The Jackal: January 2012

31 Jan 2012

Prepare for climate change

Everybody should have heard by now about the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced; climate change. Increasing temperatures, rising sea levels and more extreme weather patterns are just a few of the now obvious side effects.

Perhaps the most damaging of all adverse effects from the approximately 29 million TMT+ of CO2 released into the atmosphere each year by humans is heavy precipitation events that can cause devastating flooding.

It seems every few days we hear about more instances of flooding. South East Asia, Southern Pakistan, Northwestern Australia and Southern Brazil all experienced severe flooding in January this year alone... with the cost for such events often massive.

Last Thursday, the Independent reported:

New research commissioned by the Government shows that if no further plans are made to adapt to changing flood risks, as temperatures rise and population grows, by the 2080s damage to buildings and property could reach £12bn per year, compared with current costs of £1.2bn. In the worst-case scenario, five million people could be affected. Flooding is regarded as the most serious of 100 separate challenges from a changing climate to Britain's economy, society and natural environment, which have been identified in a comprehensive new study, the Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA).

These include increased health problems for vulnerable people in hotter summers, increased pressure on the UK's water resources, droughts affecting farmers and the potential introduction of new pests and diseases.

The study says that if no further precautions are taken, the number of people affected by flooding is likely to hit between 1.66 million and 3.64 million annually by the 2050s, and by 2.43 million to 4.98 million by the 2080s.

It is significant that of the many problems posed by climate change, flooding is now seen as the most important. The man behind the CCRA, Sir Bob Watson, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said. "I think the flooding issue is the most dominant."

However, this seems at odds with the Government's spending priorities, as expenditure on flood defence has been cut by 27 per cent from the last Labour administration's £354m annually, to £259m a year for the next four years. "Ministers are playing Russian roulette with people's homes and businesses by cutting too far, too fast," the shadow Environment Secretary, Mary Creagh, said.

Of course a common reaction many climate change deniers have to such information is that the scientists are just "fear-mongering" and it is somehow a worldwide conspiracy. This response is becoming even more tenuous in the face of now overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is predominantly a man made phenomenon.

The Climate Change Risk Assessment (PDF) isn't all doom and gloom though, as it outlines a progressive approach the tourism, horticulture and food production industries (to name a few the report covers), can take to limit the adverse effects of climate change.

28 Jan 2012

Pike River broken promises

It's been fourteen months since the Pike River Mine first exploded in November 2010, trapping 29 miners inside. Five days later and after the second explosion occurred, they were all presumed not to have survived.

Despite continued assurances that the government would do everything in its power to recover the deceased, they have remained entombed in the mine. To date, there's been very little progress to retrieve the 29 miners... so why the interminable delay?

Back in September 2011, TVNZ reported:

Key said his position on returning the miners to their loved ones has never changed. He said he promised from the outset that he would do everything he could to recover the bodies and that promise remains.

But he said the families fully understand the situation and realise that it would not be wise to put other lives at risk.

Key also told the families of the miners that he would discuss with Cabinet extending the funding of the families' legal team beyond the Royal Commission.

"I've always said if there aren't enough resources from Oil and Gas they can come talk to the Government, it's not an issue of money."

Unfortunately it is an issue of money. Instead of accepting some responsibility for the disaster, the government has allowed the receivers to make the retrieval of the miners a condition of the sale. This has assuredly meant a delay.

Back in July last year, Acting Minister of Energy and Resources, Hekia Parata welcomed the receivers’ decision:

The Government supports the approach being taken by the Pike River receivers to seek a commitment from any purchaser of the mine to take all reasonable steps to recover the miners’ bodies.


“The challenges faced at the Pike River mine are complex. We fully understand the desire of the West Coast community, and especially the immediate families of the miners, to have their bodies retrieved from the mine.

“We are seeking to proceed in a way that offers the best chance of recovering the miners’ bodies, and restoring to the West Coast a working mine at Pike River, if it is possible to do so.”

Clearly Parata does not understand the desire of the West Coast Community, because she supported the receivers decision that has ultimately delayed the retrieval process.

What we need to see is some real leadership on this issue, but instead all we seem to get is more broken promises:

Key said he will call the receivers personally to discuss a recovery plan but just who will implement it will not be known until there is a new owner for Pike River Mine.

The receivers say a decision could be several weeks away.

The families are hoping that promises made today will not be forgotten after November's election.

Several weeks away? Try several months, and perhaps several years. Yesterday, TVNZ reported:

Engineer Bruce McLean was commissioned by the families to write a report examining possible issues around reclaiming the mine tunnel and recovering the men's bodies.

His report concludes that if there is a successful sale of the mine, recovery of the bodies could be completed between July 2015 and June 2017, dependent on a number of factors, including completion of a new shaft to establish ventilation in the mine.

His estimated time frames include conditions attached to the sale, such as potential Oversees Investment Office approval, transfer of permits, and agreeing on recovery obligations.


New Zealand Oil and Gas (NZOG), which held significant shareholdings in Pike River, recently acknowledged that the mine may not be able to be sold.

In such a case the role of the government would become 'critical' says Counsel for the families, Nicholas Davidson QC.

It's bad enough that the families and not the government commissioned the report, but it's totally unacceptable that a decision as to who will be responsible for the retrieval of the deceased miners hasn't even been made yet.

The government is clearly being remiss in its duties by allowing a financial and not moral decision to be made. John Key should not be disregarding the wishes of the miners families and the many thousands of other New Zealander's who want some closure on Pike River mine.

Having the retrieval dependent on the sale of Pike River when this might never occur is completely unacceptable.

In my opinion, people who make promises without any intention of keeping them are the lowest of the low... and in this case; such things are a cruelty on the affected families. Breaking promises is definitely not how a Prime Minister should be conducting himself.

27 Jan 2012

Defend the right to protest

Teapot tape transcript

Banks: Yeah, so it’s been great. Um, and um…this is great territory for you.
Key: Yeah. No. It’s a great spot and um I mean, we’ve done well to follow that up from…
Banks: I’m sure you’ll get 70% of the party vote here.
Key: Yeah, it feels like that, yeah.
Banks: Feels very good.
Key: Across the country actually we’ve got some…most of our electoral polling is looking really really good so…I’m a bit suspective – I think theoretically Palmerston North could be in play, theoretically Rimutaka could be in play, but I’m suspect in Palmerston North because my [] last time and um, he um, he…he…he bloody worked hard last time, for myself I don’t…he knocked on a lot of doors for a year, so I’d be surprised…I mean, she’s quite good but I’d be a little bit surprised –
[Tea cups set down. Media snap photos and are shooed away]
Key: The most photographed cup of tea in the world.
Banks: This is a very good media contingent.
Key: Yeah, it’s huge ay?
Banks: I’ve got to tell you…
Key: Wherever I go though there’s more big numbers normally, yeah, waiting, waiting to trip me up. [To the wait staff] Thank you!
Banks: I mean, uh…
Key: [To wait staff] Cheers. Thanks very much.
Banks: There’s 30 here today.
Key: Yeah.
Banks: That’s very very good.
Key: Apparently Roy Morgan’s out this afternoon is very good too and TV3’s very good at the weekend for us, but it’s all pretty solid. I’d say the Herald will be slightly low, but you know, margin. I mean, in the end it’s going to ease down, would be my guess, go…we’ll get to 50, 49 50, anything around there will be good enough.
Banks: Yeah. It will be good…
Key: Yeah, I expect so…well, you know what campaigns are like. When you’re where we are, the risk is in the downside…
Banks: The election has been very, very nasty.
Key: Yeah, yeah. I don’t…I don’t think that’s a strategy that works very well. I reckon you’re much better just to get out there and promote what you’re doing, promote your policies and…
Banks: You have got no idea how vicious they’ve been, you know, especially at public meetings, but um, we can handle that and I’m not buying into it.
Key: No.
Banks: I’ve been around too long, I’m not…
Key: I feel the same and…
Banks: I don’t play the…
Key: No, no, I don’t reckon it works. When you look at Roughan last week in the paper saying ‘the moment he called him a liar I knew it was all over’ and I mean, it’s so, you know, there are so many things where you go ‘I could spend my life on this stuff’ but you know, I can’t be bothered and I’m not going to do it. And I just don’t think it’s going to take me anywhere. I mean, I was, I’m there to make a difference, I’m just going to keep on working on it each year, and I’m actually proud of the record we’ve got and that’s what we’re going to be.
Banks: Yeah. Someone’s told me you’re gonna be, you’re going to be working with uh
Key: Yeah, yeah. It’s good. Yeah, no that’s right…I reckon you guys are…yeah yeah…unfortunately that’s always the case.
Banks: I didn’t know.
Key: No, no, no [chuckles softly]…um…but you…you guys will track at some point. Bit of luck…so what I’m going to do when I go out is I’m gonna say, look we’ve worked with Act for the last three years, provided strong and stable government, blah blah, and then I’m just going to run them through and say look, in 2005 and 2008, the voters of Epsom gave their party vote to National then voted tactically and if they do so in 2011 I wouldn’t be at all unhappy about that, we’re likely positioned to provide strong and stable government again blah blah blah. And they’ll ask about how I’m going to vote for the National candidate, and that’s because I am the leader of the National Party here’s my job, and then if they go on to the ministerial warrants, let’s just say we’ll go through it another day.
Banks: And, you might, you might be inclined to say ‘I know John quite well.’
Key: Yeah. That’s right, yep.
Banks: And we’ve had a good working relationship, and we did a lot of stuff together.
Key: Yep. Worked well.
Banks: We’ve achieved a lot.
Key: Yep. We’re on the same page.
Banks: Do you think Winston will be back this time?
Key: [dismissive laugh] No, not at all no chance.
Banks: [mumble]
Key: [amused] Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s , but no, no, not a show. He, look, he’s at 2.5 I think on the TV3 poll, we have him about 2.5, 3. Look, he polled 4 last time, he’ll poll 3 this time, a lot of his constituents have all died. He won’t poll, I don’t think he’ll poll much above 3 this time.
Key: How are you enjoying it? Is it just bloody hard going?
Banks: Oh, it’s hard going, I mean it’s really hard, I mean, I’m at it 14 hours a day. Bus stops this morning, on buses, in the trains, on the trains, railway stations, taxi stands, pushing it hard, and ah, but it’s quite small, the response here is amazing. Our polling this week shows the gap between Paul and I is closing anyway, albeit there’s some distance, but a couple of key media have him well out in front…
Key: Look at the end of the day, there will always be [] both [], but you shouldn’t be worried about the [] help with the Maori Party that will be a very different set of circumstances, and um…
Banks: Makes your time here very…
Key: Mmm, mmm, yeah, I’m not worried.
Banks: I think the Labour Party have um have given up on Epsom.
Key: Oh, yeah.
Banks: He’s a horrible fellow, that candidate. Nasty, nasty.
Key: He is, ooh, nasty. They’re a nasty party in a lot of ways.
Banks: Yeah, well, you know they’ve been putting stuff in letterboxes about me. Shocking stuff.
Key: Yes, that’s nasty. That’s what they do, they play the person the whole time. We never do that stuff.
Banks: And John, I think the important thing is the [] politics, the policies, [] I’ve learned that the long term experience is never any value with them…
Key: No, it doesn’t help you, does it?
Banks: People…people…
Key: I mean, longer term I reckon Act’s gotta…the reason I didn’t text you is because it’s better if I don’t because it puts you under pressure to say he has or he hasn’t you know?
Banks: No, no I haven’t heard from the Prime Minister.
Key: No, no, it’s easier to say…
Banks: I don’t expect you to [] on me…what’s that number of yours? I’ve got two numbers for you.
Key: Oh, the proper one is [number omitted from transcript]
Banks: [repeats number]. I haven’t talked to you…they want us to know I haven’t heard from the Prime Minister. I think it’s important during the campaign we stay at arm’s length. He’s got his party, and…
Key: Definitely.
Banks: I think that after the election with Catherine…
Key: Yeah, she’s good.
Banks: Don Nicolson, and Steve Whittington, the four of us, we can completely restructure and rebuild this party.
Key: That’s right. And she’s good actually. She’s…I reckon she’ll have quite a bit of female appeal.
Banks: Yeah.
Key: Yeah, that’s where you’ll…
Banks: He’s a strange fellow, the other fellow isn’t he?
Key: Mmmm! Oh, yeah! Yeah, no, no, we’ve been down that road! That is why when they rang me in the UK I never ever thought of this, you know, 15 percent we’d have a snap election…
[quiet mumbling]
Banks: I didn’t know. I didn’t know.
Key: Well, you learn everyday. So, you want to do the standup? Is that yours? Is that yours? Is that yours?
Banks: No.
Key: Hey, that’s a recording device.

Hat tip Blue

Catherine Taylor moron

Did you hear that? Catherine Taylor the new Rena recovery manager said:

The Natural organisms will deal with a lot of the oil; the Limpets climb across the rocks and munch it up.

Well that statement flies in the face of all of the major scientific studies done into the effects of oil pollution on Limpet populations. Here's an excerpt from one such major study called The Effects of Natural Oil Seepage on Intertidal Communities (PDF):

Differences in limpet populations were shown to be statistically significant. Limpets have demonstrated 100% mortality rates when subjected to high concentrations of oil (Carthy 1968). Many studies have shown that upon the release of oil into the environment, limpets and other grazers are often the hardest hit (Newey and Seed 1995, Glegg 1999). There are also no known tolerances to oil in limpets (Glegg 1999).

Limpets cannot "munch" oil and Catherine Taylor is a moron for thinking they can. She also says that it's safe to eat shellfish, when there is still a toxin warning for most of the East coast.

Clearly it's her ineptitude that needs to be monitored.


The Ports of Auckland industrial dispute has been dragging on for ages now, with any hope of resolution appearing lost in the ideological divide between the waring parties.

On one side we see a push to reduce wages to make the port more profitable with the excuse being that the workers need to be more flexible, and on the other we see a Union determined to protect worker's rights under the Employment Relations Act 2000 (PDF).

So what's the way forward when resolving the issues doesn't fit into what appears to be a pre-defined plan to privatise the port? The answer is to see some real leadership from the Auckland City Council and in particular Mayor Len Brown... who has been conspicuous by his absence.

Len Brown needs to brush aside the rhetoric that's doing nothing to help the two parties resolve the issues. He should disregard the divisive propaganda that has already been categorically disproved. It is time to stop talking around failed political ideology and the PoAL be made to act in the best interest of the port and its majority shareholders: the ratepayers of Auckland.

The Auckland City Council needs to act to ensure a resolution that does not involve destroying a Union, reducing workers remuneration or selling a profitable asset. New Zealand already has a fragile supply chain that cannot be squeezed further by international interests... we simply cannot allow our industries to be exploited by a few unprincipled individuals.

We cannot afford to have the PoAL use the dispute as a reason to privatise at the request of a few politicians hell bent on performing economic harakiri.

Assange TV on RT

26 Jan 2012

Cameron Slater - Asshole of the Week

Most of us would have heard the teapot tape by now. It's not as bad as I thought it might be, but it certainly makes the two Johns look like a couple of prize jerks.

Amongst the claims by the right wing that there is nothing to see and we should all just move along, is yet another feckless rant by Cameron Slater:

Winston Peters has been proven to be a liar. Nothing on the tape even remotely suggests what he breathlessly intimated.

This whole episode shows the parlous state of some media outlets in NZ.

It is curious that the tape has been released on the same day as the Prime Minister’s first major speech of the year. Proving that this whole stitch-up has been a political act from beginning to end, shamelessly milked by media outlets desperate for sales and corrupt politicians desperate for votes.

So let's check the transcript to see if Peter's lied about what was in the teapot tape. Firstly, Winston said the tape canvassed issues including the future and leadership of the Act party:

Banks: I think that after the election with Catherine…
Key: Yeah, she’s good.
Banks: Don Nicolson, and Steve Whittington, the four of us, we can completely restructure and rebuild this party.
Key: That’s right. And she’s good actually. She’s…I reckon she’ll have quite a bit of female appeal.
Banks: Yeah.
Key: Yeah, that’s where you’ll…
Banks: He’s a strange fellow, the other fellow isn’t he?
Key: Mmmm! Oh, yeah! Yeah, no, no, we’ve been down that road! That is why when they rang me in the UK I never ever thought of this, you know, 15 percent we’d have a snap election…
[quiet mumbling]
Banks: I didn’t know. I didn’t know.

Looks like Winston Peter's got that bit right. He also said Banks and Key spoke about New Zealand First's electoral chances, the percentage of the vote National would secure and that Key had disrespected the people most likely to vote for New Zealand First, the elderly:

Key: Apparently Roy Morgan’s out this afternoon is very good too and TV3’s very good at the weekend for us, but it’s all pretty solid. I’d say the Herald will be slightly low, but you know, margin. I mean, in the end it’s going to ease down, would be my guess, go…we’ll get to 50, 49 50, anything around there will be good enough.


Banks: Do you think Winston will be back this time?
Key: [dismissive laugh] No, not at all no chance.
Banks: [mumble]
Key: [amused] Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s, but no, no, not a show. He, look, he’s at 2.5 I think on the TV3 poll, we have him about 2.5, 3. Look, he polled 4 last time, he’ll poll 3 this time, a lot of his constituents have all died. He won’t poll, I don’t think he’ll poll much above 3 this time.

So Winston wasn't lying at all, and the leaked tape vindicates him for informing the public prior to the last election about what the recording contained.

Anybody who keeps track of Slater's blog knows that he's a consummate liar. Believing what he writes is akin to believing the holocaust never happened. As usual Cameron Slater has chosen to not even check the facts... his argument is simply delusional!

Slater has also been bullying a 16-year-old girl for wanting an end to child poverty. Therefore the bewildered troll wins an Asshole award for 2012. Hurrah!

Teapot tape released

2Johns2Cups by goldenturkey

Please seed it:

Today, the Otago Daily Times reported:

Mr Key, who is in Auckland giving his first major speech of the year, today apologised to pensioners if they took offence to his comments in the recording.

He said he would phrase things differently in public than in private.

"Older New Zealanders at some point pass away, and it's a statement of fact that Winston Peters' base has typically been represented by older New Zealanders," Mr Key said.

"But that was a private conversation. I would always phrase things in a better way if it was a public conversation.

"So if there was offence, yes I would apologise for that, but I haven't listened to the tape."

He said he would listen to it in "due course".

He said the leaker may have broken the law, but that was a matter for police.

"[Publishing the tape] is not something I've authorised, so anyone that's done that may find themselves in breach of the law."

Evidence that Key is a contrived little snake who has to doctor the message.

Nick Smith posturing on dogs

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Nearly 12,000 people suffered dog bite injuries last year, including more than 1700 children aged under 10 - many of whom will be left with scars.

The number of attacks requiring medical attention has increased since 2003 when 8677 people were attacked, including 7-year-old Carolina Anderson who has needed years of surgery after being mauled in an Auckland park.

Despite new laws meant to toughen up dog control, that's an increase of 35% since 2003 for people getting treatment for dog attacks. So why the huge increase in the amount of dog attacks and subsequent injuries?

The problem is that worsening social conditions results in more dogs being uncared for properly... this leads to hungry and sometimes abused (angry) dogs roaming the streets looking for food. Some dog owner's are simply unable to look after and register their dogs because of their financial circumstances. Unregistered dogs are nine times more likely to be involved in attacks.

That's why it's unhelpful to see Nick Smith, who isn't even the Minister for ACC, grandstanding about the issue... being that it's largely National's policies of reducing social spending that have led to a worsening dog control problem. Despite the association, Nick Smith decides to pontificate about the long-standing issue:

Local Government Minister Nick Smith is seeking a more detailed breakdown of the statistics, including trying to establish how many of the attacks have caused serious injury, occurred in public places and left children permanently maimed.

He plans to use that information in a review of current dog control laws to see if there is anything else that can be done to prevent serious attacks - but is warning in advance there are "no magic bullets".

"We have got 500,000 dogs in New Zealand so it's just impossible to prevent every dog bite or injury. The number of ACC claims is static, albeit, nearly 12,000 is a lot of people that have been hurt by dogs.

"The attacks that are of a particular concern to me are those that occur in public places and even more so where they involve children."

Mr Smith promised to review the laws this week after three children were seriously attacked.

If Nick Smith actually gave a damn about the increasing number of dog attacks, he would ensure that people could register and feed their animals properly.

Until the government actually understand the results of their archaic and socially destructive policies, we will continue to see similar dysfunction. After all, that's what you get with dog eat dog politics.

Questions about Rena need answers

Today, NZ Newswire reported:

The government is poised to announce a plan to restore the Bay of Plenty coastline to the condition it was in before the Rena disaster.


Environment Minister Nick Smith will announce the plan at 11am on Tauranga's Waikari Marae.

He told NZ Newswire it was a comprehensive plan to co-ordinate all the agencies involved in the clean up.

"We've got a very large number of agencies already involved as well as three regional councils," he said.

"There are public health authorities as well, this is going to bring it all together to restore the Bay of Plenty to its pre-Rena condition."

Meanwhile the governments idea of a cleanup response for areas that aren't important to tourism is to drop off a couple of rubbish skips and let the locals fend for themselves.

Further down the Bay of Plenty coastline, where oil and debris litters the beaches, the mainly Maori inhabitants have been forgotten... and there has been no reporting by mainstream media about the continuing environmental disaster there.

Maritime NZ is even failing to report on the amount of oiled and dead birds that continue to wash up. Yesterday, they claimed:

There have been no oiled birds found by wildlife patrols over the past week.

This is simply untrue with some news services reporting that up to 50 dead Blue penguins (likely the same penguins released from Tauranga) have been found scattered along the far Eastern Bay, along with a lot of other dead wildlife.

This article by Sunlive even contradicts the MNZ report. So it is no wonder people want answers.

Today, Radio NZ reported:

Coastal iwi in Bay of Plenty want a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Rena disaster.

Te Moana A Toi iwi leaders group represents 16 iwi whose tribal waters and fisheries assets have been affected by tonnes of oil and debris spilled from the vessel that ran aground on a reef off Tauranga in October last year.


Mr Tawhiao says they're looking to ensure the same sort of disaster doesn't happen again anywhere to any iwi, and an assurance that if any systems in dealing with a marine disaster are deficient, they will be addressed.

At the moment, the main deficient system is the National led government.

25 Jan 2012

Bob Parker - Hero of the Week

Once in while, a local body government will take the time to look properly at the evidence available and put people and the environments wellbeing ahead of financial gain. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, we should congratulate those who have pulled their heads out of the sand.

Most people would have heard by now about the destructive process known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking as it's more commonly known.

Recent studies have confirmed that fracking has caused water contamination in the US and even been linked to earthquakes there and in the UK.

That's why today's news that the Christchurch City Council has called on the Government for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Canterbury is so fantastic! reports:

In a letter this month to Minister of Energy and Resources Phil Heatley, Mayor Bob Parker said the council had resolved to call for a moratorium at a meeting on December 8, after widespread community concerns.


"Both the board and the council are aware of community concerns about this issue, including the issues of the practice leading to contamination of drinking water, discharge of pollutants into the environment and possible linkages with increase in seismic activity," Parker wrote.

He added: "The council respectfully requests that the Government consider a moratorium until an independent inquiry is carried out, and would appreciate being kept informed of its decision on the matter."

Let's for a minute put aside the fact that the Canterbury District Council has just awarded their chief executive, Tony Marryatt a pay rise of 14.4%... because some things are more important than money.

So for putting the environment and people's future ahead of any short-term financial gain, Bob Parker wins this week's Hero Award. Let's hope John Key's newly elected government is bold enough to pull their heads out of the sand as well.

Mortgagee sales down... slightly

Today, the Otago Daily Times reported:

Mortgagee sales figures may have dropped since the harshest days of the recession, but 89 Otago properties still had to be sold in the 12 months to September 2011.


Massey University Centre for Banking Studies director associate professor Dr David Tripe said the peaks in 2009 and 2010 were no surprise.

"In general terms, when economic circumstances are more difficult, there will be more instances of mortgagee sales," he said.

Reasons for people going through mortgagee sales varied greatly: sometimes it was the fault of the lender, other times the property owner, and sometimes it was due to circumstances outside either party's control.

"Generally, each situation is slightly different, but the most common reason for problems is people thinking they can afford bigger mortgages and taking out bigger loans then they can actually afford. Sometimes they are encouraged in that process by lenders."

Much of the banking industry tightened its lending criteria and changed risk weightings in 2008, which effectively made it more difficult to get a loan. However much of the lending system remains ungoverned... in fact the only real criteria to start up an unregistered bank is to not have the word 'bank' in the title.

The government does plan to introduce tougher consumer credit laws, which will mainly target loan sharks. But there are currently no rules to ensure responsible lending requirements. A lender isn't even required to expect the borrower to be able to repay the loan without substantial hardship.

It's just another factor causing our home ownership levels to fall.

24 Jan 2012

ACTA explained

Scott Inglis in the gray area

A rather misinformed editorial by Scott Inglis was published yesterday in the Bay of Plenty Times. It's a purely speculative rant about what other people should be thinking based on the authors diploma in pseudoscience, which is par for the course for many propagandists.

Here are the worst parts of a decidedly bad read:

But to blame the oil spill disaster for the stranding and subsequent deaths of four whales on a local beach, without any proof, may be taking it too far.


And while samples have been collected from the whale carcasses to assess if they had ingested oils or toxins, there has been no evidence to suggest the stranding was related to Rena.

That doesn't stop the conspiracy theorists though.

Since 23 October, there has been eleven-documented whale stranding in seven different locations within the Bay of Plenty, which is above the normal amount of stranding seen in the area for the same time period.

It's true that it would be speculative at this stage to associate the increased stranding with the sonor being used to salvage containers or the oil and chemical spilt from the MV Renabefore the test results are known... but it's equally speculative at this stage to say there is no association.

Inglis is admonishing people for their opinion while being factually incorrect himself. He even criticizes Project Jonah, an organization dedicated to helping marine mammals, for even suggesting the Rena could be the cause:

It was reported yesterday that Project Jonah conservationists - a charitable organisation responsible for the first aid of stranded whales - suggested there could be a link as sonar being used to salvage containers can injure nearby whales.

Inglis appears to want people not to communicate about happenings that are likely associated with New Zealand's largest ever environmental disaster... and for that he really has no place in journalism.

Stranded Gray's beaked whale - Papamoa Beach - 21 January 2012

IPCA in breach of law

In late December 2011, I blogged about the website, which allows public requests for information from various government funded departments without needing to go through the normal official channels.

While looking through the site, I happened upon the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) ignoring a request for information about the complaints they receive, and this piqued my interest enough to make a formal request under the Official Information Act 1982 (PDF):

21 December 2011

Dear Independent Police Conduct Authority,

I write to make a formal request for information under the Official Information Act 1982. Please supply me with the following information:

The total number of complaints made for each year since 2000
The number of complaints that are dismissed by the IPCA by year since 2000
The number of complaints upheld as valid by the police by year since 2000
The gender of the people making complaints by year since 2000
The age group of the people making complaints by year since 2000
The region where the complaints originate from by year since 2000
The amount of Police charged for a crime in relation to formal complaints by year since 2000.
The names of the Police charged for a crime in relation to formal complaints by year since 2000.

Please give an in-depth explanation if you're not able to supply any part of this formal request for information.

I believed my request was pretty straightforward... but unfortunately the IPCA had other ideas. On the 23 December, they replied to my formal request for information:

The IPCA is not subject to the Official Information Act, and further, is required by its legislation to conduct its investigations in private.

However some of the data you ask for is available through our Annual Report, which is available on our website

For example, the number of complaints accepted in the most recent financial year, and for the previous five years, are noted on p.16 of the Annual Report, and are as follows.

2010/11                2052
2009/10                2049
2008/09                1997
2007/08                2073
2006/07                2016
2005/06                1741

Kind regards


Kathryn Street
Communications Manager
Independent Police Conduct Authority

Well that doesn't come close to answering my formal request for information... as I already had the information Kathryn provided. On the same day, I wrote back to the IPCA:

Dear Kathryn Street,

Thank you for your email.

Most of the information I have requested does not breach any privacy of the Police or the complainants. I would appreciate you supplying me with the requested information excluding the last question.

Could you please direct me to the particular law or piece of information that exempts the IPCA from the Official Information Act 1982?

Kathryn has not bothered to respond to this email and it's now well over the due time for the information requested to be provided.

What is most annoying though is that Kathryn Street's claim that the IPCA is not subject to a formal OIA request for information is incorrect. The Independent Police Conduct Authority Act 1988 (PDF), states:

Disclosure of certain matters not to be required

(1) Where—
(a) the Prime Minister certifies that the giving of any information or the production of any document or thing might prejudice—
(i) the security or defence of New Zealand, or the international relations of the Government of New Zealand; or
(ii) any interest protected by section 7 of the Official Information Act 1982 (which relates to the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, and the Ross Dependency); or
(b) the Attorney-General certifies that the giving of any information or the production of any document or thing—
(i) might prejudice the prevention, investigation, or detection of offences; or
(ii) might involve the disclosure of proceedings of Cabinet, or any committee of Cabinet, relating to matters of a secret or confidential nature, and such disclosure would be injurious to the public interest,—
the Authority shall not require the information to be given, or, as the case may be, the document or thing to be produced.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (1), the rule of law which authorises or requires the withholding of any document, or the refusal to answer any question, on the ground that the disclosure of the document or the answering of the question would be injurious to the public interest, shall not apply in respect of any investigation by or proceedings before the Authority.

Clearly the information requested will not prejudice New Zealand's security or our international relations... it will not inhibit the Police from doing their job.

The information requested will not be injurious to the public interest, although it could be injurious to Police credibility... that's the only reason I can think of that would cause Kathryn Street to lie about the laws the IPCA should adhere to.

Not only is the IPCA in breach of the OIA by ignoring the initial request for information, they're also in breach of the OIA under section 16 Documents (3)(b) by not providing details on the reason for their contemptuous decision.

Perhaps the IPCA doesn't uphold any complaints about the misconduct of Police officers, but without the relevant information being provided... I guess we will never know.

Auckland Anti-War Protest - 19 March 2005

Facebook killed your feed

Facebook has killed the RSS feeds from thousands of websites in an attempt to increase traffic... and they didn't even bother to inform the people affected.

Here's the only notification, which you have to waste time searching for:

Since November 22 last year, Facebook no longer allows a status to be automatically updated, and you have to visit the site instead.

The endless changes to Facebook are simply making the format harder to use, which sux!

The real nanny state

On Friday, the Waikato Times reported:

A raft of issues has been raised in the aftermath of TV3's screening of a controversial documentary about child poverty just four days before the general election last year.


The agency is reported to be displeased with TV3's timing, obviously because political displeasure was communicated. Board minutes show the December meeting decided to seek legal advice on whether the broadcast covenant could require broadcasters "not to screen programmes likely to be an election issue within the election period as defined in the Broadcasting Act".

The media's disclosure of that decision has triggered accusations of the state wanting to control political discussion.

Those accusations are not readily rebuffed, because NZ on Air board member Stephen McElrea is Prime Minister John Key's electorate chairman and the National Party's northern region deputy chairman. The records show he asked if the agency was aware the documentary would be scheduled four days before the election.

NZ on Air's handling of the issue raises the spectre of documentaries being censored or rejected by party pooh-bahs. This fortifies the case for politically neutral appointees to state boards. But poverty will be vanquished long before governments relinquish their long-standing practice of giving board jobs to their mates to reward loyalty.

Pooh-bahs is right. The lead up to an election when people's political radar is switched on is the perfect time to broadcast political documentaries and other relevant information... because we want people to be well informed of their decision on who they elect. Unfortunately most of the time such relevant programming is on late at night or not at all.

There is no doubt that further restrictions on truthful political programming is designed to keep people uninformed and in the dark. Unfortunately it's a tactic also used for online content... to remove factual information that makes the government of the day look bad.

This callous attempt to repress information is undertaken because arguments based on misinformation can only gain traction in the absence of the truth.

It's a bit like a criminal destroying evidence of their crimes... with any relevant information that remains often speculative in nature because the majority of evidence has been hidden. Without the full picture, an argument can be less convincing. That's why it often appears the debate is speculative and purely built on opinion, when it should always be based on facts.

Restricting people's right to communicate their factual arguments because they don't conform to a certain political ideology is a clear violation of freedom of expression. Section 14 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (BoRA), states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.

I might not like a lot of people's opinions, especially when it's based on misinformation... but I will defend people's right to be allowed to express their opinion in any form when it's within the law.

That's why it's concerning to see the Electoral Commission disregarding the BoRA by restricting what messaging is allowed to be produced.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

The advisory opinions also show several groups which were not political parties were stopped from going ahead with some of their election plans. Teachers' union the New Zealand Educational Institute submitted scripts for television and radio advertisements but was told that references to the Government cutting early childhood funding and the words "speak up for education" meant they could not be broadcast because they encouraged people not to vote for National. Strict broadcasting laws meant they could not be played.

Save TVNZ 7 - a group set up to campaign against the decision to cut TVNZ 7 - was thwarted from running a radio ad urging people to "vote to save TVNZ 7" and saying "the bad news is the National Government's going to scrap it".

A radio network was told a Sensible Sentencing Trust advertisement which referred to the trust's website was in breach because the website was likely to contain election material.

Environmental group The Renewables was told the use of "vote for the planet" was too close to the Green Party's slogan in 2008, making it an election ad which would require Green Party permission.

And handing out copies of the Hollow Men book at Wellington Railway Station was ruled to be "treating" - giving gifts to influence voters.

Controlling the message is a dangerous manipulation that should be consigned to histories mistakes. Institutionalising restrictions on freedom of expression will undermine politics and ensure the public's opinion is built on speculation. Clearly a society cannot function properly on misinformation.

The question is do we really want a nanny state insulting our intelligence by repressing relevant political information? In my opinion the overwhelming answer to that question is no!

23 Jan 2012

Police impersonation

Click image to enlarge
Today, Michael Fox from Stuff reported:

Police officers arresting Occupy protesters in Auckland this morning were wearing identical badge numbers, leading to claims from protesters that it was a deliberate attempt to ensure they couldn't be identified.

Protesters claimed this morning that up to four officers in Aotea Square were wearing the same badge number - Z557. Photographic evidence partially backs those claims, with one photograph showing two officers wearing the same number.

Officers must wear identification badges to help be identified by members of the public complaining about or praising police actions.

It appears that the police involved have gone about reproducing identification numbers in an attempt to not be identified. Being that the situation was volatile and the likelihood of an assault was high, the police involved have made a conscious decision to break the law to try and avoid potential prosecution for any violent assault they might be involved in.

But what's most interesting is that the law (which I'm sure exists) that requires Police to wear identification numbers is conspicuous by its absence. The only online reference to Police identification requirements is this Issue paper from January 2007:

Unlike the situation in most other countries, New Zealand police officers do not have a warrant card which certifies their identity and acts as proof of entitlement to use police powers. Instead, Police staff carry a photo ID card with an employee number, confirming their identity as a member of Police. Constables, Senior Constables, Sergeants and Senior Sergeants also wear an identifying number on their shoulders. At the rank of Inspector upwards, epaulettes do not have 'shoulder numbers', although these senior officers normally wear name badges. As for detectives, by and large such officers do not wear uniforms or badges of rank, but they do have equivalent ranks to uniformed members of Police. When plainclothes detectives wish (or are legally required) to be identified, they simply display their Police photo IDs.

It would have been bad enough if the police involved had just removed their numbers like they often did during the Springbok tour protests, but to falsify identification is a very concerning development.

Taking on the false identity of a police officer is a criminal offence that is just as applicable to a police officer impersonating another officer as it is to anybody trying to impersonate a police officer. The law makes no distinction to allow the Police to impersonate each other.

Not only is impersonating a Police officer a criminal offence in New Zealand, the Policing Act 2008 (PDF) states:

The [Police] Commissioner must prescribe a code of conduct for Police employees, stating the standards of behaviour expected from Police employees.

Well that would be fine and dandy if the Police code of conduct (PDF) wasn't such a shallow and ineffective piece of claptrap that isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

It basically says that in providing policing services Police are required to act professionally, ethically, and with integrity.

Clearly the officer's involved have acted in breach of their code of conduct... but somehow I doubt the offenders will even be questioned.

FBI calls the shots

After the SOPA protest last week that blacked out much of the worlds internet, international raids initiated by the United States government took down one of the worlds largest cyberlocker sharing websites, clearly showing that copyright law enforcement is already too powerful.

The raids elicited a quick response from hacktivist group Anonymous, which on Friday started to take down the websites of DOJ, RIAA, Universal Music, the U.S. Copyright Office, Broadcast Music Inc, the Motion Picture Association of America, CBS and the FBI.

On Sunday, the Telegraph reported:

Anonymous supporters attacked the websites of the Department of Justice, the FBI and Universal Music Group, among others. The hacktivists used a technique called a Distributed Denial of Service to overload their targets with web traffic and effectively force them offline.


A federal court in Virginia ordered that 18 web address associated with be seized. Some 20 search warrants were executed in the United States and eight other countries and about $50 million in assets were also seized.

I'm not sure why the FBI is involved at all, being that the case is between Megaupload and the privately owned companies alleging the copyright infringement. The Racketeering and Money Laundering claims are most likely in place to ensure extradition occurs.

On Friday, Mafia Today reported:

“There are significant issues of due process,” attorney Ira Rothken said. “The government has taken down one of the world’s largest storage providers and have done so without giving Megaupload an opportunity to be heard in court.”

Rothken dismissed the government’s attempt to file criminal charges against his clients. “Many of the allegations made are similar to those in the copyright case filed against YouTube and that was a civil case….and YouTube won.”

What is most alarming about the scope of the raids is they appear to be undertaken under the clear instruction of the FBI.

The news reports quickly changed their story to say that the FBI had "requested" the raids... probably after a quick call from Washington DC... but since when was the FBI the international enforcer of the entertainment industry?

When a house is not your home

On Wednesday, Voxy News reported Housing rental demand stays strong:

There is good news for landlords across much of the country with rental demand from tenants up 13% on a year ago, according to the latest analysis of Trade Me Property's house rental listings in the three months from October to December.

Head of Trade Me Property, Brendon Skipper, said the trend of strong tenant demand had continued.

"In the September quarter, we saw the number of enquiries from tenants was up 10% on 2010. This quarter it's up to 13% with Christchurch and three corners of the Auckland super city driving the growth."

In the Auckland region, demand from prospective tenants increased significantly in Manukau (+25%), Waitakere (+20%) and North Shore (+19%), while the central city (+9%) lagged the national average.

This might be good news for landlords, but it's most definitely bad news for tenants and in a wider context; the entire social fabric of New Zealand. It's also bad for the government, because an increase in rental demand puts more pressure on the accommodation supplement, which is already costing $1.2 billion per year and growing at an annual rate of 7%.

An increase in rental demand is partly due to our declining level of home ownership.... that is directly attributable to our low waged economy, which ensures a growing number of New Zealander's are no longer able to afford the Kiwi dream of owning a home.

One of the by-products is rental churn through a lack of security of tenure, which can affect children’s learning ability, reduce older people’s saving potential for retirement and negatively exacerbate many existing social conditions. Not only does this mean 59% of houses are not maintained properly, it also leads to increased transience and ensures many more people leave to find a brighter future overseas.

A favourite destination is Australia, with more governmental housing developments, better overall property management, special rules to ensure housing maintenance and 55% cheaper building materials... the lucky country definitely has its advantages.

Although Australia also experienced a housing boom, it was mainly driven by a huge demand for expansion, whereas New Zealand's rental boom is driven by property speculation and capital gain on investment... both of which have little regard for the wider social implications of falling home ownership and its associated social dysfunctions.

A recently released draft report on housing affordability (PDF) from the Productivity Commission, paints a somewhat gloomy picture of the current housing situation in New Zealand:

Stability of the home environment is widely considered to be important for social cohesion and family stability. Real house prices in New Zealand are markedly higher than they were a decade ago. The rise in real house prices has been associated with general declines in housing affordability, as indicated by a number of different measures, and in the rate of home ownership. These declines have contributed to increased demand for rental accommodation and additional pressure on the social housing sector.
The debt accumulation and wealth effects associated with the rise in house prices may have also exacerbated New Zealand’s last economic cycle. Interest rates and exchange rates were arguably higher than they otherwise would have been during the upturn and there has been greater contraction in demand during the recession. Debt accumulation may also be a factor in ongoing economic risks.


The available evidence suggests that greater numbers of households are coming to rely on the private rental market for long-term accommodation. A range of issues including poor quality, insecure tenure and inadequate income in retirement all indicate that the market is not currently equipped to deliver housing necessary for well-being in the long term. These issues appear to have been exacerbated by the dominance of small-scale investors, who are motivated by expectations of longer-term returns as opposed to growing a loyal client base by providing high-quality tenancy services.

That's the hardest hitting bits from the report, which essentially recommends the government sits on its hands. This is most likely because they're not directly affected by what should be considered a nationwide crisis, and in some cases will even personally benefit from investments (PDF), that rely on a continuation of the dysfunctional system.

Solutions to the crisis include increasing the minimum wage so people can more easily service their mortgages and implementing a Capital Gains Tax, which would drive down the incentive for property speculation.

However a CGT was Labours idea and the Productivity Commission (which directly quotes Roger Douglas); was set up by John Banks. It's therefore no wonder that they came out in favour of a predefined outcome, which appears to be designed to make Banks look good.

ACT is glad to have secured National’s support last term for the establishment of the Productivity Commission, which is tasked with improving productivity and therefore the standard of living for all New Zealanders.

Blah blah blah! It's worth noting that over reliance on the free market system, something the Act party often promotes, is what got us into the mess in the first place.

I would be surprised if Banks et al does anything to change the current dysfunctional system until it really starts to bite their bottom lines. By then, I wonder if there will be any Kiwi's left in New Zealand at all?

22 Jan 2012

Fairfax fears the facts

On January 12, Warwick Rasmussen wrote an opinion piece for the Manawatu Standard called Greenpeace makes meal out of the Rena:

The online and television campaign features imprints left by oil-covered birds on plain paper, then ends with a dead bird covered in oil. The words then say that offshore drilling could cause an environmental catastrophe 1000 times worse than what happened with the Rena.

This is not the first time opponents have blurred the lines between two significant, but separate, issues. If Greenpeace's latest effort was to highlight the risk of large ships carrying huge amounts of oil and other potential pollutants, that would be fine.

But it has gone further than that to push its message about something quite different. It'd be a bit like campaigning against fossil fuels because people die in car crashes. There is a link, but not enough to campaign on.


That's why their latest effort to shock people into action is so unnecessary and borderline insulting to people who do care about the environment and environmental issues

Rasmussen ignores a very simple fact; the Rena disaster clearly shows that New Zealand doesn't have the capacity to respond to a relatively small oil spill. If we don't have the resources to cope with the Rena, we have no chance of responding properly to a larger oil spill from a rig in deep waters.

So why the misleading article you might wonder? Well Fairfax Media of course.

There's a tendency with many Fairfax articles to ignore relevant issues and developments in favour of a controlled and sometimes contrived message. This is a mechanism of propaganda that has been greatly exacerbated by Fairfax's centralization regime.

Fairfax's modus operandi is to take over the competition... and according to research done by Bill Rosenberg on News media ownership in New Zealand (PDF), Fairfax uses underhanded tactics to achieve their acquisitions:

But Fairfax is by no means squeaky clean. Part of its formula for buying INL’s newspapers was for New Zealand taxpayers to help it. Using a scheme that O’Reilly used with his New Zealand newspaper operations, the plan was to sell the mastheads of the newspapers (which INL had revalued in 1997 from $228 million to $673 million) to a US bank and lease them back. Tax advantages in both New Zealand and the US would have doubled the return on Fairfax’s acquisition – using a handy $33 million of our money in tax benefits.

Unfortunately for Fairfax, the Minister of Finance Michael Cullen intervened and legislated to close the loophole in 2004. Exactly how much ANM made a year from our taxes has not been revealed, but it would have stood to lose up to $200 million by 2006 if the 2004 legislation had been backdated to 2001.

Fairfax now owns around half (48.6% in 2008) of New Zealand's print media and is closely tied to right wing politicians with a vested interest in controlling the message.

Fairfax has a long history associated with right wing politicians... most notable being former Liberal Party Treasurer, Ron Walker, who along with David Kirk managed hundreds if not thousands of redundancies.

The former All Black captain, Kirk had no newspaper experience before he became CEO of Fairfax in 2006, which he left in late 2008 amongst reports of a power struggle.

In May 2008, Kirk funded a full-page advertisement opposing a $1.5 billion wind farm in Central Otago proposed by Meridian Energy, which has only recently been cancelled. Kirk is a former National Party hope and has worked as an executive assistant and chief policy adviser to then National PM Jim Bolger.

Fairfax has been implementing planned redundancies since 1999, which has resulted in editorial sharing, sub-editing, fewer stories from smaller rural areas and something I'm sure you've all noticed; reprints across various publications. This ultimately weakens the function of journalism; to investigate and report on the facts in an unbiased way.

Please visit fairfactsexposed for further reading on how Fairfax games the system.

“If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” ― Malcolm X

Last BDO in New Zealand

Kurt Cobain from Nirvana - Big Day Out Sydney 1992

Last Wednesday, the NZ Herald reported:

Big Day Out promoters have denied the announcement that this year's festival will be the last is a mere publicity stunt to boost sales.

For 18 years The Big Day Out has been Auckland's biggest, noisiest music festival and a rite of passage for many teenagers - but after Friday, it will be no more.


Organisers confirmed last night they were pulling the plug on the transtasman music festival's New Zealand show, although Australian concerts will continue.

Mr Smith insists it's no publicity stunt.

What event organiser Campbell Smith actually said was:

“It’s complete crap, it’s bullshit. We are genuinely sad about having to do this [and] we wanted to let people know.

The 2012 BDO lineup was slated on forums, however the organizers have made amends by letting people with any previous authentic BDO merchandise in for free.

Low ticket sales and increased competition are undoubtedly the main reasons for the events untimely demise... but really it's just another good reason to move to Australia.

21 Jan 2012

Anonymous - Operation Blackout


Citizens of the United States, We are Anonymous.

This is an urgent emergency alert to all people of the United States. The day we've all been waiting for has unfortunately arrived. The United States is censoring the internet. Our blatant response is that we will not sit while our rights are taken away by the government we trusted them to preserve. This is not a call to arms, but a call to recognition and action!

The United States government has mastered this corrupt way of giving us a false sense of freedom. We think we are free and can do what we want, but in reality we are very limited and restricted as to what we can do, how we can think, and even how our education is obtained. We have been so distracted by this mirage of freedom, that we have just become what we were trying to escape from.

For too long, we have been idle as our brothers and sisters were arrested. During this time, the government has been scheming, plotting ways to increase censorship through means of I S P block aides, D N S blockings, search engine censorship, website censorship, and a variety of other methods that directly oppose the values and ideas of both Anonymous as well as the founding fathers of this country, who believed in free speech and press!

The United States has often been used as an example of the ideal free country. When the one nation that is known for its freedom and rights start to abuse its own people, this is when you must fight back, because others are soon to follow. Do not think that just because you are not a United States citizen, that this does not apply to you. You cannot wait for your country to decide to do the same. You must stop it before it grows, before it becomes acceptable. You must destroy its foundation before it becomes too powerful.

Has the U.S. government not learned from the past? Has it not seen the 2011 revolutions? Has it not seen that we oppose this wherever we find it and that we will continue to oppose it? Obviously the United States Government thinks they are exempt. This is not only an Anonymous collective call to action. What will a Distributed Denial of Service attack do? What's a website de face ment against the corrupted powers of the government? No. This is a call for a worldwide internet and physical protest against the powers that be. Spread this message everywhere. We will not stand for this! Tell your parents, your neighbors, your fellow workers, your school teachers, and anyone else you come in contact with. This affects anyone that desires the freedom to browse anonymously, speak freely without fear of retribution, or protest without fear of arrest.

Go to every I R C network, every social network, every online community, and tell them of the atrocity that is about to be committed. If protest is not enough, the United States government shall see that we are truly legion and we shall come together as one force opposing this attempt to censor the internet once again, and in the process discourage any other government from continuing or trying.

We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive censorship.
We do not forget the denial of our free rights as human beings.
To the United States government, you should've expected us.

20 Jan 2012

Who's wrong in the Ports of Auckland dispute?

The Aucklander is currently running a poll:
Click here to vote

Occupy the White House

Good riddance Perry

I've been cringing at some of the happenings in the American Republican presidential nomination race lately... particularly the candidates obvious mental deficiencies and bigotries. The clear winner there has to be Texas Governor Rick Perry.

A few of his transgressions include homophobic advertising campaigns, forgetting what government departments he would axe in a public debate, family shoots at their 'Niggerhead' ranch and defending the marines who urinated on three dead Afghan men. So it's no wonder he's quitting... he simply has no chance of winning.

On his way out, Perry endorsed Newt Gingrich:

“Newt’s not perfect, but who among us is?’’ Perry said. He called the former House speaker a “conservative visionary’’ best suited to replace Barack Obama in the White House.

Gingrich welcomed the endorsement:

“I ask the supporters of Governor Perry to look at my record of balancing the budget, cutting spending, reforming welfare, and enacting pro-growth policies to create millions of new jobs and humbly ask for their vote,’’ Gingrich said.

In my opinion, Perry's endorsement of Gingrich ultimately guarantees his failure. Let's hope it's the final nail in the Republican coffin and they wont escape from the huge political grave the candidates have been digging. The problem with zombies though...

19 Jan 2012

New Zealand suicide rate 2007 - 2011

Spinz has removed this document from their website, so I have uploaded it again in blog format.

Media statement sent on behalf of the Chief Coroner, Judge Neil MacLean.

26 August 2011 - Under embargo until 3pm Friday August 26 2011

The Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean has today released the latest provisional national suicide statistics drawn from information collected by the Ministry of Justice’s database.

This follows on from last year when this type of information was first made publically available by Judge MacLean.

In releasing the information Judge MacLean said that although Coroners were not experts in suicide prevention, the coronial system has a legal responsibility and a pivotal role to play in stimulating discussion on issues that could help the explanation and prevention of suicide in New Zealand.

“The suicide toll is a really concerning commentary on our society, and I believe anything we can do to aid more accurate information can only be for the better.

“I have suggested that there may be room for a gentle opening up of the restrictions on media reporting of suicide, but we need to consider all viewpoints – especially those of families – so we can make informed decisions.

“These statistics clearly show that what we have done in the past is not bringing the toll down so we must look for new solutions,” Judge MacLean said.

Note: All reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the following information is accurate and current, but as a lot of it is still provisional there may be some variances in final figures.

Table 1. Provisional Suicide Deaths and per 100,000 rates July 2007 – June 2011.

Note: The per 100,000 population rate shown has been calculated following Statistics New Zealand annual population estimates.

Table 2. Male and female provisional suicide deaths and rates per 100,000 population between July 2007 and June 2011 (n=2170)

Note: The per 100,000 population rate shown has been calculated following Statistics New Zealand annual population estimates.

Table 3.  Provisional Suicide deaths reported to the Coroner by age and gender between July 2010 and June 2011 (n=558)

Click image to enlarge
Note: The per 100,000 population rate shown has been calculated following Statistics New Zealand annual population estimates for the 2011 year.

Table 4. Provisional suicide deaths reported to the Coroner by ethnicity between July 2007 and June 2011 (n=2170)

Note: The per 100,000 population rate shown has been calculated following Statistics New Zealand annual population for the 2006 census year.

Table 4 shows provisional suicide deaths by ethnicity between July 2007 and June 2011.  The small numbers and volatile nature of these data for Pacific and Asian peoples makes 
reliable estimation of the patterns very difficult and may be misleading.

Figure 1. Provisional suicide rates by ethnicity per 100,000 population between July 2007 and June 2011 (n=2170)

Note: The per 100,000 population rate shown has been calculated following Statistics New Zealand annual population for the 2006 census year.

Ethnic groups have classified in the following groups: Maori, Pacific peoples, Asian, Other (including European, Not Elsewhere classified and New Zealand European).

The small numbers and volatile nature of these data for Pacific and Asian peoples makes reliable estimation of the patterns very difficult and may be misleading.

Table 5.  Provisional Suicide deaths reported to the Coroner by method between July 2007 and June 2011 (n=2170)

New Zealand Suicides by area 2007 - 2011.

Graph 1.  National trend-line.

Click to enlarge.
Graph 2.  Provisional Suicide deaths in relation to the Christchurch earthquakes .

Click to enlarge.
3. Mental Health History, Known Attempts/Threats to Self Harm and Drug/Alcohol use for provisional suicide deaths between July 2010 and June 2011.

Table 7.  Provisional Suicide deaths by employment status between July 2007 and June 2011.

Media contact for the Chief Coroner:
Steve Corbett
027 666 8949