Monday, June 27, 2011

All Blacks may never play at AMI - the end of Lancaster Park as an international sports facility...

All Blacks may never play at AMI Stadium again - shocking revelation...

The New Zealand Rugby Union has conceded that the All Blacks may never play at Christchurch's AMI Stadium again.

Earthquake damage to the ground on 22 February meant the city's World Cup games were transferred elsewhere while the Crusaders had to play all their Super 15 matches away from the city.

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew says what will happen to the ground, which opened in 1881 as Lancaster Park and hosted its first All Blacks test in 1913, will be up to the Christchurch community and the government.

Mr Tew says the NZRU's considering re-developing Rugby Park and Rugby League Park in Christchurch but says the Crusaders may again have to play all of of their Super rugby matches outside of Christchurch next year as well.

He says they simply don't know what the future holds for the ground with the possibility it could be back operating again next year to never at all.

Mr Tew says they have an All Blacks test pencilled in for Christchurch next year but an alternative venue is also being arranged.

He says the venue is being regularly assessed in the wake of aftershocks.

KR: This  revelation really shocked me, somebody born in Christchurch and brought up following rugby and cricket on the historical Lancaster Park. I competed on this park as a schoolboy and, in my latter years,  have learned that it may be the end of this ground as an international sports  facility. So very sad. Nature can be so very cruel!

Acknowledgements:  © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hone Harawira wins Te Tai Tokerau by-election...

Mana Party leader, Hone Harawira, has won the Te Tai Tokerau by-election.

The former Maori Party MP forced the by-election when he left Parliament to form his new party.

Mr Harawira has 5611 votes, a lead of 867 over Labour's Kelvin Davis.

The Maori Party candidate Solomon Tipene is a distant third with 1026 votes.

Kelvyn Alp from the OurNZ Party received 63 votes and Maki Herbert from the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party received 126 votes.

The electorate stretches from the top of Northland down to west Auckland.

Acknowledgements:  © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Monday, June 20, 2011

NZ PM Key puts pressure on Australian social security provisions...

NZ PM Key puts pressure on Australian social security law provisions for Kiwis living in Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key talk after PM Key addressed the House at Parliament, Canberra.

Prime Minister John Key has increased pressure on the Australian Government to change a social security law denying welfare payments to thousands of New Zealanders living there, reports say.

The Family and Community Services Legislation Amendment (New Zealand Citizens) Bill 2001

categorises New Zealanders who arrived in Australia after February 26, 2001 as non-protected visa holders.

That makes them ineligible for many social security benefits.

More than 175,000 people - or 47 per cent of the New Zealanders living in Australia - are thought to be affected by the law, which has been labelled "discriminatory" by campaigners.

It was recently used to cut off disaster recovery payments to thousands of Kiwis caught up in the Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi.

A report in The Australian said Mr Key had raised concerns about the law during recent meetings with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The topic was an area of "mutual concern and interest" and would be discussed, a spokeswoman from the Prime Minister said.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has also confirmed the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra was raising "discrepancies" caused by the law with Australian federal authorities.

In a letter to Christel Broederlow, a New Zealander living in Australia, he said it was also encouraging to see cases had also been brought before Australian state governments over New Zealanders being denied employment opportunities and services.

He earlier told the Herald he was "concerned" about New Zealanders being denied social security payments.

There was no similar non-protected visa status for Australian immigrants in New Zealand, he said.

"No doubt this is a matter we will discuss with our Australian colleagues in due course."

Campaigner David Faulkner welcomed political pressure over the law he believes is discriminatory and "racist".

He was hopeful it would add impetus to his campaign to change the way New Zealanders are assessed for social security in Australia.

"It's not every day that the New Zealand Government officially complains that its citizens are being discriminated against."

Mr Faulkner has won a race discrimination complaint against an insurance company which denied him cover on the basis he was a non-protected Visa holder.

He is also supporting an anti-discrimination suit lodged against the Queenland Government by the Toowoomba-based Campbell family.

They are suing over its decision to deny disability support to 19-year-old Hannah Campbell, who suffers from severe cerebral palsy and needs 24-hour care.

Australian social security rules:

Protected visa holders: Kiwis who have been living in Australia since before February 2001 or who lived there for a year in the two years prior to that date qualify for protected Visa status. They are allowed to claim social security.

Non-protected visa holders: New Zealanders who were not in Australia on February 26, 2001, or who did not live there for a year in the two years prior to that date , are issued a 'non-protected' Visa. They are ineligible for many social security and disability support payments, along with services such as public housing. They are not able to become Australian citizens unless they are granted a permanent Visa.

Acknowledgements: NZ Herald

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Fijian military officer trying to enter NZ...

LT Colonel Mara...

Fijian military officer trying to enter NZ...

Fijian military officer, LT Colonel, Ratu Tevita Mara, who fled Fiji, trying to enter NZ...

A pro-democracy for Fiji group based in Auckland is lobbying the Government not to allow a former Fijian military officer into the country.

The Coalition for Democracy in Fiji group has drafted a letter which they will send to the Government today.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ratu Tevita Mara escaped to Tonga last month after being charged with sedition.

Yesterday he arrived in Australia and his next intention is to come to New Zealand – hoping to speak with supporters and New Zealand government officials.

The coalition believes Mr Mara should not be allowed to enter the country due to existing sanctions which don't allow Fijian military personnel to travel here.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand this morning, coalition spokesman Nik Naidu said Mr Mara has only recently been part of the Fijian military.

“We should give him the benefit of the doubt, but that in itself is irrelevant,” said Mr Naidu.

Mr Naidu described Mr Mara as "the worst kind of [Fijian] officer" – one who lead arrests, illegal detentions and tortures. He believed Mara was guilty of this for four years before "sour grapes" made him leave, not the decision to change his ways in favour of democracy.

Mr Naidu would like to see Mr Mara be put before a court.

“How can we entertain a person who is perpetrator of heinous crimes?” asked Mr Naidu.

The letter questions if the Government will relax their sanctions on members of the Fijian military, and if so, when.

Acknowledgements: TV 3 News

Pita Sharples: Maori must step up and turn the table on violent crimes...

Pita Sharples: Maori Must Step Up And Turn The Tides On Violent Crimes ...

Dr. Pita Sharples, Co-Leader of the Maori Party is outraged by an attack on a whanau in Hastings on Saturday night, by a group of young people.

“It really gets under my skin what happened to this whanau in Hastings. A whole whanau was beaten – that is just not on, we must do something to prevent this sort of thing from happening.” Said Dr. Sharples

“These violent assaults and thuggery by youths cannot be tolerated.”

“The initial reports on this incident indicated that the youths could possibly be Maori, but we don’t know that for sure. If that’s the case then we must take the lead as Maori families and communities to turn our kids around from behaviour like this.” Said Dr. Pita Sharples

“The consequences of offences such as this will last for the rest of their lives - for offenders and victims. We need our kids to be role models, to be leaders in the next generation. We must focus on preventing this behaviour.”

“I have always advocated for rehabilitative programmes, community and marae youth courts etc, but the reality is that we must stop these offences from occurring through early prevention and intervention.”

“I am asking that as whanau, and as a community, we take a lead on steering our kids away from crime, particularly violent crimes. What we need to do is stand up and start taking responsibility for what’s happening within our wider whanau”

“We need to stop the silence on violence. Somebody must know what happened in this instance, and I am urging them to come forward.”

Acknowledgements: Voxy NZ