Larry Williams: Govt's Awaroa top-up just populist politics


The Government has coughed up $350,000 to get Awaroa Beach into public ownership.

Nearly 40,000 New Zealanders contributed to the nearly $2.3 million dollar price tag, but it seems the Government cash got the purchase over the line.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says they now need to set up a trust to hold the land until it can be gazetted as part of Abel Tasman National Park.

The Government supported the bid with what they say is a "modest" contribution - but $350,000 is hardly "modest".

Last night when negotiations got "tricky" the Government upped its contribution. This looks like code for the public tender not being the highest tender.

At the eleventh hour, the Government stepped into match the highest tender to secure the property.

I don't like the smell of this tender process. It also has a stench around the Government's motives. It was straight out populist politics when they had no interest in that hunk of sand and scrub at the outset. Being seen to contribute and save the high profile campaign was for the Government "good for business".

Remember, the Government was given the opportunity to buy the property early on and declined. The Department of Conservation said "the property, which had 800 metres of beach and seven hectares of scrub, did no offer the ecological and biodiversity values that would justify the $2m asking price".

I agree. I have never seen a lot of value in that isolated plot. These places are dotted all over the country, There is nothing special about that Awaroa inlet, but credit where credit is due, the campaign was innovative and Duane Major should be congratulated. It was a masterful campaign by the Give-A-Little crowd

Brendon McCullum says goodbye to the Black Caps


Australia's win over the black caps in the second test in Christchurch to take the series two-nil was comprehensive. There can be no excuses.

Australia won the both the home and away series, and lets be honest, they're just a better test unit. Out of five tests, Australia won four with one drawn.

Sure the Kiwis got a sniff in Adelaide and competed in Perth, but the Black Caps struggle in tests. The Black Caps are pretty damned good at the ODIs and T20, but the "crash and bash" style doesn't cut it in tests.

Batting "time" is critical in tests and mostly the Black Caps don't do that.

Brendon McCullum has played his last game for New Zealand and has been fantastic entertainment and his aggressive leadership a revelation. To score the fastest hundred in test cricket in his last test is something you couldn't dream about.

McCullum finishes with a test average of 38.65, ODI average of 30.41 and a T20 average of 35.67 - very impressive.

His last innings was typical McCullum. A slog for six and a slog for out.

I really don't know if his averages would have been better had he not been so impetuous. It's easy to say that if he had been more circumspect he would have scored a lot more runs, but how would we know?

Thanks for the memories Brendon McCullum.

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Newstalk ZB radio host Larry Williams. Photo / Michael Craig
Newstalk ZB radio host Larry Williams. Photo / Michael Craig

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