Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Legislation'

Nanny doesn’t want you smoking outside. Nanny’s a real spoilsport!









Health professionals in Auckland have proposed that smoking be banned in all outdoor public places in the city. At least I think that’s what they’ve proposed. The front-page story in this morning’s Herald isn’t entirely clear on whether the ban is intended to be universal within the Auckland City boundaries or restricted to certain public spaces.

Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether banning smoking in any outdoor public space can be justified in what we like to call ‘a free society’, a limited ban (on virtually anything) invites public confusion and is therefore much more difficult to enforce. A total ban, on the other hand, leaves no room for confusion or the excuse, ‘I didn’t realise you couldn’t smoke here.’

As I write this, a poll on the Herald’s website reports:

Excellent and sensible idea – 43%

 Good in theory –  27%

Not a fan but would go along with it – 4%

Outrageous, a step too far – 26%

That’s 74% of respondents variously in favour and 26% adamantly against. An unscientific poll of course, but indicative at least of majority support for banning smoking outdoors as well as indoors in public spaces.

So yes, if there were such a law, you would essentially only be able to smoke in private indoor locations, including your home and garden, other people’s homes and gardens with their agreement, and (I’m guessing here) other privately owned indoor premises with the agreement of everyone who ever used the premises.

Put even more simply, you would not be able to smoke in any outdoor location where  you might come into contact with another  member of the general public – on the street, in the park, on the beach, in children’s playgrounds, tramping, climbing, jogging, playing or just plain walking.  Read the rest of this entry »


One more good reason why Mary Wilson should be hosting ‘Morning Report’ (and Simon Power should avoid Mary Wilson)

In this Radio New Zealand interview, broadcast on last night’s Checkpoint, New Zealand’s most consistently effective current-affairs  interviewer, Mary Wilson, makes mincemeat of Justice Minister Simon Power’s  unconvincing apologia for the government’s half-hearted, half-baked approach to solving New Zealand’s booze crisis. It’s great stuff. Look for Power’s warning that  next Thursday might not happen.


The Doctor and the Right to Die

Photo: Paul Escourt

Tuesday’s  Close Up programme featured a compelling and moving interview with John Pollock MB, ChB, MRCP[UK], FRNZCGP. Sixty-one-year-old Dr Pollock is a general practitioner. He is in the business of saving lives. But Dr Pollock, who has never smoked, is suffering from terminal lung cancer and wants the right to seek help to end his own life before his suffering becomes unbearable to him and, more importantly, to his family. To offer him that help would, under current New Zealand law, be a crime.

Yesterday the New Zealand Herald reprinted a letter which Dr Pollock had written earlier to the magazine New Zealand Doctor. In it he presents his arguments for the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia in this country. It is well worth reading.

I support Dr Pollock in his bid to have assisted voluntary euthanasia made legal for terminally ill patients in New Zealand. My argument follows.  Read the rest of this entry »


It’s Time to Ban the Pit Bull and all its Relatives


Photo: Brett Phibbs

Another kiddie mauled by a Pit Bull! We’re slow learners in New Zealand, aren’t we? It doesn’t matter how many children have their faces torn off, how many adults are ripped to pieces, we still think it should be legal to own dangerous breeds like  the American Pit Bull Terrier, the  Dogo Argentino, the Brazilian Fila and the American Tosa.  It shouldn’t. All of these breeds should be banned and there should be heavy penalties for owning them. Want the facts about the Pit Bull? Well here they are:  

The Pit Bull was originally developed in the United States. Its breeding characteristics were strength, aggression and the ability to fight. Not surprising really, since that was the purpose for which the dog was being bred – to fight other dogs.  

All of this was known 23 years ago, when an ad in the Herald offered New Zealanders imported Pit Bull puppies for sale. The Auckland SPCA opposed the importation of the breed, on the grounds that the dogs were dangerous and unpredictable. It was unsuccessful.   Read the rest of this entry »


The Dangers of Discretion (Based on a Shameful True Story)

Photo: Dean Purcell

Photo: Dean Purcell

I was recently stopped at a police checkpoint in Ponsonby and breath-tested. I’d had a couple of glasses of wine with a meal and a small brandy with my coffee to follow. I didn’t expect to be over the limit or anywhere near the limit. And indeed I wasn’t.

If an experience I had many years ago, when we were somewhat less scrupulous about drinking and driving, is anything to go by, I could have had a great deal more to drink and still been under the limit.  

I’d had a rather fine dinner at Valerio’s in Parnell and been shouted to several grappa after the meal by our generous host. I was pissed as a newt. I would have asked Judy to drive, but she was  equally merry. It was 2am. Read the rest of this entry »


Lockwood Loses the Plot




There’s general agreement that Lockwood Smith has been an excellent Speaker. His quiet, natural authority has allowed him to control the House without getting to his feet every few seconds to call for order. He has refused to allow Ministers to get away with non-answers to questions. If any party is unhappy with him, it is considerably more likely to be the National Party than anyone in opposition, perhaps the ultimate tribute to his impartiality.

But yesterday the Speaker seemed to lose the plot when he warned the media that their coverage of MPs’ expenses bordered on lobbying and that, if it continued, he would treat them as lobbyists. The media, he said, should ‘stop parroting a view’.

He then issues this threat:

‘If the newspapers do want to have a view and want to lobby on it, I’m very happy to issue them with a lobbyist card and relieve them of their [Press Gallery] offices here, and if they want to be lobbyists – fine.’ Read the rest of this entry »


Why I Am Opposed To Gay Adoptions

ba_marriage124jrs1I am opposed to any change in the law which would allow gay couples to adopt children. My opposition is not rooted in homophobia. I was an early and vocal supporter of homosexual law reform in New Zealand; I approve of civil unions; I can see no good reason why gays should not be able to marry; I don’t doubt that a gay couple can be loving and responsible parents; I regard the argument that children raised by gay parents will turn out to be gay themselves as nonsense. Sexual orientation is genetically determined.

My opposition to allowing gay couples to adopt is rooted in my own early experience as the only child of a solo parent, my mother. I never knew my father.  I described the  lifelong effect of that situation in my memoir Daddy was a German Spy:

Read the rest of this entry »


Sickos Hold Party

images1I read in this morning’s Sunday Star Times that the leading lights in the pro-smacking lobby have booked an Auckland hotel for a celebration on Friday night of their undoubted victory in the referendum. The headline reads: ‘NO’ HOPERS BOOK HOTEL FOR SMACKING VICTORY

A party to celebrate the possible return of legislation allowing parents to use ‘reasonable force’ to discipline their children! A celebration of the fact that 4 out of 5 New Zealanders want to regain the right to hit their kids!  Are these ‘no’ voters going to bring their own children along to the celebrations? And, if they are, just what will the children be celebrating?

I’ve had some harsh words to say about these people in the past. But none harsh enough. What sickos you are.


A Poster Boy for the Pro-Smacking Lobby


I can’t be sure whether James Louis Mason punched his 4-year-old son in the face. I wasn’t there. But people who were there and who gave evidence at Mason’s trial were convinced that he had assaulted the boy and, more importantly, so was the jury.

Mason has had a fair trial and that ought to be the end of the matter. It won’t be. Mason is likely to become the poster boy for the pro-smacking lobby. If  his performance last night on Sunday is anything to go by, he fits the bill perfectly. Read the rest of this entry »


To Smack Or Not To Smack

Here’s the thing I find difficult to understand – that any civilised person should be so upset by the idea of it being against the law to hit children that they would go to the trouble of organising a  petition to parliament seeking a referendum on the issue, with the express aim of having that law overturned. Read the rest of this entry »


Easter Bannit

Easter bonnetIf I were a retailer, I’d be pretty hacked off that in the middle of a recession, with punters keeping their hands firmly in their pockets, I was about to lose two days earnings. And all because a couple of thousand years ago a Jewish preacher and revolutionary was executed in Judea and, according to his supporters, rose from the dead two days later.

Yes, it’s the annual Good Friday, Easter Sunday shutdown for shopkeepers who don’t want to be turned into criminals for making a living. Under the Shop Trading Act 2008, both days are designated ‘restricted trading days’. Unless a shop is specifically exempted, it’s an offence to open on these days, and law-breakers are liable to a $1,000 fine. Read the rest of this entry »