Nuk Korako, Bill English and an unnamed companion on Waitangi Day

The best of The Spinoff this week: Farewell then, Bill English

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Rebecca Stevenson: The rise and fall of CricHQ, the star-backed ‘Facebook for cricket’

With Stephen Fleming and Brendon McCullum among its founders, CricHQ capitalised on global interest in both cricket and cloud-based internet startups. It attracted a star-studded lineup of investors and seemed hugely successful, at one point boasting that it could bring in as much as US $10 billion. Then, in October, it went into receivership. Rebecca Stevenson investigates CricHQ’s downfall.

Toby Manhire: Who will replace Bill English? The contenders for next National leader, power ranked

“Bill English is leaving the National leadership and leaving parliament.

That departure triggers a period of intense electioneering within the National caucus – unlike the expansive processes in Labour and the Greens, for example, only National MPs get to vote on their leader. Who is likely to be in the frame to take on the task of opposition boss? Below, our runners and riders – as things develop we’ll add a tick to those who have declared themselves in the race, and a cross by those who have ruled themselves out.”

Duncan Greive: Bill English and the end of an overlong era

“John Key. Mike Hosking. Bill English. In late 2016, little more than a year ago, this was New Zealand’s power structure: the two most powerful politicians, and the broadcaster who backed them to the hilt.

Today all have resigned from their most prominent and influential roles, and the sense of a generational change becomes inexorable. Millennials and Gen Xers – who have for so long watched older New Zealanders own power and culture in a reign which felt endless – have enacted a frighteningly swift coup.”

Asher Emanuel: Selling influence: meet the lobbyists shaping New Zealand politics for a fee

“Jones is the New Zealand director of Hawker Britton, an Australian-based firm which lobbies Labo(u)r administrations in both countries.

Raeburn is the New Zealand Director of Barton Deakin, an essentially identical firm but which lobbies only National Party/Liberal Party administrations.

They’ve spent their careers working for opposing political camps, and still only engage with their former employers, but they share more than a vocation — they’re ultimately employed by the same multinational.”

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 02: Lorde (L) and Jack Antonoff perform live during 2017 Governors Ball Music Festival – Day 1 at Randall’s Island on June 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images for Governors Ball)

Elle Hunt: How Lorde and Jack Antonoff changed pop music

“The Grammys tend to recognise legacy or commercial success, and though it had been well received by critics, and appeared at the top of the Billboard album charts in its first week, Lorde’s sophomore album had not exactly set the charts on fire (it came in at 114 on Billboard‘s year-end chart). ‘Green Light’ was the best-performing of its three singles, peaking at 19 on the Billboard Hot 100. By comparison, among the five singles of Bruno Mars’ winning 24K Magic was his seventh number one.

Ella Yelich-O’Connor, already a two-time Grammy winner at 21 years old, seemed magnanimous in defeat, conspicuously swigging from a hip flask and tweeting about meeting Cardi B and “Prez” Jay-Z. She didn’t win another Grammy, but she hadn’t needed to. She’d already won pop music.”

Hussein Moses: Meet the shade-throwing Wellington band who knocked Ed Sheeran off number one

“New Zealand musicians and the people that write about them haven’t always seen eye to eye. Duncan Greive, the managing editor of this very website, can attest to thatI can, too. It’s also not the first time a local artist has taken aim at Sweetman for something he wrote. Rap producer P-Money refused to be interviewed by Sweetman for his first book On Song: Stories Behind New Zealand’s Pop Classics. Then in 2012, Autozamm – sick of being criticised for the $200,000 in funding they received from NZ On Air – “decided to make an example of him on behalf of every other fucking band in the country” by releasing a song called ‘The Review’. The track was accompanied by a since-vanished music video that mocked the controversial writer. (This review that ran on The Corner sums it up pretty well.)”

Duncan Greive: MAFS Australia is bloated, bizarre and sometimes brilliant

“These first two episodes span 205 minutes and four of the eleven couples, with the show scheduled to run, at 90 minutes an episode, four nights a week. Which is to say that our commitment to these couples is in many cases greater than theirs to one another. It’s a marathon, exhausting and occasionally rewarding, but characters like Dean and Sarah make it one worth starting. Making it to the end will require a whole lot more dewy eyes and drama, which the loud, unselfconscious Australian temperament seems likely to provide.”

Jai Breitnauer: ECE isn’t free: How my family saves $8,000 a year

“My youngest son went back to school today and, like many other parents, I breathed just a little sigh of relief. Not relief that my kids won’t be at home with me. No! I’m not a heartless witch, and I’ve quite enjoyed the summer break. The relief is that school is free.

Sure, you’ve got the ‘donation’, which is being phased out anyway. And you’ve got the cost of trips and stationery. But that will cost us well under $1000 for two children in full time education this year, while Early Childhood Education cost us over $5000 a year just for one. Read it and weep, people: five whole grand. That means we are approximately $8000 better off each year with both our kids in school – and thanking our lucky stars that both children didn’t go to kindy at the same time.”

Rebecca Stevenson: Ten numbers that tell the story of Fletcher Building’s astounding $660m loss

Fletcher. The name is synonymous with construction and building in New Zealand, and has been since, well, forever. But it’s been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately – here are ten numbers that sum up the company’s bad news streak.


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