Monday, 18 July 2011

The Weather

# Big Farming Story of the Week: The Weather.

When old timers on the West Coast say it’s the worst spell of July weather in living memory, you know Mother Nature is being a cow! Throw in tornadoes, thunder, flooding, gales and a polar blast of snow and all but the ski fields are down in the dumps about what’s been dumped upon us.

The good news is it’s better to take a battering now than in the August or September. The bad news is Ken Ring reckons we’re headed for another snow storm in early October to rival last year’s September shocker. Mind you, the Moon Man also predicted the Kawarau River (which drains Lake Wakatipu) would run dry a few years ago and I didn’t rush out to buy a gold pan.

# Big Political Story of the Week: Phil’s tax package, John’s refusal to budge and Don shows his true colours.

Politically accident-prone Phil Goff released his party’s new tax policy to all the fanfare of a Davis Cup tie in Hawera. John Key, the great pragmatist, still stubbornly refuses to accept the inevitability and necessity of having to raise the age of entitlement for national superannuation. And former Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson threw his hat into the Act election ring. Wow! Didn’t see that one coming!

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: Davis Cup Tennis in Hawera..

I could have chosen double defeat to the Aussies in the Super 15 Final and World Netball Champs or the naming of the All Blacks or the British Golf Open but I’ve gone with Davis Cup Tennis in Hawera.

This is by no means a slight on the Taranaki town which, by all accounts, did a splendid job hosting the tie against whoever it was we were playing. It is however an indictment on the state of New Zealand tennis. Firstly, that I can’t remember who we were playing and secondly, that we can fit everyone interested into a venue holding 1000 people. As a sporting nation we box well above our weight but our tennis is terminal. Oh for an Anthony Wilding or the halcyon Davis Cup days of Onny Parun and Brian Fairlie or Chris Lewis and Russell Simpson.

# Brickbat: Current Affairs Television.

There’s no nice way to say this. Close Up is crap. What happened to good old fashioned current affairs? The 7pm current affairs slot on both channels is now info-tainment, at best. The misguided penguin got far too much air time but that was serious stuff compared to the recent cliffhanger, inflicted upon us over two nights, of the rich-list Auckland fashion designer who lost her two precious pooches. One was found running aimlessly in a park (sounds like one of the Blues at Eden Park?) in episode one. We had to wait for a thrilling next installment the following evening to find the other hapless hound had been flogged by some South Auckland bogan, no doubt with a view to making a quick buck by way of ransoming the rich-lister. Or, worse still, having a dodgy dog casserole!

If Close Up wants to take its cameras to South Auckland, maybe it should film some of the kids going to school with no lunch, having had no breakfast. Or the tinny houses they’re raised in with the P addicts. But I guess that’s not very palatable dinner-time viewing compared to a feel-good, junk food telly on Close Up’s menu.

# Bouquet: Hawera.

Home to one of the world’s largest dairy factories, Hawera can lay claim to being perhaps New Zealand’s dairying capital? There can be no arguing, however, the Taranaki town is now the tennis capital of New Zealand, having hosted two Davis Cup ties in two years. With a population of just 11,000 it’s a credit 10% of the population turned up to watch the tennis. The Auckland equivalent would be 150,000 fronting up at Stanley Street. Hats off to Hawera!

Jamie Mackay is the host of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Farming Show which airs on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB.


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