Apart from the Rainbow Warrior bombing - which was a despicable and unprecedented act of terrorism in New Zealand, resulting in the death of an innocent man, and a pathetically small jail term for the two perpetrators, who seemed to conduct themselves with exactly the kind of arrogance and contempt that many associate with the French, and indeed it may seem timely, in this year's 30th anniversary of the bombing, to ask why it is that the French have never, ever apologised for their government-sanctioned murder - apart from that, we have no problem with France.
I said to Richie McCaw, "Mate," I said, "at the end of the day there's no tomorrow if you don't go out and stuff the French."
And he said, "Mate," he said, "that's exactly what we plan to do."
I said to him, "Mate," I said, "I'd be proud to have you on my team. I'd like you to seriously consider a career in politics. What do you think of that, mate?"
And he said, "Mate," he said, "it's something I'll certainly think about after the World Cup but not right now. What I can say is that the boys are proud to have you on our team, too."
I said to him, "Mate," I said, "do you mean that? Because I've always really enjoyed myself in the All Blacks changing room, chugging on a few beers, hanging out, piddling in the shower - I hope you don't mind I did that - and wearing the All Blacks jersey. I actually do feel like I'm on the team. Do you think I could come on and play just a few minutes?"
And he said, "No."
The New Zealand Labour Party has very definite views about the forthcoming Rugby World Cup quarter-final between the All Blacks, or New Zealand, versus France, in Cardiff, Wales, in the United Kingdom.
France - and let me say this quite categorically - is a nation in Europe. Of that we can all agree, although there are certain factions within the New Zealand Labour Party who have differing views on the matter, and I respect those views. Equally I give credence to those in the New Zealand Labour Party who would have it that the earth is flat. Certainly one talks of "a corner of the world", so perhaps they are on to something.
The All Blacks - who are not exactly or entirely all black, owing to the presence of a silver fern on their uniforms, not to mention various sponsorship markings and suchlike - carry the hopes of an entire nation, although internal polling in the New Zealand Labour Party suggests that some people have different values and different hopes. I think it's important we acknowledge that, and indeed the caucus will meet to discuss our values and our hopes on Sunday morning.
It's just a shame the All Blacks-France game is on at that time. I'd love to have watched it.
I have been giving the upcoming game of "rugger" a lot of thought as I commute the 755m from my house to the ferry.
It's a long journey and there are often traffic "jams". I sit there as slow and weird as a glacier, and it gives me time to think of important issues, such as how green my garden grows. It's a very worthwhile intellectual exercise in which I use every cell of my considerable brain power. I also find it very calming. It soothes one. And if Heather Duplicitous-Allan has a problem with that, that ***** can **** off.
I've been spending a fair bit of time with some Kiwis in London this week but I don't think we'll get together to watch the All Blacks vs France game.
I want the ABs to win. But the French are always dangerous opponents. I wouldn't want to bet on the result.