"This is not a nanny state measure," says Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel this morning, announcing the biggest nanny state measure since ... the last several. This claim has about as much veracity as the Prime Minister's claim last week that the number of bottle stores in Manukau were contributing to violent crime in the area: Exactly zero.
What Dalziel was announcing was a raft of new restrictions on bottle stores -- Not nanny state, but "something with teeth" she says limpidly. These include:
- the size, location and layout of bottle stores,
- how many bottle stores Ms Dalziel will allow in an area,
- when they will be allowed to open,
- their proximity to other premises like schools.
- something called "one way doors".
But can you spot anything there, anything at all, that would have saved the life of Navtej Singh? Because, if you remember, it was the murder of Navtej Singh that necessitated this new piece of knuckle-dragging nanny statism.
Frankly, Dalziel's crackdown on bottle stores in the wake of Navtej Singh's murder is as cynical as her 'crackdown' on oil companies announced last week -- neither is intended to achieve anything substantive (although they will both make conditions more onerous for honest businessmen); all they are intended to do is convey a picture of a government who will do something, anything, to bad news off the front page.