New Zealand gun lobby backs government ban after mosques massacre


Vincent Thian/AP Photo

❝ New Zealand will crack down on firearms ownership this week after the Christchurch mosques massacre that killed 50 people.

In stark contrast to the United States, where even the most minor curbs on gun ownership meet ferocious opposition led by the National Rifle Association, New Zealand gun owners agree action is needed.

❝ “We want to support our government in any changes to prevent a terrorist attack from happening in New Zealand again,” said Nicole McKee, secretary of the Council of Licensed Firearm Owners.

❝ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government announced an immediate ban on military-style semi-automatic rifles after the shooting and will put laws to parliament formalising its action on Tuesday…

Finalising such legislation can often take months but Ardern said the matter was so urgent it will be done by April 11.

❝ Further curbs – potentially including a gun register, tighter vetting and stricter gun storage rules – are set to be passed by the end of the year.

It’s not as difficult as you might think to have responsible, thoughful legislation passed in a nation where politicians are likely to count voters as taking primacy over donors and corporate flunkies.

New Zealanders by the hundreds stand as a symbolic human chain guarding mosque

Hundreds of people gathered outside a mosque in Wellington, New Zealand, and locked arms to form a human chain, in a symbolic act of protection of the Muslim community during Friday prayer.

The move came as New Zealanders mourn the 50 victims of mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques on March 15, in a national day of reflection to mark a week since the terror attack.

Christchurch newspaper The Press had the word ‘salam’ (peace) in Arabic script in its front page, along with the names of the victims of the attack…

“The atmosphere was sad, quiet, but determined. Many women wore headscarves,” Sue Teodoro, who was at the vigil, told CNN. “Many people cried openly. It was incredibly moving. People were determined that the community should pray without fear today.”

A loving example of a nation without fear, absent the reactionary power of a gun lobby owning the majority power of their government. Unarmed, standing up to defend a part of their community under attack by fools and fascist bigots.

Christchurch mosque shootings


NZ Prime Minister at press conference about the shootings

❝ A crisis meeting of national security agencies is ongoing at Police National Headquarters in Wellington after the Christchurch mosque shooting…

❝ The Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination – commonly referred to as ODESC – is a committee of Chief Executives which manages the response to national security in New Zealand…

Ardern cut short her press conference in New Plymouth so she could meet the group. She was being flown back to Wellington by a military plane.

❝ At least 30 feared dead after gunmen with automatic weapons open fire at two mosques

3 men, 1 woman are in custody at this hour [10PM MDT USA]

Holiday photos, video, found in frozen seal poop!


Frame grab from seal poop video

❝ Scientists in New Zealand say they have found a USB memory stick containing holiday photos inside a frozen slab of seal poop.

The scat, valuable for studying the health of leopard seals, had been stored in a freezer for a year before it was thawed out for analysis, the researchers said…

❝ The stick was in good condition, “considering where it had come from”, and the researchers let it dry out for a few weeks…“The only clue to who might have taken them is the nose of a blue kayak,” the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said…

I’d like to know the brand of the memory stick. Great survival.

Avocado rustling in New Zealand

Surging local and international demand for avocados is fuelling a crime wave in New Zealand.

Since January there have been close to 40 large-scale thefts from avocado orchards in the north island of New Zealand, with as many as 350 fruit stolen at a time…It is suspected many more thefts have gone unreported.

Avocados are selling for between NZ$4-6 each [US$2.80-4.20] across the country, after a poor season last year and increasing local demand.

According to New Zealand Avocado in 2015 an additional 96,000 New Zealand households began purchasing avocados, and local growers – largely geared towards the lucrative export market – have been unable to keep up with the surge in demand.

…Sergeant Aaron Fraser of Waihi said there had been “spates” of avocado thefts during his time in the police but nothing as sustained as the current activity.

“These stolen avocados can carry risks,” he said…“They are unripe, some have been sprayed recently and they may still carry toxins on the skin. But with the prices so high at the moment, the potential for profit is a strong inducement for certain individuals.”

One of those commodity tales that prompts me to think of renting a not-too-big agri-freighter and bringing over a load from Mexico. We’re currently buying avocados at retail for about 50¢ apiece North of the Mexican border.

Thanks, Mister Justin

Kiwis lead in religious liberty — Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster OK’d for marriages

Pastafarians, rejoice! New Zealand has now granted the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster the legal right to perform marriage ceremonies — and just in time for ChriFSMas!

…The Church of FSM came into its own in 2005 as a response to the proposal that the fundamentalist Christian theory of Intelligent Design be taught alongside evolution and natural selection in Kansas public schools. Adherents to the church, known as “Pastafarians,” are sometimes seen sporting their religious head coverings — colanders — in passport and official identification photos from countries around the world. While many insist that the Church of FSM cannot possibly be a serious institution, the church’s official website offers this rebuttal:

“The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, after having existed in secrecy for hundreds of years, came into the mainstream just a few years…Some claim that the church is purely a thought experiment or satire, illustrating that Intelligent Design is not a science, just a pseudoscience manufactured by Christians to push Creationism into public schools. These people are mistaken — The Church of FSM is legit, and backed by hard science. Anything that comes across as humor or satire is purely coincidental.”

New Zealand Registrar-General, Jeff Montgomery, explained the decision to grant Pastafarians the right to officiate marriages to stuff.co.nz:

“In considering the matter, I have referred to the Objects of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, reviewed material available online about this organization and considered other organizations already being able to nominate marriage celebrants.

“A review of media and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s international website show a consistent presentation of their philosophies. While some claim this is a ‘parody organization,’ members have rebutted this on a number of occasions.

“As registrar-general, it is my role to apply relevant legislation . . .”

Congratulations to Pastafarians everywhere!