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Protecting privilege in Epsom

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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One of the Act Party's founding conceits was that its ideas represented a better way for everyone. Yes, its financial support might come from the very rich, but classical liberalism meant opportunity for all. Roger Douglas came not to uphold…

Budget 2018: The broadcasting shambles

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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During last year's election campaign, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern pledged an additional $38 million – annually, it appeared – for a public broadcasting sector whose budget had been frozen for nine years of a National-led government. It was welcome news and in…

Budget 2018: The final tick

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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When Grant Robertson stands up to deliver his first Budget today, he will already have won a battle that's gone largely unremarked: the battle for his image as a credible Minister of Finance. That might seem a low bar to…

Loops and Diamonds

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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So I wrote a guide to buying an e-bike (and a look at how the market is evolving) for The Spinoff and it was more than 2000 words and even then I left some things out. For instance, that the…

Auckland Festival of Photography 2018

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Capture by A photoblog
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The 2018 Auckland Festival of Photography is on between May 31 and June 22. Below we present images and links from a few of the events and exhibitions that have captured our attention. More information on the 2018 Auckland Festival…

Friday Music: Recalling the Rascals

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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It would be wrong to say The Androidss were part of my childhood, but I wasn't all that long out of short pants when I entered the ambit of that bunch of rascals back in the day in Christchurch. We'd…

Friday Music: There's a lot on for Music Month

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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It's New Zealand Music Month – which, as noted here in the past, these days means a month of loosely-coordinated events, rather than any compulsory patriotic exercise. Do it right and it'll be fun, promise. Many of the details can be…

The Real Victims, Here

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Up Front by Emma Hart
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The other day, I was talking to a friend about the awful petition against Debbie Hockley. He was really amused that it only had 400 signatures, and not so long ago I would have agreed with him. These poor pathetic…

The remarkable rise of Michael Avenatti

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The roiling, leaking, chaotic, corrupt White House of the current US presidency has delivered a succession of remarkable figures into the public eye. Nearly all of them are fools, grotesques or both. But one new face is clearly neither: Michael…

The shared-use path that no one will use

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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One of the things that gives me pause before setting off on my bike from Point Chevalier to anywhere in the direction of the city is the prospect of navigating the many traffic hazards in the area either side of…

Friday Music: The Shopping News

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Tomorrow, Saturday, is international Record Store Day – you can tell by the appearance of solemn thinkpieces about how Record Store Day is ruining everything. This year, it's the Chicago-based reissue label Numero Group, which which published a blast about how…

Paying for the storms to come

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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When I wrote last week about the aftermath of the storm that struck Auckland, it was already clear that the storm's major impact was the widespread interruption of electricity supply. I noted that while we had our power back, my…

Friday Music: In troubled times, the people sing and play

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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As every domestic political debate seems to be escalating towards hyperbole and madness, a couple of new media-political tunes have come across my desk. I feel it is important to the nation that I share these. The first is a…

Big Night Outage

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Our electricity supply returned about 2.30pm yesterday, ending an outage that began around 9pm during Tuesday night's storm in Auckland. I was grateful: our official resolution time was 6pm and I was prepared to be disappointed given the huge number…

We should stop being surprised about racism

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Fourteen years ago last month, Bic Runga flew into a storm. Down near the bottom of a glowing profile headed Is this the next Norah Jones? in Northern Ireland's Belfast Telegraph, these lines appeared: She says her childhood was tough…

Friday Music: A Turning Point for Tono

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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I took the northwestern cycleway to the first of Anthonie Tonnon's season of shows with a full band last night. It marks something of a turning point:  nine of the dozen songs played were new – including one, a synth instrumental…

The crisis is all around us, and so are the solutions

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Speaker by Nicky Hager
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Three years after first publishing this essay in Don't Dream It's Over: Reimagining Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, the problems with news media are just as worrying. The gap between media and journalism widens. But there is some very good…

Hawking radiation and the simplest things

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Access by Paul Gibson
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Stephen Hawking radiated cool. He made nerdy physics cool. At the same time, he made disability cool, and synthetic speech sexy.  He was the outstanding physicist of his time. And because of, rather than despite, his communication impairment, he was…

The Unitec project: Something new, with a rolling start

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Nothing we weren't already doing, said Opposition leader Simon Bridges this morning in response to yesterday's announcement by Housing minister Phil Twyford that, in the first iniative under Labour's Kiwibuild policy, between 3000 and 4000 homes will be built on…

Voting disqualifications (updated)

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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Arthur Taylor has had some “luck” in the Supreme Court recently, getting two cases there in a month, both looking at the 2010 amendment to the Electoral Act that expanded the prohibition on prisoner voting. Many lawyers wait years to…

Don’t tell me stories about the disabled women you know

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Access by Wendi Wicks
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By the time the third panellist responded to my question about inclusion –about concrete actions to include disabled women – with stories about the disabled women they knew, or knew about, I was getting ticked. Very ticked. It’s something that happens…

Fentanyl: it's here

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The harm-reduction organisation Know Your Stuff announced today that for the first time it has found the synthetic opioid fentanyl in a field sample in New Zealand. It's something everyone who watches the illicit drug market knew was almost certain…