Thursday, June 30, 2011

The trial and persecution of Dakta Green

Tonight, Dakta Green is spending his second night in prison, the start of an eight month lag for convictions relating to The Daktory. I have just returned to the Wellington region after spending the last seven months living like it's legal, living on premises at The Daktory.

It is too soon, too raw an experience to write up quite yet, at least not without a sizeable advance from a publisher to entice that dense tale out of the cranium. What I can make out of the saga right now is that Dakta Green should not be in prison. He is not a menace to society.

A fellow supporter texted me yesterday with the sentence. 8 months, possibly out in 4. Dakta Green might still run for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in New Lynn this election. National Party MP Paul Quinn's vicious private member's bill last year has thrown this campaign awry for no good reason, so here's hoping 8 = 4 and that slimy creep's loose noose is avoided.

It could have been worse. The police/ The Crown/ The Queen was seeking four years jail for 61 year old Green. So much for culture change within the police/ state.

What did the MSM have to say? TV3 gave 30 seconds on primetime. Dan Satherley's written report live from the scene had a better impact. NatRad's Checkpoint squeezed out a reasonable three minutes. Stuff did a story using the photo that started this prosecution in the first place, so there's a few more advertising dollars at someone else's expense. Oh for Dagg's sake do not get me started on it all right now...

Tim Selwyn at Tumeke has written up a good defence of Dakta Green, begging the question I was trying to avoid in the last paragraph:
Having said that I am amazed that a stonking great barn devoted to the purpose of cannabis was able to run for so many years unmolested when it is:
a) known by all, with a facebook page,
b) is visible from Great North Rd with letters three metres high saying 'DAKTORY', and -
c) the big Avondale Police station is just a few minutes drive down the road.
It took the cops how many years to twig something was up?

Doing my best to avoid defamation proceedings from Fairfax lawyers, I'll stick with making these points:
  • In court and under oath, the man at the drug squad, Detective Rhys Wilson of Waitakere CIB, said that until his superiors handed him the case, he had not heard of The Daktory.
  • Further, Detective Wilson said how on receiving the case, he proceeded to Google "The Daktory" and found the website (The site has undergone some renovations since Det. Wilson Googled upon it, but suffice to say the content remains much the same).
  • Detective Wilson was given the case after a reporter rang Police National Head Quarters (aka Bullshit Towers) asking for comment on this The Daktory thing. Shit rolled downhill from there to Detective Wilson. This picture was not drawn by Wilson, more of a particularly simple Join the Dots Puzzle. Dakta Green was arrested because he embarrassed the bullshitters.
It is a shame much of the life has gone out of The Daktory since the conviction and closure. The members who played chess or read a book or made new friends or met old ones or painted protest placards or played piano or DJed. There's none of that now. A new and harmless species of meeting place was killed by the powers that be.

I don't want to get all Don and Hone on the matter, throwing Godwin's Law around with abandon or comparing apples with oranges, but the real crime by Dakta Green in society's eyes was that of corrupting the youth. Socrates was poisoned for similarly incorrigible convictions. Society might be getting a bit more civil with its injustices, but a wrong's a wrong and Dakta Green should not be in jail on these hypocritical charges.

Kia kaha Dakta Green!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

4:20 News: Free Dakta Green Special

Tomorrow morning, Dakta Green will be sentenced by Judge Gittos at Auckland District Court on three convictions handed down by a jury on Friday 13th May. All three charges related to The Daktory, New Zealand's first and only cannabis clubrooms. Those charges are selling cannabis, possession for sale and allowing a premises to be used for the consumption of cannabis.

The sentencing comes a week after entertainer Rick Bryant was sentenced to two years in jail on drugs charges, a fate worse than what rugbyhead rapists get for punishment. Around the same time as Bryant's sentencing up in Auckland, a week after this lengthy article in the Timaru Herald, Peter Davy was meant to be sentenced at Timaru District Court. The best I've heard says Peter Davy's sentencing has been put off until July, the third (or is it fourth?) postponement so far.

Down in Dunedin, 72 year old Maurice Didham has had his sentencing on cannabis charges postponed until August. High Court Judge Geoffrey Venning is waiting to see how the police's courageous yield calculations stack up to professional scrutiny.

Bill English has admitted that prisons are a moral and fiscal failure. The Law Commission report on drugs quoted surveys showing only 8 percent of cannabis users stopped because of its illegal status. There's even talk of New Zealand beginning to sift users from abusers through drug courts.

So anything could happen tomorrow at the sentencing of 61 year old Dakta Green. While we wait for that wave to collapse, let's see what other landmarks litter the current drug war debate.

International support for a new drug policy is growing deafening. A brains trust calling itself the Global Commission (it includes luminaries such as George Schultz) has called for legalisation. Another bunch of Names sent a letter calling for an end to the war on drugs. A report commissioned by thinktank Demos comes to much the same conclusion.

There's even talk of digging up the remains of William Shakespeare to see if he really smoked cannabis. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust supports the plan. If it takes the greatest writer in English literature to get dug up to prove he smoked dope just so the incontrovertible truth will stare the whiskey-clutchers and gin trappists in their bloodshot eyes and admit they've been staring at the drug issue through beer goggles for the last 40 years, so be it.

Praise Shakespeare. Bury the drug war. Free Dakta Green.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fierce Invalids Home from Lukewarm Climates

We were driving through Te Horo a handful of years ago, me and a couple of hitch-hikers I had picked up around Porirua, heading north to Auckland. Both were European backpackers, and as we cruised up State Highway One, the bloke would ask what the history of the place was. "Nothing of consequence," said I.

Strictly speaking, this was true. This wasn't Poland, doormat to a dozen conquering dynasties. But by the dozenth time this guy asking "What happened here?" as we zoomed through Te Horo, I plain admitted I had not a clue.

I had a flashback of 2001 in Oz (the We Went on Holiday by Mistake Tour as I now call it), when I was quizzed on the picaresque qualities of the Bay of Islands/ West Coast/ Ninety Mile Beach and illuminated my ignorance by saying I had never been to these places.

The hitch-hikers had gone their own way by that evening, but their curiosity gnawed at me for years. So I read. I read Edward Jerningham Wakefield and his Adventure in New Zealand. Rauparaha, a vague mash of childhood tales, came alive. I read on pre-colonial Maori. I read The Coming of the Maori by Te Rangi Hiroa. I read Michael King. And then I read some more.

The next foreign hitch-hiker who asks gets the full lecture. More importantly, the tardy education gave me a greater appreciation of the western coastline north of Wellington. Mana and Kapiti Islands now have deeper meaning. And it is into this land of Rauparaha that I now reside.

Auckland and I do not get on. This is the fourth attempt at living in Auckland that has failed miserably. Here's a sprinkling of lessons learned this time around:
  • There are too many Glens and too much godiness in Auckland. Glenfield, Glen Innes, Glen Eden, Glen, Glen bloody Glen! Is Glen Scottish for mall? The quantity of big box churches is a bit of worry, the fundamentalist vandals more so.
  • The Heineken Mastercard Rugby World Cup had better pour a truckload of business into Auckland, because Wednesday night down at the Viaduct right now looks grim.
  • West Auckland politics seems even more incestuous and crony broken than the rest of the city. The rich and wealthy thumb their noses at the laws, making fithy lucre at public expense. The liquor licensing boards pick winners and protect losers. The middle classes get hassled by the Council for minor pruning or attempting to plant a veggie garden. Want to do up the family home? Prepare your wallet for a conga line of Council inspections: "Da-da-da-da-da, PAY! Da-da-da-da-da, PAY!" The masses get to fight over the scraps left over.
  • Outrageous Fortune was a documentary. I scoffed at the last season. Judd and Pascalle getting together? That was a step over the line of suspending disbelief, eh. But no. After witnessing West Auckland, it's the sort of place where screwing the step-daughter while the Mum's in prison seems sane.
So, fuck Auckland. Titirangi might be the Wellington of the north but give me the real thing.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Still Life

Almost set for blogging again. Just getting the raupo laid. It really ties the place together.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Farewell Ferengistan

Apologies on the lack of blogging. Things have been up in the air recently. Normal service will resume once things have settled. Ta.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Apology to Freemasons

A few days ago, I got into a little tiff with Rotovegas National MP Todd McClay:

As a tolerant pluralist, I have nothing personal against Freemasons. I have no evidence that Freemasons have been involved in crime or intimidation. There are weirder cults out there that are part of the NZ social fabric than this religious alcoholic sect. Just ask the Maori MPs.

I don't know if my old man frequented the Masonic Lodge on Fitzherbert Avenue in Palmy, and I don't rightly care. He was a member of the working class end of the Masonic Hotel Bar, where he would partake of regular liquid communions before driving home to beat the wife or kids. I don't blame the Freemasons for this at all.

However, as part of my job description of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, the Freemasons are fair game. So, if Todd McClay wants to suck up to the self-proclaimed rulers of the country, that's his lot to cast.

One has to wonder why all the fashion Nazis come from the provinces. First it was mad Michael Lhaws, now it's Grand Pooh Bear Brother Todd. When will the vanilla people recognise there are more flavours to heaven and earth than is dreamt of in their philosophy?

Monday, June 06, 2011

Sure to Rise

"One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,
Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
Sleep to wake."

- Robert Browning, Asolando, "Epilogue" (1889)

The Daktory is dead. Long live the NORML New Zealand National Head Quarters.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Flowchart Philosophies

Part Two of All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace is online. This episode is a critique of ecological determinism and systems theories and how they failed to include human nature in their formulae:

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Putting the 'toke' back into Te Tai Tokerau

Maki Herbert is running in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. She's well respected and well loved, not your stereotypical image of a stoner.

Help grow the economy in the economically depressed Te Tai Tokerau electorate. Help stop the police arresting a disproportionate number of Maori for cannabis offences and locking them away from their whanau.

Vote Maki Herbert in Te Tai Tokerau so she can get change from within parliament and end this war on cannabis.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Witch Bust

Following on from their successful reality TV show Drug Bust which finishes next week, production company Great Southern Whitey Television is proud to announce a new reality crime show called Witch Bust.

The Witch Bust TV crew follows the PERVE unit of Counties Manukau Police in their war against witchcraft. PERVE stands for the Preservation of English Religion and Vice Elimination, and this elite police unit lives up to its name stamping out suspected witches and satanists.

Each half hour show will feature a large expensive police raid using overwhelming force to bust a Satanist and a Wiccan. Watch excommunications, exorcisms, relic forfeiture and Wicker Man punishments of our lowliest inhuman scum.

"We will continue the same winning formula featured in Drug Bust, such as blurred faces to dehumanise the lawbreakers, as well as a malevolent soundtrack to underscore how really evil these heretics are," said Great Southern Whitey CEO Gerald Pimp.

NZ Police spokesperson Adolf Cullen praised the show, giving it two broken thumbs up. "These shows give our boys a bigger morale boost than a thousand Hail Marys. It's just a pity we can't do a show on the brownies and queers too. It's not like the old days," he said.

The Dak Show

I've been remiss in posting up The Dak Show videos as they have been produced. Here are all five episodes so far, including a re-edit of the pilot show which replaces the one missing from here: