Settling highly qualified refugees in provincial towns criticised

The Government increased the number of places they were settling refugees around the country, but this has been criticised as inappropriate for some well qualified refugees who have trouble finding employment in provincial towns.

RNZ:  Refugee group unhappy with new settlement location

The ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum believes Whanganui, Timaru, Blenheim, Masterton, Levin and Christchurch might not have the support network or relevant jobs for the refugees who arrive in New Zealand.

The ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum general manager Lexy Seedhouse said many refugees who come into the country are highly qualified.

“If they’re settled in location where there aren’t highly skilled jobs available for them, then it’s not going to be of benefit to local communities, national nor region economies and it leads to a whole lot of social problems, such as unemployment, underemployment, depression and social isolation,” she said.

That should have been easy to predict.

Ms Seedhouse said while they support the government’s decision to raise the quota to 1500 refugees next year, the forum should have been consulted about where they would be placed.

Consultation would have been a good idea.

She said refugees going to places where there wasn’t the support from organisations like the forum, or from others from their country of origin can have far reaching consequences.

“For example access to interpreters, if someone needs to go to the GP, will there be people with that language capability in those new settlement regions?, we don’t know.”

“Also lots of those areas tend to be predominately white, which could lead to problems with integration, there’s not a lot of ethnic diversity in those areas,” she said.

It’s a bit like some sort of social experiment.

Chair of the forum, Ibrahim Omer who came to New Zealand as a refugee from Eritrea, can’t imagine how he would have settled in the regions, as it was hard enough in Wellington.

“I was surrounded by a lot of support and where there is a lot of employment opportunities, I struggled for years before I settled, there is a language barrier, culture shock, there’s so many things involved, it is tough,” he said.

Mr Omer said employment opportunities are some of the first things new refugees look for when arriving in the country, which will be even harder in the regions.

“We’re talking about small towns where opportunities are very limited,” he said.

Again, quite predictable. Perhaps those in charge of choosing where to settle refugees take into account their qualifications and they chances of finding relevant employment.

Increasing the number of refugees being accepted may have put pressure on officials who have to place them somewhere in the country.

Ngāpuhi split over treaty negotiations

One of the biggest Treaty of Waitangi settlements has been one of the longest to get into negotiations, and the hardest to resolve.

One hapū, Ngāti Hine, want to split off from Ngāpuhi and do a separate deal. This may be the only way of making things happen.

RNZ in December – Ngāpuhi vote: Minister forced back to the drawing board

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little will be forced to go back to the drawing board after Ngāpuhi overwhelmingly rejected a mandate for its Treaty settlement.

Final voting results released yesterday confirmed the evolved Ngāpuhi treaty settlement mandate failed to win the vote of its people.

In November, the vote on the Evolved Mandate to move its Treaty negotiation forward was sent out to the people of Ngāpuhi.

The question of who should negotiate with the Crown has divided Ngāpuhi – some have sided with the group originally chosen – Tuhoronuku – and others have backed the hapu-based grouping, Te Kotahitanga.

It was a resounding kāhore (no) from the people of Ngāpuhi – with 73 hapū rejecting the mandate and 31 in support.The individual vote was 51 percent in favour and 48 percent against – but a threshold of 75 percent was needed to get the mandate over the line.

Mr Little said he was disappointed but the best thing right now was to “take bit of a breather”, and he was not giving up.

Wayne (presumably Mapp) commented on this recently:

Ngapuhi took a claim to the Waiting tribune on the meaning of the 1835 Declaration of Independence, and its relation to the Treaty of Waitangi. The Tribunal gave it some credence and stated Ngapuhi didn’t surrender sovereignty. But in practical terms what does that mean today? I can’t see the government going beyond the Tuhoe settlement in giving local governance powers.

The government should recognise Ngati Hine as a seperate entity if they want to settle the collective Ngapuhi claim. Some might say Ngati Hine is a hapu, but it is a hapu of 20,000 people, one third of Ngapuhi. Not sure why the government is being so obstinate about this.

https://yournz.org/2019/02/05/the-articles-of-the-treaty-of-waitangi/#comment-346234

RNZ:  Ngāti Hine wants to formally split off from Ngāpuhi Treaty talks

Ngāti Hine hapū have told the Treaty Negotiations Minister they want to formally split off from the Ngāpuhi talks that have been ongoing for more than a decade.

Chairperson for Ngāti Hine, Pita Tipene, met with Mr Little on Sunday, and told him that Ngāti Hine had decided it would be seeking its own mandate.

“We’re clear about what we put to him,” Mr Tipene said.

“I think it’s been a long time coming. Certainly Ngāti Hine has always been true to its own vision statement but we’ve changed our tack now.”

He said that view had come about from a number of hui among the nine hapū in the last months, with one meeting as recently as 12 January.

“That doesn’t mean that we’ve closed off all doors to working with our neighbours on overlapping claims,” Mr Tipene said.

He said Mr Little has been canvassing a number of people about a way forward for Ngāpuhi, given the vote on the Tūhono proposal that “ended up in complete failure” at the end of last year.

But Mr Tipene said “Ngāti Hine is now very, very clear that we will be seeking our own mandate.”

Mr Little confirmed the exchange took place.

“He said that … well it seemed to be without an awareness of what it takes to shut down the current mandate – which is really a name only – and to establish a whole new mandate or a bunch of mandates,” he said.

Mr Little said he made it clear to Mr Tipene that although he has an open mind as to how things happen from here, the Crown’s position is that Ngāpuhi must work “or at least move” together.

“There needs to be coordination and cohesion. It doesn’t make sense for the Crown to be drawn in to a multiplicity of negotiations where nothing can settle or reach agreement,” he said.

But nothing is looking like being agreed on let alone or settled with Ngāpuhi  as a whole.

 

Dotcom settlement over police misconduct

A sudden splurge of Kim Dotcom news – he has announced he has settled with the police over misconduct over the raid – I think this is fair enough as the police seemed to take measures that were unjustified in the extent they went to.


Dotcoms Announce Settlement of Lawsuit Against New Zealand Police for Unreasonable Conduct During January 2012 Raid

Auckland, New Zealand, 3 November, 2017

Kim Dotcom and Mona Dotcom announce that they have resolved their lawsuit against the New Zealand Police in which the Dotcoms sought a remedy for their claim about the unreasonable use of force in the military-style raid of their family home in January of 2012. The Dotcoms also raised the concern that their home and family had been under intrusive visual surveillance by the Police which had not been authorised by the Court.

The complaint arose from events occurring in the early morning of January 20, 2012, when 72 police officers including the heavily armed Special Tactics Group (STG) and the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) descended on the Dotcoms’ family home in Coatesville to make a number of arrests at the request of the United States in an Internet copyright matter. Landing two helicopters just outside the family home, the entry team sprang to action, wielding M4 Bushmaster rifles.

The forces entered the Dotcom home and held the Dotcom family, staff and guests at gunpoint. The officers caused considerable damage to the Dotcom property as they stormed through the house, around the grounds and over the roof. Mona Dotcom, who was 7 months pregnant with twins, and the Dotcom children were traumatised. Neither the Dotcoms nor their guests were allowed to talk to each other or their lawyers for an unreasonable period.

The United States’ basis for the raid, online copyright infringement, is not even a crime in New Zealand.

The lawsuit against the New Zealand Police sought an acknowledgment of the harm caused to the Dotcom family, including the children, Mona and Kim.

“Today, Mona and I are glad to reach a confidential settlement of our case against the New Zealand Police. We have respect for the Police in this country. They work hard and have, with this one exception, treated me and my family with courtesy and respect. We were shocked at the uncharacteristic handling of my arrest for a non-violent Internet copyright infringement charge brought by the United States, which is not even a crime in New Zealand. They could have easily knocked at our door at a reasonable hour and advised me of my arrest. Instead, due to what I believe was a misguided desire to cater to the United States authorities and special interests in Hollywood, a simple arrest became a Hollywood-style publicity stunt tailored to appease US authorities. The New Zealand Police we know do not carry guns. They try to resolve matters in a non-violent manner, unlike what we see from the United States. We are sad that our officers, good people simply doing their job, were tainted by US priorities and arrogance.” says Kim Dotcom. “We sued the Police because we believed their military-style raid on a family with children in a non-violent case went far beyond what a civilised community should expect from its police force. New Zealanders deserve and should expect better.”

Kim Dotcom further stated, “until recently, Mona and I wanted vindication in the High Court so that those involved would take responsibility for the raid. We have taken time to consider whether a trial would be in the best interests of our family. The New Zealand Government has recently changed for the better. Our children are now settled and integrated safely here into their community and they love it. We do not want to relive past events. We do not want to disrupt our children’s new lives. We do not want to revictimise them. We want them to grow up happy. That is why we chose New Zealand to be our family home in the first place. We are fortunate to live here. Under the totality of the circumstances, we thought settlement was best for our children.”

Ron Mansfield, New Zealand counsel for the Dotcoms, stated, “the Dotcoms hope that this action has brought the Police misconduct to everyone’s attention and that it has led to change in the way Police will handle future similar operations. The misconduct of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which accepts that it also unlawfully spied on the Dotcom family by the interception of private communications over an extended period, remains before the Court. The GCSB refuses to disclose what it did or the actual private communications it stole. The Dotcoms understandably believe that they are entitled to know this. That action is pending appeal in the Court of Appeal.”


NZ Herald repeat most of this but add:

The settlement came after a damages claim was filed with the High Court over what was considered an “unreasonable” use of force when the anti-terrorism Special Tactics Group raided his $30 million mansion in January 2012.

The raid was part of a worldwide FBI operation to take down Dotcom’s Megaupload file-sharing website which was claimed to be at the centre of a massive criminal copyright operation.

Dotcom and three others were arrested and await extradition to the United States on charges which could land them in prison for decades.

The NZ Herald has learned earlier settlements were reached between police and others arrested, including Bram van der Kolk and Mathias Ortmann.

It was believed their settlements were six-figure sums and it is likely Dotcom would seek more as the main target in the raid.

 

Colin Craig wins defamation case

In contrast to some significant legal losses Colin Craig has had a win in a defamation case against ex-Conservative Party board member John Stringer. The case has been settled out of court prior to a scheduled hearing in March.

1 News: Colin Craig celebrates win in defamation case against former Conservative Party board member

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is celebrating winning a defamation case against a former member of the party’s board, John Stringer.

The High Court in Christchurch yesterday issued a judgement confirming that Mr Craig had been defamed by Mr Stringer.

Mr Stringer was found to have defamed Mr Craig in various statements that alleged Mr Craig had sexually harassed his former press secretary Rachel McGregor and one or more other women, and in various statements that alleged Mr Craig had committed business or electoral fraud.

Mr Stringer has retracted his statements, apologised to Mr Craig and settled the matter by payment of a confidential sum.

Mr Craig’s statement said that in 2014 he came under attack from two bloggers, Mr Stringer of CoNZervative Blog and Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater.

Both Craig and Stringer have had previous court setbacks in this case.

Slater may now be reviewing his optimistic predictions. He had a major win against Craig when a judge ruled a copyright claim by Craig to be vexatious – see The judgement arrives: Colin Craig cops another one in the chook. Craig is appealing that but he is at real risk there of being seen to be doubling down on vexatiousness.

As well as that there is more to come. Craig is appealing the massive award against him after Jordan Williams one his defamation case.

Also Stringer has a counter claim against Craig for defamation, and Slater also has a claim of defamation against Craig.

NZ Herald: Confidential financial settlement in defamation case between Colin Craig and former Conservative Party board member John Stringer

The former Conservative Party leader sued a board member for defamation. So why is another trial still going ahead?

Stringer confirmed the defamation case against him had been settled, with a confidential financial payment, by consent yesterday.

However, Stringer added his counter-defamation claim against Craig was still going ahead.

He said this is scheduled for June, shortly after another defamation trial between Craig and Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater.

It’s quite possible Craig could be found to have also defamed Stringer in what was an ugly tit for tat public spat.

There seems to be a lot of money and ego involved in all of this.

It will be interesting to see how Whale Oil reports on this settlement.

The decision does not appear to be online yet. Here are previous decisions in the case:

The Yan/Liu settlement

I have no idea whether the Wiliam Yan/Bill Liu settlement is a good thing or not. Perhaps it’s pragmatic, but it has certainly raised a few eyebrows.

NZ Herald editorial: Yan settlement little comfort to most Kiwis

What is to be done with our citizen, William Yan? His payment of nearly $43 million in settlement of a police application to confiscate assets of that value under the Criminal Proceedings Recovery Act avoids a court inquiry into alleged money laundering in China and a judicial ruling on the legality of the wealth he brought to New Zealand.

The police yesterday described the settlement, approved by a High Court judge, as “full and final, without any admission of criminal or civil liability”.

So perhaps the forfeiture was merely to avoid a six-month trial. The sum, while it is the largest such settlement by an individual in New Zealand, might not be missed by someone whose gambling fund at SkyCity has topped $293 million over 12 years.

The police said: “The settlement follows a complex three-year investigation focusing on money laundering large sums allegedly derived from a series of frauds perpetrated in China between 1999 and 2001.”

The manager of asset recovery for the financial crime group at Police National Headquarters, Detective Inspector Paul Hampton, described the settlement as “a significant success for New Zealand Police”, reflecting an “effective working relationship between Chinese and New Zealand law enforcement agencies”. The $42.85 million Yan has paid to recover his assets will be shared with China.

The Herald says that “many New Zealanders will struggle to see any success in the outcome” but I’m struggling to decide whether I care or not.