Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Another Tui Billboard Concept.

Christchurch is a safe city. Yeah right.

For the record this is the 12th murder in Canterbury since the beginning of last year. It'll be interesting to see how his worship the Mayor, Garry Moore, reacts to all of this. Just last week he gave a local talkback host a real rocket when challenged over his opinion that Canterbury had adequate police resources. That might be what the District Commander is telling him but what I've heard from CIB detectives is that they're right at the limit and having to defer other investigations while all these homicide investigations are ongoing.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Know Your City Councillor. Part 2.

Sally “my sister was once Mayor” Buck.
Fendalton/Waimairi Ward.

Says little, has achieved even less. Possibly the only reason she made it onto the Council is due to her charismatic (and non speech impediment impaired) sister Vicki Buck who was a popular and well respected Mayor of Christchurch between 1989 and 1998.

To be fair Councillor Buck may be one of those quiet behind the scenes achievers, it’s just damn hard to find out what, if anything, of significance she’s actually done (apart from being a Garry Moore lapdog)

Bob “just say no” Shearing.
Riccarton/Wigram Ward

I’m not going to say much about Councillor Shearing at this stage as he’s just seven months into his first term and it’d be unfair to pass judgement on him this early. So far he’s been prominent on two issues, namely boyracers and herbal high outlets. He wants to crack down on both of them and has tried to get changes made to the Summit Road to deal with the former, and a wants a by-law to handle the latter. He appears to be very much a traditional conservative “law and order” style of politician.

Councillor Shearing has been working hand in glove a lot with Councillor Broughton as well. Their names were jointly signed to press releases regarding controls to rates rises and reinstating 52 annual rubbish bags for ratepayers. Both are members of the Independent Citizens grouping so the joint approach is not a surprise.

His website is crap too

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Know Your City Councillor. Part 1.

Just out of sheer mischieviousness I've decide to write some profiles on Christchurch's City Councillors. I'll pop them up a couple at a time when I'm feeling exceptionally motivated. I suspect Mayor Garry Moore will get a post of his own so I'll cover him off last of all. Where possible I've linked to their respective party profiles as well. Just so you can have the political spin as well.

Helen “I don’t quite understand” Broughton
Riccarton/Wigram Ward.

It’s not unusual to see eyeballs roll, breaths inhaled, and muttered comments when Councillor Broughton opens her mouth at the Council table. For someone who’s a sitting councillor in her second term and previously a community board member since 1995, Councillor Broughton’s grasp on procedure, and reality, sometimes is woefully lacking. At last years annual plan deliberations she waited until after the final budget was settled before asking if alterations could be made to reduce rates increases. Somehow she’d forgotten, or had been unable to do, during the previous four months of annual plan deliberations.

This year she’s back at it in similar mode. Together with Councillor Bob Shearing she put forward a notice of motion requiring rate increases be kept to 2.7%. The attempt was lost. However there were at least three discretionary budget items that could have been challenged to reduce Council spending, but not a peep from Councillor Broughton or her fellow penny pinchers.

Councillor Broughton is noted for always asking questions, normally about matters, that if she’d bothered to read agenda papers, she should understand. It’s not uncommon for Mayor Garry Moore and Councillor Sue Wells to make scathing comments of her abilities during Council debates. One shouldn’t be too harsh on her though; at least she does seek advice when confused.

Her other claim to fame is her drink driving conviction. She picked this up a couple of years ago while member of a Council road traffic safety sub-committee. Irony is a marvellous thing.

Pat “some of by best constituents are Maori” Harrow.
Fendalton/Waimairi Ward.

Pat Harrow has about three political planks, analysis of which reveals quite a lot about the man. First and foremost; he’s a self proclaimed equalist when it comes to matter of race and culture, and totally opposed to any suggestions of there being special treatment for Maori, or Treaty of Waitangi obligations, in Local Government. This despite the requirements of the Local Government Act. One shudders from questioning whether Councillor Harrow may be the white middle class bigot he appears to be. It would be nice to know if he’s actually met a Maori though.

His second crusade is to introduce charges for out of town visitors to the City’s Museum and Art Gallery. He brings this little gem up every year, and every year he gets voted down. Councillor Harrow is nothing if not persistent.

Finally, his other main area of interest involves the ratio of native to exotic native plants used by the Council in its reserves work. Councillor Harrow supports English type exotics as being “more in keeping with the English heritage of Christchurch’s history”. Can we assume some of his favourite trees also include Rata and Kahikatea?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Police Porn

(here's hoping that title doesn't elicit too many hits from google searches looking for something salacious!!)

So 300+ officers of the NZ Police force have been busted for having porn in their emails ... so what?

Can we honestly be surprised at this? I think not. Face it, it's a bloke dominated occupation and blokes have always had a fascination with porn. Though from a purely chauvinistic, slightly voyeuristic perspective I'd just love to meet the 30 or 40 of the policewomen that have been nabbed in this investigation. They sound like the open-minded sort of ladies I've always wanted to meet. (Mind you given what some of our police get up to with truncheons that may not be such a good idea).

It's interesting to note that the volume of the offending emails took up 20 percent of the space available on the police email servers. I'm impressed, that's a lot of dirty pictures floating around in the electronic aether. Even the best efforts of my media class, back in journo' training days would have struggled to compete with that (Monday was "thank God it's porn day"). Our best efforts didn't even raise a blip with the Polytech's internet police. My suspicion here is that if an audit was done of any normal workplace the proliferation of such inappropriate images would be just as common. I base this on what I've seen on colleagues computers where I work.

One can only assume handing out speeding tickets, as our police are wont to do, creates a certain amount of stress which needs to be relieved, and this is the way some officers have chosen to do it. Next time I'm out driving I'm going to make sure I have a copy of Hustler or Penthouse in the glovebox, and if I get pulled over for speeding I'll just whip it out (the magazine you perverts!) and hand it over. That way the cop can get his jollies without the stress of having to write a ticket.

Of course my actions could be misconstrued as being a smartarse, comparing a cop to a sexual offender, in which case I'd probably get the truncheon treatment. To be safe I think I'll hang on to my glad mag's for the time being.

It Never Rains But It Pours.

Spare a thought for the Canterbury District Law Society. No sooner does the fall out from the disgrace of Graham Capill subside than it has to deal with another. Name suppression was today lifted on Christchurch lawyer Leuatea Peseta Iosefa. He'd been seeking to overturn an assault conviction imposed on him in the Christchurch District Court last month. The conviction brought with it a sentence of 150 hours community work and $2,000 worth of reparations which Iosefa had voluntarily offered.

The background to this whole messy business is as follows. In September last year Iosefa was confronted at his home by a debt collector who'd come to repossess a car on which a cheque payment had bounced. The debt collector had no written documentation and Iosefa had not been told by either his bank or the finance company that his cheque had been dishonored. As far as he knew the payment had been made and everything had been taken care of. It'd be fair to say a visit from a debt collector was the last thing he had expected. One thing led to another, tempers got frayed, and it ended up with Iosefa punching the debt collector in the face. According to evidence presented at the District Court hearing the blow splintered the man's eye socket and required surgery, however the only medical records presented are those of Christchurch Hospital's Emergency Department who treated the debt collector immediately after the fracas.

The police were then involved and Iosefa almost ended up getting diversion. Police withdrew it following a request from the complainant and proceedings then headed to the District Court. Iosefa pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and sought to be discharged without conviction. He cited his previous clean record, similar cases involving legal professionals, and his record of charity and community work to support his case. Judge Gary MacAskill was having none of it ruling that someone of Iosefa's position should have known better, he also told him revealing the debt collectors criminal history (which has been suppressed .... shame really as it's a doozy) did his case no favours. The end result was the conviction stood and Iosefa was saddled with 150 hours of community work. With Iosefa clearly intending an appeal name suppression was granted.

This week saw the appeal dealt with by Justice Randerson in the High Court. Iosefa was represented by Nigel Hampton QC who argued the consequences of the conviction far outweighed the gravity of the offence. He further alleged Judge MacAskill had exhibited a jaundiced view towards his client, hadn't paid appropriate attention to the mitigating factors, and had given undue weight to a letter written by the victim presented to the District Court on the day of the sentencing. Nigel Hampton said the impact of a conviction and lifting of name suppression could adversely affect Iosefa's practice, prevent him from practicing in the Pacific, and cost him his Samoan clientele. He asked if his client was being treated more sternly simply because of the fact that he was a lawyer.

This afternoon Justice Randerson confirmed the District Court Judge's ruling saying the conviction should stand and endorsed the District Court Judge's comments that Iosefa should have known better and shouldn't have done what he did.

On a personal note, Iosefa is a well respected lawyer and, from what I have observed, a genuinely nice bloke. It's a pity he got into such a situation where he lost his temper and his rag. It proves he's only human like the rest of us. However I believe Justice Randerson's decision is the right one. Lawyers should be held to account like the rest of us. They know the law so have even less excuse for breaking it. While it's unfortunate Iosefa's practice may suffer as a result of his name being publicised it's only fair his potential clients know the background of the person that may potentially represent them.

Oh and there's another local lawyer in Court next week. This one's on the receiving end of a Serious Fraud Office prosecution. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Mascot Rocked.

Living in Christchurch I normally don't get the opportunity to see that many NRL games. Once in a blue moon the Wests Tigers use the city as a home venue and last night was one of those times. So myself and a mate thought we'd take the chance to go along, put our rugby union prejudices aside and enjoy the show as they took on the Warriors. Here are a few post match obversations:

1) As a spectacle it's actually better than union as there are relatively few static periods of play (ie rucks, mauls, scrums etc). It's much more fast paced.

2) The Warriors still suck. They may have been sublime last week rattling up 40+ points against South Sydney, but they hardly even looked like breaking the Tiger's line last night.

3) It's interesting to note the Warriors can draw a bigger crowd in Christchurch than they can at home in Auckland. There were 18,000 people at Jade Stadium last night watching the came in a freezing wet southerly. I understand the Warriors have been drawing crowds of about 12-13,000 at Ericcson this season.

4) The Tiger's mascot was a bloody legend. Despite getting complete arseholes from the crowd (including the occasional beer bottle) he played them magnificently. Smoothly twirling his tail in the face of rampant abuse while pointing to the scoreboard to emphasise while the Tigers may be tossers, they were winning tossers.

5) Where was the Warriors mascot? More importantly where were the cheerleaders? How can a bloke got to a manly exhibition of contact sport and not get his fix of nubile nookie at halftime? Somebody stuffed up bigtime.

6) Finally don't wear light cotton pants to a winter game at Jade Stadium when there's a southerly downpour. All circulation is lost below the knees and your legs end up going a funny blue colour. Also don't, for any reason, get out of your seat for you will find it will rapidly fill with water and you'll end up with a frozen arse as well!

For the record the Wests Tigers beat the Warriors 24 - 6.

Friday, April 01, 2005

A Bad Week for God

The Pope may be at death's door but his impending demise is upstaged by the death of Terri Schiavo. Add to that the scandal surrounding former Christian Heritage Party Leader Graham Capill.

There's extra embarrassment for the Christchurch Police as they hired this morally upright citizen as their police prosecutor. The Canterbury District Law Society is also left red-faced as they'd only recently accepted Capill to the Bar. This means either they, or the NZ Law Society will now have to hold a disciplinary hearing and strike him off.

As an aside to this it's interesting to note the Christian Heritage Party removed all references to their former leader around the time of his first court appearance. It doesn't jibe with their claims today that the first they heard of the allegatins was when suppression was lifted (ie today).

Isn't fibbing a sin?