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Archive for June, 2013

Afghanistan is a long way from home in NZ…

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan?Two members of t...

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan?Two members of the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team provide security in Shebar district, Bamyan province, July 23. In addition to security, New Zealand Defense Force TG Crib 14 works closely with government officials to tailor development programs in Bamyan. (Photo by U.S. Army 1st Lt. Lory Stevens, Task Force Warrior Public Affairs Office) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NZ Army patrol in Afghanistan

A Defence Force enquiry into fatal attacks on NZ troops in Afghanistan. Worse fire-fight since Vietnam – two killed six injured…

Video of fatal fire-fight in Afghanistan

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New Matangi trains on the Hutt run…

Looking into the Hutt Valley in New Zealand.

Looking into the Hutt Valley in New Zealand.

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NZ History: The Mangatapu murders…


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    Murder on the Maungatapu track…

    On 12 June 1866 James Battle was murdered on the Maungatapu track, south-east of Nelson. The following day four other men were killed nearby in a crime that shocked the colony. These killings, the work of the ‘Burgess gang’, resembled something from the American ‘wild west’.

    The case was made more intriguing by the fact that one of the gang, Joseph Sullivan, turned on his co-accused and provided the evidence that convicted them. The trial was followed with great interest and sketches and accounts of the case were eagerly snapped up by the public. Sullivan for his troubles escaped the gallows; his colleagues were not so lucky.

    All four members of the Burgess gang had come to New Zealand via the goldfields of Victoria, Australia. Three of them had been transported to Australia for crimes committed in England. They were the sort of ‘career criminals’ that some of the authorities in Otago had feared would arrive following the discovery of gold in the province. The South Island goldfields of the 1860s offered potentially rich pickings for criminals. Crime was generally the work of individuals, and often a spontaneous act fuelled by alcohol, but there were notable exceptions.

    Maungatapu Monument

    Maungatapu Monument (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Turning back from the OZ dream – perhaps the grass is no longer so green on the other side of the Tasman ditch…

Central Library viewed from the Rutherford Bui...

Central Library viewed from the Rutherford Building, University of Canterbury, Christchurch. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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    Home sweet home:

    Kiwis have been drawn to Australia by jobs and wages. Now growth in Auckland and Christchurch and a welfare system for those on hard times seem like better bets.

    Although there were 2000 more New Zealanders leaving for Australia than returning, it was the lowest monthly migration figure since September 2010. Photo / Brett Phibbs
    New Zealanders are beginning to realise the Australian dream is not so perfect and the grass may in fact be starting to become greener over here.

    The number of Kiwis leaving for Australia is now at its lowest in nearly three years – thanks in part to improving economic prospects here, including the rebuilding of Christchurch, but also a growing realisation that work is harder to find in Australia. And there isn’t any welfare available for those who struggle.

    Statistics New Zealand figures show returning New Zealanders from across the Tasman contributed to a net migration gain of close to 1600 migrants in April.

    Although there were 2000 more New Zealanders leaving for Australia than returning, it was the lowest monthly migration figure since September 2010, well down from the high of 3600 in September 2011. In the year ended April 30, 45,700 New Zealanders left for Australia.

    University of Canterbury researcher Rosemary Baird said economic factors were not the only reason why people migrated.

    “Often Kiwis leave New Zealand because they are escaping personal unhappiness, failure and dissatisfaction,” she said. “Moving to Australia is seen as an opportunity to chase dreams of adventure, new relationships and a better life.”

    However, she said many were starting to hear through the media and personal contacts that the Australian dream “isn’t so certain”.

    Read much more here:

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Synthetic drug users are holding up worthy emergencies in hospitals..



English: Elizabeth Rothwell Building, Waikato ...

English: Elizabeth Rothwell Building, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Elizabeth Rothwell Building, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dr Bonning said mental health services were similarly inundated. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Dr Bonning said mental health serviceswere similarly inundated. Photo /Michael Cunningham
Synthetic drug users are holding up worthy emergency cases in hospital emergency departments across the country, a senior doctor says.
A “considerable increase” in patients still high or coming down from products such as K2 presenting themselves at emergency departments (EDs) was putting medical staff under added stress as they tried to prioritise, Waikato Hospital emergency department clinical director Dr John Bonning said.
Many were simply worried or paranoid, rather than physically unwell, he said

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NZ Lotteries puts pressure on its retailers to stop selling synthetic cannabis and party pills – could damage the Lotto brand…

An arrangement of psychoactive drugs

An arrangement of psychoactive drugs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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NZ Lotteries has told retailers in its network to stop selling synthetic cannabis and party pills – products it fears could damage the Lotto brand.

“There’s quite a lot of public outcry about these substances. It got to the point for me and my board that we no longer felt it was appropriate to have our brand associated with these substances,” NZ Lotteries Commission chief executive Wayne Pickup said.

“There’s overwhelming support from communities around New Zealand to get these off the shelves.”

Of more than 1200 retailers in its network, NZ Lotteries had sent letters to about 600, predominantly dairies, requiring them to have synthetic cannabis and party pills off the shelves by July 1.

Of the 600 independently-owned retailers sent letters, probably one-in-10 or one-in-15 were selling the substances, Pickup said.

Under legislation being rushed through Parliament the legal highs industry will have to prove its products are safe before they can be sold.

Last month, then-associate health minister Peter Dunne said the psychoactive substances law needed to be in place by August 13 to take over from the temporary class drug notice regime.

The regime had banned 35 legal high substances, but the first of those bans would expire on that day.

Dunne said the drug notices had done their job, but were always a temporary solution until the legislation was in place.

Current laws were ineffective in dealing with the rapid growth in synthetic psychoactive substances, which could be tweaked to be one step ahead of controls, he said.

Products were being sold without any controls over ingredients, without testing requirements, or controls over where they could be sold.

Today Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain and Associate Minister of Health Todd McClay said they supported the NZ Lotteries’ move.

“The sooner psychoactive substances are out of shops the better,” Tremain said.

“New Zealanders are extremely concerned about what these products are doing to the health of our young people. This is a community issue and I am pleased to see Lotto making a firm stand on it.

“Selling these substances is not compatible with the sale of lotteries products.”


Acknowledgements:   © Fairfax NZ News

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The Hermitage, Mt Cook, South Island, New Zealand…



The Hermitage, Mt Cook

The red zone shrinks even further in Christchurch’s CBD…

English: Signs put up by unhappy business owne...

English: Signs put up by unhappy business owners at the red zone cordon in High Street, Christchurch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



The shrinking of the red zone cordon around earthquake-crippled Christchurch’s city centre has continued this weekend with the area north of Gloucester Street now open.

The move is the first in the four-week reduction programme which will result in the majority of the central city roads and footpaths being accessible and safe for the public to use.

It will just leave cordons around specifics buildings or areas as work continues to repair infrastructure or demolish buildings.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera), Christchurch City Council, SCIRT and other key agencies are working together to complete the work.

“Opening the city as much as we can, as fast as we can, gives everyone a boost,” Cera chief executive Roger Sutton said.

A map that outlines the remaining cordon can be seen at:

Acknowledgements:  APNZ
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Another challenge for NZ’s master batsman…

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    Former New Zealand cricket captain Martin Crowe has announced he has recovered from cancer and that he has no plans for any involvement in the sport that created his legend.

    Doctors told the 50-year-old this week that levels of immune-system cancer, lymphoma, diagnosed in December had shrunk to safe levels.

    “Everything is pretty well gone or back to normal,” he told Campbell Live. “It never goes completely, it’s an incurable disease, but all the nodes are back to normal.”

    Extensive chemotherapy shrunk the cancer, including a large stomach tumour, and Crowe said he was not dwelling on the fact it could return.

    “My role is to make sure I feed no stress to make sure the snake, as I call it, remains asleep,” he told the show.

    He said he had “turned the TV off on cricket” – a part of his life that brought a lot of stress.

    “The mind is brutal, life is not meant to be a private struggle and so the cancer has taught me to share and stop living in my mind and to live in my heart and focus on positive emotions.”

    In a recent interview with the NZ Woman’s Weekly, the 50-year-old told how his wife, former Miss Universe Lorraine Downes, helped him through the recovery process.

    “She’s the love of my life,” Crowe said. “I don’t know how I could have got through this without her. She sat through every single one of my chemotherapy sessions and has been with me every step of the way, and remained positive. Lorraine is an amazing woman.”

    Crowe had just started writing his memoirs in October when he was diagnosed with the lymphoma.

    He had been made redundant from his job as an executive producer at Sky Television and said he was thinking more about what he would do with his future than worrying about two lumps on his neck.

    His doctor broke the news on a hands-free call while he was in the car with 9-year-old daughter Emma, who heard the whole conversation.

    He raced home and researched the disease. “When you read that you have a deadly blood cancer, your life kind of flashes before you,” he told the Woman’s Weekly.

    “Then Lorraine walked up the stairs and I burst into tears. I couldn’t speak … For the next couple of hours we held each other and cried.”

    Crowe was initially told the cancer cells were not multiplying, meaning he did not need treatment, but doctors monitored him regularly.

    By Christmas, he started having stomach pains, which were so bad he couldn’t stand up straight. Tests revealed he had a tumour the size of an egg in his abdomen.

    Cricket: Martin Crowe’s latest memoir spares nobody – including himself

    Martin Crowe has called John Parker’s document on the “Taylor Affair” ill-advised in a new book. …

    Russell and Martin Crowe

    Russell and Martin Crowe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Canterbury earthquakes have claimed another life – coroner rules suicide…

Christ Church, Cathedral Square, Christchurch.

Christ Church, Cathedral Square, Christchurch. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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    The Canterbury earthquakes have claimed another life after a coroner ruled they were the reason a man committed suicide.

    Phillip Charles Cooke, 54, of Avonhead, a rail employee, died on January 17 last year.

    Coroner Sue Johnson suppressed most of the evidence and the method of Cooke’s self-inflicted death when she released her findings today.

    However, she detailed a trail of quake-related events that made him depressed and ultimately led to him taking his own life.

    ”Prior to the earthquakes, Mr Cooke was a happy, balanced, even-keeled and stable person actively involved in the community, never becoming flustered in a crisis and always calm and collected,” she said.

    However, after the September 4, 2010, shake, his condition began to deteriorate and he started being treated for depression.

    The Avonside house where he lived with his elderly mother was severely damaged and without power and water for several weeks.

    It was damaged beyond repair in the February 22, 2011, quake. The pair were forced to move to a smaller house on the other side of town.

    ”I find on all the evidence before me that the reason for Mr Cooke’s depression and his ultimate suicide was the effect on him of the earthquakes in Christchurch,” the coroner said.

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