Friday, November 27, 2009

America's Next Top Model Rumoured To Be Headed For New Zealand

 Tyra Bank's model search show is rumored to be headed to New Zealand and may even be filming already. The episode is said to be The Runway Challenge and the contestants will be strutting their stuff with models from '62 Models', presumably wearing some local designer offerings ( more pheasant wings)

New Zealand's Next Top Model was ran by the owner of '62 Model Management' Sara Tetro. Let's hope Tyra's version of the show escapes the some of the comments that plagued NZ's one and only offering of her incredibly successful franchise.

The winner, 16 year old Christobell Grierson-Ryrie - the daughter of former model and prominent Auckland businesswoman Josephine Grierson gave an interview in which she  endearingly spilled the beans on the tensions within the house. She also revealed that the girls "didn't eat properly" (so unusual for models?!) and that the show wasn't edited properly: "Sometimes it was like, okay, it wasn't actually like that. I swear they cut little bitchy faces in (to the show) and put them in after comments where they actually weren't."

The show showcased New Zealand fashion, accents and irritable vowel syndrome to the rest of the country and firmly placed the talented co-judge Colin Mathura-Jeffree in the nation's collective heart. Colin, co-incidently, is said to be represented by Sara Tetro.  The third judge, Chris Sisarich, is an ex model and photographer who was also signed with Tetro's agency.

It's not known whether Tourism NZ had anything to do with Bank's visit, perhaps after the "Loosest slot machines in the Pacific Rim" quip on The Late Show, they're keeping their heads down for a while?

12 December: Tyra walks amongst us.

The fierce queen of the runway reality show was subsequently spotted in various locations around New Zealand including Sky City (payout status of its slot machines unknown) and Queenstown. Shortly afterwards Ms Banks announced her decision to give up her TV work, the two events are probably not connected.

Today's posts - click here

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Name Suppression For NZ Muso

Leave aside for one moment the debate over whether the 'world famous in NZ' "muso" convicted of a sex offence against a 16 year old female deserved the benefit of permanent name suppression and whether or not he should be named. A few  important points seem to have been either forgotten about or have been trampled to the ground in the excitement:

1. 'Everyone' seems to think they know who 'he' is, including John Key. What irreperable damage is this speculation doing to the reputations of innocent people, some of whom may not even know they're the subject of gossip and speculation?
Some 'musos' have recently suffered "Trial by Wikipedia" where multiple edits have been made on Wikipedia, a site that is hosted outside of New Zealand. Even though the edits have now been removed the information is still clearly evident in the history pages.

2. What message is it sending out to the victims of sex offenders? especially younger ones,  how seriously will they be taken if they have the courage to come forward and report a crime? We've probably all seen reprehensible comments calling into question the morals of the victim and phrases like "contribuatry negligence" being bandied around.

Add to that the furore over the Louise Nicholas rape trial with the issues it raised about suppression of information, and the enormous problems women have with being taken seriously, and it's not hard to understand why NZ has an appalling record for sex crimes.

NZ has the world's highest number of  female rape victims as a percentage of the population, only 9% of sexual offences get reported to police (is it any wonder, given the above?) and of those only 13% of rapes resulted in convictions. The median age of victims is 23 and 61% of them are Europeans - See 'Conviction rate in sex cases'.

3. What does this say about NZ's obsession with status? money, position and fame always 'talks'.

4. It re-inforces the message seen in other court cases that the rights of the criminal are held in higher regard than those of their victim.

Weeks ago the heartbroken father of murdered student Sophie Elliott was forced to read out in court an edited version of his deeply personal victim impact statement, he called it "just another way the justice system puts victims down".

At the end of the trial Sophie's uncle had said there was "nothing about the legal process designed to make it any easier on victims. We have had no choice but to sit and watch it unfold and hope for the best, whilst he is allowed to talk and pass notes to his legal team any time he wants"

5. What restorative justice will be made to the young woman, for both the original assault and the emotional harm subsequently caused?

In 2007 the Herald named Louise Nicholas, New Zealander of the Year saying
"Her contribution stood out. It was distinguished by the willingness to suffer deeply personal exposure for the sake of exposing an ugly element in one of our most important public institutions. And it forced all of us to question what indeed is justice."

A question that has still to be answered.

So here's two more...if NZ didn't have such an obsession with the particular type of music/youth culture  (a multi million dollar industry in NZ) this sex offender is involved with would he still have been granted name suppression after his conviction? It's not as is this guy is particularly well known outside of NZ, hardly a 'Fat Boy Slim'. If, for instance, he'd been an aging, washed up ex pop star convicted of stalking young girls would everything have been very different?

Today's posts - click here

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Under Reporting Of Crime To The Media

 Something that we've long suspected was confirmed today - many crimes simply don't make it to the media. Perhaps because of the adverse publicity they may attract?

Prize of the week goes to the NZ Herald for coming across and publishing the story about the store of shop keeper Navtej Singh being held up again only 2 months after he was killed in it in June 2008. It's surprising that nothing was published about it a year ago.

Eventually the story has seen the light of day according to a Herald report today:
"Gurwinder Singh, 40, who watched as Navtej Singh was shot point blank, was still grieving when Douglas Leatinuu and two others entered his store on August 6 to rob it.

Last week Leatinuu was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for aggravated robbery and burglary charges arising from other incidents.

Judge Roy Wade said while sentencing Leatinuu, the case was "particularly poignant" because of Mr Singh's victim impact statement.

"The victim of this liquor store robbery tells me that his most traumatic feature of the ordeal was the knowledge that only [two] months earlier his business partner had been shot dead in another aggravated robbery of precisely the same liquor store."

The court heard that the three men had, after entering the liquor store, attempted to convince Gurwinder Singh to let them take some alcohol and pay the next day. Mr Singh refused and the group left.

But seconds later they re-entered, pushed 22-year-old shop assistant Sahib Singh backwards and swore at him. Mr Singh was on the phone to the police by then and was describing everything that was happening, he said yesterday....."
The death of  Navtej Singh, which caused an outcry in June 2008, was one of a spate of attacks on Auckland shop workers last year. Why the news of the second robbery wasn't released at the time is anybody's guess but feelings in the Indian community were running high at the time and rightly so. Were the press asked to keep a lid on it and if so what does that say about press freedom in NZ?

Mr Singh's family said that police had waited 28 minutes after he was shot before they would allow paramedics to access the scene of the crime, despite 111 staff being told that the robbers had long since left the premises. Vital time was lost in administering medical aid to the wounded man who later died from his injuries.
A month later around 10,000 people took part in an Auckland rally to protest about violence against Asians in the city after 3 people of Asian descent were killed within the space of a month:

  • A week after Navtej Singh was killed 80-year-old Yan Ping Yang died after being attacked by an intruder in her Manurewa home.
  •  Joanne Wang, 39, died in hospital in late June after being knocked down by a stolen vehicle in a car park at the Manukau Westfield shopping centre after her handbag was snatched. Her 8 year old son was with her at the time.
Earlier in the year  Krishna Naidu was stabbed to death by a 16 year old youth in a dairy in Finlayson Avenue, Manurewa.

The march was organised by the Asian Anti-Crime group and included people carrying coffins and placards with pictures of those killed.

Others carried New Zealand flags and signs calling for tougher sentencing and zero tolerance for crime.

Nether request has ever been met.

Also see
"Police solved only 5 of the 53 aggravated robberies of South Auckland shops in the six months before liquor store owner Navtej Singh was fatally shot in a hold-up."

Today's posts - click here


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