Week in review: One nation under the weather
OPINION: Philip Matthews looks back on a week of weather and politics.
YOU'RE NOT IN BERMUDA NOW
Dunedin got confetti. And a helicopter. We're not bitter but we would just like to point that out. Christchurch made do with a car, a really big cup and a crowd of about 5000 or 6000 hardy, resilient, rugged-up, frozen Cantabrians welcoming Team New Zealand on their America's Cup victory lap. As snow, hail and sleet hit the city on Wednesday morning, it was touch and go. Mayor Lianne Dalziel talked about a Plan B, but Plan A happened. "It's been an amazing reception, we're blown away. We had no idea how big the support has been," said helmsman Peter Burling, as he stood with a representative from the Emirates airline who looked as though she should be freezing to death but kept on smiling. Chief executive Grant Dalton promised "a full regional tour" in Spring. How "full" are we talking here? Will Ashburton get a turn? Methven? Culverden? Waikari? But the parade was just one small anecdote in the week's biggest national story: the weather. The weather closed roads, cancelled ferries, killed power and stranded tourists.
A RARE SIGHTING
Despite the cold, reclusive Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay emerged briefly from his dark warm cave of obscurity to take a crack at a local council. The invisible politician communicated, through a spokeswoman, that he was disappointed that the Clutha District Council had not applied for funds from the Government's tourism infrastructure funding. It was all in a day's work for the young, once promising Barclay who remains on his $165,000 a year salary with travel and accommodation expenses, despite being absent from Parliament and never in his Queenstown or Gore electorate offices when reporters visit. Will the disgraced Barclay ever return to Wellington? Anyone's guess.
FROM RUSSIA WITH EMAILS
An intermediary emailed the son of Republican candidate Donald Trump to say that he could offer "very high level and sensitive information" that "is part of Russia and its government support for Mr Trump". The son replied, "If it's what you say, I love it especially later in the summer". And so Donald Trump Jr, his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort took a meeting in the Trump Tower in New York in 2016 with a lawyer they assumed was connected to the Russian government. The next thing is that the son will be called to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee that is investigating Russian hacking, while two Democrats are taking a long shot by bringing articles of impeachment. "If the impulsive incompetency continues, then eventually – many, many months from now – Republicans will join the impeachment effort," one of the hopeful two said.
TREASURY VS CHRISTCHURCH
Treasury documents reveal the depth of hostility between Wellington bureaucrats and the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB). Could an "intervention" even be on the cards as Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman grow tired of hearing the CDHB complain about being underfunded? Treasury told Joyce that "appointed board members have not been able (or willing) to get the management team and clinicians to adopt adequate management disciplines". Does that sound familiar, ECan fans?