Recent Posts

What almost everyone is missing about KiwiBuild

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Speaker by Barnaby Bennett
23

Many people are ripping into KiwiBuild at the moment. A lot of these criticisms have a strong whiff of partisan heckling – this is politics after all – some of them are fair and others are just looking for trouble. One complaint,…

Getting serious about the cannabis referendum

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Hard News by Russell Brown
33

The organisers of last Friday's Cannabis Referendum Conference had a specific aim: they wanted to demonstrate that they, as the Cannabis Referendum Coalition, represented a credible, serious and organised campaign for New Zealand's forthcoming vote on legalising cannabis. They didn't…

The Midterms

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Hard News by Russell Brown
79

This week's US midterm elections are inescapably a referendum on Donald Trump's presidency, and would have been so even if he hadn't gone to such lengths to make it that way. The closing campaign ad that was so racist and…

The big vision and the small problems

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Hard News by Russell Brown
26

It was always on the cards that Jacinda Ardern's first conference keynote as Labour Party leader would contain a significant policy announcement; a reward for the people in the room, an underlining of her government's brand. What's pleasing is that…

Reaching out

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Access by Chelle Hope
11

What do you do when you’re not at all sure how to be ok anymore? The well known, well-publicised advice is to talk to someone, which is excellent advice and a great start. What if you feel like your life…

Friday Music: Return of the Rhythm Master

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Hard News by Russell Brown
13

You can't have followed beat-based music in New Zealand for the last 15 years without being at least peripherally aware of Julien Dyne, but he's been particularly in my ear lately, with his work on the Avantdale Bowling Club album…

Lost Men

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Hard News by Russell Brown
104

I watched the BBC News Our World report What's Killing America's White Men? pretty much by accident last night, but was immediately drawn in. It meshed with Beth Macy's book about the US opioid crisis, Dopesick, which I've just finished…

An epic day at the park

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Hard News by Russell Brown
10

I went to Eden Park for the first time in several years on Saturday. I used to go all the time, but I'd become disillusioned with Auckland rugby at both Super and provincial level – the turning point, ironically, was the…

The better place

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Hard News by Russell Brown
11

By Friday afternoon, I wanted to think about anything other than the foul, troubling politics of the preceding week. So I went to the Zoo. Not on my own, but as an outing with my younger son. It was a…

Shots Fired

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Hard News by Russell Brown
23

Last night's 11-minute debate on cannabis law reform on Q+A was hardly the first time the issue has been discussed on national television. But it can fairly be considered the opening round of the long argument that will precede the…

Friday Music: Indeed a good one

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Hard News by Russell Brown
5

"That was my first Silver Scrolls – was it a good one?" asked Aldous Harding, who I'd just met, at the after-party. "It was a good one," I said, before blathering on about the cultural import of Silver Scrolls ceremonies over…

Drugs and the road forward

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Hard News by Russell Brown
18

Radio New Zealand asked me this morning to write an opinion piece on whether Jacinda Ardern and her government did the right thing by declining to sign up to President Donald Trump's Global Call to Action on the World Drug…

Friday Music: Popping off

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Hard News by Russell Brown
2

I've said before that I think we're living in a rich era for New Zealand music, one in which the ambition and creativity of the artists is bulwarked with skills in the technical and commercial parts of the music business…

A painful reflection

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Hard News by Russell Brown
15

The report outlining Housing New Zealand's response to the harm caused by its misguided policies around supposed methamphetamine contamination of its properties is long and thorough. It puts a number on the tenants harmed by evictions which were very largely…

Housing, homeless and drugs: an interview with Moira Lawler

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Hard News by Russell Brown
4

A while ago, Moira Lawler got a concerned call from Wellington. Something bad had happened with a Housing First tenant and government officials in Wellington were very unhappy. There would have to be a no-surprises policy around anything that might…

Look! The Others Way 2018

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Capture by Jackson Perry & Jonathan Ganley
4 15

The Flying Out Others Way Festival returned to K Rd on Friday August 31 for a SOLD OUT selection of the best local acts and a few internationals as well. With something for the young and old, the highlights included…

Russian Underground part 2

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Speaker by Clinton Logan
5 12

"Photography is not allowed" barked a policeman.  Da, foto v poryadke! I respond in clunky Russian. "Nyet!" Da!  I'd spent three days in Moscow's metro system and this was the tenth time I'd been told off. Arguing with Russian officials…

Music: Grey Lynn Taonga

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Hard News by Russell Brown
22

The recent master-tape donation to the Alexander Turnbull library, momentous as it is, isn't the only Flying Nun heritage action going on at the moment. At a secure location in Grey Lynn, former legendary Toy Love roadie (and Flying Nun…

R.O.A.R.

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Up Front by Emma Hart
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We on the Left may have better stories than the Right, but man can we make ourselves thornier dilemmas. Oh man, I don't think bakers should be allowed to refuse to serve gay couples, but I do think restaurateurs should…

NZ On Air and the bill that does bugger-all

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Hard News by Russell Brown
29

In yesterday's edition of Mike's Minute, the broadcaster's reliably thoughtful and exhaustively cited "Morena!" to the nation, Mike Hosking weighs in behind National MP Melissa Lee's bill to require NZ On Air to report, on a quarterly basis, the ratings…

Russian Underground part 1

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Speaker by Clinton Logan
7 12

Sankt-Peterburg: opulent chandeliers, ornate ceilings, mosaics and artworks are everywhere. Sculptures of poets and revolutionaries flank marble lined corridors while deco stained glass provides subtle illumination to highly polished floors. And that's just the subway.  When you purchase your pass…

Friday Music: Aretha and the power of song

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Hard News by Russell Brown
13

The times in which the great Aretha Franklin has passed, like the times in which she emerged, require us to consider not only her remarkable contribution to popular music, but what she meant even beyond that. I'm indebted, then, to…