Spare a thought for the long suffering people of Christchurch this winter, many of whom are still living in damaged homes almost three years (Sept 24, 2010) after the first quake hit the small New Zealand city.
Already beset by widespread flooding (watch video) that has closed a number of schools, the Canterbury region is about to be hit by a mega snow storm predicted to be the worst in 20 years. A bitterly cold Antarctic airflow is about to sweep over much of the country.
Stuff.co.nz is reporting
“The MetService website was down for maintenance today limiting access to information about the weather.
In Auckland the expected maximum for Friday was just 10 degrees Celsius.
Blue Skies weather forecaster Tony Trewinnard said up to 20 centimetres of snow could fall to sea level in Canterbury on Thursday and Friday, with up to 40cm above 200 metres and up to 60cm above 400m.
He said this would be the biggest snowfall for the region in 20 years.
“To have it potentially last two days is quite unusual (for Christchurch) and could potentially become quite hazardous,” he said…” more here
If you’re a migrant worker about to arrive in Canterbury make sure you have pre-arranged accommodation and that it’s heated. And pack your winter woollies.
The community on the Trademe message boards is already buzzing with talk about the flooding and the earthquake forum continues to be filled with heart rending tales of hardship in Christchurch. This is just one of them, it’s hard to believe that this is still going on in a first world country three years after an earthquake. People are STILL living like these poor souls, surely this should not still be happening!
NB. Short term rents for a poor quality three bedroom property are currently around NZ$600 a week (US$485) in Christchurch. The median weekly income from all sources is $550 – $560, and the median hourly income is just $20.86 (source Statistics NZ: New Zealand Income Survey: June 2012 quarter).
“We are just one family of many living it hard in Christchurch”
“I don’t know if I am allowed to do this. We have lived through all the earthquakes and seen the affects on the people who are living in cars, under piles of rubbish, etc, three or more families to a small unit. It is shocking and hard not to be able to help. We need financial help ourselves. We moved into a place the night before the first earthquake, my husband was driving at the time and was stopped by divine intervention just before a building landed on the road in front of him, which would have crushed him had he been further along the road. We have been looked after and kept safe during the whole time from divine help.
We have lived in our car for a few weeks and had to move several times due to damaged properties and my health. My husband has just lost his job and we are about to be out of another home and in the car again because we have had to juggle money so much with the rising rents, etc. It has been a matter of do we pay the rent and bills, rent and food, or food and bills, it is an impossible situation, with people telling us to get budgeting advice. We do our best.
We are only one of many managing in Christchurch like this now, I wish the government would help the little people here and look at the real issues. I want Christchurch rebuilt, but you need to provide for the people first. How can letting the people here starve and live on the streets help with a proper rebuild? The people are the city. I am asking if I am allowed to put this message begging for financial help at least for my husband and myself urgently if this message is allowed to be posted. I don’t want to live in a car again, please help us. We are just one family of many living it hard in Christchurch.” source
Want to know more about the plight of these people, struggling against all odds to survive? Please read our blogs from March 2011 – Raising the Profile of the Eastern Suburbs and Christchurch Quake a Tale of Three Cities – More Help Needed in Eastern Suburbs and other posts tagged Christchurch earthquakes.
NZ’s Human Rights Record Stained by Child Poverty, Lack of Investment in its Young: Amnesty International; UNICEF and OECD
Amnesty International Report 2013
270,000 children, yes 270,000, children are now living in poverty in New Zealand, a country infamous for its low wage culture.
New Zealand’s high level of child poverty, violence against women and a proposed law affecting asylum seekers came under fire in Amnesty International’s Annual Report on the state of the world’s human rights.
New Zealand faces most criticism within the country for its high levels of child poverty, according to Grant Bayldon, Executive Director of Amnesty International in New Zealand.
“The mention of up to 270,000 children living in poverty in this global report is a stain on New Zealand’s human rights record.
It further reinforces the need for New Zealand to protect and respect all human rights in New Zealand law.
“States have obligations to protect, respect and fulfill (sic) rights for all people, for those living in poverty, and also asylum seekers and refugees.
As an important voice for human rights protections on the international stage, the New Zealand Government needs to ensure that all actions taken look to respect all human rights, of all people.
“Human rights are not just about freedom from oppression, they’re also about access to education, healthcare, and adequate housing, and such widespread child poverty in New Zealand is a human rights issue.”
Mr Bayldon said New Zealand had signed up to international covenants on these rights but had not put them into law. Adding them to the Bill of Rights would provide a measuring stick for new laws and policies…
Also criticised was the Immigration Amendment (Mass Arrivals) Bill, which would allow for indefinite detention of asylum-seekers arriving by boat in groups of more than 10 people… ” read the full article about the report here http://www.amnesty.org.nz/news/annual-report-2013
New Zealand recently fell to 18th place in an international league table for best country to be a mother, perhaps a reflection of its high number of preventable child deaths. (3rd highest according to UNICEF)
In 2009 (OECD Report Citical of NZ Child Welfare Spending) we wrote about how New Zealand was sixth in that year’s best mum table, despite other data showing that children in this country were more disadvantaged than many other key countries in the developed world.
A UNICEF report published last month also criticised New Zealand’s record forchild wellbeing across a variety of measures, including ranking it 21st out of 35 developed countries for levels of child poverty.
New Zealand’s Childrens commissioner, Russel Wills, said
“We should reallocate resources and direct that resource to the most vulnerable and youngest children.”
New Zealand ranked above Italy and Canada but below Britain and Australia. It was almost bottom – 32nd of 34 – for young people not in any form of education, training or employment.”
New Zealand’s under investment in its young is now beginning to be reflected in the very surveys it used to be so proud of, including a poor showing in the Amnesty International’s International Report 2013 and the UNICEF report.
Considering emigrating to New Zealand because it’s such a great place for kids? you may like to think again.
- Launch of Amnesty International Report 2013: State of the Wo (pacific.scoop.co.nz)
- NZ ranked poorly on child welfare (radionz.co.nz)
- International Mother’s Day, New Zealand plunges in ‘Best Place to be a Mum’ rankings (e2nz.org)
- Child poverty among Budget targets (stuff.co.nz)
- ‘Hold ministers to account’ on child poverty (stuff.co.nz)
- UNICEF criticises NZ record on child wellbeing (radionz.co.nz)
A party of Italian tourists on a trip down the Wanganui River experienced a cultural exchange of different kind when they stopped to visit a Marae in the remote hamlet of Jerusalem, New Zealand. The group was robbed as they attended a dinner on the evening of 25 November. As you’ll see from the map above, even the Google van didn’t make it to this remote location.
“Twelve people travelling as part of a group of 48 Italian tourists staying at a Jerusalem marae on Sunday night had $5000 worth of gear taken by thieves.
As the group were attending a dinner about 7pm when the thieves snuck into the area where personal belongings were stored…”NZ Herald
The group left the marae soon after and returned to Wellington in time for the Hobbit premiere on Wednesday.
As is the case in most crimes involving tourists in New Zealand (and there are many of them) New Zealanders were as (more?) worried about their international reputation as they were about the plight of the tourists. Robberies are getting to be commonplace and tourists are seen as easy targets.
Nga Hononga Marae chairman Ron Hough said he was embarrassed by the behaviour of those responsible.
“Not only has this now happened, but it has tarnished the good name of Jerusalem and its people and we may now struggle to attract further tour groups to the town.”Mr Hough admitted he had taken the crime very hard…
“We’re pretty sure the crime was done by outsiders though and it’s such a bad look for New Zealand tourism. We just don’t need stuff like this … I mean 48 overseas tourists, 12 of them get ripped off it just doesn’t look good at all”
I have had stuff stolen on a marae, though got it back a couple of weeks later as it was strongly suspected who the thief was and pressure was brought to bear. It was a middle aged man and local resident, closely associated with the marae. And a rellie too, though not close. He also stole a LOT of food brought in for a do, very early one morning – I saw him and he told me it was for his pigs. Yeah right. Entitled? Yep.
Vicious Sex Attack on 5 Year Old Belgian Tourist – little girl severely injured in a frenzied attack as she lay sleeping in a campervan in Turangi.
Australian honeymooners lose it all two tourists robbed near Milford Sound
Te Anau Troubled By Tourist Attacks -drunken youths attack visitors in Te Anau
Chilean Tourist Robbed, Loses Life’s Work robbed in a motel near Auckland international airport
“New Zealand is a wonderful country, but be careful as it’s not so safe” – Swiss campervan tourist loses everything in Whangarei
Honeymoon Couple Lose Precious Photos, No ‘Gold Medal’ British couple robbed outside of Auckland zoo
Czech Tourist, Jan Fakotor, Stabbed In Motueka man stabbed in a Motueka backpackers
English tourist mugged in Gisborne female tourist punched and handbag stolen in a street attack, delaying her departure from NZ
Chilean tourist punched, robbed in Nelson man attacked on Nelson cathedral steps by three teenagers
A group of students that were beaten and robbed whilst on a treasure hunt at the Hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa, Northland
A series of random, unprovoked attacks in Queenstown
Previous robbery of British tourists at Kerosene Creek
Tourists robbed at Kerosene Creek
Three French tourists beaten and robbed in their campervan in Mangamuka, Northland
A family of Swiss tourists that were assaulted and racially abused in Kaitaia, Northland
Anke Kuballa and Marc Busch from Germany who were robbed in Whangarei, Northland
Two German tourists attacked in Paihia, Northland
Asian woman, (probably Japanese) age 22, raped in her room by 2 teenagers in a home invasion in Opotiki, Bay of Plenty
Three Chinese tourists attacked and robbed at Te paki, 90 Mile Beach, Northland, by two men they’d stopped to help
French tourist Anthony Cressend, beaten and robbed at campsite in Ahipara, Northland
Two Australian tourists robbed at knifepoint for their holiday money in Te Puke, SE of Tauranga.
Japanese tourist age 23 (female) kidnapped, robbed and assaulted in Rotorua by four men
French tourist (male) raped at gunpoint near Opotiki, Bay of Plenty
American peace corp twins Adam and Alex Rahmlow, 21 were robbed of all their possessions by a man they tried to help in Amberley, Christchurch.
Dutch couple raped and robbed on a campsite in Tuatapere, NW of Invercargill, whilst on their honeymoon. (Dutch govt. issued a travel warning about NZ)
Two Koreans were attacked and robbed of their possession which included a laptop computer by a man claiming to be a gang member in Blenheim.
British tourist worker sexually assaulted near Hururu Falls, Northland when she was dragged off a walking track.
Canadian tourist Jeremie Kawerninski, kidnapped, assaulted and robbed in Lower Hutt, Wellington
Dutch couple robbed and sexually attacked Haruru Falls, Northland whilst on honeymoon.
Two British women robbed and raped in their campervan at Tokomaru Bay, north of Gisborne.
Japanese tourist subjected to a prolonged and brutal sex attack in a communal area of a backpacker’s hostel in Turangi, Taupo.
Scottish woman Karen Aim brutally murdered and robbed by a youth in Taupo.
Korean man Jae Hyeon Kim decapitated with a spade by white supremacist.
Japanese tourist robbed at gunpoint in Oamaru.
Irish cycle tourist Paul Mack bashed, robbed and urinated on throughout his NZ tour.
6 English and Danish tourists attacked and stabbed in Cashel Mall, Christchurch for having “foreign accents.”
Russian couple Denis Khotchenko and Lera Nesterova beaten and robbed in Milford, Auckland
English woman knifed and sexually assaulted in a toilet block at an A1 motor camp in Kaikoura
American campers Patrick Dykstra and Kelsey McGinley beaten and robbed at Whangarei Falls, Northland.
Australian tourist sexually assaulted on a street in broad daylight in Nelson.
Australian tourist subjected to a sex attack by Maia Crawford Rongonui whilst walking home to a backpackers in Christchurch.
Canadian tourist left with a fractured skull outside Silver Fern backpackers in Taupo.
Dutch tourist beaten and robbed at Lake Rotorua.
British man Paul Speakman and his young son beaten and robbed in a campervan at Athenree Gorge, Katikati.
Chinese woman attacked for speaking Chinese on a train approaching Petone.
Scottish visitor Stuart Martin who was left in a coma and with a boot print on his face after a street bashing in Taradale, Christchurch.
The Auckland arrest of billionaire Kim Dotcom, an investor and online piracy facilitator file-sharing host, in his mansion made worldwide news headlines – and cost Kiwi taxpayers at least $70,000. Along with American agents, the New Zealand police had been conducting an investigation into Dotcom’s website Megaupload since August of last year. He and six others were part of a group called the “Mega Conspiracy”, charged with reproducing and illegally distributing “free” copies of proprietary works such as software, films, TV programmes, music and books.
Dotcom was granted New Zealand residency in November 2010, under a scheme whereby he had to invest $10 million in government bonds and pass a test of good character. Despite strict regulations about the sorts of foreigners permitted to take up residency in the Pacific nation – thin people, people with low blood pressure, and the non-handicapped – Mr Dotcom, thought to be an obese diabetic with a slipped disc and hypertension, was welcomed with open arms. The health requirements link under the NZIS investor category information page is a 404. His past criminal convictions, sufficient to refuse him ownership of Kiwi land, were nonetheless glossed over when granting him residency. In 1998 he had been sentenced to two years for handling stolen goods and credit card fraud. In 2001, he was charged with illegal speculations on the stock market and fraudulent misuse of funds. The following year, he was arrested in Thailand and sentenced in Germany for fraudulent misuse of funds. Presumably, there is a statute of limitations for the purposes of evaluation of fitness for residency? Yes, dating from 1950, and it was repealed in January 2011.
Kim’s lifestyle, in a country where according to Darrin Hodgetts, poverty is the biggest growth industry, was conspicuous and even frightening, but no one could accuse him of not spreading the money around: large dollops were tossed merrily to politicians and the New Zealand Government. But it wasn’t actually the New Zealand Lifestyle he was after. Internet security expert Jeffrey Carr has suggested that “New Zealand is under the radar, away from Interpol and a better lifestyle than Eastern Europe.”
Now a father of five, Dotcom was charged this time with five counts of copyright infringement and money laundering, along with other employees of his company and its subsidiaries: Megaporn, Megavideo, Megaclick, and Megarotic. When the police showed up for the bust, at his birthday party no less, he barricaded himself inside his mansion’s safe room with a sawed-off shotgun, which he had purchased for his family’s safety.
His English was undoubtedly good enough to pass; however, investor-category candidates only need an IELTS score of 4 out of 9 to gain residency. It is clear that some immigrants are more equal than others, in a nation that trumpets its lack of corruption as a point of attraction. Russian mining billionaire Abramov, incidentally also a citizen of Cyprus, and roughly a dozen others have become new residents under this category. Kim Dotcom is now out on bail, his order of arrest nullified and voided.
It turns out that John Banks, Auckland Mayor, is alleged to have given the German scofflaw unlicensed immigration advice. But that was not the least of it. Current allegations under investigation suggest that Banks’ mayoral campaign received “donations” in two hefty $25,000 chunks from Dotcom that, along with gambling den Sky City’s, were listed as anonymous. Although Banks has distanced himself from the issue, claiming faulty memory, it is clear there was schmoozing going on. Banks had attended parties at the Dotcom mansion, proposing toasts, and enjoyed personal helicopter taxi services. ACT party leader Banks is small business and regulatory reform minister and an associate minister for the commerce and education portfolios.
What is unclear is where Kim received the inspiration for Welcome To The Good Life, on his first album Bailhouse Rock. The lyrics – “Sleep all day, party all night / have whatever you want, whenever you like” –suggest an esprit that Joe Blogs could never afford to embrace, even if he did like.