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Archive for the ‘Government Incompetence’ Category

Sensible Sentencing Trust not the first victim?

Those upset about this case

The Human Rights Commission plans to prosecute the Sensible Sentencing Trust for breaching a serial paedophile’s* privacy.

It stems from the trust printing the man’s name and details of his offending on its website. The commission says this breaches his privacy because the trust does not mention that he has name suppression.

However, neither the paedophile nor the commission have been able to supply a court record to prove he has name suppression.

…would do well to also note this one.

Robert Henderson is due to appear before the Human Rights Tribunal on November 30 for telling a nursing home one of its employees was a drug addict.

In 2003, Henderson rang the nursing home and told the charge nurse that a caregiver, who was on a methadone programme, had asked for opiates at his practice.

Earlier this year, the High Court at Wellington found Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff’ wrongly ruled against Henderson.

Shroff found the doctor could not provide adequate reasons for his actions and should have only told the home’s manager.

However, the judicial review found it was not up to Henderson to prove the threat and he had told the correct person.

He was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Perhaps a reporter could chase up with Dr Henderson?

I found this comment telling:

Dr Henderson said he was standing up for the rights of the elderly, even though he could walk away now with the settlement paid for by the Medical Protection Society.

“It is a matter of protecting the elderly and it is about their human rights,” Dr Henderson said.

There seems to be a consistent thread here where the HRC is standing against the rights of the public to be protected. I believe this earlier case is far worse, as it goes against the clear ruling of the courts. But the most recent case is very disturbing too, as you have a lack of evidence seen as grounds to prosecute where it should have killed the case from the start – especially given all that’s left is the word of a known liar and pedophile.

* This characterization has been disputed.

Update: The decision  on Dr Henderson is here. He was cleared by two of the 3 “judges”, with the third taking offense with his view that drug addicts were not to be trusted to the point where she wrote a minority report. Even the majority report takes pains to clarify that they had no love for the man they cleared:

[71] There is, however, a postscript. It does not follow from the fact that we have found that Dr Henderson had reasonable grounds to believe that there was a serious and imminent threat to patients at the nursing home, that we accept and agree with all of the evidence he gave, or the matters that he regarded as being important. We did not. At several points in his evidence Dr Henderson referred to other situations he regarded as being relevant, and gave some surprising evidence to the effect that a threat of contracting the HIV might not be so serious. The complainant is entitled to know that we have reached our conclusion despite these aspects of Dr Henderson’s evidence, not because of them. The reasons for our conclusions go no further than those we have set out in this decision.

Update 2: It can’t be emphasised enough: the doctor in this case was persecuted because he rang a rest home to tell them they unknowingly had a drug addict working for them. In an organisation that’s keeping drugs on site, that’s a biggie and it boggles the mind that she was not instantly fired – not for being a drug addict, but for the blatant lie. That sort of information is not something you would withhold in such a situation.

The Left’s solution to everything

I nominate this for commment of the day:

I agree that NZ Super […. insert name of government institution here ….] is not sustainable in its current form, butraising the eligibility age […. insert suggested fundamental, structural change here ….] is not the only possible solution. How about reintroducing a surtax, […. insert name of new tax here … ]

A disturbing case

Once again, political correctness trumps common sense.

Robert Henderson is due to appear before the Human Rights Tribunal on November 30 for telling a nursing home one of its employees was a drug addict.

In 2003, Henderson rang the nursing home and told the charge nurse that a caregiver, who was on a methadone programme, had asked for opiates at his practice.

What’s interesting is that the high court has already thrown this out.

Earlier this year, the High Court at Wellington found Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff’ wrongly ruled against Henderson.

Shroff found the doctor could not provide adequate reasons for his actions and should have only told the home’s manager.

However, the judicial review found it was not up to Henderson to prove the threat and he had told the correct person.

He was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Henderson previously said he believed the home’s residents were in imminent danger and anyone working in a rest home seeking drugs could “have a field day”.

“It would be the easiest thing in the world to slip a few tablets into your pocket and take them home on a regular basis, no one would ever know.”

The problem I have is, given the High Court ruling, why is he still being persecuted?

Henderson said the Office of Human Rights Proceedings was urging him to settle out of court.It considered a fair settlement would be for him to pay $5500, costs of $950, write a letter of apology and undertake training in privacy protocols.

Henderson said while the settlement would be paid for by the Medical Protection Society, he wanted to stand up for GP’s rights to speak out about patients who could compromise the health and safety of others.

“It would be moral cowardice … it would be very wrong,” he told NZ Doctor magazine.

Very wrong indeed. Since when could a minor tribunal re-open a case that had been so conclusively shut down by the High Court? Worse, they’re trying to get him to pay money to make it go away, after he’s won. That just doesn’t seem right.

He identified what appeared to be a real threat, and did the right thing by informing the proper person. The fact that that person was humiliated should come a distant second to the fact they’d lied on their job application form.

Why TSA Security is an utter waste of time

Why pat down people when this can happen?

Since airport security horror stories seem to be the prevalent news item at the moment, Eyeblast released this video Tuesday which shows Adam Savage speaking to an audience at an event called wOOtstock 2.0 in Seattle last May. Savage, of Mythbusters fame, claims that he accidentally passed through one of the new controversial full-body scanners carrying two “12-inch razor blades.”

Content warning: contains some graphic language.

Basically they’d come up as a long strip of metal – Probably not anything that’d raise concerns on an X-ray. Yet they’d be far more dangerous than a nail file.

Just when you thought you’d heard the most ridiculous airport security story…

…someone comes up with a better one.

RedState (Hat Tip: Patterico) has this story of solders flying into the US.

When we were on our way back from Afghanistan, we flew out of Baghram Air Field. We went through customs at BAF, full body scanners (no groping), had all of our bags searched, the whole nine yards.

…It’s probably important to mention that we were ALL carrying weapons. Everyone was carrying an M4 Carbine (rifle) and some, like me, were also carrying an M9 pistol. Oh, and our gunners had M-240B machine guns. Of course, the weapons weren’t loaded. And we had been cleared of all ammo well before we even got to customs at Baghram, then AGAIN at customs.

So everyone was packing, and then some.

Then security finds a pair of nail clippers, and the following conversation broke out.

TSA Guy: You can’t take those on the plane.Soldier: What? I’ve had them since we left country.

TSA Guy: You’re not suppose to have them.

Soldier: Why?

TSA Guy: They can be used as a weapon.

Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I’m allowed to take it on.

TSA Guy: Yeah but you can’t use it to take over the plane. You don’t have bullets.

Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers?

TSA Guy: [awkward silence]

Me: Dude, just give him your damn nail clippers so we can get the f**k out of here. I’ll buy you a new set.

Soldier: [hands nail clippers to TSA guy, makes it through security]

This might be a good time to remind everyone that approximately 233 people re-boarded that plane with assault rifles, pistols, and machine guns–but nothing that could have been used as a weapon.

One thing’s for sure, someone has lost sight of the big picture.

Where is the fat from the Good Times?

Idiot makes a point about public sector pay increases.

All of these strikes have the same cause: government penny-pinching. Government departments and DHBs are offering nil or derisory wage-rises. And in an environment of high inflation and rising living costs (GST, childcare etc), that is exactly the wrong offer to make to highly trained and irreplaceable staff whose services are in hot demand elsewhere….

The problem for the government is that not paying them makes everyone suffer. If you don’t pay the doctors, people can’t go to hospital. If you don’t pay the teachers, people have to mind their own kids. And the blame for this goes straight back on the government. The public value the jobs that these public servants do. They know they are overworked and underpaid. And the natural question they ask is why the government isn’t paying them what they’re worth and avoiding the disruption. Which means a big political headache for the government.

But that’s looking at the problem the wrong way.

The question I would be asking is, why are these people so underpaid considering this country just came out of some of it’s most prosperious years ever?

While the complaint is made that these public sector jobs are not being offered real pay increases, the private sector is taking pay cuts.

I personally believe that the real problem is inflation. (The GST increase is simply a tax shifting from income to expenditure.) Have a look at this graph.

Once National got inflation under control, it was held tightly under 3% – usually under 2%. Once Labour got into power, it fluctuated wildly up to 5% at times.

UK Education Priorities

Remember this?

A fifth of British teenagers believe Sir Winston Churchill was a fictional character, while many think Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur and Eleanor Rigby were real, a survey shows.

Well, today we have

Teenage girls are being taught how to walk in high heels in a government-funded college course in the UK.

The six-week Sexy Heels In The City course at London’s South Thames College costs 16-year-old students £150 (NZ$325) and also gives lessons on how to carry designer handbags, the Daily Express newspaper reports.

The course claims to prepare young women “for the business world and their social lives”.

It’s bad enough that they’re claiming that this stuff is necessary for the “business world”, but since when does the government have any business educating people to prepare them for their “social lives”?

The Obscenity of Subsidising Recycling

Was browsing the BBC, and came across this gem.

11. I buy these little beauties for a quite different reason. The floppy disk costs an average of £3.66 for 200, however they have a resale value of £5.50 at any good computer recycling centre, so I buy them in bulk and simply sell them directly at a profit. Take that, Bill Gates.
Cynthia, Tamworth

How on earth do we get to the point where recycled materials are worth more than the original? She doesn’t say, but I’m almost certain that this is almost certainly caused by government subsidies to encourage recycling.

So instead of recycling wasting fewer resources, it actually wastes more by encouraging people to purchase simply so they can throw away and take the profit.

(Unsurprisingly, many of the legitimate uses of floppy disks boil down to legacy systems. Hardly surprising – ATMs and aircraft and aren’t replaced at the same rate as PCs.)

Blacked Out

We are blacked out.

Better late than never 🙂

Toll Roads and Crashed Airships

Today we have a great example of why the private sector succeeds where government fails. It’s hidden at the end of this article.

“The decision to monitor the use of the toll road reflects the current economic climate and how we must ensure we get maximum benefit from the money that we spend.”

Mr Bristol said a decision would be made in early March on whether ARC staff would use the toll road for normal business.

A Ministry of Social Development spokesman said Work and Income staff had been told that if they chose to take a work vehicle through the toll road it would be at their own expense and they had to pay the toll before entering the road tunnel rather than later.

It was expected that staff would continue to use the alternative route through Orewa and Waiwera.

Child, Youth and Family has nominated specific work vehicles that are permitted to use the toll road.

A spokesman said: “This is to ensure social workers are able to access the most efficient route when an urgent situation arises. Pre-paid cards have been purchased.”

Private companies are taking a different view. Transcon Warkworth general manager Ian Ward said the company’s vehicles were cutting “upwards of 20 minutes” off their trips between northern Rodney and Auckland by paying the $4 toll for trucks.

“The money is well spent.”

So the private sector has already done the (rather simple) sums and determined that the time saved by the toll road is worth much more than the minuscule toll.

The public sector either assumes that it is not or will work it out over months.

It’s not like it’s hard.

  • The road saves about 10 min,
  • there are 6×10 min in an hour,
  • For the princely sum of $2 one is getting 10min more useful employee time
  • That means that you are paying for time at $12 an hour

How many WINZ or ARC staff have a salary + vehicle running costs  of less than $12/hr?

I’m guessing none, as that would be a breach of minimum wage laws.

I’m reminded once again of the story of the R100 and R101 airships. I’m amazed that I can’t find a decent reference on the Internet, given the way this project clearly showed the superiority of private sector methods.

The models were called the R100 (private industry) and the R101 (government).Vickers put together the design team and withdrew from the public eye at Crayford in Kent. After making an attempt at inventing hydrogen-powered engines for their airship they determined that it couldn’t be done and opted for gasoline-powered engines. They then proceded to devote their efforts to designing the airship itself. The actual fabrication of the R100 was carried out at Howden in Yorkshire.

In contrast the government facility remained open to public scrutiny. After considering hydrogen-powered engines decided to built deisel-powered engines. Unfortunately the research and development needed to build deisel-powered engines proved to be much later than the government program anticipated. After spending much time and budget trying to create deisel-powered engines they were reluctant to abandon this effort and admit that this effort and public money had been wasted. So they continued to expend too much time and budget on this difficult task. I am indebted to Joe Ruh for correction of a previous version in which I attributed the problems in the building of the R101 to the attempt to build hydrogen-powered engines.

The Vickers team completed its model and after a shakedown flight make some corrections and flew to Montreal and back without incident. The government team rushed completion and started off on the test flight to India. The government airship R101 crashed in France killing all aboard.

Unfortunately that description lacks considerable detail, suffice to say the gap in performance was vastly worse than this description suggests. The government ship refused to stop throwing good money after bad, pursuing several idiotic “innovations” that never worked, simply idiotic cost cutting measures (apparently diesels form railway engines are too heavy for airships…), coming in well over time and over budget.

The R100 was very successful but ironically the disaster of the R101 spelt the end of public support for airships in Britain and it was scrapped.

Update: Found a better source. R100, R101

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