The best of The Spinoff this week

Bringing you the best weekly reading from your friendly local website.

Arie Faber: No-so-squeaky clean: Why wellness culture is a scam

“Don’t get me wrong, we should stick to the government-recommended amount of added sugar, but this is not the suggestion of online food philosophers. The suggestion, of course, is to replace sugar with cleaner, less-processed alternatives like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or coconut sugar (as if you should be looking to get your antioxidants from maple syrup even though it’s still… sugar). You might also notice that these so-called replacements (all just sugar!) are all three or four times more expensive per gram than white caster sugar, a common denominator in the products of the free-from aisles. Using these health foods is proof that you are richer, healthier and cleaner than those sad poor people who haven’t realised white sugar is a toxic poison.

Kidding, of course.” 

Duncan Greive: NZ tech is losing it over the idea of Derek Handley as CTO of New Zealand

“‘I feel a little bit sorry for Derek,’ wrote one. ‘He has been a tireless self-promoter for so many years, and obviously really wants the job.

‘But, I’m pretty confident that he would take much more from the job than he would contribute. And that’s not what we need.’

‘None of us really consider him a technologist,’ said another. ‘He didn’t invent new ad formats – Google and Facebook did that. He just sold them.’

The general sentiment among those The Spinoff spoke to was that if the role is worthwhile, then Handley is not right for it – and that if Handley is right for the job then the job has no purpose.”

Qiane Matata-Sipu: The Māori lawyer fighting for indigenous rights all over the world

“She has appeared in the Supreme Court for the Urewera ‘anti-terror’ raids case, and volunteered in ‘war-like’ conditions at the Standing Rock protest in North Dakota. She has sat across the table representing iwi in Treaty negotiations and has taught contemporary Treaty issues to students studying law. She was a recipient of a Fulbright Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga graduate award, a New Zealand Law Foundation Ethel Benjamin Scholarship and a Ngarimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Masters Scholarship, enabling her to obtain a Masters of Law from Harvard University. Add to that being the wife of a newly-elected MP and a first-time māmā to a head-strong (almost) one year old, its easy to say Natalie Coates is one kick-ass wahine toa.”

Image: Facebook

Don Rowe: The bizarre true story of the gun club which invaded the Makarau Valley

“But media reports from the past two years variously refer to O’Brien and Pichler as owners, founders and spokespeople for the ASC. Pictures of the opening of the ASC show Pichler and O’Brien smiling alongside then deputy-prime minister Paula Bennett, who conducted the ceremony. New Zealand Shooting Sports Centre Ltd, the company they own and direct, appoints the president of the Auckland Shooting Club.

Club financial statements show that in the last year, ASC paid $163,537 in leasing fees for O’Brien and Pinchler’s property, exceeding total club revenue of $148,135. All of the club’s annual income and more was paid to either New Zealand Shooting Sports Centre Ltd or O’Brien and Pichler personally, as owners of the land.”

Frank McRae: This ludicrous Dominion Road decision is proof the planning system is broken

“Dominion Road has been marked for major transformation with over a billion dollars to be invested in high capacity light rail that will traverse the length of Auckland’s most famous street. To take advantage of this transformation and to assist in the rejuvenation of this somewhat rundown area Auckland Council’s development arm Panuku had planned to develop 102 apartment units in four to five storey buildings in the Valley Road centre.

Remarkably a panel of independent commissioners has just refused resource consent for this much needed housing development citing the scale and intensity of the development as being out of character with the surrounding neighbourhood.”

Henry Oliver and Harry Cundy: Love and theft: Bob Dylan in Auckland, reviewed

Bob Dylan played Spark Arena in Auckland last night. Ol’ buds Henry Oliver and Harry Cundy were there and emailed back-and-forth about it afterwards.

TVNZ presenter Greg Boyed behind the scenes at Q&A. (supplied)

Jehan Casinader: Hope or heartache? Why the media needs a new approach to mental health

Greg Boyed had already left the airwaves, but they were still humming with his presence. In the hours after our colleague’s death, his name echoed through every newsroom, and his face glowed from every homepage. News websites carried tributes. Greg’s workmates shared sweet, funny memories about the man they knew off-camera. And his closest friends explained how hard he’d tried to chase the light: running marathons, playing the drums, and being a great dad.

This should have been enough, but it wasn’t.

Jihee Junn: What are people complaining about now? The BSA edition

The best complaint, of course, refers to Shortland Street’s infamous fucking/freaking incident from earlier in the year, an incident which was so hotly contested that even the entire Spinoff office was sharply divided on where they landed on the issue. Regardless of whether you side with “fruckin”, “ficken”, or “frickin”, one thing’s for sure – it’s certainly not “fucking”, with the BSA making the contentious choice not to uphold the complaint.

Sam Brooks: Why Rose Matafeo winning best show at the Edinburgh Fringe is such a huge deal

“It’s a festival that chews up literally thousands of shows, and only the absolute best ones rise to the top. You can be one of the most famous comedians in the entire world and not even make a dent there. There are literally, not figuratively, not metaphorically, close to a thousand stand-up shows in this festival. The best comedians in the world are there, and they’re not bringing their workshop material or their new five minutes – they’re bringing their best stuff.

That’s why it’s a big deal.”

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