Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gillard Pulls A Shipley And Becomes Australian Premier

Julia Gillard took over today as the first female Australian Prime Minister, in a move that has been likened to the rise to power of the first female Kiwi Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley.

Shipley ousted Jim Bolger in December 2007, gathering support for her nomination whilst he was away at a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. Despite good economic growth her government became unstable and she lost the support of NZ First after Winston Peters was sacked from cabinet.

The NZ press was today speculating whether Gillard will be taking Kevin Rudd’s place on an official visit to New Zealand next week, when he was due to speak in Parliament.

Gillard, who was born in Barry, Wales, is the daughter of a coal miner and suffered from broncopneumonia when a child. Her family moved to Australia in 1966 for the warmer climate, settling in Adelaide.

Australia currently has two female state premiers – Anna Bligh, who was born in Queensland and Kristina Keneally, who was born and educated in the USA and only became a naturalised Australian in 2000.

New Zealand has had two female Prime Ministers, both born and bred Kiwis. The last of which was Helen Clark, who won three consecutive terms in office. On loosing the election in 2008 she promptly left the country and became the administrator of the United Nations Development Programme on April 17, 2009.

A description of Ms Clark was given in a biography written by Denis Welch
“Ms Clark, who had no children, also fought the construct that her unconventional lifestyle was not ordinary enough for New Zealanders.
In a 1995 interview she once baulked: “I saw a line in a Christchurch Press editorial that New Zealanders like their leaders to be ordinary like them.”
“For God’s sake, I am not prepared to make myself ordinary.”
It’s great to see a British woman do so well as an immigrant in a far land, we think it will be a long time before a female immigrant is able to do the same in New Zealand.

We wish Ms Gillard the very best for the future.

See also: Women’s rights slipping in New Zealand – written on International Women’s Day

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Possible Fatal Stabbing In Ngongotaha, Rotorua

Posters on the Trademe boards are this morning discussing a possibly fatal stabbing overnight at Hood street, Ngongotaha.
“Not sure if it fatal, I was woken at 4.45 this morning to a big yelling match going on, I thought I heard a gun shot at 5 and a car took off like the clappers. Police arrived shortly after and had some woman on ground for awhile. They took her away in 1 car and I think took the wee kids that live in the house an hour later.
The place has been blocked off by Amourgaurd all morning with police detctives going in and out, Police photographers and daily post.
My neightbour was told by a friend at police that it was a stabbing. I have not seen an ambulance at all so am wondering if a body is in house.”
As yet the news organisations have yet to publish anything about the incident, nor has there been any confirmation that a fatallity has occured.

New Zealand has an appalling record for its murder rate – having the fifth highest rate in the OECD, much of it arising from domestic violence.

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Another Old Person Injured In A Home Invasion

Another elderly person has been beaten-up in a home invasion in New Zealand, this time in The Avenues, Tauranga, a town that is popular with retired people.

Police were called to the man’s home by a concerned relative. He is thought to be in his 80s, and has serious head injuries. He was taken to hospital today where he is now said to be in a critical condition. We wish him well and hope he makes a full recovery.

Two weeks ago a 93 year old grandmother, Gwendoline Samson, was attacked in her home in Papakura, but fortunately she managed to successfully fight off her assailant without suffering any major injuries but it was the second time she’d suffered such an assault.

Police have yet to catch the thugs who smashed the face of another Tauranga grandmother. 65 Year old Mary Loader was severely injured when a half full beer bottle was thrown at her from a passing car one morning. She was out picking fruit at the time and the attack was completely unprovoked. See Tauranga grandmother in coma after bottle attack.

Later news reports are that the injured man has died and a man has been arrested in connection with his death. A homicide investigation is currently underway, read more here. Our deepest condolences go out to the victim's wife and family.

We’ve said before that one may judge the character of a society by how it treats the weak, the vulnerable, the most easily forgotten. Abuse of the young and the old is widespread in NZ and may not be such a great place for older people to retire in. Other recent attacks on elderly people include:
  • A 72 year old man left shaken and bruised after being robbed at gunpoint at his home in Beerescourt Rd Road, Hamilton
  • Lois Dear, 66, murdered and sexually assulted in her classroom at Tokoroa primary school
  • Retired teacher John Rowe, murdered by two teenage girls in his Opotiki home
  • An elderly couple who were hopsitalized after a home invasion in New Plymouth
  • An elderly man kicked to the ground and assaulted by a truck driver in Manukau
  • An 85 year old man badly beaten during a home invasion at his Bethesda Village retirement home in Wiri.
  • 86 year old Patricia Burrows was left with a fractured pelvis, cuts and bruises after she was mugged in a Christchurch shopping mall
  • Yin Ping Yang, 80, died following a savage attack during a home invasion in Manurewa East that lasted for several hours.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another Armed Offenders Call Out In NZ - Auckland

It’s been a busy period for the Armed Offenders Squad.

Three  days ago there was an armed robbery of a pub in Point Chev that led to an AOS stand off in the residential area of Flatbush, 20kms away.

Then this morning they cordoned off roads and surrounded a house in Pakuranga Road, South Auckland. Witnesses said the police were negotiating with a person holed-up in a property. The incident is thought to have ended without injury or loss of life. See “Another dickhead on the lose in Panmure

The day finished with call out to the North Shore suburb of Hllcrest, another quiet residential area:
“About 20 police officers including members of the armed offenders and dog squad were seen packing down and leaving from Coronation Rd at 4.10pm. Police earlier received a report about a man waving a rifle in the area around 2pm, detective Shane Page says.
The police Eagle helicopter and patrol cars surveyed the area and access to part of Coronation Rd and nearby Velma Rd and McFetridge Pl was blocked. Road blocks forced some students from surrounding schools to take a longer route home. Nearby Marlborough Primary and Sunnybrae Normal Schools were on lock down as a precaution until the end of the school day. “
Is there something in the water, or is this just the silly season for nutters with guns? There’s thought to be at least 1.1 legally owned million firearms in New Zealand so the odds are that something, or someone, is going to kick-off sooner or later.
See also:
Family row led to shots being fired from house -  “A Pukehina Beach man at the centre of an armed police seige after he fired several gun shots has been sentenced to 100 hours’ community work and six months’ supervision. Shaun Albert Cockburn, 39, who earlier pleaded guilty to charges of discharging a firearm near a house was sentenced in Tauranga District Court yesterday.” 23 June 2010

Armed police called out in Southland – “An Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) call-out, an unprovoked assault which left a man unconscious, and an aggravated dairy robbery at knife point kept Invercargill police busy overnight.  At 8.50pm police received a 111 call from Bluff, reporting that a man with a weapon was threatening to kill the two other people at a property — another man and a woman.” 10 June 2010

Police seek man after armed offenders called out - “Police say the AOS was sent out on Saturday morning to a rural property where it was thought there had been an altercation between a man and his nephew. They say the women who called them had fled the house saying she had fears for a young man after her partner had assaulted him and threatened him with a firearm.” 15 May 2010
Norsewood gunman puts lower North Island into lockdown – “Residents of the lower north island towns of Dannevirke, Ormondville and Takapau have been advised to stay inside, lock their doors and stay away from windows after a body was found in a car abandoned by a gunman on the run. Police closed State Highway 2 between Norsewood and Waipukurau while they hunted for the man who had also fired at police and shot at a farm worker, injuring him in the arm. The offender was described as a European, aged 46 and highly dangerous. He was later named as David John Bourke from Wanganui.” 5 October 2009

Armed sieges and gun politics in NZ – “An armed stand-off in Chaucer Road South, Napier that started yesterday morning continues into today. A routine cannabis bust went horribly wrong when the suspect, Jan Molenaar, shot dead policeman Len Snee, 53 and critically injured 3 other people yesterday in the small tourist town of Napier, famed for its art deco architecture. Len Snee was the fifth police officer to have been shot dead since the Aramoana massacre of 1990 and one of 29 officers to have died as a result of a criminal act in New Zealand.” 7 May 2009

Armed robberies in NZ

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Migration To New Zealand Continues To Decline

More bad news for the NZ economy today with the release of the latest set of immigration figures.

Net migration has sunk to an 18 month low as more as more and more Kiwis leave for Australia.

This may be the first indication that the NZ government’s recent tinkering with the taxation system has done nothing to keep people in the country, raising the rate of GST to 15%  may have even hastened the exodus to Australia, which enjoys a 10% tax.

The latest set of figures is sure to be an embarrassment for the government, John Key pledged to help retain and attract back Kiwis to the country if he were elected. The recent unemployment figures (up to 6 % from 5.1% ) and economic growth (negative 1.65 %) were a disappointment too, though hardly unexpected.

The news broke this way:
“New Zealand’s net migration shrank to an 18-month low last month, suggesting the economic impetus provided by people choosing to live here may be abating.
A net 250 permanent and long-term migrants arrived last month, seasonally adjusted, the lowest since November 2008, according to Statistics New Zealand. Figures for April were revised down to 730 from 770.
Annual immigration slowed to 17,967 in the 12 months ended May 31, the fourth straight month that the annual number has declined, from 19,954 in the 12 months ended April 31.
“Net migration continues to moderate, and arguably at a slightly faster pace than we had expected,” said Philip Borkin, economist at Goldman Sachs JBWere. “Visitor arrivals growth is also looking soft relative to our forecasts, with weak arrivals from the UK and Europe, in particular, appearing to be the major drivers.”
Departures for Australia rose to 1,693 in May, from 1,241 in the same month last year, for an annual exodus of 15,200 across the Tasman…” source
Looks like our previous prediction that migration across the Tasman was about to soar has been proved right.

Read some of our previous blog posts:
  • Trans Tasman migration to soar (May 2010)- “Australia’s recent budget announcement that employers’ pension contributions will be increased from 9 to 12% and corporate tax is to be cut  from 30 to 28% is set to spark off an increase in the already rising rate of migration of Kiwis across the Tasman Sea. Calls have already started for New Zealand to match the deal before it’s too late. New Zealand is soon to be burdened with changes in the taxation of investment property and there is a proposal to increase GST to 15%. (something that will cause hardship for a lot of people because GST is placed on food) A relatively strong dollar, reducing the purchasing power of migrants and visitors, is also putting further strain on businesses…”
  • Net migration falling, permanent departures up 7.2% (March 2010) – ” The ASB says that net migration has fallen from its peak and could slow by more than half to around 10,000 people a  year. It seems that employment growth and a more favorable outlook across the Tasman will continue to attract Kiwis out of New Zealand. These figures will have an impact on a housing market already feeling the burden of forthcoming changes in the taxation of investment property, a proposal to increase GST to 15%  and a relatively strong dollar reducing the purchasing power of migrants…”

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