People don’t live the way the opposition expects, so they need persecuting

Labour and the Greens have launched an attack on Gloriavale for their schooling practices.

People aren’t living the way they expect them to live, so they need persecuting.

Politicians will demand answers from education bosses over what secretive Gloriavale school is teaching girls – besides how to expertly wash men’s clothes.

The Education Review Office will be hauled before the Education and Science Select Committee this month to explain why the extreme fundamentalist school is allowed to stop education early and steer all pupils towards life in the community on the South Island’s West Coast.

Green MP Catherine Delahunty, who has requested the briefing, and Labour MP Chris Hipkins, hope it will be the forerunner to a Parliamentary probe into the isolated sect’s school.

Delahunty is concerned that the school’s narrow curriculum, believed to be based on an American fundamentalist Christian course, prevents pupils, especially girls, from going on to tertiary study.

She understood the highest level of secondary learning was NCEA level 1, and there was a strict divide of subjects girls and boys could study to steer them for working inside the compound.

She is questioning how the ERO, which recently gave Gloriavale a pass mark, could rubber-stamp a school that appeared to be in breach of human rights legislation.

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Guess what Europe’s BIGGEST problem is?

Immigration.

Immigration is the main concern of Europeans, ahead of economic problems and unemployment, according to a new opinion poll released by the European Commission.

A similar poll last November had the economic situation, employment, and public deficits top of the list.

Since then immigration has been a hot topic, with Italy, Greece and Malta having to deal with unprecedented arrivals by sea from Africa and the Middle East. Read more »

Mental Health Break

Medicinal Cannabis on its way

Uruguay-Becomes-Worlds-First-Country-to-Legalize-Production-and-Sale-of-Cannabis

At last some progress on legalisation of cannabis, albeit for medicinal purposes.

Toni-Marie Matich’s eldest daughter suffers from intractable epilepsy – a seizure disorder that cannot be controlled with conventional medicine. It led the Hawkes Bay mother-of-five to found United in Compassion (UIC), which advocates for New Zealand-based research into the therapeutic effects of cannabis-based medicines. The paediatrician caring for her daughter just happens to be the Children’s Commissioner, Russell Wills.

And that’s led to the unlikely but powerful alliance of Wills and UIC, teaming up with NZ Drug Foundation, to campaign for broader access to medicinal cannabis. It’s raised the prospect that it could soon become as readily available as morphine.

For Wills, juggling both roles could be a political minefield, but he says its not an issue: as a doctor, he can see the daily impact of what these “devastating diseases do to children and their families”. He’s not short of stories of desperate and vulnerable families who have gone to “extraordinary lengths to obtain treatments at enormous cost and extreme risk that then aren’t effective”.

“I think doctors are desperate,” he says, “to see patients have access to effective treatments.”

Research and random-control trials of cannabinoid products are underway in Israel and the United States and the results of those trials could be just months away – which could mean a New Zealand-approved product could be available by next year, once manufacturers have produced a product and passed MedSafe checks.

At that point Pharmac will negotiate a price with the manufacturers and Wills doesn’t see there being any delays because associate health minister Peter Dunne, the ministry, doctors and parents “are all on the same page”.

“Pharmac will be persuaded by evidence of effect and cost.”

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Map of the Day

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Interesting choice of spokes-person to talk about a sex scandal

Radio National in Australia had an interview this morning with the spokesman from the UK’s Electoral Reform Society about the Lord Sewel hooker sting and sex scandal.

Calls for reform of the House of Lords are gaining momentum in the UK, following the extraordinary scandal that has engulfed the deputy speaker of the House of Lords, Lord Sewel, who was secretly filmed allegedly snorting cocaine and cavorting with prostitutes.

The footage released by The Sun newspaper also showed him making disparaging remarks about a number of senior politicians, including the Prime Minister David Cameron.

Lord Sewel has now resigned, but the scandal has reignited calls for urgent reform of the upper House of Parliament, with many saying the time has come for the peers to go.

The UK’s Electoral Reform Society has long campaigned for an elected House of Lords.   Read more »

Auckland Council troughers slammed by Audit NZ

Here piggy, piggy, piggy

Here piggy, piggy, piggy

Audit NZ has spoken up, warning about Council staffers spending money on credit cards citing a risk of fraud.

An Auckland Council boss who splashed out more than $900 on restaurant meals and drinks on his work credit card has sparked a warning about fraud risks.

The spending on “staff entertainment” has prompted Audit New Zealand to issue the council with the warning after the two restaurant bills totalling $902.60 were uncovered.

One of the bills included $94 on alcohol, which Auckland Council says was “a mistake” and the officer has had to pay back.

When the Herald on Sunday asked about the spending, Auckland Council said internal processes should “remain confidential” but said the staff member had received a “reminder” about their responsibilities.

“The two instances were for a spend of $516 and $386.60, respectively, for restaurant meals as recognition of staff efforts.    Read more »

Tell him he’s dreamin’

Political retard Colin Craig reckons he might stand for the Auckland Mayoralty.

Craig must know the Conservative Party is a dead duck, so why would he be trying so hard to repair his tarnished image? Which is probably something a dodgy polling company is telling him he can win.

Someone needs to tell him he’s dreamin’.

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has not ruled out running for Auckland mayor next year, despite another week where his personal life has been dragged through the media.

Craig said he had been asked on more than one occasion to run for mayor and said he sees a strong constituency for a conservative, particularly a fiscally conservative, candidate to run in Auckland.

“I was born here and I love the city.  As a party we have always had some clear policies about sorting Auckland out, starting by reducing rates,” he said.

“It is not something I have committed to, but as I say, I have been asked.”    Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Imperial War Museum  Jack Churchill (far right) Storming the Beach, Sword in Hand.

Photo: Imperial War Museum
Jack Churchill (far right) Storming the Beach, Sword in Hand.

John “Mad Jack” Churchill

He is known for the motto “Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.”

Being eccentric isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, sometimes the exact opposite is true. Take Mad Jack, for example. He was a British officer in World War II and his weapon of choice was a Scottish broadsword. Churchill also carried a longbow (he supposedly holds the record for the last bow-and-arrow wartime killing), along with a set of bagpipes which were used to…inspire his troops.

Churchill was eventually captured by the Germans during a dangerous mission that took place behind enemy lines. The enemy spared his life initially, mistakenly believing that Churchill was a relative of the Prime Minister. Once Churchill’s true identity was discovered, Hitler’s order was to execute immediately. Fortunately for Mad Jack, Captain Hans Thorner—the German commander of the concentration camp—disagreed with Hitler and disobeyed the order, saving Churchill’s life.

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Should we have a review system for dud judges?

Duncan Garner raises some interesting points about our judiciary.

Imagine making a mistake that would later cost an innocent woman her life.

It’s your job to mete out justice and to keep the public safe – but you decided to give someone a chance to redeem themselves.

They didn’t take it and went on to commit the gruesome rape and murder of Blessie Gotingco.

Justice Patrick Keane had the chance to put that monster Tony Robertson behind bars forever in 2006.

He did not and chose to give Robertson another chance at the delicate age of 19. The consequences of this decision were horrific.

In December 2005, Robertson had kidnapped and molested a 5-year-old girl and attempted to abduct two other children in Tauranga.

The details of the case are sickening. Her Barbie boxer shorts were found in the back of the car he kidnapped her in. A mass search was conducted.

Fortunately they found Robertson with the girl. Who knows what would have happened otherwise. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Robertson appeared for sentencing in front of Justice Keane. The prosecutor was Simon Bridges, who is now a Cabinet minister.

The Crown wanted Robertson sentenced to preventive detention, which means jailed indefinitely. But the judge only gave him eight years.

This child kidnapper may have been at a delicate age – but this man was no boy deserving of another chance at freedom.

He was a hunter. He was a killer in waiting. How did a bunch of supposed “experts” assessing him get it so badly wrong?

Despite the judge’s faith, Robertson made no effort to rehabilitate in prison. Corrections staff never wanted him released. They knew he was a ticking time bomb.

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