The Weekender 09/12/2018

Hello, we've had a couple of lovely blue sky days, but that came after some amazing thunder and lightning storms earlier in the week.


Last weekend the All Black Sevens beat USA 21-5 in the Dubai Sevens final to claim the double after the women had earlier won their event.
The All Black Sevens started the Cape Town Sevens with five experienced players ruled out injured. They had a great escape when they trailed South Africa by seven points with 30 seconds to go. They won 26-21, after previously losing to Samoa, meaning a loss would have knocked them out at the pool stage for the first time ever. They look to be struggling without their stars but at least they made it out of pool play.
The women's Rugby Sevens team won the Lonsdale Cup - New Zealand Olympic's top award.
A proposed Pacific-based Super Rugby team won't be going ahead after it failed to find the required funding.

The Black Caps were looking to bounce back from being thumped in the second test against Pakistan and didn't particularly start well. In fact, at the end of the third day, they seemed to be struggling not to lose badly again. NZ got to 274, Pakistan reached 348, and NZ were 2 down for 26 runs. But then the fourth day happened. Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls had a record fifth wicket with Williamson out for 139 and Nicholls 126 not out. Day five started Twenty 20 style with NZ hitting a quick fire 90 and declaring at 353/7. The first five Pakistani wickets fell quickly and they were 5/55 at lunch, and they were all out for 156 before tea. That left NZ with the game and series win - the first away win against Pakistan in 49 years.

In surfing, Ricardo Christie has joined Paige Hareb in the elite World Surf League Qualifying Series. He is in a great position but still has a lot of work to do to join the tour.

The Wellington Phoenix have had a massive 3-1 away win over Sydney FC. Roy Krishna became an NZ citizen freeing up an import slot, and during the game this weekend he became the club's joint all-time leading scorer.
Sticking with Basketball, Steven Adams has been playing really well for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He recently scored a game-high 21 points to lead OKC to a 110-83 win over the Detriot Pistons. Adams is having a career-best season averaging 14.6 points and 10.4 rebounds. The OKC is third in their conference.

The Tall Blacks have qualified for the 2019 World Cup after beating Syria 97-74.

The Football Ferns were the last team to qualify for the 2019 Women's World Cup when they beat Fiji 8-0 in the final of the OFC Nations Cup.
The under-17 women finished third at the FIFA U-17 World Cup when they beat Canada 2-1. Their aim in the competition was just to score a goal, so they have done really really well.

The Auckland Tuatara beat Canberra Cavalry 9-1 in the Australian Baseball League.

More news has come out about the Shaun Johnson saga with the NZ Warriors. There are always two sides to every story and the Warriors side was quite interesting and balanced things out. Johnson has said that new coach Stephen Kearney just didn't like him.

NZ News

Auckland Airport had some disruptions yesterday with two separate fire evacuations. Earlier in the week with the thunderstorms and the lightning, caused them to stop refuelling planes resulting in flights cancelled and delayed. The rain caused part of a ceiling at "The Base" shopping centre here in Hamilton to collapse.
The Primary and Intermediate teachers have rejected the government's latest pay offer "overwhelmingly" saying it will not fix the industry's staffing "crisis".

There has been some internal bickering in the Labour Party this week with outspoken MP Greg O'Connor blaming the government's drop in the polls, on the handling of the Sroubek case. The Police Minister was very blunt saying "good riddance, never come back" to the drug-smuggling Czech, Sroubek.
The Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard, this week apologised for saying Simon Bridges was a "smart-arse". It didn't stop there though, with Simon Bridges (rightly) accusing the Speaker of protecting the Prime Minister and (rightly) being kicked out for suggesting bias. National MPs followed him out en masse. But there is some pretty clear evidence that the supposedly impartial "Speaker of the House" is actually quite biased toward Labour. He seems to have struggled far more than any other Speaker.
Another week and more bad press for the KiwiBuild scheme. Without telling any of his superiors (including the Prime Minister), MP Phil Twyford decided on their (and our) behalf that he would change some of the fundamental rules of KiwiBuild. The original and main rule was that if you bought a KiwiBuild house and didn't live in it for three years, you had to give all the profit back to the government. Twyford decided this week that you would now just have to pay back 30%. Perhaps he had to do something after more stories this week about houses all over the place that either didn't sell at all or were selling at higher than the average in the area.
The Mental health inquiry report was released this week and it appears to be a typical Labour inquiry result - it produced nothing definite and doesn't seem to tell anything we didn't already know.

National hasn't had an entirely smooth week though, with allegations of bullying being levelled against MP (and former gardening show presenter), Maggie Barry. She has said that a workplace investigation has cleared her. A complaint has been laid with the Auditor General about the misuse of public money.

The sad news this week was about missing British backpacker Grace Millane who disappeared in Auckland. At first, it was a missing person case, but police talked to a man after tracking down security camera footage of her, and soon switched to a homicide investigation. They have charged the man with her murder, even though they were still trying to locate her body.

Numbers Game

4: cows were killed by lightning near Hamilton this week
10: houses in Hamilton were evacuated with flooding this week
46: % support for National after a jump in the latest poll, Labour dropped to 43%, Greens 5%, NZ First 4%
50: % of public sector chiefs are woman with the appointment of Bernadette Cavanagh to the head of Ministry for Culture
500: lightning strikes in Rotorua on Wednesday morning
2,000: lightning strikes across the North Island - I can't remember a storm that went on as long as that one
700,000: $/day being spent on Government enquiries, according to opposition calculations
14.5m: $ approved by Auckland City Council for the America's Cup, Malta has confirmed they are one of the eight new challengers
22.5m: $ additional funding approved by the Government for the America's Cup
100m: $ green investment fund announced by PM Jacinda Ardern and James Shaw this week 

Finance NZ Dollar

Since 01/12/2018 (8 days ago).
GBP 0.5401 (+0.0014)
EUR 0.6041 (-0.0034)
USD 0.6876 (+0.0001)
AUD 0.9549 (+0.0152)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Fred Hollows
In February, a $2.1 million refurbished and extended eye clinic, funded by Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, is due to open in Vanuatu. It will have modern laser equipment and the foundation is funding raising to buy an up-to-date diagnostic camera.

Joke of the Weekender

A conference call is the best way for a dozen people to say “bye” 300 times.


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 01/12/2018

And it's December already, welcome to summer! Today doesn't look like summer, but the Christmas decorations are up and last week had some nice patches. 


Last weekend the All Blacks hit back after their loss to Ireland and took it out on Italy running away to win 66-3 for their final game of the season. 
It wasn't a good weekend for southern hemisphere teams except that Fiji beat France for the first time, winning 21-14.
The result from the week before saw Ireland scoop most of the World Rugby awards for the year, although Michaela Blyde did win the women's sevens player for the second straight year, and Brodie Retallick won the try of the year award for his magnificent dummy against Australia earlier in the year.
This weekend is the Dubai Sevens and the Black Ferns Sevens beat Canada in the final 26-14.

Joelle King has won the Hong Kong Open squash title after beating world champion Raneem El Welily from Egypt. Joelle had a bad time in the sport but has come back and proven she can take on and beat the best in the world. I'm looking forward to seeing how she goes.

The Aussie V8 championship wrapped up last weekend in Newcastle and the first race saw a win from Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen to leap above fellow Kiwi Scott McLaughlin in the title race. Shane was stripped of the win and the valuable points though after the stewards spotted a pit lane infringement. Regardless, it all came down to the final race and Scott who had led the championship for most of the series finished second to win the title. Last year at this time was the lowest point in his career after he lost the title in the final race, so it was great that he could hang on this time. And a Kiwi one-two in the championship was great as well.
In other racing news, Brendon Hartley has been dropped by his Formula One team. There is hope he might get another drive, but for now, it is all over.

The Warriors have had an interesting week. The news came out about a week ago that they were going to let former star Shaun Johnson "test the waters". It became pretty clear they no longer wanted him, even though he was a very expensive signing just last year. He asked them for an early release and has been snapped up by the Cronulla Sharks. It wasn't a very nice way to treat someone who had been at the club his entire career.

The Black Caps didn't do very well in their second test against Pakistan falling to an innings and 16-run defeat. Yasir Shah had a record-equalling 14-wicket test haul.

In Basketball the Tall Blacks are one win away from clinching a spot at the World Cup after a 95-69 win over Jordan in Christchurch.

The Black Sticks men beat France 2-1 in the opening game of the World Cup in India.

The under-17 women's football team have done an amazing job at the world cup in Uruguay but they lost their semi-final 2-0 to European champs Spain.
The Football Ferns are a step away from the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup after they beat New Caledonia in the OFC semi-final.

The Auckland Tuatara had a thrilling extra-innings 3-2 win over the Canberra Cavalry for their third win of the season in the Australian Baseball League.

NZ News

The government is combining Housing New Zealand and Kiwibuild to create a mega housing authority with the power to override local councils. It will be called the Housing and Urban Development Authority.
Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter has announced that NZTA will spend $23m over three years to get more children riding bikes. The wittiest response was the headline "'Minister of Bikes' Julie Anne Genter puts our money where her mouth is".
The government had to back down on a flagship policy this week when New Zealand First put their foot down over the Workplace Relations Bill. Labour's plan was to allow unions into any workplace even without employers permission, but now they will only be allowed if there are collective agreements. And for collective agreements, employers will have to enter the bargaining process, but they won't be compelled to settle. It would have meant that businesses all over the country would be bound to the same terms as pay conditions in Auckland.
It wasn't all good news for Winston this week though after he was kicked out of parliament after an exchange with the Deputy Speaker Anne Tolley.

The government gave notice to Spark this week that Huawei has some work to do to convince the GCSB before their equipment can be used for their flagship 5G network. The network has recently been announced and will be planned for the America's Cup in Auckland. Most of the news stories said the government has banned Huawei, but it seems that isn't the case, but the GCSB did find that it would raise significant national security risks.

The government announced that Czech drug dealer Karel Sroubek is now liable for deportation after a residency review - but the "new" information which made them change their minds was in the original file. The Prime Minister continues to have confidence in her MP despite the obvious muck-up and u-turn.

There is some shocking news coming from the government's Tax Working Group with the chair Sir Michael Cullen saying “We are not supposed to be looking at inheritance taxes but a majority of my colleagues on the Tax Working Group appear to have a found a partial way around that.” The working group were explicitly prohibited from suggesting an inheritance tax. 

The Numbers Game

5: times the death rate for motor neuron disease in NZ compared to the global average
5.8: Richter scale earthquake from south of Stewart Island, was felt in Auckland
60: people caught using their mobile phones while driving in a Tauranga police operation
80: pilot whales stranded in the Chatham Islands - there have been a number of mass strandings recently
145: pilot whales died after a mass stranding on Stewart Island
1,000: injuries a month from trampolines according to ACC data
1,000: $ fine for Kevin Braswell as the NZ Breakers coach continues to complain against unjust officiating in the Aussie Basketball league
5,000: vehicles need to be rechecked after NZTA suspends a Onehunga vehicle inspector for faulty WOF checks
1.8m: cigarettes were seized by Customs and Police, and Police expect to make more arrests over the smuggling operation
2m: $ every day that MP Shane Jones needs to give away for his $3b fund for the regions - he can give up to $20m without Cabinet approval and no economic cost-benefit analysis
3m: $ for the upgrade to Premier House for PM Jacinda Ardern - triple the original estimate
7.1m: $ shortfall from fares to the cost of funding Tauranga's bus service as the numbers of passengers drop

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5387 (+0.0095)
EUR 0.6075 (+0.0093)
USD 0.6875 (+0.0090)
AUD 0.9397 (+0.0022)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Geoffrey Cox
design of journalism
The obituaries for Sir Geoffrey Cox rightly highlighted his role as a 'TV trailblazer' and the 'Founder of News at 10' for Britain's Independent Television News (ITN). But most also drew attention to his role as an eyewitness to momentous events in Europe during the 1930s and '40s.

Joke of the Weekender

When I lost my rifle, the Army charged me $85. That’s why in the Navy, the captain goes down with the ship. 


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 24/11/2018

Hello, we've had some great weather this week, but down South has been almost winter-like and rain finally hit us today. 


So last weekend Ireland beat the All Blacks 16-9 after the All Blacks were held try-less for the first time in more than four years. That certainly makes things interesting for next year's World Cup, who knows what will happen - the top four teams are certainly all pretty close.
It wasn't just the men, with the Black Ferns having a surprise loss to France 30-27.

The Black Caps were all but written off before the final day of their first Test cricket match of the season. Pakistan needed just 176 from their second innings and needed 41 runs with six wickets in hand. But then NZ debutant Ajaz Patel stepped up and got five wickets for 59, with Pakistan bowled out for 171, for the closest test result in 13 years.
The White Ferns finished their dead-rubber Twenty20 cricket world cup match against Guyana with an eight-wicket win.

Hayden Paddon has had his best result of the season claiming a second in Rally Australia last weekend.

The NZ Breakers haven't had a great week. Last weekend they were well beaten 100-87 by the Sydney Kings, then they were beaten 108-101 by Melbourne United in Invercargill. The coach Kevin Braswell was fined $500 for comments about a lop-sided penalty count against the Breakers. And then the Breakers lost 98-93 to the Perth Wildcats in overtime and Braswell again made comments when his team had a 35-18 foul count against them and Perth made 43 trips to the free throw line.

The Football Ferns have beaten Tonga 11-0 at the OFC Women's Nations Cup in New Caledonia. They then beat Cook Islands 6-0 to secure a semi-final.

NZ News

Auckland Transport has been caught out with their business case for cycle-ways. A week ago there were reports that the forecasts for the cycleways were well over the numbers using them. But AT's reply was that the estimates were for 2026. Well, this week they have admitted that the numbers were actually for 2016. It seems they purposely overestimated the numbers, so they could get more funding from the government. Dodgy as.

NZers are now more concerned about housing, petrol prices and living costs than they are about healthcare or poverty.

There have been more questions about the government's KiwiBuild this week after it came to light that Labour under-costed the plan by $18 billion. The cost was estimated at $2 billion, but a PwC report claimed the $2 billion would only build 1,000 homes a year, not the planned 10,000.

The road deaths aren't slowing down with four motorcyclists killed in three separate accidents last weekend, and six people died from eight major crashes. There were two more in a crash near Foxton and some in the South Island building to twelve people in five days. 

The Numbers Game

2: cars have been driven into Rotorua's Blue Lake this week
30: $ more per week on average for renting compared to last year, National is blaming Government policies
30: % increase in house prices in Hamilton with the latest property valuations out
4,000: $ raised by selling Sam Cane's All Black jersey, raising funds for cancer treatment for a Napier woman
16,000: customers in Taupo without power
41,700: students have signed up for fees-free study, costing the Government $236m but total numbers of students have dropped
10m: $ committed by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters to prevent the spread of polio in PNG
20m: $ promised by the Government for a new health centre in Westport

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5292 (-0.0066)
EUR 0.5982 (-0.0041)
USD 0.6785 (-0.0094)
AUD 0.9375 (-0.0008)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Russell Coutts
design of match-racing

Joke of the Weekender

My friend and I often laugh about how competitive we are. But I laugh more.


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 17/11/2018

Welcome along, we have had an amazing blue sky week, but it looks like next weekend will be a bit colder.


Last weekend the All Blacks beat England by one point in a controversial ending - well if you didn't actually read the rules and look at where the offside happened. England shot out to a 15-0 lead in 25 minutes and it wasn't looking good in wet conditions. But the All Blacks hit back twice before halftime, held England scoreless from the 25-minute mark and won with a penalty and Beauden Barrett's first international drop goal. Damian McKenzie did some amazing footwork, and Brad Shields was everywhere. Oh wait that's right, the New Zealand born Wellington captain, raised and trained in NZ was playing for England.
This weekend the big match is tomorrow morning at 8 am against world number two Ireland.
The Maori All Blacks had a very tough game before running away with a 3-35 win over Brazil. Ireland beat Argentina 28-17 and Wales beat Australia 9-6. Scotland beat Fiji 54-17
In national rugby, Tana Umaga has stood down as head coach of the Blues, opting to focus on his passion of defence coaching (for the Blues). He is being replaced by Leon MacDonald. Niko Jones, son of Michael Jones has been signed by Auckland and New Zealand Rugby for the All Black Sevens.
New Zealand has won the right to host the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup. It was close and Rugby Australia thought they would win but the passion from the New Zealand contingent won the day.

The Kiwi finally stood up to England last weekend and thrashed them 34-0 in the final league test. So I think that means we win the series with combines scores of Kiwis 64 England 38.

The NZ Breakers beat Brisbane 85-84 after Tom Abercrombie sunk a buzzer-beater. But last night were beaten 108-101 by Melbourne United in Invercargill.

The final ODI against Pakistan was rained out (in the desert!) but Ross Taylor did enough to rise in the ICC rankings to a career-high of third.
The White Ferns haven't been doing too well in the women's Twenty20 World Cup, but have beaten Pakistan. They scored 144 for six and then Pakistan was bowled out for 90.
Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson have both been dropped by their Indian Premier League teams.

New Zealand won its first game at the under-17 women's football World Cup in Uruguay. It was a 1-0 over Finland. The second match saw NZ upset Uruguay 2-1 to qualify for the knockout stage for the first time.

Danny Lee has finished second in the PGA in Mexico.

The Auckland baseball team, the Tuatara's had their first match in the Australian Baseball League, falling 8-4 to Perth.

The Black Sticks men have beaten Malaysia 2-1 in the opening match of their three-match series.

NZ News

This week has been a week of teacher strikes starting in Auckland on Monday and working down the country, returning to Wellington today. And the news today is that the Primary school teachers will join with Secondary school teachers in striking if they don't get what they want.
But the week started with what I'm sure is the government on full attack. The Education Minister Chris Hipkins made a press release accusing the teachers of increasing their demands each time the government made a concession and giving the news the throwaway line that most Kiwis would appreciate a $9,500 pay hike. There was also a story just before the strikes which I'm sure either came from the government or at least from Labour sympathisers and designed to limit any strike support that claimed the teachers were going on strike simply because the government's offer came too late and they had already arranged meeting locations. Teachers are professionals but certainly aren't being treated like it.

The Health Minister David Clark this week scrapped plans that National had started on to create a third medical school at Waikato University, focused on training rural doctors. The Health Minister claimed that the Government had other ideas on how to attract more doctors to the regions - but of course, they haven't told anyone their brilliant ideas.

Very soon after the Government banned letting fees, it seems that property managers have adapted with tenancy fees and admin fees to replace them. The government may struggle to legislate against capitalism, but no doubt they will continue to try.

Waikato Councils will decide on whether to fund a passenger rail service between Hamilton and Auckland. The startup cost is expected to be $57.77m, which by my estimate would be about $500,000 per passenger trip (based on last time they tried this).

The government announced this week that they would re-enter Pike River, but they've only promised to go to 2 km where the rock fall was. The fact that people walked out indicates that they won't actually find anything as it's pretty well known that those that died were well beyond the 2 km rock fall. So it seems that it may be like most of the government's fact-finding missions - expensive and not able to tell us anything new in the end.

The opposition is claiming that the government's Kiwi Build is "on life support" after information came out that while the government has signed contracts with builders for 3,375 house, there are only 388 pre-qualified KiwiBuild applicants.

The Numbers Game

1: # most popular book for the last decade is Hairy Maclary
11: times a Christchurch man voted at the last elections - he claimed he didn't know you couldn't vote more than once
61: meetings by Shane Jones weren't disclosed and 20 corrections in extraordinary "clerical mismatches"
190: kg of cocaine found by Police in a record drug bust
14,000: ACC injury claims for boxing in three years
160,000: $ worth of seedlings (1,000,000) for the Government's 1 billion trees, were mulched after the land they were bought for was unsuitable
1.6b: $ government science program had a review and the government is refusing to release is, scientists are questioning why they are so secretive

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5357 (+0.0163)
EUR 0.6023 (+0.0078)
USD 0.6879 (+0.0140)
AUD 0.9383 (+0.0061)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Michael Corballis
design of the mind

Joke of the Weekender

The four most beautiful words in our common language: 
I told you so.


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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