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Kiwi’s best passport in the world says Jack Tame…

There's a reason fake or stolen NZ passports are considered among the world's most valuable. Photo / File
There’s a reason fake or stolen NZ passports are considered among the world’s most valuable. Photo / File

Miley Cyrus was spot on. “No one hates New Zealand,” she told me this year, explaining she quite fancies the idea of retiring to a country that won’t be involved in nuclear warfare any time soon.

It’s always been the benefit of travelling with a New Zealand passport: it doesn’t matter to what foreign shore or grungy customs office you arrive, our country simply hasn’t made many enemies.

We didn’t fight in Iraq. We haven’t embargoed Cuba. We aren’t unduly suspicious of socialism, we haven’t banned burkas and generally speaking we haven’t played geopolitical lapdog in quite the same way as the Aussies.

It’s not so much that everyone loves us, but that most surly border officials can think of no reason not to love us.

Though most have at least heard the name “New Zealand”, many know next to nothing of our country. I’ve had airport security officials in small town Oklahoma call up their colleagues over the public PA system to come and check out my passport.

They didn’t consider me suspicious but rather delighted in examining a foreign passport they’d never encountered before.

There’s a reason fake or stolen New Zealand passports are considered among the most valuable on Earth – just ask Mossad.

There’s a reason any New Zealander working in a warzone will travel with their Kiwi passport instead of any other foreign ID.

I for one was inconvenienced and whingey about New Zealand’s five-year passport rule. I considered it a fundraiser and nothing more.

And though, as an election sweetener, my bleats are being appeased and we’re moving back to decade renewals, the events of this week have forced me to reconsider my position.

Phillip Smith should clearly never have been issued a New Zealand passport.

I’m staggered he found it so easy. The integrity of our passport system is one of our few legitimate national security issues, and if five-year renewals make it all the more robust, that should end the debate.
Jack Tame is on Newstalk ZB, Saturdays, 9am-midday

The Moa’s decline was quicker than earlier thought…

Chris Jacomb, a University of Otago archaeologist, examines a moa bone. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

Chris Jacomb, a University of Otago archaeologist, examines a moa bone. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

The moa became extinct more swiftly than previously thought, little more than a century after the country’s first human inhabitants arrived, a new study involving University of Otago researchers concludes.The findings, just published in the journal Nature Communications, incorporate results of research by international teams involved in two major projects led, respectively, by Richard Holdaway, of Canterbury University, and Chris Jacomb, of Otago University.

The research, backed by Marsden Fund grants, concludes moa had become extinct before the mid-15th century, much earlier than the previous traditional view.

”It used to be thought that it took at least 500 years or more,” Mr Jacomb, of the Otago anthropology and archaeology department, said.

But the latest research, partly based on new high precision radiocarbon dates of moa egg shells, including in Otago, indicates moa was extinct little more than a century after Polynesians arrived in the 14th century.

Such extinction resulted inevitably from the hunting of the slow-breeding flightless birds.

Most of New Zealand’s early inhabitants would have been living in the South Island at the peak of hunting, and the moa’s disappearance later contributed to big decline in the human population there.

The study also highlights the relatively small size of the country’s overall human population when moa became extinct-2500 people at most.

This reality was likely to be of international scientific interest.

It had often been suggested that people could not have caused the extinction of ”megafauna” such as the mammoths of North America or giant marsupials in Australia because the human populations at the time of the extinctions had been too small, but that argument could no longer be used.

Moa extinction was also ”a really good example” of the issues being highlighted in concerns about environmental sustainability being highlighted this century, he said.

”It may be a little bit extreme. It’s striking because the animals are big and dramatic and probably [they were] gone in a hundred years.”

The researchers calculated that the Polynesians whose activities caused moa extinction had among the lowest human population densities on record internationally.

During the peak period of moa hunting, there were fewer than 1500 Polynesian settlers in New Zealand, or about 1 person per 100 square kilometres, one of the lowest population densities recorded for any pre-industrial society.

Moa were exterminated first in the more accessible eastern lowlands of the South Island, at the end of the 14th century, just 70-80 years after the first evidence for moa consumption.

Their total extinction most probably occurred within a decade either side of 1425AD, barely a century after the earliest well-dated site, at Wairau Bar near Blenheim, was settled by people from tropical East Polynesia, the researchers said. The last known birds lived in the mountains of northwest Nelson.

• An earlier scientific study, published last month, and involving researchers from Auckland University and Landcare Research, also highlighted the rapid decline of the moa, but suggested a slightly longer period of moa survival – less than 200 years.

The new NZ security laws are urgent…

Military training in the North island predates John Key’s ISIS announcement…

Pictures of military training in the lower Morth Island…

Primary school principals were astounded by John key’s downplaying of hunger in schools…

Primary principals are astounded by the Prime Minister’s latest comments about hunger in schools.When questioned in Parliament last night about hungry school children, John Key said that at all the decile 1-4 schools he had visited, principals and teachers had told him that only “the odd one or two” children did not have lunch.

The principal of Windley School in Porirua East, Rhys McKinley, found the claim laughable.

“The Porirua East area is full of decile one and two schools. The principals often talk about health matters at cluster meetings, and food in bellies is a major issue. We’re not talking about one or two kids,” he said.

“We are fortunate to have organisations run breakfast clubs every morning for approximately 50 to 60 students. On average, each of our 14 classes has three or four students without lunch each day. Five or six kids come to the staffroom for food each day and teachers also give out fruit and muesli bars in class, as well as supplies from KidsCan. In winter, a volunteer group came on Mondays to give soup to up to 20 kids.

“It’s disappointing that the Prime Minister does not understand the extent of the problem affecting our kids.”

Margaret Aikman is the principal of Hay Park School in Mt Roskill and said that conversations with other principals showed that feeding hungry students was a major issue.

“It’s definitely more than one or two children. Through KidsCan and other food donations we feed between 10-12 children lunch every day and that’s out of just 200 students. In addition we also provide breakfast for between 18 and 30 children; some of whom have not had dinner the night before,” she said.

NZEI President Judith Nowotarski said Mr Key was correct in saying that parents had a responsibility to provide lunch for their children, but in circumstances where they were unable to – for whatever reason – children should not have to go hungry.

“Every teacher knows the problem is far greater than Mr Key will concede, and it needs a governmental solution. Ad hoc donations from businesses and charities will help some children in some schools on some days, but we need to get serious about tackling hunger in schools,” she said.

All Black Richie McCaw: Greatest flanker of all time.

Yeah right Tui…

How the US public reacted to All Blacks demolition of their Eagles national side 74-6

Key the smoko thief…

Police should raid key’s house over ‘Rawshank’ hacker claims

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander:

Prime Minister John Key believes he knows who the hacker 'Rawshark' is (Simon Wong/ 3 News)Prime Minister John Key believes he knows who the hacker ‘Rawshark’ is (Simon Wong/ 3 News)

Opposition MPs say police should search Prime Minister John Key’s house and office following revelations he was “told” the identity of the hacker behind Dirty Politics.

The revised biography Portrait of a Prime Minister includes a new chapter on the election entitled ‘The Campaign from Hell’, in which Mr Key alleges he was told who the hacker ‘Rawshark’ is.

“Someone phoned and told me who the hacker was, but other than having a look at this person, I thought, ‘Oh well … nothing will come out of it. Life goes on,” Mr Key said in the book.

Mr Key did not reveal the name to the biography’s author John Roughan and when asked if he passed on the information to police, a spokeswoman said Mr Key had no involvement with the inquiry.

Though Mr Key believed he knew the hacker’s identity “he cannot be certain”, the spokeswoman said.

Police conducted a 10-hour-long search of investigative journalist Nicky Hager’s Wellington house earlier this month, in an attempt to flush out the hacker. The author is taking the police to court over their actions.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman think police should raid Mr Key’s house and office if he claims to know who the hacker is.

“[Mr Key] says he’s not actually certain – another brain-fade. If you do know conclusively, you should say so, but he says he doesn’t know,” Mr Peters says.

Asked if police should search Mr Key’s property he replied: “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, isn’t it?”.

Dr Norman says Mr Key should either tell the public who he thinks Rawshark is, or be subject to a search like Mr Hager.

“I would expect to police to be consistent and even-handed and raid the Prime Minister’s house and office to find out who Mr Key thinks Rawshark is”

“If he wants to avoid a 10-hour police search, which is what Mr Hager got, then he should fess up and tell us who he thinks Rawshark is.”

Rawshark is accused of providing Mr Hager with the personal emails and communications between Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater and National Party staff and ministers that formed the backbone of his Dirty Politics book.

Key should have come clean on Ede -Russel  Norman

The revised chapter in Portrait of a Prime Minister also reveals former National Party staffer and apparent close source of Slater, Jason Ede resigned the night Dirty Politics was published.

Mr Hager’s book alleges Mr Ede was one of the sources of information which Slater used to attack National’s opponents.

Mr Key did not confirm Mr Ede’s resignation until two days after the election.

Dr Norman believes if Mr Key knew about the resignation when it happened, he should have made it public.

“If New Zealanders during the election campaign would have known Mr Ede was no longer working for the National Party they would have realised there was a lot of weight in the very serious allegations [in Mr Hager’s book],” he said.

“That’s why National didn’t want anyone to know.”

In an interview for the biography, Mr Key said Mr Ede had a lot of jobs.

“Part of it was dealing with bloggers, but he’d go off and do things for the party too, such as the Mana by-election,” he said.

Roughan writes that Mr Ede had worked full time for the National Party since the start of the year, but it ended the night Dirty Politics was published.

Mr Ede was one of Mr Key’s advisers before he began working for the party. He dropped out of sight several weeks ago but it wasn’t previously known when he quit the job.

Mr Key confirmed to Roughan that he was at times in contact with Slater.

“I don’t know him really,” Mr Key said.

“He used to turn up at the odd event… occasionally Cameron would text me but it wasn’t anything like my relationship with David Farrar (National’s pollster who writes Kiwiblog), I talk to Farrar all the time.”

Acknowledgements:   3 News

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