Thursday, February 26, 2009

Former All Black Luke McAlister to return to NZ rugby in May 2009...

Former All Black Luke McAlister to leave English club, Sale and return to NZ in May 2009 - could replace Dan Carter this season:

All Blacks' backs coach Wayne Smith wants Luke McAlister rushed straight back into the squad when he returns to New Zealand in May.

The 25-year-old has signed on with the NZRU through until 2012 and will leave English club Sale at the end of this season. McAlister has cited a desire to be closer to his family for his decision to return.

Smith says it is great news. He says McAlister should be given dispensation to play international rugby without having to play in the Air New Zealand Cup first.

"My personal view is that if he signed a long term contract to be here playing then it would be enough for me, but I don't make those decisions."

Smith says McAlister will be taking a big hit financially, which shows his commitment to playing in New Zealand.

Former All Black first five Grant Fox is thrilled with McAlister's decision.

"He's still a young man. I guess he's done his OE and he's got good reasons to come home and making that commitment to New Zealand rugby till 2012. It's just good - at a time when the game I love's got a few issues - this is good news."

Fox is also a member of the Blues board and hopes McAlister signs for the franchise. He will make a decision on which province he will play for when he returns to New Zealand.

Sale of the Century

© 2009 NZCity, NewsTalkZB
Rugby NZ Newslinks NZ

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Farmers Crescent is in the suburb of Taita North, not Pomare...

Farmers Crescent where there was some media reported gang activities in the last couple of weeks, is actually in the suburb of Taita North, not the suburb of Pomare which doesn't exist.

Pomare is actually a community that grew around the Pomare railway station and the local primary school a few decades ago. The original Taita North school was renamed Pomare to give the local inhabitants some community identity. It still applies to that original area, not the whole of Taita North that many residents, and the media believe.

Why the Hutt City Council split the old Taita suburb into two is beyond me. Taita actually includes that industrial area around the Eastern Hutt Road, erroneously called Wingate as well. "Taita" is actually the original and historic name for most of the Taita, Naenae and northern Avalon areas. The old speedway track, for instance, was at what is now called Avalon Park.

There should be only one suburb called "Taita Districts" to avoid confusion by locals and others as well. Some people in Foster and McDonald Streets have attempted to have those streets included into Avalon North as well; but this is just petty snobbery which I wrote about here, some years ago. Reminds me of those confused people who call Lower Hutt as that non-existent entity Hutt City!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hutt River flood protection project continues...

The earth-movers are back in action along the Hutt River as work continues in a $16 million stopbank project to flood protect the Hutt Valley.

About 50,000 cubic metres of dirt will be shifted in the latest stage of work in Greater Wellington regional council's flood protection scheme, near Hutt Valley High School.

Initial work on the Ava rail bridge to Ewen Bridge section of the stopbank began in October last year and is scheduled to finish in May.

Alistair Allan, a Greater Wellington flood protection assistant engineer, said the work would raise the height of the stopbank by about a metre, enough to protect houses on the other side of the bank from a one-in-440-year flood.

One hundred metres of concrete flood-walls are also being built in places where the flood plain is not wide enough for a stopbank.

Strand Park, which lies on the flood plain behind Hutt Valley High, had been closed for the upgrade and was likely to reopen in September, Mr Allan said.

The Hutt River stopbanks, which are 100 years old in places, were last upgraded in the 1950s.

Before the stopbanks were instituted flooding was just a fact of life along the Hutt River. The whole river valley was regularly flooded in the early days of European settlement.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bootcamps the rage in New Zealand now...

Bootcamps the rage in New Zealand right now...

It appears the new rightwing National Party Government in New Zealand is pinning its whole social platform on a "bootcamp" approach to dealing with juvenile and youth crime. Not only that the NZ Army has been told it will be running these camps. Army spokesmen have previously indicated they oppose "bootcamps" run by the military.

They would prefer people who want to be involved in such training, not malcontent youths and young criminals. Such bootcamps overseas have had limited success over the years. What you get mainly out the other end are fit and healthy young criminals. At least 80% of these are recidivists within 12 months of leaving the bootcamps. Drug users and pushers would be back on the streets in no time at all.

You can't condemn such born again social reformists that exist in this new administration. Society has no option but to support the new government's policy. The told you so's can come later.

The government claims there will be an ongoing program after the bootcamps are completed. They aim to put the worst forty young criminals in the camps initially, followed by others of varying degrees of anti-social behaviour. A big job I would suggest!

Bootcamps are actually the ambulances at the bottom of the cliff. The real and most important work should occur years before. When young people become regular truants from school at the age of eleven or twelve you know where the problems are: They are the ones that social reformers should be concentrating on. They are the ones displaying a lack of discipline in their lives, are becoming rebellious at home and school. They are the ones in danger of going completely off the rails and becoming candidates for bootcamps a few years down the track.They are the ones the government should concentrate on first; that should be their first priority!

Friday, February 13, 2009

International firefighters on their way to assist their Aussie counterparts...

Inevitable that Kiwis would figure in casualty lists:

As I said the other day elsewhere, it would be inevitable that Kiwis would figure in the Victorian bushfire death toll, considering the numbers of Kiwis who now reside in Victoria in particular, and Australia in general.

The latest reported casualty is a locally raised man from Upper Hutt, a few miles north of me in the Hutt Valley. Harley Morgan a devoted husband and chainsaw wood carver,57, and his wife Errol,70, died alongside each other as bushfire engulfed their home in Maryville in rural Victoria.

He was a sawmill worker who had lived more than 30 years in Australia, and was well known for his wood carvings. The couple had moved from Melbourne 15 years ago to their country holiday home.

Our daily paper reported a number of other Kiwi victims of bushfires in this mornings issue.

About 170 people attented a lunchtime mass at Wellington's St Mary of the Angels yesterday to pay their respects to the 181 known victims of the bushfire flames.

NZ PM John Key farewelled more than 50 firefighters as they left Auckland yesterday for Melbourne. Fifty one national rural fire officers and five fire fighters from the NZ Defence force have been sent to Victoria.

Four police victim recovery dogs and their handlers were also on yesterday's RNZAF flight to Melbourne.

It was also reported in the TV news the other day that the largest fire fighting heliicopter in the Southern Hemisphere was flying to Victoria; it was going to island hop and refuel on its way to Australia.

All Kiwis involved were reportedly very proud to be involved in assisting our Australia neighbours in the most tragic civil disaster to have occurred in Austraia in peacetime.

A contingent of American firefighters were reportedly on their way to Victoria as well. They have had plenty of experience fighting fires in California in recent years. Financial assistance is being sent from the UK and other countries.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Not the greatest party for NZ at Wellington Sevens...

Not the greatest party for New Zealand at Wellington Sevens ...

The spectators performed admirably in their variety of dress-ups and dress-downs. It was an exciting and colourful display in the stands. Wellington has always had a great party atmosphere in the ten years the New Zealand Sevens tournament has been played at Westpac Stadium in Wellington City.

On the field there were many upsets during the opening day, including the Welsh defeat of NZ in the opening game. The Kiwis were pretty underwhelming in that game, showing an unprecedented lack of self discipline. Fiji and season competition leaders, South Africa were also beaten by lesser teams.

New Zealand beat South Africa narrowly in the quarter finals and Argentina in the semis.

In the finals New Zealand had England on the ropes but couldn't finish them off. England scored in the final seconds to deny New Zealand their seemingly inevitable victory. A number of injured players didn't help the Kiwis cause, including skipper DJ Forbes playing the final with stress fractures in his leg with the aid of pain killers. But sport is about the players who make it onto the field, not those who could have or may have! Congratulations to England for their second half performance.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hutt's thoughts for today...

From my new blog, Hutt's Blogesphere today:

Hutt's thought's for today...

Tomorrow, FEB 6 is Waitangi Day here in New Zealand. It is supposedly our National Day, but there has been so much division at the Waitangi Treaty site's marae that many non-Maori are beginning to consider an alternative date. Radical Maori who have insulted the former prime minister, Helen Clark, and former National Party leader, Don Brash, there have given moderate and respectful Maori a bad name as well. Helen Clark decided to go to other marae around the country to commemorate Waitangi Day. John Key jostled and assaulted at the lower marae today. We will see what happens tomorrow?

Have some sympathy for the lone young piper in Dunedin who has been told where to stick his pipe because he is making too much noise for some residents. The exhausts of boy-racers cars make more noise, some claim! What anti-Scottish treatment in the Edinburgh of the south. He could get his bag-pipes confiscated and even fined if he plays within the next 72 hours. No sympathy from the Chinese mayor of Dunedin either. Still hard days for the Scots!

Spare a thought for the Aussies whose heatwaves have drifted over the Tasman Sea in recent weeks - apparently the heat emanates from the Indian Ocean and will become a permanent occurrence. Something to do with climate change. Hot times ahead for the Aussies!

We should all visit there regularly!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dan carter sidelined for six months - has ruptured achilles tendon...

All Black Dan Carter sidelined for six months - on crutches with ruptured achilles tendon

A serious injury to All Black Dan Carter is expected to sideline him for at least six months; claims he was rushed back too quickly from injury

There are claims Dan Carter may have been brought back too soon from an achilles injury, resulting in a serious injury that has scuppered his early season All Black plans.

Carter ruptured his achilles tendon playing for his French club side Perpignan at the weekend and will be sidelined for at least six months. He has missed a couple of matches recently with an achilles strain and L'Equipe writer Ian Borthwick thinks Carter has been rushed back too quickly.

Borthwick says earlier in the week the team was unsure whether he would be able to play and there was clearly a weakness there and the worst possible thing has happened to him.

Carter will miss the June tests and probably the start of the Tri Nations in July.


© 2009 New Zealand City Ltd