Photo of the Day

Police hold back the crowd who are trying to see the notice telling of the execution of Derek Bentley at Wandsworth Jail. (POPPERFOTO/POPPERFOTO/GETTY IMAGES)

Police hold back the crowd who are trying to see the notice telling of the execution of Derek Bentley at Wandsworth Jail. (POPPERFOTO/POPPERFOTO/GETTY IMAGES)

“Let him have it”

 Derek William Bentley

 The execution of Derek Bentley, a mentally handicapped 19-year-old who was falsely convicted of murder, was pivotal in bringing about the end of capital punishment in Britain.

“A victim of British justice”

Derek Bentley was hanged on the 28th of January 1953, at the age of 19 and the above words appear on his gravestone.

The Bentley case is one of the most controversial cases in British legal history.

The story starts on 2 November 1952. Two teenage boys, Christopher Craig and Derek Bentley tried to rob a factory, Barlow & Parker a wholesale confectioner’s in Tamworth Road, Croydon.

Chris was 16 and spent his time watching crime movies and reading crime comics. In his mind he was an American hoodlum. By contrast Derek was aged 18 but had a mental age of about 8.

As a child he lived in Blackfriars and his home was bombed in the Blitz. Derek received head injuries and was also epileptic and illiterate. He found it hard to make friends and was bullied at school. When Chris began to take an interest in him, Derek became infatuated. He would do everything Chris told him to do.

They were both extremely inept criminals.

Read more »

More good news: Our sheilas are paid 9th best in the whole wide world

The opposition likes to go on about gender pay equality and how the government is doing nothing.

And yet this happens:

New Zealand has moved up one place in a global ranking of gender parity, but sits behind Rwanda and the Philippines.

The country now ranks ninth on the World Economic Forum’s index of nations based on the gender gap in key areas including the economy, politics, education and health.

The WEF, a not-for-profit body based in Switzerland, analysed data from 144 countries worldwide and said the global gender gap had widened to its largest since 2008.

It estimated that there will not be economic gender parity for another 170 years, an increase on last year’s estimate of 118 years.   Read more »

Oh Lordy, somebody has actually carried out research into rigidly enforced speed limits making drivers worse

Regular readers will recall Whaleoil’s stance against police trying to reduce the road toll through targeted speed limit campaigns.  Empirical evidence showed that it had absolutely no positive effect.

Research now shows it is worse than that.

New research from The University of Western Australia has found strictly enforced speed limits could have a detrimental impact on road safety.


Researchers used a driving simulator to test whether lowering speed enforcement thresholds would impact on a driver’s mental and visual abilities. Eighty-four young adult participants drove under conditions where they could be fined for travelling one, six, or 11 km/h over a 50 km/h speed limit.

A peripheral detection task was used to measure drivers’ mental and visual workload. They also filled out a questionnaire which asked how difficult or demanding they found the experience of driving under the different enforcement conditions.

Stricter speed limit enforcement led to drivers rating the experience as more demanding and had a significant negative impact on peripheral vision, or the ability to detect objects outside the driver’s immediate line of sight.

Many Whaleoil commenters had intuitively come to the same conclusion.  And of course, the number of deaths on our roads inconveniently increased during the lower tolerance periods.   Read more »

More good news, NZ easier than Singapore to do business

Poor old Andrew Little. He’s going to find it hard to get angry over this news.

New Zealand edged out Singapore as the easiest country for doing business in the World Bank’s latest rankings, while several emerging market countries improved the most by pursuing business-friendly reforms.

In its annual “Doing Business” report, the World Bank cited reductions in labor-related taxes and new regulations that make paying taxes easier as key reasons for moving New Zealand to the top spot from its previous runner-up position.

Macedonia broke into the coveted top 10, while Brunei had the biggest improvement, moving to 72nd from a rank of 84th last year as it made electricity supply more reliable, passed a new insolvency law and increased protections for minority investors.

The World Bank report tracks regulatory changes in 190 countries for businesses throughout their life cycle – from the ease of business start-up regulations and getting credit to property rights.

It said a record 137 economies made reforms to make it easier to start and operate businesses in the last year, with more than 75 percent of the changes occurring in developing countries.

Read more »

Two ways to shut down criticism of Islam

Despite living in the information age where freedom of speech is meant to be a right, books are being burnt and speech is being criminalised. A desire to silence critics of Islam is something that many progressives and followers of Islam have in common. Muslims in Lebanon responded to a rumour that there was a pamphlet in a Christian library that criticised Muhammad by burning down the library. Progressives in the West attack criticism of Islam or its followers by labelling it hate speech and criminalising it.


When we think of mass book burnings we tend to think of the Nazis who were big on destroying literature and knowledge that they did not approve of. It is happening again as another supremacist ideology ( Islam )  burned over 50,000 books in my grandparents’ homeland, Lebanon. While Progressives are not yet openly burning books like Muslims are in Lebanon they are attacking free speech in various western countries around the world by criminalising it. Again and again, the only speech they criminalise is speech that criticises Islam or its followers.

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Fenton ‘Jong un’ Wilson is going to learn what utu means

The new Hawke’s Bay Regional Council was sworn in yesterday and they have a new chairman after Fenton Wilson discovered the Ruataniwha dam wasn’t really an election winner after all.

Rex Graham has been elected as the new chairman of Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

Rick Barker was voted in as deputy.

This morning, the council’s nine elected regional councillors were sworn in at the inaugural council meeting.

A large crowd gathered at the council’s Napier’s offices where Mr Graham was elected unopposed.

After being nominated by former chairman Fenton Wilson and seconded by Mr Barker, Mr Graham received a unanimous vote.

Mr Barker was nominated by councillor Alan Dick and seconded by councillor Neil Kirton, and was also elected unanimously.

Read more »

Ratbag mayor wants people to act with respect and trust, chance would be a fine thing

One ratbag gets replaced by another ratbag, and he wants everyone to act within an environment of respect and trust?

He could have started by telling the truth about his real thoughts on the dodgy socialist and world class theatre.

The new mayor of Marlborough District has made a plea for the new council to respect the decision-making process they have been elected to do.

John Leggett – the district’s first new mayor in 12 years, after Alistair Sowman stepped down at the election – told councillors at today’s swearing-in ceremony that he wanted an environment of respect and trust.

Mr Leggett was at the centre of confidential material leaked to an online website before the election, aimed at embarrassing him.   Read more »

Mike Lee is right and Phil Goff is wrong

It is almost never that I agree with Mike Lee but in this case he is right.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff supports a blogger joining the Auckland Transport board after leaving two councillors off the board.

Last week, Goff announced two council appointments on the board would remain vacant for now to look at the best form of accountability for Auckland Transport and other council-controlled organisations.

He was not convinced having councillors on the board – Mike Lee and Chris Fletcher have been board members for six years – and subject to secrecy provisions was the best form of accountability.

Patrick Reynolds, of the Transport Blog, has applied for an observer role on the board, despite the blog stating it “is not associated in any way with Auckland Transport”.

Reynolds is seeking a customer focus committee board observer role – a non-voting and unpaid position.

In a letter to the board, Reynolds said he was a highly engaged customer and commentator on Auckland Transport issues who believed his “other side of the counter” perspective would be extremely valuable.

“There is now significant commonality between our aims and official AT policy. We are highly aligned with AT,” Reynolds said.

Read more »

Nick Smith makes more…. housing announcements


Housing Minister Nick Smith announced the new development on New North Road, just 8km from the CBD, on Wednesday after signing an agreement with the Marutuahu Ropu and Ockham Residential Ltd, the first under the Crown and Tamaki Collective Housing Protocol.

Under previous rules the former New Zealand Transport Agency site would have been able to sustain 24 homes, but with Special Housing Area status that figure has more than quadrupled. Read more »

New P testing standards desperately needed


The Ministry of Health has released its new recommendations for meth contamination clean-up and says the current standard is too high much of the time.

Since 2010, ministry guidelines have said a contamination reading of 0.5 micrograms per 100 square centimetres or higher meant a home needed to be decontaminated.

That standard has prompted a proliferation of private decontamination businesses and what some have called “paranoia” in the real estate market. Read more »