Thursday, March 31, 2011

Today in 1965 - Teal became Air New Zealand - no April Fools joke...

Air New Zealand 747 ZK-NBSImage by caribb via Flickr

1965 TEAL becomes Air New Zealand - no April Fools' Joke   

On 1 April 1965 Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL), New Zealand’s international air operator, was renamed Air New Zealand Limited. TEAL had been established in 1939, when the New Zealand, United Kingdom and Australian governments agreed to form a new airline companyThe British government withdrew from TEAL in October 1953, leaving New Zealand and Australia as joint owners, and the New Zealand government assumed full ownership in April 1961.
In 1947 the New Zealand government established NZ National Airways Corporation (NAC), which was the primary operator of domestic air services in this country. In April 1978 NAC merged with Air New Zealand, becoming its domestic arm. The enlarged Air New Zealand was the first local carrier to offer both international and domestic services.

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Did dear Hekia lie?

Oil DrillerImage via Wikipedia

A dirty deal requires dirty lies - did dear Hekia lie?

They say you know your opponent’s stand is dishonourable when they resort to spreading lies and promoting falsehoods about your position.

The government’s Acting Energy and Resources Minister in attacks on opponents to deep sea oil drilling has been caught out lying and spreading slurs that misrepresented their position.

Gisborne District councillor Manu Caddie accused (Hekia Parata) of lying, or “deliberately misleading the public”, in an article in The Gisborne Herald on Saturday in which she said the exploration permit would involve only 2D and 3D data gathering, not drilling.

The company would decide whether to start drilling once they had all the information and, if they did decide to drill, they would have to apply for a mining permit, she said.

But Manu Caddie says this was a blatant lie.

The permit signed last year by her predecessor allowed the company to drill one exploratory well within 60 months of the commencement of the permit, he said in a written statement.

“There is no need for Petrobras to come back and ask the Government for another permit before they start drilling . . . the permit expressly gives permission to drill a well.”…

…Ms Parata also said there had been “scaremongering” going on that seismic monitoring could cause earthquakes.

That claim has been made numerous times by anti-drilling group Te Ahi Kaa in various media.

But Mr Caddie said this morning that the group had been misquoted.

“First they ignore you. Then they mock you. Then they attack you. And then you win.” – Ghandi

Acknowledgements: The Standard

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Minto sorry Urewera accused won't get jury trial...

This is a head shot of Tame Iti taken on 13 Oc...Image via Wikipedia
Minto disappointed Urewera accused won't get jury trial...

Disappointment from a political activist over the decision to deny a trial by jury for the 18 people arrested during the Urewera "terror" raids

Disappointment from a political activist over the decision to deny a trial by jury for the 18 people arrested during the Urewera "terror" raids.

The Court of Appeal says it will uphold an earlier High Court ruling that the case should be heard by a judge only.

The 18 accused, including Tuhoe activist Tame Iti, face various charges under the Arms Act as a result of the 2007 raids.

Political activist John Minto says the decision is dangerous, leaving big question marks over this case.

He says a group of citizens independent of the state should decide, and a judge's decision is dangerous in terms of public confidence.

The trials are due to take place in Auckland in May and are expected to run for 12 weeks

Acknowledgements: © 2011 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The night that Darren Hughes MP would like to forget...

Courtenay Place at nightImage via Wikipedia

The night that Darren Hughes MP would like to forgwt...

Inside the packed Establishment bar in Wellington, Labour chief whip Darren Hughes was having a jovial time with some Victoria University students who had spent much of the night together.

It was 2am on March 2 and in the following hours, an incident allegedly took place in Mr Hughes' Hataitai home that triggered a complaint to police from an 18-year-old student.

It is understood the complaint - which Labour leader Phil Goff has been aware of for two weeks - is of a sexual nature. Mr Hughes, at 32 one of Labour's most promising MPs, has denied any wrongdoing.

Earlier that evening, from 6.30pm, Mr Hughes, a talented debater, had taken part in the Victoria University Great Debate at the Hunter Lounge in Kelburn, leading the negative team in the moot, "That there should be a universal liquor allowance for students".

Other debaters included National's Tauranga MP, Simon Bridges.

"It's part of the Victoria University Orientation Week, so there was a good crowd, people in good spirits," said Seb Templeton, president of the Victoria University Debating Society.

"Afterwards, people wandered into town in various groups. It was O-week, so everyone heads to town every night, especially the first-year crowd."

Mr Hughes, Mr Bridges and about a dozen students went to the Matterhorn bar and restaurant in Cuba St.

"We all had a bit of food, something to drink, and I left about midnight," Mr Bridges said. "I certainly didn't see anything inappropriate happen."

Mr Bridges said whatever occurred, if anything, must have happened long after he had left because police had not contacted him. He found out about the allegations only yesterday.

Mr Templeton said he later met the group again, including Mr Hughes, at The Establishment in Courtenay Place.

"There was nothing unusual going on. When I left [Mr Hughes] was just having a chat to people around him, being a good guy. He wasn't particularly drunk ... He seemed fine. Most people were in a jolly mood."

Later, the complainant went with Mr Hughes to the home of Labour deputy leader Annette King, where the MP boards. Police have visited the house and taken some items away.

They have not commented on reports that the complainant left the home early that morning and ran into a police car, when he made allegations against Mr Hughes.

Two days later, students began to receive calls from the police. Mr Templeton said he was interviewed within a week.

"I wasn't told of any of the allegations. I just gave them a rundown of what happened that night, including what drinks I had at which bars.

"They asked where the complainant was in relation to me when we were in the same place, but they didn't ask me about Darren at all, and at the time I had no idea Darren was involved."

Yesterday morning, police confirmed detectives were investigating a complaint against an MP.

"Inquiries into the matter are continuing but police are not seeking any assistance from the public at this stage," the Wellington district field crime manager, Detective Inspector Mike Johnson, said in a statement.

It is understood the complainant has no formal political connections but has an interest in politics.

A high-achiever at school, he is understood to have been a Youth MP and is now living in Wellington.

He is an active debater who competed in many regional debates while at a prominent boys' college.

Mr Templeton said the complainant was just getting on with life.

"He seems fine. I haven't talked to him about it. I don't think many people have. We're just waiting to see what happens. I can honestly say he hasn't told any of us what the allegations are."

A student, who did not want to be named, said the complainant was keeping up "his usual, confident personality" and had not discussed the incident at all, except with police.

A duty manager at The Establishment, Dushka More, said yesterday that police had not been in contact, and she did not know anything about media reports of officers wanting to look at video footage from the bar.

The Matterhorn also said police had not spoken to staff.

Acknowledgements: Derek Cheng |

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John Key the smiling assassin as he sacked hundreds of Merril Lynch employees

Merrill Lynch & Co.Image via Wikipedia

John Key the smiling assassin - as he sacked hundreds of Merril Lynch employees

John Key well remembered as the smiling assassin who sacked hundreds of Merrill Lynch staff, in the days before he entered New Zealand politics and became prime minister. Now he is responsible for sacking thousands of kiwi public servants. Just the type of person you would invite home to meet your mother? Yeah Right!

Key's first job was in 1982, as an auditor at McCulloch Menzies, and he then moved to be a project manager at Christchurch-based clothing manufacturer Lane Walker Rudkin for two years.[7] Key began working as a foreign exchange dealer at Elders Finance in Wellington, and rose to the position of head foreign exchange trader two years later, then moved to Auckland-based Bankers Trust in 1988.

In 1995, he joined Merrill Lynch as head of Asian foreign exchange in Singapore. That same year he was promoted to Merrill's global head of foreign exchange, based in London, where he may have earned around US$2.25 million a year including bonuses, which is about NZ$5 million at 2001 exchange rates. Some co-workers called him "the smiling assassin" for maintaining his usual cheerfulness while sacking dozens (some say hundreds) of staff after heavy losses from the 1998 Russian financial crisis. He was a member of the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve Bank from 1999 to 2001.

In 1998, on learning of his interest in pursuing a political career, the National Party president John Slater began working actively to recruit him. Former party leader Jenny Shipley describes him as one of the people she "deliberately sought out and put my head on the line–either privately or publicly–to get them in there".

He doesn't appear to have changed much - now he smiles as thousands of NZ public servants lose their jobs weekly because of his Governments policy to reduce the numbers in the public service, regardless of need.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Proposed mining in the sea around NZ to become a reality in 2012-2013...

Map of the Zealandia (continent)Image via WikipediaI have never used this blog as a political blog, but because it does have some New Zealand readership, maybe I should have. But I will discuss proposed mining  in the future. The National Government proposed last year  some mining in the conservation estate, but it went down like a lead balloon. But I suspect it was a government  making policy on the hoof.  Kiwis just don't want  an irresponsible government such as the present one  interfering with our conservation estate.

There is an article in one of today's Sunday papers on proposed mining in the sea around New Zealand. So I'm a little mystified as to why the National government attempted unsuccessfully to gain public  support for conservation estate mining when its fully aware of the proposal to tap the sunken treasures in the sea in New Zealand's economic zone.

Mining will hopefully commence in 2012 or 2013. There is a wealth of iron, precious metals and phosphates in the vast undersea continent of which New Zealand is just a visible part.

Mining companies from around the world are turning their eyes towards the prospects of the insatiable demand for raw materials   from economies such as China to be supplied from New Zealand's economic zone. But NZ companies are in the forefront of that drive to exploit seabed minerals.

'Widespread Energy' hopes to be extracting phosphates from the Chatham Rise late next year, and 'Trans-Tasman Resources' wants to start mining ironsands of the 'Taranaki Basin' in  2013. These initiatives go back to the time of the last Labour administration, and the present Key Government cannot claim any credit for these proposals.

Those companies who are most advanced in their prospecting say they are very close to turning their prospecting permits into mining rights. And thats  when a vigourous public debate on the merits, risks and rewards  of taking tonnes of ore from the seabed will intensify.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Personal tragedies combined recently...

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 01:  New Zea...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Personal tragedies combined recently...

By Peter Petterson

First published at Qondio:

I recently posted a story about the massive earthquake in my home town of Christchurch, in New Zealand's South Island. I had not been home for fourteen years and the tragedy of not just one earthquake, but two in the last five months had affected me because I still have family down in that previously beautiful city in the Canterbury plains.
The 7.1 magnitude earthquake on September 4 2010, last year, had caused extensive damage in the CBD, the suburbs and out in the countryside. Along the faultline out in the countryside there was a 25 mile long trench-like furrow across the landscape. There were only two serious injuries and no deaths. The earthquake struck in the early hours of the morning when a large proportion of the population were fast asleep in their beds.

But on February 22 2011, just a month ago, a 6.3 earthquake, much shallower than the first and centred on Port Lyttleton occurred a few minutes before 1 pm when people were working, shopping, doing their business in town and the children were at school.The Canterbury Television building appeared to be struck the hardest, had many people coming, going and inside.

Within hours help had arrived from Australia, and from many other countries within the next couple of days. Urban search and rescue experts, police, fire-fighters, medics, doctors and nurses and other experts arrived in the country. The reaction to New Zealand's tragedy from our close neighbours, Australia, had been extraordinary - but New Zealand had previously reacted to Australia's Queensland floods in a similar manner.

The Christchurch Hospital and other small hospitals in the city soon became full, and the Australians set up a couple of field hospitals in nearby parks.

The tragedy played out on world television, and the death toll mounted daily. The accounts of injuries, deaths and rescues were seen on prime time television. At one stage over 200 people were reported missing and the expected death toll was expected to soar well over the 250 mark. But people were found by USAR teams in the CBD buildings and expected toll was revised downwards. It stands at present around the 166 mark - the last figure I received. This will be amended once bodies are identified and become part of death rate statistics, instead of missing persons.

The central CBD area looks like Beirut and out in the suburbs there is extensive damage to homes and buildings and the slimy grey liquefaction that comes out of the ground is everywhere. Slowly but surely they started cleaning up sections and putting the dried silt on the sides of streets to be collected by contractors later.

Electricity, water and sewerage services were cut and slowly restored within days and weeks in the eastern suburbs, There are still many homes without sewerage, and these people have had to rely on portaloos in the streets, and chemical toilets eventually arrived from the US. Many suburban streets have been damaged.

But just a fortnight ago we had our own personal family tragedy when my younger brother, Richard, had a relapse of his cancer. He had previously been cleared of lung cancer, but it spread to his liver and his health deterioated rapidly. Twenty fours hours after I learned of this and had rang him at his home, he died suddenly. The day before he was refused admittance to Christchurch Hospital because it was full of earthquake casualties. He was treated at home and consideration was given to getting him into a hospice next morning. But he didn't last that long.

As a consequence I flew down to Christchurch with my eldest son and daughter. We witnessed at first hand the incredible damage done to my home town, as described above. We were not allowed into the CBD, obviously, but relied on television to be updated on the continuing crisis. We drove around the eastern suburbs and saw the damage for ourselves. We were in Christchurch from the Wednesday morning and flew home to Wellington on the Sunday morning. Whilst we were pleased to meet members of the family we hadn't seen for many years, the occasion was extremely sad and stressful. It has had a profound affect on me personally, but I have continued to witness the tragedy as rescuers searched for eight or nine days in the rubble of the city.

The urban search and rescue experts have gone home now, along with the police, firefighters, doctors, nurses and medics. But just days ago the Japanese earthquake and tsunami struck, a nuclear power plant exploded, and rescue teams that were in NZ went to Japan, including a large contingent from New Zealand.

Today there was a memorial service in Christchurch's large central Hagley Park. Prince William, the Queen's eldest grandson, attended with a number of politicians, including NZ Prime Minister, John Key, and Leader of the Opposition, Phil Goff, dignitaries and entertainers. Personally I believe the memorial service was far too early and ill-timed, because there is a lot of work still necessary to get many families housed after the earthquake and to identify the fatalities. While we have been sobered by the Japanese tragedy, the situation in Christchurch has improved only slightly - many public services are nearly fully restored, excepting for the sewerage which could take some time yet. Most schools have reopened, but there has been extensive damage to many. And the aftershocks continue!

Christchurch will rise up and return from the ashes. Goodbye brother Richard.  Goodbye Richard

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

IHC appeals against sleep-over back pay decision

Boy with Down Syndrome assembling a book case.Image via Wikipedia
IHC appeals against sleep-over back pay decisipon...

The IHC has appealed against a decision that could cost it $176 million in back pay for workers on overnight stays, despite three courts ruling against them.

An application was lodged yesterday with the Supreme Court to grant leave to appeal against a Court of Appeal decision which ruled last month that overnight stays fitted the legal definition of "work", and that workers should be paid the minimum hourly wage for those stays.

Idea support services worker Phil Dickson, who took the initial case, said it was hypocritical for the IHC to say it had no money to pay workers and then to lodge an appeal that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills.

"They get taxpayer-funded money, they need to be a bit more accountable really. They've been kicked in the arse three times, how many more times do they need?"

His hourly overnight rate for shifts he did nine times a fortnight worked out at $3.77, he said.

The overnight demands not only required workers to be on call throughout the night, but put strain on relationships.

"It's crazy, how much longer do they think the staff are going to subsidise all their services for them? They're still going to end up having to pay us but [now] they'll have all these extra [legal] costs."

Otago University constitutional law expert Andrew Geddis said he did not think the Supreme Court would reach a different finding.

"[The Court of Appeal has] made a sound judgment in law. It just so happens it has pretty unpalatable consequences for the Government."

Lodging the appeal might have as much to do with politics as with law, because it was unlikely any decision would be made before the election, Professor Geddis said.

IHC spokeswoman Philippa Sellens said the organisation could not afford the estimated liability in backpay of $176m, on top of wage costs which would rise $30 million a year.

"We're looking to Government for a solution to this because we simply cannot pay that money.

"We have always said we would like to pay our workers more, that they do a fantastic job ... however, the money we have to pay our staff is what government gives us."

Health Minister Tony Ryall said the decision to apply for an appeal was understandable considering the "significant financial consequences of previous court rulings".

Acknowledgements: The Dominion Post

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

More names of Christchurch earthquake victims named...

Satellite image showing Christchurch and surro...Image via Wikipedia
More names of Christchurch earthquake victims named...

Police have released four more names of victims of the February 22 Christchurch earthquake.

They are:

* Siwen Huo, 28, of China;

* Kayo Kanamaru, 19, of Japan;

* Erica Avir Reyes Nora, 20, of the Philippines; and

* Caiying Ye, 27, of China.

This brings the total number of names released to 117.

Earlier today Civil Defence Minister John Carter extended the state of national emergency for a further seven days.

A state of national emergency was first declared on February 23, and extended on March 1 and March 7.

It is expected to continue for several more weeks, Mr Carter said.

"Continuing this declaration means the National Controller remains in control of the functions, duties, and powers of the Civil Defence emergency management groups and group controller. He works in consultation with central government and local authorities, including the mayor, on this massive recovery operation," Mr Carter said.

"It has been nearly three weeks since the earthquake and I am constantly impressed by the willingness of everyone involved in putting Christchurch back together to pull out all stops to ensure people's most urgent needs are met as quickly as they can be."

Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, a state of national emergency can be declared for a maximum of seven days at a time only.

Thousands expected to return

Thousands of people are potentially expected to return to Christchurch in coming weeks, Civil Defence national controller John Hamilton says.

Most of those returning would be due to the fact that 110 schools will reopen tomorrow, rising to 143 by the end of the week - or 88 per cent of schools in Christchurch.

"In addition, by the end of the week 234 early childhood education centres will be open," he said.

This would raise issues around power and water services, he said.

Mr Hamilton said the sewerage system in Christchurch was still fragile and authorities are not sure how they will cope if it rains.

The shortage of portable toilets in the city had been largely remedied by the arrival of another 960 from the United States on Saturday.

"Another 200 will arrive on Tuesday and both lots will be assembled and distributed to the suburbs as soon as possible," Mr Hamilton said.

The suburbs of Avondale, Bromley and Avonside would benefit first from the arrival of another shipment of chemical toilets, boosting the total number to 19,000.

Rob Jamieson of Orion says just 550 customers remain without power in Christchurch outside the CBD.

Access for business owners

Business owners from two of the restricted areas of the central business district (CBD), Zone Four and the Red Zone, would be allowed controlled access to their properties to recover essential items, Mr Hamilton said.

However, he warned that access would return to "zilch" after the recovery time was up. All business owners eligible to re-enter their premises have been contacted.

"We understand business owners will want to retrieve key items but urge them to be patient with us as we work through this complex process," he said, adding that some businesses owners would not be admitted because of safety reasons.

Acknowledgements: - NZ HERALD STAFF, NZPA

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Monday, March 7, 2011

NZ governor-general appointment raise head of state question...

Jerry MateparaeImage via Wikipedia Lt General Jerry Mateparae

NZ Governor-General appointment raises head of state question

The Republican Movement acknowledges the nomination of Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae as Governor-General by Prime Minister John Key today. Lt. Gen. Mateparae is a well known and respected New Zealander. He topped a poll in October last year of 1,435 New Zealanders conducted by the Republican Movement to find New Zealand's next Governor-General.

"Yet, his appointment was made in secret and lacked democratic oversight" said Lewis Holden, chair of the Republican Movement.

New Zealand needs a proper elected head of state, not an appointee of the Prime Minister. Lt. Gen. Mateparae is one of many New Zealanders who could fulfil the role and there is no reason why voters or parliament cannot be trusted to elect the best person. The anachronistic system where a hereditary British monarch appoints a local deputy - hand-picked by the Prime Minister - is no longer fit for purpose.

"Cutting ties with the monarchy and becoming a republic will ensure we have a Kiwi, chosen by us, as our head of state. That continues to be the ultimate goal of the Republican Movement" continued Mr Holden.

"It's time for the government to update the process for appointment of the Governor-General to make it more modern, democratic and transparent. The Republican Movement believes, as a minimum, Lt. Gen. Mateparae should be endorsed by a resolution of parliament in the coming weeks before he takes office. This is an important first step in Kiwis claiming ownership of their head of state" concluded Mr Holden.


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Saturday, March 5, 2011

A tragedy not a loss or an effing accident...

GoofyImage via Wikipedia

Key is a Joke...

John key was visiting an Auckland primary school and the class was in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings.

The teacher asked Mr Key if he would like to lead the discussion on the word 'Tragedy'.

So our illustrious leader asked the class for an example of a 'Tragedy'. A little boy stood up and offered:

 'If my best friend, who lives on a farm, is playing in the field and a tractor runs over him and kills him, that would be a tragedy.'

'Incorrect,' said key . 'That would be an accident.'

A little girl raised her hand: 'If a school bus carrying fifty children drove over a cliff, killing everybody inside, that would be a tragedy.'

'I'm afraid not’, explained Key 'that's what we would refer to as a great loss'.

The room went silent. No other children volunteered. key searched the room.

'Isn't there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?'

Finally, at the back of the room, little Johnny raised his hand and said:

'If a plane carrying you and Mr. English was struck by a 'friendly fire' missile & blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy.'

'Fantastic' exclaimed Key, 'and can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?'

'Well', said Johnny, 'it has to be a tragedy, because it certainly wouldn't be a great loss, and it probably wouldn't be an effing accident either!

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