Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

Ban 101 Dalmations!

June 14th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Eric Crampton writes:

University of Otago Associate Professor Nick Wilson argued that Disney’s classic 101 Dalmations should carry an R rating. Why? Because Cruella de Vil smokes. Wilson argued that children need protecting, and ex-smokers might appreciate the trigger warnings where films induce cravings.

You might find it amazing that in a world with Zika and Ebola, researchers concerned about public health have time and funding to watch and categorise 73.5 hours of broadcast television. They conclude that legislation could require R-ratings for programming with tobacco imagery. But their policy suggestion misunderstands how ratings work in New Zealand and points to a disconnection from the real world.

TV show ratings come from the Broadcast Standards Authority; they are not set by legislation. And the BSA has no R-rating. But Restricted ratings are set in legislation for content screened in cinemas, streamed online, or sold in DVD sets where the Office of Film and Literature Classification has jurisdiction.

An OFLC R-rating means it is illegal to let a child under the required age view the programme. Watching South Park with your 13 year old on broadcast television is legal regardless of whether it has the strictest broadcast rating: AO 9:30. The same episode streamed online or watched on DVD could carry a fine of up to $10,000 or up to three months in prison, if the episode were rated R14 by OFLC.

So calling for something to be restricted with an R rating is a pretty big deal: it means the state should be able to fine parents or put them in jail for letting the kids watch it.

There seems to be something about some Otago University professors where they just inhabit a parallel dimension. Go to jail for letting your kid watch 101 Dalmations!


A great response to Uber

June 13th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

An app-based taxi service is being launched to take on Uber – led by disgruntled drivers.

Leon Kang, director of UrbanNZ, said the new service would match Uber fares and compete with the international transport app on “credibility and reliability”.

“We are making it mandatory for all prospective drivers to have background checks, medical checks and get a proper passenger endorsement under NZ Transport Agency rules,” said Kang, who drives for Uber at present. “Quite a number of Uber drivers have expressed interest in joining us, but we will be screening who we take on.”

The company was finalising its app, which according to Kang was “very similar” to Uber, and was planning for a launch in August.

“Uber seems to think it is invincible, but we are here to prove that they are not and give them a run for the money,” said Kang.

That’s a great way to respond – setting up competition. Far better than just whining.  I enjoy using Uber but I’ll happily use other services if they provide me with the same or better service and prices.

The Herald on Sunday understands many Uber drivers are quitting as they feel that the new fares, starting at $1.35 a km, no longer provide them a sustainable income.

If correct, them Uber will run out of drivers, and they’ll need to increase what they charge.

Kang said despite matching what Uber charges, drivers will have “more money in the pocket” because of lower commission fees.

Uber drivers usually kept 80 per cent of the fare, paid via a pre-registered credit card, but UrbanNZ, drivers would get to keep 87.5 per cent.

Price competition is excellent. If they are successful, then Uber will need to reduce its commission also to compete to get drivers.

Maori home ownership rates

June 13th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Government are being blamed for plummeting home-ownership rates for Maori and Pacific Islanders.

But Housing Minister Nick Smith says the data just confirmed broader social statistics, including that these groups having lower incomes and lower education achievements.

Recently released figures from Statistics New Zealand show Maori and Pacific Island home ownership fell at a faster rate than for the total population over the past 25 years (ending at the latest census in 2013). …

The Labour party have added the latest statistics to their list of housing issues the Government was not adequately addressing.

“It clearly shows this Government doesn’t have a plan,” Labour MP Meka Whaitiri said. 

I’m always interested in breaking down long-term trends to smaller segments so we can see if the problem is in fact getting worse.

In the 2001 census the Maori home ownership rate was 47.0%. In 2006 it was 45.2% and in 2013 it was 43.1%.

The annual decline from 2001 to 2006 was 0.35% a year. From 2006 to 2013 it was 0.29% a year.


An appeal should be lodged

June 13th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

An accomplished fraudster has now pulled off the ultimate swindle: she’s escaped a jail term after the court failed to see through her fake identities.

Lisa Donnelly pleaded guilty to fleecing a 92-year-old woman of her life savings.

Judge Christopher Field sentenced her to home detention. He cut her some slack because, he said, she had led a relatively crime-free life.

But he was never told of previous convictions she’d racked up under multiple aliases, including a notorious $2 million fraud. 

He was unaware that Donnelly used several aliases, including the name Lisa Clement, when she famously defrauded the Ministry of Social Development of $1.9 million.

She had also racked up more than 40 other convictions between her three aliases. 

The story relates how the Police stuffed up and didn’t tell the Judge of her extensive criminal history.

The case should be appealed. There is nothing to suggest that Donnelly is is any way rehabilitated and won’t be out there defrauding people as soon as possible. If she is in jail, then the public are protected from her while she is inside.

Howard League doing a great job

June 12th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

There is Mike Williams too. The former Labour party president is now chief executive of the Howard League.

It is these two, together with an army of volunteers and the full­time services of a retired teacher, who have introduced the league’s literacy programme in prisons around the country. Its success has spawned another programme: one designed to turn potential inmates around before they reach the prison doors.

Williams may have long left his leading role in the Labour Party. But he still has the persuasive oratorial and fund­raising skills born of a life in politics.

Days before the Spring Hill ceremony, he seated himself in his favourite cafe to explain his current vocation. He starts by reciting author Neil Gaiman: “How do these people [private prison providers] plan how many cells they will need? Easy: you just find out how many 11 year­ olds can’t read or write.”

As it happens, the numbers don’t add up well for New Zealand’s prison population. Williams snaps out the stats. “At least 50 per cent of prisoners are functionally illiterate. What that effectively means is they can’t read the Road Code. And the Road Code is pitched at 10 years.”

Worse still, in New Zealand there is a formidably high incarceration rate and recidivism rate – 30 per cent higher incarceration than Australia; double that of Finland and Germany. When they get out, they often go back.

He gleaned that information after joining the Howard League at his old mate Gibbs’ invitation in 2011. Back then, the league had been seen as “a handful of elderly lawyers who met infrequently and abused Corrections,” says Williams.

That’s basically right.

He spent an Easter weekend Googling “penal reform”. And he did a few arithmetical calculations himself. “I thought ‘let’s say 50 per cent of prisoners are illiterate. At any given time there are between 12,000 and 20,000 retired school teachers’. So what I suggested to Tony was we put two and two together and make five.”

Gibbs deemed the idea great. They took it to the Department of Corrections, who also agreed. Corrections agreed to pay the salary of retired literacy professional Anne Brown, who custom­built the course.

And they began an experiment at Hawke’s Bay Regional Corrections Facility.

“We were worried that [signing up to the programme] might be seen as an admission that you could not read. Or that you were a cissy. But just about everywhere we do it, there’s a queue,” says Williams.

The key characteristic is it’s one-­on­-one training. But for Brown, the programme is staffed entirely by volunteers. There’s also a peer­-to­-peer programme where inmates teach each other.

There’s no set time to complete the programme; inmates qualify when they can fluently read a children’s book onto a CD. Since its introduction in 2012, about 100 men have graduated from the Hawke’s Bay facility. The programme now runs in 15 prisons around the country. (At one of them, former Auckland Heart of the City head Alex Swney -­ jailed in 2015 for a $4 million fraud -­ is reaching out to help others on the inside.) Graduation ceremonies such as the one witnessed at Spring Hill are regular events.

They’re doing great work. Literacy doesn’t mean the prisoners won’t reoffend, but it means they now have better options ahead of them.

Now the league wants to keep men and women them out of prison in the first place. So let’s hear some more stats first. Williams gleaned these from former Labour MP, now Waipareira Trust head, John Tamihere. “I banged into him in Hammer Hardware in Te Atatu. He told me about 65 per cent of Maori who are in prison start their penal career with a driving offence.

“It’s not just literacy,” continues Williams, “they don’t have a legal car, they don’t know how to get a birth certificate, they don’t have a bank account. And if they go to jail they’ll get recruited into a gang and learn how to cook P.”

So another programme began, again under the jurisdiction of the Howard League. This one identifies second-­time offenders who have clocked up two offences related to not having a drivers licence and are on probation. Next step, prison beckons ­- unless they mend their ways.

The programme teaches probationees the rudiments of reading, together with the intricacies of obtaining a licence.

Even better if you keep them out of prison in the first place.

Claims over Police shooting

June 12th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reported:

The grieving family of a man shot dead by police in the Karangahake Gorge near Paeroa want an independent inquiry into what they describe as a “cold-blooded execution”.

Mike Taylor was shot on Friday morning by police who were responding to a call from his long-time partner, Natalie Avery.

Avery and her children, Carlin, 21, and Amy, 14, say there was no need for police to shoot Taylor, as he had thrown his weapons and was walking away.

They claim he put his hands in the air as he’d been instructed to do and was kneeling down when he was shot.. …

“He threw the slasher – it had no handle – over the top of the police car and he smashed the passenger window with the machete and then he walked away.

“He would have been at least 20 metres from the police car, hands up, bowed his knees and from there they shot him … through the heart from behind. It was cold blooded.”

All Police shootings are fully investigating by the IPCA. But this seems a pretty simple case, as the forensic evidence will be very clear as to whether or not he was shot from behind.

The Herald reports:

Police say a man shot dead in Paeroa yesterday was shot in the torso, not in the back as his partner claims. …

Acting Assistant Commissioner Bruce Bird said as Mr Taylor approached police armed with a machete, a number of shots were fired from the front seat of the patrol car at short range.

If you approach armed police with a machete and refuse to put it down, then you will get tasered or shot.

Avery said she and Taylor had been having an ongoing dispute with Hauraki District Council and police over access to the roadway. 

“I knew it [the shooting] was going to happen some day,” Avery said.   

Residents said Taylor had terrorised his small community, threatening and intimidating people who crossed near the property on their walks.

They said he claimed the land, which overlooks the Karangahake River, was his land, even though it was a public road.

He ended up in court on numerous occasions for threatening behaviour and offensive language.

On one occasion he was charged with trying to run down an elderly man and his daughter, who were on a walk.

“He’s threatened everybody in the neighbourhood,” a local woman said. “It’s a wonder somebody else hasn’t been shot.”

Taylor was engaged in a long-running battle over the erection of some gates across the public road, which he would put back up every time the Hauraki District Council took them down. 

“The gates were taken down in the presence of police because the council workers were so scared to go up there on their own because of the history of this bloke,” a second man said. “He was arrogant and brutal, with the foulest mouth.

“People would take their dog for a walk and he would say, I’ll kill your dog.”

It sounds like the way this ended was somewhat inevitable, based on his past behaviour.  He’d been terrorising people for years, but made the mistake of trying the same with armed Police.

Defence spending to remain modest

June 10th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Up to $20 billion will be spent on New Zealand’s Defence Force over the next 15 years, the Government revealed today, including a scaling-up of operations in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica and a greater focus on defending against cyber attacks.

The long-awaited Defence White Paper, released at Parliament this morning, earmarked funding equivalent to 1 per cent of New Zealand’s GDP for defence – around half the amount spent by Australia and the United Kingdom.

1% of GDP on defence is around half the world average. Here’s what some other countries spend:

  • US 3.5%
  • Singapore 3.1%
  • Greece 2.3%
  • France 2.2%
  • UK 2.0%
  • Estonia 1.9%
  • Australia 1.8%
  • Italy 1.5%
  • Norway 1.5%
  • Finland 1.3%
  • Spain 1.2%
  • Germany 1.2%
  • Denmark 1.2%
  • Sweden 1.1%

NZ First is saying maintaining at 1% is not enough, that it should be 2%. That would mean an additional $2 billion a year in defence spending.

RIP Sir Graham Latimer

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

Stuff reported:

Prominent Maori leader and former National vice president Sir Graham Latimer has died, aged 90, after suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Sir Graham Stanley Latimer’s leadership was key in progressing Maori rights and addressing historic grievances.

He was involved with the New Zealand Maori Council for nearly 40 years, much of his tenure was as president, and he was one of the first three members of the Waitangi Tribunal. …

Shane Jones, now Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development, described Latimer as a “mentor for our generation”.

“He was steadfast to a global Maori view about the trajectory that we should follow, but more importantly he was extremely patriotic to his country that he served in the second world war.

“He was a pragmatist, very few people would know that. He agreed to help push for the decriminalisation of marijuana.”

Latimer’s litigation and broadcasting leadership helped Maori to flourish, said Jones: “His efforts changed the face of New Zealand.”

Jones would remember Latimer’s restlessness to achieve, and his words: “Don’t stand around son, holding the shovel at the hangi pit. Get out and find fresh prey.”

I met Sir Graham when I was around 18, in 1986. He was the Maori Vice-President of the National Party but was very happy to spend time chatting to a Young National on Maori and Treaty issues.

There are arguably few in Maoridom who worked as hard as he did to try and achieve better outcomes for his people.

Grant Norman King

June 9th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I blogged in May 2014 on a fraudster who was trying to get a website about him removed under the Harrassment Act.

An update on him in the Herald:

Three times bankrupt, Grant Norman King stood in the dock in Waitakere District Court where he was sentenced to 262 hours of community work.

It was July 30, 2012, and he had admitted charges of violating the terms of that bankruptcy after ripping off a west Auckland man over a $23,500 sleep out that was never built. ..

The convictions were added to the 60-year-old’s 40 previous convictions, many of which were for similarly fraudulent behaviour.

Judge Glubb said the fact the offending took place before and after sentencing on other matters showed particular audacity on King’s part.

“You were given 262 hours’ community work at that time and you brazenly re-engaged in the management of another business and further offended in the same way, albeit it escalated.”

King was jailed for 18 months despite arguing for home detention.

Sadly I don’t think we have seen the last of him.

King made headlines in 2012 when the Herald revealed he took $23,500, a 75-per-cent deposit for a sleep out, from Steve Taylor.

The work was never done.

Since then, Mr Taylor had set up a blog designed to warn others of the fraudster’s activity.

The blog is at

Deport deport deport

June 9th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A pensioner and convicted fraudster who faces deportation to South Africa doesn’t believe he will last “five minutes” if forced back to his homeland.

Wyndham man John William Jackson was served with a deportation notice after stealing more than half a million dollars off a company he held a directorship at, but is appealing the deportation notice on humanitarian grounds. 

He is a convicted criminal. Why would we let him remain?

Jackson, who receives a weekly $300 pension payment in New Zealand, has appealed against deportation on humanitarian grounds based largely on his ill health, with Jackson saying it had worsened in the last 18 months.

He takes multiple tablets on a daily basis for several conditions, has previously had a heart attack, suffers from diabetes, numbness in both feet, high blood pressure, circulatory problems, enlarged prostate and constant pain in his back, and pain in his leg which would remain the rest of his life, he said. 

He also said he smoked between five and 10 cigarettes a day.

If he had to return to South Africa he rated his ability to work as “not very good”, given his medical issues and said he had no finances to take to South Africa.

He did not think he would last “five minutes” if sent back to South Africa.

He should have considered all this before he stole half a million dollars.

The organ donation review

June 7th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Improving the driver licence donor system is one of many proposed changes to boost New Zealand’s woeful organ donation rates.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has announced public consultation on ways to increase organ donation from dead people will start on Tuesday, noting New Zealand’s low rates compared to many overseas countries, including Australia.

“While we already have many of the elements of an effective organ donation and transplantation service in New Zealand, we can do better,” he said.

“A suggestion as to how we could better support the hospital team is to improve the driver licence system so medical staff are informed if someone has indicated they would like to become a donor.”

I was staggered to find out medical staff don’t even check the database routinely. They only check it if family ask them to.

A simple first step should be that it is mandatory for the licence database to be checked for all patients who are eligible organ donors.

Other proposed changes included raising awareness, standardising how hospitals identified potential donors and how organ donation was discussed with families. 

Standardising is good, if the standard is good. But our standard at the moment seems to be very poor.

The most effective change would be to have the wishes of the deceased made paramount in law. Families should not get a veto. But law changes are outside the terms of reference for the review, so I have little hope of meaningful change.

Statistics showed 93 per cent of families agreed to donate deceased loved ones’ organs if they were on Australia’s register, whereas only four out of 10 families agreed to donate in New Zealand, he said.

So what are the differences between our regimes?

The market will decide

June 7th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Ben Wilson, chairman of the New Zealand Uber Drivers’ Association, said his organisation was building a legal case against Uber that would prove drivers suffered a drop in income and an increase in workload from the pricing changes.

“Lots of the drivers were former taxi drivers who came to Uber because they thought it was a better service, but with these price cuts they are having to go back to traditional taxi driving.”

Auckland driver Leon Leang Khan had also stopped working for Uber and, saying drivers “cannot make a living” from the company.

“They are very upset and they are leaving the company. Uber is running out of drivers.”

The good thing is that the market will test if these claims are true.

If Uber does run out of drivers, then fewer people will use Uber, and Uber will make less money. If I have to wait too long for an Uber driver, I’ll grab a taxi instead.

No one has to work for Uber. They will only do so if it is worthwhile to do so. The entry costs to become an Uber driver are very low, which means so are the exit costs. That is different to taxis where you may have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to buy into a firm.

I’m not saying Uber got it right with their price drop. As a consumer obviously I like cheaper prices. But at the end of the day if drivers can’t earn enough, they won’t drive for Uber.

Guest Post: Why were Moko’s killers’ charges reduced to manslaughter?

June 7th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

A guest post by David Garrett:

 Why were Moko’s killers’ charges reduced to manslaughter?

It is now almost a month since it became publicly known that the people who stomped and bashed and strangled little Moko Rangitoheriri to death over a two week period had had their murder charges reduced to manslaughter, to which they no doubt very gratefully pleaded guilty. Despite commendable media scrutiny, the public are still none the wiser as to  how this seemingly inexplicable decision came to be made.

And inexplicable it is, to a number of senior  criminal defence barristers I have consulted. The statement of facts has now been leaked. I am told it is a dreadful tale of lengthy abuse and multiple life threatening injuries, any one of which could have caused Moko’s death.  There is absolutely no doubt that all  of those injuries were inflicted by Tania Shailer and/or her boyfriend David Haerewa. Unlike the Kahui twins’ debacle, no-one else is in the frame.

One early story quoted “a family member” having been told by the Crown Solicitor in charge of the prosecution that because Moko did not die immediately, but later in hospital, a murder charge could not be pursued. The Crown Solicitor emphatically denies that any such conversation took place, and confirms that any such downgrading of murder charges  to the lesser charge of manslaughter must be approved by the Solicitor General, and that is what happened in this case. In other words, the buck stops with the person effectively in charge of all Crown prosecutions, the Solicitor General Una Jagose. But neither she nor anyone from her office are talking.

I am aware of many media enquiries being made seeking an explanation from Ms Jagose. Apparently more than one reporter now cannot speak to anyone  at the Solicitor General’s office, let alone the woman herself. When I called seeking an e-mail address for her I was grilled as to who I was, and why I wanted it.  In my view this is outrageous – it should not matter if I was the barrister from Auckland that I am, or a concerned truck driver from Timaru.

The Solicitor General is a public official, not the Queen. She is appointed to fill the highest non political legal office in the land.  It is ultimately she who provides legal advice to  the government, and oversees all serious criminal prosecutions. It is to her we entrust the prosecution of the evil persons among us who commit heinous crimes, rather than take the law into our own hands. She ought to be accountable to us,  the people on whose behalf she acts.

She is not a Judge. It is an important constitutional convention that Judges occupy an exalted status above the rest of us – both barristers from Auckland and truck drivers from Timaru. No-one writing to a Judge  seeking an explanation for a sentence will get a reply. If the writer of such a letter was a lawyer, he would probably have a complaint laid against him with the Law Society.

But there is a very important difference between the decisions of  Judge and the decisions of a Solicitor General.  Judges issue sentencing notes which explain in sometimes tedious detail how a particular sentence was arrived at – an addition for this aggravating factor,  a deduction for that supposedly mitigating factor. Here we have absolutely nothing from the Solicitor General – no explanation, not even a statement.

It is not as if this explanation will come on 27 June, the day Shailer and Haerewa receive their now unavoidably inadequate sentence. The Judge will simply see the summary of facts, and be told that the Crown has accepted a plea of guilty to manslaughter. Neither he nor any other Judge has had any involvement  with the plea bargain which has preceded the fait accompli he will be presented with. It is very unlikely he will even comment on it.

It is simply not right for the Solicitor General to maintain an imperious silence in her office in Wellington. Politicians explain the reasons for their support of  or opposition to laws being passed in parliament. Judges explain the reasons for their decisions in open court for all to hear, and in their sentencing notes. If there is  a reason or reasons  for this seemingly inexplicable decision then let’s hear it.  The people ought not to be treated with such disdain. They have a right to know.

The Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours List 2016

June 6th, 2016 at 8:30 am by David Farrar

The full list is here. The Dames and Knights are:


To be Dames Companion of the said Order:

The Honourable Ellen Dolour France, of Wellington. For services to the judiciary.

Ms Karen Margaret Sewell, QSO, of Wellington. For services to education.


To be Knights Companion of the said Order:

Mr Robert George Mappin Fenwick, CNZM, KStJ, of Auckland. For services to conservation and business.

Mr Michael Friedlander, CNZM, of Auckland. For services to philanthropy.

Mr Christopher Robert Mace, CNZM, of Auckland. For services to science and education.

Mr Matiu Nohorua Te Rei, of Wellington. For services to Māori.

The Honourable Ronald Leslie Young, of Greytown. For services to the judiciary.

Very pleased to see Rob Fenwick honoured for his lifetime of work for conservation causes.

Would the Wgtn runway extension be enough?

June 5th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Wellington Airport is playing down a report showing many wide-bodied aircrafts could not operate efficiently into the capital even with a $300 million extension.

On Friday it emerged that an expert report included in its resource consent application showed that a number of Boeing and Airbus planes which were looked at could not take off safely if full of passengers, even after its runway was extended 355 metres.

Wellington Airport has claimed its plan to extend the runway into Cook Strait could allow direct flights from North America and Asia into the capital.

But a report it commissioned from Astral Aviation Consultants claimed that no aircraft could take off with a full passenger payload to Beijing in wet conditions, while only one aircraft type – the A330-800NEO – could reach Los Angeles Airport full of passengers if taking off from a wet runway.

Here’s the length of various airport runways in NZ:

  1. Auckland L 3,635 metres
  2. Christchurch 3,288 metres
  3. Auckland R 3,108 metres
  4. Invercargill 2,210 metres
  5. Wellington 2,081 metres

So Wellington with the extension would be longer than Invercargill but still a lot shorter than Christchurch or Auckland.

RIP The Greatest

June 5th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

RIP Muhammad Ali. He was and is The Greatest. The only other boxed who I think came close in terms of dominance was Mike Tyson at his peak.

A local extremist

June 4th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The first person in the country caught with graphic terrorist propaganda will be sentenced in an Auckland court this morning.

Less than five months ago, Niroshan Nawarajan, 27, walked into Auckland’s US consulate wearing a black Isis T-shirt and asked if the building was “bomb proof”.

He was arrested by police walking down Queen St shortly after the premises had gone into lockdown.

Following a scuffle with officers, during which he repeatedly shouted “Isis is here”, they took him to Auckland central station for processing.

While Nawarajan was being searched, police found a hard drive containing videos, magazines and documents widely classified as propaganda.

On the drive was also a typed letter “which tends to promote or support acts of torture or the infliction of extreme violence or cruelty”, court documents say.

The man was charged with possessing objectionable material and his sentencing before Auckland District Court today is the first of its kind.

Offences under the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act are routinely seen in courts in relation to child pornography. Nawarajan will be the first sentenced over terrorism material.

He faces up to 10 years in jail after pleading guilty last month.

No doubt he will get some jail time to protect the community.  It would be interesting to learn how he became so radicalised.

A video entitled Massacre of the Shias is essentially 22 minutes of executions.

One scene highlighted as particularly graphic depicted a man allowed to kneel on top of a hill to pray before being shot twice in the back of the head.

“The camera closes in on his face as he lies dying and focuses on the blood spurting out from his cheek,” court documents said.

Nawarajan also had 12 electronic issues of Dabiq magazine, a “glossy” Isis-produced publication, one edition of which was found to contain several photos of a Jordanian pilot being burned alive and shots of his charred remains.


On January 13, police were called about Nawarajan mumbling to himself outside the US consulate on Customs St East.

When he crossed the road to walk inside, he was heard to say “f***ing blow you up”.

Before police could get there he had inquired with staff in the building whether any Americans were inside and he was asked to leave after perusing the security area.

After Nawarajan left and the consulate was in lockdown, he was stopped by police.

When he refused to let a constable handcuff him, back-up was called.

The defendant aimed a kick at one of the officers and missed him with a punch before he was restrained.

After his arrest he told officers he hated police and would happily die for Allah.

“He also stated that he would kill for Allah, that he would shoot anyone, he would shoot police and that to kill him police would have to put a bullet in his head,” the summary said.

He seems somewhat demented. We are lucky that rather than actually try to kill anyone, he just made threats.

Dom Post breaks the Honours List embargo

June 4th, 2016 at 8:14 am by David Farrar

The Dominion Post editorial condemns the Queens Birthday Honours List and also names a few of those who they think do deserve the honour they got.

The only problem is that the list does not get published today. They have published their editorial condemning the list at least a day before the embargo.

This is a whooping big stuff up. How on Earth can you run an editorial like this on the wrong day?

There should be consequences for this, otherwise why should other media respect the embargo?

Raising the age of state care

June 4th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Legislation to raise the age of state care to 18 has been introduced to Parliament, and a replacement for embattled state carer Child, Youth and Family is to be in place by March.  …

That included a brand new agency to replace CYF, and a law change to allow vulnerable children to remain in care until they are at least 18, with the option to remain fully in care until they are 21.

CYF children will also be able to choose whether they keep support services until they are 25. Currently they lose all support they day they turn 17.

WIth the benefit of hindsight it seems bizarre that the day a kid is no longer 16, they lose all support. The kids in care have often had a miserable time, and allowing some flexibility with when they transition to looking after themselves seems very sensible.

Should Reserve Bank Governors have to retire at 70

June 3rd, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Michael Reddell blogs:

Someone who has paid closer attention to some of the details of those provisions than I have pointed out to me recently clause 46(1)(c) of the Reserve Bank Act.    Under the provision, no one can serve as Governor, or Deputy Governor, once they are aged 70 or over.

This provision is quite old.  The legislation was passed in 1989, and life expectancy has increased by perhaps five years since then.  In addition, New Zealand legislation passed since then has prohibited compulsory retirement ages, unless they are specifically provided for in statute (as this one is).  There is a similar statutory age limit for judges.

I wasn’t aware of this provision and am surprised it exists.

You need an age limit for judges as they have a life-time appointment. But Governors are appointed to finite terms of up to five years, so why shouldn’t a 66 year old be eligible for a five year term?

The Act not only requires that no one can be Governor or Deputy Governor once they turn 70, but it also requires that first terms as Governor must be for five years.

There are, for example, two current and four former Deputy Governors who are still professionally active.

Peter Nicholl was Deputy Governor in the 1990s, before going on to serve as Governor of the central bank of Bosnia.  He is still apparently professionally active on the international central banking consulting circuit. But he is 72, and so barred from serving as Governor here.

Murray Sherwin succeeded Nicholl as Deputy Governor.  He is now chair of the Productivity Commission, and in many ways could be a very good Governor if he was interested.  But it appears that he is turning 65, probably next year, and so the age-70 limit could be a constraint.

Grant Spencer is a current Deputy Governor, and will have served in that role for a decade by the time Wheeler’s term expires.  Spencer has considerable experience inside the Bank, as well as decade in relatively senior roles at ANZ, but also appears to turn 65 shortly (the first academic publication I could find dated back to 1974).

Seems silly that such strong candidates are ineligible because they are now aged 65 or older.

Health bureaucrats need a rocket up them

June 3rd, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Picton pharmacist is frustrated at having to advise customers on sensitive medical issues on the pharmacy floor while a purpose-built consultation room is used as an “expensive tearoom”. 

Picton Medical Centre Pharmacy co-owner Chris Webb said the room was upgraded before the Picton Medical Centre opened last November so he could discuss confidential matters in the room, including emergency contraceptive pill prescriptions. 

But the room had been relegated to a storage and lunch room because of a Ministry of Health technicality.

Webb said because the pharmacy was separated from the consultation room by two doors and 50 centimetres of carpet, it was not considered to be part of the pharmacy premises. 

“It’s bureaucratic nonsense,” he said. 

It would cost at least $5000 to modify access to the room so it met Ministry of Health regulations. 

Forcing him to spend $5,000 to modify access would serve no public benefit at all and just be a bureaucratic cost for no purpose.

MedSafe is the Ministry of Health body responsible for regulating pharmacies.

MedSafe acting group manager Chris James said pharmacies needed to comply with requirements for patient consultation rooms to be located within a licensed premise.

If a decision was made to licence a consulting room that was not directly accessible from pharmacy premises, it could provide an unfavourable precedent, James said. 

An exemption would not be granted for the Picton Medical Centre Pharmacy, he said.

Medsafe should get real. This is why many people despise bureaucracy. If you look at the photos in the story it is obviously part of the premises and a 50 cm “corridor” doesn’t change that.

The bureaucrats need to look at the intent of the rules, rather than a blind dictate.

How about not lying to Police in the first place?

June 3rd, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Two judges have given similar sentences to a pair of racers snapped at about 200kmh – except that one gets to keep his identity secret.

Police caught them both whizzing down State Highway 2 in Lower Hutt in performance cars in September.

Shane Kumar, 26, an IT programmer from Miramar, was found guilty on Monday of racing his Nissan Skyline after a day-long judge-alone trial before Judge Bruce Davidson.

The other driver, a 24-year-old from Lower Hutt, was found guilty in February – but he was granted permanent name suppression by Judge Chris Tuohy, despite being found to have lied to police.

Unlike Kumar, the 24-year-old had a letter of support from Hutt South MP Trevor Mallard, saying he was “a young man with tremendous potential” whose years of study could be “negated by a conviction for lying to the police”.

If you don’t lie to the Police in the first place, the you won’t need to worry about the impact of a conviction for lying to them.

Very unfair one of them gets name suppression, but another doesn’t.

Where was the father?

June 3rd, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Ewen McQueen writes in The Herald:

The court has reached its verdict. The marchers have gone home. The politicians and media have done their usual hypocritical hand-wringing. But the question remains – where was Moko’s dad?

A father is supposed to be there to protect his children. A father is supposed to be there to help their mother look after the family. A father is supposed to provide for and love his family.

So where was Moko’s dad? We have no idea. We have no idea because the question was never asked. It never is. In all the national breast-beating that happens whenever such a tragedy occurs, the real issue is never addressed. Why are so many children left without the care of a natural father? Why have we allowed a relationship culture to become embedded which accepts as normal the regular dropping in and out of relationships and frequent changing of partners? How is this supposed to build strong and loving families?

There is a wealth of evidence that a stable family with both parents has much much greater outcomes on average for kids.

What we need is the truth. The social science evidence gives us that and it is conclusive. In 2009 the Office of the Commissioner for Children undertook a review on death and serious injury to children. It concluded that of all factors, having a non-biological parent in the home increased the risk by eight to 12 times. A year later they published another report which noted that family breakdown and “frequent changes in household members” was a significant factor contributing to child abuse and neglect.

The New Zealand research findings are mirrored internationally. In Australia research by Deakin University in Melbourne concluded, “Children under 5 living with a non-biological or step-parent are up to 77 times more likely to die from a violence-related injury than those living with their biological families.”

In the US a study by the University of Missouri similarly concluded, “Children residing in households with unrelated adults were nearly 50 times as likely to die of inflicted injuries than children residing with two biological parents.”

Very hard to argue against that evidence.

Against a responsible drinking campaign

June 3rd, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A new responsible drinking campaign that promotes talking to teens about drinking, in the same way parents talk to them about sex, has been questioned by public health officials.

The educational videos, launched by alcohol-industry Cheers, shows parents having awkward one-on-one conversations about alcohol with their teens, using language that could be applicable to the sex talk.

Cheers is run by the Tomorrow Project, the social responsibility arm of Spirits New Zealand, the NZ Winegrowers, and the Brewers’ Association.

The educational advertising campaign launched on Monday with the aim of getting more parents to talk to their teens about drinking.

A survey of 1500 people carried out by Cheers in 2014 found teens believed their parents did a better job at talking to them about sex than about alcohol.

“We talk to our teenagers about sex, so why should alcohol be any different?”

Further interviews with 10 families in 2015 found parents were approaching the subject the wrong way by doing things like sharing war stories, trying to be their friend, or setting restrictive rules around drinking.

Robert Brewer, spokesman for Cheers, said the campaign was about breaking down traditional barriers and promoting conversations.

Sounds a great campaign. Promotes responsible drinking and parents talking to their kids about alcohol. Who can be against that?

Director of alcohol watchdog, Alcohol Healthwatch, Rebecca Williams said the alcohol industry shouldn’t be trusted as the expert on youth health.

“The business of the alcohol industry is to make and manufacture and market alcohol.

They’re not experts in youth health and they’re not experts in parenting.”

Williams said parents should be turning to the public health sector for information from a more neutral perspective.

“I can’t support alcohol industry groups taking over that educational space…

There are always two types of public health activists. One type genuinely support harm reduction, and will support anything that reduces harm. The other type just hates and detests the industry they target and their motivation is to damage the industry, rather than reduce harm.

If you were the former, you’d welcome an industry campaign that promotes responsible drinking and parental responsibility.

Instead we just get a reaction that industry can never be trusted and should have no role in anything – that only self appointed NGOs can be heard.

My Shout

June 2nd, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Went on Sunday to a production called My Shout, at The Thistle Inn. The venue was more than appropriate as it was a play about the 176 year history of The Thistle Inn, and through that to be a history of Wellington.

It is put on by the students of 18 students of Victoria University’s Theatre 311 class and directed by Kerryn Palmer, Hannah Banks and Finn Shepherd.

You start off in the main bar of the inn and then in small groups do a tour of some of the rooms above, before everyone returning to the main performance.

The entry price of $18 includes a drink so while you drink, you get some tunes of the piano and a bit of singing, including the theme to Cheers.

Up stairs you have three encounters. The first is a student studying Katherine Mansfield, and then Mansfield herself and her lover. Mansfield wrote in detail about The Thistle Inn.

In the second room you have a bevy of ladies awaiting their loved ones returning from WWI.

And the third room has William Cooper who established the Thistle Inn in 1840. You hear him enthuse about how he funded it by buying some land cheaply off the natives and then reselling it. Lucky for him Cooper isn’t a Chinese sounding surname. The original Thistle Inn faced the beach, and people could and did row and paddle to it, including Te Rauparaha.

I found the first segments, with the tour through the rooms a bit disjointed. But the second part did well, bringing it all together.

Back in the main bar you get a series of acts including Te Rauparaha coming in for a whiskey, and all the staff cowering in fear. You have the drama of WWI, the wharfies strike and the rail strike. Also the Springbok Tour. These all tie into The Thistle, as it was a long time drinking hole for wharfies and railwaymen.

Katherine Mansfield and Kate Sheppard are included and over the 100 or so minutes you really do get a good history of Wellington through the eyes of the Thistle Inn.

The singing made it a nice festive occasion, and there was some good acting, especially James Forster as Te Rauparaha. A very enjoyable way to delve into history and all over a drink, in a great bar.

The production was only on for thee days, and is now over. But if you see it offered again, definitely worth seeing.