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Newsworthy 30 September 2005

Newsworthy 30 September 2005

Police numbers Minister Hawkins in the last Government went to great lengths to assert that the Police were well resourced and had sufficient numbers - see questions for oral answer on 3 February, 15 February and 4 May 2005. Those assertions were undermined by Labour's pledge to increase Police numbers by an extra 250 police.

The reality is that public confidence in the Police has been significantly undermined as a result of indifferent leadership, bad publicity around policing and the public's concern about the Government's revenue gathering focus.

The focus on revenue gathering has seen an extra 340,000 speeding tickets issued every year.

By international standards, our police numbers are low. Despite having arguably one of the highest crime rates in the developed world, we have one of the lowest number of police per head of population - 18 per 10,000 of population, compared with 22 in New South Wales and 25 in the United Kingdom.

The recruiting programme for extra frontline officers needs to be revamped. Not to be overlooked are the large numbers of police officers who have left the force and would rejoin under a revitalised regime.

Election sidelines settlement Politically sensitive negotiations to return One Tree Hill and Mt Eden to Maori were put on hold until after the election. The plan was to secure an agreement in principle by 30 June 2005 but that has now been extended until the end of the year.

It is proposed to vest the title to One Tree Hill and Mt Eden in an iwi trust board which would jointly manage it with the Auckland City Council.

I see that exercise as pointless - in the case of One Tree Hill, the Cornwall Park Trust Board has been a committed and highly successful guardian of the heritage of the park for all Aucklanders.

South Korea plans robot border guards In the world of defence UAVs, (unmanned aerial vehicles) have established a place on the battlefield.

Now South Korea plans robot border guards and has announced spending of 33.4 billion won ($32 million) over the next five years to develop the robots for the heavily fortified demilitarized zone that divides the peninsula.

South Korea envisages the robots performing roles on the battlefield now done by dogs, such as sniffing for explosives and catching intruders.

The robots will stand knee-high to the average adult, mounted on wheels for road missions or on as many as eight legs to get them over uneven terrain. Equipped with firearms, they will be able to carry out combat missions via remote control.

The two Koreas are technically still at war because the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in an armistice and not a peace treaty

Winner of Bellamy's Dinner Last weeks competition to identify the Christian hymn based on John 13:7. drew many replies. The correct answer was God Moves In A Mysterious Way written by William Cowper.

Cowper often struggled with depression and doubt. One night he decided to commit suicide by drowning himself. He called a cab and told the driver to take him to the Thames River. However, thick fog came down and prevented them from finding the river. After driving around lost for a while, the cabby finally stopped and let Cowper out. To Cowper's surprise, he found himself on his own doorstep: God had sent the fog to keep him from killing himself.

The wording of the first line of the hymn reflects the event.

The winner with the fifth correct answer (name withheld) will be hosted at Bellamys in Wellington.

Historical curiosities In recent weeks I have been involved in opening bowling seasons at a number of bowling clubs.

In the early 14th century King Edward III decided to ban the playing of bowls by his bowmen as he feared the practice of archery was being neglected and that the effectiveness of the archers in battle or military operations would be lowered. This concern led to Statutes being passed restricting or forbidding sports such as bowls and tennis.

In 1511 during the reign of Henry VIII, a Statute was passed confirming previous Acts of Parliament and in 1541, Henry VIII consolidated all earlier Acts and broadened the scope of the bans.

In 1541 labourers, apprentices, husbandmen, servants, and other "low-born" people, were specifically forbidden from playing bowls, except at Christmas in their master's grounds and in his presence. Heavy monetary fines were provided as penalties for those who broke the law.

New Zealand first caught the bowling bug in 1860, with the first bowling club - the Auckland Bowling Club, being established in 1861.

Political Quote of the Week "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps the end of the beginning" - Winston Churchill - British Prime Minister on British success in the North African campaign 1942

30 September 2005 No. 47

Upcoming Events

30 September 2nd Anniversary of NZ Guangdong Assn

Auckland v Wellington NPC rugby game at Eden Park 1 October Chinese Assn of NZ Inc celebrating Moon Festival & China's 56th National Day Hurricane Katrina Relief Concert being held in Wellington 2 October Auckland Indian Assn Mahatama Gandhi Inauguration Ceremony Auckland Chinese Community Centre National Day dinner - 56th anniversary of the Founding of the Peoples Republic of China Jade String Quartet concert in Epsom 4 October Republic of Korea National Foundation Day celebrations Arthritis NZ launch of "The Burden & Prevalence of Arthritis in NZ" report.

7 October 94th Anniversary of the National Day of the Republic of China celebrations in Auckland 8 October Celebrations for 20th Anniversary of HMNZS Hinau - 25th Anniversary of Women joining the RNZNVR and 80th Anniversary of HMNZS Ngapona 15 October St Johns Thames Centennial 2005 Margaret Stevenson Memorial Dinner and Lecture Mount Ali - Taiwanese group concert in Takapuna

18 October Osteoporosis NZ "You Deserve a Medal" Awards ceremony in Wellington 19 October Opening of 10th Italian Film Festival in NZ 20 October Dinner for 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar 28 October 40th anniversary of Wellington Samaritans. 30 October Valley Road Independent Church Special "Celebration Sunday"

ENDS

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