Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

Our most popular films

July 2nd, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Flicks has run a survey of NZers over which films are their favourites. The top 10 are:

  1. The Shawshank Redemption
  2. The Empire Strikes Back
  3. The Godfather
  4. Pulp Fiction
  5. The Fellowship of the Ring
  6. The Dark Knight
  7. Forrest Gump
  8. Star Wars
  9. The Matrix
  10. Goodfellas

Seen all but No 10. Happened to just rewatch The Empire Strikes Back last weekend. The best of the six.

The Shawshank Redemption is my favourite film and have viewed it a dozen or more times.

I’d have Kill Bill Vol I in the top 10. It didn’t even make their top 100!

They also have the 10 most hated films. They are:

  1. Battlefield Earth
  2. Sharknado
  3. Twilight
  4. Batman & Robin
  5. The Room
  6. The Last Airbender
  7. Jack and Jill
  8. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  9. Movie 43
  10. Disaster Movie

Luckily not seen most of them. Actually loved Sharknado – but only because it was so over the top bad it was funny.



The Bentley mystery may never be solved

July 1st, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The father of murdered Ashburton teenager Kirsty Bentley has died, still denying any involvement in her death. 

Sid Bentley, 64, who died on Monday after a battle with cancer, was a suspect in his daughter’s 1998 disappearance and murder, along with Kirsty’s older brother, John.

Both denied their involvement. 

Interviewed recently, Sid Bentley’s wish was for his ashes to be buried with his daughter’s. 

Last year, Sid Bentley said it was his dying wish to see his daughter’s killers caught and that his “conscience is clear”.

If he was the killer, the mystery will probably never be solved. A very sad case.


Plunket comments cleared

June 30th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A talkback host’s comments describing award-winning New Zealand author Eleanor Catton as an “ungrateful hua” and a “traitor” were not in breach of broadcasting standards.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has declined to uphold two complaints about RadioLive host Sean Plunket’s comments about Catton speaking critically about the National government at a literary festival in India earlier this year.

Plunket called Catton an ‘ungrateful hua’ and a ‘traitor’, amongst other things.

The BSA received complaints that Plunket’s comments constituted “bullying” and a personal attack on Catton.

The authority’s decision said that “the severity of [Plunket’s] attack and the hostility and aggression of the language used? raised the question of whether this attack went too far”.

However, Plunket’s comments did not breach broadcasting standards, it ruled.

Catton was “powerfully exercising her right to freedom of expression and has had to suffer the responses including those from the broadcaster”, the BSA said.

“Conversely, the broadcaster has exercised its right to freedom of expression and it will have suffered consequences from those who objected to what Mr Plunket said and the way in which he said it.”

The decision from the authority considered that “?different views have been expressed and have been evaluated and those who have expressed or broadcast these views have been judged accordingly”.

“This is how we think things are meant to work in a liberal democracy.

“We do not think that our society would be better off if views such as those of the radio host were staunched.”

Another defeat for the opponents of free speech.

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A solution to scalping?

June 30th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

There’s been outrage over people scalping Super 15 tickets on Trade Me. No practical way to stop this unless you require photo ID with tickets to get into events. Also making tickets non transferable means if you get sick or injured or the like, then your tickets are wasted and your seats go empty.

The basic “problem” is that there is a fixed supply, and high demand. The secondary market allows those who want to pay a premium to get to go, after missing out due to the vagaries of online booking systems.

Now one may say it is unfair that the scalpers make the money, rather than the sports code. This is true. So why not have the sporting code itself auction off some tickets?

Sell half the tickets at a fixed rate (so some fans can get to got for an affordable price), and auction off the remaining half with the top say 4,000 bids getting four tickets each?

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Why are taxpayer funded Maori TV journalists on a flotilla?

June 30th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Two New Zealanders have reportedly been detained by the Israeli military after the ship they were on attempted to break a blockade on Gaza.

Maori Television reporter Ruwani Perera and cameraman Jacob Bryant were aboard one of the ships in the Freedom Flotilla III, when it was boarded by Israeli forces, One News reported.

It’s understood the ships are carrying solar panels, medical supplies and other aid items.

The flotilla was trying to breach Israel’s exclusion zone on Gaza, and take supplies to residents on the Gaza Strip. The Israeli blockade has been in force since 2007. 

What has this got to do with Maori TV? Shouldn’t they be spending their money on shows like Native Affairs, not being activists in the Middle East?

Maori TV is funded by the taxpayer. They risk a backlash if they spend their funding on stunts like this.

A reader has sent me a summary of what no less a person that Sir Geoffrey Palmer found over the Gaza blockade:

The UN-commissioned ‘[Sir Geoffrey] Palmer Report’ regarding the Gaza Flotilla Incident of 2010 deemed the naval blockade by Israel to be a legitimate security measure to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and to protect the Israeli population. The report stated that “people may, of course, freely express their views by peaceful protest. But to deliberately seek to breach a blockade in a convoy with a large number of passengers is in the view of the Panel a dangerous and reckless act. It involves exposing a large number of individuals to the risk that force will be used to stop the blockade and people will be hurt.”

 The Palmer Report goes on to recommend that “Attempts to breach a lawfully imposed naval blockade place the vessel and those on board at risk. Where a State becomes aware that its citizens or flag vessels intend to breach a naval blockade, it has a responsibility to take pro-active steps compatible with democratic rights and freedoms to warn them of the risks involved and to endeavour to dissuade them from doing so.”

So a state owned television station is sending its staff into a highly dangerous situation.

Some issues for Maori TV:

  1. Māori TV has put its staff’s lives in imminent danger. Māori TV staff are on-board the Marianne av Göteborg on official Māori TV business. Deliberate attempts to breach a lawful blockade represent dangerous and reckless acts that could result in people being hurt. A previous attempt to breach the naval blockade of Gaza resulted in nine deaths;

  2. Māori TV’s participation in the flotilla likely breaches its obligations under both the current Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and the proposed Health & Safety Reform Bill exposing its directors and the company to unnecessary risk and exposure;

  3. Māori TV’s participation in the flotilla is inconsistent with Māori TV’s stated purpose. There is no clear link between the flotilla and Māori language or culture.

  4. Māori TV staff risk breaking international law through its willing participation in an illegal act. The United Nations has declared the naval blockade of Gaza as being legal and legitimate. Under international law, violation of a lawful blockade constitutes unlawful activity.

I’be long been a supporter of Maori TV and their funding. If they keep doing stuff like this, I’ll be joining the ranks calling for their funding to be diverted elsewhere for public broadcasting.

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Pay gaps

June 28th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Older white men paid double young ethnic women

A silly heading. Older white men are also paid almost double younger white men.

Older ethnic women are paid more than young white men.

There are legitimate issues around gender pay, and to a degree race. But bringing age into it is stupid, as people should get paid more as they get more experienced.

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue said it was only fair that wages should increase with time and experience.

Yep, something those who push income inequality often overlook.

But regardless of age, men are consistently paid more than women, and Europeans more than other ethnic groups.

There is a gender pay gap,but of interest is it is very small at the younger ages – just 50 cents an hour. At middle age, it is over $6 an hour.

The ethnic pay gap is probably one largely based on education. Just comparing averages for an entire demographic does little. The better comparison is of people of the same age, same location, same education achievement and same industry. You want to compare like to like where the only difference is race, to really measure if there is a pay gap.

There definitely is for gender, once you take into account all other variables.


Hurricanes vs Highlanders

June 28th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

As a Wellingtonian who lived and studied in Dunedin, I always support Wellington and Otago sports teams. So a Hurricanes vs Highlanders Super 15 final is the ideal for me – I’l be happy with whomever wins. However my greater loyalty is to the Hurricanes, and I will be cheering for them. So thrilled they made the final, and it will be at home.

So who do we all think will win, and who do we want to win?


Not a mistake

June 27th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau says he made “a mistake, which I deeply regret” when stopped carrying dead kereru, a protected wood pigeon.

How was it a mistake? Did he accidentally kill them?

“I also wish to say this was a mistake, which I deeply regret. The laws around native bird protection are important and to be respected by all, myself included,” he said.

Kereru are protected under the Wildlife Act. 

Harming one can result in a fine up to $100,000 or six months in jail.

So why didn’t he? Claiming it was a mistake is like claiming you robbed a bank by mistake. Did the gun go off by accident?

Ngapuhi leader David Rankin said there was nothing wrong with catching kereru.

“Article two of the Treaty of Waitangi guarantees Maori the full, exclusive and undisturbed possession of our fauna and flora.  Basically, the problem is that the law hasn’t caught up with the Treaty.”

The problem is they almost are extinct (one of the three sub-species are extinct) due to the attitude above, and if they go extinct then there is nothing to possess.


Is an evacuation compulsory?

June 27th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A south Taranaki grandmother says she was shoved to the ground and handcuffed by police after she objected to being forced from her house in the face of rapidly rising flood waters.

Police came to Dot Bowlin’s Waitotara property late on Saturday afternoon as they told everyone in her street to leave.

But Mrs Bowlin, 67, told them she wasn’t ready to go as the water wasn’t yet a threat to her house – situated on a rise – and she had to organise her animals.

She said she was pleading her case to stay when a younger policeman allegedly threw her to the ground and put her in handcuffs, aggravating an arm injury.

Police yesterday confirmed Mrs Bowlin was handcuffed, but said they could not comment on how she was treated.

There are two sides to every story, but what concerns me here is that this was not a case of refusing to be arrested, or fleeing a crime. This was choosing not to evacuate. Do the Police have the authority to force people to evacuate? Surely their role should be to advise and assist, but if someone wants to stay – that is there decision. They should be told, they won’t be assisted if they stay, but is an evacuation order compulsory?

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Family First should not be a charity

June 26th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A lobby group fighting to keep its status as a registered charity says it operates the way it always has, so it shouldn’t lose its status.

Family First is appealing a decision the Charities Registration Board made to de-register it in 2013.

The group said its opposition to gay marriage was the reason Charities Services wanted to deregister it.

The Charities Registration Board said Family First’s main purpose was to promote “particular points of view about family life” and the lobby group did not advance religion or education, nor promote a benefit to all New Zealanders, as the law required charities to do.

I don’t think Family First should be eligible to be a registered charity. Likewise I don’t think the Sensible Sentencing Trust should qualify. Ditto for Greenpeace and the National Council of Women. And neither should commercial companies owned by religions or Iwi.

We should have a much tighter definition of charity in NZ, and only register organisations that:

  1. provide welfare, education or health services to needy families
  2. provide funding for public good activities such as conservation

The antics of Greenpeace yesterday shows what a mockery of the law it would be, for them to be a registered charity.


A sad case

June 26th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Tony wall at Stuff reports:

At her parents’ house at least, it’s as if Rachal Cleaver has been erased from history. A hand-written sign on the door of her old bedroom says simply: “spare room”.

“We burnt everything of Rachal’s, from the smallest to the greatest,” says her father, Stephen Cleaver, a self-styled prophet who claims to hear the word of God.

“We do not discard her, but we have to walk the path of the Lord. If we are moping over the dead, we are going backwards, we have to look ahead.”

There’s a sign on the gate of the ramshackle farm property Cleaver and his wife, Carla, rent near Kaiwaka that says “Get your own toilet”.

They say that Christ will soon return in a blaze of fire and God’s angels will kill everyone who hasn’t made it to their place – but you have to take care of your own body waste.

“The war will start right here,” Stephen Cleaver says.

The couple says the Government is spying on them and that Prime Minister John Key himself buzzed their house in a helicopter.

And they say it was Key and American president Barack Obama who were behind Rachal’s death.

When I first starting reading this article, I wondered why the mad beliefs of these parents were being given prominence. But sadly as you read on, you realise they may have played a role in the death of Rachal.

Rachal, 20, died in Whangarei Hospital on June 10 after suffering a severe asthma attack at home. She was eight-and-a-half months pregnant. Her baby was delivered by caesarean section while she was in a coma, but he died in Starship the following day. He was named Robert. …

Rachal was in the care of the Dingwall Trust, a care and protection facility in Papatoetoe, South Auckland, from nine until she turned 17.

The trust’s director, Tracie Shipton, says staff had serious concerns about what would happen to Rachal if she returned home. It was also feared she wouldn’t get the medical treatment she needed for her asthma and eczema.

Shipton says Rachal’s death was “highly preventable. Asthma is a manageable disease.”

There would have been a reason she was in care, but once she was 17 she could choose where to live.

On the day of her asthma attack, Cleaver says, Rachal was outside filming aircraft that were flying low over the house.

He claims they were Government planes, and they dropped poison.

Oh dear.

He says every three hours Rachal was being “stabbed” with what he was told were steroids. He believes otherwise.

“I think they were giving her a paralysing injection to kill her. I voiced many times that she was murdered.”

The parents obviously need psychiatric help, but it may be too late.

An autopsy was carried out, and the bodies of Rachal and her baby were released to the Dingwall Trust, where a funeral service was held on Wednesday. The parents didn’t attend.

Shipton says it was a beautiful service. Staff were devastated by Rachal’s death. 

“She was a beautiful young girl with lots of potential. What I’m most stressed about is it was a highly preventable death of a pretty awesome kid.”

Rachal was returned to a situation where her safety could never be guaranteed, Shipton says.

When Rachal turned 17, she immediately returned to her parents in Northland. There was nothing Dingwall could do, even though they believed she was not mature enough to make a sensible decision.

Sadly you can only protect people so much.

Shipton has wider concerns about the law.

The trust has been campaigning for a change to extend custodial responsibility and ongoing care provision for vulnerable young people into their 20s. An expert government panel is considering the changes and Shipton says it should be a priority.

“Some young people are leaving care to return to highly dysfunctional families that are just as unsafe as they were when the children were removed from their parents care, the only difference is the child’s age.” 

I sympathise but unless the person is mentally incompetent, it is hard to justify them not being able to make their own decisions once they are 18.

People who saw Rachal before her death say she was completely different to the vibrant, happy girl she’d been at Dingwall. She quoted scripture at people and questioned their morality.

Facebook gives a clue to her mindset. She talks about brussels sprouts being “evil and demonic” and writes “the reason why I stand in the sun every day is because I don’t want you to see how many tears I shear”.

All that’s left on her bedroom wall is a small scrap of paper with some writing – something about helicopters flying low over her house last December. By the end, she well and truly shared her parents’ paranoia.

Actually those brussels sprouts can be pretty evil!

So sad to read of a young life that died, and was probably preventable.



June 25th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Heather du Plessis-Allan and Duncan Garner will host Story, TV3’s new 7pm current affairs show, MediaWorks has announced.

MediaWorks group head of news Mark Jennings said Story would be a “smart, fun and thought-provoking show that will lead the way in daily current affairs”.

“Story will focus on the issues that are relevant and important to all New Zealanders. We will be looking for the best stories, the most interesting stories and the stories New Zealanders are talking about,” he said.

It looks like it will be somewhere between Campbell Live and Seven Sharp. Campbell Live’s problem was it was so relentlessly negative on everything it drove viewers away until it was on life support, while Seven Sharp is entertaining but often has little focus on current affairs.

Garner said he expected fun, laughter and entertainment.

“I see this as a great chance to be part of a programme that will reflect our country and our lives – no matter where we live.

“And when those in power in Wellington, or in your own community, make bad decisions, mislead you or are hypocrites, I promise – you can rely on us to keep them honest – simple.”


Du Plessis-Allan said she was excited to be part of TV3’s “new chapter”.

“Duncan is one of the best journalists around so I’m stoked to be able to learn from him. But Duncan, if you’re reading this; don’t let it go to your head. I’m not your sidekick. In fact, they told me, you’re my sidekick.”

MediaWorks chief executive Mark Weldon said du Plessis-Allan and Garner were two of the most engaging and talented journalists in the country.

“Together they represent a major investment by MediaWorks in the future of current affairs leadership in New Zealand.”

I think this could be a very good show. Duncan and Heather are indeed both engaging, but they are also very skilled interviewers. They can do light and fluffy, but they can also go for the jugular when it is warranted.

Heather’s comment about Duncan being her sidekick is one of the reasons it should work – they’ll spark off each other.

I have not watched any of the 7 pm “current affairs” shows regularly for years. I plan to put Story onto series record, and watch it regularly.

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Swney gets 67 months

June 25th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Alex Swney stole more than $4 million because he felt he was being underpaid for his work to improve Auckland, a court has heard.

Well that’s okay then.

The 57-year-old former Heart of the City boss was jailed for five years seven months in Auckland District Court this morning after pleading guilty to charges laid by the Inland Revenue and Serious Fraud Office covering “sophisticated” offending over more than a decade.

That is quite a decent sentence. Good.

Question remain about how he got away with it for so long. One can never be fraud-proof, but the Auckland Council and HOTC Board need to take a strong look at what systems were in place.

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Should the parents be accountable?

June 25th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

One boy has been found guilty of manslaughter in the death of a West Auckland shopkeeper but a second has been cleared of the same offence. …

The 14-year-old is one of about 10 children. It is understood his mother gave birth to her youngest child weeks ago.

A source close to the family said the children had a tough upbringing and most had been in and out of Child Youth and Family care.

She’s obviously not a capable mother. If some of her kids are in CYFS care, why has she just given birth to her 10th?

I know we probably shouldn’t sterilise anyone against their will, but don’t CYFS now have the power to get an order from a court that any future children will be automatically removed from her? Shouldn’t this be done, as it may incentivise her to stop having children.

A previous story reported:

The court heard the sad history of these families. The eldest of the boys lived in a “drug house,” his brother said. Mum would sell cannabis and synthetics and people would come and go frequently. …

Eventually he began speaking of suicide and acting up at school. He smoked synthetic drugs to cope. 

Again, she should not be having more children, let alone the 10 she has currently had – most of whom will sadly end up with huge challenges ahead of them.


An ASA complaint

June 23rd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

A recent ASA decision:

Complaint:  The Facebook advertisement for Spark streaming television service featured numerous tablets of Whittaker’s chocolate products. A post by the Advertiser stated:

“Tell us which Lightbox show you can’t get enough of to be into win #BingeWatching chocolate goodies …”

Complainant, S. Vernon, said:  “the advertisement encouraged binge-eating sugar-filled foods to a population that is already struggling with its obesity.”

Oh dear. They promoted eating chocolate during binge TV sessions. How evil of Spark.

The ASA took the complaint seriously enough to respond, but not to have a formal ruling. The ASA Chair said:

The Chairman noted the Complainant’s view the advertisement encouraged binge eating. She disagreed.

The Chairman noted Lightbox offered a streaming television service that enabled subscribers to watch continuous advertisement-free programmes, as well as the ability to “binge watch” their favourite television series rather than watch them in weekly episodes on television.

However, the Chairman said there was nothing that suggested the chocolate itself shown in the advertisement should be consumed in one sitting, or binge-eaten. Rather, the Chairman was of the view the chocolate represented the amount that might be consumed over weeks of watching a series in weekly episodes.   

Sad they even have to spell it out!


Carmen’s Mayoral campaign

June 23rd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post looks back at Carmen’s 1977 campaign for Mayor. I recall that campaign as a 10 year old – it was very funny.

Flamboyant transgender businesswoman Carmen lit a bomb under Wellington’s 1977 mayoral race, much as she had shaken up its social life over the previous decade.

Carmen, born as a Taumarunui lad named Trevor Rupe, ran against incumbent mayor Michael Fowler in a campaign that featured bared breasts, a shock engagement, and strippers stopping rush-hour traffic. Her slogan was “Get in Behind”.

“I am easily the best candidate,” Carmen told 1000 university students at a debate that August.

“I am better looking than Sir Francis [Kitts], I am more charming than Michael Fowler and I could beat [Values candidate Tony] Brunt in a brawl any day.”

A great line.

Her mayoral campaign was the brainchild of property baron Bob Jones, and funded by a group of Right-leaning businessmen tired of inaction under Robert Muldoon’s first government.

“If Carmen was mayor, so our logic ran, nothing would ever happen and citizens would have a respite from ever-increasing rules and regulations,” he wrote in The Dominion Post in 2007.

“Carmen cut a grotesque figure, as might be expected of a 136-kilogram King Country Maori bloke wearing a dress and flaunting massive breasts,” Jones said.


Another prominent Dominion ad listing dozens of Carmen’s supporters sparked a protest when Jones added to the list without their consent a dozen “highly conservative QCs, businessmen and other city hierarchy”, he said.

In retaliation, one of the named luminaries organised a dozen bare-breasted strippers to parade along Kent Terrace on election eve, October 7, bearing placards with indecent comments about Jones and Carmen’s other backers.

Some of those QCs were very very upset!

In one last publicity stunt before the election, Carmen announced her engagement to top investor and businessman Ron Brierley. Gamely playing along, Sydney-based Brierley discussed the engagement ring and honeymoon when interviewed by Radio Windy, but his investment firm’s share price fell, and one director threatened resignation.

Jones played many jokes on Brierley, as recounted in his Letters books

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Dodgy CTU figures

June 23rd, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

According to many reports, the New Zealand film industry is experiencing a renaissance. A number of big budget international productions are set to start filming in New Zealand in the next few years, and it has been announced that the next two films in James Cameron’s Avatar trilogy will be produced in our country.

But according to the Council of Trade Unions, these good news stories hide a less palatable truth.

The CTU says that the industry is failing its workers – that half those who worked in the film-making business in 2013 earned less than $2625 for the whole year.

My first reaction on reading this, was it looks very dodgy. This is obviously not people in FT employment, but could be people who spend a few weeks on a film.

It also says, based on Statistics New Zealand data, the average annual pay for three-quarters of the 12,600 jobs within the industry was $13,200.

Which is below the minimum wage so clearly not FT jobs.

“The statistics quoted refer to jobs, not people,” says Selina Joe from the New Zealand Film Commission.

“The number of jobs in the screen industry differs from the number of people employed, as people may hold multiple jobs within the industry.”

She goes on to say that many who work in the industry work part-time or casually, and that it’s impossible to take the data at face value.

So the CTU is just attacking the industry again.

She points to other figures that show wages in the industry are higher than average.

“In 2012, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that the average fulltime wage for those directly employed in the film and television industry was $70,900 per annum,” she says.

Lies, damned lies and statistics from the CTU.

He says that 4900 people worked in the 12,600 jobs in 2013; an average of 2.6 jobs per person. “But even if a person had three jobs at the median earnings for film work, they would have received only $7875 for the year,” he says.

“Additionally, a quarter of the jobs got $625 or less. The number of jobs for each person is an indication of the insecurity of the work.

This is ridiculous. That is probably people appearing as Orc extras or something. Quoting figures which are not about FT jobs is meaningless.


Mediaworks apologises to Tamihere

June 23rd, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Former RadioLive talkback hoast John Tamihere says he is moving on after a tough 18 months for his family following the settlement of his defamation action against Mediaworks.

Mr Tamihere sued his former employer over the handling of his exit from his talkback job in the wake of fallout after a controversial interview during the Roastbusters scandal.

MR Tamihere said he was happy the matter had been resolved.

“This has been a tough 18 months on my children and family,” he said.

“But the settlement means we can move on, so I accept MediaWorks’ apology.”

Mediaworks today apologised unreservedly to Mr Tamihere, who sued the company – which operates TV3 and radio stations such as The Rock and RadioLive – in December 2013 alleging defamation and breach of contract. He said he had been made a scapegoat following a public backlash to an interview with a female caller who claimed to be friends with one of the Roastbusters’ victims.

The case had appeared destined for a lengthy period of litigation until a surprise settlement was agreed on Friday. Lawyers for Mediaworks had sought to have the case settled by private mediation. In response Mr Tamihere had lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal arguing the case should be heard in an open court.

That action was withdrawn once the two parties a reached a confidential settlement – which includes a commitment by Mediaworks to broadcast an apology before or after a prime time news bulletin.

Maybe Mediaworks will think twice next time before sacking a host just because of a Twitter led boycott.

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Learning about Antarctica Part II

June 22nd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

In Part 1 I talked about how we learnt why some parts of Antarctica are experiencing ice loss, and other parts are not. Basically the one sentence version is ice hates water – so the parts of Antarctica over water will react differently to warmer temperatures than the parts on land.

Part 2 looks at what we can and have learnt about the past from Antarctica. As the world’s only continent reserved for science, it is a unique area of knowledge.


These graphics are from Richard Levy, a paleoclimate scientist with GNS.

As you can see above there is a lot of ice down there, but also land below the ice.


One of the science projects NZ has been involved with has been a multi-million dollar drilling project where you drill through both the ice and then the ocean down into the earth below. And then a core section is extracted, so it can be studied.


This is a photo of the CIROS drilling base.

Eight countries (including NZ, US and UK) are involved in the ANDRILL (Antarctic Geological Drilling) program.


And what does it tell you? Well they drill down hundreds of metres, and it is a look back in history, as you get samples from millions of years ago – all wonderfully preserved under the Antarctic ice.


Printed copies of the core were given to us to look at. They comes from around 2.7 million years ago.


You won’t see much in this photo, but there is a huge amount of detail in these. The different colours, the presence of stones, any cracks etc. And through this scientists can work out what was happening millions of years ago – was this area under water, or above sea level. Were there glaciers there? They can also use proxies to work out how much CO2 was in the atmosphere.

What is the relevance for today? Well apart from knowledge for its own sake, the science programmes down in Antarctica allow us to better understand what the correlation in the past has been between temperature, sea level and carbon dioxide levels. No matter what your views on the strength of the relationship between carbon dioxide levels and temperature and sea levels, almost everyone should welcome getting better data and information on what has been the situation in the past. Science is not just about computer forecasts of the future, but very much about what we can learn from the history of the past.

So part of our work in Antarctica involves scientists  such as Richard learning about the past. And when I say learning, I don’t mean working at some desk in Wellington analysing data. They actually go down to Antarctica, spend weeks to months at remote stations like CIROS, living in tents, operating the drills, pulling the core up, and examining it there and then.

Antarctica is unique as a place for science such as this. The Antarctica Treaty which came into force in 1961 is one of the simplest, yet best. It sets aside Antarctica as a a scientific reserve, bans military activity, puts aside all territorial claims, and guarantees free access to all treaty state members and observers.


Second month in a row with net migration from Australia

June 22nd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

New Zealand had a seasonally adjusted net gain (more arrivals than departures) of 5,100 migrants in May 2015. Net migration has been fluctuating around this level for the last nine months, recently peaking at 5,500 in January 2015.

This was the second month in a row that New Zealand has had a seasonally adjusted net gain of 100 migrants from Australia. Before April 2015 there had not been a net gain in migrants from Australia in over 20 years (since 1991).

It is very very unusual for there to be net migration from a larger country to a smaller country, if both are developed economies.


This shows rolling 12 month data. As you can see arrivals from Australia are very close to exceeding departures. If we have another six months of similar data, then we’ll have our first ever year of net migration from Australia.


Garner and du Plessis-Allan for TV3?

June 21st, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Radio host Duncan Garner is expected to take the job hosting TV3’s new primetime current affairs show, after John Campbell’s contentious departure.

And One News reporter Heather du Plessis-Allan is said to be in a bidding war between TVNZ and TV3, as TV3 attempts to poach her to join Garner as a co-host.

If Garner and du Plessis-Allan do become the hosts, then all the Chicken Littles out there who claimed the departure of John Campbell meant the death of current affairs broadcasting will look very stupid.

Duncan and Heather would be a very formidable team. They are both strong interviewers, and also both have a deep level of mongrel in them – will go for the jugular if they think it is warranted.

I’ve long though Heather du Plessis-Allan is a star, and remember suggesting to a TV executive some years ago that she’d be a good co-host with Paul Henry, as she could handle his shit and give it back twice in spades.

Du Plessis-Allan met with Jennings at a Wellington hotel this week to discuss the role.

In an awkward twist, her One News boss Phil O’Sullivan walked in on the discussions after accidentally being given the hotel room key.

Adding to the sensitive situation, O’Sullivan is said to have been meeting with TV3 reporter Dan Parker, in the same hotel, in a bid to poach him.

Now that is so funny. You walk in on one of your staff meeting your rival trying to steal her – but you are there to try and steal one of his staff. Good to see there is competition for good staff.

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Relationships Aotearoa says numbers not inflated

June 20th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

A release from Relationships Aotearoa:

The Interim Board of Relationships Aotearoa (RA) reject claims in the media this week that client numbers were inflated.

The RA Interim Board are on record with Radio New Zealand detailing this:

“At the time it became clear closing the service was inevitable, RA had 7,000 open client files, “ says Cary Hayward, RA Interim Board member.

“The media this week suggesting numbers were inflated is inaccurate,“ he says.

“These claims seem to be based on the number of MSD clients transferring to Stand Children Services.

“They do not take into account clients seen under other contracts or private clients, nor do they account for the fact that the vast majority of MSD funded clients did not want to continue with a service once they were informed RA was closing.”


Sounds a rational explanation. I imagine the final report from the liquidators will shed more light.


Jetstar goes regional

June 20th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Jetstar plans to start flights to regional destinations later this year in what will be a major shake-up for domestic air travel.

The low cost carrier will use a fleet of five 50-seat Bombardier Q300 turbo-prop aircraft to fly to at least four regional centres initially.

Those cities being considered include Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Napier and Palmerston North in the North Island and Nelson and Invercargill in the South Island.

The new flights will break Air New Zealand’s stranglehold on flying large aircraft to regional centres. Air New Zealand shares plunged by close to 10 per cent this morning after the Jetstar move into the regions was tipped by the Business Herald.

A good move by Jetstar. It will be very welcome by people in regional centres.


E safer than alcohol says doctor

June 20th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The purest form of ecstasy is safer than alcohol and should be legalised, Wellington Hospital’s emergency department head says.

Emergency medical specialist and clinical toxicologist Paul Quigley said there was mounting evidence that MDMA, the unadulterated base for ecstasy, was one of the safest recreational drugs, especially when compared with alcohol, which made up about two-thirds of late-night and weekend admissions at the hospital’s accident and emergency department.

His controversial call has been backed by the New Zealand Drug Foundation, and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said that, although the idea was a “longshot”, he would discuss its merits with Quigley.

I’m no expert on the subject but I have tried E and in a behavioural sense I’d say it had less impact one me than alcohol.

Legalising and regulating the sale and manufacture of MDMA – or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine – could put a dent in the black market for other more harmful drugs flooding the market, Quigley said.

Where a drug has only low levels of risk and/or harm, I think regulation is better than prohibition.

MDMAshould first be tested theoretically under the Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA) testing regime, which was enacted to regulate legal highs and party pills before they were made illegal last year, he said. 

“There are political and moral barriers that society has to get through – and we may still find something that is better and safer than MDMA – but people will always take recreational drugs and society has to accept that at some some stage there will be a drug available that is a safe and acceptable alternative to alcohol.”

That was unlikely to happen while domestic law was bound by United Nations drug control treaties, but Quigley said New Zealand could be a world leader and forge ahead with its own ideas of what substances were dangerous.

If MDMA passed the PSA’s testing, it could be sold with an R-18 rating, in controlled and limited doses through chemists or “head shops”, such as the Cosmic Corner chain, which would be subject to the same type of police scrutiny as outlets selling alcohol. 

Sounds sensible.


Bye bye phone books

June 20th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The phone book’s days may be numbered, with deliveries set to plummet as Kiwis embrace the digital age.

A new extension to White Pages’ “opt-in” service would likely see hundreds of thousands fewer phone books delivered around New Zealand.

Communications Minister Amy Adams announced the Government had agreed to extend the trial parent company Yellow had been conducting in Auckland for the past two years.

The scheme’s third year would see an estimated 23,000 phone books delivered to Auckland households that wanted them – a fraction of the 478,853 delivered in 2012. 

The opt-in service had been approved on an ongoing basis with Yellow given the flexibility to apply it nationally as appropriate, Adams said. 

S only around 1 in 20 actually want a phone book. That sounds about right. Sensible to extend nationwide.

The reduction in phone books delivered in Auckland would save 281 million pieces of paper.