Scoop Election 08: edited by Gordon Campbell

On Paul Quinn’s rape comments, and health spending

May 27th, 2011

Now that the dust has settled on National MP Paul Quinn’s outrageous comments about women and rape made on TVNZ7’s Back Benches programme – “I think there’s a real issue with young ladies getting drunk” was the money quote – can we share some of the blame around? Of the four people involved in the discussion (Quinn, presenter Wallace Chapman, Act’s Heather Roy and Labour’s Trevor Mallard) only one of them came out entirely with credit.

Chapman in fact, came close to what in other contexts might be called entrapment. Sure, Quinn said it and he deserves everything he’s got on The Hand Mirror, and elsewhere for revealing the shabby contents of a mind already responsible for last year’s petty, vicious legislation denying prisoners the vote.

Yet Chapman – within the rowdy, hang loose atmosphere that the programme promotes – had been urging him to say something outrageous. In his question, Chapman virtually endorsed a Canadian police chief’s claim that what women wear these days means they’re asking for it, and also suggested that regardless of what the right answer might be, a lot of his viewers thought along those lines, too.

As in this question: Do you think there’s something to this idea that they kind of ask for it, just in a little way? Because I know that the viewers watching this will be saying that.”

Of course, all Quinn had to do was not indulge the rape excuse that Chapman was plying him with even if – as Chapman was also intimating – this could make Quinn look like a bit of a prig to viewers. Quinn tried (unsuccessfully) to shift to what must have looked to him like safer ground: the drinking habits of young women. In reality of course, he was merely wheeling up a different version of “blame the victim”. Alas, Act’s Heather Roy all but endorsed Quinn’s position (adding the drinking habits of young men for good measure) in yet another example of how this bunch is only a party of liberty and principle when the freedom to do business is at stake.

Chapman, has so far pretty much escaped scrutiny for what is really an age-old interviewing technique: to frame a bigoted position temptingly in the hope this will induce the politician to let down their guard and endorse the question, thus enabling them to be bagged for their bigotry. This form of asymmetric warfare must be a particularly tempting tactic in the noisy, unscripted climate of Back Benches. In this case, Quinn’s desire to look like one of the boys put him on side with the very worst male attitudes and actions. Should Chapman be praised for leading Quinn on to this revelation, or bagged for feigning being something of a fellow traveler? Journalism can be a dirty business at times, but someone has to do it.

As mentioned, the only person to come out entirely clean and shining from the entire episode was Trevor Mallard, who said: “I just want to, can I… It can never be an excuse to rape a women because of what she wears or what she’s had to drink. That is just wrong.” At which point, both Quinn and Roy could and should have swung in behind, and seconded that sentiment. But they didn’t.

As Mallard says, nothing – repeat nothing – absolves men from their responsibility not to rape. Yet since rape is about power, it is also a good idea not to be drunk, alone and vulnerable in a public space – no matter how unfair it is that women are infinitely more likely to be preyed upon. One does not have to endorse Paul Quin’s bigotry to hope women will protect themselves – and each other – in public, and that men will stop other men from treating drunk women as fair game.


Sinking Lid Euthanasia?

Given the demographic reality of an ageing population, this RNZ report on Counties Manakau District Health Board research on the relatively high cost of treating patients during their last year of life is utterly chilling. Just as chilling were the comments made to RNZ by medical academics about whether such spending is a “wise and judicious” way of spending health money, and whether there may be better ways of spending it.

Interesting that none of the commenters in the RNZ report argued the need for greater health spending as being an ethical imperative if we wish to remain a humane society. Instead, the medical experts’ contribution to the ‘debate’ was to query whether spending quite as much money on dying people or sick children was sustainable, and to urge the public to regard this ‘debate’ as inevitable. Talk about framing the issue within the current political boundaries, even before a sham debate even begins. Depressing.


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    1. 26 Responses to “On Paul Quinn’s rape comments, and health spending”

    2. By lyndon on May 27, 2011 | Reply

      Wallace’s blog: Quinn couldn’t hear – straight up

    3. By martin on May 27, 2011 | Reply

      yeh but hey it couldn’t happen to a nicer MP. Recall him charmingly and repetitively intoning ‘poofball- hahaha poofball’ to refer to soccer, also on Backbenches.

      Backbenches is great- we get to see the unvarnished truth about some of these guys.

      I say fair play to Chapman- it is a environment where people are saying ‘it’s just common sense ya know’ and everyone goes along with it where someone has to stand up and say ‘No that’s wrong’. Well done Trev.

    4. By martin on May 27, 2011 | Reply

      yeh but hey it couldn’t happen to a nicer MP. Recall him charmingly and repetitively intoning ‘poofball- hahaha poofball’ to refer to soccer, also on Backbenches.

      Backbenches is great- we get to see the unvarnished truth about some of these guys.

      I say fair play to Chapman- it is a environment where people are saying ‘it’s just common sense ya know’ and everyone goes along with it where someone has to stand up and say ‘No that’s wrong’. Well done Trev. Seems Labour can listen after all eh?

    5. By Tara on May 27, 2011 | Reply

      And thats summed up why I would never watch “back benches”. What a bunch of idiots.I don’t care which MPs think rape is justified when the woman made them loose control of themselves by their
      a)drunkenness B)Todays fashion trend.
      “Blame the victim a little bit” is a little bit to much blame.

      Should the provision of medical treatment (or medical care) become an economic decision.Forget the medical academics, they don’t want to rock their gravy boat, but that ‘policy’ direction is changing the very role of doctor into that of an economist. The last thing we need right now is more economists and a loss of the age old definition of Doctor.
      Soon will everyone be an economist, ‘welcome to humanity’, or will it be homo economus.

    6. By Myles Thomas on May 27, 2011 | Reply

      Sounds like Quinn was being what he accused the women of courtenay place of. Drunk and innocent? Well a few too many sips and not at all innocent actually. He deserved to be mauled by Chapman!

    7. By Joe Blow on May 28, 2011 | Reply

      I’ve never really thought of Trevor Mallard being fit for leadership before. I’ve always thought of him as Clark’s attack dog on the right, but after watching that show I can’t help but think why isn’t he leading Labour?

      I’ve never watched Backbenchers before. I must admit it’s a little Gonzo Show but if it uncovers what the likes of Paul Quinn and Heather Roy really think then I’m all for it… bring on the dirty journalism. People need to see what they’re really voting for!

    8. By Tara on May 28, 2011 | Reply

      If you had scraped the chewing gum off the back bench seats you wouldn’t have got as much culture.
      But to be the Dirty Gonzo show that it is, it needed a good promo launch, picture this…
      Mallard wearing a lady gaga outfit with a bottle of booze holding a sign that says” I’m a fashion and social conformist(holding up drink) but its never OK to rape me”.
      Special apperance from Quinn’s mother( dressed up as Katie Perry).
      Quinn sayes that as his mother is dressed as a social conformist (and a little drunk ) he would find her to blame if she were raped, then its the gerry springer show, Mallard punches someone.

      Increasing aged care is a global need, one that those very same pro- killin academics didn’t bother solving.Its not like the DHB have ever offered expensive or unecessary medical treatments anyway.So this is a move away from min care.
      In our hospital wards nurses assistants and other suitably skilled (in training for certification ) resourses are not fully utilized.
      The direction of using nurses fully capable of diagnosing pain and infections and able to prescribe as in the new diabetes treatment plan would work just as well in community based aged care facilities.Why is it we can happily fund ruggers, referandumbs, overpriced imported special interest policymuppets, and even Key’s hawaian holiday insecurities , but turn our backs on our parents and grandparents?
      Other parts of the world are not as “seperated” from their elders and would enjoy the idea of quality aged care.
      Isn’t half the worlds population under 25? Increasing the promotion of certification in gerontology is not a bad way to go(years ago if the medical yakademics had got their fingers out).
      *What about trialing tourism combined with top notch aged care using one of the a failed hotels. Age care spas .

    9. By Joe Blow on May 28, 2011 | Reply

    10. By Joe Blow on May 28, 2011 | Reply

    11. By Joe Blow on May 28, 2011 | Reply

    12. By Joe Blow on May 28, 2011 | Reply

    13. By Joe Blow on May 28, 2011 | Reply

    14. By Joe Blow on May 28, 2011 | Reply

    15. By Joe Blow on May 28, 2011 | Reply

    16. By Tara on May 29, 2011 | Reply

      The links suck.
      Shame these same medical advisors supporting euthanasia the cost cutting policy didn’t provide the govt with information on private aged care ‘recession proof’ business plan. Private aged care, retirement, dementia and hospital facilities Ryman are posting $66mil profits and expanding into Aus.
      I didn’t propose NZ looked to profit from the aged care industry like this private company does (encouraged by a failure to set up public aged care facilities).But it’s not right to expand on the ideology of doing an economic assessment before deciding on whether to provide a public hospital patient with medical care. Cringe as you find out that only a couple of months ago was a priority in the bonding scheme put on gerontology. Aged and terminal patients can’t be blamed for the global recession or the lack of strategy. And it really is” astonishing that there is no aged care strategy in New Zealand.” Death with dignity is not any debate theme it is the extension of an authentication scheme. A replay of and old TV show Logan’s run, you are not yet terminated(without dignity) at 40 unless you become terminal and its just not cost effective to provide hospital services anymore .

      A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love Children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children.
      But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.
      Abraham J. Heschel

    17. By Joe Blow on May 29, 2011 | Reply

      I agree the forecast and the treatment of foreign caregivers by New Zealand in the links above really SUCKs!

      I don’t think that any of those links looked like they were connected with Ryman Healthcare and in fact there was no mention of Ryman at all in any of the articles. Those caregivers will be working for the likes of Ali’s Home Healthcare in Christchurch or Nurse Maude. You don’t pay top dollar to be looked after by foreigners! Ali’s and Nurse Maude are funded by the DHBs. Even residents at the likes of Bupa Care Services can be eligible for the residential care subsidy from Work and Income. This is not a growth industry that NZ as a whole can somehow capitalise on. If only it was! Not everyone can afford the likes of Ryman Healthcare. The babyboomer generation has only just started retiring this year! It’s going to cost an ever shrinking minority of young tax payers more and more. We’re talking about twice as many elderly than children!

      How do you get more young tax payers to fund the elderly, other than through tax incentives like Working for Families to increase our birth rate? And that’s not going to create young people soon enough. The answer is immigration. Canada’s doing it. In Canada a foreign caregiver can get residence if they work for two years while in New Zealand the occupation of caregiver is not even on the skilled occupation list, which means that you can’t apply for residence under the skilled migrant category on the basis of being a caregiver. So why is Immigration New Zealand tag teaming up with WINZ by declining work visas for caregivers and other low skilled occupations since the recession set in? It could just be mismanagement, but I suspect that those are the jobs that the Ministry of Social Development is intent on forcing beneficiaries into… Can anyone else shed some light on what’s going on? What’s up with this country?

    18. By Tara on May 30, 2011 | Reply

      No Joe you don’t listen very well, I said your links sucked.
      I did not even mention migrant workers, or if to profit $66m, Ryman hospital and specialized aged care are using min wage migrant carers, (Govt funding was provided for Ryman healthcare).
      The dhb would be less likely to be calling on extending the euthanasia policy if a public aged care system and strategy had been set up instead of thinking well wait till current system breaks down then extend the death policy.

      These dhb policies are social engineering and we are interconnected, it does not matter if you continue to deny it.
      To do a cost benefit assessment on public hospital patients for the right of min medical care is the thinking of the paper pushing econonazi.
      And newsflash Joe: taxpayers are not asked to choose what they fund, they are at the mercy of the referandumb loving austerity-for- you nz and whatever we decide for us, big business and your tax dollars.

    19. By Joe Blow on May 30, 2011 | Reply

      I think we’re at the whim of the babyboomers who out vote the rest of us, but hey that’s democracy…

    20. By Tara on May 31, 2011 | Reply

      Joe your separatist thinking is a social pathology; what if when you were born the then taxpayers of our country said something like , “We’re at the whim of these babies & children” .
      Yeah imagine if we were in a democracy, maybe then the most powerful wouldn’t be picking on the weakest parts of society.

    21. By Joe Blow on May 31, 2011 | Reply

      Tara, why do neither of the major parties, namely National and Labour, want to go any where near the issue of raising the retirement age?

    22. By Tara on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

      The way you think about the elderly is a Social Pathology Joe. An example of what social breakdown, via “frog in slow boiling water “,feels like. Unquestioned thinking that becomes mainstream, all the while claiming its “a sound economic policy”. . I heard after the election they are going to raise the retirement age, I hope that will make you sqeeze
      yourself with joy.
      So what selected groups in our society do you think are going to be targeted by the dhb euthanasia extension policy strategy . While you play separatist society why don’t you just start blaming the “babyboomers” parent’s for their post WW2 sex, and packaged dhb funding policy as a very late abortion

    23. By Joe Blow on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

      Raising the retirement age sounds a lot better than the euthanasia they’re contemplating in the DHB research mentioned above or the beneficiary bashing that’s going on at the moment.

      Key refuses to even discuss raising the retirement age and Goff is much the same. Grey power is a growth industry and both of the major parties know it.

      I hear a lot of unquestioning thinking coming from your direction as well….

      How would you fund the babyboomer retirement then?

    24. By Tara on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

      New Zealand’s elderly have already funded their retirement, a failure in the management of their retirement funds is quite another question.
      Go and ask someone who isn’t “brainless” .

    25. By Joe Blow on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

      They haven’t been funding their retirement if they have been paying a tax rate equal to the rate that sustained the amount of elderly that we have had in the past, because the amount of elderly are set to increase fourfold. This is especially the case when they had the benefits of free education and universal healthcare when they were young. In fact, they haven’t even been paying the amount that would have sustained us in the past. And this is a generation that on mass has consistently voted to pay less tax and for smaller government, when they had most things for free… The top marginal rate of tax went from 66% to 33% and corporate tax went from 48% to 33% in the 1980s. It should be time for them to start footing the bill for themselves just like the rest of us… but no they would never vote for that now would they?

      How old are you Tara?

    26. By Joe Blow on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

      I should correct myself on one point above. If the babyboomers [each] paid a tax rate equal to the rate that sustained the amount of elderly that we had in the past they would have funded their own retirement fair and square. However, this does not change the fact that they have paid less than their parents did while getting all of the state benefits…

      Were you born between 1945 and 1965 by any chance Tara?

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