Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Pride of the Hutt Valley - and the Melbourne Storm...

The Pride of the Hutt Valley - and the Melbourne Storm NRL club...

By Peter Petterson

First published at Qondio:

The photographs attached are of my 15 year old grandson, Pride Petterson - Robati, from the Hutt Valley in Wellington, New Zealand. who has been signed up for a six year contract with the Melbourne Storm NRL professional rugby league club in Melbourne, part of the Australian National Rugby League competition.

The talented rugby league player has had a great season locally. His Upper Hutt Tigers club Under 15 side won their competition. His Wellington Orcas U15 rep side finished second in the national competition. He was top try scorer and points scorer. Once this competition was completed, he was called into his Upper Hutt College school team for the play-offs of the Wellington Secondary Schools competition. They won the final for the third successive year.

Last year Pride competed in school athletic events, being placed in the Wellington representative shot put and javelin finals. He was awarded the Top Sportsmen of the Year award at Upper Hutt College, and was a member of the champion rugby league team as well, at the age of 14 years. He was discovered by the Melbourne Storm at a bootcamp trial in Lower Hutt late in 2009.
He has competed at the provincial level in rugby league for many years. He was also nominated in the NZ Merit Team this year. This is a non-playing side to recognise those players not eligible for The New Zealand Junior Kiwis rugby league team.

Pride is a very modest young man who is a dedicated player and trainer. His fitness is unparalled by other players of his age grade. His manager described him as the best player of his age in New Zealand. Obviously the Melbourne Storm thinks so very highly of him to contract him for so many years - an investment for the future. He is a tall, powerfully built, extremely fit young footballer of huge potential.

Playing football is only half of the deal; young players also have to prepare for life after football. The Melbourne Storm will finance Pride through one of the top schools in Melbourne during 2011, to do an accountancy course. He actually did well at school back in New Zealand during 2010.
He will live with a local family, will be paid living expences and an allowance in future dependant on his age and playing grade. He will be flown back to his family regularly. He is at present on holiday leave with the club - returning to Melbourne on Jan 10 2011.

Barring injuries and unexpected circumstances, this young man should be ready for the top level in about five years. We all wish him luck. The Pride of his family, his friends his football club and his country. He is and will for ever remain our little Pride. Good luck!

Contributor's NoteWe are extremely proud of this young man with such huge potential.
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Friday, December 10, 2010

RSA under fire for its poppy deal - Anzac Day will never be the same...

New Zealand RSA under fire for its foreign poppy deal - Anzac Day will never be the same...

RSA Under Fire For Foreign Poppy Deal
 The RSA is facing a backlash over its decision to import poppies rather than have them made in Christchurch, with many people threatening to boycott the poppies.
RSA New Zealand announced yesterday the Australian company Cash's had out-bid the Christchurch RSA to win the 2012 contract, and as a result the poppies would be made in Australia from parts manufactured in China, saving about $150,000.
Christchurch RSA has held the contract since 1931 and employed between 20-30 intellectually handicapped people from Kilmarnock Enterprises to assemble the poppies.

RSA chief executive Stephen Clarke said the $150,000 saving meant more money for its veterans and welfare work.

"That will be a cost saving to every local RSA because they're actually the ones purchasing direct from the wholesaler."

The poppy appeal raised $2 million nationally this year but many people commenting on the story online said they would not be buying the new poppies.

Christine Kay wrote it was "shameful" to take the work from intellectually handicapped people.
"I won't be buying one next year," she wrote.

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) weighed in on the debate, saying the loss of the poppy contract was similar to having six new electric locomotives imported, rather than made here in either Lower Hutt or Dunedin.

RMTU general secretary Wayne Butson said that the loss of a contract for Anzac Poppies to Australia and China was sad news for Christchurch.

"Manufacturing is still a significant part of the economy, and is the third largest employing industry in New Zealand. But on price alone New Zealand cannot compete with low-wage economies overseas, and we need a serious plan to support domestic manufacturing and local jobs," he said.

Mr Butson questioned how the country could retain any form of manufacturing base when even government purchasing did not support local manufacturing.

Christchurch RSA president Russ Barron told the Press the national body's decision was disgusting.
"The New Zealand poppy is an icon, manufactured in New Zealand for New Zealanders."

Acknowledgements: NZPA


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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

National will end lifetime state housing in NZ...

Lifetime state housing tenancies to end under National...

The Government is ending life-time tenancy agreements for Housing New Zealand tenants, and from July all new tenants will have reviewable tenancies.
The decision is part of the Government's response to recommendations to address the country's housing shortage about to be released by the Minister of Housing, Phil Heatley.
The Housing Shareholders Advisory Group made 19 recommendations to the Government in August to help cut the 10,000 people on Housing New Zealand's waiting list and address the 70,000 house shortage the country faces.
Mr Heatley said all new tenancy agreements with Housing New Zealand will be reviewable from July, and the 69,000 existing tenants will have their tenancies assessed, but that work is unlikely to start before the next election.
He assured tenants who have health issues or are older that they had nothing to worry about, but said those who have significantly improved their circumstances will have to make way for the more needy.
Mr Heatley says the Government is looking at providing land, capital or houses to community organisations to boost the participation of third parties in social housing.
He says the Government is also going to stop Housing New Zealand and the Department of Building and Housing duplicating each other's work, and cannot rule out job losses.
Labour's housing spokesperson, Moana Mackey, says forcing tenants from their state homes will not the housing shortage and more must be built.
Ms Mackey says state houses overwhelmingly go to the most needy people, and Housing New Zealand already move on tenants who no longer need their state homes.
KR says:
Because the National government during the 1990's sold 14,000 housing units there is a real need for state houses now - there is a waiting list. Where would existing state tenants go if the present National Government forces them out? The National government needs to expand its housing stock to make up for the shortfall, including those few houses being sold now. The State in NZ could never get out of housing - the private sector could never manage housing for lower income New Zealanders.
The Government needs to make it easier for young families to get their own houses - lower deposits and repayments are necessary. That has prevented earlier generations from buying their own homes.
The next Labour Government will be bound to reverse this policy in its own Housing policies. More houses must be built to house lower income New Zealanders - end of story!
Acknowledgements:© 2010, Radio New Zealand

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Row over Gag machine running costs at Pike River mine...

GREYMOUTH, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 30: A drilli...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Row brews over Pike River costs

The GAG machine used to extinguish the Pike River mine fire is costing thousands a day and who will pay is becoming an issue

A row is erupting over who should pay to run the GAG machine being used to extinguish the fire in the Pike River mine.

Flames can no longer be seen coming from the vent shaft but police say that doesn't mean the fire inside the mine is out.

Reporter Robyn Janes understands the GAG machine which is being used to pump carbon dioxide into the mine to starve the flames of oxygen, is costing $10,000 an hour to run and it is unclear whether the bill is being paid for by Pike River Coal or the police. Pike River CEO Peter Whittall has said he hasn't had that discussion yet, while some of the local politicians on the West Coast believe the police shouldn't be footing the bill.

The total cost is estimated to be at around the one million dollar mark so far however, Ms Janes says similar operations overseas have cost millions more. 

The company surely?
Acknowledgements: © 2010 NZCity, NewsTalkZB
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Gag unit continues to smother fire at Pike River mine.

GREYMOUTH, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 30: Mine res...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

A converted jet engine being used to smother the fire in the Pike River coal mine, continues to operate.
The 'gag' unit has been running since Wednesday night, pumping carbon dioxide into the mine to cool it and neutralise the gases inside.
It has only been shut down from time to time for essential maintenance.
A mine scientist David Cliff from the University of Queensland, says it will take a great deal more of the cooling gas to put out the fire.
Dr Cliff says it will likely be weeks before a recovery team can enter the mine.

Acknowledgements: Radio NZ

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Monday, November 22, 2010

A big thank you to those who have made donations to the Canterbury earthquake fund...

Robin WilliamsCover of Robin WilliamsAmerican actor and comedian Robin Williams mixed comic relief with earthquake relief at his recent show in Christchurch, New Zealand recently.

And Williams announced that all proceeds from his recent stand-up comedy performance at the C B S Canterbury Arena would go to earthquake rebuilding projects.

The money is to be shared between the Canterbury quake fund administered by the Red Cross and the Christchurch City Council's mayoral building fund.

He said it was devastating what happened in Christchurch, but from what he learned, the people there are incredibly resilient. The first quake of 7.1 magnitude would have been traumatic enough, but he understood that since then, the people of Christchurch have experienced close to 3000 aftershocks. The quake and aftershocks were an "unmanageable trauma".

Robin Williams hoped his donation would go some way to help the rebuilding effort in the city. Red Cross national marketing manager, Paul Socringe , said Williams donation was wonderful news.

The earthquake fund had now reached about $19.4 million dollars, of which $4.4 million had already been paid out. Applications for another $2.5 million had also been received.

A group of Kiwis working in London had raised $15,000 towards the earthquake fund too.

Donations had peaked, aside from the Robin Williams show, Band together CD sales and corporate grants.

Mr Socringe said they wanted to communicate thank-you messagas to all concerned to the rest of NZ on behalf of Canterbury, and to Canterbury for the generosity that has come through. He said it was quite amazing.

As a Canterbury boy myself, despite being away for forty odd years, I don't find it unusual at all. I would like to thank everybody who has made donations as well. There is a huge task to rebuild Christchurch and surrounding districts - the face of the city will never be the same.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wild Kiwifruit should be eradicated in NZ...

Orchard in full bloom, Fruita, Utah, USA. Frui...Image via WikipediaForest and Bird is calling for the eradication of wild kiwifruit vines in Bay of Plenty following an outbreak of the devastating PSA disease.

Thirteen Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchards have been confirmed with the bacteria PSA, with 16 orchards quarantined
Forest and Bird Kaimai Mamaku Campaign chairman Peter Maddison said wild kiwifruit vines could harbour the bacteria and should be destroyed.

"Now is an ideal opportunity to eradicate these vines and reinstate the areas as native wildlife corridors," he said.

"We recognise that the wilding kiwifruit are mainly the green variety, rather than the initially infected gold variety, but we believe the wild vines could still act as reservoirs for re-infestation of kiwifruit orchards."
Dr Maddison said other species of the kiwifruit family should also be checked for signs of PSA.

Acknowledgements: - NZPA
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

A revue of Spies and Lies on New Zealand television...

Auckland Harbour Bridge. The harbour bridge fr...Image via WikipediaFilm Revue: NZ television play.Spies and Lies TV One, Sunday November 14 2010, 8-30pm

Antony Starr is in no danger of being pigeon-holed as a Westie (An Auckland term for somebody from the west of Auckland) judging by his his performance in Spies and Lies. Based on a true story from 1942, and largely adapted from the book The Plot to Subvert Wartime in New Zealand, Spies and Lies tells the tale of Syd Ross. Released from prison, Ross finds himself in front of the Prime Minister, Peter Fraser, telling him a story about a Nazi plot to take over New Zealand.
Taking these allegations seriously, Ross is given a new identity and life (complete with money from the government) in Rotorua and is told to gather evidence about the Nazi plot. Ross' Hoax was such an embarassment for the New Zealand government there was little documentation about it. Starr proves why he's a common contender for acting accolades, and along with another Outrageous Fortune ( a popular television soap in recent years) star, Antonia Prebble, and a cast of competent and well-weathered actors, Spies and Lies is a piece of New Zealand television not to miss.
Sunday Star-Times, November, 14 2010.
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

We are definately poorer for it...

Flavoured milk on a supermarket shelf. I took ...Image via Wikipedia

By Peter Petterson

First published at Qondio:

It is probably now cheaper to get a meal of KFC chicken for your family than it is to buy some average quality sheep and beef meat cuts down here in New Zealand.

It is also cheaper to buy coca cola and other softdrinks(soda in nth America) than fresh milk - a food in itself.
Somebody on a radio talk back show today said that even beer is cheaper than milk at present

What an indictment of a society that once provided milk in schools and subsidised milk sales as well back in the good old days.

We once had a local garment and footwear industry that manufactured clothes and shoes of a good quality and employed thousands of New Zealanders - now everything is of a poorer quality and originates from China or some other asian countries
We are definately poorer for it. Not a third world country, but not a first world one either. lets just say 'second class'.
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

NZ company fined for discharging dairy effluent...

The Environment Canterbury logoImage via Wikipedia
Rangiora company, Cresslands Farms Ltd, has been fined $7000 after pleading guilty to discharging dairy shed effluent which may have entered groundwater.

Regional council, Environment Canterbury, prosecuted the company in the Environment Court this week after an inspection showed that effluent sprayed onto saturated ground collected in a hollow before entering a drain, where sampling showed contaminants.

The council said it was worried about the contamination of the surface water leaching through to groundwater.
A Cresslands executive told the court that he had failed to consider the ground conditions and had not realised the paddock was as wet as it was.

Judge Jane Borthwick said at the hearing in the Christchurch District Court that the company's action was a careless error of judgement as it had an alternative means of disposal when its storage ponds were not available or irrigation was not possible.

She ordered the company to pay court costs of $130, and 90 per cent of the $7000 fine was paid to the regional council.

Acknowledgements: - NZPA
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

The haka is still relevant to NZ rugby...

  • The haka is still relevant to NZ rugby...

    British rugby writer Stephen Jones' dig at the haka has sparked a strong response from NZ Herald readers.
    In his column for the Sunday Times, Jones said that the All Blacks have turned the haka into a ridiculous bout of pre-game posturing that has no place in rugby today.
    On our Facebook page, Leanne Hutson said: "I'm a pom and I love watching the Haka. I don't think you would find many people agree with him."
    A few readers questioned whether Jones understood the real meaning of the haka, with Flo Brown adding: "If he took time out to find out why they do the haka, he would then understand what it's about: challenge and battle cry, not a tongue-wagging exercise designed to entertain him."
    Ngaire Jean Albert agreed, saying: "Stephen Jones has little understanding of culture or its significance. It's great that the ABs take the haka with them. NZ is world known for the haka through them, that perform it on behalf of the NZ people."
    Celia Rose also supported that view, stating: "Sporting arrogance? It's more of a war cry. He clearly doesn't know the context."
    Meanwhile, Daniel Hustler pointed out it might not be the first time Jones has been off-base, saying: "Stephen Jones also stated that Johnny Wilkinson was the greatest flyhalf of all time. Just goes to show the level of his intelligence."
    Korrey Cook suggested the All Blacks should deny overseas fans the right to view the haka, saying: "Typical view of a colonialist. I say they aren't privileged enough to receive the challenge. Do it in the changing shed boys! Make that journalist eat his words and be the reason why their crowds don't get to see the haka."
    James Broughton added "I can't remember the last time 60,000 people at £100 a head packed a stadium to watch a tabloid reporter speak."
    In's Your Views section, opinions varied more widely.
    Kate agreed with Jones' view that the haka was "posturing".
    "It is indulgent and I think has had it's day... it's pathetic - we've grown up now and don't need special attention."
    Tom reckoned the haka was "an embarrassment to civilized people. In a world of anger and violence, this display of aggression has no place," whereas WWW thought it "macho and unsportsman like".
    David McKay said "It is a primitive ritual befitting a primitive stone age culture, not a civilized one. It should be banned."
    Gazza took the chance to express his dislike of the national anthem being sung in te reo as well: "Yes it is, it's a joke and should be ditched along with singing the national anthem in Maori."
    David M thought it was unnecessary for the All Blacks to perform the haka before each match. "It's well overdue that we dropped this pre match ritual. I love a good haka as most kiwis do but it's time to move on, its becoming slightly embarrassing. Maybe restrict it to 1st home match and 1st away match."
    But others' views were more in line with the pro-haka feeling over on Facebook.
    Barnaby said: "The next time the Poms are out here, lets send a team of maypole dancers out onto the field, to stir their pasty-faced little hearts."
    Loafer reckoned: "Jones' views are archaic, irrational, and appallingly bigoted; this man needs to grow up and stop trying to incite an anti-Maori sentiment within British rugby supporters."
    The fact of the matter is that nobody takes any notice of Jones's one -eyed views anyway - no pommy team can beat even an out of sorts rusty AB's team. He should pull his head in - the haka is part of world rugby as much as being part of NZ rugby.
    Acknowledgements::wave: Herald online

Monday, October 25, 2010

Not reopening the Crewes murder case an injustice to my family, says Rochelle Crewe

Robert Muldoon, Prime Minister of New Zealand,...Image via Wikipedia Rochelle Crewe said she was grateful for all the public support since she broke her silence in the Herald last week.

She said the failure of the police to reopen the case in 1979 when Arthur Allan Thomas was pardoned of the murders led to years of speculation, which was an "unnecessary injustice to my family".

"Had the police reopened the case after the pardon, perhaps they might have established who did this terrible thing to my mother and father.

"Perhaps now, with witnesses dead and evidence destroyed by the police, there is not sufficient amount to prosecute, but I do not accept that this was the case in 1979. These past events erode my confidence in the police and the justice system."

Mr Pope said police had spoken to Ms Crewe some weeks ago and "understandably she has questions that she wants answers to".

"We will do our very best, taking into account the limitation of time and the availability and recollection of witnesses."

Mr Pope said Detective Superintendent Andy Lovelock, the top investigator in the Auckland region, had been appointed to lead a "detailed analysis of all information available and acquaint himself with all the details".

He emphasised this was not a reopening or reinvestigation of the case, which was "one of the most scrutinised in New Zealand history" after two court cases, a royal commission and the subject of several books.

Mr Pope urged anyone with information to speak to the police.

Public support for a fresh inquiry has grown since Ms Crewe came forward for the first time since the 1970 killings.

She was just 18 months old when found crying in her cot in Pukekawa, south of Auckland, five days after her parents were last seen alive.

Mr Thomas - who spent nine years in jail before being pardoned - supported a new inquiry, as did his ex-wife, Vivien Harrison.

Labour leader Phil Goff backed a new investigation, as did Police Association president Greg O'Connor and Order of NZ members such as Sir Brian Lochore, Sir Paul Reeves and Dame Cath Tizard.

The unsolved homicide is one of New Zealand's greatest murder mysteries.

"A terrible bloody mess" was what Len Demler, Jeannette Crewe's father, found in the family's farmhouse in June 1970. He also found Rochelle crying in her cot.

Doctors who examined her said she could not have been abandoned for five full days since the murders, so someone must have fed her. Witnesses reported seeing a blonde at the house, but she was never identified.

The case gripped the nation for months. Mr Thomas' pardon resulted from years of protest from a retrial committee and other supporters and the personal intervention of the Prime Minister at the time, Rob Muldoon.

The royal commission set up to investigate the case found that Detective Inspector Bruce Hutton and Detective Len Johnston had planted a shell case in a garden at the Crewe house to frame Mr Thomas.

Rochelle Crewe was critical of the decision of the Solicitor-General in the 1980s, Paul Neazor, QC, not to lay charges against the two detectives because he believed there was not enough evidence to justify a prosecution.

"For some bizarre reason, the royal commission inquiry finding did not amount to a strong enough basis to prosecute these perpetrators," said Ms Crewe.

"On the flip side, it was enough of a finding to have a man pardoned."


*Detective Superintendent

Andy Lovelock is an experienced investigator with oversight of high-profile cases in the Auckland region, most recently the murder of Carmen Thomas.

He also reviews police inquiries and was critical of the so-called "Pumpkin" case in 2007, where An An Liu was found in the boot of her killer husband's car several days after she went missing.

Mr Lovelock also investigated how news media outlets obtained copies of top-secret police documents dubbed the "Terror Files" - evidence gathered before the raids on a group initially suspected to be terrorists in the Ureweras in 2007.

He has also investigated allegations against other police officers and mysterious disappearances or deaths.

 Acknowledgements: Jared Savage
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