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NZ Herald 20 october 2012Papatoetoe must have been a pleasant little town on Great South Rd before Auckland spread like a tidal wave in the 1960s and covered the surrounding county in state houses and bungalows for the population boom. The town still had its own council in the 1970s when I started work and sometimes covered its meetings. The mayor and council were quiet, practical types who knew every building in the borough, though even by then there was no discernable boundary between Papatoetoe, Mangere and the rest of what would soon become Manukau City. Urban life has not been kind to the old town. Today people drive through Hunters Corner and hesitate to slow down because the place has become notorious for street prostitution. The shop owners have been complaining about it for years and they are not talking about women entirely, street prostitution is the rough trade.…The problem is nobody really wants to discuss this one. Not Parliament, where their bill is now long overdue for a second reading. Not news reports, using words and illustrations that leave an impression the conflict involves pretty young females and fuddy duddies. Not even McCracken, who doesn’t strike me as a homophobe. Like every former policeman he sounds no longer shocked at anything. When a transvestite tapped on his car window while he was taking his child to school the other day his response, as he describes it, was milder than mine would have been. He doesn’t say transvestite. When that term was used in a booklet the boards put out a few months ago with the help of the Auckland Council, one of the more sensitive council members cautioned them that they might be referring to transgendered people. It is not just the propositioning that causes concern – McCracken reckons the customers sometimes approach children in daylight – it is the noise at night and the filth left around for residents and shopkeepers to clean up the next day. He says Hunters Corner is not the only shopping centre in South Auckland suffering in this way. The Mangere-Otahuhu and Manurewa local boards have joined his in pressing for the legislation. But the others keep quieter about it. In July, when they jointly put out the booklet of graphic testimony from retailers and residents, they thought the bill was about to come back from a select committee for its crucial conscience vote in the House.….Bylaws, he says, are useless. Unless they are made under the authority of a particular piece of legislation, police don’t believe they can enforce them. What the police believe matters more than legal argument. If the police don’t believe a bylaw will stand up in court they are not going to invest time and effort on the streets. The problem, he explains, is that when Parliament legalised prostitution nine years ago the act made no reference to street vendors. It assumed that once the industry was legal all the practitioners would move into licensed premises and councils would have had control over their location. It wouldn’t seem very hard to amend the law now to extend that control to the streets, but for some reason the legislators seem reluctant. Those who voted for legalisation in 2003 may be unwilling to acknowledge any deficiency in it. Those who opposed it probably have no stomach to revive the subject.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10841704
This time last year, Barkley was regarded as the brightest young prospect in the English game – a tag Rooney is more than familiar with. The midfielder was fast-tracked into Roy Hodgson’s England squad after an impressive season with Everton and he continued to impress in the build-up to the World Cup, putting on a bruising Rooney-esque display on his first international start against Ecuador in Miami. Press Association Barkley could not find his way into Hodgson’s starting XI against Italy or Uruguay, but he was the first man the England manager turned to when the Three Lions were in trouble in their opening two World Cup games. Things have not gone quite so swimmingly for the 21-year-old this season, though. His form has dipped, so Rooney has taken it upon himself to impart some advice from his old team-mate Solskjaer in order to boost his game. “He and Everton hit the heights last season. He hasn’t done as well as the team haven’t recently,” the England captain said of Barkley, who came on as a second-half substitute in the 4-0 win over Lithuania last week. “But I spoke to him after the game on Friday and the only advice I gave him was to watch the game from the bench with England. “He will know how to get into the opposition, where the spaces are. That’s what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said to me when I was young, so you know where to be when you come on. If it helps, then great.” England manager Hodgson raised a few eyebrows when he criticised Barkley after the Ecuador game in Florida. Instead of praising the player, he said he “lost the ball an awful lot” and when pressed on his performance again, Hodgson snapped: “I am not prepared to address your obsession with Ross Barkley.” Hodgson said he was trying to protect the player, rather than knock him down a peg or two. Hodgson said: “I wasn’t trying to criticise him. I was trying to dampen the enthusiasm that we had suddenly found a player with great quality, and the comparisons with (Paul) Gascoigne and (Bryan) Robson.” Hodgson’s argument is undermined somewhat by the fact that he compared Barkley to Gascoigne last November. Still, he says he is a big fan of the bustling Merseysider, who may get a run out at some point during Tuesday’s friendly against Italy in Turin. “The fact we selected him shows we believe in him,” Hodgson said. “That’s a boost.” To be fair to Barkley, he is not the only Evertonian to have struggled this season. Until a couple of weeks ago, Roberto Martinez’s men looked to be in danger of slipping into a relegation scrap but now they are nine points off the drop zone. Barkley maintains his self belief has not been shaken by his bad form, but he also concedes he has not been good enough this year. ”I don’t feel pressure. I believe in myself and I know what I can do. It’s not me feeling pressure, it’s just me putting pressure on myself if I don’t do my best, and I know I can do better,” Barkley told Premier League World. ”I just focus on getting better every day, putting things right in training and then hopefully what I’m doing right in training I’m going to show in games as well.” Wayne Rooney called Ross Barkley over last week and repeated some wise words he heard from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a bid to improve the Everton midfielder’s stuttering form.