Over the last couple of years I have enjoyed super rugby more and more to the point I see it more important than AB's. My wife's family is from Waikato, I have roots back to Dunedin and we all live in Auckland. So we go round to the cousins place for many matches involving the Blues, Chiefs or Highlanders and it is a real event for us. To be a Blues supporter you just have to have a #2 team and the Highlanders win two seasons back was the greatest rugby story in a long time. But just when the competition really hots up it goes on hold for a month while some boring Northern Hemisphere team (this year being an exception, hopefully) goes round the country. Then when SR does start up again it is the dead of winter with awful weather for the playoffs. You really want the final stages of the competition to be in spring like most other winter sports around the world. And with the format/structure changing every year or two the whole thing's a bloody mess, but I'm trying.
OTTH, I have been enjoying the AK Schools 1A competition. My son's at St. Peter's with friends in the 1st XV so we go along to a few games. St. Peter's is not usually one of the really top schools but made the semis in 2015 (beaten by Grammar with a long past full-time droppie) and again last year (lost to the awesome MAGS team), and this year is the only undefeated team in the comp. An afternoon on the sideline at various secondary schools is very enjoyable and friendly although I'm conscious that for many of the boys we are watching they are really in the first stages of their career and the pressures on them are immense.
The TPPA was first released on Nov 6th last year. Yes timing is awful but that's a given, no point complaining about that, public won't care. Was there a Labour team on standby to pour over it straightaway? Perhaps a response timetable something like;
6 Nov - 20 Nov: analysis and prepare briefing on the points of most concern
20 Nov - 4 Dec: briefing considered by Caucus and position agreed
4 Dec - 11 Dec: prepare communications of this position, media briefings etc.
14 Dec: Labour's position announced, communicated clearly to all media. And every Labour person saying the same thing every time in every communication.
Position nailed before Xmas, before Govt. has time to announce the ridiculous signing in NZ. Looks proactive and professional and competent. For icing on the cake, co-ordinate with the Greens.
Or was there just too much internal disagreement to achieve this timeline? If so then it's same old.
And I just think it's too much to expect that many people to spend a lot of time getting into the details, i.e. listening/reading outside of the MSM. Perhaps it is a "black day" but being able to get a position sorted and a message straight in a short amount of time just has to be within Labour's capability.
Rob, I've really tried to like Mr Little, but every time I am driving to work and he comes on Morning Report on an important issue, he just fluffs it. With Espiner on TPPA early last week (I think) was a classic where he sounded uncertain of himself and flailed around.
Why oh why can't Labour just get the message simple, clear and unanimous! The Nats manage this almost every time, everyone saying the same couple of key points. The TPPA should've been a chance to own the message like "the economic upside in this agreement is frankly pathetic by itself (Groser got virtually nothing - Fonterra way disappointed!), and absolutely pointless when you consider the massive downside risk in loss of sovereignty". That's the elevator pitch, and then a couple of simple substantiators. This is PR/Comss 101, and no it isn't clever or sophisticated, but even MR hasn't got time for more detail than this.
Now the Nats are on offensive over Labour finally adopting a position (that took way too long!) against TPPA and will paint you into a corner over the dissension in the ranks. And then if there is any violence in the protests they'll tar you with that brush too.
I effing hate them, but gee they are a well oiled BS machine and you have to pull finger in this area to have any slim chance at all!
Got four beautiful days at Mangawhai, including Fat Freddy's at the Mangawhai Tavern! Then three very stormy days near Matauri Bay - luckily we were able to squash inside a house rather than staying out in the tent. Finally a 6 1/2 hour drive back in dreadful traffic.
In 2012/2013 Xmas/NY we also had a cyclonic experience out on Great Barrier Island in a tent at Harataonga Campground. So that's 50% of the last four Xmas/NY periods with weather that made camping miserable. I think I'm over it for this time of the year, i.e. late Spring.
I'm sure this has been debated before but how about if the school year ran for another 2 weeks right up until just before Xmas and then the school holidays went through to mid-February? This would give families more flexibility to take statutory holidays over Xmas/NY and then plan another week or so holiday between mid-Jan and mid-Feb. You could work it in with Nelson/WN/AK Anniversary days & Waitangi Day. Everyone wouldn't be trying to go away at the exact same time of Boxing Day through to early-Jan and the weather would (likely) be much better.
What happened to Emma Paki?
Okay, so the contest is on and opinion here goes both ways with stronger support for Robertson.
But who for Deputy - this is the opportunity for someone new isn't it? National effectively run a triumvirate with Key, English and Joyce.
Does Labour understand that this is their one shot to change or reaffirm the leader? There simply won't be another opportunity to do it again before next election - they have to show stability. And whoever wins has to get the rest of Caucus and the Party's full support for 3 years. If they can't achieve this then 2017 is already lost.
While DC isn't perfect by a long shot there has been a lot already invested in him and he has improved I think over the last 12months. And I'm sorry I just don't see another credible option. I was a little horrified he is holding out olive branch to Robertson, probably indicates the level of factional divide. I would've thought deputy has to recognise the Maori/Pacific/female skew of Labour support.