Recent Posts

Key Derangement Syndrome Derangement Syndrome

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Polity by Rob Salmond
106

If current polls are to be believed, this month the flag referendum will fail as more than 60% of voters reject the Kyle Lockwood design in favour of the current flag. This news won’t be welcome with Prime Minister John…

Words and Guitars - Sleater-Kinney with Mermaidens

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Capture by Petra Jane
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It's been ten long summers since Sleater-Kinney last played in Auckland. The band took a break from touring and recording in 2006 to work on other projects – Corin Tucker's two solo albums, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss's indie-rock supergroup Wild…

Music: The next festival

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Auckland City Limits has published its timetable and site map for March 19 The site configuration will be familiar to anyne who went to the last Big Day Out, but there a few differeneces – most notably that the entrance and…

The flag referendum: complicating your decision

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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I published a Q&A on how to vote in the first flag referendum, and because a first-past-the-post election with two choices is one of the few voting systems that cannot be gamed, I was going to write a half-joking post…

What you lookin' at?

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Hard News by Russell Brown
61

Duncan Greive's recent The Spinoff  column The real problem with New Zealand TV drama is a follow-up to his earlier review of the new NZ On Air-funded drama series Filthy Rich. Actually, no: it's a consequence of that scathing review.…

The flagging referendum

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Hard News by Russell Brown
165

Called to account on Morning Report on Monday for the strong support for keeping the current national flag indicated by recent polls, Prime Minister John Key gave a strange answer. "It's (a) very early days," Key told Guyon Espiner, which…

Booze review! Brewday IV

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Polity by Rob Salmond
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Like Wrestlemanias and Superbowls before it, the Greater Wellington Brewday had its IVth annual festival at the weekend. In a paddock decorated with hay bales, flannel, and amusingly non-ironic tattoos, 2,000 appreciators of beer congregated to sample the finest ales,…

Friday Music: You are among friends

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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We walked down the hill on Friday evening to a beautiful play of light: the last of the sun reaching over from the west, the broad shimmer of the sea,  the high moon looking down, the glow from the tents…

The Sharing Man

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Mediaworks' decision to replace its longtime news chief Mark Jennings with Hal Crawford, hitherto editor-in-chief and publisher of the Australian Ninemsn website, buys the company the kind of strategic expertise in digital publishing that – witness the Scout debacle – it has…

So what now?

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Yesterday's decision by 13 Auckland councillors to remove the council's voice from a Unitary Plan process in which, by any assessment, it should be the major player is being greeted as a victory by those responsible. Richard Burton, the leader…

UNGASS and the "Drug Free World" illusion

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The killer fact is a public speaker's friend. It can be used as a way of not so much simplifying a complex argument, but of giving the audience a peg on which to anchor the complexity. I deployed a few…

The K Road Story

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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I'm very pleased that Metro magazine has posted my feature K Road at the crossroads on its website. Because it appeared in the December-January double issue, it's been a longer wait than usual for the story to reach the free-to-read…

Poll Soup

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Polity by Rob Salmond
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At the outset, let me say this is not a post that says the polls are wrong, nor that the left are where they want to be.  But the analysis of the polls this week has been poor. Primarily, there’s…

Five

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Up Front by Emma Hart
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It’s not often I get a column mostly written in my head, and then have to tear it up and throw it away. Surely that should be even less likely to happen with a memorial column: isn’t the subject the…

Yeah nah, but what *do* we stand for?

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OnPoint by Keith Ng
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The now-or-never argument - that we must change the flag now, or be stuck with it for the rest of our lives - is plainly wrong. We will have to change the flag if we become a republic; and we…

Friday Music: The great full eight

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The Taite Music Prize, with its mandate to judge solely on the "artistic merit, creativity, innovation and excellence" of the best New Zealand albums each year, with no heed paid to commercial success, has been a welcome addition to the…

Key: Peering between the lines

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Polity by Rob Salmond
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John Key’s a political poker player, and in poker there’s an old maxim about projection. When people are stuck in weak position, they go out of their way to project strength. It's how you try to get out of a…

The Shaken Generation

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Speaker by Kyle MacDonald
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Children are empathic sponges.  The environment they find themselves in, soaking up and feeling what those around them feel, unavoidably affects them.  This is no truer than with anxiety, and now five years on from the beginning of the earthquakes…

Leaving only footprints

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Polity by Rob Salmond
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I went tramping this past weekend. A quick overnight jaunt with a friend up an ill-frequented Tararua river valley. In a sunny summer weekend, we saw only four people in two days. We got lost a few times, shared a…

Helen Kelly's letter

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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This week, Helen Kelly, who has metastatic lung cancer and is terminally ill, received a letter from the Ministry of Health to tell her that an application by her oncologist Anthony Falkov under Sections 20-22 of the Medicines Act to…

Friday Music: Dark Sounds of Africa

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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African musicians have been adopting and adapting Western popular music for decades and there's endless pleasure to be had exploring the back pages of Nigerian funk-rock and Ghanaian disco. If you're going to WOMAD this year, you'll be hearing the…

A Better Man

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Speaker by Grant Robertson
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As a politician one of the most common topics I get asked to talk about is leadership. Not party leadership (though that used to come up a fair bit!) but the principles of leadership. What makes a good leader, what…

Correcting Auckland 2040's Unitary Plan befuddlement

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Speaker by Ben Ross
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The Unitary Plan debate has flared up again as Council and submitters prepare to present their cases before the Independent Hearings Panel into which zones go where across Auckland. We've seen reports and commentary on a meeting in East Auckland…

Listening Lounge 2016: Drugs and the dancehall

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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When the promoters of the Splore festival asked me to put together another Listening Lounge talk programme for this year's festival, they asked whether I had a dream guest I'd like to bring in. I did. And I'm pleased to…

Moderation

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Hard News by Russell Brown

On Friday night, I closed a long, occasionally difficult but undoubtedly valuable discussion thread spawned by my post about incidents of sexual harassment at the Laneway festival. There were two main reasons for doing so. The first was that the…