The Weekender 26/05/2018

Wow, the politics is almost worse than at election time, sigh. 


Following up Super Rugby from last weekend, the Crusaders were too strong for the Blues winning 32-24 - a win but not a thrashing, and the Sharks beat the Chiefs 28-24 with something like 30 Chiefs players out injured or on All Black rests. After two years and forty games, an Australian Super Rugby team finally beat a New Zealand team when the Waratahs won 41-12 against the Highlanders who played most of the game with 14 players. The Jaguares had their fifth win in a row with a 54-24 win over the Bulls.

This week the Crusaders who have had their own injuries and All Black's rested, still comfortably beat the Hurricanes 24-13. The Jaguares did it again beating the Sharks 29-13, while the Rebels were too good for the Sunwolves 40-13 who couldn't manage a third in a row.
There have been a few discipline problems in the NZ teams recently, last weekend Highlanders winger Tevita Nabura and Crusaders prop Owen Franks was cited with Franks suspended for two weeks. Australia has their own problems with Wallabies prop and Queensland Reds skipper James Slipper being suspended for two months for cocaine use.

George Bennett wasn't finished in the Giro d'Italia (I thought it was over), and he has faced a number of mechanical issues this week as he has dropped down to 10th overall.

Last weekend Scott Dixon was 8th fastest in Indy Cars to remain in contention for this weekends Indianapolis 500.
In the Aussie V8's there was an all kiwi podium last weekend with teammates Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin one & two, with Shane van Gisbergen picking up third.

Third-time lucky for Corey Webster, who has been given yet another shot with the NZ Breakers. There is no doubt he is talented, but hopefully, he makes the most of it this time.

Team Wellington has won the OFC Champions League after beating Lautoka 10-3 on aggregate in Oceania's premier football international club competition.

NZ Women kayakers have won four gold medals at the opening of the World Cup regatta in Hungary.

NZ News

Petrol prices have been in the news (prices below) as they head upward and there is talk that $3/L will be common soon. This seems to be based on the government's plans but doesn't include any of the upcoming government fuel taxes. The government is showing no signs that they will relent on their tax plans. 

The US Congress has been told that one of the major fundraisers for Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party "is linked to the Chinese Communist Party". There were also claims that any intelligence briefing given to former PM Bill English, was forwarded to former Chinese spy trainer, National MP Yang Jian. The US lawmakers are considering whether NZ needs to be kicked out of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. 

Labour MP and Transport Minister Phil Twyford this week offered his resignation after he took a phone call on a plane. PM Jacinda Ardern refused the offer but he lost responsibility for Civil Aviation Authority. National has also noted that at the same time Twyford stood in the plane while the seatbelt light was on. Moving on from that (but not Twyford) this week he decided to ignore official advice to do more to use buses for Auckland transport to the Airport (saving taxpayers $2.5b), but he has rejected the idea and is pushing the light rail system.
As if that wasn't a bad enough week for Twyford, he was also reprimanded by the PM for saying Treasury Officials were "kids fresh out of university". Ironically, this week Twyford's fellow Labour MP from our area, Jamie Strange, graduated from University - so it is actually those running the country who his comments apply to.

The government has made more big calls - but without real plans, after they cancelled the Waikeria "mega-prison" but giving no decision on a back-up plan. Ironically, this week news came out that despite higher numbers in jail, the policies have been working.  The government has also been talking about repealing the three-strikes law, while National is calling on New Zealand First to stick to its principles to keep the law in place. New Zealand First had previously campaigned on the creating the law. 

The other story of the week is an ongoing feud between the National Party and the speaker of the house Trevor Mallard. Now the whole deal with the job of being the speaker is to run the parliament and to be fair. And it seems that is a bit hard for someone described as "loyal to a fault, particularly if you're part of the Labour tribe".  Earlier this month Mallard apparently heard the comment "stupid little girl" (referring to PM Jacinda Ardern) from someone in the National Party, but when he quizzed National, no one had a clue what he was talking about. National leader Simon Bridges investigated and there is no evidence from the recordings and no one in National heard or said anything like that. That didn't stop Mallard who told reporters all about it - an astonishing act for someone who is supposed to be fair. What's more, Mallard has come up with a system for punishing those who do him wrong, by docking them questions. The number of questions parties get is very important and it's the only way opposition can hold the government to account, so taking away the questions - especially for almost random things, is just wrong. The whole issue has caused a stink and National MP Paula Bennett walked out after National was docked five questions because Gerry Brownlee had the audacity to ask the Prime Minister questions. When Bennett returned Mallard made her apologise to him for a negative comment directed at him - even though she hadn't. A day later she was kicked out while Mallard threatened Hamilton MP David Bennett with being "named" (an even worse punishment) after he didn't apologise and Mallard refused to say what he should apologise for! What a bizarre situation. National is considering a no-confidence vote against the speaker. 

The Numbers Game

1: # most liveable city in the world rating for Wellington - the second year in a row
1: # most trusted brand for Whitakers again, Air NZ was third, Toyota fifth, Tip Top eighth
1.807: $/L for unleaded at the countries cheapest petrol station at Atiamuri, $2.30 up the road in Rotorua, while Great Barrier Islanders pay $3.11
6: people died on the roads last weekend within 41 hours making it the second deadliest weekend of the year
8: sperm whales died after becoming stranded on a beach in South Taranaki
27: drink drivers caught in 24 hours has disappointed Hawke's Bay Police
55.43: % of people in Whakatane voted against introducing Maori wards in a binding poll
81: m of visual clarity at times in the Te Waikoropupu Springs near Takaka according to NIWA - nearing the theoretical maximum for water of 83m
9,500: lightning strikes in the North Island with snow hitting the South Island as a very active front swept the country on Thursday/Friday
1.7m: tourists in 12 months for NZ - with about half of them going to one of our national parks
7m: $ in fines in the last year for Aucklanders using the special bus or transit lanes
49m: $ contract awarded to improve the Wellington commuter trains

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5188 (0.0072)
EUR 0.5922 (0.0066)
USD 0.6920 (0.0017)
AUD 0.9150 (-0.0041)

The Weekender NZer of the week

An Upper Hutt Roadworker
Three young boys were watching some roadworks, and an unnamed roadworker went and got three safety vests and sat the boys down on the footpath and spent time explaining to them what they were doing. Good on him.

Joke of the Weekender

I've been told I'm condescending.
(that means I talk down to people)


Darren Harrison:
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