Saturday, September 19, 2009

Deaths Of 3 British Tourists In Christchurch - Relative Says Power Poles Should Be Moved (Updated)

"Power lines should be put underground or power poles moved back from the road to prevent more tragedies like this week's triple fatality in Christchurch, a relative says.

Three members of an English family died when their car struck a pole after the driver fell asleep in South New Brighton. (see our blog post 3 English people killed in Christchurch car crash")

Early yesterday, Bruce Richard Wing, 21, was killed when his car struck a pole on Wakanui Rd in Ashburton. (see our blog post 2 More Deaths on NZ's Roads)

Last year, 36 people died in crashes involving a pole or post, 173 received serious injuries and 745 minor injuries, national road-safety statistics show.

Traffic engineer Tony Francis, a relative of the three killed on Wednesday, said something good could come of the tragedy.

"We need to try and make people understand that poles need to be addressed. People should not die when they strike a pole going at just 35kmh.

"A power pole is one of the most unforgiving things you can hit."

Francis said fatalities could be avoided by putting power lines underground or placing poles as far back from the road as possible, which was more practical in rural areas. Installing street lights that would absorb the impact and bend when struck by a car would also help .

The Christchurch City Council has no programme to bury cables because of the high cost.

In some cases, lines are put underground when footpaths are upgraded.

A recent example was a stretch of Bridge St, 200m from the site of Wednesday's fatal crash in Estuary Rd.

A council spokeswoman said it cost $1 million a kilometre to put power and telephone lines underground.

Telecommunications and power lines in Christchurch are jointly owned by Orion and Telecom.

Orion chief executive Roger Sutton said it would cost $1 billion to put all overhead cables in Christchurch underground.

Every effort was made to locate power poles as far back from the road as possible, but often property owners would not give permission for the lines to cross their land.

Orion reviewed safety whenever there was a crash involving one of its power poles, Sutton said."

We agree, we think that the power poles are way too close to the edge of the road and the pavements are so low that they didn't deflect even a low speed impact. If the power poles can't be removed, and the cables routed underground, the posts should be changed so that they do absorb an impact. Power companies returned record profits in New Zealand last year, let no one say this cannot be afforded.

Whilst we appreciate driver fatigue was a factor in this crash it should not have resulted in the deaths of 3 people who were wearing seat belts and travelling at low speed. The design of the urban environment and surrounding infrastructure must be called into question. It's too easy to always lay the blame with the driver, even if he blames himself.

Update from News

"Electricity and gas supplier Vector is to "sacrifice" a power pole in the name of safety.

The company will film "a controlled car versus power pole scenario" in Hobsonville, 30km northwest of downtown Auckland, today and tomorrow.

The film would be used as an educational tool at staff safety workshops, executive officer Simon Mackenzie said.

"Our people face serious danger everyday, so it is essential that we provide them with the right tools and training to ensure they go home safely," he said.

Cars hitting poles was one of the most common causes of problems or outages to the network. Mr Mackenzie said the fire service would supervise."

One Woman Crime Wave Highlights Defects In NZ's Legal System (Updated)

Patricia Toia, 29, was recently deported from Australia back to her native New Zealand. Toia has a criminal history that's said to include 30 jail terms for crimes that include robbery, assault and trafficking heroin. Whilst in jail she committed another 56 offences, such as assault, intimidation and damaging and destroying property. Whilst in Australia the Deputy President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Julian Block said of her in 2007:

"She is a threat to the Australian community, and Australia deserves protection against her, given that the risk of recidivism is, as must be obvious, very substantial indeed."
We wonder what protection New Zealand will have against her, if any.

She arrived in Auckland on 10 September by chartered jet (costing $40,000) because commercial carriers refused to touch her and is now living in an hotel at the tax payers expense.

According to Garth Vicar of the Sensible Sentencing Trust her return exposes a deficiency within the justice system in New Zealand. This quote is taken from a News NewstalkZB report:

"The Sensible Sentencing Trust sees the deportation of a woman with over 30 pages of criminal convictions from Australia as proof of what's wrong with our justice system.

Patricia Toia was born in New Zealand, but has lived most of her life in Australia. She has been sent back after racking up 30 jail terms, and well over 100 driving convictions.

Trust spokesman Garth Vicar says it is just a matter of time before the woman, dubbed a "human crime wave" breaks the law here. he says New Zealand's criminal-friendly system means she can come home to make a fresh start. In her case, he believes it is likely to include a fresh crime and therefore a fresh victim. Mr McVicar says Toia is a cunning and manipulative career criminal."

Mr McVicar says the Government claims to be tough on crime, so it needs to step up and make sure she is watched for the safety of New Zealanders. He says she should have been put on permanent police supervision the moment she arrived here, rather than waiting for her to reoffend."

New Zealand already has the second highest rate of total crime victims in the Western World, her return is going to do nothing to improve that. Perhaps her repatriation should been seen as an impetus to review the laws and systems currently in place for the handling of repeat offenders, and the risks they present to the society around them. A three strikes rule could be just the thing.


The New Zealand Herald newspaper tried to find Ms Toia, only to find that she'd disappeared from her hotel. Staff told them she'd been "intimidating" towards other guests and had run up $860 in international calls. They had no idea of who she really was, nor did they realise the circumstances under which she'd left Australia.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Violent Armed Robbery In North Shore, Auckland

View Larger Map, Westfield Mall from Anzac Street

From an article in the NZ Herald newspaper, 18 Sept 09:
"A gunman punched a woman in the throat during a "brutal, callous and brazenly opportunist" armed robbery of an Auckland hair salon, police said today.
A man with a sawn-off double-barrel shotgun walked into the Rodney Wayne Hairdressing salon in the Westfield Shore City shopping mall in Takapuna, on the North Shore, at 8.15pm yesterday.
There were nine staff and seven clients on the premises at the time.
The offender pointed the shotgun at the receptionist and punched her in the throat, before pointing the weapon at the head of a second female staff member.
He then went to the centre of the salon and held the gun to the shoulder of the manager, demanding cash.
After taking a small amount of money, the offender ran out on to Anzac Street."
It's a deeply shocking and brutal crime and our thoughts are with staff of the hair salon right now, we're hoping the offender is caught and charged within the next day or so.

There has been an alarming rise in the number and frequency of armed and violent robberies in New Zealand, a country often portrayed as "safe" and with a low crime rate. The facts suggest exactly the opposite. Please see the "Armed robberies" and "Stats" links at the head of this page.

Greenpeace Not "Anti - Farming", PKE Feed Is

A report in today's New Zealand Herald newspaper seems to undermine Don Nicolson's (NZ Federated Farmers President) assertion that Greenpeace's blockade of the ship carrying a cargo of Palm Kernel Extract destined for New Zealand animal feed was because Greenpeace is "anti-farming"
"....Protests continued outside Ports of Tauranga gates, with some New Zealand farmers weighing into the argument against importing the feed.

Greenpeace New Zealand said several maize and grain farmers had offered donations and support for the protest, saying their product had been undercut by cheap imports.

"We've had farmers who say they've never donated to Greenpeace but want to now because they are going out of business," said spokesperson Suzette Jackson."

If Greenpeace is "anti-farming" why are some farmers supporting them?

The Green party has evidence to show that farmers have been damaged by PKE imports into New Zealand and that continuing to do so was damaging the country's 'Clean and Green' brand image. This from a Scoop article back in August :

“Importing massive amounts of palm kernel undermines the priceless ‘clean and green’ brand that underpins our economy and most New Zealanders’ jobs,”said Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman.

“Stopping this sort of economic sabotage requires strong leadership from the Government.”

The Green Party warned about the alarming rise in imported PKE in April 2008, releasing statistics that showed a thousand-fold increase from 0.4 tonnes in 1999 to 455,000 tonnes in 2007. Statistics released today show imports more than doubled in the past year to 1.1 million tonnes in 2008, one-quarter of global PKE production.

New Zealand’s palm kernel addiction is already costing our economy, and farmers, due to lost sales of our own grain and maize feeds,” said Dr Norman.

“Just this week members of the NZ Grain Council wrote to the Green Party concerned about large-scale PKE imports because it is environmentally destructive, is a biosecurity risk, and is leading to the 'demise of the NZ domestic grain industry'.”

So how long has PKE been a problem for the domestic grain industry? Well, concerns were raised back in early 2007, an article in NZ Farmers Weekly stated:

"Discontent is simmering among grain growers over the standards applied to the huge volumes of palm kernel extract (PKE) supplement being bought into New Zealand.

The MAF phyto-sanitary requirements for PKE are “a joke” and the ministry’s certainty over product quality is based on one arranged visit to several Malaysian plants, Whakatane maize grower Colin Mackinnon says.

“You need to make several visits on purely random, unannounced basis, not go along on an arranged trip to be sure standards are being adhered to,” he says.

He rejects Biosecurity New Zealand claims grain growers are concerned about heavy metals in PKE shipments.

“That is rubbish. The point is we don’t know what unseen contaminants are in PKE when it gets here because they are not checking. That is our whole point.”

Growers who have seen a confidential AgResearch report on PKE are fuming over Biosecurity NZ claims grower support for further research is based on fear of competition from PKE imports.

“We require a strong dairy industry and if it shoots itself in the foot with contaminated feed, we will all be in trouble,” Mackinnon says....

....Canterbury grain grower Gary Wilson says growers are not afraid of competition, but want a level playing field.

Growers here have strict requirements on spray use and standards, keeping diaries and logs on all applications.

He doubts the same applied to imported product.

Wilson also questions the environmental consequences of using a feed sourced from plantations planted in rainforest areas.

Ross Hyland of Seales Stockfood, Morrinsville, says PKE is probably here to stay.

Due to the large volumes being imported, he believes there may be grounds to establish a testing regime for it here."

And by January of this year maize farmers were really doing it hard because low PKE feed prices were causing dairy farmers to cancel contracts for silage. This too from Farmers Weekly:

"Dairy farmers are earning few friends among maize growers this summer as they walk away from silage deals, leaving some contractors with as much as a third of their crop now unsold.

"The dairy industry is really letting us down big time this year. It is hard to see how some contractors are going to be able to survive with portions of their crop now unsold despite contracts being signed," Bay of Plenty contractor Bill Webb told The New Zealand Farmers Weekly....

....Historically low palm kernel prices coinciding with payout slide was also accounting for contracts being cancelled. With prices under $200/t, the lure had proven too great for some of Webb's customers.

He had longtime buyers who had cancelled orders for as much as 200t of maize silage, after he had spent $3000/ha getting the crop planted for them.

Economics aside, Webb has questioned the future integrity and health of relationships between dairy farmers and the maize industry.

"It is a damn good question. What do we do next year, do you go back to these guys and do business with them, or risk simply not having enough buyers if you avoid them?"

So there you have it, which is "Anti-farming" - Greenpeace, or using PKE to make animal feed?

See also: World Bank breaks rules in lending to palm oil companies

Two More Deaths On NZ's Roads

At least two more people have died on New Zealand's South Island roads this morning in separate accidents. One of them hit a power pole, echoing the tragic deaths of 3 British tourists from Castle Donington, UK - 3 year old Iva Harper, her grandmother 60-year-old Sera Eades and Mrs Eade's cousin, 68-year-old Valerie Bryan who died when their car hit a power pole in Christchurch. See yesterday's blog post

A 20-year-old man was killed at South Elgin, 6km southeast of Ashburton on Wakanui Road, about 1.40am when he collided with a power pole.
View Larger Map, Wakanui Road

And a 54-year-old man left the road and collided with a bank about 2.40am on State Highway 85 at Stoneburn, 23km northwest of Palmerston in Otago. He died at the scene.

Statistics NZ's information today is that 25 people have been killed so far during September, a massive increase over the same month last year when 10 people died.

The total for the year stands at 296, up from 250 this time last year.

See also NZ's roads described as 'killing fields'

Thursday, September 17, 2009

3 English People Killed in Christchurch Car Crash

"How does this happen when you are doing 35kmh in a car where airbags went off and you were wearing seatbelts? It's a huge wake-up call for everybody. The circumstances plot against you - how a trivial thing can turn into something as disastrous as this." (Quote from the driver's brother on TVNZ) See "Power poles should be removed"

View Larger Map, power poles on edge of Estuary Road

YahooXtra News
"Police have released the names of the three British tourists killed in a car crash in Christchurch.

Three-year-old Iva Harper and her grandmother 60-year-old Sera Eades died in the crash, along with Mrs Eade's cousin, 68-year-old Valerie Bryan.

They are all from Derbyshire in England and arrived in the country just days ago to visit family.

Mrs Eade's husband Michael Eade was driving when their car hit a power pole on Estuary Rd in New Brighton at 6.20 last night. He is in a stable condition in Christchurch Hospital.

Detective Sergeant Andrew Fabish says funeral arrangements are being made with family and the UK High Commission."

left to right): Iva Harper, 3, her grandmother Sera Eades, 60, her great grandfather Bob McCombe, her grandfather Geoff Eades, 62, and Valerie Bryan, 68.

Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family and friends of all those involved.

Some reports have said that the group had been in the country for three days before the crash (ed. surely long enough to get over jet lag?) and that Mrs Eades was from Middlesex and her granddaughter from London.

Police statements suggest that jetlag/driver fatigue may've been a factor and that the vehicle was travelling at 35-40km/hr (20-25 mph) when it hit the post. Weather conditions were said to have been good at the time. Sunset in Christchurch is presently at around 6.20pm so it would've been reasonably bright at the time.

The British press has also published accounts of the crash, one is linked to here:

Road accidents death and injury rates in New Zealand are the second highest in the developed world, twice that of the UK.

See also: Article on Road Design from Wikipedia:

"Road design"

A 1985 US study showed that about 34% of serious crashes had contributing factors related to the roadway or its environment. Most of these crashes also involved a human factor.[6] The road or environmental factor was either noted as making a significant contribution to the circumstances of the crash, or did not allow room to recover. In these circumstances it is frequently the driver who is blamed rather than the road; those reporting the accident have a tendency to overlook the human factors involved, such as the subtleties of design and maintenance that a driver could fail to observe or inadequately compensate for.[25]

Research has shown that careful design and maintenance, with well-designed intersections, road surfaces, visibility and traffic control devices, can result in significant improvements in accident rates. Individual roads also have widely differing performance in the event of an impact. In Europe there are now EuroRAP tests that indicate how "self-explaining" and forgiving a particular road and its roadside would be in the event of a major incident.

In the UK, research has shown that investment in a safe road infrastructure programme could yield a ⅓ reduction in road deaths saving as much as £6billion per year.[26] A consortium of 13 major road safety stakeholders have formed the Campaign for Safe Road Design which is calling on the UK Government to make safe road design a national transport priority.[27]"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Palm Kernel Feed - World Bank Review Of Funding And RD1/Fonterra

Greenpeace NZ is today blockading a ship in the port of Tauranga that is attempting to dock a cargo of Palm kernel animal feed, allegedly bound for Fonterra's rural merchandising company RD1. RD1 have been quick to state say the shipment wasn't theirs. (Another Tui moment?) but you can bet your bottom dollar a lot of the animal feed produced from it will end up in RD1 outlets.

RD's John Lea, chief executive of RD1, also said in a quote in today's Herald:
" Fonterra's RD1 did import palm kernel as a small (about 1 per cent), but important, feed source for New Zealand dairy cows.

"However, prior to commencing shipments of PKE (palm kernel extract) we went to considerable lengths, including my personal visit to their operations, to find a sustainable supplier" he said.

RD1's supplier, Wilmar, was a founding member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil. A recent audit by the World Bank found that Wilmar was managing its operations in accordance with the roundtable's principles, he said.

"We're continuing to work with Wilmar to do everything we can to ensure that every tonne of PKE, which is a waste product of the palm oil industry, is truly sustainable."
Mr Lea, would do well to read the press release by and he'd know that Wilmar subsidiaries are alleged to have both illegally used fire to clear land and seized indigenous people's lands. The statement "managing its operations in accordance with the rountable's principles" seems rather naive. But perhaps Mr Lea didn't read the Forest Peoples press release? it's easy to miss these things so we have it here: link

Press Release 10 August 09
"World Bank violates its own standards in palm oil sector in Indonesia"
"The World Bank’s private sector arm – the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – has allowed commercial interests to override its social and environmental standards in making major loans to the oil palm sector in Indonesia, an internal audit reveals.

Oil palm has become synonymous with widespread clearance of forests and peatlands massive CO2 emissions and the theft of indigenous peoples’ lands.

Although the IFC knew about all these risks, due to its experience with prior projects and the warnings of non-government organisations, it went ahead with loans to the Wilmar palm oil trading group, in violation of its own standards, according to the report. The IFC failed to assess the supply chains or look into the damaging impacts of the company’s subsidiary plantations that were taking over community lands and forests in Borneo and Sumatra.

The findings have major implications for the IFC: not only must it apply its standards more carefully but it must check out concerns about where the companies it funds are sourcing their raw materials. Palm oil is only one example of commodities produced in violation of norms.

These findings come from a highly critical audit report just issued by the Compliance Advisory Ombudsman of the IFC which looked into a detailed complaint filed by the Forest Peoples Programme and a coalition of 19 Indonesian civil society and indigenous organisations, including SawitWatch and Gemawan.

Norman Jiwan of the Indonesian monitoring NGO, SawitWatch, notes:
When we filed our complaint we noted that Wilmar subsidiaries were illegally using fire to clear primary forests and high conservation value areas and seizing indigenous peoples’ lands without their free, prior and informed consent, triggering serious conflicts.

This report shows that the IFC overrode its standards and ignored our previous warnings.

In response to the report Lely Khainur of the NGO Gemawan says:
Development is meant to prioritise the needs and rights of local communities. The IFC’s standards require this. Yet they put business interests first and allow peoples’ lands to be stolen for the sake of cheap palm oil in the international market. Our peoples and our forests are being ruined to no good end, and ultimately the whole planet is suffering.

Marcus Colchester the Director of the Forest Peoples Programme adds.
We are satisfied that this report vindicates in great detail our main concerns. Also, the response of the IFC Management to the audit suggests they will now try to do things differently. Still, we remain somewhat exasperated. It has taken us more than five years to get the IFC to take these issues seriously. Given the urgency of halting forest loss and human rights abuses, we call on the IFC President to take personal proactive steps to ensure this never happens again."
The issues are rather more than the IFC not following good lending pratices:

NZ imports a quarter of the world's supplies of PKE: 1.1 million tonnes of palm kernel animal feed in 2008 (which contributed to the release of up to 20 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions) which is worth around $300 million a year, more than just a 'waste product'.

Over 1.5 million hectares of palm plantations planted on previously rain forested land in Malaysia and Indonesia would have been needed to meet the 2008 New Zealand imports of PKE.

The RD1 website has a page advising farmers on the benefits of buying PKE through legally binding contracts, it gives some indication of how much a single vessel may carry:

"From the palm oil plantations in Malaysia to your farm gate, RD1 Nutrition manages
the production, shipping and distribution of our Country Mile Palm Kernel Expeller.
We plan the details with you, the New Zealand dairy farmer, in mind.....

"Having a contract for PKE means surety of supply for that volume, regardless of what is happening with the availability of PKE in the market. Likewise, for RD1 the commitment to bring in a 25,000 tonne vessel of PKE (ed: rather more than 1%) to meet contracted demand comes at a considerable cost and relies on contracted parties honouring their legal contractual commitments"

How do some farmers view the farming of palm oil plantations in Asia? According to Straight Furrow:

"Don Nicolson, president of Federated Farmers, said it was not New Zealand’s place to tell countries like Malayasia and Indonesia how to farm.

As New Zealand had already cleared a lot of its forests for farming, he said it would be “arrogant” of us to say they couldn’t develop, and for a country of our size to tell them how to operate."

After all the protesters had been removed from the ship today he was quoted in the Herald saying:

"I fully respect the freedom of Greenpeace to protest legally but they have crossed the line by interfering with legal commerce and free navigation on the high seas,"

He described the protest as "economic treason".

He claimed Greenpeace was anti-farming: "It's a despicable new tactic that has Greenpeace's loathing of farming written all over that ship."

We think Greenpeace probably loathes the destruction of irreplaceable rain forests and would prefer to see sustainable farming practices in New Zealand. But then, wouldn't we all?

Stephen Pahl, Destination Queenstown CEO Resigns. Status Quo Restored (Updated)

Stephen Pahl, the Australian CEO of Destination Queenstown (DQ) has quit after less than a year in the post.

His resignation was announced in the Otago Daily Times today, effective as of next week, it's all seems a bit sudden - Mr Pahl seemed to have a bright future ahead of him in Queenstown.

Previously Pahl had been with Ecotourism Australia (EA) for 9 years until he resigned in late October last year. During his highly successful tenure EA had grown from virtually nothing to become an innovative leader in sustainable tourism. It had over 1,000 ECO Certified products and was internationally recognized as a Global leader in the provision and management of certification programs which were about to launched overseas as "ECO International."

In 2008 EA won the World Travel & Tourism Council's “Tourism for Tomorrow” Award for Conservation at the World Tourism Summit in Dubai.

When his resignation from EA was announced he described the satisfaction of being able to make a direct contribution to the sustainability of the tourism industry, and to have been able to make a difference, as having been "extremely rewarding."

By January he'd re-emerged in NZ with Destination Queenstown where he planned to do "wonderfully well" and wanted to spend time geting to know the marketing strategies in place and to do a "reality check" on how they related to the market and the challenges ahead. He was quoted as saying that the organisation would have to be "highly innovative" and that one of his first priorities was to engage with the airlines, including Jetstar.

He was also asked if he felt any pressure for "being an Aussie" to which his reply was "The fact I’m an Aussie, I hope no one’s going to hold that against me. If you look around the place, there are a lot of key people who are maybe Europeans, Americans or Irish. I’m here to do a job, I’ll do it wonderfully well. I’m a Kiwi now. I’m here for the long-haul. People have told me you’ve got to be here, 15 years is it, before you’re a local – we need to review that." (Something that will resonate with many migrants in New Zealand who've been told they lack vital Kiwi experience) He also said that he'd have no problems working with his number two Graham Budd, who'd also applied for the job.

He was to be joined by his wife in March after she'd sold her Brisbane florist business and their 13 year old son who was due to attend Wakatipu High school.

Then in August details of an alleged DQ board draft restructuring plan were announced which proposed to axe a marketing manager's post through the amalgamation of those held by market managers Linda McIntosh and Catriona Noonan. The role of Marketing GM held by Graham Budd (see above) was to be "scaled down" and Rotorua tourism identity Oscar Nathan had been engaged to "consult with staff."

The Director of the Board said that the re-shuffle was about being “fiscally responsible” in a recession and denied that it was being driven by Stephen Pahl, she was asked if the restructure was canned if it would mean a question mark over Pahl's position, her reply was:
“Why ever? I don’t think the recession’s got anything to do with the CEO.”

Pahl echoes his chairman’s view that he and the DQ board are “duty-bound” to look at the most efficient structure to deliver its business plan. "It’s not about Pahl putting his stamp on DQ – “It’s not about me, it’s not about people”. “Most businesses in this day are looking at the best way to cut their cloth.”

Told his chairman concedes the review mightn’t change anything, Pahl responds: “I don’t know why she would have said that.”

"Status Quo" and "Secret Squirrels"
"Long-time local tourism operator Geoff Clear calls the restructure “a silly move”.
“We’re just going to have in-house bickering and a down­­turn of [staff] confidence.
“While it’s a vulnerable economy, we’ve got to keep the status quo – it’s working. Eighty per cent of DQ members wouldn’t know what’s happening, there are too many secret squirrels.

Clear is adamant the restructure is Pahl’s idea and will be rubber-stamped by the board.

Pahl’s first attempt to restructure DQ failed, however. He tried to end Australia-based marketing rep Jana Kingston’s contract and have DQ convention bureau staff handle the role – Pahl backtracked after a storm of protest from local operators."

Is it any wonder Pahl, a highly successful, energetic and innovative go-getter only lasted 8 months in the job? The official reason for his departure is that he's returning to Brisbane to "reinvigorate'' his family's two businesses, managed by his wife Debbie. Something that is probably a lot easier to reinvigorate than Destination Queenstown perhaps?

We have the feeling that this won't be the last we hear of Stephen Pahl's involvement in the Tourism Industry and wish him every success for the future.

Post Script: The roles of Communications Manager, and Office Administrator, both reporting to the CEO, are presently being advertised at DQ

UPDATE: The day after we published this blog article Scene's Frank Marvin wrote a piece suggesting that there may have been more to Stephen Pahl's departure than health and family reasons. He quotes sources as having told him that

"unsettled troops complained to DQ’s board about Pahl’s leadership."


"One source reveals a deputation to board members “a while ago”. Another says senior staff talked to board members a few months ago."

In his short time with DQ Pahl overaw saw the "best-ever winter season” and welcomed two new Australian airlines to the town. Sounds like a pretty successful tenure to us.

It all looks rather like the night(s) of the long knives. Read the full report here: DQ Shock: Boss resigns post

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another Body Found In Christchurch

Christchurch, the city keen to keep itself out of contention for the title of the nation's Murder Capital suffered another death last night, thought to be the sixth this year.

View Larger Map of Burrows Place, Christchurch

Police were called to Burrows Place in the suburb of Ilam at around 6.15pm and found a seriously injured woman and the body of a man. A homicide investigation is now to be underway and police are said to be searching for the husband of the woman who was injured.

In a bizarre coincidence yesterday another Christchurch man accused of murder was granted leave to apply for 'electronic bail' despite police opposition to him being allowed conventional bail.

Baz Michael Edmonds, 39,  is presently charged with murder and assault by stabbing after the death of Andre de la Mare in Olliviers Rd, Phillipstown, on August 25. He is also charged with the cultivation of cannabis. It will take around 15 days for his application to be decided on. Can anything be gained by allowing this man back into the community, even with a tag, and why aren't police views on his release being taken more seriously? It's hardly going to act as a deterrent to others.

Even when they're handed down murder sentences in New Zealand are notoriously light in comparison to other countries. Even 'life' sentences for the most shocking and brutal cases of homicide seldom have non-parole periods greater than 18 years.

Christchurch has suffered a spate of violent deaths in recent times which include 4 people under the age of 18:
* 2 women recently found buried beneath a house in Wainoni
* Mellory Manning beaten, stabbed, stangled and dumped in the Avon River
* Andre James De la Mare died after being stabbed in Phillipstown
* Tala Seleni, 55, and Melissa Nina Adcock, 32, were found dead from gunshot wounds in a Linwood council flat
* Timothy Constable died from stab wounds on a Christchurch street
* 15 year old Marie Davis raped and murdered by a convicted rapist
* 16-year-old Sean Martin William Philip Finnerty-Gallagher bashed and died in Christchurch
* Deaf woman Emma Agnew, murdered and dumped in Spencer Park
* Taxi driver Abdulrahman Ikhtiari stabbed to death in central Christhchurch.
* Kerry Leigh Downey, 52, strangled and dumped on the Port Hills
* Lipine Sila deliberately drove into a crowd of partygoers, killed two young girls Hannah Rossiter (16) and Jane Young (16) and badly injured eight others

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tokoroa 15 Year Old Seth Tera Deliberately Run Over In Gang Initiation

Source: News
"The Tokoroa 15-year-old who has been left fighting for his life after a hit and run incident yesterday was deliberately targeted by a group as part of a gang initiation, police say.

The teenager is in Waikato Hospital with head and chest injuries after the driver of a four-wheel-drive allegedly chased him for several blocks before running him over in Baberton St about 3.30am yesterday.
Detective Sergeant Kevan Verry said the group's behaviour, clothing and mannerisms indicated they were associated with the Mongrel Mob.

"They are wannabes of this gang and they are just using that to intimidate members of the public," he told 3News.

The injured youth and his two friends had no links to any gang and they just happened to be "in the wrong place at the wrong time", Mr Verry said.

It was not known if the vehicle involved had sustained any damage from the incident.
"If any person knows of someone who drives or owns a vehicle of this type that has some unexplained damage, they are urged to contact police," Mr Verry said.

The scene examination had been completed and several witnesses spoken to.
The teenager remains in a critical condition at Waikato Hospital's intensive care unit."
Earlier today an 18 year old man appeared in court charged with attempted murder. Seth Tera was said by police to have been chased for several blocks before the driver of the Isuzu MU 4 wheel drive ran over him. His mother told the Herald that Seth had his entire body run over with tyre marks on his back, a fractured skull, broken ribs and punctured lungs.

This kid was so lucky to have survived his ordeal, this could so easily have been another senseless murder of another young person in New Zealand. Many parents will be left wondering about the wisdom of letting their kids out after dark and if there will be any end to gang violence in New Zealand.

See also
Palmerston North hammer attack on teenager Blake Coleman
North Shore attacks - (linked to Killer Beez)

Attacks on Tourists In New Zealand

This is not a comprehensive list by any means but it serves to demonstrate that New Zealand isn't quite as 'safe' as people like to this it is. We think 'forewarned is forearmed' and that savvy, streetwise travellers are less likely to become victims of crime in New Zealand.

There are numerous urban myths about New Zealand being a 'safe place' with low crime rates the facts say otherwise.

New Zealand actually has the second highest rate for reported crimes and for crime victims in the developed world. Plus, the highest proportion of victims of property crimes, the second highest imprisonment rate in the western world and the third highest for amphetamine use. (details on our stats page) Those 'safe' claims wear a little thin after a while but don't just take our word for it

Low crime rate a 'myth'
Kevin Hicks, Chair of Neighbourhood Support Auckland City was quoted as having said:
"...the popular notion that we have a low rate of crime Is yet another myth that has been perpetuated over the years.

Another myth is that we are a punitive society. Quite the reverse is true – we are actually a very lenient society with the chance of imprisonment falling from one chance in 30 in before the 1950s, to less than one chance in 200 by the 1980s. “It is very disappointing to see the debate still based on urban legends ideologically driven “research” when the statistics that are easily found on the government website say the exact opposite”. “Over those same years when prosecutions and imprisonment was falling, crime was exponentially rising” he says.

Crime is now
· impacting nearly quarter of a million kiwis per annum (ed. the pop. is only 4 million)

· damaging our reputation worldwide

· causing governments to issue tourism warnings due to our high crime rate

· spawned several websites now actively discouraging migration and tourism to NZ

· Costing the country over $12 billion per annum

· Hurting the most vulnerable people

Kevin says it is time to be honest and admit there is a problem and actually formulate some long term plans to deal with it. "
We agree with him and we will continue to highlight how crime impacts migrants and visitors to New Zealand until things improve.

These are some examples of attacks on tourists and visitors in New Zealand:

Two German tourists attacked in Paihia, Northland

Asian woman, (probably Japanese) age 22, raped in her room by 2 teenagers in a home invasion in Opotiki

Three Chinese tourists attacked and robbed at the foot of 90 Mile beach by two men they'd stopped to help

French tourist Anthony Cressend, beaten and robbed at campsite in Ahipara, Northland

Two Australian tourists robbed at knifepoint for their holiday money in Te Puke, SE of Tauranga.

Japanese tourist age 23 (female) kidnapped, robbed and assaulted in Rotorua by four men

French tourist (male) raped at gunpoint near Opotiki

American peace corp twins Adam and Alex Rahmlow, 21 were robbed of all their possessions by a man they tried to help in Amberley, Christchurch.

Dutch couple
raped and robbed on a campsite in Tuatapere, NW of Invercargill, whilst on their honeymoon. (Dutch govt. issued a travel warning about NZ)

Two Koreans were attacked and robbed of their possession which included a laptop computer by a man claiming to be a gang member in Blenheim.

British tourist worker sexually assaulted near Hururu Falls, Northland when she was dragged off a walking track.

Canadian tourist Jeremie Kawerninski, kidnapped, assaulted and robbed in Lower Hutt, Wellington

Dutch couple robbed and sexually attacked Haruru Falls, Northland whilst on honeymoon.

Two British women robbed and raped in their campervan at Tokomaru Bay, north of Gisborne.

Japanese tourist subjected to a prolonged and brutal sex attack in a communal area of a backpacker's hostel in Turangi, Taupo.

Scottish woman Karen Aim
brutally murdered by a youth in Taupo.

German woman
Birgit Brauer murdered near New Plymouth.

Korean man Jae Hyeon Kim
decapitated with a spade by white supremacist.

Japanese tourist robbed at gunpoint in Oamaru.

Irish cycle tourist Paul Mack bashed, robbed and urinated on throughout his NZ tour.

6 English and Danish
tourists attacked and stabbed in Cashel Mall, Christchurch for having "foreign accents."

Irish man Robby
O'Brien beaten up in Westport.

Russian couple Denis Khotchenko and Lera Nesterova beaten and robbed in Milford, Auckland

English woman knifed and sexually assaulted in a toilet block at an A1 motor camp in Kaikoura

American campers Patrick Dykstra and Kelsey McGinley
beaten and robbed at Whangarei Falls.

Australian tourist sexually assaulted on a street in broad daylight in Nelson.

Australian tourist subjected to a sex attack by Maia Crawford Rongonui whilst walking home to a backpackers in Christchurch.

tourist left with a fractured skull outside Silver Fern backpackers in Taupo.

tourist beaten and robbed at Lake Rotorua.

British man Paul Speakman
and his young son beaten and robbed in a campervan at Athenree Gorge, Katikati.

Chinese woman attacked for speaking Chinese on a train approaching Petone.

Scottish visitor Stuart Martin who was left in a coma and with a boot print on his face after a street bashing in Taradale, Christchurch.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Second Night Of Rioting In Dunedin


"A second night of drunken disorder has rocked Dunedin following the arrival of the annual Undie 500 car rally in the city.

Again facing off against a mob of about 600 people in North Dunedin's Castle Street area, police in riot gear used pepper spray to subdue and disperse the hordes throughout Saturday night. Students again lit fires and pelted police with bottles.

The crowd advanced on officers, "challenging the police line", after police tried to grab a man, Inspector Dave Campbell said on Sunday.

"Many students were pepper sprayed and officers had to call for more supplies as some had emptied their canisters on those students," Mr Campbell said.

Police arrested between 50 and 60 people. This follows the 20 arrests made on Friday night. The weekend's violence and disorder saw the highest number of arrests in recent years......."



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