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The best of The Spinoff this week

Compiling the best reading from your friendly local website.

Simon Wilson: Auckland’s transport crisis: how it was made, and why it will only get worse

“AT also wants light rail to the airport, and that’s would probably be the same line, extended from the bottom of Dominion Rd. But there’s the problem: the government has confirmed rail to the airport won’t be built for another 30 years and the whole light rail proposal is on hold. They’re going to secure the route, but they’re not going to build it.

Take a moment with that. If the government gets its way, there will be people living on Mars before we have a railway line to the airport. It would get built more quickly if we employed a couple of guys and asked them to dig out the route with a pick and shovel.”

Toby Manhire: The art of the deal: The Spinoff meets the Green leaders

“The Green and Labour parties might not have merged, but they have been preparing to move in together. The BRR is the initialism offspring of the MOU – a memorandum of understanding, agreed in the middle of last year, in which the two parties pledged to work together in policy and campaign to dislodge the National incumbent; an attempt to persuade that this time, when they say they’re ready for government, they really mean it.”

Alex Casey:  The Bachelor NZ Power Rankings, Week Two – Why can’t anyone use cutlery right?!

“Time is limited.

You could go at any point.

Nobody is safe.

That is both a beautiful haiku about the fragility of human mortality, and a direct quote from The Bachelor NZ last night. It’s the second week in and time for our first one on one dates, our first “namaste” and our first somewhat unsurprising revelation that Zac can’t hold his knife and fork the right way.”

Angela Cuming: Why hasn’t The Big Bang Theory been swallowed into a black hole yet?

“There are three things I never bring up in a social setting: politics, religion, or The Big Bang Theory.

The first two are tricky, but I can handle them OK – ”No, go on rich Christian white man, please tell me why there is no such thing as a gender pay gap, I am listening” – but any mention of the third topic and it’s all over for me.”

Emily Writes: Translating the crap we say at coffee group about our kids

“Being a parent is hard. Sometimes we lie to make it feel like it’s easier. It’s not a mean-spirited lie. It’s a fib to help us cope. There are no performance reviews in parenting and it all often feels like a competition. Of course we know it’s really not – but there are so many competiparents about and can be hard not to fall into the trap. Especially when you feel like you’re coming in last.”

Henry Oliver: Store closures and epic discounts suggest big trouble at I Love Ugly

“When I visited its Newmarket outlet a couple of weeks ago, it looked low on stock but not empty. The racks were spaced more like a high-end minimalist store than a thriving streetwear brand. Biggie played on the stereo and a backlit sign read, “The only people who see the whole picture are those that step outside the frame”. Everything was 50% off, including non-I Love Ugly branded items. The salesperson told us that the sale was to make room for a new season, due “in a few weeks”. I Love Ugly’s management has not responded to requests for comment.”

Chlöe Swarbrick: Snowflake, cuck, virtue signalling: the new dictionary of slurs feeds division where we need dialogue

“It’s a story we’re all familiar with. Politicians are all the same: a pile of self-interested narcissistic liars and cheats with their snouts in the trough. Such a story doesn’t just damage an expectation of accountability, it almost prescribes apathy.

Yet I’ve not yet met one politician, from any side of the spectrum, who doesn’t genuinely believe they’re doing their best to help bring society towards their version of a brighter future.

So why does it seem like, most of the time, they’re not quite getting us there?”

Duncan Greive: After rent week: we know renting in NZ is a disaster. But it can be fixed

“I default to cynicism about crowd-sourced journalism. About crowd-sourced most things, to be honest. For every time it works there are a dozen when it feels hijacked or like it’s a way of covering up a lack of editorial conviction or control. This time, for us at least, was different.

The volume we put out – I haven’t done a count, but am assuming this was the most we’ve ever published – was so vast that few will have read every piece. But even a cursory engagement with what rent week became will have made it clear that our current laws around tenants and tenancy are not fit for purpose. They were designed in a different era, one which fundamentally assumed that renting is a brief weigh station en route to ownership.”

Don Rowe:  The world’s most famous scientist on why we shouldn’t fear the robots

“Elon Musk is worried that it’ll turn us into pets, but I can unplug AI! [laughs]. The things I could do to get AI out of my house … and so, in practice, I’m simply not worried about it, and the upside is huge.”

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