The Weekender 20/06/2020

Welcome to the Weekender, tonight we have our first Chiefs home game in a while!


The Wellington Phoenix have been given clearance to travel to Sydney to resume the A-League season.

Last week Bryn Gatland kicked the Highlanders to a 28-27 win over the Chiefs down in Dunedin for the first of the Super Rugby Aotearoa games. The next day the Blues beat the Hurricanes 30-20 in Auckland to a sell-out crowd.

The Warriors continue to fail with consistency as they are trounced 40-12 by the Rabbitohs. Also, Warrior Wayde Egan has been charged with suspected eye-gouging during the game.

And in the restart of the ASB Netball Championship, the Mystics beat the Magic 47-40.

NZ News

Yesterday we had our 33rd police officer killed in the line of duty when he was shot along with a colleague and a member of the public in a routine traffic stop in West Auckland. Today it was announced he was Constable Matthew Dennis Hunt, aged 28. It was his lifelong dream to become a police officer.

We need a new section for government incompetence. Let's start with the word from our sound-byte Prime Minister about how she and a bunch of others would have their pay cut during the lockdown, so they could feel a little less bad about wasting huge amounts of our money. Well, they couldn't figure it out and even now her pay cut hasn't gone through. It's a bit weird, John Key figured out how to give away all his salary.
Another great sound byte from the Prime Minister was "Parliament should look like New Zealand", after announcing her new line up. However, in her top twenty, there are only six women (30% vs NZ 50%) but they got the Maori representation pretty close to the percentage at 20% vs 16.5% in the general population.
The government has apparently bypassed the built-for-purpose Infrastructure Commission when it came to green-lighting a bunch of shovel-ready projects to recover from Covid-19. The National MP said "You have to wonder why they bothered to establish an expensive new bureaucracy when they've not bothered to talk to them. This is another example of incompetence by a government that simply can't deliver."

A report came out this week saying how the Ministry of Health had no idea how much personal protective equipment it had, or how much it needed, or what had expired, or how it should be distributed. The report also attacked the mixed messages coming from Director-General of Health (the face of the Covid-19 response) Ashley Bloomfield.

But then the biggest blunder of the week - or the month - comes from the Ministry of Health who completely stuffed up the quarantine of the two English women who reintroduced Covid-19 to New Zealand. The two women requested leave from isolation and drove to Wellington for the funeral of a parent. But the ministry failed to properly even ask them the right questions to determine if they had Covid-19 - apparently, they just asked if "they were ok". Police Minister Stuart Nash described the incident as unforgivable and "unacceptable ineptitude" saying someone needs to be held accountable. But the chance of that happening with this government is pretty remote. The former police commissioner has said that six people absconded after being granted compassionate leave to attend a funeral in Hamilton. What about the joke that is the ministry's quarantine and managed isolation facilities? One News showed footage of people in "isolation" mixing with other people staying at the hotel, and then footage of people going on "managed walks" through Auckland and walking right past the public. There are also reports of people leaving the hotels without being obligated to even have a Covid-19 test.
The opposition health spokesman has claimed a homeless man sneaked into a five-start hotel being used as a quarantine facility and stayed there for two weeks. But with no sneaking required, the government spent $22m on housing homeless in motels during the lockdown. We found this on our trip to Napier recently. We struggled to find accommodation because of this - according to our host where we eventually stayed.

You may have forgotten but this government was elected claiming they would be the most transparent government ever, however they are remaining tight-lipped on their new candidate Ayesha Verrall who was one of the key voices advising the government during the Covid-19 crisis. Early on Verrall was very vocal in her criticism of the Government's contact tracing programme, but later on, said the system had improved.
The Prime Minister has defended the "Unite for the Recovery" ads that are being plastered all around, as the Act party leader claims they are thinly veiled Labour adverts. There have been claims that the Labour slogan for the election will be something similar.

The Numbers Game

-1.6: GDP for the first quarter of 2020 means economic disaster isn't far away, compared to Australia on -0.3 - don't forget that Jan & Feb were relatively normal months!
1: Volcanic Alert level for White Island
5: per 100,000 vs 16.5 per 100,000 consultations for the flu at this time of the year - lockdown has made a big dent on the annual flu numbers - an estimated 500 people die from the flu in NZ each year
5.1: magnitude earthquake shook the Bay of Plenty
7.4: magnitude earthquake near the Kermadec Islands (700km away) yesterday was felt widely across New Zealand and a tsunami was not expected
11: major project deemed "shovel-ready" are being fast-tracked to kick-start the economy including the Auckland Harbour Bridge "Skypath" cycleway and walkway
50: % drop in house sales for May but prices stay at near-record highs
99: % drop in arrivals for April to the lowest level in more than 50 years
102: mm of rain at Remutaka summit as heavy rain and snow hit the country with more expected over the weekend
15m: litres of water from the Waikato River for Auckland as the Council uses emergency powers for their ongoing water crisis
110m: $ to keep public transport running during Covid-19 was paid for by NZTA - remember we watched the empty buses in our area - we counted two passengers for the entire Level 4 lockdown
390m: $ subsidy for employers training apprentices at $16,000 each

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5188 (0.0049)
EUR 0.5732 (0.0004)
USD 0.6407 (-0.0040)
AUD 0.9375 (-0.0034)

The Weekender NZer of the week

John Britten
John Britten was a revolutionary motorcycle designer whose home-brewed machine won international plaudits with its stunning design and performance. The 300+ km/h blur of speed, the smell of burning rubber and the distinctive roar of the Britten V1000 motorcycle linger over the tarmac of kiwi myth and the world of motorcycle design. From his backyard in Christchurch John Britten melded the edges of design and engineering, the acclamation testifying to a visionary talent: “man against the manufacturers”, design genius, engineer, artist, thinker, entrepreneur, “the last of the great privateers”, inventor, “Renaissance man” – as well as architect, builder, glider pilot and glass sculptor.  

Joke of the Weekender

Helvetica and Times New Roman walk into a bar
“Get out of here!” shouts the bartender. “We don’t serve your type.”


Darren Harrison:
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