Sam Lotu Iiga

Time for the government to change the rules for e-cigarettes


Many of our New Zealand laws have not kept up with technology so laws designed for one thing are clumsily applied to another. One glaring example of this problem is how the law applies to e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes and ordinary cigarettes are legal and tobacco is legal but the e-liquids that contain nicotine and that are needed for e-cigarettes cannot be sold legally. People can buy e-liquids online and import them for personal use but it is still illegal to sell them.

This will surprise many consumers who have purchased them in New Zealand from both physical and online shops. New Zealand remains in legal limbo with a Ministry of Health that is choosing to not prosecute retailers who flout the law and a government who as yet has not changed a law that clearly needs changing. If Tobacco is legal it makes no sense at all that liquid nicotine should be illegal.

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Sam’s tax increase has sparked a crime wave

Sam Lotu Iiga was all proud as punch when he beefed up tobacco taxes.

Perhaps he won’t be so pleased as a crime wave sweeps across the nation all because of increased taxes.

Dairy owners are fortifying their businesses as the lucrative black market for tobacco fuels a wave of commercial break-ins.

Burglars have targeted up to 20 cigarette retailers – predominantly dairies and service stations – in about the last fortnight in Christchurch, making off with thousands of dollars worth of tobacco products.

Police have launched an investigation dubbed Operation Smoke as they try to catch those responsible. They are yet to make any arrests, but have some suspects.

A dairy owner, who did not want to be identified, said thieves smashed through the wooden backdoor of his business in south Christchurch, about 1.30am on September 24.

They used a crowbar to open a locked cabinet inside and stole about $10,000 worth of tobacco products.   Read more »

National quite happy to damage companies and devalue their brands

Perhaps the National party need to reacquaint themselves with their founding principles, which say:

To promote good citizenship and self-reliance; to combat communism and socialism; to maintain freedom of contract; to encourage private enterprise; to safeguard individual rights and the privilege of ownership; to oppose interference by the State in business, and State control of industry”.

Certainly, John Key and Sam Lotu-Iiga have scant memory of those principles despite being the leader and a minister in a National-led government.

The bill that will force cigarettes to be sold in plain packets is back in parliament and on track to become law.

It passed its second reading on Thursday after being on hold since 2014.

The government last month confirmed it was going to put it through, and unveiled the proposed new brown-green packaging which is similar to that used in Australia.

Prime Minister John Key said at the time plain packages could be on the shelves early next year.

The government first mooted plain packaging back in 2012, the year Australia introduced it, and the bill passed its first reading in February 2014.

It went to a select committee, which supported it, but the government didn’t want to take it any further at that time because it was worried about the possibility of costly legal challenges from big multi-national tobacco companies.

The Australian government was being sued at the time, but in December last year legal action by Philip Morris failed.

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Signs that National are starting to buckle and are going to throw Serco under the bus

It looks like the government is going to line up Serco for a bollocking with the release of the latest prison scorecard.

Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga has defended the past ranking of privately run Mt Eden Prison as the best in the country, saying it was based on its record at the time.

Mt Eden Correctional Facility plummeted from first place to last place in the most recent prison league tables, which are updated every quarter.

The remand prison had topped the table of 17 prisons since the rankings were introduced three years ago.

The jail was managed by British-based company Serco, though the Corrections Department took control of the facility in July following reports of widespread violence and drug use among inmates.

Mr Lotu-Iiga has previously said that Mt Eden’s “exceptional” ranking showed that private management of prisons was working.

Asked today about his comment, he told reporters: “I had confidence when they were at the top. Clearly they’ve gone down. That was subject to the information that I had at that time.”

Later, under questioning in Parliament, he said: “I stand by that statement based on the facts that were given at the time. I made that statement in May of 2015.”

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Contrast and Compare: SERCO gets minced and Corrections gets a free pass


A convicted sex offender, Zane McVeigh, led the Wellington police on a brief chase yesterday after removing his electronic bracelet.

It was believed there were still 19 people evading the authorities after removing their devices.

Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar said the monitoring system had systemic problems, and was putting the public at risk.

“We advocated that it would only be for low-level, non-violent offenders. But now you’re seeing top end, violent offenders being put out there.

“It was always going to happen when they started expanding the use of it,” he said.

“Ultimately, really we don’t have an option but to use prison more for those violent offenders, and those that are just going to give their middle fingers to the system.”

That’s the scary thing.  We have known sex offenders in the community.  I say known, but of course we’re not allowed to know who they are.  It’s a total secret.  Could be the next person you meet.   Read more »

#dirtymedia A newspaper does another grubby smear piece

Since when have cabinet ministers been responsible for their nephews.

A newspaper does a grubby hit job on Sam Lotu-Iiga suggesting it’s all his fault…and somehow he should be responsible for his nephew.

The nephew of embattled Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has been convicted of assaulting his pregnant girlfriend.

Sam Lotu-Iiga, who was in the dark about the assault until yesterday, said crimes against women were abhorrent and his nephew must face the consequences.

“I was not aware of my nephew’s convictions and have not spoken to him,” he said.

“Any violence, particularly against vulnerable women and children, is abhorrent and the perpetrators should face the consequences of their actions.”

Kenneth Samuela Lotu-Iiga, the son of the National MP’s sister, admitted a charge of assaulting his partner in an incident on July 12.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison. He also pleaded guilty to wilful damage in relation to the same incident.

His partner, 25-year-old beauty therapist Talia Doyle, is 22 weeks pregnant. Doyle declined to comment, and the circumstances surrounding the assault are unclear.

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Key “a little bit surprised” about the number of people slipping their GPS bracelets

Surprised?  What happened to the “no surprises” policy that operated between the government and its departments?  

John Key has admitted he was surprised to find out there are 18 prisoners who have “slipped” their electronic monitoring bracelets currently on the loose.

The Prime Minister said while the number was only a tiny portion of the 3500 prisoners released into the community who are monitored electronically, he was still a “little bit surprised” at the number who have managed to get the bracelets off.

“I don’t know all the details about how they’re actually getting them off but as a percentage of the people that actually wear an electronic bracelet it’s a very tiny fraction of those. Obviously one is one too many.

“The number moves around quite a bit…there are actions that are taken but on balance its still a very small number.”

Mr Key told media in Auckland today electronic monitoring was something the Government would be constantly looking at.    Read more »

Instant response needed to GPS ankle monitoring alarms going off

That filthy little child rapist cut it off and got a 7-hour head start.

Not only should that not be possible, the repercussions for cutting one off should be severe.  So severe that it simply isn’t worth doing.

The Government says it will press on with plans to expand the use of electronic monitoring for offenders amid concerns about two high-profile cases in which child sex abusers breached their GPS-tracking conditions.

Convicted child rapist Daniel Livingstone was arrested by police on Friday after removing his electronic anklet in the early hours of Thursday morning. His case came shortly after Tony Robertson, another child abuser, was sentenced on Thursday for a murder committed while wearing an electronic anklet.

Parliament is considering a bill that would expand the use of electronic monitoring further – to people who are temporarily released from jail and to those who are on “intensive supervision” conditions in the community. The legislation was backed unanimously at its first stage.    Read more »

Why John Key can’t sack Sam Lotu-Iiga


Labour think they have got a hit on Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga because on his watch prisoners have been fighting each other. Unfortunately for Labour the vast majority of the NZ public are only concerned about this because Corrections doesn’t provide lethal weapons for prisoners who fight to help ease them out of the gene pool.   Read more »

Labour cares more about criminals than they do about gay rights

Labour have been seeking a distraction from their race-baiting housing based on cooked up data.

They have finally found one in the death of a prisoner, allegedly by throwing him off a balcony in a prison.

There are fresh revelations tonight about chaos inside privately run Mt Eden Prison, with inmates making their own tobacco and alcohol and taking control of a unit for a day.

The minister in charge of New Zealand’s jails, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, has been caught out over when he was first told of claims a prisoner died after being thrown off a balcony.

The Corrections Minister is now fighting to save his job, with a recent inmate today revealing more about life inside the Serco-managed jail to Labour MP Kelvin Davis.

“It’s rampant. It’s out of control,” says Mr Davis.

‘Prisoner X’ describes both party time and fight time, saying alcohol is made from breakfast sugar, Raro and the yeast from porridge run-off or Marmite sandwiches. For cigarettes, the tobacco is prescription nicotine patches and tea leaves. Papers are provided from wax peeled off sugar bags, and a lighter is made by shorting a three-pin plug into a small spoon of shampoo.   Read more »