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MediaJuly 15, 2018

The best of The Spinoff this week


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

Hayden Donnell: All the times our new Free Speech Coalition really hated free speech

“It’s hard to get people to give money to worthy causes. Climate change. Poverty. Fuel taxes. There are so many issues, and we’re all stretched thin. But this week we’ve found out there’s still one cause that can compel hordes of mostly rich, white people to enthusiastically part with large sums of cash: making sure racists can book council facilities.”

Yours for just AUD$150.

Don Rowe: Remembering Shuffling, the dance craze of the Bebo era

“Since the beginning of time humanity has yearned to dance.

From the cha cha to the charleston, trap arms to the twerk, dance has charmed the masses, titilated the aristocracy and sent religious fanatics into fervent ecstasy since time immemorial. At its most powerful, dance is unrivalled in its capacity to express the unspeakable heights of universal human emotion. This is the story of one such dance.”

Russell Brown: The new Hawaiki cable is doing what Sam Morgan and Peter Thiel could not

Next week, a new trans-Pacific fibre-optic cable connecting New Zealand to Australia, the Pacific and onto the United States will light up, changing the way data travels around the Pacific. Russell Brown reports. 

Rob Campbell: Business has no right to a second winter of discontent

“I have business interests ranging from tourism, to aged care, to commercial property, to electricity, to investment management to accommodation. If the economy was in real trouble or investment and business operation was becoming more difficult you would think I might notice it.

I don’t.”

Andrew Geddis: The law and Southern-Molyneux: even terrible, no good people have rights

“Let’s start by acknowledging that the little I know of their views and how they express them makes me pretty sure that The Spinoff’readership would not be a particularly sympathetic audience for their message. They certainly wouldn’t be welcome at any dinner party I might hold.

But that’s not the test that the court will apply, nor should it apply, when deciding if some public expression ought to be allowed. And if you think an “only people Andrew would like to have dinner with may speak in public” test is an appropriate one, just note that I probably wouldn’t want to have dinner with you either.”

Duncan Greive: ‘I enjoyed pissing off the flakes and groupies’: Gareth Morgan on TOP, RIP

In an election campaign replete with fascinating and colourful moments, the Opportunities Party and its leader, Gareth Morgan, were at the very least the outstanding subplot last September. Yesterday, out of the blue, it was announced that the TOP board had decided not to contest the 2020 election and would be deregistering with the Electoral Commission. But why? Morgan, currently travelling in Armenia, agreed to take some questions over email.

Sid Sahrawat at Cassia (Photo: Joel Thomas).

Simon Day: Inside the empire of Auckland’s first couple of food

“As they shift the pieces of their empire, the purchase gives Sid and Chand the opportunity to attempt Indian cuisine on an even higher stage. From September, The French Café will become ‘Sid at The French Café,’ where he will cook his modern European fine dining. Cassia will remain the same in its vigorous but polished downtown presentation of Indian food, and Sidart will become progressive Indian-influenced formal degustation dining. Here the flavours and techniques developed at Cassia will be refined and embellished into 14 courses served on white tablecloths.

‘It was a big decision for us to change Sidart. The feedback we’ve got is Auckland is ready and they want to have the Indian influences coming through in a more intimate setting, and Sidart is ready for that change,’ says Chand.”

Danyl McLauchlan: A ferocious debate between three implacable enemies about free speech

Phil Goff’s decision to ban two right wing Canadian provocateurs from Auckland council venues has a lot of us re-examining our views on hate speech, free speech and censorship. Danyl Mclauchlan sat down with Danyl Mclauchlan and Danyl Mclauchlan to debate the issue.

Geoff Simmons: What I learned from Gareth Morgan and the TOP adventure

It’s been quite sad and surreal to watch TOP’s demise. Even more surreal is being bombarded with requests for my views on what went wrong, or whether I’m going to start a new political party, or whether we should give up all hope of real progress and descend into a life of drug-fuelled hedonism (if you are going to do this please be evidence-based and use drugs with lower harm).

The short answer is: I don’t know.

Sam Stubbs: Are Australian banks rent seeking in New Zealand? And what can we do about it?

“The Australian banking inquiry has been the greatest scandal in Australian corporate history. Heads are rolling, fines being handed out and criminal charges laid. And it’s far from over yet.

At the core of the problem has been the huge profitability of the Australian banks. It has encouraged behaviours which have been horrible for consumers.

Economists call this behaviour ‘rent seeking’ – extracting ever more from the economy without adding to its well being. Anyone doubting this should spend a day listening to the Australian inquiry.

Is the same thing happening in New Zealand?  The numbers would suggest yes.”

Keep going!