Saturday, June 13, 2009

Three Armed Robberies At Auckland Banks

Two ASB banks have been robbed in Auckland in the last two days, both by thieves brandishing firearms.

The first was at 4.20pm on Friday at the Blockhouse Bay branch
View Larger Map

And the second at the ASB at Westfield St Lukes at 9am today

View Larger Map

Significant amounts of cash were taken in both robberies.

There was also an aggravated robbery on the 10 June at the National Bank on Queens Street.

View Larger Map

The thief, armed with a screwdriver, was also said to have escaped with a "significant" amount of cash but was apprehended a short time later.

In 2008 there was a total of 1,160 recorded aggravated robberies in New Zealand, of those 163 were firearm related and 223 used a stabbing or cutting weapon, source NZ statistics.

News reports of aggravated robberies in which a firearm or other weapon was used in 2009 include:
24 June: Angus Inn bottle shop, Hastings, 7pm
24 June: Mitcham Avenue Dairy, Hamilton 5.30pm
24 June: Kiwibank, Frankton, Hamilton, 2.40pm
24 June: Westpac Bank, Hamilton East, 10.10am
22 June: Worcester Tavern, Linwood, Chch. man robbed staff and patron, 11 am
20 June: Bedrock Bar, Addington, Chch. three men robbed staff and patrons, 3.00am
19 June: BNZ Bank, Birkenhead
17 June: Kiwibank, Takanini, 10.40am
16 June: Armourguard van Arthur's Bar and Grill, Onehunga, Akl, 1.00pm.
15 June: Spot On Dairy, Gisborne, midday
13 June: ASB Bank, St Lukes Shopping Centre, 9am
13 June: ANZ Bank, Upper Hut, 2.20pm
12 June: ASB Bank, Blockhouse Bay, 4.20pm
10 June: National Bank, Auckland, 2pm (weapon used was a screwdriver)
10 June: Caspar Dairy, Papatoetoe
9 June: ASB Bank Mt Roskill, (Axe) 3.05pm
9 June: Kiwibank PostShop, Balmoral, 2.45pm
3 June: Heretaunga Hospital Store, Palmerston North, 10am
5 June: Good Tukka Takeaway, Opotiki, 2 youths ages 13 & 15 arrested
5 June: Bus Driver, Lyall Bay, Wellington, 8.30pm (weapon used was a screwdriver)
4 June: ANZ Bank, St Lukes

29 May: TAB Dominion Road
28 May: Fairview Downs Superette, Hamilton
27 May: Armourguard van, Epsom Girls Grammar School, Akl,
24 May: BP Service station, Whitford village, 7pm
23 May: Main Street Fish n Chips, Blenheim, 6pm
22 May: ASB Bank, Panmure, 2:30pm
18 May: Mag and Tyre Direct, New Lynn, 8.30am
17 May: Pricecutter Superette, Helensville, 7.15pm
15 May: Westpac Bank, Parnell, 2:45pm
11 May: Botany Town Centre. Shopper robbed in carpark at gunpoint, 10:45am
2 May: Westpac Bank, Kilbirnie, Wellington, 11.20am

27 April: Aotea Crescent Chinese takeaway, Tokoroa, at night
20 April: Dairy, Whangarei - lead to a high speed chase
11 April: Bigsave variety store, Whangarei (knife)
11 April: Outdoor Connection, Whangarei (knife)
2 April: Dairy, Lipscombe Cres. Havelock Nth. Accused was bailed & then crashed

28 March: Tower Post Office, Christchurch, 8am
23 March: Bishopdale Discounter Dairy, Chch, 7.50pm
16 March: National Bank, Manukau 11.45am
13 March: BNZ Bank, Manukau. Armourguard robbed of $200,000, 5:22pm
7 March: Alabaster Pharmacy, Merivale, Chch. (Petrol poured over pharmacist)
2 March: Dissmeyer Superette, Otara, groceries stolen
1 March: Edendale Superette, cigs, ice cream and cash, 8:15am

25 February: Westpac Bank, Browns Bay, Ak,. 11am
10 February: Il Bordello Brothel, Wellington. Lone female receptionist at night
2 February: ASB Bank, Orewa
1 February: New World Supermarket, Clendon, 10am
26 January: Tiraumea Superette, Pakuranga 3.30pm female police officer beaten up

23 January: Dairy, Eugenia Rise Manurewa, S Auckland
19 January: Cedar Superette, Manurewa, S Auckland
16 January: Sunny Brae Dairy, Manurewa, S Auckland
14 January: Shell station, Newtown, Wellington, about 5.20am and again at 9am (axe)
14 January: Caltex station, Miramar, Wellington, about 8.20am (axe)
7 January: Westpac Bank, Onehunga
4 January: Wordsworth Rd superette, Manurewa, S Auckland
New Year's eve: Shell service station in Tauranga, weapon not specified

Surge in brazen and violent armed robberies

Also see: Armed robbery at girls high school

44 Occupations Removed From Immediate Skill Shortage List

With effect from Monday 15 June 44 occupations are to be removed from the Immediate Skill Shortage list.

INZ says that
"Removal of occupations from the ISSL does not mean employers cannot recruit migrants in those occupations. An employer can demonstrate genuine attempts to recruit a suitable New Zealander, as is the process with all other occupations. If, after the labour market is tested, Immigration New Zealand is satisfied no suitable New Zealanders are available in that location then temporary work permits will still be granted."

For more see here: Jobs removed from immediate skill shortage list

Friday, June 12, 2009

Armed Robbery At Dairy Was Its Third In Four Years

The NZ Herald is carrying a story today about another armed robbery at a dairy in New Zealand. This is getting to be an regular occupational hazard for the owners of many small businesses, most of them unfortunately are migrants.

On this occasion it was the Caspar Dairy, Great South Rd, Papatoetoe that was hit.

Owner Ruth Zhu had a long barrelled firearm pointed at her by three youths on Wednesday night. She managed to sound an alarm and the thugs made their escape in a white vehicle, headed in the direction of Puhinui Rd.

Guns used more and more in dairy robberies
A sample of crimes from the last year:

May 1 Mark Zhang was robbed at gunpoint at his Candy Corner dairy, Palmerston North at about 5.30 in the evening. The robber escaped on his BMX with a couple of hundred dollars in cash.

November 2008 A female worker at Crinan St dairy, Invercargill was held up at 6.20am at by a kid with a gun who'd been in the store earlier buying candy. In October 2007 the same dairy had been held up with a knife.

September 2008 Shankar Patel of the Gemini Dairy, Wainuiomata experienced his second robbery at gunpoint in New Zealand, the thieves got away with $300.

August 2008 Galaxy dairy, Upper Hut was held up at 8 at night by three men wielding a hand gun.

July 2008 Xu Mei Ying was working at her family's Lynnray Dairy, New Lynn, Auckland when a lone man entered with a long-barrelled firearm. She was shot in the arm when she raised the alarm. The thief stole cigarettes from the store. It was the second time in six months that the shop had been robbed.

June 2008 Navtej Singh, owner of a Manurewa liquor store died after being shot in the chest at point blank range by four men who held up his shop. There was a storm of protest over the length of time it took to render aid to the injured man.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

10 NZ Cities & Towns Unlikely To Meet Air Quality Standards By 2013

The Environment Minister Nick Smith admitted Wednesday that 10 NZ cities and towns are unlikely to meet air quality targets by the year 2013, saying that the overwhelming proportion of pollution is caused by home fires, and to a lesser extent vehicles.

For the effects of this type of pollution in NZ see NZ's high winter death rate and burning wood to keep warm.

In 2007 the 10 highest concentrations of PM10s were at the following sampling shed locations (see graph below)
Nelson A
Nelaon B
Otago 1

So the goal posts are to going to be moved.

In a press release announcing a review of the terms of reference for a review of particulate air pollution
standards the following statement was made:

Dr Smith released (yesterday) the terms of reference and technical advisory group for a review of the national environmental standards for particulate air pollution under the Resource Management Act. The review delivers on National's pre-election commitment and on concerns raised at the Jobs Summit.

"We are at the halfway mark between when the standards were set in 2005 and when they must be complied with by 2013 so it makes good sense to review progress. Air quality is critical to New Zealanders health and our clean green reputation. We are committed to ongoing improvements but want to ensure we have the policy and timetable right.

"We are making good progress in many parts of New Zealand in reducing air pollution but there are 10 cities and towns including Auckland and Christchurch that are unlikely to meet the standards by 2013.

"The implications for industry and employment are very serious as no renewed or new consents are allowed in air catchments where the standard is not met by 2013.

"The review needs to look at whether it is fair to solely punish industry for non-compliance when the overwhelming pollution is caused by home fires and, to a lesser degree, vehicles. It will also look at the costs and benefits of the air standard and the optimal timetable for achieving improvements.

"It also needs to take into account the Government's significant $323 million commitment to home insulation and clean heating grants to assist Councils and households reduce energy waste and pollution."

Read more here: PM10 review

Poor outdoor air quality is a significant issue in some areas of New Zealand, about two thirds of New Zealanders live in locations where they experience air pollution. Approx 1,100 people die prematurely in urban areas from air pollution every year

Highest 24-hour PM10 concentration in New Zealand airsheds, 2007

Click on image to enlarge

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pregnant Lithuanian Tourist, INZ Still Getting It Wrong

Following numerous news stories this morning about the INZ forcing a Lithuanian Tourist to leave NZ despite complications from a high risk pregnancy (see Another pregnant woman kicked out ) Jonathan Coleman, Immigration minister, has had to react swiftly to limit further damage to the bruised and battered reputation of INZ.

INZ wrote to Mrs Skiauteris saying "As you no longer hold a valid permit, you must arrange to leave New Zealand immediately. If you do not leave, Immigration NZ may take further action against you." despite Mrs Skiauteris' antenatal consultant Alex Ivancevic writing to them to tell them "Her pregnancy is a high risk ... She is strongly advised bed rest and avoidance of any activity that might potentially provoke pre-term labour."

The text of Jonathan Coleman's press release is as follows:

"Pregnant Lithuanian visitor can stay

Immigration New Zealand's decision to decline a visitor's permit to a Lithuanian woman suffering pregnancy complications was a poor one, says Immigration Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman.

"Immigration New Zealand has reviewed the decision and offered the woman a visitor's permit allowing her to remain in New Zealand beyond the birth of her child. While her visitor's permit remains valid she is able to apply for further permits," Dr Coleman says.

"The woman had been advised by her doctor that travelling would place herself and her unborn baby at risk.

"I believe that declining the permit was a poor decision by the department. I am pleased that common sense has prevailed and that the woman has now been issued a permit allowing her to stay in New Zealand."

A recent Auditor-General's report into Immigration New Zealand raised serious concerns about the quality of decision making processes within the organisation, and found an unacceptable variation in quality of decision making between branches.

"The Auditor-General's report highlighted the need for improvement at all levels of the organisation. Substantial improvements to decision making and service as outlined in that report must be made," Dr Coleman says.

"The department must deliver a consistently high standard of service to its customers."

Great news for Mr and Mrs Skiauteris. Isn't a bit of adverse publicity a wonderful thing.

Here's hoping for a safe and trouble free delivery for the couple and that they are able to access the services they need in New Zealand.

Toxic Dump Uncovered Beneath Children's Playground

From the Taranaki Daily News by Kirsty Johnston:

"Toxic chemicals have been found at a children's playground in Marfell, the site of a New Plymouth's former city dump.
The chemicals were tetrachlorobenzene and trichlorophenol, both used in the manufacture of herbicides, Taranaki Regional Council director of environment quality Gary Bedford said yesterday.
Workers laying a stormwater drain discovered two drums containing chemicals at Marfell Park in May, and further excavation revealed remnants of at least seven other drums.
The Taranaki Regional Council said yesterday the chemicals were not a public health risk, but long-time dioxin campaigner Andrew Gibbs said the find was "abominable."
"It is of concern when you find those levels of chemicals under a children's playground," Mr Gibbs said.
He believed it proved the TRC's 2001 investigation which found no evidence of illegal dumping at 31 alleged contaminated sites, including Marfell Park, had been wrong.
"They've ignored the problem because of where it is. If it was in another suburb then would they care?"
The TRC launched its 2001 investigation after fears that cancer-causing dioxin waste from the Ivon Watkins herbicide plant* had been buried at various sites around New Plymouth.
Mr Bedford said yesterday that given that the Marfell site used to be a landfill up to the 1960s, dumping the chemicals would not have been illegal.
"It's not a surprise but, no, we did not know they were there," he said......."
The rest of the report may be found here: "Drums contained toxins"

*Ivon Watkins Dow (now named Dow Agro Sciences)manufactured herbicides '24D' and '245T', used in equal part in the manufacture of the defoliant Agent Orange, at its Paritutu plant for use in the Vietman war. The dioxin contaminant TCDD within '245T' is considered to be highly toxic to humans. Exposure to dioxins is alleged to have resulted in an estimated 10% increase in cancer deaths in the New Plymouth area.

Over a 30 year time span 20 million litres of the 2 herbicides were sprayed in New Zealand to control gorse and other weeds. The NZ government was said to have subsidised the use of the herbicides and 245T was both produced and used in NZ long after other countries had banned them. Production in the USA ceased in 1979 but continued in New Plymouth until 1987
See Agent Orange dump found under New Plymouth

Economist Intelligence Unit's 2009 Liveability survey

The Economist's survey of liveable cities in the world has just been published naming cities in Europe, Canada and Australia as the best places to live.

The top ten comprised 4 European cities, 3 Canadian and 3 Australian.

High-scoring cities tend to be mid-sized and located in developed countries with a low population density. This gives them the enviable benefits of access to both cultural and recreational attractions, but with lower crime levels and fewer infrastructure problems than often found among larger populations.

The top 10
1. Vancouver
2. Vienna
3. Melbourne
4. Toronto
5. Perth and Calgary
7. Helsinki
8. Geneva, Sydney and Zurich

(edited to show Geneva, Sydney and Zurich in joint 8th)

Wellington, the capital of New Zealand was placed 23rd and Auckland 12th.

The highest Asian city was Osaka at 13th, with Singapore trailing in at a disappointing 54th

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tourists Injured in Bus Crash

A coach full of tourists has been involved in a serious road accident on the Haast Pass Highway (SH 6) 6 km north of Makarora.

The coach, which was passing through forested area at the time, collided with a Mercedes that overtook it on a straight section of road. Black ice was thought to have been a contributing factor in the crash which sent both the car and the bus spinning out of control into nearby trees.

The ODT reported that 4 people were seriously injured and were taken to hospital, the Southland times said that the bus was operated by Kiwi Experience and that 44 tourists were on board.

The coach party comprised mostly of backpackers who were said to be severely shaken by the accident and taken to the Makarora Wilderness Resort cafe to recover and wait for replacement transport.

No details have been released of the nationalities of the people involved. More on the story here Tourist bus, car crash into forest

2007 a bus, also carrying 44 mainly British tourists plunnged down SH6 near Franz Josef Glacier in Westland. That bus was operated by Kiwi Experience.

A NewstalkZB report at the time stated: "A local near the scene says the passengers have been told by the tour company, Kiwi Experience, not to speak to the media. The local says most of them appear to be in good spirits."

2008 another British tourist was killed when a coach operated by Stray Travel (who market themselves under the slogan "Get further off the beaten track with unique stops and activities" ) tumbled 10 metres down a bank 30 km south of Westport on the west coast. At the time The Press reported:

"One woman, a 62-year-old British national who lived in Spain, was thrown from the bus and killed instantly, police said.
The crash is the latest in a series of accidents involving tour buses and has generated negative publicity for New Zealand's tourism industry in some of its core markets, including in Britain.
National Party transport spokes man Maurice Williamson said he would be asking questions in Parliament about the safety of tourist bus operations.
A Dutch passenger, who declined to be named, said the bus `just drove off the road' ''
See also Times Newspaper report: Briton dies in NZ bus crash, for more details, including other tourism bus accidents in NZ's west coast region.

It will be interesting to see if this latest tourist bus crash will again raise in parliament the issue of tour bus safety and whether or not the injured people will be able to claim for compensation under the "New Zealand Life Back Promise".

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Maternity Unit Suspended, DHB Accused of Covering Up Baby Death

Yet more evidence that maternity services in New Zealand have reached breaking point. For background to this issue see Pregnant women ordered out of New Zealand and an article in the February edition of the NZ Listener "New Zealand's maternity system is an unfortunate experiement from which the rest of the world will learn"

From the Herald on Sunday, by Cliff Taylor.
"Health authorities in Northland are being accused of a cover-up over the death of a baby at Dargaville Hospital.
An inquiry is under way into what is believed to have been a stillbirth at the hospital in early January.
Birthing at the hospital has been suspended while the investigation is carried out, forcing women in labour to be transferred 58km over a twisting, hilly road to Whangarei Hospital.
Pregnant women in the town have told the Herald on Sunday they have concerns about their safety and that of their babies, and have demanded more information from Northland District Health Board.
The DHB denies there is a cover-up, although neither it nor the hospital will even confirm the death or what is being investigated.
The DHB says the maternity unit is not being used for births after a "clinical incident" at the hospital.
A local newspaper in Dargaville reported a stillbirth at the hospital in January, and another printed several death notices....."
More here: Maternity unit suspended


Related Posts with Thumbnails