Lydia Ko

2015 – Our winners

TEINA PORA

He was already out of prison, but Pora wasn’t truly a free man until the Privy Council in March quashed his convictions for the 1992 rape and murder of Susan Burdett. No retrial was ordered, meaning Pora would not have to face the courts for a third time. His legal team launched a bid for compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment, which is still under consideration. But in his first television interview, Pora – who became a grandfather while behind bars – said the bid was less about the money and more about an apology: “I want an apology … Then I can move on.”

As we’ve seen, he’s after more than an apology now. ?All the humility has gone, and he’s back to form.

LYDIA KO

Ko is probably one of the nicest people in world sport and 2015 has certainly been a massive year for the 18-year-old. She became the youngest ever world No.1 – man or woman – and clocked up 17 top-10 finishes, including five titles. She claimed her first major – the Evian Championship in France – and was named Player of the Year. Despite her success and sporting prowess, Ko made headlines in January for the unlikeliest of reasons – the fact she’d traded in her glasses for contacts.

THE TPP NEGOTIATORS

After plenty of false starts and ominous predictions it’d never get off the ground, the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal was finally completed in October. The TPP had its beginnings way back in 2006 with the P4 agreement between Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. It eventually morphed into a deal involving 12 countries and that’s where negotiations hit complications. In August, conflicts over car, pharmaceutical and dairy industries threatened to scuttle the TPP. But one final push in Atlanta, with several days of talks that went through the night, finally secured a deal.

Unlike the idiots in France talking about a planet warming up but agreeing to a non-binding agreement (huh?), the TPP actually required real hard work and compromise.

DAVID SEYMOUR

The rookie MP has managed to turn around the fortunes of the ACT Party, which not so long ago appeared to be fading into political oblivion. He was behind the so-called Rugby World Cup booze bill that ultimately succeeded, allowing pubs to open and serve bleary-eyed punters alcohol in the early hours for the duration of the tournament. He’s also pushed along the euthanasia debate by drafting a member’s bill to allow for assisted dying in certain, strictly defined circumstances. Something of an endearing figure, Seymour’s also provided one of the more memorable quotes of 2015: “the French love the coq”.

As even National supporters are starting to tire of National, but they would never vote for Labour, NZ First and ACT are set for a huge resurgence in 2017. ?If Seymour and his invisible supporters keep this up, you may see a larger ACT party back in partliament.

THE BLACK CAPS

They may not have won the Cricket World Cup, but for a few all-too-brief weeks, it seemed even the most unlikely of cricket fans were converted. In the pool stages of the tournament, the Black Caps embarrassed both England and Australia. Then there was the unforgettable, nail-biting semi-final – Grant Elliot became an instant hero when he slammed a six into the stands at Eden Park on the second-to-last ball of the match, securing victory. Sure, they weren’t able to repeat the feat in the final against Australia, but the Black Caps at least proved some of their doubters wrong.

Being a Black Cap fan is like being in a bad relationship. ?You keep going back for more, because when it’s good, it is really good.

 

– NZN, via Yahoo!

Top 10 things New Zealand does better than Australia

The opposition parties did the best thing ever when they declared that we had a crisis of Kiwis leaving NZ for Australia.

Once the?crisis was declared it was over quicker than it was started.

But one thing politicians and whingers go on about is how lucky Australia is.

That’s why this list of the?Top 10 things New Zealand does better than Australia as published in Australia is so special.

IT?S somewhat foolhardy to ruin an otherwise pleasant new year by getting my head punched in. But sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns or, in this case, the sheep by its ears, and say what you really think.

And what I really think (ducks) is that New Zealand is quietly trouncing us.

Not with its weather, which is reliably miserable, or with the Kiwis? infuriating habit of replying to every question with ?Yeah, nah.?

But when the 4000th person, upon learning that I was born across the Tasman, asks: ?Why are the All Blacks so good?? I feel compelled to speculate on the national psyche.

New Zealanders like themselves.

Unlike the Germans who have self-regard, or the Italians who are self-admiring, or the Americans who aren?t quite sure how great they are these days but will enthuse anyway, the kiwis exude quiet confidence and self-determination.

?So why are so many of them coming over here?? I hear you say.

Well, they?re not.

Whereas they used to flock across the ditch, prompting former PM Robert Muldoon to distastefully remark that they ?raised the IQ of both countries?, the migration rate has slowed considerably.

Kiwis are staying home where they?re enjoying a strong economy, low unemployment, a stable government and terms of trade at a 40-year high.

And those boys in black just keep winning.

So what are they doing right? ? Read more »

Whaleoil’s sportsperson of the Week: Lydia Ko

Well now. ?We’ve given poor Lydia a hard time for leaning on the tax payer for more money even though she’s won over $600,000 since she turned pro.

Of course, it turned out that that was mostly??High Performance Sport New Zealand and?Golf NZ on her behalf, but even so…

Kiwi golfing sensation Lydia Ko will not receive any more government funding after coming to an agreement with New Zealand Golf.

The news comes after it was reported?NZ Golf’s application for high-performance sport funding had been accepted and would be revealed by the Crown on Monday.

Mystery had been surrounding the impending agreement between High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) and NZ Golf after it was reported Ko, who the golfing body used to justify its request for $208,000 in taxpayer funding, had distanced herself from the situation.

NZ Golf applied for the money to fund Ko’s coaching, physiotherapy and mental skills training, travel and accommodation for her and her mother.

However, they released a statement today which said NZ Golf and the world No 3 had made the decision not to award her any more funding together.

She doesn’t want it, she doesn’t need it, and NZ Golf were hell bent on giving it to her. ?I smell one of those “we need to give this to you otherwise the government will reduce our budget next year” sort of situations about it – but I admit I’m speculating here. Read more »

Lydia Ko funding outcry earns Sports NZ some unwelcome attention

Fairfax is getting some resistance to finding out where all the tax payers’ money is really going once it leaves Sports NZ’s stash

Sport New Zealand is trying to stop information being released on the state of the government’s second-biggest Olympic investment and the findings of a review into Bike NZ’s capabilities.

Taxpayers will foot a bill of $70,500 after Sport NZ commissioned a review of Bike New Zealand – who received $18.3 million in public funding for its last Olympics campaign — and which looked at the national sport organisation’s financial state including the loss of its major sponsor, its relocation to Cambridge and high-performance planning in the wake of the sudden departure of successful national sprint coach Justin Grace and chief executive Kieran Turner.

Under the Official Information Act, Fairfax Media has requested details of the review. Sport NZ confirmed it had spent $70,500 on the review which was “initiated by BikeNZ” and “conducted by Martin Jenkins”, a domestic consultancy firm owned by former Sport NZ boss Nick Hill.

If you are in charge of spending tax payers’ money, you don’t get to choose what to reveal and what to keep secret. ? Read more »

Lydia Ko not happy with the tax payer troughing debate

Earlier this week it was revealed that Lydia Ko wanted even more of your hard earned taxes to further her professional career.

Joseph Romanos opines:

Sport New Zealand high performance chief Alex Baumann wrote to newspapers over the weekend, justifying a potential payout to Ko.

“We support athletes and teams from targeted sports who can win on the world’s toughest sporting stages,” he said.

“Lydia Ko meets our criteria and we’ll continue to work with New Zealand Golf to increase her chances of winning a medal in Rio.”

Baumann went on to explain that the application was lodged before Ko turned pro. But she turned pro last October, and the application hasn’t been withdrawn, so such an excuse is nonsense.

Ko knows she doesn’t need any financial support. That’s why she’s embarrassed. She declined nearly $1 million in prizemoney before she turned pro. It was obvious then money was never going to be a problem, and it hasn’t been since.

I guess the question is: why is?Sport New Zealand so keen to give its (our) money away to someone who so obviously doesn’t need it? ? Read more »

Lydia Ko can’t wean herself from the taxpayers’ trough

Olivia Wannan at Stuff reports

Golfer Lydia Ko is asking for more taxpayer support since turning pro than she received when she was an amateur.

The 16-year-old prodigy can now reap big financial rewards from professional tournaments, as well as millions in management contracts and endorsement deals.

She pocketed NZ$181,000 for winning the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters tournament in Taiwan last year and so far this year has collected more than $280,000 in winnings.

As an amateur, she received $115,000 from High Performance Sport NZ in 2012 and $185,000 last year, chief executive Alex Baumann said.

New Zealand Golf’s application for this year is for $208,000 to pay for her coaching, physiotherapy and mental skills training.

The total includes $115,000 to pay for transport and accommodation to tournaments for Ko and her mother.

NZ Golf chief executive Dean Murphy said that, despite Ko’s new professional status, the funding was still necessary, and the application was lodged while she was still an amateur.

“There will come a time when Lydia becomes self-sufficient.

“Currently that’s not the case …

So what?

If Ko is now a professional, who says she has to return a profit for the first few years in business? ? ? Read more »

Face of the Day

Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko, who has been breaking all sorts of records.

New Zealand’s Lydia Ko rewrote golf’s record books as despair turned to delight on the 18th green at Oatlands today.

A year after she three-putted to gift Caroline Hedwall a one stroke victory in the NSW Open, the ultra-talented 14-year-old found redemption as she won her first ALPG tour title – and in doing so became the youngest woman ever to win a professional tournament.

The North Harbour teenager, by way of South Korea, held playing partner Lindsay Wright at bay over the third and final round to supplant Amy Yang at the top of the leader board of junior golfing prodigies with a commanding four shot victory.

Yang, a South Korean whose talent was nurtured on Australia’s Gold Coast, was 16 years and 192 days old when she won the 2006 ANZ Ladies Masters as an amateur.

Ko now holds that accolade as the youngest winner of a tournament sanctioned by the world’s five recognised women’s golf tours.

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