The best of The Spinoff this week

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

Sam Brooks: A play-by-play of Kim Hill’s medium rare roasting of Don Brash

“When it was announced that Don Brash was going to be interviewed by Kim Hill on Saturday Morning, I was both excited and dismayed. Excited because I knew that it wasn’t going to be a softball of an interview, excited because I knew that she’d make fun of him a bit more than any other interviewer would, and excited because I would have a reason to wake up early. Dismayed because Kim Hill surely has better ways to spend half an hour, and because Don Brash is maybe literally the last person I want to hear talk about anything, ever, but especially about te reo Māori.

I’m here to give you the burns. I’ve included some of Brash’s comments for context. They are, if you can’t tell from the preceding paragraphs, not an endorsement. Similarly, you should be able to tell who is saying what because one of them is burning and the other one is being burned.”

Simon Wilson: The extraordinary incompetence of Auckland Transport

Auckland Transport is busily wrecking the suburbs of the city’s inner west. Simon Wilson takes a good hard look at the plans – and at the protests about those plans.

Michelle Duff: Tax cheats and how to catch them

“When the IRD swoop in, investigators know what to  look for. Sometimes, like in the case of East Tamaki restaurateurs Zai Jian and Guan Hong Liang, it’s just a dog-eared red notebook, with the details of undeclared employees scrawled in the margins. Sometimes, like for the Taranaki couple who owed $1.18 million, it’s a USB stick full of cooked books. Occasionally, the physical evidence is found in the form of cold hard cash – when he was door-knocked in April, Hutt Valley’s Jackson’s Cafe and Bistro owner Adam Li had a cool $180,000 stashed around his house.

The IRD had been keeping tabs on the Auckland couple for months. The new car, the properties, the overseas holidays, the mortgage repayments, the private schools for the kids. They didn’t square up, and as far as the IRD were concerned, there was no way they were being funded from the businesses’ official balance sheet. There had to be another set of records.

Because the thing about money is this; it’s really not as easily hidden as you think.”

Madeleine Chapman: How 14 women were indecently assaulted after buying massages through GrabOne

A massage therapist was last week convicted of indecent assault against 14 women during massages they purchased through the voucher site GrabOne. This latest example of the abuse of power raises a number of questions. Among them: should massage therapy be impervious to regulation? Madeleine Chapman reports.

Henry Oliver: 2017 Wrapped: My top (Spotify) songs of the year

This morning the Spotify-subscribing world woke up to Spotify’s annual ‘your year in review’ package, including a personalised top 100 played songs of the year. Here are music editor Henry Oliver’s top 10 (plus a few more).

Emily Writes: What fresh hell is this? 

“Once upon a time, my mate’s beloved van was stolen from outside his house. As he was recounting the story, it just got worse and worse. All of his tools had been stolen, his very livelihood. That alone would have been bad. But it got worse – the van was found and it had been burnt out.

That is bad. But it got worse. Somehow, someone had put a shit in the front seat. We debated long and hard on how this happened. We came to the conclusion that someone must have shat elsewhere and then put the shit on the burnt out seat.

As we contemplated this very specific horror he revealed that the entire front section also smelled like piss. So not content with just stealing a van, a man’s tools (in the Bogan Code this is possibly worse than shitting in their car), setting that stolen van on fire, and then putting a shit in the front seat – they had to piss all over it too. It’s astounding.

It was horrific.

But somehow not as horrific as this article on the New Zealand Herald website.”

Donna Kerridge: How to make kawakawa balm

“Despite the bitter taste of kawakawa it is revered for its calming and relaxing properties. Its analgesic effects also assist in relaxing tight muscles. Māori have used kawakawa for all manner of problems since arriving in Aotearoa. These include the internal consumption of decoctions for a variety of conditions, or topically as a hot compress. Poultices from the bark and leaves are applied for a range of infections. The smoke from burning aerial parts is also used as an insecticide, rectally for pain and vaginally for helping new mothers release placenta. Macerated leaves are also applied topically and orally to relieve pain. This is to name but a few of the healing uses of the kawakawa, which is truly the cure all of the ngahere. It is gratifying to yet again see traditional wisdoms and modern science converging. Perhaps in time we might also see a converging respect between the two worlds in an effort to better serve those who seek the help of both modern and traditional health professionals.”

Toby Manhire: Jacinda Ardern’s greatest challenge may be the egos in her own cabinet

“Jacinda Ardern spent her Monday morning hosing down the glowing embers across the lawn. No big deal there, particularly: fire-fighting is part and parcel of the breakfast-interview round with which the prime minister begins the week. It is less typical – and presumably therefore all the more annoying and enervating – when the fires were cheerfully lit by someone in your cabinet.

The someone in this example is Shane Jones, the Labour MP turned National-government-appointed ambassador turned New Zealand First MP and touted successor to Winston Peters.”

Jihee Junn: Exposed: the supermarket foods whose health claims leave a bad taste

Now in its second year, the annual Bad Taste Food Awards run by Consumer NZ looks past the marketing hoopla to show some foods aren’t quite as harmless as they seem. Jihee Junn looks at this year’s (un)lucky winners.

Duncan Greive: A farewell to Leighton Smith, NZ radio’s crankiest uncle

“Leighton Smith has delivered the bad news. Not as bad as it seemed for a second this morning when he told his loyal Newstalk ZB listeners, ‘We’ve come to a decision that I am going to terminate,’ but still bad: he will retire from his morning talk slot in a year’s time. ‘This programme, my programme, will come to an end,’ he told us, before dropping one of his trademark X-Factor-length pauses, ‘soon. But not as soon as some would hope.’

‘Soon’ for Leighton Smith is December of 2018, at which time he will be succeeded by Kerre McIvor – the first woman to break into the prime ZB slots eternally occupied by Smith, Williams, Holmes and latterly the whipper snapper Hosking.”

 

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