August 2015

The Weekender 30/08/2015

Welcome along, it has been a great week weather-wise and now a bit of
gentle rain has started in time for our official start of spring on
Tuesday. It's been a quiet week ahead of the RWC All Black selections
tonight, but here it is.
Let's kick off with ITM Cup matches from last weekend. Taranaki is not
doing quite so well this year, they were beaten 30-24 by Auckland, while
Canterbury were lucky to beat Counties Manukau 20-15. Then this weekend the
BOP Steamers had a good 26-10 win over Southland, Tasman beat Manawatu
41-21 in the Premiership, in a crossover game the underdogs Hawke's Bay
beat Counties Manukau 35-11. In two big games, Otago had a huge comeback
from 22-6 down, to beat Taranaki 27-34 with an 83rd minute try, and
Canterbury beat Auckland 27-21 to end a four year 19 match unbeaten record
for Auckland on Eden Park. Finally, Wellington thrashed Northland 29-0 to
maintain their unbeaten record.
In good news, Aaron Smith has signed with the NZRU for the next four years.

The Black Caps tour in South Africa continued with NZ bouncing back in the
second ODI to win by eight wickets. NZ knocked over South Africa for only
207 and then Martin Guptill hit an unbeaten 103 in the win. With that,
Guptill joined Ross Taylor as the only kiwis to score four centuries in a
calendar year. Then in the final ODI South Africa won by 62 runs to take
the series. NZ had been looking ok but lost three wickets in 15 runs at
141. And that is the end of the African tour.

Lydia Ko won the Canadian Pacific Women's Open for the third time - but it
was her first as a professional.

Lisa Carrington did well at the canoe racing world champs in Milan this
week. She easily defended her K1 200m title for the fourth consecutive
time, and added the K1 500m title. As well, that sees her overtake Paul
McDonald as the most successful world champ athlete. The K4 crew made it to
the final meaning they qualified a boat for the Olympics.

Tom Walsh threw a shot put personal best and national record of 21.58m and
came fourth in the world champs final in Beijing.
*NZ News & The Numbers Game*
1: # most beautiful city in NZ is Hastings - and it has the best toilet and
best environmental initiative
9: th most liveable city for Auckland according to the Economist
Intelligence Unit, Auckland moved up one spot from last year
13: % support for The Green Party for those aged 18-39, younger people are
also more likely to vote Labour
15: % support for New Zealand First - among those aged 65 & over, 5.5% for
everyone else - there is a lesson there somewhere
31: % support for Labour - into the 30's for the first time since Andrew
Little became leader, David Shearer resigned with an average of 33.6%
55.7: % support for National among men (compared to an average of 50.8%),
men are more likely to vote National, Green and New Zealand First than women
330: kg monster tuna was caught out of Greymouth during the week
4.2b: $ signed off with the government and Auckland Transport working
together to develop the city's transport system
*Finance NZ Dollar*
GBP 0.4198 (-0.0039)
EUR 0.5752 (-0.0137)
USD 0.6466 (-0.0183)
AUD 0.9026 (-0.0049)
*The Weekender NZer of the week*
Kiri Te Kanawa
design of the aria
*Joke of the Weekender*
A quiz: If I am my brother's brother, who am I? (Answer: me.)
*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 23/08/2015

It's another lovely morning as the sun is rising earlier and earlier, it
can still be chilly but it's not full winter anymore!
National rugby continues with Waikato having a 21-28 win over Manawatu, and
Lima Sopoaga leading Southland to a 27-18 win over Northland. Tasman beat
Bay of Plenty 34-13 in a scrappy game and Wellington thrashed North Harbour
In other news Rugby World Cup legend Stephen Donald has signed with Waikato
for this ITM cup season. And finally the All Blacks were fined $2000 for
Liam Messam being on the field during the scuffle in last weekend's
Bledisloe Cup match.

In the cricket tour of South Africa, the Black Caps bounced back with win
the second Twenty20 match with Martin Guptill knocking 60 off 35 balls to
set up a 32 run victory. Then in the first ODI South Africa won by 21 runs
after setting a total of 305.

In the league the Warriors seem to be spiraling downhill with the Cowboys
thrashing them 50-16 after it was announced during the week the Manu
Vatuvei was out for the season with shoulder surgery.

Australia beat New Zealand 58-55 in the Netball World Cup final last
weekend, bouncing back from the loss in the pool game.

The Tall Blacks lost the return game with Australia in Wellington 89-79
meaning they won't be going to the Olympics, as news comes out that Stephen
Adams might not be playing for the national team because of a personality
clash between his mentor and the NZ Basketball hierarchy.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke continued their dominant sailing form with a
win in the 49er class at the Olympic test event near Rio de Janeiro.

Ryan Fox continues his good form when he finished third at the second-tier
European Challenge Tour's Rolex Trophy over in Switzerland.
*NZ News*
The government's Stephen Joyce has criticised Labour MPs who have taken
part in the anti-TPP protests, saying that Labour is generally in favour of
TPP and trade deals. He claims they are "speaking out of both sides of
their mouths".
*The Numbers Game*
9: spots for NZ in the Lonely Planet "500 best places in the world",
Fiordland is 17th, Abel Tasman, Franz Josef glacier, Lake Wanaka, Stewart
Island, Bay of Islands, Whakarewarewa, Waitomo Caves, and Te Papa
30: % increase in jobs in the NZ games industry in the last year
110: kph speed limits are being considered by the government for some roads
10,548: cockles in the biggest illegal shellfish haul in Canterbury, three
times the daily limit. A $2,000 fine each and their two cars forfeited to
the crown
110b: $ expected to be spent on infrastructure by local & national
government over the next 10 years
*Finance NZ Dollar*
GBP 0.4237 (0.0047)
EUR 0.5889 (0.0015)
USD 0.6649 (0.0103)
AUD 0.9075 (0.0202)
*The Weekender NZer of the week*
Angus Tait
design of electronics
*Joke of the Weekender*
The wise man can pick up a grain of sand and envision a whole universe. But
the stupid man will just lay down on some seaweed and roll around until
he's completely draped in it. Then he'll stand up and go, "Hey, I'm Vine
*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 16/08/2015

Hello, it's a foggy morning here with the sun just showing through.
What a game! The rugby was all about Richie McCaw and his record breaking
142nd test match, as Eden Park and New Zealand farewelled six legends of
the game. Along with Richie, Dan Carter, Keven Mealamu, Conrad Smith and
Tony Woodcock won't be playing for NZ after the Rugby World Cup. Aussie
coach Michael Cheika made a risky selection with pantomime villain Quade
Cooper and it didn't pay off. Things were relatively even at 13-6 when
Cooper did a head high tackle on Aaron Smith a metre from the try line so
NZ got a penalty try and Cooper got the sin bin. That try and two more in
those 10 minutes put the game out of doubt and Cooper never returned being
subbed after that. NZ winning 41-13 after letting in a late try.
Interesting points are that NZ won the Bledisloe Cup when Dan Carter first
played for us and we've never given it back - the 13th win in a row, and no
one has beaten the All Blacks at Eden Park since 1994 - 1986 for the
Wallabies. The funniest comment of the game had to be while the
commentators were looking at a scrap between the teams when they said
"There's a bloke with a beanie in the middle". It turns out the scrap had
moved toward water-boy-for-the-day Liam Messam and we know he's not one to
back down - even if he's not playing!
Following the Rugby Championship the latest IRB world rankings came out. NZ
are on top with 92.72, 2. Ireland 86.89, 3. Australia 86.84, 4. England
85.40 5. South Africa 84.37, Wales, France, Argentina, Fiji, Tonga. Wow
South Africa has dropped to fifth!
The ITM Cup opened this weekend with a first up draw for Auckland and
Southland 23-23, Tasman beat Waikato 35-20, Bay of Plenty beat North
Harbour 20-11, Wellington beat the defending champs Taranaki 14-19, and
Canterbury got maximum points beating Otago 24-38.

New Zealand hadn't beaten Australia in nine games in netball, but in the
first trans-tasman match up at the World Cup, the Silver Ferns made a
statement winning 47-52 in Sydney. They went on to beat Jamaica 55-48,
Malawi 57-49 and cruised into the semis with a 76-33 win over Uganda. Then
today the Ferns beat England 50-39 to reach the final. So once again the
Netball World Cup final is a trans-tasman match up.

Yet again those in charge of Aussie league have shafted international
league - and NZ league in particular, and with their new $A925m deal, the
annual Anzac Test will be canned from 2018.

The Black Caps finished their tour of Zimbabwe with a Twenty20 80 run win.
And then they moved on to South Africa where they lost the opening Twenty20
by six wickets with 13 balls to spare.

The Warriors had their fifth loss in a row last night being beaten 24-10 by
the Penrith Panthers. They are now 10th on the table as the slide continues.

The Tall Blacks only have a slim hope of making the Olympics after a 71-59
loss to Australia last night.
*NZ News*
The Rental Vehicle Association and Tourism Industry Association has
developed a code of practise to better educate tourist drivers.

A New Zealand invention might be heading around the world after a
successful trial in the South Island. The aim is to reduce winter road
accidents with an icy road warning system. It uses solar power to flash
blue markers when road conditions are icy. Apparently in the test areas,
82% of drivers slowed down the the warning lights were flashing. They
aren't stopping there though. They are planning smart markers with
telemetry capabilities, counting & reading traffic, monitoring carbon
dioxide emissions and light levels.
*The Numbers Game*
-6: degC in Otago as a cold snap went through the country this week
1.9: % increase in population for NZ, above Australia's growth of 1.4%. Net
migration was 58,300 and "natural increase" was 28,700
5.1: richter scale earthquake off Gisborne but it was far enough offshore
that no one noticed
12: th most charitable athlete in the world is Dan Carter according to, Ronaldo is top of the list followed by John Cena
3m: $ in earnings for Danny Lee after a strong showing in the PGA Tour -
last weekend he tied for sixth at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio
80m: $ drug bust in a combined New Zealand, Australia, Fiji "joint"
*Finance NZ Dollar*
GBP 0.4190 (-0.008)
EUR 0.5874 (-0.0161)
USD 0.6546 (-0.0074)
AUD 0.8873 (-0.0036)
*The Weekender NZer of the week*
Peter Snell
design of the 1500m
*Joke of the Weekender*
I think Superman and Santa Claus are actually the same guy, and I'll tell
you why: Both fly, both wear red, and both have a beard.
*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 09/08/2015

Hi, how is your August going?
Australia is making a habit of winning the Rugby Championship in Rugby
World Cup years as they beat the All Blacks 27-19 last night to win the
title. There is a theory that it's good for the All Blacks to lose a game
in the World Cup year, so they remember what it's like. South Africa must
have seen the memo, and thought "hey if they are going to lose one game, we
can do better and lose three!" On the other leg of the championship South
Africa are in disarray after losing to Argentina 37-25 at home (!) and
finishing at the bottom of the table for the first time - losing to
Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.
In other All Blacks news their new strip for the World Cup is blacker than
ever with a marketing campaign by sponsors adidas "Force of Black", they
have even made all the boots black after years of colourful boots. Richie
McCaw equalled Brian O'Driscoll's record of 141 tests played in last
night's game. Of players still playing Keven Mealamu is on 125, Victor
Matfield is 122, and Gareth Jenkins is on 119. And Dan Carter became the
first player to reach 1,500 points.
In other internationals, Ireland beat Wales 35-21.
In rugby sevens, All Black Sevens captain DJ Forbes has stepped down as
captain after nine years. He isn't leaving the team but hoping to get to
the Olympics in Rio on the back of his performances rather than by default
because he's the captain.

The Black Caps lost the first ODI against Zimbabwe by 7 wickets, but then
bounced back in the second for a 10 wicket win. The bowlers did great job
to restrict Zimbabwe to start with but let them get away to 235 for 9. But
then Tom Latham and Martin Guptill both got centuries in the win. Then the
Black Caps won the final ODI by 38 runs to take the series, after Captain
Kane Williamson anchored the NZ innings with a 90.
Now obviously this is nothing to do with New Zealand but we like to keep an
eye on the Ashes as well. Australia were thrashed in the fourth and
deciding game in only two days and 40 minutes, and it started with
Australia being bowled out for 60 - with extras top scoring with 14! There
were a number of great comments that came out but I think the best was,
"Australia are great at cricket [add any other sports here], but don't ever
make the mistake of calling them sportsmen".

The Silver Ferns started their netball World Cup campaign with a 73-28 win
over Barbados and then beat Trinidad & Tobago 74-38 after having a 12-goal
half time lead.

The Warriors are slipping out of contention after a 0-36 thrashing by the
lowly Dragons.

Lydia Ko finished third at the British Open last weekend.

Lauren Boyle continued her great form with a silver in the 1500m behind
American star Katie Ledecky. She became NZ's most successful swimmer.

Scott Dixon had a bit of bad luck in Mid-Ohio to finish fourth in the
IndyCar race. He was leading when the officials gave mixed messages on a
yellow and Scott went into the pits knocking him down the field.

The Tall Blacks have been doing well. They had their second win on tour
beating Venezuela 72-65. Then they had a late run to beat Mexico 78-67.
Then they swept into the final beating China 89-82, and finally they edged
Mexico in the final 70-66 to win the Stankovic Cup.
*NZ News*
More police investigations from all those 'massive' pre-election events,
and it turns out yet again that those make the most noise were just making
noise. A top cop has been cleared of perjury in the Kim Dotcom case.

Things aren't looking good for farmers after a huge drop in payouts
predicted for next season - and that was after an extra low year this year.
*The Numbers Game*
2.6: % pay rise for politicians likely with the new rules for setting their
50: % of house sales in Hamilton are to Aucklanders and 25% in Tauranga
99,000: dog bites in the last 10 years according to data
14m: passengers on Auckland's rail system over the last year, a record
*Finance NZ Dollar*
GBP 0.4270 (0.0048)
EUR 0.6035 (0.0032)
USD 0.6620 (0.0031)
AUD 0.8909 (-0.0120)
*The Weekender NZer of the week*
Dambusters pilot Squadron Leader Les Munro
Mr Munro died, aged 96, after a short illness, his family said.
*Joke of the Weekender*
How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It
has more feathers than the dove, and it doesn't have that dangerous beak.
*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 02/08/2015

Hello, how are you, August already. The days are getting longer and the
weather is changeable!
The Rugby Championship continued last weekend Australia beat Argentina
34-9. There is a break and next weekend the All Blacks head to Australia to
decide the competition winner with both Australia and New Zealand on 9
points. A week after that is the return Bledisloe Cup game in Auckland and
then it's a month to the Rugby World Cup.

The Silver Ferns had a couple of games against South Africa for warm up
games for the World Cup and in the first game they eventually won 68-44,
after South Africa got quite close early on. The second game was much
better for the Silver Ferns winning 67-28.

In Bulgaria, Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle won the double scull crown for

Joseph Parker has continued his good run beating Bowie Tupou in
Invercargill with a first round knockout. The Tongan-Australian had the WBO
Africa title on the line.

Lydia Ko finished fourth in the Scottish Open, while over in France, Ryan
Fox won his first tour tournament on the European Challenge Tour.

The Warriors lost their third game in a row 14-18 to the Sharks after being
ahead 10-0 at halftime. Their grip on a top eight spot is slipping and with
Shaun Johnson injured and out for the rest of the season, they need to
quickly figure out how to replace him.

Steven Adams has pulled out of the Tall Blacks squad to take on Australia -
although can you pull out of a squad if you haven't been in it (has he?)
It's an unfortunate part of sport (basketball & football especially) where
if we have good players, they can't play for NZ because their club teams
are so influential so our national team never gets to show it's true
ability - and therefore will never be influential enough to attract all the
good players. Catch 22.
*NZ News*
All front line NZ police will soon be armed with tasers, according to an
announcement by Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

So PM John Key is pushing for NZ to change our flag. It's been going on a
while and despite large support over the previous years, when it comes the
time to do it, supporters are few & far between. This week in parliament
the Labour leader Andrew Little had a go at the government saying they
should save the money and quit while they are behind. Which is kind of odd.
John Key picked up on it pointing out that Little was clearly politicking
because what National is doing pretty much matches the Labour party policy
on changing the flag. So I guess it is sour grapes because they didn't get
there first.

And finally a follow up on the pre-election Dirty Politics book by Nicky
Hagar. His book prompted police to investigate how right wing blogger
Cameron Slater got information from a Labour website, and the police have
found that "there is no evidence of criminal offending". So the book was a
fraud, and I'm glad it all fell flat & didn't change the outcome of the
*The Numbers Game*
0.7: % rise for Labour according to a TV3 Reid Research poll after their
controversial foreign house buyers statements
3: Waikato DHB nurses have been suspended for either not getting a flu
vaccination or wearing masks, to protect patients from the flu
87: $ taxi ride was charged to the Prime Minister's office - despite him
being 18,000km away at the time!
136: $ in savings for the one in five Auckland households that switched
power companies in the last year
*Finance NZ Dollar*
GBP 0.4222 (-0.0024)
EUR 0.6003 (0.0001)
USD 0.6589 (0.0005)
AUD 0.9029 (0.0011)
*The Weekender NZer of the week*
Sydney Smith
design of forensic medicine
*Joke of the Weekender*
As the light changed from red to green to yellow and back to red again, I
sat there thinking about life. Was it nothing more than a bunch of
honking and yelling? Sometimes it seemed that way.
*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}