Irish truck drivers south to fill shortage

Truck driving is another occupation in New Zealand that faces shortages of workers. Firms are trying to recruit drivers from Ireland.

Construction, horticulture, viticulture and dairy farming also have trouble attracting local workers – and while wage rates may be a factor I think it’s far from the only reason why we have worker shortages alongside a stubborn level of unemployment.

Irish Times:  New Zealand seeks to recruit 1,000 Irish truck drivers

Irish long distance drivers are being invited to travel a very long distance to get work. New Zealand is looking to recruit up to 1,000 truck drivers from overseas as it cannot fill the vacancies internally.

It takes three years to qualify as a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver in New Zealand and many young Kiwis are not attracted to the job.

Recruitment firm Canstaff is offering a new relocation package to overseas heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers from Ireland to fill the skills shortage. In some cases haulage companies will pay the cost of flights to New Zealand.

Irish truck drivers can earn between €15 and €20 an hour in New Zealand. In Ireland the rate is closer to €12 an hour, according to Canstaff managing director Matt Jones.

Mr Jones said he had spent a lot of time in Ireland in 2011 and 2012 recruiting construction workers to rebuild Christchurch which had been badly damaged in an earthquake.

The average reported salary for a New Zealand truck driver last year was NZ$51,200 (€31,000), but wages have gone up by 20 per cent to attract the right candidates.

“Despite Government initiatives to attract more heavy vehicle drivers, the shortage has been ongoing and a more immediate solution is needed to keep New Zealand’s wheels of commerce turning.”

RNZ:  Trucking firms forced to go offshore to search for drivers

A recruitment agency is planning to import truck drivers from overseas because local young people aren’t interested in that line of work.

Simon Reid owns a company in Northland that maintains about nine trucks. Business is pretty good, but he’s got a problem.

“There is quite a problem with attracting drivers to the industry. It’s not going to be something that goes away, simply because the government isn’t interested in helping us.

“They don’t see us as being a critical problem in the bigger picture of the economy.”

Recruitment firm Canstaff’s managing director Matt Jones thought he knew why.

“It’s probably not sexy enough for that [younger] generation.

“There’s a bit of graft in it, a bit of dirt under the fingernails … the millennial generation enjoy looking at a computer screen. They don’t mind driving a truck on a computer screen, but doing it in real life is a little bit different.”

Long haul truck driving often means having to spend time away from home.

Truck driving is a fairly lucrative job – it starts at about $50,000 a year, hits six figures at the top levels, and doesn’t require an expensive tertiary degree.

That doesn’t sound bad – money doesn’t seem to be the main reason for the driver shortage.

All you need to get the wheels rolling is a full driver’s licence, and one of four types of special class licence – which you can sit straight away, after having your full licence for six months.

The Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology in Tauranga offers courses in heavy truck driving safety. The group leader of those courses, Dean Colville, said enrolments had hit a low point.

“This year we’ve had the lowest numbers ever. Normally we run classes of about 20, and this year they’ve been down to about 14, and as low as six in some cases.”

Mr Colville said the problem was the six-month wait to get a full drivers licence, which meant high school graduates could not get a job in the industry immediately after high school.

A six month wait for a full license doesn’t seem to be a big issue. Most careers take some training and time after you leave school.

Were seem to have quite a few unemployed people who are quite fussy about the sort of work they get. And there’s some that aren’t fussed on work at all.

These sorts of issues can be complex, but the truck driver shortage adds to the unemployment and immigration debates.

Blasphemous libel

Blasphemy has made the news with reports that Irish police are investigating Stephen Fry for it after remarks he made on television in 2015.

The Telegraph: Stephen Fry under police investigation for blasphemy after branding God an ‘utter maniac’

According to reports , Irish police are investigating  Fry, once voted the most intelligent man on TV, for insulting God. To be precise Fry accused God of being an ‘utter maniac’.

The Irish Independent claimed police launched its inquiry after comments made by Fry during an interview with the national broadcaster RTE.

A member of the public contacted the Gardai after Fry disclosed his thoughts on God in an interview first broadcast as long ago as February 2015.

The footage, which showed Fry questioned by Irish veteran presenter Gay Byrne, went viral after it was aired and has now been viewed more than seven million times on YouTube.

The individual, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Irish Independent it had been his “civic duty” to report the comments which he alleges were in breach of the Defamation Act.

In the interview Fry was asked what he would say if he was confronted by God. He responded:

“How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault? It’s not right. It’s utterly, utterly evil.”

“Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?”

“I would say, ‘Bone cancer in children? What’s that about?’

“Because the God who created this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac, utter maniac.

“Totally selfish. We have to spend our life on our knees thanking him? What kind of God would do that?”

Under Irish law blasphemy comes under the Defamation Act and has a maximum fine of 25,000 Euro.

We still have blasphemy in New Zealand law, and the penalties are higher.

Stuff: Surprise as public figures told New Zealand still has anti-blasphemy laws

New Zealand still has an anti-blasphemy law, though neither the prime minister nor the Anglican archbishop was aware of the fact.

The law – which appears not to have been used since 1922 – came to light after reports British entertainer Stephen Fry faced police investigation in the Republic of Ireland for comments he made about “a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God”.

New Zealand has laws covering crimes against religion, morality, and public welfare. And blasphemous libel – though vaguely defined – remains an offence punishable by up to 12 months’ jail.

Here is Part 7, section 123 of the Crimes Act 1961:

Part 7
Crimes against religion, morality, and public welfare

Crime against religion

123 Blasphemous libel

(1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year who publishes any blasphemous libel.

(2) Whether any particular published matter is or is not a blasphemous libel is a question of fact.

(3) It is not an offence against this section to express in good faith and in decent language, or to attempt to establish by arguments used in good faith and conveyed in decent language, any opinion whatever on any religious subject.

(4) No one shall be prosecuted for an offence against this section without the leave of the Attorney-General, who before giving leave may make such inquiries as he or she thinks fit.

This is indeed very vague. I don’t know how something that could be so subjective could be considered a question of fact.

What exactly constitutes blasphemy?


the action or offence of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.

That’s no clearer. This is what Wikipedia says about it:

Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence to a deity, to religious or holy persons or sacred things, or toward something considered sacred or inviolable.

Some religions consider blasphemy as a religious crime. As of 2012, anti-blasphemy laws existed in 32 countries, while 87 nations had hate speech laws that covered defamation of religion and public expression of hate against a religious group. Anti-blasphemy laws are particularly common in Muslim-majority nations, such as those in the Middle East and North Africa, although they are also present in some Asian and European countries.

And also present in at least one South Pacific country.

As of 2012, 33 countries had some form of anti-blasphemy laws in their legal code.[6] Of these, 21 were Muslim-majority nations – Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Turkey, the UAE and the Western Sahara. The other twelve nations with anti-blasphemy laws in 2012 were Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands (abolished in 2014), Nigeria, Poland and Singapore.

Add New Zealand to that list.

Christian theology condemns blasphemy. It is spoken of in Mark 3:29, where blaspheming the Holy Spirit is spoken of as unforgivable—the eternal sin.

Blasphemy has been condemned as a serious, or even the most serious, sin by the major creeds and Church theologians (apostasy and infidelity [unbelief] were generally considered to be the gravest sins, with heresy a greater sin than blasphemy, cf. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae).

“[if] we compare murder and blasphemy as regards the objects of those sins, it is clear that blasphemy, which is a sin committed directly against God, is more grave than murder, which is a sin against one’s neighbor. On the other hand, if we compare them in respect of the harm wrought by them, murder is the graver sin, for murder does more harm to one’s neighbor, than blasphemy does to God.”

The most common punishment for blasphemers was capital punishment through hanging or stoning, justified by the words of Leviticus 24:13–16.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Bring out of the camp the one who cursed, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.”

The last person hanged for blasphemy in Great Britain was Thomas Aikenhead aged 20, in Scotland in 1697. He was prosecuted for denying the veracity of the Old Testament and the legitimacy of Christ’s miracles.

Blasphemy (and blasphemous libel) remained a criminal offence in England & Wales until the passing of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, but was last successfully prosecuted in the case of Whitehouse v Lemon (1977), where the defendant was fined £500 and given a nine-month suspended prison sentence (the publisher was also fined £1,000).

So it is no longer a crime in England and Wales, but it is here.


Blasphemy in Islam is impious utterance or action concerning God, Muhammad or anything considered sacred in Islam. The Quran admonishes blasphemy, but does not specify any worldly punishment for blasphemy. The hadiths, which are another source of Sharia, suggest various punishments for blasphemy, which may include death. However, it has been argued that the death penalty applies only to cases where there is treason involved that may seriously harm the Muslim community, especially during times of war.


In Jewish law the only form of blasphemy which is punishable by death is blaspheming the Ineffable Name. The Seven Laws of Noah, which Judaism sees as applicable to all people, prohibit blasphemy

It will be interesting to see what happens with Fry in Ireland.

Just to be safe please express in good faith and in decent language, or to attempt to establish by arguments used in good faith and conveyed in decent language, any opinion whatever on any religious subject at Your NZ. That’s not bad advice on any topic.

All Blacks v. Ireland – one that matters

Posts will be slow this morning as I will be watching the test in Dublin.

It’s good to have real interest in a test, this is one that matters for the All Blacks, and no doubt Ireland will be keen to prove they can do it again.

Ireland out thought and out played the All Blacks in Chicago a fortnight ago and won deservedly. It was great for them.

The All Blacks will be keen on reversing their form in that game and getting back on top.

It will be a fascinating game, and one that matters a lot for both teams.

Half time 14-6 to the Al Blacks.

The ABs started well with early pressure that resulted in a try, and another good try, but they conceded a lot of penalties and Ireland fought back strongly.

The interest remains for the second half. The ABs have the advantage but too close to call.

Black Ferns win

The Black ferns came back from being behind 7-17 to beat England women 25-20.

Italy beats South Africa

In a surprise result, coming back from a drubbing by the ABs last week Italy beat South Africa for the first time 20-18.

And Wales came close to embarrassment wining against Japan with a late drop goal 33-30.


Ireland 40, All Blacks 29

Is history going to be made at Soldier Field in Chicago? UPDATE: Yep, a great day for Ireland!

Ireland has comprehensively outplayed the All Blacks in the first half of the test and lead 25-8 at half time.

The ABs have made too many stupid mistakes, including several dangerous tackles, one resulting in a sin binning – and Ireland scored two tries during that ten minutes. Their lineout has barely functioned. They have turned over mall ball and except for one try have failed to make much of an impression.

In contrast Ireland have played smartly and with determination and passion. Three tries to one is an emphatic clobbering, so far.

There’s another half to go, but if Ireland can keep things up and the ABs fail to fire again in the second half then Ireland could make history today.

Ireland started the second half with another try to lead 30-8. The ABs played quite a bit better from there and closed the gap to a few points. But mistakes crept in again and the Irish finished better, scored another try late in the game to score 5 tries to the AB’s 4 to clinch the game.

Ireland 40, New Zealand 29

A well deserved win for Ireland, their first win ever against the All Blacks..

It’s great for them, and good for world rugby.

And it won’t do the All Blacks any harm. This makes their European tour much more interesting, with games against Italy, France, and what should be a riper of a return match against Ireland.




EU Commission rules against Apple tax

Missy reports:

How to win friends and influence people the EU way.

Today the EU commission have ruled on the investigation into tax paid by Apple in Ireland. The ruling has found against Apple and ordered Ireland to bill them 11bn pounds (13bn Euro). I will admit now that I was unaware of this case, and don’t really know the background to it, but my understanding it is part of the EU supposedly cracking down on tax evasion, however, this ruling could cause a number of political problems for the EU, problems that they won’t be wanting right now.

Ireland and Apple are going to appeal the decision, and Ireland have stated they will not be collecting the money – apparently the jobs and investment in Ireland by Apple is worth more to them over the long run, which is fair enough if they see it that way, it is their country after all. The EU commission have made the ruling on anti competition laws, rather than tax law.

  1. The first is that this is seen very much as the EU getting close to infringing on a member country’s sovereignty. From what I understand from some tax experts, the EU could be on shaky ground demanding Ireland collect the tax, as the law they are using to condemn Apple and make the ruling is to do with competition as opposed to actual tax – though I believe it is around the fact that a member state cannot offer favourable conditions (including tax breaks) to one company and not another.
  2. This could damage the relationship between the EU and the US, and with the trade agreement between the two in the midst of negotiations there could be some problems for the EU to get the agreement they want from the US.
  3. The EU could have some credibility issues here. The EU Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, is a former Finance Minister and PM of Luxembourg, which is widely considered a tax haven – despite coincidentally not being named on the EU’s list of tax haven countries last year. The tax laws, culture, and deals that have made it a very favourable place for large Multinationals to do business, and avoid paying too much tax, were largely developed – or exploited – during Juncker’s time in office. To be going after a Multinational, and another EU member state, for doing what their own President had actively encouraged, shows more than a little hypocrisy.
  4. Apple have threatened the EU that if they enforce this payment then their business in the EU could be downsized quite significantly – if not completely. Now, whilst this is an attempt at either blackmail or bullying (or both) on the part of Apple, it does show that Apple could be in the stronger position here. Apple employ 6000 in Ireland alone, and 10,000’s more throughout the EU, if they were to pull out – or significantly downsize – then this could have a serious impact on an already fragile economy. The UK have, quite rightly in my opinion, jumped on this and told Apple they would be more than welcome to set up shop here.
  5. Apple are not the first Multinational that the EU have gone after, appeals are waiting to be heard on rulings against Starbucks and Fiat for not paying enough tax. There is an opinion that with the latest ruling against Apple some Multinationals may think twice about investing in the EU, and with the UK looking to Brexit, it could make the UK a more attractive option for many. Google and Amazon are rumoured to also be in the firing line – leading the Americans to accuse the US of discriminating against US companies.

Only time will tell how this pans out, but it is looking to be a case of two of the playground bullies squaring up against each other, if it ends up a case of the smarter one winning then I will be putting my money on Apple, the EU Commission are too arrogant with an overinflated sense of the EU’s importance, and delusions of grandeur. But if it is a case of the most stubborn winning, or it being a game of chicken, I think that the EU may edge it.


More on post-Brexit

A report from Missy on what else has been happening in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum.

The rest of post Brexit vote happenings.

The Conservative Party will have a new leader by 2 September, the nominations close on Thursday. I will do a list of the candidates once the nominations have closed, but so far Boris Johnson, Theresa May, Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox have declared, and initial polling has May and Johnson neck and neck.

Osborne has said he won’t run, this will be a blow for him as he was always considered a possible successor for Cameron, and it is believed that he, himself, believed he was the natural successor – he isn’t popular however, in the party or in the electorate, so he was always a long shot. It is believed that Johnson has secured the support of at least one Remainer, and may secure the support of more, which will be crucial if he is to try and unify the party.

Cameron made his last appearance at the EU Leaders Summit, nothing much came of it from what I can gather, just more bluster from EU Leaders.

And on EU Leaders a couple of points that came out of a summary of Juncker’s speech to the Parliament, 1. Juncker refused to accept any responsibility for the UK referendum outcome, 2. Juncker has apparently signalled intent to continue with the greater integration of Europe, and the federalisation (UK Media term I think) of Europe, 3. Juncker slammed German media and Eastern European Leaders who have criticised him since last Friday

Several Eastern European Leaders are putting the blame for Brexit on Juncker, they believe that the EU institutions need reform, and that the UK were spooked by talk of greater integration – these countries fear this as well, and saw Britain as an ally in stopping, or at least slowing, it.

The Leader of the Czech Republic has been the most vocal, the Polish Leader has been more muted, but has suggested that the EU reforms, offers some concessions to the UK, and then the UK have another referendum. Juncker (and Tusk) don’t seem to be too keen on this.
Other leaders are blustering – as to be expected.

Sturgeon was all set to head off to EU for a meeting to talk about how Scotland could remain a part of the EU, however Donald Tusk (President of the EU Commission) has said no to a meeting, the EU have already stated that Scotland cannot remain a part of the EU – they must leave with the UK, and if they vote for independence they must then reapply.

Sadiq Khan is calling on more powers to be given to London to be able to keep the single market, he is stopping short of suggesting independence. This is stupid and arrogant on two counts,

  1. He forgets that it is this attitude of London being better than the rest of the country that contributed to the vote for Brexit and
  2. More Londoners voted for Brexit (1.5m) than voted for him (1.3m), so he really doesn’t have that much support in London. Though this attitude could change it, and could be why he is doing it.

Ireland has demanded Brits stop applying for Irish passports as they are overwhelmed. Ireland, as far as I know still, has a law where if you – or a parent – was born on the island of Ireland (RoI or NI) then you are entitled to an Irish passport, so it sounds like a load of brits from the North, and those with an Irish parent, are applying for a passport to keep an EU passport.

Oh, and one last thing on the EU, apparently they are looking at removing English as an official language.

This will cause a problem for Ireland and Malta – where English is their main language. Each country was allowed to nominate one official language – only UK nominated English, Ireland nominated Irish, and Malta Maltese, so the EU are saying with UK gone there is no need to use English.

Noting English is one of the working languages of the EU institutions, and is apparently the dominating language, however, without the UK they have no country who has nominated English as their official language.

Southern hemisphere semis

A slightly surprising win to Argentina and a near shock loss to Australia has resulted in an all southern hemisphere semi final in the Rugby World Cup.

The semis will be:

  • South Africa versus New Zealand – 4 am Sunday 25 October (NZ time)
  • Argentina versus Australia – 5 am Monday 26 October (NZ time)

Results from the quarter finals:

  • South Africa beat Wales 23-19

The Springboks ground out a win against a weary looking Wales without wowing. They are still in the hunt but surely have to lift and show more enterprise to match it with the All Blacks in their semi final.

Wales were gallant and kept close but looked like they ran out of gas after some punishing pool games and an awful injury toll.

  • New Zealand beat France 62-13

The All Blacks bltized Les Bleus as individuals and the new Zealand team came into form at the business end of the tournament. The question will be whether the ABs can repeat this sort of performance again next week. And if they win that whether they can lift to that level again. They are well prepared and may, but sport does funny things sometimes. They must now be favourites.

France battled well in the first half but couldn’t match the ABs and couldn’t keep up in the second half. They have serious questions to ask about their coaching and club system.

  • Argentina beat Ireland 43-20

I didn’t see this game but the Pumas pounced after showing promise in pool play and ended up with a decisive win.

Ireland had lost some key players to injury after a punishing clash with France last week, which turned out to be both teams’ peak.

  • Australia beat Scotland 35-34

Scotland nearly had a shock win over the Wallabies with a late intercept try putting them in front but a controversial penalty two minutes from full time let Australia rescue what would otherwise have been an embarrassment.

Scotland played very well an deserve much credit. That penalty was a huge blow but they bumbled the lineout that led to the penalty. And then after the Wallabies took the lead Scotland kicked off deep, Australia took it and played out the remaining seconds. Why on earth didn’t Scotland kick short so they could contest possession instead of giving possession to the Aussies on a plate?

Australia managed to do what counts, they won, and they scored five tries, but they didn’t have a very good game in many respects. They looked lacklustre. Their scrum fell to pieces. Scotland may have beaten them on turnovers. And Foley missed his first three kicks (but nailed the one that really counted at the end).

The Wallabies will have a big battle against Argentina next week and will have to up their standards.

Already this World Cup has been a major disappointment for the Northern Hemisphere, with four teams from the south filling all semi final slots.

Car thief bounceback

The car thief getting his own back (a brick) is getting a lot of coverage and laughs.

Short version:

Long version:

Irish Times: Suspected robber knocked himself out with his own boomeranging brick

Suspected robber, confirmed idiot.

This is the moment when a man became contender for Ireland’s dumbest criminal as he knocked himself out with a brick while trying to smash a car window.

The ‘thick with a brick’ was found lying in a pool of his own blood by the car’s owner after it rebounced off the window and smashed into his own face.

“When I saw him, he was lying there stone cold on the ground and his face was in ribbons,” said Gerry Brady, owner of the Pheasant pub in Drogheda.

“My first thought was that ‘this guy is after getting the **** knocked out of him’, while my girlfriend said it must have been a hit and run.”

Approaching the man, Gerry told that after a few moments of trying to help, things took a bizarre twist when the would-be robber tried to blackmail the pub owner.

“He pulled himself up and said he wanted €50 for a taxi. I said ‘Not a chance, I’ve to pay for a new window mate”, that’s when he leaned in and told me he’d burn me out of the pub.”

“I see you, I know you. I’ll burn you out. I’ll tell the gardas you beat me up. I’ll go to my solicitor,” the man told Gerry.

Backing off slightly, Gerry said he and his partner headed to a nearby petrol station to put some distance between themselves and the man while they called the police.

“When the Gardaí picked him up, he started claiming that I attacked him. He was still telling them that in the station when I came in with the footage of him getting knocked out by his own brick.”

“You should have heard the garda laughing when they saw the video. They were in stitches. Credit to them, they were straight out when we called and found the guy within minutes.”

All Black resolve

Distracted by a game of rugby this morning.

First, I was really annoyed with Sky. Their guide had a repeat of the test with Ireland scheduled for 6 am. I got up at 5.30 pm and carefully didn’t switch to sport for fear of seeing the result (as happened yesterday morning with the league semi final). And when I turned to sport at 6 I found it was 25 minutes into the game. Sky guide inaccuracies are very annoying, I think I’ll cancel paying for that.

It was apparent from the game that Ireland were playing a blinder and the All Blacks were struggling at the end of a tough season.  But one critical missed kick at goal by the Irish gave the All Blacks a sniff. Ireland didn’t give up and looked like denying the All Blacks possession but with less than a minute on the clock they let the ball slip.

The All Blacks will to win kicked in and after a relentless surge they got the try they needed. Huge resolve and belief in their ability.

The Irish were unlucky to lose but crucial mistakes and the mental strength plus stamina of the All Blacks demonstrated that a game is only won at lost at the final whistle.

A tribute to Wales

Overall this has been a cracker of a world cup despite disappointing tournaments from England and South Africa – and France despite them reaching the final, and Ireland, Scotland and Argentina being not quite good enough.

We’ll find out tonight which of New Zealand and Australia crash, they will probably mostly judged on this result.

I’ve enjoyed watching the second tier teams in most of the games they have played.

But I’d like to pay tribute to one of the shining stars of the tournament – Wales. They weren’t rated highly coming into the tournament, but they showed on the field that they had the preparation and attitude to make a mark, and they did.

Wales earned much rugby respect in New Zealand, deservedly. Many in the team contributed to this, notably up and coming flanker and captain Sam Warburton, and the team as a whole. Warren Gatland and his coaching team also deserve much credit.

I would have liked to see Wales playing in the final, against the All Blacks of course (through hope rather than expectation), but it’s not to be. A heavy pre-game shower of rain, a momentary tackle mistake, some off target kicking, and the French not quite playing badly enough to lose meant a very creditable but one week early exit for Wales.

Apart from the All Blacks the Welsh team is the only team in the 2011 Rugby World Cup that has not been outplayed in a game (just beaten by a narrow points margin a couiple of times).

I don’t usually feel empathy for the country of origin of my mother’s family, but I almost feel some pride in the boyos. Whatever – I salute some great sportmen and a nearly great team. I think this team’s time will come as long as they learn and grow from this experience.