Friday, January 29, 2010

Not a night to remember - and didn't get to see ACDC anyway...

It was meant to be an experience to savour and a night to remember for 37 year old furniture removalist "Big John" from Lower Hutt. Nearly $180.00 spent to get a ticket to the ACDC concert last Friday night. He travelled to Wellington City with some of his mates and their girlfriends, had a few of the traditional pre-concert drinks and climbed the steps towards the concourse of Wellington Westpac Stadium.

That appears to be as far as the group got, John saw one of his mates knocked to the ground unconscious, another assaulted, and then become involved in a fracas with about five other men. A powerfully built former rugby and league player he held his own before police became involved and arrested him. He was handcuffed and tossed into the rear of a police paddy wagon, and the police just laughed at him, he claimed. He fell in the entrance well of the van, but because of his great strength was able to extricate himself and wait for the police to let him out. It seemed like a couple of hours he spent in the stifling heat of the van without any water, becoming dehydrated.

He was taken to the Wellington Central police station, arrested and put in a cell without pillows or blankets. After banging on the door of his cell for some time, he was spoken to by a policewoman who later contacted his mother. The policewoman rang John's mother and told her to come and collect him. She said he had been a very angry man, understandable given the circumstances. John is also normally a mild mannered man who didn't get involved in trouble or fighting; during his time as a footballer he seldom involved himself in onfield trouble, preferring to let the referee deal with offenders. He was deeply offended by the attack on his friends and the subsequent substandard treatment on him by the police. He has bruising on his wrists and other parts of his body. He was also arrested without his tee shirt.

John told his mother he had been arrested and would have to appear in court in a few weeks time. He also told her that he was not told his rights or allowed a phone call.

The following day, after being unable to receive any cooperation from the Wellington City police, John and his mother went to see the Lower Hutt police to complain about the treatment he had received the previous evening. They not only accepted his complaint, but have actually considered it as extremely serious, considering the treatment John had received. The complaint has been lodged and will continue.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Do you agree with MSN Travel that NZ is in Top 10 places to travel to...

Do you agree with MSN Travel that NZ is in Top 10 places to travel to...

New Zealand listed as one of top 10 in Best in Travel guide:

New Zealand has been awarded another international travel gong after being named one of the top countries to visit in 2010 by Lonely Planet's Best in Travel guide.

Each year staff and author's from the travel bible put together an overview of some of their best travel experiences from around the world.

When describing New Zealand, authors adhered to the motto "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

"The land of Maori and hobbits certainly didn't need repairing," according to the guide.

The book recommends travellers to try paragliding over Queenstown, hiking in Tongariro National Park, kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park and taking a flight over Fiordland for those seeking "life-changing experiences".

The South Island's Otago Peninsula is named one of the 10 best cycling routes, while Dunedin is highlighted as one of the top 10 places to take Rover for a walk. Sustainable tourism practices in New Zealand are praised.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton told media he was astonished by the industry nod.

Top 10 countries to visit in 2010

New Zealand
El Salvador
United States

Do you agree with Lonely Planet's pick of the top 10 countries to visit in 2010? Have your say below.

Acknowledgements: MSN Travel

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Two new laws to crack down on illegal street racing in NZ

Two new laws giving police, courts and local authorities greater powers to crack down on illegal street racing have come into force:

The Land Transport (Enforcement Powers) Amendment Act and the Sentencing (Vehicle Confiscation) Amendment Act will mean offenders found to be acting illegally will lose their licenses and their vehicles much sooner.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce said the Enforcement Powers Act sends the message that the type of dangerous, disruptive and antisocial behaviour associated with illegal street racing will not be tolerated.

"While previous law allowed for vehicles to be confiscated, the actual rate of confiscations was less than two percent. These new laws will close loopholes in existing laws that allow illegal street racers to avoid penalty.

“Targeting the things these offenders value the most – their licence and their car – is expected to be a much more effective deterrent than fines, which have often gone unpaid in the past.”

Police Minister Judith Collins said Police would be actively focusing on illegal street racing when the new laws come into effect.

“Police will be paying particular attention to offences involving public disorder, dangerous behaviour on our roads and excessive noise,” Collins said.

“The message to illegal street racers is that their behaviour will no longer be tolerated and that the Police and Courts now have the authority to take their vehicles off the road permanently."

The Land Transport (Enforcement Powers) Act will include provisions to:

• Allow local authorities to create bylaws that prevent vehicles repeatedly “cruising” city streets
• Allow the compulsory impoundment of vehicles involved in illegal street racing
• Introduce demerit points for noise offences, licence breaches and registration plate offences. This will ensure repeat offenders will lose their licenses, rather than just accrue fines.

The Sentencing (Vehicle Confiscation) Amendment Act:

• Allows vehicles to be seized and destroyed as a new penalty for illegal street racing
• Allows vehicles repeatedly used by people with overdue traffic fines to be seized and sold to pay those fines
• Enables Police and Courts to target illegal street racers who commit offences in another person's vehicle.

Has the law been too lenient on street racing in the past? Have your say below.

Well, in my opinion its been a long time coming!

Acknowledgements: MSN NEWS

Two NZ public hospitals propose preferential treatment...

Two NZ public hospitals propose preferential treatment - creating two classes of patients which would undermine public health...

The proposal has alarmed hospital doctors and nurses who fear that it would create 'two classes' of patients in the public system. Two district health boards propose to offer public hospital patients the option of paying for treatment that is not funded by the public health system.

The proposal has alarmed hospital doctors and nurses who fear that it would create "two classes" of patients in the public system.

But Health Minister Tony Ryall said the idea merited investigation and could be applied nationally. It is obvious that Ryall supports the proposal.

The Otago and Southland DHBs have invited public comment by next Tuesday on their plans to offer additional treatments at a cost to patients.

The boards' consultation paper, available on the Otago board's website, says the number of patients who might pay for additional treatments is expected to be small. And it asserts that other patients will not be affected.

"Patients who receive additional unfunded treatments will not be able to queue-jump a waiting list by paying for a higher priority," it says.

The proposal has echoes of the previous National Government's short-lived scheme for hospital part-charges in the early 1990s under Health Minister Simon Upton.

Mr Ryall was anxious to distance the proposal from Mr Upton's scheme. "The National Government has always said we are not introducing part-charges in our public hospitals," he said.

The two boards believe their scheme will benefit the likes of cancer patients who have not responded to state-funded treatments and might purchase newer, unfunded medicines.

Before Herceptin was state-funded for women with HER 2-positive early-stage breast cancer, some sufferers paid more than $100,000 at private clinics for a standard 12-month course.

Mr Ryall said the idea, which would need his final approval, merited investigation as long as it would help patients - without leading to queue-jumping or imposing extra costs on public hospitals. If successful, it could be applied nationally.

Unions representing nurses and senior doctors are unhappy about the idea. "The principle of having a dual system of publicly and privately funded care being provided in the public sector is fraught and runs the risk of public patients being disadvantaged," said the Nurses Organisation.

"It will also create dilemmas for professionals who are asked to offer different treatment options, depending on ability to pay."

Organising services manager Cee Payne said workloads were already high. No spare capacity existed for delivering additional services. If spare capacity did exist, it should be used to improve services.

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists' president, Dr Jeff Brown, said National's experiment with hospital part-charges had left "an ugly taste" and he was "extremely wary" of the proposal.

"We have major problems with capacity in public hospitals at the moment. If there's something that's available and not funded publicly ... how could it be established in the public system without capacity issues, staffing issues and cost issues."

Labour's health spokeswoman, Ruth Dyson, dismissed the assertion the proposal would not lead to preferential treatment. "There are only so many doctors and nurses to go around and they should be available to help all people who walk through the public hospital doors on an equal basis rather than being tied up with paying patients first.

Paying patients should be transfered to private hospitals; they should not be treated in public hospitals. The scheme could lead to preferential treatment in our public hospitals where private patients would expect and possibly demand preferential treatment ahead of non-paying or public patients.Public hospitals are for public non-paying patients through taxation. It appears to be a backdoor method to create a system of preferential treatment in public hospitals. It should be strongly opposed.

Acknowledgements: MSN News

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The despicable state of urgent psychiatric care in NZ Hospitals...

Some psychiatric patients are not getting immediate or emergency care at mental health units in public hospitals:

Peter McGeorge, Mental Health Commission, says too many cases of people contacting services and not getting help. The Government should be condemned for this despicable state of affairs because it is not new and goes back to at least the time of the previous National Party Government in the 1990's.

The Mental Health Commission says too many psychiatric patients are not getting immediate care when it is urgently needed.

A 40-year-old patient of the Henry Bennett Centre in Hamilton absconded on Tuesday. She is now charged with murdering Diane White at her home in the Hamilton suburb of Frankton. Before the attack, a neighbour had apparently phoned police and the psychiatric unit to warn them that she thought the woman was dangerous.

Commission chairman, Peter McGeorge, says the exact details of the case are unclear but he understands the staff did everything they could in the circumstances. However, he says it is unacceptable if someone concerned about the mental health of a patient cannot get hold of authorities for help.

"Too often we hear examples of people who have phoned into mental health services and have not been able to get the help they need because they don't meet the criteria or there is too much else going on. It doesn't happen in all cases, but it certainly happens in too many."

Dr McGeorge believes a call centre with specially trained triage mental health workers should be available at all times.

The Commission's website displays the details of who to contact in a situation where urgent psychiatric help is needed.

One of the main problems, in my opinion, is getting people already assessed, into hospital when emergencies arise. A Taita, Lower Hutt, youth who, incidently is my grandson, had been maniacally psychotic for months, did not meet the alleged critetia for admission into the TWA psychiatric unit at Hutt Hospital: "That he was a danger to others or himself". Actually there are two arms to this Act, the other being "whether he could look after himself". The fact he was 18 years old should have ensured his admission to hospital on the latter grouds. This seemed to be unknown to mental health professionals at the time, or was conveniently forgotten. He was eventually admitted to hospital on dubious grounds involving the police. He needed many weeks of treatment in hospital and on home leave. The plan drawn up on his discharge is that he can be returned to hospital if his longterm grandparent caregivers deem it necessary. Previously the grandparents had been arrogantly ignored by health professionals who relied on 'their' judgement alone. It wasn't until the proverbial brown stuff hit the fan, that they acted!

Patients out in the community should receive the same care and attention as those who are in hospital. The inane politically correct practice of describing psychiatric patients as 'clients' should be abolished immediately. There is absolutely no other reason other than a deliberate shortage of money given by central government to explain the tragic situation that exists in the mental health sector. Shortages of funds given to special needs students in our public schools is of a similar and embarrassing situation for central government. Countries are judged by how well its most vulnerable citizens are treated; and New Zealand does not rank very highly on that score as a developed nation.

I commend Dr Peter McGeorge for his findings and comments about patients not getting urgent treatment when needed in New Zealand. As New Zealanders we have no option but to hang our heads in shame.

Acknowledgements.© 2010 NZCity, NewsTalkZB; Kellie Petterson

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Hobbit to be filmed in NZ...

The Hobbit to be filmed in New Zealand...

Seems Hollywood can’t get enough of our Kiwi beauty. This film will be one of two prequels to the Lord of the Rings triology. In otherwords what went before!

Location scouts for the movie 'The Hobbit' have been sighted around Queenstown as it could be the main filming location for the production.

Crews could be arriving as early as March this year, according to media reports.

A film crew freelancer told media that location scouting was "happening around the Wakatipu area, but is also happening in Canterbury, Wanaka and the Nelson area".

"The Hobbit will almost definitely be coming to the South Island," he said.

"I'm pretty sure they want to come back to the area that worked really well for them in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and local crews are excited about the chance to work on it."

No crew members have been offered contracts at this stage.

It's been reported actor Tobey Maguire will star in feature film as the lead role of Bilbo Baggins after quitting the Spiderman franchise.

New Zealand is no stranger to Hollywood film crews — James Cameron/’s Avatar, Jane Campion’s The Piano, Peter Jackson’s King Kong and The Lovely Bones, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe are just some of the movies that have been shot here.

Acknowledgements: MSN News

The Hobbit movie site

Monday, January 18, 2010

What is the similarity...

What is the similarity...

Aussie Bob and Kiwi Pete were enjoying a few beers after a barbie, and got talking about delicacies from their respective countries. After a while Kiwi Pete asked Aussie Bob the following question. "What is the similarity between an Aussie and a Kiwifruit?"

"Dunno mate." replied Aussie Bob.

"Well, they are both brown and hairy on the outside, and very green on the inside." stated Kiwi Pete.

"Yeah, brown and hairy on the outside, that's us, mate!" skited Aussie Bob.

"And green as a kiwifruit on the...." demanded Pete.

"Dunno, don't get that part, Kiwi?" questioned Bob.

"Don't worry about it mate. Just give us another beer, Bob

Sunday, January 17, 2010

History of the Mackenzie Country, South Canterbury, New Zealand...

History of the Mackenzie Country, South Canterbury, New Zealand:

The first people to enter the Mackenzie Basin were Māori. They quarried stone for tools, fished for eel, hunted birds, including moa, and established summer camps along the rivers and lakes. Māori names were given to the inland lakes – Tekapo, Te Kaupururu (Alexandrina), Otetoto (MacGregor), Pukaki, Ohau. The name Tekapo derives from the Māori words Taka (sleeping mat) and Po (night).

Māori told white settlers of the grassy plains of the interior, but the Mackenzie Basin really only became known in 1855 when James Mckenzie, a Scottish shepherd was arrested for sheep stealing. Seeking a less conspicuous route for his flock, he ventured inland and discovered the high country that now bears his name.

John Sidebottom, the man responsible for McKenzie’s arrest, lodged the first lease application in the basin but failed to take up the 30,000 hectares within the six-month requirement. The lease was cancelled and the land was divided up among other runholders. Within ten years the whole of the Mackenzie Basin, totalling 704,000 hectares, was taken up.

Monument of sheepdog, Lake Tekapo:

In 1857 John and Barbara Hay established Tekapo Station, the first sheep farm in the Mackenzie, on the shores of Lake Tekapo. When the lake is low, remains of the homestead can be seen on the walk to Pines Beach. An accommodation house was established in 1861, along with a ferry across the Tekapo River. Popular as ‘bullocky’ resting place, it became well known throughout the district. In 1881 the foundations of the first bridge were laid. When the Mount Cook-Hermitage Company formed it ran a coach between Fairlie and the Hermitage, stopping for lunch at Lake Tekapo.

Hydro power:

When the hydro power project began in the 1930s, Tekapo township stated to grow. In 1935 the foundation stone was laid for the Church of the Good Shepherd, and the building was completed later that year.

The construction of the Tekapo Power Station was delayed owing to the Second World War, but it was eventually commissioned in 1951. When the lake level rose, the bridge was demolished an a new hotel built on its present location. The main road now crosses the Tekapo River over the dam-control gates.

Mt John Observatory:

On Mt John, a hill rising 300 metres above Lake Tekapo, is the University of Canterbury Observatory. Following site surveys in early 1960s, Mt John was selected as the best site in New Zealand because it has high number of clear nights, is remote from bright lights, the air is transparent and steady, and it is close to roading and electricity.

The Observatory is operated by the Physics Department of the University, astronomers from the Observatory and research laboratories in Australia, North America, Asia and Europe, who use the facilities for astronomy and astrophysics scientific investigations. Until the end of 1983, the Observatory shared the hilltop with a satellite-tracking station.

Mackenzie Country history

Donate to Haiti...

Donate to the HUMANITARIAN COALITION for Haiti...

Canadian government matches donations to Haiti.
Oxfam teams delivering water.

Oxfam Responds to Haiti Earthquake:

Oxfam is beginning to get aid through to earthquake survivors despite immense challenges. We've distributed tools to rescue workers, started water supply at temporary camps and many more supplies will be in place in the next day. All we need is financial support to ensure that we can reach as many people as soon as possible. Please donate today.

Donate to Haiti

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Hutt River flows down the Hutt Valley to Wellington Harbour...

The Hutt River flows through the southern North Island of New Zealand. It flows south-west from the southern Tararua Ranges for 56 km, forming a number of fertile floodplains, including Kaitoke, central Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt.

The headwaters in the Kaitoke Regional Park are closed to preserve the quality of the drinking water drawn off at Kaitoke to supply the greater Wellington area. Below Kaitoke is the Kaitoke gorge, a popular destination for Rafting. Below the gorge is Te Marua, where the Mangaroa River joins the Hutt from the east. Further down, just above of the Upper Hutt floodplain, the Akatarawa River joins the Hutt from the west. The Upper Hutt floodplain contains the greater potion of Upper Hutt city. At this point the river starts to flow along a virtually straight geologic fault. At the lower end of the Upper Hutt floodplain is Taita Gorge, which separates Upper Hutt from Lower Hutt, this gorge is significantly shorter and less constricting than Kaitoke gorge. The river's outflow, at Petone, is into Wellington harbour. The geological fault which the river previously followed continues as a steep bluff at the edge of the Wellington Harbour.

For most of its length, the Hutt is a shallow and sometimes braided river in a wide rocky bed, but in the Kaitoke gorge the river flows directly over bedrock and approaching the mouth at Petone the river is narrower and the banks steeper. The larger populated areas in Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt are protected from flooding by stopbanks and introduced willow trees, as is common in New Zealand. The regular flooding of Lower Hutt resulted in high fertility land and prior to the building of state housing by the Labour Government starting in 1937, there were many market gardens in Lower Hutt.

The Hutt has moved significantly since European settlement, due to a major earthquake. The pre-earthquake river emptied into the Pauatahanui Inlet (an arm of Porirua Harbour on the west coast). Pauatahanui Inlet is now slowly silting up.

State highway two follows the course of the river for most of its length, with the exception of the Kaitoke gorge and the head waters, before crossing the Rimutaka Ranges into the Wairarapa.

The Hutt River in photos

Thursday, January 14, 2010

KIwi bus passenger fatally injured by flying truck wheel...

Kiwi bus passenger fatally injured by flying truck wheel...

Investigations are under way into how a truck lost two wheels on the Southern Motorway yesterday. Truck had recently been serviced.

Sergeant Stu Kearns, of the Waitemata serious crash unit, said the truck had recently been serviced but it was too early to say why the wheels came off.

"We are waiting for specialist reports. Vehicle inspectors will be inspecting the mechanics of the truck, which will then be handed on to CIB," he said.

Greg Miller, group general manager of Toll New Zealand, which operates the truck, said the company expressed its sympathies to those injured in yesterday's accident.

The company was co-operating fully with the authorities and had started an internal inquiry into its operating safety procedures, he said.

Witness Jonathan Sanders was driving south on the motorway. "The rear truck wheels separated and materialised from under the truck trailer, having caused substantial damage to the truck.

"Both wheels separated, with one running to the left of the lanes and the othe
When the wheel hit the windscreen, the bus windows "exploded".

"The wheel struck a car and then the bus. The bus windows just exploded inwards, missing the driver."

One southbound lane was closed and another northbound closed for about two and a half hours.

Some further closures were enforced southbound so police could look for the truck's wheel nuts.

A Vietnamese man was taken to Auckland City Hospital with critical head injuries. Three other passengers were taken to Middlemore Hospital with minor injuries. Everyone on the bus will be offered Victim Support counselling.

Zane Fulljames, NZ Bus general manager of operations, said the driver was severely shaken and had been stood down from his duties so support could be provided for him.

Acknowledgements: Andrew Koubaridis, MSN NZ

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gout - just what exactly is this condition...

Gout - just what exactly is this condition?

1/ The third most common form of arthritis, gout causes severe pain and swelling in joints

2/ It usually affects only one or two joints at a time. The ball of the big toe is the most common site.

3/Gout is caused by the buildup of the waste product uric acid in the body.

4/ Most people can process uric acid, but if they can't, it crystallises in the body's joints and causes swelling.

5/The new drug (in the previous story) targets and blocks uric to crystallise.

6/Existing drugs do not target those enzymes, but work to reduce the buildup of uric acid once it has crystallised.

I hope you read and enjoyed the previous post about a new drug being introduced from New Zealand to help gout sufferers

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Kiwi drug to help gout sufferers...

A sore and swollen toe is the telltale sign of gout, which affects more than 45,000 New Zealanders

A New Zealand research company has invented a new drug which it hopes will help the millions of people worldwide who suffer from gout.

The drug has just begun clinical trials in humans with the debilitating disease and if it is successful it could bring millions of dollars into the New Zealand economy.

A sore and swollen toe is the telltale sign of gout, which affects more than 45,000 New Zealanders.

But a home grown research team headed by Richard Furneaux has invented a new treatment which it hopes will bring more effective relief to those affected in New Zealand and overseas.

“It may turn out as effective or more effective and easier to take and will have less side effects,” he says.

Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood which causes crystals to form in joints.

Mr Furneaux says inflammation then causes a sort of arthritis.

“It's very painful and quite crippling,” he says.

The new drug aims to prevent uric acid being formed.

Human trials of around 200 gout patients are currently underway in 20 hospitals across the United States.

Gout is the third most common form of acute arthritis in New Zealanders.

Sandra Kirby, chief executive of Arthritis NZ, says in some centres it is the leading cause of people missing work.

“There's some studies in Counties-Manukau where incidence are very high which shows that it's one of the leading causes of people taking time off work,” she says.

“So you can imagine if your foot is swollen and sore, your hand is swollen and sore, and then working, walking, many of the things that are good for you become impossible.”

The seven year project is a combined effort between Kiwi company Industrial Research Limited and an American company which has injected more than $200 million into IRL's research.

“We're hoping that more and more of this will be done here and so we can actually have a pharmaceutical development industry in New Zealand,” says Mr Furneaux.

There are already effective treatments for the illness but 5 percent of gout patients can't tolerate them.

It's hoped this treatment will not only suit everyone but will also lead to other significant drug developments.

Acknowledgements: 3 News, Charotte Tonkin,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Government recognises the level of public interest in The McKenzie basin...

"The Government recognises the level of public interest in major proposals for intensive dairying in the McKenzie basin and is considering options for intervention", Environment Minister Nick Smith said today.

"I have received a comprehensive report from the Ministry about the proposals in response to correspondence from Environment Canterbury. The advice confirms the view of Environment Canterbury that the animal welfare issue over the housing of 18,000 cows lies with the Animal Welfare Act 1999 rather than the Resource Management Act and this constrains the ability to use the call-in powers."

"The options for intervention are further constrained by the applications being lodged prior to the Government's improved resource management procedures coming into effect on 1 October. The changes widened the criteria for call-in and provided for direct referral to the Environment Court. These consents must be processed under the 2005 Act that is more limiting."

"An option I am exploring with Environment Canterbury and my Ministerial colleagues, is appointing a Project Coordinator from the Environmental Protection Authority to assist Environment Canterbury with processing these complex consent applications. This intervention under Section 141A (4)(d) of the Resource Management Act would ensure best practice in dealing with these contentious consents."

"I am also advised that the final date for any intervention by Government is not 15 January but 2 February albeit it is my intention to resolve this as soon as possible after the first Cabinet on January 19."

"These controversial consents highlight the broader issues around the need to improved water management in New Zealand and particularly in Canterbury. Our systems are not well equipped for dealing with the increased pressures on water allocation and pressures on water quality. A major challenge for Government this year will be building on the work of the review into Environment Canterbury and the Land and Water Forum to put in place a better framework for dealing with these sort of issues in future", Dr Smith concluded.

Acknowledgements: Hon Dick Smith, NZ Minister for the Environment

Original article

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Former All Black Aaron Mauger reported to be keen to come home...

Former All Black Aaron Mauger reported to be keen to be home:

There is a potential midfield boost for the All Blacks with second-five Aaron Mauger reported to be keen to come home. However, Ma'a Nunu would appear to have that position secured at present. The spectre of the talented Richard Kahui looms over the All Blacks midfield.

The Crusaders have yet to make a formal approach to Aaron Mauger, despite reports the former All Blacks second-five is keen to return to New Zealand. The Crusaders would appear to be solid in that position, though with Steven Brett gone to the Blues, Mauger could cover there.

Mauger is reportedly keen to leave English club Leicester and return home ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder says he has heard Mauger wants to move his young family back to New Zealand and while Mauger has been in contact with them, they have not been targeting him or chasing him.

Blackadder says it seems to be an increasing trend for former All Blacks to return from overseas late in their careers.

Acknowledgements:© 2010 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ady Gil deliberately rammed by Japanese whaler...

Ady Gil collision was deliberate attack, says Sea Shepherd...

What are these? Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson has accused Japanese whalers of a high seas hit-and-run, disputing claims a collision with one of its speedboats was accidental.

Six crew members aboard the anti-whaling ship the Ady Gil were rescued, one with broken ribs, after it and the Japanese whalers' ship the Shonan Maru 2 collided in remote Antarctic waters.

The front end of the high-tech trimaran was sliced off in the collision.

Japan's Fisheries Agency has blamed the crew of the Ady Gil for the crash, saying it slowed suddenly while crossing in front of the Shonan Maru.

But Mr Watson today labelled the claim ridiculous, saying the whaling ship deliberately rammed the boat in a high seas "hit and run".

"The Ady Gil was stationary at the time it was struck," Mr Watson told Macquarie Radio.

Whaling protestor tells of terror:

"The Shonan Maru did a quick turn and came in real fast, they were aiming for the cockpit, where the crew were, and fortunately we got the engines in reverse and backed up just enough so that the front of the ship was torn off instead of hitting the cockpit.

"They were trying to sink the ship.

"We put out a mayday distress signal and the Japanese refused to respond - it was a hit and run really."

Mr Watson said it would be impossible to salvage the Ady Gil, meaning a loss of $2 million for the Sea Shepherd organisation.

A spokesman for the Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo, Glenn Inwood, contradicted Sea Shepherd's account of the incident.

"The (Ady Gil) skipper put the boat into full sting to try to cut the Shonan Maru off," he told ABC Radio.

"You can see that the Shonan Maru is moving to the port to try and avoid a collision and there's no avoiding the collision with the Ady Gil.

"It's a fast boat, she heads off full steam in front of it and miscalculates.

"So it's no wonder that it came to the grief that it has."

Mr Watson, asked if the environmental group would press charges against the whalers, he said "there's no law down here, there's no way to bring charges against anybody".

"Japan does what it wants, where it wants.

"They're killing these whales in violation of international law.

"And if they were to injure or kill any of us, their government will justify and defend their actions."

He again called on the Federal Government to send naval ships to stop the whalers exploiting the southern ocean whale sanctuary, which falls in Australia's Antarctic Territory waters.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett yesterday said he had no plans to send a vessel to police the situation, instead calling on both parties to exercise restraint.

"Peter Garrett promised before he was elected that he would come down here and stop the illegal Japanese whaling activities - we're still waiting for him to do so," Mr Watson said.

Acknowledgements: AAP, Fox Sports

Monday, January 4, 2010

NZ blogger bailed on suppression charges...

New Zealand blogger bailed on suppression breaches...

An internet blogger has been remanded on bail after appearing in court on five charges for alleged breach of suppression. He allegedly released information on his blog about the identity of a person who had name suppression from the courts.

He would be an irresponsible fool if convicted for doing what he allegedly did. Many of us in NZ would like to see changes made to that particular act, because there are many people hiding behind it until sentencing; and in some cases suspicion can be pointed at innocent peopl.

The blogger charged with breaking name suppression orders has been remanded on bail.

He is facing five charges for allegedly posting clues in the form of pictures identifying people in high profile sex cases. The man has entered no plea.

The Crown says each charge carries a maximum penalty of a one thousand dollar fine.

The blogger is back in court on January the 19th

Friday, January 1, 2010

Helen Clark and Peter Jackson receive top New Year's honours...

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has joined world famous film maker ( Lord of the Rings) Peter Jackson in topping the New Year honours, it was recently announced.

Miss Clark has received New Zealand's highest accolade, becoming a member of the Order of New Zealand, while Sir Peter is among five to become knights or dames. But, however, she will not become a Dame; under her administrations titles were abolished, and reinstated this year under the new National Government.

In all, 193 people have received honours, covering fields as diverse as music, speedway, education and horticultural science.

Miss Clark, prime minister for three terms, joins 16 others in membership of the Order of New Zealand, which is limited to 20 living Kiwis.

She is one of three former prime ministers on the list, and now heads the United Nations Development Programme in New York.

Miss Clark said she felt privileged to join the "incredible New Zealanders" in the order, and "certainly would not" have accepted a damehood. Her Labour government axed the titles in 2000.

She admitted to not being wholly surprised at the honour, although it perhaps came sooner than expected.

"I've spent a lot of years at the top, maybe sometime an approach would have been made ... It's not unusual, it's a question of timing."