New Zealand is perceived as being the least corrupt nation on earth, but perception doesn’t always match up to reality.
Many of New Zealand’s largest businesses listed on the NZX50 don’t pass some fundamental best practice ethics tests and fraud is rife in smaller businesses, government departments are not immune
Government dept WINZ fails to stop staff fraud – “An internal fraud unit at Work and Income was not able to prevent 13 cases of staff theft in the past five years, involving sums totalling more than $180,000. Since 2006, a dozen employees of the Social Development Ministry have either lied to procure welfare payments or deliberately defrauded the system from within, documents disclosed to The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act show…” (April 2010)
nor are universities free from “financial irregularities.”
“Fraud is hurting the not-for-profit (NFP) sector and more needs to be done to police the issue according to accounting firm BDO. BDO’s 2012 Not-For-Profit Fraud survey shows that reported fraud is down 19% to 12% there are concerns fraud is still going undetected. There is a “it won’t happen to us” attitude within the NFP sector, BDO’s NFP sector leader Bernard Lamusse said.
“While the majority of respondents (86%) agree that fraud is a problem for the sector as a whole, only 8% believe it’s a problem for their individual organisation. This could also explain why 72% of respondents still don’t see a great importance in fraud prevention,” Mr Lamusse said.
A major concern is the significant rise in amounts stolen via electronic funds transfer and online banking – on average costing an organisation $370,000, which accounts for nearly half of the total value of fraud committed.” more here NBR
The largest employee theft committed in New Zealand was by former ASB investment banker Stephen Versalko, who stole $17.8 million over nine years. source.
Despite stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars people are frequently sentenced to nothing more onerous than community service, it seems that little can be done to stem the rising tide of fraud within New Zealand. Even the banks don’t seem to be able to control it:
Bank Manager convicted of $1.4 million theft
27 April 2012
A long-running employee fraud case concluded today when Susan Ann Bourton, a 36 year-old former Hamilton Westpac Bank Manager was convicted of 81 charges of defrauding her employer of $1.4 million.
Bourton would target vulnerable clients who did not know how to use phone or internet banking, and kept for herself the money they handed over to her. She also created accounts in customers names without their knowledge and altered loan documents to fraudulently obtain funds to buy a luxury lodge in Lake Karapiro Lodge
She resigned from the bank when she thought her frauds were about to be discovered, later moving to Ireland. However, she was arrested in July 2009 when she came back to New Zealand for a holiday.
Bourton managed to delay her trial for several years because she kept hiring and then firing successive lawyers she had engaged to defend her – seven lawyers in all. She has been remanded in custody for sentencing in June.
Read more: http://www.verify.co.nz/news-theftnz.php
After the shocking revelation that Lance Hopping, the pilot involved in the Carterton Ballooning tragedy in which 11 people died, was found with cannabis in his system we’re asking how widespread is the use of this illegal drug in New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry, and how much of a factor does it play in the industry’s high accident rate?
Yesterday a report into the Fox Glacier Sky Dive NZ crash also found that two of the jump masters were also found to be under the influence of cannabis.
We think its time for New Zealand to require mandatory drug and alcohol testing for everyone employed in the adventure tourism industry. With more frequent testing of people involved in high risk activities where operator error may lead to serious consequences for thrill seekers.
Additionally, drug and alcohol testing must be carried out on operators immediately after an accident or fatality.
If New Zealand’s reputation as a safe tourism destination is have any degree of credibility the government will take this issue seriously and deal with it swiftly to allay public concerns.
“Balloon crash pilot had smoked cannabis – report
The pilot of January’s balloon tragedy in Carterton was flying with cannabis in his system when he crashed, killing all 11 people on board.
Toxicology tests performed on the body of Lance Hopping, 53, four days after the crash returned positive for cannabis, with the discovery described as “concerning” by investigators.
The findings were part of an interim report issued by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) this morning, four months after the balloon struck powerlines, caught fire and crashed into a field on January 7…
…yesterday TAIC called for an alcohol and drug testing regime to be implemented for people performing activities critical to flight safety, after announcing that two tandem skydive masters had smoked cannabis before a Skydive New Zealand plane crashed after takeoff from Fox Glacier in September 2010.
While this morning’s report contains a number of details about what happened on the day, it includes no analysis of those facts, nor any recommendations or key lessons to be learned from the crash.
Instead those findings would be reserved for TAIC’s final report due in March next year.
The families of the victims were briefed on the report last month, and it is understood several people have had drafts of the report for weeks, including the balloon company owners, members of Hopping’s ground crew, and his fiancee Nina Kelynack.”
New Zealand has highest cannabis use
According to data compiled by the site Nationmaster.com New Zealand has the highest rate of cannabis use:
Other blogs tagged Cannabis
BBC Interview with family of Bradley Coker. Adventure Tourism must learn from NZ crash. Cannabis Use
The BBC has screened an interview with the family of Bradley Coker.
Bradley, a British tourist, died along with eight other people when a sky diving plane crashed over the Fox Glacier on the day of the Christchurch earthquake. His death was one of many in the adventure tourism sector in New Zealand, one that is perceived to be poorly regulated and with a high accident rate.
In a statement to the BBC, Prime Minister John Key said approximately 50 people had been killed in the adventure tourism sector in the last 8 years.
from the BBC interview with Bradley’s family:
“To anyone thinking about going to New Zealand on an adrenaline sport think twice, the report is a catalogue of errors from both the CAA and the sky diving company” … regulations “not enforced”… “two of the tandem masters had actually taken controlled drugs before they got on the plane” (cannabis)
For more about New Zealand’s drug problem read this report in the NZ Herald NZ’s world-high drug use no surprise – Experts
“The family of a British man who was killed when the aircraft taking him on skydiving trip crashed in New Zealand, has called for a review of aviation safety to stop a further tragedy happening again.
Bradley Coker, 24, died on South Island in 2010 while trying skydiving, along with eight other people. An accident investigation report found a catalogue of errors.
Bradley’s father Chris, sister Elizabeth, and his girlfriend Hayley Denham, want safety to be reinforced in so-called adrenaline sports”.
Other countries who lost their nationals in the disaster have also reported on the crash, and on the official investigation into one of New Zealand’s worst air disasters.
The Fox Glacier crash was before the Carterton ballooning tragedy in which 11 people were engulfed in flames. The balloon pilot, Lance Hopping, was later found to have cannabis in his system at the time of his death. Remarkably, two of the jump masters in the skydiving crash were also found to have taken cannabis prior to the flight.
Adventure tourism must learn from NZ crash
“THE authors of a report criticising aviation regulators following a skydiving plane crash in New Zealand that killed nine people, including two Australians, in 2010 say there are lessons to be learned by all adventure tourism operators.
The modified topdressing plane, carrying four foreign tourists, four tandem jumpers and a pilot, had too much weight in the rear of the plane when it tried to take off on September 4, 2010, causing it to rise very sharply and at too low a speed to be controllable.
NZ Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) investigator Ian McClelland says the plane flew regularly with eight passengers, producing too much weight in the rear of the plane, and the owners and pilot were not checking weight and balance as they should be.
But he also says regulation of adventure aviation was not what it should be, that the modifications to the plane were poorly managed, and discrepancies in the modification documents weren’t picked up by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) when it approved them.
“The CAA lost the opportunity to correct the company’s errors,” Mr McClelland said…” more here
British FCO advice to travellers about New Zealand(May 2011)
“There have been a number of tragic accidents involving British visitors; these also include extreme sporting accidents. If you intend to participate in extreme sports do check that the company is well established in the industry and that your insurance covers you. If you intend visiting remote areas, check with local tourist authorities for advice before setting out. Ensure that you register your details with a Visitor Information Centre or family or friends. Weather conditions can quickly become treacherous in some areas so keep yourself informed of regional weather forecasts.”
“Many tourists safely undertake adventure activities in New Zealand. However, many adventure tourism activities have inherent risks, and there have been a number of serious accidents involving Australians and other tourists, some resulting in deaths. Some operators have been found to be negligent. You should be aware that safety standards in New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry may differ between individual operators and may differ from those in Australia.
Travellers need to make their own careful judgements about the risks involved in individual or group activities and of the safety standards of individual operators. We strongly recommend travellers inquire with individual operators about the safety standards adhered to, whether these standards are applied across the industry and the risks involved in the activity. We recommend travellers hold travel insurance and complementary accident or income protection insurance and understand what circumstances and activities are not covered by the policies.”
”I am German and have been in NZ for the past 4-5 years. I completely support this site and strongly confirm these allegatons. NZ has no control or standards and has minimum professionalism or competence…public transport, mobile phone service, administration, hospitals, immigration, you name it…I had it all. NZ is beautiful but things simply do not work. Be careful and and maintain some healthy common sense ’cause you cannot expect it vice versa.”
A”nother dent in NZ’s undeserved international reputation! The word is getting out that New Zealand is a bit lax in the H&S area!
Blogs tagged ‘Adventure Tourism deaths‘ and these posts:
Emily Jordan: Riverboarding Death By Misadventure. Tell Clients The Truth About The Risks. Staff Panicked (May 2011)
Sarah Bond Quad Bike Death – Prosecution Brought (August 2009)
Thrillseekers Adventure Ltd Fined For Bungy Fall(May 2011)
Catherine Peters: Alistair McWhannell Guilty Of Manslaughter In Swing Bridge Death (June 2010)
Considering a holiday to New Zealand. Watch this video first and then visit this Facebook Page facebook.com/nzsafety
You may be forgiven for not remembering the tragic loss of life when a sky diving plane crashed on the day of the Christchurch earthquake, it probably got pushed out of the news where you are. Nine people died when an overloaded, converted crop dusting plane lost control over the Fox Glacier. For background read our blog Fox Glacier Plane Crash, Nine Dead Including Four Tourists (Sept 2010).
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission report into the disaster was released today watch Extended video: TAIC on plane crash and it wasn’t good news – not for the Civil Aviation Authority, nor Skydive NZ and certainly not for the people employed by them who were allegedly under the influence of drugs. The entire Adventure Tourism industry in New Zealand will be sucking in its breath over this.
Update: Hours later we learned that the pilot involved in the Carterton Ballooning tragedy in which 11 people died was also found to have cannabis in his system.
In a statement to the BBC, Prime Minister John Key said approximately 50 people had been killed in adventure tourism sector in the last 8 years.
From The NZ Herald
The report revealed the plane had been converted from a crop-duster to a skydiving plane only three months earlier by engineering company Super Air Limited.
It said the modification was “poorly managed” and the Civil Aviation Authority failed to detect discrepancies in documentation about the work.
Furthermore, the company operating the plane, Skydive NZ, had not completed weight and balance calculations before it entered service, meaning the plane was flown outside its loading limits every time it carried a full eight passengers.
The report also confirmed at least two of the skydive-masters had been taking controlled drugs and one had taken cannabis shortly before the flight. It called on the Government to introduce a rigorous drug and alcohol testing regime…
Now the Herald is running a story about the British father of one of the victims and his campaign to draw attention to New Zealand’s unsafe Adventure Tourism Industry, in the hope that he may shame the country into getting its act together:
The family of a British tourist killed when a skydiving plane crashed at Fox Glacier has launched an internet campaign claiming New Zealand is unsafe.
Chris Coker, whose 24-year-old son Bradley was one of nine people killed in New Zealand’s worst air disaster for 17 years, said his son’s death was “completely avoidable” and showed a lack of proper regulation and control…
And continuing in a course of action that is remarkably similar to that of Chris Jordan, father of another British tourist Emily Jordan whose death prompted a paper-pushing review and weak regulation of New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry…
“Mr Coker has written an emotional letter to Prime Minister John Keybegging for a review of aviation regulations, and launched a YouTube video and Facebook campaign critical of New Zealand safety standards.
Mr Coker told the Prime Minister that public and tourists in New Zealand were “not safe” and there was an overwhelming case for change in the way adventure sports are regulated.Until action was taken, there was compelling evidence that young people should “think twice” before pursuing adventure activities in New Zealand…”
“Elizabeth Coker, Bradley’s sister and a UK lawyer, added that it was “natural” to expect safety and legal standards in Commonwealth countries to match those of the UK and this was not the case.
“You cannot sue for negligence in New Zealand and there is no criminal offence of corporate manslaughter,” she wrote. “In our view, this has had the effect of lowering safety standards in New Zealand.
“There is no ultimate sanction, either financial or criminal, on companies who ignore their duty to protect the public.
“This accident report backs our view that the legal system in New Zealand is weighted entirely against victims of accidents, and indeed the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office website warns UK citizens of this in giving startling advice about travelling to New Zealand.” (all quotes from the NZHerald)
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Blogs tagged ‘Adventure Tourism deaths‘ and these posts:
British newspaper The Guardian has run a story about Kim Dotcom‘s rap lampooning John Banks over the donations scandal.
The Megaupload founder collaborated with top music producers to question MP’s denials about political contributions. Coming to a club near you soon, the rap is sure to be a hit.
Remember the teapottapes saga and the way in which the offending cameraman was treated after he accidentally recorded a conversation between these two politicians, NZ has no favourites when it comes to covering its political behind.
The Guardian writes
“…Banks, a minister outside cabinet, provides an important prop to the government led by Key’s National party, which maintains a slim parliamentary majority.
Playful but barbed, the song, called Amnesia, lampoons Banks’s numerous claims not to recall incidents, including being flown by helicopter to Dotcom’s $30m mansion. It includes a reference to Banks’s puzzling repeated insistence in media interviews that he “did not come up the river in a cabbage boat”.
The lyrics run: “Nothing to fear / Nothing to hide / He’s the majority / So he’s all right. / He is John Banks / He got the vote / And that’s why Key keeps him afloat / On his cabbage boat.”
Banks has been embroiled in a scandal over donations to his campaign for the Auckland mayoralty in 2010 since Dotcom’s revelations just over a week ago.
The mayoralty bid was unsuccessful but he was subsequently elected to parliament as an MP, in large part thanks to an endorsement from the governing National party.
Dotcom alleges that Banks asked him to make anonymous donations into his mayoralty campaign and subsequently called him to thank him for the deposit of NZ$50,000 (£25,000). Failure to specify significant donors is a breach of New Zealand electoral laws.
Banks denies making such a call and insists he has complied with the relevant laws.
The donations are the subject of a police inquiry and detectives are expected to visit Kim Dotcom this week at his mansion north of Auckland to interview him on the matter…”
“Banana Boat” That is not a great image for a country trying to entice billionaire internet wizkids to invest in New Zealand’s knowledge infrastructure.
But then, New Zealand is an agrarian economy in the middle of the Pacific – should we be surprised that it doesn’t have the ability to look past the money?
For more of our blogs tagged Kim Dotcom click here