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Archive for October, 2013

Ten good reasons why the ITM Cup is relevant to NZ rugby

150 px

150 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


10 reasons why the ITM Cup is still relevant

By  Updated 29 Oct’s Lynn McConnell gives his view of why the national provincial rugby championship is still so important to the game in New Zealand.

1 – Marty Banks. Twelve months ago he was playing Heartland rugby but he, and others, demonstrated it is still possible emerge from the minor unions and make an impact at a higher level. This is one of the most important factors in the New Zealand game.

2 – Canterbury. Winning the ITM Cup competition still matters. Some teams talk the talk but Canterbury consistently walk the walk and by setting the standards they do, they provide the challenge for other sides to aspire to.

3 – The Ranfurly Shield. What a jewel the Shield is for the New Zealand game. Waikato, Otago, Hawke’s Bay and Counties Manukau will attest to that. The boost it gave the last three sides, albeit briefly for Otago and Hawke’s Bay, cannot be under-estimated while Counties Manukau have filled a significant gap in their history by finally securing the log of wood.

4 – New faces. Not everyone can make the New Zealand Under-20 team or the New Zealand Secondary Schools side so the ITM Cup is a great place to prove worth. The greater ability to move around the countryside also creates opportunities – ask Cardiff Vaega, Brayden Mitchell, Billy Guyton, Willis Halaholo, Brendan O’Connor and others.

5 – Goal-kicking. To succeed as a team at any level of rugby you have to kick your goals and the pressure associated with success in both the Premiership and Championship is evidence of that. Three of the top teams in the Championship and seeking promotion had the top three kickers in the competition – Banks, Hayden Parker and Ihaia West.

6 – First five-eighths. A few years ago the question was who was going to succeed Dan Carter? Certainly he is one of a kind, but you would have to say the talent thrown up by the ITM Cup is a great comfort. Not only Banks, Parker and West, as mentioned above, but throw in, in no particular order, Simon Hickey (Auckland), Lima Sopoaga (Wellington), Scott Eade (Southland), Tyler Bleyendaal, Richie Mo’unga and Tom Taylor (all of Canterbury) and there is some depth in the position. That is not to say all are Test candidates, but they do keep the pressure on.

7 – Flankers. Same as above. In such an injury-laden position at the sharp end of the game, flankers are more prone to injuries than most other positions. And when Richie McCaw was on leave, or injured, the ability to call on someone like Matt Todd who was still in match play was invaluable. That’s not to forget players like Ardie Savea emerging at that level.

8 – Referees. No, this isn’t a joke. Referees need match play such as the ITM Cup to lift standards of refereeing over the country as a whole. Just look at the lack of referees from Australia at the moment. And, while acknowledging that the ITM Cup can be a breeding ground for our future referees it has to be said that they could do with some sharpening up.

9 – Fans. Criticism of the lack of numbers at ITM Cup games forgets a few things. Yes, there is greater appeal for Super Rugby. Yes there are a lot more Test matches to pay for. But the fact is, there is still an economic downturn going on and families, especially, don’t have the ability to turn out en masse as they used to. And if you are able to subscribe to pay television you can’t always cough up the extra to attend games – it’s one thing or the other.

10 – Coaches. They may be one of New Zealand’s finest exports but the fact remains that every coach needs a career path. If it was good enough for Sir Graham Henry and Steve Hansen to start at provincial level, it is good enough for other prospective All Blacks coaches. The ITM Cup is a significant second step, after club coaching, and demonstrates who are worthy of the next step up.

In all respects, these 10 factors are vital to the future of the New Zealand game. The ITM Cup cannot be written off as irrelevant and to suggest otherwise is to commit New Zealand’s rugby future to chance – and that doesn’t bear thinking about.



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Song about Taita in Lower Hutt city…

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The 1913 Great Strike in NZ – class war a 100 years ago – its centenary this year coincides with Labour Day

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John Banks MP will now be prosecuted by the State for electoral fraud

John Banks, Mayor of Auckland City, New Zealan...

John Banks, Mayor of Auckland City, New Zealand. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the reopening of Grafton Bridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mr Graham McCready’s private prosecution of John Banks has been taken over by the State…

John Banks will now face the full weight of the Crown as he defends allegations he knowingly signed a false donation return in his failed 2010 Auckland mayoral bid.

The ACT MP was committed to stand trial by Judge Phil Gittos in Auckland District Court last week after a private prosecution was brought by retired Wellington accountant Graham McCready.

Mr McCready launched his action after police decided against prosecuting Banks, but the Solicitor-General has decided to take over the case, spokeswoman Jan Fulstow said.

“We normally do take over private prosecutions once they reach the stage of being committed,” Ms Fulstow told NZ Newswire.

Banks is accused of knowingly signing a declaration which declared donations from internet mogul Kim Dotcom and from SkyCity as being anonymous when he knew they gave the money.

Ms Fulstow said the decision to take the case had nothing to do with Banks being an MP.

She said Mr McCready had asked the Solicitor-General to take on the case.

Banks is still trying to prevent the matter getting to trial, seeking an urgent judicial review of Judge Gittos’ ruling in the High Court.

He said the judgment contained a myriad of factual inaccuracies and flawed legal decisions.

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Kiwi mother with a newborn baby told to get a full-time job – this is not the NZ way…

Griffin Moore

Griffin Moore (Photo credit: Scooter Lowrimore)

Leanne lost half her benefit for missing a Winz appointment. Photo / Natalie Slade

Leanne lost half her benefit for missing a Winz appointment. Photo / Natalie Slade

A solo mother has had her benefit halved, just eight weeks after having a new baby, because she failed to attend an appointment with Work and Income.

Leanne Griffin, 39, went to Work and Income’s Albany office one week after giving birth by Caesarean section to tell the agency about her new son, Blair. She was surprised to be told that she had to look for full-time work.

“I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say,” she said. “I had a week-old baby who I’m feeding.”

She had taken her hospital discharge papers to confirm she had had a baby, but said her case manager had refused to look at the papers, saying she needed a birth certificate. Ms Griffin did not receive the birth certificate until last week.

Instead, the case manager asked why she had not attended two previous appointments she’d made with Work and Income when she was looking for a house to rent and needed an advance for the bond.

She cancelled both appointments when she failed to secure the houses and is staying with her baby’s paternal grandparents in Torbay until she can find a home. The baby’s father has admitted himself to rehabilitation after a long history of drug use.

Ms Griffin, who also cares for her 15-year-old daughter and has an 8-year-old son not in her care, said she told the case manager she wanted to finish a degree in social work which she has started at Massey University. But the case manager “didn’t really want to know”. “She was more interested in getting me into full-time work. She made it clear it was full-timeAt one stage, she paused, looked at her computer a while, then said: “Pause 30 seconds and resume interview.” Ms Griffin said: “I looked around to see who she was talking to. She was just so cold and horrible throughout the meeting.Ms Griffin had to cancel a later appointment made as she’d been disqualified from driving and couldn’t get a lift. She didn’t hear from the agency again until a letter arrived saying her benefit was being halved for not meeting obligations.

A spokesman said Work and Income staff went “out to their way” to help her but their hands were tied.

Read more: Benefits cut for 13,000 parents in new regime

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Knock, knock! Who’s there? The man from the Lotto commission with a cheque for $22.6 million dollars for you…


Knock, Knock Who's There?

Knock, Knock Who’s There? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Knock, Knock Who’s There? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Lotto Powerball logo
The Lotto Powerball logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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NZ Kiwis RL team to play Cook Islands on Mon Oct 20 2013

Rugby League World Cup

Rugby League World Cup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  • kiwis v cooks

    Kiwis v Cook Islands to screen live on SKY
    Monday 20 2013


    Updated: The following team has been named to play the Cook Islands in a warm up game before the Rugby League World Cup. To be played at Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster on October 20, 2013, it will screen live on SKY in New Zealand from 2.45am on Monday October 21, 2013. All players from the NRL grand final have been rested for this match.

    1. Josh Hoffman
    2. Jason Nightingale
    3. Krisnan Inu
    4. Dean Whare
    5. Manu Vatuvei
    6. Thomas Leuluai
    7. Shaun Johnson
    8. Jesse Bromwich
    9. Issac Luke
    10. Sam Kasiano
    11. Frank Pritchard
    12. Simon Mannering (captain)
    13. Elijah Taylor
    14. Greg Eastwood
    15. Ben Matulino
    16. Alex Glenn
    17. Kevin Locke
    18. Bryson Goodwin

    Note: The match is not an official Test match. Both sides will play with a minimum 18 players and unlimited interchange.

    The Kiwis kick off their Rugby League World Cup defence against Samoa at Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington on October 27. The game will screen live on SKY Sport in NZ on Monday October 28 (Labour Day) from 6.45am.

    For all details of the Kiwis games and the full World Cup draw please visit our

    The Kiwis get a taste of English rugby league conditions when they take on the Cook Islands in a warm-up match a week out from the Rugby League World Cup and SKY Sport have confirmed that they will screen the game live.

    “A match against the Cook Islands is a perfect way to get comfortable with the conditions in England ahead of the Rugby League World Cup and it’s fantastic SKY Sport customers can watch this warm-up fixture,” said SKY’s Director of Sport Richard Last.

    New Zealand Rugby League Chief Executive Officer Phil Holden agrees, “I am absolutely delighted that SKY has been able to support us in bringing this pre-World Cup tournament game to New Zealand.

    “It’s great for our commercial partners and great for our fans to be able to watch the Kiwis as they begin their defence of their World Championship Crown and I am very grateful for SKY’s continued support of NZRL so that we are in a position to do that.”

    Every match of the Rugby League World Cup is LIVE on SKY Sport, first up is Australia vs. England on Sunday 27 October, 1.30am, SKY Sport 2.

    Broadcast Details

    Kiwis v Cook Islands – Monday 21 October – 2.45am – SKY Sport 1

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Top Kiwi defence lawyer, Greg King, took his own life – was depressed and haunted by the dead from homicide cases he had known…

Defence lawyer Greg King was obviously haunted by the homicide victims of previous clients. He was an undoubted brilliant legal mind, a future judge. His talents are now lost and wasted. He ended up as much a victim of his previous clients and the legal system he served. So very sad for his family and friends…
Defence lawyer Greg King

LEGAL MIND: Greg King during the Ewen Macdonald murder trial last year.

Top lawyer Greg King took his life, depressed, burnt-out, and haunted by the dead from the cases he had known. Coroner Garry Evans has released his findings into the death of King, 43, whose body was found on November 3, last year, in Dungarvan Rd, Newlands, Wellington, not far from his Mercedes car. In the car was a typewritten note that began: “To everyone: How can I explain the unexplainable?” It said that after nearly 20 years as a defence lawyer he was burnt out, disillusioned and depressed. “He says he is haunted by the dead from his numerous homicide cases and hates himself for what he has done,” Evans said. “He says he has been genuinely torn between doing his job and his conscience, which keeps asking him ‘Is this really what you want to be doing?'” In his finding, Evans mostly paraphrases the note in which King spoke of the experiences with criminals that had dulled his human senses and the victims of serious crime who affected him profoundly. It says that, of all the things he would have done differently had he had his life over, he would never have changed his marriage [to Catherine Milnes-King] and his two daughters. He spoke of his love for them and his parents and brother. Milnes-King has issued a statement saying the family saw his death as a by-product of his genius. She asked for privacy. Milnes-King had told the coroner her husband had a massive breakdown in June, 2012, the night after delivering his closing address for Ewen Macdonald in the Scott Guy murder trial.

The trial had taken a substantial toll on him and his breakdown was the most intense she had seen, going on for hours whereas he would usually be able to pick himself up. And after Macdonald’s trial ended, King was publicly slated everywhere, Milnes-King said. His health and work stress through 2012 really impacted on him, she said. The week before he died he worked on a manslaughter trial in the High Court at Wellington, describing it in his final letter as “another terrible unnecessary death and a lifestyle and community most New Zealanders would have no idea existed”. He saw the appalling gaps in society getting worse, not better. His cases had drawn disheartening and depressing abuse from some people, he hated the attention he received and longed to be anonymous, his letter said. In the week before King’s death,

The Dominion Post‘s investigative reporter Phil Kitchin had approached King about an allegation from a disgruntled former client of irregularities in legal aid billing. The Ministry of Justice, which administers legal aid, had found King’s legal aid bill for the client’s case had been “well within” the range of what was reasonable and to be expected but in King’s absence the investigation could not be taken further. A senior police officer who investigated King’s death thought that, in King’s frame of mind at the time, the thought of a media circus over legal aid could have felt overwhelming, but Milnes-King thought her husband was unlikely to have been unduly worried by the allegations made against him.

Read more here:


Acknowledgements:  © Fairfax NZ News

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Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace returned with huge majority…

Lower Hutt in New Zealand. Looking eastwards f...

Lower Hutt in New Zealand. Looking eastwards from a flight to Auckland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Hutt Workshops Elizabeth Street main ...

English: Hutt Workshops Elizabeth Street main entrance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ray Wallace

RE-ELECTED: Lower Hutt mayor Ray Wallace.

Local Elections 2013

A staggering majority has returned Lower Hutt mayor Ray Wallace to the role once again.

Mr Wallace picked up 20,540 votes, while his nearest rival Phil Stratford garnered 3166 votes.

The significant majority was pleasing to see, Mr Wallace said.

“It reflects the work that the council and I have done over the last three years. I’m very pleased.”

Mayoral work had never stopped for Mr Wallace, as he was attending events in Wainuiomata as mayor throughout the day and this evening.

The planned Walter Nash Stadium, a convention centre and continuing to attract more business to Lower Hutt were all priorities, he said.

“We have got a lot to get on with. We will be getting under way pretty quickly.”

Current deputy mayor David Bassett would continue to serve in the deputy role and had accepted the offer today, Mr Wallace said.

”I’m looking forward to working with him over the next few years.”


Acknowledgements: © Fairfax NZ News


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Native Affairs program on Maori Television aired claims about financial mismanagement on Kohanga Reo National Trust reflect badly on the kuia involved…



Don’t let this wonderful old kuia become a scapegoat for younger famly members

The Kōhanga Reo National Trust receives funding from the Government to fund early childhood education services. This funding, which totalled approximately $80 million in the last financial year, is monitored by the Ministry of Education and subject to random audits. The Ministry has advised us that there have been no irregularities in this process, however we will be meeting with the Trust to discuss these issues that have been raised.”

Who checks the checkers? Who audits the auditors?

Early Childhood Education Journal

Early Childhood Education Journal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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