Saturday, 30 November 2013


New Zealand High Court: Make John Key step down from his position as PM

Petitioning New Zealand High Court.  Petition by Natalie Cheetham Australia
It is important that John Key is made to resign from his position, as he is not fulfilling his deeds as a democratic leader. Instead of making decisions which would benefit the future of all New Zealand citizens, by keeping the precious resources and investing money in sustainable renewable energy sources such as solar panels, insulation and an enviromentally friendly infrastructure, he is selling their most important assets and resources, against their will and therefore destroying the hopes of New Zealands future citizens and children.

Peter’s Piece

 A political petition to the High Court? Never heard of that before. Sounds like a load of tripe.

After each successive Labour/Greens election defeat the silliness and the desperation just gets ramped up another notch. They are almost wetting themselves because John Key and his National Government are doing exactly as they promised in their election manifesto and are easily the most popular combination New Zealand has seen for many years.

But perhaps the silliest thing about the petition is that it has been organized by a non-New Zealand resident. But then it’s not a real petition anyway.

Here is a typical anti Key, Labour/Green comment from a member on their website: Casey Heta PAPAKURA, NEW ZEALAND:

I dislike him as a primeminister !! Hes change so much rules to please those that dislike beneficiries!! Get him off

Says it all, don’t you think?

Freddie Fuddpucker for Prime Minister

To see how Freddie would run
the country just click the a link below:

Friday, 29 November 2013


How to beat ATM robbers by using a reverse PIN number

A circulating email gives what is claimed to be sound advice on how to beat an ATM robber who forces you to withdraw cash.

The email claims that entering a reverse PIN number will alert police. But the email is a hoax and anyone following the advice in the email could expose themselves to even greater danger.
Anyone receiving circulating advice emails of any kind should always Google the information to check for reliability before forwarding it to contacts and Facebook friends.

Today I saw the offending email reproduced on Facebook and I have reproduced it below. Readers will note that it does not refer to any authority, or provide any kind of verification, or links to any authority or verification. The reference to Crime Stoppers is false.
Forwarding or sharing this false information may cause harm

The email first started circulating in 2006 and was based on a patent taken out in 1986 which would have enabled banks to install the technology in their ATM machines. But to date no known banks have taken up the system.

At least two US states tried and failed to legislate for a reverse PIN system, also known as Safety PIN. The banks’ opposition is based on several facts:

The cost of implimenting the system would have been prohibitive. The police responses take longer than ATM transactions and they would only arrive long after offender and victim had departed the scene. In addition, if the Safety PIN system became widely known to bank customers it would also be just as widely known to offenders. An offender seeing that a number carefully inserted failed to give up cash could simply kill the card holder and put the number in, reversed again, and get the cash. The banks also found another problem; some popular PIN numbers like 3333 or 2112 cannot be reversed.

The wisest thing to do when surprised by a criminal at an ATM would be to stay calm, while appearing to panic, put any bunch of numbers into the machine three times and have the card swallowed by the machine. The only other thing you can do is scream, run, or do both as loudly and as quickly as you can.

The truth about reverse PIN numbers can be verified by going to Wikipedia, Snopes, Hoax Slayer and many other reliable sites. The official New Zealand Police website also carries a warning about the reverse PIN hoax.

You cannot beat an ATM criminal by reversing your PIN number.

 Don't go to the ATM for cash for a criminal
Go to Amazon instead for good E-books and share
them with the criminal. He will be so engrossed in
these thrillers that he will forget about crime.

Thursday, 28 November 2013


From the pages of Murder at Wairere

At eight-thirty the cells were unlocked again and the prisoners were mustered into the exercise yard. Some were organized into work parties while others, mostly remand prisoners, men like the Baron with special privileges, and those too old to work, were allowed to spend the day in the exercise yard.
Shortly after the work parties left Gardner made an excuse to go and see the warders. Bob Asker was alone with the old lags and the other remand prisoners and he soon found out how the prisoner grapevine and internal vigilante justice systems worked. No sooner had Gardner’s back been turned than a mob of unruly young prisoners surrounded him.
‘You’re Asker, aren’t you?’ one of them demanded.
‘So what?’
‘Asker what rapes and murders and all you can say is so what. Bastards like you should be strung up without wasting time and money on no trial. One look at you is enough to know you’re guilty as hell. Come on, fellas; let’s do ‘im over right now.’
Another prisoner pushed his way in.
‘Too bloody right! Let’s show the friggin’ coward some real justice.’
Asker looked around quickly. There was no sign of the Baron. He would have to handle this on his own. He was near the corner of the yard and he put his back into the corner to stop them getting behind him. But that also meant that he couldn’t escape. Staying calm would not be enough. He would have to think on his feet, stay cool but fight like a demon. He raised his fists menacingly.
‘Alright! Who’s first?’ he challenged.
A redheaded lanky young man stepped forward with his fists also at the ready. He never got to land a single blow. Asker was too quick for him and landed some heavy blows on his face. The redhead quickly recoiled out of reach and two more moved in to take his place.
‘One at a time! Be fair!’ Bob shouted at them.
They kept coming and the punches started finding their mark. In desperation, Asker jerked his knee upward into the groin of the man who was hitting him hardest. The man doubled over in agony and Asker turned his attention to the other man. What the hell? It was going to be a fight to the death now, or the gallows later. It didn’t make a lot of difference. Unless he could escape from the corner, he was doomed. The blows seemed to come from all directions, faster, heavier. His fists dropped and a solid blow to his head caused his legs to buckle. Slowly he slid down the join in the walls. More hard blows struck him in the ribs, head and shoulders. They were kicking him to death. Soon he would be with Heather again. He heard a familiar voice close by. It was the Baron, Jackie Gardner.
‘Scram, you bastards! Leave my buddy alone!’
As Bob Asker lay on the ground he could hear men running and shouting. Then he heard the heavy blows landing and the grunts of anguish from his attackers as the Baron’s boys moved in. In seconds the brawl was over.
‘You did pretty good there, lad,’ Gardner said with a tone that indicated increased respect for his youthful friend.
Asker lay on the ground breathing heavily and rubbing his wounds. It was a moment before he could answer.
‘I don’t like fighting. But I had no choice.’
‘Your entire life is going to run out of choices, if you don’t listen to me, mate. Let me help you up. I’ll take you to get patched up and then I want to show you something, something that will make you want to get out of here alive.’
Later they went to the big iron gate at the end of the cell block. A guard, with whom the Baron was on first name terms, was waiting to let them through. They stepped into the punishment block and through a frosted glass partition they could see a silhouette of the gallows. The guard let them through a heavy steel door and they stepped into the tiny execution yard, also used as the exercise yard for the solitary confinement prisoners. Above was a dual-purpose wire mesh. It was designed to stop the solitaries from escaping and, when there was an execution taking place, a tarpaulin over the mesh stopped the public gawking from nearby buildings. Below the gallows a crude curtain surrounded the drop-pit. On the platform above, the hangman’s handle waited for its next victim. Gardner turned to Asker.
‘Is this where you want to end your days, Bob?’
Asker looked wide-eyed at the execution apparatus and then at Gardner. His legs, already unsteady from the beating, started shaking uncontrollably.
‘Shit no!’
‘Well, you know what to do then, don’t you?’
‘I still can’t believe they’ll hang me. I’m only sixteen and I haven’t done anything wrong. I loved Heather. She was my best friend.’
A tear trickled from the corner of one of his red-rimmed eyes. Why was this happening to him?

Available now as an E-book from Amazon:

Tuesday, 26 November 2013


Breakfast in bed for Fanny Fuddpucker

But Freddie Fuddpucker had other ideas. Below is a short read from The Life and Times of Freddie Fuddpucker:

Freddie Fuddpucker was amazed at how fast his life passed from youth to elderly pensioner. It seemed no time at all.

His doctor had told him that he must keep active so he spent a year altering the doorways in his house and fitting casters to the bed legs. Then, on the morning of Fanny’s birthday, he wheeled her through to the kitchen and placed her alongside the stove so that she could have breakfast in bed.

 To read another free sample, or buy the Ebook
just click the link:


Monday, 25 November 2013


The great government sell-out Downunder
By Gareth Morgan
The Government’s partial selldown of a number of state-owned assets is almost done and dusted, with only Genesis yet to go on the block. New Zealand has nevertheless instigated a referendum on the issue. That referendum is over whether the public thinks it a good idea to sell up to 49% of our electricity companies and Air NZ. I will be voting yes, and let me explain why.
What really are the substantive arguments for and against? As an economist, my starting point is that government shouldn’t be in business. Sure, there are a few exceptions to this general line (which I will explore below), but I don’t think these assets meet the ‘exceptional ‘ test. Having looked at the substantive arguments, it’s bracing to examine the rhetoric coming from both sides.

I’m skeptical of government-run businesses. There’s a long and sad history of failures and bail-outs, of management incompetence and self-serving behavior, and of business strategies that are aimed at political, not economic, objectives. At the extreme, we have the experience of the former Soviet Bloc to look at. But those with a reasonable memory will recall spectacular failures closer to home too – such as the collapse and tax-funded bailout of (then state-owned) BNZ in 1990. Owning a business is risky, as this Government has found out with Solid Energy. Private operators can manage that risk better, and if necessary declare bankruptcy, whereas the government has nowhere to go. Also private businesses firstly have to convince the market that it’s worth investing in them, whereas all a State business needs is a bunch of well-meaning but lightweight politicians to be enthused to invest other people’s money. That is why over the last thirty years most governments around the world have privatized business assets and avoided nationalizing them.
There are situations however where this general rule that government in business is a recipe for disaster doesn’t apply. The most common situation is when the business in question is dominant in its market. There is only one thing worse than a government monopoly, and that’s a private one. This is often a business that requires substantial basic infrastructure: our national grid Transpower, Rail carrier KiwiRail (and arguably Telecom in the 90s) are good examples of this. Kiwibank appears to have been set up to crack the cartel-like behavior from the Big 4 Aussie banks – so again it is a question of market power.
Ideally good quality regulation would ensure freedom of competition so most businesses can be privately owned and run. But as we know this is not always possible, and in small economies especially there can be a conflict between the low supply costs that you get from having large businesses operating at an optimal scale, and the benefits consumers get from having more (smaller) players competing in the market.
Our national airline operates in a cut throat industry, and there is no evidence of market power being abused in the electricity sector. Electricity prices have risen, but they needed to. They reflect the cost of new generation – the cost of getting that extra kilowatt. So where is the problem with private ownership?

Continued below  . . . . 

Available from Amazon or Smashwords
Labour and the Greens love to point out, the companies with hydro assets can make big profits because of these past investments. But that is not abuse of market power. There are players in every industry with more favorable cost structures, and they make more money than their competitors. Again Labour and the Greens argue that such profits are ‘obscene’ when they are going to firms that aren’t owned by the Government. But so long as a good sales process is followed, the Government will have scooped out the anticipated profit in the sale price of the asset. So it is no big deal, regardless of who buys it.
Then there’s the argument about some assets being “strategic”. Well that term is subject to abuse as well. The most strategic assets for a country are in food production and in New Zealand the government doesn’t own those. So again proponents of this argument have to establish their case, otherwise it becomes little more than ideology.
Rather than argue over private ownership the focus should be on whether markets are competitive and we are doing all we can to ensure that owners of business aren’t screwing monopoly profits from consumers. That can be the case irrespective of ownership. It is actually really hard to build a case for State ownership – not impossible, but in most cases where there’s market distortion regulation can save the taxpayer the capital investment that comes with ownership.
Let’s not forget, the government is pursuing the ‘mixed ownership’ model – the state keeps 51% of the assets in question. So meaningful ownership hasn’t really been given away, the government retains control. Another reason why anyone worried about these companies abusing any market power needn’t lose too much sleep at night.
What about the official reasons for and against the asset sales? Frankly the debate on both sides has been pretty shallow. National has argued about paying down debt and investing the money elsewhere. Labour has been bemoaning the loss of dividends from the power companies. Frankly this whole transaction should be economically neutral, because the sale price will reflect the profits we expect in the future (any sales sweeteners aside). In the end I’d suggest it is a points decision to National: why have our Government money tied up in these assets when it’s the role of the private sector to conduct business? Unless someone has an objection to private business – do we hear that?
The real benefit for NZ Inc from these sales is from getting more money into our equity markets. For too long we have put all our eggs in the housing basket; there simply hasn’t been enough money sloshing around in the NZ sharemarket for it to be a viable alternative for investors to invest in or for businesses to raise funds from. The recent sales provide a much needed boost to this poor cousin of the New Zealand financial system. As I’ve argued before, removing the tax advantages on housing would also be a great step.
So don’t fear for our economic sovereignty or run scared of private ownership. This debate is a storm in a teacup, it is time we put it behind us and moved on to other things.
Peter’s Piece

You’re right on the money, Gareth.

I’ve already voted YES, and when most rational Kiwis think it through they will also vote YES. I believe the government will get a huge referendum endorsement for having the balls to deliver on a key election promise, in spite of the noise from the trendy lefties.

Air New Zealand has been an investment bonanza for the government. The paid 25 cents a share in 2001 and sold 20 per cent of their holding last week at $1.65 a share.

The government bailed the airline out in 2001 to save it, and countless other businesses and jobs. Now it is the government, through no fault of its own, that needs the cash injection and the airline, now profitable again, has provided some of that cash.


A day in the life of two high-rollers
From the pages of A Twist of Fate by Peter Blakeborough

When Russell and Tevita landed at Atlantic City International Airport they were met by a chauffeur and driven in a stretched limo to one of the city’s finest casinos on the famous Boardwalk. Tevita called Bloemendal from the lobby and they went up to meet him in his luxury penthouse on the top floor.

‘Come in, gentlemen,’ Bloemendal said courteously when he opened the door. ‘This is my personal assistant, Hilton Wilson. He will be assisting me during the contest, if Mr. Howarth has no objection.’
‘No problem with that, Mr. Bloemendal.’
Bloemendal was a tall, lean, grey-haired man, probably in his eighties. He walked with an effort and his voice was shaky. He looked frail. Russell thought he would be a pushover and he remembered what someone had told him once about fools and their money being easily parted.
‘I’m sorry to bring you all this way from Iowa, but gentlemen, this is the only establishment that I ever play in. It’s partly loyalty – this is a splendid complex – but it’s also a matter of where an old man is safe. A man has to be careful these days and my health is not what it used to be.’
‘I understand, Mr. Bloemendal,’ Russell said with sufficient grace to match the occasion.
‘Call me John, please.’
‘All right, John. Thanks.’
Bloemendal poured them drinks with a shaky hand while the small talk continued. Eventually they got down to business. Tevita opened his brief case and extracted two copies of the rules. Russell quickly studied his copy while the old man studied his for a long time with trembling hands and wheezy breath. At one point he stopped and gazed out the window for an age. Pleasure boats cruised on the sheltered waters of the Inside Thorofare and a number of light aircraft were coming and going from downtown Bader Field.
Bloemendal focused again on the contract in front of him. Then he turned to his visitors.
‘Gentlemen, I must congratulate you on this contract. You’ve thought of absolutely everything. It’s quite a masterpiece, if I may so. It’s equitable and appears foolproof. I used to be a lawyer in my younger days so I know a sound contract when I see one. There’s just one thing that I must request, if you’ll allow me.’
‘What’s that, John?’ Russell asked with a trace of skepticism.
‘I would rather not play on the general gaming floor. There are too many roughnecks there for my liking. I’d like to go to the Club and stay where it’s safe for an old man. Atlantic City can be a bit tacky these days.’
‘That won’t be a problem, John. You don’t have a problem with that, do you, Arnold?’ Tevita asked.
‘None at all.’
Bloemendal picked up a pen and signed his name. Russell signed as Howarth and they swapped contracts and signed again. Tevita witnessed both contracts and gave one to each man. Bloemendal stood up again.
‘Gentlemen, shall we proceed?’
They followed him to the Club and found a vacant table with an idle dealer. Tevita watched while the two men placed their fifty thousand-dollar bank checks on the table for the dealer to hold. Bloemendal then passed over a bundle of banknotes to be converted to chips.
‘All right, gentlemen,’ Tevita began. ‘You know the rules. You’ve got fifty spins of the wheel for a kitty of one hundred thousand dollars. The player must finish at least one dollar better than break even to collect the kitty. The player must bet on fifty spins, no more, no less, and he will have fifty-five spins to choose from. In other words only five spins can be missed. The player may have as many bets as he chooses on each spin. The player is permitted to change tables twice only. In the event of a break-even the player will continue betting until there is a win or a loss. Are you both agreed on the rules?’
‘I like your style, Nelson. You’re very thorough and courteous. Thank you, Arnold for agreeing to the match and may the best man win.’
‘I’m ready,’ Russell said, barely able to hide his impatience.
‘John, place your first bet and remember you’re betting Arnold that you can beat the casino. Arnold, you’re betting that John cannot beat the casino. You’re each betting fifty thousand dollars. Mr. Dealer,’ Tevita continued. ‘Prepare to spin your wheel and ball.’ . . . .

Want to find out what happens next and how high the stakes will go? This thriller Ebook can be yours for only $4.99 USD from Amazon.
To read another free sample or buy the book just click the link:  A Twist of Fate

Peter Blakeborough

Available from Amazon or Smashwords

Sunday, 24 November 2013


A life changing encounter
By Melanie Bonin Blakeborough, Corona, California

It's been 6 years since Michael graced my life and this is a brief snapshot of how he impacted my life, and so many others.

It was a typical Saturday afternoon. I had my two children and my son’s friend in the car and we were running errands. It got to be lunch time and the crew was hungry. I pulled off the highway and looked for a place to eat. Three kids could not decide on one place to eat – so two went into a fast food place (Mexican?) and the other two into a sub shop. I bee-bopped between the two as there was only one of me and one debit card. As I went in and out from one to another, making sure all kids were ok and waiting for whoever gets to the register first, a man sitting outside at a table between the both establishments asked if I could get him something to eat.

This was three weeks before Thanksgiving, 2007. Mind you, I had no previous “contact” per se with a homeless person, but something spoke to my heart and I asked him what he would like to eat. I bought him lunch. He had soup and a sandwich. I remember that. It made him so happy. We all sat with him and ate together, getting to know him, just a little. He said he lived in an empty lot behind Lowes. His name was Michael. We all hugged him and said our goodbyes.

My heart would not let me forget him. That night my daughter said we had to go back and find him. I agreed. We tried. He could not be found. A week went by. The following weekend, on Saturday, we went back to see if we could find him, as he was heavy on our hearts and we felt so compelled to be reunited with him. As we approached the shopping complex where we had met him, we spotted him. He was sitting outside a Starbucks. Just sitting. We parked and practically rushed over to him – and when he saw us he broke down in tears. Someone had remembered him and was back to check on him. To love him. It was a joyfully tearful reunion.

We then left him there as we hurried to Target and purchased a rolling suitcase, socks (he had none), shirts, hat, gloves, water, etc. for him. We brought it all back to him and he was overjoyed. I learned he had cancer. He was dying. He was only 44 years old. Younger than me by a year. How different were the lives we lived. Yet connected now. But now we had to leave him again and I thought of taking him home, giving him a nice hot shower and a warm meal – but how I could do that and just drop him back off behind Lowes, in the cold, in the dark and on a piece of cardboard for a bed?

I had never dealt with a situation like this before, and was ill equipped to deal with it. But God gave me what I lacked. I found a homeless advocate agency for Riverside, CA that was willing to help me.

This was the beginning of Michael’s end.

Michael was always so happy and upbeat; he loved people and living. The homeless agency managed to get him admitted to a hospital where he received the much need treatment and detox. Yes, he abused alcohol, but his life and pain almost dictated he would. Don’t judge. He was able to come to my house for Thanksgiving. He became stronger. He was transferred to a “nursing” home. He came to church weekly with me. And bible study. He knew Christ. He made lots of friends. Everyone loved him. He had an amazing effect on people. He was so loving and “real”. Never thinking of himself.

Friends and family donated money for him to have something of “his own”. We managed to get him a bank account all of his own! He bought things for others with it. He made me a pair of slippers from a kit purchased from Michael’s. How ironic. He was always thinking of others.

He was in and out of the hospital as he battled cancer – Chemo – hair loss – tracheotomy. We would sit and watch TV together, sharing laughs and life stories, and just be together. He was more of a blessing to me than I think he ever knew. When it became impossible for him to talk, we would communicate through written words. I still have many of his chicken scratched memos that I tried to decipher; communications that he was trying to share through his wobbly handwriting. Although unable to speak, his eyes would speak volumes as I entered the room – he lit up and expressed love through his gaze in a way I cannot describe.

He was entering his final days. Much pain. Swelling. Shingles. But he always had a smile and hug for me when I went to see him. His weak arms always managed to find the strength to lift up and hug me. And I hugged him back. Gently. He ended up in hospice in Van Nuys. My good friend Scott Weisheit took a very late night trip with me from Corona to go see him – the hospital had called - he was in a bad place and was yanking at his trach tube. Scott worked his brotherly love magic and Michael calmed. It wasn’t too much longer I went to see him after work as I always had done.

When it was time for me to go, instead of pulling me close to embrace/hug – he pushed me away. That was a first. There was a strange look in his eyes. I assured him I loved him and I would be back in a day or two to see him (I was unable to see him every day as I had done when he was in Riverside). I left around 6:30 pm, March 17, 2008. Oh! Did I mention he was Irish? And probably all of 5’4” tall while I’m 6’. I called him my little brother – my leprechaun. He made it through St Patrick’s Day. His birthday was March 25th. He didn’t make it that far. I got a call at 4:30 am on March 18 telling me Michael had passed.

I have no doubt that when he pushed me away that very last time I held him, he knew. He knew it was the end. And he was letting me know it was ok. He was ok. His eyes told me that.
Friends helped by donating money to have him cremated. We held a memorial service for him. The once homeless man had so many people show up to celebrate his life. He touched so many lives in those last few months. He will forever be a reminder of how God uses even the least of us to love and share in His joy. I love and miss you, Michael. I look forward to seeing you again, my little leprechaun brother!

I still have his ashes. I can't seem to let go . . . .