May 2018

The Weekender 26/05/2018

Wow, the politics is almost worse than at election time, sigh. 


Sport

Following up Super Rugby from last weekend, the Crusaders were too strong for the Blues winning 32-24 - a win but not a thrashing, and the Sharks beat the Chiefs 28-24 with something like 30 Chiefs players out injured or on All Black rests. After two years and forty games, an Australian Super Rugby team finally beat a New Zealand team when the Waratahs won 41-12 against the Highlanders who played most of the game with 14 players. The Jaguares had their fifth win in a row with a 54-24 win over the Bulls.

This week the Crusaders who have had their own injuries and All Black's rested, still comfortably beat the Hurricanes 24-13. The Jaguares did it again beating the Sharks 29-13, while the Rebels were too good for the Sunwolves 40-13 who couldn't manage a third in a row.
There have been a few discipline problems in the NZ teams recently, last weekend Highlanders winger Tevita Nabura and Crusaders prop Owen Franks was cited with Franks suspended for two weeks. Australia has their own problems with Wallabies prop and Queensland Reds skipper James Slipper being suspended for two months for cocaine use.

George Bennett wasn't finished in the Giro d'Italia (I thought it was over), and he has faced a number of mechanical issues this week as he has dropped down to 10th overall.

Last weekend Scott Dixon was 8th fastest in Indy Cars to remain in contention for this weekends Indianapolis 500.
In the Aussie V8's there was an all kiwi podium last weekend with teammates Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin one & two, with Shane van Gisbergen picking up third.

Third-time lucky for Corey Webster, who has been given yet another shot with the NZ Breakers. There is no doubt he is talented, but hopefully, he makes the most of it this time.

Team Wellington has won the OFC Champions League after beating Lautoka 10-3 on aggregate in Oceania's premier football international club competition.

NZ Women kayakers have won four gold medals at the opening of the World Cup regatta in Hungary.


NZ News

Petrol prices have been in the news (prices below) as they head upward and there is talk that $3/L will be common soon. This seems to be based on the government's plans but doesn't include any of the upcoming government fuel taxes. The government is showing no signs that they will relent on their tax plans. 

The US Congress has been told that one of the major fundraisers for Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party "is linked to the Chinese Communist Party". There were also claims that any intelligence briefing given to former PM Bill English, was forwarded to former Chinese spy trainer, National MP Yang Jian. The US lawmakers are considering whether NZ needs to be kicked out of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. 

Labour MP and Transport Minister Phil Twyford this week offered his resignation after he took a phone call on a plane. PM Jacinda Ardern refused the offer but he lost responsibility for Civil Aviation Authority. National has also noted that at the same time Twyford stood in the plane while the seatbelt light was on. Moving on from that (but not Twyford) this week he decided to ignore official advice to do more to use buses for Auckland transport to the Airport (saving taxpayers $2.5b), but he has rejected the idea and is pushing the light rail system.
As if that wasn't a bad enough week for Twyford, he was also reprimanded by the PM for saying Treasury Officials were "kids fresh out of university". Ironically, this week Twyford's fellow Labour MP from our area, Jamie Strange, graduated from University - so it is actually those running the country who his comments apply to.

The government has made more big calls - but without real plans, after they cancelled the Waikeria "mega-prison" but giving no decision on a back-up plan. Ironically, this week news came out that despite higher numbers in jail, the policies have been working.  The government has also been talking about repealing the three-strikes law, while National is calling on New Zealand First to stick to its principles to keep the law in place. New Zealand First had previously campaigned on the creating the law. 

The other story of the week is an ongoing feud between the National Party and the speaker of the house Trevor Mallard. Now the whole deal with the job of being the speaker is to run the parliament and to be fair. And it seems that is a bit hard for someone described as "loyal to a fault, particularly if you're part of the Labour tribe".  Earlier this month Mallard apparently heard the comment "stupid little girl" (referring to PM Jacinda Ardern) from someone in the National Party, but when he quizzed National, no one had a clue what he was talking about. National leader Simon Bridges investigated and there is no evidence from the recordings and no one in National heard or said anything like that. That didn't stop Mallard who told reporters all about it - an astonishing act for someone who is supposed to be fair. What's more, Mallard has come up with a system for punishing those who do him wrong, by docking them questions. The number of questions parties get is very important and it's the only way opposition can hold the government to account, so taking away the questions - especially for almost random things, is just wrong. The whole issue has caused a stink and National MP Paula Bennett walked out after National was docked five questions because Gerry Brownlee had the audacity to ask the Prime Minister questions. When Bennett returned Mallard made her apologise to him for a negative comment directed at him - even though she hadn't. A day later she was kicked out while Mallard threatened Hamilton MP David Bennett with being "named" (an even worse punishment) after he didn't apologise and Mallard refused to say what he should apologise for! What a bizarre situation. National is considering a no-confidence vote against the speaker. 


The Numbers Game

1: # most liveable city in the world rating for Wellington - the second year in a row
1: # most trusted brand for Whitakers again, Air NZ was third, Toyota fifth, Tip Top eighth
1.807: $/L for unleaded at the countries cheapest petrol station at Atiamuri, $2.30 up the road in Rotorua, while Great Barrier Islanders pay $3.11
6: people died on the roads last weekend within 41 hours making it the second deadliest weekend of the year
8: sperm whales died after becoming stranded on a beach in South Taranaki
27: drink drivers caught in 24 hours has disappointed Hawke's Bay Police
55.43: % of people in Whakatane voted against introducing Maori wards in a binding poll
81: m of visual clarity at times in the Te Waikoropupu Springs near Takaka according to NIWA - nearing the theoretical maximum for water of 83m
9,500: lightning strikes in the North Island with snow hitting the South Island as a very active front swept the country on Thursday/Friday
1.7m: tourists in 12 months for NZ - with about half of them going to one of our national parks
7m: $ in fines in the last year for Aucklanders using the special bus or transit lanes
49m: $ contract awarded to improve the Wellington commuter trains


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5188 (0.0072)
EUR 0.5922 (0.0066)
USD 0.6920 (0.0017)
AUD 0.9150 (-0.0041)


The Weekender NZer of the week

An Upper Hutt Roadworker
Three young boys were watching some roadworks, and an unnamed roadworker went and got three safety vests and sat the boys down on the footpath and spent time explaining to them what they were doing. Good on him.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12055399


Joke of the Weekender

I've been told I'm condescending.
(that means I talk down to people)

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{If these just fill up your junk mail, then send me an email & I'll take you off the list | The Weekender is not a verified news source, sometimes it's even just an opinion}

The Weekender 19/05/2018

Hi, Auckland woke up to thunderstorms with hail the size of squash balls a couple of days ago.


Sport

Following up on the Crusaders win last weekend, prop Joe Moody was cited for foul play after striking Kurtley Beale in an off-ball incident and was suspended for two weeks. The Highlanders held off a late charge from the Lions to win 39-27.
This weekend the Hurricanes held on to beat the Reds 38-34 and the Sunwolves had back-to-back wins when they beat the Stormers 26-23 with kiwi Hayden Parker again playing a big role.
The Black Fern Sevens had a record 46-0 win over Australia in the final of the Canada round.
All Blacks and Highlanders flanker Elliot Dixon has signed a deal with a Japanese club. New Zealand born Irish centre Bundee Aki will lead the Barbarians against England later this month.

George Bennett has done well this week in the Giro d'Italia, improving to seventh after nine stages, and then up to sixth after the tenth stage, and held on to that spot to the end.

The Warriors returned to winning ways beating the Parramatta Eels 24-14 last night.

Scott Dixon started in 18th place at the back of the grid and fought his way through to second for a podium finish in the Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Brendon Hartley finished twelfth in the Spanish Grand Prix.
Hayden Paddon was airlifted to hospital after crashing in the latest round of the world rally championship in Portugal.

Tai Wesley has signed a one year deal with the NZ Breakers, while after 10 years Alex Pledger is moving to Melbourne United.


NZ News

This week was the budget. Sigh. This government inherited an economy in vastly better shape than any new Government since 1972. However, the Prime Minister has persisted with the "story" that they want to "build" and "rebuild" over time. The new government has themselves admitted that things are in good shape - so the only thing that can be gained by "rebuilding" is to do it worse. But this budget is more about dividing the pie than growing it. There doesn't seem to be anything there to stimulate business confidence, industry, investment and wages. The government announced $4.05b for health, although National leader Simon Bridges claimed National increased new health funding by more last year than the new government has done, and midwives across the country are quitting, saying they are devastated that their pay rise isn't enough, and the Maori Party are claiming overlooking Whanau Ora is a "kick in the guts". $1.93b for education but key election promises have been missed and the NZ Education Institute president said it was "just such a major disappointment" and the Tertiary Education Union president said she was "massively disappointed". $1.2b for Justice including an additional 1,800 police officers over five years, $1b for R&D Tax credits, $1b for the Provincial Growth Fund, $904m for Foreign Affairs, $100m for a 'Green Investment Fund' and $181m for DOC, and $100m for infrastructure for the America's Cup.
There are suggestions around that the coalition's credibility is being dented by Winston Peters' spending, and the opposition leader said: "Everything we did was about making the boat go faster, and they've pulled anchor". NZ First MP Shane Jones said Maori should be "on the rafters hollering with joy" about the Budget - but they aren't. It isn't clear why he thinks they should be happy but there is $37m for Maori Development, only a third what they got in 2016 & 2017.

Following on from last weeks information on the Kiwibuild fiasco, Housing Minister Phil Twyford has called Treasury officials kids "fresh out of university", claiming they have their figure wrong on the impact of Kiwibuild on residential investment. 


The Numbers Game

15: confirmed cases of the measles in the South Island
26: % increase in the public housing wait list in the last three months
39: staff of Cadbury World have lost their jobs after it was announced the cafe & shop would close with the government announcing a new hospital on the site
46: place jump in the world golf rankings for Danny Lee after a strong result at the Players Championship in Florida
1.3m: $ worth of cocaine found by Customs, being smuggled in by an American 


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5116 (-0.0028)
EUR 0.5856 (0.0018)
USD 0.6903 (-0.0063)
AUD 0.9191 (-0.0045)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Brian Barret Boyes
design of the heart
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Barratt-Boyes


Joke of the Weekender

People in Dubai don't like the Flintstones.
But people in Abu Dhabi do!

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{If these just fill up your junk mail, then send me an email & I'll take you off the list | The Weekender is not a verified news source, sometimes it's even just an opinion}

The Weekender 12/05/2018

After a nice week, heavy rain and strong winds have been forecast for the country over the weekend. 


Sport

Last weekend in Super Rugby, the Hurricanes beat the Lions 28-19 with a Ben Lam hat-trick - he is certainly playing well. The Highlanders were given a lesson by the Sharks, trashed in Durban 38-12, while the Blues upset the Waratahs 24-21 - this was the 38th defeat of an Australian Super Rugby team by a New Zealand Super Rugby team and the worst NZ team against the best Australian team. 
This weekend the Hurricanes continued their roll with a 36-15 win over the Auckland Blues despite Sonny Bill Williams being back from injury. The Waratahs talked up their backline ahead of their game against the Crusaders (!) and maybe they were right as they shot out to a 0-29 lead in the first half hour. But the Crusader put on 31 unanswered points to win 31-29. The Sunwolves thrashed the Reds 63-28 with Kiwi Hayden Parker scoring 24 of their 29 first-half points.
In other news, New Zealand Rugby has cleared Brad Shields to play for England in next months tour. While Ryan Crotty and Scott Barrett have re-signed with New Zealand Rugby.

Last weekend the Warriors had another good game beating the Tigers 26-4, but this weekend they aren't doing so well. Update: The Roosters ran away with the game 32-0.

Lydia Ko continued her good form finishing eighth at the LPGA Texas Classic. And Danny Lee has shot up the leaderboard to be tied for second at the unofficial fifth major - the Players Championship.

Kiwi Ironman Trent Bozzone continued his unbeaten 2018 season with his fourth win at Ironman 70.3 in Western Australia.

Kiwi George Bennett finished fourth in the sixth leg of the Giro d'Italia to move into ninth spot overall.

New Zealand Football has claimed a world first by announcing pay parity between the All Whites and the Football Ferns. That is huge news - who knew they actually paid the players!

Scott McLaughlin is building a lead in the Aussie V8's after winning the first race in Perth for his third in a row and then producing what may be the greatest drive of his career coming from 19th to win the second race. Scott is on 1247 point, ahead of fellow Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen on 1089 points with Fabian Coulthard back in ninth on 809 points.


NZ News

The government has been digging holes for themselves this week, firstly by saying that overstayers and illegal migrants might be allowed to stay in NZ if they have construction skills, as the government looks toward their election promise of 100,000 new houses. Labour made the promise to build over 10 years, including $500,000 1-bedroom houses, and 2 and 3 bedroom houses up to $600,000. However, they obviously didn't do their homework in their nine years of opposition and now a three-bedroom house will cost $650,000. But the real crazy thing was Housing Minister Phil Twyford gave wrong numbers in an interview about how much the houses were to cost. Then he said he rejected a National claim that Labour has also lifted the price of its smaller houses, saying he misspoke during a TV appearance this morning. So he misspoke and then managed to blame the result on National? But it turns out the government is looking to use "public partnerships" i.e. they are going to claim a large number of houses that were going to be built anyway, and their great plan will be irrelevant - except for any political points they get out of it.
The government has stepped in after a loophole saw a widowed father denied paid parental leave after his wife died in childbirth. The government gave him a one-off ex gratia payment.
The government has said that Aucklanders could be using two light-rail networks across the city within six years - but that will depend on who is in power in three years time.

Auckland has had some transport problems this week after the Britomart station was shut down after a train derailed, and fog hit Auckland Airport with over 60 regional flights grounded. 


The Numbers Game

290: farms now under regulatory control for Mycoplasma bovis - a jump from 130 in the last week
1,200: person kiwifruit labour shortage
23,000: people are diagnosed with cancer every year, with 9,500 dying to be 31% of deaths - our biggest killer
100,000: $ given to charity KidsCan by the Waikato-Tainui iwi


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5144 (-0.0035)
EUR 0.5838 (-0.0028)
USD 0.6966 (-0.0053)
AUD 0.9236 (-0.0081)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Margaret Brimble 
The first New Zealand woman to be elected fellow of Royal Society of London
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12048240


Joke of the Weekender

A guy walks into a bar and orders a fruit punch.
The bartender says "Pal, if you want a punch you'll have to stand in line." The guy looks around, but there is no punch line.

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{If these just fill up your junk mail, then send me an email & I'll take you off the list | The Weekender is not a verified news source, sometimes it's even just an opinion}

The Weekender 05/05/2018

We finished the week with some lovely blue sky autumn days but the week started with a thunderstorm watch for Northland and Auckland.


Sport

Last weekend the Highlanders pulled out a last-gasp 29-28 win over the Bulls, and the Crusaders beat the Brumbies 21-8 with an ACT winger getting a five-week ban for a high shot on Israel Dagg.
This week the Crusaders crushed the Rebels 55-10 to extend the winning streak of NZ teams over Australian teams - but the Waratahs are playing the Blues this weekend so all bets are off. The Jaguares continued their red-hot run with a 23-19 win over the Chiefs. Things did not go well for Chiefs with questionable decisions and the just couldn't pull anything off.

Lydia Ko won last weekends round of the LPGA - her first win since 2016.

Kane Williamson has led his IPL team to the top of the table with a man of the match performance.

Brendon Hartley finished in the points in Formula One for the first time, when he finished 10th in a crash-strewn Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The last NZer in points in Formula One was the late Chris Amon in 1976.

Despite lots of talk for alternatives, the NZ Warriors club has been sold to their original owners - Auckland Rugby League.

NZ Sailors got Gold, Silver & Bronze at the World Cup regatta in Hyeres.


NZ News

The government has pulled out of cheaper doctors visits, saying coalition funding pressures, saying they will be phased in over time. The two massive Auckland roading projects announced last week are not timed for six or seven years - that's two election wins away.
On the ongoing "it's not a new tax because we promised no new taxes" - but really it is, the Government announced the so-called "Amazon tax", for taxing all low-value online purchases from overseas. Hamilton has joined Christchurch in putting it's hand up for a regional fuel tax of 11.5 cents.

But the biggest news of the week was a huge foot in the mouth for whoever is running the media side of the Labour Party. It seems they have orchestrated the Police Commissioner coming out with a statement that they were not investigating PM Jacinda Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford. Now a couple of things. The first was that I think everyone in the country (except those working in media and politics), said "What rumours?". A few reports made out that everyone knew the rumours but no one does. The second point was that the Police are supposed to be politically distant - but in this case, they certainly weren't.


The Numbers Game

2: days in rough seas in a broken down boat for a father & daughter, finally found both OK
8: months of average rain for Christchurch in the first four months of the year
100: Auckland kindergartens have to have training in tree climbing before they are allowed to supervise kids climbing trees
820,000: $ more spent on pokies in Northland over last year
3.3m: $ cash injection for Hamilton for the inaugural Hamilton Sevens


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5179 (0.0071)
EUR 0.5866 (0.0029)
USD 0.7019 (-0.0046)
AUD 0.9317 (-0.0027)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Ian Axford
design of astrophysics
http://nzmathsoc.org.nz/downloads/centrefolds/NZMScentrefold21_Ian_Axfor...


Joke of the Weekender

I couldn't figure out why the baseball kept getting larger. Then it hit me.

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{If these just fill up your junk mail, then send me an email & I'll take you off the list | The Weekender is not a verified news source, sometimes it's even just an opinion}