Posts Tagged ‘Kiwi’
Louisa Wall, Labour MP, celebrating the bill’s passage
Hundreds of jubilant gay-rights advocates celebrated at New Zealand’s Parliament on Wednesday as the country became the 13th in the world and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage.
Lawmakers voted 77 to 44 in favor of the gay-marriage bill on its third and final reading.
People watching from the public gallery and some lawmakers immediately broke into song after the result was announced, singing the New Zealand love song “Pokarekare Ana” in the indigenous Maori language…
In one of several speeches that ended in a standing ovation, bill sponsor Louisa Wall told lawmakers the change was “our road toward healing.”
“In our society, the meaning of marriage is universal — it’s a declaration of love and commitment to a special person,” she said. She added that “nothing could make me more proud to be a New Zealander than passing this bill.”
Lawmakers from most political parties were encouraged by their leaders to vote as their conscience dictated rather than along party lines. Although Wall is from the opposition Labour Party, the bill also was supported by center-right Prime Minister John Key.
“In my view, marriage is a very personal thing between two individuals,” Key said. “And, in the end, this is part of equality in modern-day New Zealand…”
Same-sex marriage is recognized in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark. Lawmakers in Uruguay approved a law last week that President Jose Mujica is expected to sign. Nine states in the U.S. also recognize such marriages, but the federal government does not.
The article notes the usual copouts from fundamentalists whose ideology slanders religious folk worldwide. This post also notes the nations already years ahead of the United States. At the current rate, I expect just about any progressive law to become a fixture outside the US well before Congress gets it right.
Our Congressional conservatives are better characterized as cowards, ideologically corrupt, backwards, only capable of blocking attempts to move this nation into the 21st Century.
The canine driving school is aimed at proving how intelligent the animals can be.
Monty the giant schnauzer is among the novice drivers who have learned to control the brakes, gears and steering wheel.
I have no doubt they will end up driving better and safer than some of the folks on I see on the road every day.
Christchurch was so badly damaged in last month’s deadly earthquake that parts of New Zealand’s second largest city will have to be abandoned, Prime Minister John Key has said.
Key confirmed 10,000 homes faced demolition after the 6.3-magnitude tremor which is believed to have claimed more than 200 lives, warning that rebuilding would not be possible in some areas.
“We simply don’t know,” he told Radio New Zealand when asked which parts of the city would be deserted. “We know there’s been substantial liquefaction damage.
“It’s a statement of fact that there will be some properties that can’t be rebuilt… the question is whether it (rebuilding) is possible for certain parts of the city, certain streets or houses.”
Key said geotechnical engineers were working urgently to clarify the areas worst affected by liquefaction, caused when the quake’s shaking loosened the bonds between soil particles, turning the ground into a quagmire.
Community worker Tom McBrearty said the prime minister’s comments had increased anxiety among residents still reeling from the February 22 quake. “They interpreted… it as being that the riverside communities would not be allowed to be rebuilt, which is at this stage is incorrect. We don’t know, we’re still waiting for final analysis.”
Key said the government would provide financial assistance to those who were forced to move and was in talks with developers about releasing new subdivisions to cope with the demand for housing in the stricken city.
Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said speculation on the fate of entire suburbs was “alarmist” and urged residents to wait until geotechnical reports were complete.
Sad, sad tale. Although this earthquake technically was an aftershock of last year’s quake, it blasted along a new fault and being closer to the surface and in a populous area – just did an enormous amount of damage. More than anyone had foreseen.
Police in a New Zealand town who used Segways for beat patrols have been forced to abandon the scooters after they were deemed illegal.
The force in the North Island town of Taupo had embraced the electric-powered devices but had to abandon them after finding it was against the law to use them in public areas, according to the NZPA news agency.
The local Rotary Club purchased two of the Segways, which were then lent to police to make it easier for officers to conduct patrols.
The two-wheeled scooters, which use gyroscopes and computers to remain upright and can reach speeds of up to 12 miles per hour, had proven popular with the community, Inspector Steve Bullock said.
“They are a novel vehicle, I would liken them to a modern-day horse because they engender curiosity and people want to talk to you about them, which is what we want as a police organisation,” he told NZPA…
Insp Bullock said that because there was no separate vehicle classification for Segways, they fell into the same category as cars and had to be registered as roadworthy for use in public areas.
But he remained optimistic the technicality could be sorted out and the Segways, which have proved popular with police in many US cities, could resume their place on the pavements of Taupo.
Leave it to politicians too ignorant to come with an appropriate classification for a vehicle to resort to blocking use altogether. Something that’s simple, easy and useful confounds the bureaucrat.
A New Zealand man who bought an MP3 player from a thrift shop in Oklahoma found it held 60 U.S. military files, including names and telephone numbers for American soldiers. TV One News said the 60 files contained personal details of U.S. soldiers, including some who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq. A New Zealand security expert said the information should not be in the public domain, but that it did not appear likely to affect U.S. national security.
Chris Ogle, 29, from the northern New Zealand city of Whangarei, said he bought the music player at a thrift shop in Oklahoma, and that he found the files when he linked the $18 device to his computer, TV One News reported.
The private information about troops included U.S. Social Security numbers and even which female troops were pregnant.
Details of equipment deployed to bases in Afghanistan and a mission briefing were also found on some files, the report said, displaying names like “Bagram,” a main U.S. base in Afghanistan, from the files on screen.
Some of the files included a warning that the release of its contents is prohibited by federal law. Oh, well, then everything is secure.
BTW, Ogle hasn’t yet heard from the Feds. He offered to turn the MP3 player over if they want it.