Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

Dom Post on Pandas

September 29th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

Wellington would love to have pandas in its zoo, of course. Pandas have a unique appeal to human beings: nature made them look like a cross between a clown and a teddy bear. So arguments about the economics  and politics of pandas tend to get trumped by an overwhelming cuteness factor.

So true.

Prime Minister John Key is keen to stoke the panda cause, for two reasons. He wants to cuddle up even closer to China, our economic patron. And he knows that politicians who come bearing pandas can’t lose.

So it was that Andrew Little, the hapless Labour leader and an anti-panda politician, got it wrong again in Parliament this week.

Anything National talks about, and Little is against it. Raise benefits for the first time in 43 years, and Little condemns the Budget!

Finally, panda politics are murky. The panda circus is run by China, a ruthless police state, which gives its pandas to political and economic  favourites. This means John Key might get one.

The question then is: How to divide the cost of pandas? The Government says it would help, and so it should. After all, this is a geopolitical project of John Key’s, so his administration should contribute most of the money.

Wellington would also benefit, of course, so it would have to put in money too, but there are strict limits here. Wellingtonians are as prone to panda-madness as anyone, but Wellington ratepayers have notoriously cold hearts.

Apart from vague geopolitical benefits, I don’t see benefits to taxpayers. Any taxpayer contribution should be minimal. Pandas will not get any more tourists to NZ. They will get many more people coming to Wellington, so hence there is a case for ratepayer funding. However a price tag anywhere near $10 million is just way out of the ballpark.

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The Atlantic on the haka

September 29th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Atlantic reports:

As Brazil or Italy is to soccer, New Zealand is to rugby. And aside from their superior performance on the pitch, the All Blacks—as the country’s national team is known—are perhaps most famous for a special pre-game ritual.

Before each match, the All Blacks, who are set to play Namibia on September 24 in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, perform “the haka”—a traditional, full-body dance and accompanying chant derived from Māori culture. (The Māori are New Zealand’s indigenous people.) …

As the World Cup unfolds in England, the haka remains an incredible sight to behold. And one that, regardless of one’s national affiliations, is bound to hit you with a rush of adrenaline. The Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor describes it as a“perfect act of nationalism.”

I would venture a step further: The All Blacks’ rendition of the haka is indeed a superb act of nationalism, but also a heartening example of postcolonial cohesion. (Rugby has a knack for this.) As Tharoor puts it, “the haka, in its growling intensity, captures … the solidarity of warriors—both of Māori and non-Māori descent—fighting for a common future.”

It’s also an instance of a sports team paying homage to an indigenous culture without simply appropriating it. In this way, the All Blacks stand in stark contrast to controversial U.S. franchises such as the Cleveland Indians, the Washington Redskins, and, sadly, my hometown Chicago Blackhawks—all of which incorporate imagery and nomenclature that offends many Native Americans.

It’s a good point about paying homage without it just being appropriation.

The All Blacks’ presentation of the haka is inclusive and participatory. It is, from most reports, authentically performed and assiduously studied by Māori and non-Māori players alike. And this signals, more broadly, New Zealand’s relative success at integrating colonial and indigenous societies.

Far from perfect, but better than most they conclude:

But, on balance, New Zealand’s relationship with the Māori is, relatively speaking, something to be emulated. The Māori were accorded civil rights comparably earlier than most colonized peoples around the world. They were granted rights as full British subjects and had their property rights recognized with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. This was more than 100 years before the Aboriginal people of Australia were offered full citizenship, and more than 80 years before the Indian Citizenship Act in the United States.

They also note:

Politically, the Māori have also been quite successful—again, relatively speaking. They were guaranteed four seats in New Zealand’s parliament starting in 1867, which has since grown to seven. As of the 2014 election, representation far surpasses the seven-seat minimum. There are a total of 25 sitting MPs of Māori descent, constituting 21% of the legislature.

When it comes to the political inclusion of indigenous peoples, the U.S., Canada, and Australia could learn a thing or two from their Kiwi peers. When it comes to paying homage to indigenous cultures in meaningful, respectful ways, the MLB, NFL, and the NHL should also all take note. Because New Zealand and its All Blacks have figured it out.

What I like is how several Maori words have become common words that almost all New Zealanders use – whānau for example.


The bookbinder

September 28th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Bookbinder is storytelling at its finest.

What first strikes you when you enter Circa 2, is how the theatre has been transformed. You can’t even see the stage when you enter. Instead you go down a corridor of books until you finally emerge onto the intimate set. The bookbinder’s office is in one corner of the theatre and the seating has been arranged at a right angle on two sides of it.

Ralph McCubbin Howell awakens from his desk, and proceeds to tell the story of the former apprentice. He plays the bookbinder, the apprentice, the  old woman, the young woman and even the Haast Eagle. Yes – a Haast Eagle.

Over 55 minutes he pulls you into a story, and into the story within the story. It is a story with purpose, and sometimes without purpose. After all sometimes you just can’t make an omelette!

Howell is a master of story-telling (and play writing), and gets both his vocal intonations and facial expressions just right. He dominates the stage. You get sucked in, wanting to know what happens next, and how the story ends. A godo play has to be emotionally engaging, and this succeeds.

He is backed up by an incredibly effective use of props. Various lamps are used to great effect, and some of the books themselves display their stories in three dimensions. Great creativity.

Howell works with director Hannah Smith (they are Trick of the Light), and the creativity that has gone into the play reflects their joint contribution. The props, the lighting, the sound and the story all blend together on the intimate stage.

You can see why it won best theatre at last year’s NZ Fringe Festival and also an award at the Sydney Fringe Festival.

It’s on until Saturday 10 October 2015 at Circa, both in the evening and also at 11 am.

Rating: ****1/2

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An appeal against manifestly unjust

September 28th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Two murderers face becoming New Zealand’s first criminals jailed for the rest of their lives after an historic appeal of the three strikes law.

The lawyers of Shane Pierre Harrison and Justin Vance Turner had successfully argued such a tough sentence was unfair in the men’s cases, even though criminals with first strike convictions who later committed murders could be jailed for life without parole.

However, the Crown has appealed their sentences, claiming the High Court judges were wrong to fail to jail the two killers for life without parole. 

So the High Court decided that life without parole would be manifestly unjust. This shows that the law doesn’t totally eliminate judicial discretion – which was the intent. But it is good to have the Court of Appeal decide if the High Court got it right.

Harrison jointly murdered Alonsio (Sio) Matalasi during a gang confrontation in Petone, Lower Hutt, in August 2013. Turnerwho bashed and stomped to death a fellow homeless man, Maqbool Hussain, in Auckland in March 2014.

Harrison’s first strike offence was for pinching a policewoman’s bottom and brushing his hand across her groin and thighs in 2011.

At his October 2014 sentencing for murder, Justice Jill Malyon said Harrison’s indecent assault conviction was “relatively minor” and while it could trigger life imprisonment without parole, that was “an entirely disproportionate response”.

“It would be manifestly unjust and is the kind of unfair case that Parliament has recognised can arise in providing the judge with the discretion,” she said in the High Court in Wellington.

She sentenced him to life in jail with a 13-year minimum non-parole period.

But Harrison has killed before. He also killed in 1989. That was of course before three strikes, so can’t be used for a strike. But he qualified for LWOP on the basis of the two convictions under three strikes, and I would have thought his earlier conviction could be a factor in whether LWOP is manifestly unjust.

The other case is of Justin Turner. He bashed and stamped to death a homeless man in 2014 and his first strike was:

Turner’s first strike conviction was for wounding with intent after hitting a female acquaintance in the head several times in 2011, causing traumatic brain injuries. She required life support when admitted to Auckland Hospital and needed ongoing, serious rehabilitative treatment. 


When sentencing Turner in February, Justice Mark Woolford said the 29-year-old could spend as long as 59 years behind bars before he died, which Turner’s lawyer argued was “disproportionately severe”.

I’m not sure it is.

The Harrison case is more arguable as his first strike was relatively minor. But Turner almost killed with his first strike. He did kill with his second strike. The three strikes law is about protection of the community and certainty of outcome to deter crime.

It will be very interesting to see how the Court of Appeal rules.


Wales at its finest

September 27th, 2015 at 11:42 am by David Farrar

Incredible. Wales beat England 28 to 25. This has been such an unpredictable World Cup.

If England lose to Australia the host nation may not even make the semi-final!

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The Richie ad

September 25th, 2015 at 12:27 pm by David Farrar

Has been viewed 3.7 million times so far on You Tube. Great ad.


58 to 14

September 25th, 2015 at 11:05 am by David Farrar

Not a great score or great display from the top ranked team against the bottom ranked team.

I can only hope they were being extra cautious and not wanting to get any injuries.

But still Namibia managed to score a try, which really should not have happened.

The first two All Black games have been average and the next two games against Georgia and Tonga won’t test the team much before the quarter final.

That will be against the runner up of Pool D. Probably Ireland. And again that may not test up too much. We have never lost to them in 110 years of matches

Then if we get past that a semi vs the winner of Pool B winner and Pool A runner up. The runner up of Pool A will be England or Australia, and I’d say our likely SF competition.  Up until then we will have played no top tier teams while England or Australia will have both played each other, and probably also South Africa.

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The most complained about companies

September 25th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Spark has been identified as New Zealand’s most complained about company in a report released by the Commerce Commission today.

The Consumer Issues 2015 report notes the telecommunications company received 128 complaints under the Fair Trading Act last year.

This was closely followed by Vodafone, which received 112 complaints in 2014 and Auckland Academy of Learning, which received 106 complaints.

The first two are are two largest telcos who each have over a million customers. So no surprise they had more complaints than most companies.

But the Auckland Academy of Learning is a very small company. To get 106 complaints, they must be doing something very bad. And indeed they are, as this story shows.

24 most complained about companies:

• Spark NZ Trading Limited – 128
• Vodafone NZ Limited – 112
Auckland Academy of Learning Limited – 106
• ANZ National Bank Limited T/A The National Bank and ANZ – 99
• Sellers on Trade Me – 78
New Zealand Business Funding Centre – 50
• Progressive Enterprises Ltd (Countdown) – 45
• Air New Zealand Limited – 43
• GrabOne Limited – 39
• Noel Leeming Group Limited (Noel Leeming) – 35
Brand Developers Limited (TV Shop) – 35
• Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd (New World/PAK’nSAVE/Four Square) – 34
• ASB Bank Limited – 33
• Parking Enforcement Services – 31
• DSE (NZ) Limited (Dick Smith Electronics) – 30
• DB Breweries Limited – 29
• Callplus Services Limited (Slingshot Communications) – 27
Dead Sea Skincare – 27
• The Warehouse Group Limited (The Warehouse) – 26
NZ Sale Limited – 26
• KLiB Technologies Group Limited (24/7 Hosting and Web Design) – 25
• Two Degrees Mobile Limited (2degrees) – 24
PB Technologies Limited – 24
• IPL Laser Solutions Limited – 23

I’ve bolded the ones who are not major retailers or the like, suggesting there are real issues with them.


Why did it take so long?

September 24th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A driver with more than 100 traffic violations and a dozen criminal convictions has had his taxi licence revoked.

Why so long? Shouldn’t it be revoked after say one conviction and/or three or four traffic violations?

Raj Naresh, a 40-year driving veteran, has been stripped of his passenger licence by the NZ Transport Agency as he is no longer considered “a fit and proper person to be a taxi driver”.

Since starting as a taxi driver in 1975, Naresh has racked up 110 traffic-related offences, 12 criminal convictions, a further three criminal offences where he was discharged without conviction, 17 regulatory offences, 50 documented “complaints about his activity and behaviour as a taxi driver”, and six transport licensing sanctions.



A great teacher

September 24th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Very cool to read about Wellington teacher Richard Smith:

A Wellington school teacher is “gobsmacked” after being honoured as New Zealand’s most inspiring educator.

Wadestown School teacher Richard Smith has beaten out thousands of other teachers to claim the accolade.

And what does he do?

The dedicated teacher said he spent time with individual children who needed extra support and made opportunities for one-on-one conversations with them.

Pupils needed to have a voice and to take a risk with their learning, he said.

A humble Smith said his colleagues also deserved recognition, and the support parents gave the school also helped makes a huge difference.

Mum Maria Edwards put Smith’s name forward for the Warehouse Stationery initiative. 

“Richard has the attitude that any child can do anything if they are given encouragement and the opportunities to succeed,” she said.

“He is patient, takes the time to be fair, and is very organised while always maintaining a great sense of humour. His policy is one of inclusiveness, no matter what.”

He was extremely kind and caring, but also discreet when giving his sandwiches to any child who had no lunch, she said.

“He has a great love of Maori culture and taught himself to speak fluent Maori. For my daughter, and her classmates, Richard will be the unforgettable teacher, the one who never gave up on any of them. He inspires and makes a difference in every child’s life.”

Most of us can recall one or two teachers like that.

Smith’s pupils were full of praise for their top teacher.

Mia Williams, 11, said he went out of his way to give all the students the support they needed.

“Mr Smith is one of the coolest teachers I have ever had.”

Julie Deem, 12, said her teacher was inspiring and when she asked him questions he really went out of his way to make things clear.

“He even comes in early some mornings to help people who aren’t so good at maths.” 

Wadestown principal Sally Barrett said she was the proudest principal in New Zealand.

“Richard is a talented teacher who installs in children a love of life-long learning,” she said.

“That’s a special gift a teacher can give to their students and means they will remember him for years to come.”

Can we clone him?

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Politik says NZME job losses may hit 150

September 24th, 2015 at 6:50 am by David Farrar

Politik reports:

The NZME media group which includes Newstalk ZB and the NZ Herald is thought to be looking for over 100 redundancies as it restructures.

It has so far publicly refused to confirm any numbers but details of the plan leaked to POLITIK indicate that the company may be looking to terminate at least 150 staff.

That would put a huge hole in New Zealand’s largest media company and has the potential to impact on its highly regarded journalism.

The numbers being talked about would make this the biggest media mass redundancy New Zealand has seen.

Tough times for those affected.

POLITIK understands staff will not have specific desks but instead will be required to “hot desk”.

One journalist who asked where they could keep files was told in future hard copy files would be located in the company library in Ellerslie and could be delivered to Victoria Street.

Hmmn journalists with no desks or files.


An e-mail audio device for driving

September 23rd, 2015 at 2:29 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A Kiwi company has developed an app that allows drivers to listen to emails at the wheel. Beweb created the free Speaking Email app after director Mike Nelson got frustrated at being unable to safely read emails on his commute from Auckland’s North Shore to the city.

And though he admits drivers shouldn’t have any distractions, he said banning cellphones while driving wasn’t working. Rather than expecting drivers to ignore their phones, apps should be designed with a “safe-driving” mode.

Sounds like a great app. especially if it could do more than just read out e-mails but also do direct messages, maybe even tweets.

National manager of road policing, Superintendent Steve Greally, said anything that took a person’s attention away from the road was a safety risk.

“If someone is concentrating on an email, they are not likely to be giving their full attention to driving.”

True. So we should ban playing music in the car, listening to talkback radio or having passengers as they may talk to you.


Dotcom hearing to start Thursday

September 23rd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing will go ahead this week despite his protestations it should be delayed.

A hearing was held yesterday at Auckland District Court to determine the structure of proceedings over the next four weeks.

“The views of the parties are diametrically opposed,” Judge Nevin Dawson said in a judgment released yesterday afternoon.

The United States Government – represented by Crown Law – argued the extradition eligibility hearing should be heard first before multiple applications by the defendants for a stay of proceedings. …

Judge Dawson said the court had to balance the principles of the delivery of justice in a timely manner with the right of the parties to a fair hearing.

“This case has now been before this court for over three and a half years … It is now the 10th time this case has been set down for hearing,” Judge Dawson said.

The judge said the “interlocutory applications” by the defendants could be heard during the extradition hearing, rather than beforehand.

“The court would be better placed to rule on these applications having had the benefit of hearing the evidence of the eligibility hearing,” Judge Dawson said.

The US Government’s bid to extradite Dotcom will begin tomorrow.

This means that for the first time we will actually hear evidence in court from both sides on the substantive charges, rather than on related legal issues.  It will be interesting.


Pandas for Wellington is a fantasy

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

Stuff reports:

Plans to bring giant pandas to Wellington are a “fantasy” and the bill should put a halt on the idea, a Wellington City councillor says.

Wellington City Council will investigate a business case to bring the endangered animals from China to Wellington Zoo, it was announced on Friday. An initial “guesstimate” put the cost at $10 million, but the upcoming work would determine the exact costs and infrastructure requirements, as well as projected visitor numbers.

But Wellington City Councillor Paul Eagle said it was “fantasy stuff” to believe the council had the funds necessary to make the idea a reality. He doubted the $10m figure, saying number-crunching on a 2011 panda plan put the capital cost at $28m.

“But the 2015, 2016, 2017 figures would be $50m to $100m … If these [pandas] are so huge, would we have to close down Newtown Park, demolish that and build a car park? What’s going to happen to all the city streets, have we factored in road widening, pulling out all the car parks?”

Eagle said, even with external financial support, the plan could cost ratepayers significantly. “We’re prepared to build palaces for pandas over the core services.”

While he thought it would be exciting to have such animals in the zoo, there was little point in even completing a business case. “I’d say we’re just wasting time.”

I agree. I like pandas but I also like affordable rates. Focus on core issues.


Herald confuses minimum and median

September 22nd, 2015 at 1:06 pm by David Farrar

The Herald headline:

Aucklanders can expect to pay minimum of $400 a week

The first paragraph:

Auckland renters can expect to pay a minimum $400 a week – regardless of property type or size, according to Trade Me Property’s monthly report on median rents across New Zealand.

Stats Chat points out:

From a quick TradeMe search for Auckland rentals, with an upper limit of $350 a week: 525 listings.

And the Herald’s rather basic mistake:

What they mean is that the median is at least $400/week in every category of property type or size, not the minimum.

I can forgive a newspaper for not knowing the difference between mean and median. But conflating minimum and median is a horrific error, which makes the headline and lead paragraph totally wrong and misleading.

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The case for a Criminal Cases Review Commission

September 21st, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Dr Gilbert said the NZPIP was “run on the smell of an oily rag”, largely relying on volunteers, including University of Canterbury law students.

He acknowledged that many prisoners wrongly claimed innocence – “everyone in prison is innocent” – and said the project had been inundated since it began operations a couple of months ago.

However, if the Government were to establish a commission it would not “open a great floodgate”.

“If we look at the UK, 30 per cent of cases brought before that committee are thrown out immediately because they don’t meet the criteria, and only 6 per cent will go forward or be referred to the Court of Appeal.

“We are talking about a fairly modest number. But of those, 64 per cent are upheld, so they are righting injustices.”

So only one in 20 cases get referred to the Court of Appeal, but two thirds of those are upheld. That’s impressive figures and I think a good reason why we should have such a Commission here.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said she was satisfied the current system was capable of correcting miscarriages of justice, through appeals or the royal prerogative of mercy process.

A body like a Criminal Cases Review Commission performed exactly the same function as the royal prerogative of mercy, Ms Adams said.

I don’t agree. Firstly it would be separate from the Ministry of Justice and secondly it would build up expertise in this area.


5th month in a row with net migration from Australia

September 21st, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar


Stats NZ reports:

Seasonally adjusted figures showed a net gain of 5,500 migrants in August 2015. This included a net gain of 200 migrants from Australia – equal to last month’s net gain, which was the highest in over 20 years (since 300 in March 1991).

Gaining 200 a month from Australia compared to losing over 100 a day!



Windscreen washing or robbery?

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

The Press reports:

Children as young as 14 say they earn up to $150 a day washing windscreens in Christchurch.

Police have become increasingly worried by the behaviour of the city’s windscreen washers, some of whom they suspect are being run by gangs, including the Mongrel Mob, and have asked the council to give them authority to seize their equipment and prosecute them under the council’s public places bylaw.

One group who call themselves the ‘Moorhouse Window Washers’ deny any gang affiliations and say the public has nothing to be worried about.

“We are just getting on with our jobs like everyone else,” said 16-year-old James Burgess who claims to earn about $150 a day.

“We won’t do a car that don’t want to be done.”

Burgess, who has been washing windscreens for about 18 months, said he and the rest of his group would wash windscreens for about four hours a day for the money and the “entertainment”.

“It’s better than robbing people,” another young boy said.

That says a lot about the attitudes of those involved.

Crouther said he had surveillance footage of an incident where window washers had surrounded a motorist’s car. When the motorist had indicated he did not want his window washed, they had smashed in the car’s windows.

In another incident a driver had  his side mirror kicked off by a window washer when he said he did not want his window washed. When he stopped the car and confronted the window washer he was set upon by a group of six or seven youths.

Definitely some arrests needed.

Deputy mayor Vicki Buck said she understood why police wanted to get the window washers off the streets but she was concerned that they could end up with a conviction that stayed with them for the rest of their lives. 

Has Vicki Buck not heard of the clean slate law?


Stagnant wages?

September 21st, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Thanks to rising house prices, stagnant wages and social inequality, renters now make up at least half of our population.

I always get suspicious when a story makes an assertion like this. It sounds like borrowed rhetoric from a politician. So I thought I would check. Have wages been stagnant?

So I looked at Stats NZ average ordinary time earnings increases. The average increase in wages by year has been:

  • 2014/15 – 3.1%
  • 2013/14 – 3.5%
  • 2012/13 – 2.2%
  • 2011/12 – 3.5%
  • 2010/11 – 4.3%

That is far from stagnant, and well beyond inflation.

This then got me thinking whether other facts asserted in the article may also be less than robust. Do renters now make up half our population?

Well according to the last census, 453,135 households rent. This compares to 940,728 households that own their home directly or through a family trust. And around 50,000 households do not own or pay rent (maybe parents own).

So around one third of households rent, not one half. A big difference. But the assertion was renters are now over half the population.  So maybe rental households have more people in them that non rental households.

Well no as Stats NZ says:

In general, rental housing tended to have fewer bedrooms than housing that was owned or in a family trust.  

So if anything it is likely the proportion of people in rental accommodation is closer to 30% than 50%.

It is one thing for an article to quote someone else making an assertion that may not be true. but if the article just stats the assertion as fact, and it isn’t, it undermines the entire article.

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26 to 16

September 21st, 2015 at 6:03 am by David Farrar

That was a bit close!

Not good at half time down 12-13 with two All Blacks sin binned.  The score is really Argentina 14 Dan Carter 12. Second half starts badly as it goes 16 to 12 after a few minutes.

Only halfway through the 2nd half did we get the lead back with a converted try. But at 19 to 16 one penalty can tie the game and one try can lose it.

But yes a few minutes later a second converted try gets us 26 to 16 and beyond the danger zone.

Damn good playing from Argentina, and not great playing from the All Blacks. They’re lucky this was a pool game and against a middle power, not a top power.

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DNA test the cat

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

The Herald reports:

A social media sensation, a purebred moggy and a broken-hearted owner have become engaged in an online catfight.

Auckland woman Joyce Quah believes her much-loved chinchilla persian Chloe has ended up in the care of 18-year-old internet sensation Caitlin Davidson.

But Davidson – known as “Caito Potatoe” to her 457,829 followers – says she found the cat walking the streets of Auckland and is refusing to give it back. …

In Quah’s quest to identify Chloe she has also requested a sample of Darling’s fur so she can get the two follicles DNA tested. But she said Davidson had refused.

Why would you refuse? If I found a stray cat and someone a few months later claimed to be the owner, I’d absolutely agree to identify the cat.

Davison wouldn’t comment to the Herald on Sunday, instead referring inquiries to her father, Tom.

He confirmed his family had “made several complaints” to police yesterday.

He did not know if Darling was Chloe, and would not comment on why a DNA test had not been done.

“We’re meeting police on Monday and hopefully we’ll know more by then and can make a statement,” he said.

He said “a lot of hate” had been directed his daughter’s way.

“I’d love to have our side of the story on this, but it’s not the right time,” he said.

“Quite frankly, it’s a cat. Is it really worth all this palaver? I don’t think so. It’s a cat.”

That suggests he almost concedes that cat is Chloe, but that the original owner should just give up as it is not worth it. If he thinks it isn’t important, then why not DNA test the cat?

It’s not the first time someone has claimed “Darling” was a different cat.

In January, Davidson posted on her page that someone had accused her of stealing their cat Brutus from Glenfield, which she strongly denied.

“Darling has been a stray cat for a very long time and we have saved her and now she has actually been fed properly.

“Apparently she’s been on the streets for a very long time so now she’s in a happy home and we’re looking after her and we love her to bits,” Davidson said in a video post.

Sure the claim may be wrong, but that is why you agree to identification. And it is great you cared for the cat, but if the original owner did not abandon her (and indeed she searched everywhere for her) it is not finders keepers.


So Harcourts can’t be trusted with your data!

September 20th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The real estate agent sacked after the Labour Party was leaked confidential sales data on Asian buyers is back in the Auckland property market.

Grant Hargrave has a new job selling real estate with Harcourts after a high-profile dumping in July from Barfoot & Thompson.

Hargrave was given his marching orders during a political firestorm, accused of leaking sales data to Labour, whose spokesperson for housing and Auckland issues, Phil Twyford, claimed the high count of Chinese names was proof Auckland’s overcooked market was being stoked by offshore investors.

Hargrave has denied any involvement with the leak.

He has denied leaking it directly to Labour. But there is proof he leaked it to others. One News reported:

Barfoot and Thompson managing director Peter Thompson yesterday announced that following an internal investigation the company has terminated the contract of a staff member who has breached its policies, resulting in the disclosure of confidential information.

Mr Thompson said confidential data was sent “by the identified internal source to a number of individuals including the media and political figures. However this does not include direct contact with the Labour Party”.

Now this was highly sensitive data which included the names of purchasers. It was then used to demonise the purchasers. And Harcourts has hired this guy, saying:

But his boss, Harcourts chief executive Hayden Duncan, said he was now a valued member of staff.

“Grant’s working with us now and we’re very comfortable with him and his history. He’s one of the best in the country and is not a concern in any way, shape or form,” he said.

“We take private information very seriously and have rules in place around it.

Barfoot and Thompson had rules also. He was sacked for breaking them.

“After a continued investigation, our systems mean there will be no issues at all. It was only an allegation and we don’t believe there was anything in it at all.”

If there was no proof, then he would easily win an unjustified dismissal claim.

For my part, I would now never use Harcourts to sell a house. I would only use a company that is dedicated to protecting my data.

It would be different if Hragrave had leaked summarised data. That would be far far less serious. But he leaked data showing actual names of purchasers.

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Japan 34 South Africa 32

September 20th, 2015 at 7:06 am by David Farrar

What an incredible game. Japan, one of the minions minnows of the game, has topped mighty South Africa. They are calling it the biggest upset in world cup rugby. It might be the biggest upset in international rugby ever.

I can recall the early days of Japan playing the All Blacks, and the only tension was whether the All Blacks could score 100 points before the final whistle. They have improved a lot since then but up until this match South Africa has won 25 out of 29 World Cup matches, and Japan had won exactly once – against Zimbabwe in 1991.

But despite being around 40 to 1 underdogs in the betting odds, in the first ever test match between the two countries, Japan prevailed. I doubt (none South African) Kiwis watching the game cheered any less for Japan than they do for the All Blacks.

Again to put this in perspective the odds of South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup are 13/2 and Japan is 5000/1.

By coincidence I was on Radio NZ on Friday and asked about the Rugby World Cup. I said that relatively speaking I wasn’t so worried about South Africa and Australia, but England and France. I commented South Africa had not had a great run lately – however never would have picked them to lose to Japan.

Also of note is Georgia beating Tonga 17 to 10. It’s great to see the game becoming more even.

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More redundancies at the Herald?

September 19th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

It’s now understood that other senior staff at the NZ Herald being ‘consulted’ about the proposed plans to facilitate the creation of NZME’s “world-class integrated newsroom” (ie, more than likely being made redundant) also include Canvas deputy editor Greg Dixon, feature writer Alan Perrot and columnist John Roughan.

They seem set to join veterans John Drinnan, Brian Rudman and Michele Hewitson (see below) on today’s casualty list.

Must be tough times for those at the Herald.

If John Drinnan goes, it will be a pity. As a writer who focuses on the media, I read all his columns religiously and often learn stuff I didn’t know. I didn’t agree with everything he wrote (of course) but found him far more balanced that Mediawatch on Radio NZ (which I also listen to always, but find it has such an anti-commercial flavour). He also engages regularly on Twitter, in a useful way.

I’ve never understood why anyone ever agrees to be interviewed by Michelle Hewitson, as she generally skewers them not so gently. But I almost without fail read her interviews as they can be insightful in a way few are.

Rudman’s views are always pretty predictable, but his focus on Auckland issues was good. We need more scrutiny of local government.

John Roughan writes far less than he used to, but I like his columns as he would often go against the prevailing mood, and argue something unpopular.

One NZ Herald staff member says, “It’s a bloodbath.” Another tells NBR that 30% of editorial staff are getting the chop. The number is unconfirmed, but would still mean editorial is getting off more lightly than sales where sources suggest that up to 40% of staff could receive their marching orders.

The print media commercial model is failing, and online media revenue is not in the same league. Eventually business models that work will come through, but until they do it’s a hard time for those in the media.

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Quote of the Week from Judith

September 19th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

National MP Judith Collins has declared in no uncertain terms that R&B star Chris Brown is not welcome in New Zealand, and can “bugger off”. 

Brown has not yet obtained the special visa he will need to perform in New Zealand in December – he is technically barred from visiting after being convicted of felony assault in 2009 after he viciously attacked then-girlfriend Rihanna.

Asked on the Paul Henry Show on Friday whether Brown should be allowed into New Zealand, Collins professed “we’ve got enough wife-beaters in this country, he should just bugger off“.

Great call, and it’s true.

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