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The best of The Spinoff this week

Compiling the best reading of the week from your friendly local website.

Duncan Greive: Real Housewives of Auckland is brilliant and utterly appalling

“How you respond to the show will depend entirely on whether you can ignore the grotesquerie it represents for long enough to revel in the very real pleasures it provides. My gut says that this is going to set social media on fire for its entirely nine week run, with one side gasping in horror and the other entranced.”

Madeleine Chapman: One weird trick for winning lots of Olympic medals: funding female athletes

“Sportswomen have been experiencing a slow increase in funding and opportunities over the past decade. There’s still a long way to go until they’re anything like level-pegging with men, but that hasn’t stopped them surpassing their male counterparts in Olympic achievement. Women already win more medals, at a lower cost per medal, than men. Put it all together and it leads to a cold, unavoidable conclusion: women are a better Olympic investment than men.”

Most of New Zealand's medallists in Rio (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Most of New Zealand’s medallists in Rio (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Grant Bayldon: Not ‘a big enough issue’? Why inaction on KiwiSaver and cluster bombs is a betrayal of NZ values

“Information on what the funds are actually invested into just isn’t that easy to get. It took RNZ and the New Zealand Herald a thorough investigation – and that information will soon be out of date. Most of us don’t have the time to do that sort of digging.

All KiwiSaver providers have to meet a set of government approved criteria; with the stroke of a pen the government could add the requirement that funds not invest in any illegal weapons.”

Steve Braunias: The Friday correspondence with one of the world’s most beloved poets

“A few weeks ago I thought: hm I know, let’s see if any of the world’s most well-known living poets will write a poem for the Spinoff Review of Books. I drew up a list and got in touch with the various representatives of John Ashberry, Carol Ann Duffy, Billy Collins, Donald Hall, John Cooper Clarke, Linton Kwesi Johnson and others. The only person who got back was a woman acting on behalf of Maya Angelou.”

Robyn Hunt: Not a big deal, David Seymour? For disabled people the idea of assisted suicide couldn’t be bigger

“Like most people we believe in the alleviation of suffering, such an untrustworthy and loaded word in this context of assisted suicide. One person’s perceived suffering can still be another’s rewarding daily life. Assisted suicide is not the only way to find dignity in death.”

Alex Casey: ‘It’s going to take time to normalise the female leader’ – Tara Moss on why women need to speak out

“Just look at the long history of teachings about how women are emotional or unstable. We should not have authority over men, we should not speak in the church, we should not have access to higher education or other rights – it’s pretty unsurprising to see we how we got here.”

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Tim Murphy: Housing crisis uselessness costing National in Auckland – Spinoff poll

“Put another way, the government’s failings on this most important issue were blamed by Aucklanders more than the dreaded ‘developers and speculators’ at 38.5%. Respondents were allowed to select more than one cause of the crisis, but interestingly, fewer than 10% took the bait and opted to call out ‘selfish NIMBY baby boomers’ for being part of the problem.”

Jamie Wall: Great moments in Bledisloe Cup history: The 2000 TrueBliss vs Bardot national anthem sing-off

“Little did the members of TrueBliss or Bardot know as they left the stage, but their anthems would lay the platform for one of the greatest trans-Tasman rugby tests of all time, a game with a climax so tense that subbed first-five eighth Andrew Mehrtens was forced to blindfold himself with a sock.”

The definitive photograph of Andrew Mehrtens. (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images)

The definitive photograph of Andrew Mehrtens. (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images)

Hayden Donnell: Shock Spinoff photo-essay exposé: apartments already exist in Auckland

“In a special Spinoff investigation, we can reveal that, in many ways, the density foes’ fears have already been realised: apartments have stealthily invaded huge swathes of Auckland. They started creeping from Takanini, Mt Wellington, and Penrose. Sprung up in Newton, Eden Terrace, and even the “leafy suburbs”.

What’s more, many of them appear to be … good.”

Alex Casey: The Real Housewives of Auckland Power Rankings, Episode One

“Louise: ‘I made my money the old fashioned way – I inherited it’

Me: ‘I make my money the old fashioned way – I drag my body screaming every day to work like that bit in Kill Bill where her legs are dead but she still has to get down the hospital aisle somehow. Also I have no money.’

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