Saturday, November 14, 2009

German Tourists Robbed In Omapere, Northland

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It's taken well over a week for the news to leak out that a couple of German tourists were robbed in Northland, New Zealand on November 2. Why it has taken so long to report on something that happened a week last Monday is anybody's guess, but the more cynical amongst us could speculate that it was so the story could be given a more 'positive' slant?

The middle aged couple were said to be highly upset when they returned to their campervan at Signal Station Lookout, Omapere to find that thieves had broken in and stolen a bag containing a large amount of foreign cash, camera gear and personal items.

Northland seems to have been having more than its fair share of attacks and robberies on tourists of late, it's almost a month since two other German tourists were attacked and robbed on the street in Paihia .

We think that tourists should be given more information about how to keep themselves and their possessions safe and be allowed to rent secure safety deposit boxes (for a nominal charge) at local banks and post office whilst staying in the region. Perhaps if all the crims knew that tourists' cash was safely locked up they'd be less interested in them?

Other recent attacks on tourists in Northland include:
* Two American tourists who were robbed of their backpack in Shipwreck Bay in September.
* Threee Chinese tourists who were attacked and robbed south of 90 Mile Beach at month earlier
* Anthony Cressend, a French tourist, who was beaten and robbed at a campsite in Ahipara.

But we strongly suspect that there may be more than this.

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Man Killed In Nelson Shooting

 A man was shot dead in Nelson this evening. Police armed with rifles have sealed off an area just before a bridge at Dennies Hole, on Maitai Valley Rd.

According to a report by Sally Kidson in the Nelson Mail:
"Sgt Shane Miles told the (paper) that police had received a call that a man had been shot in the chest in Branford Park.

When police arrived they found a man with an apparent gunshot injury. A doctor who was passing by confirmed the man was dead.

Sgt Miles said there were several eyewitnesses at the scene. A witness told the Nelson Mail she had heard a shot shortly before 6pm. She said she had heard screaming and fighting beforehand."

See also: Murders and violent deaths in New Zealand during 2009

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Gang Prospects Jailed For The Rape Of Japanese Tourist In Opotiki

 Ranginui Rahi, 18 and Mark Hati, 16 the two youths who pleaded guilty to the rape of a 22 year old Japanese tourist in Opotiki, in the eastern Bay of Plenty, have both been sentenced to 9 years in prison for rape and aggravated buglary.

The two armed offenders broke into the Ford Street house in August and attacked the woman whilst her host family sat in another room watching television.

Mark Hati was said to have aspirations to become a patched member of the Mongrel Mob and expects to be accepted once his sentence has been served. Of course, the Mob may not exist by then which will be no sad loss for New Zealand, or the residents of Opotiki.

In June an Opotiki man was charged with the raped of a male French hitchhiker at gunpoint.

Opotiki also made the headlines in December of last year when two teenage girls were charged with the murder of elderly man John Rowe, a retired school teacher. His badly beaten body was found at his home in November 2008.  Whilst reporting on Mr Rowe's murder the NZ Herald described Opotiki as follows:

"With wide streets and air of lost prosperity, Opotiki is not unlike dozens of small towns across New Zealand.
Fifty years ago it was booming, thanks to potatoes, wheat, maize and cattle. But as factories relocated or closed, residents moved out, with many of the rich and elderly heading to the upmarket Woodlands area several kilometres away.Their departure and the economic downturn led to an increase in unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, and gang activity.

Now much of Opotiki's criminal activity is controlled by Mongrel Mob and Black Power chapters, with the innocent caught in the middle. "The Mongrel Mob own this patch," said Gibson, an Opotiki resident of 48 years. "Black Power's patch is on the other side of town."

Police have refused to speculate on whether the youths accused of killing Rowe have gang links, but many locals are less circumspect. One of Rowe's neighbours, Peter Collier, said there were drug and alcohol problems among the town's youth and the gangs are "battering each other", leaving residents "jumpy". 

Another, who asked not to be named, said she always believed the town's next murder victim would be killed in a gang fight, not a former maths teacher described by friends as a "gentleman".

Rowe came to New Zealand from the UK where he served in the Navy. His wife, Phyllis, died in 1991 but his love affair with classical music continued."

We wonder if the Japanese woman who was raped in her host's home realised the background to Opotiki and if she was made fully aware of the possible risks of staying there. 

Today's posts - click here

Responses To Guardian Article "New Zealand was a friend to Middle Earth, but it's no friend of the earth"

 The reader responses have been coming in thick and fast to the Guardian's website after the above article was published on Thursday. Please see blog post 100% Pure Myth Exposed By British Press.

Here are a few of the reader comments, starting with a very typical 'Pom Bashing' rant, followed by the usual 'but other places are worse than us' excuse that is often used to shrug off responsibility or accountability. Fortunately some New Zealander's are more enlightened than Koseyboy:

I'm a kiwi and proud of it. After reading some of the comments below all I can say is if you have such a problem with NZ then don't live here. (that's all you whinging P*ms by the way) All this talk about NZ being one of the top producers of CO2 emissions per head of population is a load of rubbish in the greater scheme of things. We may very well have a bad score per head of population, but as a country we are responsible for only 0.2% of all CO2 emissions produced in the world! Similarly, Australia accounts for around 2%. Behind China and the US, the EU is the third biggest producer of these gasses. Now I may be being cynical, but if you can tell me how "dirty" old NZ can really influence climate change, then I am all ears....I think the not so green EU need to sort there own back yard out before they go pointing their "not so green" fingers at others.

Good points about rampant european consumerism and imports driving emissions from other countries... but we in new zealand are rampantly consumeristic as well and buy a fair amount of our stuff from china (and infact have unfortunately exported some of our industry there aswell ... infact havent we just signed a free trade deal or something?)so we cant really criticise too much.
Again the issue is that we have stuck our head up above that parapet with a ridiculous clean green 100% pure lie that we use to increase our exports and promote tourism. It does not matter what the UK or USA or Australia do because they are not bullsh*tting about being a clean green environmentally friendly country. we are the hypocrites and calling people names when they point it out is unjustified.


"Auckland city (half the population live there) has a lot to answer for in terms of emissions. Terrible public transport means you can't plausibly survive there without a car.
Insulation in NZ is poor by UK standards. Brick houses aren't the norm, I think this due to the earthquake risks. Still I feel a lot could be done to improve insulation and building standards in NZ.
The farming in NZ produces meat that is consumed for the most part outside of NZ. There is a bit of China-syndrome here, shouldn't the overseas consumers be responsible for the omissions?
I think NZers themselves (I am one myself) also buy into the "we are clean and green" idea. There is a real lack of knowledge about the negative impact we have on the environment."

NZ Nick

When the Dept. of Tourism tout NZ as '100% Pure' they also fail to mention the fact that the Dept. of Conservation indiscriminately aerial drops 1080 to poison any mammals in an area. They have just aerial dropped within 100m of my boundary in an area where I collect my household water from. I've had to road tanker water in at great expense.
1080 remains in the carcasses of dead animals for months poisoning scavengers and the waterways.
Why is this relevant? Tesco's buy almost 50% of the lamb produced over here and none is checked for 1080 residues. Google 1080 and reduce your intake of NZ lamb, especially if you have young children!


"Finally we've been caught out! As a New Zealander I have been holding my head in my hands as decisions are made to help us procrastiate from doing improving our environmental performance. It is nice to see someone point this out, even if it does come from the otherside of the world.
NZ homes are terrible for insulation. However there is some good work going on to provide funding for insulation and install heat-pumps. These are perhaps a better choice than central heating in an environment where cooling is needed in the summer.
Our power generation is predominately from hydro, so at the moment this is not too bad. However, with the lack of new sites for hydro and a need for more base load on the grid we are struggling for other options to help meet our demand (my preferred answer is decrease demand/increase efficiency - but this is too hard to comprehend for some people who love their 2kW oil heater on 24hrs/day). NZ is to small to sustain a nuclear power plant so it has to really work hard to get greener options for power generation.
Although NZ does have a much older car fleet (possibly due to the cheap imports from Japan because we have a very open market) however, I would like to see the difference in Green House gases created with creating a new car from scratch (i.e. the steel production) compared with running an old on for a few more years. I feel it would be a lower amount, but that would not show up on the NZ carbon savings as we don't produce the cars.
Population density is also much lower in NZ compared with the UK (i.e. less apartments/semi-detached housing) so public transport is more costly to run - so less services are on offer and cars get used more.
These are fine excuses, some of which are due to poor planning in previous years. However, NZ politicians will continue to be scared from doing anything until the general population is aware of what how the global community feels. Some parts of the population still think that no one else is doing anything so why should they? Of course this is not true at all, the UK and Europe have been working hard on the problem for years. Unfortunately this message gets lost somewhere in between here and NZ (probably in baggage handling at LAX)...
Well done again on writting the article - hopefully it pops up in the NZ media.

The Current NZ govenrment has the view that because NZ makes up 0.3% of carbon equivilent emmissions that they can operate under the radar... Somehow they think 'responsibilty, is someone elses responsibility'.
Since gaining power last year they have:-
1- Curtailed Public Transport expenditure in favour of a new campaign of Motorway Building.
2- Dropped the previous govt's 90% renewable's energy target.
and are in the process of passing lesislation to:-
a- Allow mining/oil extraction in pristine National park area's.
b- amending the previous govt's ETS Bill so that Tax payers sholder the bulk of the burden for large polluters.
and they are planning to turn up at Copenhagen with a Pledge of a flimsy 10% reduction of GHG's on 1990 levels.
If you object to subsidising the irresponsilbe who seek to externalise the cost of climate change to you "vote with your wallet" a New Zealander... I ask that you boycott our products until such time as resposible government in NZ is restored.


"I'm not surprised to see NZ has high car ownership. Public transport is a problem in a country of this size, with a small population, and lack of infrastructure. However, kiwis are in love with their cars, and the more powerful the better. Cronenberg could have mad Crash here !
NZ has in recent years identified 'leaky house syndrome'. Kiwis pride themselves on their 'No.8 wire culture', where they can make anything out of a piece of wire. It is in fact synonomous with botch-jobs in many cases, and pervades professionalism as well. Not only are houses not made well, they are not built to conserve energy."
Kiwis themselves live in the 'green mirage'. Many seem to think that the '100% PURE' Tourist Industry advertising campaign is real. Much of the countryside here is pristine, but agriculture on an industrial scale is encroaching. The only thing that is 100% pure here, is the epidemic of P!
With the No.8 culture, Kiwis think they can do anything themselves, and not only that, but that they are the best in the world at everything ! There is a lot of innovation in NZ, but there is also much macho arrogance and not much insight.

Today's posts - click here

100% Pure Myth Exposed By British Press

 A UK journalist determined to expose false environmental claims has finally blown the lid on New Zealand's 100% Pure image, and about time too. For some time the contributors to this blog have been highlighting the 100% Pure construct and how it has little, if any, basis in reality being little more than a tourism tag line that somehow found its way into the nation's collective consciousness. Fred Pearce has revealed 100% Pure to be nothing other than 100% Pure Greenwashing.

By Fred Pearce of The Guardian newspaper:

New Zealand was a friend to Middle Earth, but it's no friend of the earth

"Lord of the Rings country trades on its natural beauty, but emissions have risen 22% since it signed up to Kyoto."

"As the world prepares for the Copenhagen climate negotiations next month, it is worth checking out the greenwash that has followed the promises made 12 years ago when the Kyoto protocol was prize for the most shameless two fingers to the global community goes to New Zealand, a country that sells itself round the world as "clean and green".

New Zealand secured a generous Kyoto target, which simply required it not to increase its emissions greenhouse gases up by 22%, or a whopping 39% if you look at emissions from fuel burning alone between 1990 and 2010.

But the latest UN statistics show its emissions of some countries with big emissions growth started from a low figure in 1990. Arguably, they were playing catchup. There is no such excuse for New Zealand. Its emissions started high and went higher. They are today 60% higher than those of Britain, per head of population. Among industrialised nations, they are only exceeded by Canada, the US, Australia and Luxembourg. In recent years a lot of Brits have headed for Christchurch and Wellington in the hope of a green life in a country where they filmed the Lord of the Rings. But it's a green mirage.

To rub our noses in it, last year New Zealand signed up to the UN's Climate Neutral Network, a list of nations that are "laying out strategies to become carbon neutral".

But if you read the small print of what New Zealand has actually promised, it is a measly 50% in emissions by 2050 – something even the US can trump.

Where do all these emissions come from? New Zealand turns out to be mining ever more filthy brown coal to burn in its power stations. It has the world's third highest rate of car ownership. And, with more cows than people, the country's increasingly intensive agricultural sector is responsible for approaching half the greenhouse gas emissions.

You might expect the UN Environment Programme to throw New Zealand off its list of countries supposedly pledged to head for climate neutrality. Sadly no. These steely guardians of the environment meekly say that the network "will not be policed... nor will UNEP verify claims".

Indeed, it seems to go to great lengths to deny reality. Check the UNEP website and you will find an excruciating hagiography about a "climate neutral journey to Middle Earth", in which everything from the local wines to air conditioning and Air New Zealand get the greenwash treatment.
After extolling the country's green credentials, it asks: "Have you landed in a dreamland?" Well, UNEP's reporter certainly has. He cheers New Zealand's "global leadership in tackling climate change", when the country's minister in charge of climate negotiations, Tim Groser, has been busy reassuring his compatriots that "we would not try to be 'leaders' in climate change."

This is not just political spin. It is also commercial greenwash. New Zealand trades on its greenness to promote its two big industries: tourism and dairy exports. Groser says his country's access to American markets for its produce is based on its positive environmental image. The government's national marketing strategy is underpinned by a survey showing that tourism would be reduced by 68% if the country lost its prized "clean, green image", and even international purchases of its dairy products could halve.

The trouble is, on the climate change front at least, that green image increasingly defies reality."

See also blog links under the headings of :
100% Pure Myth 
100% Pure NZ - You Can't Be Half Pregnant You Have To Go All The Way, The Age Of Stupid
Pollution - both of the air and water in NZ, plus health hazards
Kaweru Mill Can Continue To Pollute River For 25 Years 
Bonn Climate Change Talks
Statistics Top 3 
1080 - tonnes of highly toxic pesticide broadcast over the countryside from helicopters
Greepeace -  and their actions against PKE importers in NZ

Today's posts - click here

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Covert Racial Prejudice Commonplace In NZ

By Neil Reid - Sunday News

"A MAORI Party boss says hidden racism is rife in New Zealand.
Co-vice president Heta Hingston said fellow Maori Party member Hone Harawira's email rant against Pakeha was no worse than "covert" racial prejudice commonplace throughout the country.
"That email, I wouldn't want to say [if it was racist]," Hingston, a retired Maori Land Court judge, told Sunday News.

"I can concede it is offensive to some people – nobody would deny that. But racism ... in New Zealand, is covert. Very few of the ardent anti-Maori, anti-Islander, anti-Asian front up.

It is there. But at least Hone opens his mouth and says that. And I think (the secrecy) is the worst part about racism that is rife in New Zealand. There are so many good Pakehas being tarred with the brush of those other racists that is all hidden."

Harawira's membership in the Maori Party remains up in the air after he sent former Waitangi Tribunal member Buddy Mikaere an email in which he branded Pakeha as "white motherf***s" who "have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries".

 For background see Hone goes walkabout, again

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Booze Linked To Teen Crime In Christchurch

By Tina Law and Tanya Katterns - The Press
A growing number of Christchurch pupils are struggling to deal with Mondays after binge drinking at the weekend, a top police officer says. 

Canterbury police district youth services co-ordinator Senior Sergeant John Robinson said yesterday that 15 and 16-year-olds were appearing in the Youth Court on rape and sexual-assault charges.
"I was prosecuting in the Youth Court [on Tuesday] and I saw young person after young person who was there solely because of the abuse of alcohol and for some of the most horrendous crimes that you could imagine."

He said the alleged rapes and sexual assaults were fuelled by alcohol.

It was rare for pupils to arrive at school drunk, but Monday hangovers were a growing problem, he said.
Many problems resulted from parents condoning the use of alcohol and sending their teenage sons and daughters out for the night with six bottles of "ready-to-drink booze", he said.

A study led by Canterbury researchers found Kiwi children as young as four were trying alcohol, and nine-year-olds were using cannabis.

The study of 12,000 young people, published this year, found the onset of drinking "goes up very steeply from age 12", while many were smoking cannabis by 15...."

Read the rest of the article here.

Many adults in NZ view alcohol use by young people as part of a "rite of passage" and "not something of a wider concern" They express sympathy for young people they believed had limited options in terms of social and leisure activities, suggesting they were at times over-policed. This belief is not supported by the number of teenagers appearing in court on rape and sexual abuse charges.

One adult (in Havelock North) laughed off finding comatose teenagers in her yard at weekends by saying."We find people sleeping in our agapanthus every Saturday night. You know that's normal behaviour for .... teenagers." see 80% of people think serious crime is a problem in NZ

One has to question seriously the standards of a society that considers drunken misconduct to be normal in its young people

See also other posts under the tag: Great place to raise kids.

 Today's posts - click here

Another Shooting In Christchurch

View Larger Map, general view of Gould Crescent
Christchurch, the city that's 'not the nation's murder capital,' has just experienced another serious shooting incident.

After an 'altercation' at a house in Radley Street, Woolston at around 10.20 last night gunshots were heard in nearby Gould Crescent about an hour later. The armed offenders squad were called out and entered a property.

A 24 year old man was shot in the chest and was taken to hospital where he is now in a critical condition.

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Drugs Battle Fought On School Playgrounds

Today's Dom Post is highlighting the alarming rates of drug abuse in young people, with children as young as 12 being caught with drugs in school playgrounds. The Post reports that
"last year, schools stood down 1184 pupils for drugs, suspended 815, and expelled 30. Education Ministry statistics dating back to 2006 show rates of standdowns and expulsions for drugs have increased but suspensions have decreased.

Police used drug sniffer dogs in 12 schools in Greater Wellington in the past eight months in an attempt to halt the trend.

One Wairarapa school, which police would not name, has flushed out eight pupils in the past three months with drugs on them at school."
In September we commented on reports that children as young as six were taking drugs to school, some defended themselves by saying they were for "show and tell" but it's likely that many of the children were being used by their parents to deliver and collect drugs.

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 throughout New Zealand, the country has highest rate of cannabis use in the OECD and  the third highest Amphetamine use.

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."

Today's posts - click here

Drugs Battle Fought In Schools

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

American Tourists Injured In Car Wreck

 A 61 year old American tourist and his female passenger were injured when their car collided with a petrol tanker whilst both vehicles were travelling south on Highway 6, between Frankton and Jack's Point at around 8:45 am yesterday. The driver had to cut free from the wreckage, as yet the injured people's names haven't been released.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

SCP Suspends John Jonesse, Legal Representation Withdrawn

It looks like John Jonesse has been hanged out to dry. The Royal Commission of inquiry hearing into the sinking of the Tongan ferry, Princess Ashika, was suspended on Friday when the board of the Shipping Corportation of Polynesia Ltd (SCP) suspended its Managing Director John Jonesse and cut off his access to a corporate legal defence. He has been given two weeks to find a lawyer to defend him for the rest of his testimony. (For previous posts on this topic see Princess Ashika tags)

According to a report in Matangi Tonga On Line on Friday:
Repairs not completed
"Before the hearing broke for lunch today, John told the Commission that required repair works on the Ashika were not completed when it left Nuku'alofa on 5 August on its final voyage.

A defect list issued by the Tonga Marine and Ports surveyors instructed the need for repairs of over 40 faults, including holes, broken scuppers and others identified by the surveyors, were not completely repaired when it sailed on its final voyage.

John said there was no time frame given for when the repairs were to be completed but priority work was conducted on the vessel and it was an ongoing working in progress.

SCP Board
The SCP, owned by the government of Tonga is the managing agent for the Tonga government's shipping vessels.

The SCP Board includes chair 'Alisi Taumoepeau; secretary Lord Dalgety, and member Tevita Haukinima.

John Jonesse has stated to the inquiry that a Cabinet Committee comprising the then Minister of Transport, the Minister of Finance and the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, and himself, met following discussions and agreed that the Agreement to Purchase the vessel should proceed following the recommendations from MoT and normal procurement guidelines.

Previously on 5 November:
"FIJI MARINE Survey Certificates issued on the MV Princess Ashika in 2009 confirmed there were increasing safety concerns from the Fiji Marine Board and Fiji International Safety Administration on the deteriorating condition of the vessel.

The inquiry into the sinking of the ferry heard that the certificates were issued earlier this year, some time before the vessel was purchased by the Tongan Government.

This morning, October 5, the inquiry was presented with a series of Fiji Marine Survey Certificates issued for the vessel earlier this year which notated in the endorsements printed on the document the conditions for the Ashika to sail, which were for no longer than an hour, specifically from Nadovi to Buresala, with reduced cargo, at reduced speed and restricted to smooth waters......

The Counsel also produced an Inspection Certificate in Fiji dated October 1989 that made reference to the Ashika operating only on smooth waters. The witness (John Jonesse) was asked whether this raised concern on its suitability for Tongan waters, and he replied, yes if he saw it at the time. He was asked what he would you have done, and he answered he would have required a detailed inspection.

"Do you accept if the vessel was destined for smooth waters it was not suitable for purchase by Tongan Government to operate in open water," the counsel asked.

The witness answered that it may have been, but a survey should have been carried out.

The counsel put to the witness that if the structure of the vessel was in poor condition as qualified in the reduced speed of vessel, "do you accept there was concern in Fiji that the vessel could cause a maritime disaster?'

The witness replied, no, and said he sighted a survey provided to him by Patterson Shipping (the vessel had been purchased from the Patterson Brothers in Fiji)

He was asked about the current survey he claimed to have sighted in Fiji expiring in June 2009, and he said he thought it was. It was put to the witness that the evidence was incorrect and false."

Earlier in the week Matangi Tonga stated Jonesse had confirmed "that the Ashika was purchased for only $600,000 Fijian, which was much less that what he told the SCP Board"


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