Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Maori Showpiece Canned

Ngai Tahu has canned plans for a huge CBD cultural centre, earmarked as one of the anchor projects in the Christchurch blueprint.
Instead it'll focus on earthquake recovery "at whanau level", and projects like housing schemes are of higher priority.
The cultural centre was one 17 anchor projects unveiled as part of the 2012 Christchurch Central Recovery Plan. It was intended as a welcome point for visitors, and Ngai Tahu was to take the lead.
The plan envisioned a "world class cultural centre... as a focal point for cultural celebration and diversity...(to) reflect and celebrate... maori culture, and acknowledge Christchurch's place in, and connections with, the Pacific."
But the cultural centre has staggered along an uncertain path since then, and few details ever came to light. In 2014, the bros were considering shifting the centre to Cathedral Square, as part of an $80-million "living cathedral" concept. That pie-in-the-sky involved a floating timber canopy connecting the cathedral and the cultural centre.
Quite frankly I'm relieved this joke has died. It always felt like a PC attempt to force a multi-cultural image onto Christchurch, and persuade tourists that maori culture is an integral core of our existence. This may be the case in -say - Rotorua, but not in Christchurch!
Simply consider other similar mis-adventures to see what flops they rapidly became eg: the Tupperwaka in Auckland. If Ngai Tahu wish to advance such an idea in the future, that's fine...on their own land, with their own money! And then they can reap all the rewards too!
But there is no requirement for a huge cultural marae in central Christchurch. It will not advance the city at all, and there's plenty more good that can be done with $80-million of public money than that!
Thank God for a bit of common sense in this rebuild debacle!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Anzac Day Sacrosanct

While most kiwis and ozzies get it, one second-hand car dealer didn't.
Anzac Day is sacrosanct. It's a day to remember the fallen from all wars, the sacrifices's not to be used for commercial exploitation.
2 Cheap Cars had to pull its TV ad for Anzac Day specials after the Returned Services Association (RSA) complained. The ad told people to "come down because their great-granddad would be proud".
The car company - which claims on its website to be "NZ's most popular car dealership" with "70,000+ Facebook likes" - crossed the 'respect' line with the RSA.
The RSA pointed out that the Ministry of Culture and Heritage guidelines prohibit the use of the word 'Anzac' in trade or business, unless approval has been given by the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage and the Governor-General: "...the intention is to protect the term 'Anzac' from commercialisation and to ensure use is not offensive to public sentiment."
The company's marketing manager Jared Donkin said the ad was not meant to be offensive, and it's now been pulled. Great!
But now the question must be asked: WHY THE HELL IS IT RUNNING SUCH APPALLING ADS??!! They feature a young teenage girl talking so rapidly in such a high-pitched breathless almost-scream, that she's literally illegible! She sure puts me off EVER shopping there!
Perhaps 2 Cheap Cars is too cheap to afford something better?
Wait, is she the boss's daughter or something?
Here's an example of its ads below...(spoiler alert: this is NAFF!!!)

WHAT did she say...?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bound To Happen!

A British Airways Airbus carrying 137 people has been struck by a drone, on final approach to London's Heathrow Airport, sparking major concerns over air safety.
In what's believed to be the first time a drone has hit a commercial plane in British airspace, an Airbus A320 from Geneva was minutes away from landing at Heathrow when it was hit on the nose - the aircraft landed safely.
Metropolitan Police detectives are investigating the strike, which follows a string of near-misses in recent months in British airspace: a recent report found 23 near-misses between drones and aircraft between April-October last year.
Pilots warn that drones, which are too small to appear on radar, could destroy an airliner's engine or smash a cockpit windscreen.
Toys that can kill...
Hundreds of thousands of drones have been purchased around the world in the past few years, and can be operated without a licence, as long as they're not used for commercial purposes.
High-end drones can fly up to/beyond 2,000m, travel up to 80kmph and stay in the air for 25 minutes, so it was only a matter of time before some fuckwit decided it might be fun to try and smack into a plane. These dorks would be from the same gene pool as those neanderthals who think it's entertaining to dazzle a pilot with a laser.
With drone sales going sky-high, and regulations playing a (rather slow) catch-up, a crash caused by a drone is bound to happen soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Heritage Facade Demolished

The remains of Christchurch's old Excelsior Hotel were demolished last weekend.
The 1880s central city hotel was wrecked in Canterbury's earthquakes, and most of the building was demolished soon after, except the western facade.
The Christchurch Heritage Trust bought the building in 2011, with plans to dismantle the facade and reuse it in a new building. At the time, the trust described demolition as "unthinkable".
Since then, the facade has stood on Manchester St., forlornly propped up by a wall of shipping containers.
At the time of the earthquakes, the original Excelsior had a category one heritage listing and housed a restaurant, bar, and backpackers. But Christchurch Heritage Trust chairman Anna Crighton says there was not enough heritage left after the Feb.2011 EQ for the Excelsior Hotel to still be considered a "heritage building".
She says the demolition went through all the proper processes, with approval from both Heritage NZ and the Christchurch City Council.
Property development company Canterbury Property Investments (CPI) plan to rebuild the hotel with a replica facade. Crighton: "A lot of people remember that hotel with great affection, and it's better that a replica hotel is built rather than having a glass box there."
Initial estimates suggest the Excelsior project would cost $10 million.
Downstairs would be boutique retail and hospitality tenants. The upper levels would be used for accommodation.
Construction could start at the beginning of 2017, but a date has not yet been set for completion. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Selling Off Canterbury Water

The news leaked out earlier this week: a council in the middle of the drought-prone Canterbury plains is selling the right to extract 40 billion litres of pure artesian water to a bottled water supplier.
Am I missing something?
Ashburton District Council is selling off a section (called Lot 9) with a valuable resource consent, that allows the taking of water from aquifers beneath the town.
Not at all surprisingly, the council is staying mum on the deal (understood to be with an overseas company interested in setting up a water-bottling plant), and won't say how much dosh it'll be making. But you can bet, if it's prepared to face public wrath over such an horrendous deal, it'll be pocketing a pretty penny!
The buyer will be able to to take 45L of water a second from local aquifers, totalling more than 1.4 billion litres a year!
With the consent valid until 2046, the buyer will be able to suck out 40 billion+ litres of Ashburton's water.
The Ashburton groundwater zone is over-allocated, meaning water allocated to consent holders exceeds the amount available for use.
The area's heavy crop cultivation means demand for existing water is heavy. The district often has issues supplying water during summer. In some areas, residents are banned from using hoses to water their gardens.
But wait! Back in 2011, when applying for the consent, the council struck a deal with meat processor Silver Fern Farms, allowing it to deepen its bore if Lot 9's water take caused groundwater levels to reduce. Yeup, so New Player can heavily impact existing water table to the tune of 40 billion+ litres. Then Existing Player can suck off even MORE water, if New Player effects it too much!
Oh, and BTW, there's been no public consultation about the deal. Surprise-surprise! And yet this under-cover sale is expected to be finalised in June!
This whole deal smells despicable, and surely needs to be paused for due process!! And quite frankly, does the world need yet ANOTHER bottled water label???!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Norway Feeds Minke Meat to Mink

So few people in Norway eat whale meat that it ends up in animal feed on fur farms!
As well as being one of only three countries continuing to whale, Norway has a thriving fur industry. Last year, it exported 258 tons of fox skins and 1,000 tons of mink skins to the EU.
According to a report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a UK-based nonprofit, and the US-based Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), more than 113 metric tons of minke whale products — that's about 75 whales — were bought or used by
Rogaland PelsdyrfĂ´rlaget, the largest manufacturer of animal feed for Norway's fur industry.
It details that, in 2014, the company bought or used 113,700 kgs (or 125 tons) of whale product, which could include meat and blubber.
There is little demand for whale meat in Norway, and consumption fell to about .25kg of meat per person per year (2000, Whale and Dolphin Conservation). Norway has increased its whale meat exports to Japan in recent years in defiance of an international ban. However, the EIA and AWI revealed last year that Japan rejected imports of Norwegian whale meat, when tests revealed high levels of pesticides.
Jennifer Lonsdale, EIA director: "The Norwegian government claims it's important to have whale meat as a source of food for people, but because of falling demand, the product is now being exported. Now we discover it's going to feed animals in the fur industry, which we find completely unacceptable."
Norway's self-issued quota for 2016 was for about 880 whales, down from 1,286 in 2015. But the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has criticised it for not being conservation-minded enough. In 2001, the IWC called on Norway to stop hunting and trading whales, but Norway insists it's a tradition that needs to be protected.
Minke whales in the North Atlantic, where Norway hunts, are not considered to be at-risk, but conservationists and animal welfare activists say the hunts are cruel and unnecessary, given the low demand for whale meat.

- Source: National Geographic's Special Investigations Unit,
which focuses on wildlife crime.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Soft Landings At Christchurch Airport

Late-night arrivals at Christchurch International Airport won't have to sleep on seats in the foyer for much longer.
By the end of next year, a 4.5-star Novotel will be open, right outside the terminal door. It'll be between the terminal building and the existing long-term car park.
The 200-room hotel for short-stay accommodation will cost $80 million.
Christchurch International Airport CEO Malcolm Johns says many flights from Asia and Australia arrive in the evening, and travellers want to be able to stay within walking distance of the terminal.
He's regularly fielding calls from airlines asking what hotels Chch was developing to fill the shortage after the earthquakes. He says they'd been seeking up to 400 additional rooms near the terminal, but the airport company decided 200 were enough for now.
Novotel will lease the hotel for 10 years. It has more than 450 hotels in 61 countries, and this would be its 9th in New Zealand. The chain is part of the AccorHotels group which has 3700 sites in more than 90 countries.
Christchurch Airport has also spent $10m on a 280-bed backpackers beside its Spitfire Square retail precinct.
Novotel Auckland Airport, 2011
The airport is on target to reach 6.3 million passengers for the full year - up from 5.9 million the year before - and tourism numbers are expected to keep rising next summer.
PS: Novotel opened at Auckland Airport in 2011...the design looks almost exactly the same!