Riots in DunedinThe riots in Dunedin brought to mind the ‘troubles’ in Befast in the 1980’s except there were no rubber bullets fired by the police. Perhaps there should have been.

I now hear on the news on my way home tonight that some students could spend up to 2 years behind bars for their involvement in the debacle last weekend. Fair enough too. (Researching convictions and sentencing for riot show rates for both were almost non existent between 1991 and 1996)

In my days as a student ‘riotous’ behaviour constituted getting as drunk as a skunk and vomiting in public while your mates cheered and ran around you naked (whoops – there’s that nudity word again).

In my days

  • there was never damage to property that couldn’t be hosed down;
  • there was never the potential for loss of life other than alcohol poisoning;
  • there was never a complete disrespect for police and firemen except good natured bantering and heckling.

It’s no wonder then that given the ‘innocence’ of our riotous behaviour that in the event any of us ended up in court we always offered the “I’m doing a law degree” defence and were summarily discharged without conviction.The students in Dunedin last weekend went many steps too far in the wrong direction.

Teach them a lesson. Book ’em.

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7 thoughts on “Dunedin riots”

  1. This really sucks because now the politicians will be “That’s what they’ll spend their universal allowance on” and for those of us who starved during their degree will lose out.

  2. Sorry Skinny, but what complete rubbish.

    A couple of points:

    1. Media perspective
    The only media personnel in Dunners are attached to the ODT. Sure, there is a presenter on TVNZ and TV3s staff down there – but in terms of a journalistic community… it’s just the ODT.

    The ODT’s customer demographic maps almost identically to the region’s demographic make-up. They are white, conservative, not rich, and older than the average bear. If you were trying to sell newspapers to those people, would you a) report an unbiased view, or b) sensationalise it for old Otago codgers to mutter disgust at over their morning scone and tea?

    Dunedin’s student unions are regularly complaining of the ODT’s attitude and demonising stance towards students.

    Result: It has been hyped and sensationalised.

    2. The “In my days” perspective
    I can’t help but choke on your list – in your day you also had your fees paid – in your day students staged fairly aggressive sit-ins and protests – in your day you marched down George St twice a week to protest the Vietnam War – in your day you didn’t walk out of Uni with house-deposit sized monkey around your neck.

    I would be very hesitant to say that Dunedin Police handled the situation to the best of their ability and I’d also be very hesitant to say that the students involved had ‘complete disrespect for police and firemen’.

    I think it’s been blown way out of proportion and was probably a lot more harmless than the ODT would like to present. Students will always do stupid things and Scarfie diversion is more than adequate to deal with one-time offenders.

  3. Hi John,

    Granted the ODT won’t be the most liberal rag in the country, and granted these days we can assume bias from the press whatever city they are in…

    But I did see in in the reported furore both Student Union Presidents (Canterbury and Otago) condemning the action of the students. So perhaps the behaviour, even from their perspective, was way beyond a rollicking good time.

    And what’s more I can’t see the relevance of the fact that I had my fees paid an excuse for this behaviour. Are you saying that the Dunedin and Canterbury students have the right to act this way because they have debt?

    You can’t compare aggressive sit-ins protesting against the Vietnam War (I’m not that old :-)), or the Springbok Tour (which in my opinion are legitimate protests) with a bunch of drunken hoons damaging property and putting lives at risk.

    What were they protesting against?

    What political stand were they making?

  4. You do realise that this post puts you in the “old fart” brigade

    Damages in Dunedin are reported at $12,000 meanwhile some caveing fool costs $100,000 to rescue…not sure how these costs were arived at

    I don’t here anyone calling for bans on that!
    Ray
    (nice blog by the way)

  5. As “media personnel in Dunners” NOT “attached to the ODT,” Critic (the student magazine) put out quite comprehensive (and hopefully fair) coverage of the night in last Monday’s edition – all available on our website, http://www.critic.co.nz While the police didn’t handle the situation as well as they could – and there are allegations of unreasonable force, although so far no official complaints – the students involved were, by and large, complete dicks. No matter what kind of sociological, historical, economic, etc, causes there were, nothing justifies throwing bottles at anyone or setting fires so carelessly that houses are threatened, then obstructing those who come in to try and put said fires out.

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