Saturday, October 4, 2008

4th Serious Attack on an Auckland Shop Worker This Year

Source: NZ Herald, 4Sept, 2008

A catalogue of attacks on shop workers so far this year in Auckland includes:
  • "Jan 22-year-old student Krishna Naidu stabbed to death while working in his family's dairy in Clendon, Manukau City.
  • June Father-of-two Navtej Singh shot in the chest with a .22 rifle during a raid on his liquor store in Riverton Drive, Manurewa, and died the next day.
  • July Xu Mei Ying, 46, shot in the arm while working at her family's dairy in New Lynn".
And now a Lotto Store and Dairy (a dairy is a small convenience store) owner is just the latest victim of a rising tide of violent robberies taking place in small businesses in Auckland.

A nearby shop owner who knew the victim has himself been robbed four times yet shop keepers can do little to defend themselves:
"When we protect ourselves, we get charged - and if we don't we get stabbed. What do we do?" he asked."
This follows an incident on Tuesday night when a liquor store owner in Otara was charged with assault after confronting a drunk, knife carrying youth who was suspected of stealing from his store.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Perceptions of Migrant Doctors in New Zealand

An interesting report appeared in the NZMA in February 2006.

The study identified four key issues that afffected Overseas Trained Doctors (ODTs) in New Zealand:
"Work issues which included difficulty finding employment and difficulty integrating into their work role;

A bridging programme which improved the ability of OTDs to gain knowledge and experience of the New Zealand medical working environment;

Financial difficulties
which were a major impediment to attaining registration and a career pathway in New Zealand; and

Bureaucratic barriers
(including examinations and information availability), which were seen as necessary but unsympathetic processes in gaining registration."

The full report may be viewed here, if you are considering migrating to New Zealand with a view to working in the healthcare sector you may wish to read it.

Recommendations made in the report include:
  • "Acknowledging the process of attaining registration and integrating into the medical workforce as one of joining a medical community;
  • Recognition of the differences in medical cultures that exist around the World and the difficulty OTDs may have in understanding and learning their adopted medical culture;
  • Creating a “one-stop-shop” to provide all relevant information about registration requirements, employment opportunities after registration, and further career options;
  • Ensuring the examination process is transparent in terms of pass rates, content, and methods of examining;
  • Maintaining an equivalent of the “bridging programme”;
  • Ensuring that work positions are available to OTDs and that these positions are commensurate with their experience;
  • Ensuring the transition into hospital medicine is carefully regulated and appropriate support is offered;
  • The informal communication networks that exist amongst OTDs are recognised and incorporated into an overall strategy aimed at successful integration into the workforce."

Medical Students Have To Be Taught How to Stay and Work in New Zealand

"There are shortages of doctors, especially in primary care, and more medical graduates should help," said Professor Abbott. "However, they will need to receive a different sort of education that fosters the values, competencies and commitment to equip them to stay in New Zealand and make a positive difference at community level."
This statement was made by Professor Max Abbott, AUT University Dean of Health and Environmental Sciences and Deputy Chair of the country's largest district health board. He was commenting on a proposal to increase the number of medical students in New Zealand and on the workforce crisis in the health sector.

Healthcare areas with the worst shortages of staff are midwifery and dental services, both areas are need of urgent funding. There are shortages of doctors too, particularly in primary care. However, Auckland University of Technology is having to reduce some courses due to cut backs in funding, which come at a time when there are significant shortages of professional staff in some areas.

In May a report appeared on the Unison web site quoting Dr. Annette Huntington from Massey University's School of Health saying that New Zealand had reached “crisis levels” in the shortage of nursing staff, with many new graduates from NZ nursing programmes lured away by the promise of better pay in hospitals overseas.

45,000 registered nurses make up approximately 60 per cent of New Zealand’s health workforce.

Professor Abbot's solution is:
"We need to be much more flexible in our thinking about who does what in the health sector, especially in primary care. We need many more nurse practitioners and other health professionals who extend their expertise and scopes of practice. All health professionals need to learn to work more effectively in multidisciplinary teams and be more responsive to patients and communities."
Reasons for the shortages

Maurice Drake, head of Nursing at Unitec, says:

"There are a number of possible reasons for these shortages, including low pay, stressful working conditions and increasing media scrutiny of healthcare professionals"

Drake also notes the difficulty trained nurses who have been out of the workforce have in returning to nursing, especially those with children. “There needs to be more flexible ways of more nurses is not the answer, due to a lack of clinical placements for students."

Boosting medical student numbers not the solution
NZ a global player in Nursing shortage
Crisis in Waitakere's after hours healthcare
In Unison: Nursing Shortage a Crisis

Pimping Kids in New Plymouth

A 58 year old New Plymouth man accused of pimping a 15 year old girl is continuing in his efforts to keep his name secret. If his identity became public he maintains it could seriously damage both his health and his business.

The accused has also been charged with contracting a girl aged under 18 for sex, receiving earnings from a girl aged under 18, operating a brothel without a licence, sexual connection with a girl aged between 12 and 16 and supplying drugs.

Police opposed the suppression order arguing that the accused's customers had a right to know about his activities.

It's a fine balance between protecting a person's right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty and protecting the public, accutely so when children are involved. It's hoped that the judge has got it right in this case when he stated that the name suppression should be limited

The case will be next presented in court at depositions hearing on 12 November

Link: Stuff, 3 Oct 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Councils Using Banned Endosulfan on Playing Fields

The Green Party has named and shamed 18 councils in New Zealand that spray Endosulfan on playing fields. The list includes

6 City Councils
  • Dunedin
  • Hamilton
  • Manukau
  • Napier
  • Nelson
  • Wellington
12 District Councils
  • Hauraki
  • Manawatu
  • Masterton
  • Matamata
  • Piako
  • New Plymouth
  • Palmerston North
  • Rodney
  • Rotorua
  • Stratford
  • Western Bay of Plenty
  • Westland
  • Whangarei.
The Greens health spokeswoman, Sue Kedgley said:
“To my knowledge New Zealand is the only country in the world that sprays Endosulfan on sports fields. Endosulfan can remain in the soil for up to six years and any skin, mouth or hand contact with the soil could cause harm,”

Endosulfan is a highly toxic insecticide which affects people’s hormonal system, and is linked to breast cancer, endometriosis, male breast enlargement and delayed sexual maturity. It can cause birth defects, and is linked to epilepsy, autism, cerebral palsy, lowered IQ, and Parkinson’s disease.

“The councils are using Endosulfan to kill earthworms. Worm casts allegedly cause balls to bounce and reduce the effectiveness of drainage under playing fields,” Ms Kedgley says.

“But there is absolutely no need for children to be put at risk by the use of this toxic chemical, when the problem can be safely treated by simply altering the ph of the soil with acidifying fertilisers, and creating an environment the earthworms don’t like. It is completely unnecessary – Auckland City Council stopped using Endosulfan in the mid 1990s as a result of community pressure and they have managed without it for more than a decade.”

The Green Party is calling for an end to the use of Endosulfan in New Zealand as part of its toxics policy, released today."

Wikipedia description of Endosulfan

"A neurotoxic organochlorine insecticide of the cyclodiene family of pesticides. It is an endocrine disruptor, and it is highly acutely toxic. It is banned in the European Union, Cambodia, and several other countries, while its use is restricted in other countries, including the Philippines (where it will be banned after September 2008).

It is still used extensively in many countries including India, New Zealand and the United States.

It is made by Bayer CropScience, Makhteshim-Agan, and Hindustan Insecticides Limited among others, and sold under the tradenames Thionex, Thiodan, Phaser, and Benzoepin. Because of its high toxicity and high potential for bioaccumulation and environmental contamination, a global ban on the use and manufacture of endosulfan is being considered under the Stockholm Convention.........

Endosulfan is one of the more toxic pesticides on the market today, responsible for many fatal pesticide poisoning incidents around the world. Endosulfan is also a xenoestrogen—a synthetic substance that imitates or enhances the effect of estrogens—and it can act as an endocrine disruptor, causing reproductive and developmental damage in both animals and humans. Whether endosulfan can cause cancer is debated."

Symptoms of Endosulfin poisoning include
  • Hypersensitivity to stimulation
  • Sensation of prickling, tingling or creeping on skin.
  • Headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, in-coordination, tremor, mental confusion, hyper- excitable state.
  • In severe cases: convulsions, seizures, coma and respiratory depression.
Farm workers are often exposed to Endosulfan during the course of their work.

Air monitoring studies have been carried out that demonstrate that people living, working, and going to school near fields where it is used can be exposed by breathing contaminated air. Endosulfan can also be absorbed through the skin.

Other information:
Compensation for Endosulfan victims

New Zealand Suffers from a drop off in Tourism

The economic downturn has started to affect tourism in New Zealand with visitor numbers from China down 28.5 % in August compared to the same period last year.

Whilst some of this may be attributed to the Olympic games it's worth noting that over the last 3 months visits were down 21.7%.

Much of the decrease has been attributed to the high costs of travel and restricted airline capacity. Over $7 million was invested recently in a marketing campaign aimed at China, specifically Shanghai.

But it's not just the Chinese visitors staying away, figures from the USA and Europe have also declined contributing to an overall decrease of 1.4% for August compared to the same month last year.

Tourism is a major sector of the NZ economy, contributing 5.1% of the GDP. The total tourist expenditure in the country was estimated to be $20.1 billion in the year to March 2007, of which $11.3 billion was domestic.

5.8% of the total number of people employed in the country work in tourism.

National Business Review, Tues 23 Sept
NZ Government Stats

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Zealand Education System

NZ state schools are chronically underfunded with parents expected to make voluntary donations to prop-up the system, often $100s of dollars a year, plus subject fees, course materials, uniforms etc.

Schools are graded according to a decile rating system, the highest rated schools (decile 10) require a larger "voluntary" contribution from families than the lower ranking schools and receive less government money.

Increasing pressure is put on both parents and children who fail to make these contributions. As the recession deepens in New Zealand and the family budgets become tighter schools are bound to be the first to lose out on this extra funding, education is going to be one of the first casualties of New Zealand's economic downturn.

As if this wasn't bad enough head teachers are also finding it hard, if not impossible, to recruit good quality teachers - even from overseas.

David Hodge, the head of NZ's largest school Rangitoto College went to the extraordinary length of travelling to Britain in an effort to recruit teachers from Scotland and England, but then he does this every year. On the salary and "bonuses" he earns one would hope that these "trips" are at his own expense and not funded by parent donations.

Teachers are angry at the pay and perks David Hodge attracts. A row erupted when the education minister Chris Carter accused him of taking an extra $18,000 from the school's operations grant on top of a $185,000 salary.

Mr Hodge's board of trustees-approved payment for "additional duties" included overseas trips to scout for foreign students, who bring in $2.5 million to the school each year. How many other school principals go to such extraordinary lengths?

Hang on a mo, but I thought he was going to Britain to scout for teachers too. Does this mean he's also jetting off to Asia to attract students?

Busy guy!

Other benefits include

  • A $10,600 rebate on the rental of the principal's residence
  • $10,500 for acting as a support officer for international fee paying students
  • A car reimbursement of $1000 a month, paid for 10 months of the year
  • Almost $6000 of board of trustees approved extra pay
School donations dry up
Pay up or face a bigger bill
Schools pressure parents on donations
Worldwide Hunt for Good Teachers
Teachers angry at principal pay perks
What the kids think of David Hodge

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


"The Jedi People's Republic of Nu Zeelind, also known as "Sheep Light District", is the world's largest dairy farm, and was invented by J. R. R. Tolkien for a joke in the late 1900s. Manufactured using several quadrillion sheep's droppings, the nutrient rich crap has solidified into four large-ish islands: The North Island; The South Island; The Stewardess Island; and The Other Island. It also consists of a few smaller islands and a group of moderately sized fishing boats owned by Ngai Tahu and bound together with baling twine, #8 fencing wire and duct tape. These latter islands and fishing boats are currently adrift in the South Pacific Ocean as a result of the global economic crisis.

According to indigenous legends, a man named Meowi (descendant of Kitler) fished up the North Island. Nuu Zeiland is a multicultural society with 4 million people, and eighteen billion sheep. Unlike the United States of America and Australia it is a peaceful country with little violent crime or in-breeding. The country is located far from nearly everywhere else and just next to the arsehole of the World (see Australia). Nu Zeelind is ruled by Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement (leaders of the political party Flight of the Conchords') who demand to be called the Hiphoppopotamus and the Rhymenoceros (reverent titles in the New Zealish language).......

...Basic New Zealish phrases - mainly said by Maori/Polynesians in South Auckland and Cannons Creek:

  • "Not even eeeooww"
  • "oh bro you got a dollah?"
  • "Cuz"
  • "Sup Bro!"
  • "Oi!"
  • "You'se are gay"
  • "I'll Bash Yo!"
  • "Got A Light?"
  • "Want a drink at the pub mate?"
  • "No, Australia is a different country." - essential for New Zealanders when overseas.

The New Zealish alphabet:

  • A is for ARM - uttered when trying to 'thunk' (see: thunk) alternately 'recall' in a real dictionary
  • B is BEER - large savage animals found in U.S. forests
  • C is for CHUPS - thinly cut and fried potatoes. They are often accompanied by Tomato Sauce and/or Battered Animal from the below sea-level. Although NZ chips are recognised as being the second worst in the world, after so called 'fries' in the US, they accompany 91.5% of all meals served in the country.
  • D is for DUNNO - common answer of a a drunken Kiwi's when the officer that pulled him over asked why he was going 200 km/h in his Maaz-aa-daaa or his Suub-aar-rooo.
  • E is for EAR - what we breathe.
  • F is for FUSH - an activity claimed to be the favourite pastime of New Zealanders, whereas the truth is watching Sky TV and brushing large chips from their shoulders as they feel the rest of the world ignores them.
  • G is for GUESS - piped through to households and used for cooking or heating,
  • H is for HUCK - native money.
  • I is for INNER ME - enemy.
  • J is for JUG - an Irish dance performed by girls with large ...
  • K is for KEN'S - popular tourist attraction in Queensland.
  • L is for LUST - uncontrollable, burning desire to write down items you wish to buy but don't need - and later regret buying (aka shopping list).
  • M is for MILBURN - capital of Victoria.
  • N is for NUTTER - polite, informal conversation with a criminally-insane person (e.g. Australian).
  • O is for ONE DOZE - a pane of glass in the wall or brand of computing operating system.
  • P is for PERR-GUU-LAA - Similar to an Australian outdoor area where Beer and Beef can be consumed whilst talking about the Footy and the Bloody Labor Party, upper-class persons can sometimes afford a Spa..
  • Q is for QUAD - slang term for a British Pound Note.
  • R is for RUNGBY - Official religion of New Zealand.
  • S is for SHEEP - Victim of many a Kiwi mans wet-dream.
  • T is for THUNK - act of 'thought'.
  • U is for UNDIES - Caribbean country (West Indies) ... used to have quite good cricketers.
  • V is for VOLLEY - land area between two hulls (aka 'hills').
  • W is for WHALE - Something the Aussies used to make fun of us with but they failed epically 'cause they're dumb.
  • X is for XYLOPHONE - no known translation as word is too complex for New Zillinders to pronounce.
  • Y is for YUPPIE - an expression of delight.
  • Z is ZACH - that's how we call it. New Zach."

Controversially 'New Zealand Culture' has long been listed in the Oxford English Dictionary as an example of an oxymoron. Opponents of its inclusion have counted with the observations of bacterial cultures existing in: the festering jock-straps of rugby players; the dung infested tails of sheep (considered an aphrodisiac to kiwi men from the South Island); and the few kitchens in South Auckland not being used as P labs.

Kiwi Character

Kiwis look rough, hairy and brown on the outside, but inside they are soft, sweet and green, and go excellently with fruit salad. Their legendary toughness is epitomised by Kiwis like Bucky Buck Buck, who played a full game of rugby with a ripped scrotum before sewing it up with part of an opponent’s severed tendon. He also used the opponent’s teeth as a necklace.

Another example of Kiwi toughness is Sir Hillary who, after losing the US election, retreated to Antarctica and used tractors to build an evil empire at the South Pole. His descendants still work as local guides to American Arctic explorers. They do helpful things like pitching the Americans’ piece-of-shit girl scout tents, making shelters out of duct tape when the girl scout tents get ripped to shit, signing litigation documents and redirecting the explorers to the Arctic....

Places of Interest

New Zealand is full of many exciting things to do including:

  1. Watching sheep eat
  2. Watching sheep play
  3. Watching sheep move across the hills
  4. Watching farmers have sex with sheep.
  5. Joining the farmers having sex with sheep.
  6. Watching mud boil in Rotorua.
  7. Having a mud bath in Rotorua.
  8. Having a mud bath with a sheep.
  9. Having a mud bath with a sheep and a farmer.
  10. The Rugby, Bro.
  11. Paying an extortionate amount to be driven in a coach along 90-mile Beach and wondering what the bloody point is.
  12. Driving long distances to look at the 'majestic kauri tree', and finding it is ... a tree.

People unable to visit New Zealand can recreate the all wonders and excitment the country has to offer by staring at a wool rug and boiling a pan of soil & water on their oven top."

Much more here:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"All you can do is steal, rob, drink and smoke to fill in the time"

"An organised brawl in Flaxmere was more about gang tensions than a rivalry between two high schools, says a 15-year-old witness who was hit by police pepper spray during the melee.

Flaxmere College pupil Rachel Walker said the fight, which attracted an estimated 200 young people, had been pre-arranged between pupils from her school and Hastings Boys High School at Flaxmere skate bowl on Tuesday.

Speaking at the the scene of the brawl yesterday, she was matter of fact about the reason for the confrontation. "It's basically girls, territory, colours and gangs."

Flaxmere College had the Bloods and Hastings Boys were Crips, she said.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule held a meeting with police and both school principals yesterday in the wake of the brawl, in which police officers were attacked. He said there were gang issues in Flaxmere but he had been assured the fight was nothing more than inter-school rivalry.

There was a heavy police presence near Flaxmere College as school ended yesterday, but no sign of trouble as groups of uniformed pupils stood around smoking and giving gangsta-style handshakes.

Rachel said she saw one youth during the fight "punch a police face and he got knocked down. It took six of them to put him down".

She was trying to pull a friend away as a police officer threatened to use pepper spray. "I got pepper-sprayed in the eye. I felt like a bad person. It's still sore.

She said that, though the fight was pre-arranged, there was no time to start it "properly" and most of the pupils had already abandoned it when police arrived. The brawlers then fled, leaving police to set about dispersing the crowd of cheering and jeering spectators.

Rachel said the trouble was that the district was too small. "All you can do is steal, rob, drink and smoke to fill in the time.

"Lots of teens go around causing trouble - robberies and bashing people. They just learn it from the community and they don't know when to stop. Even the little kids are picking it up from the teens."

51 Murders so far this year, 45 last

"A Queenstown man was fatally stabbed in Invercargill early yesterday, the latest in a series of serious and fatal attacks involving knives.

And last night, two people were recovering from stab wounds after a party got out of hand in the eastern Bay of Plenty town of Edgecumbe, while two teenagers are in custody after a stabbing at a high school ball after-party on the South Island's West Coast.

The fatal stabbing of businessman Austin Hemmings as he left work in downtown Auckland on Thursday evening has thrown the spotlight on the increasing number of serious, and often fatal, knife attacks in New Zealand. Hemmings was the fifth person to be stabbed to death in Auckland City since mid-July.

Queenstown plasterer Darnell Leslie, 31, died early yesterday after he was found stabbed and unconscious in an Invercargill street. He became the country's 51st murder victim this year - there were 45 murders last year.

A 26-year-old man - suffering less serious injuries - was found at the same address and was taken into police custody, said Senior Sergeant Olaf Jensen. Police continued scene examinations on two houses in Invercargill........

Frontline health and community workers are reporting a rise in stabbing assaults over past years.

Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland was treating more victims of knife crime, said spokeswoman Lauren Young.

"We are getting more stabbings and we are getting more of all kinds of violence. It's stretching our staff."

Police have noted a rise in the severity of assaults and the number of people using weapons for some time. Last year, then Counties Manukau police boss Steve Shortland told the Herald on Sunday: "Where before you might have punched somebody, now people are using weapons of all sorts - rocks, fence palings, vehicles, axes, baseball bats."

South Auckland youth worker Peter Sykes said yesterday that more people were carrying knives for self-defence, as well as for fighting.

"Part of it is because we create a community of fear, and people think that they need to defend themselves.

"People of all ages are scared"

"It's not just young people, people of all ages are scared and sleeping with knives under their beds. You'd be hard-pressed to find a shopkeeper without some weapon close by.

"At the moment the myth is that police cannot handle violence, and we have to handle it ourselves."

He'd also noticed a new trend in organised gang street-fights for pre-arranged outsiders to run in, stab a victim and flee the scene.

"When I started youth work police would pick you up if you had a weapon on you and you could be charged. Now, I don't think police have got the time to pick up everybody with a weapon."

Statistics NZ figures show a 20 per cent jump in under-17-year-olds being caught for violence since 2003.

Fatal knife attacks:

Five people have died from knife attacks in Auckland city since mid-July.

July 19: David Roberts and Deni Rudiantonio are fatally stabbed in an inner-city apartment block. Iraqi Baseem Ridha Abbad Almery is arrested after an 11th-storey stand-off with police.

September 2: Yi Ren, a 30-year-old Chinese national, is found dead in an inner-city apartment. Peng Cheng Tian, 23, a Chinese student is arrested.

September 7: A 60-year-old man dies from stab wounds after a domestic dispute in a Mt Roskill home. A man, 30, is charged with assault.

September 26: Austin Hemmings, 44, is fatally stabbed in the Auckland city centre."

Source: NZ Herald, 28 Sept 2008


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