Friday, October 30, 2009

The Truth Behind the "Happiness Survey"

There's an interesting article in today's Dom Post, written by Kelly Burns and Kiran Chug. We'd like to share some of it with you. Many of the issues presented in it are identical to the problems that some migrants have had with New Zealand, especially with regards to money, housing and discrimination. For background to this see Migrant Tales.

"On the surface, we are a happy bunch, with a snapshot of Kiwis showing 86 per cent of people are satisfied with their lives. Wellingtonians were the most prepared for an emergency and felt the safest walking their city streets alone at night.

But dig a little deeper and there is discontent. Half of those questioned in a recent survey say they have major problems with their housing and one in seven are struggling to come up with enough money for everyday needs.

The New Zealand General Social Survey interviewed 8721 people from April last year to March...."

According to their article the survey ended on the eve of the recession, Kiwis were finding it tough making ends meet before the downturn in the economy.

"Family Budgeting Services chief executive Raewyn Fox said that was no surprise, with people struggling daily. "It's not for luxuries, it's a roof over their head, food and power. They are living on a real fine line."

"Half of people reported having major problems with housing; most of them were concerned over heating, the size of their homes and neighbourhood noise. Housing Minister Phil Heatley said many would also be referring to their inability to afford the house they wanted...Mr Heatley said the Government was investing heavily in upgrading the "slum" standard of its 68,000 Housing New Zealand properties, and changes to the Residential Tenancies Act would help improve the results in the next survey."
"The $3 million survey found one in ten people had been discriminated against in the past year. Most of the cases related to nationality, race, ethnic group or "skin colour" and included 23% of Asian people and 16% of Maori.
Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said the survey was a positive step towards measuring whether discrimination was going up or down."

Safety is also an issue for many people with almost a third saying that they would feel unsafe walking in their own neighbourhood at night.

Read the full article here: 'Happy' Kiwis worry beneath the surface

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Taradale Mill Liquorsave Stabbing In Robbery Gone Wrong

A man was stabbed in the chest during a robbery gone wrong at The Mill Liquorsave in Taradale, Napier at 6.30 last night, police are looking for two offenders who fled from the scene and ran off across Gloucester St, Meeanee Rd and toward Taradale Park through Symons Lane and White St.

View Larger Map of The Mill Liquorsave
The offender with the knife was described as Maori, in his mid-30s, of medium build and about 1.65m tall and wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and light-coloured running shoes.
The second man was also Maori, solidly built and about 1.82m tall, wearing a black T-shirt over a green hooded top with dark shoes which had white laces.

The bably injured man, who was working behind the counter at the time of the attack, was saved from more serious injury by a co-worker who came to his aid. He was flown to Wellington Hospital for emergency surgery.

The attack is similar to attacks in other liquor stores and dairies, the most tragic of which was the stabbing murder of Indian father of three Navtej Singh at his family's store in Manurewa.

Armed and violent robberies have been growing at an alarming rate in New Zealand over recent years, hardly a day goes by without a report being made. See Armed Robberies in NZ for a list of attacks on businesses including dairies, clubs, bottle shops, banks and a hairdressers.

Emily May Parker Death, Update

Emily Parker and Matthew Hawkins
Further information has emerged about death of American Emily May Parker who died whilst swimming with dolphins in Marlborough Sound. The tourist died just weeks after a government led review of the adventure tourism industry was launched following the death of British woman Emily Jordan who died whilst river boarding.

According to an article published in the Marlborough Express neither Maritime NZ nor the Department of Labour will be making any investigation into Ms Paker's death. Even though the coroner's investigation has yet to be completed they believe that her death was from "natural causes" and that it was a now a "police matter".

Also, in a worrying development, information has been released suggesting that her boyfriend, Matthew Hawkins (who was on the trip with her and his mother) " waved a multitool (a pocket knife) at paramedics when it became apparent they could not save her." Apparently the tool had been used to cut open her wetsuit. Just why this information has been given to the public is a mystery as it seems to serve no useful purpose, no doubt all will become clear when the results of the police investigation (if any) are revealed.

As previously mentioned, it seems that Ms Parker may have died from a cardiac arrest, as reported by the Denver Post who also said that no criminal investigation was likely to be made.

The Marlborough Express had already reported that the owner of Dolphin Ecowatch Tours, Dan Engelhaupt with whom Ms Parker had been swimming, said "He was now looking to buy a defibrillator for the tour boat, though he did not know if that would have saved the woman." The skipper of a ferry had offered him the use of one but was too far away to be used in time, but he did use oxygen that was rushed over from workers at nearby  New Zealand King Salmon Te Pangu .

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

10 Year Old Shooting Victim May Have Taken His Own Life

We were so sorry to hear about the death yesterday of a 10 year old boy who died in a firearm incident in Dargaville and believed it to have been a  tragic case of misadventure because the death was not going to be treated as suspicious. Our thoughts were with the boy's family for their unimaginable loss.

Today more details of the incident have emerged in the press, including the child's name - Oliver Nicolson - a bright and "sensitive sweetheart" who attended the Dargaville Primary School. His mother told Rose Stirling of the Dargaville News the gun that killed him was kept in a locked gun safe and that
"(she) said she had tried talking to her son about bullying but, "he never opened up about it".

She also said her son had wagged school on Friday because he had not done his homework "and was worried about being told off".

Although he had been quiet and reserved in the past, in recent months he had been "particularly confident and happy", Mrs Nicolson said.

The parents described their son as loving and caring. Mrs Nicolson said her husband had a special bond with Ollie.

"I will miss him bouncing off the walls," says Mrs Nicolson."
The article went on to state that Senior Sergeant Ken Andrews could not comment on whether the police would be looking at bullying as part of their inquiries. A coroner's investigation is said to be underway.

Youth suicide is a significant problem in New Zealand which is ranked first in the world for suicides in young people aged 15-24. It's so awful that such a young child could be driven to take his own life that we find it hard to comprehend what is being inferred in the news report, surely a child so young could not feel so desperate?

Is there a precedent for this? Unfortunately yes,  a bullied 10 year old boy tried to jump from the roof of Ascot Community School in Invercargill in February.

The Ministry of Health published a Youth Suicide Prevention guide in 2003 as a resource for schools but we're not sure how many primary schools, if any, are following it.

Further reading: "Stop the Violence" - "Bullying is a big problem in New Zealand and it's important that we all work to stop it. Growing up can be hard enough without this added hurt and rejection and we believe that no child should have to suffer......"

Mangere Sex Attacker - 14 Year Old Arrested

According to various news reports a 14 year old youth has been arrested in connection with yesterday's sex attack in Mangere. There have been a spate of attacks on young women and girls in the area (see yesterday's blog post) which include the rape of an 8 year old child.

Police aren't saying if the youth is responsible for all the attacks and or if the attacks are connected.

The Herald published a list of the attacks, all of which happened between 2-4pm, that are known about so far:
"September 8: 12-year-old girl dragged along alleyway and assaulted.
October 19: 8-year-old girl pulled to ground and raped in alleyway.
Thursday: 28-year-old mother assaulted while pushing pram along alleyway.
Yesterday: Mother in 20s carrying groceries assaulted in alleyway.
* Police are seeking a Polynesian man aged 18 to 20, about 1.65m and medium build, wearing dark-green hoodie and dark jeans."
The description of the offender doesn't seem to match that of the youth that's been arrested so it remains to be seen if the police have caught their man. Parents are still being advised to watch their children and police and Maori wardens are patrolling the area.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Serial Sex Attacker Strikes Again In Mangere

Police are hunting for a sex attacker who has victimised a number of girls and young women in Mangere, South Auckland. The assaults all took place in and around a walkway between Cape Road and Mascot Avenue over the last 2 months, the last one on October 22 was when a young mother was attacked whilst pushing her baby in his pram. Other victims include 8 and 12 year old girls.

View Larger Map of the walkway

Parents are being advised to accompany their children to and from school.
Update: a 14 year old youth was arrested the following day. see blog post

Christchurch's "Terrorism" Hits World News

From an article in  The Press by Ian Steward
"Christchurch's boy racers have again hit the headlines overseas, with a German magazine saying residents are afraid of car-based "terrorism".

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said the article was an accurate reflection of Christchurch: "It's a problem we have. It is something that happens here and it's an interesting social phenomenon, which I presume is the angle they're coming from."

Geo, a German magazine similar to National Geographic, devoted its October-November issue to New Zealand, with 14 positive articles on subjects ranging from kakapo and conservation to rugby, fish and chips, baches and adventure tourism.

The article on Christchurch was called "Frenzy of the youth". It featured pictures of boy racers in belligerent poses, drinking, wheel-spinning and hanging out on streets such as Moorhouse Ave...

View Larger Map of Moorhouse Ave.

...A German television programme devoted an episode to Christchurch's car culture in January. The German article details a night with Matt and Megan, who go to parties at crossroads and indulge in illegal street racing to relieve boredom.

The article said Matt put his telephone number on his rear window so others could contact him.
"Perhaps for a little race out at McLeans Island. Or for a meeting at the supermarket car park on Main South Road for a bit of drifting? On an oil patch, to hear the new album from Eminem, or see whatever else is up."

The article focuses on statistics showing that Christchurch people, particularly women and the elderly, are afraid in their city after dark...."

For more of his report see link 

Right Wing Vigilante Group

The garden city has been getting some really bad press recently, it wasn't so long ago that it was being forced to defend itself against the dubious honour of being dubbed the nation's crime capital.

Just yesterday Mr Steward wrote an article which began with  "A 'white pride' group, Right Wing Resistance (RWR), claims to be patrolling New Brighton streets that "the police and the system has all but given up on". The piece went on to explain how the group, who some would label "skinheads" have taken it upon themselves to do something because the locals "were getting very upset with youths, particularly Polynesian youths, standing over people and vandalising."

For other blog posts about social issues in Christchurch see:
Everyday 'race hate' rife in Christchurch
67 boy racers taken off the streets of Christchurch
Another schoolkid injured in racist attack
Christchurch's drunken mayhem
Christchurch's weekend battleground
British tourist wishes he'd been warned about the violence

Monday, October 26, 2009

7 People Killed In Holiday Weekend Carnage

Despite safety warnings and pleas from police and motoring organisations for people to take care over the holiday weekend at least seven people have died and many more have been injured in 16 separate incidents, some of them from countries such as Germany and Saudi Arabia. The death toll however wasn't as bad as it was over Anzac weekend when 14 people lost their lives, causing the National Road Policing manager, Superintendent Paula Rose to describe the roads as "killing fields".

The fatalities this weekend started on Friday night and have occurred at
  • SH1 at Five Mile Bay, south of Taupo. A head on crash claimed two lives of two women at a spot where there had been numerous serious crashes, the last one only six weeks previously.
  • Maungatapu Track in the Maitai Valley, near Nelson. A four wheeled drive rolled into a river killing the 16 year old driver Tod Woodman. Two other people were flown from the scene with minor injuries.
  • Lyttleton Avenue in Porirua where a woman died when she was hit whilst running alongside a bus.
Injuries in other incidents included
  • Two German tourists in their twenties who were injured when their van hit a bank then rolled onto its roof near Pelorus Bridge as they travelled from Nelson.
  • A toddler and a motorcyclist who were critically injured in a collision on SH1 near Huntly. 
  • A crash between a truck and car on SH2 Pekapeka Road at Netherton
  • A driver who was injured when a rental car left SH2 at  Rimutaka Hill, Upper Hutt and rolled down a bank, 
  • A car that rolled in the Manawatu Gorge.
  • A woman received serious head injuries after she was thrown from her car whilst backing out of  driveway in Manurewa.
  • A child was badly injured when it ran out in front of a vehicle in Otara
  • A woman was seriously injured after being hit by a 4WD vehicle on a rural property west of Hokitika.
  • 21-year-old quad bike rider suffered serious spinal injuries after falling from his vehicle on sand dunes at Muriwai Beach, north-west of Auckland. The incident came despite the Auckland Regional Council's promise to crack-down on vehicle safety at the beach over the labour weekend following both deaths and injuries to both drivers and other beach users.
  • SH1 northbound at Waikanae was blocked following a crash.


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