An excellent Press article by John McCrone (25/10/19) on Christchurch’s search for post-recovery purpose. But this quote from the ChristchurchNZ spokesperson pulled me up short:‘…the rebuild did the right thing in “biggering” the central city and its civic assets.’

It is non-U to discuss U-turns but, in view of some still debatable issues arising from central and local government post-quake responses, is the quoted neologism a trump card or a typo?

[This was first published as a Letter to the Editor, The Press, 26/10/19] 

Dear Editor

John Burn (24/10) rightly questions the role of Regenerate Christchurch in preparing for the Earthquake Minister the Canterbury Cricket Trust’s case for expanding the use of Hagley Oval for commercial cricket fixtures.  He describes this backdoor planning procedure as another insult to our local planning laws.

He also says that the “absurd justification” for this is that “all must be ready to allow the association to earn huge income from holding the Women’s World Cricket Cup in 2021.”  Some may infer incorrectly that what is at stake is a local bid to host the whole event.

WWC21, with 8 countries participating, is run by 2021 Ltd, an independent company with a North Island board.  31 fixtures-some day, some day/night- will be allocated to New Zealand cities. As now redeveloped Hagley Oval ought to get its fair share of daytime games, without the need for any extension of the compromise rules governing intrusive lighting, playing times and days.

If Lancaster Park had been redeveloped post-quakes as a stadium the rules would have been less onerous than those which apply to a public park, in an inner city hospital precinct, with access and parking constraints.

Yours sincerely

Lyall Lukey

[This was first published in The Press, Letters to the Editor, on 18/10/19].

Dear Editor

Now Hagley Oval spinners are operating from both ends simultaneously. On Tuesday Regeneration Christchurch, in self-congratulatory anticipation, welcomed feedback on its own proposal to use special post-earthquake legislation to permit the installation of six 49m light towers in place of the four retractable light earlier approved but not installed. Then before the ministerial umpire was in position, the Christchurch City Council overstepped the mark by publicly notifying its consideration of a new ground lease for the permanent lights and other extensions.

According to the Chair of the Canterbury Cricket Trust, the latest push to circumvent the RMA process is because, with the 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup being jointly hosted by New Zealand cities, the Oval “wouldn’t be able to host any India games, and likely no England games, if we don’t have lights.” This is because of TV viewing times in those two countries.

WWC21 comprises eight teams of 31 games so there are plenty of possibilities for Christchurch to get its fair share of daytime games during this commercial blue ribbon event.

Daytime is the best time for spectators to experience a true village green atmosphere and appreciate elite women’s cricket.  Whatever their time zones it is also the best time, between overs, to capture for overseas viewers enticing glimpses of the recreational public taonga of Hagley Park and the Botanical Gardens.


Lyall Lukey

[ First published as a Letter to The Press 6/9/19]

9 years after the September 2010 wake up quake it is time for the ministerial umpire to signal a simultaneous wide and no ball to a renewed effort to shift the planning boundaries on Hagley Oval, before the expiry of emergency earthquake legislation which controversially enabled commercial cricket development.

As a specialist number 11 batsman I played many social games near and on Hagley Oval well before my old cricket club and others were evicted from the village green precinct to make way for the current first class facilities.

The Oval is pitch perfect for any kind of cricket but, given its setting, it is now more appropriate for longer daytime forms of the game, especially test matches and three-day fixtures, where spectator numbers are smaller and spread out over a long time. This eases the pressure of traffic and parking in an increasingly busy hospital precinct, with the adjacent Metro Sports facility for the wider public in the offing.

It is less appropriate in terms of access for one day games and Twenty/20 matches and not appropriate at all if they  are to be played partly at night, illuminated by six 50 m high lighting towers

A belated blatant second bite at the cherry, via lame duck earthquake legislation, for obtrusive bits of the original proposal turned down for good reasons, is just not cricket.

Lyall Lukey


Jumble Higher?

“ …me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou..” Jumbalaya”  Hank Williams

It may have been the one-off change of venue, with a daunting bigger space to fill with sound, or the unintelligible lyrics in the first up choice of the above chanson. Whichever, last Thursday night we Cashmere Stringers didn’t make the nearby hills immediately alive with the sound of music.

Perhaps the resident MC should always choose the kickoff song. It literally sets the tone for the evening. However, Thursday’s choice of starter song did help answer one question. What the hell does ”pirogue” mean?*


The answer came from Westminster only hours before, courtesy of BoJo. “Pirogue” is what you do, as part of a political jumble sale, to suspend the much vaunted Mother of Parliaments for 5 weeks. Despite protestations to the contrary, this enables you to put the finishing touches to a constitutional dog’s brexit. You can cut off at the pass any parliamentary attempts to Exit Brexit before the 31 October deadline.

Can I hear another trumpet-like voice joining the TransAtlantic duet? “Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou…”

*PS   I obviously made one too many dreadful puns in the above. Thanks to those who are concerned that I don’t know the difference between “pirogue” and “prorogue”.  I’m just concerned that the new British PM doesn’t successfully seize the opportunity to go pole the pirogue up the creek, without a constitutional paddle.
Jambalaya (On the Bayou) by Hank Williams

“Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do.” US President Donald Trump misspeaking about 1775 and blaming a damp teleprompter. 

The US President paraded his ignorance,  during yesterday’s hi-jacked and militarised 4 July celebrations,  on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech in 1963.

At least Trump referred to the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War in the 1770s as “our”, not “my” army  as is his wont.

Keen, as usual, to make himself the centre of attention during this annual national birthday celebration, he made sure that fighter jets, bombers, tanks-and even Air Force One- added some real firepower to the customary fireworks.

He was the first President to speak at the Washington Monument on July 4 since the more prescient President Truman spoke in 1951, 175 years after the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. He wasn’t facing an election a year later.

In his Fourth of July speech,  rather than a dream Trump had a nightmare and promised to strike fear into the hearts of America’s enemies. He didn’t identify these enemies, but obviously North Korea and Russia, for two, don’t number among them these days. Perhaps the enemy referred to was the “enemy” both without and within. For the President there seems to be no bigger enemy than the illegal immigrant.

Departing from the usual 4th of July refrain,  despite his own family migrant background, not to mention that of his wife, Trump was not big on celebrating  legal immigrants either.

On the eve of this year’s Independence Day, perhaps to concentrate the mind, the non-fake media reported dreadful conditions in US border concentration camps .

Check out some interesting background on the American National anthem* and enjoy Bill Bailey’s comedic and musical Youtube take on the USA as musically a minor power.**

Re the parade’s headline speaker: Bill Bailey-won’t you please take him home?  Or anywhere …

* Interesting background on the US National Anthem
**  Comedian Bill Bailey has an interesting musical take on the US as a musically minor power.

#Lyall Lukey 6 July 2019  An education etc blog. Silververve: A new lease of life for mature people-website and blog.



Rake News?


Trump Rakes

“You look at other countries where they do it differently, and it’s a whole different story,” President Donald Trump, raking over new embers in California

Surveying the damage on Saturday from the catastrophic California wildfires* Mr Trump revisited his claim that poor forest management was to blame.

Finns have been baffled by the US President’s comments praising Finland  for managing its vast forests by raking the forest floors. Citing a conversation with his Finnish counterpart, Mr Trump had said the Finns spend “a lot of time on raking and cleaning”.

But President Sauli Niinisto could not remember talking about raking when the two met. A fellow Finn said he perhaps wouldn’t compare Finland and California climate-wise. And besides, 80%  Finland is classified as forest land. “We don’t exactly manicure all of it.”

Other Finns had a field day doctoring photos and producing mock catalogues of  baseball caps inscribed with “Make America Rake Again”.

Now that geography and climatology have been deftly deflected, we will continue to watch the rake’s progress* with interest.

  Paradise Lost: California wildfires-The day Paradise burned down.
Rake’s Progress The 1951 opera: based on the paintings by William Hogarth. Note this overt pre-1952 American election collaboration between composer Igor Stravinsky, a Russian, and Librettists Chester Kallman, an American and W. H. Auden, an English-American. The story concerns the decline and fall of one Tom Rakewell, who ends up in Bedlam, a hospital for the ‘insane’.

#Lyall Lukey 20 November 2018  Business websites  An education+ blog. Silververve: A new lease of life for mature people.