Scientists charged with manslaughter over earthquake deaths

This story could should have been on The Onion.

Seven scientists and other experts have gone on trial on manslaughter charges for allegedly failing to sufficiently warn residents before a devastating earthquake that killed more than 300 people in central Italy in 2009.

I am in favour of officials being held accountable but this is ridiculous.

Who’s Responsible For Leaky Homes? You Are!

Bugger!

The government has announced a plan to sort out leaky homes.

The new financial assistance package is a 50:25:25 split between homeowners, the Government and councils to pay for repairs as long as victims shelve litigation.

Government is asking homeowners not to seek justice through the courts and in exchange the government will make taxpayers and ratepayers pay 50% of the homeowners’ repair costs. Builders will not be held accountable. Manufacturers will not be held accountable. Building code legislators will not be held accountable.

What did taxpayers and ratepayers do to become liable?

The leaky home problem should primarily be between the homeowner and the builder. The difficulty with that is that government has regulated the builder and thus interfered with the contract between builder and homeowner.

The government is supposed to serve its citizens but in this case they are unjustly claiming liability on behalf of its citizens. Why doesn’t the government want this to go through the courts? It appears they either do not have confidence in our court system or they do not want to find out who is truly responsible.

Something Stinks in Rotorua

Waiotapu - (Not near my property)

Back in June the Rotorua District Council (RDC) sent me a letter which explained that my property is beside or part of an Outstanding Natural Feature or Landscape. That’s nice. It turns out the mountain I’m on is considered an outstanding natural feature by the council.

Along with the letter was forty odd pages including some brochures and a chapter from their Draft District Plan, titled Matters of National Importance. After reading the document I still wasn’t sure what the RDC was trying to tell me (OK, perhaps I only skimmed the document.)

There was an email address for those that wanted more information so I sent a short email to ask if the RDC was proposing to take away any property owners’ rights, increase property owners’ costs or change property owners’ obligations. The reply… no new costs, no new obligations but property owners’ will lose some rights.

The rights that RDC are proposing to take away are not ones I am likely to exercise but that is not the point. The point is that council is taking rights away from property owners. Surely the RDC and its employees have some sort of duty to property owners. I sent them another email:

Thank you for clarifying that the RDC draft plan proposes to take away some property owner’s rights.

I just have a couple more questions.

Do the Rotorua District Council and Council employees have a fiduciary duty to Rotorua property owners?
If not, what duty do the Rotorua District Council and Council employees have to Rotorua property owners?

Thank you

Here is their reply:

Council has a duty to ensure that these landscapes are protected as per the provisions of the District Plan, which is a document that has been through the community consultation process, and will become a community document. Effects are managed via the resource consent process. If a person does an activity that is inconsistent with the plan enforcement action can occur.

Landowners (and occupiers) have a duty to comply with the provisions of the district plan.

If you would like to come in and discuss, feel free to schedule some time for the open day on the 27th of June (next Monday).

I didn’t attend the meeting – considering that the RDC thinks it has a duty to protect landscapes from landowners I thought attending would be a waste of time.

The RDC and its employees are ignoring their duty to protect property owners’ rights. By taking away property owners’ rights the RDC and its employees are acting unjustly (possibly illegally). The RDC and its employees are not accountable for their actions and if challenged by ratepayers they will fight them with ratepayers’ money.

Those that should be our servants presume to be our masters. (Have I said that already?)

Please leave your judgements in the comments.

Legalise unfettered contracts

The Law Commission is reviewing the Credit (Repossession) Act 1997.

The questions posed by the Law Commission are wrong. They are asking how the government should regulate lending contracts, while presuming government should regulate lending contracts.

The problem is that the government presumes the authority to dictate the terms of contracts that can be made between adults.

This error of “civil servants” is everywhere that is why I say… those that should be our servants presume to be our masters.

New Zealand – the least corrupt country in the world

According to Transparency International New Zealand, Denmark and Singapore share the honour of having the lowest Corruption Perception Indexes. That sounds pretty good but it does raise the question “is perception reality?”

A few years ago, not having had much experience dealing with government officials, I had little “perception” of corruption in New Zealand. Now that I have had the experience of helping someone try and get justice in New Zealand I find the rating hard to believe… well… I think the rating is fiction. I’ll explain more in future posts (it’s complicated) but we have been trying to get justice for four and a half years and have dealt with many government departments and dozens of government officials – so far we are the only ones involved following the law.

Americans consider America to be “A nation of laws, not men” it’s not true of New Zealand because you can not make the officials follow the law. Our officials have authority without accountability. Those that should be our servants presume to be our masters.

While bribes may be uncommon, sadly, my experience tells me corruption in New Zealand is systemic.

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