In this day, when almost any need by any person is considered worthy enough to demand the taxpayer pays for it, it takes a act of bludging of particular gall to shock me. The New Zealand Government willingly pays for people to travel overseas to study hip hop dancing and for wealthy yachties to indulge in their sport. But the demands of the family of Sharon Armstrong, who was arrested for trafficking cocaine in Argentina, for the taxpayer to pay for two of them to visit her, takes the cake.
This women had five kilogrammes of cocaine in a false-bottomed suitcase, which shows a premeditation of her crime that makes Shapelle Corby's profession of innocence look worthy by comparison. Now, I don't have an issue with informed adults taking drugs and, consistent with this, I don't see too much wrong with informed adults buying and selling the stuff. However, this does not translate into the slightest sympathy for people who knowingly break the anti-drug-trafficking laws of so many countries. If they take the risk, they have only themselves to blame if they are caught.
This woman and her family now expect the New Zealand taxpayer to bail her out. I think the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has absolutely made the right call in rejecting the family's demand from the taxpayer. If Sharon Armstrong is guilty, she can rot in an Argentinian jail for the rest of her life as far as I am concerned. If she is not, her family can put the facts before the public (as Arthur Thomas, David Bain, Peter Ellis and many others have over the years) and let the public decide whether to voluntarily contribute to her defence.