The Jackal

24 Jun 2017

National penalising Kiwi homebuyers

The National led government appears to not give a damn that the levels of home ownership in New Zealand are continuing to decline.

After much public and media concern about housing, the government through the Reserve Bank changed lending criteria in 2013. However this has simply penalised many Kiwi’s who’re trying to purchase their first home.

But if that wasn’t bad enough, the crackdown on lending to first home buyer’s in New Zealand has meant overseas buyers now have an advantage over Kiwi's… and because of Trump and mainland Chinese wanting to get their capital out of China, they’ve been snapping up our houses like nobodies business.

Today, The NZ Herald reported:

First-time house buyers worst hit as house sales fall by 30% 
"Investors who need a loan have been shut out of the market but cash investors have picked up their share of sales - not first-home buyers or movers," said QV spokeswoman Andrea Rush.

"Cash buyers purchasing property in New Zealand from overseas or new migrants moving with cash reserves often have the advantage over New Zealanders of higher foreign currency exchange and they are not impacted by the lending restrictions."

Rush said because the Government does not accurately measure the number of residential sales to foreign buyers or new migrants there was no way of knowing what share of sales were going to those offshore.

The topic is obviously an election issue, and rightly so. Younger New Zealander’s need to understand that if National continues to govern for the baby boomers and foreign interests alone, many of them will never be able to afford a house.

That’s not only bad for the many generations shut out of home ownership; it’s bad for society in general.

Nick Smith lied about combustible panels in NZ

The Grenfell Tower fire, which has caused many more deaths than the 79 currently confirmed, was thought to have started because of a faulty refrigerator. However the cause of the fire spreading so quickly has been identified as substandard combustible cladding, an insulation that has also been identified on some buildings in New Zealand.

Yesterday, Radio NZ reported:

Two Auckland high-rises found to have combustible cladding

The Auckland Council has found two high-rise buildings clad with combustible panels similar to those implicated in London's Grenfell Tower disaster.

The council has not said which buildings are affected, but says they are privately-owned and the material is being replaced with fire-proof cladding.

I very much doubt that the PE cladding that gives off cyanide gas when burnt is already being replaced on those buildings. But without the Auckland Council actually naming what buildings have used it, there’s no way to really tell.

Surely the inhabitants of those buildings have a right to know if they’re living in a potential fire hazard. Of course the Council's and current government won’t tell them, because they will want to protect rich people’s interests.

Despite this, Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith last week told Morning Report his officials were "reasonably confident" the combustible panels "have not been used in high-rise structures" in New Zealand.

Smith obviously made that false statement without first checking the facts. It's not the first time he's gone off half cocked and lied to the public about an important life threatening issue either.

The deluded Minister for Building and Housing and Minister for the Environment was obviously trying to cover for the dodgy architects, contractors and owners of the buildings where the dangerous cladding has been installed.

As usual the National party’s only concern is for the wealthy and not those who could be harmed by an inferior and dangerous product. But I guess that's just free-market capitalism for you.

Christie’s law based on court incompetency

The killing of Christie Marceau was a very terrible thing, not least of all because it could have been prevented if the court system wasn't incompetent. Amongst other things, that’s one of the findings the inquest into her murder should conclude.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Christie Marceau inquest: the trail to tragedy

Stace was the duty prosecutor on the day of Chand's bail hearing and was tasked with advocating the police position.

The opposition to bail form filed on the day of his first appearance still stood - but more information was given to her before the October 5 hearing.

That information included a map showing the proximity of Chand's house where he wanted to be bailed to, and the Marceau house.

The properties are within a kilometre of each other and Christie could see her attacker's home from her deck.

Detective Aaron Iremonger also supplied Stace with a transcript of Chand's preliminary police interview which had "full admissions" of his offending against Christie.

In the interview Chand spoke about revenge, and Iremonger felt it showed he still posed a huge risk to Christie.
Emails went back and forward from Iremonger and Pell, the original prosecutor who was not working the day of the hearing, and Stace.

The men told her that it was "imperative" Chand not get bail and they wanted her to push hard and present the new information.

When Stace arrived in court she tried to hand the new information to the judge through the registrar, but was told if she was to rely on it, she could bring it up in the hearing.

Unbelievable! A court registrar is duty bound to provide the judge with all relevant evidence when it’s presented by the Police to the court.

If this claim by duty prosecutor Rhona Stace is true it means that the registrar is in breach of their duty to assist the judge, and should be sacked.

When the hearing began, she did not present it.

She said the opposition to bail form had already covered the salient points police wanted to make, and coupled with Christie's letter, was strong enough and adequate.

When the hearing started, Stace said it was "immediately apparent" Judge McNaughton was "not interested" in hearing further information from police.

Disgraceful! If the Judge didn’t allow new evidence to be presented and appeared to be biased in favour of the killer, that would be grounds for that Judge to be dismissed.

Unfortunately it's unlikely that the courts will look at changing their procedures to ensure such an unfortunate evidential travesty of justice doesn't occur again.

"Instead, His Honour was now focused on Mr Chand's treatment and the ability of mental health services to manage him at home on strict bail conditions."

Stace defended herself at the inquest, saying she did her job on the day and it would not have been appropriate to push the judge further.

In fact, it would have been a suggestion of "incompetence".

Clearly somebody within the justice system was incompetent. Either the Judge, the registrar or the duty prosecutor through procedural bungling or disabling conflicts of interest utterly failed to protect Christie Marceau.

"It was absolutely crystal clear to the court what our concerns were," she told the inquest.

"The court... was well aware of the grounds for the opposition... it (the map and transcript) simply wasn't relevant.

I have to totally disagree there. The new evidence was relevant because it clearly showed that there was an immediate threat to Christie if Akshay Chand was released on bail. That’s why Detective Aaron Iremonger and senior prosecutor Adam Pell were adamant that the new evidence must be presented.

The fact that Sergeant Rhona Stace thinks the evidence wasn’t relevant makes it appear that it was her decision not to present it to the Judge, and not the courts decision to essentially decline it being accepted.

There’s no question in my mind that if the Judge received and properly considered that new evidence a different outcome would have been achieved… an outcome that would have likely saved Christie Marceau’s life.

That makes the claims by people with vested interests like Garth McVicar from the Sensible Sentencing Trust that it was a failure of our bail laws and not a failure of the duty prosecutor, the registrar or the Judge on the day, completely incorrect.

Clearly the only thing the bail laws are to blame for in New Zealand is contributing to our already overcrowded jail cells. Inconsistency from the parole board is also a concern when considering ways to reduce incarceration and increase rehabilitation rates, which is something the National led government has utterly failed to achieve.

Obviously reducing the ability of non-violent offenders to achieve bail isn’t going to bring Christie back or save any other young lives. It will however increase the already huge burden on society from an ever-increasing prison population and mean many more families are destroyed by a system solely focused on never ending cycles of punishment.

23 Jun 2017

No comparison in substandard housing

The hypocrisy of the right wing concerning substandard accommodation couldn’t be more apparent this week. Happy to try and take the focus off of their Todd Barclay problem, the right wing propagandists are clearly overreacting to Labour’s voluntary overseas student's controversy.

Take the ever-deluded David Farrar for instance. Remaining silent about the Nation story last Saturday concerning the terrible rat infested dumps Kiwi’s are being charged the earth to live in, Farrar still has the gall to get on his high horse and have a go at Labour about substandard accommodation.

Yesterday, David Farrar wrote:

Labour’s foreign campaign workers put up in sub-standard accommodation

So Labour has turned into a landlord putting people up in crowded and unsanitary conditions at the same time they demand all other landlords meet a WOF standard and camoaign against over-crowded accomodation.

Today, Radio NZ reported the marae's response:

Awataha Marae rejects 'substandard' housings claim

The marae housing Labour's international interns is not substandard, Trust bosses say, while local Māori say they have been fighting for access to the marae for years.

About 90 interns were invited to New Zealand to work on voter enrolment, and were based at Awataha marae on the North Shore where they were staying for free.

Awataha Marae is pretty new and although the accomodation is basic, it isn't substandard. When you look at the conditions of some boarding houses with those at the marae, there is obviously no comparison.

Here is a photo of the apparently “crowded and unsanitary conditions” at Awataha Marae:

... And here's a couple of photos of a boarding house that the National led government through their austerity and the Auckland City Council through their mismanagement has allowed to let fester:

Just goes to show how biased and conceited the right wing really are.

Bill English must resign

The Todd Barclay debacle highlights just how dishonest many right wing politicians really are. For over a year Bill English and the National party maintained a lie, even reselecting Barclay knowing that he had committed a potential crime.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

'He's got to go': Winston Peters calls for Prime Minister to resign

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has ramped up criticism of Prime Minister Bill English over the Todd Barclay affair - saying English should resign.

"He's got to go, Mr English. He's got to stand down, just like Barclay. He misled the media, he misled the House in every respect he is in serious breach of his responsibilities and duties," Peters said to media before entering question time that saw further questions about English's actions.

Asked if English had lied, Peters said there was no other possible conclusion.

The public is being expected to believe that English just forgot what he said in a police statement on the matter only a year previously. In the statement, English clearly outlines that it was Barclay who told him about the illegal recordings.

Despite that fact, English was happy to perpetuate the bully Barclay’s lies in what is obviously a cover-up designed to maintain National’s governance.

Clearly the excuse of hiding Barclay’s bullying and corruption because National wanted to maintain control isn’t a valid justification. Neither is Barclay remaining in the house because National wants to pass their destructive neoliberal legislation a good reason for him to receive another $80,000 of taxpayer’s money.

It’s not an issue that looks like it’s going away either, despite some diversionary tactics.

He said he had laid two privileges complaints against English, claiming he misled Parliament about whether he knew about the allegations against Barclay. In question time, Peters challenged English to release his phone records to prove he hadn't been involved in the dispute than already disclosed.

Anybody who believes that the public has simply moved on from and forgotten this issue needs their heads read. Although not scientific, over 80% of responders to a RadioLive poll think English should resign… and the RadioLive audience isn’t known to be National party detractors either. That ultimately means the government will be losing public support over this issue.

After the text was published on Tuesday by the Newsroom website, English said he couldn't recall who told him the recordings existed, but less than four hours later confirmed it was Barclay and released his police statement.

Speaking to media in Auckland today, English again rubbished cover-up claims by the Opposition, and said he had acted appropriately by informing Davie and making his statement to police. He confirmed he did so after being contacted by both parties.

English lied to reporters about who had told him of the recordings. He also misled Parliament about the allegations against Barclay. English again lied when he claimed that it was him who approached the Police about the issue.

Today, English is claiming that nobody knew what Barclay did was a crime. After the teapot tape scandal, where Police raided a number of premises over a recording of John Key and John Banks laughing about old people dying, the deluded Prime Minister’s claims are entirely preposterous!

National knew what Barclay did was a crime because they sent in Glenda Hughes, a National Party board member and former Police Detective to pressure the victim, Glenys Dickson, into keeping quiet. Under current law, that act can only be considered an obstruction of justice.

If that’s not an attempted cover-up by the National party, I don’t know what is.

Can you imagine how the MSM would react if this was a left-wing controversy. We would have months and months of calls for the Prime Minister’s head, just like they did with Helen Clark when she signed a painting for charity.