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Thank goodness the snowflakes haven’t killed this yet

A rodeo which has become the biggest attraction at the Wairoa Show has attracted record entries despite animal rights group attempts to get rodeos banned in New Zealand.

This week’s rodeo – incorporating a local event on Friday night and a national circuit event on Saturday – has attracted 207 entries from 187 competitors, almost double usual numbers and an encouraging promotional sign ahead of the national circuit finals on March 24-25, also in Wairoa.

It’s also expected to be a boon for the Upper Mohaka Rodeo on Sunday, just north of the State Highway 5 bridge over the Mohaka River, near Te Haroto.

It will make them among the bigger North Island rodeos among a circuit of about 35 nationwide, with significant numbers coming from the hub of the sport in the deep south where some rodeos can attract up to 400 entries, said New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association president Marty Deans, of Outram, near Dunedin.

Wairoa Rodeo Club secretary Harmony Wallace was overwhelmed by the numbers, saying she expected “a few” more than usual for the annual show, but the numbers that eventuated.

“We usually get 90 to 110 competitors,” she said yesterday at the Wairoa Showgrounds, where the community was staging its working bee ahead of the show, at which the rodeo is possibly the biggest attraction. Read more »

Oh look, I was right again

There is a high risk New Zealand’s tobacco black market could grow significantly, costing the Government over $10 million a year, a declassified document says.

A Stuff investigation last year, which included a reporter purchasing 80 grams of the illicit product, highlighted how easy it is to buy illegal tobacco online.

Police have also raised concerns the black market is fuelling armed robberies and burglaries in Christchurch.

Customs appeared unconcerned, saying the illicit trade is “not a significant problem”.

But a 2016 Customs report, obtained under the Official Information Act, paints a different picture, stating the tobacco black market might grow significantly, costing millions of dollars.

Customs initially refused to release the document, which is marked as confidential.

It stated there were signs New Zealand’s illicit market was growing, with “notable growth” occurring recently, and acknowledged media reports that heavily discounted tobacco was being sold on social media.

Minister responsible Nicky Wagner on Sunday said Customs was keeping a close eye on the risky market. Read more »

These media snowflakes are pathetic

President-elect Donald Trump’s team could move the White House press briefing room from the West Wing to another location that accommodates more media from around the country, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on Sunday.

Esquire magazine reported on Saturday that the Trump administration planned to relocate White House reporters from the press room to the White House Conference Center or the Old Executive Office Building next door.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week”, Priebus said the team discussed moving news conferences out of the small West Wing briefing room to the Old Executive Office, which is part of the White House complex. He said no decision had been made.

“I know that some of the folks in the press are uptight about this, and I understand,” Priebus said. “The only thing that’s been discussed is whether or not the initial press conferences are going to be in that small press … the press room that people see on TV is very, very tiny.”

“So no one is moving out of the White House. That is the White House, where you can fit four times the number of people in the press conference, allowing more press, more coverage from all over the country … That’s what we’re talking about.” Read more »