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  1. Happy, committed and productive. That is how most companies would like their staff to be. But few companies would go so far as giving their workers one day off a week in order to achieve it. That, however, was the approach of the New Zealand will writing company Perpetual Guardian. The firm has just completed an eight week trial, giving their 200 or so employees an extra day off every week, while all pay and employment conditions remained unchanged. The results speak for themselves. Despite the reduced hours, workers were 20% more productive and much happier. Chief Executive Andrew Barnes called the experiment an "unmitigated success". The experiment was measured by Jarrod Haar, Professor of Human Resource Management at Auckland University of Technology. He found job and life satisfaction increased on all levels, both at home and at work, with employees performing better and enjoying their jobs more than before the experiment began. The findings were exactly as the firm’s Chief Executive Andrew Barnes had predicted. Indeed he says the decision to test the new way of working was “the right thing to do”, after looking at several global productivity reports. The experiment has many implications, reigniting questions about productivity and a culture of long working hours, as well as the way in which part-time workers are valued and rewarded. All hours aren’t equal One thing that is already clear is that longer hours do not necessarily mean greater productivity. South Korea, for example, ranks near to the bottom of OECD countries for labour productivity despite having a culture of working very long hours. Similarly, within Europe, Greece has one of the longest working weeks, but comes out bottom in the OECD’s measure of GDP per hour worked. Japan is another example of a country where a culture of long working hours does not tally with increased productivity. Japan is now deliberately cutting down on overtime, and using tactics such as turning the lights out at the end of the working day, in order to reverse this trend. A long day’s work There have also been a number of trials which look at increasing productivity by shortening the working day rather than the working week. In Sweden, for example, the government has trialled allowing workers at a retirement home to work six hour days. Although the employees reported an improved quality of life, with less stress and more time to spend with their families, it was also an expensive experiment for the local council who had to hire extra workers to make up for the shortfall in hours. Iceland conducted a similar trial, allowing some Reykjavik city workers to reduce their working week by four or five hours. In that experiment, productivity continued at the same level, meaning costs remained the same as well. The employees also had greater work satisfaction and fewer days off sick. These two studies suggest that it may be the nature of the work which is critical in deciding whether reducing the length of the working day is cost-effective. For shift workers such as nurses, security guards or careworkers a continual presence is needed, meaning the employer will need to find somebody else to cover the jobs. But for office workers it may be a case of Parkinson’s law which states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Or to put that a slightly different way, workers will become more efficient if there is less time to complete a task. Ironically, of course, part-time workers are often paid less than their full-time colleagues, even though many working parents will also recognize the truth that they achieve in four days what others do in five. Part-time work can also help increase the diversity of the workforce, and is reported to be one of the reasons behind online retailer Amazon’s experiment with shorter days. The quest for work-life balance Helen Delaney, a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland Business School says the success of the Perpetual Guardian trial in New Zealand was down to the involvement of staff in planning the experiment. “Employees designed a number of innovations and initiatives to work in a more productive and efficient manner, from automating manual processes to reducing or eliminating non-work-related internet usage,” she told the Guardiannewspaper. The company’s chief executive is now going to discuss with his board whether the four-day week should be introduced permanently. Meanwhile government policy-makers would also do well to consider the results when they are looking at how to both increase productivity and improve the nation’s work-life balance. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/working-fewer-hours-makes-you-productive-new-zealand-trial?utm_source=Facebook Videos&utm_medium=Facebook Videos&utm_campaign=Facebook Video Blogs
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    Interesting...Memorial attendance really hasn't changed much in 17 years. It was 27K (and change) last year...and the same in 1998. Meanwhile, the population of NZ has grown by 1 million in that same period (26%). The 2017 "Ratio 1 publisher to..." has slowly increased to 1:340 in 2017-- the worst ratio in NZ since 1986...31 years. Clearly the efforts of JWs in NZ to even keep up with population growth has stalled. "Peak publishers" has basically stayed flat, only fluctuating within a small margin since 2008...nearly 10 years.
  2. Dan King says he was hit over the head with own crutch after asking a doorknocker to leave. An elderly, disabled Whangarei man is warning people to be careful who they answer the door to after allegedly being attacked with his own crutch following an altercation with a door knocker. Dan King, 75, says the man, claiming to be a Jehovah Witness, had called at his place twice prior to the altercation. Each time the man was alone and King found it difficult to get the man to leave. "I told him I was not interested and asked him not to come back again. In spite of that he returned three times in close succession." King says he received these bumps and abrasions after being hit with own crutch. King called 111 and reported the attack to the police and has since filed a formal statement with the Whangarei Police who have advised they are investigating the incident. On Wednesday, Rod Spinks, media spokesperson for Jehovah's Witnesses in Australasia, says they we were unaware of the allegation and had since initiated a request to determine whether anything is known of the allegation locally. "The local congregation would not encourage members to call on a householder who had requested they not call. "We fully support the efforts of the police to protect the community and would always recommend that any such concerns be immediately reported to the police." KIng who walks with the aid of crutches or uses a mobility scooter, has a sign on his door asking salespeople not to call and a sign on the gate saying 'private property no entry'. He says he finds it difficult to get to the door and doesn't want to be bothered unnecessarily. The door knocker returned again on November 3. "I was annoyed when he returned the third time after being asked not to. On this occasion I asked him five times to leave The debate then got rather heated and he grabbed the crutch and hit me over the head. I had to grab the verandah rail to stop from falling onto the ground." King says the man is intimidating and has heard he is using the same approach with others in the area. He says he is speaking out in the interests of public safety. Read more:Â
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  3. An elderly widow has claimed she has been sent pamphlets by Jehovah's Witnesses in a bid to convert her days after the the death of her husband. Sue Judd's 77-year-old husband Neville died peacefully in his sleep at their home in Mapua, New Zealand, on May 2. She put a notice in her local newspaper on May 3 and 4 with an address provided for people to send messages of condolence to the family. A few days later, Mrs Judd received a handwritten letter from a woman – along with pamphlets promoting Jehovah's Witnesses, she told stuff.co.nz. An elderly widow has claimed she has been sent pamphlets by Jehovah's Witnesses in a bid to convert her days after the the death of her husband. File photo She said she was horrified to received unsolicited messages from the religious group, a Christian denomination known for its door-to-door evangelism. 'They're sending it to me unsolicited at a time when I'm at my utterly most vulnerable,' she told stuff.co.nz. 'They're preying on me and my grief.' She added: 'It's so disingenuous. If they really cared, you'd think they'd arrive on the doorstep with some baking or something as anyone else does.' Mrs Judd described the letter – which included Bible verses – as 'nonsense,' saying the focus was to convert rather than console her. The New Zealand woman said the religious group, known for its door-to-door evangelism was 'preying on my grief.' File photo And another letter arrived three weeks later from a 90-year-old woman, also contained leaflets about Jehovah's Witnesses. She added that they had affected her mourning process – and called on the church to stop targeting grieving families. It comes after former Jehovah's Witnesses elders admitted that they deliberately targeting those who had recently lost loved ones, considering them 'ripe fruit.' Vince and Michele Tyler revealed last year they knew members who would trawl through obituaries or visit cemeteries in a find people to convert. But a current senior elder of the faith said it had no policy to target the recently bereaved.
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  4. Two New Earthquakes In New Zealand almost 6 degrees. Praying nobody hurt. ????????? We will seek information from our Brothers
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  5. Thieves capitalise on booming black market for the fruit amid soaring demand Avocados are selling for between NZ$4-6 each across the country, after a poor season last year and increasing local demand. Photograph: FotografiaBasica/Getty Images Surging local and international demand for avocados is fuelling a crime wave inNew Zealand. Since January there have been close to 40 large-scale thefts from avocado orchards in the north island of New Zealand, with as many as 350 fruit stolen at a time. It is suspected many more thefts have gone unreported. Avocados are selling for between NZ$4-6 each (£2-3) across the country, after a poor season last year and increasing local demand. According to New Zealand Avocado in 2015 an additional 96,000 New Zealand households began purchasing avocados, and local growers – largely geared towards the lucrative export market – have been unable to keep up with the surge in demand. The recent thefts have taken place in the middle of the night, with the crop either “raked” from the tree and collected in blankets or sheets on the ground, or hand-picked and driven away to pop-up road-side stalls, grocery stores or small-scale sushi, fruit and sandwich shops in Auckland. Sergeant Aaron Fraser of Waihi said there had been “spates” of avocado thefts during his time in the police but nothing as sustained as the current activity. “These stolen avocados can carry risks,” he said. “They are unripe, some have been sprayed recently and they may still carry toxins on the skin. But with the prices so high at the moment, the potential for profit is a strong inducement for certain individuals.” Jen Scoular, New Zealand Avocado CEO, said the recent thefts were concerning, but a bumper season of locally-grown avocados should flood the New Zealand market in coming weeks, reducing the incentive for thieves. “It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organised operation here, more opportunistic,” she said. “This stolen fruit will only have made it to the local markets, it would never reach our export markets.” Scoular said avocado farms in New Zealand were getting increasingly savvy about protecting their crop, and many had installed automatic lights and alarm systems. Source:
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  6. First came death, then came a Jehovah's Witness. It led to Wellington woman Jean Sergent-Shadbolt turning the tables on what she called the "predatory" religion, by door-knocking a stranger. She was looking for the woman who hand-delivered a personalised letter to her and her dead flatmate, friend, and step-cousin Michael Boyes, three months to the day after his high-profile death from a sudden brain bleed. A leading Wellington Jehovah's Witness has now apologised and insisted the letter's timing was a coincidence, but Sergent-Shadbolt believes it could be a rogue Witness targeting grief. The letter, from a Sue Roberts, urged her to get in touch, and left a return addresss to a house on Farnham St, Mornington, a few suburbs away from her Aro Valley home. Nobody was home when Sergent-Shadbolt visited on Sunday, so she returned on Monday to discover Sue Roberts had never lived there. She wanted to ask if she had been targeted after the death of her friend, whether Roberts knew he was dead, and what right the religious organisation had to impose on her grief. The address was the home of Wellington West Jehovah's Witness co-ordinator Ron Winiata, who apologised to her and said the timing of the letter was an unfortunate coincidence. He refused to give Roberts' address, but did pass on a phone number. "We have got her name, but your address," Sergent-Shadbolt told him, accusing him of double-standards. "But she has got my name, my address and the name of my flatmate, who is dead." Receiving the letter, especially three months to the day after Boyes' death, was "predatory", she told him. "It feels like harassment." Winiata said that, if the letters upset people, Jehovah's Witnesses would revisit their approach. The group never set out to upset people: "It is to help people who are in times of need." When called, Roberts refused to give her address but said "no hurt was ever intended", and she was "more than happy to apologise". Yet Sergent-Shadbolt still believed she may have been targeted deliberately. A few weeks before the letter arrived, a Jehovah's Witness had come to her door. Sergent-Shadbolt had sent them away, in the process telling them someone close to her had died. Heather Henare, from grief counselling service Skylight, was not aware of any cases of religions targeting grieving people, but people in grief were more susceptible to sales pitches. "It is a time, unfortunately, people take advantage of people." Massey University history professor Peter Lineham, who specialises in New Zealand religion, believed the letter's timing was coincidental. But, if targeted, it could be a sign the religion's members believed Christ was coming again soon and so were trying to recruit members. Source:
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  7. By Russell Blackstock Script-writers had to do a rapid rewrite of racy TV hit Filthy Rich after some of its X-rated patter was deemed too offensive to repeat by one of its stars. The big-money TV2 series - about three illegitimate children who discover they each have a claim to the fortune of one of New Zealand's wealthiest men - is laden with sex and bad language. But producers agreed to remove swear words and blasphemy from lines delivered by Kiwi actress Shushila Takao due to her religious beliefs and upbringing. Takao was raised as a Jehovah's Witness by her devout mother and still has strong Christian morals, which she shares with her prim schoolteacher character Ariana. Words and phrases including "Jesus" and "Oh my God" were pulled from the script after Takao objected. Several swear words also hit the cutting room floor. "I didn't think those sort of lines would be representative of my character and it was encouraging that my suggestions and ideas were listened to," she told the Herald on Sunday. "I am not a practicing Christian at the moment but I was brought up in a strict faith by my mum and I still have those strong values and morals. "When we would read through the script and I thought something wasn't right I would point it out. It was nothing major but I wanted to keep it clean and quite innocent. "The writers were brilliant about it and when I did eventually deliver an appropriate swear word it it had much more impact because people weren't expecting it." A production spokesman for Filthy Rich said the script changes were made due to Takao's upbringing and out of respect for the religious background she shares with her character. "In read-throughs she would automatically take out any swearing - not because she was prudish but because she related to Ariana so well," the spokesman said. "Shushila told us she was going to do this and it made the character so much more real." Not all the stars of Filthy Rich were so reserved during filming of the series which received $8.25 million in funding from New Zealand on Air. Bonnie Small, who plays hothead temptress Annabelle, revealed she suffered bruises from sex scenes with Joe Tamatoa, played by Alex Tarrant. "In one scene where I jump Joe I kept having to climb up on a table to do it," she said. "It was only afterwards when I got home and took my jeans off I saw all the bruises on my legs. "Luckily I had no more scenes to do for the rest of the week or it could have been a bit embarrassing because Annabelle likes to wear pretty short costumes."
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    I have added her to the master list of JW Celebrities:

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