NZ visas for Chinese bank's clients fast-tracked

More than half of some Bank of China clients who applied for a tourist visa had it approved within one business day in the past two years, after an agreement to fast-track them.

Immigration New Zealand introduced a streamlined visa process for the banks' Private Banking or Prestigious Wealth Management clients who applied for New Zealand tourist visas over the past two years.

It has since also signed a similar deal with China UnionPay for its Platinum or Diamond credit card holders.

The Bank of China said the streamlined applications had cut visa processing times by at least half, from 15 days to fewer than five days, and in the past year, more than half of its clients that had applied for tourist visas, had them approved within one business day.

Its associate New Zealand director Pengbo Jiang said it had boosted their clients' experiences of overseas study, travelling and investing in New Zealand.

"It has also enhanced the Bank of China Private Banking and Prestigious Wealth Management brand value, and helped us further implement the Bank of China global wealth management overseas development strategy."

Under the agreement, those travellers no longer needed to provide evidence of onward travel from New Zealand or their financial employment status.

Immigration New Zealand's tourism sector relationship manager Andrew Johns said Chinese tourist numbers had increased significantly in recent years and that growth was forecast to continue.

"We look forward to our continued collaboration with Bank of China, which will not only help to attract higher calibre visitors but more importantly, will continue to promote New Zealand as a preferred destination to the world," he said.

Next year is the China-NZ Year of Tourism, and Immigration New Zealand hopes to bring more potential Chinese tourists to the country through a simpler visa application process and is working with airlines to open more direct flights.

The Bank of China partnered with Local Government New Zealand on the NZ-China Mayoral Forum in December, with a key focus on trade and investment opportunities in tourism.

Generic passport Source: Breakfast



Historic sex abuse victim calls for sacking at prestigous St Bede's college in Christchurch

A sex abuse victim is calling for a prestigious Catholic school to sack its rector for not removing a teacher who sexually assaulted him years ago.

Peter Boock has complained to the board of trustees at St Bede's College in Christchurch, and to the Education Council, about the rector Justin Boyle.

Mr Boyle initiated an investigation of the teacher Robin Pettit in 2011, when Mr Boock first made a complaint.

Mr Pettit has admitted sexually assaulting Mr Boock in Dunedin in the late 1960s, when he was about 19 - and before Mr Pettit was a teacher - and the former a young teen.

Mr Pettit continued teaching at St Bede's after the complaint and investigation.

"I'm asking for the board of trustees to remove Justin Boyle," Mr Boock told RNZ.

"He, in 2011, carried on with a self-confessed child abuser in a senior teaching role, and enabled him to keep teaching the children. That's untenable."

St Bede's College, Christchurch. (Phil Pennington) Source: rnz.co.nz

The school board rejected that.

"St Bede's College categorically denies any claims that it failed to properly investigate a complaint about one of its teachers in 2011, which relate to events that took place between two people in the 1960s," board of trustees Chair Warren Johnstone said in a statement to RNZ

RNZ has heard the taped call in which Otago Daily Times reporter Chris Morris asked Robin Pettit for his response to Mr Boock's claim that he was abused by Mr Pettit as a young man in Otago.

The reporter asked Mr Pettit if he "attacked" Peter Boock when he was about 14 years old.

"Yep, yep, yep, yep, I did, yes, as you say, yes," Mr Pettit said on the tape. "I did.

"I did have a bad period there for a short time ... deeply regretful about that but ... I was quite glad when he actually approached me about it there back in 2011."

Mr Pettit told the Otago Daily Times' Chris Morris he had been informed by St Bede's that the reporter was looking into this. Asked if Peter Boock was "the only one", he said yes.

"As I said to Peter [Boock] and to Justin [Boyle], there's no excuse, but it was not a good period of my growing up life at all."

RNZ approached Mr Pettit this week. He said the Otago Daily Times story was "wrong" but would not say in what way, and then refused to comment further, saying the matter was with St Bede's lawyers.

Mr Pettit retired from St Bede's in 2015. In December 2016 he accompanied students to the New Zealand Secondary School National Athletics Champs.

The rector Justin Boyle refused come out of his office to talk to an RNZ reporter who visited St Bede's.

Mr Boock said over a course of nine months, in 1967-68, Mr Pettit assaulted him repeatedly, trying to masturbate him.

"I'm afraid there's no letting anyone off for sexual abuse ... it's never been anything else but a shocking crime against children," Mr Boock told RNZ.

"The fact that it's years later, and whether he's repeated or not repeated, is not the case for me. He ruined my young youth as I grew up and that's lived with me for 44 years. That's very hard to say it's OK, cos I won't and it's not."

Mr Boock, 64, is a trained social worker whose brother Stephen Boock played cricket for New Zealand.

He said Mr Boyle told him in 2011 that Mr Pettit had admitted the assaults when confronted with an affidavit from Mr Boock in 2011.

He had approached the rector after learning out of the blue that Mr Pettit was a teacher, working at St Bede's. At the time he was not well, and did not want the stress of the police and courts, he said.

Mr Boock admitted that in 2011 he had thanked the school for its investigation and for covering all the bases. But this could in no way be taken as a sign the school had investigated properly, he said, as he was traumatised back then, and took some years to recover, including from alcoholism.

Mr Pettit should never have been a teacher, and at the least should have resigned in 2011 when the school did not move to dismiss him, Mr Boock said.

His only aim in going public was to protect children by pushing for better laws for mandatory reporting of abuse and independent investigations of complaints, he said.

His complaint will be considered by the board on Monday next week.

The college was "deeply concerned about lack of due process in regards to the claims being made via the media", the board chair Warren Johnstone said.

"The College has and will always ensure that any complaint of misconduct is properly investigated and addressed, while respecting people's right to privacy and proper process."

The Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-based Institutions backed the call for Justin Boyle to step down.

Mr Boock said he would not have had to go public in this way if he felt confident the upcoming Royal Commission into historical abuse would have allowed him to raise the case, and have the school's response investigated.

By Phil Pennington

rnz.co.nz

Peter Boock has complained to the board of trustees at St Bede's College and the Education Council. (Phil Pennington) Source: rnz.co.nz


Ban 1080 activist denies killing native birds scattered across Parliament's steps by children - 'an act of theatre'

A Ban 1080 activist has denied killing any of the native birds that were scattered across Parliament's steps by children in a protest over the use of the pesticide.

Parliament's Speaker Trevor Mallard yesterday revealed five native birds were among those placed on the precinct - including two kererū which appear to have been bludgeoned to death.

He's laid a complaint with the police and the Department of Conservation (DOC). It is illegal to kill or possess native wildlife.

Department of Conservation staff say in the past month they've had their car tyres slashed and wheel nuts loosened. Source: 1 NEWS

One of the protest's leaders Alan Gurden told RNZ none of the creatures had been harmed by the protesters.

"They were dead creatures.... we're not the sort of people to go round killing birds to make a point."

The quail and weka were roadkill, but the other birds and mice had been collected from a 1080 drop-zone, he said.

"These animals were all killed from various methods but it certainly was not at the hand of us.... It was an act of theatre designed to show New Zealand what we put up with on the frontline."

He said the carcasses had been given to one of his friends to store after they were collected from drop-zones or from the roadside.

"I'm not going to divulge my source, but someone else brought those to the scene. They were laid on the steps by the children," Mr Gurden said.

"So technically I have never owned, or had in my possession, any native birds."

Mr Gurden refused to name his friend who stored the birds, but said there was "no way" he would have killed them.

"I've known him for quite a while. He's on the same cause as me and he has the same kaupapa as me," he said.

"There's no way he'd go out and kill birds to prove a point."

Mr Gurden said he had not been contacted by the police or DOC. In a statement, police said inquiries were ongoing.

Anti-1080 activists wielding placards and loudspeakers marched to Parliament over the weekend demanding an end to the use of the poison.

A vast array of conservation and farming organisations support the use of 1080, describing it is an effective pest control tool.

They include DOC, the Environmental Protection Agency, the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and lobby groups like Federated Farmers and Forest and Bird.

- By Craig McCulloch

rnz.co.nz

Marama Davidson said New Zealand needs "community-led conversations" about the use of 1080. Source: 1 NEWS

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Terminally ill patients at Timaru hospice unable to sleep because of local racers

A terminally ill man in care in Timaru has taken aim at the racing motorists he says are disturbing the peace for those at the hospice.

Charles Roebuck went into Hospice South Canterbury for palliative care after throat cancer left him unable to eat and drink, the Timaru Herald reports.

He told the newspaper the noise from racing motorists meant he was unable to sleep as well.

"The hospice patients are constantly being disturbed, mainly at night, but during the day as well, with motor vehicles racing past the facility, high speeds, high-noise burnouts up and down the hill, and using this stretch of road as a race track," he said.

Mr Roebuck has sent a letter to Timaru Mayor and local area police commander Dave Gaskin calling for action and suggesting a 10km/h or 20km/h speed limit for the area.

Hospice South Canterbury general manager Peter O'Neill was aware of Mr Roebuck’s complaint and said a similar issue had been raised in the past.

Inspector Gaskin said there hadn’t been an increase in complaints about racers near the hospice.

"I understand the issues raised by Mr Roebuck and we will continue our high-profile patrolling of this and all other areas of risk in the district,” he said.

South Canterbury Hospice. Source: South Canterbury Hospice


Hundreds of government staff stop work for waiata to mark Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

Hundreds of government staff stopped work yesterday, not for a strike but a song.

For a few minutes, everyone at the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment's Wellington HQ was singing from the same song sheet.

It was a high point of the Ministry's Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori events, which included online teaching modules and helping people learn their mihi.

Staff lined the balconies to sing the waiata Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi - a song about coming together.

Hinemaua Rikirangi from the Ministry's Māori economic development team said, "the key thing is actually about encouraging people to make the effort".

"Those are some of the key steps that we hope to nurture and grow," she said.

“Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori was about celebrating the reo's taonga, or treasure, which is unique to Aotearoa.”

The enthusiasm rubbed off on some staff.

Deirdre Millar who came to Aotearoa from Ireland 12 years ago said, "it made me proud to see people embracing the indigenous language".

"Too many things get lost when a language is lost: your identity, your culture, everything," she said.

The ministry's longer term goal is to build awareness of the Māori culture and language to ensure the minority isn't forgotten in policy.

Raniera Albert, who led the waiata, said he hoped that in 10 years' time "Māori are at the forefront of policy decisions".

"Where we are not the afterthought of the afterthought, where New Zealand's policies work for, but for Pasifika as well."

Everyone at the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment's Wellington HQ was singing from the same song sheet as part of the ministry's Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori events. Source: 1 NEWS