Thursday, 28 August 2008

things are getting better

while we all wait to see how long mr peters can keep his job, there is actually other news. the MSD social report is out, with comment here and here. the good news being that income inequality has been reduced, as a result of the working for families package.

a list of key facts can be found here. a couple of the negative results are that housing affordability is down and it looks like we are not winning the battle on obesity. the latter is a difficult one to win, because any move to encourage healthy eating and exercise quickly get written off as "pc gone mad". in that kind of environment, persuading people to look after their health is a challenge.

i'm a little bemused with comments from the police association that the decision around the use of tasers has been politicised. greg o'connor has been criticising the commissioner's (and minister's) decision to go to parliament on this decision, saying that it is a matter for police. i strongly disagree. i don't think that it should be an internal matter for the police if they choose to arm themselves more heavily, particularly with a weapon such as the taser.

it is a matter for the public, and we are represented by our elected representatives. if the police wanted to make a decision to arm themselves with guns, they should not be allowed to take that decision without the public having their say. there does need to be some control over the power of the police, and that control is provided by the state, through parliament.

i should think that an act of parliament was required before the police could make any decision about the use of guns. i would have preferred an act of parliament in order for them to use tasers.

for mr o'connor to say that there should be no politics involved in the process is nonsense. there must be politics involved when there is an exercise of power. he wants the decision to be based on evidence, but evidence requires interpretation. and it requires someone independent from the police to be looking at it and making judgement.

in the absence of an act of parliament, at the very least parliament was consulted and the parties who could be bothered put forward their views. i fully support the move.

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