Monday, August 07, 2006

Glib bullshit

When Tim Selwyn was convicted, I sent in an OIA request to the police asking how much it had cost the crown to investigate and prosecute him for sedition. Today, I received the following reply:

There is no cost to the Crown as Police is funded to undertake investigations and prosecutions of this nature

"Mising the point" would be one way of describing this "answer". "Glib bullshit" would be another. And I'm appalled that a government department would take its obligations so lightly as to evade a fairly straightforward question in such a manner.

Needless to say, I've sent in a followup request, but I'm not pleased...


This is exactly the type of case that should be going to the Ombudsman. I would place a complaint in to the Ombudsman. Have a look at

Posted by Frederick Aloysius Weld : 8/07/2006 03:20:00 PM

ATM I'm preparing my first complain, over a very late request to Defence (100 working days and counting...) Unfortunately, I forgot to hit a photocopier today...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/07/2006 03:27:00 PM

Okay - In some cases you would be right, but in this instance they've probably given the correct answer.

It does miss the point, but had Tim Selwyn not been charged the police probably wouldn't have spent any less of their operating budget this year.

Maybe you should ask them how many burglars they could have caught with all the man-hours spent on the case...

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 8/07/2006 03:40:00 PM

Their reply is disgraceful. Any crown entity could refuse to answer a question on costs based on what they do is what they are funded for.

Definitely a case for the Ombudsman.

Posted by David Farrar : 8/07/2006 05:35:00 PM

That's a disgrace, that action was on our name. Good on you for complaining.

Posted by james cairney : 8/07/2006 08:35:00 PM

Sorry, that action was 'in' our name.

Posted by james cairney : 8/07/2006 08:37:00 PM

Glib stonewalling is the signature of the government under Clark. Look at her response to the ten questions posed by the NZ Herald.

Posted by Walsingham : 8/08/2006 10:42:00 AM

...This is free speech? It looks like Tim Selwyn was convicted of something like attempted "violent initimdation of an elected official", and encouranging others to do similar. That should be illegal. It's the opposite of freedom of speech to give the thumbs up to vigilante thugs like Tim Selwyn.

When I want to talk to my MP, I don't violently harass her, or encourage others to do the same. When I don't like what's going on, I like to keep my sulking as non-violent as possible. I use the parliamentary process. And if I don't get what I want, I have to accept it. Democracy's a bastard like that.

Now, how free is my opinion going to be if everytime someone doesn't like what's going on, they go down to their local MP's office and break stuff until they get what they want?

If you or anyone else on the dinosaur left call this issue about "freedom of speech", then you know who your ultimate aspiration should be? Maybe those crowds of thugs who roam the streets and beat up opposing faction supporters in the days leading up to elections. Tim Selwyn got what he deserves.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/08/2006 12:55:00 PM

Mike, what has stuck me about the Selwyn issue, is that those who believe the charge/punishment was unnecessary or excessive, are from all sections of the political spectrum (online that is).

Believing he was treated harshly is neither 'right' nor 'left', it more about believing that in a free and democratic society, the charge of sedition has no place.

Furthermore, he was completely walloped. It seems the fact it was political protest was an aggravating factor, when surely democracy requires it to be a mitigating factor.

Posted by james cairney : 8/08/2006 02:02:00 PM

James: Believing he was treated harshly is neither 'right' nor 'left', it more about believing that in a free and democratic society, the charge of sedition has no place.

Precisely. And its worth pointing out that everyone who has criticised the sedition charge has also been in complete agreement with the decision to charge Selwyn with criminal damage. It's ThoughtCrime we object to - not protecting democracy from violence.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/08/2006 02:24:00 PM

I'll have what you're smoking!

This isn't the heart-wrenching story of an innocent man who has been selected by the powers that be to walk a very public perp walk so that other seditious persons like Deborah Coddington or Guyon Espiner or Chris Trotter or Lewis Holden know their place.

A just and fair society exists on free speech that has the just and fair limitations. One is privacy. Two is the protection of the weak (ie, some censorship). Three is libel and four is the application of the principle that freedom of speech is an absolute, and without degree, modification or intensity. One act of speech is as equal as the next.

It doesn't come from nowhere. It comes from being able to say that Tim Selwyn demeans the opinions of people like you and me who can manage to participate in discussion without acting like thugs. My opinion is not equal any more.

"Sedition" is just a word. Tim Selwyn wasn't convicted of a "word" or a "ThoughtCrime" (which is two words); he was convicted of willingly attempting to use force to change the course of events.

If we let him use "freedom of speech" as cover then we privilege violence over reason. What would be worse than making this a simple morality play about not breaking windows would be letting 'freedom of speech' become the new 'Patriotism'. It's a very important thing. It's not just a place for scoundrels to seek refuge.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/08/2006 05:57:00 PM

Hi Mike;

Firstly, sedition is using 'words' to incite disaffection against her Majesty or her government.

You bring up free speech, and qualify it with civil limits which few would argue with. However, this was a criminal charge, resulting in the loss of his liberty.

You seem to be mixing the charges, I believe he received (2 months?) for the production of seditious documents. Which I'm sure you realise is not a charge of violence.

He was pursued with fervour, using my money as a taxpayer, and the government should have to justify that. Not only that, at a time of prison overcrowding, they send him in for nearly two years. I am angry with the six figure sum that this will end up costing, for an action in my name.

Now I don't agree with this guys politics, nor do I agree with his actions, but political protest in all forms is crucial.

You also mention dinosaurs, which is fitting, as I believe the charge of sedition should have died with them.

Respect, James.

Posted by james cairney : 8/08/2006 08:19:00 PM

I am pleased to see that at least Mike has not been sucked in by the "Free Speech" tribe.
I personally had a gripe earlier this year with Wayne Mapp so I emailed him and commented on an article he wrote in the North Shore Times.
He replied ,promptly, and accepted my point of view.
I have a very good Kelly Axe but never had any thought of using it on Wayne Mapp's window, or anyone elses property for that matter.
Tim Selwyn is a very strange and dangerous person who may well appear in our courts again sometime in the future. His previous history seems to indicate that he is not capable of learning from his errors.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/08/2006 08:27:00 PM

It's not nothing to say "I just axed the PM's front window and you should too". But, if you think the most important way to protct free speech is to be on the side of the people who have do most to hurt it, then, so be it.

Posted by buddy : 8/08/2006 08:53:00 PM

Anon, no one is complaining about the punishment for the axe on the window, and Mike was the first on the post to mention free speech. Also, I am not part of any 'tribe'.

And why is it that every time I read a post by 'anonymous', I know the view is about to be irrational, irrelevant, or both?

Hi Mike, I imagine you're all for arresting and imprisoning all the gangsta rappers in LA for their lyrics? If not, whats the difference?

Cheers, James

Posted by james cairney : 8/08/2006 10:01:00 PM

well, one might very well ask. I suppose, the answer could end up being cerebral. But, you know what? All I know is that if this is what we're fighting for, then it's a lousy battle.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/09/2006 12:43:00 AM