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Crime Deterrence

July 2008: sports broadcaster resigns after it emerges he violently and viciously assaulted his then-partner.
April 2009: sports broadcaster pleads guilty to the charge
Jan 2010: sports broadcaster back on the air!
Jan 2011: sports broadcaster begins weekly on-air chats with the Prime Minister.

So there’s the lesson, people. If you are guilty of brutally assaulting a woman, it could be as long as TWENTY MONTHS before the Prime Minister jokingly tells you which celebrities he’d most like to have sex with. CRIME DOESN’T PAY.

{ 19 } Comments

  1. Karen | February 2, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Personally I’m feeling sorry for John’s wife… IMHO it is unkind and inappropriate for someone with a partner to tell the whole nation who else they want to f*ck!

  2. samm | February 2, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, but this is Sport Rrrrradio! Where men are MEN who don’t have to grow up, ever. Whaddarya! Etc etc. I feel sorry for John and Bronagh both at having to smile and nod at this imbecilic crap. While many people probably have a celebrity go there list, it is something they will discuss privately with friends in fun, without feeling the need to share it on a national radio network.

  3. Matt | February 3, 2011 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Samm, Key has the choice not to go on the show. If he declined because he felt it would be inappropriate given Veitch’s recent history, who would question him? He’s the PM.
    Hell, he could just say he’s too busy and doesn’t feel it would be a worthwhile use of his time.

    That he goes on the show, never mind discusses his celebrity “hot list”, says more about the man than any of his witterings while on air.

  4. Jet Simian | February 3, 2011 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Well, I trust he got that list laminated.

    Actually what still depreses me about this is that for the defence Stuff went to someone… from an advertising agency.

  5. morgue | February 3, 2011 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Further to Jet – where are the voices? Why is the only public voice to say “maybe this isn’t a good look” Sue Kedgley? Going to an ad agency for comment shows it’s being treated like a silly story, not a serious political issue.

    I absolutely agree with Matt that Key should be steering clear of Veitch as toxic. That he isn’t says loads about the values base Key is going for – the blokey crowd that figure Veitchy has said sorry, so what’s the big bloody deal? This is the Nat’s base anyway, so he’s just entrenching. He feels politically untouchable. And it looks like that feeling is accurate, given the response.

    So where are the voices? It’s depressing as hell. See also Kiwipolitico:
    http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2011/02/hard-rains-a-gonna-fall/

    and the Dim Post:
    http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/know-your-songs-well-before-you-start-singing-them/

  6. samm | February 3, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Matt. Absolutely true, but I get the feeling he is being ‘advised’ to go on these shows because it is expected of him (or he thinks it is), to ubild on his ‘everyman’ public persona, regardless of how he actually feels about the content. That he keeps digging himself holes like this suggests that he may be less than comfortable in these situations.

  7. Pearce | February 3, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I used to work with a woman who said, “I feel sorry for Tony Veitch. He gave her money – what else does she want?”

    I’m still dumbfounded. Guess I know who she’s voting for.

  8. ben | February 3, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Obviously I can’t come close to defending Veitch, but in this case he has already both been through the justice system and become a national media hate figure. In general the hope should be that when you’ve faced up to what you’ve done you then return to society.

    This becomes much harder to stomach when it is a celebrity who then resumes a high profile well paid job, and probably even more in this case where he is in a stupidly macho sports journalism world. And as the Paul Henry affair showed, if you don’t meet certain standards you can lose your celebrity position.

    Maybe John Key should still have declined to appear, and to answer that inane question, and personally I wouldn’t have re-hired Veitch at all to a public position. But continuing to make him a pariah does raise issues about justice and celebrity.

  9. Marie | February 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Very well put Ben. Can we not forgive and move on and let Tony V do likewise? As for JK, I agree that he’s trying to charm every level of society. And to be honest (bugger it) it’s working! People love him! They don’t care about his policies, but if he has smiled at them, they somehow trust that whatever he does in Parliament will be in their best interests.
    So how long before Paul Henry is back do you think? Breakfast’s a bit tame without him!!

  10. Scott A | February 3, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Ben and Marie, for dropping a bit of the ‘liberal panic’ about this issue. Veitch has been through the justice system and, yes, maybe ‘the intelligentsia’ don’t enjoy Radio Sport’s type of blokey, sexist humour; many may indeed feel it is wrong. But understand that many people don’t, perhaps even most people.

    And that’s why there are few ‘public voices’ about this apart from the Greens; speaking for their constituency which does view Vietch and such humour with distaste.

    Two and a half years after Labours defeat I’m still not hearing a lot of people in the left who are willing to, turning Cullen’s words to another use, realise “you lost, eat this.” Indeed, I still see very little learning about why Helen Clark was, by the end of her third term, utterly hated by not just traditional National voters but – and this is important – many people under the age of 25. Similarly, why the ‘old school’ Greens (Bradford, in particular) were also utterly despised.

    Until that lesson is learnt – and it won’t be until this election goes to National with an increased majority – the left won’t have a chance of getting back into government.

  11. morgue | February 3, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Scott, Ben, Marie – I’m standing by my unhappiness at this. To me, it hinges on Ben’s comment about “when you’ve faced up to what you’ve done you then return to society”. I honestly don’t think he has. Going through the justice system is only one aspect of the picture. Veitch is despised precisely because outside of the mechanics of the legal situation, he has been pandered to and soft-pedalled back into his comfort zone, protected from facing up to what he’s done. I don’t think Veitch is damaged goods for all time, or that he can never be forgiven or forgotten, but I do not see anything in his experience that shows understanding of his actions. I think it’s not just lefty treehuggers like me that feel like this, and I don’t think it amounts to “liberal panic”.

    Key is complicit because by engaging in these blokey interviews – Veitch not just as interviewer but as trusted mate – he forcefully takes the position that Veitch’s past can be safely put aside. I think that’s a significant lapse of judgement, morally and personally. (I don’t kow that it’s going to have much cost electorally though.) If Key thinks Veitch’s actions are in the past, I want him to be challenged on it and forced to say those words in a public venue so he can be judged accordingly.

    That said – I agree with most of the rest of what you say. Scott, your wider points about the lessons (not) learned, are dead on. I say this meaning myself, as well as the inept Labour leadership.

  12. Pearce | February 4, 2011 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I agree with Morgue about Veitch. I could say a lot, but I’ll restrict it to two things:

    First, I remember his apology, and it’s always seemed to me that he was mostly sorry for himself.

    Second, there are still far too many people out there who think that he should have been able to get away with paying hush-up money. How are our family violence statistics looking lately?

  13. samm | February 4, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Scott, agreed, the cult of Helen is still going strong.

  14. samm | February 4, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    On a side tracking note, why does it seem to me in general that a hollywood shag list is perceived as a somewhat dodgy thing for men to be seen to be discussing, but perfectly acceptable for women (in my peer group at least)?

  15. samm | February 4, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Need to knock this esprit d’escalier shit on the head. After consideration, frankly I’m not sure where this impression that ‘he hasn’t faced up to what he has done’ comes from. The uncontested guilty plea, the public statement, the going to anger management/counselling of his own impetus, the possible suicide attempts. He seemed pretty damn remorseful to me. If you want someone not facing up to what they have done, look at Paul Henry. Just what else does he have to do? Apologise every day on the air? Write a tell-all book? Like everyone with actions they regret, he probably just doesn’t want to talk about it. Objectively the money paid could just as easily be seen as an attempt to make amends privately as it is as hush money. Just because we all hate the things he did, lets not get caught up in a kneejerk reaction to what he is doing now. Is discussing celebrity shags with the PM inane and borderline offensive? Of course, but this is morning radio, and sports radio at that. PM’s don’t normally go there (and shouldn’t), but it goes with the turf. I agree he has been cotton wooled and soft pedalled back into a position of public prominence, and maybe he could have exercised some better judgement about taking it. But that doesn’t change the fact that as Ben correctly pointed out, he has served his time as dictated by the justice system, rightly or wrongly.

  16. Pearce | February 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    To hell with it, I’m going to say a lot after all. This is closely connected to an issue that I give a damn about.

    There are all sorts of things that people who are convicted of violent crime aren’t allowed to do – not in spite of going through the justice system, but especially after going through the justice system. For example, you cannot get a job with my employer; you’re considered to be someone who can’t be trusted around vulnerable people. If you’re sentenced to prison time (which this person admittedly wasn’t) you now can’t vote until you’re released.

    This sort of thing follows everybody concerned around for the rest of their lives. Right or wrong, it just does. Most people don’t have to be quite so prominently in the public eye over it, but as far as I’m aware nobody is ever forced to take a job as a highly-paid public broadcaster, and as far as I’m concerned such a role is a privilege and should come with a high level of responsibility. As for “what else does he have to do?” – behaving as if he has respect for women by not making demeaning jokes on the air would be a good start. Yeah I’m aware that it’s part of the “culture” – but surely someone who’s learned their lesson is exactly the right person to attempt a change.

    My concern has always been much more with the responses than with the specific incident, in any case. There are horrific incidents of domestic violence in New Zealand all the time. As in the example cited in my first comment, I have encountered people who don’t seem to get that someone who breaks their partner’s back by kicking them down the stairs has committed a very serious crime. If they think that it’s OK for one person to do it, why wouldn’t they think that it’s okay for other people to do it?

    As for why it is highly inappropriate for the Prime Minister to set up a weekly appearance on a show hosted by someone who is guilty of brutal violence against a woman, and to kick off these appearances by making jokes about using women as sex objects… It should be obvious. This kind of sexism is part of the same pattern that domestic violence emerges from. This is a Prime Minister for a government that wants to be seen as tough on crime, especially violent crime. He is the head of state in a country with a shocking record of domestic violence. To be getting matey with a perpetrator is shameful.

    If John Key wants to be hard on violent crime, he should be hard on violent crime. If he wants to be hard on violent crime when it’s politically expedient but to crack sexist jokes in a public forum with someone who is widely known for having a history of violent crime (people do realise that Veitch was charged with six separate charges from over a five-year period, and pleaded guilty to only one of them as part of a plea bargain, right?) he should be called out on it.

    I’ll back down on this stance the moment that I live in a country that is consistent about taking domestic violence seriously, and when it is governed by people whose policy on the issue is more conversant with getting results than with getting votes from the ignorant. (Hi there, supporters of the Sensible Sentencing Trust – “ignorant” is the nicest thing I would call you.) If there was such a thing as a political party that actually had a sensible approach to the problem of violent crime, I would be much happier about the state of the nation than I am now. I’ve currently got nobody to vote for, just people to vote against.

    F**k Phil Goff’s stance on violent crime, while I’m on this subject. His spell as Minister of Corrections showed him to be guilty of political expediency flying in the face of actual evidence. As far as I’m concerned, the most positive thing that would come from a National win this election is getting this guy the hell away from the leadership of the Labour Party, and hopefully out of parliament altogether.

  17. morgue | February 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Pearce: well said.

  18. Scott A | February 5, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Pearce, I agree with everything you said. Now, how do we get the average person to think along those lines without feeling lectured at, harangued at, patronised?

    Call it ‘the tea party’, call it the ‘anti-feminist backlash’ call it what you will, but all over the western world the majority of people – and I”m going to stick to that statement, I don’t believe this is a media beat up – the majority of people feel threatened by those who talk at them like that.

    There’s a good reason for that; the social movements of the last half of the twentieth century put into the general consciousness that being sexist, racist, bigoted, all of that was wrong, is evil.

    And now the backlash is that trying to tell people who took all of that on that they might be racist, sexist or bigoted is going to struggle, because who amongst us thinks that we are wrong, or are evil? But if we tell someone that what they think is racist, that’s what we’re telling them. And why would someone who thinks they are a good, solid, reliable person want to listen when someone tells them they are evil?

    That’s the lesson that needs to be learned, and the solution that needs to be found.

  19. Pearce | February 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Scott: a good start might be for people who know better to stop pandering.

    Bigotry can be classified as evil, sure. But it’s also pretty damned boring. Bigots are flat-earthers. I don’t care how many of them there are, they’re still measuring intelligence by the shape of the skull and expecting the “ether” to explain everything. We should just leave them behind and hope their kids can catch up one day.