The best of The Spinoff this week

Compiling the best reading of the week from your friendly local website.

Mark Jennings: When Paul Henry let rip that obnoxious Herald rant he was already through with TV3

“The signs have been there for some time. Henry, whose reported departure Mediaworks has refused to confirm, has been openly saying he was sick of the early morning starts and wanted his life back. He had no appetite for 7pm either, a slot he once coveted and should have had.

Paul Henry likes life and wants to live it. If he does any TV work in the future it will almost certainly be limited to the stuff that really interests him. He is over doing the hard yards.”

Toby Manhire: All hail, Dear Leader Trump

“9.00pm (NZ time): Donald Trump has just appeared on stage in New York, saying he has received a call from Hillary Clinton conceding the contest.”


Kristina Hard: It’s a Wonderful Lifeline: an SOS call for a genuinely life-saving service

“Unlike Australian, English, American and Canadian Lifelines, Lifeline Aotearoa doesn’t receive any funding from the government for its 24/7 service. Now, due to its precarious financial position – caused in large part by the loss of contracts to the Government’s new Telehealth Service – operations will only continue after the end of June with the goodwill and generosity of New Zealanders.”

Sarah Batkin: Hot Potato: Why are our MPs so reluctant to talk about abortion law reform?

“The question put forward to our MPs was simple:

‘Do you think New Zealand’s abortion law needs to be reformed? Yes/No’

I received straightforward answers from some, but mostly oblique statements resembling answers. In a country that has supposedly committed itself to abolishing discrimination against women under the UN convention, I’m left wondering why so many MPs are treating this issue like a hot potato.”

Geoffrey Palmer: The politics of America have changed forever. The planet has much to fear

“Governing the United States has always been a challenge, it is so big, so pluralistic and so variable. Now it will be even harder. This political result is a big surprise and will bring enormous changes. No-one will be able to predict how this will turn out. But my instinct is that it will not turn out well.”

Brannavan Gnanalingam: Essay: why is New Zealand literature so afraid of race? And how come the Spinoff books section is just as bad?

“Obviously, writers can write about whatever they want, but it’s incredibly tedious when our national literature ends up presenting New Zealand as being as white as pre-Roman England. New Zealand is a country of immigrants, in which its contemporary literature pretends like there has been no immigration.”

Hayden Donnell: Help! I love three women, and two of them are computer game characters


“The choice was agony. Woe. I asked my own wife, a human woman, who I should pick. She seemed uncharacteristically exasperated. No use. I brought up a picture of them on my phone and waved it in front of my flatmate. “The black-haired one is stormy and can seem cold, but our relationship is deeper. The red-haired one is more caring, but are we meant to be?” I explained. My flatmate talked about his own love life. He seemed sad, like he needed something. No use either.”

Group Think: Group Think: Gareth Morgan, Neil Finn, David Seymour, Lucy Lawless and more on the U.S. election

Jacinda Ardern

‘What happened? The horror.

And I feel like explaining it almost excuses it. I understand the idea of ‘sending a message’ and people telling institutions that they feel like they’ve been let down or ignored. But I do not understand the idea that you send that message at any cost. I do not understand how you could forgo everything that Trump has said and done, all of the hate and division, to send a message.'”

Eric Crampton: Buckle up for President Trump. It only gets crazier from here

“What exit polls are out so far show Clinton won among those earning less than $50,000 per year, but lost among those on higher earnings – despite Clinton having much stronger support among the college-educated. It isn’t easy to simultaneously lose badly among those on higher incomes and win strongly among those with college degrees. And race has certainly played a role. None of this cleanly fits an income inequality narrative. But it does fit a cultural narrative.”


Jim Bolger: ‘Education is the only way to reduce the fear’: Former PM Jim Bolger on President-Elect Trump

“Modern neoliberal economic policies have, according to the IMF’s June report, produced only slow economic growth and the benefits have gone almost exclusively to the wealthiest five percent. That has fuelled an angry reaction from those who have waited in vain year after year to see some improvements to their standard of living.

That didn’t happen so they voted for the outsider who promised a better tomorrow.”

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