North Shore Times : December 14th 2010
6 NORTH SHORE TIMES, DECEMBER 14, 2010 NEWS Your Dedicated Sewing Centre www.estitch.co.nz Dressmaking, Needlecraft, Textile Art needs, Sewing Machine Sales and Service Imagine how Excited she'll be Auckland Central 360 Dominion Road, Mt Eden 09 630 1155 North Shore 1 Huron Street, Takapuna 09 486 1392 0800 SEWFIX BRING THE AD TO EITHER STORE, SPEND $10 AND RECEIVE A FREE GIFT Xmas cheer for young patients Ready to read: Fairfax staff, from back left: Senior research analyst Louise Worthington, group sales and marketing manager Sandra King and communication and marketing manager Leanne Frisbie, with Starship Foundation chief executive Andrew Young and patient Valentina Saavedra-Cendana, 3. Festive songs and laughter proved to be a highlight of the Starship Foundation s Christ- mas party this month which saw dozens of free books handed out as part of the Fair- fax First Books scheme. The effort is part of an initia- tive where more than 1200 books are distributed to Kidz First, the Starship Foundation, Auckland City Mission and Ronald McDonald House in Grafton to lift the spirits of chil- dren who are sick or in need. Claire Cendana was at the party with her daughter Valen- tina Saavedra-Cendana, 3, who was enjoying the music and food. She s got chronic eczema. We ve always been in and out of hospital, Mrs Cendana says. Starship s patients were among those to receive books from the Kapai series, which feature the adventures of Kapai the Kiwi and focuses on New Zealand culture, locations, sport and recreation. The books are also provided to children in decile one and two kindergartens around New Zea- land to improve literacy. Fairfax Media group man- ager of sales and marketing Sandra King says it s wonderful to be able to brighten Christmas for those who will spend the festive season in hos- pital. Books are fabulous gifts offering both entertainment and education for children, while improving the vital core skill of reading. The Kapai series of books has brought joy to thousands of children around New Zealand and we are thrilled to be able to give this experience to even more chil- dren at Christmas through key organisations that do a wonder- ful job with children. Starship Foundation chief executive Andrew Young agrees and says the books are a real treat for patients. We are truly grateful to Fairfax for providing such generous support, especially around Christmas which can be a hard time for families in hos- pital. The annual Starship party is hosted for its young patients and their families by the Starship Foundation and its partners Barfoot & Thompson, Mercury Energy, Air New Zea- land, Sky Television, EB Games, Westaff and a number of TV, radio and sports stars. As I was saying -- 19 deaths ago HOW TO CONTACT To contact Pat Booth email firstname.lastname@example.org or write care of this newspaper. All replies are open for publication unless marked Not For Publication. Okay, okay. So I ve said it before -- but that was 19 deaths ago. That s how far our crisis over police pursuits has gone in the past 12 months. And before you reach for your keyboard to have me on about it -- maybe rerun the letter you sent last time -- look at it again this way. What would be the official reaction if 19 police had died in those crashes? Or 19 Members of Parlia- ment? Or 19 judges ? What would be your reac- tion if, say, three members of your family had died that way -- or even one. I know what some readers are going to ask: Do I want to give hoons and crooks a licence to roar off, leaving frustrated police hamstrung because of a ruling that they can t chase? Well don t bother about that either. Of course I don t. It s just that I can t believe that there isn t some method of stopping cars in their tracks. Maybe I am still fascinated by a boys annual I once read which described a scientist who had invented a gadget which threw out a beam and froze a car engine solid in a second. So it was fiction and unbelieveable. Well if at the time I read that you had predicted just one piece of the items we now live with, flights to the moon, unmanned drones, even this computer and the rest, I would have been astonished and more than a little worried about your state of mind. So surely someone, somewhere can produce the equivalent of that engine solidifier. Anything but the apparent present option of continuing deaths. As it stands, you or yours could be the 20th. Think about that. And if you feel I ve got it wrong again, I m not alone. Read this earlier report from the Independent Police Con- duct Authority written after 25 died as a result of pursuits in five years, not 19 in this year -- so far. The authority questioned whether police should start high-speed chases for minor offences such as speeding and property theft or for suspicion of a crime, saying the risk of someone being killed is too high. In one case, three teenagers died after police chased them at speeds of up to 200kmh when they failed to stop. The pursuit was found to be within police pol- icy.That critical report found that at that stage about five people died each year during police pursuits and another 18 were seriously injured. Yet chases rarely uncovered evi- dence of serious crime. The only thing that s changed is the number -- it s just short of multiplying by four. The Independent Police Conduct Authority said police should base their decision to enter a pursuit on known facts not simply speculation about a driver s reason for fleeing. Pursuits can begin over relatively minor offending, or general suspicion, and end in serious injury or death, authority chairwoman Jus- tice Lowell Goddard said. The authority analysed 137 pursuits reported to it during the five years to December 2008 and found that 24 people were killed and 91 seriously injured in those chases. Another 122 suffered minor injuries. One in four of about 2000 police pursuits each year ends in a crash. After the pursuits surveyed, 481 charges were laid, mostly relating to the suspect s driving during the chase. At that stage Wellington motorcyclists Marty Collins and Brent Russell welcomed the authority s concern. They said that too often law-abiding members of the public were becoming col- lateral damage in pursuits. Totally innocent parties, they had good reasons to worry. Marty Collins spent nine days in a coma and nearly died and Brent Russell lost the top of a thumb, fractured his pelvis and right arm and injured his wrist and knees when their motorcycles were struck by a police car as the officer did a u-turn to chase a speeding motorist. After what happened to us it seemed essential that something be done, Mr Rus- sell said. Overseas jurisdictions are moving to restrict pursuits, with some areas allowing police to chase only violent offenders. The authority s report said research in North America suggested violent-offender- only policies caused a dra- matic fall in pursuit-related injuries and deaths, but no corresponding increase in crime or vehicle offending rates. Shouldn t we be asking them how they did it? Talking about police, what an interesting appointment of the new commissioner. Peter Marshall, a real action man, is coming back from a Solomons secondment to that job after four years in which he apparently gave great leadership in a tsunami with 53 deaths, used a ceremonial sword to beat off 13 machete- waving intruders and has coped with wandering crocodiles. Another publication has reminded readers that Marshall caused waves when he broke ranks over denials that police had blocked protesters off from the president of China on a visit here in 1999. Marshall said their denials were wrong and wouldn t stand up as evidence. There were some who believed his move to the Solomons was a sequel. If that s true, there s a real Lazarus back-from-the-dead quality about his return. If I was a betting man I d have lost a few dollars believ- ing Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope would be the man -- despite the continuing misgivings in some quarters about the jailing of Scott Wat- son for the Sounds murder. He led that police inquiry before promotion. A former NZ Assistant Commissioner, Marshall was at one time an armed offenders squad man, and spent two years after the 9/11 attack to set up an New Zea- land police liaison office on counter-terrorism. Maybe he ll have some ideas about those police chases and the current pres- sure to give our police guns. Not that they haven t had them before. I remember over 30 years ago how one hard man, now retired, used to drop his police handgun into the his rugby team s security bag among the watches and wallets on a Saturday after- noon. The Pansy Wong affair bubbles on but I think a few people may be losing some sleep over it. Somebody is going to lose big time before it s finished. The candidates: If Labour is right that the inquiry was a whitewash when it ended with Pansy Wong and hus- band refunding $474 to meet travel made wrongly on her MP allowance account, then Speaker Lockwood Smith and his public service inquirer don t look good. If that inquiry was kosher, then Labour s Pete Hodgson -- who seems to be sharing the party s rottweller collar with Trevor Mallard -- runs the risk of looking as if he exag- gerated in his first allegations of a big time travel scam. The prime minister might wonder if he acted a little too quickly in sacking her as a minister. And Pansy Wong may be wondering when she will get her Cabinet job back. While spending Christmas quietly at home. I presume.
December 10th 2010
December 16th 2010