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Yesterdaze: Rockets, Bitcoin and one hot bishop

From the TPP's new identity to Brian Tamaki's self-anointed hotness and that punishing heat, James Elliott takes a look at the news of the week

Rockets are so hot right now. They’re the fidget spinners for 2018. It used to be that the marker of a truly modern country was having a revolving restaurant on top of a tower. Now it’s rockets.  

Last Sunday Kiwi company Rocket Lab conducted its second successful test, sending its Electron rocket into orbit in just eight minutes and 31 seconds. That sounds impressive but is in fact slightly slower than the time it took Mark Richardson to reach the same orbit when he heard about Jacinda Ardern’s pregnancy.

What was truly impressive about the launch was the rocket’s ability to adjust its trajectory during the ascent to avoid a shower of Bitcoins coming the other way and crashing back to earth at an even greater speed. 

The Rocket Lab launch had been scheduled for Saturday but was delayed when the launch area was trespassed by what was described in New Zealand media as a “rogue” boat. In Australian media the boat was described as a likely people-smuggling operation encouraged into New Zealand waters by the inexperienced Jacinda Ardern’s reckless offer to Australia to settle 150 of their asylum-seekers. 

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s most high-profile asylum seeker Kim Dotcom ended speculation — that no-one was actually engaging in — that he was going to be TV3’s next Bachelor by marrying for the second time. While Dotcom said yes to his new bride he continues to say no to the US government’s offer of an all-expenses paid one-way ticket honeymoon to a remote location on the Eastern seaboard. And there’s also no truth to the rumour that Dotcom is in negotiations with Rocket Lab to arrange for the splashdown of a 150-kilo payload in Ecuadorian territorial waters.   

The rest of us have been so hot this week that petrol station pies have been blowing on us. There was even scurrilous scuttlebutt that John Campbell was thinking about taking off his jacket. 

But there’s no doubt that the hottest topic of the week has been the heat itself. It’s been 32.3 degrees in Invercargill this summer. Invercargill! That’s enough to make even the most ardent climate-change denier break out in a cold sweat. And the rest of us have been so hot this week that petrol station pies have been blowing on us. There was even scurrilous scuttlebutt that John Campbell was thinking about taking off his jacket. 

The heat got to everyone, including Brian Tamaki, who proclaimed on Facebook “Super-size your faith in a hot church with a hot preacher.” No surprise really that a self-anointed bishop should then be self-anointed as hot. Although hotness is generally accepted to be in the eye of the beholder. One person’s hot bishop is another person’s greasy biker. But if the bishop is as hot as he thinks he is there’s an obvious next step. Well … step, step, spin, bump and grind. My knowledge of scripture is a bit shaky but I think there’s a line in Romans that says “And how shall they hear without a preacher in tear-away velcro pants?” Move over Magic Mike and get out your Kate Sheppards, here comes Mystic Brian. He’s going to shake that money maker for the Messiah and he wants you to fill his G-string for Jesus.

Speaking of resurrection, the TPP. The Government announced this week that New Zealand will be signing the TPP. Although it’s not the TPP anymore, it’s the agreement formerly known as TPP, or the CPTPP. The C and P stand for comprehensive and progressive, which are charmingly pointed descriptors following the US withdrawal from the TPP framework last year. 

For the record the CPTPP signing is supported by Labour, New Zealand First and National, opposed by the Greens and nobody thought to ask ACT what he thought.

Some Kiwis are confused as to whether they’re supposed to support a Labour-endorsed CPTPP having opposed a National-endorsed TPP. The difference lies in the timing. Last year was cooler and right now it’s just too hot to try and understand the differences, much less protest.  

“What do we want?”  

“Fair trade and economic equality. No wait, actually we want air-conditioning and Frujus. And we want them now!”  

For the record the CPTPP signing is supported by Labour, New Zealand First and National, opposed by the Greens and nobody thought to ask ACT what he thought.

The Government also marked almost exactly 90 days in office by announcing plans to restrict the 90-day trial period for new employees. The 90-day probationary period, also known as the 'Sorry we have to let you go on your 89th day period' no longer applies to businesses with fewer than 19 employees, or the Deputy Prime Minister.    

And while the NZ government has started the year running with a string of announcements, the US government was actually shut down for business for a few days. President Trump seemed totally unfazed by the drama, drawing on his extensive experience of business shut downs: Trump Casinos, Trump Airlines and Trump University to name just a few. With the shut-down resolved, Trump then headed off to Davos, no doubt looking forward to forging a great new friendship with the Davosian Prime Minister.

Have a cool weekend.

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