Kapi-Mana News : February 12th 2013
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Your dog is immensely powerful and has a killer instinct, therefore you must keep it on a lead -- a harness would be preferable as determined dogs can slip out of collars. You also need to get proper training for you and your dog. The fact that you did not keep control of your dog on a public beach that was heavily populated with people including children and babies had consequences for everyone. Those not directly involved were shocked and upset. Your dog was betrayed by you, particularly as it expects that you love it yet you were attacking it, kicking it, etc, even after you had dragged it off my dog. I understand why you felt compelled at the time to do that, but you were the one who set up the circumstances in which that brief beating -- that could only temporarily relieve your stress and certainly teaches your dog nothing except that you are able to hurt it -- occurred. I was shocked and scared, as was my friend. But most of all, little Abby, as well as having her body broken, was terrorised, traumatised and bewildered. She was then left in an after-hours veterinary clinic for treatment overnight, picked up the next morning (still shaking uncontrollably) and taken to the vet in Paremata for yet more treatment and another overnight stay. It was thought at first that she may need to have her foreleg amputated and I was faced then with having to have her put down as I could not afford the costs of surgery. Today I found out that won t be necessary after all. I have had to take time off work to care for her at home. It was cowardly of you to flee the scene, but if you would like an opportunity to redeem your self- respect, and to acknowledge that we as humans need empathy, responsibility, and intelligence if we are to reasonably be owners of dogs, then please contact me and offer some contribution to the $1000 this has cost me in vet fees so far. KATARAINA MATEPARAE, Ascot Park. TALKING POLITICS GORDON CAMPBELL How long is long enough? The proposals (a) to shorten the Sonny Bill Williams fight in Brisbane and (b) to lengthen the term of government both came out of nowhere and not from the ordi- nary punters. On both occasions, the advocates for change seemed to be the people who stood to benefit most. Namely, Sonny Bill and his associates on one hand, and politicians on the other. Even so, Labour leader David Shearer chose to place a bet each way. In opposition, he noted, three years always seems too long but when you re in government it seems too short to get everything done. For many people turned off by politics, having to endure the elec- tion circus less often might sound attractive. Phrased differently though -- would you like to give politicians an extra year of lording it over you before you got the chance to kick them out? The same proposal would probably be rejected. As former Prime Minister Helen Clark once pointed out, one reason we allow governments only a three-year term in New Zealand is because of our unusually bare- bones political system. This country has only a single- tier Parliament with almost no significant checks and balances. Given that situation, a three- year term is a safeguard against an elected dictatorship. High-handed governments can be thrown out quickly, hopefully before they do too much damage. In 1967 and 1990, people voted against the idea of lengthening the term by more than a two- thirds margin. The argument for a four-year term is that it would better enable government to get the necessary work done. As other commentators have already pointed out, this would be a more compelling argument if, in the private sector, the same get out of their way and let them get on with it approach had been less controversial. Leaky homes, fee-gouging by banks, excessive telco costs, high airport charges and such like hardly provide a compelling precedent for carrying the same approach over to the public sector. Ultimately, it comes down to whether the desired end -- a better performance, perhaps, by govern- ment -- can justify weakening the need to be accountable to voters. Other countries have two-tier parliamentary systems, written constitutions, recall powers and binding referendums that provide far more robust platforms for democracy than we have, and thus a four-year term of government is more feasible for them. As it happens, the present gov- ernment has delivered a useful case study. With Environment Canterbury, the present govern- ment suspended democracy to achieve ends it deemed essential. That has not been a popular move and the jury is still out on the results. History tells us that such trade- offs are always a risky business. Last century, Italy learned the hard way that any alleged bene- fits from having the trains run on time under Mussolini was out- weighed by the longer-term costs. Here, a public debate on the four-year term has barely begun. Not long ago, there was a noticeable, very alarmed reaction among the nation s editorial watchdogs when Labour abolished our links to the Privy Council and created the Supreme Court. That move was widely depicted as a threat to our democracy. To paraphrase Sherlock Hol- mes, it seems rather significant that this time, the dogs are not barking.
February 5th 2013
February 19th 2013