Dim-Post on Ministers credit cards

June 10th, 2010 at 10:03 am by David Farrar

This is a classic:

Lower Hutt based Countdown retail worker Richard Loa announced today that he was deeply embarrassed by revelations that he had been taking items from the store without paying for them.

Loa, a 41 year old checkout operator and frozen foods section assistant team leader came forward today to admit that over a period of four years working at the Wellington supermarket he had taken home bottles of wine, frozen chickens, vitamin pills and razor blades on a weekly basis.

‘I now accept that this was wrong and I apologise for it,’ Loa said. ‘In my defense the rules around whether or not I could smuggle out bottles of shampoo in my gym bag were vague and unclear.’

It is understood that Loa came forward after Countdown management announced that they had installed security cameras in the staff changing rooms. These showed footage of Loa eating two large boxes of Lindt chocolates valued at $44 while on breaks during a busy weekend shift.

‘That’s when I decided that coming clean and explaining everything was the right thing to do,’ Loa said, adding. ‘The chocolates were consumed while I was doing my job although I concede that the security footage is not a good look.’

‘I would have paid for the chocolates myself but I didn’t have any cash and it seemed more convenient at the time to stuff them under my shirt and eat them in the toilets,’ Loa explained.

Loa announced that he would repay the value of the chocolates and other items consumed but would not be stepping down from his position as frozen foods assistant team leader.

‘I’ve made a mistake and I’ve done the right thing and fronted up to it,’ Loa said. ‘I acknowledge that it’s not a good look but frozen food placement faces a lot of challenges and I have some exciting ideas on how to tackle them so I’d like to put this whole thing behind me and move on.’

This attitude is not shared by Loa’s employer Progressive Foodstuffs who have dismissed him without notice or by the New Zealand Police who have arrested Loa on five charges of theft.

The best paragraph is about how he would have paid but didn’t have any cash on him, so that makes it okay!

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23 Responses to “Dim-Post on Ministers credit cards”

  1. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    As amusing as parody is it does raise serious issues about why people who are taking from the public are less acountable than those in the private sector.

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  2. real independent (30 comments) says:

    This has been totally inappropriate behaviour on the part of Loa. First of all, despite overwhelming CCTV evidence Loa should have maintained his innocence and demanded to be stood down on full pay while an independent enquiry was carried out.
    While the enquiry was in progress Loa should have held several tearful press conferences, explaining how it was all a series of innocent mistakes. The chocolates for instance, were neccessary to maintain core body temperature while working in the cold environment of the storage freezer. Likewise the chickens, wine, vitamin pills and razor blades it could be argued were all legitimate items to help him carry out his duties to a high standard. I mean, did the contract specifically say he couldn’t take these particular goods?
    As the heat on Loa increased he could have cut up his One Card in front of the cameras and vowed never to make such a silly mistake again. Futhermore he could have resigned his positions on check out and frozen goods and returned to trolley collection duties.
    Finally, if Progressive maintained their hardline, Loa, claiming the full support of loyal customers, could have returned to work as an independent checkout operator until his day in court.

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  3. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    Very good!

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  4. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    I thought this story was a reason to sacked all MPs… on account of the title heading.

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  5. burt (8,045 comments) says:

    Dim-Post nails it like usual. This is classic, a service station worker lifting $5 from the till to pay for bus fare home would probably be charged with theft as a servant and loose his/her job yet the MPs just say sorry and pay it back. (unless they are special like Winston)

    This aspect of parliamentary behaviour is completely unacceptable.

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  6. Paulus (2,568 comments) says:

    He should have used his “ministerial credit card”. Alright then.

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  7. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    sack MPs dam it… Hell my minds a little off the 8 ball… on account of MPs expenses about to be released.

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  8. Bob R (1,357 comments) says:

    ***loose his/her job ***

    ‘Lose’ not ‘loose’ (sorry to be a pedant but I’ve seen this mistake a few times lately & it is starting to grate).

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  9. Jeremy Harris (323 comments) says:

    The politicians from both sides just don’t seem to get it…

    We pay you a salary to represent us, everything else comes out of YOUR pocket…

    Don’t like it, get a job…

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  10. burt (8,045 comments) says:

    Bob R.

    Fair enough.

    RKBee

    sack MPs dam it…

    Charge them with theft as a servant and if they are real special like Labour then they will just pass validations under urgency and cancel the charges against themselves. Labour supporters love it when their leader excuses herself from court cases which are inconvienant.

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  11. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Theft as a servant is one that hurts. For a start you wont be an MP again for a few years. Funny how dishonesty offences are hard on most people but virtually expected from MP’s.

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  12. rouppe (948 comments) says:

    I agree. I can’t see why they are treated so leniently. Who would make the complaint to the Police? I think perhaps that is the difficulty – identifying who the actual employer is or who the appropriate person is to lay the complaint. Parliamentary Services are ineffective as guardians and some suitable punishment for the book-keepers there might strengthen their spine as well.

    Does anyone else remember the case (must be a decade ago now) of the Pacific Island worker in a factory making among other things plastic combs, who took a comb from the discard bin and was fired….?

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  13. RRM (9,670 comments) says:

    LOL! Very good.

    But it’s not exactly the same thing.
    If you’re on tour/ on the road for your company, the company picks up all sorts of expenses for you (but not all). If you spend half your on-tour meal allowance on dinner, and then raid the minibar for supper to the value of less than the remainder of your meal allowance, is this troughing?

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  14. burt (8,045 comments) says:

    RRM

    I don’t think mimibar expenses are valid to claim as a tax deduction, rather they are treated as drawings for tax purpose. Of course we can’t expect MPs to be treated like the rest of us, it is only troughing when you get caught – move on.

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  15. Dirty Rat (504 comments) says:

    Porn is bad ?

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  16. Chuck Bird (4,774 comments) says:

    I think the way this credit card check is done casts a Labour Ministers in a bad light. John Key changed policy when he came to power and good on him for that. I do not know how long records are keep but if they can go back as far as the first Labour government why can they not go back another three years and check on National Ministers.

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  17. Barnsley Bill (982 comments) says:

    Breaking news.
    Cross party parliamentary scat team in hot water over lining up and all taking a shit on the steps of parliament. Spokesperson for the group claims; “the rules were unclear about whether we can defecate on the steps, parliamentary services are at fault here”.

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  18. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    if they can go back as far as the first Labour government

    That would be going very far back indeed :-D

    Good point in any case – not as if those 90s guys aren’t around any more, some are back!

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  19. burt (8,045 comments) says:

    So no resignations yet and no charges – knock me down with a feather.

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  20. backster (2,124 comments) says:

    Yes the media have been using terms such as ‘used in error’ or by mistake, when in most cases it seems to be premeditated deliberate theft..Its a pity Mr Loa hadn’t been issued with a firms credit card then he could say, ” I only had the company card on me and I thought it would be dishonest to put these goods on it.”

    So far I have been waiting to see if any of these MPs put the families groceries on the card.

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  21. tvb (4,263 comments) says:

    Public officials have faced charges for less than Jones. I can think of Laidlaw, two District Court Judges (one pleaded guilty, one was acquitted), another ex MP is facing charges, and another ex Labour MP was convicted ( forgot his name). It seems a bit random. And Jones is such an arrogant loudmouth. Now the porn has been admitted. This is pretty lax judgement. How can he be trusted to be a Minister. It is quite easy to manage a credit card belonging to someone else for expenses. It seems Jones cannot. Give him access to money and he spends it.

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  22. Rick Rowling (823 comments) says:

    The PPTA should hire the Dim Post next time they want to produce satire

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  23. hubbers (230 comments) says:

    Anyone interested in emailing the Minister of Pornography can do so via this link:
    http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/Email.htm?e=0E2Efaz5A0%2fmrAp32VqW4%2bpEiHano2dH578NGcdB&n=0E2Efaz3A0%2fmrAo%3d

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