The best of The Spinoff this week

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

Danyl Mclauchlan: Breaking news: Clarke Gayford reputation rocked by Herald allegations

“This is not to deny that the Herald’s investigation raises some valid issues which Ardern and her government must urgently move to address. Why were we not told that Gayford came second in the 2001 season of Treasure Island? Are the awfully convenient claims Gayford makes about his earliest memories being pushed onto a surfboard by his dad real, or does he have different early memories which might discredit him, or even cast doubts on Ardern? And, most pressingly: is Clarke Gayford enjoying the political circus too much, and how much is too much, and how will Labour monitor and regulate Clarke’s lovable goofy smiles going forwards?

What is the real truth about Clarke Gayford? Is he a “hipster salty sea dog?” A guy who looks kind of like my old mate Matt? Or something much darker?”

Photo: Nancy Zhou

Glen Herud: I founded Happy Cow Milk to make a difference in dairying. I failed.

“I founded Happy Cow Milk to make a difference. But last week I had to admit to myself that I failed.

I made the decision to shut down the business and I faced the hard truth that I haven’t really made any difference at all. So what went wrong?

In a country awash with milk – with so much invested – you’d think a few small changes would be easy. And you’d be wrong.”

Sarah Paterson-Hamlin: A new ad starring a top NZ rugby player reveals a stark double standard

“Rebecca Wood is a typical Black Fern. She is an elite sportswoman who has been part of the world champion national team since 2017, and a star player for East Coast Bays and North Harbour for three years before that. She has seven test caps so far, and yes, she is also a firefighter. She’s a total legend. But the number of lives she leads is not up to her. At least, not in the same way it would be if she had the same credentials in a male team.

Last year, the year they won the World Cup, the absolute most a Black Fern could hope to earn was $18,000. That’s just over half our minimum wage for 2017.”

Peter Gilderdale: The university library row reveals a seismic shift in NZ’s middle class

“A major factor hindering our understanding of what is going on in this library debate relates to New Zealand’s egalitarian antipathy for talking about class. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we are supposed to go on asserting that everyone here is equal. Hence, what I am about to do, which is to use class to dig into this problem, is about as big a Kiwi heresy as I can commit. Indeed, I really hope someone can find a different and less gloomy way of framing these issues, but I can’t. Rather, I’m going to talk about this issue as a battle for middle class identity, in terms of the place I know best, Auckland.”

Julie Zhu: It’s 2018 and a white comedian mimicked a Thai woman at the NZ Comedy Gala

“After the showcase, many people discussed the most obvious act of racism of the night: one white comedian who impersonated a Thai masseuse halfway through her set. Broken English accent. Squinty eyes. Everything.

My white friend next to me clutched my arm in horror at what was happening on stage. I was actually spacing out in my seat and didn’t notice the horror of this. I laughed this off to my friend, because to me this was overt racism, the less dangerous kind. It’s the kind most of us can identify and know to stay away from. The kind we’re aware of in our performances and conversations.”

Zoe George: Petition hits cricket commentator Debbie Hockley with a tidal wave of abuse

The president of New Zealand Cricket, Debbie Hockley, has been threatened with physical violence and referred to in sexist terms in a petition set up to get her dumped from the Sky cricket commentary team. So far nearly 430 people have signed the petition and dozens have left their comments on it.

Some comments do mention her ability as a commentator, while others simply tell her to “shut the f**k up” or call her a “stupid bimbo” or a “c**t”. One commenter says he “would smash” her. The Change.org petition was established four weeks ago by Hamiltonian Chris Higgens, who says the former international cricketer must be removed from the commentary box because “she says some really retarded things” and her commentary is an “absolute joke”.

Emily Writes: Why Dwayne The Rock Johnson should be your doula

“Pick yourself off the floor. He did that. He’s the perfect man. Everywhere shit husbands and boyfriends who say stuff like “watching birth is like seeing your favourite pub get burnt down” are melting into a puddle of their own inadequacy. I was sent Dwayne The Rock Johnson’s post around 60 million times this morning from every mother in the world literally (yes, I added a literally there just to stress out the old irrelevant men on Twitter who hate me).

It’s been the talk of mums everywhere. There’s no better man than Dwayne The Rock Johnson. Then my friend who is actually a doula said what we all instinctively know: Dwayne The Rock Johnson would be the perfect doula.”

Photo: VICTORIA JONES/AFP/Getty Images

The Spinoff: In pictures: Jacinda Ardern travels Europe’s halls of power

Paris, Berlin, London. The New Zealand prime minister has been shuttling the major European capitals this week, and the snappers have been out in force to document the appearances of New Zealand’s ‘pregnant leftie PM’ (© Sun newspaper). Here, a selection of those photographs, and Sam Brooks’ scientific analysis reveals precisely what Jacinda Ardern was saying/thinking at that moment.

Alex Casey: The mysterious case of Auckland’s upwardly mobile celebrity cats

“In a shock twist straight out of any M. Night Shyamalan thriller, The Spinoff has learned that the feline friends of Matilda Rice and Art Green are not who they claim to be. The two ragdoll cats, Brian and Christine, became the toast of the social pages last year when adopted by The Bachelor NZ’s royal couple, but it would appear that this is not their first rodeo in the public eye.”

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