The best of The Spinoff this week

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

Hayden Donnell: If you think Lime scooters are a safety menace, wait till you hear about cars

“It’s encouraging to see people getting so worked up and uncompromising about road safety, because they’re right: New Zealand is facing a transport emergency. There are death traps traversing our streets at dangerous speeds, putting both their users and pedestrians at risk. They’re minimally regulated, given their potential to cause harm. Despite some promising signs, many transport officials seem to lack motivation to change the situation.

We need to do something about cars.

If you think e-scooters are bad, cars make them look like pillow-padded baby buggies. There have been 38 ACC claims related to Lime scooters in two weeks. Cars have killed 376 people in the year to September, and hundreds more nearly every year prior, for nearly 100 years.

Making them safer is arguably even more urgent than cutting down on the bumps and bruises caused by e-scooters.”

Image: Simon Day

Simon Day: Face to face with my food: a day on a pig farm

“As Helen Andrews approaches her sows, she starts to talk to them. ‘You’re all right girl, you’re all right,’ she says in her comforting Yorkshire accent, assuring the new mothers there’s nothing to worry about as we approach. She’s devoted to the animals’ well-being, aware that she’s brought a couple of strangers into the pigs territory, and letting them know with the sound of her familiar voice that everything is OK.

We are in the middle of what Helen calls the maternity ward of her farm. The first sows we meet have just given birth, and some are still waiting to ‘farrow’, plump and pregnant. The new piglets are snuggled in their huts. Some of the mothers are basking in the sun, rolling in the dirt outside, others are more protective and sit in the doorway of their shelter and let out a “bark” to show us we shouldn’t mess with Mum. Each of the sow’s teats belongs to an individual piglet and you can hear the squeal as they fight over it while they feed in the hut.”

Conor Twyford: We asked a trans woman to speak on our #metoo panel. Then the abuse began.

“Almost immediately after the post went public the abuse began. For five days, right across Labour Weekend, a team of four of us worked to moderate the post – hiding, and in some cases blocking and deleting – comment after comment after nasty comment. I’m not going to give them any more oxygen by describing them here.

Wonderfully, the Wellington community pushed back. Within a couple of hours of the nastiness beginning, our Facebook page was filled with loving, supportive comments for Sally. Never at any time did I see abuse sent the other way.

But it went on for five days! The anti-trans activists enlisted their allies from America (where Trump is busy seeking to erase trans people’s rights), Ireland and London.

Anti-trans activists claim they are concerned to keep women’s spaces safe. It’s true that for decades feminists have fought for women’s spaces to be kept safe, for women’s voices to break through. These gains have been hard won.

But they will not be lost by including trans women in women’s spaces, which in fact they have already been part of for many years. It’s distressing to see these attempts to obscure that history.”

Toby Morris: The Side Eye: Truth is Dead

In a world where millions of hours of research by the smartest people on the planet is considered equitable with a trashy blog, how can we begin to debate anything at all? Toby Morris ponders that and more in a frightening Side Eye.

Laura O’Connell Rapira: At Government House with the royals, 183 years after we declared our independence

“At Government House, there were around 150 of us, mostly women, dressed in our Sunday best. We were served fancy champagne, rose gin and pinot noir by wait staff in snow white uniforms while we waited for the royals, the excellencies and the prime minister to arrive. When they did arrive, the governor-general gave a speech that wove in te reo Māori, mentioned that New Zealand continues to lead the western world in having women in positions of power (three female prime ministers and three female governor-generals) but also that we have horrific domestic violence rates and “unconscious bias” (aka racism) so there is still work to do. It was a good speech.

Then Meghan Markle took the stage and greeted the crowd with “Tēnā koutou katoa” to thunderous applause that was reported by every mainstream media outlet in the country.”

Alex Casey: Married at First Sight NZ Power Rankings: Now that’s what I call a reunion episode

“To borrow an ancient proverb from Ottie, I feel like we’ve all suffered through this experiment together, day by day, for what has felt like at least 13 years. After last week’s literal rollercoaster, it didn’t really feel like there was a lot of hope left for most of our lucky couples. Wayne and Gareth found each other in a hopeless place, Fraser and Monique logged off on the log flume, and Julia and Dave curdled harder than mascarpone in the hands of a moisturised metrosexual.

In the dramatic and devastating finale, all our questions have been answered. Who stayed together? Who called it quits? And who swore like a sailor? Onto the final power rankings.”

Maria Slade: Motorists v cyclists: Why the growing anger on our roads is a danger to us all

“Cyclists’ versus motorists’ rights on the road is about as polarising a topic as the Trump presidency. Usually rational citizens can transform into rabid talkback callers at the mere suggestion their share of the tarseal is being infringed. It’s a Kiwi thing: Drivers and cyclists appear to co-exist on impossibly narrow European roads without expletives flying and dashcam footage going viral.

So it was that this video of cyclists on a winding west Auckland road one recent sunny Sunday incited online outrage.

Keen cyclist Richard Hellaby thinks this was the back of the bunch he was with on Swanson’s Coulter Rd. He and his fellow riders were so alarmed at the reaction that he has penned the below opinion piece.”

‘I don’t even know what you’re talking about’: WORLD founder Denise L’Estrange-Corbet in response to Duncan Garner’s question about the well publicised undertakings made by her company to the Commerce Commission to avoid prosecution for a likely breach of the law

Dan Satherly: World’s Denise L’Estrange-Corbet claims ignorance on ‘Made in NZ’ ruling

“Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, founder of the World fashion label, doesn’t want to talk about her brand’s brush with the Commerce Commission.

She’d rather chat about the slaughter of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

World last week admitted it likely breached trading rules by selling clothing made in China and Bangladesh with labels that said ‘Fabrique en Nouvelle-Zelande’ – French for ‘Made in New Zealand’.

But asked about it by AM Show host Duncan Garner on Monday, Dame Denise bizarrely claimed she didn’t know what he was talking about.

‘What stuff was that, Duncan? I knew you were going to throw that in. I don’t even know what you’re talking about.'”

Don Rowe: First homes and fake news

“A newly minted doctor and her partner, a marketing manager, had snapped up one of the first Kiwibuild houses. Most people had assumed KiwiBuild was meant to help low-income families who have thus far been locked out of the market, not give an upwardly-mobile couple a four bedroom home in Papakura: the KiwiBuild cutoff of $180,000 does seem very much within their reach.

And, to make things worse, this couple had the temerity to enter the ballot after having been openly in love on the internet.”

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