Monday, June 28, 2010

Cadbury chocolate confectionary company's fall from grace affects its perceived public trust

Confectionary giant Cadbury has fallen from grace after six years as New Zealand's most trusted brand, making way for food producer Wattie's to claim the title.

Wattie's, makers of a wide range of pantry staples, beat 132 brands to win the award in the sixth annual most-trusted survey, Reader's Digest New Zealand reported.

Long-time title holder Cadbury fell to 36th equal place after widespread criticism over its use of palm oil.

The firm briefly replaced cocoa butter with palm oil last year as a cost-cutting measure.

Palm oil production has been blamed for the rapid destruction of rainforest habitats and remained the single greatest threat to the existence of orangutans, and many other Southeast Asian wildlife species.

Cadbury also came under fire last year after shifting production of Kiwi favourites, including Moro, overseas.

Automobile giant Toyota came in second place and won the automobile category, while Sony came in third and won both the electronics and computer categories.

Whittaker's, a New Zealand chocolate company, debuted on the list at number five.

The 2010 Reader's Digest Trust Survey was based on a representative sample of 500 people aged 18 years and over.

Acknowledgements: - NZPA, with NZ Herald writers

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, June 24, 2010

ACC is moving towards some degree of privatisation...

The Accident Compensation Corporation is considering contracting out thousands of new claims to external managers by the end of the year in what Labour says is more evidence of the Government's privatisation plans for the scheme.

The proposal, first disclosed in an internal ACC email from chief executive Jan White last week, was confirmed yesterday by ACC Minister Nick Smith.

The corporation in April said it would contract out about 600 long-term claims to third parties in a "benchmarking" exercise to compare its performance with that of the private sector, but the latest proposal will see about 3000 new claims handled by private managers over a two-year period.

With the public becoming grumpy over ACC levy increases, the Government was open-minded about the proposal, which came from the corporation's management as it explored "every opportunity in which it can more efficiently manage claims", Dr Smith said.

"What we're attempting to do is to improve ACC's performance and its case management and if the private sector can play a role in that the Government says good job."

The ACC would continue to fund claims through its normal processes and a final decision to proceed would be made in about two months with the programme beginning shortly after that, an ACC spokesman said.

Should the plan proceed, claimants would have the same review rights in the event a private sector claims manager made decisions they felt were inappropriate.

Labour ACC spokesman David Parker questioned why the corporation was embarking on the exercises, given Dr Smith had just told the committee of "a huge improvement" in its performance.

Dr Smith told Parliament's transport and industrial relations committee the corporation was expected to report about a $2 billion surplus this year, mainly due to a huge turnaround in investment markets, a $35 million reduction in administration costs and, most significantly, a stabilisation in the rate of increase of its long-term liabilities.

Mr Parker believed the new initiative was driven by the Government as part of its privatisation plans.

"We know it's cheaper so what's the case for privatising parts of its functions?"

The Government is conducting a stocktake of the scheme, which includes an investigation of whether the work account should be opened up to private sector insurance companies. Dr Smith said the final stocktake report was due at the end of this month and decisions would follow a couple of months after that.

Hazel Armstrong of the ACC Futures Coalition, an advocacy group for ACC claimants, said experience of private claims managers showed claimants subjected to scrutiny of the tiniest detail, payments being delayed or refused altogether on spurious grounds and injured claimants being forced back to work before they were properly rehabilitated

New Zealanders gave up their right to sue employers or those responsible for non-work accidents  when  ACC  was formed in 1974. However we did not make any agreement with non-governmental bodies or organisations at that time. Eventually a precedent will be set to prevent futher privatisation of ACC in New Zealand. John Key is not a particularly clever man, and this decision could come back to bite him.    Write for Fortitude

Acknowledgements: NZ Herald

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tainui would be interested in buying the Huntley power station...

Huntly Power Station from the opposite bank of...Image via Wikipedia

Tainui would be interested in buying the Huntley power station...

Tuku Morgan has told the Prime Minister Waikato-Tainui wants to buy the Huntly power station if a National Government decides to sell.

The tribe has more than $500 million of property-focused assets and for the past two years Mr Morgan has been pushing iwi ownership of important national infrastructure.

Last Friday, John Key visited the tribe's Endowed College in Hopuhopu on business related to the recent Waikato River settlement.

Mr Morgan used the opportunity to tell Mr Key the tribe was "dead-set" on the station, which is owned by state-owned enterprise Genesis Energy.

Waikato-Tainui has rights of first refusal over the 1448MW station because of its Treaty settlement legislation but Mr Morgan said the iwi was not wholly convinced that future governments would honour the tribe's front-of-the-line position, if it came up for sale.

"Obviously we're very keen on it, we're dead set keen on it," Mr Morgan told the Herald.

"There are all sorts of ways that governments can move on this."

Huntly is New Zealand's largest thermal power station and can provide up to 20 per cent of national supply.

Mr Morgan said the tribe understood the key role the station, which is powered by coal and gas, has in power production. Any deal would come with an important rider, aimed at protection, he said.

"We'd lock it up and specify that we wouldn't sell.

"In relation to the Huntly power station we've been very clear that should the Crown sell we want to buy because iwi are the best investors because we won't sell - we're here forever. We're the face of the public interest in this country."

Future investment in another SOE, Solid Energy, which operates mines out of Huntly, was also something the iwi would be interested in, Mr Morgan said.

The Government has said it will not sell any assets in its first term, but iwi, just like the rest of the country, are waiting to see what National's policy will be past the next election.

A spokesman for Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee said he had nothing to say about the issue as the Government was not contemplating selling.

Genesis owns the Tongariro and Waikaremoana hydro Schemes as well as the Haunui windfarm in Wairarapa.

A Genesis spokesman said the company had no view on the matter.

Huntly Station:

* 1488MW

* Can supply 20 per cent of national supply

* Coal and gas fired

Waikato Tainui:

* Assets worth more than $500 million

Acknowledgements: MSN News

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The 40th anniversary of the Crewe murders - NZ's most baffling...

Auckland New Zealand, Skyline from HarbourImage via Wikipedia
On the 40th anniversary of New Zealand's most baffling murder mystery, Arthur Allan Thomas’s ex wife Vivien Harrison has broken her silence on the case that destroyed her marriage and drove her from the country.

And she’s called for the "mystery woman" she believes fed the baby of murdered couple Harvey and Jeanette Crewe to account for witness reports that she was seen at their farmhouse after the killings.

Thomas, who was convicted of murder on evidence later found to be fabricated by the police, was finally pardoned in 1979 and awarded $950,000 in compensation after a royal commission of inquiry ruled he should never have been charged.

After publicly campaigning for her husband's freedom through two court trials – both of which found him guilty – Harrison filed for divorce while Thomas was still in prison.

They haven’t spoken since and no one else has been charged with the murders. But in an exclusive interview with North & South magazine, she still stands by her man.

"What I did was end my marriage to Arthur. But I did not desert him. I know Arthur did not kill those people and I will declare his innocence until the day I die."

Thomas, who was devastated by her decision, felt betrayed. But she says their relationship was a casualty of the justice system.

"The second trial ended my marriage; what hopes we had were dashed by the verdicts delivered by that jury. Our plans for our future were completely and utterly gone."

Researcher and writer Chris Birt, who wrote a book on the Crewe murders, The Final Chapter, in 2001, tracked Harrison down to Queensland and returned with her to the Pukekawa farmhouse, south of Auckland, where the murders took place on June 17, 1970.

Initially fingered by police as the woman who fed the Crewe’s baby girl, Rochelle, before the bodies were found five days later, Harrison speaks out against the police corruption she says has tainted her life in the July issue of North & South .

And the families of two other key witnesses reveal their own stories of harassment and intimidation at the hands of the police.

Should there be a further inquiry into the Crewe murders and should the "mystery woman" – who is known to the police – be asked to account for her whereabouts during those five days before the bodies were found? Have your say below.

Acknowledgements: Plus read more about the Crewe murders in the July issue of North & South  Magazine.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, June 11, 2010

Recognition for NZ climate change anbassador...

Rosenmontagszug in Bonn, Germany, 2006.Image via Wikipedia

Recognition for NZ climate change ambassador...

New Zealand's Climate Change Ambassador, Adrian Macey, has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Kyoto Protocol Negotiations process.

International Climate Change Negotiations Minister Tim Groser says it is an "impressive achievement" for Macey and New Zealand and reflects the esteem in which Macey is held internationally.

"It also shows that New Zealand is a highly regarded, constructive player in the international climate change negotiations," says Groser.

Macey has been in the position since it was established in 2006. His election to vice chair was by consensus of the 191 parties to the Kyoto Protocol, at a meeting in Bonn, Germany yesterday, despite some countries objecting to a New Zealander.

Greenpeace New Zealand has also congratulated Macey on the appointment.

"This is a significant international endorsement of Adrian Macey's skills and experience as a diplomat," New Zealand's political advisor in Bonn, Geoff Keey, says.

"Ambassador Macey has a huge challenge ahead of him to help shepherd developed countries through the process of adopting new commitments under the Kyoto Protocol."


New Zealand's new Climate Change Ambassador is Joanne Tyndall.

"Ms Tyndall will bring significant expertise and negotiating experience to this role," Groser says.

Tyndall was part of the New Zealand negotiating team to the GATT Uruguay Round.

The Climate Change Ambassador's primary role is to lead New Zealand's international climate change negotiations. Negotiations are currently underway to secure a comprehensive global agreement as a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Acknowledgements: One News

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

An emerging story here in NZ - another body in a car boot...

Auckland, New ZealandImage via Wikipedia
 An emerging story here in New Zealand - another body in a car boot...

An emerging story here in NZ is about a pretty young 18 year old Chinese student who had been missing for a couple of weeks. She has been found in the boot of a car and a couple of asian male students have been arrested. They had originally been arrested for robbery of the girl. The car had been parked outside a local home for 12 days. The owners recognised it from a television news report and rang police. The girl's body was then discovered in the boot.

Remenber the posts I wrote a few ago years about little "Pumpkin" the three year old Chines girl abandoned  at the Melbourne railrway station by her father, who then fled to the US.

The little girl's mother was found in a boot of a car outside the family home in Auckland a couple of days later. The father was later arrested after a manhunt in the US, and eventually deported to NZ. At his trial the following year he was found guilty and sentenced to life. Little Pumpkin lives with her maternal grandmother in China and is doing well.

Both stories are extremely sad.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]