Have some impunity with your privilege.

Extending the theme of short posts about current events, here is this one:

An up and coming sportsman gets name suppression and no jail time for filming a sex act with a women and posting it on the internet. In his sentencing the judge said that naming him and serving jail time would interfere with his athletic career even though the victim suffered significant emotional harm. The athlete/secret taper is ordered to pay a $2000 reparation to the victim–a day after he paid her that sum.

A case of domestic violence against a doctor in Auckland is thrown out of court and he walks free after his father-in-law pays Crown witnesses (the exact reasons are not specified in media reports but one could expect that whatever the reason this is a pretty straight forward example of pervasion of justice given that the couple had reconciled and wanted to “put things behind them”). The police say that they are “aware” of the payments but refuse to say anything else.

The Minister of Health attends a Vegas themed fundraiser for Northcote Primary School in which parents partied with fake cocaine. He says revelations in the media are a “beat up” because the event raised $30,000 for the school. He claims that he did not see the faux coke and did not ingest. Apparently none of the parents involved thought anything was wrong with simulating drug use at a school function, and the Health Minister (of all people!) thinks it is all good because much money was raised. As a friend of mine mentioned, they would have made a lot more money if they had used real coke instead.

All of these episodes were made public in one day. What do they have in common?

Well, they follow a long history of instances in NZ where people of privilege, be it via sports, money, political clout or social connection, engage in and are later absolved of full consequence for behaviour that otherwise would be considered worth severe sanction. I am sure that readers will remember many such instances. What does this say about the supposedly egalitarian and honest nature of Kiwi society?

Or look at it this way: if the clandestine sex taper was mediocre at sports, if the doctor and his wife were recent immigrants, if the Northcote Primary parents were from South Auckland, and if the politician was an opposition backbencher, would the media coverage and outcomes be the same?

5 thoughts on “Have some impunity with your privilege.

  1. Since when has it been illegal to hover up icing sugar, either at a South Auckland school or on the right side of town?

  2. Ray, try to keep up. Simulated drug use at a primary school fund raiser is the issue. The Health Minister being one of the parents involved is an issue. If you do not see this as problematic then you might as well have been one of the party planners.

  3. Thank you Pablo. I can attest by virtue of experience – albeit some time ago now – that every word you have written is true. NZ is NOT the egalitarian nation that successive ‘powers that be’ have claimed and never has been.

    There are two separate sets of rules governing this country. One for the wealthy, privileged, with upper-social and political connections and the other for the rest of us who, when the chips are down, simply don’t count.

    Given some of the suspect conduct and the questionable ideologically driven legislation being passed by the current government, I’m waiting for the Herald’s banner headline “DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK” because it is presently in more peril than it has ever been before.

  4. Ray, the point isn’t legality or lack of it. The point is neatly summed up in the last paragraph – if you’re loaded or otherwise a ‘prominent NZer’, you can effectively buy or network your way out of being held to account.

    Here’s another hypothetical example to add: if a low-decile school did something like the ‘Grammar Nazi’ incident but with Soviet Russian themes, they’d get more than just ridicule, they might just get a visit by the NZSIS.

  5. These cases show just how corrupt New Zealand has become. We should be deeply concerned, first that such things happen, and second that there is impunity for the perpetrators. Thank you Pablo

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