When is Rape legal ? When it is performed by government agents… apparently

Perhaps a qualified lawyer can give me advice on the following scenario.

Rapist in dark alleyway, holds knife to a woman’s throat, and the conversation goes something like:
Rapist… “I want to have sex with you, do you consent?”
Woman… “Err, umm, that knife does look very sharp and I can feel the point of it digging into my skin, umm, yes. Yes I do consent to having sex with you”
A sexual act then occurs before the two parties go their separate ways. Later, due to excellent detective work by hardworking police officers, the assailant is brought before the courts and charged with rape. Although consent WAS given, it was NOT freely given. It was only given under duress. Consequently the rapist finds himself in the Big House for a Stretch, doing Porridge at Her Majesty’s pleasure. (translation for non-English people… The rapist would be sent to jail).

That’s all fair and reasonable. Consent given at the point of a knife or gun, isn’t really consent at all, is it ?

OK so how does that differ from the landowners of the eastern and southern areas of Christchurch’s CBD (downtown) area? In mid-2012, the government announced that it was simply going to take possession of about 60% of the CBD land area.

Some of this was bare land as earthquake damaged buildings had been demolished, but nothing re-built yet. Some land had new, or nearly new buildings on it (built just before the shakes or replacements for damaged buildings, built to the highest earthquake resistant and energy efficiency standards), and some historic buildings, now fully restored and strengthened to meet modern building standards.

The government at the time claimed there was a huge oversupply of land and that it was almost worthless. The land would NOT be taken under the usual “Public Works” act, which allows governments to take freehold land from the owners for essential infrastructure like roads and hospitals. The Public Works act also gives certain rights to the owners, such as the right of first refusal to buy the land back off the government for the same price they sold it for, if ever the government decides it doesn’t need the land for that intended purpose.

Under the special earthquake ‘recovery’ laws, people have less legal right to fight against the seizure of their land, and also land the government seizes, which it claims is needed for more green parks or new buildings like a convention centre or sports arena, can later be on-sold to anyone at any price if they suddenly decide that it was all a big mistake and they didn’t need the land after all.

The government has publically said that the offers they make to landowners for compensation are ‘take it or leave it’ type offers. Yes the landowners can ‘negotiate”. But ultimately the government pays whatever it wants to in compensation for taking the land. The owner either agrees to accept that amount as full and final settlement on the land, and the government takes possession of it, or the government simply takes possession of the land anyway, and the landowner gets nothing.

Landowners who have already accepted settlements have said that negotiations start with the government agents offering about 10% of the previous land valuation. Some owners say they managed to get up to 90% of previous land valuation as a final settlement. However often the highest figure the government will go to is much less, in some cases less than what is still owing on a mortgage loan.

And with 60% of the CBD land area being effectively removed from the free market overnight, the value of other land in the CBD has sky-rocketed. This has been extremely good news for the lucky few who own land in the western and northern CBD area (mostly that’s a handful of rich property investors and some ‘old money’ wealthy Christchurch families).

Eastern (and southern) CBD landowners therefore find themselves completely priced out of returning to anywhere near the CBD/inner city, and, oftentimes unable to afford anything comparable that is suitable anywhere within the Christchurch city area at all.

This is exactly the situation that the Deaf Society find themselves in, regarding the demolition of their earthquake damaged headquarters and club-rooms building that was at 232a Armagh Street. Any chance of insurance simply re-building on the same site, has been scuppered by the government’s wholesale land seizure program in the eastern and southern CBD.

After the flooding damage caused to New Orleans (when Hurricane Katrina missed the city, but the effects caused levee banks to rupture), I heard that the local government there was going to use their powers (in the USA called “eminent domain”) to simply seize the land out from under the rightful owners, especially in the poorer area known as the Lower Ninth Ward. OK so that’s in America, where the government is well in the pockets of big business and the banks, and you expect that sorta thing.

But it never occurred to me when the earthquakes affected Christchurch, that our biggest enemy would be the government in Wellington. Creating whole new bureaucracies, and passing laws, to enable wide-scale land seizures here. Here in a, usually, civilised country like New Zealand.

So if a bunch of mean looking dudes turn up at your house and announce that they are taking your big new $4,000 flat screen tv, whether you like it or not, “but they will negotiate”. They start off offering you $20, but after spirited negotiations on your part, you manage to get the price offered up to $50. So then they grabs your telly off the wall and walk out. Would that be legal, because you consented to the ‘sale’, or illegal because your were initially presented with a fait accompli that they were taking the telly, and you simply agreed to what compensation they offered in the end ?

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Deaf club building demolition

The Deaf club building has served the community in Christchurch for almost 50 years. It was purpose built in 1964, and deaf people were involved in its construction.

The building at 232 Armargh Street just a few hundred metres NorthEast of Christchurch’s cathedral was damaged in the earthquake of 22nd February 2011…

But the final death knell was when the government announced in mid 2012 that it was simply going to take possession of 60% of the CBD (aka downtown) area from the rightful owners. Over 800 properties are to be taken, whether the owners like it or not. The government claimed it was essential to do this because there is such a massive “over-supply of land” that it is “almost worthless”. Note land in New Zealand’s major cities is some of the most expensive in the world, and our wages are amongst the lowest in the western world.

With the small amount of “take it or leave it” compensation offered to landowners, the Deaf Club in Christchurch (along with most of the other owners of Eastern CBD land taken by the govt) will be unable to secure comparable alternative premises.

With respect to the CBD land seizures and the much vaunted “blueprint”, I think that if the national government (based in Wellington but comprising mostly Aucklanders and northern North Islanders) had just stayed butt out of it, Christchurch could well be much further along the route to reconstuction and rebuild. Groups like the Deaf Society could be enjoying moving into brand new premises, re-built on their own existing land, with the bill almost, if not entirely, paid for by their insurance.

This is the case for a relative handful of “lucky” (or, dare I say it, ‘well-connected’)land-owners on the western side of the CBD. Antony Gough is a property investor who owns substantial land west of Cathedral Square, which IS NOT being seized by the government. He has been reported in the media, railing against eastern CBD landowners who have complained about the injustice of the ‘take it or leave it’ compensation they have been offered. Note that Antony Gough’s string of fancy bars, restaurants and cafes along Oxford Terrace (which is being re-named to make it more ‘upper class’) are being re-built at a cost of some NZ $ 140 million (with the vast majority of that bill most likely paid for by insurance). I wonder if western CBD landowners, including not just Mr Gough, but also several other ‘big names’ in Christchurch real estate ownership, whether their opinions of the CBD Blueprint might change if the govt took all their land off them and paid them as little as the eastern CBD landowners are getting ?

I recorded many segments of Standard Definition 3×4 video footage, using a cheap tripod. Some other people there had more advanced cameras although I was the only person present with a tripod. My filming that day (Thursday 8 August 2013) totaled 32 minutes. If someone wants the raw footage from me to properly edit up into a longer program, then please contact me.

The video attached here is a selection of several segments I filmed. One video shows some of the people present. However people came and went throughout the day. Some people were standing well to the north of where I was and therefore are not on video.

Fonterra milk powder botulism scare and recall

The mainstream media has been all over this story during the last couple of days. Supposedly a “dirty pipe” caused botulism contamination of some “whey” (a milk product. The same as what Miss Muffett ate as she sat on her tuffett, in the ancient nursery rhyme)

The incident it seems happened over a year ago, and with milk powder formulas having about a one year lifespan, so it’s fair to assume that pretty much all the affected stock would have been processed, sold, and consumed by now, and we still haven’t heard of even one baby getting sick.

Compare this to China’s Melamine scandal of 2008, where an industrial poison was deliberately added to milk so it scored better in lab tests and suppliers got bonus payments. Many Chinese babies died, and remember with China’s one baby policy most of the parents would already have been irreversably sterilised after that first child.

When Chinese media tried to draw attention to that scandal, the govt put the journalists in jail, because it showed China in a poor light.

Also so far, no one in mainstream media etc has pointed out that rich adult idiots out there are actually paying big money to have Botulism toxin injected straight into their bodies. I am of course talking about “BoTox” injections as a “beauty” treatment.

I cannot believe the stupidity of people paying for BoTox injections. They would be better off going down to the local shopping mall with a rolling pin and paying some stranger to bash the shite out of them for 30 seconds.