A Pakeha fights back

Last updated 00:14 11/05/2008

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This was a week of wonders.

An extraordinary week in which crime, criminals and criminal trials dominated the headlines. And in which Christchurch was properly declared as the crime capital of the country recognition enough to win the retrial of David Bain.

We wanted that. Wanganui and just about every provincial centre would have loved that retrial but, unlike the World Cup 2011 hosting, we were denied the opportunity to bid.

Bain seems an antipodean OJ Simpson despite resembling him in no way whatsoever because wherever he goes, the media follows. That means scores of hungry, thirsty journos and lawyers and trial ghouls, and all with padded expense accounts. The regional development opportunities flowing from the man will be huge.

Mind you, the downside is that Christchurch accepts it has more yobbos and yoofs than the rest of New Zealand combined. Hence the public meeting on Wednesday night that attracted hundreds. And the remarkable admission from the local police commander that the "broken windows" policy of New York wouldn't work in New Zealand.

Why? Because middle-class mums and dads don't mind retributive justice until it touches their felon and feral kids. At which point, they scream for understanding or a feelgood restorative justice programme. Anything, but consequence.

The commander was right. The Pakeha middle-class loves the idea of slamming the door and throwing away the key, until it's their darling in the slammer. Then it's top lawyers looking for loopholes and pleas for name suppression, diversion and discharge.

And yet it wasn't in Christchurch that the Pakeha counter-revolution began last week. Although it was in a court. Napier District Court judge Tony Adeane jailing his second tagger but with an immense justification. In a direct rejoinder to that flobby flounce that is our children's commissioner, Adeane described graffiti and taggers as "culturally offensive".

Especially to people "whose culture involves the accumulation of attractive property, and creating a nice environment". In other words, middle-class, middle-aged Pakeha.

Up until now, I was not entirely sure that I had a culture. I'd assumed that only other ethnicities, particularly minorities, were accorded such status. I assumed Pakeha had simply arrived the devil spawn of the Old Empire and bred. And like the weeds we were, had proven impossible to eradicate.

Which is why we were so constantly lectured and hectored about the need to be culturally sensitive. Especially to gays, lesbians, Maori, Pacific Islanders, Muslims, Somalis, liberal wimmin and Greens. Apparently none of these groups can look after themselves without the intervention and protection of the state.

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Besides, they have culture. Real culture whether queer, underground, unwritten or unintelligible. And despite my direct western lineage from classical Greece, and through Roman, Renaissance and Reformation periods, I always assumed that Pakeha society did not possess any similar culture, colour or vibrancy.

Adeane affirms otherwise. We like a nice, tidy garden. Painted fences and roofs. Kids who don't dribble snot all the way to school. And a car that hasn't been appropriated from some distant relative ripping off a finance company. We may be simple, but it's our culture.

We also purchase original art, listen to ageing white boy bands and believe that a Central Otago pinot is generally a cultural experience all of its own. We bathe, immunise our kids and do not require oversized vehicle exhausts to proclaim our proximity. We don't binge, except at school reunions where the spirit is willing but the flesh is way too weak.

Taggers do none of these things. They are an alien culture in conflict with our own. It is not our responsibility, Adeane affirmed last week, to understand or humour them. It is our responsibility to resist.

And so he jailed his second teen tagger. Unsurprisingly, both miscreants had significant anti-social histories and were Maori. Which is practically the profile for youth offending in this country.

Indeed the empirical data is even more depressing. At a youth crime conference in Auckland last week, another judge the notoriously liberal Youth Court judge Andrew Becroft released the statistics on teen crims. The significant majority have drug and alcohol problems, the collective education of an Austrian cellar dweller and, you guessed it, genetic adherence to an indigenous culture.

I can't imagine Maori are chuffed about that either. Because most of these loser kids have embraced the ghetto sensibilities of LA as much rejecting their own people as Pakeha culture. Certainly most of their victims are brown.

Twenty-five years of white liberal appeasement has also had its effect. They are excused their ignorance and illegality because they belong to a minority culture. The assumption being that it's not easy being outnumbered. The truth is that they mostly come from dysfunctional families. And daddy certainly didn't love them, even if they knew who he was.

Society has an inalienable right to protect and punish those from the underclass who seek to deface, demean or defeat decent and good people. Like the barbarian hordes in Roman times, we have tried to buy them and their families off via the welfare system, second-chance schooling and enough at-risk programmes to fund Tonga's Tupou V coronation on a daily basis. It hasn't worked.

Adeane's alternative is the more efficient alternative.

And we don't give a damn if Mt Eden Prison is dank and dreary. It is the right place for them.

- Sunday Star Times

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