Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Callousness and heartlessness rule the day under Bill English's government

On some days it feels like everything one holds dear is under assault. The BBC liberals think a terrorist attack in St Petersburg is a Putin false flag; there is a preponderance of lies about abrupt climate change.

And ssometimes it gets personal.

New Zealand has a new PM – neo-liberal, reactionary Catholic,Bill English who is putting his own stamp on the government.

In one day he has ruled out an investigation in to war crimes in Afghanstan committed by New Zealand's SAS and has ruled out legalising medical cannabis despite 97% being in favour in an informal newspaper poll.

We are now living in a police state where heartlessness rules the day.

In the old days if a tetraplegic is found with cannabis that he needs to control his pain your community copper would likely overlook it as a victimless crime (perhaps not!)

But now the police have no resources to investigate burglaries or even assaults but they have plenty of resources and time  - not to mention motivation, to go after elderly folk or steal pain meds from a helpless tetraplegic.

I am VERY ANGRY today.

Tetraplegic left bed-bound 


after breakdown with 



caregiver agency

A worried Auckland mother has been left scrambling to help her tetraplegic son after his caregiver agency pulled its service with no notice.

Ben Clifford and daughter Alizay, 6. Ben has been left without a carer after Life Plus pulled their services without warning on Thursday. Photo/Doug Sherring

3 April, 2017

In a move that's been described by those in the industry as "extremely unusual", ACC-funded agency Life Plus pulled its caregiver out of Kellie Aitchison's home on Thursday evening.
Aitchison's 25-year-old son, Ben Clifford, has been a tetraplegic since breaking his neck after a dive into a friend's swimming pool went wrong in 2015.
Since then Clifford has required 24-hour care - a contract given to Life Plus.
But that service came to an abrupt end on Thursday.
First the Aitchison family home had a visit from police, who came to confiscate Clifford's large cannabis supply - a drug he uses to control his pain.
He had hoped the supply would see him through the rest of the year.
ACC, Life Plus, Clifford's caregivers and anyone else associated with his well-being knew about his cannabis use, Clifford said, as it helped control his spasms and muscle pain.
"It can mean the difference for me not being able to drive my powerchair, to being able to drive it."
Aitchison said a couple of hours after the police left, the caregiver at their Dairy Flat home got a phone call from her manager to leave immediately. After several calls the carer eventually left, in tears, having to leave Clifford with no one at his side
I can't believe they've done this, they've just gone," Aitchison told the Heraldtoday.
The family have been left flummoxed as to what's happened, she said, and have only been told it was due to "health and safety reasons".
"Ben Clifford and daughter Alizay, 6. Ben has been left without a carer after Life Plus pulled their services without warning on Thursday. Photo/Doug Sherring

Ben Clifford and daughter Alizay, 6. Ben has been left without a carer after Life Plus pulled their services without warning on Thursday. Photo/Doug Sherring
But both Aitchison and Clifford say neither the carers, or anybody else, have anything to worry about.
Aitchison said she has had concerns for some time about the level of help they've been getting.
"We had two to three regulars which were great and Ben's had them for pretty much the whole time," she said.
"But the ones they were sending in [recently] didn't know how to hoist, didn't know how to turn him over, they don't know how to do anything. Some of them don't even speak English."
The family contacted ACC on Friday, she said, which told her to call an ambulance so Clifford could be taken to hospital and spend the weekend there.
However, Aitchison said they'd tried that before and the hospital hadn't been able to provide the level of care her son needed.
"You've got to have the right mattress, you need someone staying with him 24 hours. They just leave [him] in the room," she said.
"That's not care for him. That's not the right care. He can't even push a buzzer [to request help]."
The past three days had been stressful for the whole family, especially Clifford.
"I'm stressed as. I'm worried," he said.
"I'm worried for my skin because I don't want it to break. I'm worried that I won't be able to get to my physio appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
"I've had broken skin before and I had to stay in bed for two weeks until it healed and I just really don't want to go through that again. .. that's what happens if you're left on your back or your side and not turned."
Prince Harry met Ben Clifford at the Auckland Spinal Rehabilitation Centre in May last year. Photo/File

Prince Harry met Ben Clifford at the Auckland Spinal Rehabilitation Centre in May last year. Photo/File

Clifford is also a father to 6-year-old Alizay who had also been stressed by what happened.
"When I got the phone call and Life Plus told me, she was standing there," he said.
"I was shocked and she saw my reaction and started to freak out a little bit. But I just tried to calm her down afterwards and tell her that it will be all right."
Although she was young, she had been a great support for him, both physically and mentally, Clifford said.
Hans Wouters, chief executive of New Zealand Spinal Trust, said it was "extremely unusual" for a carer to be pulled from a job with no prior warning given to the family.
"The only time you would ever pull someone out would be in an extreme situation where you thought there would be an extreme danger, like weapons or anything where the carer is in danger. It is extremely unusual in New Zealand."
Standard procedure is for the client to be notified the carer service is intending to withdraw and a transition plan put in place, Wouters said.
Life Plus general manager Michelle Batchelor declined to comment on the situation.
"No comment, this is part of an ongoing police investigation," she said in an email to the Herald.

Police confirmed they visited a Silverdale address last week. Inquiries in relation to the visit are ongoing.
ACC will respond this morning

Despite 97% of people wanting reform to allow medical cannibis English ('NZ') does not want a 'marijuana industry'

English (National) opposes cannabis law change

Bill English has confirmed that he and National by association oppose cannabis law reform, speaking to Duncan Garner this morning on Newshub’s morning programme:

NZ doesn’t want ‘marijuana industry’ – English

We don’t want an official marijuana industry. We’re not going to be legalising it.”
The headline says ‘NZ doesn’t want’ but I think the ‘we’ that English is referring to is the National led Government, which means the National Party opposes any law change.
English is less staunch in his position on medical cannabis.
Speaking to The AM Show on Monday, Prime Minister Bill English said there’s already a “compassionate” and legal route for patients to get cannabis products – if they need them.
The minister’s just changed the rules so that’s a little bit easier, with the Ministry of Health now approving it instead of each one going to the minister.
As far as we can see, that’s going to work pretty well and we don’t want to take it any further.”
He fears increasing access to medical products based on cannabis will increase recreational use.
We just think the long-term damage of large-scale use of marijuana is pretty bad.”
The ‘we’ again I think meaning ‘National’ – or at least a  majority of the National caucus. Younger National MPs like Nikki Kaye and Chris Bishop are likely to have a more pragmatic and progressive view.
The minister that English refers to is not a National MP, it is Peter Dunne, who has pushed medical use as far as he probably can within the current laws. And…
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says he would welcome trials of other products here in New Zealand, but our market is too small.
We need manufacturers with product to say ‘we would like to trial these formulations in New Zealand’, and the sad truth is that for many of those manufacturers they do not see New Zealand as a sufficiently large market to make it worthwhile,” he told The Nation.
It’s the same story we have for clinical trials generally, but there’s no prohibition for sourcing cannabis for medical trials in New Zealand.”
That’s all he is able to do, promote possibilities under current law.
English and others in National won’t allow any law changes.
It will require either a change of Government or a change of generation in the National caucus to get any cannabis law changes.
Unless Dunne and David Seymour are able to negotiate a coalition deal with National that sorts out a mess of a cannabis situation
And despite all the evidence English rules out an investigation into war crimes committed in Afghanistan by the SAS

PM trusting military's word 'a joke' - Hager

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager has accused Prime Minister Bill English of joining "a seven-year cover-up" by refusing to hold an inquiry into a 2010 raid in Afghanistan.

Investigative journalists Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson have released a book, 'Hit & Run', about the New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan.

Mr Hager and Jon Stephenson's book Hit & Run claims six civilians were killed in a raid on two Afghan villages involving New Zealand's SAS in 2010.

Mr English yesterday ruled out an inquiry after being briefed by the Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Tim Keating, and watching video footage of the operation shot by some of the aircraft involved.

But Mr Hager said it was "a joke" for Mr English to trust the military's word.

"These are the people who are in trouble, so of course they don't want an inquiry ... No experienced minister should fall for that."

He said the Prime Minister was being "irresponsible" by simply accepting the "selective information" he was shown.

Going after the elderly....Susan Austen (known as Suzie to me) is a very caring individual who has other people's interests at heart has had extra charges thrown at her.

If I can I will be there to supprt her.

Susan Austen in court on euthanasia drug charges

Supporters of Susan Austen outside the Wellington District Court at an earlier court appearance.ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

24 March, 2017

Supporters of Susan Austen outside the Wellington District Court at an earlier court appearance.
The charges against a woman accused of importing a euthanasia drug have been further postponed while another unspecified charge is laid.
Susan Dale Austen, 66, a Lower Hutt teacher, was charged in October, 2016, with having twice imported a controlled drug pentobarbitone.
At the Wellington District Court on Friday Judge Ian Mill remanded her on bail to appear in court again on April 7.
Austen's lawyer, Donald Stevens, QC, consented to the delay.
Police prosecutor Carmen Stewart said another charge would be laid for Austen's next appearance.
A large group of supporters were at court with Austen.
The Independent Police Conduct Commission launched an investigation into complaints police used a vehicle checkpoint operation to identify people who had been to an Exit Wellington meeting in early October, 2016. Exit Wellington is a pro-voluntary euthanasia group.

For background see this - 

Elderly raided for suicide drugs as police conduct anti-euthanasia operation

Supporters of voluntary euthanasia at the presentation of a petition to Parliament in June.

Two elderly Wellington women with suicide drugs have been pounced on by police, who are conducting a national operation thought to be targeting a euthanasia group.

Police have confirmed a Lower Hutt woman was arrested and faces two charges of importing a class C drug as part of an "ongoing investigation".

It is understood a second elderly woman was also involved in the October 7 raid, part of what police are calling Operation Painter, and that one of the women spent the night in a police cell.....

Police have repeatedly refused to say what the drug was, the age of the arrested woman, or when she would appear in court. They have also refused to comment on claims they had got hold of Exit's membership list and were working their way through it....

Euthanasia advocate Patsy McGrath had her store-bought helium balloon kit seized by Nelson police on the same day as a ...
He said it appeared a police task force had "infiltrated" Exit, whose members have an average age of 75, as they cracked down on people wanting the option of dying on their own terms

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