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Shots Fired

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Last night's 11-minute debate on cannabis law reform on Q+A was hardly the first time the issue has been discussed on national television. But it can fairly be considered the opening round of the long argument that will precede the…

Friday Music: Indeed a good one

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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"That was my first Silver Scrolls – was it a good one?" asked Aldous Harding, who I'd just met, at the after-party. "It was a good one," I said, before blathering on about the cultural import of Silver Scrolls ceremonies over…

Drugs and the road forward

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Radio New Zealand asked me this morning to write an opinion piece on whether Jacinda Ardern and her government did the right thing by declining to sign up to President Donald Trump's Global Call to Action on the World Drug…

Friday Music: Popping off

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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I've said before that I think we're living in a rich era for New Zealand music, one in which the ambition and creativity of the artists is bulwarked with skills in the technical and commercial parts of the music business…

A painful reflection

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The report outlining Housing New Zealand's response to the harm caused by its misguided policies around supposed methamphetamine contamination of its properties is long and thorough. It puts a number on the tenants harmed by evictions which were very largely…

Housing, homeless and drugs: an interview with Moira Lawler

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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A while ago, Moira Lawler got a concerned call from Wellington. Something bad had happened with a Housing First tenant and government officials in Wellington were very unhappy. There would have to be a no-surprises policy around anything that might…

Look! The Others Way 2018

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Capture by Jackson Perry & Jonathan Ganley
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The Flying Out Others Way Festival returned to K Rd on Friday August 31 for a SOLD OUT selection of the best local acts and a few internationals as well. With something for the young and old, the highlights included…

Russian Underground part 2

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Speaker by Clinton Logan
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"Photography is not allowed" barked a policeman.  Da, foto v poryadke! I respond in clunky Russian. "Nyet!" Da!  I'd spent three days in Moscow's metro system and this was the tenth time I'd been told off. Arguing with Russian officials…

Music: Grey Lynn Taonga

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The recent master-tape donation to the Alexander Turnbull library, momentous as it is, isn't the only Flying Nun heritage action going on at the moment. At a secure location in Grey Lynn, former legendary Toy Love roadie (and Flying Nun…

R.O.A.R.

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Up Front by Emma Hart
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We on the Left may have better stories than the Right, but man can we make ourselves thornier dilemmas. Oh man, I don't think bakers should be allowed to refuse to serve gay couples, but I do think restaurateurs should…

NZ On Air and the bill that does bugger-all

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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In yesterday's edition of Mike's Minute, the broadcaster's reliably thoughtful and exhaustively cited "Morena!" to the nation, Mike Hosking weighs in behind National MP Melissa Lee's bill to require NZ On Air to report, on a quarterly basis, the ratings…

Russian Underground part 1

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Speaker by Clinton Logan
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Sankt-Peterburg: opulent chandeliers, ornate ceilings, mosaics and artworks are everywhere. Sculptures of poets and revolutionaries flank marble lined corridors while deco stained glass provides subtle illumination to highly polished floors. And that's just the subway.  When you purchase your pass…

Friday Music: Aretha and the power of song

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The times in which the great Aretha Franklin has passed, like the times in which she emerged, require us to consider not only her remarkable contribution to popular music, but what she meant even beyond that. I'm indebted, then, to…

Friday Music: Summer's coming

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Signs that summer is on the way are not limited to the recent unnervingly early Spring weather: we're into festival reveal season and there are some things to discuss. Auckland's New Year's Eve party Wondergarden takes a big step up…

Dilemmas: the drug-driving ad that isn't

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Public service advisories about drinking and driving – and road safety in general – have been with us for many years. For a long time, they had a common theme: to scare some sense into the public with, if necessary, the most…

On joining the international troll circuit

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Hard News by Russell Brown
177

Speaking shortly after the event at the Powerstation in Auckland was cancelled on Friday, Caolan Robertson, the self-styled agent for Canadian race grifter Lauren Southern declared that "powerful forces" were behind the venue's decision to dump the booking for Southern…

A cannabis moment in the Parliament

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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One of the issues on Jacinda Ardern's first-day-back desk today is medicinal cannabis – and specifically, the issue of how to respond to pressure to compromise and incorporate key elements of National MP Shane Reti's private members bill into its own…

Friday Music: The spaceman looks back at the sky

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The first time I met Tom Scott, I dropped some borrowed wisdom on him. We were conversing in the 'Talking Heads' format devised by Sam Wicks for the short-lived Herald offshoot Volume in 2011 and I happened to mention something…

Reassure Me: cannabis, polling and deliberative democracy

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The New Zealand Drug Foundation poll on cannabis law reform, whose results were published yesterday, is the first national poll to be conducted since the government promised a referendum on the issue. As such, it offers an insight not just…

Miles on the Clock

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Hard News by Russell Brown
18

It took no great insight to suppose that the main casualties of the report by the Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor debunking the "meth contamination" hysteria would be the companies who for years made a profitable business…