Category Archives: Other

Leave Otago white collar criminals ALONE, and other unfairness

AnneTolley PaulaBennett [3news.co.nz + zimbio.com]Ministers: Anne Tolley & Paula Bennett

### ODT Online Mon, 15 Jul 2013
Proceeds of crime forfeited
By Hamish McNeilly
Police have seized millions of dollars worth of assets – including almost $1 million from criminals in Otago and Southland – since a tough new law came into force. The Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act took effect on December 1, 2009. Assets worth an estimated $29 million have been forfeited, including cash ($10.48 million), properties ($13.67 million) and vehicles ($2 million).
Police Minister Anne Tolley told the Otago Daily Times she was pleased with the impact the Act was having on criminals and their activities. ”We are getting the message across that criminals will be punished for their actions, both by being locked up and by having to hand over any profits from their crimes. I think the public will be satisfied that criminals and gangs are being put out of business.”
Figures released to the ODT under the Official Information Act show 14 assets with an estimated value of $862,105.22 have been forfeited in the Southern district.
Read more

● Whereabouts of Michael Swann assets?
People can contact Dunedin police on (03) 471-4800 or via the anonymous Crimestoppers line, 0800-555-111.

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### ODT Online Mon, 15 Jul 2013
Thousands hit in welfare shake-up
Source: NZ Herald
Thousands of people are expected to be chopped off welfare benefits as sweeping changes in New Zealand’s social security system come into force today. The reforms, which include reducing all existing benefits down to three new categories, represent the biggest upheaval in the welfare state since the Social Security Act was passed by the first Labour government, 75 years ago this September. All sickness beneficiaries, and sole parents and widows with no children under 14, are now subject to the same requirement to look for fulltime work as other unemployed people, although sickness may be a valid reason to postpone work temporarily.
Other new obligations include drug-testing for job-seekers in relevant industries, which is expected to trigger benefit cuts for up to 5800 people, and a requirement for all beneficiaries to clear outstanding warrants for arrest. About 8000 beneficiaries have arrest warrants outstanding, for issues such as unpaid fines. Unless they clear the warrants within 38 days, their benefits will be halved if they have children, or stopped completely if they do not, in what is likely to be the biggest single purge of the benefit rolls since the system was created.
Read more

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### brianedwardsmedia.co.nz Mon, 15 July 2013
Confessions of a sentimental socialist and unkind thoughts on Paula Bennett
By Dr Brian Edwards
I generally define myself as ‘a Socialist’. This may seem at odds with living in the most expensive suburb in New Zealand, having no mortgage or other indebtedness, dining out on a regular basis, treating Rarotonga as you might treat a bach and, in general, being what people euphemistically call ‘comfortably off’. If I were a supporter of the National Party, I’d probably argue that being ‘comfortably off’ was the product of more than seven decades of application and hard work and that, if I could do it, every other able-bodied and averagely intelligent Kiwi should be able to do the same. We aren’t a Third World country after all.
Read more

Hilary in reply to Edwards
July 15th, 2013 at 18:59
One of the cruellest changes today is the end of the Widow’s Benefit. Now if your husband dies you are instantly a ‘Jobseeker’ – a welfare bludger who is expected to be ready for full time work. This is regardless of any grief, trauma, distraught teenagers, or complex legal issues you might be dealing with.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images: 3news.co.nz – Anne Tolley, zimbio.com – Paula Bennett

65 Comments

Filed under Business, CST, DCC, DCHL, DVL, DVML, Economics, Hot air, Media, Name, New Zealand, Other, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Stupidity, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

Public service causing “paralysis of democracy” with OIA requests

The following article is reproduced here in full, in the public interest.

### NZ Herald Online 5:30 AM Thursday Mar 21, 2013
Ombudsman to investigate OIA response
By David Fisher
The agency charged with reining in the power of government is to investigate the way public bodies are releasing information as citizens complain of being shut out. The Office of the Ombudsman is to begin its own investigation into the way the public service is responding to the Official Information Act as allegations are made of a “paralysis of democracy”.

The office is struggling to cope with a large increase in complaints from the public who have sought help. Deputy Ombudsman Leo Donnelly has begun writing to those who have complained saying it doesn’t have enough staff to handle the work load.

In response to a complaint from The Herald, Mr Donnelly said the office had 450 complaints it had been unable to assign to investigators because of the volume of work. He said staff were dealing with 2800 complaints.

In contrast, the Ombudsman’s office told a parliamentary select committee it finished the 2011 year with 1359 complaints and the 2012 year with 1746 complaints. Mr Donnelly said this will be a factor in an investigation into the way the act was handled across the public service.

He said the inquiry would aim to discover if the delay was caused by the way public agencies responded to requests.
He said the law stated information should be released unless there was good reason to withhold it.

A recent investigation into the Ministry of Education’s handling of requests to do with Christchurch schools raised questions about the processes used by government agencies to deal with requests.

Constitutional lawyer Mai Chen said the problems raised questions about how well public servants understood a law intended to give balance to the “David and Goliath” inequality between citizen and government. “I am concerned that officials sometimes reflect their ministers. I’m concerned some of the reticence may reflect the priorities that ministers give to compliance with legislation.” She said the government expected citizens to comply with laws and it should do so with the act. “If they don’t mean to do it, they should repeal it.”

Both the Green Party and Labour Party have spokeswomen for open government – with Labour’s Clare Curran, saying it would become a ministerial responsibility when the party was next in office. “There is an emerging crisis with our watchdog agencies,” she said. “It is a paralysis of democracy.”
NZH Link

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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DCC: Council meeting agenda and reports for 25 February 2013

Includes DCC Draft Annual Plan 2013/14

Agenda – Council – 25/02/2013 (PDF, 76.1 KB)

Report – Council – 25/02/2013 (PDF, 105.7 KB)
Statement of Proposal for the 2013/14 Draft Annual Plan

Report – Council – 25/02/2013 (PDF, 3.8 MB)
Statement of Proposal for the 2013/14 Draft Annual Plan – Attachment

Report – Council – 25/02/2013 (PDF, 1.5 MB)
South Dunedin Cycle Network

Report – Council – 25/02/2013 (PDF, 1.7 MB)
Tourism Dunedin 2012-2013 Half Yearly Report

Report – Council – 25/02/2013 (PDF, 750.9 KB)
Tourism Dunedin Statement of Intent 2012-2015

Report – Council – 25/02/2013 (PDF, 3.0 MB)
Statements of Intent of Group Companies

Report – Council – 25/02/2013 (PDF, 3.5 MB)
Resource Management Act Reform Bill Submission

Report – Council – 25/02/2013 (PDF, 76.0 KB)
Recording of Meetings – Proposed Change to Standing Order 3.3.7

Resolution to Exclude the Public
To be moved: “That the public be excluded from the following parts of the proceedings of this meeting, namely, Items 18 -19.

[As relates to the previous and current meeting rounds, Property Matters and FIFA under-20 World Cup 2015.]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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DCC: Standard issue for ALL staff and hangers-on

To be worn with corporate wash-and-wear crimplene pants. All heavy neck jewellery is banned, removing distraction from weak chins.

Thanks to Source.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

4 Comments

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The Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill

Comment received.

Anonymous
Submitted on 2012/06/03 at 10:48 pm

Yes and in the face of all these rorts the big trusts, Lion Foundation and Pub Charity are rallying support – encouraging their favoured grant applicants to make submissions to Govt on the new pokie bill which if passed intends doing away with all pokie trusts (and their rorts) within 12 months.

When Francis Weavers, the ex CEO of the Community Gaming Association (CGA), an organisation set up by and for the benefit of Pokie Trusts, submits an official report to the Govt claiming endemic non compliance and corruption within the industry you have got to wonder just how bad it has all become and wonder why this Govt has not shown more leadership with DIA and the industry.

Seriously, this has now grown into a serious law and order issue involving “white collar” criminals – something this Govt said it was tough on.

[ends]

See comment below to read Weavers’ report.

The Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill is a private member’s bill that was proposed by Maori Party MP for Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell.

It was drawn from the ballot in September 2010 and concluded its first parliamentary reading on Wednesday 9 May 2012. Parliament voted to send the bill to the Commerce Select Committee for consideration. The committee has six months to consider submissions before it must report back to parliament. The matter is scheduled to be heard in the House on 9 November 2012.

The purpose of the bill is:
a) To prevent and minimise the harm caused by gambling, including problem gambling.
b) To ensure that money from gambling benefits the community.
c) To facilitate community involvement in decisions about the provision of gambling.

Submissions close on Thursday, 21 June 2012
Have your say in creating better gambling laws by making a written submission to the Select Committee.

Submissions can be mailed to:

Secretariat
Commerce Committee
Select Committee Office
Parliament Buildings
WELLINGTON 6011

http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Debates/Debates/Daily/5/e/e/50HansD_20120509-Volume-679-Week-10-Wednesday-9-May-2012.htm

http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Debates/Debates/3/9/d/50HansD_20120509_00000024-Gambling-Gambling-Harm-Reduction-Amendment.htm

### 3news.co.nz Thu, 10 May 2012 5:30a.m.
Pokie reduction bill passes first reading
A bill giving local authorities the power to cut back on pokie machines in pubs and clubs, or get rid of them altogether, has passed its first reading in Parliament with strong support.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Animal welfare #eqnz #chch

The following services are available. However, it was reported on TV3’s Nightline tonight that Christchurch animal welfare services are overwhelmed by the number of animals – many not microchipped – they have received for care. They are hoping to move some animals to alternative shelters and facilities in other centres.

Animal Control
For lost or found dogs please contact Animal Control on 021 240 8310 or visit 10 Metro Place – Open 8:00am to 6:00pm #eqnz

Microchipped animals
There is now a good microchip register in New Zealand.

Paw Justice
Text “HELP” to 4662 to donate $3 to Paw Justice towards pet food for Chch Animal Quake victims ♥

Pets on the Net
Pets on the Net http://www.petsonthenet.co.nz/ is working with the SPCA to save lives, this is a free community service. Earthquake: Petsonthenet is the nationwide database for lost and found pets, as phone service resumes please report and search for lost, found or deceased pets here. Phone reports will be accepted for those without internet access on 07 868 5581

SPCA animal emergencies
@RNZSPCA Canterbury SPCA animal emergencies 9am-4pm call 03 349 7057 ext 201 or 205; after hours call 03 366 3886 #eqnz

SPCA pet listings
Information about animal welfare and lost/found pets is available on the SPCA NZ website http://bit.ly/he8SKU #eqnz #chch

Trade Me pet listings
Go to the Trade Me home page for information on missing and found pets.

Vets Clinics
The majority of Christchurch vets clinics are now operating #chch
The veterinary clinic in Hornby is operating an After Hours service – the clinic has temporarily relocated to: Hornby Vet Centre, 7 Tower Street, Hornby
Phone 03 366 1052
Weekdays 7pm to 8am
Weekends are Saturday from 12pm thru to 8am on Monday

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@Baxter_man (RT @OtagoLad) A foto of my new mate Sammyman Sams Nose – new @blipfoto journal entry – http://bit.ly/eWSGJD

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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In defence of STV

“or How I learned to stop living the past and learned to love the vote.”

This posting is in response to the submission of Jeremy Belcher and Calvin Oaten to the DCC Electoral Review Committee, in February 2005, in which they criticise “Meeks NZ STV” and put forward their own Belcher/Oaten Method, which they claim is better than STV in several ways. A comment from Mr Oaten (with a link to the submission) was posted by Elizabeth Kerr on 22 August.

In his submission, Mr Oaten attacks single-seat STV, on the basis that it is the second preference votes of the least successful candidates that determine the outcome, and that the second preference votes of the highest polling candidates play no part in determining the final result. He calls this a “travesty of representation”.

What he fails to understand is that, under STV (in both the single- and multi-seat cases), second and subsequent preferences are merely contingency choices only; they are not additional votes having the same value (the value of unity) as first-preference votes. The system is called the single transferable vote for a reason – everyone has just one vote, which is transferable if necessary. If second preferences given for all the candidates were taken into account, i.e. if each voter had two votes, of equal value, even though only one vacancy was being filled (that were then merely tallied and the candidate with the highest combined total of first and second preferences was declared the winner), many voters would discover, too late, that their second preferences had served only to help defeat the candidate they had actually voted for, being the candidate for whom they had given their first preference. Now that would be a travesty of representation.

Mr Oaten then launches into multi-seat STV, again not realising that second and subsequent preferences are contingency choices only, not additional votes. He is critical of the fact that, in a three-seat ward, voters do not have three votes (of equal value) under STV, completely overlooking the reason why – if voters had three votes, in a worst-case scenario, the largest minority grouping (perhaps comprising only 35% of all voters), could use their three votes to elect the three candidates they wanted, with the remaining 65% of voters getting nothing. Clearly, Mr Oaten wants STV to, in effect, be the system it replaced – multiple-FPP.

Mr Oaten proposes his Belcher-Oaten Method, that he claims would correct NZ STV’s deficiencies. It is, in fact, a clumsy version of multiple-FPP. In a 3-seat ward, he wants the first three preferences to have the same weight, being the value of unity. As previously stated, this would enable the largest minority grouping to use their three votes to elect the three candidates they want, with everyone else missing out. Taking his example of Cargill 2004 on page 6 of his paper, he has determined that the total number of first, second and third preferences is 5210 + 5178+ 5127 = 15,515. To him, this is the number of valid votes. His Quota formula (on page 5) is 15515 / 3 = 5171.67 times 4 (the number of vacancies, plus 1) divided by 10 (the number of candidates), i.e. 40%, which equals 2068.668, which he has rounded up to 2069.

If the required three candidates have not attained this quota, then the total number of fourth preferences are assigned to the candidates on a pro rata basis according to his formula (on page 7). For Teresa Stevenson, therefore, the calculation is 327 / 4927 = 0.0663689 times 327 = 21.702, which he has rounded up to 22. In other words, voters have multiple votes (value 1), equal to the number of vacancies, plus further votes, if necessary, assigned on a pro rata basis, i.e. at less than the value of unity (327 votes, that he now calls preference votes, become 22 votes).

He calls his method “Proportional STV that reveals the true will of the People”. Surely he jests. First, it is not STV – it is a multiple-vote system (not a single vote system), and no votes are transferred; preferences are merely tallied.

Second, it is not proportional representation, because it is essentially multiple-FPP (with additional pro rata votes beyond the nth preference in a n-seat ward). Taking his example, three people he dislikes, because they share “political, social, lifestyle, or cultural associations or sympathies” (page 4, fourth bullet point), being Stevenson, Doug Hall and Paul McMullen, fill the three seats. In Cargill 2004, under STV, the three winners each obtained 25% of the votes, meaning 75% of the total of votes were effective in helping to elect a candidate, and they were quite different from each other. Under the Belcher-Oaten Method, the three winners are politically / socially aligned (according to him), but are elected with a total of only 7216 votes (plus 217 pro rata votes [22 + 195]) out of a total of 15,515 votes (plus 217 pro rata votes), i.e. on only 46.51% of the total of votes!! This means his Quota formula has no rational electoral basis, which leads to a concomitant conclusion that his method is well short of being mathematically rigorous.

Consequently, third, far from revealing the true will of the people, his method grotesquely distorts that will. He simply hasn’t clicked to the fact that the 987 voters who gave a second preference, and the 876 voters who gave a third preference, to McMullen (for example), would have, in many cases, helped to defeat their most preferred candidate, such as Paul Hudson or Michael Guest. Although it would be transparent, it is hardly fair, accurate or democratic. And once those voters see what they’ve done (because of the transparency), they’ll never express second or subsequent preferences again, and then we’ll be back to FPP – actually, we would have, by default, a close approximation of the Single NON-Transferable Vote in a multi-seat ward (a system, previously used in Japan, that produces unequal representation, or no representation at all, for voters).

Mr Oaten states that the first preferences of the highest polling candidates are never looked at (page 3, paragraph immediately above the table, and in a posting dated 22 August (at 11.35 a.m.)). That is simply not true. For example, once Stevenson attained the quota, her keep value was recalculated (at iteration 3) as 0.98857…, and was recalculated as the count progressed. Her final keep value was 0.66775… That means, at the conclusion of the count, she had kept 66.78% of all her votes, and the remaining 33.22% had been transferred to the second and subsequent preferences on her votes (both her first-preference votes, and those votes she acquired along the way), to help elect other candidates.

I suspect Mr Oaten laments the fact that, in Cargill in 2004, he was excluded from the count at the same time Stevenson was elected (at iteration 2), which meant he was unable to benefit from any second preferences given for him on her 1,313 papers. But, at iteration 3, Alan McDonald only received 104 papers from her (value 1.89 votes), Steve Young only received 156 papers from her (value 1.78 votes) and even Jo Galer and Nicola Holman only received 202 and 200 papers, respectively, from her (value 2.31 votes and 2.28 votes, respectively). The simple fact of the matter is, Mr Oaten was always destined for an early exit, because only 142 people (out of 5,210) voted for him. Not even the Belcher-Oaten Method would have saved him.

In conclusion, I commend the DCC for creating the 11-seat Central Ward. What this means is that any candidate who receives one-twelfth (8.33%) of all votes cast [45% of (say) 65,000 electors = 29,250 x 0.833 = (say) 2,400 votes] will be elected. Any group of voters, comprising 8.33% of all voters, will elect a candidate to represent them, regardless of who larger groups of voters may want.

Click here for a paper that explains how single-seat STV works, and the rationale behind the system. (PDF)

Click here to see a paper that describes multi-seat STV, and the rationale hehind the system. (PDF)

Click here to see a paper that describes how single transferable votes are counted, and how individual voters can work out how their vote was used. (PDF)

Click here to see a paper that explains STV to voters (PDF).

Click here to see a paper that reconstructs in meticulous detail how the votes cast in the Cargill Ward in 2004 were counted. (PDF)

Click here to see the guide prepared for the Department of Internal Affairs, the Society of Local Government Managers Electoral Working Party and Local Government New Zealand (PDF)

Author: Steve.

Posted by Paul Le Comte

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