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The best of The Spinoff this week

Compiling the best reading from your friendly local website.

Toby Manhire: Bloody hell, John Key just quit as prime minister. This is not how things happen!

“The National Party under Key has been lauded, rightly, for its ability to renew, with underperforming MPs finding themselves nudged out, or shouldered towards retirement. But now the prime minister has performed the biggest renewal of the lot. ‘To be blunt, I’ve taken the knife to some other people, and now I’ve taken the knife to myself.’

And he kept the knife perfectly concealed, too: there were no leaks, there was barely any speculation about his future. It is difficult to overstate, really it is, just how unusual what has just happened – hardly ever do political leaderships end this way.”

Calum Henderson: The unauthorised history of What Now gunge

“Over the last two-and-a-half decades countless Kiwis have had similar encounters with gunge. But how many of them knew exactly what was in the substance being tipped over their heads or pumped into their plastic pants?

It is a simple question that nobody seems to have the answer to: what is gunge?

A simple question with an unexpectedly complicated answer.”

A traditional gunging. (Photo: YouTube – 'What Now's Best Gunge!')

A traditional gunging. (Photo: YouTube – ‘What Now’s Best Gunge!’)

Duncan Greive: Gower gasps and Hosking weeps: how TV news covered John Key’s resignation

“The main part was Hosking dismissing English as Key’s replacement. ‘Every time I interview him John, I’ve got to check that he’s got a pulse … He doesn’t have that magic leadership thing.’

What it really felt like he was saying is that English, while politically talented, is not great talent. He won’t do all those breakfast radio stunts, and offer a studiedly bland opinion on anything in the entire world. Which is why, as much as anything, Hosking and his commercial radio brethren will be mourning today. Their shows, already pretty dull, will likely be duller as a result.”

hosking

Toby Manhire: David Shearer is off to the UN, and so the last former Labour leader leaves the building

“While his appointment as head of the United Nations mission is yet to be confirmed, Shearer will leave a hole in the Labour Party in the foreign affairs shadow portfolio – he bore a genuine authority in the role, and on issues such as the refugee crisis and Australia’s offshore detention system, he delivered thoughtfulness, passion and gravitas. On his day, he was among Labour’s best performers in the house.”

Hayden Donnell: Theories on why John Key resigned, ranked in order of stupidity

6. John Key had an affair with *insert name of anyone he has ever met here*

Venture deep into the dark caverns beneath the blogosphere, and you’ll find a rich seam of thought regarding Key’s possible penile misdeeds. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a politician is having an affair, but the scattershot targeting of this online investigation doesn’t add to its credibility.

As they say in court: sexless until proved sexed.”

Sam Stubbs: A war has broken out in KiwiSaver – here’s why the big banks and funds are freaking out

“Data from sorted.org.nz shows that, since inception, the average KiwiSaver fund has returned 5.2%, with the average fee being 1.1%. That means, for a decade now, over 20% of everything made by the average KiwiSaver has been taken away in fees.”

Duncan Greive: Why is Gareth Morgan standing outside John Key’s house, shouting about Donald Trump and tax?

“The regime is most effectively conveyed, like most things, by way of specific example. And luckily, he has one hand just behind him. He gesticulates to John Key’s lovely mansion over his right shoulder.

‘Say it’s worth $10m,’ says Morgan, sounding excited. ‘And that he owns it outright, with no mortgage.’ What his plan would do is assume that Key’s house was earning him 5% of that – $500,000 a year. Then tax that assumed income at 30%. So Key would have a brand new $150,000 tax bill to pay. The spread at Omaha? Same regime.

(The bach in Hawaii? Dunno.)

But you get the idea. The family home – the family home – long the most sacrosanct object in all of New Zealand politics (after the family cat…) is now officially in play. Not just for capital gains, but for the rent free tax advantage it gives its owner for living there.”

Gareth Morgan at the launch of The Opportunities Party

Gareth Morgan at the launch of The Opportunities Party

Josie Pagani: My friend Nick Leggett has jumped ship to National. I think he’s made a very big mistake

“Recognising that National has done some things right is not the same as switching sides. Democracy is about recognising that the other side has a valid point of view even if you don’t agree with it. Reasonable people can disagree. We’re a diverse society with many points of view. The art of politics is building a broad enough coalition that includes some people you disagree with. Labour has too often repudiated those of us who have argued that it needs to build support among people who don’t agree with every policy position. Now Nick is doing the same thing and refusing to compromise with Labour people he doesn’t agree with.”

Calum Henderson: I changed my mind: David Warner is actually cool

“David Warner has made some mistakes in the past. Swearing too much. Excessive celebration. Having a bad moustache. In 2013 he punched English cricketer Joe Root in the face at a Birmingham nightclub (arguably this wasn’t actually bad – in fact I would argue it is one of the best things he has ever done).”

Alex Casey: Farewell to John Key, beloved bantering prince of commercial radio

“With John Key setting sail for the longest Johnny English marathon of his life, who is going to jovially bounce from wall to wall of every radio station in a polo shirt, saying things that your seven year-old nephew would deem ‘a bit much’? Let us never forget how hard our brave leader fought against the greatest threat to modern New Zealand society: dead, banter-free air.”