Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Its dangerous and wasteful to allow even heavier trucks up to 53 tonnes onto NZ roads it has been claimed...

A former National Party logoImage via Wikipedia
 It's dangerous and wasteful to allow heavier trucks on New Zealand roads, says the car buyers' Dog & Lemon Guide. Commenting after the government announced that it would allow trucks of up to 53 tonnes on public roads, Dog & Lemon Guide editor Clive Matthew-Wilson said: "This is insane. Not only is this incredibly wasteful of energy, it's also a serious risk to other motorists. One in five trucks were found to have brake faults in 2007, and the larger the truck, the harder it is to stop." "Trucks make up only 4% of the vehicle fleet but cause 16% of all road deaths. This risk is only going to rise with larger trucks" "Claims that larger trucks are part of the government's energy-saving strategy are simply a lie. The government's own figures show that transporting goods by rail is over five times more efficient that transporting goods by truck." 1 "The government is also implying that road user charges will pay for the roads the trucks travel down. This is another lie. The trucking industry didn't pay one cent for the cost of building these roads. The ordinary motorist paid for our roads, and one of the reasons our roads are so expensive to build is that they are being built to carry larger and larger trucks. The trucking industry pays a relatively small fee for some of the damage it does to the road surface. The taxpayer foots the rest of the bill."

Matthew-Wilson believes that the trucking industry is driving much of the government's transport strategy. "The government's policies start to make sense when you remember that Road Transport Forum chief executive Tony Friedlander is a former National Party cabinet minister." The Road Transport Forum was a major donor to political parties at the last election, contributing nearly $100,000 to Labour, National and also to individual MPs. "We need to rethink the whole process of transportation instead of trying to patch a sinking ship. The government's own figures show that the current road-based transport system is unsustainable, yet the government wants to expand this system."

New Zealand's roads were never designed for the heavy trucks that now use them, and the National Government wants even heavier trucks running on them. The former restrictions on the transportation of goods more than 40 miles from the railhead were more commonsense and protected our roads, and rail over long distances suited New Zealand's geography in any case. Road transporters made no contribution towards the construction of the roads or the maintenance of them. Road-users charges probably find their way into the consolidated fund rather than being targetted for road maintenance.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A nightmare for disadvantaged children in New Zealand - Paula Bennet's guide to poverty, perhaps...

Children in Jerusalem.Image via Wikipedia
 Paula Bennett  Minister of Social Development...

 Paula Bennett's telling sole parents "the dream is over" will be a nightmare for thousands of children, says Child Poverty Action Group.

The Minister has signalled that 43,000 sole parents of school age children will be work tested and expected to take up part-time work.

CPAG has asked the Minister to outline what arrangements will be in place for parents with chronically sick or disabled children.

The group has also asked for clarity on how sanctions will be applied so they do not affect the material wellbeing of already disadvantaged children.

Spokesperson Donna Wynd has welcomed the raising of earnings thresholds, but says this on its own will not reduce the hardship of many sole parents households.

"Being able to earn an extra $20 per week before tax will not alleviate child poverty, and it probably won't give anyone an incentive to work who isn't already," said Ms Wynd.

"We also have some real concerns about what happens if there are not 43,000 suitable part-time jobs conveniently located where parents live.

Do parents have to take jobs that mean their children are unattended after school? And what if there simply are no jobs? What measures will be in place to ensure that parents are not unnecessarily sanctioned?"

The group is also worried about tightening up on invalids benefits. "The biggest barrier to the employment of the disabled is employer discrimination. If getting a benefit becomes harder, where do people go?

This package looks like a repeat of the failed policies of the 1990s. They were bad for children then, and they will be worse for children now." Why do we as a society continually fight among ourselves, decade after decade? Cry for the little children.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Missing Taita man found down an Upper Hutt hillside three years later...

Lower Hutt in New Zealand. Looking eastwards f...Image via Wikipedia
Taita man missing for three years found...down an Upper Hutt hillside.

A local man from my suburb of Taita here in Lower Hutt who had been missing for three years, turned up... buried in a garden in further up the valley in Upper Hutt. It is not yet official, he has not been named, but a 26 year old has been charged with his murder.

Harold Skudder, 38 years old but three years dead. He was a local lad, went to local schools with my three eldest children. Grew up and became a bit of a lad; bit of a pothead I believe. A harmless sort of a skinny built guy, feely good looking, according to the local girls; and allegedly father of seven children.

When he was reported missing three years ago, he had been missing for some time. His bank account had been left untouched; and that is the usual sign of somebody who won't be back on this earth.

All very sad for his mother and siblings, and a former girlfriend

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bay of Plenty school principal's head kicked like a rugby ball outside bar...

A 6' groundswell at the Whakatane HeadsImage via Wikipedia

An eyewitness to an attack on Bay of Plenty school principal and Environment Bay of Plenty councillor Hawea Vercoe, says his head was kicked like a rugby ball.

The 36-year-old Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rotoiti principal died after allegedly being assaulted outside a Whakatane bar last November.

Opotiki 21-year-old Isaiah Johnson Richard Tai has been charged with murder and has appeared for a depositions hearing.

One witness, Sarah Barlow, said she saw Mr Vercoe and Tai arguing outside the bar, the Daily Post reported.

Moments later she watched a man, identified by other witnesses as Tai, run and punch Mr Vercoe in the head, and while he was on the ground unconscious, kick him in the head.

"It was a huge kick, like someone taking a penalty kick in rugby," she said.

Ms Barlow said she put Mr Vercoe in the recovery position, but he was unresponsive.

Another witness to the alleged attack, Jemma Ellis, said she asked Tai why he had attacked Mr Vercoe, and he replied: "He deserved it".

Tai was due to appear in the High Court at Rotorua on April 15 for a trial date to be set. He has entered no plea.

Acknowledgements: - NZPA

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Forced marriages of minor Muslim girls reported in NZ...

New Zealand government "Beehive" and...Image via Wikipedia
Forced marriages of minor Muslim girls reported in NZ...

A documentary program on New Zealand television dealt with under age teenaged Muslim girls being forced into illegal marriages with older men in New Zealand..

One girl has gone into hiding after being raped and forced by her despicable parents to "marry"the man.

Marriage is illegal under the age of 16 years in this country. Young people under 18 years need parental consent. The program dealt with cases of a 14 year old and a 15 year old forced to marry men by their parents. These people are Muslim refugees who are thumbing their noses at New Zealand law. New Zealand has generously given refuge to families from war-torn countries in southern Asia, the middle east and Africa. This is how they show their gratitude.

These people obviously consider NZ to be a soft touch. Mosque leaders deny any knowledge of these so-called marriages, but the various communities obviously know all about them. But they are obviously happening. Some girls are forced to go overseas to have a couple of children by their 'husbands'' to make them accept their situations.

The NZ Minister of Immigration denies there are the numbers to make any enquiries necessary about these so-called marriages. The British government which has concerns about forced marriages of children there, will make it a criminal offence to be a party to these marriages

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Monday, March 8, 2010

New Zealand baby owes its life to its grandmother's intervention...

Child, Youth and Family (New Zealand)Image via Wikipedia

A Southland, New Zealand, baby owes its life to its grandmother who intervened during her own daughter's attempt at infanticide.

The teenage mother, who last month admitted a charge of attempted infanticide, was today sentenced to two years' intense supervision when she appeared at the High Court at Invercargill.

Justice John Fogarty said infanticide, by its very nature, enabled the court to take into account the 19-year-old's mental state at the time of her offending.

"The offence recognises young mothers do get into a disturbed state of mind."

He declined to go into details of what had happened but did say the woman's mother had intervened to save the life of the child.

The court heard the woman had experienced a troubled upbringing, having attended up to 30 different schools, been exposed to violence, different religious influences and was the victim of rape.

Justice Fogarty said he accepted she had a mental health problem which most likely had been exacerbated by the birth of the baby.

The woman had already received quality assistance from clinical psychiatrists since the offence.

He said his greatest concern was for the ongoing welfare of her two babies.

"You are in need of as much assistance as can be given."

He said he was satisfied Child, Youth and Family had a plan in place that would allow the young mother to, over time, develop and maintain relationships with her children.

As part of her sentence, the judge also ordered the woman undertake psychiatric treatment and counselling as directed by the probation service.

However, Justice Fogarty turned down a Crown application she complete community work, saying he wanted stresses in the woman's life kept to a minimum.

He also ordered her name be suppressed so that she could be rehabilitated and her two children live their lives without everyone knowing what their mother had done. He said it would be a family decision whether the victim of the attempted infanticide would ever be told what happened.

Acknowledgements: NZPA

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Friday, March 5, 2010

About Australian Blogs

About Australian Blogs

Bishop Brian Tamaki - Self-server or follower of Christ...

This photo was taken in Christchurch during a ...Image via Wikipedia

Bishop Brian Tamati - Self server or follower of Christ...

Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki says his $1 million-plus home and $75,000 car are "not much" of a reward for decades of clean and righteous living and taking his message to the masses.

In an interview with broadcaster Willie Jackson on Radio Live yesterday, Bishop Tamaki, who was accompanied by church spokesman Richard Lewis, said his expensive car and $1.25 million home at Maraetai in Manukau City were just reward for living right and working hard.

He said he had never been on a benefit, nor had it been in his mind that ministering to the church, which has a membership of 7000, was a vocation people took to make money.

"My wife and I have lived right, we don't drink, smoke, we haven't wasted our money, we have got some wisdom behind us," he said. "Shouldn't we have a house and a car by now?"

Asked if his approach was too extravagant and lavish and if his dress style was too brazen, Bishop Tamaki said: "I kinda like me.

"I figured really early in life I'd better get to like me first or it would be an ugly situation," Bishop Tamaki said
"But that's not pride. I'm confident. At the same time, I'm honoured and I'm humbled to be used of God in this measure."

But a former high-ranking Destiny member told the Weekend Herald he and others left because people were hearing less about Jesus Christ and hearing more about the church's leader.

The man, who has since joined another church in Auckland, had a close association with Bishop Tamaki but left after the two clashed over their theological differences.

"You want people to focus on the content of what you're saying, so when the finance, the glitz and the lifestyle take precedence over what you are saying, all people are seeing is the bling," he said.

"What they didn't hear much about was about being good, caring Christians and sure, the pastor shouldn't be riding a Raleigh 20 bike, but there's a fine line and if you want to reach more people you have to tone things down.'

The man said he could understand his former colleague Pastor Andrew Stock's reasons for walking out of Brisbane's Destiny Church this week allegedly because of concerns over the church's covenant.

The Weekend Herald has made repeated calls to Pastor Stock to comment but has received no response.

Bishop Tamaki told Jackson there was not a constant demand on its members to tithe, although this is disputed by several people who have contacted the Weekend Herald saying they were pressured to do so.

"It's a bent perception," he said. "It is a slant, it's sensationalism and people are believing this but they don't want to do good-news stories about what's happening behind the scenes."

The Weekend Herald has made several requests for an interview with Bishop Tamaki but calls have not been returned

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Labour Party supporting NZ Students' Association campaign to save their services...

A former National Party logoImage via Wikipedia

The Labour Party is right behind the New Zealand Students' Association campaign to save their services, says Labour Tertiary Education Spokesperson, Maryan Street today.

"Roger Douglas's Voluntary Student Membership Bill, which to date has been supported by the National Party, is a bid to remove student associations from our tertiary education campuses by stealth, "she said.

"Students Associations provide representation at the highest level of tertiary institutions, advocacy services and additional services and events which contribute to a good student experience.

"Making them purely voluntary, rather than subject to a majority vote to make them compulsory, as is the case at present, risks taking away services from first year students which they don't even know about and have not been able to assess as worthwhile. That's the slash by stealth part of this bill.

"So far the National Party has supported the legislation to a select committee, despite making supportive comments to students about their associations in the run up to the last election. They need to tell students whether they support this bill or not. They also need to tell students and institutions who will pay for the services students' associations currently provide if they are not going to be able to survive under this bill. Are the institutions going to have to pick up this cost?

"This is part of their full scale attack on students at the moment. Students look set to be the only people not being compensated for an increase in GST; student loans are going to become harder to access; automatic entry after the age of 20 looks like it will go; and there is this Voluntary Student Membership bill - the government's threats to the tertiary education sector and students are a real worry," said Maryan Street.

The Labour Party is pleased to join Rural Women New Zealand, the Quality Public Education Coalition, the Tertiary Education Union, UniQ Victoria, the Council of Trade Unions, University Sport New Zealand and Te Mana Akonga in their support of the NZUSA campaign to Save Our Services.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New legislation in New Zealand will crack down on young drivers...

Coat of Arms of New Zealand (1956-Present) * T...Image via Wikipedia

Crackdown on young drivers in New Zealand confirmed by new Government legislation...

Driving age being increased to 16, zero drink drive limit for drivers under 20, review of give way rules, more speed cameras in safety strategy

As expected, the Government has cracked down on young drivers in its road safety review released today. The new legislation is expected to be in force by the end of the year.

The 10 year strategy, designed to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads over next decade, includes raising the driving age to 16, making the restricted licence test more difficult, introducing a zero drink drive limit for drivers under the age of 20 and investigating vehicle power restrictions for young people.

Efforts to reduce alcohol/drug impaired driving will include a zero drink-drive limit for offenders. Traffic offences and penalties for causing death and injury will also be reviewed.

Safety improvement programmes will focus on high risk rural roads and high risk urban intersections. Consideration will also be given to changing the give way rules for turning traffic.

Motorcyclist training and licensing will be improved and there will be a power-to-weight restriction for novice riders.

The Government plans to increase the use speed and red light cameras and increase the coverage of temporary lower speed limits around schools.

The proposed changes will come into force at the end of the year.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce says the number of people killed or seriously injured in a crash where a young driver was at fault increased by 17 percent between 2000 and 2008.

He says there have been some major gains in road safety in recent years and the road toll has more than halved since its peak in1983. He says at the same time, the kilometres travelled have more than doubled.

"But despite these gains, hundreds of New Zealanders are killed and thousands injured on our roads every year, mostly in preventable crashes. Safer Journeys is a step towards improving the safety of our roads."

However, local motoring expert, Allan dick has criticised the proposec changes as being too weak. He recommends making it harder to get a licence in the first place. He said getting a licence in Germany is like being a rocket scientist - obtaining the necessary skills to drive competently and safely. Whereas in New Zealand driving a motor vehicle is considered a "right". This attitude needs to change!

>> More Motoring News
© 2010 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Maori King threatens to abdicate if tribal members don't fall into line - questioned criticism of his use of "his" tribal funds...

Tāwhiao, second Māori King, died 26th Aug.Image via Wikipedia

The Maori King has threatened to abdicate his title if tribal members do not fall back into line.

According to several sources King Tuheitia turned up to a meeting of the tribe's parliament, Te Kauhanganui, on Sunday and in a surprise move delivered an emotional speech.

The sources said during his speech the king blasted Te Kauhanganui members for questioning his use of tribal funds, which he called "his money", and the appointment of John "Barna" Heremia and Taitimu Maipi as the directors of the company which receives money from the tribe to operate his office.

The company, Ururangi Ltd, receives an annual budget of $1.2 million for the office and the appointments had been criticised after it was revealed that Mr Heremia and Mr Maipi were the two men at the helm of a Huntly kura kaupapa singled out by the auditor-general for making $400,000 in undeclared payments to its principal.

Mr Heremia is the principal of the school and Mr Maipi is the chairman of the board of trustees.

One of the sources said King Tuheitia spoke for about 20 minutes and it was clear that he was frustrated and angry.

"He wants control of his office without any question. He blames Te Kauhanganui for the issues that have been raised and he is embarrassed by Te Kauhanganui and just wants to do it his way.

"He wants it all to stop and basically said that if this doesn't happen he would step down from being the paramount chief of this tribe and the Maori king."

The source said several members of Te Kauhanganui were sympathetic to the king, with many saying they felt sorry for him that he felt he had to make such a speech.

Attempts by the Waikato Times to contact the king's office and board chairman Tukoroirangi Morgan for comment went unanswered.

King Tuheitia is the seventh Maori monarch and is a direct descendant of the first Maori King, Potatau, who was elected by several iwi to unite Maori. The Waikato-Tainui tribe has been the caretaker of the Kingitanga movement for more than 150 years.

Another source said King Tuheitia also demanded that the tribe put a stop to attacks on the executive board, Te Arataura.

"He called it his board and said that the tribe was to stop their attacks on his board."

The source said he believed, though, that the board should be working on behalf of the tribe.

The board has been criticised by some tribal members following its decision to incur significant legal fees defending a claim of unfair dismissal by chief executive Hemi Rau, approval of a $100,000 success fee paid to each negotiator of the Waikato River claim and a continuing rise in the cost of governance. The board comprises 10 people elected from Te Kauhanganui and one member elected by the king.

Acknowledgements: Waikato Times, Stuff

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