The Weekender 08/08/2020

Hi, how are you? We are powering through August!


Sport

The Chiefs lost their last home game against the Crusaders last weekend, and although it has been a terrible season for the Chiefs, we have enjoyed having season passes. The Crusaders jumped out to a 12-0 lead but the Chiefs bounced back and it was quite a close game for the middle periods. A couple of key moments went against the Chiefs. Firstly a yellow card for Shaun Stevenson for a deliberate knockdown. Sure that is in the rules and was the right call, but I've seen a number of knockdowns against us during the season and I think this was the first yellow card for this offence all season! Or what about the blatant forward pass before a Crusaders try. Sure the Chiefs haven't been good enough to win it all this year, but they certainly haven't been bad enough to lose all their games - without a concerted reffing effort against them. Aaron Cruden played his 100th game for the Chiefs last weekend and this weekend will be his last game in NZ before heading to Japan.
The Blues kept their title race alive beating the Highlanders 21-32 with two tries for Finlay Christie.

Big news from the NZ Warriors as they have signed up Nathan Brown as coach with Phil Gould as a consultant. Brown is the former Newcastle Knights coach, and Gould is a league icon and TV personality from The Footy Show. The team put their interesting week behind them to beat the Manly Sea Eagles 22-26 for their second win in a row.

The Waikato/BOP Magic had their first win of the ANZ Premiership beating Southern Steel 37-36 in Hamilton this week, while the Northern Mystics beat the Central Pulse 44-42, and the Stars beat the Steel 50-43.
Ryan Fox has finished tied for 15th in the latest round of the European PGA event in Birmingham - the English Open.
Lydia Ko has grabbed a share of the lead in Ohio as she does much better with her new coach. The former World No 1 has slid down to 55th place in Women's Golf. She carried her great form into the second round to be solo leader at 13-under with nine birdies.


NZ News

I gather NZ's unemployment rates were publicised around the place this week, presumably by those still suffering from Jacindamania. The Prime Minister, Finance and Employment ministers proudly announced that we had an unemployment figure of 4%, comparing it to the Treasury Budget of 8.3%. But just like every politician before them, they were gaming the system. They ignored that half a million people were collecting the Covid-19 wage subsidy which took them off the list or at least delayed things until after the election. A redundant pilot wrote to a journalist explaining how his redundancy payout took him out of the system, he waited four months before hearing from Jobseeker benefit support, and his wife got a part-time job meaning he got nothing. The pilot thinks the system penalises those who try and rewards those who don't.
The Auditor-General released a damning report on the Provincial Growth Fund. It said:
    It was not always clear from the documentation why certain projects were considered for funding from this part of the Fund. . . it was difficult to find evidence of how projects had fully met the normal criteria for the Fund.
    In my view, in the interests of the transparency of the overall process, it is important for the public and Parliament to have better visibility of how all the parts of the Fund operate

The region to receive the most funding is Northland - where Shane Jones is trying to get elected - that seems like a $3,671/per person bribe from NZ First.

There was an interesting article summing up what this government has done, and what they haven't.
Done: They have introduced a number of welfare boosts. I would have loved to see what Bill English would have done (I suspect similar or more), but in the scheme of National gets in and fixes the economy, Labour gets in and fixes social services, this is good to see. Extended paid parental leave, a boost for Working for Families and core benefits. Huge spending in health - interesting because Labour were saying partway through that the Hospitals were wasting money - I guess they now have more to waste, and hopefully get some things right. A boost for Education infrastructure. Tenancy laws overhauled this week following on from the Healthy Homes initiative. Lots of state houses have been built - but the waitlist has doubled.
This week they regulated the vaping industry, banning advertising etc, but it took 620 days from when they promised it!

Haven't done: Labour's big plans for this term just haven't happened. KiwiBuild was a disaster, instead of thousands of houses they got hundreds and they had to buy lots of them back! Labour campaigned on Capital Gains Tax, but then backed straight down to Winston Peters and Ardern promised again this week it won't come up again while she is in power. Transport has been a disaster. They expectedly squashed all the big-ticket roads that National was supporting (Auckland to Hamilton is so much quicker now, even without the Hamilton bypass complete!). Labour put money into making lots of backcountry roads better, but it's almost impossible to know if anything has helped yet (and for my day job I work with this data!). Labour pushed Auckland light rail which after three years doesn't have any work started, or even a route selected. The bodies haven't been recovered from Pike River - and now they say they didn't actually mean they were going to.

National leader Judith Collins accused the government of "bashing landlords" as the government has introduced a number of changes to make it harder for landlords to get rid of tenants, and they now have to give a reason. The changes will push up rents. Collins has also called out PM Ardern claiming Labour won't be campaigning on anything except their reputation. Collins pointed out that "rents have gone up, not down. Homelessness has gone up, not down ... Child poverty has gone up ... on seven out of nine indicators. We have a current Prime Minister who is incapable of delivering on anything except slogans."

We had some interesting happenings yesterday with Chartwell shopping centre closed for the bomb squad in the morning. Some people were seen running away early in the morning after trying to blow up an ATM in a robbery attempt, and a few more homemade explosives were found around.


The Numbers Game

0: new Covid-19 cases for three days in a row, most days are 0-2, there are 23 active cases, all in isolation hotels* from people coming into the country
10: % expected unemployment spike in the coming months
1,125: $/second of borrow by the government, it will grow until 2024 when it reaches $200b
8,000: parking tickets issued by Auckland's new high-tech parking camera cars which scan number plates and analyse if the person lives in the area
1,000,000: houses and businesses have signed up to Ultra Fast Broadband - a fantastic improvement for NZ providing great internet all over - even places like Pirongia
19.2m: $ to Hawke's Bay Regional Council for flood protection work with 63 jobs to be created
4b: $ road spending promised by National, including doubling Mt Victoria and Terrace Tunnels in Wellington
* We've just found out today that the government is letting some people spend isolation at home - they kept that quiet!


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5063 (-0.0003)
EUR 0.5602 (-0.0025)
USD 0.6604 (-0.0025)
AUD 0.9238 (-0.0042)


The Weekender NZer of the week

George Nepia
design of the fullback
George Nepia (25 April 1905 – 27 August 1986) was a New Zealand Māori rugby union and rugby league player. He is remembered as an exceptional full-back and one of the most famous Māori rugby players. He was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990. In 2004 he was selected as number 65 by the panel of the New Zealand's Top 100 History Makers television show. Nepia was featured in a set of postage stamps from the New Zealand post office in 1990. Historian Philippa Mein Smith described him as "New Zealand rugby's first superstar".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Nepia


Joke of the Weekender

I called the doctor "My wife is going into labour! What should I do?"
"Is this her first child?" he asked.
"No, this is her husband."

 

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 01/08/2020

Wow, I'm not sure I thought August would ever arrive, and I know this weird year continues more for many of you than it does for us.


Sport

Last weekend the Hurricanes ended a four-year home-unbeaten streak for the Crusaders when they visited and came away with a 32-34 win. The Canes were counting the cost though, with probably season-ending injuries to Ngani Laumape and Fraser Armstrong. It sounds like Julia Savea might be back though, so not a bad replacement.
I'm not sure I want to talk about the Chief's visit to Auckland last weekend. We got tickets so BJ & I went up for the game. It was great to see our first Eden Park game and we weren't expecting anything, but the Chief's got oh-so-close despite dirty play by the Blues, and odd calls by the ref - like not bothering to check with the TMO when the Cheif's scored what should have been their matching winning try. Or how about the cheap and late shot by Caleb Clarke (Eroni's son) which put Solomon Alaimalo out for the rest of the season - that got a "no problem" call from the ref.
Former All Black Andy Haden has died aged 69. He played 41 tests between 1972 and 1985.
Last years Super Rugby runners up, the Argentinian Jaguares have had to drop all of their top players because they can no longer afford their salaries due to the 'current climate'.

Last weekend the Wellington Phoenix drew with Adelaide United 1-1 but rose to second on the table. This weekend their hopes took a hit being beaten 1-0 by Western Sydney.
The Central Pulse recorded their 10th straight win in the ANZ Netball Premiership with a 46-36 win over the Northern Stars. The Northern Mystics got back to second place with a 45-39 win over the Waikato/BOP Magic.
The first of the America's Cup challengers to get on the water was American Magic as they finally had their first day of testing in Auckland this week.
 

This weekend the Warriors snapped a three-game losing streak to beat the Wests Tigers 20-26 after the Tigers got a quick start and led 14-8 at half time.
Frank Endacott has been made a life member of New Zealand Rugby League, after 65 years of service to the game.


NZ News

So after NZ's short sharp Level 4, life started returning to normal, and once sport came back things I guess have felt pretty normal again (except for international travel). But in many ways, that may be because I was able to keep my job and continue working. The number of job losses and the massive amount of money the government is throwing at this will be an issue for decades to come. It would be interesting to see what would happen if they threw that amount of money addressing all the other preventable diseases and deaths!
Three months after the Prime Minister promised they would take a pay cut during Level-4, it has finally happened. It was supposed to be a six-month pay cut, but I would assume there will be "legal reasons" why it won't go past the election. The small, late pay cut was already being complained about though, with Labour MP Greg O'Connor complaining that it was the same week his car broke down. The Education sector says that the $51.6m fund to the sector will miss the mark and won't be of much help.
The government also seems to have made a mess of the proposed charge for people arriving in New Zealand for quarantine fees. The new law will apparently recoup less than 2% of the costs.

The government has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, saying the recent law changes were not consistent with "New Zealand's principles".
A government-ordered review into the Resource Management Act has called for it to be scrapped and replaced. So after almost three years of governing, they've just started to get some recommendations from some of their working groups. No actual action - that will always be promised in the future.

This week saw our first Covid-19 export. A New Zealander heading to South Korea was detected with Covid-19 - although they are pretty sure he picked it up in a long stopover in Singapore. People have been taking no chances here though after his whereabouts were tracked and a supermarket down south and Sylvia Park were both closed for a "deep clean".
In the last day there has also been news of two more people leaving NZ for Sydney who later tested positive to Covid-19. Details are a little light.

The Defence Force has apologised for providing inaccurate information to the minister and public relating to Operation Burnham in Afghanistan.


The Numbers Game

53: % for Labour in the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton survey, National dropped back 6 to 32%, Greens on 5%, ACT up 1.7 to 4.8%, NZ First 2%, New Conservatives 1.2% and Maori 1%
18: % jump for Judith Collins in the preferred Prime Minister poll, now on 20%, but well behind Jacinda Ardern on 54%
100: Super Rugby games for Waikato Chief Aaron Cruden this afternoon for our last home game (against the Crusaders)
12,000: pig carcases were purchased by the government during lockdown - to mitigate significant animal welfare concerns - the food went to food banks
2.2m: cigarettes in the largest-ever tobacco seizure for customs, a man was arrested for attempting to evade paying $2.72m in duty and GST
2.4m: $ heading to Bay of Plenty tourism to support the industry
2.53m: $ grant for the RSA as an economic lifeline
262m: $ for further upgrades for Auckland City Hospital
500m: $ upgrading state homes


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5066 (-0.0130)
EUR 0.5628 (-0.0075)
USD 0.6629 (-0.0017)
AUD 0.9280 (-0.0075)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Joseph Nathan
Glaxo SmithKline, the largest pharmaceutical group in the world, had its origins in a place far removed from the centres of world commerce: a dairy creamery in Bunnythorpe, near Palmerston North, and a general trading company started in Wellington, New Zealand in 1873.
https://www.nzedge.com/legends/joseph-nathan/  


Joke of the Weekender

A priest, a minister and a rabbit walk into a blood bank...
The rabbit says I think I might be a type o.

 

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 25/07/2020

Hey, how are things at your place? We've had some wild weather this week, but it is looking like it might be a nice weekend.


Sport

Well, the rugby last Sunday was lovely in the sun for the first half as the Chief's got away to a 24-0 lead, but was bitterly disappointing as the Highlanders came back to win 31-33 at the 82nd minute. Earlier that weekend, Jordy Barrett kicked a winning conversion against his big brother Beauden's Blues for a Hurricane's win 29-27.
We are heading up to Auckland tomorrow to watch the Chief's take on the high-flying Blues.

The Wellington Phoenix are in the hunt for a top-two finish after they beat Perth Glory 2-1.
Kiwi Chris Wood has set a Burnley scoring record with his 13th league goal of the season - the most by a Burnley player in the Premier League. The goal helped Burnley to a 2-0 win over Norwich for their record-breaking 15th win.
The Warriors had their worst performance of the season as they were thrashed 46-10 by the Cronulla Sharks last weekend.
The women's NRLW team for the Warriors is going to be all Australians.
The netball has been going down to the wire with the Pulse coming from behind to beat the Tactix 33-32 and the Steel holding on to beat the Magic 41-40. This weekend the Pulse beat the Magic 52-29.


NZ News

There was a great headline this week. Along the lines of the Covid-19 announcements, it said "Breaking: There is one new case of a disgraced politician in New Zealand". This week it was Labour's turn with Iain Lees-Galloway "sacked". The Minister for Workplace Relations, had relations with someone in his workplace and got sacked for it. There is no comment on whether he thought it was OK because the government's last election slogan was "Let's do this". Actually, let's clarify. When I say "sacked" we all know the Prime Ministers stance on actually doing anything. He wasn't sacked, he has chosen not to stand as an MP at the next election.
The government has quietly disbanded the industry group which was created to get more people buying electric vehicles. I guess the government realised that if the government wasn't going to buy hardly any, then probably no one else would.

Winston Peter's got caught out this week - and so immediately found other things to jump up and down about, but basically, he got a couple of his friends onto a flight to Antarctica - paid for by us taxpayers of course. 
Earlier in the week, I was wondering if I needed to go and get my mental stability checked out after I agreed with Winston Peters as he openly said a Labour-Greens Government would be a nightmare for New Zealand. The coalition civilities have clearly ended as everyone postures for the upcoming election. Peters also talked this week about the inexperience of Labour & the Greens and said that the NZ First Foundation was doing nothing wrong - but now the foundation isn't operating and is not taking donations.

Election hoardings are taking a beating - maybe politicians should take note that we're generally annoyed with them, rather than complain. MP's from all over have had advertising attacked - often within a day of going up.


The Numbers Game

5: members of a family ran away from the isolation hotel in Hamilton the other day, they have been charged and also missed their Dad's funeral
8: % of Waipa's "shovel-ready" project costs are "Iwi engagement", compared to just 6% for project management costs
90: people can be traced in a day in Auckland, only half of the expected capability with the Ministry of Health's plan (for 500/day in NZ)
900: jobs are being cut at The Warehouse
75,000: people called Air NZ in a single day to claim refunds - as the Air NZ customer department melted under the load
80,000: $ was the cost to find the trampers lost in dense bush for nearly three weeks after they went tramping during lockdown
10m: $ for two shovel-ready projects in Stratford
100m: $ Southland recovery package was to be announced but was apparently knocked back by coalition partner NZ First 


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5196 (-0.0023)
EUR 0.5702 (-0.0036)
USD 0.6646 (0.0088)
AUD 0.9355 (-0.0017)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Rewi Alley
The remarkable story of a country boy from New Zealand who came to witness and influence some of the great transformations of the Twentieth Century in a vast complex country that houses a fifth of humanity – a journey that encountered oppression, civil war, Chairman Mao and the Cultural Revolution. Alley’s quixotic life was a thread woven into an unlikely and rich pattern – an allegorical bridge between West and East. All this from an intensely practical person whom biographer Geoff Chapple, in defiance of the politicisation of the Alley myth, describes as “the god of digging the long drop where it could not contaminate the well water.” A believer in Taoist simplicity and a self-proclaimed country-bumpkin, Alley humbly wrote to his family: “don’t believe printed matter about me – either good or bad. I am a very ordinary person.”
https://www.nzedge.com/legends/rewi-alley/


Joke of the Weekender

Did you hear about the claustrophobic astronaut?
He just needed a little space.

 

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 18/07/2020

Hi! We have had some good days this week, but also a huge amount of rain in some places.


Sport

NZ Rugby is looking to host the Rugby Championship against Australia, South Africa and Argentina later in the year. News has also come out recently that NZ Rugby is looking at dropping SANZAR and creating a new competition with Australia and an Auckland-based Pacific Island team. From what I've heard in the past that might actually suit South Africa who have previously talked of joining the Northern Hemisphere competitions who have a closer timezone.
Last weekend in Super Rugby Aotearoa the Hurricanes dug deep to hold out the Highlanders 17-11 while the Crusader beat the Blues 26-15 with a storming finish.

Four more NZ Warriors are returning home. David Fusitu'a, Ken Maumalo, Agnatius Paasi and King Vuniyayawa have booked flights home in nine days to reunite with their families.

Scott Dixon has continued his great form with three wins from three races in the Indy Car 2020 calendar after winning in Wisconsin last weekend. He was 15th fastest in practice and ninth in qualifying but with some changes to the car for the race managed to pull through for the win.

The Northern Stars beat the Magic 45-43 for back-to-back netball premiership wins.

Wellington Phoenix have lost their first A-League game back, but it was in dodgy circumstances. The Phoenix should have been two ahead but the ref missed an obvious hand-ball, and with VAR not being used for the rest of the season there was no appeal.


NZ News

So a week can be a very long time in politics. National leader Todd Muller stepped down citing personal health reasons. Judith Collins was quickly appointed National Party leader with Gerry Brownlee as deputy - something that probably should have happened a long while ago. A couple of MPs will now retire at the election, including Nikki Kaye who was Muller's deputy and Amy Adams. Collins has promoted former leaders Simon Bridges and Muller and has also promised a $31b transport plan, of which a major part will help to deal with Auckland's congestion.

The Serious Fraud Office has launched an investigation into Labour Party donations from 2017 but isn't giving away any details. Labour Party supporters have been seen taking down New Conservative signs and after a complaint to police, Labour have said it was a misunderstanding - a likely story!

NCEA has announced that it will allow credits for activities such as helping out at home during the Covid-19 lockdown - a move that prompted one headmaster to claim they were "succumbing to mediocrity".


The Numbers Game

-5: degC low in South Island, while the North had some areas not dropping below 14 degC
1: new Covid-19 case yesterday - a man who arrived from Pakistan, some days have had zero cases but often one or two, although 75+ days since a case was acquired locally from an unknown source
3.5: % increase in rates for Auckland - at a time when no increase is suitable
5: people died on the roads last weekend
9: years jail for a Canadian who imported 16kg of meth in electric motors
30: km/h is the new speed limit for inner-city Wellington from this weekend
50: % of the Coromandel is inaccessible after storms overnight, and now Northland is cut off
56: % of our petrol costs are tax - more in Auckland
80: mm of rain expected with a severe thunderstorm warning for Northland
500: year flood in Whangarei yesterday, we had friends that were picking up things all down the block that had floated away
5m: $ more of our money thrown at Transmission Gully as NZTA advances payment to buy negotiation time
6m: $ of taxpayer money from the Government for a Kaikohe sports park redevelopment
30m: $ for Southland and Otago flood-rescue projects
35m: $ for a 15km section of the Auckland Coastal pathway
58.4m: $ boost in funding for NZ Search and Rescue


Finance NZ Dollar

Since 10/07/2020 (8 days ago).
GBP 0.5219 (0.0012)
EUR 0.5738 (-0.0076)
USD 0.6559 (0.0004)
AUD 0.9372 (-0.0075)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Christopher Hoffman, Irene Campbell, Lizette Standish and Regan Woodmass
Four new people this week, who saved a man that blacked out while driving near Wellington.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12347604&ref=rss


Joke of the Weekender

Did you hear about the actor who fell through the floorboards?
He was just going through a stage.

 

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}

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