My daughter has a friend who works in a Government Department. She’s not got her own office or a truckload of minions working below her, in point of fact she is probably as close to the bottom of the pecking order as matters, but she does a good job- she’s a librarian in their (you guessed it) reference library.

A few weeks ago she applied for leave to attend her grandfather’s 100th birthday celebrations in Christchurch. “Sorry, the other library person will be away, and we can’t spare you” (well I’m assuming they said “sorry” when they turned her down!) Obviously she was very disappointed to miss the celebrations and see her grand old grandfather again, but there you go…

This week her grandfather passed away.

I am now assuming they will grant her leave to attend the funeral, but it’s not quite the same thing, is it? Unfortunately her last ever opportunity to see her grandfather alive was lost because of a bureaucratic decision based on her (apparently) ‘indispensable’ role in the Ministry! What tosh!

I am prepared to bet there are no Ministry managers, department heads or other similar jobs that come with a private office who would not have been granted leave of a day or two to attend their grandfather’s 100th birthday celebrations, regardless of how ‘indispensable’ their role may seem to be. We are ALL dispensable! If I fall off the perch tomorrow the world will not stop, the jobs that I do will still get done even though, possible, someone may have to wait a day or so for a requested action to take place!

I doubt anybody can convince me that the library and this young lady and her co-worker are of such pivotal value to The Ministry that if they came down with the flu and had to stay in bed for a couple of days the Government would declare a national emergency and the wheels of power would grind to an earth-shuddering halt (as least as it relates to matters concerning that particular Ministry)!!

Is it little wonder that she doesn’t like her job, doesn’t experience job satisfaction and doesn’t particularly want to be there?

It’s always sad to lose a loved one but I think particularly so in this case because of a missed opportunity caused by a lack of flexibility and unfair and uncaring bureaucratic ‘rules’ that lose sight of the important things in life, one of the most notable being able to celebrate just that- LIFE, (and more particularly in this case, 100 years of it.)



Whale Oil Beef Hooked blogger Cameron Slater has been found guilty on a number of counts of breaching name suppression orders, and I suppose there can be little argument that he did, in fact breach orders imposed by judges in a number of ‘high profile’ cases and is, therefore, guilty. That Mr. Cameron’s arguments to have the name-suppression practice either overthrown or at least made less easily applied have to be tested in the law court has achieved its purpose by publicising the campaign but what does this actually achieve? There are many New Zealanders who would agree with Mr. Cameron about name suppression being granted too often and too easily, and I suspect if it came to the point of being voted on there would be significant support for at least a review of the current law. It would appear that Mr Cameron’s efforts to skirt the law by various means has been unsuccessful and through the trial process those who he wished to ‘name and shame’ have been able to retain their anonymity because the court, of course, upholds the suppression orders.

I hope that more Kiwis will lend their support to Mr Cameron’s campaign as too often it seems that suppression orders are granted to ‘the rich and famous’ and not infrequently for what could be argued as specious reasons. Visit Mr Cameron’s blog at


Recently in NZ there was a case where a ‘high profile public servant’ was in court facing charges of assaulting his 16 year old son (by punching him repeatedly in the face/head, it was claimed. [By the way, a son who had stolen $700 from his mother’s purse and subsequently spent most of it.]) The judge in the case granted name suppression, at least while the case progressed because there was a fear that the publicity would jeopardise the person’s job. In the event a well-known NZ blogger infringed this court order and named the defendant (something he has done in the past.) People’s views on the matter probably spanned the full spectrum from total support to total condemnation (of the naming). I suspect many were in favour of the ‘outing’ because they feel that name suppression is used far too frequently, especially for other than ‘ordinary’ people and unfairly protects where it is felt protection isn’t warranted. (This is where my opinion lies.)

The case arrived at a ‘not guilty’ verdict, and the defence lawyer condemned the blogger’s actions.

My question is, in this instance was the blogger right or wrong to name the defendant? Was the person named because of who he/she was or was he named because the crime was so terrible that anybody defending it must be guilty and unworthy of protection? It would appear that some facts made public before the case was far into its hearing were based on reported opinions of eye-witnesses to ‘the assault’- and the blogger believed the damning versions rather than alternate views?

Was the court right to order name suppression in this case? How much damage would accrue from a not guilty verdict? Would suppression have been lifted with a guilty verdict? Should any [guilty before the fact] defendant expect protection following the commission of a crime (any crime)? Obviously there is strong argument to protect the identity of victims, especially in cases that involve indecency and children.

It would seem that in this case to name the accused who had name suppression was wrong- or does the blogger believe some people don’t deserve protection in any circumstances, or that name suppression is wrong? (Or if some are given suppression all should?)

What is certain to me is that lawyer Mike Antunovic is wrong.


I have a bit of a problem with a so-called ‘justice’ system that allows a 13 year old to walk away from a viscious stabbing of his teacher, yet a 15 year old is charged with “assault and threatening to kill” for presenting a knife. To carry this a step or two further, the boy was apparently not provoked into taking such extreme action, but the girl was responding to verbal, and one suspects pretty nasty bullying, by a group of peers.
I do not condone the girl’s actions any more than I do the boy’s, but it is strange that we can have a justice system that has such inequity. Obviously there will be consequences for the boy- he will be counselled, and there will likely be an apology to his teacher as part of a restorative justice conference, but how far will this go towards changing who he is and his attitudes governing personal management, particularly in situations requiring decision making and conflict with others.