The Weekender 16/05/2020

Hey, hope you had a nice day like we did today!


The Warriors are in Australia preparing for the re-start of the NRL season, and the NZ Super Rugby teams are planning a New Zealand competition.

NZ News

Auckland has some light showers heading their way, but there isn't anything in sight that will break their current drought.

There haven't been many cases of Covid-19 this week, but one of them was a woman who arrived over two weeks ago from the US. According to a Waikato Uni survey, kiwis are feeling "stressed but resilient".

The government released its budget this week. And it was a biggie. There is $50b, but true to form the government has announced it, but don't really seem to know what to spend it on. They have some ideas, but there are just large amounts of "slush fund", presumably for later "discretionary" (read: election buying) spending.
Here are some interesting numbers. They've given Pharmac $10m extra. That sounds great. As you may or may not know, Pharmac buy medicines and vaccines and then provide them cheap or free to NZers. But it seems the budget is also catering to special interest groups when horse racing gets $72.5m - proudly announced by NZ First leader Winston Peters. Who, at this time, values horse racing over life-saving drugs? And let's not ignore important but perhaps not urgent spending like $1.2b gone to a railway package (with a decade of Treasury advice saying it's not worth it). Huh, what about Pharmac?
Richard Prebble said "This government has the best PR ever and no product. It is the first Budget where the Government says it is going to spend but does not know what on. As if just spending is a sensible policy. Thirty years of prudence blown in one Budget." The National leader said, there will be a "tsunami" of debt to be repaid at some point, "There's over $25b that the Minister of Finance can't even say how he would spend right now".
How about in February when the Minister of Health said he was putting the DHB's "on notice" for poor financial performance - and now rewards them a $3.9b funding injection.

Level 2 arrived this week. That means we are basically back to normal, all businesses open, but they need social distancing, and there are limitations on meeting sizes. We thought that by the time we moved to Level 2, the rules might be settled, but no. After Level 2 came into effect Wednesday night, there was a government announcement that funerals could have up to 50 people, changed originally from 100, then to 10. There are many questions about the rules. So now funerals have changed, but church services are only allowed up to 10 people, while rugby games are OK, as are up to 100 at a pub. Are cultural and religious events being targetted?
Another of the contentious rules has been the new law allowing police access to homes and maraes without a warrant, presumably to enforce the association rules of Level 2. Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says his frontline staff will use commonsense and discretion when enforcing them - unfortunately, the new Police Commissioner has already made a number of blunders in his very new tenure.

Winston Peters has been on form this week after telling struggling migrant workers that "you should probably go home". He also did a bit of a rant saying that Maori should put a permanent end to the use of the hongi, adding "cultures need to adapt or die".

The Numbers Game

2: more cell phone towers have been set on fire in Auckland connected to 5G conspiracy theories
11: people have so far died from Covid-19 from the Rosewood Rest Home in Auckland - there have only been 10 other deaths
25: years ago this week when the America's Cup became New Zealand's Cup - that great win in San Diego
100: year old Veda Young celebrated her 100th birthday under lockdown - as did my Aunty Ivy in England
700: jobs being axed by SkyCity
800: fines handed out in Wellington as the free parking ends
220m: $ [budget] to expand the school lunches initiative
400m: $ [budget] for a tourism support fund
830m: $ [budget] disability support package
1.2b: $ [budget] railway package
1.6b: $ [budget] trades and training scheme
3b: $ [budget] infrastructure investment scheme
3.2b: $ [budget] extension of the wage subsidy scheme

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.4904 (-0.0044)
EUR 0.5485 (-0.0110)
USD 0.5936 (-0.0202)
AUD 0.9253 (-0.0140)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Ernest Godward
An innovator of many talents. During the 1930s he was a leading world expert on the internal combustion engine. He built power tools, eggbeaters, burglar-proof windows and hairpins. He was a champion sportsman, a fine musician and a talented painter – Ernest Godward was a brilliant over-achiever.

Joke of the Weekender

How come the barber won the race?
The cheater took a short cut.


Darren Harrison:
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
{If these just fill up your junk mail, then send me an email & I'll take you off the list | The Weekender is not a verified news source, sometimes it's even just an opinion}