Recent Posts

Jim's Truth

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Access by Russell Brown
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I've had a bit to say of late about YouTube, its algorithms and the escalating allure of certain facile "creators" to young men. I worry about this stuff. But I think it's also important to acknowledge that the alt-lite and…

School donations: a small step towards a level playing field

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Speaker by Gareth Shute
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Among the provisions in yesterday's Budget was new funding for schools: $150 annually per student. The money is availabe only  to decile 1-7 schools  and it's specifically intended to reduce the need for those schools to ask for yearly donations…

Rip It Up: A history of us, a history of me

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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I love the National's Library's Papers Past archive. I've used it many times for work and sometimes just for fun. The one thing I never thought I'd be able to do is vanity-search on it. And yet, here it is:…

You just need a sense of humour

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Access by Hilary Stace
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“You just need a sense of humour”. I heard this patronising and unhelpful advice from a panellist at an Autism New Zealand Conference many years ago. What about access to education and services, understanding, financial and other support? These words…

Music: Some deep belief

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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There's a strange thing about having songwriters as longtime friends. On the one hand there are years when you're mates getting in the same scrapes; they're smoking your weed and you're drinking their riders; you're all  fitfully growing up, not…

Cabinet and the Reeferendum

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Hard News by Russell Brown
96

Today, it has been reported, Cabinet will consider the government's approach to next year's cannabis legalisation referendum – including whether voters will be able to see a detailed bill before they vote "yes" or "no" and, crucially, whether such a bill…

The economics of shit speech

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Speaker by Joshua Drummond
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It’s time we fixed the New Zealand news media’s problem with shit speech. First, let’s put together a working definition. Shit speech is the stuff that might not necessarily be described as hate speech, but it occupies much of the…

What does the wastewater testing for drug use actually show?

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The results from the first three months of national wastewater testing for for drug use were published yesterday by Police and they came with a pretty obvious headline: we're still consuming a lot of methamphetamine in New Zealand – probably even…

Digital persuasion and the dark places of democracy

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Hard News by Russell Brown
72

Last week, officially the first of Australia's 2019 federal election campaign, potential voters were subjected to a series of false claims about the Labor Party's policy on vehicle emissions reduction. But not everyone saw the ads, and of those who…

Auckland Festival of Photography 2019

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Capture by A photoblog
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The Auckland Festival of Photography 2019 is on between May 31 and June 16. Below we present images and links from a small fraction of the events and exhibitions that have captured our attention. More information on the 2019 Auckland…

One Hand Loose

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Capture by Jonathan Ganley
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Delaney Davidson & Bruce Russell, at the Auckland launch of their Charlie Feathers tribute album - 'One Hand Loose' - at the Wine Cellar on March 23 2019 . . . the musicians lit only by a 25w lamp under a…

A (non-)submission on the new Arms Amendment legislation

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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I went back to the office last night, and stayed until after midnight in order to make a submission on some aspects of the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill, the Government's response to the Christchurch Mosque shootings.…

Music: The urgency of Mr Arabia

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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In Sunday's Star-Times interview with Grant Smithies, James Milne explains that one of the motivations for embarking on his one-song-every-month Singles Club process was that he realised he tended to produce good work when he was given a commission and…

Psychedelic Therapy: an expert discussion at Splore 2019

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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What follows is an edited transcript of the Splore 2019 panel discussion about psychedelic therapy, with Otago University researcher Geoff Noller, Will Evans, an advanced trainee in palliative care at Auckland District Health Board, who is part of a proposed…

An attempt at demystifying Sharia

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Speaker by Felix Geiringer
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I have written this piece, at this time, in the hope that I can contribute to removing the mystery, and therefore fear, associated with Sharia.  It is intended to be my answer to the Islamophobic dog whistle of “they’re trying…

These things we must now change

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Hard News by Russell Brown
276

Wajahat Khan becomes a New Zealand citizen tomorrow. On Saturday, before leading the opening prayer at the vigil in Aotea Square, he told the thousands who had gathered there how happy and proud he was at the prospect. The fact…

Terrorism Offences and Murder Sentencing: An Explainer

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

I wrote some explainers on this site about New Zealand’s Terrorism Suppression Act following the Urewera Raids. I won't link to them as they are somewhat out of date. While still largely accurate for their descriptions of the offences of…

The climate strike and the voting age

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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Next Friday, students around New Zealand will be taking part in a climate strike, concerned about the international, and national, response to the threat of climate change. That people are discussing their decision to wag school to take part pretty…

The korero we've been waiting for

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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If you follow this blog at all, you will know that I have been in a state of some despair at the quality of the media "debate" on the forthcoming cannabis law reform referendum. So it gives me great pleasure…