Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

Milford Track Day 4

March 23rd, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The final day is a fairly big one. It’s 21 kms from Quintin Lodge to Sandfly Point. So another 6.15 am wake up for a 7.30 am start. Have a slight hangover from the mixture of whiskey and wine from the night before!


Just as the sun was starting to come up, you get a view of Sutherland Falls from the track. They really are quite massive.


Some very welcome sunlight lighting up the snow covered peak in the distance.


The nice thing about the rain the night before is the bush is more green.


Most of the track on Day 4 is well maintained and easy to walk on. You learn tramping that the surface makes a huge difference to your speed.


This is the boatshed, where we had morning tea. Before a bridge was built they used to use boats to cross the Arthur River.

Ultimate Hikes keep supplies in all the huts and shelters which means you get hot coffee, tea, milo and/or soup. I became quite an addict of Chicken Noodle Soup for morning tea and miso soup for afternoon tea!



Most of the 4th day is next to the river. This photo gives some idea of how beautiful it is. But imagine 21 kms of such views. Wonderful. It’s like being in another world.


Another bridge!


You can drink the water, and the taste can’t be beaten.


Around the halfway stage, the trail gets more rocky which slows you down.


Smeagol looking for the ring.


I never get sick of the river shots.


This is the Giant’s Gate waterfall, where we stopped for lunch. After a dare from Nisa, I dove in for a swim. It was the most painfully cold water I have ever gone into, and that includes polar plunges. I lasted around 12 seconds. Nisa then went in also, followed by the Japanese boys and a couple of the Aussies. The nice thing is that even without towels you dry off within five minutes as it was so sunny.


Guides Adie and Mel enjoying lunch. I’m sure all the guides are good, but we certainly struck gold with out three. They were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. I have a reasonably fast walking pace so tended to spend quite a bit of time with the guide who was up the front (one would be at front, one at back and one goes between) and enjoyed the chats with them. I was quite proud I was keeping up with them, which got smashed when they then hit high gear to get to the hut in advance to open up – and suddenly they’d be going around 50% faster than me!


Snow , mountains and water are a great combination.


The Milford Track had markers every mile. This was the final mile marker before the end.


The final part of the track. This was originally laid by prisoners. The intent was to have them lay the entire track but one of them died so they had to stop :-)


The view at Sandfly Point.


Another view from Sandfly Point. And yes the  sandflies are large and numerous. One poor Japanese girl was surrounded by at least 100 of them.


The official track end.


Then it’s on the boat to Milford Sound.


It’s around a 20 minute boat trip. Most of us sat on the front of the boat.


The Bowen Falls.



And finally the view from my room (forgive the reflection) of Mitre Peak, from Mitre Peak lodge. A great view to end the trek on.

That night we had the final dinner, swapping of e-mail addresses and general socialising.

The next day we had a cruise around Milford Sound, and then the bus back to Queenstown.

I was skeptical before the tramp about whether it was worth doing the guided option, as we did Heaphy and Tongariro unguided.  I basically went with the majority who were more keen to the “glamping” option. I have to say I have become a total convert and will definitely use Ultimate Hikes again when I do the Routeburn in two years time.

I wouldn’t do the guided option on tramps where you still stay at the DOC huts. Just having someone cook the meals for you and carry the food isn’t a big deal for me. I actually quite enjoy the feeling of self sufficiency.

But where they provide separate accommodation where you get hot showers, heated rooms, drying areas, a bar, flush toilets etc – well it makes a huge difference. You’re still tramping just as long a distance, but not having to spend hours crushed into a small hut with 30 other people and only a couple of tables.  The other nice thing with the guided is you do socialise much more with the  other trampers and get to form some good friendships with both trampers and guides.

Anyway that’s all three Great Walks done for this summer. Next summer I plan to knock another three off – probably Rakiura, Whanganui and Kepler. Then the summer after that will be Abel Tasman, Lake Waikaremoana and Kepler. I plan to do a few local tramps during the year also. The New Zealand outdoors is too great not to enjoy.

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Milford Track Day 3

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



Day 3 was a much earlier start. The generator came on at 6.15 am and one had to be on the track by 7.30 am. So a quick shower, pack, making of  lunch and breakfast. I must again mention how great it is able to shower on a tramp – for the benefits of others, even if not  yourself :-)

Today was only 15 kms from Pompolona Lodge to Quintin Lodge, but it is over Mackinnon Pass which is a 700 metre climb with 17 zigzags,


The day started overcast but fine.


However it soon turned to rain. The good part was we got many more waterfalls. The downside is almost no view from the top.  Even this photo was only possible for a couple of minutes as it cleared.


The memorial to Quintin Mackinnon near the top. You get some idea of what the weather was like. It wasn’t just wet, but also damn cold when exposed on the ridge.


One of the lakes at the top.


Then on the way down a few crossings.


Some keas who colonised this rock for themselves.


There’s a series of waterfalls you trek down beside which are quite beautiful.


It started to rain more heavily in the afternoon. I managed the main trek in five and a half hours and got to Pompolona Lodge at 1.30 pm. The side trek to Sutherland Falls was meant to be at 4.00 pm but I knew there was no way I’d go back outside again if I dried off. So I dumped my pack and headed straight up to Sutherland Falls. It’s the tallest waterfall in New Zealand at 580 metres.  I think also fifth longest in the world.


I was thinking of going under the falls for a back massage but the rain had made the falls rather powerful so I astutely decided not to go in!



Then it was bar and relax time back at Pompolona Lodge. It was also St Patrick’s Day so Adie (one  of the guides) dressed up.

Adie is also a rather good skier. Look out for her at the next Olympics in 2018!

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Guest Post: Bryant on Morgan and cats

March 22nd, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

A guest post by Nick Bryant:

Container loads of parachuting cats – Gareth Morgan’s worst nightmare

The other day in a TV3 news story about Gareth Morgan offering beer to students who front up with the carcasses of dead rats, Mr Morgan said “there’s no evidence whatsoever” for claims that a successful campaign to rid the nation of cats might lead to a plague of rats.  He went on to say that “at most 20 per cent of rats end up as a victim of cats.”

I don’t know if that final point is true or not – though my guess is it’s light.  But he’s quite wrong that there’s no evidence that wiping out cats doesn’t result in a plague of rats.  He probably reckoned he was on safe ground making the claim, given his hoped for decimation of domestic and wild cats could seldom have occurred.  After all, how would you wipe them all out?

Well, it has occurred, in the Bario Highlands in Sarawak, Borneo, and sure enough, the result was a plague of rats – and other nasty creepy crawlies.

I’d read about this in the biography of Tom Harrison, an early anthropologist and the founding father of Mass Observation.  Quite the fearless pioneer, Mr Harrisson did ground-breaking anthropological research amongst cannibal tribes in the South Pacific, and parachuted into wartime Borneo to lead headhunting guerrilla fighters against the Japanese.

David Attenborough describes him as “arrogant, choleric, swashbuckling, often drunk and nearly always deliberately outrageous.  In spite of these contradictions, he became a key figure in every enterprise he undertook.”

The title of his biography is The Most Offending Soul Alive.  I suspect Mr Morgan would have liked him.

What follows is a remarkable account of what happens when you disrupt the ecological balance as Mr Morgan has campaigned to do.  What’s clear is that if Mr Morgan gets backing to kill the nation’s cats, we’re going to have to deal with the rats at exactly the same time.  And even then, what impact that will have on the population of other animals, good or bad from a human perspective, is quite another matter.

 From pages 328 and 329, Tom Harrisson and his Remarkable Life – The Most Offending Soul Alive, 1997 Aurum Press …

 Thanks to an antimalaria program by the World Health Organization, there were no almost no mosquitoes or cockroaches.  But, as Tom discovered, there were no also no cats; they had been poisoned by eating the spray-killed cockroaches.  With the cats gone, there was an explosion in the number of rats.  Without cockroaches, bed bugs, which had never been a serious problem before, proliferated.  One conclusion Tom drew was that although “the benefits of malarial spraying so far are tremendous … there are anxious nights ahead” from the possible danger of typhus, cholera, and plague from the rats, bed bugs and other parasites.  Tom’s moral was “All who wish the ulu well should daily repeat this motto: Do good carefully.”

Meanwhile, he came up with his own method for righting the ecological imbalance.  In a wireless message of November 23, 1959, to Borneo Airways, Tom asked the pilot to “bring some hungry cats to tackle the plague of rats.  I guarantee immediate payment [for] all.”  The plea went out to all Kuching.  Ong Kee Hui and many other old friends contributed kittens for Bario.  Barbara had the thankless job of caring for them until a plane could fly to Bario and deliver the cats and, she hoped, collect Tom.  According to an account that Tom published later, “in all the coast towns … the WHO opened special centres” for donations of “surplus cats.”

The project hit a snag when no plane could be made available that could land on Bario’s short strip, but, as Tom wrote, with the help of the RAF from Singapore “special containers were devised” in which to pack the cats.  One clear day, an RAF aircraft from Singapore collected the cats in Kuching and flew inland.  Then, “into the interior uplands suddenly cascaded parachute-borne containers bulging with cats of every degree of age and race.”  This may have solved the problem of the rats, if not the bed bugs.

I love it – parachuting cats in to kill the rats!

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Milford Track Day 2

March 21st, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar




Day Two is a 16 km hike from Glade House to Pompolona Lodge. Mainly flat, except for the last couple of kms, and pretty good track to walk on.

The generator came on at 6.45 am and departure was 8.30 am as Day 2 isn’t as long a day as the next two.


You leave Glade House by crossing over the Clinton River. There’s something like 280 water crossings in total on the track!




A view from the bridge back to Glade House.


A small detour gets you to the tree with a hole in it!


Another five minute side track takes you to the Wetlands.


At the end of the Wetland board walk.


Then back into the beech forest.


The track is really well maintained at this stage. Later days, the surface was much tougher.


A nice reflection at Prairie Lake.


A trout.


The track then breaks into the open near the end.


And just before Pompolona Lodge you have to climb across two massive rockfalls.


The view from my room at Pompolona Lodge. Very civilised.



The common area where you relax, nice and warm and dry. Bar opens at 5 pm, so prior to that just quiet reading and relaxation time.

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Record migration from Australia

March 21st, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar



Stats NZ released the monthly migration stats today. For the first time ever the annual number of people moving to New Zealand from Australia exceeded 20,000 for the first two months of this year.

The net migration to Australia is now only 15,000. 18 months ago it was around 40,000. A remarkable turnaround. Imagine what it might be in another year if we stay on course.


A nation of intermarriage

March 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Simon Collins writes in NZ Herald:

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of the 17,300 babies born in New Zealand last year with Maori ethnicity were also registered with at least one other ethnicity.

The same applies to 50 per cent of Pacific babies, 31 per cent of Asian babies and 29 per cent of European babies.

Similarly, 69 per cent of people in couples who listed Maori as one of their ethnicities in last year’s Census had partners with no Maori ethnicity, 46 per cent of Pacific people had partners with no Pacific ethnicity, 24 per cent of Asians had partners with no Asian ethnicity, and 12 per cent of Europeans had partners with no European ethnicity.

This is not new. NZ has always had a relatively high inter-marriage rate, which I think is partly why our race relations are so much better (not perfect) than say Australia and the US.

The figures are even more extraordinary for Pacific and Asian people in couples where both partners were born in New Zealand. Fully 78 per cent of such Pacific people, and 82 per cent of Asians, had partners with no Pacific or Asian ethnicity.

So first generation immigrants tend to marry their own race, but second generation generally do not.


Milford Track Day 1

March 20th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The bus left Queenstown at 9 am and we had an early lunch in Te Anau, before heading to Te Anau Downs where we have a boat trip for around an hour over Lake Te Anau.


This is the site that Quintin Mackinnon‘s boat was found in 1892. Mackinnon basically founded the Milford Track, and presumably drowned on the lake. He drowned aged 41.


Beautiful views on Lake Te Anau.


One can see the end of the lake ahead. Takes around an hour to get there.


The start of the track.


It’s early afternoon by the time you get there, but the first day is just a stroll – 1 km only.


Then we hit Glade House, which is not just a house, but a series of buildings. They have the main lodge, but separate buildings for each bedroom.  Civilisation – but in the middle of nowhere.


The Clinton River, which Glade House is next to.


Late afternoon the guides (Mel, Adie and Kelly) take us for a 90 minute bush walk to view local flora and fauna.


The birds are very friendly.


This possum was too curious for his own good!


A nice view from the top of the bush walk.






Typical terrain heading back down.

So Day 1 wasn’t really tramping at all. Even the independent trampers only do a couple of hours on the first day, as most of the time is spent getting down into Fiordland. So the real tramp starts on Day 2. Still an incredibly good feeling to be so remote. If you didn’t want to take the boat out, the nearest road would be an eight hour hike over a mountain range.

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Good economic growth

March 20th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

Strong growth in manufacturing saw gross domestic product (GDP) rise 0.9 percent in the December 2013 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Manufacturing activity grew 2.1 percent, driven by increases in food, beverage, and tobacco, and machinery and equipment manufacturing. Manufacturing activity is now at its highest level since March 2006.

And Labour/Greens/NZ First/Mana’s manufactured manufacturing crisis receives another death blow.

Dairy farming and dairy product manufacturing both fell this quarter, after strong increases last quarter, when production rebounded from the drought earlier in 2013.

So those who claim the economic growth is all about dairy, are wrong.

Also Labour have been saying forestry is in such dire straits that it needs all sorts of tax breaks and incentives, plus 1,000 long-term unemployed to be working in it (surely a nomination for a Darwin Award for policy, considering the already far too high accident rate). So what has happened to forestry primary product exports in the GDP? They’re at $552 million, up from $495 million a year ago – an 11.5% increase!

Also if you look at the long-term series in constant prices for forestry and logging, the GDP in 1995/96$ was $1.604b for 2013. In 2008 it was $1.199b so that’s 33.8% higher!

Also the MPI series on log exports shows they were only $711 million in 2008 and today are $2.35 billion.

I guess Labour will claim that we should be making more products here, rather than exporting logs, but you know what – you sell to match demand. If the demand is for logs, then you sell logs. If the demand is for wooden tables – you sell wooden tables.

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Milford Track Day 0

March 20th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Got into Queenstown Friday afternoon for the pre-trek briefing at the Ultimate Hikes office.


Had time for a quick drink at the waterfront before the briefing.

The last two tramps were unguided, but for this one we went for the guided option, primarily because it actually gets you into lodges with proper bedrooms rather than bunk beds. I’ll blog more on this at the end, but was an excellent decision! The hot showers alone were worth it!

The briefing took just under an hour and the main thing is making sure you turn up on time for the bus the next morning. They also have day packs available for use, for those who don’t have their own.


After the briefing we headed up the gondola for a drink and to enjoy the view. Lots of people coming up to mountain bike. Made a mental note to make sure I do that next time I’m in Queenstown with half a day to spare. Looks lots of fun.

We then headed to dinner at Eichardt’s Bar, which had superb tapas. Highly recommended.


They also do a nice collection of wines to accompany the food.

So a nice half day in Queenstown before the departure the next day for No 3 of the nine Great Walks.

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An alternate flag design

March 18th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

New Flag Lineup


Sent in by a reader. Not bad. I like it.


Monday Motivator – Wild Mahia Dusk

March 17th, 2014 at 10:42 am by Richard Hume

Monday Motivator 14

Wild Mahia Dusk, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

The long expanse of black sand coastline set up an inviting scene to catch some of the magic of the Mahia Peninsula. Just as the sun was setting I stepped into the tide and started shooting frames with the waves riding up the beach in the foreground.

I have always loved the sense of drama encapsulated in this photograph.

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


Richard []


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Youth smoking way down

March 14th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The latest data from the ASH survey of Year 10 students is encouraging.

  • Only 3.2% of Year 10 students smoke daily, down from 15.6% in 1999
  • Only 8.5% of Maori Year 10 students smoke daily, down from 30.3% in 1999
  • Only 6.8% of Year 10 students smoke regularly, down from 28.6% in 1999
  • Only 14.7% of Maori Year 10 students smoke regularly, down from 42.8% in 1999

Most Year 10 students are 15, so ideally the smoking rates should be 0%. There’s still a fair way to go, but the trend is encouraging. It’s one thing for adults to decide to smoke (fine so long aas they pay the costs of their healthcare, not me) but a very bad thing for teenagers to start smoking.

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Food prices

March 13th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Food Prices


Stats NZ updated the Food Price Index today and the good news is that food prices are only 0.2% higher than a year ago. In fact food prices are only 0.1% greater than two years ago. This stuff matters, as food inflation hits poor to middle income households the most.

Also fruit and vegetables prices are 5.6% lower than a year ago and remarkably 4.3% lower than even three years ago.



IT project failure

March 12th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The IITP have announced:

The Institute of IT Professionals is currently undertaking significant research into the impact of software procurement on IT project failure and are asking the software community to come together and help answer this question.

The research explores what software factors and characteristics are responsible for project failure, then analyses whether different approaches to procurement in New Zealand might mitigate these factors.  The intention is to determine whether there is evidence that alternative approaches, such as non-price based procurement, would lead to more successful outcomes for software projects than the existing procurement models.

As part of this research the Institute today released a very short survey.

The survey is for those who:

  1. Have been, or currently are, involved in software development in any context or role, OR
  2. Have been involved in any way in responding to IT-related procurement or tender requests.

There are just 3 short sections with a few questions each, and many participants will only be asked some of the questions related to their own experience. If you fall into either or both of the criteria above, we’d love for you to spend 2 minutes helping contribute to this work, which may influence how procurement is undertaken in future.

You can take the survey here:

I look forward to seeing the research in due course.


Herald on revealing CVs

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

The Herald editorial:

The law is not always an ass but it can produce an absurdity. The decision of the Human Rights Review Tribunal to make a company disclose to a failed job applicant the CVs and reference checks of others going for a job is an example.

The aggrieved party complained to the tribunal that he was discriminated against on the basis of age. He wants to see the credentials of others who applied or succeeded in the process. Under the court system’s rules of “discovery”, which the tribunal adopts, all information pertinent to an action needs to be handed over from the defendant to the plaintiff. The tribunal has dismissed an application from the company involved, Alpine Energy, to block that discovery under a section of the Evidence Act which covers confidentiality.

So Alpine and its recruitment agency must give the man the information it has on the successful candidate and those who contested and lost. This would include not only names, applications and CVs (although the tribunal and the failed job-seeker have agreed it need not include addresses and contact details) but also reference and perhaps security checks.

A pretty appalling decision. You apply in confidence for a job. Revealing that you applied could endanger your current job. Also very unappealing forcing a company to justify why it didn’t employ someone. Employment decisions are often somewhat subjective – how well they interviewed, whether or not they would fit into the team culture, whether their CV had typos in it etc.

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A bad bet to lose

March 11th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A Dunedin man has changed his name to the longest legally allowed, after apparently losing a bet five years ago.

The 22-year-old man from Normanby is now legally known as ‘Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova’ – just one character shy of Department of Internal Affairs’ (DIA) 100 character limit.

A message on an online body building forum, written by someone describing themselves as a friend of the man, said the name change was the result of a lost poker bet and the man realised his drunken consequences only when his passport expired.

Oh he is going to have such fun travelling on that name!


Wellington coffee

March 7th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Every Wellingtonian knows the capital has the best coffee in the world, but now the rest of the world know it too.

CNN has published a list of eight of the world’s great coffee cities, including the coolest little capital.

Naturally, Melbourne, Rome, Vienna, Singapore and Seattle were also mentioned.

Memphis Belle, Flight Coffee’s The Hanger, and Lamason Brew Bar were CNN’s top coffee spots in Wellington.

Us Wellingtonians do do very well on the coffee front. We have both quantity and quality when it comes to cafes.


NZ 6th for rule of law

March 7th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand has been ranked sixth overall in a global index measuring the rule of law.

The World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index surveyed 99 countries on eight categories including government accountability, crime, corruption, fundamental rights, access to justice and order and security.

New Zealand came sixth after Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands.

That’s not bad.

New Zealand also came second in the index’s open government category – beaten only by Norway – and third in the absence of corruption category.

Even better.

The country reports are here. NZ’s sub-rankings are:

  1. Open Government 2nd
  2. Absence of Corruption 3rd
  3. Constraints on Government Powers 4th
  4. Regulatory Environment 5th
  5. Fundamental Rights 7th
  6. Civil Justice 9th
  7. Order and Security 11th
  8. Criminal Justice 12th

Pellett bails from Scoop

March 5th, 2014 at 4:26 pm by David Farrar

Scoop has announced:

Scoop Media Ltd. regrets that an investment from Sublime Group in Scoop Media Limited will not proceed at this time.

On Monday 24 February operational control of Scoop Independent News returned to the Scoop Media Limited shareholders.

The team running Scoop has now returned to normal, Scoop Co-Founder Alastair Thompson has returned to Scoop as Publisher and Editor, Gordon Campbell continues on as Political Editor & Werewolf Editor and Lyndon Hood remains News Editor.

Scoop co-founder Alastair Thompson said today:

“Scoop Media Limited’s shareholders regret that the investment proposition which we had been working on for the past year has been unable to proceed at this time.

In one sense this is back to the future, with it being back to the status quo of six months ago.

I’m unsure what is happening to Newsroom, that the Pelletts purchased to effectively merge in with Scoop. It was purchased off NZX. Is it now owned by Scoop, going to be managed by Sublime, or close down?

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Once again,it is not your cathedral!

March 5th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Anglican church says a British multimillionaire’s suggestion that it hand over Christ Church Cathedral for restoration is “completely bizarre”.

UK businessman Hamish Ogston yesterday announced he would fund an independent survey to find out what residents wanted to see happen to the ill-fated Cathedral Square centrepiece.

I’ve got a better idea. Why doesn’t Mr Ogston fund an independent survey to find out what residents think he should do with his money and property.

The media announcement took place at the Christchurch City Council building alongside former MPs and co-chairmen of the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT), Jim Anderton and Philip Burdon, and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel.

I don’t expect Anderton or Dalziel to understand what private property rights are. I’m disappointed that Burdon doesn’t seem to either. It is not their bloody cathedral. It is the Anglican Church’s.

Spokesman for the Anglican Diocese Jayson Rhodes told The Press Bishop Victoria Matthews was “astounded” when she heard about Ogston’s proposal through the media. “There was no information, no invitation to the announcement – there was nothing,” he said.

“It’s just completely bizarre and we feel like the odd one out at kindergarten when everyone else has been invited to a party except us.”


Dalziel said she liked the idea of “asking what people want for the heart of their city”.

“If the people of Christchurch send a strong message, it will help the conversation.”

No it won’t. Asking people about what a private owner should do is not helpful, but gross interference. It is even less helpful when the decision has been made, after the Church itself ran its own consultation exercise.


Barefaced stories in NZ

March 3rd, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Went to my final fringe show on Saturday night, which was Barefaced Stories in New Zealand, at Bats.

It’s a simple but effective concept. Two Perth entertainers compere a session of story telling, with five locals getting up and telling a true story.

The first story was my favourite – the girl who went to a Flavour Flav show and then got invited back stage, and then out to a drink at a bar and finally up to his hotel room.

Also amusing was the guy who was so hung up on his ex girlfriend, he was unsure whether to go back to a tent with two girls who invited him in.

Another story was more sad, about suicide.

To a degree the highlights were actually the two Perth entertainers. They read out extracts from the diaries they both wrote as 14 year old teenage girls. The passages were often hilarious.

The show lasted around 80 minutes. Was on for one night only. Would go to a similar show again.

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Lawyer needs lawyer

March 3rd, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A top female defence lawyer is on leave after allegedly groping a junior male colleague at a work Christmas party.

The senior barrister’s behaviour is said to have stunned colleagues at the function late last year.

Several sources said the woman grabbed the crotch area of at least one male colleague at the function.

She is then alleged to have made explicit sexual remarks to the group on a microphone.

The woman, who has defended several high profile clients, has been on leave for the past few weeks.

Sounds like she needs a good lawyer!

I would observe that if a male lawyer grabbed the crotch area of a female colleague (without consent) it might not be so much an employment issue, as criminal charges for indecent assault. But regardless, good to see the law firm taking it seriously.


Coroner misses the point

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

Stuff reports:

A coroner is calling for better regulations of headlights following the death of a drunk man who was run over lying on a rural Hamilton road at night.

Hastings man William Gregory Hoskins was killed on January 15, 2012, after he was struck by a car on Marychurch Road in the early hours of the morning.

It is not known how he came to be lying on the road, Coroner Gary Evans said in findings released today.

Hoskins had travelled to Hamilton with family to attend a cousin’s wedding, and had been drinking at the reception.

A test found he had alcohol in his blood at a level of 190 milligrams per 100 milliletres, over twice the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers.

He had also smoked the equivalent of a single cannabis cigarette in the hours before his death, which may have accentuated the effects of alcohol, a report said. …


- Consideration be given to the creation of more detailed regulations as to the requirements of vehicle headlights.

- Consideration be given to revision of the warrant of fitness testing scheme with a view to measurement of the lux output of headlights and the distance at which they are operating efficiently.

- Greater emphasis be placed on the dangers of driving on dipped headlights on roads.

- Renewed consideration be given to the question of whether the Land Transport (Road User) Rules 2004 should contain a requirement or guide to the circumstances in which drivers must or should drive with their headlights on full beam.

I’ve got a simpler recommendation.

Don’t get so drunk and stoned that you fall asleep or unconscious on an unlit (or lit) road.


Migration at 10 year high

February 28th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand’s inbound net migration rose to a 10-year high in January as fewer people quit the country to cross the Tasman and the number of new migrants continued to gain.

This is generally good news. Important to note there are four aspects to net migration. They are:

  • New migrants to NZ
  • NZers returning home
  • NZers leaving NZ
  • Migrants (not citizens) leaving NZ

Let’s look at what is happening to each of these.

New migrants to NZ

In the last year this reached 68,920. A year ago it was 62,300 and this level is the highest since mid 2003. The level of new migrants is determined by both demand and government policy (aspiring migrants need to meet criteria such as qualifications, wealth etc).

NZers returning home

This is at 26,660. A year ago it was 23,320. It was list this high in 2004. This is purely driven by a desire to return home, as it is a right to return.

Migrants leaving NZ

This is at 23,120. They are permanent or long-term residents (but not citizens) who have moved to another country.  A year ago at 24,070. The lowest level since mid 2006.

NZers leaving NZ

This is at 46,000. A year ago it was 61,550 so a huge drop of almost 25%. It was lower in 2009-10 during the global recession and financial crisis (people don’t leave home during a crisis). In 2008 it was at almost 61,000.


Also of interest is the flow of to and from Australia. 7,040 Australians came to NZ in the last year – an all time high. An increase of around 35% from a year ago.  Also 12,990 Kiwis have returned from Australia – also an all time high.

The number of Kiwis going to Australia is at 33,030. A year ago 48,450. Also a drop by around a third.


Power Plant

February 27th, 2014 at 10:00 pm by David Farrar

Just been on a media preview of Power Plant, which opens tomorrow at the Botanical Gardens. It’s superb, and a must see. You start at the Cable Car and follow a 50 to 60 minute loop path through the gardens. Not only is there a great array of different lighting on the plants, the sound effects merge in wonderfully also.

Below are a few photos to give you an idea of the different sights. I understand it is already fully booked up this weekend, but it carries on until the 16th of March.













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Well done to Contact Energy and the production team for a great spectacle.

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