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Christine Rankin – Bribery Charge – Noel McKenzie - Scalping

CHRISTINE RANKIN: State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham told the Employment Court that Work and Income Department CEO Christine Rankin, who is claiming $818,000 for not being reappointed, struggled to achieve the “level of sophistication” required for the position. Mrs Rankin claimed earlier that Mr Wintringham led her to believe she would be employed in the job for up to eight years, which was denied by Mr Wintringham today. Mr Wintringham said he was disappointed that Mrs Rankin seldom attended Public Service chief executive meetings, and said he gave her more time and support that any other public sector CEO. He said concerns were already raised during the previous National Government. A fire alarm disrupted the afternoon. Tomorrow Christine Rankin’s lawyers begin cross examining Mr Wintringham.

Meanwhile, Social Services Minister Steve Maharey came in for a grilling in Parliament during the last day of sitting before a month long recess. Mr Maharey denied the claims against him that he made comments about Mrs Rankin’s clothes and earrings. Opposition MPs will be hanging around Parliament waiting to make a meal out of any dirt that comes up during the trial.

BRIBERY CHARGE: Work and Income is under on another front, as a former property manager and property developer have been charged with bribery.

NOEL MCKENZIE: The man charged with murdering Tauranga man Noel McKenzie two weeks ago is to undero a psychiatric assessment. He was arrested yesterday after a tip-off. The 25-year-old man has been granted name suppression. Detectives working on the case say they are still searching for a motive.

SCALPING: Scalpers are cashing in on the sellout All Blacks/France test on Saturday, selling tickets for as much as 160 – twice the face value. Scalpers are auctioning tickets over the phone and the Web. Police say they’ve managed to track down several scalpers, but aren’t sure what action they may take.

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