Back in the day (19th century) the Western world completed the Scramble for Africa and held virtually the entire continent in bondage. Every part of Africa under European control was raped for its natural resources, a process that made Europe very wealthy and Africa very poor.
In recent decades, the West has more or less come to widely accept that this process was immoral. The primary reason for this is that it’s apparent in hindsight that, in order to get the populations to be compliant with colonialism and the processes of resource extraction, massive abuse and neglect had to be inflicted upon the native populations of Africa.
This abuse and neglect led directly to a widespread emotional, intellectual and cognitive impairment that has been passed down through the generations, crippling the capacity of Africans to care for themselves to this very day.
But, we also know that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
In today’s world, wealth has less to do with natural resources and more to do with human resources. After all, diamonds or oil buried deep under the earth are not valuable without the human capital that knows how to extract and process them.
In an age when the total dollar value of services are five times the value of manufacturing, why go through the expense of building an empire just to dig up shiny rocks and extract rubber?
We know that doctors, engineers, psychologists, nurses etc. are generally more than happy to abandon their own people the moment you wave a fat Western paycheck in front of them, so it’s much better to loosen the immigration policy and let the human capital come to you.
The great irony here – which has been entirely unappreciated by the left – is that, from the perspective of people in the developing world, anyone who becomes capable of making a positive difference to the people around them usually ends up disappearing before they do, abandoning those they grew up with.
After all, why should a Kenyan doctor get paid $5,000 for saving 1,000 kids from malaria when he can move to New Zealand and get paid $50,000 to wipe old white people’s arses?
The next time a wealthy person tells you that allowing mass immigration is a moral imperative because of prior colonial action in the developing world, just know that the purpose of this mass immigration is not as moral as it sounds. The purpose is to plunder the affected areas of their human capital, making the West once again wealthy at the expense of Africa and the Middle East.
The only difference with the 19th century is that, today, the capital is getting itself on planes and delivering itself to us.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
Violence is the scourge of our society. The long-term cumulative psychological damage from all the various acts of violence committed by New Zealanders is atrocious. For the most part, we all agree that violence is something that ought to be dealt to strictly, but we can’t agree on how.
This is the standard pattern of social interaction in New Zealand: Monday to Friday afternoon – work. Friday afternoon to Saturday night/Sunday morning – consume alcohol. Sunday – recover from the effects of the alcohol.
This pattern has served us for over a century.
Back in the day, life was cheap, and we didn’t care. Of course the working men who loaded up in the six o’clock swill went home and beat the shit out of their wives, but Abrahamic morality held way and women were considered the property of their menfolk.
New Zealand loves violence, but not in the way it’s usually portrayed. The All Blacks aren’t really violent because they play against consenting adult men. Rugby is sport, not violence. Kieran Read has never done anything on a sports field even one percent as violent as arresting and caging a medicinal cannabis user.
However, our culture is violent. We take people who create drugs that make people less violent and put them in cages, and we take people who create drugs that make people more violent and give them knighthoods.
Why do we do this?
Probably the main reason is a cultural artifact relating to the strategic considerations that led to New Zealand existing in the first place.
New Zealand was, after all, founded as a military colony, once British colonial planners came to appreciate that whoever controlled the Aotearoan archipelago could easily project power upon the poorly defended, but by now reasonably populated, Australian East Coast. Whoever controlled that controlled the continent.
Being founded as a military colony, it was natural for the ruling class to encourage a warrior culture among the New Zealanders, in case it was ever necessary to send them overseas to die for the Empire. This meant that New Zealanders had to be molded into a hard, cruel people, and that meant violence, and that meant alcohol.
So the booze flowed, and New Zealand bestowed all manner of honourable titles upon the men who kept the booze flowing and the fists flying. After all, if New Zealanders were given free access to a peaceful drug like cannabis, they’d be much less willing to go overseas to kill the enemies of the ruling classes of the Empire.
Some people will counter that no-one is forced to drink alcohol. Usually people making this argument are some kind of puritan or wowser who never does any drug because they hate themselves and are terrified of what they might find in their souls if they were compelled to take a look.
But the counterargument is that people are compelled to drink alcohol in New Zealand if they want to meet their natural social needs, because all attempts to build a recreational drug culture around anything other than alcohol are crushed by the Police.
Let’s not pretend that these social needs are not needs. Humans cannot survive alone – not for want of intelligence, adaptability or ingenuity but for mental health reasons. A total lack of social interaction will result in a oxytocin deficit which will lead to terminal depression.
Of course, cannabis users are just meeting up anyway, only in private and in smaller groups. This is perhaps a win for those who profit from the continuation of alcohol culture, such as shareholders in breweries and wineries. But it’s a massive loss for New Zealand.
Apart from Rugby World Cup trophies, the one thing that New Zealanders fight for with the most intensity is victim status. Being a victim in our society is to wield the power of laying guilt trips on people, which often brings with it a free media platform to convince people to stop their behaviour and adopt others more to the guilt-tripper’s liking.
Once you have achieved the status of victim no-one can disagree with you without feeling ashamed because if they disagree with you they automatically become part of the oppressor class, who all New Zealanders have been conditioned since kindergarten to reflexively despise.
This social pressuring has an extremely powerful influence on the thoughts and feelings of the individual, but the problem with this cozy arrangement is this.
The reason why gay and lesbian New Zealanders have, as of right now, an impregnable position at the very summit of Mount Victim is that being gay and lesbian is not highly correlated with significant measures of social deprivation in the country today.
The average homosexual is actually fairly wealthy on account of being both better educated than average and being less likely to have children, a phenomenon known as the pink dollar.
There’s no denying being gay and lesbian once was highly associated with measures of social deprivation and disenfranchisement. This is inevitable when you can literally get locked in a cage for being who you are. The contention of this column, however, is that this battle has long been won.
Homosexuality became illegal in 1840 in New Zealand and legal again in 1986 – now thirty years ago – so the people that enforced the legal prohibition on it are all long ago dead and buried.
In the 2011 General Election, seven gay or lesbian MPs were elected to Parliament, which is almost six percent of the total – over twice the actual proportion of gay and lesbian New Zealanders (and this is ignoring the known homosexual MPs who are just not public about it).
If your marginalised group is represented in Parliament at 250%+ of its proportion among general society, so much so that when a law is passed in your favour the entire Parliament will band together and sing a song of regret that they didn’t do it sooner, are you really that marginalised?
The irony of the eternal battle for victimhood is this: once your victim status is recognised by your society at large, you are automatically no longer a victim, because you are instantly doing much better than all the oppressed people whose victim status is not recognised.
The reverse of this is also an irony: in order to get into a position where you can do anything about being a victim, you have to get into a position where you are no longer a victim.
This is why the physically and mentally infirm will always be at the bottom of society – simply because they are in the weakest position to advocate for themselves. It is exceptionally rare to meet a sick person wearing a suit and who is articulate as Grant Robertson.
So perhaps it’s time for another marginalised group of New Zealanders to get some attention?
If you are one of New Zealand’s 400,000 medicinal cannabis users, getting completely ignored by all parties is galling when you can turn the television on and hear Jacinda Ardern passionately arguing for legalising gay adoption – an issue which affects perhaps 50 people a year.
Every day you are ignored is another slap in the face, another insult. But no-one will bring up your plight in Parliament, ever, and merely to point out that it’s time for you to displace some of the wealthy and powerful people raking it in at the victim table is seen as effrontery (no doubt many people will read the headline of this article and become outraged without reading the body).
That’s a real victim of societal prejudice.
Noam Chomsky said something very intelligent once, quoted in the above image. It’s an extremely perceptive insight because it lays bare at a stroke one of the most powerful tools of deception that the Hate Machine has to levy against you.
The corporate media is very skilled at creating the impression that the war between truth-tellers is a war between TV1 and TV3, or between Stuff and Newshub.
In reality, it is a war between those who seek to force you into that claustrophobic little paradigm of thought that Chomsky referenced, and the rest of us.
An insight into how this works can be gleaned from observation of the incestuous nature of the mainstream media. On Stuff, for example, many of the articles are simply puff pieces that reference other mainstream sources of media, in particular television, the pleb’s choice of medium.
This probably isn’t surprising once you consider that the majority of the New Zealand media is owned by a small number of foreign billionaires. If you own both a television station and a newspaper, then why not direct your newspaper to write about the shows on your television station?
This collaboration is in principle little different to how the major bookstores work in concert to act as gatekeepers for any book or publisher whose message does not serve corporate interests (which is why you don’t find David Icke and VJM Publishing books in Whitcoulls or Paper Plus).
They will say it’s a matter of economy of scale but this dodges the point, because there will always be more money in pandering to the lowest common denominator, which has been true for a long time.
In Ben Vidgen’s 1999 bestseller State Secrets he notes, of the media: “The corporate media is not about delivering information (at least not to the public): it’s about making dollars… Crap sells newspapers, and the number of newspapers sold equals the quantity of advertising space sold.”
This newspaper warned at the time that the flag referendum was a deliberate waste of time and energy intended to distract us from making progress on real social issues. Predictably, this warning was not heeded by the masses, who indeed wasted many months of time and energy deciding which flag would ultimately be rejected in favour of the status quo.
The accuracy of Chomsky’s headline quote is very evident if one studies the message of the New Zealand media during that period. They presented a meaningless choice between a range of already doomed options, and then simply refused to discuss anything else.
And then, a few months later, they simply did it all again: excluding all political debate of any national significance so that John Key’s hubristic charade could be front and centre.
The end price of $26,000,000 was a win-win-win for the National party: they successfully hamstrung any meaningful debate about the state of society for months, and they made us pay for it, while at the same time cutting access and funding to social services.
The real media war is between those who want to inform you (out of solidarity) and who want to confuse, frighten, mislead and befuddle you (usually out of a profit motive). So if you have a piece of information that is of more value than the average mainstream media puff piece about Max Key or Kate Middleton, then share it.
When I was working a cannabis law reform booth at a hippie festival in Nelson about eight years ago, I had an unpleasant encounter with a local hysteric. She approached us like she would have approached two fellows who were advocating to legalise child molestation and launched into a rant about the “twelves” who would inevitably get hold of cannabis if it was legal.
Before either of us could respond, she was dragged off by her embarrassed husband. If we had had the chance, we would have responded with an argument out of the Cannabis Activist’s Handbook: that a repeal of cannabis prohibition would actually make it harder for teenagers to get hold of cannabis.
Now there is evidence that this counterargument was correct. The stupid thing is that, if one puts the hysteria aside for ten seconds, it’s quite obvious that legal cannabis is safer for teenagers than New Zealand’s current black market model.
It was found that in Colorado, where cannabis was legalised in 2012, legal cannabis stores generally don’t sell weed to minors. In a study similar to the Liquor Board stings in New Zealand, 19 out of 20 Colorado cannabis retailers refused to sell cannabis to a person who looked under 21 and who could not produce ID.
As can be imagined, a 19 out of 20 rejection rate is much better than what it would have been had the 20 stooges gone to tinnie houses instead.
Even though American teenagers are consuming less alcohol and tobacco than previously, rates of cannabis use among teenagers remains constant. Why?
It’s probably because, as centuries of relentless cultural brainwashing has ever less of an effect thanks to the Internet spreading truth about forbidden subjects, people naturally come to realise that they enjoy smoking cannabis more than getting drunk and smoking cancer sticks.
A short history lesson: the Greatest and Silent Generations survived the Great Depression and World War Two and incurred severe psychological trauma in doing so. This trauma was passed down to the Baby Boomers, many of who were fed into the meat grinder of Vietnam. Generation X, who followed, mostly escaped direct trauma but there are many who suffered secondary trauma as a consequence of being raised by mentally damaged Boomers. Now there are the Millennials, who are mostly okay.
It is not a coincidence that, as the generations get younger, they seem to naturally prefer smoking cannabis over using alcohol and tobacco.
This is probably because the less traumatised a person is, the less they desire the brutal sledgehammer effect on consciousness that alcohol has, and the less they desire the serenity-at-all-costs mentality that accompanies a tobacco habit. Alcohol is a brutal drug for a brutal age, and legal tobacco might prove to be an anachronism from a time when considerations like human life weighed far lighter than profit.
The desire to alter consciousness, however, also occurs frequently in people who have not been severely traumatised – and these people appear to prefer cannabis.
Cannabis tends to have the effect of making the user more, not less, sensitive. This means that people tend to avoid using it unless they are around people they like in a setting they find comfortable or in a mindstate where some cognitive enhancement, not destruction, is desired.
There is no good reason to limit the freedom of young people to alter consciousness to using alcohol and tobacco.
It may have made sense in an era when the life expectancy of humans was so low that few had the fortune to live long enough to die of alcohol or tobacco-related illnesses, but in the current age denying young people the use of recreational cannabis has the cruel effect of pushing them towards an early death from cancer or heart disease.
With the news that the Greens have more or less adopted the ALCP policy from the 2014 Election, there is a sudden interest in the sort of person who might be attracted to vote Green on the basis of this policy. In this specific instance, there’s one obvious and decent-sized demographic: actual ALCP voters from 2014, who were 10,961 in number.
So who are they? Well, they’re very clearly not the same sort of person who would vote National. The correlation betwen voting ALCP in 2014 and voting National in 2014 is -0.70. This is not at all surprising as the entire point of the war on drugs was to destroy the enemies of the conservative establishment.
Neither are they likely to vote ACT (-0.45) or Conservative (-0.54). These three correlations are fairly hefty, which tells us that the average cannabis law reform voter has a considerable level of apathy for conservatism and for right-wing politics in general.
Naturally, these correlations are the opposite on the left. Voting for the ALCP in 2014 and voting Labour in 2014 had a correlation of 0.38. For Internet MANA it was 0.76 and for the Maori Party it was 0.85.
Two correlations stand out against this easy narrative of ALCP voters primarily being leftists. They are the correlation between voting ALCP in 2014 and voting Green in 2014 (0.02) and with voting New Zealand First in 2014 (0.57).
The lack of a significant correlation with the Green Party vote might surprise many. It seems to be a natural assumption that, because the ALCP policy in 2014 was always more likely to be picked up in the future by the Greens than any other party, that a strong correlation ought to exist. The reality, however, is that the Greens and the ALCP have hitherto appealed to very different demographics.
The Greens have, since at least a decade ago, deprioritised their cannabis policy in favour of all kinds of trendy issues that appeal mostly to middle-class urban elites. This explains why the correlation between voting Green and Net Personal Income is 0.31, so much more positive than the correlation between voting ALCP and Net Personal Income, which is -0.40.
Not only do ALCP voters come from the other side of the socioeconomic spectrum to Green voters, but they are also much browner. The correlation between voting Green in 2014 and being Maori is (an insignificant) -0.09; for voting ALCP in 2014 and being Maori it is a whopping 0.89, one of the strongest correlations in this entire dataset.
This also explains much of the high correlation betwen voting ALCP and voting New Zealand First. The correlation between voting New Zealand First and being Maori is 0.66. Everyone who has ever met more than a few Maoris will have caught on to the popularity of cannabis within Maori culture, and it’s not surprising given the differential in how hard the law hits them that Maori are much more likely to cast a vote for cannabis law reform.
Few will be suprised that voting ALCP has a very strong negative correlation with turnout rate in 2014: -0.68. This is, however, only slightly worse than Labour’s correlation with voting of -0.67. So it’s less to do with lazy stoners and more to do with the general disenfranchisement of those who the system does not represent.
Cannabis voters have a moderate tendency to not be religious: correlations with voting ALCP in 2014 and being Christian, Buddhist or Hindu were -0.41, -0.52 and -0.40 respectively. Mirroring this was a correlation of 0.34 with having no religion. The odd statistic here was the sizable correlation between voting ALCP and having Spiritualism for a religion: this was 0.36.
If cannabis voters are poor, Maori and non-religious, it’s probably not surprising that they’re also young. Voting ALCP in 2014 had a hefty correlation of -0.55 with Median Age, which suggests that most of the people voting on the basis of this policy are young.
Perhaps the most interesting idea from all of these statistics is that the Greens might be winning votes with their new cannabis policy at the expense of New Zealand First voters. It’s apparent that many young Maori vote ALCP out of levity in their first election and then, as they age and become less radical, come to see the merit in voting New Zealand First. The Greens would be chiefly targeting these voters with their new cannabis policy.
If the Greens are making a serious push for cannabis voters again they may find that the demographics have changed since the last time they tried it, in 1999.
This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.
The Greens have taken their sweet time in updating their cannabis policy to something reasonable, and this newspaper has not shied from criticising them for dragging their heels. But today they did update it – and this update has electoral ramifications worth considering.
The updated drug law policy seems to be the responsibility of Julie Anne Genter (whose sponsored FaceBook posts you may have seen recently if you were in enough cannabis-related groups). This is her first major effort since assuming the role of Greens Health Spokesperson from Kevin Hague.
Most encouragingly, in an interview about the new policy Genter made a reference to Canada and the USA, in particular the Western seaboard closest to New Zealand. It’s in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and California that cannabis prohibition was repealed by referendum and in Canada that it is in the process of being repealed by a party that ran explicitly on the issue in a General Election.
She also used a couple of arguments straight out of the Cannabis Activist’s Handbook: that cannabis law reform was a similar sort of deal to gay marriage in that the herd was against until until it had had a few decades to think about it and that legalisation would make it harder – not easier, as it is considered by some – for young people to get hold of it because of the current lack of ID checks on the black market.
The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party has made a point of using the example of Colorado to suggest what a sane cannabis policy ought to look like. So if the Greens are signalling that this is also their long-term vision, then they ought to count on collecting votes from people who think along similar lines.
The ALCP scored 0.46% of the vote in the 2014 General Election. This isn’t much but it’s a lower limit on what the Greens might expect to gain from this policy.
All of these people were willing to drag themselves to the polls to vote for a party who had no realistic chance of making a difference but who did intend to make noise about the cannabis law, so it’s likely that the vast majority of people willing to vote for the non-Parliamentary ALCP would be willing to vote Green now that the Greens have a similar cannabis policy.
This newspaper estimated last year that the true amount of support for the ALCP was probably closer to 1%, based on the increase in support for reform to New Zealand’s drug laws since 2014 (change has been very rapid on this front). The Greens can count on most of those.
On top of that, one has to factor in all the people who would have voted for such a policy in 2014 had a major party supported it, as one now does.
These people are probably as least three times as numerous as those who voted ALCP in 2014 or were intending to do in 2017.
It’s interesting to note that voting Green in 2014 and voting ALCP in 2014 has a correlation of only 0.02. This is because Green voters tend to be white and wealthy whereas ALCP voters tend to be poor and Maori.
Voting ALCP in 2014 had a correlation of -0.40 with Net Personal Income, which suggests that cannabis voters are poorer than all but Labour, Maori Party and New Zealand First voters. Voting Green in 2014 had a correlation of 0.31 with Net Personal Income, which means Green voters are almost wealthier than average by as much as the average cannabis voter is poorer than average.
Implicit in these statistics is the potential for the Greens to attract a large number of new voters, especially those who didn’t vote in 2014, as the anti-cannabis brainwashing has been least effective on those who are already disenfranchised, such as Maori, young people and the mentally ill, and these traditionally low-voting groups now have a reason to reconsider.
These statistics suggest that there are many New Zealanders who have only just now started to hear the Green Party tune as the party seeks to expand outside of their traditional wealthy, white urban strongholds.
It’s easily possible that this new policy will result in 2% extra votes for the Greens on Election night 2017, because of the immense degree of disenfranchisement suffered by cannabis users before today. This alone would result in two extra seats once they were all dealt out.
After all, there are 400,000 cannabis users in New Zealand and our options, until today, were terrible.
This year has been our generation’s equivalent of 1968 – changes on all fronts, and many records broken. Apart from breaking records at rugby, New Zealanders have also had recent success in breaking records at suicide.
Broadly speaking, we have some idea why people commit suicide. Although the biochemical reasons vary, the essential reason is a sustained abuse and/or neglect that convinces them it would be better to be dead than continue to live in a place where such things happen.
There is already evidence suggesting up to 90% of suicides occur in people with a mental health diagnosis or potential diagnosis, and an American study found that high rates of childhood abuse and neglect were correlated with a 12-fold increase in the frequency of suicide attempts as an adult.
Thus, it’s fair to say that – if it wasn’t already obvious to the reader – of those who attempt suicide as an adult, most will have a story of childhood abuse or neglect to tell.
What causes childhood abuse and neglect? Tragically, the answer to this is usually more childhood abuse and neglect; the child learns from its own parents that human life isn’t worth very much and naturally they treat their own children the same way. Monkey see, monkey do. Lack of empathy cascades down the generations.
Apart from this simplistic response, the strongest correlate with abuse and neglect of children is poverty. Poverty tends to lead to abuse and neglect for two reasons. The first is stress in the family unit, the second is that it causes mental illness in the mother.
Stress leads to abuse and neglect because a parent who is continually under high levels of stress will have greater difficulty maintaining the correct attitude towards their offspring. They are more likely to lash out from suppressed frustration and rage, and they are more likely to abandon consciousness through the bottle or other recreational drugs.
It might be obvious that mental illness in the mother contributes to an increased suicide rate among the offspring, but in case it isn’t obvious the science makes clear that such a causal relationship exists.
One of the most reliable factors predicting a future maltreatment report for any given child is known to be maternal depression.
It’s well known that poverty is one of the major causes of depression in women, usually because it imposes considerable psychological stress at the same time as removing women from accessing useful avenues of social support.
In fact the association between poverty and mental health is considered one of the most well-established in all of psychiatry.
For women it is especially acute because women tend to make much greater use of social networks to pre-empt mental health conditions. This means that poverty, in addition to the stress it already causes, makes it more difficult for women to maintain their social networks, and so an unfortunate feedback loop with poverty and decreased mental health outcomes can be observed.
Considering that the vast majority of people who are both poor and with dependent children are women, this pattern is especially impactful.
After reading all this, it is perhaps predictable that there is a relationship between childhood poverty and antisocial behaviour. Not only are children more likely to exhibit antisocial behaviour if they are from a home in poverty, but they are also more likely to show persistent patterns of antisocial behaviour into adulthood the more years that they spend in poverty.
All of this ultimately reflects an area where politics and health cross.
For, if poverty creates mental illness, then there’s a clear moral imperative to reduce poverty in the same way that there is a clear moral imperative to provide sanitation to people so as to prevent cholera outbreaks, typhus, plagues etc.
After all, in the same way that someone chucking a bucket of shit out into the street might impact you by creating a disease, childhood neglect and abuse is going to create the sort of adult that will rob, rape, burgle and murder you when you’re old.
However, a vote for the National Government of the past eight years was to vote for tax cuts in exchange for defunding rape crisis centres, slashing mental health funding, cutting benefits to sick people and perpetuating the war on drugs.
Looked at like this, it’s hard to deny that a vote for a National Government is a vote to decrease the mental health of everyone in the bottom half of society (or perhaps even bottom three-quarters, considering that many people vastly overestimate how wealthy they will be in ten years’ time), because it is a vote to redistribute wealth upwards from the already poor to the rich, thus increasing poverty and therefore the consequences of poverty, such as mental illness.
This might explain why so many old people vote National (the correlation between voting National in the 2014 General Election and Age is 0.81): they won’t be around to see the full extent of the damage that National policies do to the collective health of the nation, but they can cash in their tax cuts straight away.
Probably if John Key were to be presented with the information in this article he’d say that all mental health problems are caused by drug abuse. So there is little value in trying to talk sense to the current political establishment about the subject.
Perhaps the best thing to do is to educate the younger generations with the truth about how the bulk of psychological problems arose in our society, so that they’ll be in a position to do something about it when the grip of the Baby Boomers on the brass ring of power is relinquished in death.
Giving someone medical ‘treatment’ against their will and very arguably to their own long-term detriment is explicitly forbidden under Section 11 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. Despite this, it happened on at least five occasions last year in New Zealand with electroshock therapy alone. How?
The answer lies in the Mental Health Act. Specifically Section 60, which allows a psychiatrist to override the Bill of Rights Act if they feel that it’s in the best interest of the patient.
Note that the will of the patient is considered a non-factor here.
Note also that a short few centuries ago, people were burned at the stake because authority figures decided that it was in the best interests of their immortal soul. Have we really come out of the Dark Ages? One suspects that the people getting electroshock therapy despite having explicitly refused consent may be inclined to think not.
Section 59.4 of the Mental Health Act reads: “The responsible clinician shall, wherever practicable, seek to obtain the consent of the patient to any treatment even though that treatment may be authorised by or under this Act without the patient’s consent.”
Who decides what is practicable? Certainly not the patient – and here the problem lies.
If treatment may be authorised without the patient’s consent by the Mental Health Act then the Mental Health Act overrides the Bill of Rights Act in New Zealand.
There’s only one reasonable conclusion to draw from this: mental health patients are lower than criminals in our society.
This proposition can be supported with a little thought.
It’s a common experience for a mentally ill person to come into contact with a system that refuses to help them, especially if that person’s illness makes it difficult to hold down a work schedule (or to work full stop) and so they need financial assistance.
Even worse, there is no obligation whatsoever on the part of the mental health services to make sure that the people who come to them for help are treated fairly.
Complaints against abusive mental health practitioners are usually treated with the same stonewalling as complaints against soldiers or police officers. Once a person is diagnosed with a mental illness, any allegation of abuse they make is simply written off as a delusion.
Contrast this state of affairs with what happens if a person chooses of their own free will to chop the head off another human being and rape the corpse.
In the case of such a grisly, senseless rape-murder, that murderer will be provided with a lawyer to guide them through the whole process of arrest, detention, custody, trial, sentence and aftermath, making sure that at each step they are fully aware of their rights. That lawyer, who will be provided to a murderer for free if they have no money, will ensure that nothing untoward happens to his client at any point.
If the murderer doesn’t like the punishment handed down for his act of murder he has the right to appeal to a higher court (his lawyer will naturally advise him at length here).
And if justice is still not done to the murderer’s satisfaction, there are Supreme Courts to help him, Ombudsmen, Police Complaints Authorities etc.
There is nothing like that for mental health patients in New Zealand. If you need a benefit because you are in an advanced state of psychosis and don’t want to starve to death in the meantime, you have 30 minutes with a psychiatrist and if you can’t convince them in that time it’s fuck off and die for you.
No appeal to a higher authority, no-one advising you of your options, nothing. Just out onto the street to fend for yourself, even if you’ve paid taxes for many years. The assumption seems to be, then, that you were just a parasitic malingerer trying to bludge a benefit.
In New Zealand it’s easier to find a doctor to perform electroshock therapy on a patient who has explicitly withdrawn their consent (five cases known in 2015) than it is to find one who will help their patients acquire medicinal cannabis (zero cases known in 2015).
That’s a sobering thought to anyone who believes the healthcare system is looking out for them.
If you want another, think that all the New Zealand has to do to destroy anyone deemed a thought criminal in 2016 is to find a psychiatrist who agrees and that psychiatrist will have the legal right to destroy that thought criminal’s mind with ‘medication’ or ‘treatment’ that could have any desired effect out of all the neurological reactions known to human biochemistry.
One of the best understood of which is sedation.
The thought criminal could be placed on a medication such as Olanzapine, a heavy enough dose of which will slow down the mind of the patient/victim to such a degree that stringing together ‘subversive’ thoughts would simply not be possible. This ‘chemical lobotomy’ is how people are silenced nowadays, now that physical lobotomies are illegal.
Giving someone electroshock therapy when they have explicitly refused treatment is as barbaric as the corrective rape practiced in Africa to try and ‘cure’ women of lesbianism.
It’s a very sad state of affairs when mentally ill people cannot have any confidence that the system they need to ask for help actually intends to help them. Yet, that is the state of affairs in New Zealand today.