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Newsworthy 27 October 2006

27 October 2006 - No. 90

Light fingered crooks In a hard hitting article published in the Parnell Business Association newsletter, the author noted that up to $1.9 million is shoplifted every day in New Zealand. Amongst the statistics:

- 44% of shoplifters intend to steal when they enter a store

* But 56% shoplift on a whim - if they see they can get away with it

* Shoplifters range in age from the very young to the very old - granny pack shoplifting is becoming common!

* Shoplifters take an average of 5 items each time and they like repeat business, hitting the same store an average of 3 times a fortnight

* Shoplifters offend an average of 100 times before they are caught; with such good odds it's no wonder 74% re-offend

* 18% of shoplifters work with a partner, 11% work in league with an employee.

* 85 - 90% of employees ignore shoplifting - it's too awkward to handle, they lack confidence and haven't had the training to know what to do. An extraordinary ambassador Vic Percival of Onehunga is an old China hand who was recently honoured in a remarkable ceremony in Guangzhou by the Chinese Government.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Vice-Premier Wu Yi and Commerce Minister BoXilai were among a group of high level Chinese Government leaders on stage (Sunday October 15) for a special award presentation in Guangzhou for New Zealand's veteran China trader.

Percival was among nine overseas trade veterans who, before a crowd of more than 3000 at the 280,000 square metre new pavilion at the Canton Trade Fair complex, were presented with awards for their "magnificent contribution" to the success of the fair over 50 years.

Percival now 78, is believed by Chinese authorities to be the only international trader still involved in China trade to have attended the Fair in its first year (1957) as a centre for the development of export and import business.

As the senior China trader among those receiving awards, he spoke on their behalf of the place the Fair held in the development of China's trade from a quiet beginning during the first decade of Communist government under Mao Zedong to development in the 21st century as a global power.

Following the conclusion of the presentations and his speech, as Percival walked to steps leading down from the stage Premier Wen called out "New Zealand, New Zealand - Mr Victor let me shake your hand". He then congratulated Percival on his achievements. Vice Premier Wu Yi called out her congratulations and walked over to also shake his hand, as did Bo Xi Lai, the Chinese Minister overseeing the FTA negotiations with New Zealand. Percival asked Bo how the negotiations were going and he replied cheerfully that they were going well. The ceremony was broadcast live on Chinese state television to an audience of more than 300 million people.

Remarkably neither the New Zealand ambassador nor the Trade Commissioner were present at the event.

Vic Percival was awarded a QSM by a reluctant Labour Government in 1986 and is surely deserving of further recognition. Shades of Mark 6:4 "a prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house"

Room at the Marshalsea Prison - the unlawful 2005 election overspend The Marshalsea became a debtor's prison in the 19th century and is best known as the place where Charles Dickens father was imprisoned for debt and as the central location in Dickens book "Little Dorrit".

The ACT Party met its obligations and repaid its debt on 19 October 2006. The outstanding debtors are:

Labour $767,000 NZ First - $150,000 Greens - $80,000 United Future - $63,000

Shame on Mr Peter Brown the Deputy Leader of New Zealand First who has said on several occasions "I want to make this point perfectly clear: New Zealand First will pay any moneys that it rightfully and lawfully owes." The reality is that now that the Appropriation (Parliamentary Expenditure Validation) Act has been passed, validating unlawful expenditure relating to the 2005 election, New Zealand First has only a moral obligation to make the payment. So they will not be paying.

From the cradle to the jail

Tony Daniels who trades under the pseudonym of Theodore Dalrymple has recently been in New Zealand in support of the initiative to bring a stop to the "cradle to jail" crime cycle.

He is a British author and former prison doctor and psychiatrist.

He notes that despite New Zealand's relative prosperity it has the doubtful honour of being amongst the most violent and crime ridden societies in the western world.

He perceptively identifies a series of well intentioned but disastrous measures which have all contributed to the development of an 'underclass' ripe for a trip down the tragic path to jail. These include subsidising idleness, incentivising family breakdown, treating criminals as victims rather than as accountable agents, taking marriage for granted and forming a culture which no longer holds people personally responsible.

Political Quote of the Week "Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names." - John Fitzgerald Kennedy - US President

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