The Weekender 21/07/2018

Hello, how are you all, hope you've had a good week. 


Last weekend the Crusaders thrashed the Blues 54-17, and the Highlanders had a five-try 43-37 win over the Brumbies. And that was the end of the regular season of Super Rugby.
The Chief's season ended five days later (last night) after a one-point loss to the Hurricanes 32-31 in a game where neither team did very well, but TJ Perenara did score a controversial try (the on-field call was no try, and the TMO overruled because he couldn't see that he didn't get the try - what?).
In other news, Israel Dagg has signed a short-term contract to play in Japan for the rest of the year, while Jordie Barrett and Ardie Savea have both re-signed with the Hurricanes and NZ Rugby.

Kiwi Michael Venus made it through to the final of the Wimbledon doubles, before being beaten by an American pair.

The NZ Warriors upset the Brisbane Broncos in Brisbane for the first time in five years with a 26-6 win to keep their hopes of a top-four spot alive. Simon Mannering announced this week that he will be ending his 14-year career at the end of this season.

New Zealanders have won five gold medals at the World Rowing regatta in Lucerne but the news of the day was that Robbie Manson beat Mahe Drysdale in the single sculls final.

Scott Dixon extended his lead in the Indy Car series with a win in Toronto.

Pole vaulter Eliza McCartney set a season-leading world best when she cleared 4.94m at a meet in Jockgrim, Germany. 

Netballer Anna Harrison will retire from netball at the end of the ANZ Premiership season. Silverferns coach Janine Southby has resigned after a review of NZ's disastrous Commonwealth Games campaign.

NZ News

Phil Goff has stamped his mark on free-speech by banning two controversial Canadians who have been accused - by left-leaning media - of hate speech. I have no idea what they've actually been saying but people I know who have investigated, have found nothing quite like they are being accused of. It seems intriguing to me that left-leaning people are quite vocal about demanding free-speech until they find something they object to and then they are equally vocal about banning it. They never quite seem to get on board with the idea that I might not like what you say, but I'll fight for your right to say it. 

There was more damage around the country this week with storms rolling through. The Coromandel is often hit hardest and this week both SH25 and SH25A were closed with slips for days. 

There were interesting follow-up stories on the government's announcement of $2.3 billion being spent on new combat planes for the Air Force this week. Firstly noted was the lack of protest. Typically any military spending is met with large loud groups of protestors, but this huge deal seemed to have been ignored (does that suggest Labour organises all the protests?). Secondly, the whole deal seemed to have been announced by New Zealand First without any say so from Labour - that's a bit weird. And finally, and most importantly is that the deal is a major military realignment toward Australia, US and Canada and it signals a big ideological shift in defence policy for the coalition government, toward the right. I wonder what the right-now-non-existant Labour MP's think about that. 

If anyone was in doubt that the current government is putting a halt to our economy, the BNZ-BusinessNZ performance of services index shows that activity in the services sector has slowed across all major categories, slowing to the lowest levels since December 2012 (about when finance-rockstar Bill English was pulling us out of the GFC). The level is 52.8 which is 4.3 points lower than in May, and if it gets below 50 then our economy is contracting rather than growing. They've been in less than a year, and there is no reason for it. 

The "Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry" Andrew Little has signed off the concept plan outlining three re-entry options. 

National has pointed out that despite the government campaigning on raising the refugee quota from 1,000 to 1,500, they have not lifted the quota or made any announcements that they are going to. I don't think they have even created yet another toothless, expensive working group to investigate it! 

The Numbers Game

4.0: Richter Scale earthquake in Christchurch was the biggest for six months
29.8: km from a spot in Fiordland to the nearest building (incl. DOC huts, houses etc.) for NZ's most remote point
91: % of Aucklanders support Sir Ray Avery's "Million Babies" charity concert at Eden Park - but not former PM Helen Clark who is vocally against it
1,000: EQC claims after storms and cyclones hit the country between January and June for over $7m in repairs
4,000: IRD and MBIE staff will strike again after their July 9th strike didn't change their bosses minds - maybe their new chant should be "we want 50% more than non-government workers doing the same job"
37,500: $ fine for a company which ignored quake strengthening orders for 10 years 

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5191 (+0.0081)
EUR 0.5806 (+0.0021)
USD 0.6812 (+0.0050)
AUD 0.9171 (+0.0067)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Professor Stephen Robertson
Meet the Kiwi DNA detective helping children across the globe.
World-renowned paediatric geneticist Professor Stephen Robertson has steadily been helping unravel obscure diseases while giving fresh hope to countless children across the planet.

Joke of the Weekender

Some people think it's romantic to carve their names on trees in the park while on a date.
I'm more worried about why they're bringing a knife on their date.


Darren Harrison:
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
{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 14/07/2018

Hello, we've had a reasonable week but another storm is coming! 


Last weekend Damian McKenzie was key to helping the Chiefs to a tense 24-19 win over the Brumbies in Hamilton. The Hurricanes retained their spot with a 42-24 win over the Blues with Laumape bagging four tries. The Blues hung in there for most of the game but couldn't quite help the Chiefs up a spot by tipping the Canes over. This weekend the Queensland Reds have finished their most successful season after a 48-27 win over the Sunwolves - coach Brad Thorn must be happy. In Hamilton, the Chiefs left a number of top players out, and a few more were injured but they still managed to beat the Hurricanes 28-24 - even with a 63-minute red card. The game will be replayed next weekend for the quarter-finals but will be tougher as it's in Wellington.

The top eight are looking like: Crusaders, Waratahs, Lions, Hurricanes, Chiefs, Highlanders, Jaguares, and either the Sharks or Rebels. But that is due to the conference system. With points, four NZ teams may actually be ahead of all other teams.
Former Auckland and North Harbour coach Wayne Pivac will replace Warren Gatland as head coach of Wales after Gatland finishes up his term.

New Zealand riders have been making history in the Tour de France this week with Dion Smith becoming the first Kiwi to wear the polka dot King of the Mountain jersey. The very next day Patrick Bevin helped his team (BMC Racing) to the win for the "team time trial", so was on the podium as well.

Ryan Fox finished runner-up at the Irish Open after losing a play-off. He still picks up $1.5m for his efforts.

Scott Dixon didn't do too well in Iowa finishing 12th but retained the series lead.

New Zealand has another shot put champion with Maddison Wesche winning the Women's Under 20 World Champs in Finland.

The White Ferns (NZ women's cricket team) lost the first two ODI's against England but won the last by four-wickets.

NZ News

So last weekend it appeared the nurses liked the latest DHB offer and were prepared to accept, but against the advice of their union, they rejected the offer and this week they went on strike while Prime Minister Winston Peters said: "this is the best we can do".
And what do you think the Health Minister was doing in the lead-up? Having late night meetings trying to avoid the strike action perhaps? No, he took his family on an overseas holiday.
When Labour was campaigning before the last election, they said they would be transparent, and there was a group of people who hated John Key, believing everything he did was secretive and terrible. But every week we seem to hear stories about how Labour is pretty much doing the same sorts of things or worse. This week it was a secretive meeting with Google that despite official ideals, no meeting notes were taken. The National MP said he had a few such meetings but only with other countries & never with corporates.

The Opportunities Party started by Gareth Morgan has decided that it won't contest the next election. The party was formed in 2016 and got 2.4% of the vote. Always good for a quote, Morgan said: "When 20 per cent of the vote moves in 48 hours simply on the back of a change of leader, with no improvement at all in policy being offered, what makes the New Zealand voter tick is clear."

The Numbers Game

2: whales found washed up on a Northland shore are so rare they've only been seen at sea 30 times before
90: % of NZers filled in the census form, down from 94.5% in 2013
4,000: MBIE and Inland Revenue staff went on strike for two hours this week - they must think they deserve more than 34% more they get than public staff in similar roles
158m: $ infrastructure loan for Tauranga from the government - that's a 10-year interest-free loan
2.3b: $ announced by Prime Minister Winston Peters to replace the ageing Air Force fleet

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5109 (-0.0038)
EUR 0.5785 (-0.0031)
USD 0.6762 (-0.0078)
AUD 0.9105 (-0.0096)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Brian Brake
design of the image

Joke of the Weekender

I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather did, not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.


Darren Harrison:
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
{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 07/07/2018

Welcome along, it has been another cold week. 


Last weekend in Super Rugby, Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd was rather annoyed as his team lost 24-12 to the Brumbies, while the Chiefs thumped the Highlanders in the first half in Suva and held on to win 22-45, even though it wasn't a bonus point. With that, they jump the Highlanders on the table. This weekend the Highlanders were on the wrong side of the same scoreline after they were beaten 45-22 by the Crusaders who look to have secured home games for the rest of their season. The Chiefs need to beat the Brumbies to overtake the Hurricanes for second place in the NZ conference and are leading 17-0 at halftime. In the second half, they lost a man to the bin and the Brumbies scored twice to get close but the Chiefs held on for a 24-19 win. They are level with the Hurricanes but the Canes are about to play the Blues.
Table: Crusaders 58, Hurricanes*/Chiefs 45, Lions 41, Highlanders 40, Waratahs* 39, Jaquares* 38, Rebels 35, Sharks* 32, Brumbies 30, Bulls*/Stormers 25, Reds 23, Blues* 22, Sunwolves* 14. 15 games, * = 14 games. Four of NZ's five teams in the top five.

The Tall Blacks beat China 67-57 in their World Cup qualifying match.

The White Ferns were beaten in the tri-series Twenty20 final by England.

The Warriors have been thrashed 36-4 by Penrith missing a chance to get back into the top four.

Scott Donaldson has become the first person to kayak solo across the Tasman, arriving in New Plymouth this week after 62 days at sea. His last attempt was abandoned only 80 km offshore. It may take up to a year for him to physically recover from the mission.

Tom Walsh has won the Lausanne Diamond League shotput event.

NZ News

The primary teachers and principals have decided to strike next month. Senior doctors employed by ACC are to strike over contract negotiations.

The latest advice given to the Government is that the prison population will rise by 4,100 over the next 10-years. They found out just after announcing that they were scaling back the previous government's plans to expand Waikeria.
The government announced the salary cap for those that can apply for Kiwi Build houses - and it's a massive $180,000. As another commentator noted - this is looking more & more like middle-class welfare.

Auckland is looking at adding a "toilet tax" to their petrol tax, to help pay for a $1b sewer tunnel.

National leader Simon Bridges has claimed that there was a conflict of interest with the appointment of Wally Haumaha as the countries top Policeman. He had previous ties to New Zealand First and was almost a New Zealand First candidate. 

The Numbers Game

0: degC for Auckland - a rare frosty night for them
2.30: $/L for petrol in Auckland after the governments 11.5c fuel levy was introduced - one of the taxes the government said they won't introduce in their first term
10: years since the Mangatepopo Canyoning tragedy which killed six students and a teacher
99.1: kg southern bluefin tuna for a record-breaking tuna at Waihau Bay for Helen Horrocks
122.9: hours of sunlight in Hokitika for June, well above the average of 98.7, Christchurch had 80.4, down on their average of 117.1
2.1b: $ of NZ assets have been sold to foreign investors in the first five months of the year

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5147 (+0.0021)
EUR 0.5817 (+0.0026)
USD 0.6840 (+0.0070)
AUD 0.9201 (+0.0061)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Godfrey Bowen
design of the wool clip

Joke of the Weekender

It's hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.


Darren Harrison:
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
{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 30/06/2018

Welcome to winter, roads have been closed all over the place with snow, and a big rockfall in the Waioeka Gorge. 


The international rugby window rolled on with the All Blacks not entirely convincing in the second test winning 26-13 defined by an early red card for Frenchman Benjamin Fall. Adding to the crazy situation, the red card was deemed wrong by Rugby Officials and cancelled after the game. In the third test, Chiefs player Damien McKenzie displayed an attacking masterclass to lead the All Blacks to a 49-14 win.
Former All Black Julian Savea has confirmed that he will move to France after the Super Rugby season to play for Toulon. And Jerome Kaino played his last game at Eden Park for the Blues the other night. He should become the second most capped Blues player before the end of the season.
In other games, South Africa secured a series win over England with a 23-12 win in the second game but then dropped the last game. The USA beat Scotland for their first win over a Tier One team.
Super Rugby is just kicking back into life with the Blues thrashing the Reds 39-16 at Eden Park for Jerome's last home game.

Lydia Ko finished third in the LPGA in Michigan.

Jack Bauer and Dion Smith have been confirmed for the Tour de France.

A young Kiwis team let a 0-12 lead slip away as England came back to beat them 36-18 in a one-off Rugby league test in Denver.
The Warriors had a last-gasp loss to the Cronulla Sharks last night, losing 18-15.

Three gold medals for rowers in Austria and two for sailors in Germany. Blair Tuke finished a close second in the Volvo Ocean Race.

Scot McLaughlin had his sixth win in the Aussie V8's in the Darwin round. Scot Dixon finished third in the Indycar race in Wisconsin to extend his series lead. 

NZ News

With Jacinda Ardern now on maternity leave, Winston Peters is acting Prime Minister and someone launched a tool recording how much Labour buying New Zealand First is actually costing. Apparently, it is $5.1b already ($2,960 per NZer) and that is expected to grow while he is in charge.
The baby news about the Prime Minister was crazy - at one point Stuff had five articles about the new baby leading its news list. So it was a baby girl and was named "Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford".

The road toll shows no sign of slowing down (despite my award-winning day job focusing on that mostly) with a two-car crash which killed seven of eight people in Waverly. The four elderly people died instantly in one car, and in the other, the stepfather, and eight-month-old died immediately with the eight-year-old dying a day later and the mother still in critical condition.

Statistics NZ gave some details this week on NZ's level of debt. The figure of $2.7b is the one that scaremongers are happy to talk about, but most of that is penalties which never get paid, leaving around $700m in real payments, which is dropping for the first time in 20 years.

Former Labour MP Koro Wetere died this week aged 83. He was Minister of Maori Affairs from 1984 to 1990.

So I probably was reading something and maybe it wasn't an original idea, but I figured out why Labour gets in and suddenly all over the place from bus drivers to teachers, nurses to public servants, everyone is talking about striking for more pay. It's quite simple but basically, the government promised all their contributing unions the earth. I guess they never expected to get elected but now they find themselves having to spend huge huge sums of money and still all their "supporters" are baying for blood - or at least more money. I think the nurses have backed down after a higher pay offer from the DHB's, but the teachers had a stop-work meeting on Monday, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Following on with the government's spending, the Health Minister was grilled in Parliament this week over where the extra $8b was. Again Labour campaigned on spending $8b more than National would, but the Minister announced a four-year budget with no sign of the new spending.

The government clearly campaigned on banning house sales to overseas investors but this week they announced the full deal and it was well watered down with new exemptions.

The government has scrapped health targets because they were creating "perverse outcomes" for patients. They might have toned down the rhetoric a little if they had remembered that the targets were introduced by the Labour-led government in 2007. National warned that losing the targets will lose the accountability meaning more illnesses and fatalities.

The Speaker of the House has reprimanded Housing Minister Phil Twyford for cheeky answers to National's Judith Collins. Trevor Mallard said they showed "contempt for the accountability" and he gave National 20 more questions. So perhaps he is trying to be a bit fairer. 

The Numbers Game

-6: degC in the South Island the day after the shortest day as frosts grip the country
4.8: Richter scale earthquake hit central North Island. I don't typically report anything below 5, but nothing has come up for a long while
4.9: Richter scale earthquake in Hawkes Bay
37: % of Auckland school children are overweight - and on average almost 2kg heavier than seven years ago
70: Auckland bus drivers for Ritchies in Auckland were to strike
99: % rise in road safety spending
111: year old Madeline Anderson - NZs older person died this week
131: NZers die from Motor Neuron Disease each year - 53 more than the international average
26,000: fewer people were eligible for the government's much-touted fees-free policy for University study
60,000: $ per month spent by NZTA removing tagging on Auckland motorways
200m-600m: $ from the sale of parks by Auckland City Council in what surely is a short-sighted view 

Finance NZ Dollar

Since 16/06/2018 (14 days ago).
GBP 0.5126 (-0.0104)
EUR 0.5791 (-0.0197)
USD 0.6770 (-0.0179)
AUD 0.9140 (-0.0196)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Peter Blake
design of circumnavigation

Joke of the Weekender

(Quoted from adhdheather)

To remember how many feet there are in a mile, you just have to use 5 tomatoes.
Five to-mate-oes sounds like five, two, eight, 0 and there are 5280 feet in a mile.
Reply by "official-deutschland"
To remember how many metres there are in a kilometre you just remember "1000" because the system of measurement in the rest of the world wasn't invented by a drunk mathematician rolling dice.


Darren Harrison:
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
{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}


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