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Archive for November, 2013

Rotorua man wins $100,000 on $5.00 scratchie ticket

The Instant Kiwi logo

The Instant Kiwi logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Rotorua man is smiling all the way to the bank after winning $100,000 on Instant Kiwi’s Texas Hold ’em ticket.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, is on something of a winning streak after winning a $5 free ticket, and then turning that into $100,000. Although initially, he couldn’t believe his luck.

“I scratched the free ticket and I thought it said $100,000” said the winner.

“So I put on my glasses for a closer look, and it still said $100,000. Then I asked my girlfriend and she said it was $100,000.”

After triple-checking his ticket, the man wasted no time claiming his prize.

“I went straight down to the Lotto shop to redeem it. I think I had a grin on my face for the next three days.”

The winning ticket was bought from Selwyn Heights Four Square, Rotorua.

-Acknowledgements:    THE DAILY POST

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The continued age of stupidity – from John Key to Colin Craig…

Reefton ‘sighting’ sparks hope that the supposed extinct South Island Kokako is very much alive…

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of Ne...

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 19th-century painting of a South Island kokako. Two people claimed to have sighted the rare bird in 2007.

A 19th-century painting of a South Island kokako. Two people claimed to have sighted the rare bird in 2007.

Call it the kokako cold case. The fate of the South Island kokako, long a mystery, was thought concluded when the bird was officially declared extinct six years ago.

But hopeful bird watchers who have beaten through southern wilderness to find it have been heartened by its surprise re-classification from extinct to “data deficient” – with not enough information to be certain of its demise.

This came after a claimed sighting by two people near Reefton in 2007 being accepted by the Ornithological Society’s Records Appraisal Committee, which monitors the status of rare and endangered birds.

The last accepted sighting of the South Island kokako – distinguished by its haunting call, orange wattle and long, lean legs – was in 1967.

Yet a number of people have claimed to have sighted it since.

South Island farmer and Forest and Bird member Alec Milne says he has both heard and seen the lost bird.

“The defining moment for me was in a small alpine valley at the head of the Cobb Valley, listening to notes that hung in the air then echoed off the rock faces – the injustice of turning our backs on such a bird, it having recently been declared extinct, I found unacceptable.”

Mr Milne, who now runs a project partly funded by the group to find evidence they still exist, described the reclassification as “wonderful”.

But Pete Shaw, who was part of a 2008 expedition to find it, isn’t so convinced the bird has escaped extinction.

After receiving a promising report, his team ventured into the Waitutu Forest in the lower South Island, but found the so-called kokako calls to be kaka with “a very odd local dialect”.

“I’d say quite confidently that there’s nothing like a viable population, or even a pair, left in New Zealand, but there might be the odd single bird,” he said yesterday.

The Reefton sighting was one of 11 such sightings submitted, but the others, from the Marlborough Sounds, northwest Nelson, the West Coast and the Catlins, between 1990 and 2008, were considered to be only “possible” or “probable”.

Forest and Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell said that while it couldn’t be confirmed the South Island kokako was still alive, “this is the best sign yet that it is”.

The ‘Grey Ghost’ may fly again!

Read more by Jamie Morton

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NZ Govt has done little to work on Kiwis resident in Australia rights…

NZ Government doesn’t want to offend Australians.

David Cunliffe at the NZ Open Source Awards, 2007

David Cunliffe at the NZ Open Source Awards, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Finance Minister Bill English says his government can only do so much to better the lot of New Zealanders living across the Tasman.

At the annual Australia-New Zealand leadership forum in Sydney, Labour Party leader David Cunliffe said the Government should be pushing harder for fairer treatment of New Zealanders who move to Australia.

Bill English.Bill English.


In his speech to the meeting of business and political leaders on Wednesday, Mr Cunliffe called for New Zealanders in Australia to be given the same benefits as Australians moving to this country.

He said that includes access to student support payments, public disability payments and citizenship.

Mr Cunliffe said Australians moving to New Zealand become permanent residents on arrival, whereas most New Zealanders who migrate to Australia are not accorded the same status.

Speaking from Sydney, Mr English said the Government was pushing as hard as it could to break down barriers.

But he told Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report programme the Australian government is in a different situation to New Zealand, where the economic outlook is positive.

“In Australia they’ve got a lot more concern about where they’re going economically and about their government’s books and that just means they’re less willing and able to make choices that might suit us.

“It doesn’t mean we give up, it means we keep working away and making sure they understand our issues so that when the time comes we can give a bit of a shove and get what we’re after.”

Mr English said the Trans-Pacific Partnership was a key issue at the talks on Wednesday.

He said the Australians agree it is vital the United States works to forge the deal, both for trade purposes and for political reasons.

Mr English says it was agreed the US must show the leadership necessary to get the deal done, and a failure to do so would reduce its status and mana in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Go Wellington bus driver threatens a heavily pregnant mother off the bus if she brought her stroller on board again…

A heavily pregnant mother says a Go Wellington bus driver threatened to bump her off a bus if she brought her stroller on board again.

Read more here:

A heavily pregnant mother says a Go Wellington bus driver threatened to bump her off a bus if she brought her stroller on board again.

Read more here:
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Record high wage gap between Australia and New Zealand…

David Cunliffe closing the 2005 Auckland BioBlitz

David Cunliffe closing the 2005 Auckland BioBlitz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The wage gap between Australia and New Zealand has blown out to a record high of more than $210 a week, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.

“Closing the wage gap was one of John Key’s major election promises, but he been strangely quiet on the issue.

“Who could forget National’s 2008 election slogan: ‘Wave goodbye to higher taxes, not your loved ones.’

The new wage gap figure of $NZ211.51 was calculated by the Parliamentary Library by comparing gross average weekly earnings in Australia and New Zealand, adjusted for purchasing power parity. This OECD comparison method has been used by John Key.

“The wage gap is now the highest on record and has increased by $90 since John Key took office, promising to close the gap.

“The National Government will try to defend its record by using after income tax figures, but this hides the impact of its rise in GST.

“It’s not surprising more than 200,000 Kiwis have moved to Australia under the National Government.

“This hands-off Government has done nothing to reduce the wage gap with Australia. In fact, National’s unfair labour laws are keeping wages down,” David Cunliffe says.

Note: David Cunliffe will leave for Australia tomorrow where he will address the annual Australian New Zealand Leadership forum in Sydney on Wednesday


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NZ Kiwis through to World Cup final against Aussie Kangaroos…

Rugby League World Cup

Rugby League World Cup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shaun Johnson scores winning try to take Kiwis into RLWC2013 final


The Kiwis left it to the last minute to secure their Rugby League World Cup semi-final win over England at Wembley today.

They had been trailing 18-14 with only seconds to go when Shaun Johnson finally found some space 20 metres out from England’s goal-line. And, with a shimmy or two plus his trade-mark acceleration, he was over for the try that levelled the game.

To make matters even more satisfying for the Kiwi fans at Wembley, who were massively outnumbered by England’s vociferous supporters, the try was handy to the goal-posts. Still, in those tense circumstances, the conversion was no given, especially as the English fans mustered a major chorus of disapproval in an effort to put Johnson off.

No such luck, though. He landed the goal and there was the 20-18 victory – and a direct pathway through to the final in Manchester next Saturday.

It could, however, so easily have been the end of the trail for Simon Mannering and his teammates. They had started the game – which was played in perfect conditions in front of 67,545 people – not so much with a flourish, but with enough skill and energy that it looked as if they would take control.

But no points came from their initial dominance. Instead, England began building their game, stretching the Kiwi defence and, after only 15 minutes, Sam Burgess put Sean O’Loughlin through for an unnervingly simple try. Kevin Sinfield converted and 10 minutes later the lead widened to eight points when he landed a penalty.

By half-time, however, the Kiwis had conjured up a semi-miraculous try (to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck) thanks to various bits of magic from others, especially from Dean Whare. And, when Johnson converted that and goaled a 40 metre penalty just before half-time, it was 8-8 at the break.

That score may have flattered the Kiwis because, despite the macho charges from their big men, and some enterprising play from the smaller guys, England was coping pretty well. Then, straight after the break, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was over for his second (unconverted) try, and Johnson followed up with a penalty.

So there the Kiwis were, leading 14-8 and giving the impression that they might now apply the pressure and pull away. But the pressure came from the home team with another try, this time from Kallum Watkins, and within ten minutes there was another from Sam Burgess. That had England out to an 18-14 lead and giving the impression that they would able to hang on.

But Shaun Johnson’s last minute moves put paid to that. It was a desperately close call though.

This was a very strong performance by the English. There was plenty of muscle in the forwards, especially from the Burgess brothers and James Graham, and slickness in the backs too. The Kiwis did well to weather the storm. But they will need to do better next Saturday in the final against Australia, who beat Fiji 64-0 later in the day at Wembley in the second semi-final.

The Kiwis will hope that Manu Vatuvei and Frank Pritchard, who both missed this match, will be fit to be considered for selection next week.

The final of the RLWC kicks-off at 2.30pm on Saturday, November 30 (3.30am Sunday December 1 NZ-time), at Old Trafford, Manchester.

The Kiwis have a recovery day tomorrow and travel to Manchester on Monday.

At Wembley Stadium, London:

Kiwis: 20 (Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2, Shaun Johnson tries. Shaun Johnson 4 goals).
England: 18 (Sean O’Loughlin, Kallum Watkins, Sam Burgess tries. Kevin Sinfield 3 goals).

Halftime: 8-all
Referee: Ben Cummins
Crowd: 67,545

Kiwis: Kevin Locke, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dean Whare, Bryson Goodwin, Jason Nightingale, Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Issac Luke, Jesse Bromwich, Simon Mannering (C), Sonny Bill Williams, Elijah Taylor. Interchange: Frank-Paul Nu’uausala, Sam Kasiano, Ben Matulino, Alex Glenn. Coach: Stephen Kearney.

England: Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley, Kallum Watkins, Leroy Cudjoe, Ryan Hall, Gareth Widdop, Kevin Sinfield (C), James Graham, James Roby, Sam Burgess, Brett Ferres, Ben Westwood, Sean O’Loughlin. Interchange: Rob Burrow, George Burgess, Christopher Hill, Carl Ablett. Coach: Steve MacNa


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Maori ball game rep gives tips at college…

Makoura College

Makoura College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John Hayes MP & Alan Peachey MP with students ...

John Hayes MP & Alan Peachey MP with students from Makoura College (Photo credit: nznationalparty)


WINNER'S GRIN: Makoura College Ki-o-rahi player Ngatika Matapuku goes through her paces at a workshop on the game led by a national representative. PHOTO / SUPPLIED

WINNER’S GRIN: Makoura College Ki-o-rahi player Ngatika Matapuku goes through her paces at a workshop on the game led by a national representative. PHOTO / SUPPLIED

A former national representative ki-o-rahi player has shared some secrets of the ancient Maori game with Makoura College students.

Pita Noanoa, who has played the game for seven years, visited Makoura College last week and led a workshop on the traditional sport.

A group of senior and junior students were selected to attend the three-hour workshop.Each had either played at the recent regionals competition or will play in the upcoming sports exchange with Mana College.

The workshop comprised an introduction to the sport, relating it to the legend of Rahi and the reason for its popularity in France, before a classroom session on the rules of the game. The group also went outdoors to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the rules.

Students were offered lessons on improving their game by formulating strategies and were taught the importance of supporting and improving their in-game communication, which Noanoa said were two main factors in any successful team.

Makoura College players will have an opportunity to test their enhanced skills at regional competition in Wainuiomata next year.

Ki-o-rahi is a traditional game played across New Zealand with a small round ball called a ki.

The game is widely known in Maori communities and in scattered mainstream locations throughout the country and is a fast-paced sport incorporating skills similar to Australian rules, rugby, netball and touch, that is gaining an international followin- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGBy nathan.crombie@ag

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The ‘Jackson’ Hobbit laws hurting local actors now…

English: Original Hobbit Hole, Hobbiton locati...

English: Original Hobbit Hole, Hobbiton location for LOTR trilogy, New Zealand. Español: Agujero hobbit original, localización de Hobbiton para la trilogía de El Señor de los Anillos, en Nueva Zelanda. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    British actor Martin Freeman in The Hobbit
    British actor Martin Freeman in The Hobbit



    A high New Zealand dollar and stiff competition from UK and South African incentives mean the local film and television industry is facing its worst downturn in maybe two decades, the actors’ union says.

    The so-called “Hobbit laws” also mean local actors are losing out to overseas actors, Equity New Zealand vice president Jeff Szusterman has told the Screen Industry Summit.

    The high dollar and better incentives offered by countries like South Africa and the UK are forcing major foreign productions like Avatar elsewhere, he said.

    “These are the key reasons that performers, crew, technicians and other film workers find themselves out of work and many of us are having to reconsider the careers we have chosen.”

    The problem began when successive governments relied too much on foreign productions to create an industrial base, rather than developing a truly local production industry, he said.

    The New Zealand screen industry was now reliant on the financial whims of US studios and the inherently unstable and highly competitive runaway production market, he said.

    “These fair weather friends have only ever had the bottom line in mind when choosing to come to the country.

    “So now we have a very poorly structured incentive scheme which is failing to attract offshore productions, and an underfunded local industry. The result is the current jobs crisis in the screen industry.”

    Equity wanted to see the government offer better incentives to attract overseas productions, but changes needed to be made so the benefits trickled down.

    Mr Szusterman said the labour laws introduced in 2010, which forced workers in the film and television industry to be contractors who could not collectively bargain, were a major blow to workers.

    New immigration laws which meant producers could import as many overseas artists as they want – replacing New Zealand performers.

    “No checks, no balances, no local market testing at all – producers are no longer obliged to audition New Zealand performers.”



    Read more:

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    David Cunliffe slices through moral fog – will this get Key off his backside?

    David Cunliffe promised a Labour Government would pay the court-ordered compensation. Photo / Peter White

    David Cunliffe promised a Labour Government would pay the court-ordered compensation. Photo / Peter White

    Opposition leader will have a big win if he can force the Government to change its mind about Pike River.

    Is David Cunliffe exploiting the Pike River tragedy for political purposes? Of course he is. It goes with the territory of Leader of the Opposition. You grab whatever is on offer. Or you wither and die.

    Cunliffe deserves a big political dividend if he can pressure, embarrass or shame National into reversing the Cabinet’s decision not to pay compensation to the families of the 29 miners who lost their lives in the disaster, plus the two who survived.

    And the Labour leader certainly gave it a darned good go yesterday.

    He sought to use a potent brew of moral persuasion to sweep away the legal obstacles and excuses used to block lump-sum recompense.

    The surprise – as yesterday was the third anniversary of the calamity – was that National was caught off guard.

    National’s Minister of Labour, Simon Bridges, inadvertently helped Cunliffe’s case by revealing that the Cabinet discussion on the question of compensation had been brief and that the moral argument for a payout had not even been raised.\\(Memo to Bridges from John Key: ministers do not discuss what happens at Cabinet meetings. Leave the talking to me.)

    Cunliffe immediately filled the vacuum left by Bridges by promising a Labour Government would pay the court-ordered compensation, most of which the families never saw because Pike River went into receivership. Labour would seek reimbursement from the company’s directors and shareholders.

    Cunliffe would use “the power of the office of the Prime Minister” to recover the money from the likes of New Zealand Oil and Gas which had a 31 per cent stake in Pike RiverIn Cunliffe’s version of Come Dine With Me, he would be dining privately with the heads of the relevant companies and they would be “taking something back to their boards” – presumably not a doggy bag.

    He saved his killer question for Parliament and Acting Prime Minister Bill English.

    “Given that, in this particular case, 29 miners are dead, a royal commission has found that one of his ministries is partially culpable for failing to close the mine, the minister responsible has resigned, a court has ordered compensation, the parent of the company now in receivership has refused to pay that compensation, two Crown entities that are ultimately answerable to him through their boards have voted against the parent company paying compensation, and yet another Crown entity has received insurance payouts and refused to contribute a cent, has the Government honoured all of its moral obligations to the Pike River families?”

    With the Cabinet having determined it would not set a precedent, English’s hands were tied. He replied that through ACC, the Government honoured its obligations to every family that suffered from a workplace death.

    “Any government has to keep in mind the hidden, as well as the high-profile, tragedies.”

    It was a good point. But Pike River is far more than the sum of its chilling parts – be it the dreadful state of the mine’s safety system, the lack of adequate monitoring by the Department of Labour, and so on.

    Cunliffe has recognised that Pike River was a special case – and that it therefore deserves special treatment.

    National, however, cannot see the political wood for the legal and bureaucratic trees.

    Acknowledgements:  John Armstrong

    Pike River Coal

    Pike River Coal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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