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Archive for 26 July 2011

What the Government Giveth, the Government Taketh…

So much for the tax cuts in April 2009 and October 2010.

With the rise in gst, ACC, Kiwisaver premiums, and soon Fuel Excise Duty, Road User Charges, and motor vehicle registration fees – the tax cuts will have been mostly negated for low and middle income earners.

And not forgetting, of course, that gst will also apply  to Road User Charges as well as vehicle registration fees…

Are we feeling any better of?
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Categories: The Body Politic

When Govt Departments Go Mad…

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There is probably some rational reason for a victim of domestic violence to be re-victimised by Immigration authorities…
… but strangely enough, I can’t think what that reason might be?!
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When Govt Departments Go Mad 2…

While Charmain Timmons faces deportation (after her residency application was denied because her then-husband was convicted for crimes against her), the Sunday Star Times  listed individual who had been given residency after fighting their deportation orders;

Samoan Troy Lologa, 27, who stabbed a man to death in a fight outside a South Auckland Burger King.

Fijian Ramendra Shankar, 62, who indecently assaulted an eight-year-old girl.

South African Kim Gillian Knoll, 22, convicted of attempted murder for stabbing her two-year-old son in the stomach.

Samoan Autalavou Taafi, 47, who raped a woman colleague whom he was giving a ride home.

Samoan Faaua Faataape, 46, who while driving drunk and stoned, crashed, hitting a child and dragging the child under the car.

Tongan Metui Ma’umalanga, 44, who punched and kicked his epileptic wife into unconsciousness then assaulted a police officer. Ma’umalanga was previously convicted of assaulting his wife with a stabbing or cutting implement, drink-driving and male assaults female.

Fijian Pranesh Pratap, 28, who assaulted his wife from an arranged marriage, hospitalising her for four days, after an argument because he would not stop seeing his girlfriend, who he had also assaulted.

Malaysian Tung Seng Chang, 35, convicted of being part of “a substantial operation involving the supply and manufacture of methamphetamine”.

Samoan Setafano Leota, 39, who was jailed for beating his 10-year-old daughter about the face and body with a piece of wood.

Australian Adeline Rogers, 28, who threatened to blow up a Child Youth and Family building and kill her sister-in-law.

Tongan Anoti Vaka, 43, convicted of four assaults against his children including causing grievous bodily harm to his daughter by cutting her head with a knife.

South African Grant Deetlefs, 28, who supported his drug habit through the aggravated robbery of a service station he worked at.

So let’s see if we have this right…

Convicted of  violence, drug-use, rape, robbery, murder – residency approved.

Victim of violence by ex-partner – residency denied.

Yes, folks, we have just crossed over into… The Twilight Zone.

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Common Sense prevails!

Merje DDM, which grew out of the collapse of buggy maker Tritec, focuses mainly on providing seating for theatres and auditoriums in New Zealand and Australia, but has now completed a new range of train seats developed from the ground up. 

The firm has its origins in Brugger, a big Hutt Valley supplier of seating components in the 1960s, when many of the world’s car makers had factories in the area. 

Brugger was later sold and renamed Kenson Industries. As protections on the vehicle sector were removed, Kenson began moving into other areas, including other types of seats, plus buggies for infants. 

When that company collapsed in 1998, some of the remnants were gathered together to become Tritec. Based in Gracefield, Tritec built up a large business focused on buggies, but it also fell into receivership in 2008. 

It was later bought out of receivership by another Wellington company, Phil & Ted’s, which was mainly interested in the Mountain Buggy brand, closing the production side. 

Miles Fowler, who used Tritec to make theatre seats which he then sold in New Zealand and Australia, faced losing a key customer, so negotiated to keep some of the manufacturing capability, taking over the seat-making business. 

Merje – a name made from the initials of Fowler and another director Jesse Paenga, along with their partners – was formed and the firm does most of its business providing seats used in theatres and lecture halls, with one of its largest customers Victoria University. 

“They tend to be quite large projects, but there is often gaps between them,” Fowler said. 

This gave the company scope to submit a proposal for the AK carriages from KiwiRail, a contract which was first mooted to Tritec. One of about 30 initial proposals, Merje was one of three firms short-listed for the train project, providing samples used elsewhere in the KiwiRail network. 

It designed a product that is largely locally made and which is now being delivered. 

Fowler says a key advantage of the company’s seats was the fire- proof graphite foam from Acma Industries, another long-established manufacturer, based in Upper Hutt. 

Palmerston North’s Fibreglass Developments provided the fibreglass backing of the seats, while other firms in the region provided components used in the seats. 

“A couple of things came from Auckland, but essentially they’re 100 per cent manufactured here. We try to stick as close as we can to the Wellington, Lower Hutt area.” 

Fowler said Merje, which has about a dozen staff, was expected to have turnover of about $3 million this year.

Which underscores the fact that local industries can build stock for our railways. We do not have to “outsource” major rail manufacturing contracts overseas to places like China or South Korea.

The $29 million cost of giving Chinese firms a contract for 300 new flat-top wagons was not just monetary – but it has cost fellow 70 New Zealanders their jobs in Dunedin and Wellington. Plus probably more, in terms of flow-on jobs generated from losing such a lucrative contract.

We will not grow our economy, nor generate jobs, if we continually opt for “the cheaper option”. There has to be a will and conscious decision to make job-creation our #1 economic priority. Any government that does not understand this is bereft of understanding, and derelict in their duty.

The people of Dunedin made their feelings known on this matter at a public rally on July 9

Labour MP David Parker addresses the rally.

A section of the crowd listens to the speakers.

Hillside boilermaker Stuart Johnstone and twins Skye and Kane get their message across in the Octagon on Saturday.

As Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said on the day, the decision to award a contract to overseas firms and cut back on local employment was “short-sighted, simplistic and destructive”. He further added,

“This issue here is about the sum total of all those things, and much much more. Communities need to work, in both senses of the word.” (Text of full speech.)

“This is frankly a form of economic vandalism. What are we mounting here? An economic development strategy for China?”, the Mayor has demanded.

Otago Chamber of Commerce president Peter McIntyre said,

 “… the threat was not just to Hillside jobs, but about 120 other job losses that would follow.  We cannot afford this to happen.

Indeed, we cannot.

Exporting jobs is not the answer.
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