August 2018

The Weekender 25/08/2018

Welcome back. Last weekend we had our annual show trip to Whakapapa for the kids to play in the snow, and had a couple of great days! 


The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup kicked off last Saturday in Sydney. It was a relatively even first half with the Wallabies leading 6-5, but from then on the Wallabies just looked tired. The All Blacks kicked off at that point going on to win 13-38 with Naholo grabbing a double in a few minutes and Brodie Retallick having what some called the perfect game. The worst part of the game was a nasty friendly-fire head knock to Ryan Crotty.
The 'curtain raiser' for the Bledisloe Cup match was between the Black Ferns and Wallaroos (Aussie women) which the Black Ferns won 11-31. They are also playing tonight and the Black Ferns won 45-17.
Also, tonight was the second Bledisloe Cup match at the Eden Park fortress and the cup is staying in NZ with a Beauden Barrett masterclass where he scored four tries and 30 points leading the ABs to a 40-12 win. I will watch the game but one of the best parts of these games is watching the reactions from Michael Cheika in the Aussie coaches box - he is a passionate man! So many of the players did well including Owen Franks in his 100th test match. New Zealand retains the Bledisloe Cup for the 16th year in a row.
The NPC rugby season has also kicked off with Taranaki defending the Ranfurly Shield with a 41-21 win over Manawatu to retain the Log o wood. Last weekend Tasman beat defending champs Canterbury 25-17.

The NZ Warriors beat the Penrith Panthers on Friday night 36-16 to confirm a spot in the top eight for the first time in a few years. But last weekend wasn't so much fun with a heartbreaking field goal by Canterbury for a 27-26 loss.

Former Black Caps Grant Elliott has ended his cricket career. Who could forget his World Cup knock! Canterbury's Gary Stead will replace Mike Hesson as coach of the Black Caps.

Patrick Bevin has re-signed with the US BMC Racing pro cycling team.

In netball the Southern Steel dramatically defended their title, scoring the last seven goals to win 54-53.

WRC star Hayden Paddon has popped home to complete enough of the New Zealand Rally Champ to win his fourth championship - with two rounds still to go.
Scott Dixon has extended his deal with Chip Ganassi Racing after signing a multi-year deal.

NZ News

The Opportunities Party (or TOP) has announced that it will continue and contest the 2020 election after all. Founder and leader Gareth Morgan has stepped down, but people wanted to continue with their research-based policies party so deputy leader Geoff Simmons will lead the party.

There has been an interesting ongoing story over the past few weeks with someone releasing Simon Bridges travel expenses. It had been high, partly because the crown limo service is slow with their billing, but partly because he was travelling the country to find out what people want for their next government - something clearly needed if anyone has seen how unfocused the current government was with no idea what to do after nine years of opposition. But the story has all been about who released the expenses. The speaker announced an inquiry, but finally, the leaker contacted Bridges saying they were National members and that they had a mental health issue which would get worse if they were exposed. So the Speaker dropped the case and it looks like even though the police know their identity, they will get away with it.

As far as the government goes, the Prime Minister has sacked Clare Curran from Cabinet and stripped her of her Open Government portfolio after she actively hid a meeting - clearly not very open. But Curran has stuffed up a number of times so she seems to have got away with all the other things.
Defence Minister Ron Mark announced new chiefs for all three branches of the defence forces.
The Prime Minister announced an MP wage freeze. It seemed to be popular but also might just be a bit of PR fluff since the Remuneration Authority is independent and there isn't much of an answer anyway.

Numbers Game

8,600: lightning strikes across the North Island last Friday
40,000: tonnes of plastic rubbish to be turned into concrete from the end of 2019
443,000: more people are in New Zealand than five years ago - driven by high net migration - as we close in on five million
456,800: $ for a 100-year-old Goldie painting - over double its predicted price
240m: $ more allocated from the Provincial Growth Fund for the government's one billion trees initiative
390m: $ for a walking and cycling Skypath over the Auckland Harbour bridge over three years 

Finance NZ Dollar

Since 11/08/2018 (14 days ago).
GBP 0.5202 (+0.0048)
EUR 0.5744 (-0.0017)
USD 0.6682 (+0.0101)
AUD 0.9121 (+0.0110)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Bill Buckley
design of ion beams
Bill Buckley, engineering genius, rather likes that you haven't heard of him. He dislikes the media, hates public attention, and has taken some persuasion to give this interview (his motive, unusual, will be revealed anon).

Joke of the Weekender

What’s the difference between a good joke and a bad joke timing.


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 11/08/2018

Hello, it's looking like a great weekend for weather - although it's packing in for work on Monday.


With Super Rugby finished and the Rugby Championship still on its way, the news this week was around England coach Eddie Jones who wants former All Black coach John Mitchell to join his coaching staff.

The Warriors took another step towards finals with a 20-4 win over Newcastle last night.

Shane van Gisbergen claimed a thrilling win at Winton under lights in the Aussie V8's cutting Scott McLaughlin's lead in the championship.

George Bennett has finished third on the latest stage of the Tour of Poland.

NZ News

One thing I missed the other week was the bill signed by American President Trump which has been called "The KIWI Act" which makes it easier for Americans and Kiwis to invest and trade. Standing right beside President Trump for the photo opportunity was, of course, Kiwi Chris Liddell, Trump's Deputy Chief of Staff.

An Australian who was rescued from Mt Aspiring last week was also rescued in a major helicopter mission in 2013. Comments from other climbers have indicated he doesn't really know what he is doing - but he keeps on doing it.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed the nurses' signoff on their pay deal, but many nurses questioned the entire voting process and aren't happy with a very similar deal as last time even though the Nurses Organisation released the voting totals.
The Prime Minister also had the answer for dropping business confidence - she simply brushed it off, pushing back against suggestions there is a crisis of confidence. She said one survey does not reflect a true picture (don't tell her there have been more!).
The government announced this week that single-use plastic bags would be banned by July 2019.

There has been a lot of talk of free speech vs hate speech in the last few weeks, kicked off by a couple of right-leaning Canadians who were first blocked by Auckland's Mayor Phill Goff and then their second venue cancelled on the day of the event (I think after a bomb threat from a left-wing person). Then former National leader Don Brash had his talk at Massey University cancelled - against because of threats of violence from left-leaning people. Many have attacked the University for not standing up for free speech. Auckland University hosted a free speech debate with Don Brash which was packed out and had vocal opposition for both sides of the debate. As with many places, the left support free speech as long as you believe what they do - otherwise, watch out! 

The Numbers Game

45: % support for National, unchanged, Labour down one to 42%, Greens and NZ First both up 1 to 6% & 5% respectively
50: more firefighters heading to Canada to help with wildfires
60: mm of rain in 12 hours at Arthurs Pass the other night
65: stock stolen from a West Otago farm - worth about $130,000

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5154 (-0.0035)
EUR 0.5762 (-0.0069)
USD 0.6581 (-0.0166)
AUD 0.9012 (-0.0105)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Thomas Brydone - design of export
New Zealand has long been heralded, mythologised (and of late, analysed) as a country that ‘rode to fortune on the sheep’s back’. The $4 billion+ export food industry of today might never have happened were it not for the innovation and wisdom shown by a group of legendary settlers of the 1880’s led by William Davidson and Thomas Brydone.

Joke of the Weekender

Correct punctuation: the difference between a sentence that’s well-written and a sentence that’s, well, written.


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 04/08/2018

Hello, this has been delayed a bit to bring you the Super Rugby final result - currently 0-0 down in Christchurch between the Crusaders and the Lions. 


Last weekend in the Super Rugby semi-finals, the Lions beat the Waratahs 44-26 to reach the finals for a third time, while Richie Mo'unga had a brilliant game to lead the Crusaders to a 30-12 win over the Hurricanes.
And the winners for the second year in a row are the Crusaders 37-18 over the Lions with a man of the match performance from Richie Mo'unga.
In 23 years of Super Rugby we have now had: 
- 3 SA wins (all Bulls)
- 4 Australia wins (Brumbies x2, Reds, Waratahs)
- 16 NZ winners (Crusaders x9, Blues x3, Chiefs x2, Highlanders, Hurricanes)

The Blacks Sticks drew 1-1 with Australia in the women's hockey World Cup in England but were knocked out of the competition by Argentina in a 2-0 loss.

Last weekend the NZ Warriors lost to the lowly Titans after looking good at halftime but having a horrible second half to lose 36-12. This weekend they made a big step in the right direction with a 12-18 away win over the Dragons.

Joseph Parker suffered his second straight defeat in a points loss to British fighter Dillian Whyte, but the promoters are looking at appealing the result after the judges appeared to miss a headbutt which resulted in a knockdown and change in fortunes for Parker.

Danny Lee had his best finish of the season in a tie for sixth at the PGA Canadian Open.

Hayden Paddon finished fourth in the Rally of Finland last weekend.

NZ News

Australia is certainly keen on exporting their criminals. This week though, they had to back down after trying to send one to New Zealand. The crim was born in New Zealand but only because his pregnant mother became ill while on a trip to NZ.

Macleans College (NZ's fourth biggest school) have joined a growing number of schools who are abandoning NCEA Level 1 after being scared off by the government's proposed reforms.

The government seems to be ignoring a massive drop in business confidence, labeling it as "junk" and "bias", as an ANZ survey shows confidence at it's lowest levels since mid-2008 - during the GFC. They are saying they are "expanding beyond the traditional narrow measures of economic success" and have planned to create a new list of 100 environmental, social and economic indicators. In other words, despite their election promises, they are all about the Spin.
NZEI announced this week that Primary school teachers had voted to strike for a full day the week after next. 
The reign of Winston Peters (as acting Prime Minister) is over for now with Jacinda Ardern returning to the role. Winston showed his class on the final day when Speaker Trevor Mallard was warning Gerry Brownlee after a robust debate and Winston was heard to say "throw fatty out". All class.

The Insurance Council has slammed the government after they set up a new tribunal to settle Canterbury claims quicker. The problem they claim is that it is one-sided with only policyholders able to bring cases, and not insurers.

I noted last week about the government's issues with treaty claims, and this week it escalated with clashes outside parliament as Ngai Te Rangi representatives protested the Pare Hauraki settlement. 

The Numbers Game

4.3: % unemployment in Hawkes Bay after drops, with more jobs announced
5: of 11 major storms in NZ since 2000 have hit Northland meaning it has one of the highest proportions of people affected by weather disasters
40: NZ firefighters are heading to California to help battle the 15 deadly wildfires
3,000: PSA workers at IRD went on strike this week 

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5189 (+0.0010)
EUR 0.5831 (+0.0003)
USD 0.6747 (-0.0045)
AUD 0.9117 (-0.0053)

The Weekender NZer of the week

John Britten
design of speed

BJ beside the Britten at Te Papa last month.



Joke of the Weekender

Did you hear about the semi-colon that broke the law? He was given two consecutive sentences.


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}