Hi all and welcome to another Letter From Home. Have just returned
from a mid-winter break in Cairns, and with the cold snap we are
currently experiencing here in NZ, I wish I had extended the holiday.
Cairns is a great place to go to in winter - warm days and nights and
lots of things to see and do. I understand from the locals though
that the heat and humidity in summer can be oppresive though. On
this, I have read that temperatures have soared in many northern
hemisphere countries as summer kicks in and the holiday season
starts - if you are going off on holiday, have a safe and happy time
and don't forget to take the sunblock!
A summary of the main happenings over this past week or so follows.
Many of the items, and lots more as well, can be found on the main
site - to get there, click on the "Kiwinews" line at the foot of this
The Government has announced its intention to levy farmers to fund
research into animal gas emissions - the levy at 9cents a sheep and
75cents a cow would raise $8.4 million. Cow and sheep f..ts are
thought to account for around 50% of NZs greenhouse gas emissions,
and under the Kyoto Protocol, NZ is obliged to reduce them.
Farmers are understandably upset at the new "tax" and as for the
animals, only a change of diet would lessen their gases. What will be
the next new tax the Government thinks up?
Sweeping changes have been made overnight with the points system
scrapped to be replaced by an 'invitation' type system. Under the
points systems, a passmark automatically gave the applicant residency
whether or not they had the skills required to be able to get
employment. This system led to many highly qualified new immigrants
driving taxis, cleaning offices etc etc.
The new system allows for more discretion by the Immigration Service
and those applicants with job offers outside Auckland will be given
priority as will those with special skills.
About 24,000 enter NZ each year under the points system. Currently
there is a backlog of some 20,000 applications, involving 46,000
persons - half of these are now expected to fail the new entry
The Immigration Minister, Lianne Dalziel, said the policy change
meant New Zealand would now be able to select people who had the most
to offer the country. <P
In a 60-59 vote, Parliament legalised brothels and legitimised
the "oldest profession." The abstaining vote of our only Muslim MP,
Dr Ashraf Choudhary, paved the way for the change as he was expected
to vote against the new law.
The sex industry has operated under the guise of massage parlours up
to now, but today, in the NZ Herald, a large advert in the situations
vacant section is headed "Prostitues required at Monica's".
TV One ran a three hour televised 'test the nation' IQ test on Monday
night viewed by 1.5 million - the third most rated programme this
year. Six groups of players plus a celebrity team were in the studio
doing the test as were thousands on the internet, on their cell phone
or at home.
Of the studio groups, the celebrities came tops followed by the
students, teachers, twins, builders, sports stars and then blondes.
(Now what was that they say about blondes!)
Having sat through it as it went on and on, I went to bed thinking
that I do really need an IQ test!
The three match home series by the All Blacks saw them defeated by
England, getting a good win against Wales and then just holding
France to get another win. They next play Australia for the Bledisloe
Cup and that should give an indication of where they are as the build
up to the Rugby World Cup continues.
Well thats it for another week and remember, wherever you are, it's
great to be a Kiwi.