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Good things happening

  • December 10th, 2009

Bathed in news that is all about problems and conflict, I sometimes consciously oblige myself to look at the  upside of down stories. I was reminded to do so at last evening’s Marsden School prizegiving – probably my last as I have retired from that Board.

It was worth being there just to see and hear Maria English deliver a superb Head Girl speech. In my experience few girls’ school prize-givings (and speeches) are not cloying to male tastes. Maria did not eschew sentiment, she ended in tears, but that just added power to the speech, showing that her sentiment was not saccharine. But for me the most memorable feature was her effortless use of self-deprecating humour, the confidence to "take the piss".

I’d hate to have been obliged to deliver a speech last night, to be compared with her. Google her name to see what Bill English’s polymath daughter has done.

But Principal Jenny Williams outlined her intention to introduce courses using the Positive Psychology principles of Martin Seligman. Lucky school. People who want to understand the appeal of John Key should read Seligman’s "Learned Optimism".

So reminded by Jenny I reviewed the rest of the day. Here are a couple of yesterday’s good news happenings:

– The manslaughter trial of policeman Clinton Hall in Auckland was reassuring despite the surprising acquittal and the hung jury on other charges. It is good to live in a country where the cops prosecute one of their own for the kind of private beating that in many countries people would wearily expect as normal cop behaviour. And even more comforting was the dignified reaction of the victim’s family reported in today’s Herald. To be as disappointed as  them but not bitter takes character.

-The failure of Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws’ disgusting local Bill. Introduced last month, the Wanganui District Council (Port and Harbour) Bill sought  to confiscate the perpetually renewable lease of the local Port company, with compensation if any to be at the whim of the Council. It retrospectively removed River City Port Ltd’s access to Courts to clarify their rights.  Though it is a shame that National has still not distanced tthe Party publicly from the Bill (Laws claimed that he had their support) the practical outcome is pleasing.

I’ve put considerable professional time into securing that defeat.

Officially the reading of the Bill has been deferred to 17 February, presumably  face-saving for Laws. The real nature of what has happened can be seen despite Laws magnificent dry ice emission on the WDC website. it is back to the drawing board.

Next time around he will not have the assistance of surprise. His council’s mismanagement of the endowment fund supposed to pay for port works will have been exposed, and the media will be more sceptical of his lies about RCP’s willingness to invest, RCP’s safety performance and who is responsible for the state of the Port.



[…] Stephen Franks is happy that the Wanganui District Council (Port and Harbour) Bill doesn’t appear to have the numbers and has been deferred. The bill, promoted by Wanganui District Council, basically confiscates the local port from the company that has a perpetually renewable lease for it. No TweetBacks yet. (Be the first to Tweet this post) Tags: Blog Bits […]

  • Wangas
  • December 14th, 2009
  • 10:17 am

Actually Franks it is your clients who are disgusting in the Wanganui Port saga. No port users want them involved and they are ripping off ratepayers. Why are they blocking Land Meat from developing at the Port, Franks?

I referred to the Bill as disgusting because
a) it made no attempt to protect rule of law values like not being retrospective in its impact, and providing for independent assessment of compensation for the expropriation of property rights (assuming somone makes out a case for nationalisation); and
b) it was developed in secrecy, and promoted with personal attacks on my clients quite unrelated to the case alleged for the Bill.

Still, I do stand in awe of your media talents, and the demonstration (in the release announcing that it is back to the drawing board on the Bill) of how a consummate performer deals with bad news, or failure.
Stephen Franks

  • Colin Cashmore
  • December 15th, 2009
  • 7:00 am

Mayor Micheal,
It is you that is blocking the Land Meats development. Your own legal letter sent to us tells us to stop all development work and discussions on port development. Despite that we have made two seperate offers to settle the Land Meats issue as it is of concern to everyone in Wanganui. You have rejected our offer of settlement on this issue and are just playing public games, continually being loose with the facts to promote your own agenda, which is grabbing more publicity for the Micheal Laws brand. If you really were concerned for the jobs at Land Meats you would not be negotiating through the public arena.
Colin Cashmore River City Port

[…] a prizegiving speech that I have heard rave reviews about (best speech ever) from many […]

  • Robin
  • March 18th, 2015
  • 8:06 am

This is my third time viewing this article, it is really great!

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