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News of Zealand: Prisoners Are Being Jailed too Long and Wow, That Was a Rainy Weekend

Plus, a hairdresser, fashion designer and gang member are charged with running a cocaine ring in Auckland.

People inspect a hole in the ground filled with water in a damaged site after airstrikes on the rebel held Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria September 23. Image via.

New Zealand Slams Russian-Backed Syrian Offensive at an Emergency Meeting of the UN Security Council

New Zealand has strongly condemned the bombing of Syrian civilians at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, telling member nations Russia's support of the Assad regime is "undermining any remaining prospects for the peace process. And it is destroying innocent lives under the guise of countering terrorism." The rebuke from New Zealand Ambassador to the UN Carolyn Schwalger comes days after Prime Minister John Key chastised the UN for "falling short" on Syria in an address to the General Assembly.

New Zealand is chairing the security council at a time when Russia and United States are in a heated stalemate over the Syria situation. The emergency meeting was called after a ceasefire between the Syrian Government and rebel forces collapsed last week. At the meeting, United States ambassador to the UN Samantha Power accused Russia of "barbarianism."


In an unusually blunt statement, Schwalger told the council meeting New Zealand "demands that the Syrian Government immediately cease its bombing of civilians and demonstrate genuine commitment to achieving a negotiated peace."

Anthony "Ants" Nansen in an image the police released when hunting him as part of Operation Ceviche. Nansen has since been arrested on drugs charges.

AUCKLAND Drug Sting: the Hairdresser, the Fashion Designer, and the Gang Member

A hairdresser, a fashion designer, and a Hells Angels gang member are facing charges of possession of cocaine and methamphetamine for supply. The trio were pinged in Operation Ceviche, a long-running investigation which in August led to the seizure of 760 grams of cocaine and $81,000 cash in Auckland. Court documents contain details of the trio's "mini-supply networks." Some high profile clientele are named in the documents including a stockbroker, a senior music executive, the boss of a large company, a recruitment agency owner, the husband of a TV actress and a personal trainer

The Herald on Sunday reported the National Organised Crime Group focused their operation on 33-year-old Anthony "Ants" Nansen, a senior member of the Hells Angels and champion kickboxer. Monitoring Nansen's calls and movements led police to the hairdresser and fashion designer. Thirteen other people were arrested including a male model, a plumber, a clothing distributor and a film production assistant. The hairdresser wouldn't confirm the charges but his lawyer says he will be appearing in court next month.


Thousands of inmates may have spent too long behind bars. Image via.

Corrections Has Been Keeping Prisoners in Jail Longer Than They Should

The Supreme Court has found the Department of Corrections bungled the release date of two prisoners and now thousands more inmates could be in line for compensation for over serving sentences. Michael Marino and Edward Booth both spent long periods in jail on remand but the department failed to include this time as part of their sentence. After Thursday's ruling, Corrections said about 500 people currently in jail would be likely to have their release dates changed. Corrections Minister Judith Collins said the department would review cases going back to 2002 when the Parole Act came in but would "rigorously defend" any claims for compensation.

Greens MP Kevin Hague, image via

The Greens Want to Legalise Assisted Dying

The Green Party will make medically-assisted dying legal, if in power. Outgoing Greens MP Kevin Hague used his last speech in parliament to make the announcement saying, "I am pleased that one of my final acts as an MP and health spokesperson is to launch this policy, which will allow people to choose to die with dignity." The Green Party's policy would allow terminally ill people aged 18 and over the right to end their life. The policy doesn't go as far as ACT MP David Seymour's private members bill which gives the option of assisted dying to those with "a grievous and irremediable medical condition".

"The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can't be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities," said Hague.


The Health Select Committee is currently considering 20,000 submissions on a petition to legalise euthanasia presented to parliament a year ago. Last week the Human Rights Commission gave the "orange light" to the Government, to proceed with legalising assisted-dying but only if strict safeguards are in place.

If you've got a mouldy bathroom like this, you're more likely to be a renter.

Renters Have Mouldy Homes and Get Sick More

More evidence of what we already know. Renters, locked out of the New Zealand's ballooning housing market, are suffering. A new survey shows renters have damp, mouldy homes—and get sick more often as a consequence. New Zealanders on average take 3.1 sick days a year, renters take 3.6 days. The survey, by HRV and the Auckland University of Technology, found almost half of rental houses in New Zealand were mouldy. Professor Charles Crothers from AUT, who wrote the survey questions, told RNZ the results show action is needed immediately to improve rental accommodation."We insist on quality standards for all sorts of other things, electric equipment, cars, surely housing is in many ways more important than the rest of it, because it's the framework within which the rest of it sits."

It's Been a Really Wet and Dangerous Weekend

Hundreds of people have spent a sodden night in their cars as wet weather slammed the country over the weekend. One man died after the van he was in was swept 100 metres down a flooded creek, as he attempted to cross a ford in Omanaia, north of Kaikohe. The wet weather caused problems further south in the Coromandel. Pauanui was cut off for several hours on Sunday when the deluge caused flooding and slips. A local garage in the small settlement of Hikuai turned into an emergency relief centre with about 300 people parked up for the night sleeping in their cars. Heavy rain is moving down the country and is expected to strike Gisborne today

And here's some of what's been going on at VICE NZ.


Why Auckland's 22-Year-Old Mayoral Candidate is Finally Being Taken Seriously

We spent a day with Chlöe Swarbick, who according to a recent poll, is coming fourth in the race to be Auckland's mayor.

Young Kiwis Tell Us What it's Like To Come Out in New Zealand

"People don't bring it up because they don't want to offend me, even though it shouldn't be offensive."

Image by Nadita Maria.

Photos of the Quake Damaged Christchurch the Public Never Get to See

While the media were shut out, a group of urban explorers were sneaking in and documenting the aftermath of Christchurch's earthquake. Five and half years on, they still are. We joined them on night-time mission.

New Zealand's Weed Baking Grandmother Talks About the Stress of Marijuana Activism

After getting busted for having a marijuana café, she's now running a mail-order edibles business from home.

Photos of the Patron Saints of Our Supermarkets

They are the backbone of our grocery stores, toiling to keep your cupboards full—and their own families fed. All hail the checkout chick.

Women Tell Us What They Wish They Could Tell Their Mothers

The mother-daughter dance can be a delicate one. Here, people say the things they can't say to her.