Building’s owner, has two-thirds of protected public tree hacked away, to get better sea-view

S1140008Some years ago I was living in Western Australia and I recall just two episodes, as bad as this, where residents of expensive waterfront property, did irreparable permanent damage to the publically owned tree-scape along the bank of the Swan River, and to a  protected rock reef, on Rottnest Island.

This is the longest of 8 filmed segments at Sumner beach, this Saturday, (not Sunday !) 17 February 2018. Apologies for one incident of strong language ! Sorry but I felt very strongly about this.

Just previously on Wednesday afternoon, the building owner John Visser, “got” (paid or tricked him ?) someone with a large carpenter’s handsaw to hack away about two-thirds of a protected, 90-year-old, Norfolk Island Pine tree.

The tree was specifically “protected” and was on council land. Due to the growth habit of this particular type of tree the damage is irreparable.

Navi Singh is the tenant who runs the Blackbird Cafe and Bar, operating out of the building and he says people have cancelled bookings since the tree was hacked at.

The council are investigating. I hope they sue the phukkers responsible for whatever it costs to replace this tree with one which looks like what this looked like before, and as described in my video, the costs for doing a “not ordinarily possible” task are likely to amount to NZ $250,000 or more (maybe much more).

 

Here (hopefully !)  is a link to a video I recorded earlier today.  But if the clickable link fails, just try searching Youtube for a video titled

751. “eco-terrorism” Hacked Norfolk Pine tree, Sumner, 17/02/18

 

 

Following that is a link to the first, and then second stories, as featured on the Christchurch “Press” newspaper’s, Stuff website. (They both worked when I checked them earlier).  It’s worth noting that a photo accompanying it in the newspaper was from a different angle and showed some different details, than the several photos accompanying the website articles.

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/101455443/diy-tree-trimming-job-in-seaside-christchurch-suburb-ecoterrorism-community-board-member-says

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/101482972/man-regrets-ordering-branches-to-be-cut-from-protected-sumner-pine-tree

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Lifestyle block residents in prestigious area, complain about annual $30 water charge

HouseNEroadisland2Sorry, I have no sympathy for these folks. This tiny community on Banks Peninsula, not far from Akaroa, has a small community water service which costs them just $30 per household, per year, and is run as a community co-operative.

The water is not treated and often fails to meet recommended health guidelines. Simply engaging a formalised study will cost them almost $1,000 per household. Many residents currently either buy bottled drinking water or have folks bring in containers when visiting nearby Akaroa, or Christchurch.

Well DIKK-HEDZ, just get y’self a friggin’ rainwater tank ! I had just one 900 gallon tank in remote Western Australia, and because it refills several times through the year, it works out that I could get about 4,000 or 5,000 gallons out of it. At the time of buying it, 1995, the tank cost about $600 and was guaranteed for 25 years (but if located in a shady area, such as under my verandah, had an expected lifespan of 50 years).

I used that water for my drinking, including unboiled refrigerated water and never had any related health problems, and there was no treatment to my water, except for a basic “leaf” and debris filter at the rain entry point. I once found a small scorpion in there, washed almost clear in colour. I guess I did ingest a microscopic amount of scorpion cell colouration chemical ! He was still alive and healthy though, so I liberate him a few hundred metres down the road.

These people are so lucky and blessed to live the lifestyle they do in their community, and they’re whinging for no good reason ! Suck it up, and get yourself a small rainwater tank just for drinking etc. Note that on a very rare occasion, I think just once or twice in 17 years, when my scheme (“city) water supply was discoloured in Western Australia, I simply hand carried in buckets water from my rainwater tank to fill the washing machine. However some people with countriy properties are entirely dependant on rainwater tanks, or at the very least, have the tank water plumbed on separate pipes to come into the house for convenience. The photo above is of my WA rural property, photo taken about 2005, from the road just to the North of the house.

Here’s a link to the original article in Christchurch Press newspaper’s Stuff website from 11 February 2017.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/89033679/okains-bay-residents-want-drinkable-water

UK Poolice… are you shitting me ?

According to the texts, human digestion takes one to three days. I guess it depends mostly on different individuals and how much of what vegetables. or meats have been eaten lately.

One has to wonder, how on Earth, some UK “Poolice” have been allowed to keep getting court orders to allow them to keep a suspect in custody with no actual evidence. Lamarr Chambers, aged 24 from Essex.

They claim that they are waiting for him to poop out some drugs, but as it passes day 21, and they seek further court orders, I would seriously worry if this is not just a deliberate abuse of court process. Perhaps they suspect his backside of being a particularly large “chamber” ?

Yes, most healthy adults can “hold it in” for a short while. Y’know how it is, you’ve got to “go”, but you’re only halfway home and the car’s stuck in traffic etc. So yes, most healthy adults can hold it in for awhile. But soon after getting in the door, you run to the loo and do what ya gotta do !

I find it hard to believe someone can deliberately not-poop for more than 3 weeks, and therefore wonder if this is just another way that “poolice” are using to harass people they don’t like, but who they have no actual evidence against.

In NSW Australia, cops have taken to using “drug-dogs” as an excuse to stop and search people in public, even though such searches have about a 95% false positive failure rate. Curiously that is about the same failure rate as the electoral roll “corrections” that were performed by the Republican run electoral commission in Florida USA, as they stripped primarily Democrat voters from the rolls, just before the state election, and therefore the win Federally, went to the Bush presidency (George W. Bush) in 2000.

 

UPDATED as of 15 February, there’s still been no “movement” and the accused person, after 28 days, is still locked up in a jail cell by agents of the local Gestapoo ! Just how long will these temporary court orders keep being renewed ? In Egypt the court there has been extending monthly, for more than a year now, the detention of an AlJazeera journalist. I am not sure if he is being accused of anything, other than, being a decent bloke, and in Egypt it seems, that’s a serious charge.

Here’s a link to the article on Christchurch newspaper’s “Stuff” website.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/101284827/suspected-dealer-has-refused-to-poo-out-drugs-for-three-weeks-uk-police-say

“Future Slums” coming soon to YOUR street

Throughout all of New Zealand, but especially in Auckland and Christchurch, we know that there is a shortage of housing and a massive shortage, of “affordable” housing.

(Indeed if instead of using the government’s modified interpretation of the word “affordable” to mean “actually affordable under normal bank lending criteria by a worker earning what wages are actually paid”, then there is zero affordable housing available to be bought in Auckland and Christchurch).

Congratulations therefore would seem appropriate for the two young men (Matthew Horncastle and Blair Chappell) who have, according to an article in this week’s newspapers, built more homes in inner city Christchurch than even the Government.

Given their kickstart in life by being part of the Horncastle real estate family dynasty, (which they admit has helped with their education and finances) they’ve still put in a lot of effort themselves.

However I fear that much of their efforts have been misguided and they have simply been building (what one commentator, Jono5 described as) “future slums”. The guys suggest in one article that their buildings will stand for 100 to 200 years. That could be an awful lot of slum-living for an awful lot of unfortunate people. Their buildings in my neighbourhood of the Central City area, look little better than a prison. There seems to have been no thought given as to efficient solar passive design for example. Just plain rectangular boxes, two-stories high.

Another article pointed out how many people are against their 39 unit development opposite Hagley Park. Yes I’m sure it’s being built to comply with all council and legal requirements. But since Christchurch “Shitty” Council recently changed their rules, new housing is permitted with ZERO car-parking on site and ZERO direct motor vehicle access.

Their currently under-construction Hagley Park “future slum” is in an area which already suffers from a massive shortage of parking. Many nurses and other hospital support employees already have to be bussed in on extra private shuttle buses from parking areas well away from the area. That’s because some bright-spark decided to do massive re-development to Christchurch’s main hospital at the same time as surrounding buildings, all while no parking building was available.

(After several years of talking, they are now saying a new parking building will be built in another two or three years. It’s been suggested that it’ll be privately owned and operated, probably by the likes of Wilson Parking, a Singapore owned company, famous for providing minimal actual “service” at maximum cost).

I live in the inner city, a small block of 1970’s built units, four being two-bedroom and a three-bedroom unit. We all have one garage space and one car-parking space on the drive beside. Yet as a “micro-community” we usually run to well over 12 cars, and that’s even though several of us have bicycles which we do use sometimes also.

Just down the road from here is one of “Williams Corporation’s” builds. It’s been finished for a couple of months now and sits empty, by the looks of it, un-sold and un-rented.

By amalgamating two unusually very-small individual house’s sections, they have built six tiny two-storey units. Just simple rectangular boxes. Not even with small upstairs balconies (it’s been known since the 1950’s that balconies “should” be installed on two-storey and above buildings). By checking the council website it seems they each occupy about 70m2 of land (includes a small outdoor courtyard,  and room to park your bicycle and council rubbish bins).

In common with the William’s ethos, there is zero car-parking on-site, and currently just one legal car-parking space on the road outside. (Full disclosure, it’s on the corner of a busy intersection, and the arrangement and future re-painting of yellow lines might at some later date be tweaked to allow 3 street-side car parks).

In a wander around the neighbourhood a few weeks ago I saw several more of their constructions, they seemed to be built to exactly the same plan. I will go back for another look later, but I do not recall seeing any car-parking available on-site there either.

The guys claim that folks nowadays prefer to use their bicycle to go everywhere or to pay for “Uber” taxi rides. Although that’s true to a VERY limited degree, I think the people able to pay NZ $375,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, are likely to also have the financial means, and the requirement, to own a car.

Here follows two links. The first is to one of the original stories this week, and the Second is a link to a short video showing the outside of one of their “future slums”. I have been waiting for a “Home Open” when I could go in and take some photos of the inside, but have never seen a home open advertised. Although several of the windows sport “For Rent” signs stuck to their insides. Those six nearby units appear to still be empty. (UPDATED 13 February 2018. I was past earlier and saw several windows opened. I’m not sure whether they were just airing the places out prior to a “home open” or showing, or perhaps some people have moved in there now. I’ll check it out more closely later, and get back to you.)

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/100925722/we-get-to-design-cities-williams-corporations-ambitious-development-plans

Buying old filing cabinets is like buying an old car !

An article has been doing the rounds on Facebook, originally from the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Australia’s ABC, is largely government funded, but is mostly independent, and has a presence mainly through television and radio, in both city and country areas.

I’m tempted to suggest that the ABC should release all the documents for immediate printing throughout newspapers and on the internet.

The filing cabinets were knowingly sold by a government department, in a locked condition, along with “whatever” was inside, Just because they had temporarily “lost” the keys and couldn’t be bothered asking around the office, ask the secretary or boss/manager or whoever, nor could they be bothered getting in a locksmith for a comparitively small fee (probably less than $200) to unlock all the cabinets nor could they be bothered to task one of their handyman/plant maintenance workers to open them.

If I bought an old unregistered second hand car “as is, where is” for $200, and after having it trailered home, find the boot was locked and after getting it open, I find, as well as a bald spare tyre and a broken jack, an old toolbox with a socket-set and some screwdrivers in there, then I’m bloody-well keepin’ them, and I’m gonna use them as I see fit ! (Sometimes it’s good to have some old tools, like screwdrivers you don’t mind hitting with a hammer or mallet).

I’d be phukked if I’d let a couple of bully-boys from ASIO (spy agency) come around and steal my stuff. Just like it would be reasonable to assume any old tools found in the boot of a car, come with the car, I suggest that any old files, or file dividers, or those metal clip things from which files hang, that come inside an “as is, where is” sold filing cabinet, come WITH the cabinet !

Just the other day, a guy at my work bought a cheap unregistered car without any keys. It was parked on the side of the road with a flat battery for many months. He paid like $150 full price, “as is, where is” , (and it is all legal, NOT stolen, etc).

It cost less than $200 to get a locksmith to come out, and unlock the car using locksmith techniques, the locksmith then made up a new key to fit, including an extra spare key, and the locksmith’s total bill including call-out fee and the new keys cost NZ $180.

So we are being told that the Australian government sold locked file cabinets because they could not afford (or be bothered) to pay a $200 locksmith fee ?????? I’m calling bull-shit on that ! ABC, please publish all the documents that you have been willingly, and as-good-as-knowingly, given !

Here is a link to the source of the original story

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-31/cabinet-files-reveal-inner-government-decisions/9168442?smid=Page:%20ABC%20News-Facebook_Organic&WT.tsrc=Facebook_Organic&sf180791106=1

Cape Town’s water crisis worsens (when does Christchurch’s and Perth’s start ?)

HouseNEPXcny3The Cape Town government are idiots, I’m calling them out on this. THEY are in large part at FAULT behind this current water shortage emergency. Responsibility lies fair and square with the GOVERNMENT there, and their past policies.

Here in Christchurch NZ for example if you buy land in ANY AND ALL of the new subdivisions (eg Rolleston), they have conditions on the land sale and title deed. Those conditions are placed there yes by “property developers” (ie property price speculators) and with the intention of making ALL new land releases LUXURY suburbs, they have rules banning pre-built, transportable or kitset houses, and controlling which methods of construction and materials are used. They also demand minimum house sizes, something like 240 metres squared floor area. They state what fences and garages can be built of and what they are to look like.

Even if a retired couple “downsizing” just want an 80 m2 small house, they MUST build one at 240m2. The effect of these stipulations is that ALL new housing is provided ONLY at the luxury and high cost end of the sales market spectrum. The property price speculators are allowed to make these rules because the laws and bylaws, passed by our national and local governments, allow them too.

Futhermore there are ZERO requirements for water saving installations (ie rainwatertanks) and for that matter on designs for flooding mitigation (ie garden bed swales or underground storage cisterns) that would help to prevent surface flooding during heavy rainfall events. Keep in mind that when rain DOES come, a great big dump can happen within a short time.

With global warming and climate change HERE NOW, governments that fail to pass sensible design rules and laws, are playing Russian roulette with their citizens. Note that Cape Town is a similar climate to Perth and Adelaide in Australia and even Christchurch NZ, although much cooler, also receives a fairly low annual average, and a very low Summer average, rainfall.

When I lived in rural Western Australia, several hundred kilometres inland from Perth, although I had a piped water supply to my property, (known locally as “scheme” water) at the earliest opportunity I  was able to, I bought myself a small rainwater tank. I could only afford a small “1,000 gallon” tank, but I’d annually get about 4,000 gallons of water from it (approx 18,000 litres). Because as rain events occurred, it kept getting topped up, even a little during the drier times of the year. My annual average rainfall was just 320 mm a year (although the tank collected from over half of, a large house’s roof area). Being “Mediterranean” climate zone meant that evapo-transpiration was rated at about two metres per year. (So that means the hot Summer sun, evaporates six times as much water, as comes down as rainfall). In the Summer half of the year, this sucks the soil dry, like a wick.

Imagine if just half of all Cape Town homes, or for that matter, Christchurch New Zealand houses, had their own rainwater tanks.

Will the headline and story be,  re-printed almost word-for-word, but with CHRISTCHURCH NZ in the title instead of Cape Town, in another few years time ? (I’d just about put money down, as a bet, here and now, that it sure as heck will be ! )

Below is a link to an article, on the NZ Herald’s website.  The photo above is of my property in WA,  in about 2005, taken from the road slightly NE of the house. Rainwater tank not visible from this angle.

I’m calling this article out as BULL-SHIT.  Just to be clear, in this case, by “bull-shit” I mean the article may well be valid and true, just that it totally side-steps and avoids the issue that failings over many years in local government policy have led to this. Do the local authorities require ALL new house builds, and all major renovations, to include a rainwater harvesting tank ? A simple bylaw or building code is all that is required to demand one. Like the ones we currently have in Australian and NZ requiring ELCB or RCD “safety cutouts” to be installed in new mains electrical wiring or added during major repairs, and safety glass when sliding doors are newly installed or replaced.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11983056

The Tyranny of the WOF testing regime

24de13aRules 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.