Monday, October 16, 2006

Charity fuck

One of the hardest things I'm finding about becoming an active member of the Labour Party is working out where to fit in. The council structure doesn't have a Gonzo division. Joining the Maori or Pacific sectors would be a stretch. I might apply once the Maori test becomes available. There's the Union corner (nope), the Womens' wing (nup), the Rainbow channel. I'm prepared to support Labour and even vote for them. However, I will not suck cock for Labour. Although I'm a recent uni dropout, I'm too old for Young Labour. The grey hairs disbar me and I've always been crap at hackysack.

After my charity work up at Fraser House tomorrow night, I expect to have some serious beers with Geoff da Maori about this Charity thing. Charities Commission chief executive Trevor Garrett said "We are going to have some organisations which are set up predominantly to advocate for social change . . . Once we get information that (an organisation) is not considered to be charitable we will start looking at steps toward deregistration." If I have to choose between my two masters, Labour will lose to NORML.

If political parties think they have it tough scrounging for money, spare a thought for a volunteer society like NORML. It is a very non-profit organisation. Paid staff: none. Budget: bugger all. GST refunds play a serious role in what it does. If that goes, well... NZ would be the poorer for it. Combined with Internal Affairs' interpretation of a community, it is clear that political dissent is being crushed.

Not that the Gee Whizz private sector is coming to the party. Regardless of what market share of their target demographic is derived from people too stoned to cook, fast food franchises refuse to pony up with NORML sponsorship. There's little chance our supermarket cartels would allow our advertising. (If an ad agency is reading and wants to prove me wrong, please feel free to contact me. Pro bono work only.)

In a desperately competitive business environment, no-one wants to risk any possible side effects being blazed by a bored and shallow media crew waiting to link their product to file footage of silhouetted people rolling bad joints. A good example of this occured last year, when I tried to set up an SMS number for NORML donations.

No-one wanted to touch us. Not that that was explicitly stated. No, the terms and conditions were changed as our application sunk in. I can't name names or what happened as I don't have sufficient legal nous to avoid the 21 tonnes of shit I would be hit with by doing so. Suffice it to say that text fundraising was not an option.

I've smoked with corporate managers, lawyers, musicians, architects, restauranteurs, stand-up comedians, journalists. I have smoked with public servants on the steps of Parliament. But you won't see these people at J Day or actively campaigning for marijuana law reform. The people are scared. They have so much to lose. So NORML lives on the smell of an oily rag. We do it because others can't.

We are electric monks, believing in things while everyone else is preoccupied. We educate, as well as hassle for truth, justice and a budding economy. There is no reason for NORML to suffer the proposed sledgehammer just so Labour can crack the Exclusive Brethrens' nuts.