Major Site Changes at PacificEyeWitness

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Breaking: NZ Cabinet Minister Resigns Suddenly

UPDATED: “Disgraced former minister Phil Heatley was repeatedly warned by officials about his ministerial credit card use, new documents reveal.  Mr Heatley, 42, quit his fisheries and housing portfolios yesterday after moves by Prime Minister John Key to put his spending under more scrutiny by Auditor-General Lyn Provost…”(Source: Dominion Post, 26th February 2010). Read more

Full text of resignation speech by Minister of Housing and Fisheries Phil Heatley. Read out at a press conference an hour ago.

I have called this media conference today to announce my resignation as Housing Minister, Fisheries Minister and a member in John Key’s Cabinet.

I contacted the Prime Minister this morning to let him know of my plans and he has accepted my resignation.

Firstly, I want to say that it has been a privilege to serve the people of New Zealand as a Cabinet Minister in this National Government, but I believe that I have failed to live up to my own standards and for that I am embarrassed and immensely sorry.

The decision today comes after I had a closer look at my Ministerial Credit Card expenses covering the past 18 months.

As I explained earlier in the week, I was not as familiar as I should have been with the rules; in fact, I was careless. I have apologised and have undertaken to pay back any money wrongly billed.

However, a closer inspection of my accounts has revealed an error in addition to that already in the public arena. On reconciling my accounts I discovered an expenses claim that sits apart from the rest.

I charged two bottles of wine already highlighted this week to my account as food and beverages. There was no food included in this purchase, and I accept this could be viewed as an inaccurate representation of the expense.

But rather than arguing semantics about whether this was deliberately misleading or not, I have decided that this is one step too far and I offered my resignation to the Prime Minister this morning.

Furthermore, today I have submitted my accounts to the Office of the Auditor General to conduct an independent inquiry, and I expect those results will be made public in due course.

I believe this is the right course of action.

I have absolutely no desire to become the focus of a distraction for this Government, which has much to do to grow the economy, invest in jobs and help Kiwis get ahead.

I do intend to remain in Parliament as an advocate for Whangarei, and I want to thank the wonderful people from my electorate who have rung to offer their support.

I also want to thank my wife, Jenny and family for their ongoing support in what have been a tough few days.


Heatley’s Profile on http://www.heatley.co.nz

In the National-led Government, Phil Heatley is:

  • Minister of Fisheries
  • Minister of Housing
Phil Heatley is 42 years old and the electorate MP for Whangarei.

He attended Maunu & Whau Valley Primary, Kamo Intermediate and Kamo High Schools in Whangarei.

Being born, raised and educated in Whangarei, he has strong personal ties to the electorate with his own family and extended family all residing there.

In 1990 he completed a Masters with honours degree, majoring in Horticultural Engineering. After finishing his studies he returned to Whangarei to work.

Phil’s personal interests include carpentry, tennis, boating and fishing.

In 1993 both Phil and his wife Jenny, a registered nurse, worked voluntarily with an international relief agency aboard a nine-story, 12,000-ton hospital ship. When in port crew undertook medical, agricultural and construction work in developing countries.

After returning from overseas in 1995, Phil was employed as a Professional Engineer for a NZ Dairy Board subsidiary in Northland. Nationally, Phil was responsible for working on behalf of the dairy industry in relation to the Resource Management Act (1991).

admin
2008-06-10

Analysis: Why NZ dropped First Past The Post Electoral System

By Vienna Richards

Update: this post was originally posted 27th October 2008. With the recent announcement that there will be a referendum on the electoral system at the next election,  this has been reposted.

(Auckland-28 October 2008) I’ve been reading some misinformed articles lately that seem to read more like a political party campaign rather than a genuine analysis and backgrounder of why NZ switched to MMP as an electoral system. As a political science student once upon a time, the radar went off. So let’s revisit a portion of New Zealand’s political history.

New Zealand’s Chief Electoral Office:

In 1993 New Zealanders voted in a referendum to change their voting system from the traditional first-past-the-post (FPP) method to Mixed Member Proportional representation (MMP).

Criticism of the voting system intensified after the 1978 and 1981 elections. On each occasion the Labour opposition actually secured more votes overall than National, but the latter won more seats in Parliament and remained in government. Read the rest of this entry »


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Police Hotline for Missing Toddler Aisling Symes

If you have any information please call the hotline: 0800 4 Aisling (0800 4 2475 464)

Aisling has been missing for over a week today. This child needs to be found. Help find her. She needs to be home with her parents. If you know anyone, who has had anything to do with her disappearance, do the right thing and call the New Zealand police at the hotline on 0800 4275464.

Please call the HOTLINE f you have any information on Aisling’s disappearance.

Though we have been busy focused on the tsunami, and its devastation in Samoa, we have been closely following the sad story of two-year-old Aisling aisling symes missing in hendersonwho disappeared from West Auckland, New Zealand. We thought she would have been found by now. But sadly, no.

Aisling went missing from her grandparents’ home in Longburn Rd Henderson reportedly after 5pm last Monday 5th October, 2009.

Henderson Police are continuing their search for Aisling [pronounced Ashling] Symes after she went missing from an address in Longburn Road, Henderson Monday 5 October at about 5.30pm.

Aisling is aged two years. She is a tall girl for her age, of European appearance, with light brown hair.

Aisling is believed to be wearing green parka jacket or ski jacket, blue jeans embroidered with flowers, and has white tennis shoes on her feet.

Police are eager to hear from anyone who has information about the disappearance of Aisling Symes. Please call the hotline if you have any information.


If You Wish To Send Condolences to Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga Please Read

Pacificeyewitness.org is compiling all the messages of love and support that we have received via posts on this website and emails. We will be putting all your messages together into one document and forward it directly to the Government of Samoa ahead of this Friday’s national burial and funeral service for the families who have lost loved ones.

If you would like to add your message to send to the people of Samoa, or American Samoa, or to specific families and villages, post a comment here or email me directly and we will forward it  to the Government and leaders.

Please post  your  message as soon as possible by Wednesday 7th October 2009 (Samoa time).

We will also forward any messages we receive for victims in Tonga to the Government of Tonga. We hope that it will bring some measure of comfort to grieving families and friends in the Pacific at this time. If you are more comfortable with sending me a private email, please send email to editor@pacificeyewitness.org


Breaking News: Turning A Corner On A Year-Long Experiment

If you haven’t already noticed I have refrained for the last few months from posting many of the media releases sent to me.  This will explain why. One of the experimental features of this site, which I set up late last year, was that I would use this as a way to post the media releases and press statements relating to Pacific news, issues and stories affecting our people.

I thought of the website http://www.scoop.co.nz. I liked how Scoop takes away the gatekeeping role typically held by traditional media. Instead, Scoop publicly post for public consumption the same information that journalists have access to, and work with, in order to craft their stories.  Media statements, statements from victims, from companies, from interest groups telling you their view in their own words.

Last year, I thought, we need something like Scoop for Pacific people so that our people have access to the same source of information, raw material so to speak, that journalists often have. Direct from the source.

Instead of letting news media control the flow of information, I thought, why not let the people get the whole story unfiltered direct from the source? I saw a need and that was the inital intention behind Pacific Eye Witness (PEW). Or at least the same information that journalist receive but don’t necessarily share, particularly if it doesn’t fit the angle or too long and so on.

So last year knowing that I was about to leave NiuFM, I called one of Scoop’s founder Selwyn Manning  to pick his brain.

I had briefly met Manning during a media assignment covering the visit of the former US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice’s to New Zealand last year. Manning was kind enough to give me his time and share his experiences with setting up Scoop. I appreciated his generosity there. He didn’t have to share anything with me but I appreciated that he was willing to.

Long and short of it is that I was inspired by Manning’s positive response, and inspired by the encouragement of friends, family and those I respect in Pacific media, I set up this site. I was brimming with enthusiasm.

The Verdict

A year’s passed since that experiment started, and I can now pass judgement on the first year’s experiment with PEW.

The Pluses

Support came from many people I knew and total strangers who encouraged the set up of this website. They know who they are. Thank you.

Some unexpected surprises.  Receiving warm emails from Pacific people in the Middle East and families stationed in the Deep South. They were reading PEW. Australia, the USA, and the Pacific region make up the biggest group of readers here.

Getting Google first few pages and other search engines to pick up the site in a speedy fashion, within a week of being online. I set that as a goal and targeted certain stories to test out the advice I received from an IT technician at a call centre in the USA.  It worked. It pays to be teachable folks. That I am.

Finding out all the above was fantastic. It reaffirmed my own instincts on setting up PEW.

The Minuses

The workload. One would need to work 24/7 on this site to update, post and sift through and check every media release or press statement or request sent to PEW. But I’ve needed to rein it in and keep this project small for now.

Nontargeted media releases and statements. Many of the email traffic received were about things that affect all of us, or a niche market that wasn’t really Pacific. Received countless emails, with some interesting information, but not necessarily relevant to the purposes of this site.

The workload.

So what’s the answer you say. There will be some changes coming up and also some new features to introduce. That’s based on feedback and monitoring trends over the past year. Read my next post to find out more.


Media Release: General Election 2008 Results

MEDIA RELEASE

Chief Electoral Office
Ministry of Justice

2008 GENERAL ELECTION WRIT RETURNED

AND SUCCESSFUL LIST MEMBERS ELECTED

The Chief Electoral Officer, Robert Peden, has returned the writ for the 2008 General Election showing the names of the successful electorate candidates. He has also declared the successful list members to be elected.

There have been no applications for judicial recounts of the election results.  The deadline for applications was Wednesday 26 November.

A full list of successful electorate and list candidates, together with detailed election results is available from www.electionresults.govt.nz.

From http://www.electionresults.govt.nz

0% 100.0% Complete 100%
Count progress

Official Count Results — Successful Candidates

This is not the formal declaration of results. The Chief Electoral Officer declares the results of the official count by publishing a notice in the NZ Gazette.
ACT New Zealand
BOSCAWEN, John
List Seat
DOUGLAS, Roger Owen
List Seat
GARRETT, David
List Seat
HIDE, Rodney
Epsom Electorate
ROY, Heather
List Seat
Green Party
BRADFORD, Sue
List Seat
DELAHUNTY, Catherine
List Seat
FITZSIMONS, Jeanette
List Seat
GRAHAM, Kennedy
List Seat
HAGUE, Kevin
List Seat
KEDGLEY, Sue
List Seat
LOCKE, Keith
List Seat
NORMAN, Russel
List Seat
TUREI, Metiria
List Seat
Jim Anderton’s Progressive
ANDERTON, Jim
Wigram Electorate
Labour Party
ARDERN, Jacinda
List Seat
BARKER, Rick
List Seat
BEAUMONT, Carol
List Seat
BURNS, Brendon
Christchurch Central Electorate
CARTER, Chris
Te Atatü Electorate
CHADWICK, Steve (Stephanie)
List Seat
CHAUVEL, Charles
List Seat
CHOUDHARY, Ashraf
List Seat
CLARK, Helen Elizabeth
Mt Albert Electorate
COSGROVE, Clayton
Waimakariri Electorate
CULLEN, Michael
List Seat
CUNLIFFE, David
New Lynn Electorate
CURRAN, Clare
Dunedin South Electorate
DALZIEL, Lianne
Christchurch East Electorate
DAVIS, Kelvin Glen
List Seat
DYSON, Ruth
Port Hills Electorate
FENTON, Darien
List Seat
GOFF, Phil
Mt Roskill Electorate
HAWKINS, George
Manurewa Electorate
HIPKINS, Christopher John
Rimutaka Electorate
HODGSON, Pete
Dunedin North Electorate
HOROMIA, Parekura
Ikaroa-Räwhiti Electorate
HUGHES, Darren
List Seat
HUO, Raymond
List Seat
JONES, Shane
List Seat
KING, Annette
Rongotai Electorate
LABAN, Winnie
Mana Electorate
LEES-GALLOWAY, Iain
Palmerston North Electorate
MACKEY, Moana
List Seat
MAHUTA, Nanaia
Hauraki-Waikato Electorate
MALLARD, Trevor
Hutt South Electorate
MORONEY, Sue
List Seat
NASH, Stuart
List Seat
PARKER, David
List Seat
PILLAY, Lynne
List Seat
PRASAD, Rajen
List Seat
RIRINUI, Mita
List Seat
ROBERTSON, Grant
Wellington Central Electorate
ROBERTSON, Ross
Manukau East Electorate
SEPULONI, Carmel
List Seat
SIO, Su’a William
Mängere Electorate
STREET, Maryan
List Seat
TWYFORD, Phil
List Seat
Mäori Party
FLAVELL, Te Ururoa
Waiariki Electorate
HARAWIRA, Hone Pani Tamati Waka Nene
Te Tai Tokerau Electorate
KATENE, Rahui
Te Tai Tonga Electorate
SHARPLES, Pita
Tämaki Makaurau Electorate
TURIA, Tariana
Te Tai Hauäuru Electorate
National Party
ADAMS, Amy
Selwyn Electorate
ARDERN, Shane
Taranaki-King Country Electorate
AUCHINVOLE, Chris
West Coast-Tasman Electorate
BAKSHI, Kanwaljit Singh
List Seat
BENNETT, David
Hamilton East Electorate
BENNETT, Paula
Waitakere Electorate
BLUE, Jackie
List Seat
BORROWS, Chester
Whanganui Electorate
BRIDGES, Simon
Tauranga Electorate
BROWNLEE, Gerry
Ilam Electorate
CARTER, David
List Seat
CARTER, John
Northland Electorate
COLEMAN, Jonathan
Northcote Electorate
COLLINS, Judith
Papakura Electorate
DEAN, Jacqui
Waitaki Electorate
ENGLISH, Bill
Clutha-Southland Electorate
FINLAYSON, Christopher
List Seat
FOSS, Craig
Tukituki Electorate
GILMORE, Aaron
List Seat
GOODHEW, Jo
Rangitata Electorate
GOUDIE, Sandra
Coromandel Electorate
GROSER, Tim
List Seat
GUY, Nathan
Ötaki Electorate
HAYES, John
Wairarapa Electorate
HEATLEY, Phil
Whangarei Electorate
HENARE, Tau
List Seat
HUTCHISON, Paul
Hunua Electorate
JOYCE, Steven
List Seat
KAYE, Nikki
Auckland Central Electorate
KEY, John
Helensville Electorate
KING, Colin
Kaiköura Electorate
LEE, Melissa
List Seat
LOTU-IIGA, Peseta Sam
Maungakiekie Electorate
MCCLAY, Todd
Rotorua Electorate
MCCULLY, Murray
East Coast Bays Electorate
MACINDOE, Tim
Hamilton West Electorate
MAPP, Wayne
North Shore Electorate
PARATA, Hekia
List Seat
PEACHEY, Allan
Tämaki Electorate
POWER, Simon
Rangitïkei Electorate
QUINN, Paul
List Seat
ROY, Eric
Invercargill Electorate
RYALL, Tony
Bay of Plenty Electorate
SHANKS, Katrina
List Seat
SMITH, Lockwood
Rodney Electorate
SMITH, Nick
Nelson Electorate
TE HEUHEU, Georgina
List Seat
TISCH, Lindsay
Waikato Electorate
TOLLEY, Anne
East Coast Electorate
TREMAIN, Chris
Napier Electorate
UPSTON, Louise
Taupö Electorate
WAGNER, Nicky
List Seat
WILKINSON, Kate
List Seat
WILLIAMSON, Maurice
Pakuranga Electorate
WONG, Pansy
Botany Electorate
WOODHOUSE, Michael
List Seat
WORTH, Richard
List Seat
YOUNG, Jonathan
New Plymouth Electorate
United Future
DUNNE, Peter Francis
Öhariu Electorate

Media Statement: Opening of NZ Parliament

20 November 2008        Media Statement

Opening of Parliament

Prime Minister John Key today said Parliament will open in the week starting 8 December. Read the rest of this entry »


Which Minor Parties Won the Most Votes? It Wasn’t ACT, United Future or the Maori Party.

Greens and New Zealand First gained the most popular votes for their parties on election night. Greens lead the way with New Zealand First following after.

One of the weaknesses, however, of the MMP model New Zealand adopted is evident in the 2008 general election results.  Although Winston Peter’s party won more party votes than Rodney Hide’s and Roger Douglas’ ACT Party, Maori Party and United Future, he fails to gain a seat in Parliament. Read the rest of this entry »