NZ News from Anythingforyou.co.nz -Oct/Nov 07
19 Nov 2007
Hello and welcome to the October /November edition of NZ News.
Christmas, it’s everywhere you go and believe it or not it’s only 5 weeks away! That means if you want some goodies from home for the big day, or gifts for your friends and family back here you need to start thinking about getting your orders in.
The NZ post recommended final posting dates for Airmail delivery are 8/12/07 for Australia and 1/12/07 for the rest of the world. We will be sending items within NZ right up to the 21/12 by courier but NZ post cuts off on the 19/12. We do recommend ordering sooner rather than later though as we always find a little more time gives everything the best chance of arriving on time.
We have just added our ever popular Christmas basket range to the site if you’re looking for something quick, easy and tasty for the family back home. We also want to remind you that beyond the products on the site we have access to literally thousands of other items (particularly books, CDs and DVDs) so if you want something we don’t seem to have just make a request.
The big news this month has been all about home grown terrorists and how exactly NZ should be dealing with the threat from within? There has also been a bit of juicy political news with yet another Labour minister disgracing himself and some big business news as NZ’s largest company looks to re-structure for the future. As always we have tried to bring you all the big stories making an impact on the country and its people over the last month so you can keep in touch with the big news at home.
Owner –Anything for you ltd
TERRORISM DEBATE RAGES ON
NZ’s own home grown terrorists “the Urewera 16” will not face terrorism charges for their actions after the Solicitor-General David Collis declared the NZ Suppression of Terrorism Act unworkable.
Mr Collins has said that the complexity and deficiencies of the act -passed soon after September 11 meant it would be virtually impossible to bring successful charges against the group in custody. The key problem seemed to revolve around the Act’s focus on a “terrorist entity” and the legal definition of an “entity” particularly when it has planned but not yet committed a terrorist act. He has referred the Act back to parliament and Michael Cullen has given it to the law commission so it can be rewritten in a more applicable format.
Mr Collins did however praise the police for bringing a peaceful end to the disturbing activities of the group, who will now face only firearms charges. Unfortunately for the police and the public of NZ his decision means the hundreds of page of evidence and many hours of surveillance footage collected under warrants based on the Act will now not be admissible in court.
There has been a huge amount of debate about whether the police action while rounding up the suspects, particularly the cordoning and searching of the village of Ruatoki, was too aggressive. This has resulted in protests around the country from Maori groups concerned that the terrorist laws were being used as an excuse to discriminate against them. A lot of rhetoric has come out in the media from the Maori party, Tuhoe and other activist groups saying the police totally overreacted and trampled the rights of the locals with no justification. This has been a hard position for the police to answer with all of their evidence (justification) being suppressed by the courts.
In the wake of this debate and the public demand to know what really happened the Dominion post has taken the unprecedented step of publishing details of the secret police evidence. The details were obtained from a submission to the Manukau District court for search warrants used in the coordinated raids. The evidence details taped conversations and text messages between suspects that cover aspects ranging from using IRA and Al Qaeda training manuals to assassinating political figures in New Zealand. The affidavit also contains descriptions of video evidence detailing live fire training on killing police, urban warfare, vehicle ambushes, bomb and fire attacks and a conversation about Tuhoe “going to war for the Ureweras”.
The release of this information has added a further layer of controversy to the whole situation. Police are now investigating whether the Dom Post has broken the law with it’s publishing of the details. The Dom Post say they haven’t as the report did not name or attribute any actions or comments to any individual. The lawyers of the accused however say the release has tainted their client’s chances of a fair trial and are calling for all charges to be dropped.
This is a landmark NZ case that is far from being over and will no doubt continue to make headlines for many months to come.
FONTERRA PITCH FOR FLOAT
NZ Dairy Giant Fonterra has unveiled a plan to move from a co-op into at least a partially publicly listed company.
The business, which is cash hungry for developing lucrative overseas markets, have presented a detailed plan and programme for decisions to its 11,000 co-op members.
The plan is for the company to move it’s business operations into a second company which would be 65% owned by the co-op and 15% by farmers as individual shareholders, leaving 20% to be offered to the general public. The constitution would mean no individual could own more than 10% and would protect the company from foreign control or takeover bids.
The co-op have entered into a two year consultation period where farmers will have the time to review the options presented as part of the overall plan, culminating in a final vote by all members on whether to accept the new company structure. This vote will require a 75% majority for the plan to go ahead.
Fonterra, who are now the world’s fifth biggest dairy company, believe that with a public cash injection they will be able to expand their international operations to become one of the top dairy companies worldwide.
It’s been all swings and roundabouts in parliament this month as Labour took some ground back in the polls after it began serious campaigning on giving Tax cuts! That’s right, both Cullen and Clark have gone on record promising that there will be personal tax cuts soon from Labour. If you believe the party line, Labour have now been informed by the Treasury that the good times will continue and given this info they are now happy to hand out personal tax cuts they previously labelled as “irresponsible and potentially damaging”. Cullen even went as far as openly blaming his officials for giving them the wrong advice over the past eight years, inferring Labour has always wanted to give tax cuts but just didn’t think they had the cash!
It’s working though and the latest polls show Labour gaining some ground over the last month up 4% to 40%. National has dropped 5% to remain in a slender lead at 45%. The Greens remain the only other party who can muster the 5% needed to get in without winning an electorate seat. In the preferred Prime Minister stakes it’s more good news for Labour, with Helen Clark taking back a slim lead from John Key at 38% to his 36%. Despite the latest polls being positive it hasn’t been the best month for Labour with yet another minister disgracing himself.
The Minister in question this time was Trevor Mallard, who punched Tau Henare outside the house after Tau allegedly mentioned his new partner’s name in a debate. The public outing of recently separated Mallard was the exact reversal of Mr Mallards outing of Don Brash in the house last year over his alleged affair, though no punches were thrown on that occasion.
In what is sure to be a decision that will come back to haunt Labour come the election, Helen did not sack Mallard, choosing instead to just take away a few favoured portfolios during the scheduled Cabinet reshuffle. The punishment (equivalent to a slap with a wet bus ticket) has caused a fair amount of outrage, given the government is currently spending NZ$14Million on a nationwide anti-violence campaign. Unfortunately for Mallard one Wellington accountant was feeling less charitable than his boss and has filed private criminal charges against the Minister for common assault. The case will be called on December 3rd and it will be very interesting to see how a judge deals with the issue.
Also looking to upset the Labour apple cart in the coming weeks is their proposed new “Electoral Finance Bill”. The Bill seeks to control who can advertise, where, what they can say and how much they can spend during an election year. It’s Labours response to the Brethren campaign and last elections spending debacle that just about bankrupted the party when it had to pay back the pledge card money. The strongly “pro-seated government” bill has seen public outrage which has included groups as influential as the NZ Human Rights Commission and marches are being staged all week against what is being described as a direct attack on freedom of speech in NZ.
The bill, which is currently in the select committee stage, is said to be highly loaded towards Labour, restricting the rights of anyone outside government to campaign while freeing up government departments to spend as much public money as they like “informing people of current government policies”.
The bill is due back in the house soon and it is expected to be significantly different in form after the current outcry. However it comes back, it will no doubt prove to be another negative headline grabber if Labour chooses to try and push it through on their slim majority.
COMPETITION SET TO TAKE OFF WITH PACFIC BLUE
Virgin owned Pacific Blue began their fist domestic flights this month in a move expected to see a major shake up of the domestic air travel market in NZ.
The budget airline will initially only fly between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch but has already forced changes from incumbents Air NZ and Qantas. The budget airline pre-sold more than 150,000 tickets before its first flight took to the skies and have promised they will not sell fares of over $99 for the first six months of their operations. Prices have already come down across the board for the three destinations and Qantas have re-introduced a Wellington to Christchurch service which they had earlier cut leaving no competition on that route at all.
The airline say they plan to become a major player in the NZ market and intend to bring in more services as their reputation is established. They feel there is room to expand the general aviation market in NZ by up to 25%, purely by bringing prices within the reach of more New Zealanders.
NZ ‘LAND SHARKS’ FACE EXTINCTION
NZ is set for a sea change in the real estate industry as the government steps in with new regulations to put an end to the industry’s “cowboy’s and old boys network” image.
Associate Justice Minister Clayton Cosgrove announced the new regulations which will see the Real Estate Institute stripped of its regulatory powers and a new independent industry authority set up. The new authority will have much stronger powers including the ability to cancel rouge agents licences, completely ban individuals from working in the industry and hand out penalties of up to $30,000. It will also maintain a public register of all licensed agents and play a role in public education on the industry and continuing professional development for agents.
The action has come to reassure the public after a string of public outcries over the dodgy dealing of so called “land sharks” and the existing Institutes’ unwillingness to do anything about these wayward members.
Bum fluff gets Bums rush
Private school Scots College has been publicly shamed this month after telling a student he could not sit his final exams if he didn’t shave of his valiant attempt at a fundraising moustache.
“Mo–vember” is in full swing in NZ currently with plenty of game blokes sporting the magnum PI classic or even the big bad handle bar to help raise awareness and money for the prostate cancer foundation. Unfortunately for one “top” Scots college student he’s been forced to “shave for his future”.
Despite the NZ secondary principals association calling for a commonsense resolution the schools unrelenting (and unfunny) principal said the moustache “contravened the schools standards and appearance guidelines” and the student could not sit his final exams on school premises unless he shaved.
Luke Slattery the founder of Movember, said the schools stance was very disappointing given the teen really deserved praise rather than punishment for doing his bit to support an important men’s charity.
SPORT: Warning –the following may depress you
They one upped the All Blacks by actually making the finals but unfortunately the seemingly shaky Silver Ferns just didn’t have what it took to retain the world championship against a fully firing Aussie team. It hadn’t looked good for the Kiwis heading into the big match, after they struggled to make the final against the Jamaicans in the semis. The Ferns put up a good fight but eventually went down 42-38 to the delighted Aussies who were piped by NZ in the last world finals.
The Kiwis finally managed to not lose a match beating out France in the last game of their European tour 22-16. In what has been a terrible “celebration” of NZ’s 100 years of rugby league the team have suffered record breaking losses, first to the Aussies then the British in a 3-0 series white wash. Serious questions are being asked about the futures of new coach Gary Kemble and the NZRL board who put him in place as rumours fly that major sponsors may leave after the humiliating run of form.
After the very disappointing results of this years world cup the NZ rugby union have finally announced that the head coaching role of the All Blacks will be “contestable”. Incumbent coach Graeme Henry said after the announcement that he will need some time to consider if he will reapply for the top job. The current public favourite Robbie Deans was less shy quickly stating he would be applying and is “available, interested and keen”
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