Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

Town planners getting zealous again

August 11th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Waikato Times reports:

A new Hamilton city zoning plan which steps on the toes of some of the city’s best known companies has been branded as “bonkers” by owner of Gallagher Group, Sir William Gallagher.

Hamilton City Council’s proposed district plan restricts companies’ ability to expand operations on their sites in the city’s industrial zone. The plan came into effect on July 9 this year. There is still an appeal process where some changes can be made.

Businesses are worried that sites such as Gallagher Group’s on Kahikatea Drive don’t fit in with the new plan’s rules.

“I think it’s bonkers, and ridiculous,” Sir William told the Waikato Times.

“You run integrated industries these days and that means we have office, research and manufacture on the same site.”

The plan allows operations in industrial zones to have ancillary offices, but the offices can only be 25 per cent of the floor space, or 250 square metres, whichever is smaller.

Gallagher Group has considerably more office space than this, as do many other companies in industrial zones.

Existing businesses that are operating legally have existing use rights to continue using their sites.

The problem arises if the company wants to do development, which would result in a potentially costly consenting process.

Idiotic rules. Who cares if a site has 50% warehouse and 50% office. They buy the land, let them use it.

Hamilton City Council’s city planning manager Luke O’Dwyer said extensive independent consultation went into developing the district plan.

He said the old district plan was “very permissive”, so a lot of standalone offices had appeared in industrial zones, to the detriment of the central business district.

A permissive plan – how terrible.

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A 110 km/hr speed limit

August 11th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Motorists are calling for a major rethink of speed limits – including raising the top limit to 110kmh on the safest motorways.

The Automobile Association, which represents 1.3 million drivers, says a move to 110kmh should become a priority after this year’s election.

It also wants limits reduced on highways that are not equipped to handle 100kmh traffic, such as the steep and winding Rimutaka Hill Road.

AA motoring affairs general manager Mike Noon said too many “inconsistencies” had crept into New Zealand’s speed zones, which was confusing well-intentioned drivers and seeing them get caught for speeding.

The association wanted fair, consistent and predictable speed limits across the board.

If some motorways had been designed for 110kmh traffic, then the limit should reflect that, he said.

But it should apply only to flat, straight stretches of motorway with two lanes in each direction, a median barrier and good shoulder space. “It won’t be an enormous amount of roads,” Noon said.

I agree. 110 km/hr is a common speed limit overseas for well designed motorways. The speed limit should reflect the road conditions.

National road policing manager Superintendent Carey Griffiths would not be drawn on whether speed limits should go up or down, but said they needed to reflect the risk and functions of a particular road.

Agreed.

Featherston man Nick Burt, who drives the Rimutaka Hill Road about four times a week, favoured scaling back the speed limit there to 80kmh.

You’re crazy if you drive that road at 100 km/hr. I agree it should be lower, as should the road to Makara.

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Sutch was a spy

August 11th, 2014 at 6:30 am by David Farrar

Phil Kitchin at the Dom Post reports:

Forty years after he was acquitted of spying, electrifying new evidence has emerged showing that top government official Bill Sutch was a KGB recruit working under the codename “Maori”.

The Dominion Post has obtained copies of official KGB records that show Sutch was a 24-year veteran recruit of the feared Soviet spy agency when he was arrested while meeting a KGB agent at an Aro Valley park, in Wellington, in 1974.

I’m not surprised, but nice to finally have it proven.

But his daughter says the evidence does not match her father and maintains he was not involved with the Soviets.

Really?

The file with New Zealand material in it says the KGB recruited an “ex-high ranking official in state machinery” who was born in 1907, obtained a PhD and retired in 1965.

That profile is a perfect match to Sutch who was born in June 1907, held a PhD and retired as the head of the Department of Industries and Commerce in 1965.

The KGB thumbnail sketch says the agent was “recruited in 1950,” given the codename Maori and was “in contact with Drozhzhin”.

Sutch therefore appears to have been recruited in New York as he was secretary-general of New Zealand’s United Nations delegation there from 1947 to 1951.

At the time Sutch was working for  the Soviet Union, they were a totalitarian murdering regime that jailed and killed political dissidents. He was a horrible traitor.

I previously blogged:

However he was an apologist and supporter of a murdering Stalinist regime. That makes him a man of incredible flawed and warped judgement regardless of whether or not he was a spy.

The SIS files on him are worth a read. He once described himself as a “Stalinist” and opposed NZ entry into WWII (the speculation being because of the German- peace treaty) until the  became an ally.

Even after Stalin was denounced by Krushchev, Sutch defended Stalin’s actions on the grounds of economic necessity. He also disregarded instructions from the NZ Govt and voted in UN bodies with eastern bloc countries against his own Government’s wishes. He also thought the USSR invasion of Hungary was justified. …

So as I said, he may or may not have spied for the USSR. But he was a dedicated supporter of it and apologist for it. In my eyes that is like the difference between having worked for the Nazis, or defending what the Nazis did – neither are testaments of good character.

A very flawed man.

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Welcome Spark

August 8th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Simon Moutter today hoists a new flag up Telecom’s mast, marking its tack away from two decades as New Zealand’s safe and stodgy telecommunications provider.

For the managing director, it’s a signal of the company’s new direction, towards a bright digital horizon of revenue growth and new services such as internet television.

Moutter’s flag, bearing the new company name Spark, aims to jettison Telecom’s past persona and chart a course to it becoming a competitive provider of communications, entertainment, and cloud computing services.

I”m loving the new Telecom. They have become a competitive retailer, instead of a regulatory gamer.

Spark were the first company to bring in flat rate data roaming, and also the first big player to bring in uncapped fibre plans. They now try to be a market leader, rather than stop the market evolving.

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So remember everyone saying how hard done by Hubbard was

August 6th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

When the Government assumed control of Allan Hubbard’s companies, they were attacked by many in South Canterbury, and beyond. Hubbard was a saint who could do no wrong, and Simon Power was savaged for agreeing to statutory management.

Now Hubbard was a well intentioned individual, but as the Herald reports, his financial management was deficient in recent years:

Allan Hubbard, the late boss of South Canterbury Finance, which collapsed and required a $1.6 billion government bailout, “had little interest” in meeting accounting or legal requirements, and three of his most trusted colleagues went along with the massive fraud, a court has been told today. …

Long-time SCF chairman, Timaru financier Mr Hubbard, who died in a September 2011 car crash, aged 83, ignored various accounting and legal regulations that he was bound to adhere to, the court was told.

One witness described Mr Hubbard’s attitude as being, “Trust me, I know what I am doing”.

“The evidence has been that he had a disdain for disclosing related party transactions, a peculiar view of what constituted one, a penchant for swapping cheques to cleanse the accounts … and took assets off the balance sheet if they were impaired,” Crown lawyer Colin Carruthers QC said. …

The Crown says that on July 25, 2007, the defendants prepared a letter to Mr Hubbard expressing their concerns with the business practices.

“That is an extraordinary document, setting out a long list of issues directly relevant to these charges, from related party advances, the single entity exposure limit, advances being made without security, loan and drawdown authorisation, and so on,” Mr Carruthers said.

But despite the concerns, nothing changed, Mr Carruthers said.

A decision in the trial is due in October.

 

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This Week On Prime TV’s “Back Benches”

August 4th, 2014 at 7:38 pm by Kokila Patel

YAUN YOU BUY OUR FARMS?:  Lochinver Station is up for sale and Chinese company & Crafar Farms owners, Shanghai Pengxin, want to buy the land. The potential purchase has reignited the debate over foreign ownership of kiwi land. Do we need to have a limit on what foreign buyers can own? Does it matter what kind of land it is and what it will be used for? Does it matter if it is a home in Auckland or a farm in the Waikato? Does it matter where the buyer is from? Currently, there are no statistics collected on who is buying property in NZ. Does that need to change?

CONSERVATION CORPS:  Labour pledges boot camps will be out and they’ll bring back the Conservation Corps in order to get more young people into work which would mix conservation work with vocational training for 16-24 year olds.  Is this the solution for youth unemployment?


There are two ways to get in on the political pub action:
First, you can join the live audience in Wellington’s iconic Backbencher Pub on Wednesday, 6th of August at 6pm. Filming begins around 6:15pm.

Or watch us that night on PRIME TV at 10:30pm!
http://www.primetv.co.nz/

Plus, Follow us on Facebook (BackBenchesTV) or on Twitter @BackBenchesTV.

Our Panel: Green Party MP Holly Walker, Labour MP Chris Hipkins, and National MP Chris Tremain.

” This show is shaping up to be essential election year viewing ” – Paul Casserly, NZ Herald 3/6/14

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I’m over hosting the Games

August 3rd, 2014 at 10:58 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A New Zealand bid to host a future Commonwealth Games may not centre on one city.

That’s because our cities are probably not big enough to cope.

New Zealand Olympic Committee president Mike Stanley this week told the Sunday Star-Times he was ”absolutely sure” that the country would host another Games – for the fourth time in the event’s varied history since inception in 1930.

I’m not so sure.

A successful bid would take close to a decade between launching and hosting, Stanley said, making 2026 the earliest New Zealand could play host – 36 years after Auckland was our last host city.

I love watching the games, but I think hosting them just costs too much. The costs almost always blow out.

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15 reasons to love Wellington

August 3rd, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Travel blogger Liz Carlson blogs at Young Adventuress 15 reasons why she loves living in Wellington, six months after arriving here:

  1. All the bays and all the beaches
  2. Hilly city
  3. Awesome brunch and coffee culture
  4. Mt Victoria
  5. Friendly and awesome Wellingtonians
  6. Cool marine life
  7. Hip bar scene
  8. Zealandia
  9. Honking in the Mt Vic tunnel
  10. Wellington cable car
  11. Middle Earth in Wellington
  12. Crazy roads
  13. Windy Welly
  14. Somes Island
  15. Sunday market and Te Papa

Not much on that list I would disagree with. We do live in a great city in Wellington. Would be nice if the water was a bit warmer at the beautiful beaches, but can’t have everything!

The Library bar is one of my favourite places in Wellington. I can happily spend hours there.

Also Somes Island is truly awesome. Have been there a few times. Kayaking over there from Petone is my preferred mode of travel to it!

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Who killed the Crewes?

August 1st, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

An elite police criminal profiler built a psychological model of the murderer who killed the Crewes – and ruled out the motive detectives say drove Arthur Allan Thomas to commit the crime.

The profiler also diminished the role of Jeannette Crewe in any motive, saying a dispute between her husband Harvey and the killer likely festered for four years until the murder was committed through a “distorted desire to punish”. …

The profiler identified up to six criminal acts against the Crewes in the four years before their murders. They included a burglary in 1967, a fire in the Crewes’ nursery in 1968 and the destruction by fire of a hay barn in 1969 – the year before the double murder.

The pattern showed “escalating criminal progression”.

“Someone did not like them and their hatred was evolving over time. The burglary and fires were precursor offences by the perpetrator of the murders.”

The criminal profile said the killer knew the Crewes well and “wanted to intimidate” and “possibly drive them out of the district”.

If Ewen Macdonald was alive in 1970, I’d suggest they go interview him :-)

I used to think it was Len Demler, but who knows.

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Succeeding after failure

August 1st, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I saw in the NBR Rich List is that a new entry is Josef Roberts with an estimated $100m. he is 52. The Herald reports that Roberts was bankrupted before he was 30.

I find that quite inspiring. No one likes to fail, but it is how you respond to failure that can define you. Roberts didn’t give up on a career in business, but learnt from his mistakes.

In business there is no reward without risk. That is the tension always there. Failure for some is inevitable, and I admire those who carry on.

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Spark

August 1st, 2014 at 7:21 am by David Farrar

spark

Peter McCaffery has noted the similarities. He hopes Telecom didn’t pay their designers too much money!

UPDATE: Telecom comments:

* The Telus Spark logo displayed doesn’t seem anything like their main logo (see link below) although it seems they use a similar graphic device in some circumstances  http://www.sparkscience.ca/

*Whatever the similarities might be, Telus Spark the Science Centre opened in Oct 2011 – two years after Telecom started using the ‘spark’ logo as part of our 2009 rebranding.

Seems to be great minds think alike then!

 

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CAA must take some responsibility for deaths

July 30th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

When the Wairarapa ballooning tragedy which killed 11 first occurred, I thought it was just incredibly bad luck.

It then emerged the pilot was probably under the influence of cannabis, and I basically blamed the pilot – but thought there was not much you can do if a pilot who is also the owner is stupid enough to do such a thing – that it was a one off.

But it turns out the CAA had complaints in the past and did nothing. That is appalling. The Dom Post reports:

The Civil Aviation Authority took no action when told a balloon pilot had been too “pissed and/or high” to fly, an inquest has been told.

It had also been told Lance Hopping, 53, had cheated on pilot exams and impersonated a CAA official.

And he was still licensed!

Sherriff suggested that if the complaints had been revealed that would have prevented the tragedy.

They included an allegation Hopping had on more than one occasion been too “pissed and/or too high” to fly, causing flights to be suspended.

And nothing happened!

Earlier, a CAA manager said further safety restrictions on commercial balloonists could put some out of business.

Tough. 11 people would still be alive though.

The Herald reported:

During questioning in the inquest, Chris Ford from the CAA confirmed there had been a number of Aviation Related Concerns (ARC) about Mr Hopping in the years before the crash.

Those concerns included an ARC on February 4, 2010 about a balloon flight that was cancelled because Mr Hopping appeared “too pissed and/or too high to perform piloting duties”, the report said.

That incident was not isolated, the report said.

“In one incident within the previous two years, an on board crew person had to take over the controls of the balloon because Mr Hopping was incapable of landing it on his own due to impairment.”

Another related to an unauthorised notebook being found on the pilot as he was sitting a flying exam.

“A layman would call that cheating, wouldn’t they?” Mr Sherriff asked Mr Ford, who agreed.

So twice before they knew he had been too pissed or stoned to pilot, and again did nothing. And they knew he cheated on his exams.

The two CAA investigators tasked with looking into the ARCs decided the information they had was “insufficiently reliable” to justify an interview with Mr Hopping, the report said.

“This was because the information provided was of a hearsay nature, from persons who may have had their own agenda in making the assertions.

But they didn’t even talk to him!!!!

A medical certificate in 2004 pointed to Mr Hopping’s “binge drinking” and a note that he should drink more moderately was made.

So the warning bells were not subtle!

Hopping is the person most to blame for what happened. But the CAA are complicit in the 11 deaths in my view.

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NZ Taxis against Uber

July 30th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Controversial car travel app Uber is eyeing the Wellington market but the taxi federation says it is illegal under New Zealand law and warns that it is “sugar-coated poison” that will lead to higher fares.

Uber has denied claims it was operating illegally since it started in May in Auckland, where people can book a ride from motorists who are not cabbies.

The New Zealand Transport Agency said Uber was effectively acting as a booking agent for a network of private hire service providers – not as a taxi firm – and those private hire services were a long-established form of passenger service in New Zealand.

The Taxi Federation doesn’t like the idea of competition. I do. Can’t wait for Uber to get here.

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Ouch

July 29th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A couple of hours trapped in grime ended Porou Wrathall’s career in crime.

Police found the skinny teenager stuck in a fatty pipe at Mr Fish and Chips shop in Langdons Rd, Papanui, about 2.30am on June 17, after they were alerted by neighbours who heard Wrathall’s cry for help.

Yesterday an embarrassed but relieved Wrathall, 18 and a first offender, told The Press the offence had occurred during a drunken moment and was “the start and end” of his criminal career.

He had just appeared in the Christchurch District Court, where his conviction for burglary was penalised with an order he come up for sentence if called upon within 12 months.

In some ways, he had already paid dearly for his stupidity. He was stuck in the greasy fish and chip shop extractor vent for several hours. A steel support was jammed between his buttocks, he was caked in fat and he was cold and sore. He then spent four days in hospital due to hypothermia and kidney problems caused by the confinement.

Heh, now that is karma. I do hope he has recovered though and learnt a lesson.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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OCR moves to 3.5%

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

OCR

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.

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Chromebooks

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.

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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 .

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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!

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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.

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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!

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