November 2014

The Weekender 30/11/2014

Hello, I hope you've had a great week.
Lets finish up the rugby for the season. Last weekend Argentina upset
France winning 13-18 and England saw off Samoa 28-9. After the All Black
game Brodie Retallick (who I saw at the supermarket a few weeks ago), was
named IRB World Player of the Year. He is only the fourth kiwi to win the
award, but then Richie has won it three times and Dan twice. The All Blacks
were named team of the year for the eighth time and Steven Hansen was named
coach of the year for the third time in a row.
The All Blacks didn't play this weekend and the other southern hemisphere
countries probably wished they hadn't as well. Wales beat South Africa 12-6
for the first time in 15 years and England beat Australia 26-17 to end a
miserable Australian tour - equalling their worst tour ever with three
Finally, Aaron Mauger is leaving his position as assistant coach at the
Crusaders to take up a head coaching position at the Leicester Tigers in
the UK.

Lydia Ko did well this week with a playoff win in Naples earning her
US$500,000, and also winning the season-long points race to the CME Globe
earning her another US$1m to double her career earnings. After that she
headed back home to NZ and was seen taking workshops for the next round of
up & coming young golfers.

In rowing Eric Murray has been ranked the World number 1, with his rowing
partner Hamish Bond ranked number 2.

The NZ Breakers beat the Kings 107-96 to jump to the top of the table with
their fifth straight win.

The Black Sticks beat Japan 2-1 to kick off their eight nation tournament
in Argentina.

The story of the week has been cricket. The Black Caps started their third
test against Pakistan, with Pakistan winning the crucial coin toss and
batting first. At the end of the first day Pakistan were well in control at
281/3. Then tragedy struck with Australian Phil Hughes dying in a freak
accident after being hit by a bouncer in an Australian state game. It has
shocked cricketers everywhere with the NZers well affected with a couple
including captain Brendon McCullum having batted with Hughes. The test was
postponed a day, and although the Kiwis wanted to quit the game & head
home, they were talked into staying. After being 281/3, Pakistan were
bowled out for 351, with McCullum and Kane Williamson at their "couldn't
care less" best with McCullum smashing NZ's fastest test century & going on
to 202. Williamson wasn't quite as quick but reached 192, with NZ heading
to 637/8 after the third day. The mood of the match was amazing. Everyone
had their minds on other things and when NZ was doing well taking wickets
there was virtually no celebration, just finality. Taylor, Anderson &
Southee all scored exactly 50, and Dan Vettori played for the first time in
a couple of years to register his 112th cap for NZ to break the NZ record.
McCullum & Williamson also broke the 22 year old 2nd wicket partnership
record 297 in 52.5 overs breaking a John Wright & Andrew Jones record of
241 in 107 overs. McCullum also now has the most double centuries by an
NZer and is the third person being Sir Donald Bradman and Michael Clark to
score a triple century and two double centuries in a calendar year.
*NZ News*
The police announced this week that they are changing the way they record
their statistics in a bid to "count the victims behind the crime". It
sounds admirable to me. Of course the news found someone to complain about

John Banks has had his conviction quashed by the court of appeal. At the
time I thought it was strange that the judge "decided" that John Banks'
wife was an unreliable witness and yet Kim Dotcom and his estranged wife
were completely reliable witnesses. Amanda Banks was stung by the judges
opinion but she just became focused and eventually tracked down the
American couple who were also at the lunch and they agreed to give their
version of the events - which resulted in John Banks being cleared.

The dirty politics inquiry has concluded that Judith Collins didn't act
inappropriately. Phil Goff was given an apology by the boss of the SIS, and
that seems to be about all most people report, but they were apologising
mostly because the politicians don't want to be seen as being in the wrong,
and really their problem was some slight variations on the wording. The
reality is that Phil Goff stuffed up saying he hadn't seen the report, he
never took responsibility for getting that wrong, and as if he was trying
to define irony for a dictionary, he released parts of the secret report a
day before the official release.
*The Numbers Game*
0: speed tolerance announced by police - and quickly back-tracked the next
55: tonne crane fell onto a house in Auckland crushing it in two - the
young occupant was uninjured
120: people needed ACC payouts with Kaka's ended badly (badly enough for
hospitalisation I guess)
236: people were injured in Jandal-related incidents (requiring ACC payouts)
6.2m: $ in ACC payouts for around 6000 people who injured themselves going
to or from the toilet
*Finance NZ Dollar*
GBP 0.5025 (-0.0006)
EUR 0.6314 (-0.0005)
USD 0.7859 (-0.0027)
AUD 0.9241 (+0.0129)
*The Weekender NZer of the week*
Pippa Doyle
The World War Two heroine was this week awarded France's highest honour -
the Legion of Honour. She was a secret agent roaming the French countryside
to collection information before D-Day. OK so she's not really a New
Zealander but she has lived here for a few decades.
*Joke of the Weekender*
When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they
ever press charges.
*Weekender Photos*
Have a look at photos

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 23/11/2014

Hello, & welcome along. Things are getting warmer & even with patches of
rain it feels like summer.
Following up international rugby from last weekend, Tonga beat the USA
40-12 with a burst of three tries in six minutes, France made up for their
last tour of Australia (where they went close but lost 3-0) when they beat
Australia 29-26 and finally Ireland thrashed Georgia 49-7. Those results
saw Australia drop a spot in the IRB rankings to fourth with Ireland
jumping them to third.
This weekend Scotland beat Tonga 37-12, South Africa beat Italy 22-6 and
Ireland beat the Wallabies 26-23! The All Blacks have just finished their
tour with a flattering 16-34 win over Wales.

The NZ Breakers had their fourth straight win beating Melbourne 80-72 and
jumped a spot to second on the table.

I think this is sport. I don't know the winner of the Kerikeri half
marathon this week. But I do know who came 10th. It was Callum
Robertson-Barnes - who ran the race in Crocs. He had lost his running shoes
a couple of days before the race & thought, why not? I understand. It
wasn't a half-marathon for me, but back in High School I came second in a
school cross country running in Nomads.

The Black Caps set up an exciting finish to the second test against
Pakistan this week. NZ batted first & reached 403 with another Tom Latham
century. Pakistan were on the ropes (?) at 9-312 but NZ let a record final
wicket stand go & they reached 393. Then it was Ross Taylor's turn for a
century as NZ reached 250/9 declared, leaving Pakistan 261 for victory on
the final day although at 4-75 it looked like NZ might take it, but
Pakistan batted out for a draw.

Valerie Adams won the women's athlete of the year from the IAAF in Monaco
yesterday to be the first kiwi to win the award.

Shane Cameron has retired - just as he promised, after a loss to Kali
Meehan, last night in Auckland. Meehan was raised in West Auckland but is
based in Australia. After a great career, Shane Cameron had lost his last
three fights.
*NZ News*
The G20 was in Australia this week and although NZ isn't part of the 20, we
were invited by Australia to join in. In the lead up to that, Prime
Minister John Key announced a free trade agreement with Korea which had
some good gains for Kiwifruit but nothing for milk powder.

The new leader of the Labour party was announced this week and long
predicted by me, it was Andrew Little. The former union leader (EPMU), had
the union support but wasn't the first pick of the party nor the Labour
caucus, so it will be interesting to see if he had do better than his
predecessors. I've heard that 90% of people vote the same as their parents
(that was pre-MMP!) but Little's parents were stalwart National supporters
who moved from England just before he was born and he obviously was in the

Popular kiwi trio Sol3 Mio are back in NZ after performing at the Royal
Albert Hall in London for the Queen as part of the Festival of Remembrance.
*The Numbers Game*
100: caps for Richie McCaw as captain of the All Blacks - a world record
150: year anniversary for Hamilton yesterday
6.6m: $ for speed camera tickets in the last year - 8 of the top ten sites
are in Auckland, and $1.48m from one spot near Te Atatu alone!
*Finance NZ Dollar*
GBP 0.5031 (+0.0007)
EUR 0.6319 (+0.0004)
USD 0.7886 (+0.0013)
AUD 0.9112 (+0.0069)
*The Weekender NZer of the week*
Colin Murdoch
design of pain relief
*Joke of the Weekender*
If you define cowardice as running away at the first sign of danger,
screaming and tripping and begging for mercy, then yes, Mr. Brave man, I
guess I'm a coward.
*Weekender Photos*
Have a look at photos

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 16/11/2014

Welcome along, there has been a cold snap but right now it's lovely & sunny
The Rugby League Four Nations championship continued last weekend with
Australia beating Samoa 44-18 to make the final against the Kiwis. Then
last night the Kiwis beat Australia 22-18 for their first back to back win
over the Kangaroos. Although the score looked close, it shouldn't have
been, with the Kiwis missing a number of opportunities. The stand out
player was Shaun Johnson.

There are international rugby games all over the place at the moment. Last
weekend Scotland beat the Pumas 41-31, and this weekend Argentina beat
Italy 20-18, Samoa beat Canada 23-13, the Springboks beat England 31-28,
and Wales beat Fiji 17-13.
The All Blacks had a 24-16 win over Scotland this morning, the closest
score ever which must be a consolation for the kiwi coached team. The
mostly second string All Blacks didn't have a good game and will be
relieved with a win.
Apparently, to match the All Black's new (blacker than ever) playing strip,
coming soon will be black boots, with colourful boot option being taken

The Breakers just edged the Townsville Crocs 80-87 last weekend and then
had an ugly win against the Hawks 71-55 - but they are winning at the

The netball Fast Five was on last weekend and it was to be Irene van Dyk's
big good bye (from International netball). Unfortunately the week before
she had an injury so couldn't play, but that didn't stop everyone giving
her a rousing send-off. The Ferns won the competition beating Australia
35-31, while England beat Jamaica 31-30 for third and South Africa beat
Malawi for fifth.

Lydia Ko is still only 17 and has just picked up the LPGA Tour rookie of
the year award and is the youngest to do so.

The Black Caps had a forgettable test against Pakistan, losing by 248 runs
after being comprehensively outplayed. But we shouldn't pretend that we are
any good at test matches.

New All Whites captain Chris Wood got a late equaliser to allow NZ to draw
1-1 with China.
*NZ News*
Last week Phillip John Smith escaped the country while on leave from
prison, fleeing to Chili and then on to Brazil. He wasn't on the run for
very long before Brazilian authorities arrested him and put him into the
notorious Ary Franco Prison (which the UN tried to shut down). Apparently
after a few days there, he is willing to return to New Zealand just to
escape the hard conditions. The very weird thing about this whole escape
story is that he was obviously at the end of his prison time and was in the
process of being reintegrated with society. Not any more!

Air New Zealand has announced a number of cuts in service - specifically to
Kaitaia, Whakatane and Westport, but will invest $100m in planes for more
popular routes and have said they will cut the cost of travel by 15%.
*The Numbers Game*
60: degC at a depth of 490m found by scientists drilling into South
Island's high-risk Apline fault
10m: $ worth of properties, cash & cars were seized in a drug bust
*Finance NZ Dollar*
GBP 0.5024 (+0.0160)
EUR 0.6315 (+0.0102)
USD 0.7873 (+0.0170)
AUD 0.9043 (+0.0073)
*The Weekender NZer of the week*
Burt Munro
design of the fastest Indian
*Joke of the Weekender*
I'd rather be rich than stupid.
*Weekender Photos*
Have a look at photos

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 08/11/2014

Welcome along. Last weekend we welcomed Emma Elizabeth into the family!
The Wellington Phoenix have had a good couple of weeks, two weeks ago they
beat the Newcastle Jets 4-1 and yesterday they beat the Western Sydney
Wanderers - who were last weekend crowned the Asian kings in Saudi Arabia.

The NZ Breakers have had a few wins, just hanging on 77-79 against the
Wollongong Hawks two weeks ago, then beating the Townsville Crocs 84-70 and
last night beating the league leaders Cairns Taipans 71-79.

The Silver Ferns haven't had a happy time and now have had a 38-42 loss to
England - which doesn't happen very often, in fact it was only England's
fourth win in 83 games. The Ferns did come back in the second game to avoid
their first series loss in 51 years, winning the game 52-38 & series.
The Fast Five has started and the hosts & defending champions NZ beat
Malawi 49-26, and then to finish the day also beat Australia 30-21.

The Football Ferns booked a spot in next year's Women's World Cup in Canada
with a 10-0 win over the Cook Islands.

In the Four Nations rugby league competition, last weekend the Kiwis had a
narrow 14-12 escape against Samoa with a late try to keep their hopes of a
final alive. In the other game England narrowly missed knocking Australia
out on the competition, eventually losing 16-12.
Last night in Dunedin Kiwi winger Jason Nightingale scored twice to give
the Kiwis a 16-14 win and a spot in the final. The Kiwis were the only team
to remain unbeaten in pool play.

International rugby is happening and last weekend the Maori All Blacks beat
Japan 61-21, while the All Blacks took on USA in a unique promotional game
in America. The ABs won 6-74, but had a couple of casualties with Cory Jane
and new cap Nathan Harris both heading straight home.
This weekend the Maori All Blacks didn't have the same easy game, needing a
last second try to beat Japan 18-20. Australia just managed to beat Wales
33-28, Italy beat Samoa 24-13, and France beat Fiji 40-15 but the upset of
the weekend was Ireland beating South Africa 29-15.
The All Blacks started with probably their toughest game of the home
nations taking on England at Twickenham and eventually won 24-21. The All
Blacks started slow and at half time were 14-11 down, but dominated the
second half even with some odd refereeing by the Welsh ref. The ABs had a
try disallowed and a yellow (against the TMO's recommendation), while the
English were given a penalty try, and avoided a yellow card, but in the end
the 14 All Blacks beat the 16 British, with a closer scoreline than was
*NZ News*
There have been a few whale strandings this week, with 21 surviving whales
refloated in Whakatane.

In Auckland, Len Brown has broken his election rates promise by voting for
a proposal to increase rates by 3.5% each year for the next 10 years. He
had promised to hold rates at 2.5%.

After four years and $5.2m the Pike River Mine re-entry plan has finally
been abandoned by Solid Energy, saying it is just too dangerous to go back
in. Solid Energy are handing over their licence to mine there and the mine
will become a permanent memorial to the 29 victims.
*The Numbers Game*
1: # place to raise a family is NZ according to an HSBC Expat Explorer
1: # brand in NZ is Whittakers chocolate, followed by Tip Top and Pineapple
Lumps in second and the All Blacks back in fifth
3: rd most prosperous country for NZ according to the 2014 Legatum
Prosperity Index, following Norway and Switzerland
3: Labour weekend road toll
3-5: cm of snow was expected on the Desert Rd this week as an icy blast hit
the country, we had some quite serious hail
5.3: richter scale earthquake on the East Coast
14: $ cheaper to shop at Pak'n Save in the annual Consumer survey
60: call outs for the Fire Service on this years Guy Fawkes night
15,000: kiwis coming home from Australia and many planning to jump the
ditch are putting their plans on hold, the net loss is the lowest in the
last 20 years
900,000: $ for three portraits by NZ artist Charles Frederick Goldie
*Finance NZ Dollar*
GBP 0.4864 (-0.0022)
EUR 0.6213 (+0.0018)
USD 0.7703 (-0.0139)
AUD 0.8970 (+0.0034)
*The Weekender NZer of the week*
Ivan Mauger
Design of speedway
*Joke of the Weekender*
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.
*Weekender Photos*
Here are the first photos of Emma

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}