The Weekender 07/07/2018

Welcome along, it has been another cold week. 


Last weekend in Super Rugby, Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd was rather annoyed as his team lost 24-12 to the Brumbies, while the Chiefs thumped the Highlanders in the first half in Suva and held on to win 22-45, even though it wasn't a bonus point. With that, they jump the Highlanders on the table. This weekend the Highlanders were on the wrong side of the same scoreline after they were beaten 45-22 by the Crusaders who look to have secured home games for the rest of their season. The Chiefs need to beat the Brumbies to overtake the Hurricanes for second place in the NZ conference and are leading 17-0 at halftime. In the second half, they lost a man to the bin and the Brumbies scored twice to get close but the Chiefs held on for a 24-19 win. They are level with the Hurricanes but the Canes are about to play the Blues.
Table: Crusaders 58, Hurricanes*/Chiefs 45, Lions 41, Highlanders 40, Waratahs* 39, Jaquares* 38, Rebels 35, Sharks* 32, Brumbies 30, Bulls*/Stormers 25, Reds 23, Blues* 22, Sunwolves* 14. 15 games, * = 14 games. Four of NZ's five teams in the top five.

The Tall Blacks beat China 67-57 in their World Cup qualifying match.

The White Ferns were beaten in the tri-series Twenty20 final by England.

The Warriors have been thrashed 36-4 by Penrith missing a chance to get back into the top four.

Scott Donaldson has become the first person to kayak solo across the Tasman, arriving in New Plymouth this week after 62 days at sea. His last attempt was abandoned only 80 km offshore. It may take up to a year for him to physically recover from the mission.

Tom Walsh has won the Lausanne Diamond League shotput event.

NZ News

The primary teachers and principals have decided to strike next month. Senior doctors employed by ACC are to strike over contract negotiations.

The latest advice given to the Government is that the prison population will rise by 4,100 over the next 10-years. They found out just after announcing that they were scaling back the previous government's plans to expand Waikeria.
The government announced the salary cap for those that can apply for Kiwi Build houses - and it's a massive $180,000. As another commentator noted - this is looking more & more like middle-class welfare.

Auckland is looking at adding a "toilet tax" to their petrol tax, to help pay for a $1b sewer tunnel.

National leader Simon Bridges has claimed that there was a conflict of interest with the appointment of Wally Haumaha as the countries top Policeman. He had previous ties to New Zealand First and was almost a New Zealand First candidate. 

The Numbers Game

0: degC for Auckland - a rare frosty night for them
2.30: $/L for petrol in Auckland after the governments 11.5c fuel levy was introduced - one of the taxes the government said they won't introduce in their first term
10: years since the Mangatepopo Canyoning tragedy which killed six students and a teacher
99.1: kg southern bluefin tuna for a record-breaking tuna at Waihau Bay for Helen Horrocks
122.9: hours of sunlight in Hokitika for June, well above the average of 98.7, Christchurch had 80.4, down on their average of 117.1
2.1b: $ of NZ assets have been sold to foreign investors in the first five months of the year

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5147 (+0.0021)
EUR 0.5817 (+0.0026)
USD 0.6840 (+0.0070)
AUD 0.9201 (+0.0061)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Godfrey Bowen
design of the wool clip

Joke of the Weekender

It's hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.


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 30/06/2018

Welcome to winter, roads have been closed all over the place with snow, and a big rockfall in the Waioeka Gorge. 


The international rugby window rolled on with the All Blacks not entirely convincing in the second test winning 26-13 defined by an early red card for Frenchman Benjamin Fall. Adding to the crazy situation, the red card was deemed wrong by Rugby Officials and cancelled after the game. In the third test, Chiefs player Damien McKenzie displayed an attacking masterclass to lead the All Blacks to a 49-14 win.
Former All Black Julian Savea has confirmed that he will move to France after the Super Rugby season to play for Toulon. And Jerome Kaino played his last game at Eden Park for the Blues the other night. He should become the second most capped Blues player before the end of the season.
In other games, South Africa secured a series win over England with a 23-12 win in the second game but then dropped the last game. The USA beat Scotland for their first win over a Tier One team.
Super Rugby is just kicking back into life with the Blues thrashing the Reds 39-16 at Eden Park for Jerome's last home game.

Lydia Ko finished third in the LPGA in Michigan.

Jack Bauer and Dion Smith have been confirmed for the Tour de France.

A young Kiwis team let a 0-12 lead slip away as England came back to beat them 36-18 in a one-off Rugby league test in Denver.
The Warriors had a last-gasp loss to the Cronulla Sharks last night, losing 18-15.

Three gold medals for rowers in Austria and two for sailors in Germany. Blair Tuke finished a close second in the Volvo Ocean Race.

Scot McLaughlin had his sixth win in the Aussie V8's in the Darwin round. Scot Dixon finished third in the Indycar race in Wisconsin to extend his series lead. 

NZ News

With Jacinda Ardern now on maternity leave, Winston Peters is acting Prime Minister and someone launched a tool recording how much Labour buying New Zealand First is actually costing. Apparently, it is $5.1b already ($2,960 per NZer) and that is expected to grow while he is in charge.
The baby news about the Prime Minister was crazy - at one point Stuff had five articles about the new baby leading its news list. So it was a baby girl and was named "Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford".

The road toll shows no sign of slowing down (despite my award-winning day job focusing on that mostly) with a two-car crash which killed seven of eight people in Waverly. The four elderly people died instantly in one car, and in the other, the stepfather, and eight-month-old died immediately with the eight-year-old dying a day later and the mother still in critical condition.

Statistics NZ gave some details this week on NZ's level of debt. The figure of $2.7b is the one that scaremongers are happy to talk about, but most of that is penalties which never get paid, leaving around $700m in real payments, which is dropping for the first time in 20 years.

Former Labour MP Koro Wetere died this week aged 83. He was Minister of Maori Affairs from 1984 to 1990.

So I probably was reading something and maybe it wasn't an original idea, but I figured out why Labour gets in and suddenly all over the place from bus drivers to teachers, nurses to public servants, everyone is talking about striking for more pay. It's quite simple but basically, the government promised all their contributing unions the earth. I guess they never expected to get elected but now they find themselves having to spend huge huge sums of money and still all their "supporters" are baying for blood - or at least more money. I think the nurses have backed down after a higher pay offer from the DHB's, but the teachers had a stop-work meeting on Monday, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Following on with the government's spending, the Health Minister was grilled in Parliament this week over where the extra $8b was. Again Labour campaigned on spending $8b more than National would, but the Minister announced a four-year budget with no sign of the new spending.

The government clearly campaigned on banning house sales to overseas investors but this week they announced the full deal and it was well watered down with new exemptions.

The government has scrapped health targets because they were creating "perverse outcomes" for patients. They might have toned down the rhetoric a little if they had remembered that the targets were introduced by the Labour-led government in 2007. National warned that losing the targets will lose the accountability meaning more illnesses and fatalities.

The Speaker of the House has reprimanded Housing Minister Phil Twyford for cheeky answers to National's Judith Collins. Trevor Mallard said they showed "contempt for the accountability" and he gave National 20 more questions. So perhaps he is trying to be a bit fairer. 

The Numbers Game

-6: degC in the South Island the day after the shortest day as frosts grip the country
4.8: Richter scale earthquake hit central North Island. I don't typically report anything below 5, but nothing has come up for a long while
4.9: Richter scale earthquake in Hawkes Bay
37: % of Auckland school children are overweight - and on average almost 2kg heavier than seven years ago
70: Auckland bus drivers for Ritchies in Auckland were to strike
99: % rise in road safety spending
111: year old Madeline Anderson - NZs older person died this week
131: NZers die from Motor Neuron Disease each year - 53 more than the international average
26,000: fewer people were eligible for the government's much-touted fees-free policy for University study
60,000: $ per month spent by NZTA removing tagging on Auckland motorways
200m-600m: $ from the sale of parks by Auckland City Council in what surely is a short-sighted view 

Finance NZ Dollar

Since 16/06/2018 (14 days ago).
GBP 0.5126 (-0.0104)
EUR 0.5791 (-0.0197)
USD 0.6770 (-0.0179)
AUD 0.9140 (-0.0196)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Peter Blake
design of circumnavigation

Joke of the Weekender

(Quoted from adhdheather)

To remember how many feet there are in a mile, you just have to use 5 tomatoes.
Five to-mate-oes sounds like five, two, eight, 0 and there are 5280 feet in a mile.
Reply by "official-deutschland"
To remember how many metres there are in a kilometre you just remember "1000" because the system of measurement in the rest of the world wasn't invented by a drunk mathematician rolling dice.


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 16/06/2018

Hello, how are you this Fieldays Week! Next weekend we have a family get together, so I'll be skipping the Weekender, catch you the week after. 


The All Blacks kicked off their international games last weekend, with a 52-11 win over France at Eden Park. But the first half was a bit rusty in their first game of the season and at halftime were behind 8-11. Rieko Ioane got a double with Beauden Barrett, Taylor, Ben Smith, McKenzie, Laumape and Ardie Savea all scoring tries and three Barrett brothers starting the game.
The Australian and South African teams may well be struggling in Super Rugby but the national teams helped provide a trifecta of wins over their northern hemisphere counterparts. Australia ended Irelands 15 month run, beating them 18-9, and the Springboks fought back from a great English start to win 42-39. Hurricanes captain Brad Shields has been handed a start for the English team for this weekend.
The Black Ferns won the final round of the World Series in Paris, beating Australia 33-7 in the final.
The NZ under 20 side won't be defending their World Championship title after they were beaten 16-7 by France in the semi-final.
Jono Gibbes will become the Director of Rugby for French Top 14 Club La Rochelle at the end of the year. And Julian Savea has reportedly signed a two-year deal with Toulon.

Last weekend Shaun Johnson inspired the Warriors to a 34-14 win over Manly in his 150th NRL game. This weekend, captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck returned from injury to help the Warriors to a 23-16 win over the North Queensland Cowboys.

Surfer Paige Hareb has had to withdraw from the next two Championship tour events after breaking her ribs after she hit a rock.

The White Ferns continued their dominance over Ireland with a 306-run win at the start of the week, and for three games scored over 400.

Haydon Paddon finished fourth in the Rally Italy in Sardinia - a good bounce back from previous results.
Scott Dixon won his second race in a week in IndyCar with a win in Texas putting him onto the top of the championship.
Brendon Hartley appears to have received backing from Red Bull after rumours that he was about to be replaced. He hasn't had a good start to the season but hopefully, he can start doing a bit better.

Evie Corrigan has broken two world records to claim gold at the 2018 World Classic Powerlifting Championships.

NZ News

Although the commentary had been around a close race, the Northcote byelection was won comfortably by National with a 1,362 majority. It was a safe seat for National but obviously would have been a boost for Labour if they'd been able to pull off a win.

The government seems to have gone shy on announcing yet another review after they quietly set up an advisory group to replace National Standards.
There were confusing announcements this week around justice with the government seeming to indicate they were no longer going to repeal the three strikes law which they've talked over & over about repealing. However, it seems New Zealand First forced their hand, with the opposition saying it "underlined cracks in the coalition".
The Prime Minister has left to have her baby, leaving Winston Peters in charge - with everyone wondering what will happen. Especially with an announcement the same day that Winston Peters was pushing forward in suing former ministers Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley but also the Ministry of Social Development, its Chief executive and the State Services Commissioner for $450,000. So he is currently acting Prime Minister and he is suing his own government. What a bizarre set of circumstances.
Green MP and Minister Eugenie Sage has come under fire from her own party after she allowed a Chinese-owned company to expand its water bottling plant. She really has done the right thing, but it is weird considering Greens campaigned strongly against any foreign companies having rights to sell NZ water.
Police Minister Stuart Nash has been quizzed after he admitted he didn't bother to read official advice on options for phasing in 1,800 new police officers over five years. He said he doesn't read those papers because of the coalition promise. How unbelievable.
You'd think that would be enough for the week but no, National has a voice message indicating that under fire Health Minister David Clark tried to gag public servants, offering them jobs in return for their silence over the issues at Middlemore Hospital.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has had more problems this week with councillors penning a letter of no confidence with his recent handling of the downtown stadium.

The weather has been causing a bit of havoc recently and nowhere more so than Lemons Hill SH 11 in the Bay of Islands. They had another slip on the road a day before it was due to be opened after clearing a previous slip. 

The Numbers Game

3.5: % of Aucklanders use mobile phones according to a survey
5.06: $ the average price for an Avocado at the moment
44,000: $ cost for fixing tracks with the derailed train at Britomart

Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5230 (-0.0020)
EUR 0.5988 (+0.0009)
USD 0.6949 (-0.0088)
AUD 0.9336 (+0.0082)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Clarence Beeby
design of education

Joke of the Weekender

Why aren’t koalas actual bears?
They don’t meet the koalafications.


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 09/06/2018

Welcome along. After a lovely sunny Saturday ride last weekend, the rest of the long weekend was very stormy, but later this week we've had some amazing blue sky days with frosty mornings. 


Super Rugby takes a break for the international window but last weekend the Crusaders out-muscled the Chiefs 34-20 for a 10-game winning streak.
Table: Crusaders* 54, Hurricanes 45, Highlanders/Lions* 40, Chiefs 37, Waratahs 35, Jaguares 34, Rebels 34, Sharks 28, Brumbies/Stormers* 25, Bulls 24, Reds 19, Blues 17, Sunwolves 10. Four NZ teams in the top five (on points). Thirteen games except for 14*.
Brad Shields has been fast-tracked into the England squad and is on the bench for the first test against South Africa.

Scott Dixon had his first win of the IndyCar season last weekend, making it four top-five finishes in the first seven races. He is second in the championship.

The White Ferns have broken the men and women's ODI highest score record. Ireland put them into bat and they scored 490-4 and they went on to a 346-run win. Captain Suzie Bates and Maddy Green struck centuries with Bates now having the most runs for NZ women.
The successful Black Caps coach Mike Hesson is standing down after six years in the role to spend more time with his family.

Ryan Fox has grabbed a spot on the US Open next week.

The All Whites beat Chinese Taipei 1-0 for their first win at the Intercontinental Cup in Mumbai. They followed that up with a win over India 2-1.

Tom Walsh has won the shot put in the latest round of the Oslo Diamond League.

NZ News

Last weekend the Queens Birthday honours were announced and former Prime Minister Bill English was knighted, as did singer John Rowles, while Annabel Langbein was made an Officer of the Order of Merit for services as a food writer. 

The speedway is leaving Western Springs after 90 years, and the ground will become a cricket ground - at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Phil Goff (mayor of Auckland) has defended not giving councillors full access to a $1m "pre-feasibility" report on a potential $1.5b downtown stadium.

The teachers union is planning industrial action after the offer by the Ministry of Education fell short of their expectations. It hasn't taken long for the unions to flex their muscles with this government. 

The Numbers Game

42.7: % support for Labour in Radio NZ's "poll of polls" (average of three polls), down from 44% and showing no bounce from the budget
86: # ranking for Steven Adams in the Forbes' annual list of the world's top hundred highest-paid athletes
113: more plants classified as "threatened" - including Kauri from the die-back disease
122: reviews initiated by the government costing an estimated $114m by the opposition (those are things the now-government had 9 years to work on in opposition)
150: m from sea-level snow in Dunedin during the week
9,000: km away from NZ is South Georgia island where kiwis have led the world's biggest rodent eradication project
32,000: $ bill for taxpayers for former US President Barak Obama's three-day visit to NZ recently
1,000,000: babies that Sir Ray Avery is planning to save with his LifePod incubators
10m: $ clean up in Tolaga Bay after the recently flooding

Finance NZ Dollar

For years I've used the OANDA rates, but this week we switch to a free API service I've found to make it easier, it's now a one-click process. The price differences are from the new service from last week.
GBP 0.5250 (+0.0017)
EUR 0.5978 (-0.0008)
USD 0.7037 (+0.0053)
AUD 0.9254 (+0.0029)

The Weekender NZer of the week

Jean Batten
design of flying

Joke of the Weekender

What's ET short for?
He's only got little legs.


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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