The Weekender 21/09/2019

Welcome to the Rugby World Cup!


The Rugby World Cup started last night with the opening game between hosts Japan and Russia with Japan winning 30-10, and the All Blacks kicking off their campaign against South Africa later tonight. In games today, Australia came back in the second half to beat Fiji 39-21, France beat Argentina 23-21 with a drop goal.
In provincial rugby, Manawatu beat Canterbury 32-29 in a shock upset with unwanted All Black Ngani Laumape leading the way for the Turbos. And Southland had their first win in three years thrashing Counties Manukau 42-14 to end their 27-match losing streak.

Last weekend in the Sunday race at Pukekohe for the Aussie V8's there was a bit of safety car mayhem when the safety car came out in the wrong place and was passed by Jamie Whincup, causing all sorts of issues with people pitting etc, but at the end championship leader Scott McLaughlin won the race for a record-breaking 17 wins in a season, eclipsing Craig Lowndes' 1996 record.

Sophie Pascoe finished the World para Swimming Champs in London with her fourth gold medal in the women's 50m freestyle S9 in a new championship record time. The New Zealand team finished with six golds and one silver.

The New Zealand team got three gold medals at the Para Cycling Road World Champs in the Netherlands.

Last weekend in the opening game of league's NRLW, the NZ Warriors women beat Sydney Roosters 16-12.

NZ News

The news has died down this week surrounding Labour's stuff up of their second sexual assault investigation, but one of the members of the investigating panel has said that he wasn't told about the sexual assault complaint when they decided that no disciplinary action was needed. It's pretty clear that information had been told to the correct Labour authorities, and it seems like the party has entirely whitewashed it.
National PM Paula Bennett has said that the Prime Minister is protecting the role of her staff and Finance Minister Grant Robertson after PM Jacinda Ardern announced a new review but with a very specific set of instructions - not including what went wrong with the last investigation. I'm not quite sure why they aren't just required to simply get the Police in.
This is all on top of the Prime Minister telling us six weeks ago that a Queen's Counsel had been appointed to establish what went wrong and she was deferring all comment until those deliberations were complete. But much more recently it was discovered that the QC hasn't even started work and Jacinda Ardern is drawing up secret terms of reference.

The Prime Minister also had a jet-lag gaffe after stepping off the plane and saying it was "incredibly exciting time for New Zealand in its relationship with China - excuse me sorry, with Japan".
The Government announced this week it was establishing a new housing entity called "Kainga Ora" which will replace Housing New Zealand, its development subsidiary HLC and KiwiBuild.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford has cleared out almost all of the NZ Transport Agency's board. The opposition says he is "passing the buck" while he says he's just cleaning up a mess he inherited (two years after he gets in?).

National MP Melissa Lee told an interesting story in Parliament this week. She said a friend of the family contacted her saying they had taken their 5 and 8-year-olds to a doctor for measles vaccinations and were turned away - even after offering to pay, being told it was because Maori and Pasifika children were the priority.

The Numbers Game

19: households per staff member for NZ's least efficient council of Westland District Council - the most efficient is Tararua District with a staff member for every 117 households
24: th ranking for the Tall Blacks jumping 14 places following the recent World Cup
33: % of fees-free students did not complete at least one course because of either failure or withdrawing
3,387: $ in rates per person for Auckland Council - required to pay the 2,473 staff who earn over $100,000
25,402: $ of liabilities/debt per household for Christchurch - the highest of any council, the average is $6,197
4.5m: $ paid for Kate Sheppard's former home by the Government to become a heritage venue and educational centre
8m: $ spent by the government on "social media influencers" since 2012

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5018 (-0.0081)
EUR 0.5681 (-0.0035)
USD 0.6258 (-0.0119)
AUD 0.9245 (-0.0028)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Charles Upham
Victoria Cross and Bar
Acknowledged widely as the outstanding soldier of the Second World War, Captain Charles Upham remains the only combatant soldier to have received the Victoria Cross and Bar (awarded to members of the armed forces of the Commonwealth for exceptional bravery). In Crete in May 1941, and the Western Desert in July 1942, Upham distinguished himself with displays of ‘nerveless competence’.

Upham was renowned for combining controlled courage with quick-thinking resourcefulness. While most medals for bravery are awarded for a single act, Upham’s first citation was for nine days of skill, leadership and evident heroism. In March 1941, he was a Second Lieutenant in the 20th NZ Battalion in Crete. His display of courage included: destroying numerous enemy posts; rescuing a wounded man under fire; penetrating deep behind enemy lines and killing twenty-two German soldiers on the way to leading out an isolated platoon. This was all after being blown over by a mortar shell, and with a shrapnel wound in his shoulder and a bullet in his foot.

Joke of the Weekender

The cable repairman was on my street and asked me what time it was. I told him it is between 8 am and 1 pm.


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}

The Weekender 14/09/2019

Welcome along, only six days until the Rugby World Cup!


It is only a few days until the Rugby World Cup, but there is already a casualty for the All Blacks with Waikato loose forward Luke Jacobsen being ruled out of the tournament.
Former All Black Joe Rokocoko has retired after five seasons at French club Racing 92. He played the last of his 68 test in 2010.
Former All Black Mark Robinson has been appointed the new chief executive of NZ Rugby.

Last weekend the All Blacks took on Tonga here in Hamilton and won 92-7. After 65 minutes the All Blacks took Ryan Crotty off without replacing him to have some game time with a player down but that was at 92-0 so I guess it didn't work out for them.
The win wasn't enough to retain the world number one ranking with Ireland taking over the top spot for the start of the Rugby World Cup.

Venus was yet again the runner up at the U.S. Tennis Open. Kiwi Michael Venus that is, in the mixed doubles. How awesome that a kiwi made the US Open final!

The NZ Warriors put on a gritty performance for a surprise 24-20 win over the Canberra Raiders.
Former Kiwis coach Frank Endacott is coaching Mate Ma'a Tonga for the upcoming rugby league tests against Great Britain and Australia.

The Tall Blacks thumped Japan 111-81 in the classification round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China to give themselves a shot at making the Olympics. Then they beat the much higher-ranked Turkey 102-101.

The Black Sticks Women have qualified for next year's Tokyo Olympics after Olivia Merry scored with five minutes to go to draw the final game against Australia, giving the Black Sticks the Oceania Cup with a superior goal difference.

Sophie Pascoe has been at it again in the pool at the World Para Swimming Champs in London. She won gold in the women's 100m freestyle S9 final, another in something else and a third in the 100m butterfly S9 for her 11th world title.
Cameron Leslie has set a world record as he won gold for the men's S4 50m freestyle.

It wasn't the day at Pukekohe for Aussie V8 championship leader Scott McLaughlin to claim his race wins record, but it was the day for Shane van Gisbergen to win the race from pole position. Red Bull Racing Holden got a one-two with Jamie Whincup taking second place. Race Two is tomorrow.

NZ News

The government has launched a new office to tackle suicide rates with support coming from mental health campaigner Mike King.
The government has announced that New Zealand history will be compulsory in all schools by 2022.

A bunch of Kiwi firefighters paid tribute to first responders who lost their lives in the attacks on September 11, 2001, in the USA, by performing a spine-tingling haka at the base of the Sky Tower.

After five weeks of news about a highly ranked Labour employee who was involved in a sexual assault scandal, something finally happened this week. It kicked off with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying she was incredibly frustrated over Labour's handling of the situation. And that kind of confused everyone here, because we have been hearing about it for weeks, and she is the Labour leader - surely the boss has things under control?
So then came the curious news with Ardern saying she only heard that the incident was a sexual assault 48 hours before - but it had been in the news, lots of stories, lots of headlines and she'd even been asked about the incident a couple of weeks before on a talkback show, where she responded like she knew what he was talking about. The party president also said he didn't know about the allegations, although multiple people have come forward to say that the President and the party's investigating panel had been made aware of it. There are apparently 12 people who have made complaints but it wasn't just the president at fault, it has become clear that Ardern's senior staff knew about it months ago, and it's a pretty big reach to think that they knew and she didn't. The Prime Minister appears to be either straight-out lying or incompetent.
There were calls for the Labour President to resign over his handling of the incident, and then mid-week he did resign. However, he has continued to claim he didn't know, despite complainants providing email correspondence proving he did know. As if that wasn't bad enough for the complainants, the temporary replacement for the Labour president, was the head of the panel investigating the claims - that is someone who doesn't believe them.
So what of the person at the centre of the allegations. They have been allowed to resign - no that can't be right, surely they would have been fired? No, they have been allowed to leave on their own terms. And based on the Prime Minister refusing to comment, they have probably received a compensation payout.
There are other players in this charade. There is Deputy Labour leader Kelvin Davis who dismissed the complainants by calling the allegations "rumours", and then he tried to hide behind double meanings in Maori to get away with it - he clearly isn't impartial. Then there is Helen Clark who said Jacinda Ardern was "let down" in the Labour sexual assault scandal - but only if she doesn't have anything to do with the Labour Party (like running it). I think it's more likely everyone in the country has been let down by her handling of it and complete lack of leadership.

This should be a big write up by itself, not just a footnote after the previous paragraph, but during the week it was made known that a left-wing political campaign company called ActionStation with close connections to Labour and the Green's, is being funded by me - and all other taxpayers. They have received a grant from Netsafe, who claim on their website that they do not fund political organisations. So what are ActionStation doing? They have been giving fuel vouchers to Ihumatao protestors and financially supporting beneficiaries to move into the campsite. Basically a protest for hire, to try and convince the government to pay more for already settled Treaty claims.

The Numbers Game

7: lightning strikes per minutes over an hour for Auckland during a storm last week
75: people have died after taking synthetic drugs in the last two years
1007: cases of the measles in Auckland as the outbreak shows no signs of slowing

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5099 (-0.0111)
EUR 0.5716 (-0.0032)
USD 0.6377 (-0.0022)
AUD 0.9273 (-0.0072)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Norman Bitters
One of Hawke's Bay's last remaining WWII survivors, Norman Bitters, has died at 97 years of age.
Bitters served as part of the New Zealand Navy and managed to spend his last Anzac Day attending three different services.

Joke of the Weekender

Seen on the door of a repair shop:
WE CAN FIX ANYTHING. (Please knock on the door—the bell doesn’t work.)


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}

The Weekender 07/09/2019

Welcome to spring. Down here at least. The first two days of spring were amazing blue sky days but we've had quite a bit of rain since then.


The Black Caps won the Twenty20 cricket series 1-2 after Sri Lanka won the last game - well Lasith Malinga won it, taking four wickets in four successive balls. For the second game, the Black Caps won by four wickets chasing 162 with both Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill out injured. The game finished oddly with Mitchell Santner appearing to be caught on the boundary before two fielders collided taking the ball over the rope for six. In the first game, the Black Caps won by five wickets.

Hayden Paddon is back in the WRC for the last two rounds with the all-new Ford Fiesta R5 MkII.

Tom Walsh has become the first man in history to defend the Diamond League shot put title when he threw 22.3 m in his first attempt in Brussels.

The Tall Blacks have done soo well but have missed out on the second round of the Basketball World Cup after a close 103-97 loss to Greece in their final pool game. If only there was someone good enough to play in the NBA, who could play for the team and help them with 6-7 extra points. In the previous game, they did well to beat Montenegro 93-83 with Corey Webster on fire top-scoring for both teams with 25 points. In their first game, the Tall Blacks lost 102-94 to Brazil.

Last weekend in rowing the Women's eight won gold and NZ topped the World Championships with four gold medals and two silvers, qualifying nine boats for the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Team New Zealand launched their first boat for the 2021 America's Cup this week. This will be their learning boat and they have one more boat on the way.

The Silver Ferns have retained the services of Laura Langman and Maria Folau after the two were widely tipped to retire after the world cup that has just been.

The All Blacks play Tonga this afternoon here in Hamilton as a final warm-up test before departing for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

NZ News

This week the news has been about the KiwiBuild reset. The (new) Housing Minister admitted that putting targets around KiwiBuild was a mistake, so the Government has dropped the "100,000" homes target and now they are just doing "something". They will tell us how much it will cost, and after they are done they will tell us that they have succeded against their previously undefined targets. One good thing is that they are dropping the required deposit from 10% to 5%.

The other interesting government announcement this week was the new water regulations which are very very tough against farmers. The thing is that it was announced by Minister of Trade and Export Growth David Parker - who was previously Minister of Economic Development - and has done a huge amount in the last two weeks to harm economic development, trade and export growth. He also stopped a hydro dam on the West Coast despite three councils, iwi, Department of Conservation and 90% of the people supporting it. As pointed out the irony is that with such a "green" anti-farming Labour party, there isn't really a need for the Green Party. The Green Party should be all about the environment, but they haven't had any of the portfolio's or done anything environmental it seems.

The Numbers Game

5.2: magnitude earthquake was reported near Turangi on Thursday
80: % water in Auckland's reservoirs after a dry six months had them below 60% capacity at the start of July
1059: cases of the measles, 40% of measles cases in Auckland are Pacific Islanders, 69% are in South Auckland. The US, UK and Australia have warned citizens travelling to NZ
20,000: searches for barbecues on the first week of spring as TradeMe searches for BBQs, jandals and outdoor furniture increase signalling warmer weather ahead
19m: $ announced for a walking track across Mt Taranaki, from the Regional Economic Development (slush) fund
60m: $ injection from the Government into Pharmac to fund cancer treatments
94.8m: $ from the Government to upgrade the rail line from Whangarei to Auckland
469: kg of methamphetamine for a record drug haul by NZ Customs was worth an estimated $230m

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5210 (0.0018)
EUR 0.5748 (0.0014)
USD 0.6399 (0.0086)
AUD 0.9345 (-0.0024)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Jean Batten
She was the manifestation of triumph and hope against the odds through the dark days of the Depression. In 1934, she smashed, by six days, Amy Johnson’s flight time between England and Australia. The following year, she was the first woman to make the return flight. In 1936, she made the first-ever direct flight between England and New Zealand and then the fastest ever trans-Tasman flight. Jean Batten was the ‘Garbo of the Skies’. She stood for adventure, daring, exploration and glamour. In her time, Jean Batten was one of the most famous people in the world.

Joke of the Weekender

Try an internship! Internships give you all the experience of a summer job without the hassle of a paycheck.


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}

The Weekender 31/08/2019

Welcome to a lovely winter weekend after a bit of a wet week.


The All Blacks announced the squad for the Rugby World Cup this week and with all the talking points of people who made it (like Brad Webber), the biggest talk was around those who missed out. Specifically, dropping 108-test Owen Franks, Liam Squire and Ngani Laumape. The Chiefs are the second most represented Super Rugby team with 8 players, behind the Crusaders with 11.

The Black Caps have levelled the cricket test series against Sri Lanka after they bowled them out for 122 runs to win by an innings and 65 runs on the final day of the rain-affected test.

In their second race ever, the women's rowing quad has qualified for next years Olympics.
Lisa Carrington won her third K1 200m title at the ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Champs in Hungary, winning the final by almost two seconds. Lisa then picked up a second gold in the K1 500m winning by 1.63 seconds.

The Warriors had their last home game last night, losing 10-31 to the Rabbitohs, to finish with only three wins from 10 games at Mt Smart.

Scott McLaughlin had back-to-back wins in South Australia to equal Craig Lowndes record of 16 wins in a season back in 1996.

Former NZ defender Danny Hay has been announced as the new coach of the All Whites.

Tom Walsh had a stunning performance in Paris to win the Diamond League shot put with a throw of 22.44m.

George Bennett has climbed six places in the latest stage in cycling's Spanish Vuelta to be sitting on ninth.

NZ News

The government announced a free school lunch trial next year to feed 5,000 children and they expect to eventually feed 21,000. So you might think they are trying to help children, but not for children who haven't been born yet. They are also pushing to remove almost all limits around killing those children.

Labour MP Clare Curran has announced she won't re-stand at the 2020 election. She was sacked from Cabinet a year ago.

I haven't heard the final result but Mark Lundy's final bid to overturn his conviction has been going on this week in the Supreme Court. Update: The Supreme Court has reserved its decision.

National has said they won't be supporting the second round of gun law reforms saying that it was targeting the wrong people.

The Numbers Game

3: men escaped from police custody the other week in Levin. This week the second man was arrested, one to go
16: % drop in popularity of Jacinda Ardern for Prime Minister
29: days of rain in Auckland during August - a new record for the most rain days in a single month
849: cases of the measles so far this year, making it the worst measles epidemic in 22 years - 300 students sent home from Manurewa High School because they hadn't provided proof of immunisation
44,728: $ worth of domestic travel for Shane Jones in three months April to June. He was of course defended by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who spent $40,341
400,000: $ worth of e-scooter injuries as their popularity explodes. Auckland surgeons now are operating on more e-scooter injuries than motorbike injuries
1m: $ of fraud from Canterbury DHB has been admitted by a former employee

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5192 (-0.0023)
EUR 0.5734 (+0.0036)
USD 0.6313 (-0.0091)
AUD 0.9369 (-0.0114)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Maurice Wilkins
A Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine in 1962 for his contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA – the very essence of life itself – and a New Zealander by birth, Maurice Wilkins is among our greatest achievers.

Joke of the Weekender

My neighbour is in the Guinness World Records. He has had 44 concussions. He lives very close to me. 
A stone’s throw away, in fact.


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}


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