March 2019

The Weekender 30/03/2019

Autumn is definitely on us, but today was still warm enough for the kids to want to bounce on the trampoline with the sprinkler underneath. 


Last weekend in Super Rugby the Chiefs won their first game in style, beating the Bulls 56-20 in Pretoria, and the Hurricanes came from behind to beat the Stormers 34-28. The Crusaders still seemed a little shell-shocked from recent events and were beaten 20-12 by the Waratahs.
This weekend in the Super Rugby clash of the round, the Crusaders easily beat the Hurricanes 32-8. Captain Kieran Read was playing his first game of the season but was forced off halfway through the match with a right leg injury. Last night the Waratahs were humiliated 31-29 by the Sunwolves at home.

Last weekend the Warriors dropped off the top of the table (!) with a 34-6 thrashing by the Wests Tigers led by Benji Marshall.

In not-quite-sports-news Dame Valerie Adams has given birth to her second child, a boy named Kepaleli.

NZ News

In news relating to the Christchurch attacks, Facebook has announced new measures to stop live video being used like it was that day. They removed millions of copies of the video as events unfolded but many claimed it wasn't enough. They are looking at limiting who can actually use Facebook Live and also investing in building better technology to quickly identify violent videos.

Winston Peters was responsible for the biggest muck up this week. The Turkish President was looking to boost his profile and played footage of the Christchurch attacks at his political rallies, claiming that NZers had attacked Muslims. He even went so far as to warn New Zealanders heading to Gallipoli that they would return in coffins like their grandfathers. So in Australia, the Turkish ambassador was hauled over the coals demanding an apology etc. but it seemed like New Zealand was going to do more. PM Jacinda Ardern had some strongly worded talk (with reporters) saying Winston Peters was going to Turkey to do roughly the same but in person. But instead, Winston Peters didn't even talk to the Turkish President and seemed to fall asleep in the meeting of top Islamic leaders (with photos!). Back home again and Jacinda Ardern completely backed down saying he had done what he went to do, and Winston said he was in a state of "deep contemplation". Oh is that what he calls it. Regardless, they obviously don't care what Peters said because after Peters had left Turkey the President was again showing the video.

The West Coast had been warned of up to half a metre of rain during the week, but it was worse, with Cropp Waterfall recording 1086mm of rain in 48 hours. A bridge has been left in ruins and a 66-year-old woman died after she got out of her car and tried to cross flood waters on foot. Westland declared a state of emergency.

Serial rapist Malcolm Rewa was jailed for life for the 1992 murder of Susan Burdett. The case has spanned 27 years and five trials and saw the innocent Teina Pora jailed for the murder for 22 years, based on a false confession. 

The Numbers Game

27: parliamentary staff have resigned since the end of last year costing taxpayers around $250,000 after a restructure
48: % of Auckland suburbs now have a median price of above $1m, up more than three times from five years ago
3,127: staff being inducted since work began in spring 2015 on the Huntly section of the Expressway
1.9 million: work hours spent on the Huntly Expressway
4.4 million: cubic metres of earth shifted for the Huntly Expressway

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5215 (+0.0008)
EUR 0.6056 (-0.0020)
USD 0.6802 (-0.0076)
AUD 0.9599 (-0.0113)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Finn Brothers
design of anthems
The brothers began making music together at a young age; later, when Neil was 18, he was invited to join older brother Tim in Split Enz. Neil would go on to write one of the band's biggest hits, "I Got You". Tim released his first solo album Escapade before leaving Split Enz, and the band folded soon after. Neil started his own group, Crowded House and subsequently recorded two solo albums after Crowded House split in 1996. He reformed Crowded House in 2007 and two albums have so far followed, with another solo album due in 2014.

Joke of the Weekender

If people say they just love the smell of books, I always want to pull them aside and ask, To be clear, do you know how reading works?


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 23/03/2019

Hello to the week after.


Super Rugby had a shock announcement this week saying that the Sunwolves would be dropped for 2021 with the competition returning to a 14-team full round-robin style.
This weekend the Blues snapped a 20-game losing streak against New Zealand teams when they beat the Highlanders 33-26.

It was great to see Wales win the Six Nations with their 25-7 win over Ireland last weekend. I'm not the only person who, if NZ can't win the Rugby World Cup this year, wouldn't mind Wales taking it out. The Kiwi coached team did so well, but it was interesting to see that Kiwi-born players scored all of their points.

In the annual NZ Cricket awards, Kane Williamson and White Ferns teenager Amelia Kerr were the big winners. Williamson won the Sir Richard Hadlee Medal which he also won in 2016 & 2017.

Queenstown teenager Alice Robinson has won silver in skiing's giant slalom at the World Cup in Andorra.

Like many Kiwi teams this week, the Wellington Phoenix had an emotional game when they beat Western Sydney 3-1. The game was dedicated to the Christchurch victims.

The Warriors had their first NRL game of the season and thrashed the Bulldogs 40-6.

NZ News

The aftermath of Muslim shootings in Christchurch have obviously continued this week. The Prime Minister and media, in general, have avoided talking much about the shooter himself, no name and no discussion of any of his aims. The death toll went up to 50, and it has been made illegal to share the video footage which the shooter took. The police did a great job and actually stopped the shooter on his way to a third location, preventing more casualties. All of the government moved quickly to ban military-style semi-automatic weapons, while during the week there have been remembrances and an outpouring of support for the community that was attacked.
According to many in the media, the Prime Minister can do no wrong right now, but for many rather than just having a moment of silence to remember the slain on Friday, her Muslim call to prayer was a step too far. To quote a guy who knows lots about the community:

"I defend the freedom of our Muslim neighbours and all New Zealanders to gather and pray in peace. What happened on Friday is appalling and I continue to stand with them, mourn with them, and seek justice. 

But a national call to Islamic prayer is inappropriate. The horn and the bells are evocative sounds, but a doctrinal statement is a very different thing. 

An occasion of prayer for all who wish to participate in their own way is far more Aotearoa/New Zealand."

The Numbers Game

0: breeding populations of Queensland fruit fly were found in Devonport and Otara meaning fruit fly trapping has ended
26: domestic flights were cancelled this morning from a foggy Auckland Airport
34: cases of the measles in Christchurch now
578: complaints about Housing NZ tenants in Hawke's Bay in 2018 - but there wasn't a single eviction
63m: $ bail-out for Eden Park by Auckland Council

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5206 (+0.0061)
EUR 0.6076 (+0.0036)
USD 0.6878 (+0.0026)
AUD 0.9712 (+0.0050)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Bruce Farr
design of sailing
Farr‑designed boats have won, challenged for, or placed highly in the Whitbread Round the World Race, America's Cup, and Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, among others.
Farr began building boats at 13 near Warkworth north of Auckland. His first boats were plywood hard chine Moth class designs. He later designed and built variants of Cherubs and especially Flying 18s. His early designs were built in plywood with a focus on lightweight with good planning shapes. By his late teens, he was designing small lightweight keel boats that were successful on the race course.

Joke of the Weekender

Been reading up on the 
thesaurus lately because a mind is a terrible thing to garbage.


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 16/03/2019

This is the week. 

Christchurch Special

I'm sure you've all heard but yesterday was a dark day for a bruised city. The loss of life in the Christchurch earthquake was higher, but it was a natural disaster. There was nothing natural or yet explainable about the gunman who attacked two mosques in Christchurch killed 49 men, woman and children, and injuring 48 others. Three men and one woman have been arrested. The man attacked one mosque, then travelled to the other. The man was an Australian citizen but had been living in Dunedin. The hospital and schools were locked down across the city with reports that schools and their staff did a great job with many kids not even knowing there was something wrong. One of the heroes of the story was a man who tackled the gunman and took his gun and chased him down the street. The other heroes of the story are definitely the police. Probably 99.9% of their time they are doing traffic control or PR in schools or general mundane things, but then at a moments notice they have to be prepared to tackle something like this head-on. 


This weekend in Super Rugby the Chiefs battled to a 23-23 draw against the Hurricanes - a significant improvement over their first three games!
Hamilton will host a combined men's and women's Rugby Seven's tournament from next season. 

The Bangladesh cricketers were very close to the Christchurch mosque shootings so the rest of the tour has been called off with the players heading home. The previous weekend the first two days of the second test were rained out in windy Wellington. Bangladesh batted first and reached 211 with Wagner taking four and Boult three. Then NZ lost their openers early but captain Kane Williamson hit 74 with an injured shoulder, Ross Taylor got to 200 (and then got out) and Henry Nichols got 109 as NZ declared on 432. Wow, Ross Taylor is not slowing down, he is doing so well. Then on the final day, Sri Lanka was bowled out for 209 for an innings and 12-run win by the Black Caps. And that sealed the series.
Neil Wagner jumped in the latest ICC ratings to fifth for bowlers.

Scott Dixon has made a solid start to his defence of the Indycar title with a second in the first round at St Petersburg Grand Prix in Florida.

The Wellington Phoenix had a record-equalling 8-2 win over the Central Coast Mariners in the A-League last weekend.

Havelock North's Geordie Beamish has had an upset win in the mile race at the NCAA indoor track & field champs in the USA.

NZ News

MP Shane Jones has certainly had a week. He admitted a conflict of interest in a Northland tourism project, but he didn't remove himself from the meeting. We just have to take his word that he didn't sway any arguments. PM Jacinda Ardern has backed the New Zealand First MP. ACT have asked the auditor general to investigate and Jones has also been accused of breaching parliamentary privilege by deliberately misleading the House. It looks like Jones then tried to deflect news from his conflict of interest by attacking Spark after they went public with a Government GCSB decision.
Green party co-leader James Shaw was attacked (black eye) as he walked to Parliament this week, by someone shouting something about the U.N. A man was arrested.
The government has released a review on Tomorrow's Schools, calling for a radical reboot of the Education System. When you look into it, there are plenty of reports proving that our education system is actually great. The report is based on 13% of schools - mostly small, rural and isolated who are failing. The report ignores that that means 87% of NZ schools are succeeding - and not just passing, but doing really well. We went up in Science in the latest test. Talk about throwing out the baby with the bathwater!

National have had their own problems this week with the Serious Fraud Office agreeing to look into Jami-Lee Ross' claims of dodgy dealing with donations.

Kate Hawkesby wrote a great article regarding the approaching referendum on cannabis including some insights into what has happened in Colorado - and is likely to happen here if the vote goes through. Basically, big business takes over and the product becomes about ten times stronger. She finished by saying that we could easily "...create a bigger health issue for ourselves than we already have with those other legalised corporatised addictive drugs such as tobacco and alcohol?  They're legal: look how that turned out."

Numbers Game

6: fruit flies found in Northcote - after two more were found
12.3: degC in Lumsden on the 13th for NZ's coldest temperature, with Banks Peninsular hitting a country high of 29.5
25: % (only) of the Government's extra public housing, is newly built houses, not the huge increases in permanent, long-term public housing that is needed
47: cases of the measles in NZ for the year, with 28 of those in Christchurch
70,000: people went on strike last year, the highest number of people since the late eighties. Nurses, teachers, bus drivers, port, fast-food, retail, steel-workers and public servants
403,883: lifestyle blocks would be affected by the proposed Capital Gains Tax
1.2b: $ sewer pipe project in Auckland has been given the green light, to clean up beaches and waterways from stormwater flooding

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5145 (-0.0082)
EUR 0.6040 (-0.0014)
USD 0.6852 (+0.0048)
AUD 0.9663 (+0.0006)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Gordon Dryden
design of learning



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 09/03/2019

Hi, and how are you, we've had a bit more rain this week which is great except for the cricket.


Last weekend in Super Rugby, BJ and I went along to the Chiefs - hoping things couldn't get worse but they did. It was still a good game and the Kiwis played really well - at least the Kiwis playing for the Sunwolves! The Sunwolves had their first ever Super Rugby away win, beating the Chiefs 15-30. The Crusaders won despite a dodgy yellow card call from the ref, beating the Reds 22-12.
This weekend the Hurricanes had a close 25-22 win over the Highlanders after being behind near the end. The Chiefs are playing the Crusaders, so we aren't expecting good news there!
In other news, All Black captain Kieran Read announced he will be retiring from international rugby after the RWC this year and is joining Japanese club Toyota Verblitz.

The Black Caps had their breakthroughs in the first test match against Bangladesh with Trent Boult taking a five-wicket haul to lead NZ to an innings and 52-run win. The second test started yesterday but the first two days have been washed out with rain in Wellington.

The Black Sticks women have climbed to fifth in the Pro League with a 3-1 win over the United States on Friday.

The Football Ferns had their first win with a 2-0 over Argentina in Brisbane for the inaugural Cup of Nations.

Tom Walsh has won his tenth straight shot put title at the national athletics champs in Christchurch.

Robbie Manson has again beaten legend Mahe Drysdale and has been announced as getting the berth for the Olympics.
Hamish Bond announced this week that he would be returning to rowing after spending the last two years doing quite well in cycling.

In cycling, Campbell Stewart has a world cycling title with a win in the omnium at the UCI Track World Champs in Poland.

NZ News

There have been more & more stories about the government's proposed Capital Gains Tax (CGT) with most pointing to a huge tax grab. The CGT is targetting pretty much anything you can invest in: Shares, businesses, bach or holiday homes, rental properties, intellectual property (!), any homeowner who enters a relationship with another homeowner, homeowners who move overseas for a while, if you buy a new home or section or move into a rest home and can't sell your house for more than 12 months, lifestyle blocks bigger than 0.45 hectares, if you claim expenses for a home office, if you have flatmates or list a room on Air B&B. The government has tried to claim it is a tax for the wealthy but it will hit a large number of average New Zealanders. They have also been talking about exemptions for iwi - with Simon Bridges saying that if it's a bad idea for Maori, then it's a bad idea for every New Zealander.
The government has extended Sir Michael Cullen's contract and he could be paid more than $1000/day as he defends the integrity of the report.

Something else that the Tax Payers Union brought to light is NZ's very own version of the Clinton Foundation - the Helen Clark Foundation, bludging off taxpayers. So Helen Clark founded the group as an "independent" voice on policy - which is great. But they are "partnering" with AUT, which is obviously taxpayer funded. It doesn't stop there, because the Helen Clark Foundation (HCF) was able to register as a charity - something that the conservative Family First and Sensible Sentencing Trust had stripped off them. HCF is clearly a political lobby group, but it seems that now charity status depends on whether you are left leaning or not.

There was also a story this week that one of the Labour ministers threatened the funding of a voluntary animal evacuation organisation because the founder had been criticising the system and the way it operated. The Prime Minister hasn't yet made the hard call on any of her MP's so the odds are high that they will try to sweep this one under the rug.

Primary Teachers are disappointed with their latest pay offer and are looking to strike on April 3rd. I think that is when the secondary teacher will strike as well for a mega strike.

We've finally had a bit of rain around here, but this week was still dry and police arrested two people near Nelson for attempting to light a fire. The second fire in Pigeon Valley was also brought under control this week. 

The Numbers Game

1: # best beach in NZ was voted to be Mount Maunganui - I can see it getting the most votes, but I don't think it's NZ best beach!
5: $/week more in taxes is the promise for Phil Goff's re-election bid
10: tonnes of fruit has been destroyed around Auckland after eight fruit flies of two species were found
28: claims to ACC for electric scooter injuries during the 14 days when Lime eScooters were banned in Auckland & Christchurch, vs 182 the 14 days prior
100: th birthday for Dannevirk's Nanny Noa Nicholson
915: rating points for Kane Williamson officially makes him NZ's greatest cricketer ever - Sir Richard Hadlee reached 909 points for his bowling
46,474: people in a record for the Eminem concert in Wellington - and only 16 arrests
52,000: firearms have been brought into NZ over the last year 

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5227 (+0.0081)
EUR 0.6054 (+0.0080)
USD 0.6804 (+0.0007)
AUD 0.9657 (+0.0061)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Roger Douglas
design of the open market
Douglas served as a Labour Member of Parliament from 1969 to 1990. During his time as Minister of Finance (1984–1988), the New Zealand dollar was floated, corporate practices were introduced to state services, state assets were sold off, and a swathe of regulations and subsidies were removed. Douglas's economic policies were regarded as a betrayal of Labour's left-wing policy platform and were deeply unpopular with the public and ordinary party members. His supporters defended the reforms as being necessary to revive the economy, which had been tightly regulated under National's Muldoon.

Joke of the Weekender

There is nothing more awkward than the moment you realize you’re getting a double-cheek kiss.


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 02/03/2019

Welcome along, we had some cooler days and rain last weekend, and it's been cooler but still fine and sunny all week. 


The Highlanders have had their first loss of the season being beaten 24-19 by the Melbourne Rebels. Tonight BJ & I are off to the Chiefs vs the Sunwolves. Hopefully, the Chiefs do better than last week when they were thrashed by the Brumbies 54-17. Last weekend as well the Sharks beat the Blues 26-7, and the Crusaders easily beat the Hurricanes 38-22.

Zoi Sadowski-Synnott has won another title taking out the slopestyle at the US Open Snowboarding Champs in Colorado.

The Black Caps have risen to second in the ICC test cricket rankings - their highest ever ranking. Henry Nicholls has jumped to fifth-equal for batting with Kane Williamson retaining the second spot.
In the first test match against Bangladesh, Bangladesh was bowled out for 234, before NZ piled on 715/6 before declaring. Wow. That 715 included centuries for the openers 132 for Jeet Raval, and 161 for Tom Latham, while Kane Williamson hit 200 not out. Bangladesh has started well in the second innings with 70 without loss on the third day.

Waikato/BOP Magic bounced back in the ANZ premiership netball competition when they beat The Stars 51-57.

The Tall Blacks beat Lebanon 69-67 for their 10th consecutive World Cup qualifier win, led by Tom Abercrombie with 19.

NZ News

Secondary teachers have announced a possible date for the next teachers strike.

National is accusing MP Shane Jones of using the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to buy votes in Northland after they were allocated $100m. The region of Tairawhiti in the East Coast has actually been allocated around $157m. One interesting thing that came up this week was that despite huge fanfare announcing allocations from the PGF it turns out that most of the loans haven't yet been given out - in fact, the only loan actually handed out was the $10m to Ruapehu Alpine Lifts.

The Labour Party has refused to renew the party membership of Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere, and he is considering legal action since they have given no just reason.

This week the Pigeon Valley fire was finally brought under control.

The government's Capital Gains Tax has come under fire this week. Economist Cameron Bagrie isn't convinced it would improve living standards, while political commentators claim the taxpayers are set to suffer the most, while others claim that it is going to mean defeat for the government. Another commentator pointed out that two previous elections have been lost by the Labour party pushing a CGT and how odd it was that Jacinda Ardern personally overrode her party in pushing this policy and after the tax working group didn't recommend a CGT, she sent them back to find a CGT that would work (when they'd already decided one wouldn't work). The working party chair Sir Michael Cullen claimed the family home would be exempt from the CGT - but there are exemptions from the exemptions - so essentially it's all going to be very messy. The reason why GST has worked well is because its simple. This will be a lawyers playground. 

The Numbers Game

3: Queensland fruit flies have been found in Auckland's North Shore
5: Richter scale earthquake on the East Coast
5: th person in a Measles outbreak
4,000: Big Ben pies on the road in Manukau after a truck spilt its load
73,771: $ spent by Green party co-leader and Climate Change Minister James Shaw on international travel in the last quarter
226,000: $ from the Michael J Fox Foundation for a Kiwi project tackling Parkinson's disease
55m: $ meth haul by Customs hidden in two golf carts

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5146 (-0.0098)
EUR 0.5974 (-0.0061)
USD 0.6797 (-0.0048)
AUD 0.9596 (-0.0005)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Robert Dickie
design of postal technology
RJ Dickie invented, patented and marketed the world’s first stamp vending machine. His machines were in use for 50 years, 18,000 were used in Britain, with countless thousands around the world. The machine that won star honours at the 1909 Pacific Expo in Seattle came from a New Zealander with a single idea.

Joke of the Weekender

I’m trying to get into classical music, but I can’t find any original recordings. All the music is performed by cover bands.


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}