Recent Posts

Election '20: The No Threshold Hypothetical

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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The final count of the 2020 general election has been released, with five parties making it into Parliament. If New Zealand had no threshold, and parties just had to get enough votes to be entitled to be in the first…

Mum

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Speaker by Michael Appleton
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Ten years ago this week, Mum died. Her death wasn't surprising: my mother Alison had been living with a terminal breast cancer diagnosis for two and a half years. But it was still shocking. One evening, she was sleeping in…

Rewarding competence

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Speaker by Joshua Drummond
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If you were listening to New Zealand’s punditocracy in the days since Labour won the general election with a record-setting outright majority, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Labour had actually lost. Last time around pundits could barely deal with…

Election '20: The Special Votes

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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The 2020 General Election has a preliminary result. For reasons I am unable to really explain, we will not have even a preliminary result for the end of life choice and cannabis legalisation referendums for some weeks (I dropped the…

The long road to "Yes"

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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One day in 1985, I came down from the loft where I was working as deputy editor of Rip It Up magazine, looking for lunch, and walked into a scene. There, on the corner of Queen and Darby Streets, a…

Cannabis: legalisation versus decriminalisation

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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One thing I've been hearing fairly regularly, usually from more conservative voters, is that they're wary of voting "yes" for legalisation and regulation of cannabis, but that they'd definitely get behind decriminalisation if that was on offer. I think most…

The cannabis referendum – a doctor's perspective

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Speaker by Dr Graham Gulbransen
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Cannabis is part of our culture: 80% of adults have tried it sometime. Intuition tells us that legalising cannabis will increase use – science suggests that is not likely. Our Dunedin and Christchurch studies show that cannabis use peaks in our…

ASA: Let's not talk about this

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Last week, major newspapers carried a full-page ad as part of the campaign for a "No" vote to the referendum question about supporting the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill. The ad was authorised by the SAM NZ Coalition, which takes…

Low-Hanging Fruit

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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In a couple of months, the 53rd Parliament will meet in Wellington, and approximately 120 MPs will be sworn in, many of them for the first time. They will all have political goals, some aligning with their party platforms, some…

An unhelpful column about cannabis

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The bar to get a opinion published about legalising and regulating cannabis is, you'll know, not terribly high at the moment. Anyone can have a crack. But there's a column published on Stuff that I want to take a closer…

August 1 Views: Artefacts, art and Grand Designs

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Radiation by Fiona Rae
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SATURDAY AUGUST 1 Artefact (Prime, 7.30pm). The series presented by Dame Anne Salmond screened on Māori Television, but is totally worth revisiting if you saw it the first time. Dame Anne tells the stories of taonga that highlight the history…

July 25 Views: Punk, People and Stars

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Radiation by Fiona Rae
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SUNDAY JULY 26 Country Calendar (TVNZ 1, 7.00pm). Tonight, kiwifruit growing in the King Country. Crazy! Normal People (TVNZ 1, 10.30pm). Holy cow, if you thought it was slow on a binge-watch, imagine what it's like in weekly doses. Nevertheless,…

July 18 Views: Pasifika comedy, London drama, Aussie kids

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Radiation by Fiona Rae
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SATURDAY JULY 18 ANZ Premiership Netball (Sky Sport 3, 5.00pm). Top of the table Central Pulse meet next-on-the-ladder Mystics today; tomorrow, the Pulse meet the Tactix, also at 5pm, followed by Steel v Magic at 7pm. On Monday, it's Steel…

July 12 Views: Tom Sainsbury's sex scandal

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Radiation by Fiona Rae
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MONDAY JULY 13 Bodyguard (TVNZ 1, 8.30pm). It's the final; if you haven't seen this already on Netflix, get ready, the ending is batshit. Unforgotten (Vibe, Sky 006, 8.30pm). I wonder if Sanjeev Bhasksar's character has got rid of that…

The cannabis referendum: the evidence

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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If the government has not lined up behind a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum the way some reformers would have liked, one entirely laudable thing it did do was commission some science around the public's choice. That science…

July 5 Views: Murders, Devils and Kinks

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Radiation by Fiona Rae
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MONDAY JULY 6 Washington (History, Sky 073, 7.30pm). The brilliant Doris Kearns Goodwin is the executive producer of this six-part series about America's first president. It combines interviews with live action and is narrated by Jeff Daniels. It's engaging, said…

Paula Bennett and the Scientology leaflets

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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I wrote earlier in the week about the Scientology front organisations Drug Free World and Drug Free Ambassadors and their quite prominent role in anti-cannabis reform "coalition" assembled by Family First and a new local branch of the American prohibitionist…

Towards the referendum: this might actually be a trend

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Back at the beginning of April, when we had much else on our minds, I wrote this post urging some caution in interpreting the results of the latest Horizon poll, conducted in February, on voting intentions in this year's cannabis…

Views June 27: Five Chasers are better than one

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Radiation by Fiona Rae
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SATURDAY JUNE 27 Banksy and the Rise of Outlaw Art (Sky Arts, Sky 017, 8.00pm). There was graffiti before Banksy, but perhaps his pungent political messages hit home a bit harder. Anyways, a doco about his influence on street art…

Parliamentary bungling? But by whom?

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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There have been a number of articles written about the voting in the final statges of the Electoral (Registration of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill, during which National MPs voted alongside the Green Party to force a change that would prevent…

Views June 20: Savage and Eddyfying

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Radiation by Fiona Rae
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Painting, Lego, honey and a lawyer. SATURDAY JUNE 20 Landscape Artist of the Year (Prime, 6.00pm). Want to literally watch paint dry? Stephen Mangan and Joan Bakewell begin the quest for a new British landscape artist in Yorkshire. Great British…