Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin of Across The Ditch. This week they discuss controversy surrounding NZ’s largest ever live sheep export. Plus, they mark the passing of Sir Peter Williams QC.
ITEM ONE (Ref. Stuff.co.nz)
Live Sheep Exports: Just when we thought New Zealand had relegated to history live sheep exports, the National-led Government has approved the export of 50,000 sheep and 3000 cattle to Mexico.
It is the largest mass export of livestock to ever leave New Zealand on one vessel.
Yesterday (Wednesday) workers began loading sheep and cattle onto the carrier ship Nada.
Back in 2007, New Zealand banned all live sheep exports, that is where the sheep are being exported for slaughter. Apparently this massive export of sheep is to restock breeding stock in Mexico after thousands of sheep and cattle died due to a severe drought.
The government’s Ministry of Primary Industries approved the live export citing that loophole.
The decision has angered animal welfare and rights groups. Spokesperson for Save All Animals from Exploitation (SAFE), Hans Kriek said: “In a shipment this large, many animals will die on the journey. Sheep die of inanition, a refusal to eat the dry nuts fed on the ship.”
But the government officials insist that during the two-week voyage the exporter must meet requirements around water, food, space and facilities. The sheep must be accompanied by suitably experienced stockmen and at least one veterinarian.
The Green Party animal welfare spokesperson, Mojo Mathers “This is a huge number of animals that need to be looked after, fed and watered, properly and humanely, in confined quarters for a long journey.
Sir Peter Williams QC: One of New Zealand’s most respected defence lawyers, Sir Peter Williams QC, passed away on Tuesday evening after a time battling prostate cancer.
Sir Peter had defended some of New Zealand’s most notorious criminals, and also defended others who were unjustly accused. He represented Ronald Jorgensen, who was convicted for the Basset Road Machine Gun Murders in Auckland, and defended Terry Clarke aka Alexander Sinclair a leader of the Mr Asia heroin syndicate. And he helped the defence team representing Arthur Allan Thomas who was twice found guilty for the murders of Jeanette and Harvey Crew after Police planted evidence to force a conviction. Arthur Thomas was pardoned of the crimes after serving nine years in maximum security prison.
But Sir Peter was also renowned for his work seeking improvements for people held in police custody and also for prisoners serving time in NZ’s penal institutions. He campaigned, often successfully, for authorities to observer the human rights of prisoners.
He was able to speak with experience and authority of how locking people up, without hope nor opportunity, without rehabilitative programmes designed to help a person achieve their positive potential, then, we, as a society were failing not only the prisoner, but also ourselves.
Sir Peter will be sadly missed.