Faith first for Folau

16/04/2019

Rugby Australia has issued a breach notice to Israel Folau:

Folau sparked outrage after posting to his Instagram account last Wednesday night that “hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators” — adding they should “repent”. . . 

What he said is not just a tenet of fundamental Christianity, Muslim and Jewish religions would also regard these as sins.

At its core, this is an issue of the responsibilities an employee owes to their employer and the commitments they make to their employer to abide by their employer’s policies and procedures and adhere to their employer’s values,” Rugby Australia said in a statement.

Freedom of expression, outside work, obviously isn’t one of those values.

“Following the events of last year, Israel was warned formally and repeatedly about the expectations of him as player for the Wallabies and NSW Waratahs with regards to social media use and he has failed to meet those obligations. It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action. . .

This is an employment issue. Folau had been warned and ignored the warning. But was what was required of him fair?

In doing ignoring the warning, he’s chosen to put his faith before football:

Israel Folau is sticking to his guns no matter what it costs the embattled Wallabies superstar.

And he is continuing to place his faith in his religion, despite the storm airing his beliefs on social media has caused within both the Australian rugby and society in general. . . 

It’s obviously a decision that’s in the process right now but I believe in a God that’s in control of all things,” Folau told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Whatever His will is, whether that’s to continue playing or not, I’m more than happy to do what He wants me to do.”

Folau said he would not mind one bit if his rugby career was done as long as he got to do The Lord’s work.

“First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that’s not to continue on playing, so be it.

“In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I’ll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first.” . . 

It’s not that long ago that not doing anything against which Folau is warning, would have been a code of conduct that was generally accepted as the right one and the condemnation of people who didn’t follow it would not have been remarkable.

Even now, while some have used social media to confess to being guilty on several of these counts, how can speaking out against any of them that hurt others be wrong?

But of course it’s not Folau’s condemnation of drunkenness, adultery, lying or thieving that’s caused the furor, it’s the inclusion of homosexuality.

Bob Jones points out:

First, these remarks are totally consistent with the Bible (and the Koran) so why the uproar?

Second, why did the critics, including the Prime Minister, solely complain about the reference to homosexuals? What about us drunks and fornicators? Doesn’t she care about our pain? We know the answer to that, namely unlike fairydom we’re not fashionable at the moment.

I can understand journalists concentration on homosexuals as few are whereas make no mistake, the vast majority I’ve known are drunks, adulterers, liars and fornicators to various degrees, so too heaps of MP’s.  A double-standard here methinks.

My contact with journalists and MPs hasn’t involved drunkenness, lying and fornicating but I don’t move in Sir Bob’s circles.

This whole episode is a classic pack-hunting media contrivance. I have difficulty believing a single drunk, fornicator, homosexual, adulterer or liar reading Israel’s remarks gave a damn. He’s entitled to express his religious beliefs as much as I for example am, to continue pursuing my life-long mockery of religion. . . 

An employment breach is between Rugby Australia and Folau but how many would have known about it if the media hadn’t picked up the post?

Only those who follow his account, at least some of whom no doubt agree with him, and others would be following him because of his footy fame and not be troubled by his faith.

But the mainstream media, as happens too often, picked up the post and broadcast it to the world. They then reported the outrage they’d stirred up and also the concern about people who might be upset by it who probably would have been oblivious had the media not generated the publicity.

The offenderati reacted predictably by condemning him and wanting to silence him.

Why when, as Michael Redell points out,  few share his beliefs?:

. . . If –  as most New Zealanders and a large proportion of Australians now claim to –  you don’t believe in the existence of God, let alone of eternal separation from God or Hell, it is hard to know why what Folau is saying should bother you.   You surely believe he is simply deluded and wrong, as he will discover (or rather not) when he dies.

If you don’t believe what he says why not ignore it, or counter it with rational argument?

That probably is the view of a fair number of people in New Zealand and Australia today.  But it isn’t the view of those holding the commanding heights –  MPs, leader writers, columnists, business leaders and so on –  who have demanded that it be stopped.  They simply cannot abide the thought that someone of any prominence should openly affirm that sin is sin, and that homosexual acts are among the things labelled as sin.

Here I’m not mainly interested in the Australian Rugby Union. I have a modicum of sympathy for their position, even if (as I noted in an earlier post elsewhere on these issues) the problem was partly one of their own making.   Rugby could just be rugby, but that’s not enough for today bosses.

My interest is more in what it says about our society – New Zealand and, it appears, Australia –  that no prominent person is free to express centuries-old Christian belief (views backed, rightly or wrongly, by the law of the land until only a few decades ago) when it trespasses on the taboos and sacred cows (“homosexuality good”) of today’s “liberal” elite.  And if no prominent person can –  and it is interesting to note that not a single church leader has been willing to stand up openly for Folau, and the Scriptures –  how will those less prominent be positioned.   Folau may lose a multi-million dollar contract, but he’ll already have earned much more than many ordinary working people make in their life.   But what of the ordinary employee of a bank or of one of those right-on government agencies.  It might not even be a personal social media account, or a speaking engagement at the local church.  It might be nothing more than a reluctance to participate in celebrations of what (in their belief, in the tradition of thousands of years) sinful acts.   The issue here isn’t someone proselytising across the counter of the bank, any more than Folau’s “offence” involved activity in the middle of a game, but a totalitarian disregard for any view –  no matter of how longstanding –  that doesn’t fall into line with today’s orthodoxy.

This is what concerns me too.

I don’t share Folau’s fundamental version of faith.

I find a lot of the Bible contradictory and when I do I choose the option that shows love and grace – turn the other cheek rather than an eye for an eye, for example.

But Folau’s are honestly held beliefs. They don’t impact on his playing ability, he wasn’t preaching during a game, why shouldn’t he be allowed to express them?

And there’s also the niggling thought that some religions are more equal than others and if his was another faith rather than Christian, he would he have been given a little more leniency.


Cross Counter wins Melbourne Cup

06/11/2018

Cross Counter won the Melbourne Cup :

23. Cross Counter (GB) (19)

T: C.Appleby   J: K.McEvoy

Marmelo was second.

9. Marmelo (GB) (10)

T: H.Morrison   J: H.Bowman

And A Prince of Arran was third.

 

17. A Prince Of Arran (GB) (20)

T: C.Fellowes   J: M.Walker

It’s just as well I didn’t put any money not his morning’s picks.


Melbourne Cup picks

06/11/2018

It’s Melbourne Cup day.

My picks, based on total ignorance of form are:

1:  (because I know the owners):
7

Who Shot Thebarman (NZ) (18)

 

2: (because the jockey is in blue):

1

Best Solution (IRE) (6)

3: (because the jockey is in Otago colours – blue and yellow).

Marmelo (GB) (10)

The field and form are here


Benefits of foreign ownership

18/10/2018

What a very generous donation:

Secretive American-born billionaire Ken Dart plans to donate the popular and sprawling Wairoa Gorge Bike Park, near Nelson, to the Crown.

It will be managed by the Department of Conservation, with public access run through the Nelson Mountain Bike Club (NMTBC).

He has also sold South Canterbury’s 4046-hectare Lilydale Station, which includes the land used by Fox Peak Ski Field, to local conservationists.

The 860-hectare Wairoa Gorge will be donated to the Crown by the end of the year, to be managed as a conservation reserve. Dart bought the land in 2010 through his company RHL Holdings and had more than 70km of mountainbike trails built through the mixed native beech and plantation pine forest. . . 

Would this have happened had the land been owned by a local?

I suspect not but sadly this won’t be enough to change the minds of xenophobes who are opposed to any and all foreign investment.


365 days of gratitude

13/10/2018

There was a time when the Ranfurly Shield stayed stubbornly with one team.

Auckland had held it for ages when they challenged North Otago and for a few glorious minutes the score line was North Otago 5 – Auckland – 0.

The former scored no more points and Auckland added 359 by the time the final whistle blew.

Then Canterbury won the shield and staved off multiple challenges.

But in recent years challengers have managed to win and the shield has had several different homes.

Today, for the second time in recent years, it has come back to Otago.

Last time the team held it for little more than a week.

This time it will stay on the right side of the Waitaki River for at least the summer, and fingers crossed, maybe a bit longer.

However, long it’s in the hands of the blue and gold team, we’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

Tonight I’m grateful to be on the winning side.


Who gets money from All Blacks’ tours?

04/10/2018

All Blacks’ fans will be paying a high price for World Cup tickets.

Ticket prices for the All Blacks’ pool matches range between $536 for category A down to $134 for category D for the pool opener against South Africa, as well as the matches against Namibia and Italy. The contest against the repechage winner is slightly discounted at between $402 and $93.

Category A tickets comprise the bulk of the main stands running pitchside, while category D is essentially immediately behind the in-goal area.

The quarterfinals are priced the same as the All Blacks’ pool match against South Africa at between $536 and $134, while the semifinals will require you to fork out $938 for a category A tickets and the final $1340. . .

That final price tag is still less than we were quoted for tickets to the All Blacks vs Pumas in Argentina last year.

The first quote came back at several thousands dollars including accommodation in a five-star hotel.

We didn’t need five-star accommodation. The next price for a more modest hotel was still eye-watering.

I suggested another hotel where someone in our group already had a booking so we knew the price. When we subtracted the hotel from the quote that came back we would still have been paying around $1500 for a ticket to the game.

I gave up on trying to get tickets from New Zealand and asked an Argentinean friend to try for us.

She got us good seats for less than $300 – around five times less than the lowest price we were offered through All Black tours in New Zealand.

So who gets the difference between what the tickets cost and what fans are charged after costs and a reasonable profit are taken off?

 


Calling 175,000 Richie McCaw fans

03/09/2018

Kurow is calling on 175,000 fans of Richie McCaw to help fund a statue of their hero in the town:

The small Waitaki town of Kurow needs 175,000 Richie McCaw fans to help erect a bronze statue of the All Blacks great, right where he kicked off his legendary career.

It was hoped the life-sized statue of the most capped test rugby player of all time would bring economic growth and more visitors to the Waitaki Valley.

McCaw grew up in the Hakataramea Valley just across the Waitaki River from Kurow where he began playing rugby for the local club. . . 

Kurow-local Bob Watherston had a dream to erect the bronze statue of the world’s greatest rugby player.

The former chairman of the Statue Project Committee passed away in November last year, missing out on seeing his dream fulfilled. . . 

Along with the Waitaki Valley community, Watherston’s daughter Chrissy Watherston was picking up the slack and has created a Givealittle page, asking for the public’s help.

Watherston asked for 175,000 of McCaw’s fans to pitch in and donate $1 to help get the statue project over the line. . .

Will a statue of McCaw bring more people to the town?

One of Colin Meads attracts fans to Te Kuiti but it is on a main road between other places.

Kurow would require a detour for most travellers but even if the statue doesn’t bring people to the town it might stop those who are passing through.


365 days of gratitude

23/06/2018

An evening of rugby under cover at Forsyth Barr Stadium, catching up with friends, meeting some new people, having fun, a fast-paced exciting game, a win to the All Black and a safe trip home, for all of which I’m grateful.


365 days of gratitude

12/05/2018

Live rugby in comfort under the roof at Forsythe Barr Stadium, a catch up with friends at half time, an exciting game and a win for the Highlanders for all of which I’m grateful.


Sophie Pascoe to carry flag

03/04/2018

Swimmer Sophie Pascoe is the flag-bearer for the New Zealand team at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony tomorrow.


Hardly cricket, more thicket but

02/04/2018

Australian cricketers cheated by sandpapering the ball in the test against South Africa. That was wrong.

The players involved have been punished. Captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner have lost their positions and been banned for a year, Cameron Bancroft, who wielded the sandpaper has been banned for 9 months and their coach Darren Lehmann has resigned. That is right.

Team sponsors have withdrawn their support. That is understandable.

The sandpapering certainly wasn’t cricket. It was more thicket with the emphasis on thick.

But the vilification of the men seems to be over the top and the reaction to their actions lacks perspective.

Cheating is wrong and should be punished.

But unlike a lot of ethical and moral lapses and crimes where the victims are innocent, the people most hurt by this cheating are the wrong-doers themselves.

They’ve lost their reputations, a lot of money and possibly even their careers.

They should now be left to live with the consequences of their actions. Cricketers should reflect on what happened and use the lessons to improve the game and the behaviour of players.

And the rest of us should direct our indignation where it might right a wrong or help the wronged.


366 days of gratitude

26/03/2018

The Black Caps won the cricket test against England by an innings and 49 runs.

What’s more the team did it without cheating and I’m very grateful for that.


365 days of gratitude

17/03/2018

Highlanders 25 – Crusaders 18.

A hard game, a good one for spectators and a well deserved win.

So many times the Highlanders win the first half but the Crusaders win the second.

Tonight the blue and gold team held on to its lead for which I’m grateful.


Rural Sports Awards

10/03/2018

A media release from the Hilux Rural Games Trust:

Leading rural sporting stars recognised by their peers

The winners of the Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards have been announced at a gala dinner at Awapuni in Palmerston North on the eve of the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games.

Sir Brian Lochore, Chair of the New Zealand Rural Sports Awards Judging Panel, says the Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards is about celebrating traditional sports and the people who keep events running year-in and year-out in the towns and settlements across New Zealand.

“We had a fantastic line-up of entrants and finalists for each category. Our 2018 winners have proven themselves on the field of their rural sport or in the committee room organising rural sporting events around New Zealand,” says Sir Brian.

Tim Myers, Chief Executive Officer at C B Norwood Distributors, congratulated both the winners and finalists.

“It has been a truly inspirational evening, hearing about the dedication and commitment of our rural athletes to their sport, and the standing they have on the international arena,” Mr Myers said.
·
The winners are:

The Fonterra Young New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year: Tegan O’Callaghan of Doubtless Bay. Last year, at the age of 17, O’Callaghan became the captain of the New Zealand Rodeo High School Team in 2017 and has been a member of the team for three years. This year, O’Callaghan is part of the Australasian Team at the World Rodeo Youth Championships in Shawnee, Oklahoma, USA in July 2018. Alongside this, in 2016, O’Callaghan won the junior New Zealand Wine Barrel Race. The award was presented by Commonwealth Games Medallist Natalie Rooney.

The Norwood Rural Sportsman of the Year: John Kirkpatrick from Napier. John has won 149 open finals in New Zealand including Golden Shears (four times) and the New Zealand Champs (two times). He is the 2017 World Champion – Individual Shearing and the 2017 World Champion – Teams (two shearers). As well as running his own contracting business, Kirkpatrick, competes in more than 60 national competitions each year and world championships every 2-3 years. This is his 25th season of open class shearing. He has won 20 titles in the United Kingdom and represented New Zealand at four World Championships.

The Skellerup New Zealand Rural Sportswoman of the Year: Chrissy Spence of Morrinsville. Spence was the inaugural winner of this award in 2017. That same year, Spence lifted the bar taking out an unprecedented fifth world title at the 2017 International Tree Climbing Championship. Spence has five International Tree Climbing Championship titles (2005, 2007, 2011, 2016, 2017), six New Zealand National Women’s Championship titles (2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010), and four Asia-Pacific titles (2008, 2009, 2010, 2015).
The award was presented by Steve Hansen, coach NZ All Blacks and Skellerup’s Perry Davis and Deborah Allan.

The Federated Farmers Contribution to the New Zealand Rural Sports Industry: Jude McNabb of Owaka. McNabb is secretary of Shearing Sport’s New Zealand South Island committee, and runs her own business. She was secretary for the New Zealand Shearing Foundation, which was established to run the 40th Anniversary World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships for which she was the event manager. More than 30 countries were represented and 12,000 spectators attended. The championships were named New Zealand International Event of the Year at the NZ Events Association awards. In August, McNabb was appointed secretary of Shearing Sports New Zealand. By the end of the year she was also helping organise the Southern Shears and a Southern Field Days Speed Shear, both held in Gore in February. The award was presented by Sir Brian Lochore and Federated Farmers vice president Andrew Hoggard.

The inaugural Toyota Lifetime Legacy Award: Paul van Beers from Porangahau. Van Beers retired from competing in 2016 after a fall from a horse on his sheep and beef farm. His competition career spanned the 1990s to 2016. No one else has ever – or is likely to ever again – repeat the staggering number of wins and podium finishes van Beers had through his 31-year competitive fencing career. He has under his belt 14 Wiremark Golden Pliers New Zealand National Singles Championship Titles, 12 Fieldays Silver Spades New Zealand National Doubles Championship Titles and two Patura World Power Fencing Champion Titles. In 2014 he was half of the first father and son (Jason) combination to win the Fieldays Silver Spades. Paul continues to help drive NZFC. The award was presented by Ray Davies, Simon van Velthooven, Guy Endean and Sean Regan from Emirates Team NZ and Andrew Davis General Manager Marketing Toyota NZ.

The judging panel is chaired by former All Black captain and World Cup winning coach, Sir Brian Lochore, who is also a founding board member of the New Zealand Rural Games Trust. The other judges are rural sports icon and president of Shearing Sports New Zealand Sir David Fagan, Olympic equestrian medallist Judy ‘Tinks’ Pottinger, MP for Taranaki-King Country Barbara Kuriger, founder and trustee of the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games Steve Hollander, and respected agricultural journalists Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins, Tony Leggett and Jamie Mackay.

Nominations for the awards are made by rural sports associations from throughout Aotearoa.

The finalists in the five categories were:

The Norwood New Zealand Rural Sportsman of the Year:
o Corey Church (Rotorua) – Rodeo
o James Kilpatrick (Tauranga) –Tree Climbing
o Shane Bouskill (Waipawa) – Fencing
o John Kirkpatrick (Napier) – Shearing

· The Skellerup New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year:
o Maryanne Baty (Gisborne) – Shearing
o Chrissy Spence (Morrinsville) – Tree Climbing

· The Fonterra Young New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year
o Rebecca Birkett (Taumarunui) – Endurance Horses
o Tegan O’Callaghan (Doubtless Bay) – Rodeo
o Robbie Hollander (Dairy Flat) – Egg Throwing & Catching

· The Federated Farmers Contribution to the New Zealand Rural Sports Industry
o Jason Semenoff (Hikurangi) – Wood Chopping

o Nick Liefting (Auckland) – Fencing

o Jude McNab (Owaka) – Shearing

· The inaugural Toyota Lifetime Legacy Award:
o Paul van Beers (Porangahau) – Fencing
o Hugh McCarroll (Whangamata) – Shearing
o Elizabeth Mortland (Taihape) – Gumboot Throwing


NZ’s first winter Olympian

01/03/2018

The ODT writes about the first New Zealander to compete in the Winter Olympics:

Herbie Familton, who died in May 2002, aged 74, was one of three Kiwis who represented their country at the 1952 games in Oslo, Norway.

Despite having a broken thumb, Oamaru-born Herbert competed in the giant slalom and finished in 77th place, the highest finisher in the New Zealand team.

Selected as a travelling reserve, he replaced team captain Roy McKenzie, who was forced to withdraw through injury.

The 2m-long wooden skis he used at the Olympics were given to the North Otago Museum in 2002, probably by his family after he died, curator of collections Chloe Searle said. . . 

Herbie’s son, Herb Familton, who lives in Christchurch, said while his father did not speak of his Olympic experience often, it was clear he was proud of his achievement.

”He did talk about it a little bit, but not a lot. He talked about how good the Europeans were and that he did some training in Austria beforehand. He knew they would have to do well and perform well because the Europeans were pretty good. He always said he had beaten the Lebanese and the Australians, which gave him some great satisfaction.

”Skiing in New Zealand, particularly then, was a real novelty. People from overseas didn’t realise people could ski in New Zealand at all. From the games on, the ski industry in New Zealand developed quite a lot.”

Herb said his father, also a keen tennis player, would wear his New Zealand Olympic team blazer when he went to play tennis, a sport he played well into his 40s.

Herbert skied regularly until 2000, primarily at Coronet Peak, and also at Awakino Skifield near Kurow, which he helped develop. . . 

Herbie was also a musician who played in the Oamaru Operatic Society orchestra for years.

He used to come out to our farm to gather fire wood and delighted in blowing up stumps with explosives he’d mixed in a food processor at home.

 


Alps 2 Ocean Ultra starts today

25/02/2018

When Mike Sandri first suggested athletes from round the world might like to run the Alps 2 Ocean cycleway, and would pay well for doing so, some locals were skeptical.

But months of hard work by him and his team paid off and the race starts today:

A first for New Zealand, the ultra endurance race will involve athletes running self-supported on and around the 300km-plus Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail, which extends from Aoraki Mt Cook to Oamaru, over seven stages in seven days.

As it stands, stages one and two (53.85km) on day one have a 14hr cut-off; stage three (51.34km) on day two a 13hr cutoff; stage four (86.6km) on days three and four a 34hr cut-off; stage five (43.76km) on day five a 12hr cut-off; stage six (52.66km) on day six a 13hr cutoff; and stage seven (28.67km) on the final day a 6hr cut-off. Checkpoints will be set up every 10km to 15km, offering water and electrolytes.

Self-supported runners will have to carry their own food, sleeping mat, sleeping bag and other compulsory items for the entire seven days, while supported runners will have their food and bedding carried for them to the end of each stage.

They will still have to carry all compulsory gear and food for that day. Each team will comprise up to four runners, and each member will carry the same as an individual. Its origins go back to September 2016, when Mr Sandri took part in the Canyon to Canyon Ultra, a self-supported foot race covering about 280km over six gruelling days in testing conditions in the United States.

When talking to his fellow competitors, they queried him as to why there was no organised ultra race in New Zealand.

“I thought that was actually a pretty good question,” he said.

Mr Sandri believed the terrain from Aoraki Mt Cook to Oamaru would be perfect for such as race, and when he returned from the Canyon to Canyon event, he set his idea in motion.

More than a year later, everything is set to go.

The 126 athletes who will compete hail from 15 countries with a split of about 50-50 between males and females.

Just under half of the field is made up of athletes from New Zealand. . . 

The Alps 2 Ocean Ultra website says:

From the base of New Zealand’s Highest mountain, Mount Cook, to the small, historic town of Oamaru, perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, this rugged 316km race passes by eight lakes, takes in valleys, rivers and diverse terrain. It is set to challenge the hardiest athlete, yet allow virgin ultra-athletes to test their mettle.

Run by an enthusiastic, committed team of tireless volunteers, backed by a generous range of sponsors, all proceeds from Alps 2 Ocean are heading right back into the community and the uptake of registrations means that a difference will be made. The event answers the question about why our country has not yet hosted an ultra-staged race, and the uptake of entries shows the need there was for it.

Race goals:

1.       To bring people to Godzone and showcase our amazing country. Check. √

2.       To host an inclusive race – catering for the elite athlete to the bucket lister. Check √

3.       To contribute any profits to the community, with a focus on youth. We’ll make this transparent via our social media channels.

I am in awe of anyone who is fit enough to run 316 kilometres and equally in awe of Sandri who had the vision for the race and the work down by him, his team of volunteers and the sponsors who have made it happen.

(P.S. – if you click on the website link you’ll see some of the beautiful countryside through which the race will go).

 


No corruption in NZ?

30/01/2018

We were in Paraguay a few days before last election and the campaign came up in discussion with a local.

She listened to some of the policy pledges we described and said, “And you try to tell me there’s no corruption in New Zealand?”

In the past two weeks there have been two examples which would support her query.

The first was industrial legislation which is payback for union support of Labour.

Changes include the axing of the 90-day trial period for businesses with 20 or more employees and:

Employers will once again have a duty to conclude collective bargaining unless there is a “good reason” not to.

Prospective employees will be provided with information about unions in the workplace, and employers will have to pay union delegates for time spent reasonably representing other workers.

Collective agreements will be required to include pay rates or ranges for various levels of staff.

Unions will be able to access workplaces without gaining prior consent from an employer, but will still need to come at reasonable times and not unduly interrupt business continuity.

New employees will again be required to be employed under terms consistent with any collective agreement for the first 30 days of their tenure.

This will increase the cost and risk of employing staff which will threaten jobs, and businesses.

Unions make large donations of money and people-power to Labour and this is their reward for which workers and employers will pay the cost.

Then there’s the all-weather racing track.

Racing Minister Winston Peters announced the government’s intention to build the $10m track after several races throughout the country had to be abandoned due to weather.

The track could be in Waikato to boost the region and be closer to some of the breeders, with Mr Peters saying Waikato would be “a good option”. . . 

At least two of the race cancellations this summer were in Otago. An all-weather track in the Waikato will be of no use for these courses.

Mr Peters is also promising tax relief for owners who are breeding horses for racing. He says the current legislation, which he delivered last time he was Racing Minister, isn’t working like it should.

Act leader David Seymour points out:

Winston Peters’ promise of tax relief for the racing industry risks creating the perception of US-style corruption”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Mr Peters and NZ First have taken large donations from the racing industry in the past.

“For example, in 2008, the Dominion Post reported that a number of donations totalling at least $150,000 had been made to NZ First from accounts linked to the Vela family.

“This policy risks looking like a quid pro quo for the industry. . .

Lindsay Mitchell says:

. . .If tax breaks can make one industry stronger, then they can make any industry stronger.

Government picking winners is a recipe for corruption and injustice. We cannot expect New Zealanders who have not a skerrick of interest in the racing industry to disproportionately pay taxes to advance it.

Tax breaks are not subsidies if they are applied universally. Reduce tax period.

You are a guardian of public money Winston. Not a private investor. . . 

There’s no danger of policy which addresses specific problems, treats everyone equally or on the basis of need, and/or  helps the whole country being regarded as payback to donors.

But a direct link between donations and the legislation or taxpayer funded projects which reward donors as there is with the unions and Labour’s workplace law changes and past donations to New Zealand First and the assistance to the racing industry, at the very least gives grounds for the perception of corruption.

New Zealand has been at or near the top of global ranking for lack of corruption for years.

That means we’re better than most, and sometimes all, other countries.

It doesn’t mean there’s no corruption at all and it’s links between donations and policies like these which justify our Paraguayan friend’s query.


Melbourne Cup picks

07/11/2017

A combination of tartan genes and a Presbyterian upbringing by parents who’d been through the depression has saved me from a temptation to gamble.

But if I was backing a horse in the Melbourne Cup today, I’d be picking one based on nothing more scientific than the colours its jockey wears.

That would have me backing:

Number 1 Hartnell with jockey, Damian Lane in blue.

Number 5 Marmelo ridden by Hugh Bowman in Otago colours, blue and yellow.

Number 2 Almandin ridden by Frankie Dettori and number 7 Johannes Vermeer ridden by Ben Melham, with both jockeys in blue and white.

I’d be tempted to follow the horses

As they race around the courses

If it wasn’t my fate

To pick nags that run late

Always following other horses.

 

 


Sir Colin Meads’ funeral

28/08/2017

Sir Colin Meads’ funeral is being live-streamed on the All Blacks’ Facebook page.


2 cups 1 gold 1 silver

27/08/2017

What a wonderful weekend for New Zealand sportspeople.

The Black Ferns beat defending champions England to win their 5th World Cup.

Five tries in 30 minutes either side of half-time, including a hattrick to prop Toka Natua, proved the difference as the Kiwi women overcame a 12-point deficit and a yellow card to break English hearts for the fourth time in a Cup final. . . 

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The All Blacks kept hold of the Bledisloe Cup after trailing the Wallabies for most of the match.

A Bledisloe Cup contest fit to rank with all the great tussles between Australia and New Zealand was played out in Dunedin on Saturday before the All Blacks claimed a 35-29 Investec Rugby Championship win three minutes from time.

It was an effort that called on all the resources of the All Blacks who had to overcome a 0-17 deficit after only 14 minutes, and then come back as the lead changed hands throughout the second half before the Bledisloe Cup was locked away for another year. . . 

We were at the game.

My knowledge of rugby is such that I miss the commentary at live matches but the atmosphere at Forsyth Barr Stadium more than made up for that.

Lisa Carrington and Caitlin Ryan won good in the K2 500 m.

Kiwi paddler Lisa Carrington has started her medal haul at the canoe sprint world championships with a gold and a silver.

Carrington and Caitlin Ryan powered away to win gold in the women’s K2 500m final on Saturday night (NZ time) in the Czech Republic. . . 

Carrington also won silver in the women’s K1 500.

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