The answer to people who want to eat and diet at the same time

As Blubbergeddon is a little on the back burner for a number of us, the latest in surgical “marvels” eliminates the need for any self discipline

In a new attempt to control New Zealand’s obesity epidemic, severely overweight patients will have a stomach drain installed through which they pump out excess food.

Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland will run a trial of a device called Aspire Assist, which is installed in a 20-minute outpatient visit requiring no more than conscious sedation.

The backers of the technique view it as a relatively straightforward alternative to state-funded obesity surgery, for which the hospital is unable to meet demand.

Weight can be hard to shed and keep off long term. Thirty per cent of Kiwi adults and 10 per cent of children are obese. New Zealand is the third most obese of developed countries, although some Pacific island states have rates twice as high.

The Aspire Assist device involves joining the stomach to an external valve, via a tube through a hole in the skin. Twenty minutes after meals, the patient connects a hand-operated pump to the valve and drains around 30 per cent of the stomach’s contents into a special container for disposal – unwanted calories discarded before they can be absorbed by the body.

If I have to be absolutely honest with you, this would be the sort of life style gadget that I’d love to have.   I love my food.  I love tastes and textures and crunch.  It’s not about hunger as much as it is about the experience.   Read more »


More free. Always with the free. Someone pays

Vaccinations for chicken pox, meningococcal C and HPV for boys must be added to New Zealand’s free immunisation register, a health expert says.

The call from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris, director of immunisation research and vaccinology at the University of Auckland, comes as debate rages on both sides of the Tasman after the Australian Government last week announced a policy to cut child and family benefits for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.

New Zealand’s National Immunisation Schedule stipulates which free vaccines people should get and when. Illnesses covered include rotavirus, tetanus, measles, mumps and rubella.

Petousis-Harris says the list should be widened to include chicken pox and meningococcal C shots and the HPV vaccine for boys. Read more »

Amnesty International needs to stop whining about our refugee quota

The head of Amnesty International New Zealand is disappointed the Prime Minister has said there are no plans to increase the country’s refugee quota.

John Key made the comment at the Istanbul Peace Summit on Friday.

New Zealand has an annual limit of 750 places for refugees on UN waiting lists.

Amnesty New Zealand head Grant Bayldon said it was especially important on Anzac Day not to forget that civilians suffer much of the horror of war and conflict.

“There’s a way that New Zealand really can play its part on the international stage, by doing its fair share and taking refugees,” he said.

We can hardly house our own people while we let in tens of thousands of immigrants.  And refugees get the star treatment, with accommodation and monetary assistamce.  750 is hardly a small number.   Read more »

Charter Schools Perception Series: The Advocates Part One UPDATED



WHAT is your background in education Alwyn?

I started teaching in 1991. I taught at Tauranga Boys, which is a good school, then did a little time at Hamilton Boys and then taught at Saint Cuthbert’s college. During that time I worked really hard in the background doing some study looking at some other countries. In the end the questions were, what is really good about the New Zealand education system and what could change?

The bottom line is that for the vast majority of children in New Zealand if you place them in year eleven in good shape they will do fine.

Alwyn Poole has a BBS, MEd (Hons), Dip Tchg and a PG Dip Sport Mgt. He is a Principal and Academic Manager.

WHY is there a need for a new Middle School model?

I think one place that we are incredibly remiss in New Zealand is that we don’t ask our Primary School applicants to have a minimum NCEA level of two or three in Maths and a Science therefore we have got a whole heap of Primary teachers who are unable to be strong in those areas.

Children are coming to year seven quite often without a good background in those subjects.

So where do we fall down? The answer is in years seven, eight, nine and ten.

I think for many people Intermediate schooling has done its dash. And the first two years of secondary schooling are under valued and under resourced. You have got bigger classes and you put your less able teachers and you don’t put as much emphasis on it because the Schools are judged on year eleven, twelve and thirteen.

So at that year nine and ten time when the kids really need help developmentally and intellectually to be catered for at their best, is when in our New Zealand education system we choose to give them the least.

Read more »

First Auckland, now Wellington want government to make tolls legal

Charity muggers may be stopping cars and demanding money, but the idea is appealing to cities that want more money.  Always more money…

Wellington wants to join forces with Auckland in a bid change the Government’s mind on tolling exiting motorways.

The region’s political leaders say it is not practical or affordable to keep building roads to ease rush hour congestion.

Other measures – including motorway tolls, charging motorists to enter a CBD, and raising the price of central city parking – also need to be seriously considered, they say.

On Tuesday, the Regional Transport Committee, which all of greater Wellington’s mayors sit on, will vote on the idea of approaching Auckland Council to discuss a joint approach to the Government on road pricing tools.

Tolling existing roads requires a law change and Auckland Mayor Len Brown has made no secret of his support. His council has proposed a $2 motorway toll or a regional fuel tax and higher rates as solutions to Auckland’s $12 billion transport funding shortfall.

But the Government is “sceptical” about the idea, and has rebuffed Auckland’s advances to date.

The Wellington Regional Land Transport Plan, which the Regional Transport Committee will be asked to approve on Tuesday, says the transport network is being placed under high stress at peak times, particularly in and out Wellington’s CBD.

The plan estimated charging motorists to enter Wellington’s CBD could reduce car trips during the morning rush by 4 million and increase public transport trips by 3m annually.

Greater Wellington’s public transport portfolio leader Paul Swain said most of the debate about road pricing thus far had been in Auckland, and Wellington was keen to join the discussion.

He acknowledged that the two cities combined would possess strong lobbying power, but he said the intention was not to strong-arm the Government.

“The Government, in my view, will be quite cautious about the shift towards this.”

But Transport Minister Simon Bridgessaid the Government was not keen on new funding tools for transport.

He was always happy to engage with Wellington and Auckland’s councils.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said it would be inappropriate for him to comment on the challenges facing Wellington.

It’s not unprecedented of course.  Except we’ve had tolls to pay for the item itself.  Be it a bridge, or a road extension.

Where this is going wrong is that it is a general taxation mechanism, and although it appears to be roughly targeted at “transport” related expenditure, it is the thin end of the wedge.

Once you add personal or company tax, GST, rates, ACC, fuel, and sin taxes, our lives are already taxed well in excess of 50 cents in the dollar.   There has to be someone that recognises we need to do more with less, not just come for the tax and rate payers’ pockets.  Again.  And again.


– Michael Forbes, Stuff

Armstrong laments Key gets away with another one

One particular word had been noticeably absent from [John Key’s critics] carefully crafted public statements.

That word is the ”R” word – resignation.

With the story still unfolding with unpredictable twists and turns, it is far too early to call for Mr Key to fall on his sword.

Saying that he should do so could be counterproductive in only succeeding in generating sympathy for Mr Key.

Better to wait until it is possible to assess on whose side – Mr Key’s or Ms Bailey’s – majority public opinion lies.

It has taken a while, but Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First have finally worked out that turning the public against Mr Key will not be achieved by making shrill demands that he depart Premier House once and for all every time he has a lapse in judgement.

Those parties have learned from bitter experience that calls for Mr Key to go perversely tend to have the opposite effect in consolidating support behind him. Read more »


Faces of the day


Konrad Berking (left) and Barrie Olsen were at the E-Loong Internet Cafe in New Lynn when they heard a woman screaming. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Good on you boys!

A group of men who saw a young woman being strangled and punched in her car say they were so angry they had no qualms about chasing the attacker – a man they caught and restrained until police arrived.

The eight Auckland men are now being hailed as heroes after interrupting the attack on the young waitress as she stopped in her car at a set of lights on Great North Rd, New Lynn on Wednesday night.

The men were playing League of Legends together at nearby E-Loong Internet Cafe about 9.30pm when they heard the victim screaming, “Get away,” and frantically tooting her car horn.

“We ran out the front and saw a black car with a guy getting into the driver’s side and a girl half in the gear box and half in the passenger seat,” said 25-year-old Konrad Berking.

“There was struggling going on – we could see him strangling the girl and she was trying to kick him and push him out.
He had her by the throat and was pushing her around.”

As Mr Berking approached the car, he said the man opened the door and said something in broken English before running down the street and into the driveway of McDonald’s and the library, near the corner of Memorial Drive.

“He just sprinted, it all seemed to happen in two seconds.”

Mr Berking tended to the woman – who was very upset and had obvious facial and neck bruising – while his friend Barrie Olsen, 36, followed the man.

“My main concern was her safety, she got out and her face was a bit bloody and there was strangulation marks … it was quite surreal,” said Mr Berking.

Not wanting to chase the alleged attacker away, Mr Olsen said he stayed some distance behind him but followed him down the driveway.

As he turned the corner, he saw the man take off the blue overalls he was wearing and throw them into a rubbish bin, at which time Mr Olsen phoned the police.

The alleged attacker then tried to mix in with a group of teens who were standing near the library steps, Mr Olsen said.

“My other friends came around the corner and I called them over, this all happened in about two or three minutes, then we all just completely surrounded him pretty much.

“He realised he was outnumbered and took off and ran away, and we all ran after him.”

…”He tried to do a loop-de-loop around a van and ran back across the road towards the library where I was still on the phone. He ran straight towards me so I managed to kick his legs out from under him and he fell over and the rest of the boys piled on top of him.

“He was a big boy, but we have some big boys here, too.”

Police arrived soon after and the alleged offender was arrested and charged with assault with intent to rob.

…Waitakere Police Area Commander Inspector Scott Webb praised the men for stepping in and not only helping the victim, but helping apprehend a suspect.

“The way they managed to co-ordinate themselves, call police, assist the victim and detain the offender was very impressive and we’ll be looking at a way to formally recognise their efforts.”

-Additional reporting Rob Kidd of NZME. News Service

– NZ Herald

Did you come live in NZ recently? You could be “absolute crap”

Northland MP Winston Peters says the Government is allowing “absolute crap” to settle in New Zealand, a day after Statistic New Zealand announced immigration figures are at a record high.

New Zealand had a net gain of 56,275 migrants in the year to March, 75 percent up on the previous 12 months and a whopping 2250 percent on the year before that.

The gain is being driven not just by an increased number of people moving to New Zealand, but 13 percent fewer leaving. It’s expected annual net migration will surpass 60,000 by the end of the year if nothing is changed.

It’s somewhat odd that now we have solved the problem of people running away for greener pastures, we don’t have enough green pastures to go around at home.   Read more »

Green Party to crowd-source questions for parliament

In a first for New Zealand, the Green Party is giving the public a unique chance to be more involved in Parliament’s question time by having their own question on climate change asked of the Government.

“Parliament is meant to be the People’s House but question time is normally just for MPs,” said Green Party co-leader Dr Russel Norman.  “The problem is that we have run out of ideas”.

“In the age of social media there’s no excuse why the public shouldn’t be more involved in asking questions of those in power who are making decisions which will affect us all.

“And let’s face it, the Green Party has been marginalised and not taken seriously by half of our own voters, not to mention Labour, National and just about everyone else.  Frankly, it’s time for the public to put up or shut up.”

“From today until 5pm Monday 27th, the public can submit a question they want to ask the Government on Facebook and Twitter. Read more »

ANZAC Day – The Last Post