A competition at the ASC recorded earlier this year. Image: Facebook.

The best of The Spinoff this week

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

Don Rowe: Swastikas and semi-automatics: Auckland gun club neighbours speak out

“In January this year, the neighbour, who we have agreed not to name, woke to find a large swastika and the words, ‘If your reading this ur in range’ spray-painted on their shed and a protest sign. Another sign had been torn out of the ground.

‘The first thing we noticed was our sign that said ‘Quiet please babies are sleeping’ destroyed,’ said the neighbour. ‘And they were – I had four of them sleeping inside. Then we noticed the swastika, and the message that had been spray-painted.

‘Before Christchurch I’d never given a lot of thought to the safety aspect of the club. Christchurch added another dimension to everything, especially when the facts came out about the shooter, and their far-right tendencies, and their training. I thought, hey, I had a swastika and a threatening message, and someone entered our private property at night to do this, and on a night when I had four grandchildren sleeping here. To know that someone possibly associated with the gun club was creeping around my property was horrifying.'”

Anke Richter: I’m German and I live in Christchurch. Let’s talk about swastikas

“Adolf Hitler is still the first association internationally with my birthplace: before beer, soccer, lederhosen and VWs. That might be unfair and simplistic for the post-war generations there. But it’s not simplistic to draw the line from a white supremacy terrorist to the scourge of the Nazis. The shooter was a Nazi, of the worst and modern kind, even though he was Australian and not politicised in Deutschland – a solid democracy now for 70 years that not only gave us Kraftwerk and Claudia Schiffer, but recently embraced a million refugees when other countries shut their doors. I don’t drink beer, watch soccer or wear a dirndl, but one thing is typically German about me: I don’t take Nazis lightly.”

Susie Ferguson: All in my head? No, doctor, it was all in my abdomen

“I remember the blood. Periods that could last almost a fortnight. Using tampons and back up sanitary towels simultaneously, and still having to change every 45 minutes. Intense pain, searing and cramping, white hot. And when it stopped, a blissful exhaustion that felt like nothing but defeat.

It’s just period pain, many of the doctors told me, with a shrug. I was normal, they said. The unspoken words were to get over it and harden up, yet another patient where it’s all in her head.

Actually, it was all in my abdomen.”

Trevor McKewen: Sky TV has a wild new strategy: stop doing things its customers hate

“Less than a month into his new job as the CEO of one of New Zealand’s most disliked brands (and that really is a feat when you’re in the entertainment business), expat Briton Martin Stewart has unexpectedly done the following:

Axed long-serving director of sport Richard Last, implying his failure to secure this year’s RWC rights was a key reason for him being shown the door.

Ended the influence of previous CEO John Fellet who resigned last week from Sky’s board.

Bagged his own product, the unloved FanPass.

Signalled he is up for the fight with Spark, started and led by Simon Moutter until a week ago, by indicating Sky would get with the real digital world in upping its effort around streaming.

‘I’m determined that Sky Sport will be seen as the home of sport,” Stewart told the Herald. “And that means retaining and building on the key rights that we have – not letting them go. It’s a question of understanding the brand promise that you’re trying to live up to. So if we are the home of sports, that means retaining sports rights. In that case, [the World Cup], it’s about doing what you have to do.’

Those words – and his actions in taking Last and Fellet out of the mix – has meant that Stewart has almost immediately banished the market and consumer scepticism that he would make bugger all difference in the wake of Fellet’s long hold on the direction of Sky.”

Alex Casey: Eight simple rules for being a woman and wearing clothes in public

“Women, you probably already know this but… you’re wrong. Your clothes are wrong, your togs are wrong, whatever you are wearing on your head is wrong, your shoes are wrong, your face is wrong, your hair is wrong, your skin is wrong, your body – it goes without saying – is wrong. And if you think that you can waltz on in to any old place wearing any old thing in 2019, well then I’ve got some bad news: your bloody brain is wrong too.

It seems that many of us have forgotten the cardinal rules of being a woman and wearing clothes in public. Just this weekend, a swimmer at the Albany Olympic Pools was told by staff that her bikini, bought from noted strumpet supermarket Glassons, was inappropriate and making patrons uncomfortable. I hate to be Captain Obvious but the clue is in the name. Glassons. GlASSons. There’s a bare ass staring us straight in the face. Completely unacceptable.

If you need a reminder of how to dress appropriately in public please allow me, a chaste woman who only shops at Shanton because I SHANT show any skin, to remind you of the key rules.”

Paul Barber and Louise Delaney: Why we’re shouting about a capital gains tax

“The report of the Tax Working Group is very clear. The absence of a tax on income from capital gains makes our tax system unbalanced and unfair. It means that our tax system performs poorly compared with similar countries in terms of reducing inequality.

Income from capital gain should be treated the same as all other income. The group was unanimous in recommending the introduction of a capital gains tax in some form to redress this imbalance. A tax on income from capital gains is regarded as normal by most countries in the OECD that we compare ourselves to – we need to catch up with the simple principle that all income is liable to tax – whatever the source.

Our pro-CGT campaign arose from a belief that there’s a need to bring balance to the debate we’ve seen following the release of the working group’s report.”

Maria Slade: Give it up, Rod: Your helipad by stealth is beneath you

“Rod Duke is a wealthy man. He owns four-fifths of Briscoes Group, operator of the Rebel Sport, Briscoes Homewares and Living and Giving chains, and is worth $750 million according to the last NBR Rich List. For many years he’s been seen as the jolly elder statesman of New Zealand retailing, the go-to spokesman for the state of the sector and therefore a harbinger of the country’s economic well-being.

The increasingly drawn out war over his beachfront folly has exposed another side to the affable oracle of retailing. Duke has now hired practically every lawyer and planning expert in Christendom to fight the latest court decision quashing consent for his helipad, his strategy seemingly being to wear everybody down.

Duke appears determined that his desire for a convenient game of golf will override all other considerations, not least his well-heeled neighbours’ right to quiet enjoyment of their properties and Auckland beachgoers’ safe and peaceful access to the bijoux bay.

This is the story to date.”

Emily Writes: Stop taking your kindergarten for granted

“There’s only one reason why kindys are struggling, and that’s funding. Not teachers. Not the model. Not other parents.

One of the reasons that some Kindergarten Associations are trying a range of tactics to find further funding is that ECE funding was cut in 2010 and public early childhood education has been suffering ever since.

The previous government’s decision to freeze core funding means more than $500 per child a year has been lost.  This has of course meant some pre-schools have faced higher parent fees, a deterioration of child-to-teacher ratios, and increasing reliance on unqualified staff.

Kindergartens have remained committed to maintaining qualified teachers and operating as part of the whole  public education eco-system. In a way, kindys have been hit hardest because of this. To keep qualified teachers and part-days they have to find funding themselves.

This is why so many of your child’s teachers have made strong arguments for planned public provision for early childhood education.

This is why they’ve suggested centrally funding teacher salaries in their submission on the draft ECE strategic plan.

This is why they keep protesting and begging the government to restore per-child funding and commit to 100% qualified teachers in every ECE service.”

Alice Neville: What the heck’s a Crowler? It’s the future of beer, that’s what

Fresh from the tap, sealed and delivered to your door – and you can drink some, reseal it and finish later. Welcome to the latest innovation in craft beer consumption.


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