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.


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.

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:
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