Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

A silly Immigration decision

April 21st, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand’s international reputation has been damaged by Immigration NZ’s decision to deny an Iranian film director a visitor visa, a film festival director says. 

Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami was invited to speak at the screening of her film Sonita at next month’s Documentary Edge film festival. 

An immigration officer declined her visitor visa on the basis that she might become an overstayer. 

This is a pretty bizarre decision. Does Immigration NZ think she went to all the trouble of producing a film and having it screened in NZ, just so she could visit here and them overstay?

Jacinda Ardern, Labour’s arts, culture and heritage spokesperson, has added her voice to those frustrated by the decision.  

The denial “does not appear to be grounded in evidence or common sense” and will put New Zealand’s reputation at further risk of damage without resolution, she said.

I agree with Jacinda.

If someone is coming here for no specific reason, and has some risk factors, then you may need to be concerned about overstaying. But coming here to speak at the screening of a film you made is a very specific reason, and someone who makes films for a living is probably not that likely to try and hide in New Zealand, and become an illegal overstayer who lives off ash jobs picking fruit etc!

UPDATE: Immigration NZ has reversed the decision and granted the visa

No individual responsibility

April 20th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Auckland doctor Robyn Toomath spent years telling her diabetes patients to lose weight only to have them fail despite their best intentions.

Eventually she stopped altogether and her book, Fat Science, explains why.

Radical as it might sound Toomath says individuals shouldn’t be held responsible for becoming fat, or obese.

“It’s not appropriate to consider body size as being within our personal control when genetics and the environment in which we live has such a powerful effect.”

Toomath says some people are genetically pre-disposed to weight gain and in an environment packed with fatty, sugar-soaked food, it is inevitable they will lose any battle of the bulge.

I totally disagree. Yes there are genetic and environmental factors but they are far less powerful than the power of individual choice.

I got massively overweight because I ate too much food.

I lost the weight because I stopped eating so much food, and did more exercise.

My problem wasn’t the type of food, the advertising, the taste. It was simply I ate too much. And that is the case for most people who are overweight (not all).

Toomath blames almost everything on evil big business, and discounts any significant role for individual choice.


Fonterra is not a monopoly

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

The Herald reports:

Fonterra has continued to lose farmers to its competitors, based on latest production data.

The co-operative’s market share last year ran at about 85 per cent, down from 96 per cent at the time of its inception in 2001.

A timely reminder that Fonterra is not a monopoly. If dairy farmers think they will get a better price from another company, they can do so.

Rakaia-based specialist dairy manufacturer Synlait Milk said last month that it had picked up 28 new Canterbury milk suppliers – bringing its total to 201 for 2016/17.

Synlait said increased demand for nutritional products and increased production capacity had created a chance for more Canterbury dairy farmers to sign up.

Open Country Dairy – the country’s second biggest dairy manufacturer – is also understood to have added new suppliers.

“They are picking up as many as they need, based on their capacity and what they want,” Kilsby said.

Good to see the smaller companies growing.

Fibre and data

April 19th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Seen some interesting data from Chorus:

  • Average monthly usage over all connections is 100GB/mth
  • This is double a year ago and seven times what we did in 2012
  • For fibre connections it is 200 GB/mth
  • Average download speeds are now 26 Mb/s – up from 16 Mb/s a year ago

So in the last year data usage has doubled and download speeds are up 65% or so.

Inflation now at 0.4%

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

Stats NZ reports:

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.2 percent in the March 2016 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. This follows a fall of 0.5 percent in the December 2015 quarter.

“Higher prices for cigarettes, food, and housing-related costs were countered by lower prices for petrol and air fares,” consumer prices manager Matt Haigh said.

Cigarette and tobacco prices showed the highest upward contribution, up 9.4 percent in the March 2016 quarter following a rise in excise duty in January.

“The average price of a pack of 25 cigarettes was $28.79 in the March 2016 quarter, more than double the price from six years ago when annual 10 percent excise tax increases were introduced,” Mr Haigh said.

Excluding cigarettes and tobacco, the CPI showed a fall of 0.1 percent in the March 2016 quarter.

So if you’re not a smoker, then on average prices have not increased this quarter. That’s great considering there has been steady increase in wages, benefit rates and the level of superannuation. You get increased spending power.

The CPI increased 0.4 percent in the year to the March 2016 quarter, up from a 0.1 percent increase for the year to the December 2015 quarter.  

Housing-related prices continue to be the main upward contributor, up 3.0 percent in the year. This rise was led by higher prices for rent (up 2.3 percent) and newly built houses excluding land (up 5.0 percent).

Transport prices made the largest downward contribution for the year, influenced by lower petrol prices (down 5.1 percent). Excluding petrol, the CPI showed a 0.7 percent increase in the year to the March 2016 quarter.

I think around 1% is a good place to be for inflation. High enough to avoid deflation but not so high as to chew up purchasing power.

And as always I check the prices of a couple of items that Labour declared were a crisis as they were increasing so much.

  • Electricity prices up 0.6% from a year ago
  • Milk prices down 8.9% from a year ago

Never call a Judge a c*** on the Internet!

April 18th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

This transcript was found by Tim Murphy at The Spinoff. Hilarious. Good on the Judge.


Latest NZ Internet Stats

April 18th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The 2015 World Internet Project study for NZ is out. Some interesting data:

  • 91% of NZers use the Internet
  • 3% are ex users and 5% have never used the Internet
  • 75% of NZers have accessed the Internet through a laptop, 74% mobile phone, 70% PC, 59% tablet, 22% games console and 17% smart TV
  • 16% of Internet users have a fibre connection
  • Those who do an activity at least weekly are
    • Browse web 91%
    • Social Media 78%
    • Watch videos online 49%
    • Listen to music 44%
    • Watch TV shows online 42%
    • Play games 36%
    • Listen to radio 23%
    • Download films 21%
    • View porn 14%
    • Look at religious sites 11%
    • Gamble 5%
  • Social media use is Facebook 44%, You Tube 27%, Linked In 16%, Instagram 10%, Twitter 9%
  • Sadly only 35% think it is safe to express political opinion online

Sell it and buy three new state houses

April 18th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The tenant of a $1 million state house is making a buck off Housing New Zealand, charging boarders rent for a room vacated by her grown-up children.

Housing New Zealand said its tenancy agreements forbid tenants to rent out the HNZ-owned premises they were occupying – or “any part of it”. 

It will now investigate this case. 

The tenant has occupied the two-bedroom house in Auckland’s posh Freemans Bay, which has a council valuation of $1.4 million, for more than a decade.

She has also, flouting Auckland council rules, built a ‘dwelling’ in the back yard without building consent.

Housing NZ should sell the $1.4 million house and use the proceeds to build or buy two or three more affordable houses.

When the boarder was approached for comment, his landlady had been on holiday in Australia. 

He did not know how long the woman had been making a profit from her own tenants. 

She doesn’t seem to be in dire poverty. This is why state houses should not be a house for life, but go to those most in need. For some reason Labour opposes this.

A major ACC fraud

April 17th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Marlborough widow has 40 days to pay back $373,000 after lying to ACC about her new partner.

The woman illegally claimed benefits for close to a decade, saying she was not in a de facto relationship, despite living with her new boyfriend, building a house and having a child with him.

The woman, who cannot be named, was eligible for survivor’s grants and weekly compensation from ACC after her husband died in an accident in the late 1980s.

She signed an ACC form every year until 2012 stating she was not married or in a de facto relationship. 

However, an ACC investigation discovered her new partner moved into her home in 1992.

They had a child together later that year, and the man became joint owner of the property in 1996.

The couple acquired a further 10 properties over the years.

ACC’s investigation in 2013 determined their relationship was “in the nature of marriage”, and weekly compensation to the woman should have stopped in 2004.

Her payments stopped following the investigation.

She admitted in an interview with ACC that she lived with the man and that they had a child together.

But she denied their relationship was de facto or in the nature of marriage.

They live together. They own property together and they have children. Of course they are a de facto couple.

She just has entitlementitis. Believed she should have got state support for ever.

She was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, which was converted to 12 months’ home detention.

She was also sentenced to 150 hours’ community work, and to repay $373,000 within 40 days.

If the woman had not paid the full amount by May 25, the court would apply to review the sentence and the only option would be prison, Judge Ruth said.

A very light sentence. Four week’s community work and staying at home.

Her name was suppressed until that date.

Her lawyer said the woman was likely to appeal the decision.

If there is an appeal, I hope there is a tougher sentence.

Is it the breed or the owners?

April 17th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Auckland councillor for Manurewa-Papakura Calum Penrose and journalist Duncan Garner have also called for the banning of pitbulls specifically.

Mr Penrose said to RNZ on Sunday: “there’s too many young ones across the country – and particularly in Auckland – that are getting mauled by these dogs.”

On Monday Garner penned an opinion piece which ran on Radio Live’s website, saying they were a “horrible” breed.

However Hazel’s owner, Alanna Gracie of Cambridge, says banning pitbulls is an impractical solution and unfair to the breed, which she believes have a bad rap they don’t deserve.

Cross breeding means it would be practically impossible to enforce such a breed ban, as purebred pitbulls are already banned in New Zealand.

“Where do they draw the line,” she asked.

“They’re just going off their opinion of what a pitbull is. What I think a pitbull looks like and what you think a pitbull looks like could be completely different.”

In the past, dobermans, rottweilers and German shepherds had been singled out for banning, and now it was pitbull’s turn, she said.

“Owners should be held responsible for dog attacks no matter what the breed.”

It was concerning to Ms Gracie that a dog could attack someone, be put down and then its owners could by a new dog the very next day.

The solution was not to ban breeds but to restrict dog ownership, Ms Gracie said.

I think it is both.

Generally I would say the owner is to blame, not the dog. But there are certain breeds that are inherently dangerous and violent. Every week almost there is a story about these breeds and you read that it was out of character for the dog. Well little comfort for the kid whose face was half ripped off.

I would also ban people from having dogs if they have a history of their dogs attacking people. But that is not enough. To many kids get maimed or killed by dogs, and it is almost always the same breeds. You can be the best owner in the world, but some dogs are inherently dangerous.

No tag for this post.

Should Fonterra board reduce even further?

April 16th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Fonterra will announce plans to cut two directors from its board on Thursday, just months after fighting off a pressure for a similar move driven by its shareholders.

On Wednesday night the dairy giant emailed its thousands of shareholders with proposals to make changes to the way it is governed. The plan will be released to the NZX on Thursday morning.

The most striking change will see the number of directors cut to 11.

I think 11 is still too large for a board. While not a hard and fast rule, the optimal size tends to be between five and nine. Less than five and you may not have enough diversity of opinion. More than nine and you find it challenging to have everyone contribute fully.

Fewer overstayers

April 16th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Interesting data on the number of overstayers in NZ. The change from 2008 to 2016 is:

  • Total overstayers down 30%
  • Samoa down 42%
  • Tonga up 9%
  • China down 40%
  • Thailand down 52%
  • UK down 26%

Sellman on cannabis and alcohol

April 15th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Doug Sellman writes:

The days of cannabis prohibition in New Zealand appear to be coming to an end. Peter Dunne is reflecting a change in public attitudes towards cannabis that is gathering momentum.

The brave admissions by Helen Kelly and others about their illegal use of cannabis for medical purposes has helped reignite public discussion about cannabis law in general.

Drugs, including alcohol, are here to stay – our job is to get better at managing them as a society. Declaring war is a failed strategy, which needs to be replaced by scientifically based harm-reduction approaches.

I agree with this.

Excessive harm is caused at both ends of the continuum, where big business flourishes, one within the law and the other outside of it. Both share the goal of profit maximisation from supplying and selling as much of their drug as possible.

Sellman is basically comparing alcohol companies to illegal drug gangs.

Behind the scenes, however, alcohol corporates target new young customers, avoid paying tax, schmooze politicians, and attempt to denigrate those who point out their devious tactics.

The organised criminal cannabis suppliers also flagrantly target the young and avoid paying tax, but they don’t try to pretend they are anything but gangsters making money out of drug dealing.

So alcohol corporates are gangsters!

Leaving recreational drugs in the hands of big business, without very strong regulation, is a recipe for harm maximisation.

We do have very strong regulation around alcohol. Almost every aspect of the industry is regulated.

Lobbying of our parliamentarians may already be under way by business leaders salivating at the new fortunes they anticipate reaping. This is especially so since the dramatic changes in the United States where four states now have laws allowing private businesses to supply and sell cannabis.

There are alternatives to a private business model, one of which is the establishment of state-owned enterprises.

Government monopolies of retail sales of alcohol exist in Scandinavia and are documented as a highly effective harm reduction intervention for alcohol .

Sellman wants the state to take over the alcohol industry. Every pub, hotel and bottle store in NZ must be owned by the Government. I can’t think of anything more dreadful.

Mediaworks broke Reserve Bank lockup rules

April 15th, 2016 at 10:01 am by David Farrar

The Reserve Bank announced:

An independent investigation has confirmed that highly sensitive and valuable market information on the March Official Cash Rate (OCR) cut decision was leaked by a journalist ahead of the official release, the Reserve Bank said today.

Following the investigation, the Bank will tighten its procedures for the release of confidential information.  The Bank will discontinue embargoed lock-ups for news media and analysts ahead of announcements of interest rate decisions, Monetary Policy Statements and Financial Stability Reports.

The investigation by Deloitte’s forensic unit found that, contrary to the rules of the lock-up, information on the Bank’s decision to cut the OCR was transmitted by a Newshub Mediaworks reporter to several people in the Newshub office from the media lockup for the Monetary Policy Statement on 10 March.

This information was then passed on by another person in Newshub Mediaworks, well before the MPS official release, to an economics blogger.

This is very bad behaviour by Mediaworks and I believe the fair thing would be for Mediaworks to pay for the cost of the investigation, rather than taxpayers.

Multiple staff behaved badly. In summary what happened:

  • A Mediaworks employee e-mailed a draft story an hour before the lockup finished to his colleagues. This was clearly against the rules. I have been in Budget lockups and you are told multiple times, and in writing, that you must not communicate with anyone before the lock up concludes. In an OCR lockup it is even more vital as currency markets will change on the OCR news.
  • The Mediaworks employees who got the e-mail discussed it amaongst themselves, instead of telling the reporter he should not have sent it to them early
  • Another Mediaworks employee overheard the conversation and for some reason decided to leak it to an economics blogger, Michael Reddell

The actions of the journalist in the lockup and the employee who leaked it to Reddell are appalling. Mediaworks should discipline them. Instead they won’t even name them.

Most media must know who was the Mediaworks journalist in the lockup. Why has he not been named? If it was say an analyst for a major trading bank who broke lockup rules, I’m sure their name will be in the media.

Finally this brings us ot the decision to end the lockups, I think this is regrettable. Lockups play a valuable role in allowing media and analysts to read the background to decisions, and write a more considered story. In an age where media compete to be the first to report the news online, lockups are even more valuable.

The better course of action for the Reserve Bank would be to ban Mediaworks employees from their lockups for say 12 months. Getting rid of the lockups punishes the innocent and will lead to a reduction in the quality of analysis of the Reserve Bank decisions.

Let the market decide where people want hotels

April 14th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Plans to build a 200-room hotel at Christchurch airport have upset some city developers and business people who say the location will damage inner city regeneration. 

Christchurch International Airport Ltd, which is 75 per cent owned by the Christchurch City Council and 25 per cent owned by the Crown, announced last month that it was building the $80m Novotel Christchurch Airport hotel to fill a major gap in the accommodation market. …

However, prominent local businessman Philip Carter, a key player in the proposed convention centre which includes a hotel, described the decision as “one of the most unfortunate decisions made in Christchurch since the earthquakes.”

“Fresh investment has stimulated the regeneration of the central city, but this announcement to spend public money outside the CBD will have a negative impact and send a confusing signal to the investment community both within and outside the city.” …

Central City Business Association chair Antony Gough said the new hotel, due to open in late 2017, would encourage passengers to stay overnight then “shoot through” without spending time and money in the central city. 

But Johns said that was exactly the market the hotel was targeting and it would cater for about a million short stay passengers a year who flew in and out late at night or in the early hours of the morning.

“They’re not coming to stay for two, three or four nights, they’re coming to transit through the airport.”

Local Tourism Industry Association hotel sector representative, Bruce Garrett, said there was already plenty of accommodation at or near the airport and the need was for more beds in the CBD.

“It’s effectively the council going into competition with private hotels.” 

Tony Sewell, property consultant and former chief executive of Ngai Tahu Property, said the airport was only 15 minutes by car from the CBD  and the location of the hotel went against efforts to regenerate the inner city.

The public ownership of the airport is a red herring. It is a private company whose aim is to make money. If they think they can make money by building an airport hotel, then good on them.

Those saying that it will compete with other hotels, miss the point. It is meant to. If getting people to stay in the central city is dependent on a strategy of having nowhere to stay outside the central city – well doomed to failure.

Not Guilty

April 12th, 2016 at 5:10 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A prominent New Zealander has been cleared of sex charges against two girls.

After deliberation, the jury in the High Court at Whangarei returned not guilty verdicts on all 12 charges of doing an indecent act.

Members of the man’s family cried as the not guilty verdicts flooded in.

Several supporters clapped and celebrated as the final acquittal was read out by the foreperson.

The jury heard all the evidence and decided the defendant was not guilty – that the accusations were not proven beyond reasonable doubt.

I’m not surprised by the verdict. The media reports on the trial didn’t indicate a strong case for the prosecution (of course you need to be wary of relying on media reports), and several people who actually attended the trial said the prosecution’s case was very weak.

The name of the prominent New Zealanders is suppressed. So no hints or worse about who it is, even though of course most know. The reason for the name suppression is to protect the complainants.

Personally I wish there was not name suppression. I actually think the defendant has been disadvantaged by the name suppression, as he has been unable to defend himself publicly – except in court.

A number of other prominent New Zealanders spent months declaring the defendant was guilty and doing everything they could to both destroy him and deny him a fair trial. They should apologise if they had any decency, but I am sure they won’t.

At the end of the day there are no winners out of this case. The complainants will be feeling very bruised and sad, and the defendant has to now rebuild his life. It’s a very sad case.

No tag for this post.

Blessie Gotingco killer loses appeal

April 12th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The man who ran down then stabbed and raped Blessie Gotingco has failed in his appeal against his sentence.

Tony Robertson was convicted and sentenced last year for the 2014 murder and rape of Gotingco.

​He had only just finished an eight-year sentence for sexual offending against a five-year-old girl when he killed the 56-year-old mother-of-three in May 2014.

He was still on GPS surveillance as part of his prison release conditions at the time.

For the rape he was sentenced to preventive detention and for the murder he was sentenced to life, with a minimum non-parole period of 24 years.

Good – may he never be released.

He appealed on multiple grounds – the most disgusting being he couldn’t have raped her as she was dead when he did, so it wasn’t rape!

One of interest to me is:

Suppression issues about his prior offending: The details of his sexual offending against a child was withheld from the jury, but he argued they may have found out anyway.

The Police thought he would try this line at appeal, so they worked hard to prevent any chance it could succeed.

I blogged a couple of years ago that the person arrested for the murder was well known to the Police. This was not in breach of any laws at the time it was made, or later. However the Police rang me up (given me a minor panic as I was on holiday and got a message to call back Waitakere Police) and asked if I would consider removing it, as they said he may point to it (if convicted) and use as grounds for appeal. They said I had no legal obligation to do so, but of course I was happy to comply.

Looks like they knew their man well, as he did try.

A massively generous legal bequest

April 12th, 2016 at 12:30 pm by David Farrar

The Nikau Foundation announced:

A man who has dedicated his life to the law, Retired District Court Judge, Ian Borrin, has established a charitable trust devoted to the development of legal education and research for the betterment of New Zealand’s legal system.

The Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation will promote legal scholarship in all areas of the law and the development of legal research, scholarship, writing and education.

The Foundation, announced at today’s memorial service, is expected to be worth around $30 million, and is one of the largest single purpose bequests made in New Zealand.

That is huge.

It will be administered by the Nikau Foundation as trustee, with an advisory independent Grants and Scholarship committee established by retired Judge Borrin comprising: The Chief Justice of New Zealand; the President of the Law Society; the Dean of the Law School at Victoria University; Retired Chief Judge, Thomas Goddard and his alternate David Goddard QC; and a representative of the Nikau Foundation.

The Nikau Foundation is a charitable trust that attracts gifts, trusts and legacies and invests them for the benefit principally of the Wellington region. The income from these investments is distributed to charitable purposes in accordance with each donor’s wishes. Nikau Foundation also manages some funds that benefit all of New Zealand and the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation will be by far the largest of these.

Chris Milne, Chair of the Nikau foundation said: “This is a marvellous legacy left by a man who has dedicated his life to law. Ian Borrin was a humble and gentle man of integrity, who sought no recognition for his generosity. He worked hard in his final months to ensure there was clarity in the Foundation’s purpose, and that it would be a lasting tribute to the memory of his parents.

The rule of law is what underpins a successful country. It’s an excellent area to donate to.

“Ian supported scholarship and legal publications, perhaps a neglected object of philanthropy in New Zealand, but he knew that the rule of law underpins any community and he believed very strongly in its importance for New Zealand. It is entirely consistent with the way in which this modest, kind and scholarly man lived his life that this parting gift is one that looks to the future with optimism. We will all greatly miss this good man. 

“Members of the legal community at all levels will be supported by grants and scholarships to undertake legal writing, research and education through this gift. Although the Foundation provides direct support to those in the legal community, there is no doubt that its primary beneficiaries are the people of New Zealand who live under the security of law, something Ian Borrin believed in and worked tirelessly for. It is a magnificent legacy which will be of lasting benefit,” Dame Sian Elias said.

A $30 million legacy will probably mean around $1.5 million a year is available for grants and scholarships.

DHBs don’t even consult the organ donation licence database!

April 12th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Mr Tookey said problems with New Zealand’s driver licence database included that it left out non-drivers; willing donors thought saying yes on the licence was all they needed to do, so might omit the more important step of telling family; and in situations where a person’s body might be suitable for donation, hospital staff “refuse to check” the licence.

Organ Donation NZ, based at the Auckland District Health Board, has said staff consult the licence database only if a family asks, because many families already knew their relative’s wishes.

I’m staggered by this. It is almost as if they don’t want more organs. As an absolute minimum the database should be checked automatically if a patient is clinically suitable to donate, and the family informed of the patient’s declared wishes.

To only consult the database if the family proactively raise the issue is neglectful. No wonder our rate is so appallingly low.

I’m listed as a donor. Unless my family read this blog post I doubt they’d know my wishes. It isn’t something I’ve discussed with them, and I suspect the same is true for many families.

How can you expect a family to make an informed decision, when you won’t inform them of what the patient has previously said they want?

Good to see an employer win costs

April 11th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A flight attendant sacked after being accused of eating food meant for passengers and berating a customer has lost a bid to get her job back at Air New Zealand.

Jennifer Kilpatrick was fired after a dispute about her behaviour on flight NZ19 from Rarotonga to Auckland in March 2012, and her subsequent sick leave.

She fought a long-running battle to get her job back.

In a judgement released last week Judge Perkins ordered Kilpatrick to pay $80,000 in costs plus $795.50 in disbursements to Air New Zealand. She was also told to pay $8,750 the Authority originally awarded.

It is rare for an employee to be hit with such a large costs bill, but you’ll see it was justified in this case as Stuff reports.

She then took a personal grievance case to the Employment Relations Authority claiming she was unjustifiably dismissed, but there was no merit found to her claims.

Kilpatrick appealed the decision to the Employment Court claiming unjustifiable dismissal and breach of contract, in a case that was heard in July last year.

But Judge Mark Perkins again threw out Kilpatrick’s claims and noted that when giving evidence in court she had been deliberately misinterpreting questions to give vague answers.

He found it difficult to understand Kilpatrick’s stance and believed Air New Zealand was well within its rights to start disciplinary action against her.

“Ms Kilpatrick failed to appropriately engage with Air New Zealand in good faith and in a timely manner,” the judge said.

“She refused to agree to meetings with management which were arranged so that Air New Zealand could hear her side of events and possibly get to the bottom of why she had behaved in the way she did and by which discussion she could possibly have saved her employment.”

In his costs decision released on Thursday, Judge Perkins said the way Kilpatrick had presented and conducted her case was inefficient and added significantly to the costs incurred by Air New Zealand.

Some of the details suggest she was very unsuited for a customer job:

A flight attendant on the Rarotonga flight, Michelle Coyle, gave evidence during January’s hearing that Kilpatrick had been combative from the start.

During a pre-flight meeting of attendants, she said she asked Kilpatrick if she preferred to be called Jenny or Jen, which was met with the response: “Neither, I am neither of them and if you want to call me that I’m going home; it’s over”.

During the flight Kilpatrick was responsible for the galley and her attitude was described as poor by Coyle.

Kilpatrick had not programmed the in-flight entertainment screens to include food orders, leading to complaints from passengers about a lack of food.

The galley was described as “a shambles” with carts out and no replenishing of tea or coffee.

One passenger also saw Kilpatrick eating one of the pies, which were supposed to be available for purchase by passengers but had not been added to the in-flight screen.

The passenger made a pointed comment to Kilpatrick about the situation, who then “rudely berated him” for watching her while she ate.

After shouting at several other flight attendants and calling them “useless” she was told to stop shouting but said “I’m not shouting, I have a loud voice”.

I wonder how she got hired in the first place. Maybe she presented well at interview.

Holidays Act problems

April 10th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Susan Hornsby-Geluk writes:

The recent exposure of employers paying holiday pay incorrectly has lifted the lid off a festering can of worms. …

So, where and why do the issues arise?

Firstly, the Act provides for annual holidays in weeks – employees are entitled to four weeks leave a year. This creates all kinds of problems because typically, we take our holidays, and our payroll systems record our entitlements, in days or hours rather than weeks.

While it’s easy to divide a “week” into a number of days for those who have a steady Monday – Friday work pattern, that is not necessarily the case for shift workers, part timers and people who work overtime. In these cases the days and hours of work may change from week to week.

Where employees move between full and part time employment, the situation becomes even more complex, requiring recalculation of leave balances based on the new hours.

Secondly, the Act contains a significant number of different calculations and formulae that must be used for working out what to pay people who are on holiday or leave.

Employees get paid “relevant daily pay” (or a different formula if this cannot be worked out) for sick and bereavement leave; time-and-a-half of relevant daily pay for public holidays; and the higher of average weekly earnings or ordinary weekly pay for annual holidays.

Average weekly earnings is the total of an employee’s gross earnings over the last 52 weeks, divided by 52. This calculation includes the value of all allowances, overtime, penal rates, incentive payments, contractual bonuses and other regular or semi-regular payments earned in the period.

Almost no employers actually calculate holiday pay different to normal pay – and to be honest the law shouldn’t require it.

Most employers just pay you your normal daily rate on a day you take annual leave. They treat it as if you were in the office. That is the common sense thing to do – you don’t get paid more or less by taking one of your 20 days annual leave.

Sadly the law though is way more complicated as described above. If you worked one extra day seven months earlier, then your average pay is higher and on your annual eave days you should get paid a few cents more.

Also if you had a pay rise, then your annual leave pay may be a bit lower than your new rate, as it is over the average of the last year.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Holidays Act is not fit for purpose. Tinkering with it in the past has not fixed the problem, and has only added to the complexity.

What is required is a complete rethink and a clean sheet of paper.

Seriously, if companies with the resources of Fonterra cannot get it right, what hope is there for anyone else?

I agree. The compliance cost burden on medium and small employers would be huge. They just want to pay what they normally pay, when someone takes leave.

What I would do is set some principles such as:

  • Leave  is calculated as hours, being 8% of your annual hours (for 4 weeks leave)
  • The pay rate for leave is your current contractual pay rate

So for every 100 hours you work, you earn 8 hours leave. And no calculating average pay rates for the last year – just use the standard current pay rate they get for ordinary time.

Same should apply for public holidays.

Blunt on media

April 9th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar


NZ Internet getting faster

April 8th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand’s internet speeds continue to get faster, according to an international report on broadband speeds.

The Akamai State of the Internet December 2015 report found that in the past year average broadband speeds rose from 7.3 Mbps to 9.3 Mbps, representing a 27 per cent increase in speeds for connected New Zealanders.

New Zealand has improved by two places in the rankings since 2014 to now be 41st in the world for average fixed line connection speeds.

Communications Minister Amy Adams said that in 2008, average broadband speeds were around 2.7 Mbps and by the end of last year speeds had tripled.

The decision to go with a fibre to the premises roll-out, rather than fibre to the node and then copper, was an excellent one. Australia has really fallen behind us, and having fibre to the premises future proofs us.

I can’t wait for my home to get fibre – due later this year. We have the old Telstra-Clear cables which are pretty good, but not as good as the fibre in my last place.

New Zealand’s broadband according to Akamai State of the Internet report:
• Average speeds rose from 7.3 Mbps in 2014 to 9.3 Mbps in December 2015
• Peak connection speeds increased to 42.8 Mbps, a 25 per cent increase on the previous year
• The number of New Zealanders with access to broadband speeds over 15 Mbps has almost tripled over the last year
• New Zealand has improved by two places in the rankings since 2014 to now be 41st in the world for average fixed line connection speeds
• Average mobile connection speeds in the last quarter of 2015 were 7.4Mbps
• Peak mobile speeds reached 75.4 Mbps, and 88 per cent of connections were above 4 Mbps.

Most of us can probably remember when speeds were in Kbps not Mbps. Hell I can even recall bps – the old 2400 modems!

At least we’re beating Mississippi!

April 8th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar


From The American Catholic.

North Dakota looks nice. You can pop over the border to Canada. It has low population density and low unemployment.

Nice weather in summer but very cold in winter.

This is a good thing

April 7th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Egypt’s Government is sending Cairo-educated imams to “take control” of New Zealand mosques and Islamic centres in a new drive to reduce radicalisation and counter jihadism.

The imams – trained at the ancient Al-Azhar University, regarded as the foremost institution in the Islamic world for the study of Sunni theology and sharia law – will spend up to three years working alongside local mosque leaders promoting moderate Islam and tolerance.

Good. The best way of reducing the extreme versions of Islam, is promoting moderate Islam. Despite what some think, there is a huge diversity of views within Islam.

“We don’t want anything to happen here like what has happened in Belgium, Paris, Madrid or London so we are sending imams to explain Islam and to take control of Islamic centres and mosques here.”

Mr al-Wasimy said the imams were funded by the Egyptian Government and Al-Azhar, which dates back to 970 and in recent years has embarked on a global initiative to improve the image of Islam, promote tolerance, and battle radicalisation and recruitment of young Muslims by extremist groups. …

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand said it welcomed the “extremely positive” move after checking out the authenticity of the offer.

“We decided to accept their offer, especially as Al-Azhar is a very well-known organisation promoting moderate Islam,” said federation president Hazim Arafeh.

Sounds good to me.