Is David Seymour the Biggest Coward in the New Zealand Parliament?

On the face of it, it seems self-evident that a New Zealand libertarian party would be a staunch supporter of cannabis law reform. There’s nothing less libertarian than the government putting people in cages for using a medicine they don’t approve of, and there’s nowhere in the world with a greater appetite for a repeal of cannabis prohibition.

The New Zealand ACT Party claims to be a libertarian party. They have wrapped themselves in the libertarian yellow and their website boldly states “We believe the current role of government is far too large and should be limited on a principled basis.”

Sounds good, as probably 75% of New Zealand agrees that the New Zealand Government’s decades-long war on medicinal cannabis users has been a governmental overreach and should be limited.

The ACT Party Crime and Justice page even goes as far as to state, at the top: “We’re striving for a progressive, vibrant New Zealand that encourages individual choice, responsibility and excellence.”

From all this rhetoric you’d think a repeal of cannabis prohibition would be front and centre, but it’s not even mentioned. Instead the entire Crime and Justice section is just a lengthy diatribe about how burglary is the greatest evil facing our nation and ought to be punished severely.

David Seymour shares more than a gormless possum-in-the-headlights look with Andrew Little – he’s also a coward when it comes to our cannabis laws

The inability of the ACT Party to make good on their rhetoric about compassion and freedom by supporting a repeal of New Zealand’s cannabis laws – despite their unprecedented degree of leverage on the current Government – marks that party, and David Seymour, as a pack of weaklings.

What takes the ACT Party’s behaviour from disappointing to pathetic is the fact that it has already been well established that a repeal of our cannabis laws would save the taxpayer $400,000,000 per year.

So changing our cannabis laws, and making good on all the lofty rhetoric about compassion and freedom and fulfilling New Zealand’s destiny as a forward-thinking nation, would be a simple matter of negotiating with the current National Government $400,000,000 worth of tax cuts that would be paid for with the savings from cannabis prohibition.

It isn’t clear why Seymour has yet to kick the ball into this wide open goal.

Probably because he is a coward, but it’s unlikely that a man could possibly be so craven. Imagine being so gutless, so lily-livered, so chickenshit, that a 76-year old former leader of your party was saying what needed to be said six years ago, and you still can’t find the stomach to walk the same trail blazed by this geriatric.

A more charitable explanation though, going by his wittering about the need to do work on evaluating what’s happening overseas, is that Seymour is just in the same twenty-year time warp as most of the rest of the country.

It was pointed out in a previous Dan McGlashan column that supporting the ACT Party has a very strong negative correlation with being born in New Zealand (-0.74). Has the ACT Party sold its soul to corporate globalist interests so that Seymour could be a National party puppet?

Considering that there are significant correlations between voting ACT and both having a professional occupation, or with working in financial and insurance services, it’s unlikely that ACT voters or supporters have much in common with cannabis users at all, much less using cannabis themselves.

If those are the circles Seymour moves in, perhaps this is why Seymour has failed to observe the immense appetite for a change to our ridiculous laws.

So maybe he needs to climb down out of the ivory tower and get a clue.

Coming out in support of cannabis law reform would lend credence to the idea that ACT might really be a libertarian party, instead of what most Kiwis suspect them to be – paid whores of big corporate interests.

The question is whether Seymour has the courage to stand up to a Catholic prohibitionist National Party leader, or whether he’d rather scurry away and prepare himself for the aftermath of the likely National loss later this year.

The most sure thing of all is that if ACT does not make an appeal to libertarian New Zealanders by updating their cannabis policy, they have little hope of winning more than one seat in this year’s election.

The Solution to Nelson Drunkenness is Cannabis Cafes on Bridge Street

Nelson does exceptionally well as a tourist town over the summer. We get thousands for the Abel Tasman alone and the Black Caps played here twice this season. It means big money for Sun City – but it won’t continue if we continue to get a reputation for mindless violence.

Retail group Uniquely Nelson is especially concerned by what they see as a spike in antisocial activity, in particular “drunkenness, violence, abuse, theft, rubbish and broken glass.” But as anyone who has lived in Nelson for any length of time knows, violence, abuse, theft rubbish and even broken glass are natural consequences of the first problem named – drunkenness.

Neither can we glibly blame everything on ‘North Islanders’ as if Nelsonians are not subject to the same loss of inhibition as everyone else on the planet who drinks booze. Drunk people in Nelson do the same things in Nelson that drunk people in any low-wage area get up to.

The problem with the drinking culture of Nelson is this – most of the intelligent people who have lived here for long enough have secured cannabis hookups and use that instead. Cannabis has driven out alcohol among the sort of consumer that is most sensitive to being turned away by dickheads, and this has left the drinking to the lowest common denominator.

Anyone new to Nelson looking for a good time will quickly encounter this lowest common denominator, and the results are usually as described in the examples given in the opening paragraph.

The sad thing is, there is plenty of opportunity for people to come here and have a good time. Being the oldest of Kiwis, we Nelsonians naturally represent what is the best of us, in particular a sunny nature, a social attitude and a genuine joy of life.

But we’d rather smoke weed at home than come into town to get our heads kicked in.

So the solution is obvious.

We ought to demolish the dive bars of Bridge Street and replace them with a handful of cannabis cafes, so that Nelsonians and our many visitors can relax in public without fear of being attacked by some drunken animal.

As it is, if I’m driving East on Bridge Street late on a weekend night and I see some young backpackers heading the other way for a night on the town, I feel sorry for them, knowing that they will not get to see the best of my city or of its people.

Cannabis cafes on Bridge Street would provide the revitalisation that Sun City needs. It would bring the young people back out of their homes and life back into the streets of the CBD. It would also create a festive atmosphere in the city centre to replace the fighting, vomiting and vandalism.

Not least, the local retailers of Nelson stand to make a packet from the idea. The wider Nelson region is already, along with Coromandel, the most popular destination in New Zealand for underground cannabis tourism owing to our widespread local embrace of the plant medicine. International visitors know that they can come to this region for some of the world’s best natural cannabis.

If Nelson could get it together to take advantage of the impending repeal of cannabis prohibition we could position ourselves first in the queue for the hordes of young tourists that would flock here to escape from the drunken shitheadery that plagues most other Kiwi towns and cities.

If we did it right, many of those tourists would be other Kiwis. These people should leave Nelson with a sense of being impressed by our forward-thinking, gregarious and positive attitude, not with relief at getting out before they were glassed by some pisshead.

Why So Many Kiwis Hate The Police

“If you were to come and ask me for a tinnie of marijuana and I give you a tinnie of lawn clippings, you’ve still committed an offence, even though you haven’t got drugs in your possession.” Sound reasonable? Perfectly reasonable according to Senior Sergeant Rupert Friend of the Hamilton Police.

In the odd case of Betty Tamihana, who tried to purchase some cannabis on Facebook to treat an anxiety disorder, she found that if you try to buy some medicine and get ripped off, the New Zealand Police will not help you if that medicine was cannabis. In fact, they will attack you.

Such an attitude is especially galling for the tens of thousands of Kiwis who use medicinal cannabis. Imagine being told that not only is your medicine illegal but if you so much as get ripped off by someone falsely claiming to sell you it then you are a criminal.

It would be more honest just to make it a criminal offence to suffer from a medical condition that could be treated by cannabis. Perhaps specially equipped Police units could raid the houses of cancer sufferers and if it was found that cannabis would be an effective medicine for the terminal pain then the sufferer could be charged with the crime of ‘Having a Reason To Want To Try To Purchase Cannabis.’

If your light is on at night because you can’t sleep, perhaps that could be taken as sufficient evidence that you might end up wanting to buy some cannabis to cure the insomnia, and so the Police should have the right to pre-emptively break into your house and put you in a cage (for your own safety of course).

Joking aside, that shows how ridiculous cannabis prohibition is. Should we accept that, in New Zealand, after all the time and effort we’ve put into building a decent justice system, a Police officer might sell the sufferer of a mental illness some grass clippings in the guise of an anxiety medicine just to arrest them under a law that was supposedly enacted to protect the public?

None of this is to blame the Police. The Police are men of iron, and the key to understanding them is to understand dogs, who are also of iron.

The thing about dogs is that they have absolutely no concept of right or wrong – they just obey dominant males in their group. Anyone who feeds them, or pays them in the case of Police officers, is their total and complete master, and they will rip to pieces anyone who fails to pay this master due respect.

The real bad guys of this story are, as usual, the Paedophiles of Wellington, who are the ones responsible for maintaining the law against cannabis freedom that is mindlessly enforced by the Blue Dogs.

The refusal of the New Zealand political class to accede to the public will to repeal cannabis prohibition has driven a wedge between the Police and the public, as it has induced the Police to spend forty years attacking the citizenry in the War on Drugs, instead of acting as peace officers, which is their warrant.

This has meant that there are now several large demographic groups – the under 40s, Maori, the mentally infirm – who distrust the Police to the point of seeing them as no less oppressive than an enemy army.

Of course, the biggest irony of this story is that the only person to behave in a rational manner was the drug user who called the Police to report a fraud. The Police officer did not act rationally, because to have a total lack of sympathy for the sufferer of a mental condition is the kind of hatred that ends up getting reciprocated, even if indirectly.

‘I Like Smoking Weed’ Is a Perfectly Legitimate Argument

There is a faulty premise in the national consciousness – the premise that the pro-cannabis lobby has the responsibility to make the case for legalising cannabis before prohibition can be repealed. All kinds of politicians, from Andrew Little to Peter Dunne, have trotted out this lazy deception.

This line of rhetoric is false because it relies on a more fundamental premise, which is that the manner cannabis was made illegal was legitimate in the first place.

The usual apologia is that the politicians are our lawful representatives and so the laws they pass are done so with our consent, and so the politicians have the consent of the governed, and so all the laws they have passed are legitimate, including the ones pertaining to cannabis prohibition.

Basic logic that even a child can understand will tell you that, in the case of cannabis, the lack of a victim makes the law against it categorically different to other laws.

Punching people in the face is bad because it causes suffering.

Stealing someone’s food is bad because it will make them suffer from hunger.

Killing people is bad because it causes suffering to the remaining friends and family (not to mention the person while they’re being killed).

Murdering, shooting, stabbing, raping, kidnapping, defrauding, robbing, stealing, assaulting and battering – all of these are crimes because they have victims.

Outside of the delusional fantasy role-playing world that judges, lawyers and politicians have invented, crimes are distinguished from non-crimes on the basis that crimes cause suffering, not on the basis that a bunch of paedophiles in Wellington have decreed them thus.

This might sound really obvious to any Buddhist readers out there, but to many Kiwis, conditioned from childhood to obey authority without ever questioning its legitimacy, it appears revelatory.

It also puts the moral responsibility back on us to consider if the laws being passed by our supposed representatives actually have the effect of reducing suffering in New Zealand or not. The responsibility is not on our political representatives to make moral decisions on our behalf, because politicians are men of silver and philosophy is the preserve of everyone.

One argument is that cannabis, even if not directly harmful, may be indirectly harmful because of long-term health considerations of the user that the general taxpayer has to pay to treat. This argument contends that we ought to wait for science to prove that cannabis is relatively harmless.

The truth is this – we don’t need to prove that science says cannabis should be legal because science was never used to make it illegal. We also don’t need to prove that cannabis is harmless because harmless is not the standard things have to reach in order to be legal.

It’s legal to consume any of alcohol, caffeine, sugar, fat or tobacco to whatever extent one likes and to have the taxpayer cover any medical costs that may arise.

It’s legal to fill the tank of your car up with petrol, a vital and ever-diminishing resource, and to drive around and around in circles for no reason.

It’s legal to join a rugby team and to hit another person in a tackle with the intent of injuring them and to break a bone oneself and to go on ACC.

It’s legal to go into a forest with a rifle and shoot dead a whole bunch of large mammals.

All of these activities arguably cause more harm than smoking cannabis does, even under the broadest interpretation of health issues.

The standard to make cannabis illegal – which has never been met and which never will be met – is that there is more suffering under a regime of cannabis freedom than under a regime of cannabis prohibition.

Until this standard is met, no further reason for using cannabis need be given than ‘I like smoking weed.’

How Much Has Peter Dunne Cost New Zealand By Stopping Cannabis Law Reform?

After the reign of Graham Capill, Peter Dunne vied with Colin Craig and Nick Smith for the title of “New Zealand Politician Considered Most Likely To Get Sent Down For Kiddy Fiddling”, as Dunne is also a highly narcissistic, sexually repressed, out-of-touch Bible thumper – the prime demographic. But in the cold light of day, not even a dozen Beasts of Blenheim could have done as much damage to Aotearoa New Zealand as Peter Dunne.

This article limits itself to calculating the amount of financial damage Peter Dunne did to New Zealand through his one-man campaign to prevent even the possibility of reform to our expensive, vicious and counterproductive cannabis laws.

After the 2002 General Election, called in the wake of the collapse of the Alliance Party, Labour Leader Helen Clark had three possible options to help her stitch together a Government: New Zealand First, who wanted no immigration; the Greens, who wanted no genetic engineering; and United Future, who wanted no reform on social issues.

In the end it was apparent that big business strongly supported both mass immigration and genetic engineering, so cannabis users and gays and lesbians wishing to marry got thrown under the bus for the $$$$$. Helen Clark signed on the Wormrider’s bottom line for the support of his 8 MPs and the rest is history.

After the 2005 General Election things were slightly different. United Future had less influence on account of voters not being so easily tricked by a television gimmick this time around, so Labour was in a position to try and unfuck the country.

Dunne was able to get a cabinet position, cementing his reputation as “Hemhorroid of the House” by resisting all progress.

He continued to oppose progress on social issues by voting against the Civil Unions Bill, a half-arsed attempt at a gay marriage bill sold as an ingenious compromise with New Zealand’s legion of elderly Christian bigots, and, of course, by not allowing so much as a discussion about cannabis.

After 2008 the conservative National Government took power, and naturally they did not repeal cannabis prohibition as it directly serves major capitalist interests to have a competitor to the alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries crushed.

Dunne managed to worm his way into the position of Associate Minister of Health, from where he was able to garrote all attempts at cannabis law reform in their infancy, most notably by skillful and successful actions in dividing the cannabis law reform movement.

The two most notable examples of this were declaring the grossly unsuitable fraudster Toni-Marie Matich to be the public face of cannabis law reform, thus damaging the credibility of the movement, and the Orwellian Psychoactive Substances Act, which made everything illegal and divided the movement into people who had read it and people who hadn’t.

So, aside from the couple of million that Dunne has leeched from the public funds in the form of an MP’s salary and perks, how much has he cost the country?

There is no simple calculation because it depends on the extent of the cannabis law reform that was prevented in the last window of opportunity presented by the Fifth Labour Government.

We know that full, Colorado-style reform would save New Zealand $500,000,000 per year in Police costs, court costs, prison costs, and lost tax revenue. Multiplying this by the 14 years since 2002, when Dunne first had his influence in preventing reform, gives us a figure of $7,000,000,000.

In reality, the Clark Administration would have likely brought in some kind of medicinal cannabis and/or decriminalisation in 2003/4, with full legalisation coming later, so the immediate savings might have been a third to a half of their final value, increasing as time went on.

This suggests a figure for the total wastage of Kiwi labour and resources due to Peter Dunne’s actions of between $3 and $7 billion.

This thought experiment ought to be a sobering one for anyone worried about Maori beneficiaries having too many kids and Chinese restaurants not paying taxes. If one politician can cost the country $3,000,000,000 because of moral and intellectual incompetence, all of our scrutiny ought to be directed at the ruling classes, and not on each other.

If Violence is Unwanted, Why Force People to Consume a Drug That Makes Them Violent?

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.

The Real Gateway Phenomenon Is The Government Telling Lies About Drugs

One of the reasons for keeping cannabis illegal is known as the Gateway Drug Effect (or Gateway Drug Story, for the cynical). The logic goes like this: people who try cannabis will like it and, in doing so, come to reason that drugs are awesome, and will then inevitably try heroin and die.

Apparently this happens with such tragic predictability that the phenomenon has taken the name the Gateway Effect – namely, that cannabis serves as a gateway to the wider world of drugs.

This reasoning, wrong as it may be, is almost logical. There is a Gateway Drug Effect, only – the gateway drug is alcohol. There is also a gateway effect related to cannabis, but it’s not what the Government claims it is.

The real gateway effect usually kicks in the morning after one has tried cannabis for the first time. Invariably one has already tried alcohol and discovered what a hangover is. Waking up after having smoking weed for the first time the night before is often accompanied by a sense of relief, as one might have been expecting an alcohol-style hangover only to find the cannabis one is very different.

So that next morning, and that next day, it sinks in that you have been lied to the whole time about cannabis. That evening, you start wondering what else the Government has lied to you about.

And then you’re on a journey down the rabbit hole.

That rabbit hole can take the neophyte psychonaut to some paranoid places. This is natural when one realises that the police officers who came to your high school to tell you that cannabis causes violence and mental illness were lying. They came to you as if they were pillars of the community, and they lied to your face about a medicine that you might have found beneficial.

Did they know they were lying? Probably some of them did and some of them didn’t. The ones that didn’t know were lied to by someone else – but who are these people?

It soon comes to appear that the lying comes from the very top – from the political class itself.

This lying and forcing other people to lie has the effect of devastating the social fabric.

If I go to see a doctor about pills I’ve ordered off the Internet, I don’t know if I can trust them or not. I already know that doctors will quite happily repeat lies told to them by authority figures, whether those figures are in government or the pharmaceutical industry.

A doctor will look you right in the eyes and tell you that cannabis causes depression if their paycheck is provided by a pharmaceutical company who sells an antidepressant that makes more money than cannabis could.

Does it have to be this way?

Teenagers are going through a rite of passage nowadays that is very common. It involves smoking your first joint and realising that you’ve been lied to, and then following the same reasoning described in this article. This rite of passage (Eleusinian Mysteries aside) is a modern thing – people in the recent past were generally more than happy to march into a meat grinder if an authority figure said it was to their benefit.

The astute reader might have observed the paradoxical benefit here – this exact cynicism about the government is what makes it harder for English-speaking people to follow dictators.

Still, there’s surely a better way to shock people awake then by putting an unlucky minority of them in prison and leaving their friends and family to rue the butcher’s bill.

The Government’s strategy of lying about cannabis to the detriment of the people it governs, and then refusing to stop telling lies even when it’s obvious to almost everyone that they are lying, has devastated confidence in authority figures for an entire generation of Westerners.

If You Want to Think of the Children, Then Legalise Cannabis

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.