Friday, September 25, 2009

Keys For A Chaffeur Service. Letterman Video Top Ten List

John Key has offered to chaffeur Americans who visit New Zealand, (it's near Tasmania) we think that's rather decent of him, they'll be good tippers. :

"Once you get here it's fantastic" oh....a Freudian slip?

There are also Americans already in New Zealand who would be very grateful to Mr Key if he would only give them a lift on his way to the airport, since he's going their way why not?

Give the man a seat on the UN Security council, at least they'll never be short of a driver.

USA - Kiwi translation

"Slot Machines" - Pokies

"Cinnabon" - Hot bread shop

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Korean Student, Tae Won Chung, Sentenced To Prison For Classroom Stabbing

Korean student, Tae Won Chung, has pleaded guilty to the classroom stabbing of teacher David Warren at Avondale College and was today sentenced to 18 months in prison. A report in the Herald says:
"Chung's lawyer, David Jones QC, told the Auckland District Court that the catalyst for the violent attack was culturally insensitive comments by the victim Mr Warren, the day before the school attack.
The day before the attack the teacher made comments to Chung about possible conscription to the Korean Army and about a possibility of North Korea attacking South Korea.
The court was told this left Chun "festering" with anger and he took a knife with him to school the next day.
The Crown said the stabbing was premeditated and that Mr Warren's comments couldn't be seen as provocation."
 Read what the Korean community is saying about the incident:
Korean Foreign Student Stabs New Zealand teacher, Charges of Racism in NZ Schools by Korean Students

A debate has recently raged over the partial defence of provocation after it was used in the trial of the murder of Sophie Elliot. The government is said to be reviewing it, along with other laws relating to sex crimes and child protection.

See also blogpost 4 March: 'Racial sensitivity may have caused classroom stabbing'

Returning Kiwis Views About New Zealand

There's a great discussion going on today in the blogs section of the online New Zealand Herald, the topic centres around the number of expat New Zealanders returning to their homeland and their thoughts about it. It's worth a read, if you have the time, because their comments are so similar to those of many migrants in the country. Read them here: "As an expat, what are your thoughts on returning home?"

Here's a selection from the many, many pages of responses:

kk (Canada) "We are currently living in Canada and have also lived in the US. Coming back to NZ is a bittersweet decision for us, the main drawcard is family, the beautiful countryside, and our children growing up literate.
But for a small country, NZ has developed a shocking culture of violence, I have felt safer in these countries at night than in NZ, granted we have lived in great towns but there wouldn't be many places in NZ I would walk at night.
We've been reading the news regularly to ease back being home and Im ashamed to read headlines like the 'h' in Wanganui rubbish next to one about yet another abused/killed child.
When people ask me about the utopia they believe is NZ , I say sure its a stunningly beautiful country with clean air, but never hitchhike, be careful where you camp for the night, walk down to the dairy at night, stare at anybody, walk home from the pub, sleep on a beach or leave anything not bolted down outside and you'll be fine."

Andrew kiwi in the (United States of America) "There are a few things that make me worry about coming back, one is the actions of the dictatorial enviromentalist movements. Another is the government seeming desire to control people. Banning certain styles of parenting? That is concerning. What else will you be unable to do because some bleeding heart socialist do-gooder decides it is in your best interests to deny you the right to decide that? There are schools of thought that population control is required to save the planet. Will we have to apply to have children at all? These new enviro-nazis seem determined to destroy the economy to solve a problem that hasn't even been proven to exist!"

YouKNOWItsTheTruth (Mairangi Bay) "I keep reading about this mythical NZ lifestyle. A few people here have listed mountains as a reason to come back. A big hill is a reason to live in a country?
Seriously, how many people in NZ actually go mountain climbing? Just as only 134,000 watched the Boks beat the All Blacks in SA last month, there seems to be this fantasy that all Kiwis love rugby, ski, surg, mountainbike, fish, have a bach and watch rugby.
If you do, good on you, you'll love NZ. Most of us don't though. And the weather is rubbish. Makes me laugh when Kiwis slag the UK weather. AKL has more annual rainfall and worse air quality than London. And although the UK can be colder (than AKL, not necessarily the South Island) houses are built to cope with it, unlike here, hence all the asthma. And don't get me started on leaky homes."

ryan (Bahamas) "Reasons not to return:
1. tall poppy syndrome
2. small minds village attitude
3. low wages which = bad lifestyle
4. too many pacific migrants going on dole and crime
5. murders and crime increasing, sentences for crims are a joke and justice system is a joke
6. nz is backwards go back to 50s
7. racism,
8. lazy people on benefit and dole
9 lack of career opportunities
10 lack of excitement/ culture
11. too much rugby
12 boy racers / hoons/rednecks on every street corner

i can go on and on,
this lifestyle thing is crap its a term people use into brainwashing themselves, many countries have glorious beaches , sun and the good outdoor life"

Jason (United Kingdom) "My wife and I looked at returning to NZ last year but the jobs just aren't there for us.

My wife graduated with a doctorate from Oxford University in record time and has an outstanding publication history. She applied for a job at Auckland University, jumped through all the necessary hoops and time-zone differences for conference calling and then they gave the position to a much less qualified person currently working in the lab in Auckland with no publication history.
Many other colleagues from sciences and medicine have said the same to us - the field is so under-invested in that there is no potential for NZ to contribute in anything but agricultural sciences and departments in NZ are too busy protecting the interests of current staff that they can't take on expats returning. When i first came to the UK, NZ had the edge in internet and IT, banking services, etc - now, when i come back for a holiday, i notice it hasn't progressed in the past ten years, it's just another quaint little island in the south pacific that you go on holiday to, slowly slipping down the international development scales."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mad Dog Riverboarding Company To Expand Its Operations

The Southland Times is carrying a story this morning about Mad Dog Riverboarding lodging a resource consent to expand its business:

"On Tuesday last week, Mad Dog lodged a resource consent application with Lakes Environmental that would allow it to take another 100 clients daily on the Kawarau River. It has consent to take 200 clients a day. It also applied to extend the stretch of the river on which it can operate, filling a gap of several kilometres around the Roaring Meg Power Station.

Mad Dog owner Brad McLeod said the changes were mostly "technicalities" that arose from the company's internal resource consent review six months ago.

The review showed the company did not have consent to river board near the power station a previously unrealised gap between the consent areas for Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago District Council jurisdiction.

"We aren't working on this section till it's been sorted," he said..."

For the background story on Mad Dog Riverboarding and their guilty pleas following the drowning death of British tourist Emily Jordan please see pages linking to "Emily Jordan" in the head of the page.

John Key recently announced a review of the adventure tourism industry in response to a heartfelt letter from Mr Jordan, it could result in unsafe operators being shut down. The review will be headed by Labour minister Kate Wilkinson.

In a separate article in the Southland Times Chris Jordan, Emily's father, is quoted as saying:

"It's a good start. The prime minister has done this and it's the right step forward."

But Mr Key had not given any assurances about how long the inquiry would take, Mr Jordan said.

"It's good to hear (there will be a review), but it's got to be done quite quickly. You're moving towards the summer and there's no point in it taking 12 months.

"I think that's the important thing here.

"If there's strength behind the words then in three months there should be a significant amount of work done."

But Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson, who is charged with leading the inquiry, cautioned that the process might not be a speedy one.

"We don't have a timeframe in mind.

"We're looking at protecting the reputation of our tourism industry and of our country and it's got to be done properly."

The first step would be to work out the scope of the review with agencies including the Civil Aviation Authority, Maritime New Zealand, the Tourism Industry Association and the Tourism Ministry.

Destination Queenstown marketing general manager Graham Budd said the organisation supported Mr Key's decision to launch an inquiry.

"From a visitor perspective, it says 'hey, we're taking this seriously'. As long as it's not a witch-hunt and isn't too onerous for operators who might be part of the process ... (operators) will be nothing but supportive."

Time will tell but we have a feeling this will probably take years, not months. In the meantime we hope that there will be no further deaths.

See also: Prosecutions brought for adventure deaths so far this year

2 American Tourists Robbed In Northland

Two American visitors have been robbed whilst sandboarding on dunes in Shipwreck Bay near Ahipara in Northland. Further details may be found here: Theft ruins holiday

Other tourists have also been robbed in this area, including Canadian Cybil Litwiller whose car was broken into and three bags were stolen, including those containing all of her holiday possessions. Fortunately her passport wasn't in the vehicle at the time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Rat Poison Discovered In Dead Penguins"

Taken from by Eloise Gibson 22 Sept 09
"Traces of the rat poison, Brodifacoum, have been found in two little blue penguins that died in the Hauraki Gulf, a month after the Department of Conservation dropped the poison on Rangitoto and Motutapu islands...

Poison-drop project manager Richard Griffiths said the finding of Brodifacoum was "alarming" and DoC did not know how it had happened....

DoC's resource consent to drop Brodifacoum on Rangitoto and Motutapu envisaged that some of the poisoned cereal baits would end up in the sea, and fishermen reported seeing pellets fall into the ocean at the time...." (See our blog post: Mass poison drops scheduled to wipeoout pests)
Is makes us wonder if these people know what they're doing. We've all read the reports about bait coming down like hail on fishermen in the vicinity of the islands, it doesn't take much to guess that birds in the area, including penguins, may have ingested some of it.

"Brodifacoum is a highly lethal anti-coagulant poison used to control not only rodents but also possums. It's is highly lethal to mammals and birds and extremely lethal to fish. It is a highly cumulative poison.

The American Bird Conservancy cites several studies indicating that secondary poisonings of predatory birds and animals are common due to the extreme persistance of the pesticide within both target and non-target species. It may also be dispersed by insects that feed on poisoned bait without harm and retain the pesticide within their bodies." - Wikipedia

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kevin Bowler Named New Chief Exec of Tourism NZ

Tourism New Zealand Chairman Greg Muir has today announced the appointment of Kevin Bowler as its new CEO, effective as from "early January."

He'll be based in their Auckland office and will divide his time between there and Wellington.

Mr Bowler is an old boy of Hillcrest High School and gained his degree at the University of Waikato.

No word yet as to whether or not he's got a ticket for the Letterman show.

Tourism Boss Won't Be Watching Letterman Show

When Tourism NZ chief executive George Hickton was asked recently if he would be sitting in the studio audience to watch John Key appear on the Letterman show (Key is both the Prime Minister and Tourism Minister for New Zealand) the answer was no, he wasn't even sure who was going to get tickets but still intended to make the trip to New York as he had other work to do for Key.

A report in The Dominion Post today headed 'Tourism boss's plans thwarted' says that:

"Mr Hickton said he was still uncertain if he and other tourism officials would get to the show. "It's probably unlikely. It's not what I'm going for. Honestly, I couldn't care less ... I don't even watch it."

Do we detect a 'flounce'? are show tickets that hard to come by? Here's the link if you want to go

Mr Hickton tendered his resignation from Tourism NZ, as announced in early July. See blog post Tourism NZ Chief Exec 'steps down.'

Other tourism related stories you may be interested in:
"Kevin Bowler named new chief exec of Tourism NZ"
"Stephen Pahl, Destination Queenstown CEO resigns. Status quo restored."

Six Year Old Kids Take Dope To School

From NZHerald, 21 Sept 09

"Northland children as young as 6 years old are being caught with cannabis at school.

Police say many Northlanders smoke cannabis - this week it was revealed that of the 141,000 plants seized nationally in the 2008-09 season, almost half were in Northland - and many parents are exposing their children to the drug.

In the latest incident, two boys aged just 11 and 12 were caught with cannabis at Russell Primary School.

....In June, a 6-year-old boy brought 10 cannabis tinnies to Whangarei's Totara Grove School in a McDonald's bag. It is thought he had taken the bag to school by mistake.

Russell's sole police officer, Constable Mark Caswell, said finding primary school-aged children with cannabis was unusual - "but not as unusual as people think, sadly. How young some of these people are is quite incredible."

".....In Northland in 2007, 35 students were suspended for drug abuse from one primary, two intermediate and 13 secondary schools. Last year 12 students from five schools were suspended.

Tai Tokerau Principals' Association president Pat Newman said children brought cannabis to a primary school to"show and tell" friends or because their parents had asked them to give it to another child to pass to their parents.

However, schools dealt every day with the "disastrous" effects of cannabis, alcohol and methamphetamine (or P) on children's lives."

In a snapshot of what is going on elsewhere in NZ in June 2008 police told TVNZ that children taking and dealing drugs in school wasn't a "new issue" after 5 nine year old boys were caught smoking cannabis at Owhata primary school in Rotorua and that this sort of thing had been going on for 20 years.

At around the same time a quantity of cannabis was seized at Longford Intermediate school in Gore, and Westlake Boys School in Auckland asked 12 students to leave after a dealing ring was uncovered.

Then in July of this year 10 students from Lindisfarne College, Hastings were expelled and another seven suspended after another cannabis dealing ring was busted.

It's indicative that cannabis use amongst school children is a problem not just in Northland but throughout New Zealand, which has the highest rate of cannabis use in the OECD, the third highest Amphetamine use, and is placed second for both victims of crime and total crimes per capita:

NZ police say that most cannabis tinnie houses were selling-points for methamphetamine as well and that drugs and crime are well linked.

"Cannabis and meth come hand in hand now and there is a real link between drugs, stolen property, firearms and gangs."

It was probable most of the cannabis produced in Northland was destined for Auckland."


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