Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fisking Anita

Kiwipolitico has been the "new blog on the block" for a few weeks, and from what we have observed, it's a step up from the quality of debate at that other left-leaning bastion of free speecch (cough, splutter!!), The Standard. Until today that is.

Anita has posted a thread entitled "Whispering campaigns" It's ostensibly an attack on John Key and National, and contains this gem (our emphasis included)

For the last six years the National and their allies honed their skills at whispering campaigns; the question now is whether Labour will stoop to their level.
We all heard the whispers; the stories of sex, money and corruption. Largely personal they also targeted the partners and children of politicians.
Of all the things National and its allies have done it the last few years the whispering campaigns sickened me most.
The dishonesty. John Key never actually called Helen Clark a “heartless childless lesbian bitch”, instead he arranged for enough other people to say it so that he only needed to nod slightly and the attack was made but his hands remained clean.

That last allegation that Anita makes is astonishing, and quite frankly defamatory. We have tried a number of times today to log in to the thread to ask Anita what proof she has to back her claim up, but the thread won't open - does anyone else have this problem with Kiwipolitico.? And so, in the interests of honesty and transparency, Keeping Stock is laying down a challenge to Anita - put up or shut up.

Fourteen children!

Yes, the mother who gave birth to octuplets ealier this week now has FOURTEEN children, according to the Herald's website. She already has children aged 7, 6, 5, 3 and 2-year-old twins, in addition to the eight babies born on Monday.

The woman is reported to live with her parents and children. There is no mention of a father - of any of the children.


Just in case you thought that we were withholding comment on South Africa's resounding ODI series finale victory last night, this one's for you!

Even with Makhaya Ntini, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn omitted, the Proteas were just too good for the Australians. And writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Jamie Pandaram sums up the impications:

Whether South Africa are ready for the No.1 cricket ranking is irrelevant, because Australia is no longer on their level, nor India's.

The crown is gone and Australia are languishing behind the other two nations in form and depth. Gone too is the killer instinct and ability to forge back-breaking partnerships when it matters most.

Oh dear; how sad; never mind! Roll on game one of the Chappell Hadlee series tomorrow night.

A message of forgiveness ...

We were deeply touched by these words, spoken at the funeral service of Halatau Naitoko yesterday:

"My blood has been shed and that blood is crying out for forgiveness.

"Let that message reach out to the Minister of Police, the Police Commissioner and all the government officials - even the beloved policeman who fired that shot."

Those of us who have chosen to follow Christ know that his blood was shed for the forgiveness of everyone. Halatau's family is demonstrating the true meaning of the word grace. We pray that in the days an weeks that come, they will truly experience the peace that passes human understanding. Kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui; Arohanui.

More grief for Cunners

As if David "Cunners" Cunliffe hasn't endured enough. First there was the "I'm running this show now" pantomime performance in Parliament, then the messy business christened by Keeping Stock as "Baygate" - Cunliffe's unilateral decision to sack the elected Hawkes Bay District Health Board. Cunners was spared a lot of blushes over the latter by the election defeat, and Tony Ryall's decision to reinstate the sacked Board, avoiding a judicial review in the High Court - but the damage had been done. And in addition, his Labour Party leadership ambitions have been well documented, despite the fact that he is not universally admired by his caucus colleagues.

So Cunners could have done without this morning's revelation in this morning's Herald that he, as Immigration Minister failed to revoke Yang Liu's residency, even when presented with legal advice by his officials. Oh dear Cunners - you obviously weren't "running this show" when this happened:

The former Labour Government missed an opportunity 15 months ago to revoke the permanent residency of controversial immigrant Yang Liu.

Mr Liu, who has befriended politicians and made donations to Labour and National, was granted citizenship last July against the advice of officials.

Investigations by police and immigration into possible identity fraud, money laundering and immigration fraud are nearing completion after a visit in November by three detectives to China. It hasn't been determined whether charges will be laid.

The Weekend Herald can reveal that Mr Liu was given citizenship nine months after officials advised the Immigration Minister at the time, David Cunliffe, that dual identities allegedly used by Mr Liu were grounds to revoke his permanent residency. They provided a legal opinion in support.

The recommendation that Mr Cunliffe revoke Mr Liu's residency came a year after Australian authorities in 2006 sent to the Chinese Government A$3.37 million ($4.25m) seized from bank accounts that Liu controlled.

That doesn't look good for Cunners does it. But the devil is, as always, in the detail, helpfully provided further down the story:

According to ministerial briefing papers prepared for Shane Jones (who granted Mr Liu citizenship) and released under the Official Information Act, the Chinese allege that in 1999 Yong Ming Yang stole the identity of Yang Liu by falsely registering his birth.

The birth date on the passport in the name of Yang Liu is October 20, 1972, which would make him 26 or 27 in 1999 when the Chinese allege the birth was registered. The Chinese claim Yong Ming Yan fled China in 2000.

In September 2007, Mr Cunliffe decided not to revoke Mr Liu's residency but recommended investigations continue.

Mr Cunliffe would not discuss the case when approached by the Herald before the election but later, under the Official Information Act, the Department of Labour released to the Herald the following passage from Mr Cunliffe's decision: "I have decided that the most appropriate route for this case at this time is for it to continue to be assessed by BSG [Border Security Group - includes fraud and compliance units] as a potential prosecution file. I do not discount the possibility of reconsidering it in the future."

A source close to Mr Cunliffe told the Herald that the minister had erred on the side of natural justice for Mr Liu but was "somewhat surprised" when Mr Jones (delegating for the Internal Affairs minister of the time, Rick Barker), granted Mr Liu citizenship without first discussing it with Mr Cunliffe.

Well, if nothing else, I guess that blows the chances of a Cunliffe/Jones leadership team for the Labour Party, not that Keeping Stock reckons that their egos could ever be deflated sufficiently to let that happen. But one thing's for sure - Cunners was not "running this show" at all, and in the best pantomime traditions, he failed to heed the warnings from the audience of "Look behind you!!" when the villain appeared!

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Friday Forum - 30/1/2009

Flippin' heck - not only is it Friday already, but it's nearly the end of the first moth of 2009 - and that is just plain scary! Tempus had indeed fugited this month!!

But we digress. It's time for the Keeping Stock Friday Forum! So roll on up, and have your say - you know the drill - you can rant and rave to your heart's content here, and get things off your chest before the weekend etc, etc, etc.

The floor is yours!

THAT game

Ironic, ain't it? 28 years on, New Zealand and Australia will go head-to-head again in the Chappell Hadlee series - on the anniversary of the most significant moment in trans-Tasman cricket - here 'tis:

It's one of those moments that cricket tragics such as ourselves will never forget. But it sets the scene for what should be an excellent series. The Black Caps will have to be at their very best to win this series. The Australians have been wounded by series defeats to South Africa in both the tests and the ODI's. Neither side is at full-strength, but the depth of the Kiwis is likely to be tested more. All we can say is "Bring it on!"

Meantime, David Legatt has a lengthy review of some of the memorable moments in trans-Tasman ODI's in this morning's Herald.

Is it time?

We posted a couple of times yesterday regarding the social ills that affect New Zealand. And the more we think of it, the level of tolerance that we as a nation give to gangs seems completely and utterly inappropriate.

Gangs exist for wholely selfish reasons. They flagrantly ignore the law; they commit crimes to finance their lifestyles; they treat "their" women and children as possessions, all in an environment where the wholesale abuse of drugs and alcohol is not only the norm, it is etched into the fabric of their "culture". They thrive on the theory of "safety in numbers", and their intimidating image. And innocent people die as a direct result of their activities.

There was much talk before the last election of legislation to outlaw criminal gangs. Do either of the main poltical parties have the guts to go down this road? Surely, as there is already legislation on the Statute books banning an individual's involvement in a criminal organisation - the accused in the Jhia Te Tua case were found guilty of charges of participating in a criminal group - how hard will it be to ban the gangs themselves?

After the verdicts in the Jhia Te Tua case were delivered in December, Michael Laws commented on the "evil" of gangs - let's refresh our memories:

"These verdicts will allow our community to move on and they certainly reflect local opinion," Mr Laws said.

"Jhia's murder exposes the true evil of gangs.

"There was evidence given at the trial that the Mob members celebrated even after learning that they had shot an innocent child," he said.

"That is a measure of their inhumanity."

Mr Laws said his thoughts were with the child whose "innocence was snuffed out by an act of evil and infamy".

You know what? Laws, not a fave of Keeping Stock, is dead right. Gangs ARE evil. Ask the family of Mark McCutcheon, farewelled yesterday after being stabbed by a Mongrel Mob member or associate. Mark McCutcheon's only crime was going to the aid of a woman being beaten to a pulp by her Mongrel Mob partner.

Gangs are a blight on our society. Keeping Stock reckons it's time that we got angry, and sent a message to Wellington that it is time for Parliament to unite, and invoke cross-party legislation to outlaw gangs. Are you with us? Can we do it? We reckon - YES, WE CAN!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

More evidence

Further to my post earlier today about gang violence, if you needed more evidence as to how we're going downhill fast, here's an eye-opening story from the Herald - a 14-year-old girl, pregnant, stopped by the police in Whangarei, and blowing 828mcg on the breath tester. The Herald tells us:

Police were shocked to find a driver they pulled over for driving erratically on Kamo Rd was only 14, four months' pregnant and allegedly nearly six times over the alcohol limit.

Whangarei police Acting Sergeant Kevin Crawford said the girl was stopped after her driving caught police attention on Tuesday evening.

She gave a false name and had difficulty spelling it. She was forbidden to drive and taken to Whangarei police station, where she recorded a breath- alcohol level of 828mcg. The legal limit for drivers under 20 is 150mcg and driving licences are not issued to people under 15.

The girl will be referred to Youth Aid, Mr Crawford said.

Keeping Stock sincerely hopes that a referral to Youth Aid will not be the only outcome in this case. This girl's blood alcohol level was not only six times the legal level for under 20's, but was more than TWICE the adult limit. This girl was seriously pissed! We don't even want to contemplate the potential for harm to the girl's unborn child. In the course of our work, we provide ECE to several children suffering from the effects of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, ranging from mild to severe, and it's not pretty.

We don't for one moment profess to have answers for the malaise which affects New Zealand which goes by the name of teenage binge drinking. But we know two things for sure - it's a real problem, and it's getting worse. We find that frightening.

OCR - record low

How low would he go? That was the question being asked of Dr Alan Bollard before the latest OCR review today. And Dr Bollard has indeed gone low - cutting the OCR by 1.5 percentage points to a new low of 3.5%. The Herald reports:

In a press statement accompanying the announcement, Bollard said: "The news coming from our trading partners is very negative. The global economy is now in recession and the outlook for international growth has been marked down considerably since our December Monetary Policy Statement.

"Globally, there has been considerable policy stimulus put in place and we expect this to help bring about a recovery in growth over time. However, there remains huge uncertainty about the timing and strength of a recovery.

"The extent of the decline in global growth prospects and the ongoing uncertainty has played a large part in today's decision. We now expect the impact on New Zealand of these developments to be greater than we did in December, as a result of a more negative outlook for the terms of trade and exports, and tighter credit conditions."

Inflation pressures were abating, said Bollard. He said the bank had confidence that annual inflation would "be comfortably inside the target band of 1 to 3 per cent over the medium term".

"Given this backdrop it is appropriate to take the OCR to a more stimulatory position and to deliver this reduction quickly," he said.

"Today's decision brings the cumulative reduction in the OCR since July 2008 to 4.75 percentage points. Lower interest rates will have a ositive impact on growth, alongside a lower exchange rate and fiscal stimulus, provided firms and households do not unnecessarily contract their spending."

Bollard again made the point that the bank expected financial institutions to play their part in the "economic adjustment process" by passing on lower wholesale interest rates to their customers.

Let's all hope that the banks heed Dr Bollard's advice, and that they do indeed pass on these cuts to their customers. Businesses especially will be looking for a positive response from their banks, as the gloomy economic predictions start to erode business confidence.

Another senseless killing

The Herald reports this morning on another senseless killing - the callous chasing and running down of 16-year-old Jordan Herewini in Murapara. So what makes this killing particularly senseless? Read this:

Murupara residents had welcomed patched Mongrel Mob members into their close-knit community to attend a funeral, but say the gang responded by killing an innocent youth for wearing the wrong coloured T-shirt.

Jordan Herewini died in his own backyard on Tuesday night after he was run over twice by his brother Mahu's truck, which witnesses say had been stolen by an out-of-town Mob member.

The 16-year-old had earlier been in a scuffle with visiting gang members over his yellow T-shirt, as the colour is associated with the local - rival - Tribesmen gang.

The gang situation is fast becoming absurd. As readers will know, the Inventory whare is in Wanganui, in the seaside suburb of Castlecliff - supposedly Black Power territory (blue). Other parts of Wanganui are supposedly Mongrel Mob territory (red). It's only a few months ago that Paul Kumeroa was brutally and fatally beaten just over a kilometer from the Inventory whare - walking home from work late at night, and apparently wearing red, even though he had himself had no gang affiliations.

This kind of random, senseless killing is a cancer on our supposedly "decent society". I've just finished reading a shocking yet enlightening book called "True Red" - a biography of former Mongrel Mob leader Tuhoe "Bruno" Isaacs. Isaacs left the Mob (a dangerous act in itself), and had his life transformed after becoming a Christian. It's a book that has certainly given me a better appreciation of the futility of the gang culture. And never has the futility of gangs been better expressed in the two murders reported above.

Law and order was high on the agenda in the last election campaign - from all sides of the political divide . Keeping Stock reckons that it is time for action to be taken to smash these criminal gangs. Doubtless there will be handwringing and gnashing of teeth from the civil libertarians. Tough! Let the bleeding hearts talk to the whanau of Paul Kumeroa, of Jordan Herewini, and of others who have fallen victim to these gangland battles. What about THEIR civil liberties? We pay far too much regard to the apologists for criminal behaviour, and it's time for a paradigm shift at the highest level.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Justice for the Ashley family?

The Dom-Post is reporting this morning that the Corrections Department has made a secret payout to the family of Liam Ashley. Ashley, it will be remembered, was murdered in a prison van in 2006.

It is welcome news that Liam Asley's family has been compensated for the tragic and aviodable loss of their son. There was clear evidence that procedures were not followed, and it is encouraging that Corrections has 'fessed up and admitted culpability, avoiding the need for legal action against them. However Keeping Stock believes that justice would have been better served for the Ashley family had the cheque been accompanied by the head of Corrections CEO Barry Matthews on a silver platter. We sincerely hope that he has been given a "shape up or ship out" by his new Minister, Judith Collins.

Another excellent editorial ...

... from the Dom-Post this morning, on the subject of the tragic and accidental death of Halatau Naitoko last week. It echoes a post on Keeping Stock urging readers to spare a few thoughts (and prayers) for the AOS officer involved in this tragedy, as well as for Halatua Naitoko's partner, daughter and wider family. It says:

Killing an innocent New Zealander is probably one of a police officer's greatest fears. Yet it happened, during a tense standoff involving the armed offenders squad and allegedly 50-year-old Stephen Hohepa McDonald, who was high on P and had no recollection of the incident, his lawyer says.

Once McDonald was in custody, a young courier driver, in the wrong place at the wrong time, was found to be dead after a misdirected shot from a police rifle and another motorist peppered with shrapnel but alive. Whoever pulled the trigger, ending the life of the teenage father, must live for the rest of their lives with the knowledge of what he or she has done.

This is indeed a nightmare scenario for a police officer, sworn to protect the New Zealand public, not to harm them. In Keeping Stock's opinion, calls for the officer to face prosecution are premature, and should be held back until such time as the various investigations have been concluded. And as the leader writer at the Dom-Post notes:

Emotions are understandably high at the moment. Three inquiries into last week's events are now in train a criminal inquiry, being led by a policeman from out of the area, an Independent Police Conduct Authority inquiry and a coroner's inquest. Though each can take a long time the IPCA report into the police shooting of Steven Wallace in April 2000 is still outstanding it is important they be allowed to take their course.

If the officer who missed his or her mark and killed Halatau instead is found to have acted wrongly, he or she should face the courts.

This is a very balanced piece this morning, well worthy of a read. Keeping Stock concurs with the leader writer's opinion.

New twist in SANLU saga

The print and electronic media are all over this story this morning. I'll start with the Herald's version, and we'll go from there...the Herald tells us:

The chairwoman of the Chinese dairy company that sold fatally contaminated infant milk formula says she acted on information supplied by Fonterra.

Former Sanlu chairwoman Tian Wenhua, 66, sentenced last week to life in prison, says a Fonterra-appointed director gave her a document stating the European Union's permitted levels of the industrial chemical melamine.

Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier confirmed to the Herald yesterday that Tian had been given a document by a Fonterra board member. However, he said Fonterra was "vividly clear" to Sanlu that the only acceptable level of melamine was zero.

No doubt there is still a whole lot of water to pass under the bridge in this messy saga. Although we at Keeping Stock don't have a lot of knowledge of things rural, it seems to us that Fonterra still has a lot of questions to answer, and there's no escaping the perception, whether merited or not, that Fonerra has been less than transparent throughout. Perhaps we're being unfair on the "dairy giant" as the media repeatedly call Fontera, and doubtless fellow blogger Ele at Homepaddock will correct us if that is the case. In fact, we'll be watching out for her take on this story.

Watch this space ...

UPDATE: Ele from Homepaddock has now blogged a comprehensive post on the issue, and as a journalist with a rural bent, she will be better informed than most. It's well worth a read. BustedBlonde at Roarprawn has also commented.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A sign of the times...

Stuff is reporting the Chelsy Davy has dumped Prince Harry in an ever-so-slightly impersonal way - via Facebook! The story says:

The Prince’s girlfriend Chelsy Davy, 23, reportedly ended the five-year liaison by changing her Facebook status to: "Relationship: Not in One."

The couple, who have been together since 2004, are said to have run into difficulties after spending prolonged periods apart.

The report could not be verified as Royal officials refused to comment and Davy’s Facebook page could not be viewed.

I thought that the Buck House response would have been more along the lines of "We are not amused"!!

A credible defence?

The Dom-Post reports this morning that the lawyers for Stephen Hohepa McDonald are considering using his drug-crazed state as a defence for his actions on Friday. The story says:

A drug binge could form part of the legal defence of a man accused of sparking the events that led to the police shooting of Halatau Naitoko.

Stephen Hohepa McDonald, 50, was high on methamphetamine during Friday's rampage in Auckland, in which Mr Naitoko was fatally shot by police in crossfire on the Northwestern Motorway, according to his lawyer, Roger Chambers.

It was more than two days before McDonald realised someone had been killed, Mr Chambers said yesterday.

"There were tears trickling down his face. He was very upset when I told him the news and he is very quiet at the moment. He is sincerely upset that an innocent person has died. "The enormity of events has led him to be very reflective, that's putting it gently."

Pardon our scepticism, but that is nothing short of crap! Allowing drug abuse to become a legitimate defence in criminal cases would be a hugely dangerous precedent. We don't have a lawyer on the team at Keeping Stock (although Inventory's Darling Daughter is about to head to Law School), but this would be a crazy move.

The effects of methamphetamine use and abuse are well documented, and MacDoctor had a thoughtful and informative post on the subject yesterday. Keeping Stock has little sympathy for methamphetamine users. The offences with which McDonald has been charged are serious, and if proven, he must face the consequences. Only then might we discover whether his being "sincerely upset" relates to the distress he has caused the family of Halatau Naitoko, or the realisation that he is up to his ears in trouble. Once again, pardon our scepticism, but the former alternative sounds a little too much like lawyer-speak for our liking.

A Green dilemma

John Armstrong has an interesting piece in this morning's Herald on what he perceives is a warming of relations between the Greens and National. I'm not so sure. Armstrong opines:

The Greens' vision remains highly relevant - witness the huge emphasis new US President Barack Obama is placing upon renewable energy and energy efficiency.

However, as a party, the Greens, positioned to the left of Labour and their votes not needed by a centre-right Government, will struggle for relevance as political players.

Their options are to spend this parliamentary term either in ideologically pure but not-so-splendid isolation or roll up their sleeves and co-operate with National and achieve something concrete.

Like it or not, the Greens ARE in isolation. It was, as Armstrong observed in his opening, the Greens who slammed the door in John Key's face, not that he needed them. They've made their bed, and in our humble opinion, John Key should make them sleep in it a little longer.

There is one positive however for National should they decide to work closer with Red Russel and his comrades. Key could totally isolate Labour, and leave them as the Neville-no-mates opposition (we don't count Jim Anderton - he is Labour in everything but name). That could be a good strategy looking forward to the 2011 election, but there are risks as well. Personally speaking, we would rather the Greens were nowhere near the seat of power.

Interesting times await us.

Advance Australia Fair #2

South Africa's cricketers were Australia Day party-poopers yesterday, taking the Ockers to the cleaners at the Adelaide Oval. After bowling the Aussies out for 222, the Proteas coasted to an eight-wicket victory with around 12 overs to spare, wrapping up the ODI series with a match in hand.
Now here at Keeping Stock, we (me, myself and I) pride ourselves on being able to remember odd and obtuse facts, and the lights went on in the memory department as we remembered a previous Australia Day massacre in Adelaide. A quick vist to CricInfo confirmed that in 1986, New Zealand thrashed Australia by 208 runs at the Adelaide Oval, a huge one-day margin. The Kiwis batted first and ran up a score of 276, a pretty formidable total in that era. But better still, they then rolled the Aussies for a paltry 70 with Richard "Paddles" Hadlee and Ewen "Charlie" Chatfield blitzing the top order, reducing the much-vaunted Australians to 5-31 in a dreadful display of trans-Tasman fraternity!
Ah, those were the days!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Advance Australia Fair

It's Australia Day, so to all Keeping Stock's Australian readers, enjoy your holiday.

And to mark the auspicious day, Sky Sport has a special montage from 5.30pm this afternoon on SS3 (Channel 32). Beginning with highlights of the 2005 Ashes series, Australians in New Zealand can relive some of Australia's saddest sporting moments, especially against New Zealand, over the last decade or more. The menu includes the 2008 RLWC final, the 2007 Chappell/Hadlee series and the 2000 Tri-Nations match from Sydney, building up to the night's highlight, Greg Norman at Augusta in 1996.

If you're thinking that the MySky HDI decoder at the Inventory whare might get a bit of a hammering tonight, you wouldn't be wrong! A big ups to the Sky Sport team for their contribution towards trans-Tasman relations!!!

The Monday Quote - 26/1/2009

The Monday Quote is back! And on this momentous day, it needs to be a momentous quote - and it is. It's from Paul Holmes ---well, actually, it's from President Barack Obama and his inauguration speech, via Paul Holmes' column in the Herald on Sunday:

His speech, after the Oath of Office, was, as we have come to expect, msterful.

It was not as simple or as surely delivered as the one he gave in Chicago the night he claimed the Presidency, where Jesse Jackson wept in the crowd and when all round the world we hushed and listened and watched with wonder and pride, but you cannot blame a fellow for being a little nervous in front of two million faces stretched as far as the Washington Monument.

It was beautifully written, nevertheless. Read this and fail to be moved: "As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations.

"Those ideals still light the world and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend to each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity and that we are ready to lead once more."

As the old preacher said in his inauguration prayer, "he's got the whole world in his hands". Yes, he does, in so many ways.

Emmerson on Bennett

I don't know if Paula Bennett will be delighted with Emmerson's rather unflattering portrayal, but she's certainly becoming a headline-grabber!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What a beat-up!

The Herald on Sunday has had a go at taking some of the wind out of Paula Bennett's sails with a "sensational" story this morning of a Minister with a sordid past playing hard to get with the media. It begins:

Government Minister Paula Bennett looked after a violent gangster in her home while he awaited trial.

The man, Viliami Halaholo, has now been jailed for causing grievous bodily harm, but his girlfriend - Bennett's 21-year-old daughter Ana - visits him once a fortnight in Mt Eden Prison. Their daughter Tiara-Lee is aged 2.

Yesterday, Paula Bennett and the Prime Minister refused to say whether the Social Development Minister had disclosed her personal connections to the gang member in top-level security vettings.

Gets one's interest, doesn't it? But worse is this piece of shoddy journalism later on (our emphasis added):

The Herald on Sunday sent a list of questions to Bennett and Prime Minister John Key about the potential security risks when a minister or senior official has close personal and family connections with anyone implicated in serious criminal offending and organised crime.

Bennett released a written statement: "My daughter has always been the most important person to me, and I've tried not to bring her private life into my public life."

This is not the first time a minister's family connections with a jailed criminal has called her ministerial judgment into question - but it is the first time the criminal was known to be involved in organised crime.

In 2001, former Associate Corrections Minister Tariana Turia wrote to department officials on ministerial letterhead paper, asking that an adoptive son, Mark Turia, be shifted to a prison closer to his family.

Now the HoS writer, Rebecca Milne tries to link two cases together. For as she later reveals (again, our emphasis added):

But at the time that Halaholo was bailed to her address, from September 12, 2006 to July 5, 2007, she was an outspoken Opposition MP. Four months later, Halaholo was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail.

That's right. Tariana Turia was an Associate Minister, writing on ministerial letterhead in a matter directly concerning her portfolio, and with a clear conflict of interest. Paula Bennett was, between September 2006 and July 2007, a first-term backbench opposition MP whose main claim to fame was a weekly breakfast TV appearance. To claim that the two matters are alike is absurd, as is the reference to Bennett's "minsterial judgement"!

As opined ealier, Keeping Stock reckons that this is a shoddy piece of work from what is generally a reasonable newspaper. And we reckon that the ceremonial defrocking of the Minister of Social Development isn't going to happen any time soon if this is the best that the media can do.

UPDATE: The Herald website is reporting that John Key has "full confidence" in Paula Bennett. So does Keeping Stock!

Spare a thought ...

...for the Armed Offenders Squad officer who fired the shot that killed Halatau Naitoko in Auckland on Friday. This must be a police officer's worst nightmare - accidently taking down an innocent man.

Doubtless there will be many words written in the days and weeks that follow that are highly critical of the Police. But you won't read them on Keeping Stock. Sure, we have been critical of the politicisation of the NZ Police, but our criticism has been aimed at the wallahs who warm seats at Police National HQ, not the constables who walk the beat. The rank and file make life and death decisions every day, and sometimes they make mistakes - as seems to have been the case here, with tragic consequences. But let's not forget the chaos in which this tragedy happened.

And most importantly, let's not forget that the offender in this case is in custody, because ultimately, that is where the blame lies.

We're devastated

We at Keeping Stock (me, myself and I) are inconsolable at the news we read in the Herald on Sunday this morning. Really, truly, we are.

"What news?" you ask. The news that Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro will be standing down from her position in April. We're devastated!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"A lump of ..."

Shit. That's the missing word. That is what Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds has called Black Cap wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum. Here's the text of Symonds' comments, as paraphrased by CricInfo:

“They're trying to use him [McCullum] as the out because he's a Kiwi,” Symonds said. "Yep, we love to hate them, but he's the lump of shit, sorry, lump of cow dirt, that people are thinking of. Now to get away from that, the actual topic is about playing cricket and getting into a final.

"To get yourself to that position and if you haven't brought anybody in, personally I wouldn't be changing a winning team. It doesn't matter about McCullum, mate, he could have been Irish, he still would have got it.” Are you keeping up?

Is there now any doubt whatsoever that Andrew "Roy" Symonds is the biggest goose in the game? At least it will spice up the Chappell/Hadlee series, even if Symonds isn't playing.

Understatement of the week

"He can be a good boy it is just when he goes and does
silly things."

That from the mother of 10-year-old Scott Rickit. Scott, not content with having recently been done for shoplifting, stole his mother's car and drove 100km from New Plymouth to Awakino! Perhaps Paula Bennet should be paying that home a visit!!

George Bush - free at last

A simple but highly amusing cartoon from Rod Emmerson this morning ... America probaly feels the same - free!

Friday, January 23, 2009

What's up with Trotter?

Interesting question eh. For it seems that Comrade Trotter has had an exceptionally convivial start to 2009, and is not fazed by the prospect of an extended period of government from John Key and the National Party. Witness his column in the Dom-Post today. Firstly he commends Paula Bennett for intervening in a fight in a West Auckland mall recently - he opines:

What makes this incident even more of a "good news story" is that Ms Bennett is a politician (a Cabinet minister, no less) and a National Party member to boot. We are accustomed to depicting our political leaders as all talk and no action: moral cowards who will consent to "do something" only after exhaustive polling and focus-group research has reassured them that more than half the electorate will approve.

But this 39-year-old woman acted without political calculation, wading in to prevent a bunch of teenage girls from doing themselves harm, acting in loco parentis in the way we like to think our parents and grandparents used to do back in the good old days.

Though genuinely spontaneous and politically guileless, the minister's intervention will, of course, be hugely helpful to the National-led Government.

Grabbing these young miscreants by the scruff of their necks, and calling them to order with a few ripe phrases, will not only commend Ms Bennett to conservative, elderly New Zealanders, but it will also deeply impress her no-nonsense Waitakere constituents confirming her forever as a true Westie.

After all, breaking up a catfight is just the sort of thing Cheryl West, the tough-as-nails yet strangely principled heroine of the TV series Outrageous Fortune, would have done: direct, strong, commonsensical action; and not a single family-group conference required.

If I may get all theoretical for a moment, I'd describe Ms Bennett's actions as displaying a high degree of "emotional congruence" with her political constituency.

If the mood of the Waitakere electorate (and of the wider, upwardly-mobile, working-class electorate in general) may be best described as star-shaped, it makes little political sense to select a candidate with a square or oblong personality. And yet, in so many cases, this is precisely what National's Labour opponents did with the results that almost always follow when one attempts to ram square pegs into round (or star-shaped) holes.

But then comes the REAL shock. He turns both barrels on the Labour Party:

It's a major problem for the Labour Party, especially in the context of New Zealand's free- and-easy 21st century culture. For most of its history, Labour has drawn its political leadership from the deeply moralistic members of the "improving" working-class or, more latterly, from the equally judgmental ranks of the "politically correct" middle-class.

Fifty years ago, when most working-class people still went to church and subscribed to the rigid ethical code of conservative Christianity, being moralistic wasn't a problem. And 30 years ago, when it still meant opposing the Vietnam War, apartheid sport and nuclear weapons, political correctness was actually electorally sexy. Today, however, many in Labour resemble the Protestant Political Association, that censorious and illiberal body of bigoted wowsers who struggled to restrict the electoral success of the unsuitable elements of New Zealand society (i.e. Catholics) in the years immediately following World War I.

Labour needs to loosen up and lighten up, becoming a whole lot less judgmental and a whole lot more spontaneous. In fact, until Labour starts selecting candidates a whole lot more like the people it wants to represent - rough, tough and unashamedly aspirational types like Paula Bennett - the Opposition will struggle to win another election.

Now that is indeed music to the ears of all of us at Keeping Stock (including me, myself and I). When even the President of the Labour Party Supporters Club can't find a good word to say about them, the Labour Party is in deep trouble. And bless his heart, Trotter even closes with kind words about John Key, with not a bitter, twisted jibe in sight:

Because it's not only the Minister of Social Development pointing the way to a long period of National ascendancy. John Key has also been working on improving his emotional congruence with New Zealanders. Among the prime minister's holiday reading, I'm reliably informed, was Barry Gustafson's biographies of Keith Holyoake and Mickey Savage.

It shows.

Well done Mr Trotter. Now, when will normal transmission resume?

The Friday Forum - 23/1/09

Greetings, and welcome to the Keeping Stock Friday Forum. Yes, it's that day of the week again, and around these places, for once the weather forecast for the weekend is something approaching half-decent!

Anyway, for those that don't know the drill - this is YOUR place to rant and rave about whatever's on your mind - get it out of your system before the weekend! Welcome aboard, and over to you ...

We're back!

Well, it's been a bit of a frustrating week internet-wise, but everything is sweet now. Not only did we have the Vista-related problem while we were away, but our server at the home office played up in our absence, and our techie has just restored our internet connection back in Wanganui. Anyway, blogging can now resume, so watch this space!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Paula "Don't mess with me" Bennett

So Labour thinks that Paula Bennett, being a new Minister in a highly significant role is going to be a bit of a pushover - this story in the Herald should be a warning to them!!

On ya Paula!

Flippin' Vista!

My new laptop has been working brilliantly, but I've jus had my first Vista hiccup - not being able to connect to the internet from where we are staying. I can get a local connection via the wireless router onsite, but not an internet connection, due, I'm told, to its incompatability with Vista.

Has anyone else out there encountered this kind of issue? Or better still, can anyone suggest a fix, short of buying a new operating system??!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

On the road again...

Mrs Inventory and I are off later today for a team meeting with our staff and their families, where we'll mix work with some late-holiday relaxation. Fear not however, as we will have wireless access, so both work requirements such as paying wages and PAYE, and pleasurable things such as blogging can continue.

Where we are staying the hospitality is great, the food is superb (and bountiful), and the views are spectacular. No, it's not a rich corporate getaway - we're off to one of the many Christian holiday camps that New Zealand is blessed with, on a budget you wouldn't believe. Perhaps we should be providing consultancy services to the CEO's in the public sector who have been told to make economies - which we would gladly do, for a very modest fee!!

Did we need to know?

Did we really need to know that the cockpit voice recorder of the Air New Zealand A320 showed that the pilots were screaming as the plane hit the water off the French coast?

Five New Zealand families are still grieving. Could not the New Zealand media have reported this with a little more sensitivity?

Still alive - just!

Yes, we could only be talking about the Wellington Phoenix, who kept their playoff hopes just alive with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Adelaide yesterday. Playing the last 40 minutes with 10 men after skipper Tim Brown was sent off for a second yellow card (and the first one was a dreadful refereeing decision), the Phoenix showed terrific character to secure a point.

The equation is simple now. They must beat Melbourne Victory away next weekend, and hope that Adelaide beats the Central Coast. No other result will do, as the Coast has a far superior goal difference. But at least this New Zealand football side playing in an Australian league has a shiff, which is more than can be said for the Kingz or the Knights which preceded Terry Serepisos' mean.

Go the 'Nix!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The unkindest cut...

The Herald on Sunday reports this frank confession from deposed Finance Minister and Deputy PM Michael Cullen:

Losing the powers of government is like being publicly castrated, says the ousted deputy prime minister.

Oh, poor Mikey. But the vitriol is still there:

"Failure to address the underlying causes of the current crisis will mean the next one will be even worse," he writes in the Listener.

His warning comes after John Key returned from his Hawaiian holiday to promise immediate infrastructure spending and support for small businesses.

But Cullen says it may be too little, too late - unless Key is willing to replace a "a toxic mix of greed, dishonesty and misplaced intelligence" with a nationwide focus on sustainability and justice.

If the new National Government does that, he says, then "it will deserve widespread support".

"A toxic mix of greed, dishonesty and misplaced intelligence" - are we here at Keeping Stock the only ones who think that Labour is having some difficulty in coming to terms with their electoral annihilation?

Ceasefire in Gaza

We should all be grateful for this news, although doubtless the New Zealand chapter of the Hamas Supporters Club will continue to perpetuate their myths. The Herald website reports:

Israel's leaders voted this morning (NZ time) to halt an offensive that has killed nearly 1,200 people, turned the streets and neighbourhoods of the Gaza Strip into battlegrounds and dealt a stinging blow to the Islamic militants of Hamas.

In announcing the unilateral cease-fire, Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert said in a televised address that Israel had achieved its goals, and more: "Hamas was hit hard, in its military arms and in its government institutions," Olmert said.

Fighting will stop at 2 a.m. local time (midnight GMT), but Israel will keep troops on the ground for the time being, Olmert said. If Hamas holds its fire, the military "will weigh pulling out of Gaza at a time that befits us." If not, Olmert said, Israel "will continue to act to defend our residents."

Israeli insistence on keeping troops in Gaza raises the spectre of a stalemate with Hamas, which has repeated that it will not respect any cease-fire until Israel pulls out of the territory.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum in Gaza said in a televised address that a unilateral cease-fire was not enough to end Hamas' resistance - joining the harder-line stance taken earlier by Hamas leaders in

The ball is in Hamas' court now, and Keeping Stock will be playing close attention to both the Hamas reponse and Israel's adherence to the terms of the ceasefire.

Bad losers #6

Just when we thought that the post-election "Bad losers" series had run its course, up steps Matt McCarten in this morning's Herald on Sunday. Why would we call McCarten a bad loser? Read this:

Barack Obama and John Key won their general elections in the same November week. While our new leader got his keys to the prime minister's washroom two months ago, Obama doesn't get his set until this Tuesday (our Wednesday).

But that hasn't stopped Obama being on the job from day one, working on plans to save his country's economy.

On this side of the world his counterpart lives in a parallel universe. John Key spent the first couple of weeks of his tenure as a minor player at overseas forums of dubious merit, and then topped that off by lying on a Hawaiian beach for a few weeks.

When challenged why Key and his colleagues seem to be taking an extensive holiday break, a senior Government spokesperson huffily replied that unless a bank was collapsing there wasn't much else to do if they went back to work.

But before New Zealanders could absorb this gem, Key jumped on a plane and got back pronto to assure us that indeed there was a crisis that needed his attention after all.

Our suntanned leader assured us what the country needed was an urgent national summit. He was calling senior sector representatives from Government, business and trade unions to meet the brightest financial minds and come up with a plan to "move New Zealand forward" and deliver a "full employment, high wage, high skill economy".

Now pardon me, but I always thought that McCarten was an advocate for employees' rights. And isn't John Key an employee of each and every one of us who dutifully pay our taxes - even Matt McCarten? This left-wing paranoia over Key's holiday destination is as revealing as was their silence over Helen Clark's often-exotic jaunts. And didn't the darling of the left, Barack Obama, also holiday inm Hawaii? Oh Matt!

But we digress. McCarten devotes innumerable paragraphs once again opining that the cause of all the world's ill was New Zealand's economic transformation of the 80's and 90's. And even though the union movement has been invited to contribute, McCarten shows that the only attitude they are likely to bring to the Jobs Summit is closed minds:

Does anyone think that the solutions proposed by the business community (after they ask for Government cash) will offer anything except an insistence that business taxes be cut; wages not be increased; workers' legal rights repealed; and cheaper labour be imported? This summit is solely about safeguarding private profits.

Memo to Matt: We won; you lost; get over it!

Now I'm REALLY worried!

This is getting really worrying! Michael Laws has written another column in the Sunday Star-Times with which we at Keeping Stock (me, myself and I) are in wholehearted agreement. He's talking not only about the disgraceful, bigoted actions of Invercargill cafe owner Mustafa Tekinkaya, but also the aftermath. Here's the nub of his argument:

So maybe we could be patient with the outflow of Muslim support for the moronic decision of Turkish cafe owner Mustafa Tekinkaya to refuse service to two Israeli sisters in Invercargill ostensibly because their country is at war with the fundamentalist Hamas organisation. Except that, in this case, tolerance would be weakness.

Because the nature of this culinary discrimination signalled that the immigration doors have admitted more than just different peoples from different lands these past two decades. They have also admitted age-old loathings and ancient animosities which have no place in this new land.

One might also think that Tekinkaya's refusal was about the conflict in Gaza. It is not. This Turkish Muslim and his fellow kebab shop supporters must have disliked Israelis for a long, long time. You don't suddenly expel Israelis from your shop because their government has done something you don't like. Confronted with this country's human rights legislation, Tekinkaya said that he did not care. Neither did his supporters, who phoned into my radio show last week. All were migrants, all self-identified as Muslims and all loathed Israel. They saw no problem with his actions whatsoever. The dreaded Jews were massacring their Palestinian brothers and sisters in Gaza; ipso facto, all Israelis are bad and must be refused even the most menial of service.

Now, we seldom listen to Laws' talkback programme, but we imagine that he will have dealt with some pretty strident calls this week from both sides of the divide. And there is no escaping he fact that New Zealand's Muslim community is growing incrementally. But Mr Tekinkaya and his allies seem to have no intention of paying heed to their adopted country's laws, which presents enormous challenges. For as Laws notes, Islamic fundamentalism has reached our shores.

And in closing, Laws puts the spotlight on Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres, suggesting that a mediated resolution to this little matter is but a pipedream. And along the way, he delivers a stunning rebuke to Mr Tekinkaya:

Meanwhile, Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres made all the right noises in declaiming the cafe owners' actions but his next actions will be the more important. Formal complaints have been laid and a prima facie case established. Given his public utterances, there will be no possibility of a rapprochement between Mustafa and his Israeli clientele. So where next?

Dear lord, the racist cafe owner assembled every Turk and kebab seller within hailing distance in Southland all three of them to be photographed in support. These are not the actions of a contrite man. Unless the law falls on Mustafa from a great height and repeatedly nothing will permeate his thick Turkish skull.

Which is a shame. Because I rather like the Turks. Thoroughly decent at Gallipoli, and founder Ataturk's words about our war dead was poetry and compassion combined. They're desperate to be part of Europe rather than part of the Arab world, and equally desperate to resist the deadly embrace of Islamic fundamentalism. And they make lovely desserts.

But then I suspect Mustafa Tekinkaya and his kebab-mates, including the Friends of Palestine, are not big on compassion. They care not that Hamas loosed no fewer than 6000 (yes, six thousand) rockets on Israel after that country withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Or that Hamas deliberately hide behind innocents to carry out their outrages. Or that Hamas are Muslim madmen.

The truth is that Islamic fundamentalism exists in this country. It has arrived with the migrants and refugees and it is as evil and myopic here as it was over there.

So a word to Mustafa Tekinkaya: if you don't like the idea that your prejudice cannot be allowed to flourish in New Zealand, then do us all a favour. Leave. And take your racist mates with you.

These are harsh, direct words from the Mayor of Wanganui, but they are words with which this Wanganui-domiciled blog agrees wholeheartedly.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I've just been watching One News' coverage of a demonstration in Auckland today against Rakon Industries for their links to Israel's Defence Forces.

Is it acceptable to any Keeping Stock reader that Police officers stand and watch as paint bombs are thrown at a building? Is it now Police policy NOT to make any arrests at protests, for fear of inflaming situations? We have already seen the case of Fr Gerard Burns, where Police are still deciding whether or not to lay charges, despite Wellington's answer to Fr Ted having admitted vandalism. And of course, the infamous "Megaphone Len" Richards seems to have escaped prosecution for his very public display of his anger issues, despite his assault being witnessed by numerous Police.

Whatever, Keeping Stock sincerely hopes that Police Commissioner Howard Broad receives an invitation for a "chat" with his Minister, Judith Collins, and that the Police are given the message that left-wing activism is no longer an excuse to avoid immediate arrest when a crime is committed in the course of a protest.

TVNZ's hypocrisy

On their nightly "live cross" to reporter Mark Crysell last night, TVNZ allowed its prejudice towards Hamas to surface. Crysell finished his report with a comment on the sight on Israelis applauding at the sight of attacks on Hamas strongholds, describing the sight as "obscene".

Keeping Stock reckons that Mark Crysell has a short and selective memory. Watch this video below, and reflect on the joy in the faces of the Palestinians on the day of the 9/11 attacks.

If, like Keeping Stock, you are concerned by this bias and hypocrisy by the taxpayer-funded broadcaster, here's a link to TVNZ's online feedback page. Remember - these guys are our servants, not our masters. And you can e-mail Broadcasting Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman here.

Hat-tip: Patrick Starr (for the video link)

End of an era?

Are we seeing the end of the era of Australia's dominance of the world of cricket? With two consecutive test series defeats, it would appear so. And to compound the situation, the Australian snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against South Africa in Melbourne last night in the opening ODI - the Proteas got home by three wickets with three balls to spare.

This Australian side seems to have lost the killer instinct. Previous iterations of the Australian side would have killed off the Proteas when they had them 221 for 7 with only six overs remaining. But this Australian team is lacking - it lacks Hayden, Langer, Warne, McGrath, Gillespie, Bevan, Martyn, Waugh and Gilchrist. It lacks consistency in the bowling department - Bracken apart. It lacks the edge in the field. Even Ricky Ponting is looking human now, as Father Time beckons.

Keeping Stock will be following the ODI series closely, and we look forward to the Black Caps heading to Australia at the end of the month for the Chappell/Hadlee series. We've had the summer entree in the form of the West Indies - now there is a feast of cricket to follow.

An interesting excuse

The Dom-Post reports on an interesting excuse for not attending Court from a Malaysian tourist caught drink-driving in Napier - he was too busy having a good time!

A Malaysian tourist caught drink-driving skipped his court appearance because he was having a "lovely time" seeing the country and a brush with justice would interfere with his trip.

Instead he wrote the judge a letter asking to be pardoned and promising not to do it again.

"Being a tourist I am always travelling and moving all around the places in this country; which is of this particular reason that I may find it difficult to attend the summons and court hearing as scheduled," Choi Lok Siong wrote.

"Your goodwill and you co-operation is needed and very much appreciated in order to make my travelling in New Zealand memorable."

Keeping Stock suggests Mr Siong's visit to New Zealand will indeed have a most memorable ending - when he gets arrested at passport control as he tries to live the country! With a live warrant in the system, he is going to face a delay in getting back to Malaysia, and his bank balance is likely to be a little lighter after he is compelled to appear in Court, however much it "interferes with his trip"!!

Emmerson's back!

Great news. The Herald's brilliant cartoonist, Rod Emmerson is back in business after a holiday break. Here at Keeping Stock, we are big fans of Emmerson's work, especially his "Saturday specials" , The Week That Was. Part #1 today is brilliant, especially the way he turns around the Invercargill situation - enjoy...

Good on ya mum

Stuff is reporting that the quick arrests in the attack and rape of Dutch tourists in Tuatapere came as a result of a mother recognising the tea-towel and knife used in the attack and notifying Police.

It can't be easy to dob in your own flesh and blood, knowing that a long lag is in prospect, but in Keeping Stock's opinion, this mother deserves both our praise and our sympathy.

Good on ya Mum!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Indian summer

Great news from the hallowed halls of New Zealand Cricket - the Indian cricket tour of New Zealand beginning in February has been extended, following the cancellation of India's tour to Pakistan. There will now be an additional 20/20 match, but more importantly, a third test match, to be played at Napier. The Inventory schedule for February and March is already under review.

The Indians are arguably the #1 team in test cricket, and the team is chock-full of superstars - Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendular, VVS Laxman, Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh. They play a wonderful brand of cricket, and if the late summer weather co-operates, we will all enjoy a real Indian summer!

The Friday Forum - 16/1/2009

Hooray - it's Friday again - and better still, for those of us in the Wellington province, it's Anniversary Weekend, so a long weekend beckons.

So of course, that means it's time once again for the Friday Forum - your place on the blogosphere to have a rant or rave - you know the rules - come on in and have some fun!

National's "work in progress"

That's how John Armstrong describes National's plans to deal with/to the economic recession in his Herald column this morning. Armstrong opines:

Those expecting some quick-fix palliatives to help the private sector weather the deepening recession will be heartily disappointed by what emerged from yesterday's much-heralded meeting of senior Cabinet ministers.

But then those calling for immediate action to follow the ministerial stock-take of the economy were always going to be disappointed.

The six-member cabal of ministers with economic policy responsibilities discussed what is said to have been a 52-page document drawn up by officials listing a host of crisis measures which could be implemented.

But the Prime Minister pointedly refused to give even a hint as to what those options might be when he spoke after the meeting.

John Key was a little more forthcoming - though not that much more forthcoming - about things the Government will not be doing, such as privatising state-owned enterprises.

The country will have to wait until next month when Key unveils a range of initiatives to assist small and medium-sized enterprises in what is being billed as an important speech on the economy in the lead-up to the Prime Minister's summit on employment later in the month.

And Armstrong gives an interesting perspective of the politics behind yesterday's meeting and the public utterances which followed, suggesting that John Key and his colleagues are laying down the gauntlet to Labour - he says:

Yesterday's reticence was very deliberate. It opened the door to Labour to claim the lack of detail pointed to a Government still lacking any coherent plan to save jobs despite layoffs being predicted to escalate dramatically over coming months.

National, however, is prepared to take a few hits from Labour now when the recession has still to bite hard so it can keep some substantial measures up its sleeve for when things get really difficult.

This strategy may look self-serving. But any government would want to preserve its flexibility especially when it is not entirely clear beyond ever-worsening Treasury forecasts and highly-pessimistic surveys of business confidence exactly what will be happening in coming months.

National's plan might be better termed a "work in progress" which will remain shrouded from public view, its make-up progressively revealed when ministers are ready to do so.

National's strategy here is understandable, in Keeping Stock's humble and considered opinion. The advice from Treasury seems to change (or deteriorate) by the week, and National risks painting itself into a corner if it takes a less flexible approach. The next few weeks are going to be very, very interesting and intriguing.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Public Relations 101 #2

Hot on the heels of yesterday's story about the rental car company owner chasing grieving parents for dosn comes today's PR disaster. Stuff is reporting on the cafe owner from Invercargill, a Turkish Muslim, who yesterday refused to serve two Israeli women for no other reason that that they were Israeli. Read on:

An Invercargill cafe owner's refusal to serve Israelis on the basis of their nationality is a clear human rights breach, Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres says.

Sisters Natalie Bennie and Tamara Shefa were upset after being booted out of the Mevlana Cafe in Esk St yesterday by owner Mustafa Tekinkaya.

They chose to eat at Mevlana Cafe because it had a play area for Mrs Bennie's two children, but they were told to leave before they had ordered any food, Mrs Bennie said.

"He heard us speaking Hebrew and he asked us where we were from. I said Israel and he said 'get out, I am not serving you'. It was shocking."

Mr Tekinkaya, who is Muslim and from Turkey, said he was making his own protest against Israel because it was killing innocent babies and women in the Gaza Strip.

"I have decided as a protest not to serve Israelis until the war stops."

He said he had nothing against Israeli people but if any more came into his shop they would also be told to leave, and he was not concerned if he lost business.

Note the last bit - "he was not concerned if he lost business". Keeping Stock is sure that the good, fair-minded folk of Invercargill and surrounding districts will take note of Mr Tekinkaya's lack of concern, and his despicable racist attitudes. Likewise, Stuff reports that the owner of a neighbouring Turkish Kebab shop, Mr Ali Uzun will take the same stance. New Zealand does not need bigoted migrants such as these, and we hope that Immigration New Zealand is right now checking the immigration status of both men.

UPDATE: MacDoctor airs his thoughts in a more amusing form!