New Zealand’s reputation as a safe country took another blow today when six people were arrested in the middle class Auckland suburb of North Shore.
According to a report in the NZ Herald neighbours called police after a shot was heard at a premises on Stott Avenue, Birkdale. Police cordoned off the street and
A witness said the police Eagle helicopter was circling Birkenhead College for about 45 minutes.
Three men were seen handcuffed on the ground outside the house.
Police would not say whether the incident was drug-related.
The incident was witnessed by Radgirl who posted about it on the Trade Me forum, saying
Oh no armed offenders down Stott Avenue
helicopter hovering and one guy on the ground in handcuffs!! 4 cop cars whats happening.
…we were told to all get inside the house so guess its bad
no one guess hellhole Auckland– can you believe that??!!
Late 2011 a P lab was uncovered in the area.
Each year New Zealand police find on average about 200 P labs, many of them operating in rented houses. Drug experts have warned that “makeshift labs are ticking time bombs that pose a risk to their occupants and to those who live unsuspectingly alongside them…Often the labs are uncovered only by accident – or after they explode.”
As well as the obvious risk of explosion and fire, contamination from the manufacture of the drug can render a house dangerous to live in, so be sure to know the history of your new home in New Zealand before you move in. Decontamination could cost you as much as $50,000.
Some statistics about P (July 2011) from TV3:
“Amphetamine prevalence in New Zealand remains among the highest in the world and injecting methamphetamine is on the rise, according to the latest United Nations report.
The World Drug Report 2011 shows 2.1 percent of New Zealanders aged 16-64 used amphetamines in the year 2007/2008 and rates of methamphetamine use are still rising, in contrast with Australia.
Among frequent injecting drug users in New Zealand those who injected methamphetamine increased from 40 percent in 2006 to 50 percent in 2009
Managing Director of Methcon and former police drug squad detective Dale Kirk says not enough is being done to educate people on the dangers of methamphetamine, or on getting addicts into meaningful programs to deal with addiction…” more here
You may also like: Daniel Vae & NZ’s War On Drugs
Above: Rodeo Drive, Redvale
New Zealand’s reputation as a safe place to live. especially for women, took another knock today when police announced they are treating the death of a young woman north of Auckland as a homicide.
According to press reports the body of a woman was found at a lifestyle-block property on Rodeo Road in Redvale, Auckland, an area popular with farmers, stable owners and hobby farmers. Police aren’t saying what her injuries are but three rottweilers at the property have been euthanised and a man is assisting police with their enquiries. The deceased woman is understood not to reside at the premises.
A report by Stuff.co.nz gave the impression that neighbours avoided the occupants of the house.
“Earlier today, a Rodeo Dr resident was hesitant to talk to media, but said he did not associate with the people who lived at the house where the body was found.
“I stayed away from there,” he said.
The home’s previous owner said she sold it a year ago and was unsure of who the new owners were…” more here
New Zealand was recently named a being one of the best places to be a woman, but in reality NZ women suffer from an appallingly high incidence of violence inside and outside of the home.
In one study which examined a sample population of women in Waikato and Auckland, 33% of women in Auckland and 39% in Waikato had experienced at least one act of physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner. Whilst sexual violence by non-partners was reported by 9% and 12% of women in Auckland and Waikato respectively.
The New Zealand branch of White Ribbon says
“Violence is endemic within New Zealand with one in three women experiencing violence from a partner in their lifetime, while on average, fourteen women are killed each year by a member of their own family.”
“Each year there are over 3,500 convictions recorded against men for assaults on women and one in five women will experience sexual assault or sexual interference at some point in their lives.”
The estimated social cost of sexual violence in NZ $1.2 billion per year. It is NZ’s most costly crime.
Meanwhile in other crime news, Christchurch police say they have arrested a 20 year old man in connection with the savage assault of cricketer Jesse Ryder and have interviewed a 37 year old man who is a relative of the accused.
New Zealand’s carefully honed image of being a safe country has taken another blow after the savage beating of cricketer Jesse Ryder.
Ryder was left with a fractured skull, punctured lung and internal bleeding after a frenzied attack by four men on a Christchurch street. Ryder was due to fly out tomorrow to start a $NZ300,000 contract with the Indian Premier League.
According to a report in the NZ Herald Ryder was attacked from behind outside Aikman’s Bar on Papanui Road, Merivale.
Radio New Zealand reported he was in a coma. His condition was critical.
A witness, who only wanted to be known as Adam, told Fairfax Media that Ryder had his shirt ripped off his back and was on the ground as four men kicked and punched him outside the bar.
Ryder was lying in a bush “shaking, vomiting and covered in blood” in the carpark of McDonald’s, which was across the road from the bar.
Adam, who was drinking at the bar, said the brawl broke out behind him.
“From what I could tell it looked pretty unprovoked,” he said.
Four men started punching Ryder in the bar’s courtyard and the fight was quickly pushed out on to the street.”Four dudes were just laying into him and absolutely smashing him on the ground. His shirt was ripped off and they were kicking him and punching him while he was down.” more here
a 20 year old man and an out of town male relative, age 37, have been arrested. Neighbours saw a man led away in handcuffs from a home in Barbadoes Street on Thursday evening, just hours after the attack.
British Cricket Team Victims of Theft in Auckland
Continuing with cricket and sporting news, it has emerged that three members of the British touring cricket team were victims of theft whilst staying at the Pullman Hotel on Waterloo Quadrant, Auckland on Sunday night.
Police are looking for a man who was pictured leaving the “plush hotel” with the unnamed cricketers’ gold clubs which had been left in an unsecured storage room. A doorman, who is reportedly not a suspect, helped him carry the golf bag out of the door in the early hours of the morning. The theft was noticed when the team’s luggage was loaded up for the flight out. For more click here.
The team has already left New Zealand and are unlikely to be as lucky as the member of the US rowing team at Lake Karapiro who had their stolen possessions returned minutes before leaving New Zealand. For more read US Rowing Team Member Robbed, World Rowing Championships 2010.
South African reporters covering the Rugby World Cup weren’t that fortunate. Christiaan Kotze and Barry Aldworth lost R60 000 worth of equipment after South Africa’s games against Samoa at North Harbour stadium. Neither were SuperSport journalists Brenden Nel and Gavin Rich, when their car was broken into at a parking lot at an Auckland hotel.
- Test cricketer’s skull ‘smashed’ (theage.com.au)
- National Sport: NZ cricket offer support to Ryder (birminghampost.net)
- New Zealand cricket star Jesse Ryder in critical condition after bar attack (metro.co.uk)
International news agencies are reporting that an elderly Chinese couple were robbed at knifepoint in Hamilton yesterday
“Two men, one armed with a knife, have robbed two Chinese visitors in broad daylight while they were walking in the popular Hamilton Gardens.
Police say the 60-year-old woman and her husband were followed before being confronted by two men in the gardens about 3pm on Monday.
“One of the offenders was armed with a knife which he used to cut the woman’s shirt and then cut away a money belt worn around her waist,” Detective Sergeant Nigel Keall said…” more here
What the report didn’t pick up on was this was the just latest in a string of armed robberies in Hamilton. On 4 March a woman was robbed at gunpoint whilst walking along the bank of the Waikato river.
All this is happening against a backdrop of crime in a town in decline, with reports of under age drinking, vandalism and thuggish behaviour. Local louts have also been throwing rocks and screaming abuse at tourists on excursions down the river. Read more about that here.
Waikato River Explorer owner Darren Mills told the Waikato Times that is was only a matter of time before someone was hurt. That someone was almost the Chinese tourist whose clothing was cut away by her attacker.
“Mr Mills was also concerned about the number of children “hanging around Wellington St beach” who are drinking alcohol. “I’m talking about children as young as 7 or 8 sitting down on the jetty drinking – it is unbelievable,” he said…” source
Unbelievable? we don’t think so, this could be remarkably commonplace for many small towns and villages in New Zealand. What else is there for these poverty stuck kids to do and what have they to aspire to when they grow up – other than become professional thieves, prey on tourists and live on benefits.
Isn’t this the sort of behaviour one would expect in third world countries?
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Pukekohe Kids Hijack Car At Gunpoint, “Get out of the car bitch” (Elderly woman hijacked by three kids, the youngest was 8)
Kids in New Zealand, the village lets them down (Parents in Whangarei organising fights between their kids so that they can sort out their differences)
Terrified Chilean Tourist Punched, Robbed In Nelson (“Three teenagers punched and robbed a terrified Chilean tourist in broad daylight at the Church Steps on Saturday evening in another of the alcohol-fuelled attacks that are blighting Nelson.”)
Rotorua Stabbing “Indicative” Of Youth Issues In City (Community leaders called for the Government to tackle youth and alcohol problems in the city)
NZ A Great Place to Raise Kids? Porirua’s Midnight Express (Blog written about an alarming increase in children committing violent crime and robberies around New Zealand)
Kaitaia’s Kids’ Drunken Night Of Rampage. Mob Rule (Residents of the small Northland town of Kaitaia suffered $10,000 in damages after a ‘group’ of 10 tanked up kids rampaged through the town for three and a half hours one Monday night)
Booze linked to teen crime in Christchurch (15 and 16-year-olds appearing in the Youth Court on rape and sexual-assault charges)
Last month an inquest was held in Britain into the death of young rugby player Tom Sewell.
Five years ago Tom Sewell started his first day of a working holiday in New Zeaalnd and was killed whilst riding a quad bike on a farm in Katikati, on the North Island.
It’s sad that it has taken this long for the coroner to reach a judgement about accidental death but when he did it was pretty damning and another nail in the coffin for NZ’s reputation for taking safety seriously.
There have been 37 deaths in quad bike accidents since 2008 and 3 since Boxing Day last year (source) Chief coroner Neil MacLean is said to be “frustrated by the large number of quad bike deaths around the country.”
We’ve blogged many times about the high numbers of deaths, serious injuries and near misses in New Zealand’s tourism industry, the egregious lack of safety awareness and attitudes that can be best described as “she’ll be right”. Read posts tagged Adventure tourism or see our adventure tourism and safety Wiki for further details.
A report into the inquest by Getsurrey.co.uk showed how both the NZ and UK coroners highlighted a serious lack of duty of care and health and safety awareness at the farm. What they found has wider implications for workplace health and safety, and the whole of the tourism industry in New Zealand, especially working holiday providers.
“Mr Travers explained there were no written instructions and no crash helmets, which he said would indicate problems with health and safety.
At the first inquest into Tom’s death, held in New Zealand in November 2009, nine recommendations were made by the chief coroner, which Mr Travers has agreed to support following his findings.
Among the nine were recommendations for a clear written policy on the use of all-terrain vehicles and that helmets should be worn when driving these vehicles.
He added that when employees were working in orchards, there should be supervision and a nominated person responsible for the health and safety of workers.
In addition, visitors and potential employees should not be permitted to start work without a health and safety induction and a proper introduction to the site.
Tom’s father thinks it is clear that health and safety in New Zealand needs to be assessed…” read more here
The report went on to mention a number of tourist deaths in New Zealand, all of which we’ve covered in this blog in the past, saying
Tom’s death is just one of many tragedies involving Britons taking gap year visits to New Zealand.
The mother of Sarah Bond spoke about New Zealand’s “she’ll be right” attitude,
What underpins all of this is the lack of safety and lack of care out there,” said her mother, Elizabeth Bond. “It feels like ‘accidents happen’ is their mantra.”
Enough is Enough
Now a group of 200 international families have decided enough is enough and are campaigning for a tightening up of New Zealand’s perceived lax safety standards. This is probably a continuation of the campaign that was started in 2010 by the families of British tourists Emily Jordan, Sarah Bond and Tom Sewell .
Furthermore, the majority of the NZ public agree with them that something must be done because it’s not just international tourists that are suffering.
There have also been other New Zealand deaths, not least the tragic deaths of student Catherine Peters, the 6 highschool students and a teacher who died in a canyoning exercise with the Sir Edmund Hilary Outdoor Centre and the Kiwis who were killed in the Fox Glacier plane crash (9 dead) and the Carterton hot air balloon disaster (11 dead)
From an article in the NZ Herald we learn that Tom Sewell’s mother had contacted her former MP, Sir Humfrey Malins who had
“written to the NZ High Commissioner in London two years ago on the family’s behalf expressing concern – but had not received a response.
Linda said that silence was “very disappointing”. The family would now be writing to Key, asking him to adopt the UK Coroner’s safety recommendations.
The international letter-writing campaign to draw attention to New Zealand health and safety problems is spearheaded by two other British dads: Chris Coker, who lost his son Brad in the Fox Glacier plane crash, and Chris Jordan, who lost his daughter Emily Jordan in a riverboarding tragedy. Chris Coker has set up a website to warn people about the risks in New Zealand.
Brad would have turned 27 tomorrow. “I couldn’t go to work for nearly a year and now I go to work and see an empty chair,” he said. “Why is it my job as a grieving parent to fight the terrible injustice of my son’s death because it was preventable?”… more here
We wish them all the best with helping to improve safety in New Zealand, it’s not an easy task given the degree of under-regulation of safety in the country.
In the meantime and until such time as things have improved, if you, or a family member, is planning an adventure tourism or working holiday in New Zealand perhaps you should consider somewhere with higher standards and where safety is regulated properly.
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NZ workplace safety a ‘national disgrace’ – consultant (NZ Herald Jan 2013) “New Zealand’s health and safety record has been labelled as ‘woeful’ and a ‘national disgrace’ by a consultant with two decades’ experience in the sector…Robyn Levinge says New Zealand has never prioritised health and safety like it has with road safety, domestic violence and drink driving…”As a country, we have simply not given health and safety the priority it deserves at any level…”
One Way Ticket (60 minutes TV, Oct 2012) “Every year, thousands of young Australians fly off for a gap year adventure. Their travels take them all over the world, often to poor and dangerous places that make their mums and dads fret…But the world capital of adventure tourism can be a deadly place as Glenn (Bourke) and eight others so tragically discovered…”
New Zealand Adrenaline Nation (ABC News, Oct 2012)”not everyone walks away from an adventure tourism experience in New Zealand. Over the past eight years at least 50 visitors have died when things went dreadfully wrong. Many more have suffered crippling injuries…In a forensic examination of New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry and safety regime, correspondent Dominique Schwartz exposes significant flaws in regulation and safety awareness. She investigates the activities of a prominent ballooning operator with a troubling track record and hears evidence that NZ’s taxpayer-funded accident compensation scheme (ACC) may be enabling poor practice.”
Man falls to his death whilst participating in team building fund day in Woodhill (NZ Police, March 2013)”A 57-year-old man fell to his death yesterday while attending a team building fun day at Treetops Adventures, Woodhill, Auckland. A Doctor and an Advanced Paramedic were participants on the course nearby and rushed to assist the man. He died at the scene as a result of his injuries. OSH attended the scene and are working closely with Treetop Adventures to investigate how the the fatality occurred.” The man was later named as Clifford Brabet. People at the park voiced concerns about safety and overcrowding before the fall.
Australian Tourist Injured In Bungy Accident, Another Has Collapsed Lung – Updated (May 2010)
Another Tourist Dies in New Zealand – Trainee Doctor Tom Donaldson killed at sand dunes (Feb 2009)
- Furious parents lash PM (nzherald.co.nz)