Recent Posts

Friday Music: Digging ASMR

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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A week ago today on Lorde Listening Day, the singer and producer Chelsea Jade (who has a good new tune out, see below) tweeted that she was "getting ASMR shivers cascading down my skull from ella's voice all through this…

The Family Carers case – here we go again!

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Access by Rosemary McDonald
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Oh, yes indeedy, I would much rather be "out on the harbour" than sitting here in my bus with Peter snoring away behind me, writing yet again about this sorry issue. Forever the multi- tasker, I have managed to combine…

Seeking out the Spomeniks

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Speaker by Clinton Logan
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Dotted about the former Yugoslavia are Spomeniks – largely forgotten monuments, often erected in silent, empty landscapes, like sentinels from another world. Even their collective label sounds alien. (It's Serbo-Croatian for "monuments." ) "They're truly hideous," wrote one design critic. But…

Barclay and arrogance

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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It's not especially unusual for someone to to compare the governing political party to a criminal gang – that's every day somewhere on Twitter, right? – but when the person making the comparison is a respected legal commentator and he's quoting the…

Being Inconvenient

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Access by Fiona McKenzie
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The thing about Twitter is that is forces you to choose your 140 characters carefully.  To say what you really think as artfully and briefly as possible. To be pithy.  Understood.  So when Nicky Wagner gazed out of her inner…

Touching Waterview

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Yesterday, I joined thousands of other Aucklanders on the first public walkthrough of the 2.4km Waterview tunnel that will, when it opens to traffic early next month, bring SH20 all the way to SH16, thus completing the Auckland motorway network.…

The Fall

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Access by Chelle Hope
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In every respect I’d rather just forget about the last month of my life and move on. I won’t be able to do that for months yet. The thought of that is so distressing. The psychological impact has been immense.…

Friday Music: Melodrama

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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"Bet you rue the day you kissed a writer in the dark," Lorde sings to her departing ex in 'Writer in the Dark', a standout track on her second album, Melodrama. "Now she's gonna play and sing and lock you…

Grenfell: a signal moment

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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When I left London in 1991, it was with mixed feelings. Five years there on my own cognisance had been good for me. I'd grown, and had some of the best nights and days of my life. But we had…

Friday Music: Proper Lorde

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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One of the consequences of Lorde's remarkable early trajectory has been that home audiences have not – a couple of industry showcases aside – been able to see her in a small room. The first time most of her fans had a…

Interesting Britain!

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Hard News by Russell Brown
212

It's the nature of modern elections that as the polls close the exit poll result determines whether it's going to be a dull night for someone or an interesting night for everyone. And the UK general election exit poll – with…

Genter's Bill: Starting at last on medical cannabis

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Julie Anne Genter's private members bill on medical cannabis emerged from the ballot this morning – and it raises some interesting questions. The first thing you need to know is that there is no chance of Genter's bill (or David Seymour's…

Friday Music: Asking the important questions

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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This past Wednesday evening, a group of saints and sinners (categories not mutually exclusive) filed down the stairs of Neck of the Woods in K Road for an annual ritual: the New Zealand Music Month Pub Quiz. The event benefits…

Stupidity and ignorance have been raised to virtues

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The most staggering thing about Donald Trump's speech announcing US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is that it demonstrated he has no idea at all what the accord actually is.  When he blathered that after withdrawing “we’ll see if we…

Rugby Now

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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New Zealand sports writing has often suffered in comparison with with the more elevated work of American journalists, although that's not quite fair. Rugby scribes in particular used to write regularly at length, in tour journals and books. Some of…

Media Take: The price of imprisonment

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The episode of Media Take that screened last night is our last for a while. We'll be back on August 22 to cover the general election campaign and its aftermath. And I'm happy to say we went out with a…

Drugs and why Dunne did it

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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There should not really have been such surprise at news reports about associate Health minister Peter Dunne last week proposing the legal, regulated sale of cannabis and the Portugal-style decriminalisation of other drugs. He has been advancing essentially the same…

Budget 2017: How do we get out of here?

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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I was otherwise occupied on Budget day and thus missed most of the scoring and shouting of odds. But I did catch Checkpoint opening its coverage with a look at Budget's 2017's headline story: the combination of tax threshold adjustments,…

How disabled people are excluded from public leadership

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Hard News by Robyn Hunt
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Nearly thirty years after the introduction of Equal Employment Opportunity, (EEO) into the New Zealand public service there is still an impenetrable glass ceiling for Deaf and disabled people. While government continues to “promote” employment for disabled people, career paths…

Friday Music: A melodic thread

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Jed Town has been through a few musical guises: Beatlesque punk rocker with The Features, and then everything from confronting experimentalist to electronic raver as Fetus Productions. But through it all there's been a continuous thread of melody. And that…

The Oncoming Day

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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On Saturday night at the Kings's Arms, in the course of a triumphant two-encore show, The Chills' frontman Martin Phillipps made an announcement from the stage. He had recently received his test results back after antiviral treatment – and they indicated…

Friday Music: Sign of the times

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Earlier this week, a video of Snoop Dogg and his crew performing 'P.I.M.P.'  at Jazz Festival in New Orleans came across the social media wires – and it featured an amazing performance. Not by Snoop or any of his crew, but…

What's the Big Idea?

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Up Front by Emma Hart
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The other day, I was looking at my younger son sitting on the couch watching the news predict imminent nuclear war, and thinking, “This 80s revival is going a bit far.” But surely, it’s my generation who’ve been there before.…

Autumn, what autumn?

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Capture by Nora Leggs
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It doesn't feel like Autumn here in the North, and it still only looks autumnal round the edges.  I've had to scrape together pictures suggesting autumn in their colour more than content. How's it looking further south?