More than 300 lambs worth $40k stolen from Ruawai farm – Sally Murphy:
The Kaipara mayor, who is also a sheep and beef farmer, has had $40,000 worth of stock stolen.
Jason Smith had 307 new season lambs disappear from his Ruawai farm between 17 November and 1 December.
Smith said the farm manager noticed they were missing last week when they were being mustered to the yards to be sold.
“This is not just a small number of like 10 sheep or three steer missing, this is 307 lambs it’s a sizeable mob for someone to walk or drive away. . .
Forestry on farms fires up speakers – Shawn McAvinue:
Is forestry a threat to rural communities or an opportunity too good to refuse?
About 70 people attended the panel debate “Plantation forestry — threat or opportunity?” in Dunedin last week.
Independent debate chairman Stephen Woodhead, of Milton, gave each of the four panel members 10 minutes to speak.
Ministry for Primary Industries Te Uru Rakau forest and land use senior adviser Duncan Harrison, of Christchurch, said a Ministry for the Environment report published in October estimates up to 1.37million ha of new forest — a mix of native and exotic — could be planted in New Zealand between 2020 and 2050. . .
Forestry contractors are bracing for a tough summer as they wait for log prices to recover and harvesting to regain momentum.
Prices were at near record levels earlier in 2021, but last month sunk to lows not seen since late 2015.
As a result the amount of logs heading to ports had slowed significantly, with many harvesting crews being told to work at a reduced capacity, or down tools.
China is New Zealand’s largest overseas market for logs, accounting for about 70-90 percent of exports. . .
New Zealand’s major shearing event has been cut for the second year in a row, with organisers sighting uncertainty due to Covid-19.
The Golden Shears had been held at Masterton’s War Memorial Stadium each March for 60 years.
The 2021 competition was called off at just four days’ notice after a Covid-19 alert level change.
Golden Shears International Shearing Championships Society president Sam Saunders said cancelling for the second time was an extremely tough call, as everyone on the committee knew how important the event was to the farming community and Masterton. . .
Ngāi Tahu Farming will transition an iwi-owned dairy block to regenerative agriculture principles and practices, while measuring multiple variables to build a data set that demonstrates the difference between its conventional and regenerative dairy systems. The trial was influenced by an earlier collaboration with the Next Generation Systems programme.
Ngāi Tahu Farming is designing a farm-scale trial that will transition an iwi-owned dairy block to regenerative agriculture principles and practices. This trial will see Ngāi Tahu Farming monitor and measure multiple variables, to build a data set of information that demonstrates the difference between its conventional and regenerative dairy systems. The farm-scale trial will build on a completed trial of regenerative practices on an iwi-owned 114-hectare dairy support block.
The design of the dairy system trial has also spurred discussion about te ao Māori and farming values within Ngāi Tahu. A new iwi consultancy group has been formed for the purpose of helping Ngāi Tahu shape the mātauranga Māori principles in the trial, and to help filter information coming out of the trial back to the iwi.
The decision to undertake these trials, applying a scientifically rigorous approach, was influenced by Ngāi Tahu Farming’s earlier collaboration on Farm Soil Health with the Next Generation Systems research programme, led by Dr Robyn Dynes, strategy lead and senior scientist at AgResearch, and funded by Our Land and Water. . .
Waitiri Creek not your usual winery – Cy Sinderson:
It’s said that a business is always a reflection of its leadership. So, a CEO who has been given no mandate to grow his or her business from the shareholders will always cultivate a culture of conservatism within the company. On the other hand, a CEO who has been given a free hand is far more likely to create an atmosphere where risk taking is actively encouraged.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why Waitiri Creek is not your usual winery. Having an owner and general manager with the business reputation and overall clout of Alistair Ward means that his family’s boutique Otago winery is never going to follow the same safe path that so many other wineries tread. In his other life as a director on multiple corporate boards and co-owner of corporate advisors Campbell MacPherson, Alistair is used to dealing with weighty business transactions like mergers, acquisitions, divestments, capital raising and debt finance. And when your clients include a rollcall of national heavyweights like Hynds, Fonterra, Holcim and Ravensdown, you are not used to dodging the hard decisions. So it is of little surprise that Alistair has dared to continually steer guide the family vineyard into new territories. . .
Shane Reti says Labour has made a complete meth of dealing with the drug that is doing so much damage to addicts and the country:
Labour’s short-sighted decision in 2018 to scrap National’s highly successful Meth Action Plan – and its outright refusal to accept that New Zealand has a gang problem – is contributing to a surge in gang membership, meth use and misery in New Zealand’s most deprived communities, National’s health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.
Ditching something that works because it comes from a political opponent is rank stupidity.
Wastewater testing shows meth use is highest in locations with higher levels of gang membership per capita, notably Northland, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay.
“The rise in gang membership and drug abuse go hand-in-hand,” says Dr Reti. “It’s an indictment of Labour’s ‘nothing-to-see-here’ approach to crime, which is now causing lasting damage to communities across New Zealand.”
Meth use is widely recognised as a major factor in domestic violence, social deprivation, crime and social harm. It also helps to enrich criminal gangs, whose membership has ballooned under Labour.
Labour purports to want to address child poverty but its inaction on meth is adding to the problem.
The cross-agency Meth Action Plan introduced under the last National Government implemented policies to crack down on the supply of meth, while providing a health-based response for the victims of the drug.
This is the sensible approach to drug policy – being tough on suppliers and compassionate with addicts.
Using $10 million set aside each year from the proceeds of crime fund – money seized from criminals – the plan gave Police and Customs the resources they need to disrupt supply chains and crack down on gangs.
“This plan was working, with a 50 per cent reduction in usage among adults between 2009 and 2015.
“Labour’s decision to cancel this programme three years ago was baffling at the time, but with meth use and gang membership both climbing, it’s absolutely clear now it was the wrong one.
“Rather than hiring gang members to run rehab programmes for their own victims, Labour should swallow its pride, admit it made a mistake in cancelling the Meth Action Plan, and go back to what was proven to be working.
“At the election, National released set of proposals that would build on our past success in reducing meth use, and would tackle the meth problem from all angles, addressing both demand and supply.
“We’re calling on the Government to urgently reinstate the Meth Action Plan, and to commit to tackling both supply and demand for methamphetamine in New Zealand.”
National has a plan to tackle meth supply:
- Increase funding for drug intelligence to enable Customs and Police to identify drugs coming into the country.
- Deploy the latest detection technologies at New Zealand’s airports, ports and distribution centres, where the majority of illicit drug shipments are arriving without detection.
- Improve the use of data and artificial intelligence to analyse drug use, criminal networks and patterns of supply so enforcement agencies can better disrupt supply.
- Target criminal gangs, their precursor supply chains and drug distribution networks with additional focus and resourcing for Police.
- Crack down on illegal smuggling of cash and money laundering to prevent domestic gangs and the international syndicates they work with from extracting super profits from meth distribution.
National also has a plan to tackle demand:
- Deploy the Matrix Methamphetamine Treatment Pilot Programme across several District Health Boards to provide direct support to those recovering from methamphetamine use.
- Add 13 detox beds for methamphetamine across New Zealand, ensuring every District Health Board has at least one.
- Ensure at least one methamphetamine specialist per District Health Board is available to assist with in-patient detoxing from methamphetamine.
- Establish a contestable fund of $50 million to pilot new or scaled-up whole-community harm reduction programmes.
- Establish best practices for frontline police to refer meth users to DHBs, Ministry of Social Development, education resources and community-based support.
Reducing the harm meth does requires a two-prong approach to reduce supply and help the uses.
Labour’s policy has led to an increase in supply and created more addicts.
The Government has lived up to its soft-on-crime reputation by pushing pause on its plans to increase police numbers by 1800, National’s Police spokesperson Simeon Brown says.
In 2017, Labour promised to grow the Police’s ranks by 1800 over three years, but it never got close. Instead, it tried to fool the public by claiming its promise never included attrition. Former Police Minister Stuart Nash shifted the goalposts last year, saying the net increase of 1800 officers wouldn’t actually happen until 2021.
Now it’s been revealed that police stopped training because they got ahead of their five-year budget, according to the Police Association. The 1800 target is unlikely to be met until 2023.
“It is disappointing to learn that Police have deferred all upcoming intakes until at least May because it feels there is now ‘less of a need for recruits’,” Mr Brown says.
Less need? That’s not what the crime statistics show.
“There were more than 270,000 victims of crime in the year ending October 2020. I don’t think they would agree there is less need for police officers out on the beat.
A six-month drought of new cops hitting the streets doesn’t make sense when there has been a 13 per cent increase in gang membership over the past year and we have seen an increasing amount of gang and gun violence on our streets, Mr Brown says.
“Many of these promised new police officers were meant to be focussed on organised crime and drugs.
“This is yet another broken promise from the Labour Government, which shows it is not fully committed to stamping out crime and keeping New Zealand’s communities safe.
“National is committed to keeping New Zealanders safe and giving Police the resources they need. We will grow police numbers and increase the allocation of officers to rural areas, including expanding one-person police stations to two-person police stations.”
Remember that Labour not only pledged to increase police numbers, it also wanted to reduce the number of people in prison?
Could it be the delay in increasing police recruits is a cunning plan to reduce the prison population? No, not deliberately but that will be a consequence.
After all if there are fewer police there will almost certainly be more crime that isn’t solved and therefore fewer prisoners.
Let’s not say yes to this request:
Julian Assange’s father has called on New Zealand to offer his son asylum after a UK judge blocked a US extradition attempt today. . .
The mixed ruling found the WikiLeaks founder’s precarious mental health would likely deteriorate further under the conditions of “near total isolation” he would face in a US prison.
Lawyers for the US government said they would appeal the decision, and the US Department of Justice said it would continue to seek Assange’s extradition.
After this development, Assange’s father John Shipton added his name to a letter calling for New Zealand to offer asylum to his son. . .
Even without Covid-19 dangers and restrictions are we under any obligation to let this man have asylum here?
The application to extradite him wasn’t turned down because of the weakness of the case against him but because his precarious mental health would likely deteriorate further under the conditions of “near total isolation” he would face in a US prison.
Could we, and should we accept him in that state and if we did could we give him the help he needs when our mental health system is overloaded?
Our borders are closed.
Should we make an exception for Assange when thousands of New Zealand citizens and permanent residents are having to wait weeks for places in managed isolation; families are in forced separation; people can’t get in to visit terminally ill family and friends or to attend funerals; and lots of other people with far stronger claims than Assange’s aren’t being permitted to come here?
A university or polytech graduation is one of a very few times most people have their achievements celebrated in a ceremony.
It’s not just the short walk across the stage, the hand shake, and, for a first degree, the placing of the trencher on the head of the new graduate.
It’s the total ceremonial package as well as the time spent with friends for what might be the last time in years as people who have spent three or more years together go to further study or work in different places.
Many thousands of students had their graduations cancelled by Covid-19 and this week Otago University and Polytech students have had theirs cancelled for safety reasons.
Otago University cancelled Wednesday’s graduation ceremony after a specific threat:
. . . Police did not reveal the nature of the security threat or its precise timing, but said it related specifically to university graduation ceremonies.
University of Otago vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne said yesterday’s decision to postpone was made quickly after a strong recommendation from police to do so. . . .
Polytech students have had to accept similar disappointment:
Otago Polytechnic said it made the “devastating decision” following advice from police..
Without knowing anything more than there was a threat which police, and the institutions, have taken seriously, it is impossible to know if they have overreacted.
The decisions to cancel wouldn’t have been taken lightly and the search for the culprit will be taken very seriously too.
It must be not just to hold the person or people responsible to account but also to deter anyone else who, for whatever perverted reason, might think doing something similar would be a good idea.
The threat to harm people should the ceremonies have gone ahead is bad enough, the threat to the freedom to do what we want to do, where we want to do it makes it worse.
It is natural to seek to determine who is responsible when an atrocity has occurred and to find someone to blame.
That is not always possible.
The report from the Royal Commission on the Christchurch Mosque murders found several government agencies could have done better but did not point the finger at any individuals.
However, Judith Collins is correct to point out who was responsible:
. . .“The atrocities committed on March 15, 2019 were the actions of an evil terrorist designed to spread fear and silence those who did not share his world view. But the actions of New Zealanders since then in denouncing him and what he stood for is proof that he failed. . .
“The Opposition stands ready to work constructively with the Government to ensure sure we learn from this event and make New Zealand a safer place for all five million of us.
“Ultimately, the person responsible is the one serving a life sentence without parole. But it appears certain systems within Government could have, and should have, performed better.
Brenton Tarrant admitted committing the crimes. We will never know who the individuals in the government agencies were whose work fell short of what should have been required.
But we need to know that the required changes to fix the shortcomings are made.
“In principle, we support strengthening the role of our security and intelligence agencies but we must tread carefully to safeguard New Zealanders’ rights and liberties.
“We cannot end up sacrificing our liberal democracy, otherwise we will end up with the sort of New Zealand this terrorist was trying to create.
Among those rights and liberties are freedom of speech which must be protected.
“It is clear this terrorist should never have had a gun license and we support moves by the police to improve training and firearms licence vetting.
“But more needs to be done to get guns out of the hands of criminals, and National’s proposed Firearms Prohibition Orders are a crucial tool that we need in this fight.
“We have shown that, as a nation, we are not prepared to give into fear, we are not prepared to tolerate extreme hate, and we are not prepared to let anything like the wickedness that took place on March 15 ever happen in New Zealand again.”
No laws can ever make a country and its population 100% safe.
In addressing the shortcomings that enabled the March 15 attacks to happen the government must make sure it doesn’t over react and mistake excessive restrictions for safety.
The Royal Commission report was released yesterday. Another report has yet to be made public:
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins must immediately release the Roche/Simpson review report into our border testing systems, National’s Covid-19 Recovery spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
The Government commissioned this report under urgency in late August after its border testing systems failed spectacularly, and Chris Hipkins told Parliament today a copy of the report was sent to him on 30 September.
“The report should have been released before the election – but as we learned today in Parliament, the Government has simply sat on the report since then. The Minister would not even commit today in Parliament to releasing the report before Christmas,” Mr Bishop says.
“This is simply unacceptable. As the Minister himself said when announcing the report, ‘the Group’s formation represents another key step in our ongoing battle against Covid-19. As has been our approach from the start, we are continuously reviewing our systems and finding ways to improve. That approach will continue’.
“Getting our border response right is critical for the future of this country. With businesses closing down and Kiwis losing their jobs, we can’t afford to waste time not considering this report.”
It was also revealed in Parliament today that the Ministry of Health disagrees with elements of the report.
“The suspicion must be that the Ministry has spent the time since 30 September fighting to stop the report being released and trying to change the findings of the independent panel.
“There is now even more reason for the report to be released without any changes that may be insisted on by the Ministry of Health. The Government appointed these independent reviewers and the public deserves to see their findings.”
The mosque murders were atrocious but another terror attack is a remote possibility. Community transmission of Covid-19 owing to holes in the border is much more likely.
Whether or not the MoH agrees with the report, the review was done by independent people and not only do we have a right to know what their findings are, we need to know so we can be be sure that any issues it highlights are addressed.
While we await the release of the report, we have had an apology:
Parliament’s Speaker Trevor Mallard has apologised for comments he made last year claiming a rapist was working on the premises.
He made the remarks on RNZ shortly after the release of a report which revealed frequent bullying and harassment at Parliament.
Mallard later told reporters a staffer had been stood down and a “threat to the safety of women” removed.
In a statement released today, Mallard said it was “incorrect” of him to give the impression the man had been accused of rape “as that term is defined in the Crimes Act 1961”.
Mallard had provided a personal apology to the man for the “distress and humiliation” caused to the worker and his family, the statement said.
“Both parties consider this matter is now closed and no further comment will be made.” . .
There is no mention of compensation for the worker who lost his job and we’re very unlikely to find out how much he received.
It will have been made by Parliamentary Services which is not subject to Official Information Act requirements.
One report has been released, another has not and we’ll almost certainly never know how much Mallard’s loose lips have cost us. And quelle surprise, his apology was announced when all attention was on the Royal Commission’s report. Given this is an open and transparent government, that would just be an unfortunate coincidence, wouldn’t it?
The Royal Commission into the Christchurch mosque shootings has imposed a 30-year suppression on evidence given by ministers and senior public servants:
The commission’s report, which will be released by the Government on Tuesday, December 8, is expected to detail any failings within government organisations, including police and the spy agencies, in the lead up to the terror attack – including how the terrorist obtained a firearms licence.
Among the widespread suppression rulings made by the commission are the permanent suppression of the police staff involved in granting the Australian-national a firearms licence, including the two people who vouched for the terrorist.
Stuff has previously reported on police’s failure to properly scrutinise the terrorist, wrongly licencing him to purchase the stockpile of semi-automatic guns later used to murder 51 people.
Islamic Women’s Council national coordinator Anjum Rahman was concerned the suppression of evidence given by ministers and chief executives, in particular, might prevent accountability for negligence, wrong-doing, and incompetence. . .
The commissioners decided the evidence provided by Government agency chief executives and current and former Cabinet ministers should be suppressed for 30-years, allowing public release in the future when national security concerns “dissipate”.
“Historians and others will have a legitimate interest in understanding in due course what those officials and former and current ministers had to say to a Royal Commission like ours.” . .
There is a case for suppressing evidence that could be used as a how-to for other would-be killers. But surely all evidence provided by public sector CEOs and cabinet ministers can’t fall into that category.
It’s not just future historians who will have a legitimate interest in understanding what these people said.
Survivors, victims’ families, many of whom may well be dead in three decades, and the wider public have a legitimate interest now.
The 30-year suppression begs the questions: who’s hiding what?
Another question is, what sort of administration error allowed the gunman to get a firearms licence when he shouldn’t have?
The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) wrote a report for the Royal Commission into the attack.
It found the terrorist should never have got the gun licence because he did not have appropriate referees – but police gave it to him anyway. . .
Mahrukh Sarwar and Nour Malak investigated how police let the terrorist get a gun licence that allowed him to buy the weapons he used in last year’s attack.
“If the police had followed their own processes, we are saying they should not have given him the licence,” Sarwar said.
The police forms show one referee must be a spouse, partner, or next-of-kin who normally resides with or is related to you, and the other must be a person who is unrelated to you, over 20 years old, and knows you well.
But the terrorist’s referees were his online gaming friend and the online gaming friend’s father.
The young Muslims say this was an administrative failure by police that had a huge cost. . .
If information that could answer how that happened is suppressed, can we be confident that whatever shortcomings led to it have been fixed so it never happens again?
Brenton Tarrant has been sentenced to life without parole:
Terrorist gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant has accepted his fate and will spend all his remaining years in prison, with no chance of ever being released. …
Justice Mander said he had “listened with sadness” to those who had read their victim impact statements in court during the four-day sentencing hearing. He summarised their views and situations, and referred to kind, forgiving, fine people being killed.
He said he had little doubt Tarrant had come to New Zealand to target the Muslim community. He had travelled in Europe and developed deep-seated views about the “cultural displacement” of Europeans by migrants. . .
“You remain empty of any empathy for the victims. You remain detached and appear entirely self-centred,” Justice Mander said. . .
He rejected the idea of any credit for Tarrant’s guilty pleas, and his claimed change of views. He noted Tarrant remained entirely self-absorbed and had offered no apology or public acknowledgement.
His regret seemed centred on the waste of his own life . . .
Tarrant’s is the face of evil. This week he had to face the victims of his crime.
Many of them forgave him, showing the face of good.
Another horrifying addition to New Zealand’s roll of dishonour:
An Auckland father who admitted bashing his newborn baby repeatedly for the first four months of her life – causing 14 broken bones – has been jailed for more than four years.
People imported indignation, contravening social distancing requirements, to march in protest against a murder, heinous as it was, in the United States a few weeks ago.
There won’t be a march against this and other similar crimes against defenceless children, not that it would do any more good than the Black Lives Matters marches did here.
But worse, nothing more will be done to address the causes of this and other crimes against children which will inevitably add more abusers to that roll of dishonour.
Why don’t babies’ lives matter?
Statement from Commissioner Andrew Coster
It is with a heavy heart that I confirm that one of our colleagues injured in the incident in Massey, West Auckland, today has died.
This is devastating news and absolutely the worst thing for us to deal with. We have lost a colleague and friend in our Police whānau.
Our thoughts are with the officer’s family and loved ones, and with the other officer and member of the public who were injured in the same incident and their loved ones.
From the information we have this was a routine traffic stop and is the type of work our officers do every day to keep the public safe. At this stage there is nothing to indicate that the job was going to be anything out of the ordinary.
At around 10.30am, a police unit has performed a routine traffic stop on Reynella Drive.
The attending officers were shot and a member of the public has also been hit by the vehicle.
The second officer and the member of the public are in hospital where they are being treated for their injuries. The member of the public has minor injuries and the officer has serious injuries.
The alleged offender has fled the scene and enquiries are ongoing to locate them.
While efforts to locate the offender are ongoing staff in Tāmaki Makaurau will be armed.
Our priority is to support our officers and to locate this alleged offender as soon as possible.
This incident points to the real risks our officers face on the streets, doing their jobs, every day.
Staff safety and welfare are our absolute priority and our whole organisation is in a state of shock after these horrific events.
Further information will be released as it becomes available.
This is a tragedy for the officer’s family, friends and colleagues.
Such killings are rare but this is a reminder of the danger police face every day and night.
Very soon after the Christchurch mosque massacres, people started asking how Brenton Tarrant had been able to obtain a gun licence. More than a year later, it’s found he shouldn’t have:
The March 15 terrorist was wrongly granted a firearms licence due to a string of police failures, sources have told Stuff.
The terrorist, who pleaded guilty to New Zealand’s worst mass shooting in March, was not properly inspected by police vetting staff when he applied for a firearms licence in 2017.
Stuff has been told that, among other errors, police failed to interview a family member as required, instead relying on two men who met the terrorist through an internet chatroom.
More than a year on from the March 15 terror attack, police insiders say the error was the product of a long neglected police firearms system that did not have the resources to properly handle applications.
“This was avoidable. If police had addressed some of the issues with administering firearms years ago, this could have been avoided,” a source said. . .
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) highlighted shortcomings in the system in a submission to the Royal Commission into the killings last year:
COLFO chair Michael Dowling said it was clear that the alleged perpetrator should never have been deemed a ‘fit and proper’ person to own the guns and large capacity magazines used in the attack.
“He was able to slip through gaps created by a system chronically stretched by poor resourcing and funding, as well as a lack of expertise and knowledge.” . .
“We don’t know the background checks into Tarrant, but we do know he had travelled to unusual locations internationally, was not a New Zealand resident for long and was not involved with firearms as a hobby.
“Despite this, Tarrant applied for, and received, his firearms licence in 2017.
“This raises serious concerns for vetting procedures and whether the 2010 police vetting guide was adhered to during Tarrant’s licencing process. We understand that his referees had never met him in person, nor did they include a family member.” . .
Not having the resources to handle applications properly might be an excuse for delays, it’s not an excuse for failing to follow the correct procedure and for granting a licence to someone who so obviously didn’t meet the required criteria.
This appalling systems failure led to the death of 51 people and injuries to several more.
It also led to the contentious and expensive gun buy-back scheme that may have done no more than take firearms from innocent people and left more with criminals.
Yesterday we learned that another systems failure led to two people with Covid-19 being grant compassionate leave from managed isolation after arriving from the UK:
Two Kiwi women – one in her 30s and one in her 40s – arrived on June 7 on an Air New Zealand flight from Brisbane, before staying at the Novotel Auckland Ellerslie hotel in managed isolation.
The pair was given special dispensation to leave isolation on June 13 to support grieving family after a parent’s death in Wellington. Officials were adamant the pair travelled in a private car and did not use public facilities during their journey.
Bloomfield confirmed the pair was not tested for Covid-19 before being allowed to leave the Novotel in Auckland, but had complied with the terms of their special dispensation and underwent testing in Wellington.
The women are now in self-isolation in the Hutt Valley.
“The relative died quite quickly, the exemption was granted and the plan was approved,” Bloomfield said.
“Again, I just want to support the efforts that these women have gone to abide by the agreed plan,” Bloomfield said.
But the emergence of the two cases has sparked an immediate change in policy, with the Government temporarily suspending all compassionate exemptions at the border.
It would only be reinstated once the Government had confidence in the system. . .
They have since been located and one is in managed isolation while the other is in an agreed community arrangement, director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed this afternoon.
He did not know how many days their whereabouts were unknown. . .
Speaking to Heather Du-Plessis Allan on Newstalk ZB Tuesday evening, Health Minister David Clark did not seem to know about the runaway pair.
“I’m not aware of the details of that case…I have not had a briefing on that, I will seek a briefing on that.”
Clark said he was disappointed to see that the measures he thought were put in place to prevent another outbreak didn’t appear to be.
“If it is as you described it, then it underscores my request to suspend compassionate exemptions until we ensure that the system is working as intended.” . .
Working as intended?
How hard is it to test people when they arrive and again before they are permitted to leave isolation or quarantine?
No wonder National’s health spokesman Michael Woodhouse is questioning whether the Ministry of Health is following its own protocols:
. . . Both cases recently arrived from the United Kingdom and left managed isolation on compassionate grounds after six days with no Covid-19 test. However compassionate leave to exit managed isolation can only be given after seven days and a negative test according to guidance from the Ministry dated 9 June.
“Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield claimed in the press conference that going forward they will now test on exit in case of compassionate grounds, but the Ministry of Health website said this was already the case and the ministry simply failed to fulfil its own procedures.
“It’s fair to expect there will still be the occasional case of Covid-19 pop up as we recover from the past few months, but we need to be positive that the Government has the appropriate protocols in place to identify and trace these cases so they don’t become a bigger cluster.
“New Zealanders have done the hard yards over recent months in flattening the curve of Covid-19, the Government can’t let this hard work go to waste due to sloppy lapses in procedure.”
Covid-19 spread through New Zealand because our borders weren’t closed soon enough and people who came in were trusted to self-isolate themselves.
When the disease is still rife in so many other countries it is not surprising that people coming in to New Zealand have brought it with them.
But it is sheer incompetence that allowed people to have compassionate leave without being tested and let a couple of teens to run away after a funeral.
Tackling Covid-19 has come at a huge cost. Opening the border is necessary to help with the recovery and for compassionate reasons but it must be done in a way that doesn’t risk the spread of disease here.
The answer isn’t denying compassionate leave to other innocent people, it’s following the necessary protocols to test people, and get the result of the tests, before allowing that leave.
Police and health are two of the basic public services we should all be able to trust and that requires systems we can all have confidence in.
But the serious failures in these cases undermines confidence and raise another very big question: how many other people have been given gun licenses who shouldn’t have and how many others have come through the border and been let out of isolation or quarantine without testing for Covid-19?
The murder of George Floyd was heinous and the protests in his home state and home country are understandable.
To the citizens of most Western countries, the numbers of people killed by the American police are rather surprising, to say the least, but so are the numbers of police killed.
Roughly speaking, a policeman in the United States is about fifty times more likely to be killed than to kill, and this is without taking into consideration that the majority of the killings by the police are at least prima facie justified by self-defense or the interruption or prevention of a serious crime. Let us exclude only half of those killings on these grounds (probably a gross underestimate): This means that a policeman is 100 times more likely to be killed than to kill.
Let us also suppose that the police are killed by black and white in the same proportion as blacks and whites commit homicide in general (again, a generous, that is to say a conservative, assumption). This means that a policeman is about fifteen times more likely to be killed by a black man than to kill a black man, and again this is not to take into account the fact that many of the police killings would be at least prima facie justified.
A black man is about thirty times more likely to be killed by another black man than to be killed by a policeman (and some of the police are themselves black, of course). A white man is only fifteen times more likely to be killed by someone of any race than to be killed by a policeman. Are the police biased against whites? . .
None of this alters the individual responsibility of the policeman who must surely have caused the death of George Floyd. (Would the latter have died anyway, even if not under arrest and treated in the way he was treated?) Nor does it alter the responsibility of the accessories before the fact. But it does cast a strange light on the rioters, and even on the peaceful demonstrators, most of whom seem to have expressed little concern, much less moral outrage, at the much more frequent murder of blacks by other blacks, or at the comparatively high rate of the murder of policemen. (The general homicide rate in the U.S. is about five per 100,000, that of policemen fifteen per 100,000.).
Now, it might be argued that an unjustified killing by an agent of the state is far worse than any other kind of killing, so raw statistics do not apply. I can see that this argument has a certain force. On the other hand, the killing of an agent of law and order also has a special seriousness, for it undermines law and order itself. And egalitarians who uphold the sanctity of (or at least the inalienable right to) human life are ill-placed to claim that one killing is worse than another. . .
Black lives matter, all lives matter.
So why no marches for the persecution of Christians ‘at near genocide levels’?
Why no protests against all sorts of atrocities in many different countries?
Is there something about the USA that makes this crime much, much worse than many others committed in many other countries?
And why are we importing indignation anyway? Don’t we have more than enough to be protesting about here?
Perhaps it’s too soon to be indignant about the unexplained death of a young child in Palmerston North. It might have been the result of illness or accident.
Or it might have been yet another to add to the sorry toll of babies and children maltreated and killed far closer to home than Minneapolis.
Anna Leask wrote of the 61 little names on New Zealand’s roll of dishonour:
A child is killed every five weeks, putting us high on list of world’s worst offenders.
Sixty-one. It’s the number of children who have died as a result of non-accidental injuries in New Zealand in the last 10 years.
Their names are scars on a shameful landscape of child abuse – Chris and Cru Kahui who would have turned 10 today, Nia Glassie, JJ Ruhe-Lawrence, Jyniah Te Awa.
Thirty-one of those young ones were violently assaulted. They were kicked, punched, thrown, stomped or bashed to the point of death.
New Zealand has the fifth worst child abuse record out of 31 OECD countries and on average a child is killed here every five weeks. . .
That was written four years ago. How many more little names have been added to that roll of dishonour since then?
Between 1 January 2019 and 30 November 2019, 11 children and young people have died as a result of homicide in New Zealand.
The Homicide Report
Released 13 May 2019
- Every 8th homicide victim in New Zealand from 2004 to 31 March 2019 was a child
- More than two thirds of the victims were aged 2 or under
- Of the cases where the killer’s relationship to the victim was known, 27% were mothers, 24% were fathers, and 17% were de facto partners.
We don’t need to import indignation, there’s far too much here that ought to be raising anger and sorrow.
So why have the protests in the wake of Floyd’s death spread here?
Is it because it’s far easier to borrow another country’s ire than address the problems in our own?
Or is the murder just an excuse for protests that are really about thinly veiled anti-Americanism?
At the High Court in Christchurch, Brenton Tarrant admitted 51 counts of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one under the Terrorism Suppression Act.
Until today he had denied all of the charges and was scheduled to stand trial in June. The guilty plea means he has become New Zealand’s first convicted terrorist.
The 29-year-old showed no emotion as he appeared via audio visual link in the High Court at around 10am.
No explanation for Tarrant’s change of heart was given during today’s hearing. He has been remanded in custody until May. . .
This will save the taxpayer the cost, courts the time and most importantly the families and friends of those killed the distress of a prolonged defended trial.
The Prime Minister decided she would not say Tarrant’s name. That was a powerful political statement but it does not, and should not, fetter the media.
The names of criminals should be made public unless the court makes a suppression order.
Tarrant has pleaded guilty to the horrific slaughter of innocent people and his name should be associated with his crime.
The government has opted for legalisation of cannabis use rather than decriminalisation in draft legislation for next year’s referendum.
Key points of the proposals are:
- a minimum purchase age of 20
- a ban on marketing and advertising cannabis products
- a requirement to include harm minimisation messaging on cannabis products
- not allowing recreational cannabis to be consumed in public and only in licenced places
- limiting the sale of recreational cannabis to physical stores
- controls on the potency of recreational cannabis being sold
- a state licencing regime for recreational cannabis controlled by the Government
If the legislation passed, anyone aged 20 years or older could grow up to two cannabis plants. If two people aged 20 years or older are part of the same household, the property can have up to four plants. If you grow more than you’re allowed, you could be fined up to $1000. Cannabis must also be grown out of public sight.
People could hold 14 grams of dried cannabis in a public place – the same amount that could be purchased from a licensed store. . .
. . . “They start at 42, go down to 21 and I have seen one at 15. I am not a user, so I’m just going off advice from officials.” . . .
This is basic information the Minister ought to know.
I’m not a user either but I found an unopened packet of dried thyme weighing 15 grams and was able to measure 14 reasonably heaped teaspoons from it.
That seems to be more than would be safe for anyone to smoke or eat in a day, given there are questions whether any amount is safe, although the purchaser won’t necessarily smoke or eat it all in one day.
The proposal is up for consultation, but whether or not changes are made as a result of that, who would win and who would lose if the referendum gets a majority in favour of legalisation, and, given it’s non-binding, the next government passes it?
- People who use cannabis now, including those who smoke an occasional joint the way others might have an occasional alcoholic drink.
- People who want to use it recreationally now but don’t want to break the law.
- Individuals and businesses who grow, process and sell cannabis.
- The black market – the price and THC level in legal cannabis will be regulated providing a market for those wanting something less expensive and more potent.
- Young people who use it and suffer health and development problems as a result. Whatever the legal age for possession and use, younger people will get it.
- Those who develop mental illnesses including psychosis as a result of using cannabis. Psychiatric nurse Peter Hurst writes on the damage cannabis does here.
- The mental health system which will come under more pressure from those suffering from addiction and other ill effects of cannabis use.
- Employers who have to deal with drug users in the workplace.
- Workers who have to put up with fellow workers who are under the influence of drugs.
- Teachers who have to deal with drug users at school (see young people using cannabis above).
- Police who still have to deal with the black market.
- Emergency services who have to deal with the consequences of drug-driving.
Would the wins out weight the losses?
I don’t think so.
The Department of Conservation’s budget includes nearly $11m to protect its staff from anti-1080 activists.
Last week’s Budget allocated $10.7m to DOC over four years, explicitly for security purposes.
Since the start of this year there have been 23 cases involving dangerous and illegal behaviour towards Department of Conservation staff.
DOC security manager Nic John said threats had moved from online and social media to physical attacks, threats to shoot down helicopters, vandalism, thefts and vehicles being tampered with.
“One was an incident where there was an axe presented and in that case that individual was convicted of assault and threats,” he said.
Mr John said three DOC staff had been assaulted this year, including one who was hit with a quad bike, but was fortunately okay.
“Very concerning for them though – you can imagine that they’re out, quite isolated, working by themselves often and to have somebody take that course of action against them, leaves them very, very vulnerable and often quite shaken,” she said.
The Budget funding allows for $4.1m for a permanent security team, $5m to improve health and safety systems and staffing levels, and $1.6m to improve physical security at DOC sites. . .
Any protests which require this level of security cross the line from legitimate protest to crime.
These activists are not only endangering DoC staff, they are diverting money from conservation into crime fighting and they are disregarding the science on pest control.
Alternatives to 1080 like trapping and shooting can be and are used where possible. But there are huge swathes of bushland where neither are practical and the only weapon against the introduced species that prey on native flora and fauna is 1080.
Westland Milk’s biggest shareholders — investment fund Southern Pastures and the state-owned Landcorp — are biding their time over Yili’s takeover offer.
Hokitika-based Westland said this week that it had signed a conditional agreement for the sale of the co-op, which will see the Chinese dairy giant pay farmer-suppliers $3.41 a share.
Westland will seek shareholder approval for the proposed transaction at a special shareholder meeting, expected to be held in early July.
Southern Pastures, which has former All Black Graeme Mourie as one of its principals, owns 5.5 per cent of the co-op, which would be worth $13.6 million under the offer. . .
Cattle on 150 farms have been checked against national animal tracing records as part of efforts to wipe out the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis but just one property passed muster.
Dr Alix Barclay, the Ministry for Primary Industries’ intelligence manager for the M. bovis response, said only one property had achieved a 100 per cent match with its National Animal Identification and Tracing (Nait) account.
The disappointing result highlighted the importance of making changes to the system, Barclay said. . .
Hayward family cultivate success in South Canterbury by seizing the day – Samesh Mohanlall:
Farming operations flourish on hard work, seizing the chances that come your way and having people that are trustworthy around, the family of a successful South Canterbury venture say.
Geoff Hayward and his wife Joy, who own and lease 1700 hectares of land for their sheep, beef and cropping operation across the Timaru district, told about 50 visitors to their Mt Horrible farm from the Beef + Lamb annual meeting on Thursday, that the key to their expansion is taking opportunities that come their way. . .
They may be tiny, slimy and reclusive, but the Canterbury mudfish are well worth protecting.
Kōwaro, as they’re named in te reo Māori, are a treasured species for local iwi Ngāi Tahu and having more of them around helps protect other freshwater natives such as kōura (crayfish) and kākahi (mussels).
Unfortunately, they’re also rare and endangered.
Fonterra is providing funding to Environment Canterbury to help them implement innovative technology in what is the first project of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. . .
A2 names China CEO – Gavin Evans:
(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co has appointed Li Xiao as chief executive of its greater China operations.
Li was previously president of the Kids Entertainment Division of Wanda Group, a Chinese multinational which owns the Hoyts cinema group. He starts in the A2 Milk role at the end of April, based in Shanghai, and will join A2’s senior leadership team. He will report to the firm’s Asia-Pacific chief executive Peter Nathan and managing director Jayne Hrdlicka. . .
(BusinessDesk) – Farmers and investors will need to be patient with Fonterra Cooperative Group’s overhaul of its business, which sometime-critic First NZ Capital analyst Arie Dekker says is moving in the right direction.
The cooperative’s board is working through a review of the business which has seen several assets put on the market to help cut the milk processor’s debt levels, and has signalled more divestments are coming. . .
In a Rural Delivery television programme last year Prof Steve Wratten of Lincoln University described Miscanthus as a “magic plant”. Although there was a degree of poetic licence in that statement, it is very understandable why he described Miscanthus in that way. But there are no magicians involved. Miscanthus is a truly remarkable plant that has so many advantages and options for commercial use that people who hear about it tend to think “This is too good to be true!”.
So they ignore it. The phenomenal success of Miscanthus therefore actually detracts from securing serious interest in both growing and using it. Contrary to people’s initial reaction, what seems like hype, is in fact true. . .
Activist trespassers are making a joke of our legal system – carrying out brazen invasions of private farms and walking away with a slap on the wrist, only to reoffend. It’s time for governments to act.
In recent months we’ve witnessed a spate of farm invasions by activists who think their opinions place them above the law.
These farm intruders are entering private premises, often in the dead of night, often while streaming live on the internet – all just a stones’ throw from where farmers and their families are sleeping.
Police and the court system have proven powerless to help, with those caught walking away with fines equivalent to a parking ticket. . .
Livestock rustlers could spend up to seven years in prison when new penalties are imposed but a Northland farming official says police need more resources to investigate and take rural crimes more seriously.
The Crimes Amendment Bill, which was passed unanimously by Parliament on Tuesday, makes theft of livestock or any other animal, including beehives and farm dogs, an offence liable for up to seven years in prison.
Also passed was the offence of unlawful entry on agricultural land with the intent to steal livestock or to act unlawfully against specified things such as buildings or machinery on that land — a crime which could see the offender put behind bars for up to a decade.
It makes it the same penalty as for burglary. . .
Water restrictions in Nelson continue to tighten as the region continues its long dry period into the beginning of Autumn.
Nelson’s Maitai Dam, which supplies the city with drinking water, has seen its water levels drop significantly during that time.
Nelson City Council infrastructure group manager Alec Louverdis said the dam was currently 71 per cent full. . .
Nine influential Kiwi women from across the primary industries sector are gathering in Manawatu next week to discuss where-to-next for our food producing nation. They’re coming together as part of the ASB Perspective 2025 round-table discussion, which is a headline event at this year’s New Zealand AgriFood Week in Palmerston North.
It’s the fourth year ASB has been the main sponsor of New Zealand AgriFood Week, which is delivered by the Central Economic Development Agency, and its unique perspective panel is considered a must attend event at the Globe Theatre in Palmerston North. . .
Commercial beekeepers have voted not to support the introduction of a honey levy with only 23.56% voting for the introduction of a commodity levy.
Commenting on the result Bruce Wills, Chair of Apiculture NZ, the industry organisation which led the commodity levy proposal says: “It’s no secret that this is not the outcome I, or the Board, wanted to see. I believe it will set back the development of the honey industry, but I understand that at present commercial beekeepers are hurting with the erosion in honey prices as a result of over-supply, for all floral types other than mānuka honey.” . .
Bids for Fonterra’s Tip Top due in by Monday – Jenny Ruth:
(BusinessDesk) – Indicative bids to buy Tip Top ice-cream from Fonterra Cooperative Group are due in by Monday, according to the Australian Financial Review which says it has seen a copy of the confidential information memorandum.
Its Street Talk column says the business is being pitched by First NZ Capital as a “unique opportunity to invest in an iconic New Zealand company with 80 years of heritage.”
While the memorandum talks about Tip Top’s “unrivalled market position,” it also notes that Unilever, which has the rights to Magnum ice-cream and a host of dairy free products, dominates the premium end of the market where the fat margins are. . .
Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell has confirmed Judith Swales to the role of Chief Operating Officer, Global Consumer and Foodservice. This follows her appointment to the role in an acting capacity earlier this year.
Miles Hurrell says “Judith has been providing strong leadership into our Consumer and Foodservice business unit, and the momentum she has gathered deserves to be continued.” . .
Diversified agribusiness Scales Corporation Limited today announced an agreement to enter into a petfood Joint Venture (JV) with Alliance Group Limited (Alliance). Under the terms of the JV, Alliance will pay $15 million to acquire a 50% interest in Meateor’s New Zealand business and operations.
Managing Director Andy Borland says: “We are pleased to enter into a partnership with one of New Zealand’s leading farmer co-operatives. This venture is about developing New Zealand as the premier supplier of petfood proteins. We think the venture provides a number of benefits to the entire New Zealand petfood-supply industry including as an avenue for the industry to improve scale; improved relationships with customers including the ability to commit to longer-term relationships; an ability to move into higher value and added value ingredients; and ability to leverage extended customer and supplier networks.” . .
Book charts history of Young Farmer contest – Sally Rae:
For 50 years, the Young Farmer of the Year contest has been part of the fabric of New Zealand’s rural sector.
Dubbed “the challenge second only to the land”, it tests the knowledge and skills of the country’s young farmers.
To mark the milestone, Hawke’s Bay writer Kate Taylor has recorded the contest’s history in 50 Years Young — A History of the Young Farmer of the Year.
But it is more than just a comprehensive history; it contains interviews with various winners, finalists and organisers, and is peppered with interesting and amusing anecdotes. . .
Farmer shocked heifers missing – Hamish MacLean:
A North Otago dairy farmer says he is in a state of disbelief after realising 60 rising 2-year Friesian heifers had been taken from his farm.
Russell Hurst, of Awamoko, said the animals, taken between the week before Christmas and New Year’s Day, could be worth $100,000.
He and his staff went ”around and round the farm in circles” double-checking the mobs on the 2500ha farm to make sure the animals had been stolen.
”It’s just disbelief, really,” Mr Hurst said. . .
Restrictions loom for river irrigators in Marlborough – Matt Brown:
New Zealand’s largest wine region could soon be facing water restrictions as record-high temperatures affect rivers.
The Rai, Waihopai and Wairau Rivers’ minimum flow rates were rapidly being approached and surface water “takes” were expected to be halted by the end of next week.
Marlborough District Council hydrologist Val Wadsworth said it was trying to “forward forecast” on the current rate of flow decline, but it was difficult to be concise. . .
Pioneer works with maize insurer – Richard Rennie:
The country’s largest maize seed supplier is working with an insurance company to settle losses incurred after seed treatment failure in some hybrid varieties this season.
Early in the maize planting season late last year a number of growers in Waikato and Northland reported stunted crops post-germination, prompting some to replant crops before mid December.
Pioneer’s investigation team head Raewyn Densley said a number of growers have . .
Taranaki honeymoon: whacking possums – Jamie Morton:
Forget Paris: for one newlywed couple, there’s no better honeymoon than killing possums in Taranaki.
Fresh from their wedding, Andrea and Max Hoegh are working at the frontline of New Zealand’s first large-scale possum eradication operation.
The biggest pest-busting project of its kind in the country, Towards Predator-Free Taranaki divided the region into pizza-slice sections around the mountain, with work kicking off in the New Plymouth area. . .
Your dinner’s in the lab – the future of ‘cell-based’ meat – Gwynne Dyer:
“Right now, growing cells as meat instead of animals is a very expensive process,” says Yaakov Nahmias, founder and chief scientist of Israel-based startup Future Meat Technologies. But it will get cheaper, and it probably will be needed.
The global population is heading for 10 billion by 2050, from the current 7.7b. Average global incomes will triple in the same period, enabling more people to eat meat-rich diets. . .