We applaud ourselves in New Zealand at being a fair-minded and compassionate people, and in many cases this is true. In any society there will be a few rotten apples, we cannot avoid that. How we deal with those people and their victims is about the only way we as a society can make amends for their crimes.
Rape is rape. The age of consent is the age of consent. People - especially young people - have feelings, and they have rights. They have a right to live their lives in relative safety, free from the predatory actions of others who might hold power over them: whether that power be physical, financial, emotional or intellectual.
The discussion that the Roast Busters case has created has already started to move away from the core story, toward the culture of misogyny that underlies the Kiwi culture. Many remember 'good Kiwi blokes' like Barry Crump and Rob Muldoon. In their time they were seen as the kind of men who get things done with bits of number eight wire and elbow-grease, and damn the consequences: but they belong to a generation passed, a time when we as a society were a little less enlightened, a little less generous in spirit to the needs and feelings of all of our citizens.
We pulled our advertising from Radio Live today, after the comments made by John Tamihere and Willy Jackson around the Roast Busters situation. We did so because it is important to send a message to people who hold significant power over others - in this case the power of mass broadcast - that it is not okay to trivialise the predation of young people.
The young men at the centre of Roast Busters have undertaken actions based on their own personal values, not the values of society as a whole. It is time for others who have people in their thrall to reflect if their actions mirror society, or if they are merely a means to a selfish, ratings-driven end.