The best of The Spinoff this week: requiem for boring old racists and their dumb conspiracies

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

Toby Manhire: Today’s big NZ story that you probably missed, aka a victory for bullshit and delay

“On the face of it – and Key has not yet responded to Fisher’s request for comment – this is dynamite. If the then prime minister, who had promised to resign if he were found to have presided over mass surveillance of New Zealanders, did indeed only kibosh the project after he got wind that it could be exposed in Snowden leaks, he has gravely misled the New Zealand public.

And quite apart from the discrepancy in timing, there’s a very big difference between “I did not eat your plums that were in the icebox because I decided it was wrong to eat your plums” and “I did not eat your plums because I discovered you had footage of me ravenously reaching into the icebox”.

It’s little wonder that Dotcom, Greenwald, Assange and Snowden have all tweeted today claiming vindication.”

Andrew Geddis: On Golriz Ghahraman, human rights and defending the devil

A new Green MP is under fire over her past work as a legal intern in a team defending men accused of war crimes in Rwanda. Do the criticisms hold water, asks legal professor Andrew Geddis

Jamie Wall: ‘It felt like they were in a riot mode’: Police tactics turn ugly in Otāhuhu

Police conducted a ‘major operation’ in the aftermath of Tonga’s loss to England  in the RLWC. Jamie Wall was there, and reports on what many in the community felt like overkill.

Danyl Mclauchlan: The folk story of NZ history, as told by drunk uncles, bores and columnists

“If you took school history back in the late 1980s and early 90s – it was an optional subject – you probably didn’t get much New Zealand history. We studied the origins of the first world war, Israel/Palestine, the civil rights movement in the US, Weimar Germany and the Third Reich. The only New Zealand component I remember was about the establishment of the New Zealand welfare state. If you wanted New Zealand history you needed to seek it out, which some did – Keith Sinclair’s History of New Zealand was a bestseller – but many didn’t.

In that vacuum I think many Pākehā absorbed what I call the folk story of New Zealand history, an oral history perpetuated by drunken uncles at summer barbecues, bores holding forth in work tea-rooms and, well, columnists and cartoonists in provincial newspapers.”

Leonie Hayden: Will the real Sir William Gallagher please stand up

“As well as some sage advice about life and business, his audience also a received a lesson in New Zealand history – namely, that ‘The Treaty of Waitangi’ is actually a fraud and the real treaty, which has been covered up by the government, explicitly gave the British sovereignty over all Māori. Sir William went on to educate attendees on ‘Māori separatism’ and ‘apartheid’ in New Zealand, and warned that non-Māori were at risk of losing their rights.

Since then we’ve seen a barrage of public condemnation decrying Sir William as a ‘deluded oaf’, a ‘boofhead’, a ‘racist idiot’ and a ‘massive shitburger’ (someone else’s words, obviously) circulating crackpot conspiracy theories designed by white supremacists to undermine Māori authority. A bigot of the highest order.

It was right there in front of our faces – the proud Gaelic name, framed by the intricate kowhaiwhai and poutama design. Sir Wiremu Gallagher (as he prefers to be known) is in fact an active Treaty partner and patron of the Māori arts.”

Don Rowe: How to leave the city in style when you don’t own a car

“The road to Raglan is equal parts motorway and snaking, single-lane hill climb. Ideally you want a mixture of speed and finesse, something that hugs the road around the bends but takes flight in the right circumstances. Something like a Nissan 370Z, a 3.5litre sports car from the people that brought you the Skyline. Unfortunately for me, picking up a 370Z is about as practicable as picking up a house, coming in somewhere around $20K second-hand. What you can do, however, is rent one from someone who can afford to own one.”

Matt Lowrie: How a long-delayed report reveals the true value of rail to New Zealand

Greater Auckland’s Matt Lowrie looks at the hidden benefits of rail outlined in a 2016 NZTA report released just this week, which transport minister Phil Tywford says was intentionally sat on by the previous government.

A mother: My parents were stoners – and I’m a parent who uses too

Last week, The Spinoff Parents published a post from a mother who felt that having parents who were heavy cannabis smokers negatively impacted her childhood. You can read it here. We received a huge amount of feedback on that post, including this alternate view.

Toby Morris: The Side Eye – Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Shame, Shame, Shame

Toby Morris turns his side eye on the ongoing debacle on Manus Island.

Scott Hamilton: Treaty of Waitangi denialism: a long, dark and absurd history

“The best-known advocate of the argument Gallagher made is Don Brash. Brash nearly won the 2005 general election for National by promising to end Māori “separatism”; today he’s a spokesperson for Hobson’s Pledge, an organisation that fights the same scourge.

Brash’s arguments about New Zealand history immediately raise a series of questions. In 1840 the British presence in New Zealand amounted to a few administrators and a score of often drunken soldiers hunkered down in the far north of the country. Would Māori chiefs really have decided to surrender all their powers to this handful of foreigners? If the British intended the Treaty to establish ‘one law for all’ in New Zealand, as Brash claims, why did they create, in 1841, separate courts for Māori and Pākehā? And if the Treaty had extinguished all forms of Māori authority, why did the 1852 Constitution Act, which the British composed when settlers were about to elect their first government, allow for iwi to run their own courts and make their own laws within their various rohe?”

 

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