Feds concerned by 111 coverage

March 22, 2014

Federated farmers is concerned about emergency responsiveness and 111 coverage after it took a farmer about 30 minutes to get through to an operator after she trod in a wasps’ nest.

. . . “Given the 111 service is a rural lifeline, Federated Farmers was troubled to learn Janet Kelland struggled to get through for upwards of 30 minutes,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Rural Security spokesperson.

“Telecom/Spark’s Telecommunications Service Obligation is relevant here because it must answer 111 calls within 15 seconds. 

“Federated Farmers is calling on Telecom/Spark to make sure it meets its TSO obligations and a formal complaint from Janet would help to trigger this. 

“Cellular network performance at the time needs to be looked into as well as the mapping software being used by the ambulance call centre.  A farmer repeatedly stung by wasps could have died for want of a connection.

“After getting clear Janet rang 111 and sometimes it would ring she told us and sometimes there was silence.  While cell reception can be random in rural areas she has reception on her farm and good reception from where she tried to call from.

“Janet told Federated Farmers that it took 30-minutes before she got through to an operator.  Even then after asking for an ambulance she was cut off. 

“She did get through but when she gave her address the operator insisted it did not exist.  While Janet resorted to some agricultural language, who could blame her given she was in agony.

“Clearly there are several issues that need to be looked at.  There also seems to be a pressing need to review mapping software because Janet’s address is in the White Pages.

“We note the 2012 review said that the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment will be working with emergency service providers and the telecommunications sector to investigate new technology. 

“Now seems a good time to start,” Mrs Milne concluded.

Mobile coverage is variable in the country but with RAPID (Rural Address Property Identification Numbers) there should be no problem with an address.

We’ve called 111 twice.

The first time was the night our son stopped breathing.

I started CPR while my farmer called for help. In those days 111 calls went to the local hospital and the man who answered the phone used to shear for us. As soon as he knew it was my farmer he said he’d tell the ambulance how to get there and told my farmer to hang up, ring our GP.

The second time was last December towards the end of a party when one of the guests stumbled, fell and knocked himself out.

I dialled 111, got straight through, had no problem with the address and the ambulance was here in less than 30 minutes.

However, both those calls were from landlines.

Staff who’ve had to call emergency services from our farm have managed to do so without problems, but there’s an element of luck in that they happened to be where they had reasonable coverage when they needed it.

Even in the 21st century you can’t expect 100% mobile coverage but you shouldn’t have to argue about your address.


Lies, damned lies and . . .

March 22, 2014

I used to chair a trust which supported people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

Most of our funding came through government agencies and it was precarious.

We knew that we were competing with other providers and if we ours wasn’t the best proposal someone else would get the funds.

That happens all the times, and not just with government agencies.

The Problem Gambling Foundation has found that out and isn’t happy about it and has Labour’s support for that:

Labour says funding for the Problem Gambling Foundation has been stopped because the foundation opposed the deal to increase the number of gambling machines at SkyCity Casino.

That doesn’t sound good but the very next paragraph makes it better:

But the Government has confirmed the new holder of the contract to provide health and counselling services for problem gamblers throughout New Zealand is the Salvation Army, which also opposed the SkyCity deal.

That didn’t stop Labour blaming the government:

Labour’s Internal Affairs Spokesman Trevor Mallard said the foundation was being forced to close its doors because it vocally opposed the deal between the Government and SkyCity to increase the number of pokies in the Auckland casino, in return for building a new national convention centre. . .

This would be the same Mallard who was a guest of Sky City at the Rugby World Cup.

That was then, back to now:

Mallard said the foundation was the largest provider of problem-gambling services in Australasia and “it is hard to imagine a more qualified organisation to do this work”.

The funding decision was based on far stronger grounds than Mallard’s imagination.

Health Ministry group manager Rod Bartling said negotiations were still ongoing, but the tender process was fair and independently assessed.

“The ministry can confirm that it has informed the Problem Gambling Foundation that it does not intend to renew its national contract to prevent and reduce gambling harm,” he said.

“The process to re-tender the contracts for these services was an open contestable tender process.

“The evaluation panel deciding on the tender comprised six members – three internal ministry staff and three external evaluators from the Department of Internal Affairs, the Health Promotion Agency and a Pacific health consultant.

“The ministry also asked Pricewaterhouse to independently review the procurement process and this confirmed the ministry’s processes followed accepted good practice.”

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne was even stronger in refuting the claims  that the PGF lost funding  due to political pressure.

“The Ministry of Health clearly signalled in 2012 that it would go to the market for the provision of gambling harm minimisation services during its public consultation on this issue, and this is the outcome of that process”, says Mr Dunne.

“This review had been on the cards for some years prior to this, as the development of the sector has to a large extent been undertaken in an ad hoc manner, with duplication of services from national providers simply not achieving best value for money that clients of services are entitled to expect.”

The process to retender the contracts for these services was an open contestable tender.   The evaluation panel deciding on the tender comprised six members: three internal Ministry staff and three external evaluators from the Department of Internal Affairs, the Health Promotion Agency and a Pacific health consultant.  

“The Ministry of Health has been particularly mindful to keep the process clearly separate from any perception of political interference. This extended to commissioning an independent review by Pricewaterhouse on its proposed decisions and I congratulate them on the rigorous commitment to probity they have shown in following this tender process as it went beyond the requirements of best practice”.

“The outcome is that services are more streamlined and will achieve increased service provision from government funding in the gambling harm minimisation area. The Problem Gambling Foundation will continue to be contracted to provide specialist services, if negotiations with them are successful, says Mr Dunne.

It is proposed that the major national provider will be the Salvation Army’s Oasis service, which already provides gambling harm and other addiction and social services across the country.

“I am aware that the Salvation Army has been critical of the government in certain areas over the years, including the SkyCity convention centre, but I see no reason why this should prevent them from being contracted to provide the excellent services that they do.

“For Labour and the Greens to say that the Problem Gambling Foundation’s funding has been cut because of its opposition to particular government policies is patent nonsense. It was not until that process was completed that I was advised of the outcome.

“Just because they have Problem Gambling in their title, doesn’t mean they become a default provider, and I commend the Ministry for its rigorous process and decision making which will ultimately benefit those New Zealanders who may who experience negative outcomes from their, or others, gambling activities”, says Mr Dunne.

The PGF lost funding because the Salvation Army, which was also critical of the Sky City convention centre, convinced the evaluation panel, backed by an independent review by Pricewaterhouse that it was offering something better.

That still wasn’t good enough for Labour leader who has been active on Twitter:

A picture might paint a thousand words but that doesn’t make them true.

Cunliffe and Mallard aren’t going to let the truth get in the way of their story which gives us lies, damned lies and Labour.


Saturday soapbox

March 22, 2014

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse, amuse or bemuse.

Word Porn's photo.


March 22 in history

March 22, 2014

238 Gordian I and his son Gordian II were proclaimed Roman emperors.

1599 Anthony van Dyck, Flemish painter, was born (d. 1641).

1621  The Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony signed a peace treaty with Massasoit of the Wampanoags.

1622 Jamestown massacre: Algonquian Indians killed 347 English settlers around Jamestown, Virginia, a third of the colony’s population.

1630  Massachusetts Bay Colony outlawed the possession of cards, dice, and gaming tables.

1638 Anne Hutchinson was expelled from Massachusetts Bay Colony for religious dissent.

1765  British parliament passed the Stamp Act, which introduced a tax to be levied directly on its American colonies.

1784 The Emerald Buddha was moved to its current place in Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand.

1809 Charles XIII succeeded Gustav IV Adolf to the Swedish throne.

1818 John Ainsworth Horrocks, English-born explorer of South Australia, was born  (d. 1846).

1829 The three protecting powers (Britain, France and Russia) established the borders of Greece.

1849 The Austrians defeated the Piedmontese at the Battle of Novara.

1871 William Woods Holden became the first governor of a U.S. state to be removed from office by impeachment.

1873 A law was approved by the Spanish National Assembly in Puerto Rico to abolish slavery.

1887 Chico Marx, American comedian and actor, was born (d. 1961).

1894 The first playoff game for the Stanley Cup started.

1895 First display (a private screening) of motion pictures by Auguste and Louis Lumière.

1906 First Anglo-French rugby union match at Parc des Princes in Paris

1908 Louis L’Amour, American author, was born  (d. 1988).

1910 Nicholas Monsarrat, British novelist, was born (d. 1979).

1916 The last Emperor of China, Yuan Shikai, abdicated the throne and the Republic of China was restored.

1923 Marcel Marceau,  French Mime, was born  (d. 2007).

1930 Stephen Sondheim, American composer and lyricist, was born.

1933 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law a bill legalizing the sale of beer and wine.

1936 Roger Whittaker, British singer, was born.

1939  Germany took Memel from Lithuania.

1941 Washington’s Grand Coulee Dam began to generate electricity.

1942 Britain’s Royal Navy confronted Italy’s Regia Marina in the Second Battle of Sirte.

1942 Keith Relf, English musician (The Yardbirds), was born (d. 1976).

1943 The entire population of Khatyn in Belarus was burnt alive by German occupation forces.

1945 The Arab League was founded when a charter was adopted in Cairo.

1948 Andrew Lloyd Webber, English composer, was born.

1954 The London bullion market reopened.

1955 Valdis Zatlers, 7th President of Latvia, was born.

1960  Arthur Leonard Schawlow & Charles Hard Townes received the first patent for a laser.

1978 Karl Wallenda of the The Flying Wallendas died after falling off a tight-rope between two hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

1982 NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia, was launched on its third mission, STS-3.

1993 The Intel Corporation ships the first Pentium chips (80586), featuring a 60 MHz clock speed, 100+ MIPS, and a 64 bit data path.

1994 Anna Paquin won an Oscar for her part in The Piano. Director Jane Campion won the award for best screen play.

Kiwis win Oscars for 'The piano'

1995 Cosmonaut Valeriy Polyakov returned after setting a record for 438 days in space.

1997 Tara Lipinski, age 14 years and 10 months, became the youngest champion of the women’s world figure skating competition.

1997 – The Comet Hale-Bopp had its closest approach to earth.

2004 Ahmed Yassin, co-founder and leader of the Palestinian Sunni Islamist group Hamas, two bodyguards, and nine civilian bystanders were killed in the Gaza Strip when hit by Israeli Air Force AH-64 Apache fired Hellfire missiles.

2006 ETA, armed Basque separatist group, declared permanent ceasefire.

2006 – BC Ferries’ M/V Queen of the North ran aground on Gil Island British Columbia and sinks; 101 on board, 2 presumed deaths.

2006 – Three Christian Peacemaker Teams Hostages were freed by British forces in Baghdad after 118 days captivity and the death of their colleague, American Tom Fox.

2009 Mount Redoubt, a volcano in Alaska began erupting after a prolonged period of unrest.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipeida


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