The maximum driver licence disqualification period for a second offence of failing to stop or remain stopped will be upped from 12 months as high as 24 months. The law will be amended so that a vehicle can be forfeited on conviction for failing to stop. And Offenders could have their vehicle permanently removed, without any proceeds from the sale back.
Police will also be given the power to impound a vehicle for 28 days if the owner fails, refuses, or provides false or misleading information about the identity of a driver from a fleeing driver event.
The justice minister Kiri Allan said the government was committed to reducing road deaths – and today’s changes would ensure that.
“While no law can ever stop an offender from choosing to flee, evidence indicates that the changes most likely to influence offender behaviour are those that create a greater likelihood of getting caught and then losing access to their vehicle,” Allan said.
Speaking to media in Hamilton, prime minister Jacinda Ardern pushed back after a reporter suggested she might need a new nickname akin to Judith Collins’ “crusher” persona.
Chris Schulz is in Las Vegas (!) this week and filed this report from on the ground:
Lanyards are being swung around necks, thousands of meeting rooms are booked out, swag bags are being loaded with free goodies, cover bands are playing bars en masse and data is on everyone’s minds in Las Vegas, where one of the world’s biggest tech conferences is underway – with several New Zealand companies taking centre stage.
Amazon’s annual tech conference Re:Invent has been held virtually since 2020 because of Covid restrictions, but burst back to life this week with its biggest spectacle yet. More than 55,000 people have converged on the city that never sleeps for five days of showcases, keynote speeches, data transformation discussions and, when day turns to dusk, tech parties soundtracked by covers bands.
Keynote speaker Adam Selipsky, Amazon Web Services’ CEO, took centre stage on Tuesday morning with a covers band announcing his arrival with a 20-second burst of Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. His presentation compared his ultra-successful cloud computing company to Antarctic pioneers and deep sea divers, and revealed a string of new services and products that received cheers from the thousands of fanatics crammed into The Venetian’s conference centre.
Several New Zealand companies have taken centre stage at the expo, with Spark Business Group winning the AWS Innovation Partner of the Year for Asia-Pacific and Japan award. It did so for developing a pothole detection system that combines road inspection footage captured via GoPro with a machine-learning platform capable of automatically detecting defects.
Weta Workshop’s Dave Conley was the star of a panel discussion on Tuesday night where the executive VFX producer revealed the Wellington-based company had utilised cloud computing to speed up graphic rendering. This has resulted in vastly improved CGI images on the TV shows She Hulk and The Rings of Power, along with James Cameron’s upcoming blockbuster Avatar: The Way of Water.
Re:Invent isn’t free, with week-long passes costing $1799. Attendees are able to see the latest innovations in cloud storage technology while being able to pose for photos with sumo wrestlers, get served beer by a robot, pick up multiple free T-shirts, eat cookies warmed in a microwave, drink from the many open bars and fill up swag bags with branded hoodies, pens, pins and stress balls shaped like mules.
The week will conclude with a packed Thursday full of more keynote speeches and a music festival including headlining performances by Martin Garrix, Chromeo and Thievery Corporation. Hopefully it will give the cover bands of Las Vegas a well-earned rest.
Former prime minister John Key has joined the board of another company – Oritain.
The NBR described the company as a “global leader” in applying forensic and data science to prove the origin of a product. Key reportedly liked Oritain’s story and despite initially saying no to the board offer, eventually relented.
“I’m involved quite a bit in technology these days, I’m on Palo Alto Networks’ board, which is in Silicon Valley – the largest cybersecurity company in the world, and a bunch of other little startup companies which are in the technology space,” said Key.
“Hopefully, I can bring a perspective that’s global, but a little bit different – I can think the way governments might think and think the way big corporations might think.”
Since leaving politics in 2016, Key has been on the board of directors of Air New Zealand and is currently the chairman of ANZ bank.
The details of New Zealand’s first convicted case of sabotage can finally be revealed.
Earlier this year, Graham Philip pleaded guilty to sabotage and was sentenced to just over three years in prison.
It’s now been revealed that Philip, in protest at the government’s Covid-19 restrictions and vaccination mandate, attempted to bring down the North Island’s entire power grid.
Until now, these details had been suppressed by the courts. According to Stuff, this was over fears that Philip’s actions could trigger a copycat incident. Some information can still not be reported, however, relating to the specifics of how Philip intended to carry out his attack on Transpower infrastructure.
One of the lead vocalists from iconic pop rock band Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie, has died at the age of 79.
In a statement, the band said there were “no words” to describe the sadness of McVie’s passing. “She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure.”
The prolific singer-songwriter was one of eight members of Fleetwood Mac inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and featured on many of the band’s most adored records, like Grammy winning Rumours.
Her family said McVie died peacefully at hospital.
As the Reserve Bank governor paints a gruesome picture for the year ahead, Gone By Lunchtime asks what it means for the election. Also in this episode: National kills its tax cut darling, Christopher Luxon stumbles on super numbers, the boot camp brouhaha, Winston Peters’ break from tradition, and an extended constitutional corner in which the GBL team impersonate public law intellectuals and assess the entrenchment malarkey and the supreme court ruling on the voting age.
The Fair Pay Agreement Act takes effect from today. As the Herald’s Jenée Tibshraeny reports (paywalled) this morning, Unite Union plans to submit paperwork with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) today to get approval to start fair pay bargaining on behalf of hospitality workers.
RNZ journalist Guyon Espiner’s documentary on New Zealand’s drug laws aired last night. It questioned why the country was falling behind other jurisdictions in its approach to tackling the never-ending health crisis surrounding drugs like cannabis.
As Espiner explained, thousands of New Zealanders are convicted for fairly low level drug offending – something that just doesn’t happen in a lot of other countries.
On Morning Report this morning, the current health minister Andrew Little – who was justice minister at the time of the 2020 cannabis referendum – reflected on the state of the law. He admitted that our current laws were “out of date” but said there was no social license for “radical” change.
Andrew Little making great arguments for drug decriminalisation on @NZMorningReport. Just not, you know, doing anything about it. Stop blaming a referendum on one thing for your inaction on doing another.
Despite appearing to promote many harm reduction approaches to drug use in New Zealand, Little also reflected on the result of the referendum when asked why the current government wasn’t using its majority to implement changes.
“We have to respect the result of the referendum and the reality is that a majority of voting New Zealanders – admittedly by a small margin – were not prepared to take the step that has happened in other jurisdictions of both legalising cannabis and putting in place a much tighter control around its presence in our communities,” said Little.
“I was very pleased at how that draft legislation came together… but when I talked to many in the community, many… were very fearful about what could happen.”
Little agreed that the same “fear” was happening under the current legislation. “Simple possession [of cannabis] offences should not lead to a conviction, much less a prison sentence. But we have to be very careful about underestimating and being dismissive of the fear people legitimately have about the harm that drugs can cause.”
It was contradictory, suggested Little, that people supported the legal use of alcohol – “the most harmful drug” – but not the criminalisation of drugs. “There was a debate in 2020… the debate did not approve a liberalisation of our drug laws. We do have to pause and take stock. My reading of that is that those who were proponents of change did not respect and understand and address the fear a lot of people feel about what it means to legalise [drugs].”