Thursday, June 28, 2012

John Key denies housing crisis in CHCH, despite claims by his minister there is

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 11: Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key speaks to the media with Maori party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples at Parliament on December 11, 2011 in Wellington, New Zealand. The Maori party have signed a confidence And supply agreement with the National party to help form the next New Zealand government. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
WAITANGI, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 05: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (C) is welcomed by Maori Party Co-Leader Pita Sharples with a hongi (traditional Maori greeting) outside TeTii Marae February 5, 2011 in Waitangi, New Zealand. Waitangi Day is the national day of New Zealand, which is a public holiday held on February 6 each year to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. The treaty is New Zealand's founding document, signed on February 6, 1840. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)


Prime Minister John Key says there is no housing crisis in Christchurch - despite one of his ministers saying that there is and that people should shelter in abandoned homes if they need to.
Maori Affairs minister, Pita Sharples, said Christchurch residents who are living in cars should squat in safe red-zoned properties to get through the winter.
But Mr Key says it's wrong to suggest anyone should stay in an abandoned home, because it is illegal and potentially dangerous.
Mr Key says if people cannot find accommodation, they should make contact with one of the Government's social welfare agencies.
But Mr Sharples is standing by his belief that homeless people should squat in safe, red-zoned properties in Christchurch if necessary.
But the Maori Party co-leader says he shouldn't have made the comments while he was on a ministerial visit.
Dr Sharples says people living in cars risk dying in the cold, and the housing shortage is a crisis.
He says his remarks were irresponsible as a minister, but as the Maori Party co-leader he meant every word.
Dr Sharples says he's seeking funding to get more help for homeless people, as contracts for workers in his ministry's whanau support programme have not yet been renewed.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CHCH EQ Feb 22 2011 - Collapse of CTV building...


The horrors of the February 22 earthquake have been graphically illustrated today, with the Canterbury Television building collapse being likened to the September 11 terrorist attacks and its aftermath a "war-zone". The second day of the royal commission hearing into the CTV building disaster heard from survivors, as well as eyewitnesses to its dramatic "pancaking" in the killer magnitude-6.3 quake. CTV receptionist Maryanne Jackson had been spooked after the magnitude-7.1 September 4, 2010 shake, which sparked the Canterbury earthquake sequence, and felt the building was unsafe. Having seen cracks in the walls, and staff members complaining that the building "shook" as trucks rumbled past, she would run out of the six-storey building during large aftershocks. It was a practice that would save her life. Read more:

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Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, defends Kim Dotcom

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, right, with Kim Dotcom. Photo / Twitter

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, right, with Kim Dotcom. Photo / Twitter

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has jumped to the defence of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and says the controversial businessman is lucky to be living in New Zealand.
Mr Wozniak says the US government has shown "how poorly thought out" its attempt to extradite Dotcom is because it needed to "dream up" charges against him.
"Prosecutors are attempting to take advantage of loopholes. Too bad for the US government that Dotcom lives in New Zealand, which is much better on human rights," Mr Wozniak said in an interview with news website CNET.
Little was known about his thoughts about Dotcom when the Megaupload founder last week posted a photo of the pair meeting in New Zealand.
Dotcom is fighting an attempt by the US to extradite him on allegations of piracy using his file-sharing website.
Megaupload was shut down in January and some of Dotcom's property was seized when his house was raided.
Mr Wozniak has spoken in support of Dotcom and given a scathing assessment of the US investigation.
"When crimes occur through the mail you don't shut the post office down," he said in an email interview with CNET.
"When governments dream up charges of 'racketeering' for a typical IT guy who is just operating a file-sharing service, or accuse him of mail fraud because he said he had removed files [to alleged infringing content] when he'd just removed the links to them, this is evidence of how poorly thought out the attempt to extradite him is."
Dotcom remains under home detention at his Coatesville mansion before his extradition hearing in August.
He hasn't let the physical restrictions hold him back online.
Dotcom has used his newly-created Twitter account to invite guests to swim in his pool and announce a new music discovery and sharing service called Megabox.
Tech website Mashable says Dotcom's Megabox, which would compete with similar platforms such as Spotify, is intended to let artists keep almost 90 per cent of the profits made from their music.
Dotcom's new Twitter account, @KimDotcom, has already attracted 40,317 followers.
Acknowledgements:   APNZ

Is Kiwirail being prepared for privatisation?

KiwiRail is to be restructured

KiwiRail is to be restructured

KiwiRail is to be restructured with its land holdings shifted to another entity, resulting in a write-down of some $6.7 billion.
It has gained Government approval to pour its rail and ferry operating assets into a new KiwiRail state-owned enterprise while crown land used for railways will be held by NZ Railways Corp.
This will result in the commercial arm of KiwiRail carrying assets of between $1.1 billion and $1.3 billion, down from about $7.8 billion currently, chairman John Spencer said in a statement.
The proposal was first flagged at the KiwiRail's annual meeting in November.
"This is a much more realistic valuation of the company's assets, which will greatly assist KiwiRail in meeting its commercial objectives and provide more discipline in driving improved performance," Mr Spencer said.
The changes mean the carrying value of KiwiRail's assets reflect "the revenue they generate".
Railways Corp has revaluation reserves of about $5 billion, "which would be written off first as a result of a writedown in the assets' value," KiwiRail said.
"Any writedown in excess of $5 billion would affect NZRC's bottom line."
The writedown in the value of KiwiRail's assets would be taken this financial year ending June 30, with the final amount to be determined after independent valuations.
The composition of the new boards of KiwiRail and NZRC haven't yet been decided though they are likely to include "a majority of common directors".
In February, KiwiRail said full-year earnings were expected to be in the range of $105 million to $115 million, though that was before any writedown.

Read more:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The United Nations claims Kiwis and Aussies are the biggest potheads in the world...

Kiwis, Aussies 'world's biggest potheads'
Kiwis, Aussies 'world's biggest potheads' -    UN claim...
New Zealanders and Australians are the biggest users of cannabis in the world, the United Nations says in its latest global report on drug use and trafficking.

The use of ecstasy is in decline, but cocaine use is on the rise and New Zealanders and Australians consume more marijuana per capita than any other country.
Altogether, annual use among New Zealanders and Australians for all drugs except for heroin “remain much higher than the global average”, said the report, published a short time ago in Vienna.
The major destinations for cocaine traffickers continue to be in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, suggesting the Mexican drug cartels are continuing to make strong inroads into the Oceanic market.
The report states that cannabis is the most widely used illicit substance across the globe, with the highest prevalence of use among New Zealanders and Australians.
The report found between 9.1 percent and 14.6 per cent of people in Oceania used cannabis, the highest in the world.
The global average is only 2.6 per cent to five per cent.
In New Zealand the UN reported that a decrease in the use of "ecstasy" is reported to have been offset by the use of other substances mimicking its effects, including piperazines, cathinone and mephedrone.
Australia and New Zealand, together with North America and Europe, remain major markets for cocaine, with the latest data pointing to an increase in cocaine use.
"The UNODC also reported "new synthetic psychoactive substances" chemically engineered to remain outside international control are being increasingly used.
In 2010, UNODC said all regions, particularly Europe, North America and Oceania, reported the use of these substances "as an emerging trend".

Monday, June 25, 2012

"I have a dream" education program in Auckland, NZ...



When millionaire Scott Gilmour returned to New Zealand after 12 years in the US, he wanted to do something to uplift the educational achievements of children from poor homes - from the decile one schools.
Now Scott has been putting his money where his mouth is and has started his version of the American "I have a dream" project and is helping kids from poorer families in Auckland, a great many from Pasifika backgrounds. He has adopted many of the projects he observed in the Unites States, where whole classes where adopted and sponsored by wealthy business people. View the video below about Scott's project in Auckland: The video: The Trust: American video: The Californian model:


Clean air in Christchurch...

Clean air in Christchurch? Yeah right!


New Zealand's Most Trusted Person 2012...

Reader’s Digest congratulates Richie McCaw, the captain of the All Blacks, who played that final game with an injured right foot. McCaw is New Zealand’s Most Trusted Person of 2012. Click here for the full list.
Richie McCaw
Rugby player, All Blacks’ captain
Richie McCaw encapsulates all that we trust in a New Zealander. He’s worked hard, showed grit and leadership. We trust him not only because he’s a great All Blacks’ captain who led his team to a World Cup win (though, yes, that helped). We trust McCaw because he represents the idealised Kiwi bloke: strong, dependable, determined, yet humble and self-effacing. He quietly gets the job done with no look-at-me fanfare. He’s never put a foot wrong. He does his bit for charity. He always makes time for a chat with his fans – and he made time to talk to Reader’s Digest about the role trust plays in his life.
Click here to read our full interview with Richie McCaw

NZ Post purchases two courier companies


New Zealand Post is broadening its base with the purchase of two other courier companies.


New Zealand Post is broadening its base with the purchase of two other courier companies.

It's announced it's buying DHL's 50 percent share in Express Couriers Limited in New Zealand and Parcel Direct Group in Australia.

The purchase makes both companies wholly-owned subsidiaries of New Zealand Post.

New Zealand Post Group CEO Brian Roche says there's been a dramatic decline in the amount of letter mail while at the same time parcel and courier volumes are growing steadily.

He says the purchase is a strategic one, and will allow New Zealand Post to offer more to customers.

Acknowledgements:  NZ City

Should NZ adopt a cumulative sentencing policy...

Concurrent Sentencing is in effect a 'bulk-discount' for the number of crimes committed; the more crimes committed the bigger the discount given.

Convicted murder and career criminal William Johansson is a classic example, 145 years total sentence but ultimately given to a non-parole sentence of 23 years.

In my opinion concurrent sentencing – like parole and bail – is being used as a fiscal tool to reduce the period of time an offender spends in prison.

Last year over 5000 accused people (many with previous convictions) breached their bail conditions, some violently and some taking the opportunity of going on a crime rampage knowing full well any additional sentence would be minimal. It is worth noting the Police opposed bail in many cases.

Concurrent Sentencing is the type most commonly used in New Zealand. This is where separate sentences are handed down for each offence committed by an offender - but they are all served simultaneously or together.

Cumulative Sentencing is where all the sentences that an offender may get at any one time for a series of offences are served end-on-end. (A price for every crime committed – no freebies)

Good examples that demonstrate the difference in outcomes are the sentences handed down for Ese Junior Falealii. Pleading guilty to eleven charges he was sentenced as follows; two murders at 17 year minimum sentence each. One attempted murder at 8 years 9 months. Eight aggravated robberies at 7 years 9 months each. A total of 104 years.

However he is serving all these sentences concurrently rather than end on end. All offences and sentences have been rolled together into a 17 non-parole sentence – meaning a 'bulk-discount' of approx 84 years depending on when [not if] he gets parole!

As mentioned above William Johansson was given a life sentence with a 23 year non-parole period for two counts of murder, 11 years for one count of attempted murder, 11 years for 10 counts of aggravated robbery each, 18 months for unlawful passion of firearms, all to be served concurrently. If his sentence were cumulative he would be serving a sentence of 145 years and six months. Johansson in effect gets a 'bulk-discount' of 122 years.

Concurrent sentencing is in reality a "discounting" scheme for offenders - they get much the same sentence if they commit a multiple number of offences as if they had committed just one. The outcome is particularly unjust and unfair to victims and the community who rightly see these unpunished crimes as "freebies". They are!

Raymond Ratima is another example; Ratima killed seven members of his family, but only got one "life" sentence with ten years non-parole.

Just in case any of my critics think things have got better, think again! William Pokai Haare, already serving a 'life' sentence for murder (non-parole of 10 years) was given no additional sentence for assaulting a prison guard by throwing boiling water over him.

In a recent Colmar Brunton poll 85.9% voted for a cumulative sentencing system, it will be interesting to see which (if any) political party advocates this.

The Minister of Justice, Simon Power recently stated that it was essential to restore public faith and confidence in the Criminal Justice System. Getting rid of concurrent sentencing would go along way to restoring public confidence.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Missing mountain bike rider, Lance Kaiki found...

 Lance Kaiki RIP

A Lower Hutt mountain biker, who was reported missing yesterday, has been found dead in the Belmont Regional Park this afternoon.
Lance Kaiki was located near a cycling track and Detective Sergeant Nick Pritchard, of the Hutt Valley Police, said it looked as though he had crashed.

However, it would be over to the coroner to establish the cause of death.

Kaiki, 43, was last seen around 2.20pm on Thursday when he was going for a ride in the park.

Police began searching for him yesterday. It was actually family members who found him today.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Celebrating Matariki - the Maori New Year in New Zealand...

Matariki – Maori New Year

Matariki, the Maori New Year, is rich with tradition. Discover the importance of Matariki, and explore ways that you can celebrate the Maori New Year with your family.

What is Matariki?

Matariki is the Maori name for a group of seven stars known as the Pleiades star cluster. Some people think of Matariki as a mother star with six daughters, and it is often referred to as the Seven Sisters.
Matariki appears in the eastern sky sometime around the shortest day of the year, and is thought to determine how successful the harvest crop will be in the coming season. The brighter the stars, the more productive the crop will be.

What does Matariki mean?

Matariki has two meanings, both of which refer to the cluster of stars. Mata Riki means Tiny Eyes, and Mata Ariki means Eyes of God.

When is Matariki celebrated?

Matariki begins to rise in the last few days of May, and this symbolises the coming of the Maori New Year. Some iwi (tribes) start celebrations when Matariki is first seen, however it is the first new moon after Matariki that officially signals the Maori New Year. Some people celebrate the New Year on the day the new moon rises, and others celebrate on the day after the new moon. Celebrations can last up to 3 days.
The Matariki new moon happens sometime in June. In 2012, Matariki is on the 21st of June.
2013- 10 June
2014- 28 June

Why is Matariki important?

In years gone by, Matariki was thought to determine your crop for the coming season, and therefore it was important to recognise the part it played in nature’s cycle. The disappearance of Matariki in Autumn, signaled the time to gather and preserve crops, and so was an important marker in the harvest calender.
Nowadays, Matariki is seen as an important time to celebrate the earth, and show respect for the land on which we live.

How is Matariki celebrated?

Traditionally Matariki was celebrated by gathering with whanau (family) and reflecting on the past. The festival’s connection to the stars provided an opportunity for families to remember their whakapapa (genealogy) and those ancestors who had passed away to the heavens. Offerings were made to land-based gods who would help provide good crops, and new trees were planted to signal new beginnings.
Many of these traditional celebrations are still practiced today, however there are many others ways that Matariki is celebrated also. Most celebrations focus around music, song, dance, food and family, and celebrations can last up to 3 days.

How do communities recognise Matariki?

Matariki is a good opportunity for Maori to share their stories and culture with the wider community, and many events and activities are planned throughout the country to share and celebrate Matariki. Some common events and activities include:
  • Concerts and cultural performances
  • Art exhibitions
  • Art and Craft Workshops
  • The sharing of myths and legends
  • Astronomy Workshops
  • Hangi and Feasts
  • Dawn Ceremonies
  • Family Days
  • Tree Planting in Conservation Areas
  • Whakapapa (Genealogy) Workshops
  • Cooking Demonstrations

How can you celebrate Matariki with your family?

There are lots of ways you can celebrate Matariki with your family, and in doing so, start your own family traditions. Some ideas to get you started include:
A Family Feast
Make Matariki a time when the whole family gets together to feast and give thanks. It may be a nice opportunity to explore traditional Maori food like hangi and rewena (Maori bread).
A New Harvest
Use Matariki as a time to clear the winter vegetables, and prepare your vegetable garden for the new planting. It could become a family tradition to do the gardening altogether – at least for one day of the year.
Tree Planting
Contact your local Department of Conservation to find out if there are any regeneration projects happening in your area. Organise to plant a tree on Matariki, or better still, get together with a group of friends and plant several.
Sleep Under the Stars
Spend a night sleeping under the stars (or under a tent!), and tell your own family stories. You may want to talk about family memories, or create goals for the coming lunar year.
New Years Resolutions
Most of us create New Years Resolutions in January, but by the time June rolls around they are long forgotten. Why not use Matariki as a time to renew your resolutions.
Attend a Matariki Event
Matariki events are held right throughout the country, and new comers are usually welcomed as people are eager to share their culture. To find out what Matariki events are happening in your area, contact your local Marae or Maori Trust.
Happy New Year.

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Mountain biker Lance Kaiki missing possibly in Belmont Regional Park

Mountain bike rider, Lance Kaiki missing, possibly in Belmont Regional Park, north of Lower Hutt, near Wellington...

Police fear for the safety of a mountain bike rider who was last seen riding in a regional park north of Wellington on Thursday.

Lance Kaiki, 43, was last seen about 2.30pm in the Belmont Regional Park, 7km north of Lower Hutt, a police statement says.

Searchers have already scoured the area but failed to find any trace of Mr Kaiki who has not used his bank accounts or cell phone since he was last seen.

He is described as 170cm tall, of medium build and with dark coloured hair. He was wearing a green long-sleeved top, blue jeans, white sports shoes and carried a blue backpack.

Mr Kaiki was riding a blue Jamis mountain bike.
If you have seen Lance contact the Lower Hutt police. I don't have a photo of Lance at this stage.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Young Kiwi hoon gets his car crushed - anti-boy racer legislation enacted...


Three years since it was enacted, the anti-boy racer legislation has claimed its first victim with the crushing of a car belonging to a Wellington man.
The first car was wrecked at a Lower Hutt yard on Thursday with Police Minister Anne Tolley operating the controls.
Police Minister Anne Tolley hoped to send a strong warning to boy racers.
Police Minister Anne Tolley hoped to send a strong warning to boy racers.

Mrs Tolley pressed the remote control that set the crusher going at Macaulay Metals in Seaview.
She said she hoped the crushing sends a strong warning to other boy racers, especially the 116 who have committed of two offences.
Mrs Tolley says destroying cars is the most effective way of getting dangerous vehicles and and the people who drive them off the roads.
She says the change has already had an impact with a 17% drop in street racing offences in the past year.
Legislation that came into effect in 2009 including the Sentencing (Vehicle Confiscation) Amendment Act allows for the destruction of cars whose owners had committed a third offence.
Dog and Lemon Guide website editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says crushing the cars is pointless and it would be better to educate the drivers.

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