Northern Outlook : May 7th 2014
NEWS NORTHERN OUTLOOK, MAY 7, 2014 31 Confidence stays steady CONSUMER CONFIDENCE levelled off in the March quarter, possibly due to the prospect of higher interest rates, though it remains ‘‘solid’’ and well up on a year ago, according to a Nielsen survey. The survey also showed people were more upbeat about spending, job prospects and their own finances. Confidence in New Zealand CONCERNED: Eighty five per cent of the 750 people surveyed were concerned about what children were posting about themselves on the internet. Online concerns By TESSA JOHNSTONE WE ARE getting more savvy about online privacy, but are still worried about the way our kids are using the internet, a survey by the Privacy Commissioner’s office suggests. Eighty-five per cent of the 750 people surveyed were concerned about what children were posting about themselves on the internet. Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said there could be a disconnect between the level of concern and children’s use, but there was some cause for worry. ‘‘The cyber-bullying, the revenge porn, nude selfies and things like that – it’s been featured in the media, but it is real also – the technology is being used for some of these anti-social purposes.’’ The level of concern was on a par with the March 2012 numbers, and it was older people and parents who were most likely to be worried. ‘‘I think older people are concerned because they don’t believe children are fully cognisant of the permanence of their posts and that it’ll still be there in 10, 15 years’ time, when they’re looking for a job.’’ The survey showed nine out of 10 of those aged 18 to 30 had a Facebook account, compared to 7 out of 10 aged 30 to 44. Despite the increase in use, Edwards said there appeared to be a declining level of trust in social networking platforms – only 18 per cent actually believed they were trustworthy. ‘‘More people than ever are using Facebook, for example, but more people don’t trust it as a platform. So I guess this means people are being a bit smarter about how to use it; about their privacy settings.’’ Fairfax NZ ➤PRIVATE THOUGHTS ❚ 40 per cent worried about the privacy of their information. ❚ 83 per cent concerned about credit card or banking details being stolen. ❚ 85 per cent worried about the information children put online about themselves. ❚ 63 per cent concerned about overseas governments’ surveillance of New Zealanders. ❚ 69 per cent think social networking sites are untrustworthy. ❚ 92 per cent say health service providers can be trusted with personal information. ❚ 91 per cent of those aged under 30 use Facebook. ❚ 77 per cent have changed Facebook privacy settings. ❚ 55 per cent say social networking pages are public, rather than private spaces. Source: Privacy Commissioner, March 2014. MOTHER’S DAY MAY For all of May we are offering all women a Cut, Lux Oil Treatment and Blow wave for only $50. Book now DENTISTS IN RANGIORA Photo: FAIRFAX was at 100 points in the March quarter – the same as in the December survey. Confidence levels above and below the baseline of 100 indicate the extent of optimism and pessimism. ASB Bank chief economist Nick Tuffley said the level of confidence was ‘‘solid’’ and boded well for consumer spending in the near term. The survey showed 43 per cent of people thought it was a good time to buy things they ‘‘want and need’’, up 11 per cent from a year ago. However, overall confidence had levelled out, possibly because higher interest rates were ‘‘coming back on the radar’’, Tuffley said. The survey was carried out between late February and early March, just before the Reserve Bank first increased official interest rates from 2.5 per cent to 2.75 per cent. That was wellsignalled and was followed up with another rate rise late in April, to 3 per cent. Tuffley said the economy had been getting stronger in the past year, with growth of about 3.5 per cent expected this year. As the recovery picked up, it was no surprise that fewer people thought the country was in recession, he said. Nearly two-thirds of consumers – 63 per cent in the Nielsen survey – said they believed New Zealand was now out of economic recession, while 37 per cent said it was still in recession. A year ago, the per centages were reversed. New Zealand officially came out of a double-dip recession at the start of 2011, after a big 18-month downturn in 2008 and 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis and an earlier drought. Nielsen New Zealand manag- ing director Rob Clark said more than half of consumers were saying the job market would be ‘‘good or excellent’’ in the coming year. ❚ FAIRFAX NZ Drug effects uncovered YOUNG BRAINS exposed to cannabis – synthetic or natural – might be remembering their BACs instead of their ABCs, Victoria University researchers have found. Use of the drugs in teenage years meant the brain learns complex tasks with multiple steps in random order, rather than the proper sequence. The learning difficulties were recorded not when the subjects were high on the drug, but up to a day later. Neurologist Darren Day and PhD student Ryan Steel used adolescent rats, learning a difficult maze with hidden chocolate treats – some exposed to cannabis, some not – to simulate the effects of the drug on the teenage human brain. ‘‘All of the rats which hadn’t been exposed to cannabis tended to use the same pattern for going down the maze . . . The rats exposed to cannabis do it in a completely random manner. They’re slower to learn the maze, as well, and never perform as well.’’ Distinct changes could also be seen when the researchers examined the cannabis-exposed rats’ brains under a microscope. Day said putting things in order was one of the ways the brain remembered a lot of information. ‘‘When you get up in the morning you might say, ‘‘teeth, keys, wallet, phone, coat’’ – then go. ‘‘You tend to do them all in sequence. You wouldn’t put your coat on before you brush your teeth.’’ Similar difficulties to the rats’ were probably happening in the class-time learning of teens using cannabis after school. Synthetic cannabis affected brain cells in a similar way. ‘‘But nobody’s got a clue about these synthetic cannabinoids – some could be much more dangerous, and some could be much more placid. It’s a loaded gun,’’ Day said. Chris Fowlie, of cannabislegalisation advocate group NORML, said a long-term study of Australian heavy cannabis smokers showed learning difficulties from drug use were reversible once people ceased the habit. FAIRFAXNZ 52 Charles Street, Rangiora 9:00am - 9:00pm Weekdays 9:00am - 5:00pm Saturdays Opening Hours: Express keratin Restore Service Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 9am-5pm. Thursday 9am-8pm Saturday: 9am-2pm 6069745AB 28 High Street, Rangiora Phone 03 313 0054 6058397AA Ph: 0800 433 368 (03) 928 3530 www.gedental.co.nz 1 - Under the New Zealand Dental Benefi t Scheme 2 - Standard lending criteria and conditions apply. Ask prior.
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