Word of the day

February 22, 2013

Rebuild – to build again after damage or destruction; make extensive structural repairs to; dismantle and reassemble with new parts or materials; remodel or make extensive changes; restore to a previous state.


Carter to contest Far North Mayoralty

February 22, 2013

Former Northland MP and serving High Commissioner to the Cook Island’s John Carter plans to contest the Far North Mayoralty.

. . . On the top of his list of concerns is disunity among local body leaders in Northland and what he sees as resultant lack of progress.

“I love the Far North, I am deeply aware of what a wonderful place it is and how many talented people live here, and I know it should be doing better.

“I also feel that my many years representing the area have given me the knowledge, skills and contacts to provide the unifying leadership needed to achieve that.” . . .

He was a very popular MP which will give him a head start in the contest for mayor.


Friday’s answers

February 22, 2013

Thursday’s questions were posed by Tiffany, Andrei and Alwyn.

You can collect an electronic bunch of gladioli each, when you leave the answers in the comments here, because you managed to stump us all.


Catching spongers

February 22, 2013

Associate Social Development Minister Chester Burrows has announced new measures to prevent, detect and catch welfare fraud.

“We know that the vast majority of beneficiaries are honest and do the right thing, but a small minority take advantage of the welfare system. Let’s be clear – welfare fraud is a crime, committed by criminals, for their own benefit at the taxpayer’s expense, and we treat it as such without excuse,” says Mr Borrows.

“National promised to clamp down on welfare fraud, and I’m pleased to deliver on that promise today.”

The first initiative is to amend the law to create a new offence targeting partners or spouses of beneficiaries who are convicted of fraud.

Relationship offending last year cost over $20 million and makes up one third of welfare fraud prosecutions. 

“Currently there are few options available to prosecute partners who know or benefit from such offending, leaving the entire debt with one partner,” says Mr Borrows.

“Prosecuting partners who profit from welfare fraud will ensure that both parties who profit from the crime are punished, and will help the taxpayer recover the lost money faster.”

The second key initiative is to introduce new ways of working with beneficiaries who have previously been dishonest with MSD.  These new measures include greater verification of information and less access to self-service transactions, and will cover around 1000 beneficiaries each year.

“This approach will give MSD a package of tools which can be tailored to target the way an individual has been dishonest before.  It is a sensible step to make sure that those who have ripped us off once cannot do it again,” says Mr Borrows.

The third new initiative is to formalise information sharing links between ACC, Inland Revenue, Housing New Zealand Corporation, New Zealand Police, and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

“Sharing information between Government agencies will allow us to detect or catch welfare fraud sooner.  Bringing these key agencies together will also help catch high value fraudsters whose deception extends across multiple agencies.

“It’s vitally important that the public has every confidence in the welfare system and these measures, alongside a range of smaller initiatives included in the package, will give MSD the tools it needs to achieve this.”

The left is spinning this a beneficiary bashing.

It’s not. It’s ensuring public money is used for the right purposes and Lindsay Mitchell points out it could also protect vulnerable women from spongers.

The culprits might be relatively small in number but the more than $20 million that is lost to this fraud is not an insignificant sum.

There are many more pressing needs for it.


Milk DCD free

February 22, 2013

Ministry of Primary Industries tests have confirmed no traces of DCD in milk since November.

“MPI and the New Zealand dairy industry have conducted voluntary testing of New Zealand dairy products to build a comprehensive picture of the presence of DCD in New Zealand’s milk supply,” MPI Director General Wayne McNee said.

The tests have found no traces of DCD in milk collected from New Zealand farms after mid November 2012.

“We are releasing the core findings of the testing today to be as open as we can be with our markets and customers, despite the fact that the quantities of DCD found in our dairy products creates absolutely no food safety risk whatsoever,” Mr McNee said.

With the co-operation of the dairy industry, nearly 2000 samples of dairy products have been tested from all the major dairy companies.

Testing has specifically targeted dairy products using milk collected during the New Zealand spring last year from the less than five percent of dairy farmers who used DCD on pastures. Results have been coming in as recently as last week.

As expected, minute traces of DCD have been found in various dairy products already in the supply chain from a variety of companies. However, there remains no food safety risk – all traces have been significantly below the European Commission’s daily intake level for DCD.

“Importantly, tests on products made from milk collected from farms after mid-November show no traces of DCD at all,” Mr McNee said.

“These findings confirm our expectations. We have informed markets of them.”

There never was a food safety issue.

The problem was there was no international standard for DCD but the tiny traces found in some milk products late last year were well below the EU standard.

There was a perception problem but the prices have continued to increase in Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade auctions since the announcement traces of DCD were found.

This shows that markets weren’t concerned, in spite of some opposition politicians attempts to manufacture a scandal.

It’s also a vote of confidence in New Zealand’s very high food safety standards and a reminder of why maintaining them is so important.


Two years on

February 22, 2013

At 12:51pm two years ago a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch.

On this second anniversary we remember the 185 people who died and the many others who were seriously injured.

We think of people whose homes and businesses were badly damaged, some irreparably.

We think of people still living in limbo, waiting for decisions, waiting for repairs, waiting to move on.

But two years on as the rebuild gains momentum we can also appreciate the work that has been done, the opportunities grasped and look ahead to better times for Christchurch and Canterbury.

 

 


Healing

February 22, 2013

“Does it get better?” he asked.

“Oh yes,” she said. “In time it will.”

“It’s like a tree with a branch cut off.  The scar will always be there but it heals over, other branches grow, new leaves come and it blossoms again.”


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,408 other followers

%d bloggers like this: