Daily Archives: August 12, 2014

Cameras in North Dunedin

Received from Lee Vandervis
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 at 11:05am

Message: The email below is what I sent to Critic in direct response to their questions as further below. Critic editor Zane Pocock’s ‘Editorial’ fails to include any of my responses and instead fabricates false quotations. [see even further below]
I did not say “prevent vandalism” or “I don’t trust you little fuckers”, but Mr Pocock’s ‘Editorial’ gives reason enough.

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2014 20:41:00 +1200
To: Nina Harrap [Critic]
Conversation: Cameras in North Dunedin
Subject: Re: Cameras in North Dunedin

Hi Nina,

For decades, various attempts to stop couch-burning in public streets have been ineffective, and ratepayers should not be forced to carry the annual burden of hundreds of thousands in repair costs, to say nothing of the equally unaffordable costs of fire-fighting staff, Police and ambulance services.
Video is now a very inexpensive way to combat unaffordable criminal vandalism hot-spots, but Dunedin North has been exempted for various spineless reasons. A very few pyromaniac vandals have been taking advantage of this exemption, some of them students.
The Police would have access to the camera surveillance as they do in many other parts of Dunedin. I would anticipate that the Police would act with prosecutions only on evidence of serious criminal offending.
Cameras would not be an invasions of residents’ privacy as they would be in public places where anybody with a cell phone could also record similar images. Cameras would not need to focus on any residential property as they are concerned with protecting public spaces.
Mr Baxter has suggested that I would not like cameras recording outside my house. The opposite is true. If cameras had been recording, there might have been a chance of catching the tagger who made an expensive mess on a vehicle parked in the street last month.

Kind regards,
Cr. Vandervis.

On 5/08/14 9:00 PM, “Nina Harrap” wrote:

Hello Mr Vandervis,
My name’s Nina Harrap and I’m a reporter for Critic magazine. I’m currently writing a short piece about your proposal to install cameras around North Dunedin. I was wondering if I could possibly get a statement from you in answer to the following questions:
Why do you feel cameras in North Dunedin are a good idea?
Who will have access to the camera surveillance?
Won’t putting cameras up be an invasion of residents’ privacy?

My deadline is 5pm tomorrow (Wednesday), so your speedy reply is very much appreciated.

Cheers,
Nina [for Critic]

—— End of Forwarded Message

[Critic text article supplied. Header and image – screenshot by whatifdunedin]

Critic Issue 19 10 Aug 2014 Editorial 1,jpg

As reported by the ODT on Friday 1 August, Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis has called for video surveillance of Scarfie-ville to “prevent vandalism”.

There is a huge problem with this, and it’s because of how much students have improved their behaviour recently. Largely driven by a great effort from both the University and OUSA over the last few years, students have been working hard to correct a past prevalence of misdemeanours, all the while maintaining Dunedin’s reputation as an exciting place to grow up as young, energetic adults. The Hyde Street Party is now a well-controlled and safe event for students to let their energy off. Orientation is similar. Furthermore, the Dunedin Craft Beer and Food Festival even sees an effort by the students to provide something for the much wider community of Dunedin.

It has been a huge and noticeable improvement, and people like Vandervis undermine that. The clear progress in student culture needs to be encouraged. Taking several years of steady improvements before turning around and saying “I don’t trust you little fuckers” through a targeted invasion of privacy is counter-intuitive and stupid.

Vandervis is looking for a silver bullet when there is none. What there is, however, is a huge cohort of students who really do care about preserving the student culture of Dunedin. No, that doesn’t strictly mean binge drinking and fire starting. What it means is the conservation of a true student quarter and the existence of a true student town in New Zealand. Dunedin’s half dead without the University – the commonly held belief is that there’s not much else aside from the culture here to attract students.

As for privacy itself, the age-old argument that you don’t have to worry if you’ve got nothing to hide should have been abandoned long ago. One of the many oppositional points to this comes down to the sheer confusing nature of law. To the best of my knowledge, one of the reasons we have a judicial system is that a lot of legislative law is extremely convoluted, and a very large portion of our law is based on precedents set by judges’ decisions and not strictly written as rules, which is the common way of seeing law. Although our situation isn’t as confusing as that in the States where they literally can’t count the number of federal crimes that exist, it’s hard to actually know whether you live within the confines of the law or not.

And again, with reference to the States, sometimes people should have something to hide. Sometimes people should be breaking the law to amount pressure on lawmakers. Only in 2001 did Minnesota decriminalise sodomy, and thus, to a large degree, homosexuality. How about marijuana – there wouldn’t even be spokespeople for the huge positive change currently sweeping the States if people hadn’t lived illegally against an outdated and one-sided conservative belief system.

I also struggle to trust humans. People watching the camera footage will almost surely abuse their positions. They will laugh at people and they will put footage on YouTube (even though this would be illegal itself). This rounds out my final point: why can’t we have privacy for the sake of privacy? It’s fair to object to an invasion of privacy without even thinking about why you’re objecting to it. Going by Vandervis’ logic, should there perhaps then be a camera in each cubicle of any Octagon bar? The deadly assault earlier this year scared the shit out of a lot of people.

Otherwise, fuck it. You think students are apathetic? Just wait until power-tripping aggression makes things worse. I would hazard a guess that you’ll need even more security cameras keeping track of the student-spying ones.

Zane Pocock
Critic Editors

—— End of Forwarded Message

█ Source: http://www.critic.co.nz/columns/article/4231/editorial–issue-19
Editorial | Posted 9:16pm Sunday 10 August 2014 by Zane Pocock.

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