Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

NZ 7th in HDI

July 28th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The UN’s Human Development Index is out and New Zealand is the 7th highest in the world. The top 10 are:

  1. Norway .944
  2. Australia .933
  3. Switzerland .917
  4. Netherlands .915
  5. US .914
  6. Germany .911
  7. New Zealand .910
  8. Canada .902
  9. Singapore .901
  10. Denmark .900

Damn Germans beat us by .001  :-)

The bottom country is Niger at .337 and 18th place.

Tags: ,

Family violence funding

July 27th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The former director of Sir Owen Glenn’s family violence inquiry has produced her own solution without waiting for the inquiry to finish its work.

Ruth Herbert, whose resignation last year almost destroyed Sir Owen’s $2 million inquiry, has written her own 155-page report advocating an integrated “one door, right door” system to replace an approach she sees as “broken, fragmented and inconsistent”.

She and her co-author, former Auckland regional family violence network co-ordinator Deborah Mackenzie, say their integrated system would add $22 million to the $70 million the state already spends on 774 separate family violence services.

But they believe it would save many times that amount in social and economic costs by reducing family violence.

First of all a better integrated network of family violence service providers seems a very sensible thing, and the cost doesn’t seem prohibitive. I’ve not yet read the report, but Ruth Herbert has a solid background of expertise in this area.

I would caution though that it does seem to be focused a bit on helping victims after violence has occurred, and the far tougher challenge is to try and never have family violence occur in the first place.


Organ donation stats

July 26th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

People from Wellington and Queenstown are more likely to indicate “yes” to organ donation on their driving licences, while those in Wairoa and Kawerau will probably say “no”.

Information provided by the NZ Transport Agency has revealed an almost even split when it comes to ticking the box and leaving it blank.

But drivers in certain regions are far more likely to say yes than others, and Queenstown-Lakes district residents have the highest proportion, with 66.2 per cent indicating they were organ donors.

Wellington was not far behind at 62 per cent, while Kapiti Coast was also high at 59.4 per cent.

At the other end of the scale, Wairoa recorded the lowest level, just 31.4 per cent indicating they were donors. Kawerau was just above at 33.7 per cent, while Opotiki was at 36.2 per cent.

I may be wrong, but I wonder of ethnicity has a significant impact on the donation stats. The towns at the bottom have a high proportion of Maori, and off memory some Maori believe that any interference with the body after (brain) death is wrong, so I would not be surprised.

But even with this indication, the final decision rests with a dead person’s family, who can decline the donation no matter what the licence says. In New Zealand, 1.75 million people say they are donors but last year only 36 families agreed to donate their loved ones’ organs.

Organ Donation NZ clinical director Stephen Streat said this was not because of an unwillingness to donate, but rather the strict criteria that must be met. …

About half the families faced with the decision agreed to donation – a proportion similar to the licence indication figures.

I think this may be misleading. I suspect those who do not indicate a willingness on their licence to be a donor do not even have their families asked, so this stat is really saying that giving families the ability to over-ride the wishes of the deceased reduces the donation rate by 50%.

While cultural beliefs have been suggested as affecting organ donation decisions, Streat said the focus was on each individual situation as it arose, and donation was offered to every eligible person.

“It’s not about religion, culture or ethnicity – it’s about individuals.”

I quite like the idea that priority for receiving organs goes to those who have indicated they would be a donor themselves.


Maori offending

July 26th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The prison system has achieved little in lowering the rate of Maori offending and a century of appalling Maori crime statistics shows no sign of abating, according to an iwi justice advocate.

That is because generally the role of the prison system is to protect the community, not lower offending. Lowering offending is important, but that involves drug and alcohol counselling, education, rehabilitation programmes and the like. Some of that can be done through prisons, but again the primary role of prisons is to keep the community safe.

A joint police and iwi justice programme in Wellington that aims to reduce Maori crime statistics was presented to the Maori King Tuheitia and his pan-tribal council Tekau-maa-rua in Ngaruawahia yesterday.

Chair of the iwi justice panel at Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt, Neville Baker, said the current system had failed Maori for decades and the systems needed to change.

“Maori have been incarcerated for 100 years and we are getting worse so why would we want to continue with the prison system,” said Baker.

It’s great to see a focus on reducing offending. I would point out that the trend is actually positive. The Herald reported last year:

A progress report on the Government’s crime prevention programme shows Maori youth offending down by 32 per cent over three years.

The Drivers of Crime programme, launched in December 2009, brings together crime prevention work of the justice and social sector.

The latest report shows offending rates for Maori youth between 2008 and 2012 dropped 32 per cent.

Youth offending is probably the most important to target.

There has also been a small decrease in the number of Maori in prison – a 3.6% reduction from March 2011 (4,483) to to March 2014 (4,320).

Still a huge amount more to be done, but the solutions are not as simple as just saying less prison. If an offender’s crimes are serious enough or repetitive enough, the protecting the community comes first.

Tags: ,

NZ by the numbers

July 26th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The NZ Initiative has launched a 56 page publication called NZ by the numbers. Media tend to report mainly bad news as that is more sensational, and we get a deluge of crime stories. So the NZ Initiative decided to focus on the long term trends in NZ, and avoid the sensational headlines. They’ve found that in many (not all) areas things have improved a lot. Some highlights:

  • Rural population has declined from 60% in 1881 to 15% in 1981, but has been stable since.
  • Average population growth since 1992 has been 37,000 with 32,000 being new births and only 5,000 being net migration.
  • In 1935 only 0.3% of NZers said they had no religion, today it is 35%
  • Abortion rate dropping since 2003
  • Tobacco used has dropped by over two thirds since 1975
  • Male death rate has dropped 40% since 1980

The report is 150 pages in total and will be an invaluable reference tool. It is almost a replacement for the old NZ Yearbook.


OCR moves to 3.5%

July 25th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar


The good news for home owners with a mortgage, or aspiring ones, is that the indications are that there will be no further OCR rises for this year, at least.

Tags: , ,


July 24th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Pati Suailua looked at buying a laptop for his six children to share – now, thanks to a school lease system, he has four Chromebooks in the house.

The Porirua father said some families were too proud to sign up to the $4-a-week lease system but he jumped at the opportunity to invest in his children’s education.

Te Mana o Kupe Trust has already leased Chromebooks to 400 families and, by the end of next year, more than 2000 children from 13 schools in Porirua East are expected to have a device.

One-third of Porirua East households don’t have access to the internet, so the next step was to get community wi-fi set up, trust founder Antony Royal said.

“Ideally, in the next few months, we’ll start building and installing wi-fi so that households with our Chromebooks can connect to it.”

Schoolwork could be completed offline at home, but Royal said online learning should not stop at the school gate for those families that could not afford broadband.

Suailua has internet access but said the big difference with Chromebooks was that his Corinna School children could do their homework online at a price that didn’t break the budget.

A great initiative. The cost of Internet capable devices is dropping. Kids don’t need full computers or iPads.


Parliament Today 24 July 2014

July 24th, 2014 at 12:18 pm by Jordan.M

Questions for Oral Answer.

Questions to Ministers 2.00PM – 3.00PM

  1. Hon PHIL HEATLEY to the Minister of Finance: What measures is the Government taking to help control inflation for New Zealand families?
  2. Hon DAVID PARKER to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements?
  3. Dr CAM CALDER to the Minister of Education: What recent announcements has she made on Public Achievement Information?
  4. BRENDAN HORAN to the Minister of Finance: Is he still of the view that a Hamilton to Tauranga route would have to be considered alongside three other projects?
  5. MELISSA LEE to the Minister for Social Development: What recent reports has she received about the Government’s Youth Service initiative?
  6. CATHERINE DELAHUNTY to the Minister of Education: What was the split, if any, by percentage, of enrolment into private, public and home-based ECE in the Better Public Service targets “Result 2: Increase Participation in ECE”, and what was the relative increases/decreases, for each, from the previous year?
  7. Hon ANNETTE KING to the Minister of Health: Does he stand by his statement that resources in Budget 2014 “will help us continue to improve frontline health services for New Zealanders”?
  8. MIKE SABIN to the Minister for Primary Industries: What recent announcements has he made regarding Government support for the primary sector in Northland?
  9. Hon NANAIA MAHUTA to the Minister of Māori Affairs: E whakamanawa ana a ia kei te hangai Te Pire Reo Māori ki ngā mātāpono o Te Tiriti o Waitangi?
    • Translation: Is he confident that the Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill is consistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi?
  10. JULIE ANNE GENTER to the Minister of Transport: Will he increase investment in better public transport infrastructure in light of the poll this week showing Aucklanders favour public transport spending by a four-to-one margin over roads?
  11. Dr JIAN YANG to the Minister of Consumer Affairs: What changes have recently come into force that strengthen financial service provider registration?
  12. Su’a WILLIAM SIO to the Minister of Local Government: Did the Deputy Mayor of Napier, Mrs Fay White, raise with her recently at a public meeting that the issue of local government amalgamation should be taken seriously by National during this General Election; if so, what were her specific concerns?

Question to Members 

  1. H V ROSS ROBERTSON to the Chairperson of the Local Government and Environment Committee:When will the Manukau City Council (Regulation of Prostitution in Specified Places) Bill be reported to the House?

Today Labour are asking about whether the Prime Minister stands by all his statements, frontline health services,  the Maori Language (Te Reo Maori) Bill, and local government amalgamation. The Greens are asking about ECE, and public transport. Brendan Horan is asking about the Hamilton to Tauranga road route.

Patsy question of the day goes to Dr Jian Yang for Question 11: What changes have recently come into force that strengthen financial service provider registration?

Government Bills 3.00PM-6.00PM.

1. Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill – First Reading

2. Appropriation (2014/15 Estimates) Bill- Third Reading

The Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill is being guided through the house by the Minister of Maori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples.  This bill repeals the Māori Language Act 1987 and Part 4A of the Broadcasting Act 1989. It establishes an independent entity, Te Mātāwai, to provide leadership on behalf of iwi and Māori regarding the health of the Māori language.

The Appropriation (2014/15 Estimates) Bill is being guided through the house by the Minister of Finance, Bill English. This bill seeks parliamentary authorisation of the individual appropriations contained in The Estimates of Appropriations for the Government of New Zealand for the year ending 30 June 2015 .

Tags: ,

Hunger strikers never carry through

July 23rd, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Prisoner All Means All’s intermittent hunger strike is over.

The Oxford farmer, formerly known as Mark Feary, started eating and drinking again late last week.

Of course he did. The last time I can recall a hunger striker actually staying on strike was Bobby Sands in 1981 protesting about having to wear a prison uniform and do work in prison.

In India they do hunger strikes far more sensibly. They do it in teams of three with each having an 8 hour shift every day. I understand one hunger strike there has been going on for over 15 years.

UPDATE: I’m informed by a very reliable source that the normal practice of the NZ Corrections Department is (or was) to position a BBQ outside the hunger striker’s cell, and cook bacon. It seems this was highly effective at ending most hunger strikes!


The coronial system

July 22nd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Serious failings and under-resourcing in the coronial system are stopping coroners from preventing further deaths, research has found.

Some coroners feel their recommendations have been falling on deaf ears, according to an Otago University study that looked at more than 600 coroners’ reports.

That’s because so many of their recommendations are daft and impractical.

The failings were evident in the high number of repeated recommendations, particularly in cases of drowning, sudden unexplained infant deaths, and transport accidents.

Research author Jennifer Moore said she wanted the law changed to make the system more effective, but it was unlikely the Government would budge.

About 72 recommendations were vaguely directed, and she believed there should be a mandatory response system in place.

The non silly ones do tend to get a response, but the problem is too many coroners come up with recommendations that are unbalanced. Their aim is to recommend ways to reduce deaths, which is of course a good thing. But some never seem to consider practicality or compliance costs, let alone freedom of choice to do stupid things.

There should also be additional support, training and resources available for coroners, she said.

Coroners did not receive training from a judicial institute, which she said would improve the quality of recommendations. The 17 coroners did not have books with decades of full decisions to refer to, and had to share two assistants.

Now that I would support.

Chief coroner Neil MacLean said the research was a valuable, objective point of view. “We’re already taking on board some of the criticism and I hope the Government will listen to their recommendations.”

Under-resourcing was a particular day-to-day frustration, he said. One of the most effective changes would be making it mandatory for agencies to respond to recommendations directed at them. “The thing about having a rigorous, transparent, mandatory response system is that we can be assured of feedback. We accept that some of the recommendations we make are unbalanced or miscued or directed at the wrong people – we need to know that, so we can do better next time.”

That’s a fair point. The Chief Coroner is, in my opinion, excellent. What I’d rather do is institute better resourcing and training, and then after that review if mandatory responses are a good idea.


RIP Kevin Skinner

July 22nd, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Legendary All Blacks prop Kevin Skinner has died in Auckland, aged 86.

Skinner died over the weekend, a New Zealand Rugby spokesman confirmed today.

He played 20 tests and 63 games all told for the All Blacks during an international career that spanned 1949 to 1956.

He was a hard-nosed, durable and tough prop who had his finest moments in the 1956 series against South Africa when he came out of retirement for the last two tests and was credited with the being the man who regained the physical edge for the All Blacks.

The All Blacks won the second test 17-10 in Christchurch and the decider 11-5 in Auckland.

Skinner was also renowned for his boxing prowess, and was the 1947 New Zealand heavyweight boxing champion.

His recall for the 3rd test in 1956 was an act of genius. The South African front row were basically thugs, so we decided to play their game. They would grab testicles of the All Blacks and the like.

Skinner floored Koch with a right hook that could be clearly heard far away. I know one of the doctors who was on duty at the local hospital and Koch was still unconscious when he arrived. How Skinner wasn’t sent out, let alone even penalised I don’t know. But it worked – the South Africans stopped playing dirty.

Skinner is reputed to be the most hated All Black in South Africa. That would be a worthy epitaph for his gravestone!

Tags: , ,

The gap closes with Australia

July 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar



The latest monthly migration stats are out.

It is looking pretty likely that in the next year we will have positive net migration from Australia for the first time ever. But I don’t think it will happen before the election. I am looking forward to Labour and NZ First campaigning on we have too many Australians living here.

The net migration with Australia was 20 more departures than arrivals in June 2014 month and 8,250 for the year.

In June 2013 the net loss was 3,210 for the month and 21,560 for the year.

In June 2012 the net loss was 4,590 for the month and 39,680 for the year.


A View from the Bridge

July 21st, 2014 at 4:46 pm by David Farrar

Another Arthur Miller classic has just started at Circa, A View from the Bridge.

The promotional tagline is “Love. Loyalty. Family. Revenge” and that is a fairly pithy summary of the play.

Eddie and Beatrice Carbone are an Italian-American family in Brooklyn. Gavin Rutherford and Jude Gibson both do excellent jobs of emulating the distinctive twang we associate with such families.

Eddie and Beatrice are guardians to Eddie’s niece Catherine, played by Acushla-Tara Sutton. Catherine’s parents are dead and her mother was Eddie’s sister. She’s 17 and debating whether to stay at school or enter the workforce.

Eddie, Beatrice and Catherine are a loving family. They argue, but they are there for each other. Then the family extends as they take in two cousins of Beatrice’s from Sicily. Marco and Rodolpho are illegal immigrants who have come to America as there are no jobs or income back home. Marco has a wife and young children back home. Marco is single. they are played by Alex Grieg and Paul Waggott respectively. The sixth cast member is Christopher Brougham who plays the lawyer and narrator Alfieri.

As with almost all Miller plays, they are dramatic portayals of the tensions within a family. And this has tensions in all directions:

  • Eddie’s over-protective attitude towards Catherine goes from paternalistic to creepy
  • Eddie and Beatrice’s strained needy relationship
  • The blossoming love between Rodolpho and Catherine
  • The suspicion that Rodolpho may be more interested in a green card than Catherine, and may not even be that interested in women
  • The protective attitude of Marco to Rodolpho
  • The Sicilian and Italian attitudes towards family and honour

Susan Wilson directs a very faithful and compelling recital of the Miller play. The 80 minute first half sets the scene, with the tension building slowly, and the 40 minute second half is full of explosive tension, which keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The play was once banned in the 1950s by the UK Lord Chancellor. Today it would not even get a PG rating.

This is a play about passion, and the cast succeed in portraying this. You feel yourself swept into a maelstrom of emotions. You wonder about whether the over-protectiveness is sinister or just inappropriate. The question of Rodolpho’s intentions tease you throughout the play. I suspect if you polled the audience, they would be divided 50/50 on whether he loves Catherine or not.

The play has a dramatic conclusion, yet it also (deliberately) leaves many questions unanswered. If Miller had ever written a sequel set ten years later, I think that would also have become a classic.

This is the 5th Arthur Miller play directed by Susan Wilson. It was an excellent production as good as you’ll see anywhere. A very good night’s entertainment.

Tags: ,

We should pull out like the Aussies

July 21st, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The lack of clarity from holders Oracle Team USA around the next America’s Cup looks to have cost organisers its challenger of record.

Hamilton Island Yacht Club today advised America’s Cup organisers of their intention to withdraw Team Australia from the 35th America’s Cup.

A statement from the syndicate said it was proving too difficult for a start-up commercial team to put a challenge together when no dates or venue have been confirmed for the event.

“The Challenge was initiated with a view to negotiating a format for the 35th America’s Cup that was affordable and put the emphasis back on sailing skills,” the statement read.

“Ultimately our estimate of the costs of competing were well beyond our initial expectation and our ability to make the formula of our investment and other commercial support add up.”

We should do the same. Oracle have screwed the scrum with a set of rules that favour them, and the next Cup will be (even more than normal) about who has the most money, not the best sailors.

In a competitors meeting held in Los Angeles last weekend, several teams expressed their reservations over the two remaining venue options – San Diego and Bermuda – and emphasised the a lack of certainly around dates and venue was hampering efforts to secure funding.

All challengers should pull out. That would force Oracle to agree to rule changes.

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said he was disappointed to see the Australian syndicate pull out but said the Kiwi team were on track.

“We have the class rule and the design team is well into its programme; the sailing team continues to compete successfully overseas, with great recent results by Dean Barker and Glenn Ashby in the A class cats worlds and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke still dominating the 49er scene,” said Dalton.

“In addition, we have never been in better shape with potential sponsors.”

Good. No more taxpayer money then.



Conservation park agreed for Great Barrier Island

July 21st, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A new conservation park is set for Great Barrier Island.

The new Aotea Conservation Park will consist of 12,109 hectares of land on the island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.

It will be the Department of Conservation’s largest park in the Auckland region and will be similar in size to the Auckland Council’s Hunua and Waitakere Ranges parks.

The new park will include 18 different blocks of general stewardship land and will be New Zealand’s largest area of possum-free forest, including native trees, kauri, pohutukawa, kanuka and the Great Barrier tree daisy.

There will be healthy bird populations of kaka, pateke (brown teal), puweto (spotless crake) and matata (fernbird).

The park will also have the most diverse range of native freshwater species of any offshore island in New Zealand, and populations of very rare frogs, native paua slugs and niho taniwha (chevron skink).

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced plans for the new park today at a community function in Claris with Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye.

I’ve been to Great Barrier Island many times. It is a unique part of New Zealand, and it is a very good thing to increase the protection of the DOC land there by making it a conservation park.

“The immediate priority is the restoration of tracks, bridges, repair of huts, signage, campgrounds and the Department’s office” Dr Smith said.

The Government has committed $2.5 million to the repairs.

Great Barrier Island is my favourite place in New Zealand for getting away from it all. I haven’t done all the walking tracks on the island, but hope to over time.

Tags: ,

.nz names will be available on the 30th of September

July 21st, 2014 at 11:26 am by David Farrar

The .nz Domain Name Commission Ltd has announced:

The Domain Name Commission Limited (DNCL) is pleased to announce that from 1pm, 30 September 2014 a significantly amended .nz policy will come into effect – ushering in a new era of choice in .nz domain names. 

From that date, people will be able to register shorter, simpler, more representative names immediately before the .nz – as well as the more familiar-looking options like ‘’ and ‘’. 

All existing options like, and will continue to work as they always have and people will still be able to get names with them. The change simply means that from 1pm, 30 September 2014 people will be able to get names with them, without them, or both.

A lot of people will have questions about what names can they get, based on their existing registrations. There is a new website to tell you the status of a name:

A website at has been created by the Domain Name Commission for holders of .nz domain names to check out their options and learn more about what the change might mean for them. also shows what the shorter .nz domain names will look like in a web browser from 1pm, 30 September 2014.

Monahan describes the policy change allowing registrations directly at the second level as a boon for choice – one that opens up an exciting new .nz registration possibility. She encourages all those with an existing .nz domain name to visit or contact their Registrar to check their options and learn more about what’s happening.

The site is very easy to use. I’ve just checked and found (had not checked up until now) that:

  • I have preferential registration status for
  • I have preferential registration status for
  • That some one else (in fact two people) has preferential registration status for
  • That will be available on a first in first served basis on 30 September

“The change keeps all the advantages of the current system while expanding choice. Other countries have already made a similar change and now New Zealand is too.”

Holders of .nz domain names wanting to find out more about this exciting, watershed change to the .nz domain name space should contact their Registrar or domain name provider or visit

Note that I am the current Board Chair of DNCL. The decision to allow registrations at the second level was made last year by InternetNZ on a recommendation from the DNCL Board.


Tags: ,

Monday Motivator – Lower Mclean Falls

July 21st, 2014 at 10:40 am by Richard Hume

Monday Motivator 28
Lower McLean Falls, Catlins Forest, New Zealand

I love The Catlins and have visited many times. On this occasion I found Lower McLean Falls in full winter flow and the low light conditions allowed me to capture the image with a long exposure showing the flow of the water nicely.

Seeing this now makes me want to get back down to explore more of The Catlins very soon.

Click on the image for a larger view of this photograph.


Richard []

YouTube: Timeless – A Panoramic Journey


Tags: , , ,

12 questions with Bob Jones

July 19th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Sir Bob Jones does the 12 questions in the Herald. Most answers are amusing, but especially this one:

I don’t set out to charm women, but I’ll tell you one thing they like laughter, but they don’t like pranks. I quite like women and permanent relationships but it never lasts that long. They last about seven or eight years but we all stay great friends and holiday together. I’ve never understood monogamy. It seems to be unnatural for me. Variety is the spice of life. Blondes. Brunettes. That sort of thing. I’ve had all sorts of races and that. Girlfriends everywhere. Am I good to them? Of course I am. I’m good to everyone. Absolutely, women keep you young. Having it off all the time does. It’s absolutely critical.

Bob Jones is a youthful 75!


Garner and the stalker

July 17th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

A quite fascinating column by Duncan Garner about being approached by stalker Glenn Green:

His name is Glenn Green and police say he is the country’s most dangerous stalker.

Now it seems he’s interested in stalking me.

I had heard of Green (he also goes by other surnames: Carlionne, Goldberg, Holden and Colcord) and have read a bit about him.

He’s a nasty leach – a manipulative piece of work. So imagine my surprise when I received a hand-written letter from him in Mt Eden prison. …

Green says he wants me to tell his story. Yup, he’s another one of these wrongly maligned criminals apparently.

Green started his letter by saying: “You may recognise my name as over the years I have had some pretty bad press titled ‘STALKER’.

“I come to you as you seem to be pretty fair and not one-sided.”

He continues, “I have declined interviews but I think it is time to tell all and the truth behind the headlines.”

So he’s offering me his story but he’s in custody, so how on earth am I meant to tell it?

He wants me to make contact and suggests I come to see him in prison.

He promises me all sorts of scoops on serving police officers.

“I’ll give you the full story,” he says.

“It’s time to get the truth behind the stalker headlines out there because it’s not right.”

A female journalist would run 100 miles from this, but Garner thinks maybe he can just meet him and get a story, as Green has only stalked women:

He finishes his letter to me by saying, “I have done wrong but not what’s reported. If you want to talk, I’m . . . at Mt Eden.”

I must say when I read his letter he sounded reasonably convincing and articulate.

But as I asked a few people who had dealt with him they told me that’s exactly what he is like.

He convinces you at the start that he is normal – that everything is OK.

He even comes across as reasonably smart and credible.

I realised pretty quickly I was inside the mind of a serial stalker.

I was still fascinated. Given he has previously stalked women, perhaps I could contact him and get his story and move on.

But luckily he took advice:

No, said the experts. He won’t move on. He will think you’re his friend. He’ll never let go, they all warned.

He’ll target you and your family for as long as he can.

So I won’t be popping off to Mt Eden to make the introduction.

A very good call.

Tags: ,

Inflation less than expected

July 17th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar


Inflation was 1.6% in the last year, which is less than expected. The lower inflation is, the more spending power households and businesses have.

This should mean that interest rates do not rise as much as projected, even though I still expect one more 25 basis points increase later this month.


Consumer self-regulation

July 16th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Customers will be the winners if companies agree to sign up to Consumer NZ’s tough fair trading code of conduct.

To earn its “Consumer Trusted” accreditation a business must sign up to a strict code of conduct and a set of eight principles promoting fair trading. They will also pay a fee of up to $25,000 a year.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said the programme aimed to deliver high standards of customer service and consumer confidence. …

“What we’ve developed through Consumer Trusted is a visible way of rewarding businesses with genuinely top-class customer service.”

“Our goal is to inspire all businesses to go beyond the minimum standards of consumer law,” Chetwin said.

The programme’s consumer principles include: excellent customer service, fair returns and refunds policies, clear pricing and accurate advertising.

Businesses must also sign up to a code of conduct which includes a range of fair trading clauses.

For example, if a product worth more than $100 goes on sale within a week of purchase the buyer is entitled to a refund of the difference.

Accredited businesses must also belong to an approved dispute-resolution scheme, or allow Consumer NZ to provide the service.

Large companies would pay $25,000 a year to be part of the programme, while the fee for smaller businesses would be in the “low thousands” of dollars per year, she said. Revenue from the programme would go back into research, testing and consumer dispute resolution service.

I like this initiative. It is a voluntary self-regulation initiative. A business will only join up if it thinks the fee and commitments it makes are worth the gain in reputation and trust. A good market initiative.

Chetwin said she hopes to get 25 businesses on board by the end of the year. Four have already been accredited, including telecommunications company 2degrees, online electricity retailer Powershop, internet service provider Inspire Net and shoe retailer Shoe Clinic.

That’s cool – two of those companies are ones I use.


Provide excellent customer service

Fair, clear returns and refunds policies

Informative and up-to-date website

All complaints and disputes dealt with fairly

Contracts must be fair and easily understood

Clear pricing

Customer details are not exploited

Advertising is accurate

They are good principles.


Selwyn College doing so well it needs a zone

July 16th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Two Auckland secondary schools are acting quickly to lighten the load after a period of rapid roll growth.

The Ministry of Education has advised Selwyn College and One Tree Hill College to put enrolment schemes in place.

The board of trustees at each school is consulting with the community before submitting the proposed home zone for ministry approval.

Both aim to have the zones up and running for the 2015 school year, with out of zone enrolments closing on September 3.

Selwyn College has never had an enrolment zone.

The school has experienced such a big turn around in achievement and community interest and more control is needed to manage its population size, principal Sheryll Ofner says.

While I don’t personally support zoning, it is good to see Selwyn College doing so well, it now needs one.

Selwyn College was praised by Helen Clark in 2006 as a model of what we like to see in our schools. The NCEA Pass rate for Level 1 that years was 39%. Anne Tolley sacked the board in 2009 and under new leadership the pass rate is now 93%.

It shows the power and difference great school leadership can make.


A good example of a young entrepeneur

July 15th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Following up my post on promoting entrepreneurship to students, I got the following release:

An 18-year-old Christchurch entrepreneur has ditched his plans of studying at university, including a $40,000 scholarship, to launch a website designed to inspire young New Zealanders.

Jake Miller has today (Monday, 14 July) launched his new start-up business OOMPHER – a motivational website featuring video interviews with some of New Zealand and the world’s most successful individuals. The aim is to inspire school leavers and people to do extraordinary things through the wise words of leaders in their fields.

In just six months Jake has gained the support of dozens of New Zealand’s high-flyers as well as major corporates, including lead sponsor BNZ.

Fashion designer Karen Walker, Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, comedy legend Rhys Darby, businesswoman Suzanne Paul, renowned architect Ian Athfield, bungy pioneer AJ Hackett and political leaders are all standing up for the vision of OOMPHER and an 18-year-old in Christchurch. Rarely have so many of the country’s leaders united for a common cause.

Jake has also managed to secure video interviews with international talents such as New York Entrepreneur of the Year Shazi Visram. His sights are now firmly set on locking down Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and film directors Peter Jackson and James Cameron as future interviewees.

By the end of the year his business plan shows he will have 54 interviews on OOMPHER representing nine key sectors: sports, politics, business, arts, entrepreneurship, innovation, media, professions and technology.

As the former head boy of Christchurch Boys High School, Jake was offered a $40,000 university scholarship last year to study law and commerce – but he turned it down.

Convinced that he didn’t need a piece of paper to follow his entrepreneurial dreams, and despite backlash from former teachers and family, he decided to take the risk and see what he could achieve.

In Jake’s own words: “For me, what was missing was the inspiration. I felt I didn’t need to go to university to follow my entrepreneurial dreams – despite a former teacher predicting because of that I’d ‘end up in prison.’ I think this was due to my generally unconventional approach to life.

“A university degree or tertiary qualification is obviously essential for many careers; however research shows that there is a poor correlation between entrepreneurial success and having a framed piece of paper on the wall.

“My dad’s death in the 2010 Fox Glacier plane crash also reminded me that life can be here one minute and gone the next. We’ve got to make the most of it and do what we love.”

OOMPHER will be live from Monday, 14 July at

It’s a great site, with lost of interesting and inspirational interviews, Good to see Jake get out there and take a risk, recruiting a team of other young people for the project – plus lots of corporate sponsors.

Tags: ,

A restorative justice case backed by Garth McVicar

July 15th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The hardline Sensible Sentencing Trust has come out in support of a judge’s decision not to jail a drink-driver who killed a New Plymouth woman.

Hogan Bolton, 31, of New Plymouth, was sentenced on July 4 to nine months’ home detention following the death of artist and mother Carmen Rogers after she was hit in Brougham St on May 6.

His breath alcohol was 1297mcg. The legal level is 400mcg.

As well as making a $50,000 emotional harm reparation to the family he has agreed to appear in an anti-drink driving documentary.

The sentence, worked out through the restorative justice process, has reignited debate on the futility of imprisoning offenders rather than focusing on more effective alternatives.

Yesterday, Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said he was supportive of Judge Allan Roberts’ decision.

“Normally I’m not a big fan of restorative justice. Often victims haven’t been told the full picture, that attending a restorative justice conference reduces the sentence.

“But I’m a big fan of offenders being held to account. And if that involves public speaking and a documentary in this case, then that’s great.”

His stance might put him out on a limb with others in his group, McVicar said.

Obviously Bolton was incredibly remorseful and the judge should be given a pat on the back for thinking outside the square, McVicar said.

Before sentencing Carmen Rogers’ husband Che, his family and Bolton had met in a day-long restorative justice conference.

Che Rogers said he did not want Bolton jailed.

Rather it was agreed that Bolton be part of an anti-drink-driving documentary and also give a speech to senior Spotswood college students with Nouveau, 15, Che and Carmen Rogers’ older daughter.

Seems a good outcome. Restorative justice and non custodial sentences are great when the offenders are truly remorseful and not repeat offenders. I’m sceptical of their value when it does involve a serious repeat offender.

Tags: ,

The road that wasn’t there

July 14th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Road That Wasn’t There is a smart, short delightful production at Circa.

The play starts with Gabriel furiously stamping papers in an office job in Australia. He rushes through them to try and grab the phone, but always missed it and it goes to voice mail. The fact the phone is a 1950s type phone just makes the incongruity fun.

The set is a collection of cardboard boxes that get turned over or removed to announce each new chapter. One of the boxes also double as a projection screen, where a series of shadow figures are creatively displayed.

The plot is simple, yet convoluted. Gabriel returns home as his mother seems to be going nuts, including stealing maps and hanging them all over her house. The mother eventually tells Gabriel the story of his father – which is a fairy tale involving paper roads, Blanket Man, monsters and and a theatrical company.

Everything works well in this play. The three actors entertain wonderfully. The shadows and the puppets are delightful, and the story captures you. You want to know how it ends.

A great play that appeals to all ages. On until Sat 19 July.


Tags: ,