My beef with the Mad Butcher

Ok, so this post is for the Butcher. The Mad Butcher. Sir Peter Leitch. Peter – I’m Bill Burgoyne’s daughter. You and I both know what that means. Everyone of your generation in NZ’s rugby league circles knows what that means. Enough said.

I was one of Bill’s three kids always sitting in the back of the old-beat-up-car or hiding under the stands at Carlaw, one of the kids you barely noticed as you said what you liked about who,  what and when you liked. A kind of self-appointed-King in Auckland’s rugby league circles. Monied and mouthy and filthy rich. People generally knew not to mess with the Butcher. Because if they did, there was generally something to lose.

That’s because you are known for your ‘generosity’. You are known for being the guy who cultivates friendship and favour by making big donations, whether in cash or kind to the cause. And you and I both know that when my dad’s compulsive gambling habit had taken over his life (to the point where when he had no job and his second “coconut” wife had left him – yes I remember you calling her that – and he was bankrupt, again), you were one of the few people that gave him a job. Selling meat out of the back of his car for you. I remember that. I remember traipsing around Auckland with dad in his bomb and him pulling over to sell frozen meat to people. Hoping they might buy some so he could pay you back. I don’t know if the arrangement was under the table, but I suspect it was.

Yup, that was 1990s Auckland – and in league circles no one blinked an eye at Bill doing a bit of work on the side for the Butcher. Cause the thing is you were the King. And your generosity had another name. A name I’ve come to appreciate in my adult years as I’ve encountered more and more people in positions of influence and power. It’s called Patronage. Looking after people so long as they look after you. Which means people dont bite the hand that feeds them.

But I guess my dad did eventually bite you, hey? Cause he couldn’t keep his mouth shut  – or sort his gambling – which made him a risk to you. So eventually you cut him off completely. Wrote him off. Like a cheque. Didnt even turn up to his funeral (which was packed by the way – and thanks to Derek Fox and Willie Jackson for bothering to turn up).

And you’re probably pleased to know that in the last few months of his life he was sleeping in his car. Saving money on rent to pay for his gambling habit. I imagine you take great pleasure in that, knowing that he suffered – because he had crossed you – which made him your enemy. And you don’t treat your enemies kindly (I remember overhearing you saying that too). But you do look after your friends – and you like that people think you’re really a ‘decent’ bloke at heart. A mate.

But sorry Peter, I’ve seen you up close on far too many occasions (when you didnt even realise you were being observed) to know better.  You are not a decent bloke. And being someone’s patron is not the same as being their friend. Your behaviour has long gone unchecked and I applaud and #respect Lara Wharepapa-Bridger for having the courage to call you on it publicly. It’s about time someone did!

And to Dame Susan Devoy – given your comments (which I see as entirely inappropriate given your role i.e. personal vs professional commentary) if I were you I would seriously be reflecting on how well you know Mr Leitch, because the kind of ‘light-hearted banter’ you might be used to him peddling, is clearly quite different to the ‘banter’ I was exposed to as a child.

One thought on “My beef with the Mad Butcher

  1. Pingback: “He’s the least racist person I know”: Racism, the Mad Butcher and Empathy | vicanthropology

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