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NZ World Cup Visitors Rich Pickings For Thieves – Updated

October 7, 2011 1 comment

Were you in New Zealand during the 2011 rugby world cup and were you a victim of crime? We’d like to hear your story, please leave a comment below.

Despite warnings to visitors the rugby world cup has provided rich pickings for New Zealand’s criminal element.

We’re saddened to hear a number players and journalists have become victims of crime. They are among hundreds of tourists and visitors who are victims of opportunistic crime every year in New Zealand (for more about this read our many posts tagged tourist attacks or click on the links at the end)

Stuff reports that photographers Barry Aldworth and Christiaan Kotze had almost $10,000 worth of property stolen when their car was broken into at a media shuttle drop off point. They lost  “two computers, bags, peripheral photographic equipment, money, clothes, sunglasses and the tent they had been using for accommodation during their stay… unique Castle Tri-Nations Springbok jackets and clothing” and prescription medication.

Journalists Brendan Nel and Gavin Rich lost an iPod when their car was broken into at the secure underground carp park at the Pullman Hotel had their car broken into on Thursday last week after parking it in the secure underground car park at the Pullman Hotel in city centre.

Three days ago an American couple travelling in the Kerikeri Basin in the “lawless north” had their camper van broken into and lost a number of irreplaceable belongings including photographs and a travel diary. Elsewhere in Northalnd a Scottish couple’s car was broken into at the Haruru Falls car park, near Paihia. They lost a handbag containing money, passports, phones and medication. More here.

American newlyweds Meghan Scranton and Philip Wilson had travelled the world without incident until they reached Auckland just after the rugby world cup began.

In the three or four minutes they took to enjoy the view from top of Mount Eden thieves broke into their car and stole money and passports. Even their Kiwi hosts hadn’t prepared them for the risks they faced parking in the public car park at the monument.

Earlier in the tournament two rugby jerseys were stolen from Argentinian player Juan Manuel Leguizamon. They were shirts given to him by English and Romanian’s players that he’d played against during the pool games.

Update 21 October

Three foreign tourists (two English and one American) were injured and robbed in separate attacks in the small Northland town of Paihia. You can read more about it in the Northern Advocate:  Fan robbed after locals turned nasty

Travel Advisories

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued the following advice for travellers to New Zealand, perhaps other countries should be doing the same to protect their citizens

Safety and Security – Crime

Street crimes occur in major urban areas. Reports of thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire cars/camper vans in major tourist areas (e.g. the Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua and Queenstown) have increased. There has also been an increase in the number of thefts from hotel rooms in some tourist areas. Do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles even if out of sight in a locked boot. Do not leave valuables in hotel rooms, but use safe boxes when available. Keep passports, travellers’ cheques, credit cards, etc separate. See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.

It has also issued specific advice to people visiting New Zealand for the rugby world cup, which includes in the safety and security sub section

“The Rugby World Cup is likely to attract opportunistic thieves. Keep all possessions – especially your passport – secure. Do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles even if out of sight in a locked boot. See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.”

Australia has also issued travel advisories saying its nationals should exercise a high degree of caution whilst visiting New Zealand, saying in their world cup bulletin

“We advise you to be alert to your own security while in New Zealand, pay close attention to your personal safety at all times and monitor the media and local information sources for news about possible safety and security risks.  You should read our travel advisories for more information.”

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Chilean Tourist Robbed, Loses Life’s Work

Te Anau Troubled By Tourist Attacks

Honeymoon Couple Lose Precious Photos, No ‘Gold Medal’

Czech Tourist, Jan Fakotor, Stabbed In Motueka

English tourist mugged in Gisborne

Chilean tourist punched, robbed in Nelson

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 - police have yet to resolve this crime

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

A family of five robbed at the roadside whilst camping in their van at Oturere Stream, 25km south of Turangi

Two German tourists attacked in Paihia, Northland

Two American tourists were robbed at Shipwreck Bay in Northland whilst sandboarding

Asian woman, (probably Japanese) age 22, raped in her room by 2 teenagers in a home invasion in Opotiki, Northland

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,

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 by a youth in Taupo.

German woman Birgit Brauer murdered near New Plymouth.

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.”

Irish man Robby O’Brien beaten up in Westport.

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.

NZ’s Credit Rating Downgraded, Govt’s Economic Management In Disarray

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

The Wall Street Journal announced today that Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services and Fitch Ratings both downgraded New Zealand’s government debt on Friday, citing the country’s worsening external-debt position and the costs of earthquake recovery.

But the WSJ warned there may be worse to come

“the double-downgrades come at a sensitive time for the island nation as it hosts the Rugby World Cup, a global sporting event that New Zealand’s leaders have hoped would add at least a modest boost to the struggling recovery.”…

…S&P expects “New Zealand’s external position will deteriorate further at a time when the country’s fiscal settings have been weakened by earthquake-related spending pressures and fiscal stimulus to support growth.” It cited New Zealand’s “very high external imbalances, which are accompanied by high household and agriculture-sector debt, dependence on commodity income and emerging fiscal pressures associated with its aging population.” read more here

The world cup may not provide the long hoped for $700 million in direct economic returns that the government was banking on, a figure that was considered wildly over-optimistic by senior academics.

Figures released today by Paymark showed that tourists will have to spend big time to get the country out of trouble. They’ve only  spent $88 million since the Rugby World Cup started on September 9 and spending is already starting to slow.

New Zealand’s Green Party issued a press statement saying

Standard and Poor’s sovereign credit downgrade this afternoon is further evidence that the Government’s economic management is in disarray, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

Standard & Poor’s has cut its long-term foreign currency ratings on New Zealand to ‘AA’ from ‘AA+’ and its long-term local currency rating on New Zealand to ‘AA+’ from ‘AAA’.

“The bad economic news of this morning’s downgrade has just gotten worse,” said Dr Norman.

“The National Government has not been a smart economic manager through these difficult times and now it’s going to increase the cost of borrowing for us all.

“Fitch’s downgrade earlier today focused on the widening current account deficit. Standard and Poor’s have focused on the Government’s poor fiscal management, citing a blow-out in borrowing to pay for the rebuild of Christchurch and National’s stimulus package of tax cuts.

“The Government’s failure to consider revenue-raising options, in the form of an earthquake levy to help pay for the rebuilding of Christchurch, is now being shown up as short-sighted.

The Green Party warned on March 24, 2011, that New Zealand faced the risk of a credit downgrade due to the Government relying solely on borrowing to pay for the rebuild of Christchurch instead of striking a levy.

“The Green Party’s temporary earthquake levy would have raised an additional $1 billion each year to cover quake-related expenditure avoiding costly borrowing and the chance of a downgrade.

“Australia raised a levy after their flood disaster and their Government was, at the time, in a much better fiscal position than ours.

“National must also accept responsibility for their poorly timed and poorly designed tax cuts – cuts which helped fuel record levels of Government borrowing and failed to effectively stimulate the economy in recession.

“The New Zealand economy has many strengths, but our current economic managers in the Beehive are not one of them,” Dr Norman said.

Insurers Back Off

Further bad news came from an insurance company who has announced it is no longer prepared to offer cover in New Zealand. It could turn out to be the leader of a rout of insurance companies offering earthquake cover in New Zealand

British owned Ansvar Insurance lost  NZ$700 million in the Christchurch earthquakes. It was the largest insurer of heritage buildings and churches. There are very real fears that other companies will do the same, forcing the NZ government to step in and provide some level of cover. We predict that, given their debt situation, they will have no option other than to impose an earthquake levy if they make it through the next election.

Ansvar’s ratings have just been reviewed:

“A.M. Best Co. has downgraded the financial strength rating to ‘B++’ (Good) from ‘A-’ (Excellent) and issuer credit rating to ‘bbb’ from ‘a-’of Ansvar Insurance Limited (New Zealand), and has placed both ratings under review with negative implications.

The rating actions reflect Ansvar New Zealand’s “weakened risk-adjusted capitalization and its significantly higher levels of reinsurance recoverables following the successive Christchurch earthquakes between September 2010 and June 2011,” Best explained…” read more here

For more about problems hindering the recovery read Christchurch rebuild stalls as problems mount

UARS Comes Down Over Italy

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Video of the UARS coming down over Ventimiglia (Liguria) in Italy.

The real thing, or a hoax?

NASA ‘working to confirm’ satellite touchdown

Early Friday, Italy’s civil protection agency warned that the probability of a crash in its northern territory had risen from 0.6 to 1.5 per cent, and urged residents to stay indoors, on lower floors, preferably near load bearing walls.

Orbital debris experts say space junk of this size from broken-down satellites and spent rockets tends to fall back to Earth about once a year, though this is the biggest NASA satellite to fall in three decades.

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UARS Real Time Tracking, Wise Men On Standby @ Eden Park

Jesus Is An All Black

Space Junk Update: UARS Satellite Possibly Hit Canada

Auckland Braces For Next Match

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Queens Wharf webcam, Auckland

The city of Auckland is bracing itself for this evening’s All Blacks rugby world cup “sell out” match against the French.

Those in charge will be hoping there’ll be no repeat of the chaos that plagued the opening night celebrations, during which public transport failed, there was mass overcrowding and city hospitals reached saturation point.

One of the areas where fans will be congregating will be Queens Wharf (aka Party Central) you can see a time lapse webcam of the dock by clicking on the image above and moving your mouse from left to right across the screen.

Jesus Is An All Black

September 22, 2011 2 comments

New Zealand is officially a secular state, it’s main religion is rugby and absolution may be found through sport, but this is taking things a little too far even in a  country with a Godzone complex.

St Paul’s Cathedral in Wellington is displaying a painting by local artist, Don Little entitled, “New Zealand Icon”. It shows the figure of an All Black in the style of a Jesus icon.

“Central to Christian belief is the fact that God became a human being, he became a man,” cathedral dean the Very Rev Frank Nelson said.

“We often call New Zealanders God’s own, so it would be completely logical that if Jesus did come back he would be an All Black.

“It’s painted in the very traditional Orthodox Christian style of painting, designed as an aid to prayer, so the idea is that it engages your attention but then takes you beyond the painting to God.”

All well and good but there is zero chance of Richie McCaw offering up his other cheek next time he worships with Quade Cooper, neither are Kiwis likely to forgive their enemies in their quest for the holy grail (Webb Ellis cup)  This whole icon thing has been badly thought out though hasn’t it – we all know what happened to Christ in the final game. Fortunately he came back for a rematch, the All Blacks may not be so blessed.

Artist Don Little told the Dom Post he painted the $3,000 icon after wondering whether rugby had become the new religion in a country that had largely turned away from the faith. Great to see a price being put on that statement.

Coming to a hotel room near you – Godzone

But wait that’s not all,  a chapter of the bible has received the rugby treatment too. Apparently Luke was chosen for a rework because it contains the popular nativity scene (with a baby Jesus in an All Black romper?) and the story of a lost sheep which gives it a New Zealand flavour.

History does not tell us if the sheep was black.

“Godzone is a re-vamped version of the Gospel of Luke, featuring the entire text of the New Testament chapter interspersed with the life stories of 10 international players whose lives have been transformed by their Christian faith.

Past and present players – including All Black Thorn, Fijian captain Deacon Manu, Black Fern Doris Taufateau, Scottish prop Euan Murray, Wallabies flanker David Pocock and former captain Nick Farr-Jones – describe their paths to faith in the book, of which 25,000 copies have been published…” more here source

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Robert Winston Says NZ Fears Technology & Has Poor Values (Blog December 2009)

“New Zealand is a wonderful country, but it is also a country which I think has some very poor values as well…The fact is that you still rate things like the America’s Cup, the All Blacks and the cricket (as) being far too important when actually they don’t fundamentally improve human wellbeing…You do some fantastically good science and it’s really sad that at the moment your Kiwis are in my laboratory. You are exporting the wrong things, you’re exporting your talent, the very talent which might prop up your economy. But there’s no future for them in this country“… more

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