The Weekender 23/03/2018

Hi all. This is a day early since I'm unavailable tomorrow.


Last weekend the Blues hoped to put a run of at least two winning games together with the Stormers supposedly travel-weary after a tough tour of NZ, but that didn't work out with the Stormers taking home advantage with a 37-20 win. The Highlanders won the battle of the South, handing the Crusaders their first loss 25-17. The Lions took over as the overall leaders with a close match against the Sunwolves. The Japanese team is getting better, but it must be a bit embarrassing to be leading the competition and only win 40-38. The Rebels had their first loss, being thrashed by the Waratahs 51-27 - after leading 3-20 after half an hour.
In other rugby, it was interesting to watch the 6 Nations championship up in the north, with Ireland handing England their third loss on route to the title. Ireland's coach, kiwi Joe Schmidt has certainly put his credentials out there for those thinking about who the next All Black coach will be. And Wales (coached by Waikato's Warren Gatland) finished second.

The Black Caps are back in the action with a day-night test match against England. I checked the scores last night after the game started and was concerned to see NZ at 8-1. Until I realised that England had batted first and were all out for 58. Kane Williamson did well and reached his 18th test century to become NZ's leading century-maker. As long as the rain holds off, NZ might have a chance, currently 229/4.

In league the NZ Warriors looked good again, beating the Gold Coast Titans 20-8.

In the Winter Paralympics, Adam Hall struck again winning the slalom standing event for gold. He won two of NZ's three medals.

The Silver Ferns opened the Taini Jamison Trophy series with a 75-42 win over Malawi.

NZ News

So it has been an interesting political week. The news and comments on most news stories have been solidly left-leaning since Jacinda-mania took over, but this week I've seen a definite swing. There were a number of solid articles about things poorly handled by the government, without a single (or maybe only a couple of) comments in support of the government. But to be fair the things this week are pretty indefensible.

Firstly there was a comment about Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern failing for first big test over the Labour camps scandal. No one has taken any sort of responsibility, they have simply palmed it off to an inquest, or a working group, which seems to be a huge theme to this government.

The second big deal is that Shane Jones has been mouthing off about Air New Zealand. The 51% government-owned airline has cut some regional flights and Shane Jones has spent the week demanding the chairman and board stand down. Of course, Shane Jones has no power to do anything and he was quickly told that by his Prime Minister, but it didn't stop him. The problem, that no one in this government seems to realise, is that businesses need the confidence of continuity. This week has been a huge blow to any business connected to the government, wondering how much interference they will have from the government. The government should be "hands off", letting the business be a business, not threatening peoples jobs if they don't do want one rogue MP wants.

It got more bizarre though. Shane Jones spent the week abusing Air New Zealand but then turned up to the Air New Zealand-hosted event with Barak Obama (who was in the country for some golf with Sir John Key). It didn't make any sense.
It didn't stop there with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern taking the unusual step of personally accepting a petition to stop the oil & gas industry in New Zealand. It would have a profound effect on many areas but especially New Plymouth's multibillion-dollar industry. However, things aren't all rosy for the coalition with Winston Peters saying NZ First will not compromise on the oil & gas permits.

As if all that wasn't enough for the coalition they got the news this week that the Green Party has handed over their questions to National to help it hold the government to account. The Green Party were wanting to end "patsy" questions which are just questions made to make the government look good.

Polytechnics compared enrolment numbers this week and found that despite the government's much-touted fees-free policy, the numbers are basically flat with no increase in domestic numbers.

Greenpeace has been denied Charity status by the Charities board - and the tax-free benefits that go with it.

Jonathan Coleman, National MP and former Health Minister is quiting politics to run a private hospital.

The Numbers Game

2: Kiribati fishermen were found by the NZ Defence Force after searching for the lost men for three days
39: degC the temperature of Ruapehu's crater lake - and a bunch of small earthquakes, has geologists on alert
91: road deaths and the annual toll continues to be very high
335: m hole in one for a par four shot by golfer Mackenzie Gibson
3,000: jobs will be lost, according to government officials, if the minimum wage is raised to $16.50 at the end of the week as per the Government's 100-day plan
50,000: $, 10,000 cannabis plants and 30 guns have been seized in an annual operation by NZ Police and the NZ Defence Force

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5114 (-0.0075)
EUR 0.5862 (-0.0018)
USD 0.7230 (-0.0004)
AUD 0.9356 (0.0031)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Burt Munro
Burt Munro, known as the fastest man from New Zealand, became internationally known for the records he broke at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the 1960s. In eleven record attempting trips to the National Speed Week, the Kiwi broke three world records on his Indian motorcycle – one of which still stands today. The “World’s Fastest Indian” from the edge of the world believed in boundless opportunities and in the importance of never giving up his dreams regardless of challenges along the way.

Joke of the Weekender

Communism jokes aren't funny unless everyone gets them.


Darren Harrison:
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