The best of The Spinoff this week: veni, vidi, Veitchy

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

Madeleine Holden: Why is Sky bringing Tony Veitch back to our screens?

“It’s an odd indictment of New Zealand’s insular culture that in a global climate in which high-profile abusers are being outed and ousted from public life, we are instead choosing to reward our home-grown abusers with coveted media positions. After Harvey Weinstein was revealed to be a serial sexual predator (who, like Veitch, did everything within his considerable power to silence his victims) and fired by his company’s board of directors, a rash of high-profile men – including actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K. and US broadcast journalist Charlie Rose – were accused of abuse and faced immediate and meaningful consequences.

Not our Veitchy, though.”

Simon Wilson: The fiasco in West Lynn: how did Auckland Transport get a shopping village makeover so wrong?

“You can’t laugh. It seems pointless to cry. But Auckland Transport (AT) has just spent a couple of months in the little West Lynn shopping village, digging up Richmond Rd, realigning the footpaths, carparks and pedestrian crossings, moving the bus stops and removing some carparks, adding a dedicated cycle lane on both sides of the street, and the result is… deeply disappointing.

The new contours cause some of the shops to flood every time it rains, so now they have to be protected by sandbags. The new cycle lanes are unsatisfactory. The planting is absurdly poor. The siting of the new bus stops is highly controversial and it’s questionable how much the traffic has been calmed. And as a recent story in the Herald made clear, shopkeepers say their customers have gone and they fear for their future.”

Illustration: Toby Morris

Don Rowe: Off course: the pricey private education which left its students indebted and fuming

“Take a look up any side street in any main city in New Zealand and you’ll find one: the ‘International College of This’, the ‘New Zealand National Academy of That’, tiny privately-owned tertiary institutions with ostentatious names, seemingly populated exclusively by foreign students. Darlings of the education-export economy, but unlikely to trouble any reputable academic rankings.

As New Zealand barrelled towards the election earlier this year, however, the Labour Party revealed a key component of their immigration reform was slashing the number of foreign students accepted into ‘low-value’ courses at private training establishments. These institutions, a number already under scrutiny by the NZQA, made prime targets for an opposition playing to a public increasingly concerned about the strain on infrastructure caused by mass immigration.

But it turns out it’s not only foreign students getting a bum deal.”

Simon Wilson: A tale of property, rates and bullshit

“Jo Holmes from the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance was on RNZ’s Morning Report today saying that Aucklanders will be paying “thousands of dollars” more in rates because of the new property valuations. Chamber of Commerce boss Michael Barnett joined her to complain that property valuations lead to “a progressive wealth tax”. And both of them repeatedly said we pay more in rates but we have nothing to show for it.

All of those things are wrong, and here’s why.”

A mother: My parents were stoners and that’s why I don’t want marijuana legalised

“It’s a highly unpopular opinion for a 30-something year-old parent to have. It’s why I can’t put my name to this story. I am the odd one out of almost all of my friends and my family: I don’t smoke marijuana and I don’t want it legalised.

When I smell marijuana – which is fairly often despite it being an illegal substance in New Zealand – I feel sick to my stomach. I often break into a cold sweat and it can sometimes, on vulnerable days, trigger a panic attack.

I grew up around marijuana. The smell alone takes me back to that childhood of lazy neglect.”

Duncan Greive: Why does online shopping turn us all into rabid libertarians?

Last week Labour announced that all online purchases would – finally – incur GST. Then, almost immediately, they backed the hell away. Duncan Greive explains why they were right first time.

Tara Ward: Outlander recap: Jamie makes a spectacle of himself 

“Let us bow down at the Outlander altar, because ‘Heaven and Earth’ featured two loves of my life: potpourri and cheese. I never thought the day would come when the King of Men yarns about a pongy mixture of dried flowers, but there it is, and here we are, and where the heck is Young Ian, anyway?

At this point, I’m not sure I care. Let’s get back to those tiny wheels of cheese, because I bloody love a protein-heavy piece of television and Outlander never lets me down.”

GENERIC MAN WITH AN EXPRESSION OF OUTRAGE, PRESUMABLY AFTER DISCOVERING HIS PROPERTY VALUATION HAD CHANGED IN SOME WAY. GENERIC STOCK PHOTO: GETTY

Hayden Donnell: Please pray for these Aucklanders whose homes are making too much money

“Look at the plight of Juliet, whose Piha bach nearly doubled in value over the last three years. Juliet – who also owns a Ponsonby villa – said it didn’t seem right that the valuation of her all-but-untaxed asset had increased in from $675,000 to more than $1 million. The council may have overestimated improvements to her house, she said. Many Aucklanders have problems, but making a half-million dollar capital gain on your beachfront investment property seems a particularly cruel burden to bear. Juliet deserves our sympathy.”

Sam Brooks: I cried when Stevie Nicks played ‘Landslide’

“I could talk about Chrissie Hynde being a complete and utter boss, rocking harder in her sixties than most people have in there entire life, and deservedly so, because she knows how to do it and she’s earned the right to do it. But also? She’s earned the right to chill out a bit, and the fact that she hasn’t is a glorious joy.

I could talk about what it feels like to hear an army of middle-aged woman sing ‘Brass in Pocket’. I could talk about Stevie Nicks being charming as hell. I could talk about the very strange AV for Stevie Nicks’ set that looked like screensavers (and honestly I wish people would stop doing AV unless it’s really necessary).

But instead I want to talk about Stevie Nicks, aged 68, singing ‘Landslide’.”

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