The case of Taito Philip Field is interesting for a number of reasons--it is always a sad thing to see a (former) Member of Parliament in the dock, especially on such a charge.
It is a relief, I suppose, that even Government MPs (which he was at the time) cannot dodge the law--at least, not forever. And it demonstrates that we have a functional judiciary, which is always reassuring and nice to know.
But the most interesting part of the whole thing is the insight it gives into the semi-feudal culture of parts of South Auckland--the culture of gift-giving, exchange, influence and patronage.
We are not, you understand, reflexively opposed to semi-feudal cultures--after all, in parts of Europe, similar norms prevail, and have for centuries under diverse names, and various forms, and we hesitate to write them off simply because they don't fit the mould. We suspect most groups of people have half-understood or tacit norms, and webs of influence.
But we advise our friends in Mangere: next time, for Heaven's sake, pick a better guy.
On Place, Permanence, and Microbrews
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