The Weekender 24/08/2019

It is a lovely sunny blue sky day today, and it was last Monday, but we've had a big storm in between and another coming up.


The All Blacks stood up last weekend and thrashed the Wallabies 36-0 at Eden Park to retain the Bledisloe Cup. They played much better and in wet conditions to continue Australia's 33-year drought at Eden Park. Despite the win, the All Blacks have been dropped off the number one ranking with New Zealander coached Wales claiming the top spot after they beat England. The All Blacks had 509 consecutive weeks at the top.
The Black Ferns also thrashed Australia 37-8 with five tries to one.

NZ News

This has been a funny week for the government. PM Jacinda Ardern jumped up and down over poor New Zealander's being fleeced by prices at the petrol pump. Sure we pay quite a lot, but here are two points. The first is that Labour and the Green's are pushing all sorts of "environmentally aware" transport, blocking many roads that would get traffic (cars) flowing smoother & quicker - they should be unapologetically pushing petrol prices up - if it wasn't just politics for them. Secondly, I've seen comparisons of NZ's petrol prices compared with other countries - showing the tax component. Let me tell you a secret. We pay a lot for petrol because the government taxes it so highly. When National leader Simon Bridges pointed this out Ardern jumped up & down even more. I guess she was upset that 47% of petrol costs are due to taxes. Maybe she will drop that.
Speaking of Labour & the Green's pushing "environmentally aware" transport, the government is handing out $4.5m of our money in corporate welfare, to companies to buy electric vehicles and charging stations. The Interislander got $65,000 to put in electric vehicle chargers on the ferries - but the "green" power comes directly from the diesel ferry engines.
This week the government announced that the Auckland light rail process will drag out past next year with more work to decide who will deliver the project. Transport Minister Phil Twyford also pushed CAA chairman Nigel Gould to resign from the CAA, saying "the CAA was going through some big changes and it would be best to have fresh leadership at this time".
This week the government found out the results of one of their big campaign promises - reducing the gender pay gap. And it turns out it hasn't changed from when they were elected. That isn't a big surprise to anyone looking into the issues because it seems like it is due to women choosing to do work that historically is paid less. But the government will continue to talk about it and create working groups and plead with everyone that it will just take more time (another election cycle perhaps?).
I don't know whether this is a result of the KiwiBuild reset or not, but the head of delivery for KiwiBuild is leaving just as the much anticipated "reset" is to be announced. She had a six-month contract but is leaving a month early.

Winston Peters has said he will drop his law-suit against everyone he doesn't like, as long as Paula Bennett leaves parliament. He doesn't actually have any proof, the law-suit is to find out if anyone wronged him. So he was off for a week with a knee operation and Paula Bennett sent him flowers. He was, of course, was very rude and regifted them, saying they were "seriously bad taste".

The Numbers Game

3: of the World's 100 Greatest Places of 2019 (according to Time magazine) are in NZ, Wellington's Zelandia Ecosanctuary, Hiakai restaurant in Wellington and Camp Glenorchy
4.6: Richter scale earthquake felt over central NZ
23: rain days in Auckland so far this month - it has rained every day after a dry start to the year
38: people are refugees from New Zealand, according to a UN High Commission for Refugees Global Trends report
602: ha area in the earthquake-ravaged eastern Christchurch will have a "once in a lifetime" makeover after the government approved a number of projects in the area that once housed 5,000 properties
616: cases of the measles in Auckland with an alert for travellers from Los Angeles
3,600: lightning strikes in the north of NZ as storms hit the country during the week
54m: $ announced by the government to help keep people off the streets - a new petrol tax might help with that

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5216 (-0.0075)
EUR 0.5697 (-0.0098)
USD 0.6404 (-0.0025)
AUD 0.9483 (+0.0001)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Katherine Mansfield
Katherine Mansfield revolutionised the 20th Century English short story. Her best work shakes itself free of plots and endings and gives the story, for the first time, the expansiveness of the interior life, the poetry of feeling, the blurred edges of personality. She is taught worldwide because of her historical importance but also because her prose offers lessons in entering ordinary lives that are still vivid and strong. And her fiction retains its relevance through its open-endedness—its ability to raise discomforting questions about identity, belonging and desire.

Joke of the Weekender

What should you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?


Darren Harrison:
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