The Weekender 13/06/2020

Well, now we are on Level 1 - which is essentially all normal except for our borders.


The big rugby news of the week is that Dan Carter has signed with the Blues for the NZ version of Super Rugby. The Sunwolves were trying to join in the new Australian competition but the bid has ended, meaning the Sunwolves have ended their time in Super Rugby.
Along with Level 1 comes fans in the stands for Super Rugby Aotearoa, and it all starts this weekend.

The Warriors had a near-perfect first game when they beat St George Illawarra 18-0, but they followed that with a disappointing 26-0 defeat to Penrith, but bounced back with a good game beating the Cowboys 37-26.

NZ News

While the issues with Transmission Gully continue, an Official Information Act request has found the number of times Transport Minister Phil Twyford has visited the site. None. Not once, despite three invitations. Another clear case of Labour MP's who might be great speakers and lawyers, but don't seem to know much about business. And in other news, Labour has picked lawyers for it's Manurewa and Mana seats, while National has picked a farmer for Wairarapa.

In Covid-19 news, our Covid-19 death rate is just 0.45 deaths per 100,000 people, the second-lowest in the OECD world. The problem is that Australia's death rate is 0.41 and they didn't have anywhere the same restrictions. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern claimed this week that the economy is back on track - National leader Todd Muller said: "She needs to get out more"!
The Prime Minister was this week angry with The Warehouse after it announced at least 1,000 jobs will be axed. I wonder if she is angry at her government for not helping, as government departments are the worst at the moment. And how about the government assigning a $371m KiwiRail contract overseas, rather than to one of the NZ firms bidding. They are also spending a bunch of advertising money on a big campaign telling us to spend our money locally. Do they really not see the hypocrisy?
One thing that the Taxpayers Union has noted is the cynical timing of the governments' Covid-19 spend-up. There are three schemes which finish shortly after the election on the 19th September, making them seem like they are spending all they can to get re-elected.
The introduction of Level 1 is basically everything normal except for borders. But who is allowed in? The government released a set of immigration rules this week - but blatantly broke those rules when they let Avatar film crew in without any basis.

The Queens Birthday Weekend honours were announced and Taika Waititi and Kieran Read have been made officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit. There are five new knights and dames: Jane Harding, Derek Lardelli, Karen Poutasi, Robert Elliott and Aroha Reriti-Crofts. I don't think I've heard of any of them before.

A number of well-off New Zealanders have slammed the government's $87m Covid-19 technology response. While lots of students who didn't have access to technology over the lockdown, didn't get anything, after lockdown is finished, a number of people who clearly don't need it were given a free modem. What a waste of money.

Another of the government's key election promises has fallen apart with the minister in charge of the Pike River Mine recovery, Andrew Little, announcing that now it is "just impractical" to expect the remains of all the fallen miners to be recovered. They have said they are now focussing on gathering evidence - but I think that is just code for "we want to carry on spending money, so we'll just say something that sounds likely".

The Police have decided not to go further with the "Armed Response Teams" after a six-month trial. Apparently they were supposed to record every time they were used - and they simply didn't bother.

The Numbers Game

0: active cases of Covid-19
4.9: magnitude earthquake near New Plymouth - which wasn't related to the Levin quakes
5.2: magnitude earthquake near Milford Sound
22: days of no new cases of Covid-19
32: people charged with the theft of 98 Jucy vehicles during the lockdown
64: % of Wellington workers surveyed wanted to work from home more
86: Auckland Council employees are paid more than $250,000
520: mm of rain was recorded at the Pinnacles in Coromandel after a 1 in 15-year storm - Auckland's water storage levels increased 1%
14,000: jobs have been lost, 3,500 from Air New Zealand, 1,100 from Auckland Council, 1,000 from Fletcher
15,750: $ fine for HEB Construction with Transmission Gully for 167 environmental consent breaches - a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket - and they'll probably pay it with the funds NZTA gave them for no reason
31,000: customers without power across the Far North
109,000: $ of government borrowing per household - we will be paying this back for generations
1.5m: $ bailout for Whale Watch Kaikoura
2.4m: $ in property and shares seized by the Police after an operation against the Tribal Huk gang
8m: $ for a humble three-bedroom home in Auckland, $2.4m above CV
14m: $ Covid-19 payment by NZTA for the Transmission Gully builders
16m: $ promised by National to scrap teacher registration fees
18.7m: $ cigarette smuggling ring was described as "unprecedented large-scale tax evasion"
37.5m: $ from the Provincial Growth Fund for Northland water storage
175m: $ package for the "decimated" arts & creative sector
401m: $ going into research in the hope of spurring innovation and development
1.5b: $ worth of planes the government is buying for the Defence Force

Finance NZ Dollar

Since 23/05/2020 (21 days ago).
GBP 0.5140 (0.0143)
EUR 0.5728 (0.0154)
USD 0.6448 (0.0368)
AUD 0.9409 (0.0107)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Dame Jane Harding
Distinguished Professor Jane Harding's career has always been focused on better outcomes for newborn babies and their families, so during the coronavirus crisis, her thoughts have been with the people who became parents during the lockdown.
"It must have been really difficult for the new families and the people looking after them ... and I know there were so many new mums and babies without extended family to support them."
Harding said she was "surprised and quite overwhelmed" when she learned she was to be appointed a dame companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her world-leading research into the health of newborn babies.  

Joke of the Weekender

Did you hear about the mathematician who’s afraid of negative numbers?
He’ll stop at nothing to avoid them.


Darren Harrison:
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