The Weekender 08/09/2017

Welcome along. The wet week has cleared for a perfect spring Saturday.


International rugby has returned to the birthplace of rugby in New Zealand for the first time in 148 years. Trafalgar Park in Nelson is just a few blocks from the Botanics where the first game was played in 1870. Tonight the All Blacks take on the Pumas. The All Black's came away with the win 46-24, but picked up a few early injuries. Not a perfect game but good considering a few young faces.

The NPC continues with Otago staging a comeback to edge Northland 27-23 for their second consecutive win. Waikato had their first win with a 43-31 mid-week win over Wellington. Canterbury continued their form with a 34-23 win over Manawatu and Auckland beat Tasman 36-10. Today Southland lost 26-43 to Counties-Manukau and Hawkes Bay lost 8-13 to Bay of Plenty.

As the NZ Warriors contemplate playing finals footy for the first time in seven years, they announced captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck as the player of the year for the second year in a row. Unfortunately, their season ended tonight, beaten 27-12 by the Penrith Panthers.

Scott Dixon extended his championship lead in the penultimate race of the season, but he still has to do well in the final race. He got caught up in an accident but remained mostly unscathed and powered on to a fifth.

Nelson cyclist George Bennett climbed into the top 10 after the ninth stage of the Vuelta a Espana.
Over in Britain, Patrick Bevan took the overall lead after three stages of the Tour of Britain.

Pole vaulter Eliza McCartney has had her European season cut short after sustaining a heel injury.

NZ News

Another ... interesting ... week for the government. It kicked off with NZ First leader, Foreign Affairs Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, giving his views on NZ's refugee quota - however, those views were in stark contrast to Labour's views. Then Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had to say that it was clearly the intention of the Labour Party to increase to 1,500 refugees - the Labour Party but not the government! Then news came to light that given the Prime Minister's baby isn't immunised for Nauru, she was taking a personal Air Force flight to the island on Wednesday morning, the flight then had to return to NZ, and then was heading back to the Island to pick her up later that day. Finance Minister Grant Robertson was forced to defend the $80,000 it cost us.

The week got worse when the government announced massive new funding for parliamentary support. National called it a cash grab, and it was certainly in contrast to the wage freeze idea. However, a private group holding the government to account launched a full-scale information campaign and the government quickly backed down saying they would not be implementing the recommendations of the independent report.
The week continued downhill with under-fire Minister Clare Curran questioned on her use of a private Gmail account for government business. She shouldn't have done it and neither should her National Party predecessors - something like that would never be tolerated in any business I've worked in, I can't understand anyone who thinks it's a good idea. Anyway, on Friday she resigned claiming the relentless pressure she had been under was the cause - nothing to do with her continued mistakes! In a weird exchange, the Prime Minister told two radio stations she was not going to fire Clare Curran when she had already privately accepted her resignation. Factually correct, but very far from the open government they promised during the election.

Marama Fox has resigned as co-leader of the Maori Party after the consultancy company she set up a year ago went into liquidation. 

The Numbers Game

7: people facing charges of horse race-fixing have been banned from every racecourse in the country
13: people died on the road in another horror week on the roads
18: houses built by the Government's great KiwiBuild programme in a year - 99,982 to go
93.8: mm of rain for Napier - two months worth of rain in 72 hours
9,000: people were killed 100-years-ago by influenza - The Great Flu

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5059 (-0.0046)
EUR 0.5649 (-0.0045)
USD 0.6537 (-0.0080)
AUD 0.9195 (-0.0006)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Paul Callaghan
design of nanotechnology

Joke of the Weekender

I’ve just written a song about tortillas; actually, it’s more of a rap.


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 01/09/2018

Welcome to spring! Today was a great spring day - a lovely day for a family ride. 


Following up on the rugby last weekend, even after a week, it was still a great game by Beauden Barrett. But anyway, the Puma's also had a good game, building on a solid showing their first-up loss to the Springboks. This time the Puma's had the home advantage and made the most of it beating the Springboks 32-19 denting the Boks plan.

Shane van Gisbergen continued his run of form with another win, making inroads to Scott McLaughlin's series lead.
Scott Dixon finished with a third in the latest IndyCar round and has a lead of 26 points in the championship with two races to go.

The NZ Warriors finished the NRL regular season with a gritty 20-16 win over Canberra to put the icing on the cake of Simon Mannering's 300th game - he was the first Warrior to reach the milestone.

NZ won three silvers in one hour at the Canoe Spring World Champs, followed up with a gold for Lisa Carrington winning her sixth successive K1 200m title.

Lydia Ko finished tied for eighth at the Canadian Open in Saskatchewan.

George Bennett finished fifth on stage two of the Vuelta a Espana (the Spanish cycling tour), and then improved four places to be 13th overall after stage four.

Netball NZ announced this week their new coach Noeline Taurua.

Tom Walsh won the shotput Diamond League final in Zurich winning $75,000. 

NZ News

Immigration NZ was forced to stop deporting all except the riskiest immigrants after they blew the budget and ran out of money earlier this year.

The government has had a rough week with PM Jacinda Ardern refusing to release the Austen report into the allegations of sexual assault at the Young Labour summer camp. The government seems to be trying their hardest to be less and less open. One of the victims spoke up slamming the lack of transparency and even former PM Helen Clark weighed in saying she would have done things differently.
This week has had pressure over the Clare Curran incident after she only got a slap on the wrist for her second serious offence but during the week MP Meka Whaitiri was stood down while there is an investigation into an alleged altercation with a staff member. It came to light that her office has had a high staff turnover in the last 10 months and she is considered difficult to work with.
This week on Tuesday the Prime Minister announced a proposal aiming to improve business confidence. It was a new group to advise her and the champion for small business was announced as Air New Zealand Chairman Christopher Luxon - not quite the "small" business champion that many had hoped for. And then ANZ released a business outlook saying that business confidence fell a further 5 points in August. So the government continues to claim there is no problem (ignoring the facts) - and if there is they can fix it with a working group. 

The Numbers Game

6: died and 13 injured on the roads in 32 hours
62: years after he died, SAS soldier Adrian Raymond Thomas has been brought back to NZ from Malaysia
430: homeowners are being forced to reapply after the Auckland Council mucked up their consents
2,300: firearm-related offences recorded by the police in the last five and a half years
16b: $ transport package unveiled by Transport Minister Phil Twyford, including $4b for road safety 

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5105 (-0.0097)
EUR 0.5694 (-0.0050)
USD 0.6617 (-0.0065)
AUD 0.9202 (+0.0080) 

The Weekender NZer of the week

Robert Burchfield
Dr Robert Burchfield was a world-renowned scholar. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “the greatest living lexicographer”, he played a crucial role in the study of the sources and development of the English language.
Born in Wanganui, New Zealand, in 1923, he was educated at Victoria University College, Wellington and then at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. At Magdalen College, Oxford, he studied under C.S Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Burchfield was enthralled:
“There I was … talking to world-famous people. And I had the privilege of just talking to them, hearing their reaction to what I was saying. I knew I had arrived in some sort of paradise.”

Joke of the Weekender

I woke up this morning and forgot which side the sun rises from, then it dawned on me.


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 25/08/2018

Welcome back. Last weekend we had our annual show trip to Whakapapa for the kids to play in the snow, and had a couple of great days! 


The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup kicked off last Saturday in Sydney. It was a relatively even first half with the Wallabies leading 6-5, but from then on the Wallabies just looked tired. The All Blacks kicked off at that point going on to win 13-38 with Naholo grabbing a double in a few minutes and Brodie Retallick having what some called the perfect game. The worst part of the game was a nasty friendly-fire head knock to Ryan Crotty.
The 'curtain raiser' for the Bledisloe Cup match was between the Black Ferns and Wallaroos (Aussie women) which the Black Ferns won 11-31. They are also playing tonight and the Black Ferns won 45-17.
Also, tonight was the second Bledisloe Cup match at the Eden Park fortress and the cup is staying in NZ with a Beauden Barrett masterclass where he scored four tries and 30 points leading the ABs to a 40-12 win. I will watch the game but one of the best parts of these games is watching the reactions from Michael Cheika in the Aussie coaches box - he is a passionate man! So many of the players did well including Owen Franks in his 100th test match. New Zealand retains the Bledisloe Cup for the 16th year in a row.
The NPC rugby season has also kicked off with Taranaki defending the Ranfurly Shield with a 41-21 win over Manawatu to retain the Log o wood. Last weekend Tasman beat defending champs Canterbury 25-17.

The NZ Warriors beat the Penrith Panthers on Friday night 36-16 to confirm a spot in the top eight for the first time in a few years. But last weekend wasn't so much fun with a heartbreaking field goal by Canterbury for a 27-26 loss.

Former Black Caps Grant Elliott has ended his cricket career. Who could forget his World Cup knock! Canterbury's Gary Stead will replace Mike Hesson as coach of the Black Caps.

Patrick Bevin has re-signed with the US BMC Racing pro cycling team.

In netball the Southern Steel dramatically defended their title, scoring the last seven goals to win 54-53.

WRC star Hayden Paddon has popped home to complete enough of the New Zealand Rally Champ to win his fourth championship - with two rounds still to go.
Scott Dixon has extended his deal with Chip Ganassi Racing after signing a multi-year deal.

NZ News

The Opportunities Party (or TOP) has announced that it will continue and contest the 2020 election after all. Founder and leader Gareth Morgan has stepped down, but people wanted to continue with their research-based policies party so deputy leader Geoff Simmons will lead the party.

There has been an interesting ongoing story over the past few weeks with someone releasing Simon Bridges travel expenses. It had been high, partly because the crown limo service is slow with their billing, but partly because he was travelling the country to find out what people want for their next government - something clearly needed if anyone has seen how unfocused the current government was with no idea what to do after nine years of opposition. But the story has all been about who released the expenses. The speaker announced an inquiry, but finally, the leaker contacted Bridges saying they were National members and that they had a mental health issue which would get worse if they were exposed. So the Speaker dropped the case and it looks like even though the police know their identity, they will get away with it.

As far as the government goes, the Prime Minister has sacked Clare Curran from Cabinet and stripped her of her Open Government portfolio after she actively hid a meeting - clearly not very open. But Curran has stuffed up a number of times so she seems to have got away with all the other things.
Defence Minister Ron Mark announced new chiefs for all three branches of the defence forces.
The Prime Minister announced an MP wage freeze. It seemed to be popular but also might just be a bit of PR fluff since the Remuneration Authority is independent and there isn't much of an answer anyway.

Numbers Game

8,600: lightning strikes across the North Island last Friday
40,000: tonnes of plastic rubbish to be turned into concrete from the end of 2019
443,000: more people are in New Zealand than five years ago - driven by high net migration - as we close in on five million
456,800: $ for a 100-year-old Goldie painting - over double its predicted price
240m: $ more allocated from the Provincial Growth Fund for the government's one billion trees initiative
390m: $ for a walking and cycling Skypath over the Auckland Harbour bridge over three years 

Finance NZ Dollar

Since 11/08/2018 (14 days ago).
GBP 0.5202 (+0.0048)
EUR 0.5744 (-0.0017)
USD 0.6682 (+0.0101)
AUD 0.9121 (+0.0110)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Bill Buckley
design of ion beams
Bill Buckley, engineering genius, rather likes that you haven't heard of him. He dislikes the media, hates public attention, and has taken some persuasion to give this interview (his motive, unusual, will be revealed anon).

Joke of the Weekender

What’s the difference between a good joke and a bad joke timing.


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 11/08/2018

Hello, it's looking like a great weekend for weather - although it's packing in for work on Monday.


With Super Rugby finished and the Rugby Championship still on its way, the news this week was around England coach Eddie Jones who wants former All Black coach John Mitchell to join his coaching staff.

The Warriors took another step towards finals with a 20-4 win over Newcastle last night.

Shane van Gisbergen claimed a thrilling win at Winton under lights in the Aussie V8's cutting Scott McLaughlin's lead in the championship.

George Bennett has finished third on the latest stage of the Tour of Poland.

NZ News

One thing I missed the other week was the bill signed by American President Trump which has been called "The KIWI Act" which makes it easier for Americans and Kiwis to invest and trade. Standing right beside President Trump for the photo opportunity was, of course, Kiwi Chris Liddell, Trump's Deputy Chief of Staff.

An Australian who was rescued from Mt Aspiring last week was also rescued in a major helicopter mission in 2013. Comments from other climbers have indicated he doesn't really know what he is doing - but he keeps on doing it.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed the nurses' signoff on their pay deal, but many nurses questioned the entire voting process and aren't happy with a very similar deal as last time even though the Nurses Organisation released the voting totals.
The Prime Minister also had the answer for dropping business confidence - she simply brushed it off, pushing back against suggestions there is a crisis of confidence. She said one survey does not reflect a true picture (don't tell her there have been more!).
The government announced this week that single-use plastic bags would be banned by July 2019.

There has been a lot of talk of free speech vs hate speech in the last few weeks, kicked off by a couple of right-leaning Canadians who were first blocked by Auckland's Mayor Phill Goff and then their second venue cancelled on the day of the event (I think after a bomb threat from a left-wing person). Then former National leader Don Brash had his talk at Massey University cancelled - against because of threats of violence from left-leaning people. Many have attacked the University for not standing up for free speech. Auckland University hosted a free speech debate with Don Brash which was packed out and had vocal opposition for both sides of the debate. As with many places, the left support free speech as long as you believe what they do - otherwise, watch out! 

The Numbers Game

45: % support for National, unchanged, Labour down one to 42%, Greens and NZ First both up 1 to 6% & 5% respectively
50: more firefighters heading to Canada to help with wildfires
60: mm of rain in 12 hours at Arthurs Pass the other night
65: stock stolen from a West Otago farm - worth about $130,000

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5154 (-0.0035)
EUR 0.5762 (-0.0069)
USD 0.6581 (-0.0166)
AUD 0.9012 (-0.0105)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Thomas Brydone - design of export
New Zealand has long been heralded, mythologised (and of late, analysed) as a country that ‘rode to fortune on the sheep’s back’. The $4 billion+ export food industry of today might never have happened were it not for the innovation and wisdom shown by a group of legendary settlers of the 1880’s led by William Davidson and Thomas Brydone.

Joke of the Weekender

Correct punctuation: the difference between a sentence that’s well-written and a sentence that’s, well, written.


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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