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The best of The Spinoff this week: Sunday 26 June edition

Compiling the best reading of the week from your friendly local website.

Josh Drummond: New Zealand’s absurd gardening ban once again makes us the laughing stock of the Internet

“Our prisons are bursting with middle-aged white people, who make up a disproportionate number of victims of our punitive and ageist anti-gardening legislation. Only recently a Kaikohe mother and pillar of the community made headlines when she was charged with possession of just two pot plants and was sentenced to a year in jail for each.”

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Andrew Geddis: How the police sprung a ‘Mr Big’ undercover sting to snare a murderer, and what we can’t say about it

“The precise details of this Mr Big sting against Reddy are pretty impressive, playing out like a script by David Mamet (I’m thinking House of Games or The Spanish Prisoner). And he’s not alone in being foxed by it. In filings to the court, the police stated that the technique has run “approximately seven” other times since the late 2000s, but only for really serious offending and with sign-off at the highest level.”

Tim Murphy: To Meadowbank, where the would-be mayors are upstaged by the Queen of the East

“When it came to the east, it was all Desley. Goff thanked her for taking him on a tour of the cycleway early in his candidacy and declared his full support; on the bus timetables and routes, he rang Auckland Transport and learned Desley and her board would be briefed on Wednesday about the final changes. “Can you tell us the outcome yet?” he asked. She shook her head.”

Hayden Donnell: The truth about The Ridges’ infamous mouse scene – a Spinoff investigation

“It crept up silently. Jaime saw it first. She screamed. Sally immediately screamed in reply. The mouse just seemed to dance in the centre of the room, ignoring their distress, taunting them like a deranged shaman of the underworld.”

Group Think: Brexit, pursued by a blare – NZ-UK-Euro-responses to the extraordinary British vote to leave the EU

In defiance of most predictions, the UK has opted to quit the European Union, prompting David Cameron to stand down as PM. Reaction from Neil Cross, Rawdon Christie, Noelle McCarthy, Bryan Gould, Andrea Vance and more.

Caitlin McGee: I reported from South Sudan and Sierra Leone. What I’ve returned to in New Zealand still shocks me

“This is not an attempt to pretend that New Zealand has slipped so far down that it is in anyway comparable to the hardship playing out in the majority of the world. It is a peaceful, stable, democratic society with press freedom. But we are slipping. I am not only disappointed in what I’ve seen in the six months since I returned, I am angry.”

Duncan Greive: Mayoral race on! Victoria Crone just outflanked Phil Goff to the left on housing

“This morning ex-Xero MD Victoria Crone announced a strong response to the housing crisis, one which squarely targeted the land-bankers and ‘property investors’ holding Auckland to ransom. This is a big deal.”

"You seem to be on the wrong side of me, Victoria." (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

“You seem to be on the wrong side of me, Victoria.” (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Madeleine Holden: Omar Mateen and the convenient myth of the violent, self-hating ‘closet homosexual’

“In fact, the vast majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent—and are, in fact, more likely than others to be victims of violence—and most violent people are not mentally ill. Amateur diagnoses by armchair psychologists only serve to perpetuate myths and stigmas about mood and psychotic disorders like bipolar and schizophrenia, so we should stop doing it.”

Paul Brislen: The NZ economy is on the cusp of a new era, and it’s been stuck there for at least 17 years

Allan Blackman: Throwback Thursday: A scientist tests Police Ten 7’s ‘blow on the pie’ thermonuclear theory

“Let’s assume we have a thermonuclear pie, weighing 200 grams (the flavour isn’t important, just the mass). Using the most famous equation in all of science, E = mc 2, we can calculate that the maximum energy that could be released on heating a pie to a temperature of millions of degrees would be similar to that contained in 4 million tonnes of TNT.”

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