The best of The Spinoff this week

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

Daniel Couch: Why aspiring National leader Mark Mitchell’s war-for-profit past matters

“In several countries, such as the United States of America, it is commonplace for former soldiers to serve in the highest positions of elected office. In most of these instances that armed service has been within a national military. Mitchell’s engagement with war has been through the private sector, and it has made him a wealthy man. When he sold Threat Management Group in 2010 it was turning over $130 million per year. Where others might pull the trigger for their country, Mitchell, and the soldiers his company employed, pulled the trigger for profit.”

Image: Toby Morris.

Shane Henderson: Simon Bridges has a strong New Zealand accent. Got a problem with that?

“When people heard the Bridges announcement, and hit back with a ‘Soimun Brudges! Oim so uckcited!’, I didn’t really understand the joke. Is it on us suburbanites, us regular salt-of-the-earth folk? Is a supposed weakness of enunciation enough to disqualify someone from high public office? Is it a presumed lack of sophistication?

The thing that struck me most is that the jibes seem to be coming more from my fellow lefties, and I hope you don’t mind if I give you a gentle chiding for it. Remember, a ‘working class accent’ is a common trope across the globe, and often used by conservatives in other countries to exclude the workers from a feeling of belonging at the top tables.

Asher Emanuel: Conflict of interest concerns over lobbyist turned chief of Jacinda Ardern’s staff

When GJ Thompson took leave from his lobbying firm to act as the prime minister’s chief of staff, he remained a director of the firm and his profile stayed in prime position on its website. How serious is the appearance of a conflict of interest, asks Asher Emanuel.

Gareth Shute: By the numbers: The New Zealand music with the most Spotify streams

Gareth Shute crunches the numbers on who is the most streamed here and abroad – and asks why the two don’t always match.

Alex Casey: Jeremy Wells went on a date with Judith Collins last night

‘What do you sleep in?’ asks Jeremy, face now so reflective that I can see my past, present and future in his forehead. ‘I sleep in a bed.’ ‘In terms of wear… I sleep naked,’ offers Jeremy, in an attempt to definitely, definitely make her feel more comfortable. ‘I have a very nice white lawn taste in nighties,’ says Judith. Sorry, but what in the name of Peter Alexander is a LAWN nightie? Nobody knows… but perhaps Jeremy does?”

Toby Manhire: Exclusive: Poll gives Judith Collins slim lead as preferred National leader

A UMR Research survey puts the polarising MP in the lead – but only slightly, and her favourability numbers are dismal, an area in which Amy Adams holds bragging rights.

Emily Writes: Parents these days: a celebrity cook and a journalist discuss why they’re so terrible

Emily Writes went to a cafe and transcribed an interview between a journalist and a celebrity cook while her children took turns taking dumps in the fryer and coffee machine.

David Duchovny live in Auckland (photo: david farrier)

David Farrier: David Farrier goes to the David Duchovny show, alone

There was a moment towards the end of David Duchovny’s concert – his first gig in New Zealand, and his first time in New Zealand – that beautifully summed up the whole night. It was during the encore: crowd clapping and yelling, Duchovny shuffled to the mic and, feigning modesty, gestured away the applause. He knew they were clapping for Fox Mulder, Hank Moody, Jake Winters and Sam Hodiak. He knew some of them were clapping for Denise Bryson.

But the thing is, people were clapping for David Duchovny too. David Duchovny and his music.

Thalia Kehoe Rowden: A meal out could kill my husband. Why do so few restaurants seem to care?

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders have serious food allergies, and hundreds are hospitalised each year, often because hospitality staff have mistakenly served them something they’re allergic to. A new law was supposed to stop that happening – so why has so little changed?

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