Armed offences spiralling out of control: A snap shot

Rather than write an article, I have decided to show a snap shot of armed offences that have occurred in New Zealand in the last few months. The number, the boldness of the offences, the ages of the offenders and their distribution across the country shows that no part seems to be spared. All of the offences mentioned below have happened since 01 January 2017.

There have also been a spate of dairy robberies in south Auckland.

What do you think needs to happen to offenders who are caught? I would like to see several things happen with convicted offenders:

  • Seize their passports, as why would other countries want convicted violent offenders from another nation visiting them?
  • Ask victims what they would like to see the offenders do if restorative justice is not an option
  • Assets confiscated in order to pay for damages if financial means to pay up does not exist

Given the lack of action by the Government in dealing with this spiralling violence the state of violent crime in New Zealand may become an election issue. This becomes particularly concerning with the increasing costs of cigarettes and other tobacco products, as well as drugs fuelling crime. Frustrated and fearful business owners trying to ensure that they are able to cope in the event of an attack on them, need to know that someone will help them.

Individual Transferable Quota’s in fishing: Part 2

In my previous article I introduced Individual Transferable Quota’s in regard to our fisheries as a resource. This article looks at some of the problems with I.T.Q.’s.

It is first important to know that there is no such thing as “the perfect system”. Any number and potentially any combination of variables, foreseen and unforeseen can interfere with the I.T.Q. system. They can be environmental, or economic, social or political, driven by local, national or international issues.

In New Zealand, perhaps the biggest problems with I.T.Q.’s are:

  • Enforcing them
  • Maintaining their sustainability against increasing demand both locally and internationally
  • Balancing the resource for commercial and non commercial interests

New Zealand’s economic zone has a varied marine life inhabiting it, from hapuku and hoki to Bluff oysters and crayfish

Enforcing New Zealand fisheries has been a problem. Other articles I have written allude to a problem with foreign flagged vessels that have been operating in New Zealand. Because of the vast area under New Zealand jurisdiction, it is necessary to involve both the New Zealand police and Royal New Zealand Navy in these operations as only they have the logistical and legal means. With regards to the I.T.Q.’s, these foreign flagged vessels have been caught catching over their quota’s and the crews have admitted to dumping the excess so as not to be caught.

It is not just a foreign vessel issue though. Many locals feign ignorance of the local rules irrespective of species. This is mainly around coastal fisheries and not on the open sea. Normally Ministry of Primary Industries rangers and local police monitor activity. They are looking out for over catching, undersized shells, inappropriate equipment and catching outside of designated areas or seasons.

New Zealand fisheries are highly rated overseas because of their purity and attempts at being sustainably managed. It is an increasingly important challenge to ensure that the catches reported each year fall within the yields permitted. Just because New Zealand has taken steps that acknowledge the fallacy of the tragedy of the commons, other nations trying to maintain their economic growth, for whom sustainability is a westernized concept, getting as much as they can is more important.

Domestically the biggest challenge is balancing recreational interests with commercial fisheries. This just happens to be a part of a course assignment I am doing at the moment, putting a case forward for the use of I.T.Q.’s, and in doing so, I am addressing a stand off between these factions, along with iwi and hapu whose food gathering areas may have rahui applied that mean non-Maori have to stay out of certain areas.

So as we move forward in the 21st Century against a backdrop of other nations still being afflicted by the thinking that goes with a “get as much as I can” mentality, New Zealand has its own challenges. Burgeoning demand for New Zealand fish stocks, balancing that demand with local and customary needs means although I.T.Q.’s might be a significant step forward, they can only work if all parties concerned are on board.

Individual Transferable Quota’s in fishing: Part 1

As nations struggle with the over fishing of their resources, it is appropriate to look at economic means of stabilizing the death plunge in fish stocks worldwide. Some nations clearly not having learnt from the tragedy of the commons, or environmentalists and conservationists sounding ever more dire warnings, now seek to exploit other nations fish stocks.

But it is not all bad news, even if the good news is somewhat dated. Individual Transferable Quotas have been around for awhile now and New Zealand was one of the fist nations in the world along with Iceland to implement them.

I.T.Q.’s were implemented in New Zealand originally in 1986 (Dewees, 1998). It resulted from the overfishing of the known stock, changes in the New Zealand economic model away from Government subsidised industries to privatised ones with. A characteristic problem of fisheries as a commodity has been historically a tendency for users to compete for the resource, thus establishing a sort “must get what I can, before my competitor does” type approach, or otherwise known as “The tragedy of the Commons”. This is not a sustainable approach and depletes fisheries, as well as causing damage to the environment. In the long term – for the very opposite reasons that I.T.Q.’s are useful mechanisms – this mentality has failed economically significant booms that have been followed by equally significant busts.

The paper by Dewees concluded that the introduction of an I.T.Q system stopped or at least significantly slowed down the race for fish because the Total Allowable Catch (T.A.C.) would be more evenly distributed. It encouraged quota users to better manage their resource by giving them certainty of having a portion of the total amount.

Determining the quotas depends on what the yield of scallops from the fishing area is (Lock and Leslie, 2007). The two yields mentioned are important in calculating the Maximum Sustainable Yield, which determines the maximum yield that can be permitted without compromising the fishery. Without these, it is difficult to calculate, and thus poses a challenge determining how much a fishery may yield.

This may vary from year to year, depending on a range of factors such as human pressure through fishing and pollution as well as interaction between species. The yield determined from knowing this is called the Current Annual Yield and reflects the year by year fluctuations of the stock.

The Maximum Constant Yield is the maximum volume of biomass that can be harvested each year without depleting the stock, and is considered to have an acceptable level of risk. In order for this to work effectively it is set at level low enough to yearly fluctuations in stock and still be less than the volume of stock during periods of low abundance.

Are I.T.Q.’s perfect?

No. But nor is any system. Some of the problems seen in the use of I.T.Q.’s in New Zealand shall be explored in my next article.

Milford Sound: Getting there is half the experience

This article is inspired by a sad story a few days ago of a crash that claimed two lives on the Milford road to perhaps the most stunning part of New Zealand’s conservation estate. It is inspired by the fact that

Thousands of people do it every year. My family have done it twice in 1991 and 1999. Both times we made it a two day exercise, driving from my Uncle’s farm in Waikaka to Te Anau Downs on the first day and then to Milford and back to the farm on the second day. Without doubt when it comes to scenery, the Milford road is the most fantastic drive in New Zealand.

But it is long. From Te Anau to Milford Sound is 204 kilometres one way. From Queenstown to Milford Sound, it is nearly 420 kilometres. The road is windy, has steep drop offs and is treacherous in rain or. In winter it can be closed for days by the avalanche risk and black ice on shaded corners have sent many a car into a spin.

Any one who has taken the time to enjoy the scenery along the way – to look at the fantastic waterfalls, the stunning alpine landscape, and verdant rainforest – will agree that the scenery along the way is breath taking.

Oh sure you might be trying to cram as much into your compressed holiday itinerary as you can. Sure you might not be coming back for awhile, but why the inane rush to drive Queenstown to Milford Sound AND back in a single day? Aside from being an exceptionally long drive totalling nearly 840 kilometres (525 miles), you completely miss the said stunning scenery. And you probably give stuff all time in Milford Sound, the place you spent so much effort getting to in the first place.

But, I have a solution and it is not a daft one by any means. Build a motel or other accommodation place just outside the National Park boundary. It is still about 100 kilometres from there to Milford Sound, but it does two things

  • Enable more time in Milford Sound, which was the whole reason for making the trip in the first place
  • give the visitor more time to enjoy said stunning scenery and marvel at what a fantastic place Fiordland National Park is

An assorted mix of accommodation would be necessary to cater for the various groups. Tour buses could use it as a pick up/drop off point and it might be possible to run smaller groups from the lodgings up to Milford Sound on minibuses. Giving tourists a place that they can be picked up from nearer to Milford Sound means they could leave their cars at the accommodation and not have to risk a road whose conditions they might not comprehend.

And if saves any lives by giving fatigued drivers somewhere to park up, all the better.


Beware the lone wolves of terrorism


That famous message to the people of Britain as they endured night after night of the Luftwaffe bombing their houses into the ground reassured many a Briton during the Blitz. It resonated again on 7 July 2005 in the London underground and bus attacks by al-Qaida inspired militants. And no doubt again as Briton deals with the aftermath of another terrorist attack, it shall be on peoples minds yet again.

As we remember the victims of the 22 March 2017 terrorist attack outside Parliament in London, British authorities will be beginning to piece together how the lone attacker in the latest attack came to be a terrorist. They will be looking to see whether he has connections to any radical groups, his background and political views. They will be wanting to hear from his family, friends and others who knew him.

People will be understandably angry and upset that this happened in their home country. They will be demanding to know what can be done and will be done to avoid it happening again in the future. I hope that they are channeling their inner anger towards remembering Britain is a democracy and that there is no winners from clamping down on liberties, except the very terrorists the country claims to be fighting. The country that stood bravely with her colonies against the force of the German war machine in the early 1940’s before America and Russia came on board has been through worse and survived.

It shall survive this too.

But when the mourning ends and people start to move on, Britain will need to remember that this was a lone wolf type attack. It was the act of a single person acting on – so far as one can currently tell – their own accord. It was not by a group or large well funded organization such as Islamic State, even if they do approve of the attack. The attacker was armed with a knife. Notably he did not appear to have guns or explosive devices, which would have caused many more deaths, and raised questions about external funding, logistics and material support. Nor was the type of attack carried out original, with several such incidents involving vehicles being deliberately driven into crowds having occurred in other countries, namely France and Germany in 2016.

The lone wolf attacker is, in many ways more dangerous, as they cannot be easily spotted. They answer to no one – whereas a sleeper cell is usually connected in some way to a larger group or other cells, thus implying a chain of command exists. The same person is more mobile. They can go where they want, and might have used their own funds to buy what they needed to carry out the attack. Unless there were suspect purchases on credit card or whatever the British equivalent of an EFTPOS card is, finding the supplier or proving that those materials might have been used, is very difficult.

It also raises a whole lot of questions about far one should go – if at all – in curbing civil liberties. Does a state of emergency get declared? Do new rules about what can be done and not done in certain places get introduced? Do we have metal detectors at all major public places? As problematic as these questions are, I would be willing to bet they will be bouncing around in the heads of law makers and debating chambers across Britain in the coming days and weeks.

Are we going to stop all lone men and women from driving cars near the British Parliament just because a lunatic, who was apparently born in Britain went mad with a knife and hurt a whole lot of people? Not necessarily, but Britain should