Tag Archives: NZ

The contractor who dumped 75 kg of deadly 1080 baits on Stewart Island is still employed by DoC (reviewing this story)

UN finds NZ breached Convention against Torture in Lake Alice abuse allegations – their ‘expert’ electroshocked genitals of boys

NZ GOVT IN BREACH OF TORTURE CONVENTION AFTER THEIR “EXPERT” TORTURED GENITALS OF BOYS —- UNITED NATIONS DECISION UPHOLDS COMPLAINT

PROF NIGEL GRAY 29 DEC 2019 — In a landmark decision United Nations have upheld that the NZ Police failed to prosecute a NZ Govt expert psychiatrist who tortured young boy’s with electroshock on their genitals. This is a result of the complaint by Citizens Commission on Human Rights.

PLEASE SHARE THIS POST WIDELY as this represents a real win for the people of New Zealand in our fight for justice. The details are in the article below and there is a video on the news site link below.


United Nations finds New Zealand breached Convention against Torture in Lake Alice abuse allegations

EXCLUSIVE
Mike Wesley-Smith
In its judgement, the Committee expressed concern authorities made insufficient efforts to establish what happened to children at Lake Alice.
Newshub

The United Nations has found New Zealand breached the Convention against Torture by failing to properly investigate abuse at Lake Alice Hospital in the 1970s. Newshub Nation spoke to five men who claimed psychiatrist Selwyn Leeks electrocuted their genitals as a punishment while at the Manawatu hospital. Leeks has never faced charges, which prompted victim Paul Zentveld to go to the UN.

RELATED NEWS
Extended cut: UN to investigate New Zealand’s ‘national shame’.
Glimmer of hope for Lake Alice survivors. Zentveld said he was diagnosed with a behavioural disorder by Leeks in 1974, who then tortured him. “They had you sitting in the chair or lying on the bed – nurses holding you down. You had no choice.”
Zentveld, who was helped with his UN complaint by the Patient Rights Group called Citizens Commission on Human Rights, calls the UN’s decision a “victory” for all survivors.
Repeated attempts to contact Leeks, who now lives in Australia, have been unsuccessful, but he’s always denied any wrongdoing. Zentveld and 194 former patients received a Government apology and compensation in the 2000s, but police decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Leeks. But evidence is building, as other former patients have come forward with similar allegations. “He applied shock treatment to my genitals. Left with permanent marks on the underside of my penis,” Marty Brandt said.
“The genitals was his favourite spot. It was just straight pain,” another victim Charlie Symes said. A third victim Malcolm Richards said the electrocution appliance sparked and he received a burn on the end of his penis. Zentveld said no matter what Government officials say, “torture on the testicles is pretty serious”. The decision by police to not prosecute Leeks has now been criticised by the UN Committee Against Torture. In its judgement, the Committee expressed concern that authorities made insufficient efforts to establish what happened to children like Zentveld at Lake Alice.
As a result, New Zealand violated its obligations to properly investigate his claims of torture and had endorsed actions leading to impunity for Leeks. The Government and police are still considering the findings, but detectives have already re-opened their investigation into Zentveld’s case. Meanwhile, the Royal Commission into State Abuse says it will examine police and the Government’s response to Zentveld. The UN has urged a prompt investigation into Zentveld’s allegations and prosecutions where appropriate.

Photo: Wikipedia Old abandoned Lake Alice building, 2003

Figures in a new report suggest the number of NZ children living in serious poverty is greater than the population of Dunedin

Thanks to thecontrail.com for this link

From odt.co.nz

Figures in a new report suggest the number of children living in serious poverty is greater than the population of Dunedin.

The 2019 Child Poverty Monitor also shows that those living in areas of high deprivation are three times more likely than other children to be admitted to hospital.

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft said the affected children were often going without shoes, healthy food or easy public transport access to doctors and dental care.

“We have 254,000 children living in households with less than half the median income after paying for their housing.”

He said big and bold changes were required to support the 148,000 children needing help.

Stats NZ says Dunedin’s population is a little over 130,000,

“I want to see family incomes dramatically raised by increasing benefits and making the minimum wage a living wage,” Mr Becroft said.

“And the government needs to move much faster at increasing the supply of social housing – building, buying and repurposing – and working closely with community-based housing providers.”

The annual Child Poverty Monitor is the work of a partnership between the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Otago University’s Child and Youth Epidemiology Service and the J R McKenzie Trust.

Mr Becroft was pleased with Child Poverty Reduction legislation, the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, and linking benefits to wages.

“Government has made increases in Working for Families, Best Start for Children, and winter energy payments. This is a fantastic start.

“But we need to see significant and permanent changes to unlock opportunities for those doing it hardest. One-offs aren’t going to cut it anymore.”

He told Morning Report there were two aspects to be addressed.

“We need an increase in incomes, some courageous decisions about benefits. Secondly we need to massively increase state housing supply. Housing, income levels are crucial.”

He said benefit needed a 20 percent to 40 percent increase at the minimum – that’s a $2 billion spend.

“We’re playing catch up to make up when benefits were slashed in 1991. We’ve never recovered from that. The gap between benefits and wage growth has got wider and wider.”

‘We’ve got the money in the bank’

He suggested free lunches rolled out across more schools, free dental and mental care through to ages 18 or 21.

“We’re talking about families struggling on $400 to $500 a week, where over half of that – as it is for almost all beneficiaries – is on housing, the rest is left for essentials.”

He said there was usually next to nothing left for sports clubs registrations, music lessons, or birthday gifts for friends.

“We’ve got the money in the bank, we just need to commit ourselves to prioritising children.”

He said the minimum wage going up in the next year was a great step.

“There’s been great economic growth in New Zealand,” he said.

“We could spend pretty easily. We could do for the under 18s what we did for the over 65s if we had the will.”

Gerry Forde of the Spirit Army organisation in Invercargill that helps struggling families said while government agencies provided good support, it’s not the government or money that could solve poverty – it was the community.

Mr Forde said for many of the families they were helping, trauma was one of the biggest causes of their poverty.

“Money’s not the problem. The problem – and this is the reality for most of the problems in society – is these parents have been terribly and horrifically abused as children. And that has destroyed their sense of identity, their belief in themselves. This is exactly how all of them will talk to you,” he said.

“They fundamentally believe they are a piece of crap. And how can anyone who has that basic belief ever achieve anything in life?”

Spirit Army mentors have helped get beneficiaries off their benefits and back into the workforce, they’ve prevented parents from attempting suicide and have connected families to social groups for support.

Mr Forde said the path wasn’t always straightforward, but they’d seen a lot of people set free from some of their struggles.

https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/more-kids-poverty-people-dunedin-report

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

It’s been revealed that when White Island emergency calls began Police & rescue services decided not to go – the first responders were NZ citizens

Thanks to reader Jo Blogs for this link… (for background info read this post):

“Those nearby, and back on the mainland, reacted instantly and humanely. They ran, flew, and sped by boat toward the danger. Politicians and officials have praised these as “first responders”. Their use of the phrase was a dishonest attempt to hide that these people were not official first responders, but ordinary people. “

From stuff.co.nz

OPINION: The tragedy at Whakaari/White Island last week exposed a growing institutional cowardice among emergency services, particularly police, that affects their usefulness to citizens.

When the eruption occurred, and the emergency calls started on Monday afternoon, police and rescue services decided that they would not head to the island to help.

It was left to my fellow citizens to respond with māia (courage). Those nearby, and back on the mainland, reacted instantly and humanely. They ran, flew, and sped by boat toward the danger.

Politicians and officials have praised these as “first responders”. Their use of the phrase was a dishonest attempt to hide that these people were not official first responders, but ordinary people.

READ MORE:
* Finding answers for grieving families
* Recovery plan under way as ash threatens to entomb bodies
* Recovery teams leave island empty handed after search for bodies

Mark Law, a helicopter pilot with Kāhu​ NZ, heard that emergency services were not heading to White Island. He and others, including Tim Barrow and colleagues from Volcanic Air, flew out and landed on the island. They rescued some survivors – particularly members of the group that had been closest to the erupting crater.

Law hauntingly describes the island soon after the eruption as “silent”. The air permeated by gases and ground dusted with ash. Survivors, their burns awful to comprehend, weakly called for help. Our untrained heroes were there for them. Our trained rescue services were not.

When police finally got their act together, they used their authority to prevent further private rescues or body recovery.

Let’s assume that, as some people seem to be arguing, it is OK for state professionals, trained for, paid for, and possibly even keen to respond to emergencies, to refuse to attend one.

It does not follow that they can prevent others from assessing risk differently and taking it. But I believe that the official cordon was a kind of post-incident justification for managerial cowardice.

Police also used an official flight over the island, and brief landing on it, to provide “evidence” justifying their decisions. These flights usefully allowed officials to claim there were no signs of life, and that conditions on the island were not conducive to a rescue.

The flight did not see all the bodies.  The helicopter crew that landed and concluded unsafe conditions was clearly wrong, as brave people had already landed and effected a rescue.

Police divers prepare to search the waters near Whakaari/White Island for missing bodies on Saturday.
NZ Police
Police divers prepare to search the waters near Whakaari/White Island for missing bodies on Saturday.

The state made a big deal about the risk in recovery of bodies. GNS estimated the risk of a second eruption at higher than 50 per cent. Police used that percentage, and the GNS risk zone maps, to justify the decision not to recover bodies. Neither of these are go/don’t go assessments. The complexity of the volcano, and the uncertainty built into those numbers, means they are not thresholds for action.

Despite the risk and continued “level 2” status, daring Defence Force teams finally undertook a speedy recovery of most of the bodies. Then the police claimed the same conditions meant there could be no further recovery action.

The GNS risk measurements were a prop. The decision to go in was based on very human factors: personnel who are ready to volunteer, families who are waiting, international attention, and politicians not enjoying the public pressure.

Mark Blackham: "The response to the White Island tragedy is a stark insight into the continued creep of managerialism."
Supplied
Mark Blackham: “The response to the White Island tragedy is a stark insight into the continued creep of managerialism.”

When, in 2012, I criticised police prevention of rescue of workers at Pike River mine, I blamed the insidious creep of “managerialism”; a preference for process over action. Cultural trends, such as fixations on health and safety, infect management systems with an endless loop of passing responsibility.

The response to the White Island tragedy is a stark insight into the continued creep of managerialism. It undermines the ability of state services to help citizens, but empowers it to infantilise us.

We’re discouraged from acting on our own, and forced to bow to experts. Yet systems and fancy talk prevent experts taking substantive action for fear of career, safety, or arbitrary consequences for taking the “wrong” action. In these environments, there are no career prospects for heroes.

What White Island tells you is that, when disaster occurs, you really are on your own. It may be time for citizens to make private provision for security and emergency; collectively or commercially purchasing or organising policing, rescue and fire response.

The state’s sophistication has cemented inaction. The police and government are turning cowardice into a professional duty. I see no value in paying for it through my taxes. It certainly makes them unfit to tell us what to do.

As citizens, it is down to us to help ourselves. To paraphrase our brave pilot Mark Law: “We must take care of our own business.”

* Mark Blackham is a director of Wellington-based BlacklandPR.

SOURCE

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/118219897/after-whakaariwhite-island-its-up-to-us-to-save-ourselves

 

America’s new animal cruelty law that ignores 99% of animal cruelty is not unlike NZ’s that sanctions a long cruel death by 1080

This post on changed laws in the US reminds me of NZ’s situation with 1080 that allows the long slow cruel death a vet has described as 2+ days of slow electrocution. The NZ authorities tweaked the Animal Welfare act to exempt the spreaders of aerially dropped 1080 poison from prosecution for cruelty. Same thing really isn’t it? Cruel but it’s deemed ‘okay’ because they are killing off everything non native for the biodiversity program we were signed up to under Agenda 21 now Agenda 2030. A truly ‘sustainable’ (not) practice. Unless of course it’s your pet dog, cat or other animal. EWR

From veganista.co  via exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com

“According to The Washington Post, the PACT Act “outlines exemptions for humane euthanasia; slaughter for food; recreational activities such as hunting, trapping and fishing; medical and scientific research; ‘normal veterinary, agricultural husbandry, or other animal management practice’; and actions that are necessary ‘to protect the life or property of a person.’”

Of course animal cruelty to dogs and cats by private citizens should be dealt with severely. But what about the billions of animals tortured each year on America’s factory farms? Or how about the tens of thousands of animals, including dogs and cats, who are tested on and mistreated in laboratories?

Can we actually say we’re cracking down on animal cruelty when we still allow SeaWorld to keep cetaceans captive and force them to perform? Or permit insanely cruel practices like fur trapping and bow hunting?”

READ MORE

https://veganista.co/2019/11/26/americas-new-animal-cruelty-law-ignores-99-of-animal-cruelty/

 

Did you know NZ is a leader in governmental use of AI?… there’s been a call for an independent regulator here to monitor & address the associated risks of the tech

From theconversation.com

New Zealand is a leader in government use of artificial intelligence (AI). It is part of a global network of countries that use predictive algorithms in government decision making, for anything from the optimal scheduling of public hospital beds to whether an offender should be released from prison, based on their likelihood of reoffending, or the efficient processing of simple insurance claims.

But the official use of AI algorithms in government has been in the spotlight in recent years. On the plus side, AI can enhance the accuracy, efficiency and fairness of day-to-day decision making. But concerns have also been expressed regarding transparency, meaningful human control, data protection and bias.

In a report released today, we recommend New Zealand establish a new independent regulator to monitor and address the risks associated with these digital technologies.


Read more: To protect us from the risks of advanced artificial intelligence, we need to act now


AI and transparency

There are three important issues regarding transparency.

One relates to the inspectability of algorithms. Some aspects of New Zealand government practice are reassuring. Unlike some countries that use commercial AI products, New Zealand has tended to build government AI tools in-house. This means that we know how the tools work.

But intelligibility is another issue. Knowing how an AI system works doesn’t guarantee the decisions it reaches will be understood by the people affected. The best performing AI systems are often extremely complex.

To make explanations intelligible, additional technology is required. A decision-making system can be supplemented with an “explanation system”. These are additional algorithms “bolted on” to the main algorithm we seek to understand. Their job is to construct simpler models of how the underlying algorithms work – simple enough to be understandable to people. We believe explanation systems will be increasingly important as AI technology advances.

A final type of transparency relates to public access to information about the AI systems used in government. The public should know what AI systems their government uses as well as how well they perform. Systems should be regularly evaluated and summary results made available to the public in a systematic format.


Read more: Avoid the politics and let artificial intelligence decide your vote in the next election


New Zealand’s law and transparency

Our report takes a detailed look at how well New Zealand law currently handles these transparency issues.

New Zealand doesn’t have laws specifically tailored towards algorithms, but some are relevant in this context. For instance, New Zealand’s Official Information Act (OIA) provides a right to reasons for decisions by official agencies, and this is likely to apply to algorithmic decisions just as much as human ones. This is in notable contrast to Australia, which doesn’t impose a general duty on public officials to provide reasons for their decisions.

But even the OIA would come up short where decisions are made or supported by opaque decision systems. That is why we recommend that predictive algorithms used by government, whether developed commercially or in-house, must feature in a public register, must be publicly inspectable, and (if necessary) must be supplemented with explanation systems.

Human control and data protection

Another issue relates to human control. Some of the concerns around algorithmic decision-making are best addressed by making sure there is a “human in the loop,” with a human having final sign off on any important decision. However, we don’t think this is likely to be an adequate solution in the most important cases.


Read more: Automated vehicles may encourage a new breed of distracted drivers


A persistent theme of research in industrial psychology is that humans become overly trusting and uncritical of automated systems, especially when those systems are reliable most of the time. Just adding a human “in the loop” will not always produce better outcomes. Indeed in certain contexts, human collaboration will offer false reassurance, rendering AI-assisted decisions less accurate.

With respect to data protection, we flag the problem of “inferred data”. This is data inferred about people rather than supplied by them directly (just as when Amazon infers that you might like a certain book on the basis of books it knows you have purchased). Among other recommendations, our report calls for New Zealand to consider the legal status of inferred data, and whether it should be treated the same way as primary data.

Bias and discrimination

A final area of concern is bias. Computer systems might look unbiased, but if they are relying on “dirty data” from previous decisions, they could have the effect of “baking in” discriminatory assumptions and practices. New Zealand’s anti-discrimination laws are likely to apply to algorithmic decisions, but making sure discrimination doesn’t creep back in will require ongoing monitoring.

The report also notes that while “individual rights” — for example, against discrimination — are important, we can’t entirely rely on them to guard against all of these risks. For one thing, affected people will often be those with the least economic or political power. So while they may have the “right” not to be discriminated against, it will be cold comfort to them if they have no way of enforcing it.

There is also the danger that they won’t be able to see the whole picture, to know whether an algorithm’s decisions are affecting different sections of the community differently. To enable a broader discussion about bias, public evaluation of AI tools should arguably include results for specific sub-populations, as well as for the whole population.

A new independent body will be essential if New Zealand wants to harness the benefits of algorithmic tools while avoiding or minimising their risks to the public.

Alistair Knott, James Maclaurin and Joy Liddicoat, collaborators on the AI and Law in New Zealand project, have contributed to the writing of this piece.

SOURCE

https://theconversation.com/call-for-independent-watchdog-to-monitor-nz-government-use-of-artificial-intelligence-117589

https://www.biometricupdate.com/201905/academics-call-on-new-zealand-to-regulate-ai-as-brookings-issues-guidance

Image by Computerizer from Pixabay

 

Pike River re-entry team to venture further into mine as WorkSafe gives green light

From tvnz (video at the link)

WorkSafe has this morning given the official Pike River re-entry team permission to move further up the mine’s drift.

The next step will see fresh air pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week and the team will move up the remainder of the 2.3km drift, beyond the 170m seal they reached some weeks ago.

Permission was needed from Worksafe to progress any further in the mine for safety reasons, which has been given today.

Sonya Rockhouse, re-entry campaigner and mother of one of the miners who died in the mine said this is what they’ve been working towards for the past nine years.

“At the end of the day, we’ve been saying it is safe for a long time and we’ve just had to wait for this process to go through. It’s really exciting,” said Ms Rockhouse.

“It vindicates what we’ve been saying all along.”

Ms Rockhouse said everyone has been waiting to get on with the job.

“We had no idea that it would end like this but its fantastic, all worth it. Morale is very high.”

On November 19, 2010, 29 men working in the mine died after an explosion at the West Coast site.

In that time, Ms Rockhouse said the families and re-entry campaign has faced a lot of negativity, even recently. She said those people should walk a mile in their shoes.

“A lot of people say it’s been nine years you need to move on, I wish I could move on that’s what we would like to be able to do but when somebody dies under normal circumstances you have a body and you get to grieve over that body and you get to go through the whole grieving process and we’ve got a huge chunk of that missing,” she said.

“”Imagine if it was your son or husband or brother.”

Today’s development comes after families of the Pike River victims travelled into the main drift on October 3.

SOURCE

 

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/pike-river-re-entry-team-venture-further-into-mine-worksafe-gives-green-light?fbclid=IwAR1V9gIU8XG-x1CoN2rC1IjFtvpfQQxpcpQfyySlTHdvIYl4GbZue2YB2ro

Photo: tvnz video screenshot

“They need food, I have food” says a Kebab shop owner in NZ who has been told to stop feeding the homeless

We’re seeing this scenario more and more. Interestingly, I’d thought it was a very recent corporate greed scenario with the complete heartlessness toward the poor. However I am reading a fascinating book by by Shashi Tharoor about what the British did to India (the title of the book pretty much, a must read too. He has a short video clip online which outlines the essentials in a debate at Oxford university if you search on Youtube). India was home to many famines one under Winston Churchill’s watch who deliberately diverted food from reaching the suffering Bengalis. Millions died, around 4-6 by memory. Anyway going further back in their history in the earlier days of Empire rule, during poorer times they would not allow people to feed the hungry either. Corporations are heartless cruel entities that care only for profits & they’ve been around a long time.  The stuff story is at the link below. This dear man since moving to NZ from India feeds the hungry & homeless on a Sunday night when business is quiet because he remembers being hungry & struggling himself…. EWR

Stuff.co.nz

A kebab shop owner who has been feeding homeless people on Sundays has been asked to stop by a local business association over concerns of anti social behaviour.

Zuhaib Abbas Bangash has been feeding the homeless every Sunday from 5.30pm at his West Auckland shop, Glen Eden Kebab, at Glenmall since November 3. 

But the selfless act has been criticised by the Glen Eden Business Association, who Bangash says told him to stop.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/117655869/kebab-shop-owner-told-to-stop-feeding-homeless?fbclid=IwAR3WXlk30VqNRyRTNENfki2dxxVa7z4Vir8qx89-znHty0t1Yg444ShBiKU

Photo Credit: Screen shot, stuff video

Fires are burning differently & more aggressively with aluminum oxide in the mix

 

INFERNO IN THE MAKING – ALUMINUM OXIDE AND FIRE.
I would like to think a lot of what I say in this video, is wrong but I don’t think that is the case.
Of course there will be the ones who say, “Fire has always wreaked havoc” but when there is something that has been added into the atmosphere, something that does act as an incendiary “dust” that’s where things change.
Can just about say, if you are under the age of say 15, what you see above is your normal sky, but those that have been around much longer, should see that these white trails, that extend and extend, spread out to create what looks to be cirrus cloud, is or has been dispersed from an aircraft.
As I said above, I so wish I was wrong but very curious to the fuel used and as you see, the information is out there, but across out media outlets, truth seems to be like hens teeth.

The North Beach weka that died of “unknown causes” had “both lungs exuding FROTHY PINK FLUID” consistent with 1080 poisoning

“So, Massey, couldn’t work out that “FROTHY PINK FLUID” is consistent with 1080 poisoning?”

From Clyde Graf:

So, as expected, the Department of Conservation has come out with porkies, again, trying to divert attention from its recent aerial operation and the hundreds of poisoned rats, and other animals that washed up on West Coast beaches. Drowning they say. Ha! Is DOC not aware that rats are great swimmers? They even have the tag name Water Rats. They don’t drown by accident or by Pied Piper fantasy stories, made up by desperate DOC staff.

The pathology report for the weka that was found dead, released this week from Massey (known for its creative alternatives to poisoning incidents – like the sea slugs that poisoned many dogs at Auckland’s Takapuna Beach after the aerial poisoning operation across Rangitoto Island, near Auckland) shows that the endemic bird died with “BOTH LUNGS EXUDING FROTHY PINK FLUID”!!!!

The weka’s Pathology report from Massey is included, below.

The finding is typical of animals that die of 1080 poisoning. But no, in this case, and as expected, the findings were “unknown cause of death”.

So, Massey, couldn’t work out that “FROTHY PINK FLUID” is consistent with 1080 poisoning???

For Heavens sake, when will these govt organisations actually show some independence? Oh, that’s right, they can’t! There is NO independence when it comes to 1080 poisoning incidences in New Zealand.

RELATED: Over 5 years NZ$3 million has been approved by DoC alone to the eight main NZ universities – so how independent is their research?

Copy of 77137871_2807092646002721_3590316501648801792_o.jpg

Just to remind DOC and Massey, here’s some photos of animals “EXUDING FROTHY PINK FLUID” after being poisoned with 1080 …

 

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