The Weekender 03/11/2018

Welcome to November! Fireworks are on sale around the place, building up to Monday night! 


The Black Caps fell to a two-run defeat in their first Twenty20 match against Pakistan, then in the second Twenty20 NZ posted 153-7 and Pakistan hauled in the total with two balls to spare (and six wickets).

The Silver Ferns have won the Fast5 Netball World Series title in Melbourne for the seventh time.

Lydia Ko finished in a tie for sixth at the Swinging Skirts LPGA tournament in Taiwan.

The NZ Breakers had a great performance from Finn Delaney leading the Breakers to a 114-94 NBL win over the Adelaide 36ers, but up next is an away game against the Perth Wildcats.

The Kiwis Rugby league team are touring in England and they let the lead slip to lose the opening match 18-16.

NZ News

The Royals have been on tour this week with Meghan and Harry in the country. They appeared to have a great time in Wellington and Rotorua and thanked New Zealand when they left.

So a year into the government's KiwiBuild programme and this week the first houses were sold - in fact the first house went a soon-to-graduate doctor and Marketing manager. The salary cap is $180,000, and it seems more & more likely that the government is spending this huge amount of money to subsidise middle class to wealthy people.

The rest of the 14 articles I have are all about the government's huge mess about the immigration of convicted drug-smuggler Karel Sroubek - or whatever he is calling himself these days. The Czech arrived in NZ on a false passport - and a judge discharged him without conviction. Four years later he was jailed in 2016 for five years and nine months after being convicted of importing 5kg of MDMA. Apparently, he told the government that some corrupt cops were after him and Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway granted him residency rather than kicking him out of the country.
After a day of investigation, a newspaper discovered that he had gone back to the Czech Republic twice - not something that someone who was wanted would do. The government closed ranks with Winston Peters claiming it was "responsible", and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern backed her minister, while others pointed out examples where law-abiding useful people were denied the chance to stay.
Apparently, the minister is looking into it. 

The Numbers Game

3: rd most generous country in the world according to an annual giving index
6.2: Richter scale earthquake in the lower North Island - there were no reports of damage
7: NZ nominations for the World Rugby awards: Beauden Barrett, Rieko Ioane, and Black Ferns skipper Fiao'o Faamausili (along with the four Black Ferns Sevens players)
14: years of prison for synthetic drug-dealers being proposed by New Zealand First and supported by National - enough to get it through
6.5m: departure cards filled in annually in NZ will no longer be required from Monday - saving travellers 100,000 hours 

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5128 (+0.0053)
EUR 0.5845 (+0.0145)
USD 0.6657 (+0.0145)
AUD 0.9233 (+0.0049)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Major General Sir Andrew Russell
The Kiwi forces were led by a remarkable man from Hawke's Bay whose name and memory is revered by the townspeople of Le Quesnoy.
They were in northeastern France in a small town called Le Quesnoy which had been the centre of a remarkable assault on November 4, 1918 by Kiwi troops to oust the German forces which had occupied it. A remarkable and successful assault.

Joke of the Weekender

I wrote a song about a tortilla. Well actually, it’s more of a wrap.


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 27/10/2018

Welcome along, we've had some lovely spring weather this week but the rain has come back right now. 


Last night the mighty Waikato bounced back into the Premiership after only a year in the Championship after they got revenge for losing the shield by beating Otago 36-13. In the Premiership final, Canterbury had won nine of the last 10 titles but were beaten in an extra-time thriller 40-33 by Auckland who won their first title since 2007.
The All Blacks are taking on Australia in Japan in the final dead-rubber Bledisloe Cup game tonight and the All Black lead 37-20 with only a minute or two to go.

The Black Ferns Sevens beat the USA 33-7 to win the opening leg at the Colorado Sevens.
Joe Moody has re-signed with NZ Rugby and the Crusaders through to 2022. Ben Smith has reportedly signed a short seven month deal with Pau in France.

Last weekend in league Australia withstood a great challenge from Tonga in Auckland, winning 30-14.

The NZ Breakers were thumped 101-78 by the Sydney Kings last weekend.

The Wellington Phoenix got off to a good start in the Australian football league with a 2-1 over the Newcastle Jets.

Eddie Dawkins got silver in the men's keirin at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Paris.

Lydia Ko has been doing well at golf's LPGA in Shanghai producing a great round to jump up to a tie for second.

NZ News

The Primary School teachers have voted for rolling strikes across the country in the week starting 12th November.

There was a story recently about how the NZ Taxpayers Union (a group trying to stop wasteful spending in local government and all government), had to resort to using bogus identities when requesting information from the government-funded Callaghan Innovation organisation because they had been stonewalling their official information requests. Well, the stories were mostly around how it was terrible they were using bogus identities - while I thought the stories should be around why they had been stonewalled with requests covered by the Official Information Act. So this week an inquiry has been launched into the OIA requests by Callaghan Innovation. Great news.

After a terrible week of news for National last week, the stories have mostly dropped off this week, although rogue MP Jami-Lee Ross was picked up by the police and taken to a mental health facility during the week. The polls responded but only barely with a drop of 2% for National, but National leader Simon Bridges dropped again.

Former ANZ Chief economist Cameron Bagrie has urged the government to give small business a tax cut as the government continues to increase costs.
The socialists amongst us (ahem Jacinda) must be revelling in the news that NZ's education system is becoming more equal - unfortunately, it's because the well-off families have slipped more than poorer students. But they won't let the truth get in the way of spin.
Then during the week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern seemed to randomly announce that regional fuel taxes wouldn't be allowed anywhere except Auckland. It was a huge shock for Hamilton and Wellington councils who had already applied, and regional development MP Shane Jones who seemed surprised. National claimed Labour was making up policy on the fly. And despite Transport Minister Phil Twyford saying not telling Jones was a "glitch", the Prime Minister continued to blame everyone else saying everyone should have known.
There was also news of another government policy backfiring in education, with Statistics NZ showing that partly because of the government's fees-free tertiary education, the highest-spending households (i.e. the richest) had the lowest level of inflation. Or as ACT Leader David Seymour said: "the data showed the policy primarily benefited those who didn't need government assistance."

The Numbers Game

1: # most beautiful large NZ town award for Taupo
1: # most beautiful NZ city award for Dunedin at the 2018 environmental awards
3: of the Black Ferns team have been nominated for World Rugby Women's Sevens Player of the Year - all of the nominations
4.4: Richter scale earthquake shook Seddon in the South Island
5: deaths on the road during Labour Weekend

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5074 (+0.0030)
EUR 0.5700 (-0.0019)
USD 0.6512 (-0.0082)
AUD 0.9185 (-0.0077)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Leslie Comrie
design of computation

Joke of the Weekender

If I got 50 cents for every failed maths exam, I’d have $ 6.30 now.


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 20/10/2018

Hello, we have a nice sunny long weekend at the moment! 


It was semi-finals NPC rugby this weekend with Canterbury beating Tasman 21-16 in Nelson and Auckland beating Wellington 38-17. The final will be in Auckland next weekend. In the Mitre 10 Cup Waikato beat Northland 48-26 to make the final which they will host.
At the Youth Olympics, the women's rugby team won the gold beating France 15-12.

Last Sunday the Silver Ferns thrashed Australia 55-44 in Hamilton breaking an eight-game losing streak and kept the Constellation Cup alive. They were unable to win the final Constellation Cup game with Australia winning 58-47.

Last weekend we left the league test with the Kiwis winning 8-6 and unfortunately the Aussies scored 18 more points. But fortunately, the Kiwis scored 18 more points! So it was a double upset last weekend with the Kiwis beating Australia 26-24 at Mt Smart Stadium.

The NZ Breakers bounced back from their first game to beat the defending champions Melbourne 88-81.

Auckland golfer Nick Voke has won for the third time in the PGA Tour of China.

Scott McLaughlin overtook fellow kiwi Shane van Gisbergen in the Aussie V8 championship and now leads by 14 points.

NZ News

The news has been all bad for National this week. It started with National MP Jami-Lee Ross being identified as the most likely suspect for leaking National leader Simon Bridges expenses - something he denied. But then Ross claimed he had a recording of a discussion with Bridges doing illegal activity with party donations. The Party couldn't find any proof of the allegations and then the party sacked Ross as an MP. Ross hit back and released the tape, but I read the transcript and there certainly isn't a smoking gun for illegal activity, but it still wasn't the sort of conversation one wants to be made public. There were other allegations as well, and it's all been quite messy.
However, as one political commentator said: "I found the covert recording of Simon Bridges played to the nation by his would-be nemesis, Jami-Lee Ross, this week immensely reassuring." ... "If this is corruption NZ-style, we're lucky".

Don Brash is finally getting to speak at Massey University but it looks like those that cancelled his last speech under false pretences have got away with it.

Three people were killed in a Wanaka helicopter crash this week. The well known Wallis family have lost a second brother within three months to another helicopter accident. The other two people killed were DOC workers, one a ranger with 47 years experience. The police have said there is nothing to suggest foul play.

The Numbers Game

19: % increase in people on hardship assistance grants from September 2017 to 2018
21: walking tracks around the country have been shut down because of the spread of the kauri dieback disease
50: trucks protested in convoy through central Auckland against high petrol prices
70: th wedding anniversary for Kapiti couple Ken and Joan Fenton
75: % of NZers have experienced a tech scam - the highest level in the world
736: undersized paua were found in the possession of four people in Taranaki
5,833: votes for the Kereru (native wood pigeon) means it is crowned as New Zealand's bird of the year
25,000: foot skydiving jump NZ record for a high altitude low opening jump by Tasman woman Wendy Smith
224m: $ boost for North Shore and Whangarei hospitals
957m: $ for the annual Auckland City wages bill
1.8b: $ sunken waterfront stadium is being proposed for Auckland

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5044 (+0.0098)
EUR 0.5719 (+0.0098)
USD 0.6594 (+0.0088)
AUD 0.9261 (+0.0117)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Scott Quate
Senior Constable Scott Quate was today presented with the Police Association's Bravery Award at its annual conference in Wellington.
The Napier police officer said he didn't think twice before jumping into a freezing, fast-flowing river to try and save two people.

Joke of the Weekender

If we shouldn’t eat at night, why do they put a light in the fridge?


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 13/10/2018

Hello and welcome to the weekend after Bathurst. Just kidding. Mostly. Hope you've had a great week, I got to see most of the Great Race - well about five of the six hours.


Following up last weekends sports! The All Blacks had a last minute 30-32 win over South Africa in a meaningless game, after the Springboks lead by 12 points with four minutes to play. Sam Cane left the field early and it turned out he had a fractured neck. There was no permanent damage though, and he stayed behind for the week to have an operation. He will miss the end of year tour but should recover fine in a few months.
The Wallabies were in Argentina and had their own amazing comeback from 24-points to win 45-34 - narrowly avoiding finishing bottom of the table.
The Ranfurly Shield is on the move after Otago beat Waikato 23-19 this afternoon here in Hamilton.

Last weekend at the Great Race, Craig Lowndes and kiwi co-driver Steven Richards won the race. Kiwi Scott McLaughlin and Alex Premat finished third with kiwis Shane van Gisbergen and Earl Bamber fifth. Kiwi Fabian Coulthard was ninth.

Hayden Paddon finished the muddy Wales Rally GB in seventh place - his position for most of the round.
Brendon Hartley qualified sixth and finished 13th at F1's Japanese Grand Prix.

There are a triple-header league games on tonight as the young kiwis, women's and men's Kiwis take on Australia. This week there was a surprise announcement with young Dallin Watene-Zeleniak named as captain.
The Kiwi Ferns lost 26-24 to the Jillaroos, and currently, the Kiwis are leading the Kangaroos 8-6. I don't expect that score to change (ha!).

The Silver Ferns have had a good game and a not so good game but all with the same resulting loss to Australia. 57-42 in the first game, and an improved game for a 56-47 loss in the second game.

Young kiwis are doing well at the Youth Olympics with Dylan McCullough winning NZ's first medal with a gold in the triathlon - then he picked up a silver along with Brea Roderick and a couple of Aussies in the combined Kiwi-Roos triathlon team. Oscar Guo got a silver in the badminton team relay event.
And over in Adelaide, the Kiwis won two gold medals on the opening night of the Oceania Track Cycling Championships.

The NZ Breakers have gone down 86-73 to the Brisbane Bullets in their opening game after a promising pre-season.

NZ News

This has been the week of bad news about petrol prices for the government. The opposition blasted them for tax increases saying the average NZ household now pays $200 a year more for petrol, with Auckland families paying $324 extra.
Then the Prime Minister had the audacity to claim that "Consumers, in my book, are being fleeced" when she was questioned on petrol prices. Yes by you! She launched a scathing attack on petrol companies saying the government is going to pass the Commerce Amendment Bill to allow the government to force petrol companies to open their books. She gave some calculations on the price increases, but "forgot" (?) to include the recent excise tax and also left out Auckland's Regional Fuel tax. Perhaps she is allowed to start using Winston Peters' "I have no recollection of those events"-excuse.

The Court of Appeal has dismissed Mark Lundy's appeal against his conviction for the murder of his wife and daughter. They will apparently appeal to the Supreme Court. The long-running court saga has been going since the pair were found back in 2000. 

The Numbers Game

4.3: Richter scale earthquake hit Milford Sound during the week
5: years until noticeable water quality improvement - if the government is still around presumably?
8: th ranking for NZ in the "world energy performance index" - the only non-European country in the top 10
8: th most powerful passport in the world - we can travel without visas to 182 countries
31: people from Christchurch have needed to go to a hospital in the last three week, from the side-effects of synthetic drugs
1,891: $ worth of petrol stolen by a man in Hastings as the price of petrol rises
250m: $ the oppositions estimate of the cost of the governments 182 working groups
444m: $ the estimated cost of cyberbullying - it would be interesting to know their definition of bullying

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.4946 (+0.0036)
EUR 0.5620 (+0.0035)
USD 0.6506 (+0.0064)
AUD 0.9144 (+0.0016)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Kim Casali
This week a suggestion from one of our readers with this note:

"I stumbled onto this while preparing my sermon. My sister had this book when I was growing up. I only today read the below link to find out it was a Kiwi who started this craze in the 70’s. Perhaps this could be your NZer of the week sometime. It was syndicated in over 50 newspapers worldwide. I remember it as a kid."

Kim Casali, a New Zealand native, began making drawings for her husband-to-be in California in 1967. The Los Angeles Times picked up the drawings for publication, and "Love is..." became a syndicated cartoon in 1970. It went on to appear in newspapers in 50 countries.

Joke of the Weekender

The best thing about good old days is that we were neither good nor old.


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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