Religion of Peace threatens to kill 17 year old over Charlie Hebdo tribute

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Teachers and students at a French school have rallied in support of a pupil who has received death threats for publishing a tribute to satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The student, 17-year-old Louis, published a special edition of the school paper in January after Islamists went on a killing spree on the streets of Paris that left 17 people dead.

Two of them stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo killing 12 people, including journalists and police officers, and sparking a global outpouring in support of free speech.

The school paper edition – titled “Je Suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) after the slogan that went viral following the attack – included poems, opinion pieces and drawings.

It did not include any of the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed published by Charlie Hebdo that had angered the Islamists.

“It was a tribute to the 17 victims without discrimination — for Jews, journalists, police officers,” Louis, whose surname was not given, said.

Police have opened an inquiry into the death threats against the student, including seven letters in total, two of which contained bullets.

The last one at the beginning of May “seemed like an ultimatum”, Louis said. Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

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Credit: Roger Price

Act shows the spine over RMA that John Key should

ACT and David Seymour are showing a spine and entering robust debate over the things that John key is afraid to touch.

David Seymour has a lash at RMA reform and John Key’s squeamishness.

The Prime Minister’s backdown on the RMA is disappointing but not surprising, says ACT leader David Seymour.

“If we’re serious about councils allowing the next generation to build homes, we need to get some guts. We cannot have an act of parliament preoccupied with telling councils that building houses is inappropriate.”

In his Budget speech Mr Seymour pointed out, “The words inappropriate subdivision appear 156 times in the Resource Management Act, three of them in the principles sections.”    Read more »

John Key said what?

Hard to believe I know, but the supposed bastion of conservatism in New Zealand and the greatest ever Prime Minister has announced he is “joined at the hip” with none other than Len Brown.

“Key also repeated his claim that the Auckland housing market was not in crisis, and said he and mayor Len Brown were “joined at the hip” in working to tackle supply issues.”

On top of that he is backing down on changes to the Resource Management Act.

The Prime Minister has signalled key parts of the RMA reform which would address housing shortages will not go ahead, but repeated his claim there is no crisis in Auckland.

John Key made the admission while delivering his post-Budget speech, which was marred by a violent protest outside the Auckland venue earlier in the afternoon.

The Government has been leaning on its support partners to to give greater weight to economic development, including housing, in sections six and seven of the Resource Management Act.

But Key conceded it was now “very unlikely” that would happen.   Read more »

Charter School investigation: Vanguard Military School Part One

In my new series investigating Vanguard Military School I once again ask the questions and report back the answers without spin. Today’s article is based on my interview with Vanguard chief executive, Nick Hyde.

Vanguard Military school's impressive NCEA results were not included in newspaper article. PHOTO-Whaleoil.co.nz

Vanguard Military School chief executive Nick Hyde pointing out that Vanguard Military school’s NCEA results were not included in The Herald newspaper article.
PHOTO-Whaleoil.co.nz

Within ten minutes of arriving at Vanguard I had been told the bad news and the good news.

The bad news:

The day before my interview with Nick, The Herald published Auckland schools’ NCEA results and left  Vanguard Military school off the table. Vanguard was the only school out of the approximately 80 schools in Auckland that was left off.

The good news:

Vanguard achieved a 96.2% pass rate at NCEA Level 1 and a 100% pass rate at NCEA Level 2.

Both these results are well above the average for secondary schools across the country and a result like that after only one year of operation is unarguably newsworthy. When the omission was brought to The Herald’s attention they told Nick that it was because they hadn’t been provided with a full set of data. Vanguard confirmed that NZQA who hold all the results had sent them to the Herald. The Herald then updated the table on line to include Vanguard’s results. It was of course far too late for the paper version which had omitted Vanguard’s results from its table.”

Our results put us at 11th in Auckland at level one and 1st equal at level 2. Many people out there in the public domain would have been very keen on seeing our school measured against other schools. I have harped on about trying to make Vanguard a top ten school in Auckland over a five year period. To be 11th after the first year in one area and first equal in another is totally outstanding.

Read more »

Andrew Little spent the day explaining… I mean losing

His leadership is a dog's breakfast and tastes like a dog's leavings

His leadership is a dog’s breakfast and tastes like a dog’s dodoos

Labour Leader Andrew Little spent the day on the Budget back foot.

He made an embarrassing U-turn on retirement policy, and apologised to the rainbow community for making a transgendered joke.

The plan was for Mr Little to use his post-Budget speech to attack the Government, instead, he appeared to be making up policy on the hoof.

Little was asked in front of a Wellington business audience about means testing superannuation, and by the sound of it, he is behind potentially terminating payments if a pensioner is working.

“You’ve got a 30-year-old sitting next to a 66-year-old doing similar work, or work of equal value, and the 66-year-old is getting an extra payment.” Read more »

Change of strategy needed to fight against Auckland Council

Property Developers, builders and the construction industry need to change strategy in the fight against Auckland Council. So far they have been losing.

Most of the industry is made up of small business. Think about how many builders exist cutting a living from building one, two or three houses a year. Predominantly – the greater portion of property development companies are staffed by a handful of people and statistically they build only 20% of the new housing stock each year. They are bit part players. Some of the group housing companies have ramped up and Asian investors are getting in on the game in bigger numbers but compared to overseas the business matrix is lacking real big players. And then there is the construction industry. A handful of bigger companies who dominate and the balance is made up of smaller business. Subbies and specialists.

Most if not all of these players are without a voice, except through the likes of their representative organisations – like the Property Council, the Builders Federation, Council for infrastructure, etc. Whilst these organisations are good to a point – they are failing miserably to get traction in Auckland. The organisations are well-connected but they play the nice-guy lobby game, organising meetings and group think sessions, talking to ministers and ministry advisors and even get seats occasionally around the table with Council for input on various matters. But the facts speak for themselves – Auckland Council is operating more or less the same as it was previously and it is charging ahead with ideas that have been fought over for years. So it’s hard to find any wins for the property industry in the current landscape that surrounds Auckland Council.

Even the Special Housing Areas are going to poo. The Council has found the gumption to tell the Government to sod off, has suspended consent processing for greenfield developments. Struggling for land – the supply chain for housing is choked and now noose is tightening. Where is the win in that?

Auckland Council is dead set useless. Consents are slow and the figures heavily manipulated. Infrastructure is poked and used as a lever to thwart greenfield. Simple consents and processes require much angst, meddling and frustration. Try getting a consent for a basic deck addition to a house and you’ll find out just how complicated, slow and costly it is to deal with Auckland Council. Only last month the Auditor General commented that the consent costs charged by Auckland Council are vastly expensive compared to the same charges for the same consents charged by other local authorities around the Country. Development Contributions, Network Growth Charges and punishing time frames are causing migraines for the development and building industry. Nobody is immune to the effect that Auckland Council has. Most Councillors are in effectual troughers who do whatever the officials tell them.  Read more »

Defence force trainers settled into Taji

Photo/ Supplied

Photo/ Supplied NZDF

The NZ Defence Forces have confirmed the troops are in Camp Taji and commenced their training operations.

New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) trainers and supporting Force elements are now established in their base in Taji and have begun the task of training Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in a range of military skills to help in the fight against ISIS.

This week, the combined New Zealand-Australia Building Partner Capacity mission officially took over the training of ISF personnel rotating through the Taji Military Complex, previously carried out by a US Army unit.

The training focuses on basic operational skills such as planning, weapons training, basic manoeuvres and the profession of arms.    Read more »

The (2nd) Great Whaleoil Census – Part 4: Whaleoil read frequency

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Good morning.  About two years ago we ran a “census” to get an idea of what our audience was all about.  We’re going to do that again, but this time it will be one question per day, each morning.  I will attempt to collate the previous questions as we go along, so that anyone who misses one can find a reasonably easy way to have a vote or to review the results.

Although we have a huge list of questions to work through, feel free to suggests ones that are close to your heart in the comments.

Part 4:  How often do you read Whaleoil? Read more »

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