Blockades & unfolding madness around Nepal

The current situation in Nepal is lunacy.

This year Nepal has been shaken to the ground by a catastrophic earthquake and has a haphazard and inefficient relief effort due to years of unstable government and corruptible systems.

Nepal finally approved a flawed but actual constitution in the last month after eight long years of one up man ship which has unstablised the southern region escalating ethnically based protests over the last ten days.

Following skirmishes on the India Nepal border an unofficial border blockade is in place with no essential supplies crossing the land border from India.

Now Nepal can no longer refuel international flights leaving the country and the fragile nation is running out of fuel, food supplies and other essentials in a post natural disaster situation with winter just around the corner…diabolical.

China has now stepped in offering to come to the rescue “giving Nepal all the supplies it needs” according to one publication.

Geo -political posturing ironically punctuated with Southern China Airlines being the first to cancel all flights to the Himalayan nation until at least October 10.


Kiwis in the land of Oz – part II

Feedback from my previous blog discussing a Guardian article by Samantha Prendergast illustrating the struggles of Kiwi’s living in Australia without the legal rights to access government support has been overwhelming.

Some of the stories people have chosen to share illustrate a tenuous existence. Some said they had no desire to return home to NZ but due to the lack of legal protections for Kiwi’s who arrive in Australia post 2001 they have no choice if things go badly.

I am looking to talk with as many Kiwis in Australia and to those whom have moved back home to New Zealand due to their current legal status as guest workers with very little recourse to better their residency status except through expensive spousal visas in the “lucky country.”

Please use the provided contact form to get in touch. Please state if you wish to be contacted further and if you wish to have your identity protected.

And to the many people whom have already been in touch – thank you – I will get back to you over the next couple of weeks.



In the Land of Oz

Following a story in today’s Guardian Australia by Samantha Prendergast I am looking for New Zealanders living in Australia doing it tough without the benefit of the Centrelink safety net. This is despite Australians in New Zealand having access to the full range of social support structures regardless of how long they have lived in New Zealand.

“When I came to Australia at the age of 12, I never expected to find myself age 23 with no access to social security. If I lost my job tomorrow, I’d be broke in four weeks time – and there’d be no Newstart or Youth Allowance to fall back on.

In 2001, two years before my family moved from Auckland to Adelaide, the then Howard government changed the visa rights for New Zealanders who moved to Australia. Previously, Kiwis were immediately eligible for Australian residency. But after 2001, every New Zealander who crossed the Tasman was placed on a non-protected special category visa (SCV), a temporary visa that is unique to New Zealanders and can be altered at any time. We can live here, work here, and access Medicare. But beyond that, services are limited. If people on SCVs want permanent residency and the benefits attached to it, there are few available options. Permanent residency is granted when people meet criteria that make them valuable to the Australian community – and that usually means having a long-term relationship with an Australian citizen, being highly skilled, or being a wealthy under-50 year-old with plans to invest in an Australian company. For many people, especially young New Zealanders who moved here as kids, the criteria are hard to meet and the consequences of staying on a SCV can be severe.”

New Zealanders can technically lose their residency rights in Australia overnight and it is very difficult to get other more permanent forms of residency.

You can read Samantha’s story here.

Anyone willing to share their story can get in touch through the contact form. If you wish to protect your identity please let me know within the contact form and we can go from there.




March in March ~ Melbourne

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On March 16 30,000 Melbourne residents took to the streets, alongside thousands of others across Australia, to protest the Tony Abbott led Coalition government and their policies around refugees, the environment, education, the economy, gender issues and a plethora of other issues.

Images Copyright Neesha Bremner & The Storyteller Project 2014.


SBS interview on orphanage voluntourism in Nepal

Last week I was interviewed by the SBS Nepali show in Australia on my investigative journalism into the issues surrounding orphanage voluntourism in Nepal.

The interview covers the possible links to child trafficking and what volunteers need to consider before embarking on a paid for volunteer experience in the developing country.

You can listen to the interview here.