The other test

September 16, 2012

There was another international sporting contest this weekend – and the New Zealand team won.

The Silver Ferns beat the Australian Diamonds 54 -52 in the opening game of netball’s Constellation Cup in Melbourne today.

The teams meet in Auckland on Thursday and play the final game in the series next Sunday in Christchurch.


Police harassment beginners’ guide

September 16, 2012

A sentence containing the words police and sense of humour might be considered oxymoronic by some, but this beginners’ guide to police harassment shows it’s not.

It was a response to a question asking how it is possible for police officers to continually harass people and get away with it.

A sergeant replied:

First of all, let me tell you this … it’s not easy. In the Palmerston North and rural area we average one cop for every 505 people. Only about 60 per cent of those cops are on general duty (or what you might refer to as “general patrols”) where we do most of our harassing.

The rest are in non-harassing units that do not allow them contact with the day-to-day innocents. At any given moment, only one-fifth of the 60 per cent of general patrols are on duty and available for harassing people while the rest are off duty. So, roughly, one cop is responsible for harassing about 6000 residents.

When you toss in the commercial business and tourist locations that attract people from other areas, sometimes you have a situation where a single cop is responsible for harassing 15,000 or more people a day.

Now, your average eight-hour shift runs 28,800 seconds long. This gives a cop two-thirds of a second to harass a person, and then only another third of a second to drink a Massey iced coffee AND then find a new person to harass. This is not an easy task. To be honest, most cops are not up to the challenge day in and day out. It is just too tiring. What we do is utilise some tools to help us narrow down those people we can realistically harass.

PHONE: People will call us up and point out things that cause us to focus on a person for special harassment. “My neighbour is beating his wife” is a code phrase used often. This means we’ll come out and give somebody some special harassment. Another popular one is, “There’s a guy breaking into a house.” The harassment team is then put into action.

CARS: We have special cops assigned to harass people who drive. They like to harass the drivers of fast cars, cars with no insurance or drivers with no licences and the like. It’s lots of fun when you pick them out of traffic for nothing more obvious than running a red light.  Sometimes you get to really heap the harassment on when you find they have drugs in the car, they are drunk, or have an outstanding warrant on file.

LAWS: When we don’t have phone or cars, and have nothing better to do, there are actually books that give us ideas for reasons to harass folks. They are called “statutes”. These include the Crimes Act, Summary Offences Act, Land Transport Act and a whole bunch of others… They spell out all sorts of things for which you can really mess with people. After you read the law, you can just drive around for a while until you find someone violating one of these listed offences and harass them. Just last week I saw a guy trying to steal a car. Well, the book says that’s not allowed. That meant I had permission to harass this guy.

It is a really cool system that we have set up, and it works pretty well. We seem to have a never-ending supply of folks to harass. And we get away with it. Why? Because, for the good citizens who pay the tab, we try to keep the streets safe for them, and they pay us to “harass” some people.

Next time you are in Palmerston North, give me the old “single finger wave”. That’s another one of those codes. It means, “You can harass me.” It’s one of our favourites.

 Maybe the sergeant is a Laughing Policeman:


Word of the day

September 16, 2012

Dundrearies – long, flowing sideburns worn with a clean-shaven chin; mutton chop whiskers.


6/10

September 16, 2012

6/10 in NBR’s Biz Quiz


Rural round-up

September 16, 2012

Some bills 80 times initial quotes

South Canterbury farmers are challenging Environment Canterbury over more than $300,000 worth of administration costs they have been charged for water consents. 

    Some of the bills are 80 times greater than the amount the farmers were initially quoted. 

    The group of 17 South Canterbury and North Otago consent holders will dispute the administration costs at a hearing in Lincoln on Monday. 

    The costs were billed to the farmers back in 2010 after they were granted 35-year consents to take water from the Hakataramea River. The farmers had waited more than a decade for the consent decision. . .

Legal scrap on cards over LIC hairy calves – Richard Rennie:

Farmers stuck with mutant LIC genetics have strong legal grounds for mounting a compensation challenge against the breeding company, a senior lawyer says.

Concern is growing through all dairying regions as more farmers discover young stock containing the genetics from the LIC bull Matrix.

The bull has sired calves exhibiting mutated traits including excessive hairiness, poor growth rates and ill thrift. .

Tax changes leave way open for farm succession:

Controversial changes to tax legislation around livestock valuation will no longer disadvantage new generation farmers following a successful submission process by accounting firm BDO.

Amendments to the proposed ‘Herd Scheme’ changes were released yesterday [Thursday 13 Sept], providing exemptions for farm succession that free up new generation farmers from restrictive tax barriers.

“The exemption for farm succession has come a long way from the original proposal,”’ says BDO Tax Specialist and Farm Accountant Charles Rau. . .

Best coal under best farmland – Tim Fulton:

Some Australians see Drew Hutton as a pinprick for environmental consciousness; others think he’s a pain in the backside. But the spiritual leader of the Australian Green Party has people listening when it comes to coal mining and drilling for gas.

“We’ve got some areas in Australia where we’ve got 100% support. You can’t get those figures outside of a dictatorship usually.”

Hutton is the elected champion of the “Lock the Gate Alliance”, a network of 120 community groups galvanized against perceived bullying from the mining industry.

And it doesn’t take much of a lecture from Hutton to learn landowner rights and public health is top of their agenda, as is the very future of farming on premium Aussie soil. . . .

Training for beekeepers debated – Peter Watson:

An upsurge of interest in beekeeping has sparked debate about how well trained new entrants are. 

    The number of beekeepers has grown by more than 500 to 3775 and hives by 35,000 to 429,000 over the last year, many of them hobbyists wanting to do their bit to help boost bee numbers in the face of growing threats to their health. . .

Buffalo and rhino make big money:

MAKING SURE none of the rhinoceros herd is poached during the night isn’t something New Zealand farmers have to worry about but it is typical for an increasing number of South African farmers diversifying into the lucrative game breeding industry.  

After several years of rapid growth, there are now estimated to be more than 10,000 commercial game ranches in South Africa breeding rare species for hunting, meat and conservation purposes. . . .

The June issue of Country Wide is now on-line.


Councils’ purpose needs clarity

September 16, 2012

BusinessNZ says the purpose of local government needs to be properly established in new legislation:

Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says the purpose statement in the current Act is very broad and permissive, and has resulted in a number of councils taking on, or investing in, too many non-essential activities exposing ratepayers to unnecessary risk and cost.

“The current Act allows councils to ensure communities’ ‘four wellbeings’ – social, cultural, economic and environmental – and this very broad purpose statement has allowed councils throughout New Zealand to continue to expand their operations into the provision of services which more appropriately should be undertaken by the private sector, if at all. Moreover, councils have backed projects with marginal or negative economic returns. Businesses often bear a disproportionate share of these costs given the significant use of business rating differentials by many councils.

“The Amendment Bill has a more restrained purpose statement and is a significant improvement on current legislation, but should to be tightened further.

“A clearer definition of local government’s important role is essential,” Mr O’Reilly said.

Amen to that.

Although Tourism New Zealand is concerned events and festivals will be at risk.

“The tourism industry is concerned that the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill could restrict councils investing in events, festivals and other visitor infrastructure if it is passed in its present form,” TIA Chief Executive Martin Snedden says. . .

TIA is calling for local government to continue to be allowed to invest in the visitor industry, which creates jobs and income in communities around the country. Support from visitors makes possible a range of events and festivals that residents also enjoy, enhancing that community’s vibrancy and well-being. . . .

Events and festivals do attract visitors and add to the vibrancy of communities but current legislation has enabled councils to back them at great cost with questionable return.


The roof was the winner on the night

September 16, 2012

The economists tell us that stadiums (stadia?) don’t stack up financially.

The Forsyth Barr Stadium has plenty of critics who will feel vindicated by that but I doubt if anyone among the capacity crowd at the All Blacks’ first test there cared about that and the roof was the winner on the night.

The forecast was for wintry conditions. I was drizzling as we arrived for the match against the Springbok, but with a covered stadium, once we were inside it didn’t matter.

Only in Dunedin would pre-match entertainment include blokes in tutus – the Selwyn Ballet – and I am sure they too appreciated being under cover.

We were at the game as guests of Ravensdown which brought the bonus of pre-match banter from former All Blacks Buck Shelford, John Timu and Josh Kronfeld. Then there was after-match excitement when we were joined by Olympic rowers Mahe Drysdale and Juliette Haigh.

As for the rugby? A win’s a win but there were plenty of times when it looked like the 21 – 11 score in New Zealand’s favour could just have easily gone the other way.

At the final whistle it was the All Blacks ahead and the winners of the Freedom Cup.


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