Dunedin student charge with making ‘anti-Muslim slurs”

A student with name suppression appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday where he admitted a charge of disorderly behaviour (likely to cause violence).

ODT:  Anti-Muslim slurs day after attack

A Dunedin student has admitted making expletive-laden anti-Muslim slurs just one day after the terrorist attack in Christchurch.

The student admitted a charge of disorderly behaviour (likely to cause violence), which holds a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment or a fine of $2000.

Police saw the man on the street in the student sector yelling words to the effect of: “Muslims are not welcome in our country, go home Muslims!”

Other revellers told officers there had been repeated earlier slurs too.

Police, who were patrolling areas around the mosque, were on Castle St, clearing up to 200 people from the road.

At the intersection with Dundas St, the defendant approached their vehicle and shouted his racist message.

“He yelled this repeatedly amongst the crowd of people on the street,” police said.

The teen was firmly told that his comments were “inappropriate and insensitive”.

However, the defendant was unapologetic, stating he was entitled to his opinion and freedom of speech.

He accused officers of trying to intimidate them and accused them of being “right-wing fascists”.

While this discussion was ongoing, three women told police that earlier in the evening the teenager had repeatedly shouted “f*** the Muslims”.

Others on the street began to abuse the defendant for his comments and police arrested him.

What this person was doing was awful and inappropriate. Is arresting him the best way to deal with it? In those circumstances it may have been.

Defence counsel Andrew More told the court his client’s father was at yesterday’s hearing and had been “surprised and disappointed” in his son’s behaviour.

Judge Michael Crosbie called it “no more or less than overt racism”.

It’s kind of weird for me to see this – I have appeared before Judge Crosbie (in the dock once), and Mr More appeared  for private prosecutor Dermot Nottingham at one hearing when applications were made to have the charges dismissed (charges were withdrawn at the next hearing).

He refused to sentence the teenager on the spot because he wanted to know what the repercussions would be with the University of Otago.

A university spokesman said any students who committed criminal offences were dealt with once any court process had concluded.

The student will be sentenced in June. The charge has a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment or a fine of $2000.

 

 

Student ‘strikes’ to protest climate change

The student strikes to raise awareness of the dangers to the planet of climate change have already been very successful. They have received a lot of publicity.

The protests will take place today around the country. I’m sure they will get a lot of media attention. More success guaranteed.

The big challenge for students who take part will be to make this more than an event. They somehow have to sustain the attention and pressure on politicians to actually make some sort of a difference in the medium term.

The media may or may not keep feeding the protests.

There were major protests against the TPPA, but they turned out to be ineffective while National were in Government (to an extent they were protests against the Government with the TPPA just a topical excuse. And those protests faded right away when Labour took over Government along with the Greens and NZ First, and when the TPPA morphed slightly into the CTPPA and took effect.

And that was quite a specific target.

Today’s protests seem very general, so it will be easy for politicians to make general nods of support whole doing little to make much difference.

Some young person on RNZ just said he read something from the UK that they are running out of fertile land in thirty years and faced starvation – I wonder if he realises that all the fertile land is not going to suddenly become unfertile. There are legitimate concerns about increasing population and growing demands for food, but food production is unlikely toi suddenly stall.

There has been months of build up, but students need to realise that there protests today are really a beginning, and not a solution.

Facial hair at college?

A Kapiti College student is fighting for the right to be allowed to have facial hair at school.

NZH: Kapiti College student fights high school beard ban

Senior students at Kapiti College get to wear mufti and makeup to school.

But according to one pupil, if they turn up with facial hair they’re hauled out of class and forced to shave with “budget” equipment.

Year 13 student Anthony McEwen has started a petition to change rules he says were set out by the school’s board of trustees.

“In Kapiti College, the board of trustees say that no student is allowed to have facial hair,” the petition reads.

McEwen said if students came to school with a beard, moustache or stubble, they were “forced to shave with budget shaving equipment during critical learning time”.

“If Year 13 students are allowed to wear mufti, how come they are not allowed to have natural hair that grows on their face?” McEwen wrote.

I can remember back in the day that (head) hair touching your ears was at least strongly discouraged. No one tried beards then.

“I want to get enough support for my petition so I can show the board of trustees that there is nothing wrong [with] having facial hair.”

The petition, started a month ago on website change.org, has gathered 353 signatures.

Upon reaching 500, it will be delivered to board member Tony Kane, according to the website.

The petition: Kapiti College (Year 13 Facial Hair Allowed)

There are currently 556 supporters.

Party of Labour?

The Herald has an interactive tool that allows you to compare what sort of people vote for which party – How New Zealanders vote. It combines data from the 2014 election results with census data.

You can compare one party with another, or one party against all others.

Comparing the Labour Party to all party votes (it isn’t clear but to the left is ‘other party’ and to the right is the Labour Party preferences):

VotingPreferencesLabourOther

This shows that ‘other party’ votes are more likely to be from all of the part-time employed, the full-time employed and the self employed.

So Labour does not appear to be the favoured party for the majority of workers.

Also interesting is that more full-time students favour other parties rather than Labour.

 

 

Couch to house fire was inevitable

A house fire in North Dunedin was inevitable, and it was lucky – this time – that there were no deaths. Police noticed the fire and woke and evacuated sleeping residents.

ODT: House fire caused by burning couch

Raucous couch-burning party-goers in Dunedin have accidentally set a house on fire during their partying, police say.

Officers were called to a large party on Castle Street at midnight, where several hundred party-goers at two houses were spilling on to the road.

While containing the crowd, attending officers saw a fire at the back of a different house, and found the flames from a burning couch had spread to the home’s weatherboards.

Police said the occupants were woken and evacuated, and the officers attempted to extinguish the flames before the fire service arrived to put the fire out.

It had begun to take hold within the exterior wall just as it was extinguished, police said. There was damage to the weatherboards.

Inspector Kelvin Lloyd said that it was very lucky that the fire did not cause more damage than it did.

“This incident highlighted the dangers associated with the fire lighting issue in the student area,” he said.

“This is exactly the type of case we have been trying to prevent through the consistent and on-going messaging of police, fire and the university.”

“We need to stop thinking that this is part of the culture of the area, and accept the very real dangers that this type of offending poses. This is more than high spirited antics and will result in a tragedy or injury if attitudes do not change. “

This was an escalation waiting to happen. Unless some way is found to stop the arson in the student area this will probably end up with a tragedy.

Anyone caught committing arson needs to be dealt with severely.

UPDATE: in this News Hub report a fire person says that the couch looks like it was up against the house when set alight.

Witnesses sought after couch burning spreads to house

“Mixing alcohol and fires is a recipe for disaster”.