Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bigotry in the Dom-Post

Adam Smith at The Inquiring Mind reports on a letter in the Dom-Post which makes an appalling, xenophobic allegation against the New Zealand government. It reads:

Israel is using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. The United Nations, the Pope and most governments have condemned its attacks on Gaza which have killed hundreds of innocent civilians.

The only comment from our new Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully is that he sees no point in finger-pointing.

No doubt his comments are the result of us having a Jewish prime minister.

JK Calvert (Tauranga)

I guess it was only a matter of time...

Brownlee 2; Oil Companies Nil

Big Ger's comments to the oil companies seem to have done the trick for a second time - Stuff is reporting a further 3 cents-a-litre drop in petrol prices today.


The Dom-Post political team will make its annual predictions of the political landscape tomorrow, but today they review their 2008 efforts, and with marks out of 10 for each prediction, they scored 138/200 - not too bad an effort, I guess. Not surprisingly, Winston Peters is blamed for most of the lost points!

So what do YOU reckon will happen on the political landscape in 2009?

An Aussie perspective

I can't find better words myself to describe it, so read this excerpt from The Age in Melbourne, and enjoy the moment....unless, of course, you are an Australian!!

THE whoops of triumph emanating from the South African dressing room signalled a new world order, but Australia still faces the ultimate humiliation — its first whitewash defeat on home soil in more than 120 years — if the Proteas complete a clean sweep of the series in Sydney.

Ricky Ponting confessed he didn't know what to feel after becoming the first Australian captain since Allan Border 16 years ago to be beaten in a series in his own backyard.

This history-making South African side has not just beaten Ponting's men, it has towelled them, and at the MCG yesterday added a nine-wicket pummelling to the six-wicket defeat dished out in Perth.

The dethroning will be complete if the Proteas secure a 3-0 victory at the SCG from Saturday, a result that would have Australia replaced at the top of the tree by a South African team cast in the tough, ambitious image of its leader, Graeme Smith.

Ponting will cling to Australia's title as the best team in the world until the official International Cricket Council rankings change, but anyone who witnessed the match-turning batting of Smith, Jacques Kallis, Jean-Paul Duminy and A.B. de Villiers or the new-age pace attack led by Dale Steyn knows that South Africa's claims on the No. 1 ranking are real and deserving.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Australia on the brink of defeat

It seems as though only the weather can save the Australian cricketers from a humiliating home series loss against South Africa today - their first such defeat since 1992-3. The Proteas begin day 5 at Melbourne needing a further 153 runs with all second innings wickets standing. Cricinfo looks at the plight of the lacklustre Aussies. This paragraph from Peter English encapsulates Ricky Ponting's plight:

Ponting is the only great in Australia's team playing like one and he did his best to keep the side in with a hope of setting a threatening victory target. However, with his partners exiting to rash shots on a firm pitch, Ponting was battling two teams. He did the best for his outfit and was unfortunate to miss becoming the only person to score twin centuries four times.

And English is right on the money with his closing paragraph, which sums up the growing void between the two teams:

South Africa have out-played, out-fought and out-thought their opponents in a way that is shocking for those who have grown used to Australia's position. Over the past three months Ponting's men have showed they are not even the second-best team in the world.

Keeping Stock suspects that there will be many a Castle Lager or a Klippies and Coke consumed in celebration when the South Africans wrap up the series later today - and they will be richly deserved.

Monday, December 29, 2008

In defence of Owen Glenn

The Herald's editorial this morning is devoted to a defence of Owen Glenn, after the many and varied attempts, ultimately unsuccessful, to sully his reputation during 2008. It begins:

The news on the first day of 2008 featured a national honour awarded to an expatriate transport tycoon this country hardly knew. Owen G. Glenn was a name on an imposing new building at Auckland University. He was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit not only for the $7.5 million he had contributed to the business school but for donations over many years to worthy causes in a country he left in 1966.

The events that were to keep him in the news this year are too fresh in the memory to need mention here. But one element of the saga has gone too little noted and the year should not pass without it being observed. The lengths to which Owen Glenn went to ensure the truth became known were a testament to a commitment to this country that is truly remarkable in someone who left it all of 42 years ago and made his fortune and several homes in the wider world.

It is shameful that Owen Glenn had to resort to the lengths he did to clear his name, and let the truth be heard. And as the leader writer points out, in doing so, he did us all a big favour:

Mr Glenn did not sound like a vindictive man when he took steps to straighten the record. He answered reporters' questions in an open, candid manner, sometimes too candid about casual conversations with Helen Clark. He did not seem to hold a grudge against her despite the disgraceful way she had snubbed him at the opening of the business school. But he was clear and straightforward on the questions that mattered: who asked him for money, how it was to be paid, where it went.

When his word was challenged before Parliament's privileges committee he cared enough to come back to the country with telephone records and allow us to compare his candour and consistency with that of Mr
Peters. It was no contest. He probably does not appreciate the full scale of the good he has done for New Zealand's public life.

Indeed. And were John Key to put into action his pre-election thoughts and return New Zealand to the days of Knights and Dames, Keeping Stock would consider Owen Glenn, ONZOM as a prime candidate for the monicker of Sir Owen.

Brownlee 1; Oil companies nil

The Dom-Post is reporting this morning on Gerry Brownlee's call to the oil cartel to drop prices, and he seems to have hit a very raw nerve. The Dom-Post says:

Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee has called for petrol companies to make immediate price cuts, accusing them of holding prices to capitalise on the peak holiday driving period.

"I would be disappointed if the oil companies are waiting until after the holiday season and high volume sales period before deciding to act," Mr Brownlee said.

New Zealand petrol companies cut the price of 91 octane petrol to 139.9 cents a litre on December 5, taking it to its lowest since February 2007. However, record low prices internationally for crude oil, combined with a slight rise in the value of the New Zealand dollar, gave petrol companies even more room to move, Mr Brownlee said.

"I can't help but think the time for further price reductions has arrived."

And voila!! The 10am news on National Radio has just announced that Shell has cut prices by 4 cents/litre, with others expected to follow suit. That's welcome news for this motorist, who is due for a fill-up today, and has a long drive home at the weekend. Thank you Gerry!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thanks for the memories

No, Keeping Stock isn't going anywhere! Instead, we (me, myself and I) have been reflecting on today's Dom-Post editorial, which reflects upon the sporting year. We particularly enjoyed reliving some Kiwi successes and failures:

For New Zealand, 2008 was the year Valerie Vili won the country's first track and field gold medal since 1976; the year Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell confounded their opponents, and themselves, by winning a second consecutive gold medal in the double sculls; and the year the hottest of New Zealand favourites, Mahe Drysdale, was beaten into third place in the men's single sculls. But the manner in which he dealt with defeat was an example to all who play sport. So sick that he was on a drip the night before his race, Drysdale had to be carried from his boat and given oxygen after being overtaken in the final metres. But he still attended the medal ceremony "not so much for me, but to respect the guys I was racing".
Away from the Olympics, Graham Henry and his fellow coaches restored some pride to the All Blacks, and the Indian and South African cricket teams showed that the all-conquering Australian side is not unbeatable.
Sadly, the Black Caps showed they were capable of losing to almost any opposition. Perhaps the departure of John Bracewell, the coach who liked to experiment, will pave the way for more consistent
performances in the coming year.
The most surprising triumph was the Kiwis' victory over Australia in the final of the Rugby League World Cup, a victory so unexpected that many fans missed it. They had gone to bed rather than stay up for what they assumed would be another Australian romp.
The match featured everything: heroic defence, clever tactics, individual brilliance and surprise, surprise panic from the Kangaroos as it slowly dawned upon them that the Kiwis were not there merely to accept the runners-up medals. Most enjoyable of all was Australian coach Ricky Stuart's post-match outburst in which he accused the referee and league bosses of conspiring to achieve a Kiwi victory.

So yes, it has been a memorable sporting year. There are several exclusions from the leader writer's list, most notably Scott Dixon for his Indy 500/Indy Car Championship double. Discerning Keeping Stock readers may care to add their thoughts. But as the leader writer says "Thanks for the memories" for good memories certainly outweigh the bad ones this year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

But is it cricket #5

Iain O'Brien talks about the fifth and final day of the test at Napier in his blog this morning, and in particular, comments on THAT decision - the dismissal of Brenden McCullum.

O'Brien makes some interesting points. The ICC should be commended for at least trying to improve the quality of decisionmaking, but we at Keeping Stock remain unconvinced that they have yet found the right formula.

The Friday Forum - 26/12/2008

Well, yet again it's rolled around to Friday, but today most of us will have a bit more time on our hands than usual. And this will also be the last Friday Forum for 2008 - well, at least the last one on a Friday!

So settle back, and feel free to contribute - maybe a reflection on Christmas or the year you've had; maybe comment on the plethora of sport that is traditionally unleashed on Boxing Day. I daresay I'll be taking a passing interest in the Boxing Day test at Melbourne, wondering all the while why New Zealand Cricket did away with our version at the Basin Reserve in favour of a hit-and-giggle game at Eden Park - or half-Eden Park, as it currently is!

Anyway, this is YOUR forum, so welcome aboard!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas greetings

OK, so it's Christmas Day, and what am I doing blogging? And why are you visiting Keeping Stock? I guess it shows just how much blogging has become a feature of all our lives.

Anyway, since I'm here and so are you, let me take this opportunity to wish all Keeping Stock readers the most blessed Christmas. And amidst all the hype, commercialism and over-indulgence, let's not forget the REAL meaning of Christmas, and the miracle that lives on today.

Merry Christmas one and all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Mrs Inventory and I are about to set sail for the Mainland. It couldn't be more of a contrast today from yesterday - Wellington harbour is grey and misty, and there's steady rain. Fortunately Mrs Inventory had the foresight to upgrade us to Kaitaki Plus, so we are in the lounge, and there's not a child in sight - bliss!!

Once we arrive it'll be straight on to Christchurch, less stops in Marlborough somewhere to help the local wine and cherry industries, and the obligatory crayfish purchase in Kaikoura. And I've been told the whitebait fritters are on the menu for Christmas Day!! Ah, no work, rest, wine, kai moana - what more could a blogger want?

The Friday Forum - on Wednesday

OK - so it's not Friday; but what the heck, it's Christmas Eve, it's the end of the working year, and I'm in holiday mode, so let's have a special Wednesday Friday Forum!!

Usual rules apply - have some fun, get the bad stuff out of your system before Santa arrives, and feel free to critique or criticise the ICC's referral trial which was exposed as lacking yesterday!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Well, I'm just glad that we were heading into Wellington today, and not away from it. All the way around Pukerua Bay, the northbound traffic was bumper-to-bumper, and when we got over the hill there were two lanes of traffic at a standstill! We arrived safely in the city, and while Mrs Inventory heads off to take care of a few things, I'm catching up on work, cricket and blogging in whatever order you wish to rank them.

But the old song is right - you can't beat Wellington on a good day! The harbour was sparkling this morning, and the cruise ship passengers visiting the city today must have has a magnificent trip in through Cook Strait and the harbour, the sun's shining, the working year is pretty much done, and all the bills are paid and life is good!

On the road

Mrs Inventory and I are about to start a Christmas road-trip. We stop in Welly tonight, then on to Christchurch tomorrow to spend a week with the Inventory-in-laws. Blogging may be light today, unless I can purloin Mrs Inventory's computer, but when we get to Christchurch, there's a brand-new laptop waiting for me, so it will be business as usual at Keeping Stock over the holiday period.

In the meantime, it'll be one eye on the road, and one ear on Radio Sport, following the fortunes of the Black Caps in Napier!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Memo to Jonathan Millmow...

Jonners, as a former fast bowler, now writing for the Dom-Post, you should know better - read this:

Two late West Indian wickets, including that of Ramnaresh Sarwan to a dreadful decision under the umpiring referral system, leaves the test wide open.

The tourists refused to kick up a fuss about the leg-before decision that saw television umpire Mark Benson overrule Rudi Koetzen despite doubt on two counts, namely the legality of Daniel Vettori's front foot and also the path of the delivery.

Wrong! The side-on replay clearly showed that at least an inch of Vettori's heel was behind the back-edge of the popping crease, which is the marker for a front-foot no ball. Yes, the heel was raised, but that is allowed by the no-ball law, which requires part of the foot to be behind the popping crease WHETHER GROUNDED OR RAISED.

By all means umpires can be criticised for errors of fact - and the LBW dismissal of Kyle Mills was an example of a bad decision - but if you are going to criticise on a point of law, it helps to know the law!

Honesty call...

OK - here's a test of the honesty of Keeping Stock readers. Was anyone else watching the end of the Australia v South Africa test match at Perth? And did anyone else let out a loud cheer when JP Duminy scored the winning runs? Come on; clear your conscience before Christmas!

What a great run chase by the Proteas. And Australia now has the distinction of not only having conceded the highest run chase in One-Day cricket, but the TWO highest run chases in test matches. Oh, what a pity!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A salute to Iain O'Brien

Black Caps bowler Iain O'Brien is fast assuming folk-hero status, in much the same way as Mark "Rigor" Richardson did in the latter stages of his career. And in O'Brien's case, it is well earned. He produced a lion-hearted effort on the first two days of the test match at Napier, to finish with career-best bowling figures of 6-75. And he recounts the day's events in his excellent blog, entitled, surprisingly Iain O'Brien's Cricket Blog - here's a taste:

And there lies Day Two of this Test match. A day I will never forget. A day I don’t want to forget. I have never felt like that in a Test match before. I had bowled 16 overs the previous day and woke this morning feeling a lot better than I would do normally. I’m not saying I feel that tired and stiff after 16 overs, I just felt real good. I had done my hot cold the previous night, had a really good massage and hit the sack after writing this. A good sleep, a chat to my wife this morning, breakfast and down to the ground early to get my feet strapped up for today’s play. For those that are interested, the big toe is a lot better. It was still a bit ‘weapy’ this morning, but wasn’t throbbing or painful to pressure. Good job that is otherwise the physio, who was ‘oh so very keen’ to get the paperclip in there, would have had some explaining to do!!

Ah yes, the infamous big toe. After play on Friday night, O'Brien blogged on receiving the hot paperclip treatment from the Black Caps' physiotherapist to relieve a blood bruise under the nail. And he spared no detail! But it did the trick, and O'Brien went through the West Indies tail end yesterday morning.

Iain O'Brien is a no-frills cricketer, and that's probably his appeal. He's not a show-pony like some of his current and former teammates. It's unlikely that he will punch out a window in the early hours of the morning - he'll be too busy blogging!

PS - And for those who didn't know the history of Mark Richardson's nickname of "Rigor" - it was said early in his career that watching him bat was like watching the onset of rigor mortis!! Cricket nicknames seem to be some of the best in sport, but my all-time favourite was that bestowed on Mark Waugh before he joined his twin brother Steve as a fixture in the Australian team - some wit gave him the moniker of "Afghanistan" - the forgotten Waugh!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mugabe is mad!

Do you need any proof that Robert Mugabe is mad? Have a read of this piece from today's Herald:

"I will never, never sell my country. I will never, never, never surrender," Mugabe told members of his ZANU-PF party. "Zimbabwe is mine, I am a Zimbabwean, Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe never for the British. Britain for the British."

He was cheered by flag-waving supporters at annual three-day convention in Bindura, 60 miles (90 kilometers) northeast of Harare, the capital. Some wore shirts printed with pictures of Mugabe's face and sang praise songs urging him: "Stay with us. We know you are our president."

Mugabe, 84, has ruled his country since its 1980 independence from Britain and refused to leave office following disputed elections in March.

He has faced renewed criticism amid a humanitarian crisis that has pushed thousands of Zimbabweans to the point of starvation and left 1,123 people dead from cholera since August. President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have called recently for Mugabe to step down.

The ever-defiant Mugabe - in power for nearly three decades - hit back after the top US envoy to Africa called a day earlier for the "person who has ruined the country" to step down.

In the picture, Mugabe is clutching Zimbabwe's newest banknote - the $Z10-billion note - value $NZ44.03. Zimbabwe, once known as the foodbasket of Africa is in ruins, with inflation running at 231,000,000%. And the blame lies fairly and squarely with Robert Mugabe. The time for talking is over. The world sans Mugabe will be a far better place.

Is that REALLY necessary

Here's the headline on Stuff:

Slain Chch prostitute had criminal record

Keeping Stock questions what relevance that might have to the murder of a prostitute in Christchurch, whose body was dumped in the Avon River. The supposed criminal record is so pivotal to the story that it didn't get a mention until the second-to-last paragraph!

Ngatai Manning is dead. Her past would have emerged at some point, but for the moment, her whanau should be allowed to grieve her sad and underserved killing.

CTU and TVNZ disingeneous

How misleading can you get? The conclusion of TVNZ's story about pay increases for the Judiciary must have been written by the CTU, as it comes right out of their playbook. The story ended with the comment that a High Court Judge will now be earning $320,000 per year, when the average wage is just $48,000 per year.

Pardon me? High Court Judges are qualified Barristers and Solicitors with significant professional experience. Many, if not most, would be partners in legal practices, and are likely to take pay decreases when they take their seats on the Bench. However the egalitarian CTU is happy to lump all workers together when it comes to making a point. Perhaps that's why trade unions are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Politician of the Year

And the winner, according to John Armstrong, is ... John Key. Here's why:

To borrow the immortal words of Australian politician Bill Hayden, some might argue National could have put up the proverbial drover's dog as leader and still won last month's election such was its huge lead in the polls over preceding months.

Maybe so. However, the history books should record the 2008 election result as a personal triumph for John Key. Hayden's sour grapes remark was directed at Bob Hawke who snaffled the leadership of the Australian Labour Party off him just hours before the Liberals called an election they were bound to lose. In contrast, Key was leader for two years before a victory the scale of which is disguised by the proportional voting system.

Had the election been fought under the pre-1996 first-past-the post system, the outcome would have been of the landslide proportions of Sir Robert Muldoon's stunning victory in 1975 and Jim Bolger's similar rout of Labour in 1990.

That achievement alone elevates John Key into a select group of National Party leaders. There can be no other choice for Politician of the Year. Winning elections is what it is all about. But Key has reinforced his claim to the title through the ease and confidence with which he has taken on the mantle of Prime Minister. His opponents and critics had predicted he would falter as Leader of the Opposition, wilt under the pressures of an election campaign, and fail as Prime Minister simply through lack of experience. Wrong, wrong and almost certainly wrong again.

And Armstrong singles out one act in particular, with which Keeping Stock agrees wholheartedly:

Far more courageous was Key's refusal to work with Winston Peters. It could have backfired. However, Key felt he was left no option after Peters' appalling performance over Owen Glenn and donations to NZ First.

Key wanted his administration to be a clean break from the past. Having Peters on board would have tainted it from the beginning - as well as possibly harbouring the seed of its destruction.

John Key and his National-led government face some major challenges as we head towards 2009. But we at Keeping Stock (me, myself and I) feel much better about the new adminstration being able to handle those challenges, than those that went before them. And if Dr Cullen is feeling slighted about being overlooked for Pollie of the Year, we say to him - Key won, you lost, Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Friday Forum - 19/12/08

Ho, ho, ho - this time in a week, Christmas will be over for another year - meantime, I have a huge pile of work to do before we can head off for a few days on Tuesday. But the good news is that a new laptop awaits our arrival in the South, so blogging can continue during the holidays!

But away from such mundane things! It's Friday, so let's enjoy the day. Welcome to the Friday Forum - you know the rules - go for it!


An update on the Entitleitis story, from this morning's Herald:

A Labour Party staffer was still working in Parliament yesterday despite being charged with stealing wine from the Press Gallery's Christmas party.

Aidan Smith was arrested after allegedly being caught taking the wine to a car outside Wednesday night's party, which was attended by Prime Minister John Key and a collection of other ministers and senior MPs.

What - no suspension? But wait; it gets worse (our emphasis added)!

Smith was still working as Labour MP Pete Hodgson's assistant yesterday. He is due to leave that role soon to work for the party's finance spokesman, David Cunliffe. He has previously worked in the party's research unit.

Smith said police had charged him with theft and he would be appearing in court on Monday.

A spokesman for Parliamentary Services, Smith's employer, would not comment because it was an employment matter.

Now, wasn't it Labour's research unit that did the H-fee beat-up? Does Aiden Smith blog anywhere under a pseudonym? And is it fitting that someone due to appear in Court on a dishonesty charge is about to start working for Labour's Finance spokesman? Ah, so many questions ...

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Entitleitis (n) - a state whereby the afflicted person thinks that the world owes him a living, and that what's yours is his - Keeping Stock Dictionary of Helpful Words (2009 edition)

We are in the midst of an Entitleitis epidemic, and there have been two "tipping points" in the last week. The first was the faux outrage from Labour and its mates in the unions over the 90-day probation provisions which National passed into law last week. New Zealand workers enjoy excellent protection under the law, and in the last nine years, the balance has shifted markedly into the court of the employee and employee organisations. Unions would do well to remember that so-called "workers' rights" are a myth perpetuated by the left. The "right" to work is in fact a privilege. No employer is obliged to hire anyone. However, once hired, it borders on impossible for an employer to rid himself of an employee.

I have seen this from both sides, and of recent moment. Up until July 2006, I was a shift worker at a local manufacturing plant. The abuses committed by employees against the employer were an eye-opener - from slack performance at the lower end to drug-taking, theft and sabotage at the upper end. A significant majority of the staff showed little if any loyalty to the employer, and the prevailing attitude was "it's all about me". The employer (one of the most generous employers I have ever worked for, and a global brand) had little power, and was always walking a tightrope with the Employment Relations Act. And yet without the willingness of the employer to invest millions of dollars of its own money, there would have been no jobs. The worst in this regard were the younger employees - straight out of school in many cases, largely unskilled, but with an employer who was prepared to invest in them, and bringing over-sized egos and attitudes into the workplace. The school system has a lot to answer for - a system that teaches rights, but ignores the balance provided by RESPONSIBILITIES.

Even more blatant is the outbreak of Entitleitis which was contained in the precincts of Parliament in the early hours of Thursday morning. Just who do these Labour Party staffers think they are? Sure, alcohol may have flowed at the Press Gallery Christmas Party, but there is no excuse whatsoever for stealing the leftovers. Not only is it a gross insult to your hosts; it's criminal behaviour, plain and simple. Then again, they may only be following the example of their Parliamentary role-models who spent nine years raping and pillaging New Zealand - the only difference is that the chilly-bin that Bill English has been given is empty - cleaned out by the outgoing government in its attempt to feed the Entitleitis habit - because Entitleitis is a highly addictive disease!

A bitter, twisted little man...

So what were Michael Cullen's closing words in his speech in the adjournment debate just a few moments ago?

"They won; we lost; digest that - and come up with a plan"

And no prizes for guessing what Cullen was talking about. Yep, the mess that he has left for the new government, which he acknowledged is already worse than the dismal figures released earlier today.

What a sad, bitter, twisted little man the former Finance Minister is!

Labour's Christmas present

Treasury has issued the latest Economic and Fiscal Forecasts, and they make VERY grim reading - here's some highlights:

  • Unemployment to hit 6.4% (and maybe 7.2%) within 15 months
  • Gross debt to increase from under 20% to a massive 33.1% (and maybe 38.6%) by 2013
  • OBEGAL deficits of $23 billion over next four years
  • Cash deficits of $48 billion over five years

By whatever standards you look at these figures, they are truly apalling, and they are the worst possible Christmas present that Michael Cullen could have given to John Key, Bill English and the people of New Zealand. Over at Kiwiblog, DPF notes that they are as bad as those handed over to National in 1990.

The incoming government faces some huge challenges. Keeping Stock believes however that one of the challenges National faces is to remind us all, at every opportunity, just what Michael Cullen's legacy gift to New Zealand was. Forget KiwiSaver. Forget the Cullen super scheme. Forget KiwiRail. Michael Cullen and Helen Clark must forever remembered as the economic wreckers who delivered New Zealand an economic disaster.

Tighten your belts folks, and hang on to your jobs! Merry Christmas from Mikey - Ho, Ho, Ho!!!

Justice? Mabey; Mabey not.

The sentencing of gun collector John Mabey yesterday has provoked a degree of comment. Whilst it is one on hand good that Judge Phillip Connell decreed that jail time was needed, and rejected the defence plea for home detention, but is 21 months (of which he will probably serve seven) sufficient?

In sentencing Mabey Judge Connell said the actions of Mabey "had long reaching implications for public safety and posed a grave risk to the community". He's dead right there. Mabey sold weapons to gangs. Gangs use weapons for criminal purposes.

Judge Connell also said that most of Mabey's guns had fallen into "the wrong hands", including one used by a fugitive to shoot at police, and others found in raids on gang premises in the Waikato and Auckland.

The maximum penalty for the charges faced by Mabey is three years imprisonment. It is hard to imagine more serious offending that that committed by Mabey, yet Mabey received little more than half the maximum sentence. His entire collection of 121 firearms "went missing", yet he only admitted the sale of 30 weapons. Which leaves, of course, 91 weapons "unaccounted for".

The weapons supposedly "went missing" in July 2007 - in how many serious crimes have they been used to date? And will there be any further consequences to Mabey if a link is proven? Keeping Stock wonders if justice has really been done in this case.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Labour spied on The Greens!!

Well, indirectly anyway! Stuff is reporting that the Greens are furious that Rob Gilchrist may have tried to spy on the party's Parliamentary office. And so they should be. Here's the story:

The Green Party is furious that police-paid spy Rob Gilchrist infiltrated its offices and was used to report on the party's activities.

Green MP Keith Locke said there were rules about how police could act in Parliament's precincts and he would be writing to Prime Minister John Key, Police Minister Judith Collins and Police Commissioner Howard Broad with his concerns.

Mr Locke said that former MP Nandor Tanczos' secretary Rayna Fahey called the party after the story about Mr Gilchrist's activities broke.

Rochelle Rees, the ex-partner of Mr Gilchrist, alleged at the weekend that he had been spying on peaceful protests groups for years.

Ms Rees, an animal rights and Labour Party activist, discovered Mr Gilchrist had been paid by counter-terrorism police to spy on the protest groups when she helped him fix his computer.

She discovered emails between him and police.

Ms Fahey told the Green Party that Mr Gilchrist had befriended her and had been "keen" to visit the office and asked a lot of questions.

This happened in 2005, some time around the election.

"There are clear police protocols in Parliament between the Speaker and the police," Mr Locke said.

"It is very disturbing that police would be conducting surveillance on a political party, including its MPs."

Keeping Stock agrees with Mr Locke on this. It is very disturbing that the Police, a government department, would spy on a political party. And this question must be asked - if the Police were spying on a political party which supported the incumbent government, what were they doing to opposition parties? Maybe Nicky Hager knows the answer to that question - and maybe he has the e-mails to prove it!

Whatever, Rob Gilchrist and the Police have provided the new government with an abundance of ammunition to use in future skirmishes, especially when the subject being discussed is trust!

Tag-Team of the Day award...

... goes to Nick Smith and Craig Foss for their slap-down of David Parker, Maryan Street and pretty much the entire Labour cabinet during this series of supplementaries and answers yesterday:

Craig Foss: What advice has the Minister received on the accuracy of a statement made by the Hon David Parker in respect of the non-earners account blowout not being in the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update, where he says: “Papers show that Ministers acted appropriately throughout, as the money needed had not been quantified until the election period.”?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: The money needed was clearly identified in a report to the former Minister on 14 August, based on a PricewaterhouseCoopers valuation. A further 60-page technical report was completed by the ACC on 22 August, which confirmed those figures. The election was not called until 12 September, and the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update closing-off date was 8 September, after the previous Government had that information.

Craig Foss: Is the Minister aware of the Cabinet minute of 10 December 2007 that noted increased costs in the non-earners account and required the then Minister to report back on a clear funding policy before the levy-setting process began in August 2008; if so, did that occur?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Yes, there was a very clear Cabinet minute last December requiring the former Minister to report back on funding issues in the non-earners account. That did not occur, and there is no explanation as to why it did not occur.

Craig Foss: Has the Minister received any advice about the accuracy of the statement issued by the former Labour Minister for ACC as to why the blowout was not included in the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Yes. The statement is inaccurate in three respects. It states the first advice the former Minister received was on 14 August, yet the chief executive of the ACC has advised me that the then Minister was given a heads-up in May. The statement also claims that the paper, dated 14 August, states: “approximately $300 million per annum 2009-2013;”. The paper never uses the word “approximately”, but notes that the change in baselines was $305.654 million and gives equal accuracy in subsequent years. Contrary also to Ms Street’s statement, it also specifically notes a request for increased appropriations in this financial year—something she did not disclose.

Craig Foss: What advice has the Minister received on the accuracy of the claim made by the Hon David Parker that it would have been constitutionally inappropriate for the Labour Government to address this urgent problem in the non-earners account during the election period?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: The statement is also incorrect. That additional appropriation was not from any change of policy but simply to maintain an existing level of accident compensation cover. I find it strange also that Labour would make that claim, when it seemed to be no problem at all for it to promise, in the middle of an election campaign, interest-free student loans, big increases in Working for Families, and many other initiatives. It seems that if it is good news, Labour can do it; if it is bad news, it hides it.

Well done gentlemen. If they were a WWE team, we could perhaps call them The Eviscerators! And Keeping Stock hopes that there might be some knife-sharpening going on at the Serious Fraud Office as well when this matter is considered in the context of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

"No ban" says Gerry

Gerry Brownlee says that we can take the picture to the left and destroy it. National will NOT ban the importation of incandescent light bulbs. This from Question Time yesterday:

12. AARON GILMORE (National) to the Minister of Energy and Resources: Will the Government be moving to ban the sale of incandescent light bulbs?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Minister of Energy and Resources) : I am delighted to inform the House that I have issued firm instructions to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to stop its plans to ban the sale of incandescent light bulbs. This Government, in stark contrast to the previous Government and the previous Minister of Energy, David Parker, rejects the idea that the Government knows best and must constantly meddle in the lives of New Zealanders. If people wish to buy incandescent light bulbs, then this Government will not stop them from doing so.

Aaron Gilmore: Why is the Government not going to ban incandescent light bulbs?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: There are a number of excellent reasons why we have not moved to ban those light bulbs. The first is that this Government believes that choice not compulsion, and the ability for individuals to make their own decisions about what sorts of lives they want to lead and what contribution they want to make to climate change, is far better than nanny State telling them what to do.

And so say all of us!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Anne Tolley saves The Bard!

William Shakespeare is safe!! The Dom-Post is reporting that Anne Tolley has pushed back changes to the NCEA curriculum to allow more consultation with the sector. The Dom-Post says:

An education review that some principals fear will spell an end to Shakespeare in schools is being held back a year by the new education minister.

Anne Tolley said yesterday that a review of NCEA standards papers used to assess pupils against the curriculum would be pushed back by 12 months to ensure greater consultation with worried principals and teachers.

It means changes due to be implemented from 2010 affecting thousands of high school pupils would not come into force till 2011.

"The timeline was so short at a very busy time of year," Mrs Tolley said. "I think it was too ambitious."

Her decision follows a meeting on Friday with the Auckland Secondary Schools Principals Association, which represents a quarter of the country's high schools.

Some members had called for a moratorium on the proposed changes, saying they would "dumb down" the education system.

This is another excellent call by Mrs Tolley, following her decision to defer the introduction of new ECE regulations which were due to come into force on 1 December 2008. She has brought a level of common-sense and pragmatism to the portfolio that was lacking with the former Minister. She is also showing a willingness to engage with the sector which was lacking with Chris Carter. With the focus that National is placing on education, Mrs Tolley has made a very encouraging start.


This in the Dom-Post today:

Judge Moss said the woman continued to deny her actions despite being convicted and interviewed by a psychiatrist and urgently needed to begin therapy.

The random nature of the threats had left the manager stressed and afraid.

"There is an absence of any remorse and empathy," Judge Moss said.

"This [crime] was serious. It's had a profound impact on the psychological wellbeing of the victim and still you maintain your denial."

OK - you'd think that a pretty stern sentence is about to be handed let's go to the start of the story:

A woman who terrorised her boss with months of death threats and who left dog faeces in her letterbox has been sentenced to 100 hours' community work.

The 52-year-old hung her head as Judge Jill Moss sentenced her in Lower Hutt District Court yesterday. She had been convicted on a charge of criminal harassment and one of threatening to kill after a hate-mail campaign in Wellington that lasted nine months.

Both the woman and her employer were granted permanent name suppression yesterday.

Between August 2006 and June 2007, the woman sent her manager threatening e-mails and about 30 threatening messages, using words and letters cut from newspapers, that included the phrases "die bitch", "guilty" and "now it's war".

She also put dog faeces in the manager's letterbox and squirted filler in her car's locks and windows last April.

She returned to the manager's home a few weeks later and put glue in the car locks.

Defence lawyer Noel Sainsbury said the woman did not have previous convictions and had a good work history. He blamed her reaction on a difficult working relationship with the manager and "serious depression".

Something's not quite right here...

Question Time

The boot will be on the other foot this afternoon when John Key's government faces its first Question Time. With the House moving into urgency later in the day, it's likely to be the only one before the 49th Parliament reconvenes in February. In essence, it will be the only opportunity that the Opposition has to have a go at the new Ministers.

So what's likely to be on the agenda this afternoon. Last weeks's law changes? Or are they "old news" now? The diplomatic situation with Fiji? Highly likely, we would think? The redundancy protection law? Almost a given.

And will there be any patsy questions from government MP's? I would like to see something addressed to John Key along the lines of "Has the Prime Minister received any reports indicating that the Labour Party has not learned anything from its duplicitous behaviour prior to the 1990 election?" Or "When the Prime Minister said in the House last week that the Serious Fraud Office would be busy in the New Year, which members of the Labour Party was he referring to?" Now the latter might not be in order, but doubtless one of the government's wordsmiths could beat it into an acceptable form!

And Lockwood Smith will be in the spotlight as well. Keeping Stock looks forward to a much more even-handed adminstration of Question Time, and we will not miss Margaret Wilson's ear-splitting screams of "Order!" in the slightest!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Justice for Peter Ellis?

The Press is reporting that there are fresh calls for an enquiry into the conviction of Peter Eliis in the Civic Creche case:

Former National Party leader Don Brash and former front-bench MP Katherine Rich are calling on new Justice Minister Simon Power to order a commission of inquiry into the Peter Ellis case, warning that the conviction is continuing to impact on the legal system.

Brash and Rich, along with Dunedin author Lynley Hood, have written to the minister asking him to consider a fresh inquiry.

We at Keeping Stock have read Lynley Hood's weighty tome on the Ellis case, and had a distinct dense of discomfort having done so. And in light of that discomfort, this request to Power comes as no surprise. The Press reports:

In a letter to Power, the trio say the Christchurch Civic Creche case remains a stain on the New Zealand justice system.

"In our view, the time is long overdue for the minister responsible for our justice system to demonstrate the political will and moral courage necessary to ensure that a comprehensive and genuinely independent inquiry is held into what is widely regarded as New Zealand's most egregious miscarriage of justice," they say.

"That the wrongs done in the creche case have not been righted after all this time is nothing short of a scandal.

"A full inquiry is needed to ensure that the mistakes made in the creche case will not be repeated."

It will be interesting to see how Power handles this. Given that, in the words of Ms Hood and her colleagues "Two former prime ministers, 12 law professors, 10 Queen's Counsel and thousands of other petitioners have already expressed their concerns.", there is a strong case for Power to convene a new enquiry. The former Labour government had nine years to do so, but for whatever reason, chose the path of least resistance. Simon Power now has the opportunity to stamp his own mark on his Ministry, and as DPF has noted at Kiwiblog to "restore faith in the justice system". No-one will be the loser if justice is done for Peter Ellis.

UPDATE: Poneke had a series of posts on the Ellis case some time back. This one is especially compelling, and it is worth taking a few moments to follow the link to the articles from thew New Zealand Law Journal.

This week in the House

Audrey Young previews week two of the 49th Parliament, in particular the likely legislative agenda that National will seek to implmement. She notes:

National is expected to pull back on the number of bills it will push through under urgency as it starts its second week in government.

Its big battle this week will be the repeal of the law regulating the amount of biofuels oil companies must sell.

After the opening of Parliament last week, five new laws were passed.

Nearly all drew heated opposition, the exception being one covering crimes against children, which was passed unanimously during the marathon sitting on Saturday.

Justice Minister Simon Power has charge of five of the eight remaining pieces of legislation that National has promised to pass within 100 days.

But he said last night that only one of them - giving police the power to issue on-the-spot protection orders for victims of domestic violence - would be passed through all stages this week.

Keeping Stock strongly agrees with urgency being accorded to the protection order bill. The holiday period is well known for being a time when there is a higher incidence of domestic violence, and National is, in our opinion, right to push this through this week.

The other contentious piece of legislation is the repeal of the Biofeuls legislation. Interestingly, Peter Dunne will oppose this. Keeping Stock regards such opposition as healthy to the National-led government, rather than a possible hinderance to its future effectiveness. The Maori Party opposed the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, and yet the links between National and Maori seem to be strengthening by the day - and that will be a huge disappointment to Phil Goff and the Labour Party!!

The Herald on small business

There's an interesting editorial in this morning's Herald on the new government's attitude towards small business - it begins thus:

The past nine years have been hard on employers, particularly small employers. A Government whose members had little personal experience of an employer's obligations loaded more holidays and other costs on to those obligations and made it fearfully difficult to get rid of an unsatisfactory employee. The new Government has moved to quickly to restore a balance, at least for small employers.

A speedily enacted law permitting them to hire people on 90 days' probation, with no redress for dismissal in that time, will be welcomed not only by employers but by all conscientious workers, particularly if their existing jobs are at risk in the present international climate. Workers should welcome it because there can be no better incentive to additional employment than a reduction in the risk that a new employee represents to a small business.

Doubtless the union/workers' rights element of the left will be beating their chests in anguish as to the bare-faced cheek of the Herald telling it like it is. And they won't like the next paragraph!!

Capable and conscientious workers have nothing to fear. In the ordinary course of business employers do not go to the trouble and expense of hiring somebody only to dismiss them lightly and go through the whole costly, time-consuming exercise again. In an ideal world recruitment methods would be foolproof and the need for a probationary employment period would not arise. But in the real world the best selection procedures will occasionally fail to ensure a job applicant is reliable and temperamentally suited to the job.

Absolutely! The business that Mrs Inventory and I own and run has grown exponentially in the last two years, and the majority of the hiring decisions we have made have been good ones. However, they are also crucial financial decisions. By the time we equip, clothe and induct a new staff member, it probably costs us in excess of $2000. We want our decisions to be good ones, and we want to emply staff who are going to stay with us long-term. But we don't always get it right.

Mrs Inventory and I will be looking at this law while we are away over Christmas, and making a decision as to whether it will be something we add to our employment toolkit; but at least National has given us something to ponder.

The Herald's one concern is the passgae of the law under urgency, but National's argument that Wayne Mapp's bill from 2006 has already had a Select Committee airing has some merit. But the leader writer reckons it's ok for National to use the international financial crisis as a justification for redressing the balance - and Keeping Stock agrees. For, as the Herald concludes, small business is crucial to New Zealand's interests in these troubled times:

The Government's only justification for the haste can be the fear that international economic conditions will soon see widespread lay-offs. In these circumstances the country would need domestic consumption to take up the slack from lower export sales. If there is any capacity for more employment it is likely to be found in small, owner-managed businesses that have been ripe for expansion but dissuaded by the legal risks associated with taking on responsibility for full-time staff.

They have a Government that sympathises with them and has demonstrated its sympathy with swift action rather than words. That action alone may have done more to boost business confidence and employment than we dare expect.

Amen to that!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ralston on promises

Bill Ralston can't quite believe it....

Dear Lord! Something has gone horribly wrong. It's utterly discombobulating. The Government is keeping its word. We're not used to this, you know. Last week there was a bad attack of the vapours from Labour, the Greens, the unions and some commentators about the Government going into urgency, ramming bills through Parliament and, horror of horrors, sitting on a Saturday to get its 100-day action plan underway.

Where is the debate, the argument and the painfully slow progress of legislation through select committees? Thankfully missing.

These issues were argued long and hard through the election campaign. In many cases Parliament has already debated them in the form of Private Members' Bills that were defeated under the last Government.

What the critics must realise is the public cast the deciding vote at the polls and National's wasting no time in getting the job done.

National is doing exactly what it pledged to do - a 90-day probationary trial for new employees of small businesses, tax cuts, changes to KiwiSaver, amending bail laws, toughening sentences for violent offenders, new numeracy and literacy standards for schools, and reinstating the wrongly sacked Hawke's Bay District Health Board.

Great stuff! Helen Clark was right - it was about trust, And National is showing that!

John Drake dies

World Cup winning All Black prop John Drake died suddenly yesterday at his Mt Maunganui home - a sad loss at just 49 years old.

Drake was part of a powerhouse All Black scrum, and in his post-rugby days, carved out a niche as a television commentator and newspaper columnist who could articulate just what goes on in those deep dark recesses of a rugby field. The Herald reports his death, and provides links to some of his work.

RIP Drakey - to his family go our thoughts and prayers - Kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui - arohanui.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New hypocrisy from The Standard

The house in the background is John Key's home in Parnell. The protesters in the foreground are from the Workers' Party. The photograph was taken yesterday. The words come from Irish Bill, well-known blogger at The Standard.

This, of course, is the same The Standard which squealed like a stuck pig when photographs of activist John Minto's home were published on WhaleOil's site earlier in the year. Yet now they endorse that kind of behaviour. Isn't that a trifle hypocritical?

"Those that have ears..."

Meet Josh Te Tua. Photographed yesterday outside the High Court in Wellington, and still a patched member of Black Power, I guess it's understandable that he would have the swagger on after three Mongrel Mob mebers and affiliates were found guilty of his daughter's murder.

In looking for words to go with this photograph, I found a fascinating article by Denis O'Reilly - a life member of Black Power, now a social activist. Under the heading Those that have ears, let them hear it began:

In the wake of the tumult and tragedy of the past week with the murder of 2 year old Jhia Te Tua a journalist asked me about the good side of gangs. I told her, there is no good side to a gang. Let me be clear- like being in prison, being in the trapped lifestyle of a gang is a waste of time and human potential. So why hang with gangs? Well, if that's where the problem is then from a community action perspective, you had better involve and work with the people who are part of the problem. It would be pointless having Alcoholics Anonymous without alcoholics like me. Pointless trying to resolve whatever it is going on in Aotearoa within this thing we call gangs without engaging with gang members. Gangs may be the locus of the stories in this series, but I'm committed to resolving a problem, not mount an apologia. My role is peacemaker.

O'Reilly then describes his role in the aftermath of the Jhia Te Tua shooting, and in particular, around Jhia's tangi. It's well worth taking the time to read in its entirety, but this part stood out:

Ria and Josh cradled her little casket and, as Tipi led the haka powhiri, time was suspended and we entered the realm of the metaphysical. That night there were prayers and necessary korero. There were long and complex recounting of whakapapa and linking as the tributaries to this mokopuna's existence were acknowledged and celebrated. Josh and Ria sat there and listened. Ria is again hapu and these ancestral lines are also exactly those of the child yet to be born. What will be this child's future? Late that night, sitting out the front of the house I say to Josh "Brother, no one will think badly of you if you put your patch down. You have another baby on the way brother. Do what is right for your whanau".

"Do what is right for your whanau". It seems as though Josh Te Tua has made his choice. He's still patched-up. I'm willing to wager that given the opportunity, he would want vengeance - a life for a life. You'd think that the loss of a child would be enough to make him reappraise his priorities. Evidently not. Perhaps he could have reflected on Denis O'Reilly's words as he described the sight of hardened gang members paying tribute to Jhia as she lay on her marae:

The group of warriors pause before her. Tears roll down tattooed faces. Perhaps, like me, they see the face of their own children in that wooden box and, like me, reflect on our own stupidity in past actions that could have resulted in a similar outcome. We are chastened.

Evidently, not chastened enough.

But is it cricket #3?

Now this is worrying! I agree with pretty much every word that Adam Parore has written
in this morning's Herald!! Check this out:

If it were up to me, lbw decisions would be left in the hands of the on-field umpires.

The dismissal of Daniel Flynn on day one of the first test against the West Indies was a landmark moment for my money - test cricket has been changed forever. And not for the better.

The concept of the benefit of the doubt falling in the batters' favour has been lost now that decisions can be referred to a third umpire armed with video evidence. If you believe the technology is fail safe, there is no doubt Flynn's dismissal was a good shout. However, it was a not out decision by the standards of what we know as test cricket.

But suddenly it's out, and just as suddenly the game is changed. Flynn can feel rightly put out that he was denied a certain, and well-deserved, maiden hundred.

Parore is dead right. The balance of the game has changed, and the third umpire has the opportunity to make a decision which is far more precise than an on-field umpire could, given that the man in the middle gets but one look at full speed. And he suggests a compromise:

In a decision such as Flynn's, I believe the ball needs to hit the pads in line with the inside half of the off stump to allow for the batter to get the benefit of the doubt - but that's not what happened to him. Flynn was struck on the outside half of the off stump - only just in line with the stumps by even the most precise measure.

Perhaps the answer may be to only use the referral system to determine if the ball has touched the bat, but leave any other part of lbw decisions to the men in the middle

It will be interesting to see how the ICC responds and whether they make any changes. The law has only been in force briefly and already has thrown up a scenario few anticipated.

Let's remember that this is just a trial. But unfortunately the ICC doesn't have a great track record in the way it has administered the "gentleman's game" - and that concerns this cricket tragic!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Even better news...

Don't let the tidy, nice young man look deceive. Hayden Wallace, Karl Check and Ranji Forbes are members or associates of the Mongrel Mob. And just a few moments ago, they were found guilty of the murder of Jhia Te Tua, barely 2km from the Inventory whare in Wanganui. And that is welcome news indeed.

Wallace, on the left, was a Mob prospect under Check's "tuition". Check (in the middle), a patched Mob member, ordered Wallace to do the shooting. Forbes, a Mob associate drove the vehicle from which Wallace fired the shots. This was not a random act. It was a planned retaliation.

Jhia's father Josh Te Tua is a patched Black Power member. In Keeping Stock's considered opinion, that makes him no better than the animals who shot his daugher - because the bullet was meant for him.

There are no winners from the scourge of gang violence in Wanganui or anywhere else - everybody loses. Jhia's mother has lost her daughter because of her partner's gangster life. Josh Te Tua was involved in a drive-by shooting at the Mongrel Mob pad a few months before - having sown the seeds, he has to reap the harvest - the direct result of which was the shooting of his daughter. The community loses its sense of safety and security. The list goes on - and all the while the Dogs and the Blacks continue their feud - here in Wanganui and elsewhere.

There's a sense of irony in that these verdicts have been passed down as Parliament begins debating National's get-tough-on-crime agenda. If Parliament can make progress towards some REAL and EFFECTIVE action against gangs, Jhia Te Tua's tragic death may not have been totally in vain.

Throw away the key

Liam Reid has today been sentenced to life imprisonment with a 26-year minimum parole period for the murder of deaf Christchurch woman Emma Agnew. In addition, Reid has been sentenced to preventive detention for raping Miss Agnew, and another attack nine days later where he left a woman in Dunedin for dead after raping her. Stuff carries the details, but don't follow the link if you have a weak constitution - it's not pleasant reading. However Reid's lack of remorse during sentencing is decscribed here:

Liam James Reid – described by the judge as "an evil and dangerous predator" – bowed and waved to the clapping crowd as he began one of New Zealand's longest terms for murder, rape and attempted murder.

Justice Lester Chisholm said Reid's arrogance was unbelievable. He imposed a minimum non-parole term of 26 years as well as preventive detention for the murder and rapes in Christchurch and Dunedin.

The gallery in the No 1 High Court at Christchurch was packed to see the sentencing of the man convicted of the rape and murder of deaf woman Emma Agnew, and the rape, sexual violation, attempted murder and robbery of a 21-year-old student in Dunedin.

Many of the audience were members of the deaf community and the sentencing session was interpreted for them with sign language.

The public gallery broke into applause as sentence was finally imposed. Reid, 36, shaven headed, tattooed and flanked by three prison officers, bowed to the crowd and then raised both arms in a kind of victory salute as he was led away.

In one sense, he has fulfilled his life's ambition. The medical reports prepared on him before sentencing say he wanted to be serial murderer and rapist.

Whilst Reid will be 62 before he can be considered for parole, Keeping Stock hopes and prays that he is never released.

The Friday Forum - 12/12/08

Hooray - it's Friday - and with any luck the nice man from Sky will turn up today or tomorrow with the MySky HDI box so that Keeping Stock's viewing pleasures will be even more pleasurable!

But enough rampant capitalism and materialism! It's time for the Friday Forum, and you know what that means. Rant, rave, vent - you choose the subject. This is YOUR place on the blogosphere to share your opinion before the weekend kicks in - so welcome aboard!

"I'm running the show now Mr Cunliffe"

Tony Ryall has had a busy week, now that he, not David "Cunners" Cunliffe is running the show in Health. Not only has he funded 12 months of Herceptin treatment to breast cancer sufferers, but he has also resolved Baygate. The Dom-Post reports that Ryall has reinstated the sacked Hawke's Bay DHB. And in an interesting move, he has retained John Anderson as Chairman.

As part of the deal, the Judicial Review of the sacking will be withdrawn, and there will be full disclosure of all documents surrounding the sacking. Keeping Stock wonders what Cunners' reaction to the latter will be, given that it is his credibility on the line.

According to the Dom-Post, Ryall's actions have been very favourably received in the Hawke's Bay, now a National Party stronghold thanks to Cunners:

Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott and Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said they were delighted with the decision. "The people of Hawke's Bay will welcome this result as it avoids a costly court case and is the remedy that the councils were seeking," the mayors said. Former chairman Kevin Atkinson said yesterday that board members welcomed their reinstatement "and effective exoneration".

Board members felt it "fully justifies the unprecedented action taken by the five Hawke's Bay councils on behalf of the community to challenge former minister Cunliffe's decision to dismiss the board," Mr Atkinson said.

"The former board was always confident that an unbiased review of the facts under the judicial review sought by the five councils would reverse the injustice imposed on our community.

"Minister Cunliffe's unbalanced attack on the reputation of the former board members and the statements made by him under the protection of parliamentary privilege were reprehensible, as were those statements made by a number of people giving him advice at the time of the board's dismissal."

And what of Chris Clarke, the DHB's CEO (and former staffer of Helen Clark)? The Dom-Post reports that he is looking forward to "moving on". Keeping Stock ventures to suggest that moving on might involve an updated CV, letters of application, and a new role where he will have to progress on merit, and not rely on political patronage.