Petition forces state owned asset sales referendum

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A referendum will be held on the sale of state owned asset after almost 330,000 people signed a petition against them.

The Clerk of the House of Representatives has declared that enough signatures have been gathered to prompt a Citizens-Initiated Referendum asking whether New Zealanders support the sale of up to 49 per cent of Meridian Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand.

The 327,224 valid signatures – 18,500 more than required to initiate the referendum – were collected by the Keep Our Assets coalition which includes the Green Party.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman said the result shows the Government had no mandate for asset sales.

He called on Prime Minister John Key to hold the referendum as soon as possible and suspend the sales until after it was held.

“John Key considers he has a mandate for these sales,” Norman said.

“Now is his chance to test it.

“The Government needs to suspend the sale of Meridian Energy until after this referendum.

“Shares from the Government’s sale of Mighty River Power hit an all-time low last week. This sale was bad for both the alleged mum and dad kiwi investors and the Government.”

Before a Citizens Initiated Referendum can be held, the Clerk has to be sure more than 10 per cent of the voting population (308,753 in this case) have signed a petition calling for it.

The Clerk, Mary Harris, said the Speaker David Carter was expected to present the petition to the House on September 3.

Within one month of its presentation, the Government must set a date for the referendum or specify that it is to be a postal referendum.

The referendum must be held within 12 months of the petition’s presentation to the House, unless the House by a 75-per-cent majority vote agrees to postpone it for up to a further year. This is the fifth petition under the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act to proceed to a referendum.

– © Fairfax NZ News

The week in celebrity Instagram pics

Rachel Hunter and Natalie Imbruglia

There was our Rach, all ready to model her new dog-fur bikini, when that Aussie pop strumpet Natalie Imbruglia casually drifted in on her photo-bombing lilo. For shame, Natalie!

Check out this set of shameless celebrity pics, in which our very own Rachel Hunter shows off a dazzling new hairdo, Justin Bieber shows his sensitive side and Nicki Minaj turns contortionist.

Woman dies driving sister home


Last updated 05:00 02/09/2013


SHANNON BUICK: Was on the brink of beginning a promising career

Shannon Buick was on the verge of starting a career, but now her family is planning her funeral.

The promising 23-year-old was driving her little sister home on Friday night when the pair were in a head-on collision on the road they lived on, in the rural outskirts of Masterton.

Shannon had picked up her sister Kaitlin, 16, from her after-school job at Mitre 10 Mega in Masterton. As the girls drove along Paierau Rd in Matahiwi about 6pm they collided head-on with a southbound car driven by a 24-year-old Masterton man.

Shannon died at the scene while Kaitlin was seriously injured and is now in Wellington Hospital in a serious condition.

Speaking for the distraught family, Shannon’s auntie Kay Pankhurst said her niece was a hard-working farm girl.

“She was an awesome young lady, a really special person. She was a typical hard-working farm kid. She was the more outgoing bubbly one and always made an effort to chat. When she was a kid we always used to say she had real spunk.”

Part of a tight-knit family, the sisters were close and initially Kaitlin did not know Shannon had died. Although the family knew Kaitlin would have to deal with her grief on top of her recovery, Mrs Pankhurst said the family’s decision to tell her had been the right one.

“She’s doing OK – fingers crossed,” Mrs Pankhurst said. “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare and these guys are living it,” she said of the sisters’ parents Ian and Linda Buick.

One of the most difficult aspects of her death was that she had been on the brink of beginning a promising career.

“Her life was ahead of her, things were falling into place. That’s the hard thing about it.”

Last year Shannon was one of 15 recipients of the Sydney Campbell Memorial Trust undergraduate scholarship, which is awarded annually to Wairarapa agriculture students.

She had graduated from Massey University with a bachelor of science in animal science in Palmerston North in May and had just taken a full-time job at Masterton stockfeed supplier Seeds & Cereal. She had also been toying with the idea of training or handling airport sniffer dogs and going into the beef and lamb industry.

Her love of animals was a constant throughout her life and she had volunteered at the SPCA.

Masterton senior firefighter Andy Simpson was at the crash on Friday and said a new technique the fire service was rolling out nationally had been critical in saving Kaitlin’s life. Using the time-critical extraction technique firefighters were able to get the sisters out of the crushed car in just nine minutes.

The method involves making cuts in the car, which is then pulled apart by two fire trucks.

“It’s a very quick method of getting victims out of a bad wreck,” Mr Simpson said.

Masterton road policing Sergeant Chris Megaw praised the efforts of emergency services and passing motorists who had stopped to help.

The man who was driving the other car was up and walking around when emergency services arrived at the scene and was now in Wairarapa Hospital with suspected internal stomach injuries.

Serious Crash Unit investigations were ongoing and although it was not known what caused the collision, both cars were found in the northbound lane, in which the sisters had been driving.

Police were awaiting the results of alcohol samples taken from both drivers but no charges had yet been laid, he said.

Police are still appealing for witnesses or for anyone who had helped at the scene.

– © Fairfax NZ News

The extreme bodybuilding teen


Last updated 05:00 02/09/2013

Georgina McConnell

BEFORE: Georgina before she started serious weight training.

Georgina McConnell

AFTER: Georgina in full competition mode this year.

Georgina McConnell has faced criticism for her muscly physique, but no-one can doubt her commitment.

With her bulging muscles and intense fitness regime, Georgina McConnell is definitely not your average teen.

While most 19-year-old girls are mooning over boy bands and sleeping in till midday, she’s focusing on eating right and never missing a workout in order to sculpt her already sizeable frame.

The British teenager began training at a young age with the goal of getting “thin and toned.”

But her initial interest soon changed to a full-on passion for weights, a passion that has seen her undergo a massive body transformation.

Georgina competed in her first bodybuilding competition in May last year and took home second place.

In June this year she managed to go one better, and took home a gold medal in the UKBFF [UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation] North East Championships.

The sport of bodybuilding remains a fairly niche community which is constantly under fire in relation to drug use as well as its promotion of freakishly huge bodies, and Georgina is no exception.

The teen, who is a statuesque 170cm tall, says her powerful frame causes divided opinions among her friends, family and the opposite sex.

“My parents and friends are really proud of me and think I look great, but my brother is the total opposite – he doesn’t get the whole bodybuilding thing at all,” she said.

“I don’t have a boyfriend at the moment, but I don’t think my unusual hobby will put all boys off. Yes, some are a bit intimidated by my muscles, but others like them – I think  it’s an acquired taste.”

Georgina admits her built physique has caused her some strife, but has stuck to her guns (both metaphorical and physical you could say) and continued to work toward her dream of becoming a professional bodybuilder.

She recently fired back at online commenters who made brutal remarks about her appearance.

“I’m happy with who I am,” McConnell wrote on her Facebook page. “I know what I’m doing and I’m doing it for me. I don’t see muscle as anything masculine at all.”

She also responded to the people who accused her of “taking copious amounts of this and that.”

“I never miss a meal,” she wrote. “I never miss a work out or cardio so get that straight.”


Milagres de Jesus será gravada no RECNOV

A Academia de Filmes pretende realizar toda a minissérie “Milagres de Jesus” no complexo Recnov, da Record, no Rio, até como fator importante de economia em gastos de produção.

Calcula-se que cada um dos 18 episódios irá reunir mais de 10 atores, o que deverá movimentar aproximadamente 200 no total.

Ficamos assim. Mas amanhã tem mais. Tchau!


Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carlos NERY

Cheias de Charme vai estrear no Chile amanhã

Chile 1

“Cheias de Charme”, novela de Filipe Miguez e Izabel de Oliveira, estreia segunda-feira no Chile – Canal 13, que já exibe com muito sucesso “Avenida Brasil”.


Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carlos Nery

Emílio Boechat é escritor para o site Taca Pêra


Emílio Boechat, autor, tem escrito para o portal de humor Taca Pêra.
É dele, por exemplo, o episódio “Joselita pede aumento”.


Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carlos Nery