Recent Posts

Friday Music: The Shopping News

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Hard News by Russell Brown
11

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
52

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
11

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
16

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
78

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
29

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…

A submission on the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment bill

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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I'm no fan of the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill, the law that seeks to reinstate anti-"Waka-jumping" laws. And I wrote a submission saying so, to Justice Committee. A bunch of people have already made submissions on the objections in principle…

Bikelash, paralysis – and progress

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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I couldn't ride my e-bike for a few days last week, having strained my back by, ironically, dismounting said bike and missing a step. In truth, my back had been ready to go for a week or two and I…

Friday Music: The Roundup

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Hard News by Russell Brown
3

It strikes me that with the essays that have occupied Friday Music lately, it's a while since I just rounded up a whole bunch of music and related stuff. And there is quite a lot of stuff. So here's a…

A medical cannabis korero by the sea

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Hard News by Russell Brown
4

Several weeks ago at Splore, I ran, as I do every year, the festival's talk programme, The Listening Lounge. And the highlight this year was a discussion of medical cannabis and the law featuring five people who are at the…

Friday Music: NME – it was fun while it lasted

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The news that this week's New Musical Express will be the final print edition of the magazine has no impact on my life. I've never seen a copy of the freesheet version that was NME's last bid to stay in…

ACL: The best of times, the worst of times

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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I had an excellent time with my friends at Auckland City Limits yesterday. I witnessed a spellbinding performance from a great artist and discovered how much I loved another band. So why was I wondering in the midst of it…

Splore 2018

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Hard News by Russell Brown
4 11

At 4am on Sunday, we caught the yellow Splore schoolbus back up the hill to our campsite. By the time the engine clattered into life, it was packed with revellers coming down as well as going up. And just as…

Unknown Places: Armageddon (Greenlane)

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Speaker by Nicole Magolan
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We’re stopped at an intersection. I’m peering into the car next to us, seeing a featureless face of blue. ‘There’s a blue man,’ I say. Jasmine leans over the passenger seat, eyes wide. ‘What do you mean blue? How is…

Unknown Places: The Bach (Awhitu Peninsula)

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Speaker by Anna Matheson
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There’s an old yellow bach at Hudson’s beach with a rusty green roof and blue window frames. Aloe vera, flax, and pink flowers grow under the deck. There are feijoas, mandarins, and lemons growing in the  backyard and two Norfolk…

Friday Music: The fractions of a cent

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Hard News by Russell Brown
10

On the Spinoff this week, Gareth Shute has a fascinating analysis of which New Zealand artists get the most monthly streams on the biggest of the streaming platforms, Spotify – both within New Zealand and worldwide. You can have a look…

Heroes of the Recovery

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Speaker by Greg Jackson
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They can be heroes, day after day … There’s another story in the ruins and rebirth of post-quakes Christchurch for me at seven years on from February 22, 2011. Heroes. The villains have had a good workout. We all have our…