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New Zealand resident involved in people-smuggling to be deported

A Pakistani man involved in a people-smuggling operation in America, who gained residence in New Zealand, is the subject of a fraud investigation and is going to be deported.

But he has been told he can make a fresh application for residence.

In 2005, the stepfather-of-two was caught by a United States border patrol crossing from Canada, driving a van carrying eight Indian nationals, none with visas.

He changed his name and arrived in 2013 to enter into an arranged marriage.

When he applied for residence, the 39-year-old failed to disclose he had been convicted, deported and had used another name.

He had also previously unsuccessfully claimed refugee status in Canada.

When his visa deception was revealed, the former immigration minister, Michael Woodhouse decided he should be deported.

He appealed to the immigration and protection tribunal, which heard about his part in the people-smuggling.

He met an "agent" who offered to get him a legitimate visa for the United States for $US5000 ($NZ7479) and offered to reduce the cost if he agreed to drive a vehicle to the border for him, he told the tribunal.

He was arrested and jailed, meeting his New Zealand resident-wife online once he had been deported back to Pakistan.

His lawyer said he would face severe risks to his safety if he was again deported there, because he is a Shia Muslim.

He suffered threats to his life on his last visit there, she said, and deportation would result in the permanent separation from his family to whom he was a "pillar of support".

The tribunal heard he was the subject of an open fraud investigation by the police in relation to his directorship of a car company. The sum under investigation is said to be substantial.

It ruled he did have exceptional humanitarian circumstances because of his wife and stepson's health issues but it would not be unduly harsh to deport him.

"[His] concealment of his deportation from the United States (bolstered by his concealment of ever having lived there, or in Canada) went to the heart of his residence application," it said, in its written decision.

"The concealment undermined the integrity of New Zealand's immigration system in a serious way.

"He was not the architect of the scheme but more of a 'mule'. It does not, however, alter the fact that he sustained a conviction for a serious, immigration-related offence."

But it lifted a ban on him re-applying for visas.

"While deportation is not unjust or unduly harsh in all the circumstances, the tribunal considers that any adverse effect on [her and her children] ought to be mitigated as far as is possible, given the genuineness of the marriage and the fact that she and her children are innocent parties."

By Gill Bonnett

rnz.co.nz

Generic passport Source: Breakfast

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New Zealand airports 'woefully underprepared' for tourist influx - aviation expert

New Zealand's airports are woefully under prepared for the numbers of tourists coming through their gates, an aviation commentator says.

In an email sent to customers, Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said he was frustrated with the under investment by local airport companies that has created backlogs for travellers.

Mr Luxon also announced that Air New Zealand will stop flying to Vietnam from next year due to engine maintenance issues involving Rolls Royce powered planes.

Aviation commentator Peter Clark said Air New Zealand's problems have been ongoing for years.

"Auckland Airport is a classic example, it's been trying to play catch up for years and it's too late, it should have been done," Mr Clark said.

"The government needs to look into this, where have we gone so badly wrong in New Zealand?"

Mr Clark said he was also concerned New Zealand businesses have not learnt enough lessons from last year's Marsden Point pipeline shut down.

The 10-day shut down last September was caused when a digger burst the pipeline near Ruakaka, spilling up to 80,000 litres of fuel on nearby farmland and causing severe disruption to flights.

Mr Clark said if another burst were to occur, it would be catastrophic.

"If we have a problem and a plane is stuck on a runway for even more than half a day it causes absolute chaos in New Zealand by diverting aircraft, putting people up, accommodation, getting crews to fly aircraft's. Where is the total back up?"

In a statement, a spokesperson for Auckland Airport said it was planning to invest around $2 billion in its business over the next few years as part of a 30 year plan to develop the facility.

He said that included plans for a second runway, new car parking options, improvements to the Domestic Terminal, and new food and beverage outlets.

New facilities for aircraft have already opened.

rnz.co.nz 

New Zealand airports are under prepared for the amount of tourists coming through the gates. Source: rnz.co.nz

TODAY'S
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What's up with Southland's 'cat killer'? SPCA refuses to be drawn on investigation

The SPCA won't say if its investigation into a man who claims to have buried 170 cats in his vegetable garden is complete.

Ian Gamble, from Invercargill, posted the claim on Environment Southland's social media page in September.

The Facebook comment was a response to a Council proposal to microchip and register cats in some areas.

"I have lived here for over 30 years and have 170 cats in my veggie garden, which is the best place for a cat in a bush suburb," Mr Gamble wrote.

The comment upset other posters, with one saying they were going to contact the SPCA.

Mr Gamble's remarks since been removed from the Council's page.

At the time, the SPCA confirmed that it was investigating this claim, but when Stuff contacted a spokesperson on Tuesday they said the organisation was "unable to give any further comment on the investigation at this time".

Last month, Mr Gamble told Stuff he made the comments to "rark up the cat ladies of Otatara".

"I’m legally allowed to use a humane kill trap on my property and almost all of those cats were feral," he said.

Mr Gamble added he had not killed any of his neighbours cats and had not used firearms to kill them.

A kitten, aged six to eight weeks, looks upward.
A kitten, aged six to eight weeks, looks upward. Source: istock.com


1080 campaign turns toxic: Dead animals dumped at Parliament and chalked slogans calling the PM 'a Nazi'

Most experts insist 1080 pesticide is by far the best and safest option to save native species and that science backs them up. How can the media report responsibly on opponents’ noisy protests, social media growth and increasingly alarming threats?

When reports emerged this week that cows had died on a Waikato farm after a 1080 drop nearby, the news spread like wildfire on Facebook.

The likely explanation was that the stock were not where they were supposed to be and ate lethal amounts of bait. Department of Conservation said stock had been seen in the operational area and it had advised the farmer to act.

But for those opposed to using 1080, it was further evidence the stuff is not safe and should be banned.

Other animals allegedly killed by 1080 were dumped at Parliament earlier this month during the ‘Hīkoi of a poisoned nation’ on a day of noisy nationwide protests.

On TV news and news websites people saw images of men in hazmat suits picking up what turned out to be look-alike 1080 pellets that were hurled onto the steps of Parliament.

When questioned by reporters later, organiser Alan Gurden admitted the long dead deep frozen birds and mice may not have been victims of 1080 after all.

Mr Gurden said the hīkoi was "theatre" designed to get the attention of politicians, but it attracted the media’s attention too.

Tens of thousands of people from all over the country mobilising can’t be ignored by the news media - but neither can the increasing militancy of of some activists.

They chalked slogans in Parliament grounds accusing Jacinda Ardern of running deaths squads and branded her "a Nazi."

"It fuels this awful, very abusive approach that 1080 protesters and anti-1080 people are taking towards my staff," DOC operations director David Speirs told RNZ.

Angry threats from anti-1080 people are not new.

Last year some even threatened on Facebook to bring down DOC helicopters used to drop 1080 pellets from the air.

"Be more noisy and cause more trouble"

Anti-1080 activism online has surged in recent months.

Earlier this year, activists began bombarding news media streams of news events with campaigns slogans. The Spinoff's Haydon Donnell found the comments had their roots in a single Facebook page which now has more than 60,000 followers.

Mr Donnell also reckoned some of the claims have become more extreme and irrational. Some members, for example, seem to think 1080 is a part of plot backed by banks or even an exercise in eugenics.

Mr Donnell also interviewed one of the prime movers: Sue Grey, a lawyer from Nelson who has urged activists to use social media and news media alike to “be more noisy and cause more trouble.”

Groups backing 1080 use fight back online. Forest and Bird and Federated Farmers - frequently foes in the past - have formed unlikely union for the website: 1080facts.co.nz.

And back in April, RNZ's Checkpoint revealed the Department of Conservation had used controversial private security firm Thompson and Clark to monitor anti-1080 activists for the previous two years.

Ahead of the protests earlier this month, Forest and Bird urged the media to cover the protests “with a commitment to science, evidence and truth.”

“Anti-1080 fears appear to have been stoked by an aggressive online campaign of science denial, misinformation, and trolling, said Forest and Bird.

“"Decades of work by thousands of conservationists and scientists has developed a range of tools and methods to protect our wildlife, but this work is at risk of being undone should a vocal, anti-science minority be given uncritical exposure”

So how best to report on them without giving the oxygen of publicity to extreme views - and claims not backed by science ?

On Radio Live earlier this month, Mark Sainsbury devoted his entire three-hour talk show to friends and foes of 1080.

Last weekend, Three’s weekend politics show Newshub Nation had a timely report setting out the basics about 1080 use in New Zealand.

The report dealt with fears about effects on other animals, human fertility and drinking water and gave a clear picture of where scientists stand.

The government-funded Science Media Centre released a digest of views from six expert scientists - all of whom reckoned 1080 was the best and only viable option we have right now.

"The case of 1080 use is well established and it works. Where it is used our native species are recovering, where it is not they die, it really is that simple," said Prof Neil Gemmell, who is is actually working on alternatives to 1080 for pest control.

So is Dr Belinda Cridge, from Otago University's Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

"1080 is amazing. The information far outweighs resources we put into other chemicals we use," she told Mediawatch.

"Time and time again the science has been challenged. Time and time again the scientists say this is a good option and safe in the way we use it. But still people are worried and not understanding and there is still cherrypicking of the data," she said.

She concedes media are entitled to report alternative viewpoints especially when they appear to be convincing to increasing numbers of people.

"But if you hear it often enough people will think they are right. We've got to keep hearing from the experts," Dr Cridge said.

"Social media has changed our landscape. Journalists have a responsibility to give a balanced account but there's none of that on social media," she said.

"The issue is that fewer people are engaging with high quality media."

Source: rnz.co.nz