The Weekender 16/02/2019

Welcome along to the start of the rugby season!


The Highlanders came to Hamilton last night to kick off the Super Rugby season and left with the win after an Aaron Smith last-minute try for the 30-27 win. To be fair the Highlanders would have felt pretty aggrieved if they had lost with a couple of puzzling calls going against them. The Chiefs already have more than 10 injuries and in a case of deja-vu, Stephen Donald was out on a boat the other week before getting the call that he was needed for the game.

The Black Caps made easy work of Bangladesh in the first ODI after being set 233 to win. It could have been an even easier win after having Bangladesh at 94-6. Martin Guptill carried his bat reaching 117 with Henry Nichols adding 53 and Ross Taylor's 45 for an eight-wicket win.
The second ODI is on now with Bangladesh batting first and reaching 226 all out (in the final over). Nichols has gone and NZ are at 56/1. Update: Guppy has hit another century with NZ now on 162/1 - the current run rate is 6.48 and required run rate is 2.6.
Following up last weekend, the Black Caps won the final Twenty20 match against India to take out the series 2-1. They won by four runs in a tight game in Hamilton. The White Ferns won by two runs to wrap up their series 3-0.

Last night saw the Australian Indigenous All Stars team take on the NZ Maori for both the men and the women. The All Stars men beat the Maori 34-14 but the Black Ferns beat the All Stars women 8-4 in the inaugural game.

Now that the New Zealand Breakers are out of finals contention they decide to play. They broke their highest score in the ANBL beating the Illawarra Hawks 130-96.

The news hasn't been good for the Wellington Phoenix recently with reports that coach Mark Rudan might be leaving, but he has been great for the Nix while he's been here. They took on defending champs Melbourne Victory and finished with a 1-1 draw in front of a record 23,648 at Eden Park last night.

Snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott continues her good form winning gold in the women's slopestyle at the World Champs in Utah.

I'm not sure if you think that MMA is a sport or not, but kiwi Israel Adesanya was promoted to the main fight last week and he maintained his unbeaten run.

NZ News

There is a ban on moving fruit in an area of Devonport in Auckland after a Queensland fruit fly was found in a trap. It's pretty clear that travellers have almost zero regard for New Zealand's biosecurity so I'm glad this doesn't happen more often.

The NZ-China relationship has been in the news this week with talks of a rocky path ahead. The government has had to defend things after National pointed out a number of issues they noticed. While PM Jacinda Ardern claimed there were no issues, she also said they were facing "challenges" - which seems to be politician-speak for "issues that we don't want to talk about". National claims there are five ministers waiting for permission to go to China, and there has also been talk of tourism taking a hit, and exports being blocked at the border.

A massive wall of dust which swept over NSW and ACT is apparently heading our way. Our hot weather continues with 29-32 degC every day this week. We haven't yet had a drought this summer but things have definitely browned off over the last couple of weeks with these hot temperatures and lack of rain. 
The fires in the Nelson & Tasman area continued this week. Some people were allowed to return to their homes but there are still others who haven't been able to. 

The governments Provincial Growth Fund of $3b was supposed to create 10,000 jobs and we are a year into the government's current term, so how are they doing? Apparently, only 54 jobs have actually been created so far - despite Minister Shane Jones telling Parliament last year that 9,000 had been created.
The government has made a move to ban smoking (and vaping) in cars when there are children under 18 present - a great move. 

The Numbers Game

40: years in jail is now over for one of NZ's most high profile prisoners - Arthur Taylor
110: years since NZs worst 20th-century maritime disaster the Penguin sank in Wellington (72 or 75 died)
6,500: km in a year for a research buoy placed in the ocean by NZ scientists
53.5m: $ deficit for Counties Manukau District Health Board - more than double last year
206m: $ research facility at Lincoln University is being scrapped with the government not interested, but AgResearch is building their own facility

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5324 (+0.0113)
EUR 0.6078 (+0.0124)
USD 0.6866 (+0.0122)
AUD 0.9607 (+0.0120)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Cian Hinton
The Rotorua student has won the environmental engineering award at the Taiwan International Science Fair with an Alternating Rotation Converter (ARC -ha!) Generator designed to be a cheap power supply for anywhere with some water.

Joke of the Weekender

We can teach kids there’s no i in team, but it’s way more important 
to teach them that there’s no a in 


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 09/02/2019

Let the birthdays begin. I know a number of you have birthdays coming up - hope you have a great day. 


The Black Caps lost the final ODI before moving on to the Twenty20 (hit & giggle) matches.
In the first T20 NZ was kicked off by new opener Tim Seifert who smashed a brilliant 80, leading NZ to 220. India struggled from the start and Tim Southee picked up three wickets as we handed India their biggest ever T20 defeat of 80 runs. India bounced back in the second match when NZ reached only 158 with a Colin de Grandhomme 50 and Ross Taylor 42, to win by seven wickets.
The women have been having a parallel T20 series and in the first game the White Ferns had a great 23-run victory and wrapped up the series in the second game with a last ball win.

The Black Sticks women came up against their old coach Mark Hager when they took on Great Britain yesterday and they made their mark with a huge 5-1 win in the Pro League.

Former Olympic rowing champ Hamish Bond has set a national record as he won the 4000m individual men's pursuit at the Track Cycling Nationals in Cambridge. Kirstie James also retained her national 3000m individual pursuit title with a new record.

The NZ Breakers finished their home season with a whimper after falling 114-107 to Adelaide. I think even their theoretical mathematical chances are over now. Correction, their hopes ended on Sunday night when they lost 111-102 to Melbourne.

Brendon Hartley has lined up a job in the World Endurance Championship, joining Ferrari for the season.

NZ News

The NZEI and PPTA are having some talks that they hope will avoid the need for more teacher strikes this year. They are currently guardedly optimistic.

If you watch any NZ news you may have heard about the unruly British travellers who left a trail of bad press around the country before a few court appearances and being kicked out of NZ. Well, it turns out Facebook is banning NZers from using the word "gypsy"  on a page that 5,000 people joined up to! I understand that in other countries that word can be quite derogatory, but it doesn't have any of that stigma here in New Zealand - an interesting point about words having different meanings in different places. 

The Numbers Game

3.9: % unemployment in September - the lowest level since 2018 - but Stats NZ have released figures showing a jump to 4.3%
4: rare shorebirds have been released on a pest-free Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf this week
1,000: job losses expected by National, after the government announced a reform of the "broken" vocational education sector (i.e. Polytech's)
100m: $ set aside from the Government's $1b provincial growth fund, as capital for Maori developments - but the government is still no closer to a deal for settling the Treaty issues with Ngapuhi
1.4b: trees - MP Shane Jones says the government's goal of 1b trees could reach 1.4b by 2028, but most of it has nothing to do with the government, and 2028 is a long way away

Finance NZ Dollar
GBP 0.5211 (-0.0054)
EUR 0.5954 (-0.0063)
USD 0.6744 (-0.0149)
AUD 0.9487 (-0.0017)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Allen Curnow
design of verse
No New Zealand poet so consistently defied expectations as Allen Curnow. Over his long and deeply influential career, Curnow traversed a huge terrain of poetic voices and concerns and won many awards and other forms of recognition. He was made a CBE in 1986 and received the Order of New Zealand in 1990, and was awarded the A.W. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2000 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Joke of the Weekender

Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Blue sky at night, day.


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 02/02/2019

And it's already the second month of the not-so-new-year!


Joelle King is now ranked number three in the world for women's squash - a career high - so far. Watch this space though. I read an article indication she was over a slump and on the rise and based on recent performances, she could easily keep climbing.

The Sydney Sevens have kicked off for this weekend and the Black Ferns Sevens have backed up their winning form from Hamilton to progress through the first day without dropping a game.
Last weekend the Hamilton Sevens went really well - except that the All Black Sevens ended up third. Fiji won the day beating USA in the final 38-0.

In the ANBL the Melbourne United look to be the real deal after thrashing the NZ Breakers 107-87 leaving them on the verge of elimination from the playoff race.

So in cricket India continued their NZ tour, thrashing the Black Caps in the second and third ODI to win the series before Virat Kohli headed home for a break. And for the women's team, India won the three match series by thrashing the White Ferns in the first two ODIs as well. But then something changed when they played in Hamilton. The White Ferns had an eight-wicket win, as did the Black Caps led by Trent Boult taking five wickets for 21 as he bowled 10 straight overs. India batted first and made 92, then the Black Caps smashed the win in just 15 overs. 

Hayden Paddon, who was dropped from Hyundai's WRC team has picked up a drive in the new Global Rallycross Europe series.

Kiwi snowboarder Zoi Sadwski Synnott won gold in the X Games snowboard slopestyle event.

Last weekend the Wellington Phoenix beat Melbourne City 1-0 with a winner from former Melbourne player David Williams.

NZ News

The only real news this week was about the heatwave that Australia sent over. According to the UK MetOffice it is officially a heatwave (... do we not have a definition?). It has been hot though with Hamilton hitting a record 32.9 deg C on Tuesday, and getting up near there for the rest of the week. I had thought today was going to be a bit cooler and it started that way, but it's getting warm again. Mitcham in Canterbury had 35.2C, Blenheim and Napier got to 35C, Pukaki (Mt Cook) hit 33.2C and both Auckland and Wellington reached 30C. The kids have been getting to sleep with cool pads from the freezer, wet sheets and the fan.
The temperature is causing other issues as well with 15 people seeking treatment after a group of bluebottle jellyfish stung people out at Raglan. We were out there at the beach that day and spotted a few other jellyfish and one bluebottle. We weren't certain what it was but I kept the kids out of the water after that.
So probably every year we get stories about how hot it is, probably pushing global warming. But there was one interesting article pointing out that although it is hot, last January was hotter. Does that mean we should be worried about global cooling?

The National Party this week released a plan to move tax thresholds every three years in line with inflation. The policy has gained quite a bit of positive press especially considering it would give someone on an average way an extra $430 a year.

Former KiwiBuild boss Stephen Barclay is pursuing a case of constructive dismissal against the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
MP Phil Twyford has admitted that only half of the homes offered by ballot were sold last year.

NZ First MP Shane Jones has accused Greenpeace of deliberately tarnishing NZ's international fishing reputation just to fundraise. Greenpeace NZ Director Russel Norman hit back saying Jones was trying to distract from the fact he has accepted donations from fishing company Talley's.

The Numbers Game

7: % rise in the minimum wage coming up, will cost the government $93.5m per year
62: deg C on some roads in the South Island this week
8,000: commuters affected in Wellington after the high temperatures resulted in parts of the train network being shut down
10,000: $ cost to the taxpayer for every overseas teacher relocating to NZ

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5265 (+0.0080)
EUR 0.6016 (+0.0016)
USD 0.6893 (+0.0044)
AUD 0.9504 (-0.0032)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Russell Crowe
design of performance
Crowe was born on 7 April 1964 in the Wellington suburb of Strathmore Park, the son of Jocelyn Yvonne (née Wemyss) and John Alexander Crowe, both of whom were film set caterers; his father also managed a hotel. Crowe's maternal grandfather, Stan Wemyss, was a cinematographer who was named an MBE for filming footage of World War II. Crowe's paternal grandfather, John Doubleday Crowe, was from Wrexham, Wales, while one of Crowe's maternal great-great-grandmothers was Māori. Crowe also has English, German, Irish, Italian, Norwegian, Scottish, Swedish, and Welsh ancestry. He is a cousin of former New Zealand cricket captains Martin Crowe and Jeff Crowe, and nephew of cricketer Dave Crowe. Russell has built a cricket field named for his uncle.

Joke of the Weekender


1. Nice shirt. 
2. Wow. A second nice shirt. 
3. OK, first shirt again. 
4. He has two shirts. 


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 26/01/2019

Welcome along to Auckland Anniversary weekend - it looks like it will be a hot one! 


At the Track Cycling World Cup in Cambridge, kiwi cyclists Eddie Dawkins won the sprint race and Campbell Stewart and Aaron Gate won the Madison duo. NZ was awarded the Best Overall National Award at the meet, winning five of the 12 events and picking up two bronze medals.

The Wellington Phoenix made a new club record of nine unbeaten games with Roy Krishna helping them to a 3-3 draw against Melbourne United. But the run came to an end beaten 1-0 by Sydney FC on Wednesday.

The Silver Ferns are struggling against their international competition in the Quad series only managing a last gasp win over South Africa.

The NZ Breakers chances of reaching the playoffs were severely damaged when they were beaten 106-98 by the bottom-placed Cairns Taipans. They did, however, bounce back with a 113-106 win over Cairns in New Plymouth.

The Black Caps crumbled in their first ODI against India with an eight-wicket loss after being bowled out for 157 in 38 overs.
There was a fun Twenty20 (aren't they all?) match between cricket and rugby yesterday with Team Rugby winning the day. Team Rugby included Kieran Read, Richie McCaw, Israel Dagg, Brendon McCullum, Beauden & Jordie Barrett and Ali Williams, coached by Sir Graham Henry. Team Cricket had player-coach Stephen Fleming, Aaron Smith, Grant Elliott, Luke Ronchi, Kyle Mills, Chris Harris, & Nathan Astle. 

NZ News

KiwiBuild was in the news again this week for all the wrong reasons with MP Phil Twyford admitting that they are expecting around 300 houses to be built in the first year - nowhere near their stated 1,000. In fact, only 33 have been completed, with 77 being built. There has been lots of talk but it seems that of all the working groups the government implemented - they really should have planned this flagship plan better. You know, maybe spending some of that nine years in opposition working on the plan like they were supposed to. The theoretical target is 10,000 houses each year for 10 years. 

Winston Peters stepped in for Jacinda Ardern giving a start of year speech at Ratana, and the funniest part was when he was challenged about why Ardern was 'taking off to a Swiss village'. She was of course at the World Economic Forum in Davos, but in 2015 Peters had a dig at Sir John Key for doing exactly the same thing, and when the media noted this amusing coincidence, Peters refused any more questions and blamed the media. He also said that 1,000 KiwiBuild houses would be built by July - even though the MP and the PM have said it won't happen.

John Tamihere has announced that he will run for the Auckland Mayoralty. The former Labour MP will have former National Minister Chris Fletcher as his running mate.

The Junior Doctors are planning another two-day strike for next week after failing to reach an agreement. I think they are milking it. Everyone knows junior Doctors have to work long hours, but I think they ask for fewer hours but whenever they finally reach an agreement it seems to be for more pay, not fewer hours. So they don't really care about the long hours, they just use it to get more money. 

The Numbers Game

4.7: Richter scale earthquake in Whanganui this week
7: % increase in Auckland bus, train and ferry prices
25: deadly crashes in 2017 involved a foreign driver, but the foreign driver was only at fault in 18 of those - a lower rate than general kiwi accidents
170: km/h winds in Christchurch & Kaikoura cut power
4,500: homes and businesses lost power after gusty winds in Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago
4,800: km of rowing across the Atlantic for a young kiwi raising awareness for mental health - he is around halfway
7,000: km trek for a little endangered Fiordland penguin in eight weeks - including going more than halfway to Antarctica
45,000: $ spent on international flights by our government to fight climate change, what a joke
156m: $ of fines have been dodged by Kiwis and tourists - almost a third of those lodged with the Ministry of Justice
500m: $ blowout for Auckland's City Rail Link - potentially rising to $1b by the time the contracts are awarded

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5186 (-0.0048)
EUR 0.6000 (+0.0071)
USD 0.6849 (+0.0106)
AUD 0.9535 (+0.0128)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Caleb Currey
A South Auckland teenager who saved his little brother by pushing his pram to safety seconds before being struck by a car has been on a long road to recovery.

Joke of the Weekender

Drama: a word boring people use to describe fun people.


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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