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The best of The Spinoff this week: public transport, Winston Peters and New Zealand’s most dangerous councillor

Compiling the best reading from your friendly local website.

Harriet Gale: What the hell went wrong with Parnell Station?

“[Parnell Station] will always be out of the way and down the hill, tucked away via a warren of dog-leg back alleys. It’s hard to find, physically hard to walk to and so deserted it’s a little scary, especially in the rain or at night. Indeed in this location, the only way the elderly or less abled could ever use the station would be by being driven down there in a car.

However, that’s not all.”

Angela Cuming: Is Siggi Henry New Zealand’s most dangerous city councillor?

“I first became aware of her views during my time as a journalist at the Waikato Times from 2011 to 2014. In 2016, when Henry announced she was running for council, I was confident voters would see sense and not vote for someone with such terrible views.

Turns out I was wrong. But, hey, that’s democracy for you.”

Danyl Mclauchlan: The myth of the missing million

 “I used to believe in the missing million – the idea, if not the exact number. Voter turnout in New Zealand used to be around 90%. In 2011 it was 74.21%. Almost eight hundred thousand registered voters failed to vote. Obviously, I felt, these were people who agreed with my political beliefs but refused to vote because none of the choices presented a genuine alternative to the status quo.”

RUSSELL, NEW ZEALAND – MARCH 28: New Zealand First party leader Winston Peters speaks to supporters at The Duke Of Marlborough Hotel on March 28, 2015 in Russell, New Zealand. Peters has won the Northland by-election to replace the seat vacated by National Party MP Mike Sabin on January 30 this year. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Hayden Donnell: Revealed: Winston Peters has never had a racist approach to anything

“Peters is right to be offended. His record speaks for itself. It is obvious Turei is slurping noisily from a fountain of lies. Here is a telegram from the well of truth: Winston Peters has never had a racist approach to anything.”

Toby Manhire: A Green MP foolishly spoke the truth – now his party is scrambling to deal with the fallout

“Gaffes come in a range of sizes and colours. One garden variety is the Kinsley Gaffe, named after the veteran American journalist who first identified the species, Slate founder Michael Kinsley. He describes it as the kind of gaffe “when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say”.

The obvious truth just spoken in New Zealand politics is that the Green Party could, if denied any place in a Labour-NZ First government after September’s election, throw its toys and trigger another election. The politician who spoke it was Barry Coates, the newbie Green MP and former NZ Oxfam boss, who entered parliament late last year after the resignation of Kevin Hague.”

Calum Henderson: After midnight: An oral history of SKY 1 porn

“In the years before broadband internet and personal devices, New Zealand teenagers had severely limited access to pornography. Sourcing and keeping physical media like magazines and videotapes was fraught with risk and humiliation; prohibitively loud dial-up tones meant using the family PC to access it was mostly out of the question.

Fortunately, there was another way to catch elusive glimpses of nudity and sex, and all it required was a SKY subscription and the willpower to stay up until midnight. In a rapidly changing world, it was one thing that could always be relied upon: when the clock struck 12, SKY 1 would be showing softcore pornography.

This is the story of that pornography – and a generation’s hidden infatuation with it.”

The Spinoff Board of Review: The Spinoff reviews New Zealand #40: The man ad for a man house for men

“Real estate agent Tim Webb – Timbo, he calls himself in the promo video* as he misses a putt on the front lawn – likes golf, and he likes this house and this house likes golf, and if you’re a Kiwi you’ll know that golf is all about men.

Speaking of men, “Now, if you haven’t already heard: New Zealand men, they’re making a comeback,” says Tim. “Although there’s a few Kiwi women around who would like to dispute the fact. And there’s a whole lot more that are just in complete denial.”

Truth to power.”

Duncan Greive: New Zealand’s most ridiculous drama is back, and as bad as ever

“‘So. Running shit? Check,’ says Josh Mackenzie, a 30-something bad boy. ‘Social media? A-double check. Morale? Checkety mother-flippin’ check all over that ish.’ Seriously. That’s verbatim for what passes as contemporary New Zealand language. But just in case you imagine the ancient style has been abandoned entirely, the very same character later utters these words: ‘Ah, that place [church] is a font of fire and brimstone.’

It’s probably unnecessary to point out that no one on earth has ever said anything like that, and that the likelihood of the same person uttering both lines is nil. Unfortunately it’s not the only element which feels beamed in from another universe.”

Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver (Image: IMDb)

Madeleine Chapman: Ansel Elgort is 20% douchebag and 100% a perfectly nice young man

“Ansel Elgort sounds like a douchebag.

He’s 23 and famous, with a Vogue photographer for a dad and an opera director for a mum. He grew up rich in New York and skipped all the struggle of waiting tables as a young actor, with his first movie role being male lead in 2013’s remake of Carrie and his third as the charming Gus in The Fault in Our Stars. He’s had no evident setbacks and has never experienced even the mundane hardships of ordinary life. He just bought his dream home in Brooklyn.

His DJ name is Ansolo.”

Steve Braunias: Book of the week: a guide to the hot pools of New Zealand

“Finally a guidebook that takes you somewhere you want to go, like right now, as the country trembles under a cold snap and is dying for some warmth. Sally Jackson is the author of a new edition of her classic book Hot Springs of New Zealand, which features over 100 hot springs.

You want this book in your life.”