May 2020

The Weekender 30/05/2020

Hi Everyone, we are away this weekend, so I've done a quick update on Thursday & scheduled it to send. We are also away next weekend so catch you the week after that.


Sport

The NRL starts up again this weekend, while some sort of local rugby competition continues to be discussed.


NZ News

The news of the week was a story of two trampers who were found after being lost for 19 days in "hostile" thick bush near Nelson. They were hungry and exhausted but had planned on fishing to supplement their food source and were well prepared and equipped. There had been a huge search & rescue operation over the last ten days with over 50 people involved. They were found when a search helicopter spotted smoke from a fire they had lit.

New Zealand First leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters had been talking like there is a rift in the government this week. He started off by throwing doubt on Labour's prime Auckland light-rail project, just after transport minister claimed it would continue, and he claimed that NZ would continue with Level 2 for four weeks, despite it being safe to drop to Level 1 and even saying that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had said we should be dropping to Level 1. According to Act leader David Seymour, Peters' comments have broken the ministerial book of rules since he candidly talked about significant discussions.
But maybe he is just trying to do a magic trick and make people look away from the report this week that the NZF Foundation spent $130,000 on paying expenses, wages and bills for people closely associated with Winston Peters.


The Numbers Game

1: $ for the CEO Sinead Boucher to buy Stuff
4: more weeks of Level 2 expected by the government
5: days with no new Covid-19 cases and currently no patients in hospital, one death has been reclassified as Covid-19, which puts us at 22 deaths
5.8: magnitude earthquake northwest of Levin, followed by another 5.4 a day later - and all in an area not known for faults
22: border exemptions for sewage system engineers, chair lift experts and Avatar film crew
30: % of the TAB workforce are losing their jobs
87: jobs to be lost from Invercargill licensing trust
100: redundancies from the Transmission Gully project - and 100 workers stuck overseas, while they all try to figure out how to restart the project
130: jobs being cut by MediaWorks
490: $/week for people who lost their jobs in the pandemic crisis - a new $570m scheme announced by the government
100,000: $ scammer and gambler Macaulay Oliver Marchant has avoided jail in his dodgy roofing scam with 11 clients in Auckland, Christchurch and beyond


The Weekender NZer of the week

William Atack
Here is one story that comes up frequently in our household - William Harrington Atack, of Canterbury, was the first sports referee in the world to use a whistle to stop a game.
Today the referee’s whistle is a ubiquitous feature in sport. It now seems logical and obvious, but it was a New Zealander who first thought of it in June 1884.
https://www.nzedge.com/legends/william-atack/  


Joke of the Weekender

I invented a new word: Plagiarism!

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{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 23/05/2020

Hello & welcome to a lovely sunny winters day. We've had a few frosts in a row, but lovely days - unless you are a farmer waiting for rain!


Sport

Sir Gordon Tietjens will step down as coach of the Samoan Seven's team when his contract expires in August.

Shane van Gisbergen has dominated the latest round of the Supercars All-Stars Eseries when he won all three races to take the overall lead from Scott McLaughlin.


NZ News

This week was news about National with a leadership bid from Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller, in response to low polling levels. The vote was yesterday, and Simon Bridges was replaced as leader of the National Party by Muller who seems to be a nice guy, but obviously we'll need to see. And also we'll need to see how he handles Jacinda-mania which has been building recently with huge social media backlash against anyone who dares questions the wisdom of the government or Saint Jacinda. Auckland MP Nikki Kaye has replaced Paula Bennett as deputy. Simon Bridges announced the change with the comment "More time for the most important job I have. Thank you New Zealand." - along with a photo of his family.

You may be wondering if things have become clearer over time with the rules around Level 2. Well no. The government has continually said that church services are allowed no more than 10 people. But when the law came through this week, churches weren't mentioned at all, so that confused us - apparently by law, the rules were the same as for pubs or restaurants.
But then yesterday there was a bit of a bombshell, I'm still a little shocked. The police announced their guidelines saying church services could resume and were allowed multiple groups of 10 - following the law. But later the same day the Government reiterated that the rules for the church hadn't changed and no more than 10 people were allowed in a gathering. So the police are saying one thing, different to the government. It's all very confusing.


The Numbers Game

-3: degC in Hawke's Bay for one of the coldest mornings of the year
2: more cellphone towers burnt in Auckland by the tinfoil hat-wearing anti-5G brigade
4: days of no new cases of Covid-19, currently there are only 28 active cases
45: days without a commercial jet landing in Queenstown
56.5: % support for Labour in a new poll, with National plummeting to 30.6% or 29% in one poll
79: % turnout of students on the first day they were allowed back
150: restaurant workers made redundant by the Good Group
500: parking tickets issues in one day in Wellington
50,000: business have applied for the government loans
500,000: $ from the Government for drought-stricken Hawke's Bay farmers - matched by the local government
5m: people now in NZ, 17 years after we hit 4 million
9m: $ to be spent by the government in local media - apparently to provide relief from plummeting advertising revenues - but I bet it won't be neutral advertising
265m: $ sport package announced by the government
278m: $ package for early childhood centres, offering higher subsidies but the preschools need 100%, qualified teachers


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.4997 (0.0093)
EUR 0.5575 (0.0090)
USD 0.6079 (0.0143)
AUD 0.9301 (0.0048)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Robert J Dickie
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. Robert James Dickie was born in London on December 30, 1876. Twelve years later, he immigrated with his family to Wellington, New Zealand. He joined the staff of the Chief Post Office at Customs Street in 1891 and went to work in the foreign mail department.
https://www.nzedge.com/legends/robert-j-dickie/  


Joke of the Weekender

What's the best thing about Switzerland?
I don't know, but the flag is a big plus.

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{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 16/05/2020

Hey, hope you had a nice day like we did today!


Sport

The Warriors are in Australia preparing for the re-start of the NRL season, and the NZ Super Rugby teams are planning a New Zealand competition.


NZ News

Auckland has some light showers heading their way, but there isn't anything in sight that will break their current drought.

There haven't been many cases of Covid-19 this week, but one of them was a woman who arrived over two weeks ago from the US. According to a Waikato Uni survey, kiwis are feeling "stressed but resilient".

The government released its budget this week. And it was a biggie. There is $50b, but true to form the government has announced it, but don't really seem to know what to spend it on. They have some ideas, but there are just large amounts of "slush fund", presumably for later "discretionary" (read: election buying) spending.
Here are some interesting numbers. They've given Pharmac $10m extra. That sounds great. As you may or may not know, Pharmac buy medicines and vaccines and then provide them cheap or free to NZers. But it seems the budget is also catering to special interest groups when horse racing gets $72.5m - proudly announced by NZ First leader Winston Peters. Who, at this time, values horse racing over life-saving drugs? And let's not ignore important but perhaps not urgent spending like $1.2b gone to a railway package (with a decade of Treasury advice saying it's not worth it). Huh, what about Pharmac?
Richard Prebble said "This government has the best PR ever and no product. It is the first Budget where the Government says it is going to spend but does not know what on. As if just spending is a sensible policy. Thirty years of prudence blown in one Budget." The National leader said, there will be a "tsunami" of debt to be repaid at some point, "There's over $25b that the Minister of Finance can't even say how he would spend right now".
How about in February when the Minister of Health said he was putting the DHB's "on notice" for poor financial performance - and now rewards them a $3.9b funding injection.

Level 2 arrived this week. That means we are basically back to normal, all businesses open, but they need social distancing, and there are limitations on meeting sizes. We thought that by the time we moved to Level 2, the rules might be settled, but no. After Level 2 came into effect Wednesday night, there was a government announcement that funerals could have up to 50 people, changed originally from 100, then to 10. There are many questions about the rules. So now funerals have changed, but church services are only allowed up to 10 people, while rugby games are OK, as are up to 100 at a pub. Are cultural and religious events being targetted?
Another of the contentious rules has been the new law allowing police access to homes and maraes without a warrant, presumably to enforce the association rules of Level 2. Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says his frontline staff will use commonsense and discretion when enforcing them - unfortunately, the new Police Commissioner has already made a number of blunders in his very new tenure.

Winston Peters has been on form this week after telling struggling migrant workers that "you should probably go home". He also did a bit of a rant saying that Maori should put a permanent end to the use of the hongi, adding "cultures need to adapt or die".


The Numbers Game

2: more cell phone towers have been set on fire in Auckland connected to 5G conspiracy theories
11: people have so far died from Covid-19 from the Rosewood Rest Home in Auckland - there have only been 10 other deaths
25: years ago this week when the America's Cup became New Zealand's Cup - that great win in San Diego
100: year old Veda Young celebrated her 100th birthday under lockdown - as did my Aunty Ivy in England
700: jobs being axed by SkyCity
800: fines handed out in Wellington as the free parking ends
220m: $ [budget] to expand the school lunches initiative
400m: $ [budget] for a tourism support fund
830m: $ [budget] disability support package
1.2b: $ [budget] railway package
1.6b: $ [budget] trades and training scheme
3b: $ [budget] infrastructure investment scheme
3.2b: $ [budget] extension of the wage subsidy scheme


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.4904 (-0.0044)
EUR 0.5485 (-0.0110)
USD 0.5936 (-0.0202)
AUD 0.9253 (-0.0140)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Ernest Godward
An innovator of many talents. During the 1930s he was a leading world expert on the internal combustion engine. He built power tools, eggbeaters, burglar-proof windows and hairpins. He was a champion sportsman, a fine musician and a talented painter – Ernest Godward was a brilliant over-achiever.
https://www.nzedge.com/legends/ernest-godward/


Joke of the Weekender

How come the barber won the race?
The cheater took a short cut.

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{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 09/05/2020

Hello, good to see you, I hope you are all doing OK!


Sport

Waikato's Sam Cane has been announced as the next All Black Captain. He was surprised by being asked but didn't have to think too long to accept the honour.


NZ News

The mess continues this week with the government both making up rules on what Level 2 looks like, and trying to sweep under the rug, any suggestion that they didn't do the lockdown legally. The Prime Minister's office actually issued a gagging order on all ministers, just before dumping thousands of pages of official papers, minutes and advice. It seems like they are trying to hide information in a deluge of data. So essentially they are now definitely in politics mode.
They have also had to deal with the increasing idea that the government is very inflexible and unfeeling when dealing with exemptions for people to visit dying relatives. There was yet another story today about someone whose father passed away while they desperately tried to get an exemption for a final visit.
One example of the poor contact tracing by the Ministry of Health & Government is one woman who was contacted four-and-a-half weeks after coming in close contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case.

Wellington's Transmission Gully not only has the problem of almost 100 workers having returned to Australia for Covid-19 (and being unwilling or unable to come back) but they need to re-lay sections of the road. All these things will delay it further.

There has been discussion of a Trans-Tasman bubble with talks of reintroducing direct flights between NZ and Tasmania.


The Numbers Game

2: new Covid-19 cases today, both linked to a rest home in Auckland, one a nurse - we did have a number of days this week with zero cases
5: weeks worth of takeaways were eaten in the first week they reopened after Level 4 lockdown
21: Covid-19 deaths so far
42: % drop in burglaries in Hawkes Bay during the lockdown
103: active Covid-19 cases
309: jobs dumped by Ngai Tahu, the owners of Shotover Jet, Franz Josef Glacier Guides, Agrodome and Rainbow Springs
1,000: NZers joined the benefit every day of last month
11,000: kiwis in high to moderate risk countries
20,000: $ fines for outdoor water use in Auckland as they face the worst drought in the cities history
10-14m: $ expected to be spent on repatriation


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.4948 (0.0096)
EUR 0.5595 (0.0127)
USD 0.6138 (0.0072)
AUD 0.9394 (-0.0055)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Peter Jackson
Once upon a time – in fact only a generation ago – the likelihood of anyone even making a feature film here in New Zealand was laughably remote. The prospect of a Kiwi film director creating a huge worldwide smash hit seemed utterly impossible.
https://www.nzedge.com/legends/peter-jackson/


Joke of the Weekender

An old guy in his Volvo is driving home from work when his wife rings him on his cell phone.
"Honey," she says in a worried voice, "please be careful. There was a bit on the news just now, some lunatic is driving the wrong way down the highway."
"Oh it's worse than that," he replies, "there are hundreds of them!"

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{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 02/05/2020

Welcome to Level 3. We are expecting this to last only a couple of weeks, but don't really know what Level 2 will look like.


Sport

The cricket awards have been announced with Ross Taylor claiming the top honour with the Sir Richard Hadlee Medal. Tom Latham won the top batting prize, and Kane Williamson was named ODI cricketer of the year.

Shane van Gisbergen helped Holden have a great weekend in the virtual motor racing, and Nick Cassidy finished second in the Hong Kong race.

Eddie Dawkins has announced his retirement from track cycling.

Over in Australia, kiwi Raelene Castle has stepped down as the chief executive of Rugby Australia. They finally hounded her out of the job. Waikato man Dave Rennie has decided to stay as the newly appointed Wallabies Coach. 

The NZ Warriors have been given the green light to head to Australia on Sunday as the NRL looks to kick back into life.


NZ News

New Zealand moved to level 3 of lockdown last Monday night. Essentially, that means we should still stay at home if we can, but businesses are allowed to operate if staff and clients can maintain a 2m distance.
In practice, it has meant a huge mess. Someone recently asked if they were allowed to go to the beach at Raglan. That lead to five or six different Facebook answers - all backed up by proof. One person cited the government website saying 45 km was OK, one person said a policeman said it was OK, others quoted the news which said 25 km, and officials from Raglan who didn't want visitors because they haven't had any Covid-19 cases yet.
The government had the support of businesses with declaring a month of lockdown level 4, but since they extended it, it has all just been a mess. Businesses are losing millions, and the people who aren't following the rules are making up their own.
The worst part about the mess that the government is creating is that the whole way through the Prime Minister has been saying we are "eliminating" Covid-19. That is what everyone bought into with the four-week lockdown. But in the end, she suddenly revised her terminology. Suddenly the word "elimination" she had been using, was the technical epidemiologist meaning, and not the dictionary meaning that everyone had assumed. New Zealand has "eliminated" the virus but not eradicated it.
As far as what NZers have been doing? Well, level 3 was called level 4 + takeaways. In Invercargill, KFC ran out of chicken, and in Rotorua, all the McDonald's shut at 9 pm on Thursday after all the stock in town was eaten. The KFC queues around here have been onto and up the road.

Health Minister David Clark was found to have moved house just before the level 4 lockdown, and continued walked between the houses (he used one as an office), carrying boxes during level 4. Another breach of his own rules. He wasn't allowed to have an office away from his house. We were told that where we slept on the first night of lockdown, we had to stay there for four weeks. He doesn't think he technically broke the rules, but he certainly stretched them and it looks bad when this is the third time for him!

Winston Peters legal claim against former Government ministers Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley has failed. It has been very very clear since the start, but he was "not able to establish that they were responsible for the disclosure of the payment irregularity to the media". The National MP's had their legal costs covered by the taxpayer to the tune of $500,000. Winston seems keen on fishing, and this was certainly just a taxpayer-funded fishing exhibition for him, so I think he should pay back the costs.

Not everyone obeyed the lockdown rules. In Auckland, 112 vehicles were stolen from the Jucy Rentals yard. Currently, 73 have been recovered and 22 people have been arrested.

The Taxpayers Union had a big win after the State Services Commissioner agreed with their request and he has encouraged chief executives to consider taking a pay cut, and no pay increases for senior leaders and higher-paid staff. This goes much further than what the Prime Minister announced recently. The Taxpayers Union also pointed out how terrible the government's $100,000 business loan was, with businesses not having to justify their request, not requiring proof of ongoing business, and not having to start paying it back for two years. Their rough calculations indicate it will move about $6b of unsecured debt to the government.


The Numbers Game

5.6: magnitude earthquake near Te Anau
11: % of all Covid-19 cases are health workers
19: deaths from Covid-19 and six currently in hospital
35: cases of Covid-19 have caused the entire outbreak here in NZ - according to genetic scientists
55: % support for Labour with National dropping to below 30%
84: Auckland Executives earn over $250,000
150: $/week charge by Victoria University to students for rooms they weren't allowed to use during the lockdown, has finally been delayed after a public backlash
170: jobs on the line as the Hermitage Hotel at Mt Cook have proposed shutting down permanently
600: % increase in abuse and violence towards Countdown workers during the lockdown
1,131: confirmed Covid-19 cases, but only 208 active cases
1,500: callouts to AA by 4 pm on the first day of level 3 - normally 1,200 for a full day
5,800: lockdown breaches recorded during level 4 - 87 prosecutions related to Anzac Day
30,000: surgeries were called off during the lockdown
100,000: $ interest-free loans from the government for small businesses
500,000: $ for NZ Football after FIFA gave that amount to each of their 211 member associations - wow football has so much more support than rugby!
7.4m: $ loss for NZ Rugby is not as bad as expected
20m: $ fund to help tertiary students to learn online
88m: $ government scheme to give free computers to students so they could continue to study during the lockdown, basically didn't work because they couldn't get addresses right
3b: $ in tax relief for businesses as part of the government's $23b recovery plan
4.4b: $ City Rail Link in Auckland is facing extra costs (on top of their extra costs) and delays (on top of their delays)


Finance NZ Dollar

Since 18/04/2020 (14 days ago).
GBP 0.4852 (0.0031)
EUR 0.5468 (-0.0078)
USD 0.6066 (0.0035)
AUD 0.9448 (-0.0027)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Tex Morton
New Zealander Tex Morton lived a life of breath-taking achievement. He attained fortune and huge international fame in several careers: a recording star (300 songs), singer-songwriter, stage artist (touring sensation in North America, Europe, Australasia), circus entrepreneur, best-selling comic writer, Hollywood screen actor, and with a Doctorate from McGill University, a world authority and renowned performer of hypnotherapy.
https://www.nzedge.com/legends/tex-morton/


Joke of the Weekender

A guy calls the fire department and yells excitedly: “You have to come, now, there’s a fire!”
“OK sir, but please tell us how do we get to you.”
The man asks, puzzled: “What, you don’t have them big red trucks anymore?”

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{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}