Bigger Virgin stake seen as smart Air New Zealand play

12:51 PM Saturday Oct 5, 2013

Analysts were not worried by the financial position of Virgin Australia, which posted a net loss of A$98.1 million for its last financial year. Photo / Richard Robinson

Analysts were not worried by the financial position of Virgin Australia, which posted a net loss of A$98.1 million for its last financial year. Photo / Richard Robinson

Air New Zealand’s plan to boost its stake in Virgin Australia is a smart, strategic move that will protect and strengthen its transtasman alliance with the Aussie airline, say analysts.

This country’s flag carrier, which is 73 per cent owned by the Government, yesterday announced it had received regulatory approvals to acquire an additional 3 per cent of Virgin Australia, taking its shareholding to 22.9 per cent.

Air New Zealand said the approval allowed it to increase its stake by a further 3 per cent to 25.9 per cent, provided it complied with “creep” provisions under the Australian Corporations Act. Those provisions allow a shareholder to build its stake beyond 20 per cent provided it does not increase it by more than 3 per cent in any six-month period.

“In the airline industry, equity stakes have become an increasingly important part of cementing partnerships,” said Craigs Investment Partners analyst Chris Byrne. “Air New Zealand wants to be one of the stronger partners for Virgin.”

Virgin Australia’s other major shareholders are Singapore Airlines (19.9 per cent), Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group (12.47 per cent) and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, which last month boosted its stake to 13.4 per cent from 12.34 and is targeting a 19.9 per cent shareholding.

Salt Funds Management managing director Paul Harrison said increasing the shareholding was a good strategic move for Air New Zealand and protected its revenue gains from the transtasman alliance.

The partnership connects Air New Zealand’s 26 domestic destinations in this country with Virgin Australia’s more than 35 domestic Australian destinations and strengthens the Kiwi carrier’s position against Qantas and Emirates in the highly competitive transtasman market.

“Air New Zealand has seen Etihad start to increase its stake [in Virgin Australia] a little bit, so they’ll be trying to make sure they don’t lose influence,” Harrison said.

Forsyth Barr head of private wealth research Rob Mercer said Virgin Australia was a key part of the New Zealand carrier’s Australasian strategy and the plan to increase the stake showed the investment was seen as a long-term one.

“To be strong in the Pacific Rim does require Air New Zealand to have a good network into Australia.”

Analysts were not worried by the financial position of Virgin Australia, which posted a net loss of A$98.1 million for its last financial year.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the opportunity to increase the shareholding and the recent extension of the transtasman alliance meant the airline could work “confidently” with Virgin Australia to provide a competitive Australasian and international network.

Shares in Air New Zealand closed up 0.5c yesterday at $1.50.

By Christopher Adams

The New Zealand Herald

Australia: Melbourne’s winning formula

11:00 AM Thursday Oct 3, 2013

Amid champagne, glamour, girls and celebrity glitz, Winston Aldworth notices there’s a car race going on

The Rolex Grid Girls spread the sponsor's bonhomie.

The Rolex Grid Girls spread the sponsor’s bonhomie.

Watching cars race isn’t meant to be like this. Looking down on a Formula 1 race is like witnessing a session of low-flying spaceship racing.

We’re doing it surrounded by celebrities, champagne, some impressive aircraft flypasts and a great deal of noise, not all of it generated by engines. For the novice guest, the circus that surrounds the Australian Grand Prix can seem bigger than the race itself.

With a blessed spot in the Qantas lounge, I’m standing, beer in hand, about two metres directly above the head of Mark Webber, the Australian F1driver beloved of Melbourne and embittered by his fellow Red Bull driver, Germany’s Sebastian Vettel. The Qantas lounge is directly above the garage of the car in pole position – that’s Vettel’s.

The Red Bull drivers, like all their rivals, are lean. When Ferrari-driving Spaniard Fernando Alonso peacocks his way to his car, he looks little enough for a mechanic to pick up and pop in his toolbox.

Like any sport, you need to be a true fan to know just what the hell is going on in Formula 1. The truest of fans will know not only the ins and outs of engine power and aerodynamics, they’ll also have honed up on the finer points of resentment and mistrust between Webber and Vettel.

But – more than any other sport – this is one where you can remain ignorant of the nuance and simply get swept along in the ludicrous event. You don’t need to talk the torque to have a blast at Melbourne’s Grand Prix. In fact, the people who seem to be most enjoying the day look like they couldn’t tell a McLaren from a Mazda.

Formula 1, perhaps more than any other sport, recognises the importance of putting on a show; of making the event bigger than the race itself. Not a fan of motor sport? Not a problem. Think of it less as a sport and more as skinny teenagers racing spaceships.

And spaceships they are.

There’s a lot going on. Celebrities are racing, historic cars do laps and there’s a race for – that most Aussie of all things motoring – the V8s. Jimmy Barnes sings. A motorcycle team perform outrageous aerial feats on a giant Hot Wheels track. A Qantas jet gives us a flypast as does an F18 Hornet from the Aussie air force – inviting us, not for the last time today, to recalibrate our volume benchmarks.

The Rolex Girls – a dozen or so beautiful young women spreading the sponsor’s bonhomie – sweep serenely through the crowd. The masses part. At one point they have about 100 men trailing in their fragrant wake.

Celebrities – mostly of the knockabout Australian variety – abound. At one point I am introduced to Leo Sayer (the short, frizzy-haired pop star who was big in the 1970s). I thought he was Richard Simmons, another short, frizzy-haired star who was big in the 1970s. I was just about to commend his (Simmons) performance in those Air New Zealand safety videos, when he (Sayer) got distracted and wandered away.

A celeb-spotter better informed than me was able to stop me from completing my error and embarrassing myself.

Sayer is a huge Formula 1 fan and has followed the circus around the world. When the cars take their place on the Melbourne grid he trots from machine to machine, chatting to racing team staff and to the Rolex Girls who hold the signs marking each grid position. It’s just one more surreal sideshow at this mad, brilliant circus.

But there’s no doubting the main attraction.

On a pitwalk before the main event we get the chance to check out the cars. The striking thing is their single-minded sense of purpose. No room for shopping bags in the back. It’s rare, in this multi-tasking age, to see a piece of technology designed so purely for one thing.

At some point, all Formula 1 visitors will be tempted to “have a listen” without the earplugs in.

The volume of a Formula 1 car is a benchmark sound which you know, from the moment you hear it unprotected, has forever adjusted your personal definition of what the word “loud” means.

You hear it for a bit and you think to yourself, “Jesus, that’s loud. Nothing could possibly be louder than that.” And then a few moments later, it’s louder than it was. So you think, “Aha! Got me! Nothing could be louder than that.” And, of course, it gets louder still. And that’s when there’s just one passing by. The start of the race, with 21 roaring spaceships on the grid resets all the dials.

This visceral wall of noise – so loud it’s directionless, coming from everywhere – is what I imagine it would be like to be shrunken and placed inside the engine of a particularly loud lawn mower.

A full-throttle drive by clocks in at around 147dB (a gunshot is a relatively passe 133dB). So, yes, those little foam earplugs they give you? Pop them in.

On our pitlane walk, the steering wheel of Kimi Raikkonen is proffered to us. Look but don’t touch. Raikkonen is a Finn whose ruddy face and liking for strong spirits might seem to fit more comfortably behind the wheel of a tractor than in the high-glamour world of F1. (Raikkonen ultimately won the race, followed home by the tiny Ferrari-driving Spaniard Fernando Alonso and the unloved German, Vettel.)

The steering wheel is a fiendishly complicated mechanism. The cars are monsters.

Formula 1 is vastly safer than it once was – the last race fatality was Ayrton Senna who, in 1994, became the 24th driver to die in a grand prix. The 23rd, Roland Ratzenberger, died the day before Senna.

But the menace of these giant cars is still clear. After a grid girl at the 1999 British grand prix cheerily wished Michael Schumacher luck by saying “break a leg”, the less-than-cheery German found himself a few hours later hospitalised with his leg in plaster.

Albert Park, with its lake in the middle, is a cracking location in which to watch skinny teenagers racing spaceships. The Melbourne skyline makes for a beautiful backdrop as they blast off down the track.

F1 bosses are on the verge of a new deal that will keep the circus visiting Melbourne beyond 2015. I chatted some Melburnians who would happily see the back of the event. It’s loud, blocks off a heap of streets for the best part of a week and costs taxpayers around $50 million. Supporters see it for what it is: A ludicrous, glorious and ultimately wildly fun jewel in the crown of a city that prides itself on big sporting events.


Getting there: Qantas flies daily from Auckland to Melbourne.
Details: Melbourne Grand Prix 2014 is on March 14-16.

Winston Aldworth travelled as a guest of Tourism Victoria and Qantas.


The New Zealand Herald

Fiji: River of life

11:00 AM Monday Oct 7, 2013

Danielle Wright discovers the colours of Fiji on a muddy boat tour up the Nahigatoka River


A Fiji river cruise is a colourful experience.

A Fiji river cruise is a colourful experience.

The drive to Nahigatoka takes about an hour from Denerau. Along the way, we see huge trees flattened by a recent storm, children playing ring-a-rosy in front of homes without fences, boys playing rugby and men sharing a beer on tatami mats. And, always, coconut trees and bright hibiscus flowers colour the horizon.

As we walk around Nahigatoka town, it’s apparent the colours of Fiji are not just in the surroundings. Everyone greets us with an ebullient “bula” and a joyful spirit. After a few days, I wonder how genuine this is, but it’s our first day on the island and for now I think they’re the friendliest people on Earth.

It wasn’t always this friendly though, as we’re about to find out on a riverboat tour. Our host, Finna, relays some of the more brutal happenings to visitors in a jolly voice and with smiling eyes: “So, don’t mess with a Fijian, they’ll eat you,” he sums up, giggling.

Our children, 4 and 7, look at me with big eyes. “We better be on our best behaviour,” I whisper in their ears. I’m impressed – and relieved – that they take the message to heart throughout the trip.

Finna also tells us about the renewed effort on conservation in the area, explains the communal way of life for villagers and talks with love about the food – especially a carbohydrate called cassava, which is eaten instead of rice or potatoes.

As the sun beats down, we wave at fishermen perched in trees and watch older siblings gleefully pushing their younger brothers into the water at the river’s edge, village pigs snorting as we pass.

After 20 minutes, we’re at the river mouth where dozens of fishermen carry mosquito nets attached to poles, hoping to catch whitebait, and horses buck in the heat.

“Once, a man on a horse would head back to tell the other villagers the fish were flowing,” says Finna. “But with mobile phones, the whole village can now be here within minutes.”

We learn so much about the people, their history and the life they lead on the island.

Next, we’re shuttled off to a nearby school, where we see children in smart uniforms playing rugby on the fields. Inside, the younger ones sing us a song and we’re encouraged to send books for their new library.

A drum is sounded, rather than a bell, to signal the start and end of class and we leave the happy, shy children to head to their village where the grown-ups perform a cultural show.

We’re shown how to husk a coconut and told about all the benefits of the fruit of the coconut tree, nicknamed the tree of life. Inside a hut, we’re given sandwiches, hot dogs and fruit set out on a tatami mat.

At the cultural show, my husband is made “chief” as the women produce kava and make him lead the dancing.

I think he likes the kava – he’s very chatty for the next couple of hours and surprises me with his dance moves – although he later tells me someone was telling him what to do next.

Just when we think the tour is over, they bring out the handcrafts and show us how to make clay pigs, kneading with the heels of their feet, as well as weaving: you get your money’s worth.

The Nahigatoka River Cruise was the first, and best, day of our Fijian holiday.

To be able to take some of the local colours of Fiji home with us is something that will stay with our family for a long time, much longer than the sunburn if we’d stayed around the hotel pool.
• Tour prices start at $115 for adults and $55 for children,

• We stayed at the Fiji Beach Resort & Spa managed by The Hilton. One of the best memories is having a private dinner on the beach where the kids could build sandcastles in between courses and finally turn off their “best behaviour” after a busy day on the village tour,

• Dani Wright travelled with assistance of Fiji Tourism.

– Herald on Sunday


The New Zealand Herald

Police officer stabbed in the face in Auckland

11:47 AM Monday Oct 7, 2013

The scene were the police officer was stabbed in the face at Bastion Point. Photo / Dean Purcell

The scene were the police officer was stabbed in the face at Bastion Point. Photo / Dean Purcell

Do you have more information? Email us here.


A police officer has been hospitalised after he was stabbed in the face in Auckland this morning.

The incident happened as the officer was speaking to a man on Hapimana Road in the suburb of Orakei.

The man had been reported to Police by members of the public as being abusive and confrontational while on Tamaki Drive and it was later discovered he was in possession of weapons.

The officer’s injuries are not life threatening.

Police say after the officer was stabbed, the man fled on foot into nearby bush around the Tamaki Yacht Club and the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial grounds.

He was located a short time after the alleged stabbing and was taken into custody after a Taser was deployed.

A woman who lives on Patteson Ave in Mission Bay asked a police officer who was searching her neighbour’s property what was going on.

He told her:

“There’s been an incident between police and an offender. The offender is in custody but we’re still trying to locate the weapon.”

Police said the access road to the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial grounds had been closed, but there was no disruption to Tamaki Drive traffic.

St John Ambulance had been asked not to speak to media about the incident “for operational reasons and in order to ensure accurate information was distributed about a police event that did not unnecessarily distress the officer’s family,” police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said.

“It was appropriate that any information about the stabbing was released in a timely manner, by police,” she said.


The New Zealand Herald

Morte de irmãos é elucidada

Em menos de 48 horas, a equipe de inspetores do 31º Distrito Policial (Cumbuco), comandados pela delegada Marta Maria Reis, elucidou um o duplo homicídio que vitimou os irmãos Oswaldo Nunes Gomes, 23; e Ozaías Nunes Gomes, 25.

Delegada Marta Monteiro tomou o depoimento do traficante suspeito do crime. Ele teve a prisão preventiva decretada pela Justiça FOTO: NATINHO RODRIGUES

Em menos de 48 horas, a equipe de inspetores do 31º Distrito Policial (Cumbuco), comandados pela delegada Marta Maria Reis, elucidou um o duplo homicídio que vitimou os irmãos Oswaldo Nunes Gomes, 23; e Ozaías Nunes Gomes, 25.

O crime ocorreu na noite do último domingo, na Rua Boa Vista, comunidade de Munguba, em Icaraí, Caucaia. Os dois irmãos foram assassinados com vários golpes de faca, além de outras agressões. O caso teria ocorrido numa bebedeira.


O acusado do crime, identificado como Sandro Paulino da Silva Costa, 22, mais conhecido por “Xuel”, compareceu ao 22º Distrito Policial (Icaraí), prestou depoimento, e pretendia ir embora, mas ficou na delegacia por força de um mandado de prisão preventiva expedido pela Juíza Sandra Helena de Lima.

“Xuel”, que, segundo a Polícia, é traficante de drogas, contou que matou os dois homens porque eles estavam lhe devendo a importância de R$ 350,00 na compra de drogas.

Além disso, segundo o traficante, as vítimas estavam ouvindo música, em um bar, com o volume muito alto. O acusado disse que ficou irritado com aquilo, por mora nas proximidades do bar e tem um filho com apenas 10 meses de nascido e a criança não conseguia dormir.

As vitimas, que comprovadamente eram usuárias de drogas foram assassinadas a facadas pedradas e pauladas. A delegada Marta Reis informou que “Xuel” teve a colaboração de dois adolescentes, um de 13 e outro de 16 anos, no crime. Segundo ela apurou, os menores espancaram os irmãos, quando esses estavam caídos.

O inspetor-chefe do 31ºDP, Moacir Carvalho de Araújo, disse que “Xuel” revelou que usou também pedra e pau porque a faca ficou cravada no corpo de um dos irmãos e o outro ainda estava vivo. Para terminar o “serviço”, o traficante, com a ajuda dos adolescentes, matou os dois usuários de drogas.


Os dois adolescentes ainda permanecem foragidos, no entanto, já estão devidamente identificados. “Eles vão responder também por esse ato infracional”, garantiu a delegada Marta Reis.

Desde abril deste ano, quando assumiu o 31ºDP, a delegada já encaminhou 350 inquéritos policiais ao Poder Judiciário.


Diário do Nordeste-06/10/2013-Polícia

Páginas oficiais da Prefeitura de Fortaleza na internet são invadidas

Município está solicitando a instauração de inquérito policial para efetiva apuração do ataque


Páginas do site da Secretaria Municipal de Educação (SME) da Prefeitura de Fortaleza foram invadidas por um grupo de três hackers, identificados como DK Brazil Hackteam & An0nнat, na noite de sábado (5). O órgão esclareceu que está solicitando a instauração de inquérito policial para efetiva apuração do ataque.

As páginas da SME continham a imagem do prefeito Roberto Cláudio e textos contra corrupção Foto: Kiko Silva

Ao acessar o site, o internauta se deparava com uma imagem do prefeito Roberto Cláudio, seguido por um texto que, em seu conteúdo, trazia frases contra a corrupção na política, bem como termos ofensivos contra o Prefeito. Além do texto, seguiam-se imagens de uma criança faminta comendo restos do chão e charges com teor de crítica à política.

Os sites invadidos ainda eram acompanhados por um fundo musical com a música “Espetáculo do Circo dos Horrores”, do grupo de rap paulista Facção Central.

Em nota, a Secretaria Municipal da Educação de Fortaleza informou que a ação aconteceu na noite do último sábado (5) e que quinze minutos depois,  a equipe de Tecnologia da Informação identificou o problema e retirou o site do ar. Às 11:45h deste domingo (6), a página foi restabelecida.

A assessoria da Prefeitura de Fortaleza confirmou a invasão apenas no site da SME e disse não ter conhecimento da ação em outros sites do órgão.

Novela “Água Viva” faz canal Viva liderar audiência na TV paga

 Divulgação/TV Globo

Um dos grandes sucessos da Globo nos anos 80, “Água Viva” voltou a ser exibida no Viva, canal de reprises da Globosat na TV paga.

A novela foi escolhida em uma votação do público, que tinha como opções “A Indomada”, “Fera Ferida” e “O Dono do Mundo”. E parece que esta decisão foi acertada.

Segundo a jornalista Keila Jimenez, o primeiro capítulo exibido na última segunda-feira (30) foi líder de audiência na TV por assinatura.

“Água Viva” é de autoria de Gilberto Braga, com colaboração de Manoel Carlos e tem em seu elenco nomes como Raul Cortez, Reginaldo Faria, Betty Faria, Lucélia Santos e Beatriz Segall. A direção geral é de Roberto Talma e Paulo Ubiratan.

A novela é exibida de segunda a sábado, à meia-noite, com reprises às 12h.

Atualmente, o Viva ocupa a décima sexta colocação no ranking de audiência na TV paga, contando apenas índices da Grande São Paulo.


SBT quer melhorar estética da filial do Rio de Janeiro
Isabele Benito é a âncora do “SBT Rio”; SBT promoverá melhoras na filial carioca – Divulgação
Disposto a elevar os níveis de qualidade de sua filial no Rio de Janeiro, o SBT de São Paulo tomou algumas providências nestes últimos dias.
A emissora encaminhou de sua sede para a capital carioca cerca de cinco profissionais de cenografia, figurino e maquiagem. Eles terão como missão implantar uma melhora nos três quesitos, os quais são consideráveis muito aquém do esperado para o porte do canal.
A ideia é que o padrão de qualidade implantado seja feito nos moldes que a Globo tem em todo o país.
Com informações do jornalista Daniel Castro.