May 2015

The Weekender 24/05/2015

Hello, yesterday was winter, Friday and today are lovely - it must be
unsettled autumn weather around here!
The Chiefs started the weekend well by thrashing the South African
conference leaders the Bulls 34-20 for a bonus point win, and putting on
three amazing tries as well to keep the big Rotorua crowd happy. As with a
number of other teams (like the Blues), the Chiefs are struggling to find
fit players and resorted to commentator (and former All Black) Ross Filipo,
who had a good game. The Sharks were handed a 21-14 win over the Reds to
end their six-game losing streak, after Wallaby James O'Connor stuffed up a
clearing kick which went straight into the hands of a Shark's player who
took a couple of steps and fell over the try line. Hilarious. And the
Hurricanes beat the Blues 29-5, the Highlanders beat Western Force 23-3,
and the Crusaders dented their play off hopes by losing 32-22 to the
Waratahs. If they miss it will be the first time since 2001! From the game,
two of the Waratah's forwards have been cited for an illegal tip tackle on
Sam Whitelock.
Here is the table, not by points but by the points for & against!
Hurricanes 143, Brumbies 102, Crusaders 90, Highlanders 89, Chiefs 87,
Waratahs 50, Stormers 42, Bulls 29, Lions -27, Rebels -30, Blues -86,
Sharks -89, Force -106, Cheetahs -132, Reds -162
Table: Hurricanes 57, Chiefs 44, Highlanders 43, Waratahs 41,
Brumbies/Stormers 38, Lions* 36, Bulls 35, Crusaders 31, Rebels 30, Sharks*
25, Blues*/Cheetahs 20, Reds 17, Force 15 (13 games except for *=14)
If you thought I was harsh on the refs for last weekends Chiefs vs
Hurricanes match, I may not have been overboard. SANZAR game manager Lyndon
Bray took a shot at the two refs involved in a statement about poor
performances as well.
In rugby sevens, Fiji secured the Sevens World Series title by beating
South Africa 19-7 in the quarters last weekend - their first since 2006.
They were then beaten by Australia 33-7, and then Australia were thrashed
45-22 by ... the United States.

Scott Dixon has secured pole position for the Indy 500 after crashes cut
down the qualifying time. The big race is this weekend.

The Northern Mystics secured the top spot in the NZ conference of the ANZ
Netball champs with two rounds to spare, after being second placed
Waikato/BOP Magic 54-29.

The cricket is back on with the Black Caps taking on England at Lord's. NZ
is placed well after three days with Kane Williamson scoring 132 as NZ
reached 523 to lead by 134. England got 389 and are now 74/2.

Lisa Carrington has won three gold in first three events of the season when
she picked up gold in the K1 500 at the canoe sprint World Cup event in

In America's Cup news, Team New Zealand has retained another long term
sponsor with Omega signing up again, and Dean Barker has been named the
skipper and chief executive of the Japanese team.

Aaron Gate has won a stage of the Tour of Ireland this week. It was a wet
and windy fifth stage, and he was riding for the An Post Chain Reaction
*NZ News*
The budget was released this week as Bill English continues to aim for a
surplus for 'next year'. The surprising focus this time around was on Child
poverty, although there are plenty of other talking points. Bill and Prime
Minister John Key have tried to claim it's not a tax, but they are
introducing a Capital Gains Tax on property, bought by foreigners, which is
sold within two years - basically aiming at foreign property speculators,
in an attempt to 'cool down' the Auckland house prices.
Needless to say, the news has been busy finding people (like opposition
MPs) to say it's terrible and no good - but then that is their job.
Budget numbers:
3: % growth expected over the next four years
5: % unemployed expected next year (dropping past 5%)
20m: increase in budgets for the Security Intelligence Service and the
Government Communications Security Bureau
27m: more for the Christchurch recovery
50m: more for the Whanau Ora programme
65m: for transport, mostly going to KiwiRail - the state owned rail company
320m: for DHB's to meet cost pressures over the next four years
684m: deficit this year, aiming for a $176 surplus next year
687m: extra for education with special education and early childhood
education getting a boost
790m: child hardship package including $25 increase of core benefit for
beneficiaries with children
1.7b: in debt to be written off, from penalty payments for parents who
failed to meet their child support obligations, saying the system was
'overly punitive'

John Banks has been cleared of electoral fraud, clearing the way for him to
make a come back. He has had a tough few years after Dodgy Kim Dotcom
announced he would "destroy him", and then for some unfathomable reason the
judge completely trusted everything Dotcom said and didn't trust everything
John Banks and his wife said. In the last few months the story from Dotcom
has suddenly changed but the evidence uncovered by John Banks' wife proved
to be solid.

Kiwi inventor Hamish Scott is getting more well known for glow in the dark
footpaths and roads - Starpath, however he has recently been tinkering in
his shed and adapted his product to be used on cars. He put it onto an
Aston Martin which is going on the Gumball 3000, and it looks amazing.

The government has signed an agreement to start formal negotiations with
Ngapuhi over the countries biggest Treaty settlement.
*The Numbers Game*
10-15: cm of snow at Whakapapa last weekend, as Ruapehu prepares for
another ski season
20: % of the population is expected to be Maori by 2036
21: % of the population expected to be Asian by 2038, up from 12%
2,893: places of Pi memorised by Blake Winstanley for the NZ record for
reciting Pi, the previous record was 1,508 and second place in the
competition was 260
8m: $ to be spent in Wellington to help prevent a reoccurrence of the
flooding that happened recently
*Finance NZ Dollar*
GBP 0.4709 (-0.0030)
EUR 0.6618 (0.0068)
USD 0.7348 (-0.0120)
AUD 0.9328 (0.0045)
*The Weekender NZer of the week*
Professor Margaret Brimble
A leading chemistry professor was named as one of this year's Distinguished
Women in Chemistry - the first New Zealander to win the award.
*Joke of the Weekender*
If you had a school for professional fireworks people, I don't think you
could cover fuses in just one class. It's just too rich a subject.
*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 17/05/2015

Welcome to the week that was. There was some rough weather around the
country this week with flooding in Wellington and twisters in Mount
Maunganui causing lots of damage.
In Super rugby the Blues have had more bad news with John Kirwan's
succession plan falling apart after Cantabrian Tabai Matson refused his
coaching offer - but then again they did beat the Springbok laden Bulls
23-18. In the top of the table clash between the Hurricanes and the Chiefs
the injury hit Chiefs couldn't quite make it, losing 22-18 - although they
did have a try incorrectly disallowed in the dying minutes of the game!.
The Waratahs beat the Sharks 33-18 and the Brumbies beat the Lions 30-20,
while the Highlanders thrashed the Cheetahs 45-24, and finally the Reds
beat the Rebels 46-29.
Table: Hurricanes* 52, Chiefs*/Highlanders* 39, Brumbies 38, Waratahs* 36,
Bulls* 35, Stormers* 34, Crusaders*/Lions 31, Rebels* 30, Sharks 21,
Blues/Cheetahs* 20, Reds* 16, Force* 15 (13 games, * 12 games) An
interesting table with three NZ teams on top followed by two Australian
teams after good weekend results for them. South African teams only 5th &
The Warriors had another thrilling last minute win in the NRL, beating the
Eels 13-17. In international league NZ officially took the title of the
World Number One team, following their third win over Australia in a row.

Scott Dixon started the Grand Prix of Indianapolis at second on the grid &
had high hopes until at least the first corner. At that point he was hit
from behind and involved in a five car crash which dropped him to 23rd. He
somewhat recovered back to 10th by the end of the race.

The ANZ Trans-tasman netball competition is still running with the
Waikato/BOP Magic jumping to second spot in the NZ conference with a 45-49
win over the Southern Steel. Overall the NZ teams aren't doing well at all!
Queensland Firebirds 19, West Coast Fever 17, NSW Swifts 13, Northern
Mystics 12, Melbourne Vixens 10, Waikato/BOP Magic 9, Adelaide Thunderbirds
8, Southern Steel 7, Central Pulse 7, & Mainland Tactix 0. Ouch.

Last weekend at the Glasgow Sevens, the All Black Sevens fell to Fiji in
the final 24-17 after leading 12-5 at half time. The result was enough for
them to make the Rio Olympics though. In the London Sevens NZ beat Wales
38-0, Japan 26-14, and Australia 24-10. However their chance to retain the
Rugby Sevens title depends on the draw with Fiji able to win the title by
beating South Africa.

Team New Zealand had some good news this week with Emirates returning as
their main sponsor which probably means everything will continue as normal.
*NZ News*
Labour leader Andrew Little came out this week and claimed National was
guilty of "one of the biggest political deceptions in a lifetime", with
regard to the news that the government isn't going to return a surplus this
year. John Key responded that it was a Treasury estimate based on
government policies.
More importantly things aren't turning out quite how I'd expected - and I
think not how Andrew Little expected. A number of years ago when I figured
that Little was lining up for a tilt at leading the Labour Party, I thought
he would get his timing right as people became annoyed with the government
but it hasn't worked out that way. Sure there are a few people who really
really dislike John Key and everything he looks at, but the huge majority
of people still want him as Prime Minister. National support is still
hovering around 50%. Little looked like he was going start eroding that
support but it just hasn't happened, and I think he is getting more & more
frustrated by it and the end result is that the government backbenchers are
rightfully calling him 'Angry Andrew". This government is holding up much
better than the Helen Clark third term with Helen having to 'buy' that
election and support rapidly falling after the election. That just doesn't
seem to be happening yet. Is it possible there will be a historic fourth

The Interislander Arahura's replacement has been announced as the Stena
Alegra which filled in recently. The Alegra is currently in Singapore for a
refit and will be able to carry a third more freight and passengers as the

I don't know how it happens but Prince Harry has been in the country a week
and NZers love him. It doesn't seem to matter which Royal it is but they
always just seem so genuine and end up leaving with a huge number of fans.
This article has the best photos and you must check them if you haven't yet
seen the picture of him with the baby girl, priceless:

Kiwi stuntman Sean Button has won a prestigious Best Speciality Stunt award
at the Taurus World Stunt Awards. He was apparently in the movie Fury and
was set alight inside a tank!
*The Numbers Game*
3: % increase in dairy cattle in the last year, compared to a 3% loss in
sheep numbers, but there are only 7m dairy cattle in total
7: m giant squid washed up on the shore in Kaikoura
55: Gig average monthly data usage for Spark customers - up 29% in three
months, with more online video streaming options appearing
79: % of NZers have formal qualifications - up from 75% in 2006, 20% have a
bachelor's degree or higher
385: gram feijoa has set a new record for heaviest fruit
1.8m: $ for Otago University medical research in funding grants
3m: $ theft by an Auckland financial advisor who pled guilty in court this
29.8m: $ sheep in NZ, the lowest number since World War 2 - but they still
outnumber the humans 6 to 1
33m: $ more for more immigration officers to deal with record breaking
numbers of visitors, up to 5.2m from 1.3m 10 years ago
*Finance NZ Dollar*
GBP 0.4739 (-0.0088)
EUR 0.6550 (-0.0089)
USD 0.7468 (0.0014)
AUD 0.9283 (-0.0140)
*The Weekender NZer of the week*
Norman Hardie
The kiwi climber was attributed with one of the world's greatest
mountaineering feats, but is barely known in NZ. He became the first to
climb Kangchenjunga, a Himalayan mountain only a few hundred metres lower
than Everest but much more technically challenging.
*Joke of the Weekender*
Today I accidentally stepped on a snail on the sidewalk in front of our
house. And thought, I too am like that snail. I build a defensive wall
around myself, a "shell" if you will. But my shell isn't made out of a
hard, protective substance. Mine is made out of tinfoil and paper bags.
*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 10/05/2015

Welcome along. This week was the 10th anniversary of me starting my
business "Dunwich Limited". It's still going & putting food on the table!
We have a lot to talk about, and it all started last weekend. What a game!
The Kiwis hadn't won an ANZAC day test since 1988, and with the
Australian's hurting from their last two losses to us and being in the
middle of an NRL season - could this one be different. Well, yes it could.
The Kiwis put on a stellar first half to lead 6-26, and won the game 12-26
for their third win in a row over Australia - for the first time in 50
years. Manu Vatuvei scored twice and Shaun Johnson had a great game as
well. The Australian team is the third oldest in history and even before
the game there were murmurs that there would have to be changes if they
lost. Even the Australian media has been calling the Kiwis the best league
team in the world, but I think officially we have to beat England in an end
of year tour.
In NRL news the Warriors have completed one of their major signings with
Kiwi Issac Luke moving from the Rabbitohs because he wanted to play in
front of his Dad. This weekend the Warriors continued where the Kiwis left
off - well Shaun Johnson did with a stunning try in the final few minutes
of the game to beat the Sharks 16-20.

It wasn't all good news last weekend though, with Melbourne City knocking
the Wellington Phoenix out of the A-League playoffs 2-0. We all thought
they had a shot this year, but hopefully they will build on it for next
year. They have come a long way from second to last, just last year.

Super rugby. From last weekend Beauden Barrett is out for four weeks with a
knee injury, but the Hurricanes still figured out how to win a game (just!)
beating the Sharks last night 32-24 with Prince Harry in the stands. The
Crusaders put on a special night for what will be Dan Carter and Richie
McCaw's final home Super rugby game when they annihilated the Reds 58-17.
Dan is heading overseas and Richie will surely retire after the World Cup.
The Blues lost every away game this season as they were beaten by the
Melbourne Rebels 42-22. The Western Force beat the NSW Waratahs 18-11, the
Lions beat the Highlanders 28-23 - after the Highlanders were ahead 3-20 at
halftime! - and the Stormers beat the Brumbies 25-24.
Table: Hurricanes* 48, Chiefs* 38, Highlanders*/Stormers/Bulls* 34,
Brumbies 33, Waratahs* 32, Crusaders/Lions 31, Rebels* 29, Sharks 21,
Cheetahs 20, Blues 16, Force 15, Reds* 11. (12 games except for *) Wow
Australia's first two teams are placed 6 & 7 on the table!
Finally, perhaps Sir John Kirwan will keep his job at the continually
failing Blues after he gave the board a two year plan to turn the team
around. It looks like they've bought it and will stick with him.
In Rugby Sevens NZ beat competition leader South Africa 24-19, however
South Africa and Fiji were the first to qualify for the Rio Olympics with
Fiji aiming for their first Olympics medal in the sport. New Zealand will
qualify if they beat Scotland.

The men's Black Sticks beat Pakistan 4-2 this week at the International
Challenge in Tasmania after being behind by 2!
*NZ News*
Prince Harry has been in the country and enjoyed a warm welcome in
Wellington yesterday. Apparently 500 (mostly women) gathered at the
National War Memorial to catch a glimpse of him.

Seven people have died on a horror Saturday night on roads across New
Zealand with another 10 injured in crashes as well.
*The Numbers Game*
5.8: & 5.1 richter scale earthquakes in the South Island this week
12: shipping containers (a record haul) of stolen goods uncovered this week
by police
37: forged sick notes by a doctor saw him convicted and censured
79.5: years life expectancy for males, 83.2 for females, as the gap narrows
increasing by 1.5 years more for males & 1 year for females (over the last
eight years)
130: kph winds in Wellington - no one notices. There has been some bad
weather moving up the country by I still got sunburnt today - in May!
250: mm of rain fell in less than 24 hours at Milford, closing the Te Anau
- Milford road
6,200: $ donation to Nepal by Lydia Ko after a not so good weekend at the
office for the World No 1 golfing star
128,000: Audi Q7 was forfeited by Auckland cockle loving resident Xiaojuan
Wei who poached 1,162 cockles, 183 welks and 960 oysters, the daily limit
is 50 of each
3m: $ more for the Northland cycleway from the Government
*Finance NZ Dollar*
GBP 0.4827 (-0.0130)
EUR 0.6639 (-0.0107)
USD 0.7454 (-0.0118)
AUD 0.9423 (-0.0197)
*The Weekender NZers of the week*
Spitfire pilot Flight Lieutenant Philip Stewart, 97, and wireless operator
Warrant Officer Alan Davis, 92.
Seventy years ago, they made daring bombing raids over Nazi Germany and
fought the Luftwaffe in the skies above occupied France, and this week they
found out they have been awarded France's highest decoration, the Knight of
the National Order of the Legion d'Honneur.
*Joke of the Weekender*
I think in one of my previous lives I was a mighty king, because I like
people to do what I say.
*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 03/05/2015

Hi, it's been a wet cold week - but yesterday was a lovely blue sky day!
Last weekend in Super Rugby the Hurricanes beat the Reds 35-19. Friday
night the Highlanders thrashed the Sharks 48-15 while tonight the Blues
doubled their wins for the season, beating the Western Force 41-24. And in
the local derby, the on form Hurricanes may have dented the Crusaders hopes
of making the playoffs by beating them 29-23. It wasn't a good weekend for
NZ teams whose names started with "C", with the Chiefs having a messy game
against the lowly Melbourne Rebels losing 16-15 after being behind 16-3 at
halftime. The Waratahs beat the Brumbies 13-10 to tighten up the Australian
Table: Hurricanes* 43, Chiefs 38, Bulls 34, Highlanders* 33, Brumbies 32,
Waratahs* 31, Stormers 30, Lions 27, Crusaders 26, Rebels* 24, Sharks 21,
Cheetahs 20, Blues 16, Reds*/Force 11.
So 3 NZ teams in the top four, but the top half of the table is pretty even.
Finally the Chiefs had more bad news with Brodie Retallick being ruled out
for four weeks with a shoulder injury - but he hasn't played for them much
this season yet anyway.

In football the OFC Championship was between two NZ club teams this year
with defending champs Auckland FC taking on Team Wellington. The final
ended 1-1 with Auckland FC winning 4-3 on penalties to qualify for the FIFA
Club World Cup for the seventh time.
The Wellington Phoenix failed to make a top two A League finish when they
lost to Sydney FC 2-1 and ended up fourth on the table - now for the

Lydia Ko has won the Swinging Skirts golf tournament for the second year in
a row & took home $392,000. She promised her winnings from this weekend to
be donated to Nepal, but I don't think she is doing very well & was looking
like missing the cut. Update: Lydia has made the cut fighting back 'for the
kids in Nepal'.

The Black Caps have jumped up the world one day cricket rankings after a
good World Cup outing. They are now ranked third behind Australia & India,
jumping South Africa.

I'm not sure if it's sport, but the Team New Zealand All Girls cheerleaders
have won back to back world titles in the US last weekend.
*NZ News*
McDonalds reached an agreement with their workers Union to scrap Zero Hour
contracts, so the union called of a strike planned for Friday.

Yesterday the police shot dead a gun-wielding man in Thames. There aren't
many details around at the moment, but after they arrived the called the
Armed Offenders Squad and the Police Negotiation Team.
*The Numbers Game*
3: red light cameras in Auckland and Wellington introduced this week
4: people on Westports last Air NZ flight this week - no wonder they
cancelled the route after 68 years
6: people died last weekend on ANZAC weekend with three of them pedestrians
13: crashed in 3 hours in the Waikato on a wet weekday morning
13.8: tonnes per hectare of Barley for new Guinness World Record holder
farmers Warren & Joy Darling from Timaru, breaking the 25 year old record
by 1.6 tonnes
20: years since the Cave Creek disaster
25: % support for changing NZ's flag - down from 40% a year ago
30: incidents of flooding in Wellington as the whole country had to contend
with some serious rain
51: % support for National with the weeks news not affecting support
64.6: % for John Key as preferred Prime Minister, Winston Peters support
has doubled to 12% only just behind second ranked Labour's Andrew Little on
90: % reduction in methane emissions from sheep & cows possible with animal
safe compounds unveiled by kiwi scientists
1m: $ pledged by the government for the earthquake in Nepal - there were
plenty of kiwis there with our strong ties to the country. One kiwi died of
a heart attack after the group had been evacuated and last I heard three
were still unaccounted for
*Finance NZ Dollar*
Last week
GBP 0.4957 (-0.0059)
EUR 0.6746 (-0.0245)
USD 0.7572 (-0.0006)
AUD 0.9620 (-0.0101)
Second week in a row of straight losses!
*The Weekender NZer of the week*
Bill Phillips
design of economics
*Joke of the Weekender*
Instead of having "answers" on a math test, they should just call them
"impressions," and if you got a different "impression," so what, can't we
all be brothers?
*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}