Could this become a regular sight at Auckland Airport?


Four on the Floor at Auckland

The photo above shows four Emirates A380 planes on the tarmac at Auckland at one time.

I’ve flown Emirates several times and love the airline. They are an interesting airline in that all of their planes are wide-bodies.

The A380 is a magic plane and I’ve travelled from Singapore to Dubai return in economy class and it was very comfortable. My trip to Turkey to attend the Gallipoli celebrations was Business Class all the way, across different planes. Leaving Auckland in the A380 and travelling via Brisbane. From Dubai to Turkey was in a B777. The business class seats were a different layout but still very good, but not the same as the A380 pods, which I prefer.

When my brother lived in Dubai it was amazing sitting at his house watching the planes take off. It is just a constant stream of planes.

A funny thing happened, though, on our return trip from Dubai. Dad and I checked in together and they put all the bags on my boarding pass. We get up to the lounge and I set up next to my gate to make it easy to board and then Dad says why are you sitting here? I said it is by my gate. He holds up his boarding pass and he has a different gate number. A little bit of investigation later and we find out that when he booked the flights for our trip he picked one of the return flights differently. He was returning via Brisbane, and I was returning via Melbourne (with all his bags). It wasn’t funny at the time but there was literally nothing that could be done, so we travelled back separately. I arrived first, cleared customs with all the bags and 30 minutes later Dad walked off and away we went.   Read more »

Four Western Women’s personal experiences of Islamic law


Case One: Ms Magi

Crime: Posted a photo on Facebook of a car parked across two disabled spots outside her Abu Dhabi apartment.

Punishment:  53 hours in custody, shackled at the ankles, strip-searched, blood tested, forced to sleep on a concrete floor without a mattress or pillow with no access to toilet paper or eating utensils and a $3600 fine before being deported.

Ms Magi said she felt her punishment had been “extreme” given her offence, however, she said other female prisoners she had met suffered worse.

“If you think what happened to me was insane, spend a couple of days in an Abu Dhabi jail; I have nothing to complain about compared to the vast majority of women I met whose only crime was being poor, marrying the wrong guy, getting pregnant outside of marriage or/and being victims of rampant and systemic police corruption where ‘evidence’, ‘ethics’ and ‘due process’ are unheard of concepts,” she wrote.

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Dubai really does know how to deal with road maggots, thousands of bikes confiscated


Following on from yesterday’s story Dubai has confiscated thousands of bikes from road maggots for inappropriate cycling.

More than 11,000 bicycles have been confiscated in the past two months because riders were behaving dangerously – including cycling against the flow of traffic – Dubai Police have revealed.

The figures were revealed after the Dubai Executive Council passed a new law outlining new cycling rules – such as a ban on riding on roads with a speed limit of more than 60kph.

And fines for cycling offences can now reach as much as Dhs1,000.

“Bad cycling practices are causing road casualties and it is our job to put an end to this,” said Colonel Saif Al Mazrouei, the director of Dubai Traffic Police.

“This new law will provide the right tools to combat bad cycling.”   Read more »


Dubai knows how to deal with road maggots

Dubai understands the problem of cyclists and they have introduced some new road rules and fines to deal with any fools who think it is a good idea to cycle around in 35 degree heat.

CYCLISTS will be fined Dhs500 for riding on any road with a speed limit of more than 60kph as part of new regulations. HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, has issued Executive Council Resolution No 10 of 2015, regulating the use of bicycles in Dubai, the UAE news agency WAM reported yesterday.

The new rule aims to regulate the use of dedicated bicycle tracks and paths and encourage the use of bikes. But it has outlined a set of violations cyclists should not flaunt – including the failure to ride on dedicated cycling lanes. The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) is currently working on developing Dubai as a more ‘cyclist friendly city’ by providing 850km of track spread across the emirate.    Read more »


Emirates A380 – Auckland-Brisbane-Dubai

As you will all know Dad and I are on our way to Gallipoli.

We decided to fly Emirates and stop off in Dubai for a week to see my brother and his family. The last time he was in NZ was for Mum’s funeral and Dad’s ONZM investiture.

We arrived at Auckland airport and were pleasantly surprised to find we had been upgraded to Business Class the whole way. We didn’t even realise we’d been upgraded until the check-in staff handed over the boarding passes and directed us to the lounge.

I had previously flown on an A380 from Singapore to Dubai but was in economy class.

I’ve flown a fair bit in my professional life before blogging and was astonished with the Emirates A380 economy class accommodations.

Business class is another level again and having experienced long haul Business Class with airlines like Air New Zealand, Qantas and Singapore Airlines, Emirates Business Class surpasses all of them.

Dad, who has travelled far more extensively than me, says that Emirates Business Class is right up there with the very best.

Let’s start though with the lounges…Auckland’s lounge is way better than Air New Zealand’s. The elegance and design are very exclusive. We had a feed in the lounge, me because I had missed lunch. The food was excellent.    Read more »


The Christchurch ‘ sex ‘ romp, what if it had happened in an Islamic Country?


The Media have been making quite a meal of this encounter between two consenting adults. In a democracy like New Zealand these two have been subjected to humiliation and moral condemnation. It may even affect their employment as the encounter occurred in an office. Len Brown still has his job however so maybe they will be alright. Their main mistake was leaving the lights on. Moral condemnation aside ( the man is married ) they are fortunate to have not been caught doing this in a country under the law of the religion of peace.

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Face of the day

Today’s face of the day is Alicia Gali, a beautiful Australian woman who accepted a Managerial position in Dubai.

What happened to her was terrible. Sharia law in Muslim countries is applied to Christians and all other infidels. Believe it or not Alicia was imprisoned for the crime of being violently gang raped in the hotel where she worked by fellow employees who had spiked her drink making her unconscious. What makes this story even worse is that her employers trapped her in the country by holding on to her passport and the Australian Embassy did not help her leave either. Unable to leave the country, she was forced by the extreme pain from her broken ribs to go to the local hospital. From there her fate was sealed as they lied to her and in Arabic wrote a ‘ confession of her crimes ‘ that they made her sign.

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Burqas at the beach, the parody and the reality

I have included a parody video that is meant to make us laugh at our misconceptions of Islam.

An SBS spokeswoman said: “Legally Brown uses satire and a range of outrageous characters and parodies to tackle taboo racial and social issues in a lighthearted, humorous way, with the aim of encouraging Australians to understand and appreciate diversity.”

Before you view the video lets first have a look at some real life Burqa’s at beaches around the world. Maybe then we can have an informed opinion as to whether the parody has an element of truth or is in fact far too close to the truth.



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Sheik Mohammed comments on ISIS


Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the current ruler of Dubai and he has penned an opinion piece on ISIS.

That alone makes me want to read it. A Middle East leader of a vibrant modern nation commenting on ISIS…its worth a read in full.

The global financial crisis taught the world how profoundly interdependent our economies have become. In today’s crisis of extremism, we must recognize that we are just as interdependent for our security, as is clear in the current struggle to defeat ISIS.

If we are to prevent ISIS from teaching us this lesson the hard way, we must acknowledge that we cannot extinguish the fires of fanaticism by force alone. The world must unite behind a holistic drive to discredit the ideology that gives extremists their power, and to restore hope and dignity to those whom they would recruit.

ISIS certainly can – and will – be defeated militarily by the international coalition that is now assembling and which the UAE is actively supporting. But military containment is only a partial solution. Lasting peace requires three other ingredients: winning the battle of ideas; upgrading weak governance; and supporting grassroots human development.

Such a solution must begin with concerted international political will. Not a single politician in North America, Europe, Africa, or Asia can afford to ignore events in the Middle East. A globalized threat requires a globalized response. Everyone will feel the heat, because such flames know no borders; indeed, ISIS has recruited members of at least 80 nationalities.

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Bob Jones has the solution for cheaper houses

Bob Jones has a brilliant solution for solving housing affordability and the supposed housing crisis.

I have a solution which may induce initial antagonism, but viewed calmly, it’s perfectly logical. National’s policy of providing more cash for first-home buyers is certainly not addressing Auckland’s problem. Instead it will heighten it by increasing demand, although outside of Christchurch it will have merit in assisting first-home seekers.

Recently, we legislated that our worker standards must apply to foreign trawlers fishing our waters. On face value that appeared virtuous. In fact, it’s utterly hypocritical.

Our living standards rely on incredibly cheap goods from Asia. They’re cheap thanks to low labour costs, as on the foreign fishing boats. So to be consistent, why not impose the same fishing boat rules to imported goods? There are two answers.

First, in terms of moral inconsistency, it’s analogous to the abortion debate. What can’t be seen, namely Chinese factories and unborn babies, conveniently doesn’t count.

The second excellent reason is that free trade is unquestionably mutually beneficial, and as with Japan and increasingly Korea, in a few years, fast-rising Chinese living standards will see this low labour cost manufacturing continue its westward move to Southeast Asia, then the Indian sub-continent, and if robots haven’t by then killed off menial jobs as inevitably they will, then on to Africa. Everyone’s a winner.

Actually, minimum standards are imposed by America, albeit not the same as Western equivalents. A few years ago I met a young American woman in Bolivia who was taking a break from her job as an inspector overseeing Caribbean factory and labour standards.

If they weren’t up to scratch she could block their exports to the US. Her concerns were wages and working conditions. America has similar inspectors in Asia following a public clamour after revelation of some Chinese factories’ then appalling standards.

So accepting that low Asian labour costs are mutually beneficial, the answer to attaining a mass supply of housing in one fell swoop, is to emulate Dubai and, as a one-off exercise, import an army of cheap sub-continent labour. Dubains reject manual work, aside from which they’re too small in population to achieve what they have without outside help.

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