Wednesday, May 26, 2010

School Bus Crash Maungatautari, Cambridge

A school bus crashed on the  Maungatautari Rd, east of Cambridge, at 12.35pm today.
One Press report is that five people have been injured, one of them is in a serious condition in hospital
“The driver of the mini-van was taken to Waikato Hospital in Hamilton with serious leg injuries, four children were taken to Tokoroa Hospital’s emergency department with minor injuries and two children were treated at the scene by St John Ambulance paramedics.

The vehicle left the road, careered down a bank and hit a tree. The driver was initially trapped.

Sergeant Warren Shaw, of Te Awamutu police, said the crash could have been a lot worse and it was a timely reminder for motorists to drive to the conditions.

“It appears the driver of the school bus/van lost control of the vehicle on a wet road and the vehicle left the road and crashed into a tree,” Mr Shaw alleged.  “
Our thoughts and wishes for a full recovery are with the injured and their families.
Another report said that the vehicle was a mini-van, not a bus, with seven children inside, whilst another said that eight people were injured
The fitting of seatbelts on school buses is not compulsory in New Zealand and it’s a wonder that no one was killed in the crash.
Today's posts - click here

Migrants’ Tales – New Zealand Is Like A Postcard, “There is no sense of history or magic here”

Continuing in our series of Migrants’ Tales – first hand accounts of the migrant experience in New Zealand, taken from locations around the net.

Today’s tale is taken from an immigration forum, it’s a thread started by a Kiwi returning to NZ with her husband after being away for eight years.  In it she tells of how the NZ she once knew has gone and why she no longer likes it there.

The work life balance she used to have in the UK is gone, they work hard to make ends meet but the family has little disposable income. The scenery is not enough, even for a Kiwi.
We’ve also included some responses that other people made to her observations:
We are nearly at the one year mark, and as someone else said if we knew then what we know now we would never have come.  I am a kiwi who had been living in UK for 8 years before moving back here with my Scottish hubby & 2 wee boys (1 & 2 at the time).  We came out and did a 5 week visit 18months before we moved and decided that it would be the best move to make for our boys – so they could grow up somewhere sunny with lots of space and more relaxed than in Britain.  And whilst things might be better here for them it certainly isn’t for us.  The New Zealand I used to know is long gone, and I have found that I really don’t like it here now.  The weather is fantastic but that’s about it.
New Zealand is a beautiful country but it is a bit like a postcard.  There is no sense of history or magic here.  I have also been astounded by how environmentally un-friendly it is.  And the kiwis we have spoken to (and particularly farmers) really don’t seem to care.  The UK is certainly making more of an effort to clean up.  NZ seems to keep trading on it’s past reputation.
We are desperately missing the family, friends and support networks we had in UK. Didn’t realise just how much of a support network we had until it was gone We have the house we always dreamed about having but it turns out that isn’t enough.  I’d rather live in a box and feel happy and content again than, stay in our 4 bedroom dream and feel the way we do We are both working the same hours we did in Britain and even though we have a similar size mortgage we have very little disposable income here.  Things are just SO expensive.  And our work/life balance which we thought would improve here is worse than ever.
Add to all this a husband who is longing for the Scottish mountains (and yes, there are mountains here but they are by no means as accessible as over there) we have decided to move back.  It has been a very hard decision as my parents and sister live here and close by.  But this time we have to do what is best for all of us, not just for our boys.  If we are happy, they will be happy.  We gave up everything to come and try a new life over here, but it turns out NZ is not the place for us after all.
So my only advice would be to follow your heart.  I had SO many doubts about coming over here and really wasn’t sure it was the best thing for us, although my head said it would be best for our boys.   Just wish now that we had listened to our hearts instead of our heads and saved ourselves so much unsettledness & expense.
  • “All I can say is do what you feel is best, people will say that you have not given it long enough but only you and your husband will know how long is enough for you to decide.I actually emigrated to NZ with my partner and 2 children last year and after 6 months we realised we had made a really big mistake.  We had given up so much in the UK to start a new life in NZ only to end up feeling very disappointed.We are now back in the UK and I can say we are all much happier.  We are now just looking for a house and waiting for our furniture to arrive back from NZ!!!  Please no not get me wrong, NZ is a very beautiful country and there are things that I miss about it, especially having the beach on our doorstep and the cleanest parks I’ve ever seen.Although it has been a very expensive experience I do not regret going to NZ, if anything it has made me realise that the UK is not all that bad!!!  It may have it’s problems but where hasn’t!!
  • “NZ IS a bit like a postcard with no depth now you point it out. I really do miss the history of the UK too.Yea I work on a farm and know what you mean about the ungreen thing.Parks over here are a bit magical to me, they remind me of The Secret Garden … all immaculate and empty, just the way I like it. I think, you do what you feel is best for you and your family, don’t listen to other folks opinions on what you should do as their life experiences are going to be completely different to your own.”
  • I agree that the cost of living seems expensive but I thought it was just me forgetting what the UK was like. Though to be honest I’ve always thought it was expensive here so don’t know why I’m trying to kid myself lol.Families seem to get looked after better in the UK.
    I miss child benefit [Sad]
    Family tax credit is all well and good but if you get given too much you have to pay it back and we hardly qualify for anything now anyways but we still can’t afford to live comfortably half the time.
  • “We have been here for 6 years, are settled & happy, but we sometimes wonder why.We had eveything going for us as migrants… made a bundle on the UK house, $3/pound, easily transferrable professions, wife a Kiwi so plenty of family etc etc. However in many ways all we have done is recreate our UK life in Auckland…. many of West London’s hassles but few of it’s advantages.The ‘NZ lifestyle’ is a bit of a myth, most people are too busy going to work, taking the kids to sports events, maintaining the house etc etc to have a ‘lifestyle’. Without realising it we have become accustomed to 2nd rate goods & services.This was brought home to me last year on the way back from a holiday in the UK. I asked my sports mad, not-at-all-interested-in-shopping 9 year old son what he’d liked most… expecting him to say Legoland or Emirates stadium, or something similar. His answer? “Tesco’s” ! So much stuff, so much choice, so many new cars in the carpark !Good luck with what ever you decide but only you know that and you will know deep down if you feel NZ is for you or not.  Each person is different and has a different opinion of NZ!! “
  • “Before we came I only ever read 1 or 2 complaints about living here, and it is pretty certain that it isn’t for everyone. we came for a visit and loved it, but living here and a holiday are very different ( couple of friends have also said this to me)
    It does take a while to settle in, problems you had before often follow you. there are lots of things i love about NZ but there are lots I don’t like.once my husband is working and we have 2 incomes i will feel happier, i also dislike my job, but am looking for something else.
    i think on the whole it takes a while, for some it takes longer and for some it just doesn’t work at all. it is important to know that it is normal to feel like this and talk to other people going through the same thing.”

50% of Nursing Students Failed The Same Paper

There’s an interesting thread on the Trademe boards today, it’s concerning the ability of nursing students to pass tests set for them in New Zealand and the requirement for them to pay to re-sit those failed tests.

It caught our attention as it ties in with what student nurse Linda Tang said a while ago and it also adds further weight to the argument of a leading academic at Auckland University, Professor Manying Ip, that international students “are seen only as cash cows”.  Professor Ip said the value of international students are being equated by schools to getting a new IT room or a swimming pool, rather than any of the non-monetary benefits they bring.

If you are an international student planning to study in New Zealand you may find the following interesting too:
“How can 50% nursing students fail the same paper
and it not be a reflection on the lecturer and the institution? Our friend is a 3rd year nursing student at AUT and she tells me today that 50% of her class have failed a presentation paper for one of her subjects. She seems resolute and is planning to work really hard to cream the nest assessment point, which will enable her to then still pass the paper. I am a nurse with post grad quals and I read her presentation and it was fantastic and much more than what I think is realsitic from an undergraduate student. I recall our lecturers, and they were by no means perfect, offering to review our draft assignments and then offer constructive advice on what needed remedying. I was fortunate and was fairly good at assignments, so never utilised this option, but more than 1/2 of my class did so routinely. This is not on offer to my friend or her cohorts. They are pretty much cut adrift. It smacks of just give us your money, and for alot of these students who are non New Zealanders, we are talking alot of money, we wont support you, then fail you and you will have to pay again. It very much reminds me of the Asian student who took the Uni to court last year (ed. Linda Tang) after they failed her for her poor English, in her last semester of her 3rd year!! Whats up with that. I’m all for having students to meet preset English standards but these needs to be identified pre registration in year 1! These Unis are a blardy law unto themselves and it makes me ashamed and angry.”
“They fail people in their third year as they have then creamed three years of fees off them, all about bums on seats.(=money in the bank for the educational institution)
It certainly smacks of that, doesn’t it? I rememeber hearing that about 70% of nursing students never complete their degree. Not sure how you could validate that but I recall it being touted as being the highest percentage of any undergraduate programme and had been for years. And still is today, as I understand. So why is that? And what are the Unis doing about it? Are their lecturers so bad that they cant teach the students what they need to know? Are the entry standards too low? I think the issues are multi factorial for sure but certainly stories like I shared in post 1 leave a very bad taste in my mouth!
I had the same thing with a management paper, where everyone failed.
BUT, my dad was a lecturer in Business and Management and he had to fail students if their English was so bad that they couldn’t get anything across on paper. It’s all very well saying “but they have the skills” – if they are unable to communicate anything on paper, then they cannot fairly pass a course where a large componant is written work. That’s what academic IELTS results are for and that’s why some universities have a better reputation than others. It’s not fair on a limited entry course for someone who can’t do the assignments gets let in (without evidence of IELTS results) when another equally skilled student without these issues misses out.
think with those numbers of failing the same subject would have to fall on the lecturer and subject at hand. Obviously they never covered it properly or it wasnt presented so that the students unserstood it. Think theyre just trying to blame students but with that high percentage the real prob should be staring them in the face.
My friend was a lecturer at AUT and was told that a certain number of students HAD to get a pass mark, otherwise they would get less funding, so she had to pass people who were totally crap, or get fired. She quit.
So clearly if people are “totally crap” as you suggest, they should have been stopped at application time, dont you think? Very bad practice and one that would surely be open to legal challenge, to allow students who were clearly not capable of passing because of their English for example, to enrol and then fail them 2-3 years down the track for poor command of the English language.
Like i said, some tertiary institutions have a better reputation and that kind of thing is a criteria involved. Every year when they list the highest rated universities, entry criteria is a measurement of quality for that exact reason. I used to work at the Overseas Admissions office at Auck Uni and I had to do a lot of comparisons on overseas unis, so I could do the credits, and they base some of that stuff on the yearly reputation results.
So if a teritary institution does not insist on academic IELTS as a pre-requisite, or has a system like AUT did where a certain number of people HAVE to pass, then there is a bad association for that institute.
hmmmm are you sure that is correct? how would your friend know this?
All nursing programs have to be certified by the nursing council so all will be similar.
We need to have exceptional standards to produce good nursing grads. Some international students who struggle with English, need to be proactive and get the assistance they require – its not up to the UNi to get them up to standard
More here 

Also see our blog post -
“International Students as Customers“:- 18 June 2009
“We thought it would be good to look into the problems and expectations that international students have whilst studying in New Zealand, specifically at UNITEC.
I’ve dug up a document released in 2004 by the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) who promote the “development of higher education policy, practice and the study of teaching and learning”
The report talked about how the numbers of international students have increased dramatically in New Zealand – a three fold increase in the last eight years. With such a dramatic increase the challenge is to measure the legitimate needs and expectations of this group of students so that steps may be taken to meet, or exceed, them whilst still satisfying the needs of local students.
UNITEC didn’t meet student expectations
“The survey found a significant difference between students’ expectations of the service that an excellent tertiary institute should provide and the perception of services being provided at UNITEC….”
International students not getting value for money or adequate support
“….this study also confirms concerns of the international students with issues of assurance. The students in this study are not confident that they are getting value for money, or that the skills they are being taught will get them good results both academically and for future employment. They are also unsure of lecturers’ knowledge in their subject area and do not feel that an adequate range of support services are being offered to them. These are all issues that should concern the management at UNITEC… more

Today's posts - click here

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Three Strikes Bill To Become Law in New Zealand

Voxy has published an ACT press release announcing that the Three Strikes Bill is to become law, and not before time:
Tuesday, 25 May 2010, 4:22 pm
Press Release: ACT New Zealand
Historic Day As Three Strikes To Become Law

Today is a very significant day in the history of New Zealand’s criminal justice system with ACT's 'Three Strikes' legislation incorporated into the Government’s Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill passing its third and final reading, says ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman David Garrett.

"Since ACT campaigned for 'Three Strikes'in the 2008 election, four more people have been killed* – who, had 'Three Strikes' been in place at the time of the killing, would be alive today. The passing of this Bill is a huge step towards keeping violent, repeat offenders off our streets and keeping New Zealanders safe, Mr Garrett said.

"Both the ACT and National parties are committed to taking a tougher stance on crime, but we also realise that a focus on rehabilitation is equally important. That is why Budget 2010 more than doubled the funding available for rehabilitation programs. One initiative worthy of further enquiry is the concept of a 'Drug Court'which sends non-violent offenders to rehabilitation rather than jail.

"While rehabilitation is an important step, regrettably, there will always be a number of repeat violent offenders who can’t be reformed. It is these people who, due to their violent history and recidivist behaviour, must be locked away to keep our communities safe. This is the purpose of Three Strikes.
"Today proves that ACT has helped National become a Government of action – one that does not merely talk tough on crime, but is truly committed to keeping New Zealanders safe," Mr Garrett said.

Strike One: the offender receives a sentence, as determined by the judge, with parole. The offender will be warned by the judge of the consequences of committing another violent offence.

Strike Two: the offender receives a sentence, as determined by the judge, with no parole. Again the offender is warned of the consequence of committing another violent crime.

Strike Three: the offender will receive the maximum sentence for the crime with no parole unless it is manifestly unjust.
There are 40 listed serious violent offences.

For more about Crime in New Zealand take a look at our Crime Stats page.

*New Zealand has the fifth highest murder rate in the OECD, there are about 100 murders and manslaughters in the country every year.

See also blog posts tagged Violent Crime
Today's posts - click here

Chinese Dairy Owner Stabbed In Napier

View Larger Map

Napier was buzzing yesterday when parts of the town were closed off following the stabbing of a dairy owner on Latham Street. People on the Trademe boards identified the business as the Vigor Brown Dairy, owned by a Chinese family:
“It was the Vigor Brown dairy. There is nothing to see, the shop is now shut. And if you look at the photo on the news online it is that one.
My sister near ran over the guy at Marewa as he was being chased by cops he slid off his bicycle and went under her car before she could get out to see if he was ok he had taken off again with cops chasing behind!
My thoughts go out to the man and his family. Last I heard he was in stable condition.”
Official news reports simply stated:
“Napier police are hunting a man after a dairy owner was stabbed during a robbery this morning.
The Latham Street dairy was robbed about 11am, Napier police said.
They would not confirm that a person had been stabbed but said a knife may have been involved.
A photographer at the scene told NZPA the dairy owner was taken away by an ambulance and a trail of blood was visible in the dairy.
Police were searching for a “skinny” Maori man wearing dark pants, a blue hoodie with white writing on the sleeves and white shoes.”
Reports today confirmed that the man was a Chinese national in his 40s and that he was stabbed in the neck and shoulder and cut on the head.

Our thoughts go out to the injured man and his family, we wish him a full and speedy recovery.
Unfortunately armed robbery has become a widespread problem in New Zealand, hardly a day goes by without one happening somewhere, a symptom of a society with a wide gulf between the haves and the have nots.

The attack came two days after a number of Asian people were held-up at knife point when a man went on the rampage in the Christchurch suburb of Riccarton see here for details

We keep a list of all the armed hold-ups we get to hear about, you can find it here

Despite propaganda to the contrary Crime rates in New Zealand are very high. Says who? well the OECD for one. They say “New Zealand is second only to Ireland in 26 OECD countries in internationally comparable data on vehicle, theft and contact crimes. 22% of New Zealanders experienced such a crime in a 12-month period, compared to an OECD average of 16%.”

You’re far more likely to experience this type of crime in New Zealand than in almost any other country in the OECD.

In 2009 crime in New Zealand rose by 3.5 percent, there were 9% more violent offences – over 65,000. There were 65 murders, up 25% over the previous year, the highest figure for 10 years 10 years.  Serious assaults were  up 6% and minor assaults increased nearly 12% source

Today's posts - click here

Monday, May 24, 2010

Asians Attacked In Riccarton Rampage

A number of Asian people were attacked attacked by a knife wielding robber in the Riccarton suburb of Christchurch :
"A knife-wielding man attempted to rob five Asian people as he went on a 30 minute rampage in Upper Riccarton, police say.
Brett Allan King, 21, of Upper Riccarton, faced five charges of trying to obtain money with menaces and one of robbery with a knife when he appeared in Christchurch District Court this morning.
Detective sergeant Scott Anderson, of Christchurch South Police, said between 7.15pm and 7.45pm on Saturday King threatened five Asian people in shops and a car park and tried to steal their money.
He successfully robbed one person in a shop, but it was not clear how much was stolen, said Anderson.   Judge Stephen Erber remanded King in custody to reappear on May 31."

Our thoughts go out to his victims, who must have been shaken by their ordeal, we hope none of them were injured.Christchurch has a bad reputation for racially motivated attacks, see our blog post :

Japanese Students attacked at Christchurch Bus Stop, 26 Feb 2010:

“There’s a report in today’s The Press, detailed on telling the shocking story of how two Asian students were subjected to aggression and an unprovoked attack by a gang of skinheads in Christchurch (watch the video report here)

..It would seem that Christchurch isn’t a great place to be, for either visitors or locals. In August of last year a Fijian student was injured in a racist attack at Linwood College, his mother said that she had spoken the other parents in the Indian community and their children had been bullied too. Her son had also been taunted with names like “curry chicken“, “black Indian” and “Indian boy.” The family moved to NZ to escape the violence of Suva.

Christchurch has recently earned itself the dubious title of ‘Murder Capital Of New Zealand’ which was re-inforced after the death of a 62 year old widow was brutally murdered in her own home a week ago.

This most recent assault has drawn a fair amount of contempt from the readers of Stuff who are very eager to talk about the issue of racism in Christchurch, allegedly a “haven for Neo-Nazis due to the lack of competition from other gangs” (see below) You may remember that a few days ago we spoke of how police in New Zealand still don’t/won’t collect data on racially motivated crimes, it is very hard to know the true extent of this problem both in Christchurch and throughout the country.”…”

 Today's posts - click here


Related Posts with Thumbnails