Monday, June 21, 2010

The true cost of Bieber Fever

Bored of parliamentary expense scandals, but gagging for news of wasted taxpayer money? Don't worry, the Herald has you covered.

Interesting headline: the only reason the police are tallying the cost is that the Herald put in an OIA request.

It took 30 policeman working a total of 161 hours to look after pop sensation Justin Bieber during his day-long New Zealand visit.

The resources were used for the 16-year-old Canadian heart-throb's visit on April 27 and 28.

[...] Security was beefed up in New Zealand after excited fans caused chaotic scenes in Sydney which prompted police to cancel his show at the Circular Quay.

Ok, so I'm not sure what the Herald's angle is here. I don't like to see my tax money spent on protecting tween pop stars any more than APN does - or would do if they made a profit and therefore had to pay tax - but I suspect that 161 hours of police time is cheaper than the aftermath of the riot that happened in Sydney. I don't understand it, but some people want to see this Bieber character, and I don't think I want to live in a country where we say people can't visit in case they are too popular.

But that's not the fun part of this article.

Garth McVicar of the Sensible Sentencing Trust said that over the years several victims had had trouble getting police to respond when they had reported a crime so the police decision to help with crowd control for Bieber's visit was shocking.

"There seems to be a huge lack of resources, lack of man-power to actually react to real crime.

"It just appalls me. Shouldn't these pop stars be organising their own security at their own cost? It shouldn't be a cost that the taxpayer's paying for. The police are a crime-fighting agency and that's what they should be limiting their resources to."

So... Garth McVicar - who, oddly enough, looks in my mind's eye like Garth George - is Speed Dial 1 on the Herald phones. I suppose that if he's willing to work for nothing but some Old Testament-style testosterone he's cheaper than a journalist.

  • Garth McVicar on the World Cup: "South African authorities took four days to try, convict and sentence to 15 years in prison men who stole from World Cup journalists. That's three days too many! SOFT ON CRIME."
  • Garth McVicar on television listings: "What? They cancelled Crimewatch? SOFT ON CRIME."
  • Garth McVicar on the horoscopes: "Mars has moved into the third house, and Uranus is ascendant, which means... YOU'RE SOFT ON CRIME."


  1. I wonder how much the OIA request cost to fulfil.

  2. Thank god I have the Herald to bring me such informative non-stories, and thank god the Herald has a Garth McVicar bat signal ready at hand for such cases.