Saturday, October 30, 2010

Yesterday a middle aged man was shot in the back as he filled-up at a service station in Wairoa, what makes the crime particularly disturbing is that it happened during a busy time of day and other people could’ve been hurt or killed in the attack.

A RadioNZ report said it was only a matter of time before someone got killed and that
“Mayor Les Probert said a shooting in such a public place has connotations. He says its bad enough when gangs are fighting amongst themselves, but at least in that circumstance members of the public aren’t in danger.
On Tuesday, a 17-year-old man was shot in the chest outside the Mongrel Mob headquarters. There have been four shootings in the town this year.

View Larger MapAccording to a later NZ Herald report the mayor said
“”We have got these two gangs, one of each side of the river and of course it doesn’t matter what agreement you come to with one of them, if another drives past and fires a gun then there’s retaliation.”
Although no mention of drugs/gang involvement was made in the original police reports (it seldom is these days in New Zealand) the intimation was there if you read between the lines – note a police report on the incident on infonews stated  “members of the public going about their normal activities” and not “other members of the public”:
30 October
A 48 year old man received gunshot wounds after an incident on the forecourt of a service station in WAIROA. The man had stopped to fuel his vehicle when he was approached by another person who fired two shots which struck the victim in the side and back. The offender then ran off.
AOS and CIB staff from GISBORNE were in WAIROA overnight and will return to continue the enquiry this morning. The victim of the shooting has come out of surgery and is in a stable condition in HASTINGS Hospital.
Police are concerned that the shooting took place at a busy time of the day when the service station forecourt had members of the public going about their normal activities, and seek their assistance to identify the offender. Source
The two gangs mostly likely to be involved are probably Black Power and the Mongrel Mob, following Tuesday’s clash between the two outside a mob house on Kaimoana St, in which a 17 year old male was shot.

Understandably this latest shooting has caused some consternation among ‘the public’ and soon became the topic of conversation on the Trademe message boards among Kiwis.

Conversation rapidly turned to how gang activity is spoiling the area and suggestion that high unemployment was resulting in increased crime/gang activity:
  • Morning ***, how horrible, its such a shame ,as Wairoa is a lovely town, But one i wouldnt like to be living in now.
  • Wow! I must be thinking of a different Wairoa. The one I know is on the way to the worst town in NZ, Gisborne. Now both those places are real shitholes.
  • No i dont think you are thinking of a different Wairoa ,nor for that fact Gisborne, not all parts are the same, its just a shame they are moving the violence into the township its self.
  • i have to agree with **** on this,what a shithole of a place,full of gangs.
  • Gisborne is a very nice place to live, there’s just certain places you don’t go like any city. I have to go down to Wairoa for work and there’s some very lovely people. The gangs are the problem, not the town.
  • Its a town in the middle of no where and high unemployment. Of course the gangs will set up residence there …… plenty of bush for their lucrative horticulture business
  • In Gisborne in 1968, I was spat at and called a Pakeha (one reason why I loathe that name). I had a similar experience in Whangarei 3 years later. These experiences have forever coloured my opinion of both towns. Last year I returned to Gisborne and although no-one spat at me, I still felt uneasy there, so filled up with petrol and moved on to Tauranga quick smart.
  • I’ve lived in Gisborne for 31 years and have never had an experience like that, racism is ugly but it’s not confined to a couple of places.
  • I agree. However, that can be all it takes to colour one’s opinion. Its hard to overlook what to some are trivial things, but its stuck in my mind all these years.
  • AND Look at the houses for sale in Wairoa. lovely too some of them.. what a shame. I could live there.Plenty fishing and Hunting and all the facilities that you NEED not Want…Shame shame..has the Works not started back up there yet…gee BMWNZ 1968!!! they have moved on.. Just fight you in the courts now!!! “let it go”
  • We moved there in 2001 due to hubbys work and moved away again in 2004 I was glad to be out of there as it is a very stressful town , very negative feeling but we did meet some lovely people there. It will never change as most people there dont want to accept change. They hate out of towners coming to their town and suggesting new ideas , the residents are too set in their ways what a shame.
  • what i can never understand is why the gangs are held in such high regard and education which could free so many of them isnt same as when i saw that feature on that terry guy in huntly the other night all those little wannabes and yet they have so much choice in the world being so young yet they are already limiting themselves
As the day progressed the press got their teeth into the incident, with the NZ Herald running an incident, with the headline - “Police out as Wairoa gangs clash.”

The Herald said confirmed that it was a Mongrel Mob member who’d been shot and it appeared to be in retaliation for the shooting of the 17 year old earlier in the week, the youth is alleged to be a Black Power member.

Police and the AOS (armed offenders squad) will be out in force in the town tonight in an effort to prevent any further violence.

There seems to be some tolerance for inter gang warfare in the area, with authorities only getting twitchy when it spills out onto the streets and presents a risk to innocent people.

Restrictions on the reporting of crime in NZ
If you recall back in July of this year we blogged about the Gisborne Herald running a piece called Crime, What Crime? in which the paper said that police in the area had decided to restrict the information on crime they provide to media in a move to “make the community feel safer

At that time we asked the question “isn’t it preferable to create a safer, low crime community rather than mislead people into thinking that it is?” Raising public awareness of crime could be a valuable tool in combating lawless behaviour and raising the public’s intolerance of law breaking and gang activities.

The Dom Post also reported on the police’s ‘media policy’ in an article on that had within in its  URL “Gisborne police defend information blackout” but with a headline of “Gisborne police stand firm on keeping some crime quiet”.

Their coverage was much the same as in other publications but they did publish a rather interesting list of crime figures under the heading:
NZ Police figures for offences per 10,000 people:
which showed that for Eastern District: Gisborne, Napier and Hastings, the figures for serious assaults, alcohol offences, cannabis offences and sexual attacks were well above the national rates, which made it even more odd that crime information given to the media was restricted.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hobbit Not Out Of The Woods Yet, Folks!

New Line/Warner Bros. have agreed to keep the filming of The Hobbit films in New Zealand after the government  agreed to give the movie's backers an extra $34 million of tax payers money, plus an undertaking to *rush through changes to labour legislation 'under urgency ' to clarify the position of contractors working on film productions.

However the two  films, jinxed with a history of bad luck and mounting debts, aren't anywhere near being out of the woods yet. There is still the problem of MGM's impending bankruptcy hanging like an axe over the project.

MGM, who owns the rights to the films is still headed towards chapter 11 bankruptcy unless investor Carl Icahn's offer to buy up the company's debt  for 53 cents (Reuters reports it as 50 cents) on the dollar is accepted.  He wants to buy up $1.6 billion and secure a 51%  stake in the company.

The condition is that creditors reject chapter 11 bankruptcy and don't hand over control to Spyglass Entertainment, the company that backed Star Trek and Wanted.  If successful,  Icahn's deal could give more muscle to Lionsgate's recent move to buy MGM.

According to Dorothy Pomerantz, writing for Forbes on 26 October
Icahn is Lionsgate’s largest shareholder and he’s been a vocal proponent of merging the two companies. According to a press release, creditors have until Friday to take Icahn up on his offer.
At stake is the future of two big franchises: James Bond and The Hobbit.
Producers on both franchises are waiting anxiously for MGM to work out its problems so that new films can go into production. The Hobbit, now in pre-production in New Zealand under director Peter Jackson, is also dealing with a labor dispute that threatens to further delay production on the picture which is slated for release in December 2012. The filmmakers could soon decide if they need to move filming to a different country.
Depending on the outcome of the proposal, the risk is that the recently struck deal with NZ over  The Hobbit films could be thrown back into turmoil, with a possibility that New Zealand may be asked to provide more 'incentives' to keep the film, or it could even be dealing with whole new set of criteria.

After Keys government's 'no haggling on the hobbit'  rhetoric (read No Bidding War on The Hobbit - "we don’t want to be renegotiating with every single production company that moves here") they're in a more difficult position to be able to stand up to any future requests for 'additional support,' wherever they may come from.

The question is - how long will New Zealand be prepared to dip into its coffers and use tax payer dollars to fund films that offer no guarantee of a return on their investment?

* for an explanation of the propsed legislation read The Hobbit Law - what does it mean for workers. One can only hope that 'Hobbit' law doesn't become a byword for either hastily drawn or anti-rights legislation


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