Friday, 27 January 2006

A horror story about a tree, and a lynch mob

Some years ago in a regime that sometimes seems not too far away, the Soviet regime instituted neighbourhood and 'block committees' that had almost unlimited powers of retribution over residents. These committees had literally the power of life or death.

We now have something almost similar in New Zealand, as erstwhile developer George Shaw has now found out after cutting down a tree on his own land -- ie., his own tree -- and being forced to face a "restorative justice meeting" so that a legalised lynch mob could propose suitable punishment. All this under a law called the Resource Management Act that ensures trees have rights while humans don't, and that allows for a fine of up to $200,000 and a punishment of two years in jail for offences under the Act.

"It's only a tree," said one of the meeting's attendees trying to give the meeting and this country some much-needed perspective. Responded one of the fascists goons out for blood: "But he's only a human"! Sums it up, really. [Listen here to a rational account of the meeting by blogger Duncan Bayne.]

As Julian Pistorius says on his blog, "join the dots" between the loony property law we have in this small, authoritarian backwater, and the report out this week showing that cities in this backwater are rated 'severely unaffordable' due to excessive land-regulation.

Links: Public pillories tree destroyer - NZ Herald
Radio interview re. restorative 'justice' meeting - Duncan Bayne
Property Developer Almost Lynched - Julian Pistorius
Tree Frenzy - Not PC
Housing un-affordability - denying the obvious - Not PC


  1. George Bernard Shaw is unfortunately named as his namesake supported the abolition of private property.

    These quotes from the Herald article are chilling:

    Shaw was accompanied by his barrister, Paul Wicks, but refused to talk to journalists. Dressed in casual clothes, his body language subdued but his face expressionless, he heard that his behaviour was "malevolent", "criminal", "cynical", "appalling" and "blatant".

    He was "greedy", his actions "financial fascism" and "economic terrorism".

    Said a Mt Smart Rd resident: "He is only sorry he got caught.

    Of course, the Herald approves, describing the crowd as "generally thoughtful and well-behaved", rather than blood-thirsty little fascists.

    This is hilarious:

    Discussions of remedies ranged from Shaw gifting the property as a Shaw working in a native plant nursery.

  2. PC - Shaw actually requested the restorative justice session. It wasn't "forced" on him.

  3. Crap, Aaron, you bloody lynch-mnob apologist. The poor bastard is trying to avoid a jail sentence. "Choice" my arse!

  4. One of the more sickening comments at the meeting was a reply to Mr. Shaw reporting horrendous financial losses on this project: the troglodyte described what he was being forced to endure (yes, endure - a choice between this and jail is no choice at all) as a "business risk".


  5. He might be trying to avoid a sentence, but he most certainly requested the restorative justice meeting. If he wants to hold such a waste of time in the hopes it mitigates his sentence, well, thats his defence, and I imagine that since he was caught breaking the law several times, lied through his teeth and was now about to get prosecuted, he was happy to consider any trick in the book to lessen his punishment. All power to him, he's entitled to search for any legal means to show remorse or avoid further punishment. But one thing's for sure, he's got a greater grip on what he's facing than the libertarian folk who have been advising him.

  6. michael fasher27 Jan 2006, 19:12:00

    im staying in onehunga and apparently there will be another meeting with these low lifes
    Can anybody inform me when and where it is so i can go along for a scrap


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