Disturbing trends….

Reading this article today on http://www.stuff.co.nz I was quite surprised to see that in New Zealand men over the age of 80 are most likely to commit suicide of all age groups


Baby boomers risk pushing our already high suicide rate to new levels as the rate of elderly people committing suicide skyrockets.

The baby boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1965) was a large group that had carried with it higher rates of suicide at all ages, a world expert on older adult suicide, Professor Yeates Conwell from New York, said at a conference in Auckland last week.

“So as [baby boomers] move into later life, a period of increased risk, the number of suicides may rise higher,” he said.

Conwell said there was no conclusive evidence as to why the suicide rate among the baby boomer generation was higher, but our statistics back the disturbing trend.

Statistics released by chief coroner Neil MacLean showed men aged 80 and over have higher rates of suicide than any other age group in New Zealand.

In the year to June, nine men aged 85 or older committed suicide at a rate of 31 per 100,000. Three women of the same age committed suicide at a rate of six per 100,000.

The total number of suicides for any age group over the 2012/2013 June year was 541, a decrease of six from last year, and two less than the average number of suicides over the past six years.

Conwell, a geriatric psychiatrist, said common contributing factors to older people committing suicide included clinical depression or other mental illness, physical illness and functional impairment, and social disconnection.

Marie Hull-Brown, a mental health promoter at the Mental Health Foundation, said the figures were distressing but “not surprising”.

“Seeing friends die, family moving away and one’s home becoming increasingly hard to maintain are losses that are hard to bear, and older people may become depressed about their ability to manage alone, yet not want to see their GP about the black dog that sits on their shoulder.”

Conwell said there needed to be improved detection and treatment of depression in older adults, social programmes to reach out to isolated seniors, and access to good health care that allowed them to remain as independent as possible.

If you or someone you know is feeling depressed contact the following services, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week unless otherwise specified.

Lifeline, 0800 543 354; Depression Helpline, 8am to midnight, 0800 111 757; Kidsline, for children up to 14, 4-6pm weekdays, 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline); Suicide Crisis Helpline, noon to midnight, 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO); Youthline, 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz; http://www.thelowdown.co.nz or email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626 (emails and text messages will be responded to between noon and midnight).

I had always assumed young men (16-25ish) would be our worst statistical area. I had an interesting conversation with my wife about over medicating the elderly with anti-depressants the other day (she is a physio in a rest-home), maybe she was wrong……

Also bring the euthanasia conversation backs into the limelight



Coalition wins by 9pm

Well with plenty of counting to go the coalition has walked in with a resounding defeat. Sorry to see Rudd win his seat, though this may be great for the coalition! Abbot has run a tight and positive campaign, Kevin should hang his head in shame


Australia Sucks!

Well here is the scientific proof that Australia does suck! (at more than just the rugby anyway)

The world’s sea levels fell in 2011 and it’s all Australia’s fault.

New US research shows Australia’s dry soil and mountainous coastline soaked up heavy rainfall in 2010 and 2011 and stopped it from flowing back into the ocean.

That effectively halted a long-term trend of rising sea levels which have been caused by higher temperatures and melting ice sheets.

“No other continent has this combination of atmospheric set-up and topography,” scientist John Fasullo, who worked on the study, said in a statement.

“Only in Australia could the atmosphere carry such heavy tropical rains to such a large area, only to have those rains fail to make their way to the ocean.”

The world’s oceans have been rising in recent decades by around three millimetres every year.

This is partly because heat has caused water to expand, and partly because run-off from retreating glaciers and ice sheets has made its way into the oceans.

But for an 18-month period beginning in 2010, the oceans mysteriously dropped by about seven millimetres, more than offsetting the annual rise, the study says.

The US scientists say this was mainly caused by Australia’s uniquely dry soil and land surface.

While some of the water evaporated in the desert sun, much of it sank into the dry, granular soil of the Western Plateau or filled the Lake Eyre basin in the east.

Since 2011, sea levels have been rising at a faster pace of about ten millimetres per year.


Hardly puts an end to the climate change debate but does add to the thoughts that I have always had that there is some sort of balance in world climatic change. (I am not a ‘sceptic’ but I do like to see the science from all sides of the debate).

Australia’s Earthquakes…. maintaining journalistic integrity

My good friend Ele over at homepaddock is the champion of the writer, the advocate for the wordsmith, but I am not even sure she can justify getting behind the writer this article!

In fact it is so far wrong I am going to put the whole article in

Update: Severe Earthquake Strikes Australia / Correction – New Zealand

Severe Earthquake Strikes Australia

Our publisher and editors deeply apologize for the errors in this article. To preserve our journalistic integrity, we have decided not to change one word of Tom Ukinski’s article. However, our team of reporters are working as fast as possible to provide you with the most accurate news and information covering the recent New Zealand earthquake. We expect to provide you with an update shortly, right here on this page.

Thanks for your patience.

(Original Report, without corrections below)
A severe earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 has erupted in an area 20 kilometers east of Seddon.

Seddon is a suburb 7 km west of Melbourne, Australia, with a population of about 4,851 people. It is located in the state of Victoria on the southeast tip of Australia.  The shock effects of the quake have been felt as far away as Napier, in Western Australia, 3,302 kilometers (2,066 miles) from Melbourne.  This suggests that the path of the quake is along the southern part of Australia.

The intensity of earthquakes is measured by the moment magnitude scale (MMS).  Events with magnitudes greater than 4.5 are strong enough to be recorded by a seismograph anywhere in the world.

The death toll for earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.0 to 6.9 can reach 25,000 people.  A large number of buildings in populated areas can be destroyed.   The damage can be experienced far from the epicenter. (Wikipedia)

The depth of the quake near Seddon, as of 5:09 p.m., was 19km, which is over 11 miles deep.

Earthquakes can occur up to 700 kilometers below the surface.

There is an average of one earthquake per year in Australia with a magnitude of 5 or greater and a depth of 0 to 70 km.  (USGS)

By:  Tom Ukinski

People’s feedback on facebook and other commentary has been around what a mistake that has been made, and this is true it is a giant stuffup! But what floors me is the effort it takes to get it so wrong. To put Napier in WA and Seddon in Victoria takes a certain kind of stupid. I also find it absolutely disgusting in a breaking new article like this to write about a 6.0 to 6.9 earthquake causing 25,000 deaths, this kind of sensationalist ‘journalism’ disgusts me.

I had to complete 3 years of training to undertake my profession, one of the lowest in health. I also undertake yearly CPD to maintain and grow my knowledge. Apparently smarts are not so important for journalism!

Also, to the best of my knowledge there are subeditors, editors and proofers, surely someone knows where NZ is in the world!


When NZ being 1st in the world is not a statistic to cheer about

Sad news yesterday of another young life lost in NZ


An 18-month-old boy has died after being run over in an Auckland driveway this afternoon.


The child was initially taken to hospital in a critical condition where he later died of his injuries.

Emergency services were called to a home in Otahuhu, South Auckland at 2.20pm.

Police said they were still working to find out how the accident happened.

With at least 24 children killed in the last six years New Zealand is the worst country in the world for toddler driveway deaths.


24c children in six years, 24 grieving families and a nation that needs to reduce this awful stats

Thanks for listening!

Recently I sent an email to the folks that run the National Arboretum here in Canberra

Good afternoon,

My family are kiwis living in Canberra. We have twice been to get photos of our baby daughter taken with the Kauri tree planted by Prime Minister John Key.

Our plan is to take a photo each year showing the Kauri and our daughter both growing up in the ACT.

Both times we have been no one is able to tell us where the tree is exactly.

I would have assumed important trees would be marked on a map and also have a plaque, but clearly not. This is pretty disappointing.

Are you able to please give some guidance?


I was hoping to get some sort of indicator from the folks of the Arboretum on where to find ‘John Keys Tree’, here is the response I received a few days later

Hello xxxx,

Your email has been sent to me. First of all, my apologies for our lack of signage in some parts of the site. The Ceremonial Tree Plantings in the Central Valley are one of the areas we need to provide more information about. You are right, clearly labelled plaques would help. Better maps and signage for the trees in the Central Valley is planned, please be assured. In the meantime, I have moved the information about the Ceremonial Tree Plantings so it might be a bit easier to find – perhaps you have already seen the information and photos on the Arboretum’s website at: http://www.nationalarboretum.act.gov.au/trees/Ceremonial-tree-plantings/new_zealand_-_kauri

Have you tried to find the tree in the Central Valley, and couldn’t, or no-one directed you to the Central Valley for the Ceremonial Trees? You may already know that the Central valley is that huge zig zag that stretches from the main entrance right up to the Village Centre, and the trees are planted in the patches of ground in the zig zag area, near the Village Centre.

I looked at our map of the Tree Plantings in the Central Valley and found the kauri you are referring to, I think, planted by PM John Key on 20 August 2009. On the attached technical drawing, the kauri is near the top of Central Valley, closest to the Village Centre, about 8th or 9th tree down – can you see it on the version of the map? I have made the attachment low resolution so I didn’t overload you with a large file – the original is 20 Mbs. Please let me know if you can’t see it and I’ll send you a higher resolution map.

An easier way to find the kauri might be to contact xxx who works here and is in charge of the Ceremonial Tree Plantings. It may be before her time at the Arboretum, as well as mine, but she would probably be able to direct you to the right tree – she knows all the plantings. Her work phone number is xxx, email: xxx@act.gov.au  She only works Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but perhaps you could arrange a time to visit the Arboretum when xxx is here and she can help you find the tree for sure. She is recovering from a knee injury and so won’t be able to walk with you the whole way, but she can direct you from the North Deck to make sure you find the right tree.

You may be interested to know there are other trees from NZ in the Arboretum – this information is now on our website at: http://www.nationalarboretum.act.gov.au/trees/countries-represented-by-trees-in-the-forests-and-central-valley.

Austral   New Zealand Agathis australis (C. Valley & Trial Lot)Podocarpus totara

Pseudopanax ferox

Sophora microphylla   


New Zealand Lancewood


I hope this helps, and please contact me if you need any further information.


What a great and helpful response!

So thanks guys, appreciate the comprehensive email back, I look forward to getting a photo of our bubba with the tree. John, if you are in town any time, we could get a photo with you, the tree and my daughter?