Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

Herald owners agree to pay $36 million of tax they dodged

June 30th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reported:

Australian publisher APN News & Media has reached a binding heads of agreement with the Inland Revenue Department to settle its alleged tax avoidance case and other disputed tax issues for $36.3 million.

Isn’t this curious.

The NZ Herald spends a lot of time and space highlighting how certain companies (which happen to compete with them) don’t pay much tax. Those companies have never ever been found to have illegally avoided or evaded tax.

However the Herald’s owners have admitted to underpaying their tax by $36 million, and now have to pay it back. Yet how much publicity does this get in the Herald?

New evidence needed to try Rewa

June 30th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Bush said police also backed Hansen’s finding that Rewa committed the rape and murder by himself.

However, they had received legal advice that the report confirming Pora’s innocence did not constitute the “exceptional circumstances” required to lift the stay of proceedings against Rewa.

“If we could revisit that again we would, but as you know there’s a stay in terms of that prosecution and we have no new evidence in order to put that before the court again.

“I can tell you that we have made efforts and at this stage, that’s the end of that matter.”

Hopefully the evidence can be found, but I suspect Rewa will never get parole anyway so the matter is somewhat academic. But if new evidence can be located, it would be good to try Rewa again for the murder.

Whale takes a break

June 30th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

NBR reports:

Controversial blogger Cameron Slater is taking a sabbatical from his Whale Oil site.

Comparing the move to what conservative US political blogger Andrew Sullivan “regularly did,” Mr Slater says he will be taking time out from managing the blog “for at least a month, and probably two months.”

The sabbatical starts on July 4; standing in for Mr Slater in his absence will be Pete Belt, who has been working on the site “for several years now.”

According to Mr Slater, his decision to take a break has been prompted by two things: “a couple of other projects that need some attention” and his “need [for] a rest after an intense couple of years.”

Of the latter, he says, “Having blogged constantly for 11 years this will actually be my first real break.

“So my first priority will be to get in some good hunting in what remains of the game bird season, and knock over a few deer, pigs and goats as well.”

A sabbatical sounds a great way to recharge the batteries. I hope Cam enjoys the break.

Kiwi injured but free in Nigeria

June 29th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A New Zealander that was kidnapped and released in Nigeria has sustained injuries that weren’t “life-threatening”, says Prime Minister John Key.

Kiwi Jamal Khan and three Australians were kidnapped in a deadly attack in Nigeria and were rescued four days after being taken hostage by gunmen.

“I have some information about Mr Khan’s health and well-being,” Key said on Monday, having been informed on Sunday night.

For privacy reasons, Key couldn’t share much about Khan’s injuries except to say: “None of the injuries he sustained are life-threatening.”

Pleased he has been freed, along with the Aussies. Details seem murky on how he was freed, but I imagine will become clearer in time.

The alcohol work the Police need to do more of

June 29th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Police are frustrated at the number of licensed premises in Auckland’s suburbs selling alcohol to minors.

In a sting operation over the weekend, four of the six on-licence premises Auckland police targeted served alcohol to under-18s.

Auckland City Police Prevention Manager Inspector Gary Davey called the result “hugely disappointing”.

“These premises are ignoring their responsibilities under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.”

The six bars were all in Auckland’s central suburbs, with several in Onehunga and Epsom.

One of the premises served alcohol to a 15-year-old who presented ID clearly showing their age, Inspector Davey said.

The result is similar to other recent sting operations in the Auckland City Police District.

One operation in March saw five out of seven bars serve alcohol to 16 and 17-year-olds.

In this area I think the Police do very good work. Bars need to be not just asking for ID, but checking it. If they don’t, then they should get sanctions.

I’d much rather the Police put more resources into enforcing the laws we have, rather than trying to change the law by insisting that certain types of alcohol should not be sold, or they’ll object to a licence.

Letting poor schools persist

June 29th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Some Kiwi children are leaving school having being failed for their entire education, a new report reveals.

School quality reports from the Education Review Office (ERO) reveal as of June last year 185 schools were in ERO’s worst performing category.

Of those schools, one-third were “persistent” poor performers and some had repeatedly failed students for at least a decade – spanning the entire schooling career of their students, says the New Zealand Initiative report.

That kind of underperformance wouldn’t be tolerated in other sectors but is “accepted in education”.

“If restaurants were repeatedly failing hygiene standards or if hospitals were constantly killing patients they’d be shut down. But we accept it with schools,” says NZ Initiative executive director Oliver Hartwich.

Only in state schools. The good thing about the charter school model is a poorly performing charter school gets shut down. While there appear to be around 60 state schools that have been persistently failing – yet carry on.

17 years for killing Moko

June 28th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The man and woman who pleaded guilty to killing Taupo 3-year-old Moko Sayviah Rangitoheriri have been sentenced to 17 years each with a minimum of nine years at the High Court in Rotorua.

Tania Shailer, 26, and David William Haerewa, 43, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter and ill treating a child. They had originally been charged with murder.

Judge Sarah Katz said this was the highest sentence imposed in New Zealand for manslaughter against a child.

Good. The Attorney-General has noted:

Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson today set out the reasons for the Crown’s decision to accept the manslaughter pleas of Tania Shailer and David Haerewa in substitution of murder charges for the killing of Moko Rangitoheriri.

Ms Shailer and Mr Haerewa were today both sentenced to 17 years in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of nine years. Until that sentencing took place, the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General were unable to comment on the specifics of the case, as the sentencing was a matter for the courts.

“The Crown’s decisions in this case, including the decision to accept the manslaughter pleas, were motivated by the need to secure convictions for this horrendous killing and to avoid the significant risk that either of the defendants could escape such a conviction because of evidential issues,” Mr Finlayson said.

“The guilty pleas and admitted facts enabled the Crown to argue for a sentence which reflected the nature of the crimes committed. Without the guilty pleas, the full details of the facts set out in the Statement of Facts may not have otherwise come to light.

“The decision to accept a plea of manslaughter in substitution of a murder charge is never taken lightly. A robust process is followed which ultimately requires the approval of the Solicitor-General.

“The overarching consideration is whether the interests of justice are met in accepting the plea and in particular, whether the charge can adequately reflect the criminal nature of the conduct as well as allow sufficient scope for sentencing.

 “Based on the evidence available for trial, there was a substantial risk that one or both of the defendants would not be convicted of the legal charge of murder or manslaughter.
I guess it may have been a case of a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush. A certainty of conviction for manslaughter vs a probability for murder.

No rail to Auckland Airport

June 27th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A commuter rail link to Auckland Airport – which could slash travel times to the international gateway – has been dumped in favour of trams or buses.

The scrapping of the heavy rail connection is a U-turn by the New Zealand Transport Agency, which last year said it was “extremely committed to providing a rail link connecting the airport and the city”.

Auckland Transport (AT), which has favoured rail to the airport as a high priority, meets today to decide if it will endorse the agency’s position.

Road travel typically takes about an hour from the city centre to the airport. Commuter rail could cover the 20km journey in 35 minutes.

This isn’t a surprise as the cost would have been many billions.

However the status quo is pretty appalling. I can’t think of any other major city where the route from the airport to the CBD goes through a residential suburb like Auckland does.  Hopefully the completion of the motorway network will make a difference though. Last time I had an early morning flight to Auckland it took around two hours to get to the CBD!

Mobility as a Service

June 27th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The head of New Zealand’s biggest car company says the future will see nobody owning a motor vehicle – just sharing them.

Toyota New Zealand managing director Alistair Davis made the prediction at the media launch of a new Toyota Corolla hybrid in Manawatu.

“I foresee a future where there will be MaaS (Mobility as a Service) everywhere,” he said. “Instead of people buying cars, the vehicles will be shared and the drivers will be billed monthly for car usage and road user charges.”

In fact the change is already happening on a rapidly increasing scale, Davis said. Car-sharing initiatives such as Zipcar in USA, DriveNow in Europe, and Uber in many parts of the world are gaining traction – Uber is now completing five million rides a day.

I’d happily not own a car so long as I can get access to one within say half an hour or so. The business models are not quite there, but are coming.

Taxis and even Uber are too expensive, especially for longer distances. And rental cars have a minimum hire of a day so are no good for shorter trips. Once we get driverless cars, I think the business model will follow.

Research is proving that car-sharing is a far more efficient way of vehicle use, Davis said. At present the average vehicle spends 95 per cent of its time not being used, whereas car-sharing initiatives and autonomous driving would see them used at least 60 per cent of the time.

Far more efficient.

More e-mails sent from Bali sex student

June 27th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The suspended Auckland University student who emailed an offer of sex to her lecturer continued to send provocative emails.

Last week the Herald on Sunday revealed a 30-year-old physics student had been suspended after being found guilty of sexual harassment. The student said she emailed her lecturer in March asking: “Would you like to have sex in Bali?”

The Herald on Sunday has chosen not to name the student or the lecturer. More emails detail how the lecturer responded, rejecting the mature student’s advance.

“You wrote not to worry about crafting a reply, but I just want to confirm that my only interest is for you (and all the other students enrolled in [class name withheld] for that matter) to succeed academically.”

Within an hour of the lecturer’s first reply, the student sent the man another email: “You would deny that there was some strong chemistry?

“Not that you’d move to act on it, obviously not, but you mean you didn’t actually think of me at all?” she wrote. “It’s perfectly fine that you chose not to act on it as a teacher and as a married person. That’s your choice, of course.”

The lecturer responded again, this time with a warning.

“This communication is highly inappropriate and I wish it to stop with this email. Our interactions will be limited to the academic side of [class name withheld], and I have NO interests in any other forms. If that turns out not possible, you force me to report these matters to the appropriate channels in the university.”

The student fired back, telling the man she felt his reaction was “threatening” and made her feel like “expressing a crush on someone is some great and inappropriate violation”.

This is clearly inappropriate. The married lecturer has said he has no interest, and she is trying to get him to put in writing that he is attracted to her. No means no.

A good lesson to never believe one side of the story until you hear the other.

English doctors want opt out for organ donations

June 24th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Doctors will try to persuade ministers at Westminster, Holyrood and Stormont to introduce an opt-out system for organ donation to prevent 1,000 deaths a year because of organ shortages.

The British Medical Association will lobby the three parliaments to follow the lead set by Wales, which in December introduced presumed consent for organ retrieval. Under this system people who die in hospital are presumed to have consented to their organs being used for transplantation unless they have expressly indicated otherwise.

Great to see UK doctors voting for an organ donation system that will save more lives.

In NZ sadly some doctors seem to be against even an opt in system. You may have opted in by ticking your wish to donate on your drivers licence, but NZ doctors say they will refuse to even look at what your wishes are unless a family member ask them to.

I am mystified at how NZ doctors have ended up in such a different place to their UK counterparts.

NZ extremist jailed

June 24th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

An Auckland man who distributed extremist videos, featuring footage of people being shot, beheaded and burned alive has been dragged from court screaming “Allahu Akbar”.

Imran Patel, 26, launched into the rant as he was jailed for three years nine months before Auckland District Court this afternoon.

“Tell John Key to stop being a slave to America and get out of Iraq. Allahu Akbar,” he shouted, while being restrained by court security.

It is understood to be the first person in the country to be sentenced over so-called terrorist material and the Crown said he had an “utter lack of insight and remorse”.

I hope once he is released, authorities keep a very close eye on him. Or buy him a one way ticket to another country.

In October, the Mt Roskill man sent text messages to 52 people with a link to an ISIS-made video, with accompanying words about revenge.

The montage showed 14 prisoners lined up before two men shot them in the head one by one.

“Each slumps to the ground after being shot”, the summary of facts said.

Patel received a warning from his cell provider the following day about the content of the message but went on to text a similar link 24 hours later.

The next video showed people in orange jumpsuits being beheaded by masked men and resulted in further censure by the telecommunications company.

On October 22, Patel was barred from sending messages.

His reaction was to get a new number and address the same 52 recipients.

“For those of you who complained [to the non-believers], remember that you’re a Muslim; please behave like one,” he texted.

So he went and got a new phone number just so he could keep sending out links to the terrorist killings. And he thinks it was un-Muslim to report his behaviour.

Patel has form. The Herald reported in 2014:

Imran Patel allegedly threatened senior members of the New Zealand Muslim Association, which owns the Avondale Islamic Centre in Blockhouse Bay Rd.

The alleged threats arose from tensions between two Islamic factions battling for control of the centre.

Patel and the imam, Abu Abdulla, were among those who had been barred from entering the mosque by the association.

Patel appeared at the Auckland District Court yesterday charged with verbally threatening to kill and/or do grievous bodily harm.

He threatens to kill. He circulates videos glorifying executions. I’m not that confident he is someone who will stop at words.

Oh actually he has gone further:

It can now be revealed that just over a year ago Patel was jailed for 10 months for holding a large knife to a driver’s throat and threatening to kill him while yelling an Islamic exclamation.

Patel gestured to the driver then ran across the road and held a knife – measuring 20cm – to the driver’s throat yelling, “Allahu Akbar” [Allah is the greatest], and, “I’m going to kill you motherf***er”.

So here is the challenge. This guy has not yet killed anyone, but he seems well on his way to doing so. How do we as a society stop him doing so?

Kiwi kidnapped in Nigeria

June 23rd, 2016 at 4:12 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key said today in a press conference that there was no chance of the Government paying a ransom for the New Zealander being held hostage in Nigeria.

The Kiwi is also with at least two Australians, who were attacked on the outskirts of Calabar by gunmen who killed their driver.

Mr Key says it’s likely the kidnappers want money, rather than being part of a terrorist organisation.

But he says our Government has a strong policy not to pay ransoms.

Mr Key says paying a ransom would put a bounty on the head of any New Zealander who travelled to a dangerous part of the world, and would potentially make the situation worse.

It would sadly.

The Nigerian Government said it was throwing everything it could behind the operation to secure the release of a New Zealand man, four other expats and two Nigerians.

The group was kidnapped after their driver was shot dead as he was taking them to work.

They all worked for the Australian mining and engineering company Macmahon.

Nigerian Government spokesman Christian Ita said security services, the police and army were doing everything possible to ensure the release of the New Zealander and everyone else affected.

They knew where the group was being held, he said.

Nigeria is an extremely dangerous country to visit. There’s few countries I don’t want to visit, but that is one of them.

South Auckland Middle School vs other Decile 1 schools

June 23rd, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The South Auckland Middle School is a charter school and its student population makes it a decile 1 school.

So how has this school done against the average decile 1 state school for national standards. The data follows,. Note the SAMS data is for 2015 and the national average is for 2014 (as 2015 not yet available), but probably will not have changed much.

  • Year 7 reading 73% vs 58%
  • Year 7 maths 63% vs 57%
  • Year 7 writing 77% vs 51%
  • Year 8 reading 70% vs 62%
  • Year 8 maths 77% vs 51%
  • Year 8 writing 70% vs 52%

Again I remind people Labour has vowed to close this school down.

Another story that doesn’t reveal full state support

June 23rd, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Southland people are staunch and walk tall, but will struggle financially without speaking up, an Invercargill father says.

Invercargill residents Nathaniel and Kathrine Barrett, who work as chefs, are one of the reportedly increasing ‘middle-class poor’ families in Southland. 

They are looking to relocate to Christchurch or Dunedin for better hours and pay.

Invercargill Salvation Army Invercargill Corps officer Annette Bray said the organisation was seeing a growing number of people coming to them for help. 

“There’s a working class poor. More and more people are coming through.” 

It could be that there were two family members working but together they didn’t have a full time job, Bray said. 

“Twenty-five percent of people who come to us for help, somebody is working in the family. 

“Probably in days gone by, if someone was working in the family they were doing pretty well. But these days it’s not enough.” 

Nathaniel works about 20-25 hours a week, and Kathrine 30, but with restaurant clientele dwindling in the cold Invercargill winter they had fewer work hours. 

In a typical week, Kathrine would earn about $400 and Nathaniel about $360. 

Nathaniel said the Work and Income benefit had a $600 gross income cut-off point, which they earn above.

However, their weekly expenses topped $800. 

They sometimes could not afford their state home rent and they and their daughters, aged 1 and 2, may have to move in with family.

Nathaniel and Kathrine seem a good family, and I am sure it is very tough for them with such a relatively low level of income. But the article (as the media often does) doesn’t reveal how much state support they currently get. It would be:

  • Family Tax Credit $137/week
  • In-work tax credit $72/week
  • Childcare subsidy $500/week (if 50 hours used)
  • State house subsidy: $215/week (average for all state houses, unable to calculate for their actual house)

So even without them qualifying for a benefit, they still get a considerable amount of support from taxpayers.

Cultural snobbery?

June 22nd, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Danyl McL blogs on Te Papa’s purchase of Peter Snell’s singlet in an auction:

They shut down their award-winning publishing company so they could buy a fucking singlet.

Almost all his commentators of course agree with him. Putting aside the faulty logic (Te Tapa Press has not closed down), and comparing a one off purchase to ongoing costs, I do wonder if this is a sign of cultural snobbery – Peter Snell was just an athelete – that is not part of our culture and heritage and should not be funded by Te Papa.

For my 2c I reckon an exhibit that shows off Snell’s singlet and has a history of his running and gold medals would be hugely popular at Te Papa, and hundreds of thousands of kids would see it over time.

The haters of freedom of speech

June 22nd, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A petition to be sent to the Government demanding Mike Hosking be removed from television screens has now clocked up more than 14,000 signatories in just over a week.

Started by lawyer Dan Wayman the petition asks that Mike Hosking “be removed from public broadcasting at TVNZ”

I’m tempted to call these people cultural fascists.

First of all do they really think the bloody Government should decide who is and is not allowed to appear on television as a broadcaster?

Secondly they seem to hate views they disagree with, and want Hosking gone because he says things they don’t like.

This seems to be a phenomenon that mainly occurs on the left. I don’t recall 14,000 right wingers signing a petition demanding John Campbell be removed from public broadcasting.

If you don’t like what someone says, then don’t watch. Change the channel.

I think NZ is better when it has diversity of views on air – I think it is good both Hosking and Campbell are broadcasters.

But these cultural fascists hate views that are not their own, and think the Government should decide who is allowed to be on air. They can get f****d.

The New Zealand Centre for ICT Law

June 21st, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A new national cyber-law centre is being set up and its first project is putting the Harmful Digital Communications Act under the microscope.

The New Zealand Centre for ICT Law, which opens next month at Auckland University, aims to provide an expanded legal education for students and provide research and development into the impact electronic technology has on the law.

The centre’s new director, retiring district court Judge David Harvey, said he regarded the centre as a vital hub for both the legal fraternity and the public.

“More and more IT is becoming pervasive throughout our community and it’s providing particular challenges and interesting developments as far as the law is concerned.”

Research was already underway on the effectiveness of the Harmful Digital Communications Act.

Future projects would include digital aspects of the Search and Surveillance Act, Telecommunications Act and Copyright Act.

This is a great initiative and Judge Harvey is the perfect person to head this up. Over the last 20 years the intersection of law and the Internet has only been increasing.

Is it sexual harrasment when it is the student propositioning?

June 20th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A University of Auckland student who propositioned her lecturer has been suspended after being found guilty of sexual harassment.

But the 30-year-old physics student at the centre of the row says the reaction to her behaviour is over the top and now her second degree is under threat.

The woman told the Herald on Sunday she simply sent her lecturer an email asking: “Would you like to have sex in Bali?”

Her advances were not welcome, and she was suspended until the end of the year for not complying with the disciplinary process triggered by the teacher’s sexual harassment complaint.

On March 6, two weeks into her physics course, the woman sent her lecturer a risque email saying: “It’s rather forward of me but I wondered if you and your wife are the open experimental type?

“I met an interesting person I respected of this lifestyle she had several honest concurrent relationships of varying degrees of intimacy and a couple who are my close friends have shared with me they invite a third person in for a short time when it feels right.

“Bali Indonesia rendevous [sic] in July if you are interested I’ve made a booking for a week here before I go diving in the komodo islands 🙂 I’d like to spend the week getting to know you intimately.”

The email added: “I’ve had such an instant sexual interesting response for someone I don’t know well. I hope it’s mutual, but I’ll be fine if it’s just my overactive imagination too, distracting me pleasurably from math, so please continue relaxed and happy!”

She told her lecturer that if her attention was unwanted he should ignore her message. “No need to compute a rejection letter! And I would never expect you to be unfair, I’m happy to wait until after the exam.”

Soon after receiving the email, the lecturer forwarded it to his boss. An investigation was launched and the student was found guilty of sexual harassment by the university proctor.

An interesting case. If the approach was from the lecturer to the student, then it would be quite wrong.

The approach was unwise, shall we say. Probably best to use a more subtle approach to ascertain if the attraction is mutual, rather than an e-mail out of the blue inviting them to Bali for a sex holiday.

But nevertheless, is a one off approach by e-mail sexual harassment?

I would have though suspension of the student was over the top. Possibly requiring her not to contact the particular lecturer or attend his classes would be in order, but a suspension seems too punitive.

The student said she considered her offer to be direct, but did not expect it to trigger a sexual harassment complaint.

“Basically I sent that very forward – but still polite – email: Would you like to have sex in Bali?” she said.

“I thought that I tidied it up at the end and said if you don’t want to, no pressure, no coercion, nothing. Just be happy and go on your way. The next thing I know I was inundated with sexual harassment policy and basically I was suspended.”

I wonder how common is it for students to proposition lecturers?

UPDATE: Subsequent reports have had the University saying that the student has propositioned multiple (two) staff and after being told not to e-mail them on non-learning issues, continued to do so. If the University is correct, then her behaviour would warrant disciplinary action.

The NZ gardening ban

June 20th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Joshua Drummond at The Spinoff highlights a great thread at Reddit about how personal gardening in NZ is banned. It happened a year ago but came back to life when people attributed the avocado shortage to the ban on gardening.

Some of my favourite extracts:

reddit-08-e1466207931231-850x158

Actually tariffs to protect farmers are about as logical as banning gardening to protect farmers!

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A great film by the way.

Josh also does a short history of gardening on his own site:

after the 1981 Spring Bok Choi riots, about which more hardly needs to be said, Prime Minister David Lange was cautious about allowing further gardening activities. With New Zealand public opinion on the resumption of gardening split, after Muldoon’s hastily-called Snapdragon Election, Lange was invited to debate an earnest American private horticultural advocate, Jerry Falwell, at the Oxford Club. The moot: Personal Gardens are Morally Indefensible. It looked for a time like Lange had met his match as the Falwell led an impassioned defense of the role private gardens played in winning World War Two and in the balance of power in the postwar period.

“I can smell the fertiliser on your breath,” Lange retorted, famously…

Love it.

No the bible does not over-ride the law

June 20th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A born-again Christian defending his bamboo canings says his faith taught him to hit his children’s bottoms when they misbehaved.

The South Canterbury man, whose name is suppressed, faces charges of assault with a weapon.

He says his hyperactive son needed the punishments.

“I follow the Bible and the Bible overrules those laws, I’m afraid,” the man said of the Crimes Act in the Timaru District Court on Friday.

No it doesn’t.

No tag for this post.

Now Police want to ban new bars for six years!

June 19th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The smartphone footage shows them puffing up their chests and barging into each other. One of them shapes up to a woman in black shorts. He flattens her off her high-heels and she lands heavily head-first on the concrete.

In another video caught on CCTV a man falls over as he attempts a roundhouse kick. Another pummels his fists into him as he lies on the ground.

The two videos, taken two months apart, at roughly the same spot on Auckland city’s Fort St, show the moment tensions spill over into late-night brawls that end with multiple people in hospital, or facing criminal charges – or both.

For police, the videos give them two new pieces of evidence in their argument for tougher restrictions on when people should be able to drink in the city.

They are mounting a case for a six-year ban on all new bars and bottle shops in Auckland’s CBD, as well as a 1am one-way door policy and a 3am close.

This is just unbelievable. The Police in Auckland advocate a six year ban on new bars or bottle shops, and their “rationale” is a video of a couple of fights.

The Police are losing all perspective on alcohol. Why don’t they go the whole hog and demand 6 pm closing comes back?

Inspector Gary Davey says it boils down to a “moth to the flame” argument. The more bars, the more violence. The longer bars are open, the greater the chance of ugly episodes flaring up.

The more sporting fixtures a city has, the more violence. Let’s ban rugby matches. Also the more men that go out at night, the more rapes occur. Let’s have a curfew of 8 pm for men.

Russia track and field banned from Olympics

June 18th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Russia’s track and field team cannot compete at the Rio Olympics because the country has not given up its doping culture but exceptions will be considered for clean athletes, world athletics body IAAF says.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said after a governing council meeting in Vienna on Friday “although good progress has been made, the IAAF Council was unanimous that RusAF had not met the reinstatement conditions”.

The council found “Russian athletes could not credibly return to international competition without undermining the confidence of their competitors and the public”, Coe added.

The IAAF had met to consider whether Russia had set up a functioning anti-doping structure in response to a report by world anti-doping agency WADA that detailed systematic cheating in Russian athletics.

“The deep-seated culture of tolerance or worse for doping that got RusAF suspended in the first place seems not to have changed materially,” said Rune Andersen, head of the IAAF’s Russia task force.

There were still no strong anti-doping infrastructure in Russia and doping tests were still being hampered, Anderson added.

This is a good decision. All countries probably have some athletes who have cheated with drugs. But in Russia the cheating is state sponsored and sanctioned. Unless Russia remains suspended, there is no incentive for them to genuinely clean up – and other countries would seek to emulate them.

Now the IAAF is acting with some integrity, the question is whether other bodies will do similar.

Huge Police fail

June 18th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A police officer who left a loaded gun in a bathroom at Parliament will doing “a lot of soul-searching” and could face up to three investigations, a security specialist once responsible for guarding prime ministers says.

Police are investigating how a loaded Glock pistol was left behind in a Parliament bathroom on Thursday.

The gun was recovered by police after they became aware it was there.

In a statement, police said: “As soon as police were made aware that the firearm had been left in the bathroom, staff attended and recovered it from the occupant, and we would like to thank them for their assistance.

“This was a regrettable incident that we are taking seriously, and we acknowledge the potential risk that this could have posed.”

The statement says police have started an investigation into the incident, and would not comment further while they were looking into the matter.

Police have not confirmed who owned the firearm, but police staff most commonly seen around Parliament are members of the Prime Minister’s diplomatic protection service, who are routinely armed.

This is a huge fail by the officer concerned. Everyone makes mistakes and can leave something behind – but a loaded gun in a toilet is another matter.

A huge amount of money is spent on keeping Parliament secure with x-ray machines etc, and to just have a loaded gun sitting in a bathroom is negligent. A small redeeming factor is that the bathroom was probably not one accessible by the public.

Security specialist Lance Burdett, who used to run an Auckland-based VIP protection squad responsible for looking after prime ministers, said the breach was “the worst thing you can do, absolutely”.

“He or she is highly trained, and that’s the first thing you train is never let it [your gun] out of your sight.

“Out on the course, you wear it the whole time… it is never to leave your side so you get used to not leaving it behind and always having it with you.”

Burdett said firearm holsters were often worn on the hip, and it had likely been taken off to use the toilet, then left behind out of “absent-mindedness”.

My guess also.

If the staff member was part of the DPS, they would almost certainly lose their job, while they could face dismissal from the police force entirely.

They would be doing “a lot of soul-searching” while the investigations were underway, Burdett said.

“Whatever repercussions are for the person that’s left it there, they themselves will be putting themselves through more hoops than anyone else ever could.”

SACKING NOT NEEDED – LABOUR

Labour’s police spokesman Stuart Nash didn’t want to see the person responsible fired, instead a written warning should be issued.

“It’s a serious breach but this person is never going to leave their firearm alone again and nothing bad has come from it.”

On this, I agree with Stuart Nash. A decision for Police of course, but from what I know of DPS officers, he or she will be absolutely aghast at their mistake. Also they will probably be “hassled” about it for some years by their colleagues. A severe bollocking should occur, but not a firing.

Kiwi Air closes again

June 18th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Kiwi Regional Airlines has this afternoon announced that the operation will be wound up.

Air Chathams will purchase Kiwi Regional Airlines’ Saab 340A aircraft and will absorb the aircraft and offer employment to the majority of Kiwi Regional Airlines’ full-time staff and absorb them into its operations from the beginning of August.

Not the most surprising news of the year.