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The best of The Spinoff this week: Jack Tame, Helen Clark and the unstoppable tourism boom

Compiling the best reading from your friendly local website.

Jack Tame: ‘Janice’s email stood out for its dazzling ignorance’: Jack Tame on the racist email which made him snap

“Of my two broadcasting gigs, some associate Newstalk ZB with pushing conservative agendas. So, some hosts don’t believe in climate change? Perhaps someone suggests on air that Māori receive special treatment. I’m hardly the only Newstalk ZB host who’s not afraid to disagree.

I’m not gonna say it doesn’t get ugly. It can be horrid at times. But would you really prefer an echo chamber? Would you really prefer to pretend that attitudes such as Janice’s don’t exist in our society? A bubble benefits no one.”

Brannavan Gnanalingam: I’m not babysitting and mums are getting a raw deal: A dad on gender roles in parenting

“If there’s one thing this world needs more of, it’s a guy talking about how to be a mother. But bear with me. There strikes me as two ways in which the pressure on mothers to be perfect can be eased. One, we all get to be incompetent, regardless of assigned gender roles. Or at the very least, the fact none of us know what the hell we’re doing isn’t seen as that bad a thing. Two, dads everywhere could up their game: for starters, learn to cook, clean, bathe, change, and hang out. Jokes about incompetent dads need to become as unfunny as your mate when he’s drunk too much and is provoking a fight with a random stranger for no real reason and you’re all looking at your shoes.”

Paul Brislen: Stop saying Helen Clark was NZ’s first elected woman PM. It’s wrong and it’s sexist

“I’ve really enjoyed Guyon Espiner’s The Ninth Floor series of interviews for RNZ with former prime ministers of New Zealand. I’ve learned a lot about Mike Moore that I didn’t know, had an enjoyable time of it listening to Geoffrey Palmer and was looking forward to the Helen Clark interview.

Sadly, Guyon ruined my Sunday morning lie-in with his opening words.”

Simon Wilson: Auckland Transport is still trying to sabotage the inner city 

“How do senior executives at Auckland Transport manage to keep their jobs?

We’ve known for a few months that Auckland Transport wants to change the planned route of buses crossing the central city. And as I wrote here, it’s clear AT’s new plan, if approved, will mean Auckland loses the chance for an important new inner city park. But that’s not the worst of it.”

Alex Casey: The Bachelor NZ Power Rankings – This is not The Notebook

“Maybe Dom is getting all grungey and dark because things are getting super serious on The Bachelor NZ now. Just look at pensive Zac: his buzzy boardies can’t even cheer him up in troubling times like this.”

Emily Writes: What I really want for Mother’s Day

“How about an industrial strength vacuum cleaner? Nothing says I appreciate you like a garbage disposal on special. What about a 50% off apron that says “I adore this life of domestic servitude”? How about an oversized nightie that says “I’m a mum” to remind her she’s now entirely sexless and without any other identity?”

Ben Thomas:  Save us, I beg you, from this never-ending bullshit about the foreshore and seabed

“What if, Don Brash howled from the 1840s, Māori succeed in getting customary title to the foreshore? And what if, those eager to avoid the mistakes of the past tweeted, the government were to overreact in 2004 fashion? Both may be surprised that Māori already have, at least sort of, and the government didn’t, respectively.”

Simon Wilson: Nimby wars! What a planned retirement village in Devonport means for all of Auckland

“The trouble with Ryman is, they’ve got a formula that works – they have waiting lists – so perhaps they don’t feel the need to do a lot better. They also have in-house architectural designers, so despite their busy expansion programme in both New Zealand and Melbourne they’re not in the market for architects with good ideas. And they’re a big publicly listed company with a solid reputation on the stock exchange.

They also provide a valuable service. We need more retirement villages.”

Marianne Elliott: Jonathan Coleman’s attack on ‘anti-government’ ActionStation is a smokescreen. And it’s nonsense

“Attacking the messenger is a classic diversionary tactic when you don’t want to face up to the message itself. But in this case the issue is too important for mud slinging. People are dying. If deaths by suicides continue at the rate they were reported last year, four people will have died by suicide since Coleman responded to our open letter with an attack on the people behind it on Tuesday.

Normally we’d ignore this kind of thing. It’s an attempt to divert attention from what’s really at stake, and wouldn’t usually merit a response. But since the minister started naming ActionStation staff members in parliament today, we thought it might be time to set the record straight.”

Peter Newport: The tourism boom is destroying our best destinations. Can anything be done to fix it?

“Sometimes things come down to a good old-fashioned, gloves-off, bareknuckle fight. That’s what’s shaping up between tourism bosses and local councils in one corner and the government in the other. It’s a scrap that could influence not only this year’s election but the future of our economy, our sense of national identity and our international reputation.

The problem is that governments all over the world see tourism as a cash cow. In our case tourism is especially tempting for the government to use as a bank because our second biggest export industry, actual cows, is subject to all sorts of overseas uncertainties and new competition that we can’t control.”


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