Sunday August 10, 2003
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 Reality check

The traditional test eve "captain's run" photo opportunity on Carisbrook was cancelled last night because the Dunedin night air was apparently a bit nippy for the All Blacks to turn up in regulation strip.

The Springboks managed to brave the ground at dusk, but All Black captain Reuben Thorne and his men were kept under wraps for their walkabout a couple of hours later because they had donned more than just their Steinlager-branded training kit.

Let's hope the Boks weren't spying like we were - it may have given them new heart for the clash tonight. Men in mittens never look that ferocious. The game is expected to be played under clear skies with temperatures around 4-5C expected at kick-off, but a low of -2C possible overnight.

Referee Peter Marshall says he is no more anxious about this match than any other despite the foul-play allegations against Springboks in their testy Tri-Nations defeat by the Wallabies last weekend. "You can't prejudge teams, you just have to rule on what is in front of you," he says.

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Act's Stephen Franks is quick on the draw. The MP's response to calls from Associate Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia to drop Maori as a word referring to her people was sent out under the title Tangata Whenua Affairs Spokesman. Turia would rather Maori be called tangata whenua. Franks called it a questionable diversion from realpolitik.

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Tourism New Zealand is keen on the pure image, not to mention the spin-off from Hayley Westenra's chart-topping Pure album for its 100% Pure campaign. The marketing agency wants to develop links with the 16-year-old Christchurch singer now being marketed internationally by Universal. With so much purity involved, will dressing up as a boy for Tiny Tim's part in A Christmas Carol or listening to her mother's Nick Cave collection or her own 50 Cent (US rapper) CD be the extent of her teenage rebellion?

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A curious invitation came our way from the Minister for Courts this week. Rick Barker has asked our representative to Wellington for a media tour of the fines collection centre to mark its one millionth call. You can imagine:

Mr Barker: Hello, you are our lucky one-millionth debtor. How do you feel?

Debtor: Fine thanks.

Mr Barker: No, you're fined, thanks. But as our lucky one-millionth call you get another week to pay off your debts before we take away your car.


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