Predator Free would cost ‘trillions’

Clayton Mitchell, NZ First spokesperson on Conservation, has said that “the cost of keeping the entire country predator free and maintaining it would see a capital expenditure cost of $1.67 trillion and an operating cost of $91 billion per annum”.

This is his whole media release: Predator Free – a Trillon Dollar Cost

A predator-free New Zealand by 2050 is likely to cost trillions, not millions as the government claims, says New Zealand First.

“The National government’s promise to make New Zealand predator-free for the bargain price of $28 million is nothing but greenwashing,” says Conservation Spokesperson Clayton Mitchell.

“Zealandia, a predator free plant and bird sanctuary in Wellington, cost $17 million to set up with an operating cost of $867,000.

“Using these figures as a yardstick, the cost of keeping the entire country predator free and maintaining it would see a capital expenditure cost of $1.67 trillion and an operating cost of $91 billion per annum – as New Zealand is 98,000 times larger than Zealandia.

“The operating cost alone would be 40% of New Zealand’s GDP.

“According to the Conservation Minister, the private sector will be willing to share the burden with additional funding.

“The government’s targets are totally unrealistic.

“New Zealand First recognises that the preservation and enhancement of the environment requires sound economics.

“Unlike National we believe that we must set appropriate and realistic environmental goals,” says Mr Mitchell.


David Farrar calls this as “may be the stupidest release put out by NZ First since they complained about the Reserve Bank being owned by foreigners” and there’s a few uncomplimentary comments too under Meet the future NZ First Minister of Finance.

Mitchell is also NZ First spokesperson on Sport and Recreation and spoke today in Parliament on Motions — 2016 Olympic Games—Success of New Zealand Team

A thought to think about as we go into new sporting events and, of course, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are the people who paid and enabled this event to take place, and who put our sportspeople on the international stage so that we can swell with national pride.

We should have given them the ability to watch these games of national significance live and free to air, as we once enjoyed in previous times gone by. We would like to see this House support that as it comes up in the future. It is affordable, and I think, if you ask the people who stay in touch with New Zealanders, there is a huge desire for it.

So he wants “games of national significance live” free to air. Coverage of the Olympics is anything but free.

But he didn’t do any costings -it shouldn’t be hard to come up with a rough estimate of trillions.

Lochte’s excuses continue

One of the biggest adverse stories from ther Olympics has been US swimmer and medal winner Ryan Lochte claiming he had been robbed at gun point, but this turned out to be untrue.

When his story unravelled he issued a lame excuse, and he has continued with media interviews that seem more inclined towards feeling sorry for himself for having become involved in ‘human error’.

Lochte says he is highly embarrassed himself and for his country, but is still making excuses saying he was highly intoxicated and is human and everyone makes mistakes.

He also blamed ‘immature behaviour’. He is 32 years old.

Most drunk people manage to avoid making high profile false complaints of serious crime.

Deadline reports: Ryan Lochte To Matt Lauer: “I Over-Exaggerated” Robbery Story

In an interview today with NBC’s Matt Lauer that was heavily promoted and aired during the network’s primetime Rio Olympics coverage, U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte faced the music, somewhat, over his debunked claims of being robbed at gunpoint last weekend in Rio. He told Lauer that “I over-exaggerated that story.”

Lochte made international headlines last Sunday when he told Brazilian police that he, along with Team USA teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and James Feigen, had been robbed by men posing as law enforcement officers.

Video evidence, witness testimony, and a detailed statement given by Bentz painted a different picture, however. Following an off-site event, the swimmers had urinated outside of a locked gas station restroom, after which Lochte vandalized a sign. Security guards who arrived on the scene then demanded repayment for the damaged property, drawing their weapons after Lochte became belligerent.

In the interview with Lauer today, Lochte — as was the case in an apology issued yesterday — took “full responsibility,” but did not appear to directly address the specific charges of vandalism.

“It’s how you want to make it look like,” he said when asked why he’d presented himself as a victim to authorities and to the media. “Whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion, or us paying just for the damages, like, we don’t know. All we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direction, and we were demanded to give money.”

Lochte says he has learned his lesson but I think there is more learning to come as further repercussions seem inevitable.

Getting drunk, being a vandal and making false claims of crime in a foreign country with the biggest concentrating of journalists ever on hand is not a trivial matter.

Olympics winding up

The Olympic Games in Rio are winding up, with a few events still to be completed but all New Zealand competitors are now done.

This morning an early puncture put Sam Gaze out of contention in the mountain biking.

Yesterday Nick Willis ran into a bronze in the 1500m. This was an excellent effort, adding to the silver he got in Beijing.


This brings New Zealand’s medal count to 18, which I think has exceeded expectations overall.


The closing ceremony will be at 11:00 am this morning (NZ time). Lisa Carrington will carry the flag for New Zealand.

It seems to have been a relatively successful and trouble free Olympics.

Olympics – silver for Ko

Lydia Ko birdied the last hole on the women’s golf to secure a silver medal just now. Inbee Park was too strong on the final day, winning the gold five shots clear.


Ko should be reasonably satisfied – and perhaps a bit relieved in the end – with second place but may be a bit disappointed she didn’t pull off a win. But golf is a sport that even the best only win sometimes so this is a very good result.

The K-4 women’s 500m kayak team came in fifth in their final.

Andrea Hewitt was 7th in the women’s triathalon, and Nicky Samuels was 13th.

All that’s left for Kiwis today is Nick Willis in the men’s 1500m final at 12:00 pm.

After that there is one remaining event for Kiwis, Samuel Gaze in the men’s Mountain Bike Cross Country tomorrow morning at 3:30 am.

Eliza McCartney

Back to yesterday and Eliza McCartney’s bronze in the pole vault – that was one of the nicest and most emotional events and results I have experienced. She wasn’t expected to win a medal, her goal was to make the final 12 as experience with Tokyo in 4 years the big goal.

Eliza was so obviously ecstatic with her effort. It was flawless up to the limit of her current capability, and so nice when an Aussie’s failed attempt (sorry Aussie) left Eliza in third place. She revelled in celebrating along with the two other medal winners.


If you haven’t heard much about Eliza The Spinoff has Reflecting on Eliza McCartney’s astonishing rise.

Current medal tally 4 gold, 9 silver, 4 bronze, total 17. New Zealand are 18th on the medal table,.

Olympics – McCartney bronze!

Eliza McCartney has won the bronze medal in the pole vault, equalling her New Zealand record of 4.8 metres.


The women’s hockey team lost their game for bronze against Germany 1-2.

The women’s K4 500m kayak won their semi final to make the final which will be early tomorrow morning.

Quentin Rew got 11the in a field of 80 in the men’s 50 km walk.

Trent Jones crashed in his second semifinal race in the BMX, coming in 7th and was also 7th in his third race putting him out of contention. He had ridden to 3rd in the first race.

Most of my interest has been in third day of women’s golf. Lydia Ko came into the round quite a way off the pace but had a day best round of 6 under (which included a hole in one) to rise to 2nd equal near the end of the round, putting her right into medal contention.

But Inbee Park is 3 shots better playing the last hole. A number of other leading players had difficult days.

UPDATE: Park bogied the last hole to finish on 11 under for a two shot lead.

It will be interesting to see how Eliza McCartney goes in the pole vault final later this morning (11:30 am).

Nikki Hamblyn will run in the women’s 5000 m at 12:40 pm.

From yesterday, Tom Walsh topped off a five medal day for New Zealand, getting a shot put bronze that he looks very pleased with.


This adds up to a record 15 medals for New Zealand. So far.

Eliza just cleared her personal best of 4.8 m first attempt!

Five others still in the contest but no one else has cleared 4.8 yet so she is starting to look like a genuine medal chance.

Two cleared 4.85 and Eliza missed on three attempts, but so did two others so she claims the bronze!

Now 16 medals.



Which Olympic sports?

I have been thinking about which Olympic sports I have participated in at some sort of competitive level.

  1. Basketball
  2. Gymnastics
  3. Rowing
  4. Sevens rugby
  5. Football (we called it soccer)
  6. Dressage
  7. Show jumping
  8. Eventing
  9. Volleyball
  10. Golf
  11. Kayaking (multi-sport event)
  12. 100 m
  13. 200 m
  14. 400 m
  15. 800 m
  16. 1500 m
  17. Long jump
  18. Triple jump
  19. High jump
  20. Discus
  21. Shot put

Admittedly most of those were to a fairly basic level quite a while ago, but having done a sport probably helps promote an interest in it.

I’ve also dabbled with others like shooting, hockey, sailing.

Gold, silvers, bronze at Olympics

New Zealand are picking up medals at the Olympics today, with a set of bronze, silver and gold already won.


An emphatic win in the medal race for Burling and Tuke.

Lisa Carrington couldn’t quite double up on her gold, getting bronze in the K1 500m.

Aleh and Powrie held on to their second position in the women’s 470 sailing final, clinching a silver. A great comeback after two disqualifications put a follow up medal in doubt.

Burling and Tuke are guaranteed a gold in the men’s 49er but the medal race is yet to sail (scheduled for 5:35 am).

Meech and Maloney are in with a chance in the women’s 49er (6:20 am) with four crews vying for the three medals. The order they finish the medal race will reflect the overall order.

Jacko Gill and Tom Walsh have both qualified for the shot put final at 11:30 am, with Gill qualifying fourth best and Walsh second best.

Trent Jones looks to be doing well in the track BMX quarter finals with a 3rd and 2nd so far (one run to go). 2nd in his final run to qualify for the semis.

Nick Willis will run in a 1500 m semi at 11:45 am.

Lydia Ko seems to be struggling to fire in the golf. She has just finished her second round with a one under to be three under for the tournament. With others yet to finish Ko is tied for 19th, 6 shots off the lead.

Burling and Tuke have blitzed the 49er medal race to emphasise their class. A well deserved gold, following up from a silver in London.

Now for the women’s 49er medal race. A very exciting race with New Zealand in gold medal position until the second last leg, but Brazil overtook them from the other side of the course. Another silver is excellent.


Four medals in a day is good going, with the shot put final to come.

Medal tally so far is 4 gold, 8 silver and 2 bronze for a total of 14, a record. Already one more medal than Seoul in 1988 and London in 2012.


Olympics update

So far a relatively quiet day for Kiwis at Rio.

After winning gold yesterday in the K1 200m Lisa Carrington was paddling again today in the 500m. She won her heat and seemed to cruise into second in her semifinal to get through to tomorrow’s final but will have tough competition there. She was fourth fastest on the day.

There’s two sailing finals with the women’s 470 a medal chance but out of contention for gold. This has been delayed. Update – the men’s has been cancelled for the day and the women’s is in doubt too due to a lack of wind. Ok, the women’s final has also been postponed until tomorrow.

A big game for women’s hockey, playing a semi final against Great Britain at 8:00 am. Can they lift themselves again?

Women’s golf is under way with Lydia Ko playing in the last group. She is currently -1 after 12, 4 shots off the lead (Inbee Park).

Ko had dropped a shot to be back at even par until she eagled the 15th to get her more in touch with the leaders. And she has finished on -2, four shots off the lead but close ebeeenough with three rounds to go.

. I was nervous at the start. A solid round. I’m pleased to finish under par.


Great, but not really what the Olympics are about

A big Olympics story apparently involves Kiwi Nikki Hamblyn in the 5000m where she fell with a US runner with four laps to go and they helped each other to the finish line.

New York Daily News: Abbey D’Agnostino and Nikki Hamblin show true meaning of Olympic spirit after collision during women’s 5,000-meter race




It’s a great story and very nice to see, and both runners have been lauded for their sporting behaviour.

But it is being reported as ‘this is what the Olympics is all about’. But it’s not.

The Olympics is mostly about trying to win and trying to get a medal. It is as competitive as you can get, usually.

A fall at that stage of a race would normally rule you out of contention so spending a bit of time helping each other is not going to make much difference to the race.

This is rare, that’s why it is making headlines.

Also probably rare – race judges have put both runners into the final despite finishing well back.

What I find particularly goos about this is that at a time of high emotion and probably disappointment both runners automatically expressed their natural reactions, which were to help each other.



Olympic update

Yesterday the men’s hockey team had a heartbreaking end to their quarter final match against tournament favourite Germany. They had a 2 goal lead with four and a half minutes to go but Germany got a goal, then finished very strongly with another two goals in the minute, getting the winning goal with barely a second to spare.

This morning the women’s hockey team did better against Australia in their quarter final, leading through the match to win 4-2.

Lisa Carrington won her 200m single kayak heat and went on to win her semi final in the fastest time of the day.  She is looking a good prospect for a medal in tomorrow morning’s final at 12:47 am.

Dylan Kennett is placed 8th after 4 of 6 events in the cycling omnium, within reach of a medal but with strong competition.

Update – he won the flying lap event which lifts him to 4th overall, just 2 points off 3rd place and 12 off second and 28 off first. It comes down to the final event, the points race.

After 1 event Lauen Ellis is 5th in the women’s omnium.

There’s been a lot of disruption with postponements and delays in today’s sailing . Maloney and Meech are placed 3rd after 7 races in the women’s 49er FX. Update – 12th in the eight race and 3rd in the ninth race lifted them to second overall but the top four are close..

Sam Meech is supposed to be in the medal race for the Laser today, starting in 3rd place. Update – cancelled for today.

After a second today Burling and Tuke are first after race 7 in the men’s 49er. And in their second race they were third, maintaining a good points lead.

More omnium and sailing to come today.

BREAKING: Kiwi sailors Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie have protested yesterday’s disqualification in race 6. Hearing scheduled for later today.

That would make a huge difference to their chances. It was their second qualification, this one after crossing the finish first which dropped them from second place to 7th.