The Tyranny of the WOF testing regime

Rules and laws vary around the world, but car safety inspections occur at different intervals  in different locations. In the UK for example,  annual inspections known as an “MOT”, but classic cars older than 1960 are exempt.  In Australia,  rules vary by state. In the state of Victoria, including Melbourne, testing only takes place after a change of  registered ownership. In NSW state and Sydney, testing is annual and in Western Australia and Perth, there is no regular test, unless a cop pulls you over and issues a defective vehicle ticket, sometimes called a “canary” or yellow sticker.

Here in New Zealand, light vehicles (cars, trailers, caravans, campervans and small trucks) are required to have regular inspections, purportedly as a safety and road worthiness check (note that stricter rules apply to taxis, buses and large trucks). These tests used to be every 6 months, one of the world’s most regular, however the government admitted in 2013, that this was just wasting motorists money for no good reason and changed the frequency of testing to annual, for those vehicles first registered in 2000 or later. At the time these changes were announced, the MTA (a union of mechanics workshops) had kittens.  The MTA had spent a fortune on TV adverts featuring a famous racing-car driver, rallying against the proposed changes. There was a suggestion the job losses, nationwide, could amount to 2,000, but the government insisted on the changes, saying that for motorists would be saving hundreds  of millions of dollars every year. (refer to Christchurch Press “Stuff” website, article January 27, 2013).

 

However even then, the Govt phased in the law change over several years, so as to minimise disruption and less of jobs, to the huge number of neighbourhood garages and mechanics, that make their living from offering “Warrant Of Fitness” testing, and work doing the subsequently required repairs.

 

Obviously there will always be a worry that, in those cases where repair workshop facilities exist on the same premises as the WOF test, that there will be an attempt at “OVER-SERVICING” i.e. deliberately failing some components that are still quite safe, and should be considered a “pass” but where the business can make a quick buck supplying and fitting new parts.

 

There used to be at least a reasonably impartial testing option… “VTNZ”. In a city the size of Christchurch, with probably 100 separate neighbourhood mechanics offering WOF testing, there used to be 3 large VTNZ testing centres. Since the Earthquakes of 2011 some have closed.

 

However the government had long ago sold off the statutory authority of  VTNZ, under which all WOF testing is ultimately done,  to the MTA (Motor Trades Association, a union of many neighbourhood mechanics workshops).

 

Recently the MTA, flogged off the entire VTNZ to a bunch of German corporate types, to help generate money for German shareholders… they’re all laughing all the way to the bank now.

 

So VTNZ testing centres now offers a range of extra services, like oil changes and also some replacement items as well as WOF testing. Not major repairs yet at this time, mostly things like wiper blades and light-bulbs.

 

Neighbourhood mechanics offer WOF testing as agents on behalf of VTNZ, to which they pay a small fee per test. Those auto workers that have the endorsement required to be a WOF examiner, are obviously more employable, and one assumes, get more highly paid than ordinary car mechanics.

 

I have been using the same WOF testing place for about 7 years. “On The Go” (rebranded awhile back  as “Auto Super Shoppe”), located by the intersection of Hills Road and Shirley Road, Shirley.   It is several suburbs away, about a 4km drive, however it was convenient as appointments were NOT needed to be booked in advance (many places require appointments). It cost more than many other places that were much nearer to me, indeed there are 2 places offering WOF testing within 300 metres walk of here. But after going there once, I felt I got a fair and genuine test, and that they weren’t just looking to fail items unnecessarily, in order to score jobs for their own workshop.

 

Lately though, I noticed they had taken on more staff and greatly increased the size of their workshop facilities  by taking over several neighbouring light industrial units.

 

Recently I took mum’s car for it’s WOF test. Being owned and driven by a little old lady of 90, not surprisingly, this one owner, now 15 year old Suzuki hatchback with a low performance one litre engine, has travelled only 70,000 kms from new. Annually it does about 4,000km a year on average.

 

I got worried when the examining mechanic came into the office area and asked the secretary to phone up and get someone from the workshop. They both looked underneath the car as it sat atop the power-hoist.

 

They failed it on two items. One was a small piece of, decorative-only plastic, missing from the centre back-seat seat-belt. (I obtained a replacement for $10 at Fiddymont in Brougham Street, Sydenham, and the guy fitted it on the spot). The WOF test also failed, a somewhat vaguely worded  “attend to movement at LH steering rack”.

 

I replaced the rack-end, (sometimes called a ball-joint, or tie-rod end) myself, (cost about $40 and a lot of hassles running around getting the best price and then ordering and collecting the part. The old one didn’t want to let go, so using a technique I’ve heard about, I loosened off the retaining nut and refitted the locking split-pin, then did some errands amounting to about a 10km drive. The next day, using a “pickle-fork” tool I removed the old one and fitted the near rack-end.

 

Upon re-examination, the mechanic passed the seat-belt but still failed the steering. While still being vague about what was needed to get a “pass” out of these guys, I was told “it might be the steering rack itself”.

 

I went to Holland’s Suzuki, Christchurch’s main Suzuki dealer and spoke to a guy there. He said that they’d never before had a Suzuki steering rack wear below WOF standards at 70,000 km that he could recall. A handful had needed repairs from 80,000 km and upwards, but most achieved double that kmilage or more.

 

They were fully booked out for more than a week, and by this stage, the 14 days I had allowed to get a new WOF before the other one expired, had now shrunk to 4 days.

 

He referred me to a specialist workshop which actually overhauls steering units for them (it being somewhat of a specialist job. As primarily a new car dealership and servicing centre,  at Holland’s they remove and replace the steering system, but send the parts away to be refurbished on those occasions as needed).

 

I phoned the power steering folks and they could fit mum’s car in the very next day. They had the job done that same day, so I bussed over there, collected the car and went straight around and had the car re-inspected and got the new Warrant, finally !

 

While there at the power steering place, I had asked the bloke about how worn the old components were. Was a it a “GENUINE” WOF fail, or was the place being a bit of an arse ?

 

His reply was something along the lines of “yeah one bush was worn a little bit, but they were being a bit finicky to fail you on that. They were being an arse”.

 

Now just to be clear, components like bushes and bearings need to have SOME “clearance” in them, or everything would be all seized up. And just when does “clearance” become “movement amounting to unacceptable wear” is a matter for the examining mechanic to consider. There will be times when things fall close to a border-line and it is up to the examiner to make a decision one way or the other, whether something is a “pass” or a “fail”. The examiner is trained and paid to make those decisions.

 

But with a vested interest, of increased staff numbers and a much enlarged workshop, a person could be forgiven for being suspicious that some attempt at “over-servicing” wasn’t happening here. Repairs to the power steering system, as needed in this case amounted to only a tiny expenditure for parts. The vast majority of the cost was due to many hours labour required to remove, and later re-install, the steering rack assembly.

 

Now this isn’t going to put us in the poor-house, fortunately mum had some cash saved to contribute, and I chipped in a bit, so paying was no real hardship to us on this occasion.

 

However this last WOF has cost mum and I about $600 in total, and from my point of view, that’s money that mum and I have just pissed up against a wall. For that sort of money we could have bought her a set of mag wheels and a brand new stereo for her car !

 

The car doesn’t go any better having had nearly $600 spent on it, and it really isn’t any safer. I’m not disputing that there was “some” wear in that steering bush, but was it bad enough to be a WOF fail ? Given the expected 4,000km before the next annual test, would it have suddenly worn to a dangerous extent before the next WOF ? (the web portal template used  by WOF examiners, shows the car’s kmilage at previous inspections, so they know typical usage patterns for each owners vehicle).

 

Now I’m NOT telling other people where to go for their WOF testing in Christchurch, NZ, however I can say that in future, I will be taking my business, my car and any other vehicles I am responsible for, to WOF examiners at places OTHER THAN the On The Go Auto Super Shoppe in Hills Road, Shirley,  nor will I go to any other places which bear “On The Go” or “Auto Super Shoppe” branding in future.

 

You make up your own mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Caravan becomes full time living option for more people nowadays

A video show-and-tell and interview with Corwin Mandel popped up on Youtube a day ago. Worth watching in itself, also of interest are the, over 200 comments it garnered in little over the first 24 hours. The following text is taken from my response to one of those comments.

Aaron H above has made some good points. About 60% of people have security of housing tenure, through our current system of mortgages and freehold ownership.

But alas that leaves 40% of us as land-beggars aka peasants aka tenants, and although self-built “tiny houses” could indeed be part of the solution to high housing costs in New Zealand and elsewhere there are still problems like finding the land for your tiny house or caravan etc, (cheapest land in the Christchurch or commutable Canterbury province area will cost you $150,000 minimum, and banks won’t lend on bare land or insurance write-off houses if you intend to live there) (unless of course you’re independently wealthy anyway. Yes I’ve been to the banks and had this conversation before).

Another complication can be if a local authority or council demands $20,000 for “consents” or “building permits” etc. Some charities do great work, as best they can with the resources available. Like “Habitat for Humanity” (God Bless them) but like other similar groups, their assistance is aimed almost solely at “families” (ie people with children) so single people go to the bottom of the list, yet again. Our “housing market” is seriously broken.

In the last 35 years the minimum wage has gone up about 4-fold but Christchurch/Canterbury’s cheapest house prices have gone up about 25-fold. To put housing affordability back even close to where it was, we’d need at least the cheaper houses, to fall in price by over 80% (or the minimum wage to go up  nearly 6-fold ! ).

Our entire system of house and land ownership, and financing needs to change. Systems which artificially ration land availability and zonings, planning permissions and building permits, simply in order to drive up the prices need to change. In Auckland NZ, the situation is so bad, that often old houses are fully refurbished, just prior to demolition (because the seller wants the highest price, but the buyer only wants the land, for their new expensive house build).

We need to have entirely new systems which prevent property price speculators making  huge profits (often tax-free), we need a system where people (even those on the lowest wages) can affordably get the security of tenure that currently only comes by “owning” a place.

I’ve already suggested a new term be coined “Community Crofting” which could be that new system, a kind of lifetime lease, but with the security of tenure of freehold, without the ability to make a private profit. (Perhaps say, When someone leaves the community, or dies, their “croft” (land or house-on-land) simply goes back to the Community Crofting Association and is made available by ballot or some selection criteria to the next person on the list).

Here is a link to the item on Youtube

NZ’s “Working for families” benefits are entrenching low wages and poverty

A short article, from the Auckland Herald newspaper’s NZHerald website today, sums things up nicely (regarding the recently annouced, annual budget).

One point it FAILS to make though, is that as single, childless people DO NOT get any “Working for families tax credits” ever, it means that effectively it’s the single workers (including those on the lowest incomes) that are helping to subsidise those in society who choose to have a family larger than they can afford, on the wages that they earn.

The answer is to put a total stop to Working for families tax credits, but at the same time, greatly increase wages, especially for the lowest paid. This could be “revenue neutral” as the govt wouldn’t need to tax folks SO much, in order to be able to hand back out from the tax-take, to those families currently struggling with low wages. Indeed there’d be savings, because just think of all the tax and welfare workers checking and processing Working for families tax credit application forms and updating them etc.

It’s frustrating to think that, in New Zealand, many single people are left feeling that their lives are as good as over, because whatever they try to do, the government will ensure they work for minimum wages, yet get taxed up the wazoo because they have the misfortune of being single and child-less. (If you’re not in the building trade with your LBP papers) then there are precious few opportunities for getting better paid work or for getting security of tenure over a place to live (and NO I’m not necessarily talking about buying a house under the current system, so that owners can “add value to your investment” (ie to make a tax-free profit”. )

Options such as the idea previously promulgated by me, elsewhere on this ‘blog, known as “Community Crofting” are simply totally un-available to all Kiwis (with the possible exception of a percentage of Maori people who have some opportunities to access cheaper housing options on tribal owned land, through their local iwi.

Here is a link to the NZHerald article.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11864992

Pathetic wage rise granted to the working poor of NZ

Since the government announced this year’s rise in the minimum wage, a few weeks ago, an idea has been brewing. This morning (1 April 2017) I put pen to paper, well fingers to keyboard, and sent this as a letter to the editor’s column in Christchurch’s newspaper…

The Power-house Economy (that previous Prime Minister John Key kept congratulating himself on) has certainly benefited property price speculators, but with oh so many in society missing out. I was hoping that under Bill English, New Zealand’s hardest workers, crushed at the bottom of the pile, might finally get a fair go. Alas it seems not.

The minimum wage has just been increased from $15.25 an hour, to $15.75. Totalling $20 a week gross, that’s just $13.22 a week nett after tax and student loan repayments are deducted.

A commonly held misconception among the well paid, is that only school leavers, the lazy and stupid, are paid at the legal minimum. In actuality, a substantial swathe of hard working Kiwis are kept in servitude at, or just a few cents above, the minimum wage. This includes educated and highly skilled workers in the electronics and manufacturing industries here in Christchurch NZ. Earning export dollars in hard currency, we are the people actually earning the overseas funds so essential for NZ’s development.

Employers may grant wage rises even less than annually, and said rises are often so small as to be equalled or overtaken, by the measly 50 cents an hour rises that the government has granted every year, for the last umpteen years.

Workers on the bottom of the pile need meaningful and worthwhile wage rises. Since 1991 when the government (virtually) castrated the trade unions, and dealt almost all the cards into the hands of the employers, the poorest workers are utterly dependent on the government to legislate the basic level of remuneration and conditions.

It’s great to have ‘aspirational targets’, like the independently assessed “minimum living wage” (was $19.80 per hour, going up this year to $20.20), but unless it, or something close, is actually getting paid to workers, it’s just more airy-fairy pie-in-the-sky bull-dust.

…and don’t even get me started on the recent hijacking of the term “affordable housing” to mean “affordable by doctors and lawyers, and those with an 80% deposit/equity”. At this year’s new wage rate of $15.75/hr, (and using the accepted formula of sensible mortgage financing being 3.5 times annual gross of $32,760), even if a worker saved the $11,500 being the 10% deposit required under “Welcome” home loan, good luck on finding that house-and-land package, even in Christchurch’s cheapest suburbs, for $115,000 ! (You would need double that, and then some, as the cheapest places to be found, anywhere in the greater Christchurch metro area, would be in the suburb “Aranui”, where prices for the cheapest place start at about $260,000).

I, assert to being the author of the above article, written for consideration of inclusion in “The Christchurch Press”. It has not been submitted elsewhere.

…After I emailed it to The Press on Saturday April 1st, I watched and waited. NOW I am publishing it on my Blog Friday April 7. It has not that I have seen, been published in the newspaper upto today (I mostly get to see the newspaper Mondays to Fridays only).

.
…”We can talk about this ’till next Sunday, or we can just go do it, real quick !”
The Walking Dead, ep 2:02 @21 mins

House auctions corrupted, highest bids refused on “no reserve” houses

Re-posted from my original blog. With additional stuff about a 2010 case added at the end.

Here’s something I wrote on my original blog November 16 2005. I wonder how it eventually turned out ? I never heard, so perhaps they hushed it all up !

SCUMBAGS SATTERLY’s REAL ESTATE agency Corrupts WA TELETHON house auction fund-raiser
This weekend, saw the WA state’s annual Telethon fundraiser for the children’s hospital in Perth, as televised on Ch 7 in Perth and GWN in WA state country areas.

Now I don’t watch this program generally, but did see the last half-hour or so, as I was watching for the program following to start.

A regular event is the Telethon House auction fund-raiser. Held live on air, and with statewide tv coverage, including substantial televised promotions before the auction, and the auction itself. A house is built each year, the land, materials and labour all being donated by various suppliers and companies. Therefore the house cost is “free” and all money raised at auction goes into the Telethon coffers

As such, the house is (or *could* be, and arguably *should* be) auctioned on a “No-Reserve” basis.

Now although I didn’t see the auction component of the Telethon itself, there seems to have been something seriously screwy about this most recent auction.

As the Telethon was concluding, they babbled and waffled and generally spewed shite from their mouths and pitifully announced that they could not tell the audience what price the house had ultimately been sold for, and how much it had benefited the Telethon appeal, because apparently the auctioneer had refused to allow the sale to be confirmed to the highest bidder……

Der, say what ! They went onto say that the auctioneer was negotiating with the 5 highest bidders.

Der again, say what again !

All I can say is that, my understanding of an auction-without-reserve, is that the highest bidder gets to buy it, at the price he bid. I feel sorry for the guy that made the winning bid and was then apparently denied the property, unless he was prepared to enter a further, extra-auction bidding war, with another 4 or 5 of the auctioneer’s Yobbo mates, whom he rapidly rounded up to drive the price up more !

Note that the highest price bid was somewhere in the region of $700,000 anyway, certainly putting the Telethon fundraiser home far and away out of the reach of normal people.

You know there’s something pretty scumbag about the whole principal, of auctioning of a luxury type house, which is a very “exclusive” event. A far more “inclusive” way would be to RAFFLE the house off in a lottery with tickets at say $10 each, that way many many more folks could have a chance of being involved in this major aspect of Telethon fundraising.

I have always been highly suspicious of the auction system as used for house and land sales, and this is only made worse by laws which allow owners to make *dummy* (pretend) bids on their own properties (even though they have zero intention of buying them off themself, etc)

This latest debacle re the Telethon fundraiser house……ggrrr …..all I can say is I hope the highest bidder gets the house at his original winning bid and if necessary he sues the real estate agent conducting the auction, to make him honour his original winning bid, at the winning bid price (not some higher price that the auctioneer plucked out of thin air, then somehow forced on him, later, after the event)

*IF* the house IS auctioned, but with a “reserve” then how can they possibly justify a reserve on a “free” house. They can’t claim there was a “poor turnout” or etc, as it’s always televised and always huge. Surely the highest price bid, is the property’s true, and maximum value…..on the day, and the place should goto that bidder, whatever that price might be…….even if it’s a bit less than what the Chardonnay sipping, Camargue driving auctioneer reckons he’d like it to sell for !

Ha, those bastards pulled the same scam again, in 2015, they refused to accept the highest bid at auction. Given that the house and land were donated, how can they justify setting such a huge “reserve” that even spirited bidding amongst several folks, and the bastards STILL failed to sell the house to the highest bidder on the day. It really is starting to look, as if EVERY SINGLE HOUSE AUCTION is an utter fit-up job !

A url below has been tested and working, as of 7 April 2017.

http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/telethon-home-auction-dalyellup-homebuyers-have-a-second-chance-to-buy/news-story/15d9327e40d5b9ac8b5a69c28f4ba0a1

Airlines complicit in Flight 93 tragedy of Sept 11 2001.

This is a re-posting from my original blog, from 2005

I had actually gone looking for this article I wrote back in 2005. I’d really like to know WHY the friggin’ pilots opened their cockpit door after receiving the message from flight control. (original blog post follows)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005
AIRLINES COMPLICIT in the tragedies of Sept 11 2001 ?
Sunday evening on Australia-wide on Channel 7 network in city areas and Prime-GWN in country areas, was the new docu-drama……
THE FLIGHT THAT FOUGHT BACK
(United Airlines Flight 93, Sept 11 2001)

Now firstly I must start off by declaring I have nothing but admiration for those passengers on board who tried so valiantly to take back control of this airliner. Even though their efforts ultimately failed, costing the lives of all on board, they prevented their aeroplane from being used as a deadly missile. Remember that in the hijack attacks of Sept 11, the number of people killed on the aeroplanes was “comparitively” small. The biggest loss of life was caused by the impacts, fires and collapse of the buildings concerned. The loss of the 45 or so aboard Flight 93 that day is tragic, yes, but their actions likely saved the lives of hundreds, possibly thousands, of others. We can only guess at what exists such as “Heaven”, “God” and “the HereAfter”, (as these things are a matter of individual faith for us all) but I surely hope that God has a special place in Heaven for the passengers on board (and a special place in Hell, for the Hijackers).

The program, made just earlier this year, was surprisingly engrossing. A sorta docu-drama it included actual sound recordings from the mobile phonecalls made from the plane, plus reconstructions of what is thought to have happened, using actors, obviously. It was a bit like watching an episode of the hit tv series “24” as it had some narration by Keifer Sutherland aka “jack baeur” (golly how he had time to do this as well, I’ll never know, I mean there’s only 24 hours in a day, eh ! )

There was comment and recollection from relatives of the passengers, and some technical info provided by qualified pilots etc.

However after having seen this program, there are some BIG questions that need to be answered……..and currently no-one on Earth seems even to be asking the right questions, so here I’ll stick my neck out and do it.

Now flight 93’s take-off was delayed by some 40 minutes due to heavy aircraft traffic ahead of it, so this aircraft could not be hijacked nearly simultaneously with the other 3 planes that were hijacked that day.

It is now known for an absolute fact that before Flight 93 was hijacked, Airline control had sent a text message to the pilots computerised communication system, and the text message HAD been received and read by the pilots on board.

From my memory, The message read something like this …

“Beware of Cockpit intrusion, 2 hijacked aircraft have just been crashed into NYC World Trade Center buildings”

Only AFTER the pilot had received this text message, and responded back to the airline’s command, was the cockpit door voluntarily opened from the inside and the hijackers given control of the plane.

WHY, OH WHY, OH WHY, OH WHY ?

Now we know that the hijackers promptly knifed someone to death, perhaps they stood outside the cockpit door and threatened to knife someone if the captain didn’t open up.

But for Frell sake, after having been warned that IF HIJACKERS ENTER YOUR COCKPIT, THEY WILL TAKE CONTROL AND CRASH THE PLANE INTO A BUILDING KILLING ***ALL*** ON BOARD, why oh why oh why would you voluntarily allow them in.?

We know from when the passengers did finally storm the cockpit, that it took the efforts of several big burly men, pushing the food-cart as a battering-ram, many many attempts to bash the door in.

The lives of all on board could have been safe if, when confronted by hijackers demanding entry to the cockpit, The Captain had simply announced to ALL onboard over the public speaker system

“would the attempted hijackers currently hammering on the cockpit door with their bare fists please lay down their knives and return to their seats to await arrest by cops when we land, and would several big burly guys come forward from Coach section, including the Federal agent on board, the Judo champion, and the ex-police officer please stand gaurd over them, and if necessary, encourage them to co-operate…..the use of Deadly Force is authorised by me, if they give you a speck of trouble or do not comply immediately, we will be landing in a few minutes at the nearest airport where a full contingent of armed police will meet the plane..”

and further “the pilot and co-pilot wish to express their regret for the person already knifed to death lying in the aisle, but we’ll be FRELLED up the RING-GEAR with a Broomstick Sideways, if we’re going to open this cockpit door for any reason on Earth at any time before we land, and give these Hijackers our aeroplane, KNOWING FULL WELL that they’re going to fly it at full speed into a building killing everyone on board and many more besides”

The program did say that the cockpit voice recording WAS NOT being made public because it was the subject of ongoing legal action. (Although it had been played in private to families of the passengers, who gave the reconstruction their recollections of it). You gotta wonder if someone is going to hold the airline to account for the actions of the pilot and co-pilot on board that day. Note that the program did say, that the believed that both the pilot and copilot had been killed almost immediately that the hijackers had entered the cockpit

Sept 11 was a terrible tragedy on so many levels, but Flight 93, even moreso, because it seems that this aircraft was voluntarily and willingly given over to the hijackers without a fight, even AFTER the aircrew had been told what the Hijackers would do with it !

Once again, to those passengers on board who refused to stay seated as told to by the Hijackers, and who refused to comply with Hijacker’s demands, like a bunch of woosy six year old girls, as official airline policy dictates……I salute you. You *almost* UN-Hijacked your plane successfully, and for that attempt, you are to be commended most highly.

Actually as an aside, you know all this extra airline security nowadays is pretty un-necessary, and there’s no good reason why passengers shouldn’t be allowed to carry small knives manicure scissors and nail-files etc onto planes like the used to be able to, prior to Sept 11. As I see it, every aeroplane now comes already equipped with a full complement (of 50 or 100 or 300 whatever) of “volunteer, will-fight-to-the-death Citizenry-Air-Marshalls”. Anyone trying to hijack a plane nowadays is going to have to get through near every single one passenger first.

THIS UPDATE ADDED Monday 5 Dec 2005. It’s recently been announced the possibility  that soon US airport security screeners commence to re-allow the carrying onto planes of nail-files, small scissors etc. Yep, yet again, the Government and powers-that-be etc have admitted that I, good ol’ Catherine, was 100 % correct in the first place ! It’s good to know that the new US’s, unlimitedly cashed up mega-beauracracy “The Department Of Homeland Security” (sic) have seen the error of their ways and is now supporting my ‘Blog (in this particular area at least, if nothing else !)

Note that it’s recently come to light that it was actually a direct result of the formation of The Dept Of Homeland Security, that caused the previously excellent FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Authority) to be downgraded and basically “gutted”. …..and it was directly because FEMA had been so thoroughly gutted, that it’s response to the hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was so poor. Independent commentators have warned that, Changes announced recently, intended to improve FEMA, will actually make the situation very much worse !

Woman stole $278,000, sentenced to proverbial “slap on wrist with wet bus ticket”

Down Dunedin way, some woman, a sack of shite by all accounts has left court laughing at the justice system, “laughing all the way to the bank” it could be said.

Even though the judge actually commented “What really sticks out in this is the most unconcerned person throughout this whole process is you”. before he basically gave her, everything that her and her lawyer wanted.

Yep, she’s got “permanent name suppression”. The company she now works for and her position in that company are also being kept secret.

I’m sorry Judge Kevin Phillips of Dunedin. I think this woman’s having a lend of you. I think she’s tricked you mightily. I think she’s pulled a snow job on the Dunedin District Court, just like the job she did on her previous employer’s bank account.

She only took her previous employer for $278,000 (in diverted tax and Kiwisaver payments) but I reckon she’s taken the New Zealand justice system for a joy-ride.

Here is what her former co-workers reckon…”Her former employees were appalled by the granting of name suppression and her sentence of five months’ home detention, with many left out of work and out of pocket.”

She’s only described as a “Prominent Dunedin woman”. You’ve gotta wonder who she is and how she managed to walk away with so lenient a sentence. “Go home and sit on the couch and watch Oprah for 5 months”. Sorry judge, that’s my definition of a holiday, not a “sentence”.

A few years back someone described only as “a prominent local (Queenstown) businessman” escaped an attempted rape charge. For some reason, the prosecution wanted to do the guy a few favours, so kept reducing the charge until it got down to “committing an indecent act”. Even after he pled guilty and was convicted, he then appealed his conviction and sentence. All the time maintaining name suppression. He managed to score the right verdict second time around and walked away scott-free (laughing, no doubt).

I won’t name him here, but his name’s a matter of public record on various Australian based websites (such as “laudafinem” ). Which as well as naming him, claimed he was an ex All Black and ex National Party member.

Although I don’t know the specifics of this recent Dunedin case, I reckon I’m fairly safe to say that she is NOT an ex-ALL BLACK. (Just how many women All Blacks, have there been ?). But I’m left wondering if she’s an ex National Party member ? Or maybe she’d sent her kids to the “right” private schools, or maybe she’s known around Dunedin for being seen eating at the “right” restaurants.

I guess that with $278,000 in her purse, she could’ve afforded something more than the McDonald’s that to most of us hard-working Kiwis, counts as a meal out in the best restaurant, that we can afford.

Here’s a link to the full article on the Christchurch Press newspaper’s “Stuff” website on Friday 2 September 2016.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/83848117/prominent-dunedin-woman-sentenced-on-tax-evasion-charges

Note that the “laurafinem” website is huge and has quite a number of articles relating to crime and justice in New Zealand. Amongst many other things, it seems to show that being an ex All Black (or even just a potential future All Black or club footballer) will work as a get-out-of-jail-free card, even to those violent youth that walk up to people and punch them to death (which is quite a problem in NZ’s North Island, happening all too often unfortunately).