Residents of Tauranga's failed Bella Vista subdivision still in limbo as compensation day looms

A petition is calling for the Tauranga City Council to purchase the properties of a failed subdivison by the end of this month.

In March, 21 properties in the Bella Vista subdivision were served eviction notices saying they had to evacuate their homes as Cycone Hola approached.

Andre and Chloe Stewart say the Bella Vista saga has left their dreams in tatters. Source: 1 NEWS

Last month a damning report commissioned by the council found major failings, siding with the "innocent" home owners, and council would purchase the ruined homes within months.

The petition signed by more than 480 people claims "no negotiations have commenced".

A homeowner who didn’t want to be named told 1 NEWS there has been "no meeting with council" since June.

He says his family hopes "the council will be fair on market value" when purchasing the damaged homes.

This follows a day of tears and high emotions as affected residents told their stories. Source: 1 NEWS

At the time of the report's release Taurnanga City Council Chief Executive, Gary Poole told 1 NEWS he expected to "resolve this issue in a matter of months, not six months or longer".

The homeowner says council staff "are all going on holidays, and still have not offered us a price".

Mr Poole told 1 NEWS in a written statement: "Since 6 June 2018, when Council resolved to purchase the properties, we have been in regular dialogue with the homeowners’ lawyers and all involved are working hard to progress matters for the homeowners."

"Every effort is being made to progress things as quickly as possible. This is a complex matter that the Council wants to ensure is resolved properly."

A damning report into the Bella Vista residences has called for an inquiry. Source: 1 NEWS

Free Speech Coalition takes Auckland Council to court over decision to ban right-wing Canadian speakers from Council-owed venues

The Free Speech Coalition has filed court action of Auckland Council's decision to ban two right-wing Canadian speakers from Council-owned venues.

The pro-free speech group says Auckland Council and Mayor Phil Goff acted in breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.

The coalition was formed days after Mr Goff announced Council would not allow Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux to speak at the Bruce Mason Centre or any other Council-owned venue.

It comes after Canadian activists Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux were not allowed to use a Auckland Council venue. Source: 1 NEWS

Both Southern and Molyneux are authors and far-right activists known for polarising views on feminism, Islam, race, immigration, refugee issues and white pride.

The Coalition say they wrote to the Mayor Phil Goff suggesting he avoid the cost of litigation by reopening discussions with the promoters of the event.

They say Auckland Council declined the opportunity.

“The Coalition arbitrary and uninformed decision making process suggests bias, prejudgement, and indifference to the fundamental freedoms outlined in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act,” Coalition member Melissa Derby said.

Over 1000 people donated to the The Free Speech Coalition, raising $90,000. 

"The Council's arbitrary and uninformed decision making process suggests bias, prejudgment, and indifference to the fundamental freedoms outlined in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act," Derby said.

Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux were prevented from speaking at Council-owned venues. Source: 1 NEWS

"It's regrettable to see the Mayor digging his heels in when we have given him every opportunity to reconsider and avoid litigation costs."

Fellow member David Cumin also weighed in: "This action is to ensure that politicians and officials aren't allowed to discriminate against views they dislike when it comes to ratepayer-funded venues, regardless of how broadly 'unacceptable' the views might be."

Auckland Mayor Mr Goff has defended his actions, telling TVNZ’s Q+A his comments had followed the advice of the council agency that had already cancelled the pair's booking at the Bruce Mason Centre next month.

"When Regional Facilities Auckland came to me and said, 'We've got this problem, these people want to use our facilities,' they said they were concerned the speech that these two individuals were engaged in was deliberately provocative to some of our ethnic communities and our faith communities."

The Council said their legal team is assessing the claims made and will consider the response on behalf of the Council group.

Mr Bridges said while he does "disagree strongly" with the views of Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, "freedom of speech matters". Source: Breakfast


Survey ranks what words New Zealanders find most offensive in broadcasting

Research released by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) today shows that the NZ public considers culturally insensitive and sexist or ‘gendered’ language to be increasingly unacceptable in certain broadcasting contexts.

The research surveyed 1514 members of public on how acceptable they found the usage of offensive language on television and radio.

While traditional strong swear words continue to be considered the most unacceptable, racial and cultural insults ranked in the 12 most offensive words.

This included words in Te Reo Māori or Pasifika languages.

In the survey, one in five respondents asked to identify offensive words pointed to those they considered racist or offensive from a cultural or ethnic context.

There was also an increasing focus on gendered offensive language, including language directed at an individual sexual orientation.

BSA says context and audience expectations of the programme was important in affecting whether audiences found strong language acceptable.

Offensive language was shown to be less acceptable in factual/reality/spontaneous contexts. For instance, when used by a radio host on a breakfast programme, in sports commentary or in reality TV.

“Derogatory terms for homosexuals such as queer or bender, etc. I would generally consider such terms to be unacceptable except when used in stand-up comedy or possibly parody,” says one respondent.

Offensive language was found to be less acceptable to respondents when delivered by someone outside of the community.

“This research provides a useful and insightful snapshot of current community attitudes to offensive language in New Zealand,” says chief executive of the BSA Belinda Moffat.

“We hope the research will also be a useful tool for organisations seeking to uphold NZ values and develop more inclusive and harmonious workplace cultures.”