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Every option has costs, every lever pulls on something else

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Last week, in a futile search for a pair of cycling gloves at advertised clearance prices, I called three Kathmandu outlets. At two, my call was answered by a pleasant young Irish person. At the third number, the voicemail message…

Britain: the crisis isn't Brexit, it's Labour

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Speaker by Andrew Miller
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For all her public denials, it never made sense that Theresa May would wait to 2020 for an election. Now’s probably as good a moment as she’ll get to grab a mandate for her vision of post-Brexit Britain. Her reasons…

Friday Music: The Inside Track

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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I was flattered when I was asked a while ago to make a contribution to Base FM's Cover Story II exhibition – but also a little flummoxed. The show, which launched on Wednesday, asks DJs to nominate a special record and…

Friday Music: Folk Yeah!

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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On the face of it, the words "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards" might seem to beckon jokes about fairisle jumpers and and beards. Even given the reinvention of folk tropes by a new generation of artists, the words "BBC Radio…

The Brexlection

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Speaker by John Palethorpe
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In 1926 H.L Mencken proposed that the classical liberal solution to unaccountable democratic governance is to put more power in the hands of the voters, writing in summation "The cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy." The last…

Local journeys on the cusp of Waterview

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Nearly three years ago, I wrote a post called Two roads lead to the city about transport infrastructure near where I live in Point Chevalier. It was principally about the upgrade to the St Lukes interchange in support of the…

Stroppy parents and battling bigotry – what changes?

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Access by Hilary Stace
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A file of decades-old letters can be mesmerising. Especially in a quiet library or archive with 2017 locked outside. Fragile, handwritten letters, typed and faded carbon copies, annotated missives. Who wrote them, why, and what was happening? What energy, and…

Mike Moore: A pretty ordinary rooster

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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RNZ's video and audio podcast series The 9th Floor, a series of in-depth interviews with five former Prime Ministers, is a good idea well executed. Guyon Espiner's interviewing skills transfer well from the immediacy of morning radio to the longer…

(Good) Friday Music: In and out of the woods

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Oro Festival went off at Woodhill Forest on Saturday, blessed with some lovely autumn weather. It was an ambitious show – although given the scale, more a big outdoor party than a festival as such – and not everything went right. The…

Behind those Herald home-buying stories

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The latest in an apparently endless series of you-too-could-buy-a-house-if-you-weren't-so-lazy-and-worthless stories appears on the New Zealand Herald website today. It is titled: From $30k deposit to $1m planned portfolio in a year: one couple's story: Two 24-year-old Aucklanders, who collectively saved…

Friday Music: Disruption

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Back in the old days, – and I'm talking the 1990s here, kids – we used to talk about "internet time" and "internet years" as an expression of how fast change could manifest in a low-friction, connected world. Every day, a crazy…

Food and dancing

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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There are many ways to illustrate Auckland: houses and dollar signs, motorways full of traffic, the irrelevant and unreal adventures of its "real" housewives and bogus bachelors on television. I prefer to take visiting friends to Avondale Markets on a…

Fred

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Fred died last week. He was my mate Shane's dad, having come into his life 50 years ago when Shane was three. I hadn't known Fred well, but I'd seen a bit of him over the years and I so…

The elephant in Room 903

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Speaker by Steven Price
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“Prime Minister, there is a report that an elephant has escaped from the zoo and is sitting in your office,” said the Prime Minister’s first advisor. “That’s terrible!” said the Prime Minister. “Voters will not like it at all.” “We…

Happy Race Relations Day

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Speaker by Vaughn Davis
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It’s easy to believe that race relations in New Zealand are in a pretty happy place. Especially when you’re white. My own experience is probably typical of that. Growing up in the Hutt Valley suburbs of Naenae and Alicetown meant…

Friday Music: Five Songs in a Hall

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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It's hard to overstate the significance of The Clean's Boodle Boodle Boodle in the history of Flying Nun, the label that released it, and in the context of New Zealand music in general. In some ways, it's the reason there…

E-cigarettes and the path of least harm

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The government's announcement that e-cigarettes and the vaping liquid to go with them will be legalised and regulated is welcome. But it doesn't change as much as it might at first appear. And some of the changes it does make…

A touching story

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Access by Fiona McKenzie
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I’ve just hung up the phone from a courtesy call the guy probably really really regrets making.  He was calling from the company which has won the contract to transport our daughter Claudia, who has special needs, to and from…

YouTube and the programmatic problem

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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It hasn't been a good week for YouTube. It's not the content: that continues to be added at a rate of hundreds of hours of video every minute – and a billion hours of YouTube video are watched every day. It's…

The lessons of Prohibition

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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If Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's rich, nuanced 2011 documentary Prohibition does anything, it is to show how complex both the causes and effects of America's "Great Experiment" really were. The coalition that achieved the 18th Amendment to the US…

A war crimes inquiry; or why Nicky Hager is wrong

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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On Tuesday, Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson released Hit & Run: The New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan and the meaning of honour. The book details a 2010 raid in Afghanistan, carried out New Zealand SAS troop, with assistance from US air…

Friday Music: Sound and Light

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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I didn't go to Adele's first show in Auckland last night and, short of the freebie fairy paying a late visit , I won't be going to the others either. I don't mind Adele, but I don't have $300-a-ticket worth…

Brian Greene and the Cosmic Symphony

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Speaker by Jean Balchin
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Dr Brian Greene is known both for a series of revolutionary discoveries in his field of superstring theory – he is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University – and as a skilled communicator of  the wonder of theoretical physics…

A tale of two festivals

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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'The ugly side of Polyfest' blared TVNZ's headline about two fights near PolyFest in South Auckland last weekend. It was a horrible headline which appeared to imply that violence was somehow part and parcel of this annual cultural festival, now…