The best of The Spinoff this week

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

Madeleine Chapman: I told New Zealand what chips to eat and New Zealand told me to fuck off

“I flew to Wellington on Thursday night and met up with the same colleague who, to my genuine surprise, was still passionate about the Burger Rings issue. I had never seen her so worked up about anything, let alone something so frivolous. But that was exactly it. It’s because it’s so inconsequential, she told me. Sometimes when everything is bleak and you’re super stressed out, you just need a break from your brain. Arguing for 48 hours about the categorisation of Burger Rings had given her a perfect break from her brain.

Turns out, the whole of New Zealand needed a break from its brain. The list was published at 8:30am on Friday. I had well and truly detached myself emotionally from it, so threw out a provocative Facebook caption. ‘Ready salted is trash and we all know it.’

By 8:45 there were 100 comments. By lunchtime, there were a thousand. As of writing, there are 3.7k comments on the Facebook post of the story, more than any story in Spinoff history. New Zealanders weren’t happy.”

Jai Bretnauer: A desperate plea from the parent of special needs child: we’re at our wit’s end

“I’m writing this from my kitchen table, not my office, because my ASD child has once again been stood down and is at home with me. It’s the third time in a year and the primary reason for the stand down is because his school – who are doing their best to be supportive – do not have the resources or training to manage his social and emotional needs. What’s even more shocking is that just ten days ago we were turned down yet again for the additional funding that is key to my son being able to attend school full time, and to be engaged not just present, on the basis that the MoE don’t feel his needs are high enough.

What I want to know from them now is, what the actual fuck do you want me (and all the other parents sat at home with kids unable to be supported in full time mainstream education) to do. No really, I want to know.”

Alex Braae: The worst April Fools ‘jokes’ of 2019

“In this morning’s edition of The Bulletin, I put out a call for good April Fools jokes. ‘If you see any that are actually funny, please feel free to send them through,’ I said. Normally calls for feedback come back with dozens of emails. I am yet to receive a single one today.

Almost every effort has seemingly missed the mark – an April Fools gag has to be all of plausible, outlandish, and funny all at the same time. They should be the ultimate pieces of clickbait – people should be compelled to see if they’re really true. But this year, it feels much more like brands and publications are just doing low-effort shit-posting instead. They’ve mostly just come across as a bit tragic.

So who has elicited the loudest groans of despair? Here are some leading contenders.”

The Spinoff: Winston Peters’ media rounds this morning were an absolute tour de force

“What a slow learner you’ve become this morning, what’s wrong with you? Had a bad morning? What happened.”

“No look Mike I’m having a lovely time I’m smiling from ear to ear – I love talking to you. I really do.”

“Well, you do your job better than you are, and I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.”

Angela Cuming: After James Casson, it must be asked: Are Hamilton’s Councillors all a bunch of clowns?

“When the tinfoil-hat wearing Hamilton City councillor Siggi Henry was revealed to be an anti-vaxxer loonwho believes measles is not deadly and fluoride lowers your IQ, the good folk of the Tron let out a sigh of relief because it seemed its council had finally hit rock bottom.

How wrong they were.

Hamilton City Council is an absolute clusterfuck of terrible councillors who make the city they represent a national laughing stock over and over again. It is the Brexit of councils, it is an omnishambles. As a journalist, it’s the worst I’ve ever had the displeasure of covering, and I once covered a council in Sydney that was so bad it was sacked in its entirety by the NSW Governor.

Since Siggi Henry’s views saw the light of day the council has lurched from one PR disaster to the next, capped off in spectacular fashion over the weekend with a series of events that had many up and down New Zealand asking the same thing: what the hell is up with Hamilton City Council?

Here’s a brief recap on the buffoons in the Tron who have been busy setting the clock in the City of the Future back to 1957:”

David Farrier: ‘I have to delete my channel because of perverts’: the YouTube hypnotists targeting children

Since writing about adults with fetishes exploiting children on YouTube, David Farrier has become familiar with the reality for kids on the wild west of YouTube. He explores the troubling subculture of videos targeting children created by adult hypnotists.

Sam Brooks: Power-ranking the celebrities of Dancing with the Stars 2019

“It is with the heaviest, arterially-clogged heart that I announce that I am back on the Dancing with the Stars beat this year, and I cannot wait to join the New Zealand public in judging how these celebrities and their incredibly qualified partners move their bodies around an overlit floor for what feels like 19 years.

But before any moving, the power-ranking! Who do we (I) think is going to come out on top? Who’s going to be gone in the first week? Who’s going to cling on for dear life, like David Seymour clinging onto both this competition and a media call on the black-and-white ties? Who is going to make us outraged at them being gone too early?

Wonder no longer: here’s the definitive (subjective) power-ranking of this year’s slate of Dancing with the Stars contestants.”

Hayden Donnell: End this madness: why we should stop turning our clocks back for the winter

“Why are we all suffering for the sake of some sensitive cows? Why does it matter if the mornings are darker during winter? Mornings are meant to be dark. They’re born in Satan’s belly; infused with the nightmares of the night before. Our re-entry into the waking world is almost uniformly awful, informed by a concoction of physical discomfort and a dawning remembering of our disappointments. Some people, including Spinoff boss Duncan Greive, will tell you they like mornings. Those people are lying to themselves in order to deal with the horrors of their reality. Mornings are terrible. Darkness is their natural accompaniment.

Sunrises, on the other hand, are allegedly beautiful. Most of us wouldn’t know. Like a Near Death Experience, sunrises are a beauty only available to us in the most harrowing of circumstances. Moving sunrise to 8.33am in the shortest winter days would allow more New Zealanders to appreciate their majesty. They would be an early glimmer of hope – a signal that the work day you’re just embarking on will eventually end, and summer will one day arrive.”

Emily Writes: Too rude: the Wellington Zoo capybaras are going at it like rabbits

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“I loved them on sight, those gentle giants resembling wine barrels with legs. The lady capybaras are tight and spend most of their time lying around gossiping. The more I found out about them the more fascinated I was by them. They get along with all animals and spend their days just lying about talking about the latest royal scandal (Did William bang a CHUMLEY?) and eating a mainly paleo diet.

So far, so chill. Then Auckland Zoo sent us Pepe. Pepe the Casanova capybara. Here’s what they said about Pepe before he began getting down with all the lady capybaras: “Pepe is a sweet and gentle natured animal and we’re hoping the females will like him just as much as we do. Capybaras are pretty easy going, so they will generally get on well with each other and other animals. It shouldn’t be too difficult matching them up, they’ll ‘swipe right’ to most, so to speak.”

But over the last few months mothers around Wellington have contacted me, alarmed about Pepe’s behaviour. “EMILY PEPE IS BANGING IAPA AGAIN” was the urgent DM I received that began this quest for information.

The messages kept coming. What mum of seven wants to bang? We all wanted to know. I contacted Wellington Zoo spokesperson Zel Lazarevich to find out what was going on.”


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