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Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images
Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

MediaMarch 3, 2019

The best of The Spinoff this week

Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images
Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

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

A landlord: I was a landlord, and I hated the person it made me become

“Two weeks ago we sold up our mum and dad investment and went back to just being a mum and dad. We sold it because we could, because we were lucky enough to get in before the ‘brightline’ rules – so we were lucky to be able to get out as well – and because I prefer my mouth without that bad taste in it, to be honest.”

Steve Braunias: Peter Northe Wells, 1950-2019

“’Steve and I had a spotty past,’ he said at his book launch last Monday; a few people laughed, but actually I had once sent him a horrible and upsetting email, and it caused him great unhappiness. He wrote about it in an essay for Landfall. We didn’t speak for years. I saw him one day, on the street in Napier – I was there to interview a political aspirant whose ambitions I found laughable, but I accept John Key proved I was wrong – and we walked past each other without comment.

“I took a long time until I had the grace to apologise.”

Peter Wells. Image: Supplied.

Felix Marwick: Wellington’s most dangerous pastime: riding a bike

“It’s entirely possible there’s no worse city for safe and easy biking in New Zealand than Wellington. The roads are narrow, the hills are steep, and the local drivers just seem to have this habit of absolutely, positively, not giving way when they come to a choke point on any one of the city’s twisty hill roads. I’m almost convinced Dr Seuss got his idea for the South-Going and North-Going Zax from Wellington drivers on a morning school run.”

Maria Slade: NZ truckies queue up to take cases against food giant Goodman Fielder

“Despite their key role in its distribution chain Goodman Fielder has had a fractious and ungentle relationship with its New Zealand bread run truckers. Since the early 2010s it has fought numerous cases against drivers who have variously had their businesses summarily dissolved, been forced to work illegal hours to make their runs pay, and had their cost models slashed to an unsustainable level.

The latest conflict is with a group of longstanding Coromandel drivers whose contracts it is preparing to rip up, including one who has served the company for 30 years. A number of other drivers in Auckland and Hamilton face a similar fate.”

Claire Adamson: DOC hut gastronomy: How to banish the bleak from your tramping food

“Yes, I said cheese. Your block of tasty will become sweaty, blobby and kinda gross by the end of your walk, but it will still be edible, and cheese on a bad day is still cheese. It’s great for lunches and snacks, along with other hearty proteins like a roll of salami or some well-cushioned hard-boiled eggs. Bring your scroggin if you must, but spike it with M&Ms and make sure you get salted nuts.”

Catherine McGregor: Less cold, less mould: new rental standards offer hope for suffering tenants

“If there’s one thing tenants enjoy more than totting up how much of their wages are going to fund an extension to their landlord’s Waiheke holiday home, it’s enumerating all the highly specific ways in which their own rental home sucks. New Zealand’s rental housing stock is a national shame, an urgent issue that affects everyone from renters to health providers to the social agencies struggling to find accommodation for some of the country’s most needy citizens.

Today, finally, comes some good news. The government has announced new minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and draught-stopping in residential rental properties.”

Danyl Mclauchlan: CGT hissing proves how entrenched our unfair tax system is

“Simon Bridges was right when he described tax free capital gains as ‘the Kiwi way of life’. But I think he said something much darker about his country and his politics than he intended: that it is now ingrained in our culture that those who have the most in our society pay so much less in tax as a proportion of their wealth than those who have the least, and that this is an injustice he will fight to entrench.”

Keep going!