Monday, March 1, 2010

Our two weapons are discretion and how we apply the law... and ruthless efficiency

Since localised bans on drinking alcohol in public have proved unworkable, or led to worse displays of public pissantry, or both, the Wellington City Council responds by proposing to extend the ban across the entire city. The proposed ban will not cover beer, wine, etc. consumed at bars, or at the tables that spill out from them across the footpath. Yet it would be churlish to regard it as merely a form of rent-farming; a tool to enforce patronage at the very bars that promote inner-city Wellington as a place for getting hammered (evil alcohol peddlers, boo hiss). Suffice to say that
Wellington's Hospitality Association branch president Adam Cunningham said the ban was appropriate and would not affect hospitality businesses.
If brothel owners had the same clout on the Council as is wielded by the hoteliers and publicans, then any public-lewdness problems arising from turning prostitution into the main activity of the inner city would be addressed by a bylaw that criminalised sex (except in brothels).
It turns out that the bylaw's chief proponents are the police. No-one could possibly have expected them to be so enthusiastic about a ban that would criminalise large sectors of the population and leave the decisions like "who deserves punishment" up to their partiality and selective enforcement rather than in the hands of the court system.
[Inspector Perry] accepted that even people drinking responsibly in public places, such as at picnics in parks, on beaches and in the green belt, would now be acting unlawfully.
"The police's biggest power is one of discretion and how we apply the law."
His insouciant acceptance of arbitrary powers might sound chilling and Orwellian to those of us who are easily chilled or Orwelled but fear not, Perry has promised that white middle-class rate-payers will be safe:*
"I don't think we will see [those sorts of offenders] appearing in Wellington District Court."
In other news, the constabulary are butt-hurt about the growing number of violent assaults against police officers. It is almost as if people no longer accept them as a source of safety but instead resent them as a kind of army of occupation.
* Worth noting that the same people were delivering the same sanguine promise of commonsense inconsistency 18 months ago, when the first, circumscribed liquor ban was introduced. Three months later,
People who breach the public liquor ban in the designated city areas can expect to be arrested, says Inspector Kevin Riordan, acting Wellington Area Commander.
"We've been using our discretion until now so that people could get used to the idea that the 24/7 liquor ban exists. There's plenty of signage about the ban so we don't want any more excuses."


Substance McGravitas said...

Pfft. Positively draconian liquor laws here have us smoking dope like there's no tomorrow.

Abandon the mead and get with the weed!

Unknown said...

I am evil and they know it, damn them.

progeh, mixed progress.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Next thing you know, they'll be rounding up all the hobbits!

Unknown said...

No way, Jacko owns them, as State sponsored pets.

ckc (not kc) said...

"We've been using our discretion until now..."

...but now it's all used up.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Quick, somebody warn Mr. Benson that beer is alcoholic!

Uh... sorry for the hooring- next time, I'll keep it in the red light district!

mikey said...

Well, ain't that quaint. Watching the commonweal try to adopt the mores and norms of America is like having circus clowns handle a good sized city's solid waste disposal. Um, yeah.

Ur Doin it Worng!!

There is nothing a free market loving capitalist, constitutional originalist founding father fucking liberty lover holds more dear than the right to suck down some suds in the great outdoors. While we find the attempt to support the local business community admirable in the extreme, two things that should not be fucked with, and yet seem to be the primary fucking-with applications in the antipodes are booze and guns. They represent freedom and liberty.

This? This is tyranny, in exactly the vague, hard to understand and even harder to describe form represented by the Obama administration. Mr. Prime Minister: TEAR DOWN THIS BARROOM!!

Smut Clyde said...

two things that should not be fucked with, and yet seem to be the primary fucking-with applications in the antipodes are booze and guns

Guns aren't such a big issue. They're controlled but not very -- a would-be gun-owner has to sit the equivalent of a driver's license.* Thing is, they don't have any kind of forbidden-fruit fetishist allure, partly because they are associated with farmers [basic tool of farming], and farmers are radically un-cool people noted for tucking their shirts inside their underpants. Not much demand for them apart from week-end duck-shooters.

That's why historically we've focussed on fucking around with booze.
* Offer only open for rifles & shotguns -- concealable handguns get closer scrutiny.

Unknown said...

Everybody wanna be somebody else,