Saturday, June 27, 2009

McJobs Government Sentences Kiwi Kids To A Dead End Future.

This week the Prime Minister John Key (also Minister for Tourism) confirmed that the government is to pour $1 million into the '100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games'. It was also announced that Tourism New Zealand had obtained the naming rights sponsorship deal on the event.

Further cutbacks on Tertiary Education
In the last few days it's been announced that $1 million in redundancy payments to Otago Polytechnic staff pushed the institution to its worst financial result in 5 years. Meanwhile, three Government-funded tertiary student scholarships (Step Up, Bonded Merit and Top Achiever doctoral schemes) have been axed to save $98 million.

I think we're beginning to see where the future of New Zealand's youth will be headed: the low paid service sector industry, tourism and prison management.

Now the Maritime Union has spoken out in a press release against the NZ government's plan to facilitate McDonalds' expansion of its trading base by 'helping' the company to recruit 7,000 people over the next 5 years:

"The Maritime Union says the National Government's plan to act as a compulsory recruitment agency for McDonalds fast food chain is a travesty.

One time truck stop waitress
and Minister for Social Developlment Paula Bennett has described an agreement between WINZ and McDonalds that will provide up to 7000 unemployed workers for the fast-food chain's growth plans over the next five years.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the scheme has two beneficiaries - a Government with a failing jobs policy, and a global corporation that will suck profits out of New Zealand.

He says the scheme is condemning working class young people to a dead end future.

Low wage, casualized trap
"The fact is that for most people, working in these jobs is not a career path, it is a low-wage, casualized trap." He says he is interested how many children of National Party MP's are being sent off to develop their careers as burger makers.

Mr Hanson says that claims that such "McJobs" will provide a career path are similar to the burgers. "They always look good in the ads but when you eat them they never live up to the promises."

Mr Hanson says that thousands of skilled jobs in manufacturing are being demolished, and freezes in funding for polytech places will keep young people out of training. He says young New Zealanders should have the opportunity to work in areas like the maritime industry or the fishing industry for decent wages.

"Yet what we see is underpaid and often exploited overseas crews working in New Zealand waters while local people are shovelled towards the dole or the chip fryer."

Social divison, inequality and erosion of family life
Mr Hanson says the current scenario is that New Zealand is going to have a massive low-wage sector that would breed enormous social divisions and problems. He says secure, wellpaid jobs have long been under attack in New Zealand, as profits ballooned but workers saw their incomes shrink.

"Under the current Government we are only seeing two areas of employment growth, prison staff and fast food, if this is a success I'd like to see what a failure looks like."

Mr Hanson says the toll of casual jobs, multiple jobs, irregular hours and shift work in a "24 hour society" was causing massive social inequality and disruption to family and community life, leading to stress, health issues, crime and family breakdown."

In October of last year health chiefs called for southern health boards to cut ties with fast food companies such as McDonalds to fight a dramatic rise in obesity. Otago DHB public health group manager Pip Stewart criticised " the health sector's willingness to form links with fast food outlets when it should walk away, as it does with tobacco and alcohol companies.

Sponsorship from the likes of McDonald's would contradict promoting good nutrition and physical activity, needed to reverse the rise in obesity." See McHospitals

230,000 kids live in unacceptable poverty
22% Kiwi kids live in unacceptable poverty - that's 230, 000 youngsters according to a report prepared for Barnados and Cindy Kiro the Children's Commissioner. Cutting back on training and investment and condemning 7,000 young people to low paid futures in the prison service and fast food joints makes for a pretty dismal future. What a pity the 'New Zealand Lifeback Promise' only extends to tourists.

Wouldn't it be better to use some of the massive profits that companies like McDonalds make and put it toward building a better future for all of New Zealand's young people - use it to fund education, training courses and apprenticeships. Why condemn another generation to a minimum wage subsistence where the only bright thing will be the golden arches on every high street.

For today's posts see: latest posts

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mount Egmont Park Scheduled For Massive 1080 Poison Drop (Updated)

DoC will be carrying out further aerial drops of 1080 over 33,000ha of park land around Mount Egmont between August and December. See: "massive park poison drop"

This will be the third time that the area has been treated with 1080, the drops have been carried out every 7 years since 1994.

DoC issues Pesticide Summaries covering the periods March to June, July to October and November to February. Maps are available from the DoC website showing regions of the country that are to be treated. They also publish the following information (take a look at the disclaimer at the end)
  • "All areas where pesticides have been laid are clearly identified with WARNING signs. Take note of signs when entering area.
  • Pesticides Summaries are regularly updated lists of animal pest operations using vertebrate pesticides that occur on lands managed or administered by DOC. This Pesticides Summary does not apply to the use of:
    • ­ Herbicides for control of plants
    • ­ Pesticides for rodent control in huts or buildings
    • ­ Cyanide baits for possum skin or fur recovery
    • ­ Pesticides for invertebrate pest operations (e.g. wasps)
    • ­ Pesticides on off-shore islands that have permit-only access
    • ­ Pesticides on private land (by DOC or other parties) (ed. is 1080 still used on private land?)
Caution notes
  • The ‘date of application’ for the planned operations is provisional only and may be subject to change. Un-programmed operations such as TB blips may occur from time to time. Due to their immediate nature they may not appear on the current Pesticide Summary. Check with the local DOC office before entering any area.
  • The ‘expected time to warning sign removal’ is an estimate only. This period will be extended if bait or carcass monitoring indicates that pesticide residues may still be present. Until this period is finished, warning signs will stay in place and the operation will continue to be listed on the Pesticides Summary.
  • DO NOT EAT animals from these areas while warning signs are present and operations are listed on the Pesticides Summary. Also, DO NOT EAT animals from within the ‘buffer zone’ outside of the operational area boundary, as listed below. Note that there are no buffer zones for cyanide or cholecalciferol.

Animal: Pigs
Within buffer zone of: 5 km
For any operation involving: Brodifacoum, flocoumafen or bromadiolone

Animal: Pigs
Within buffer zone of: 2 km
For any operation involving: Any pesticide except cyanide or cholecalciferol

Animal: Rabbits
Within buffer zone of: 200 m
For any operation involving: Any pesticide except cyanide or cholecalciferol

Animal: Hares, wallabies, or live possums
Within buffer zone of: 1 km
For any operation involving: Any pesticide except cyanide or cholecalciferol

Animal: Deer or any other wild animal
Within buffer zone of: 2 km
For any operation involving: Any pesticide except cyanide or cholecalciferol


While the information in these Pesticides Summaries are provided in good faith, any person using the information does so at his or her risk solely, and neither Her Majesty the Queen, nor the Minister of Conservation nor Director General of Conservation nor any employee or agent of the Department of Conservation shall be liable for any errors or omissions in this Summary.

Any person who takes any animal from land administered by the Department of Conservation does so at his/her own risk and no warranty, express or implied, is given as to the fitness for human or other consumption of such animals."

Wow, the disclaimer is an eye opener isn't it. So much for 100% Pure New Zealand.

For today's posts see: latest posts

British Tourists Made To Pay $42 For Showers

Three British tourists who snuck into Punakaiki Beach Camp for a shower on Thursday morning and then left without paying were charged $42 by the owners to get back the few possessions they'd accidentally left behind.

In a TVNZ report the owners, Lynda and Ross Eddy described getting $42 out of the three women as "sweet revenge" Ross said " the outcome was one of the best he'd had in 32 years in the tourism industry."

Revenge is a shower best served cold.

Perhaps coin/token operated hot showers are a more satisfactory idea?

Read more here: Sweet Revenge

For today's posts see: latest posts

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farmers Against 1080 (FATE)

It's good to see that farmers, so often the guardians of a nations land and wildlife, have started to organise themselves into a pressure group called Farmers Against Ten Eighty (FATE) a group that has serious concerns about the use of 1080 in New Zealand and is calling for alternatives that are "genuinely clean, green 100% Pure." This is a Karameans Advocating Kahurangi Action release on Voxy:

"KAKA welcomes the establishment of "'Farmers Against Ten Eighty" (FATE)--a new national anti-1080 organisation--at a time when the Animal Health Board (AHB) is actively engaged in a costly national media campaign to promote and justify the continued use of 1080 and its aerial distribution.

The emergence of FATE is a powerful public reminder to the AHB and its pro-1080 adherents that, contrary to their repeated claims in the media, they do not enjoy the overwhelming support of N.Z. farmers. In fact, many if not most farmers, including a significant and increasing number of dairy farmers, have serious concerns about the use of 1080 in the AHB's Tb eradication strategy. FATE's emergence is a timely reminder to advocates of the use of 1080, such as the AHB, TB Free NZ and Federated Farmers, to listen more seriously to the legitimate concerns of their members. Many farmers do not appreciate the broad-scale indiscriminate use of 1080 poison in their name. Many are also justifiably concerned about potential negative impacts 1080 could have on export markets for their products, the environment in which they live and potential human health implications for themselves and their families.

KAKA, FATE and other anti-1080 campaigners seek the speedy implementation of viable alternatives to 1080--alternatives that are genuinely Clean/Green/100%Pure, better serve the needs of rural communities and which ensure a long-term future for our agricultural export industries.

KAKA hopes the AHB will quickly engage in constructive dialogue with FATE and like-minded groups and begin implementing safe, effective alternative pest-control solutions as well as improving the enforcement of existing Tb control regulations.

Congratulations to the members of FATE and Mary Molloy, the group's interim spokesperson."

For more information see the Straight Furrow article: "1080 Could be NZ's fatal flaw, says lobby group" in which Ms Molloy said:

“We have growing New Zealand-wide support. And remember very few farmers allow 1080 to be dropped on their land – farmers know it can kill everything,” Mrs Molloy said.

“Let’s refocus back to the original reason the AHB was formed – to help farmers rid their herd of TB – not to rid the whole of New Zealand of every possible vector for bovine TB.”

Mrs Molloy said people needed to know that poison was not acceptable in New Zealand. She believed 1080 was not only ineffective, it was also dangerous to both human and animal health, and had the potential to cause catastrophic trade problems if it was to get into the food chain.

“There is no trade barrier against TB, there are countries with less, like Australia and US, however our markets would be closed if 1080 does get into the food chain,” she said.

“It doesn’t go into the bush and only kill possums and stoats. 1080 is such a far reaching poison. There is nothing it cannot kill.”

In fact she couldn’t believe there hadn’t already been a major disaster involving 1080 - a chemical the United States saw as a potential terrorist tool.

She said the Animal Health Board needed to look at different strategies for dealing TB.

“We believe that farmers can help themselves more and that persistently infected farms should be assisted to become clear – maybe some new techniques or review older techniques like not grazing in high-risk areas,” Mrs Molloy said."

Read more here: NZ's fatal flaw

Just an interest snipped of information: we've discovered that Sodium Fluoroacetate has been formally recognised by the state of California as having male reproductive toxicity risks (Source) not only does this have implications for the workers who come into contact with the toxin but anyone who comes across it once it's released into the environment (hunters, trampers, etc) or consumes sub-lethally contaminated game.

For today's posts see: latest posts

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Two More Bank Robberies And A Dairy Hold Up, This Time In Hamilton

The Westpac Bank on the corner of Grey and Clyde Streets in Hamilton East was robbed at around 10 am this morning. A man passed a note to a female teller demanding money and left with an unknown amount of cash. As yet there are no reports about the type of weapon that was used.

Interactive Google Streetview

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Later in the day the Kiwbank in Frankton (below) was held up by a man with a double barrelled shotgun at 2.40pm, he escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash

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Then at 5.30 a man walked into Mitcham Ave dairy, pointed a hand gun at Mr Patel who owned the shopy and demanded cash, it was exactly two years ago that the dairy was last robbed.

Community Service
"The last robber only got community service," Mr Patel told the Waikato Times. "The Government needs to get tougher on these guys otherwise they will do it again." he said he wasn't scared because dairies in Hamilton "get robbed all the time".

The robberies are just the latest in an alarming leap in aggravated robberies in New Zealand as the year's progressed. There have been 11 armed robberies in NZ banks so far in June and there's every indication that the problem will continue to escalate.

Bank Robber Was Let-Off Lightly
At the start of the year George William Cowen (20) an old boy of St Andrew's College escaped a jail sentence and was given 11 months home detention and 250 hours of community work for the aggravated robbery of another Westpac Bank, St Martins, Christchurch on the afternoon of 8 October, 2008

Interactive Google Streetview

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The Crown prosecutor asked the Judge Raoul Neave to consider a five-year jail sentence for Cowen and asked whether home detention would send the wrong message to other potential bank robbers. His concerns seem to been borne out.

At present an 18 year old is awaiting trial in Auckland for the robberies of a National Bank in Newmarket, an ASB Bank at St Lukes and the Post Shop on Dominion Road.

It will be interesting to see if he pleads guilty and how lenient the sentencing will be.

See: Over 50 armed robberies in 2009

**Swine Flu, latest figures (updated regularly)**

NZ Swine Flu numbers on 28 July

Confirmed: 2704
Deaths linked to Swine Flu: 13
People in Hospital: 72

New Zealand was one of the first countries outside of the American continent to have multiple cases of Swine Flu. A group of students from Rangitoto College tested positive after returning from Mexico on 25 April.

For today's posts see: latest posts

Family Home Burgled 7 Times in Less Than 2 Years

Today's Herald is carrying a very sad story about the Renaud family of Glen Innes whose home has been burgled 6 times and their car broken into once whilst it was parked on the driveway.

The thefts started less than a year after they moved into their home in 2007.

The lone parent, who has 2 young children, has spent over $5,000 on an alarm system and increased security measures but still her home has been targeted: so far this year it's been burgled 4 times in four months.

When the paper questioned the police they said they had no knowledge of the break-ins at the home but that burglaries in the area had dropped in the past few months. Could that be because they're not recording them all?

The statistics for 2008 showed a shocking increase in burglaries.

Burglaries increased by 12.3% in 2008
The Auckland district crime statistics show that there were 6,306 recorded burglaries in dwellings during the 2008 calendar year, an increase of 12.3% over the previous year. That's a rate of 150 offences per 100,000 of the population)

Resolution rate of 10.5%
Of those crimes of 661 were resolved - that's a resolution rate of only 10.5% (about the same as the previous year)

It will be interesting to see how the figures for 2009 pan out, there's already been an alarming jump in the number of armed robberies reported by the press in the Auckland region this year, I can't imagine that house burglaries have dropped in the same time period.

Meanwhile families like the Renauds get by as best they can but one has to wonder if they police could do more to protect them, or to catch those responsible.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

All Black Fans Cause Trouble

Bad behaviour by All Black supporters has marred the two opening tests of the Iveco series. Things aren't looking good for the World Cup and NZ fans need to be brought under control pretty sharp. This appeared in today's

"All Blacks coach Graham Henry today spoke out about some spectator behavioural issues that have marred the first two tests of the 2009 season, both against France. He warned that incidents such as those experienced in Dunedin and Wellington were simply not good enough with a World Cup coming this way in two years' time.

With millions upon millions of dollars being poured into the 2011 tournament, and New Zealand's reputation as a rugby host at the very highest level on the line,the incidents of the last fortnight have raised a few red flags. (ed. there goes that reputation again)

In Dunedin fans pelted the French players with plastic bottles while they undertook a "victory" lap following their 27-22 win, while spectators disrupted play by running on to the field in both tests. There were also minor incidents with two roosters which had been smuggled into the stadium in Wellington last Saturday night.

Completing a fairly dubious opening fortnight of the new season, French player Mathieu Bastareaud was allegedly assaulted and injured in what he claims was an attack by a group of men in the early hours of the morning last Sunday in the capital. He was on his own near the team hotel when he says he was set upon, and though he has returned to France, with a reported broken eye socket, the incident is being investigated by police....."

The eyes of the world are focused on NZ rugby right now, it can't afford many more slip-ups. There's going to be increased interest in the forthcoming game this Saturday at the AMI stadium. Christchurch police have already said that they don't plan to increase security for the match, let's hope that decision doesn't rebound on them.

As of yesterday ticket sales for the All Blacks-Italy rugby test were disappointingly low with only 14,000 out of of 26,000 seats sold.

Doubts about NZ ability to host the 2011 World Cup

In 2005 chief executive of the South African bid committee, Francois Pienaar, said that New Zealand had a problem with stadium capacity. The IRB requires a guarantee that a host country could sell a certain amount of tickets. During the Lions Lions tour three cruise liners had to be chartered to provide accommodation for British fans, following the games from port to port.

Mathieu Bastareaud Alleges Attack In Wellington, NZ (updated)

French rugby player Mathieu Bastareaud has been injured in an alleged street attack following France's 14-10 second test defeat in Wellington.

The french player said he was beaten up by four thugs as he got out of a taxi. He was left with a black eye and four stitches to his face after the alleged beating which took place early Sunday. There are some reports that one of his assailants filmed the attack on his mobile phone. Bastareau left the country without filing a complaint with the police.

"Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said the incident was a wake-up call for the country."reported by
(update: see also a later post - NZ Tourism chief steps down)

The chief executive of the New Zealand Rugby Union said his organisation was "bitterly disappointed" about the attack. "(It's) not good for New Zealand. I'm sure the whole country would join me in sending our apologies to him."

According to Nigel Cass, Rugby New Zealand 2011 general manager for tournament services said that he "hoped New Zealand's safe reputation had not been badly tarnished since the attack on Bastareaud."

Safe reputation? In 2008 Irishman Robbie Irishman Robbie O'Brien, 31
was injured in an unprovoked attack in Westport, just a week after a group of tourists were attacked because of their accents.

At the time tourism leaders were urging operators not to be afraid of warning people of the risks of travelling in New Zealand (see external links : Attack sparks tourist warning and tourist attacks bad for business)

Attacks on tourists are hardly 'isolated incidents', see the recent high profile attacks on British man Stuart Martin, and a British tourist who wished he'd been warned about the violence. And we all remember Karen Aim, the Scottish woman who was brutally murdered by a 14 year old as she walked home alone in Taupo one night.

Crimes against tourists have become so alarming that external safety warnings about New Zealand have been issued to Asian and Dutch tourists

This type of attack doesn't bode well for the World Cup with thousands of unprepared fans and teams descending en masse and caught off guard in what they believe to be a safe country. How many more similar crimes will we see in the coming 2 years?

It's a sad state of affairs when concerns about a country's reputation are so highly valued that visitors are put at risk as a result. Will we see revised personal safety guidelines issued to visitors following this high profile attack?

Our best wishes go to M. Bastareaud for a quick and full recovery.

UPDATE: More on the Death of James Patrick Smith - The British Tourist Killed in Queenstown, Inquest Opens.

The Otago Daily Times has published some more on the mysterious death of British man James Patrick Smith in Queenstown, New Zealand who was found at the rear of the Base backpacker hotel in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The comments of the manager of Base (who originally "declined to comment") are rather interesting and seem to be at odds with initial police reports that Mr Smith fell from a height.

No access to the roof
"Base Discovery Lodge manager Matthew Hirst told the Otago Daily Times yesterday he was unsure if Mr Smith had fallen from the roof. He said there was no access to the roof of the four-storeyed building, even from the stairs at the back.

"You can't even get on to the roof from the ladder - mind you, he could have climbed up."

Mr Hirst confirmed the dead man was not a guest at the backpackers.It is understood Mr Smith had been staying at a youth hostel on Lake Esplanade with a friend from the United Kingdom, with whom he was travelling.

Det Miller said while the 25-year-old had no occupation listed, he was understood to be a ski instructor and had arrived in Queenstown at the start of the week looking for work.He had been at a youth hostel until about 9pm or 10pm on Thursday and then gone into town, possibly with other people from the hostel."

Read the full article, see the alleyway here: Police believe dead man fell from roof

Meanwhile, relatives and friends should wait for the results of a coroner's report to know for certain how Mr Smith died.

UPDATE 21 August:

Inquests opens and is adjourned. Report in the ODT here: Dead tourist had high alcohol

Similar death in 2008

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Allegations surrounding the incident bear remarkable similarities to the death of Shaun Bernard Hogan, 24 from Invercargill. He fell to his death from the three storey roof of Queenstown's The Glebe apartment building on 8 March last year whilst highly intoxicated.

During the inquest coroner David Crerar said that his death should be an indictment on the evils of alcohol and not the individual. Report link: alcohol to blame

most violent place in New Zealand

Queenstown was recently named as 'the most violent place in the country' according to police statistics published last year by the Southland Times, with alcohol being a significant factor.

"You are almost twice as likely to be violently assaulted in Queenstown than anywhere else in New Zealand, according to new police statistics.The assault will almost certainly take place in the central business district and there is a 17 percent chance it will be on licensed premises.

The statistics suggest it will very likely happen between 1am and 2am and probably at New Year, Easter or during the peak winter period.

There's a 64 percent chance the attacker will be a New Zealander, an 87 percent chance he will be male and an almost 50 percent chance he will work in the construction industry or as a chef.

These figures are included in a report compiled by Queenstown police intelligence analyst Constable Sean Drader in response to the growing number of violent crimes in the resort.....

Mr Drader said the problem was particularly serious for Queenstown given its reliance on the tourism industry and the attendant publicity of serious attacks of even a homicide.

"That kind of publicity carries a risk of a downturn in the town's major industry. It's a serious problem and a very real problem to the community." It was up to the community in general and bar owners in particular to take ownership of the problem and begin taking steps, alongside police and the Queenstown Lakes District Council to resolve it, he said."Read more of the article here: Queenstown most violent place in country

See also: "Streets of fear - Cops are hunting two offenders after late-night violence flared near Queenstown night clubs."

"Is Increased Violence Damaging NZ's Image Abroad?"

That's the onging question repeatedly asked of readers of the on-line edition of NZ Herald since January 2008 and there are over 60 pages of replies.

The questions received another airing following the attack during the weekend on French rugby player Mathieu Bastareaud. The responses make for interesting reading, here's a fairly typical selection of recent comments suggesting that all is not well:

Sonny j (Glen Eden) " What image? It's "New Zealander" culture. This is what they do. This isn't an isolated incident. Get off the grass. This is what these certain abject "New Zealanders" do to foriegners. Particularly to "coloured" ones like Bastareaud. And it's particularly prevalent in the south Island.

The French team were booed throughout the game by most of the crowd in Dunedin the week before the attack on Bastareaud. They were also bottled by spectators as they left the field. How's that for antisocial "New Zealander" behaviour?

I bet the French team can't wait to leave this bizarre, poxy little country. And who could blame them?

Aroha mai French brothers. Very sorry."

lisa Smellie (Wellington City) "Yes I agree with most of you regarding the violence that we as a society either put up with or ignore. "But but we are one of the most safest countries in the world." I here you say.

Well wake up New Zealand not anymore. We are so Bloody complacent regarding any sort of violence or criminal behaviour. This is not the first and only violent criminal incident that has occured on a person from overseas. GOD what an embarrassment. On this occassion I am ashamed to be a New Zealander."

Karlos (Kaiapoi) "I remember going out after the 2008 Super 14 final in Christchurch and feeling almost ashamed to call myself a local. There were huge 'gangs' of totally drunk teenagers (maybe early 20's) going around intentionally trying to start fights with anyone and everyone. And the Crusaders won that game, imagine if they had lost!

We got talking to some people from Sydney and they were totally blown away by how bad it was. They were planning a bit of a pub crawl around the city but decided it was safer to just find one pub and stay there.

I think our binge drinking culture (and maybe P) has a lot to do with these random violent attacks."

Dave (Waitakere City) "Yet again - NZs lack of discipline, poor upbringing, and a "soft-on-crime" attitude prevails. Quite simply - we tolerate this sort of behaviour."

Jonman (Gonville) "And to think that NZ was rated "the most peaceful country on earth" less than a month ago!"

Wayne Lo (Hong Kong) The fact is New Zealand, for a developed nation, is a dangerous place for tourists, and is far more dangerous than many European and Asian nations. Here are just some of the crimes which have gone through the courts in the past 18 to 24 months.

The include among others the murders of Scottish and Korean tourists, the sexual assault of English tourists, the rape of Dutch tourists, assaults on Irish and English tourists for their accents. This in a nation of just four million people.


rossnz (Hamilton) "Every time something like this happens in New Zealand the authorities wrongly say that it is an isolated incident. How many thousand isolated incidents does it take for something to be done.

The police wimpish advice is to warn law abiding people not to walk the streets alone. They have surrendered their role of keeping the streets safe. If this latest thuggery is ever brought to court some clever-dick lawyer will get reduced sentences because it was the booze and not the individuals who cowardly beat up a lone individual. Four against one, that takes some bravery. We sure know how to breed them. Isolated incident is balderdash."

Kingi (Auckland) "Mathieu Bastareaud's assault was a racial attack. He broke a golden rule for international sports teams. Do not venture out by yourself in a foreign country.

The thugs that attacked him probably have not got a criminal record and this is the danger New Zealander's are under.

Get well soon Mathieu and see you at the World Cup."

More here: Reader responses

Monday, June 22, 2009

"New Zealand Is An Accident Waiting To Happen"

Not my words but those of George Friedman, an American political scientist and author in an article in the NZ 'Listener' magazine. The article appeared in the 5-12 June issue but has only recently become available for viewing on-line.

His warning message is that New Zealand’s economic security is at risk because of its decision to isolate itself from powerful countries – in particular the United States of America.

New Zealand's perception is that it can take whatever position it wishes to in relation to the United States, but the United States will continue to guarantee New Zealand’s interests in international circles, whereas that may not be the case. An example of this is the United States' decision to reintroduce subsidies on dairy products, much to the chagrin of John Key who complained that it was a "very disappointing move and its unhelpful because frankly it runs the risk now it sets off even further subsidies from Europe"

Friedman says “New Zealand takes a look at itself and realises it is very far away, and quite prosperous, but what New Zealand doesn’t realise is that it is enormously vulnerable because it is an island nation that survives by export and import. It requires a stable world system in which it can do this. Should anything disrupt that system, New Zealand could have a catastrophe. In addition to that, the rules of the international trading system are set by other people. New Zealand’s problem is that its entire economic existence depends on a trading regime over which it has no ­control, and very little influence.....”

"I love New Zealand, I have come ­here many times. It’s the kind of place I’d like to retire to, I just wouldn’t like my children to grow up here. It is scary. It’s a scary place. I don’t know how the world will shape itself in the next 50 years, but I’m not as confident as New Zealanders are that it will leave New Zealand untouched.”

Read the full article here : "Heads in the sand?"


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