more often than at weddings, and we acknowledge that our connections are waning as my generation welcome grandchildren, and farewell our parents.

I’m slowly writing versions of the family histories, for each of the major branches of my family, both maternal and paternal. Archives and Museums are slowly giving up their records to my searches, sometimes finding truths that dismay my relatives, who have a rosy view of the past, based on several kinds of elisions of the depressing realities our forbears survived.

My committment to pacifism continues, despite recent events in my own life that were not of the best outcomes. Again, others have written while I was incapacitated, so I’ll link to that rather than repeating the work.

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This was a think-piece I put up on Twitter, which caught on in a way most of my writing really doesn’t. So, I thought I’d stash a version of it here, with a few corrections that were happily crowd-sourced from readers.

I’ve seen a lot of confusion around the ‘alt-right’, ‘white supremacy’, ‘neonazi’ labels in recent weeks. So, as an historian, I’m going to do a little facism 101 thread to disambiguate for the confused.

Facism did not begin with Adolf Hitler, he just exploited xenophobia & economic stresses that were already present in Germany after WW1. Yep, the roots of the Waffen SS begin with the Treaty of Versailles, which accorded massive penalty payments to Germany in 1918.

Aristocrats drove WW1, after the assassination of Prussian Arch-duke Ferdinand by a Serbian national. (Serbia’s simmering resentments led to the 1990’s breakup of Yugoslavia, but we’ll get to that later…)
WW1 was really the last war where British aristocracy told peasants to fight.

Colonial forces, made up of generally ‘lower classes’, were used as cannon fodder in wildly misplanned engagements that ignored modern weapons technology. German machine guns mowed down Allied troops. We in New Zealand celebrate ANZAC day, a complete debacle.
Aristocratic supremacy was maintained, however.
The Military higher ranks are second sons of the landed aristocracy, of course.

WW2 followed a decade of Depression, and widespread economic failure in Europe. The British facists like Lord Moseley (whose family are F1 owners) were some of the first to trot over to Berlin & congratulate Adolf Hitler when he became Chancellor of the Exchequer (German PM). The British National Front is funded (through a few cutouts) by the Moseleys & their allies, some of the old aristocracy of England.

The Mitford daughters, a selection of well-bred beauties, were frontline fans of Hitler & Goering. Diana Mitford married Oswald Mosely who founded the British Union of Facists; Unity Mitford died after an unsuccessful suicide attempt, which caused ongoing health problems due to a bullet lodged in her brain, after having been part of the inner circle around Hitler. Deborah Mitford became the Duchess of Devonshire, and lived into her 80’s.
Propaganda, the dark art we now call ‘marketing’, was developed by Goebbels, Goering & Leni Riefenstahl, their cinematographer. WW2 was a modern psy-ops war, the first of the 20thC.

Now we’re 70 years on from the Nazi exploits. This is about the period when history repeats – my grandfather fought in Egypt, was captured by Rommel’s armies & incarcerated in Germany for most of the war. I’m the generation that has the last memories of direct transmission.

This is the dangerous decade (or two) that we are entering. Facism has been repackaged for the 21stC, & it comes with some fancy new propaganda tools that Goebbels would have loved. Ayn Rand, a right-wing libertarian, is popular again. Algorithms are being tailored to push neonazi ideas.

Eugenics as an ideology is rising again – a deplorable (yes, I’m using that term…) belief in racial purity that was the foundation of the KKK in the Southern USA, and was even used in NZ by Dr Truby King, who founded Plunket.
It deifies white supremacist ideals & norms. There are also troubling attacks on the disabled & those who suffer illnesses of old age, within eugenics.
Hitler’s ‘death list’ of ‘types’ of human to eliminate came from eugenicist thinking – Roma, disabled, homosexuals, Jews, & political dissidents for good measure.

In a modern liberal state, there are checks & balances to protect the most vulnerable. Trump is removing those checks, by the simple expedient of not appointing Chiefs of Staff to some White House positions, causing logjams. He’s gamed the US Constitution. This is facist.

Pastor Martin Niemöller gave us the 20thC’s most often-quoted mea culpa; which I will paraphrase here:
‘When they came for the others, I said nothing… Then there was no-one left to speak up when they came for me.’

Speak up now, while you still have a voice to use against facists.

 

I was also asked by a commenter to address why Facism is being re-positioned as ‘Socialism’ by those on the alt-right who want to distance themselves from accusations of neonazism. So here’s that part of the thread:

Well, they’re doing that for people who know zip about German history.
Short answer, look up the Weimar Republic.
The use of ‘Nationalist Socialism’ in Germany, soon shortened to Nazi, was about capturing the impoverished working classes who were heavily taxed to pay for WW1.

Trump has been playing on the leftover impoverishment (which is real) after the GFC. That trillions of dollars ‘market correction’ came out of ordinary people’s mortgages.
The banks got bailed out. Socialism for capital, but not for workers.
Fear of ‘the Reds’ in USA goes back to McCarthyism in the 1950’s, during the biggest increase of citizen surveillance in the 20thC.
Current fears about another crash (because banks haven’t changed their lending practices in the USA), and a political desire to scapegoat are seeing a repeat of 1930’s tropes. A Cold War, if you will.

So, Trump may not be the smartest tool in the shed, but he buys expertise.
There are many right-wing think-tanks selling their policies whole. Using data analytics, as happened in the 2016 elections in the USA, allows modelling from polling results.
It’s government by marketing.
Using ‘Socialism’ as a hand-wave for Nazi ideology allows the alt-right to claim theirs is a new philosophy of politics, not just a rehash of the usual suspects in the pantheon of dictatorships.

 

(Original post July 2013, for some unidentified reason WP re-dated this post when I edited a couple of typo’s during the summer.)

I realise that many readers of this blog will think that I am merely an artsy, stroppy feminist with too many opinions traversing policy areas across the spectrum. This is a deliberate strategy that I have undertaken for this stream of publication.

So to ‘break the fourth wall’, I am now going to give you a little of my IRL specifics, in order that what I say about the GCSB Bill now before the House in New Zealand, has a little more validity.

I have been around the IT industry in our country since my early university days. Yep, I failed Comp 101, because it bored me rigid, rather than not understanding how to write binary code. I didn’t want to end up working with those kinda people, doing that kinda work. My sister is of a different personality type, and she loved it, and has had a twenty-five-year career (and counting) in IT, as has my ex-husband. It was during my marriage that I learned most of what I know about the internet, due to contracts my then-husband was working on for his employer, a major MNC which operates in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Don’t kid yourselves that there is anything ‘private’ about what you do on the net.

Don’t buy into the idea that you are ‘a consumer’, the internet is ‘a product’, nor that it is there to entertain you.

What we now call the internet began as Arpanet and DArpanet, projects of the USA Department of Defense, in collaboration with research projects at hand-picked Universities in the USA. It was originally an IT research program to create a secure way of transmitting and collecting data for the DOD. These days, we’d call that an intranet, similar to the kind of WAN that operates inside most corporations for administrative purposes.

The Bill going through our Parliament at the moment is a stage of DOD ‘taking back’ the internet from public use. Surveillance and transmission of surveilled data was always the primary purpose of the net; the Patriot Act in 2001, followed by Terrorism Suppression legislation in most global jurisdictions, was a first attempt to ‘plug the holes’. Creating crimes of knowledge, of dissemination of information, was the beginning of a global campaign by DOD to regain domination of the medium of internet traffic.

It is obvious in the trial of Chelsea Manning, the attempts to smear and discredit Julian Assange of Wikileaks, the hunting down of Edward Snowden (still on-going), that the DOD is very serious about extending its’ capacities to control activities outside the borders of the USA.

This is a breach of the sovereignty of every other nation on earth, and most people are just going to sit by and watch as it happens, not making the connections to totalitarian control of their own lives.

So, on these grounds, I urge every thinking citizen of Aotearoa/New Zealand to join in the protests against the GCSB Bill that is before the House. There is a nationwide protest organised for Saturday 27th July 2013, all events beginning at 2pm.
Because this is only the thin end of a wedge that will see a totalitarian surveillance society established in every nation in the world, if we, the people, do not stop it. It’s too late to make submissions, but this is something anyone can do.
Events in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, Napier are listed on FB and there is also a general group for discussion. (outlinks)

Our MP’s have spoken out against this Bill – here on frogblog and here and here on the main Greens website.

If you want to access the submissions that went to the Select Committee hearings, they can be found here (pdf to download).

If you want to view the submissions made during the hearings, video has been uploaded to You-tube. (outlinks)
Submitters Thomas Beagle, from Tech Liberty, Susan Chalmers and Jordan Carter from Internet NZ, Micheal Koziarski, Vikram Kumar, Simon Terry, all made submissions as working professionals contracting in the IT industry.
Keith Locke and Kate Dewes and Robert Green (nuclear disarmament activists) made submissions on the political aspects of the Bill.

img_4995

OK, so that’s a Thatcher reference, but it seems appropriate this week.

While we’re in this lame duck week in Aotearoa, the week between the announcement of John Key’s resignation as PM, and the election by the National caucus of his successor on Monday 12th December, I just want to put down a few thoughts that have come up over the past two days.

Eight long years.

I graduated PGDipArts in 2008, and envisaged working in gender policy analysis in some Ministry or other, after I got a handle on some health problems that came up when I was finishing my diploma papers. Then National swept into power, and the policy analysts who had been guest lecturers to my Hons-level class were pushed out the doors of MSD Head Office right after Paula Bennett swept in as the new Minister in early 2009.
They both got jobs in Canberra and left the country, their qualifications and expertise appreciated by the Australian administration, at least.

I was suddenly in limbo. I wrote a bit, recovered some of my energy after a diagnosis of low thyroid function, and started a course of appropriate medication. I wrote book reviews, Ministerial complaints about the conduct of WINZ branch staff, blogposts, Select Committee submissions.
I wrote a Master’s thesis proposal, and it was accepted in June 2009. I started work on anethics Committee Research Application, and applied for a round of scholarships. Read more about how that went bad here.
I watched friends graduate the PhD’s that had been underway before GWS was threatened with closure, playing photographer for a friend at the last VUW Graduation Parade involving GWS School in December 2010.

I kept campaigning on Green politics, and writing about social policy issues from a feminist perspective.
Things got worse in Wellington; a transgender friend was so hounded and bullied by bigoted WINZ frontline staff that she took her own life in October 2012. This was just weeks after some successful transphobia-busting actions at Fairfax’s Wellington offices, and glitter-bombing Germain Greer for her transphobic statements at the Writer’s & Readers’ Week event at the Embassy Theatre. Ashley’s funeral was a very sad and angry gathering of her friends from Queer Avengers, who had to listen to family members misgender and dead name our friend, the ultimate in transphobic family behaviour. We walked her coffin across Willis St to the Wilson Funeral Home, and consigned her to eternity.

A helluva lot of Queer and Trans* support work grew from that, especially programs for LGBTI+ youth, but it was a bitter price to pay.

I left Wellington and moved to the Waikato, giving my Master’s thesis another go. Surprisingly, I encountered a bunch of deeply unethical behaviour from one supervisor, who it later became obvious was a fully-paid-up TERF.
My research into radical feminist activism was not an area she was familiar with, neither was my research methodology, oral history interviewing. After a lot of disagreements, and an ethics application that was incorrectly edited by a supervisor who failed to read the 2013 ethics committee guidelines ( freshly revised, which I followed, but had edited back to the ‘old’ way of doing things by my supervisor …), I withdrew my enrolment on medical grounds.
It took filing an academic grievance in 2015 to get my fees fully refunded. There was never any response in writing to the grievance that acknowledged fault, just the full and final refund in May 2016.

I applied for a lot of jobs during those years. Citing my PGDipArts in Gender and Women’s Studie s, as well as my BA in French (effectively, two majors and one Hons), I got rejection after rejection. I keep every one of those responses, because WINZ keep attacking my disability status & my lack of employment. Showing that employers are not interested in hiring disabled feminist policy analysts is necessary, on a regular basis.

I keep doing Green campaigning, and I keep writing Select Commitee submissions and I slowly stop blogging. Because what’s the point?

Eight years of a misogynist caucus under a PM who thinks ponytails are sexy and can’t keep his hands off them, who cut funding to Rape Crisis, Women’s Refuge, Lifeline and a myriad of otherNGO’s doing social work that MSD was denying responsibility for; cuts to Ministry of Women’s Affairs staff & funding (and a nonsensical rebranding); a year-on-year increase in suicide stats for youth; cuts to Studylink availability for school leavers, post-grads and over-55-yo mid-life retrainees; and then the crowning glory of refusal to acknowledge the housing crisis, refusing a Government inquiry so that the Cross-Party Homelessness Inquiry was established by Greens, Labour & Māori Parties. Read the  submissions .

NGO’s and individuals presented in person at five hearings around the country, beginning at Te Puea Marae in Mangere, South Auckland. I attended 3 of the 5, and then the launch of the Report in Wellington.
I’ve never been so miserable in a hearing my life, I wept & left the hall to go and shout angry words in the bathroom, and knitted my rage when I couldn’t keep taking notes.

The articles I researched during a stint of Policy study in 2015 haunt me – I wrote about Housing and found research papers going back to the mid-80’s that predicted selling off State Housing would be a net loss to society, as impoverishment and homelessness would result. I read Cabinet papers from December 2014, heavily redacted for official release, that turned up on the HNZ section of MSD website a week before Budget 2015 was announced. I realised that John Key had spent the entire previous summer lying to media, talking up an expectation that the Salavation Army would buy thousands of HNZ properties, when the real pitch was an overseas buyer to take the infrastructural rebuild off their hands. I was really angry at that deception.

And still John Key ruled the polls.

I felt a hefty sense of Schädenfreud on Monday.
Finally, all the corruption of this Government was being discussed (the institutional child abuse in State care had just become public and Minister Tolley was getting a drubbing in media) and Key spat the dummy on Monday 5th December 2015.

Eight long years.

What do I do now?

#Green2017

I can’t spend much more than this one post on regrets.
The election is ours to win, while National flounder around sorting out their factions and working out if Key’s backers go with him.

It’s time to #ChangeTheGovernment.

Well, when I first heard about this, I thought it was quaint – after all, we’ve been gender-balancing our Green MP’s in the party lists forever. Ok, so Labour are catching up with us in a slow and unwieldy way, but it’s no real biggie.

I went off to do some essential, offline tasks.
Then I came back to the internet after dinner.

Oh dear, the trolls and the journalists have joined hands and danced around the fairy circle together.

Comments on posts on Facebook have veered from curious to bewildered, amongst the left, and gone straight to blindingly misogynist on the right.

Apparently, Whaleoil started it. No, I don’t link to his festering cesspit of a blog, you can google that one for yourselves if you want to go there.
Stuff had a go at finding a woman to throw the argument sideways.

Andrew Geddis at Pundit was more reasoned, and gave a clear outline of why so many (even Labour supporters) are concerned about both the announcement, and the timing (right when Key is on the ropes with GCSB hearings).

Chris Trotter has done an ‘insider’s view’ post at the Daily Blog, with a stirring look back at the formation of NewLabour Party in 1989. Recollections of Jim Anderton’s breakaway from ‘old’ Labour had me reaching for the chocolate again.
(yep, I’m playing the feminist version of ‘scull for clichés’ by chewing a lump of chocolate each time I see a glaring piece of male appropriation of the debate. Gonna be a long night if I keep reading around, it seems …)

Even The Civilian has had a go. Excuse me while I roflmao.

No-one seems to have made much about the strategic problem of how you do this when list candidates get juggled around by the electorate seat results, and Labour seem to have forgotten just how many female MP’s they have exactly … which makes for some gruelling reading as they back-step & correct themselves in clear view of the journo’s etc firing off hits at them.
[excuse me while I just scoff another piece of chocolate … 🙂 ]

I’ll be mightily interested to see how this story plays over the weekend, and slightly curious to see which newsrooms scrabble together a feature in the weekend papers, and with what angle.
Do play along at home, and throw article links into the comments here.

Update:
Well, the pollie journo’s at Granny Herald seem to have a bob each way going this weekend. Fran O’Sullivan comes out with a strong piece in support of gender balance in Parlie, as she also supports workplace gender balance. On the ‘noes’, it’s Adam Bennett, reporting a back-peddle from Shearer and some prize misogyny from Shane Jones and Damian O’Connor (why am I not surprised?).

Back Benches Redux

June 25, 2013

So, here’s another post about Back Benches!
[yes, I’m pasting info directly from Prime’s PR – but why change perfectly good material when you don’t have to?]

This week’s Back Benches panel in Wellington is Labour MP Phil Goff, National MP Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, and Green Party MP Kevin Hague.

THIS WEEK ON PRIME TV’s “BACK BENCHES”: Watch Wallace Chapman, Damian Christie, the Back Benches Panel and special guests discuss the week’s hottest topics!

WHO SHOULD GET THE PILLS?: Pharmac—the Government’s drug-buying agency wants your input on their funding policies? Who should be getting the pills? Where should our priorities lie? Should they put more money extending the lives of the elderly? Or should they prioritise medicines that would improve the lives of younger people? What about the poor—are they more deserving of help than rich people? Should the future earning potential of children be considered? Focusing on preventable diseases vs. genetic?

SPY BILL—IS IT SAFETY vs. PRIVACY?: The Law Society has made their opinion over the GCSB law changes proposals known. They hate it. They say the changes would mean the GCSB would go from a foreign intelligence agency to a domestic one. So, would the new powers be too broad? Why would New Zealanders need to watched? In order to gain safety—is a loss of privacy the price to pay?

There are two ways to get in on the political pub action:
First, you can join the live audience in Wellington’s iconic Backbencher Pub on Wednesday, 26th of June at 6pm. Filming begins around 6:15pm.

Or watch us that night on PRIME TV at 10:30pm!
http://www.primetv.co.nz/

Plus, Follow us on Facebook (BackBenchesTV) or on Twitter @BackBenchesTV.

Update:
I’ve missed my weekly fix of fun at the Back Bencher pub in Molesworth St, but during a flying visit, managed to squeeze in an evening with old mates.
The renovated pub layout is rather swish, I do approve of the changes – it’s been a bit hard to see how it all fitted together from the Prime footage I’ve watched. Up close, there was a lot to enjoy, not the least of which was the new puppets, which I hadn’t seen for myself before.
This weeks episode was full of rather good quotes – if you didn’t manage to watch it on Prime, catch it on i-Sky’s on-demand section, Prime shows are free-2-watch for a fortnight after transmission.

Just finished reading IPCA report on Operation 8, over a few cups of tea.
Just in case you don’t fancy reading the whole 88 pages of self-justification by Police National HQ, here’s some edited highlights:

“Findings in relation to Property searches
387. Police actions led occupants at five properties to have reasonable cause to believe that they were being detained while the search was conducted. The detention of occupants at these properties was contrary to law, unjustified, and unreasonable.” => illegal actions by Police Officers.

“390. Police had no legal basis or justification for personally searching occupants. These searches were contrary to law, unjustified, and unreasonable” => illegal actions on the part of Police Officers.

Now is the time for some actual punitive action to be taken by the Police Commissioner.
The Anti-Terror Unit, based in South Auckland, is composed of Police Officers who were recruited from overseas, from countries and forces that had ‘experience’ with anti-terror policing – namely, London Metropolitan Police who had been trained during the period of IRA bombings in the UK, and Afrikaaners from South Africa, who were trained during the ANC’s activities to gain political power in South Africa.
None of these staff came to Aotearoa/New Zealand without a complete set of personal biases, and they do not appear to be re-trained to cultural sensitivity around rights for all citizens in our country. Out of ten positions in the Anti-terror Unit, only one is held by a NZ-born and trained officer – Aaron Pascoe. The guy who authored the very flawed “Pascoe Affadavit” which was used to obtain search warrants on the 10th October, 2007.

Assistant Police Commissioner Jon White, in charge of the ATU, is one of the Afrikaaners. I strongly suggest that if the IPCA is serious about solving the ‘problems’ identified in the policing of the Ruātoki valley in 2007, then getting rid of the racist police officers in the ATU might be a very good place to start.
Then they might consider removing some of the rest of the Afrikaaner officers who have been recruited in to the NZ Police forces over the past ten years, who are a cohort of racists scattered through our towns and cities, to the detriment of unbiased, legal policing of crime.
If they don’t want to go to South Africa, get the Netherlands to take them back.

Note:
The report is available to download and read in full here.

Update:
Good post from Maui Street went up same day, but I’ve been slack checking around the web.

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