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Fair Go: March 9

Published: 8:08PM Wednesday March 09, 2011 Source: Fair Go


Reporter: Phil Vine

Twenty years ago comedian Gary Mccormick registered his dismay at the newly introduced departure tax at Palmerston North Airport by scaling the perimeter fence. It was originally advertised as a way to fund the airport's terminal. Since then he's been fighting the fee, now called a development levy and now costing all travellers over the age of five $5.00 each. Finally with a little extra push from Fair Go it looks as if the charge will be scrapped. The CEO of Palmerston North (International) Airport Garry Goodman agreed in an interview with Phil that the levy was a "nuisance" and revealed that over two decades had provided a total of 11.3 million dollars in revenue. The original terminal only cost $3 million. Mr Goodman says the levy is now used to fund all sorts of other amenities at the airport as well as paying interest on the original loan. Mr Goodman says he will be asking Air New Zealand to accept higher landing fees in order to scrap the tax. Air New Zealand however says while its always vehemently opposed the levy and doesn't see any link between it and the landing fees. So Mr Goodman has a fight on his hands. Gary McCormick says he says it's been 20 years well spent and he's glad that the modern concept of financial transparency has finally made it to the Manawatu.


Reporters: Phil Vine and Ali Mau

Fair Go has decided to adopt a street in Christchurch's hard-hit Eastern suburbs and help them through their long recovery process. This week we meet the residents of four of the houses of Goodman Street in Burwood struggling with the problems of no power, no water or sewage and massive liquefaction. Ordinary people with extraordinary challenges. We will be there with them as they begin the long march back to normality and by supporting them in their dealings with Government agencies, insurance companies, contractors and other companies. We hope that their example will help other streets and other communities through the next arduous year.


Reporter: Hannah Wallis

The opportunists got busy after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and after the 2010 Chilean earthquake, during the recent Queensland floods and now; it seems after the Christchurch earthquake. Looters. Burlgars. Email scammers.

Amid chaos and loss and fear ... we ask how can they do it?

Professor Ian Lambie, a clinical psychologist at the University of Auckland, says people who engage in this sort of behaviour have to step over a thresh-hold, have to remove themselves from feeling or thinking about the impact of their actions on others.
It's only ever a few who use disaster to their advantage - those with a quite different view of tragedy.
Ian says the personality type is likely to be narcissist, with low empathy, focused on own needs, with a blatant disregard for others.
Likely to be callous, cruel at times, with an ability to rationalise and distort their thinking to accommodate what they want to do, or want to steal.

He says while looting is historic - think the allegedly looted Elgin marbles out of Greece and the Rosetta stone out of Egypt - these days, there's a lot more understanding of how one persons or groups actions impacts on a whole community or a people. Ian says what allows someone to step over that line, to actually deny or block out the intense distress their actions may cause an individual, defies logic.

We also wondered about the email scammers - the people who got very busy right after the quake with emails like:
"you can assist those people affected by the earthquake by making a donation"
and " I am contacting you to offer you a job to help out charity and also donate to New Zealand's earthquake disaster"

Professor Lambie says what sets the scammer apart from the looter - is the distance from their victims. Ian says internet criminals may well convince themselves that the distance from the "mark" somehow lessens the crime. He says there's always a real victim at the other end - whether it's child pornography or scamming for money or personal details. In fact, there are multiple victims; it has an impact on the whole community. He says the scammer may also be convinced it's not as risky as if you loot or rob, where you might be caught in that moment, may come face to face with your victim. The scammer may feel they have removed themself from the scene of the crime and feel they may never have to face the consequences. He says the scammers are looking for new ways to pull the heartstrings: he says they fish you -  they hook you -  they grab you and they get you.

The Charities Commission sent us the following tips to help safely donate to charities:

Top tips to avoid being scammed
· Be very suspicious of any requests for your credit card, bank account or personal details
· Be wary of "soundalike" charity names
· Often, spam emails have poor grammar and spelling, and come from generic gmail or hotmail addresses
· Don't reply or click on links sent to you in spam email. Some of these emails may contain a virus
· You can report suspicious emails to Scamwatch.
Door-to-door collectors
· Don't be shy about asking to see identification, or asking them to call back after you have had an opportunity to phone the charity
On-street and phone fundraisers
· Some on-street and telemarketing collectors represent profit-making agencies who keep part of your donation for themselves or charge fees for their fundraising services - you can ask them how much of your donation goes to the charity

Benefits for donors giving directly to registered charities
· If you donate directly to a registered charity, you can be sure the charity will receive all of your donation
· You can ask for the charity's registration number - all registered charities have a unique number
· The Charities Commission monitors registered charities, to be sure they are doing what they say they will
· Most registered charities also have donee status (administered by Inland Revenue), so you can get a 33% tax credit for your donation over $5.

Top tips for finding a charity on the NZ Charities Register
· If a charity is on the NZ Charities Register - - you can see all its details and financials
· It's best to use "contains" as the default
· The easiest way to check a charity is on the Register is to put in a key word or two from its name - eg "cross" or "red cross"
· Many registered charities have their email and website details on the Register, so you can contact them (and donate) directly
Overseas charities
· Genuine overseas charities are likely to be registered in their own country, either with their Charity Commission (if they have one) or their government Revenue agency
· If you give to an overseas charity, you may not be able to claim a tax credit
UK, Canada, US, Australian comprehensive list, but you can use

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