The Weekender 22/12/2018

Welcome to the last Weekender for a little while, I'll take a break over Christmas and New Years, I hope you have a great time with family & friends.


Shawn Long finally made his mark in the NZ Breakers 96-79 win over the Illawarra Hawks in Hamilton last night. The Breakers are pushing for the final spot in the top four. The Breakers previously stopped their losing streak with an 89-78 win in Queensland.

Michael Venus has retired from singles tennis, but he has had a successful doubles season, so looks likely to focus on that.

Nico Porteous has finished the year on a high after getting a silver medal for his first World Cup medal in the freeski halfpipe event in China.

The Black Caps tried everything in their first test match here against Sri Lanka, but they couldn't dismiss the second innings so the game ended in a draw. Sri Lanka was bowled out for 282 and NZ replied with 578 after opener Tom Latham carried his bat, scoring 264 not out. Then Sri Lanka batted for a couple of days reaching 287/3 to save the game.
In the IPL, former Black Cap Captain Brendon McCullum has gone unsold.

NZ News

This week the government's drug policies showed up and it's confusing. Obviously, the Greens have always been pro-drugs, but apparently, we will have a binding referendum at the next election on legalising cannabis. But the news about that comes in a week where the government appeared to be trying to crack down on drugs, saying they are going after peddlers and producers of drugs. They are also cracking down on alcohol (targetting a zero road toll), and cigarettes (NZ to be smoke-free by 2025) with a 10% increase in tobacco excise next year. As one commentator said "We want to tax sugar because we can't control ourselves around it ... but cocaine is fine." "We campaign endlessly against the opening of more local liquor shops, we restrict hours and ages, but dope is no problem." What are they thinking?
A new collective agreement between the government and the Ministry of Justice workers has been reached, ending their dispute and strikes. But I don't think they were ever underpaid. A Queen's Counsel can expect to make more than a million dollars a year and judges can contribute up to 5% of their salary into a super scheme - while the taxpayer tops that up by $7.50 for every dollar they contribute!
The Prime Minister has claimed that the increase in contracts for the business of MP Julie Anne Genter's partner, is not a conflict of interest, but the value of the consultancy firm's contracts has increased sevenfold and none of the 19 contracts has been subject to an open tender.
The Education Minister has vetoed the proposed name change for Victoria University. They were planning to rename to the University of Wellington.

NZTA has approved the business case for a Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail trial. The local Labour MPs and the transport minister are talking it up, but this has been tried before and failed because it's expensive, slow and simply not used. The cost of the five-year trial is $78.2m which if the train is full every time, is subsiding every user trip by about $140. And as for removing users from the road? It will take a maximum of 150 people versus the current 20,532 average vehicles a day going past Bombay. Did I mention it's actually only going to Papakura and then you'll have to change trains.

The National Party has won its appeal over the damages cost for breaching copyright to the Eminem song they used in the 2014 election.

The Numbers Game

4: people have died on the roads in a horror start to the holiday season
5: cows struck dead by lightning near Te Awamutu - we have had some of the longest periods of thunder and lightning that I remember
20: c/L drop in petrol price by the normally low priced Gull
40: years of Peter Williams reading news has ended as he signed off from TVNZ for the last time this week
155,700: donated by New Zealand Herald readers for Fred Hollows Foundation to provide eye-health equipment in Vanuatu
3m: $ the cost of the government scrapping plans for new parliamentary buildings
4m: $ fully electric ferry is to be built in New Zealand - the Southern Hemisphere's first
14m: $ paid by Tauranga City Council to Bella Vista homeowners after they approved houses but then ordered evacuations because of slip potential
1.4b: $ announced by the government to make NZ's worst roads safer - and who will they come to, to find the worst roads. Me. (My day job)

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5301 (-0.0099)
EUR 0.5895 (-0.0116)
USD 0.6710 (-0.0088)
AUD 0.9540 (+0.0075)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Trevor Chinn
Trevor died this week aged 81. He was a renowned Glaciologist and documented changes in the Southern Alps over the last few decades.

Joke of the Weekender

If growing up in the ’80s taught me one thing, it’s that my friends and I should have found a treasure map by now.


Darren Harrison:
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