Alleged offences far more serious than downloading massacre footage

It isn’t surprising to see that one of the people charged with downloading footage of the Christchurch massacres is alleged to have committed more serious offences than just that.

Stuff: Teen on footage charge allegedly planned mass shooting at school

A high school student who allegedly downloaded footage of the Christchurch massacre also allegedly discussed plans of how best to conduct a mass shooting at his school with fellow students.

The 17-year-old appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Tuesday afternoon on a charge of possession of objectionable material, where he was granted interim name suppression.

The charge against the teenager reads that on April 8 at a location in the Waikato he, “without lawful authority or excuse, had in his possession an objectionable publication, namely camera footage of the Christchurch mosque shootings, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the publication is objectionable”.

The portion of the police summary that can be reported reveals that police allege they were called to the boy’s high school by the principal on Monday, after he was found to be in possession of a USB stick containing footage of the mass killings in Christchurch on March 15.

According to the police summary, he had allegedly been talking to other students about how easy it would be for a mass killing to take place at the school.

His alleged plan involved activating a fire alarm, which would prompt the students and staff to evacuate and congregate on the school fields, where they would be an easy target for a shooter.

The portions of the summary Bourke divulged in court also revealed the teenager had allegedly searched for footage of the Christchurch shooting using the Google search engine. However Google prevented this, so it is claimed he found “alternative ways” of accessing several files of the footage.

He allegedly showed the footage to other male students and the USB stick was passed around, however the teenager did not know whether any of those other students had made copies of the files.

So based on this there seems to be good cause for the police to have arrested and charged him.

Thousands of people will have accessed the video and the manifesto, and most of them won’t be investigated or charged. Only those who appear to pose more serious risks will (or should) attract the attention of the police.

City quality of life good

Despite the doom and gloom picture painted by some in politics in a new survey most city dwellers in New Zealand say that the overall quality of life is either very good or good (from 78% to 88%, total 81%), with only a few percent thinking it is poor or in the case of a couple of cities, very poor (from 2% to 4%).

Dunedin topped the rankings but only by a negligible margin over Wellington.

It’s not surprising that Christchurch has the lowest extremely good+good ranking, but only Hamilton and Porirua register (just) on ‘extremely poor’.

Results by city council:

cityqualityoflife2016

 

The cities surveyed cover 65% of the new Zealand population. Margins of error range from 1.9%-4.4%, overall 1.3%. Tauranga is not included.

The Quality of Life Project

…was initiated in 1999 in response to growing pressures on urban communities, concern about the impacts of urbanisation and the effects of this on the wellbeing of residents.

The project was a collaboration between councils represented in Local Government New Zealand’s Local Government Metro Sector forum.

The key purpose of the project was to provide information to decision-makers to improve the quality of life in major New Zealand urban areas.

Overall nine council report

Dunedin, Wellington ‘best cities to live in’

‘Best city’ surveys give a bit of an indication of what people think but there are many factors to consider, like family, work, weather, education, health and what you are familiar with.

The ‘Quality of Life’ project does a two yearly survey, and in the latest one Dunedin and Wellington have come out on top:

Overall quality of life – extremely good+very good:

  • Dunedin: 27+61=88%
  • Wellington: 28+59=87%
  • Porirua: 19+65=84%
  • Hutt: 22+60-82%
  • Hamilton: 18+64=82%
  • Auckland: 18+61=79%
  • Christchurch: 20+58=78%

Those are percentages based on city councils.

Obviously with a much bigger population Auckland numerically has many more people satisfied with their city, but also quite a few more who are dissatisfied, 4% of one and a half million people is 60,000 people, about half the population of Dunedin.

A notable omission of the major cities is Tauranga.

Overall quality of life – poor+extremely poor

 

  • Dunedin: 2+0=2%
  • Wellington: 2+0=2%
  • Porirua: 2+1=3%
  • Hutt: 3+0=3%
  • Hamilton: 2+1=3%
  • Auckland: 4+0=4%
  • Christchurch: 4+0=4%

Those are remarkably low levels of dissatisfaction with cities, especially considering Christchurch and it’s problems with earthquakes. However about 20% of Christchurch residents said they were stressed “always” or “most of the time”.

Stuff reports: Dunedin is the best NZ city to live in – just

Dunedin has pipped Wellington to become the best city in New Zealand to live in, according to a new survey.

 

Statistically Dunedin and Wellington are the same so ‘best’ is barely . However if you combine the greater Wellington cities which include Porirua and Hutt they drop a bit down the scale.

Affordable housing, civic pride, and a strong sense of safety seem to be behind the good results for Dunedin in the biennial Quality of Life Survey.

Those in Dunedin were also more likely to be physically active and less likely to be stressed than their urban counterparts.

The study questioned 7155 Kiwis across seven urban areas and two wider regions. Quality of life in general was relatively steady across the two previous surveys in 2014 and 2012.

The Stuff article covers a number of issues affecting people’s opinion s on their cities, such as stress, traffic and safety.

Wellingtonians were also the most welcoming to outsiders. About three quarters of the capital’s respondents said that New Zealand becoming home for people with different lifestyles and cultures made their city a better place to live in.

Aucklanders were the least welcoming, with just over half (52 per cent) saying diversity was a net positive and one in five saying it was a net negative.

It’s interesting that Auckland has by far the most immigrants and is the least tolerant of them, but ‘locals’ will be seeing huge changes to their city (or in many cases their adopted city).

I will post separately on what the survey found about housing.

New Partnership Schools

ACT MP David Seymour has announced plans for more partnership schools (often referred to as charter schools). Via Twitter:

Proud to announce two new Partnership Schools to open in 2017, Te Aratika Academy in Napier and Kopuku High in Hamilton. These schools are generating new options for Kids and are a great ACT success story.

This links to Seymour: Two new charter schools approved for 2017 (NZ Herald):

Two new charter schools, one in Hamilton and one in Napier, have been approved to open in 2017, adding to the eight already operating.

Education Under-Secretary and Act leader David Seymour said only two were chosen from 26 applicants, both of which would have a special Maori character.

But he knew of several that would be applying again in 2017 for 2018 openings.

Quality was more important that quantity, he said.

The two new schools:

  • Hamilton – Te Kōpuku High: a co-educational composite secondary school for years 7 to 13. It will have a late immersion kaupapa Māori special character, and will target Māori students. Sponsored by Kia Ata Mai Educational Trust. Opening roll of 90 with a maximum of 300 by 2021.

Cath Rau for Kia Ata Mai Educational Trust said Te Kopuku High would be the first partnership school in Hamilton.

The trust was both the sponsor and deliverer of the curriculum. The trust had for the past 20 years supported kohanga reo and kura wharekura.

“We saw an opportunity through the partnership school initiative to use the cumulative knowledge and experience that we have gained in the Maori medium pipeline and provide an educational opportunity for Maori students in Hamilton who have not yet had the opportunity to learn te reo Maori or to learn in a kaupapa Maori context.”

She said the Partnership school would give the trust a lot more control than it had before.

  • Napier – Te Aratika Academy: a single sex (male) senior secondary school for years 11 to 13. It will have a vocationally-focused kaupapa Māori special character, and will target male Māori students. Sponsored by Te Aratika Charitable Trust. An opening roll of 67, with a maximum of 200 by 2019.

…a new charitable trust formed by Te Aratika Drilling, a civil construction firm across the North Island.

Ronnie Rochel, the director of the company, said that since 1998 she had been working and mentoring young men.

“I am passionate about providing a platform for change,” she said.

She saw many young boys come in to apply for jobs and although they had been through the school system, they were were not employment-ready.

Seymour told reporters…

…that sponsors of Partnership Schools, the official name for charter schools, were “some of the most heroic people” he had ever known.

They had set up schools in some of the shortest time frames and aimed to raise achievement for students who were not engaged in the state system.

“Vanguard Military School has taken on 60 kids who previously were not attending any school whatsoever when they came to Vanguard.”

Most schools had had positive results, some within their first year.

One of the aims of partnership schools is to provide education for children who currently fail in the current state education system.

“Time for the Council to Act on Psychoactives”

A column by National minister Hon Michael Woodhouse, first published in The Star. While it is directed at the Dunedin City Council it could be applicable in other places.

Time for the Council to Act on Psychoactives

Last year Parliament overwhelmingly supported the passing of the Psychoactive Substances Act. This legislation is designed to ensure that so-called “legal highs” can only be sold following rigorous testing to ensure they are not harmful. This follows a number of high-profile hospital admissions, motor vehicle crashes and violent offenses by people under the influence of psychoactive substances.

In developing the legislation a transitional framework was put in place. It provides for the interim licensing of some products and sellers. The interim regime has resulted in the number of retailers nationally dropping from an estimated 3,000 – 4,000, to around 156, and the number of products available from an estimated 300, to 41. No new retail outlets are permitted until the interim period ends – expected to be mid-2015.

The Act also provides for local councils to implement a Locally Approved Product Policy (LAPP). Such a policy can regulate the location of premises from which products may be sold, including the minimum distance from other premises, for example kindergartens, schools, churches and health facilities.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne was recently critical of Councils’ tardiness in putting LAPPs in place, stating “To say I have been disappointed by the response of the vast majority of local authorities to the Act is an understatement. Instead of getting on with developing and implementing LAPPs, the vast majority of local authorities opted instead to engage in media debate over the merits of the Psychoactive Substances Act, passed 119 – 1 by Parliament less than 8 months ago”. I agree with his comments.

It appears the Dunedin City Council is one of those slow to act in implementing a LAPP. It shouldn’t be. Parliament has given it a tool to restrict the location of licensed outlets. It needs to take that action.

The Hamilton City Council (having approved their LAPP earlier this year) recently suspended the interim retail licenses of all six psychoactive substance product retailers in the Hamilton area. The suppliers of these products, obviously upset at the action, have sought a judicial review of the decision. That is their right, but he hearing could take some time.  The Dunedin City Council should not slow its own work as a consequence of that action, or deviate from its responsibility to speedily implement its own LAPP, in order to reflect our community’s view that substances of this nature should be restricted in their availability.

I call on the Dunedin City Council to implement its LAPP quickly and suspend licenses of retailers operating outside the parameters of that policy.

Page 11 in Thursday, March 20, 2014 issue of The Star