Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And we thought we had troubles...

The short TV segment (Close Up - Mon 28 May) on late-night behaviour in Auckland CBD was totally depressing viewing as we watched Police dealing with the vast amount of alcohol that was out on the streets.

We should be grateful that at least we do now have Liquor Bans, and some people are learning to live with them.

I have a lot of sympathy for the Police who are supposed to enforce the bans. In remote centres like ours, on solo duty, they are not always able to be as firm as the law and the public might expect. And, as last night's reporter wryly observed, it would take an hour's work to process each offence. No wonder the Police, in a recent year, drove 22,000 offenders to their homes rather than take them into custody.

Without doubt, instant fines for breaches of a Liquor Ban will help. And, as the Lower Hutt physician said, increasing the tax on alcohol and other pricing adjustments have been shown to reduce levels of consumption. Let's do it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our Country Rock Hour

     What a great morning our congregation had with Ricky Waters during the Bay of Islands Country Rock Festival! Daphne and Herb put together an order of service with everything that was needed for worship.
      And we had a feast of Gospel and Country music from Ricky and his songwriter/singer wife Maureen. The latter’s line “Is there Mothers’ Day in Heaven?” tugged more than a few heartstrings. Their sympathetic selection of solo items for worship was devotional and impessive.
     Ricky left his trademarket Stetson off in respect for the worship setting but Daphne sent him out to get it and the rest of the hour went even better! We didn’t turn our Father’s House into a den of thieves but we bought every CD they had with them.
Actually, Daphne and I had a discussion about whether it would OK to mention them, especially since was foregoing his hour on the street to be with us. I suggested that if a bearded, wild-eyed stranger came in with a whip came in we should take no notice and just go on enjoying the music.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Correction

     Recently - on the doomed TV7, mark you! - I watched Roger Brooking and Simon Cunliffe discussing the appalling results of our country's "correctional" policies. I became deeply concerned.
     In the first place, we had better give up the title Department of Corrections; it seems that nothing much is being “corrected”. We’re just locking offenders up with others who are likely to have the worst possible effects on them.
     But the figures that really drew my attention were the observations that about 80% of crime that results in imprisonment is related to alcohol and other drugs; and less than 5% of convicted criminals are required to enter drug rehabilitation programmes as part of their sentence.
     Seems to me we haven't got a problem with prisons.
     We have got a problem with alcohol and other drugs.


     TV7 is the last vestige of serious public televsion in this country. And it is to be taken off the air in a couple of months. We are told that the country can’t afford it. That’s nonsense. 
     With TV7 will die a number of outstanding local programmes. There were always more than we had time to watch but there was always something worthwhile when we wanted it.
     Of course, there are limits to the public purse and I understand there are many other deserving causes for our tax dollar. But the loss of freedom of speech that is inherent in the canning of this excellent public service is a sad indictment of our sense of priorities.