INDEPENDENT NEWS

Matrix of Dysfunction linked to "Home Invasion"

Published: Thu 31 Aug 2000 09:05 AM
Matrix of Dysfunction linked to "Home Invasion" policy
press release: 31 August, 2000 - Mild Greens
Matrix of Dysfunction linked to "Home Invasion" policy - MILD GREENS
Drug law reformers are defending the right of Associate Health and Maori Affairs Minister, Tariana Turia, to stimulate debate on the "matrix of dysfunction" afflicting Maori in New Zealand.
"We as a society will never discover the truth of these matters, if we fail to scrutinise theory in the light of evidence", say Mild Greens, Blair Anderson and Kevin O'Connell.
Mrs Turia has found herself in hot water for suggesting to the Psychological Society's annual conference that land-grabbing "home invasions" are the principle historical cause of the "post-colonial traumatic stress disorder" she claims is disaffecting Maori today.
Blair Anderson said that the controversial cause and effect analysis of the associate minister was plausible, but did not go far enough. Maori are indeed caught up in a complex interaction of both symptom and cause in an ongoing and continuous cycle - "evidence strongly suggests however, that the farcical prohibition and criminalisation of marijuana use plays a not insignificant part in this increasingly dysfunctional social picture."
"There are injustices, past - and present", he said: "And it would be major progress if Maori Ministers could start acknowledging certain injustices of the modern age".
The Mild Greens argue that today's criminalisation regime continues the psychological abuse and exploitation evident in the earlier colonisation of Aotearoa - "You don't denigrate and trample over a person's rights and legitimate property without society paying a price, somewhere down the line", say the Mild Greens.
"Injustice breeds injustice, bad laws breed contempt, and dispossession breeds alienation."
The reformers have a particular interest in restoring social ecology in the New Zealand community - believing cannabis prohibition to be the ultimate in corruption, both self-defeating and delusional. An estimated 200 tonne per annum market is promoted by the profits to be gained in distribution, and policing - yet investigations into the anomalous workings of prohibition appear to have never quite made it onto a NZ government's agenda.
Uncontrolled availability and disrespect for rule of law mean younger and younger New Zealanders have easy access to the herb. Additional unintended consequences of the 923,000 cannabis enforcement hours a year, included impediments to treatment, "damaged police relations in the community" and "the nurturing of anti-social behaviour" as recently highlighted by the Auckland Council for Civil Liberties.
The Mild Greens insist Government must stop deluding itself that the costly and futile administration of cannabis "crime prevention" does not feature as an integral part of the cycle of harms it is making so much noise about.
Ministerial answers reveal that duress in respect of cannabis enforcement and punishment is grossly loaded against Maori and males. For example in 1997 there were proportionally 7 times as many Maori in prison for cannabis use, as opposed to non-Maori, and 14 times as many males as females. [005277 Tim Barnett to Min. of Justice, Phil Goff, 6 April 2000]
Holistic concepts of "influence" and "feedback" are well understood in Management Science - quite possibly demonstrated in the inexplicable anger of cannabis criminal Steven Wallace, gunned down by Police in the tragic Waitira incident earlier this year.
"As if completely ignorant of the fact that there may be negative fallout, New Zealand continues a regime of legalised and normalised home invasion in the community", say the Mild Greens: "It is perhaps unsurprising that Wallace smashed 55 windows in the Waitara Police station before menacing the police officer who shot him."
O'Connell and Anderson say it is obvious that the prejudicial application of cannabis laws, incorporating no end of systemic intolerance and deceit, is a not-so-subtle influence on adverse mental health, family violence and youth suicide statistics.
However, while the youth suicide prevention strategy acknowledges "trouble with the law" as a primary risk factor, for reasons of apparent political correctness (and the strenuous need to avoid or defer drug reform discussion at all costs), the strategy fails to consider marijauna policy harm production.
Mr O'Connell said that on each of the three occasions when he personally had been "home invaded" by the police under the pretext of cannabis harm prevention, he had experienced an almost psychotic anger at the intrusion - "God knows how much harm is generated by this wholesale violation occurring every hour of the day in New Zealand, particularly in Maori households".
The reformer said that he had eluded a criminal record purely because he was white and educated, and unashamedly NOT GUILTY. Others are not so fortunate.
"The War on Drugs has become the hidden holocaust of the 20th century", say the Mild Greens - and media fueled prohibitionist hatred is the unrecognised "apartheid" that divides New Zealanders, fills the news with crime, and utterly spoils our sense of community.
"While Tariana Turia's scale of comparison may perhaps be subject to legitimate criticism, the concept of harm begetting harm cannot be easily dismissed." The Mild Greens say it is worth noting that Mrs Turia's most severe critic (Roger Sowry) happens to be the former Associate Minister of Health who released the National Drug Policy on 21 July 1998, with multiple references to the harms of criminal duress, mysteriously deleted.
The Mild Greens argue it is an almost unforgivably foolish dereliction of duty for Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Cabinet to continue giving the disreputable illicit status of pot a low priority - and of no apparent bearing in their "closing of the gaps" Maori policy.
Undoubtedly there were other factors - colonisation, unemployment, the mass marketing of alcohol and tobacco for example - affecting the adverse Maori outcomes, and masking harms. But the NZ police, bureaucreats and politicians who have allowed a regime of domestic terrorism in the unproven best interests of public health, have an awful lot to answer for, say the Mild Greens: "We demand truth and reconciliation".
Criminalisation is an unwinnable war that can only cause untold grief, anger and alienation amongst the sectors of population most targeted, and least empowered to defend themselves.
"We as a community do not need these discriminatory interventions", say the Mild Greens - what we need is an age limit consistent with the legal drugs, and a civilised society where people look after one another.
And we desperately need leadership in New Zealand - and Ministers who have the courage to seek out the truth and FIX WHAT'S BROKEN.
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ph: 389 4065 Kevin O'Connell, Blair Anderson
Blair Anderson mailto:blair@technologist.com
Blairs Brain on Cannabis http://brainserver.thebrain.com/get.asp?i=59f98 http://www.alcp.org.nz/candidates/blair
Media Center phone ++64 3 389-4065 Web site http://www.alcp.org.nz
It is time within drug policy, to set aside moral cowardice, and adopt harm minimisation; it is the stuff of social capital.

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