Sunday, December 28, 2008
The old year is coming to a close. We have just had a general election and the Labour -led government we had been used to and earlier relied on to rectify the abuses of the 1990's has gone. Both Helen Clark and her deputy, Michael Cullen both stood down from the leadership of the party almost immediately. Phil Goff and Annette King are the new leader and deputy respectively, of the Labour Party. What of the future?
The new prime minister and leader of the new rightwing National -led coalition, John Key, has a big task under the present economic difficulties; he may well have a poisoned chalice in leading New Zealand during these times.
This is not my political blog and I don't wish to put off readers of "Down by the HuttRiver" by writing it as such. I just wish to commentate on the present political situation where a brand new government will have to take the high road in their endeavours to justify their elevation to power in 2008. If they are unsuccessful they may not get a second term from a fickle electorate who have never explained just what the change they wished was really all about. Were they just bored with a three term Labour-led administration, or wanted a change of direction? Time will tell!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
A story in one of today's Sunday papers here in NZ caught my eye:
Three Somalian teenage refugees have been questioned regarding allegations that they have been preying on young impressionable girls for sex. The eldest of the trio has ben charged with underage sex with a girl last month. Two other girls had made allegations against him and his two friends aged 16 and 17 years as well.
The police were investigating claims these three youths were targeting young girls attending church functions in upper middle class suburbs.
They denied charges and said they had no idea why the girls were telling "lies". Why would the girls tell lies in the first place?
One of the trio said he believed "people from the government" were biased against them. He said one of the girls he had sex with told him she was 16 years old; he said he was disappointed later she when discovering she was only 13 years old. Disappointed?
I think these refugee youths wouldn't find themselves in trouble if they stuck to girls in their own age -group. They are undoubtably aware of New Zealand's sex laws and our cultural requirments, which were obviously much stricter than those they were used to. They are obviously targeting young girls from church groups who they believed were "fair game".
An interesting story. Of course the youths were innocent and blamed the girls for being flirtatious. Yeah and I'm the Mother Superior! As an aside, aren't Somalians Muslim who have strict laws regarding illicit sex? Thats what I thought!
Or is it because Somalian and other North African cultures lack real respect for their women and girls, and men and boys can please themselves when, where and with whom they satisfy their sexual urges? I really wonder!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Boulcott Hospital, a small private hospital that has entered 21st century, i-suite operating technology...
Boulcott Hospital, a small private New Zealand hospital that has adopted 21st century, i-suite operating technology...
Boulcott Hospital in Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand, is a great little modern hospital set up for a variety of operations that do not have to be done in one of New Zealand's larger state owned and operated hospitals.
I have personally been a patient at Boulcott Hospital on a couple of occasions for minor operations to my hand and knee. Both medical and post operative treatment were excellent. The hospital caters for private and ACC patients, and perhaps some other insured patients as well. This is not an advertising post, but some positive comments from a former patient who received excellent medical and treatment there.
Just imagine the news I read today about Boulcott Hospital:
A new operating theatre has been constructed and fitted out by medical technology company, STRYKER, who have built the first of these 21st century style operating theatres in the Wellington and central North Island region in New Zealand.
Lets discuss some of the comments made: A whole new way of looking at surgery; Clinicians no longer have to be in the same operating theatre or town - to view surgery carried out at the hospital, thanks to its cutting edge technology of its new i-suite-operating theatre; This allows surgeons and theatre teams to work in a more collaborative manner ...(because)everyone can see whats happening - Richard Grenfell.
Cameras inside operating lights and other equipment reportedly film operations, which are shown in real time on three screens inside the theatre.
It can also be broadcast to remote sites, such as seminar rooms or other hospitals, even in other towns; perhaps even in other countries too!
There is also much more room around the operating table, which allows surgeons and theatre teams to work in a more efficient and collaborative manner because everyone can see what is going on there.
Surgeons have headsets to communicate with the seminar room and can also access patient notes, X-rays and other information on touch-panel screens while working in the theatre.
The theatre reportedly cost about NZ$2 million dollars, part of a NZ$7 million dollar upgrade of Boulcott Hospital, which included new in-patient beds and a day- stay suite.
Dr Grenfell said that, unlike oldstyle operating theatres which are very cluttered with various monitors and cables, the state of the art i-suite used ceiling mounted booms to accomodate medical equipment and monitors. He also said surgeons had enthusiastically adopted the new technology and rated the i-suite operating theatre as their favourite theatre; it gave them the best view of surgery they have ever seen.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
While this is not my political blogsite, it deals with social issues which have to be discussed.
The newly elected rightwing National Government in NZ has introduced under urgency and passed into law a '90 day hire and fire Act' giving small employers(under 20 employees) the legal right to sack workers without notice or grievance procedure within the ninety day period.
While the provisions of the new law are attacked, the worst aspect was the law being introduced under urgency a couple of weeks before Christmas. Under urgency prevents debate in the committee stages of law making.
The only protection workers will have are those under human rights legislation.
I understand a similar situation exists in the US, but it is not enacted in law, but through employers hiring procedures.
Critics claim that compliance costs will increase, as they did when a similar law was enacted in Britain.
I can't understand how it will assist the employment of more workers; it will just make those already at risk more vulnerable, especially the young, ethnic, or foreign workers on short term visas.
The largest union in the country,the EPMU, made the unparalled and unsuccessful petition to the Governor General to intervene.
In the 1990's the then National Government introduced the controversial Employment Contracts Act(ECA) which affected NZ workers in a number of negative and repressive ways and kept National out of office for nine years. There is genuine fear here that the new law may be the thin edge of the wedge!
Full of rightwing politicians from councils to parliament, but as nanny statish as anything claimed during Labour's reign:
Right-wing nanny state? While some Auckland beaches are contaminated with sewage and public transport remains an embarrassment, it's good to see the Auckland City Council has moved on to more important matters — like dictating to buskers what songs they can play. If it was April, I'd swear this story was a joke. The new policy says buskers must apply for an annual busking licence and develop sufficient repertoire so they can perform without repetition.
So who will make sure buskers stick to the rule? A council funded busker monitor? Or better yet, maybe the police would like to add it to their list of daily tasks? Will they also restrict the playing of 'Smoke on the Water'? Please? What do you think should be Auckland City Council's priorities? Cleaning up the beaches? Public transport? Moving the homeless from central-city streets? Bringing another international sporting star to Auckland for the enjoyment of the council? Too many questions, I know.
Quite frankly they are welcome to their nanny state. Does anybody admit to actually living there?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
New Zealand has been giving way to the right for the past thirty years – it’s the basis of our road rules.
But overwhelmingly those in the business of traffic safety think it’s time we changed it for reasons of safety and common sense– every other country in the world gives way to the left.
The AA has renewed the call to change the rule and the government has said it will consider it.
The rule was adopted from Victoria thirty years ago who used it to deal with their tram system. However, the Australian state dumped the rule in 1993.
The rule is particularly dangerous at T-intersections when there is a car behind the left turning vehicle. The left-turning vehicle may stop, letting in the right-turning vehicle but the vehicle behind on the left may try to overtake, causing a collision.
The AA says further confusion arises when a car indicating left actually carries on straight. Police say this causes 50 crashes a year.
Just about every group involved in road traffic safety, the police, Ministry of Transport, Land Transport, the Cyclist Advocate Network and the Institute of Engineers have called for the rule to be changed.
Changing the rule will making driving in New Zealand easier for tourists but the focus is on safety.
Analysis by the Ministry of Transport suggests that it could result in a bout 160 fewer crashes per year.
Acknowledgements to Automobile Association NZ
Saturday, December 6, 2008
What exactly are those 'black boxes' that reveal the facts after an aircraft accident?
These black boxes are an important key to the facts relating to a any aircraft accident. In most cases there are two boxes:
The first one contains the voice cockpit recordings - usually the final 30 minutes of the flight.
The second contains a wealth of flight data, which helps to paint a picture of what was occuring on board the aircraft by giving details on engine, electronics and flight management systems.
It has been explained that in a modern jet, such as the Airbus A320, involved in the fatal Air New Zealand accident off southern France in the Mediterranean Sea recently, the information from both boxes should give investigators a clear picture of what had occurred.
All the systems in an airliner are recorded to go into the box electronically, Transport Accident Investigation Commission chief investigator, Tim Burfoot allegedly stated after the recent Air New Zealand crash.
The name 'black box' dates back to the 1950's when they were first introduced into airliners and operated like a typewriter; they were actually changed to 'orange boxes' to make them easier to find after a crash.
Inside the boxes, wrapped in layers of protected packaging, are the vital memory cards containing voice and flight data. These boxes are built to withstand the most severe conditions, including extreme altitude, heat moisture. The boxes themselves can be destroyed, but the modules inside containing the memory cards can in theory survive the crash.
In New Zealand, for instance, according to Mr Burfoot, most air-accident investigators do not have the luxury of having such data because they are reserved for commercial jets, not the smaller aircraft that are more in use in this country.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Last Saturday, Nov 22 2008, I attended the funeral service of an old Labour Party comrade of mine from the early 1980's, Peter Lorimer of Taita; before Rogernomics and its founder contaminated not only New Zealand, but the great old party itself.
Peter was the Chairman of the Taita Pomare Branch of the NZ Labour Party, and we both stood on the Labour Party ticket for the 1983 Lower Hutt City Council elections. Neither of us were elected, but that is hardly the point. The point is being involved in your community and helping others in the best way you can. Peter did that in spades! He wasn't one for beating his own drum, so the surprise shown by those at his funeral when reading an election pamphlet from that 1983 election campaign which had Peter's photo in it wasn't surprising in the least. It was a privilege to unashamedly serve with Peter and the NZ Labour Party.
And in passing lets farewell and congratulate another old party comrade in Helen Clark for her decades of service to New Zealand and New Zealanders, which included personal help given to my family as well. Helen would also be pleased to know she rubbed shoulders with somebody of the calibre of Peter Lorimer too!