The best of The Spinoff this week

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

Danyl Mclauchlan: The dumbfounding nastiness of Simon Bridges’ ‘meth crooks’ remarks

“Bridges is competing for media-space with Judith Collins, who was first out of the gate attacking the meth compensation announcement, declaring that the tenants were all evicted because of their ‘criminal activity’. Bridges seems to feel that he needs to match Collins’ rhetoric on this issue. Collins has built her career making weird, frightening, provocative statements; it means she has a high media profile and a following among the activists on the fringe of her party.

It’s also the reason she failed to come close to winning either the leadership or deputy leadership in either of National’s recent leadership contests.”

Sacha Judd: I became a partner at 32. By 40 I left the law behind forever

“This is not the story of any one firm, or even just New Zealand firms. When I was working in Asia later in my career, my supervising partner and I had two clients with us on a transaction in Jakarta. They all wanted to go out to a bar notorious for being a place to pick up sex workers. These were important clients: my presence wasn’t optional. After an hour, with the clients on the dance floor, I said to my supervisor that I felt uncomfortable. He looked around the room, as if seeing it for the first time, and said ‘I wouldn’t worry, people will just assume you’re a Russian hooker.’

I could tell you endless stories.”

Albert Cho finds the perfect angle for his banh mi (Photo: Samuel Flynn Scott)

Samuel Scott: Bagels, bigots and bad language: Meet NZ’s most controversial food blogger

“To be honest, before the Newshub article I had comments from Goodness Gracious regulars saying, ‘Oh, I really love their bagels’. But after it was literally, ‘Was there not enough dog meat in your bagel?’ or messages saying, ‘Go back to Korea you fucking gook’. Or, ‘You should eat more bagels you anorexic gook’. All these personal attacks at me.”

“I did see Goodness Gracious posted something about not condoning racism at this point.”

“Yea, I thought that was bullshit.”

Peter Dunne: I am stunned by National’s somersault in backing Trump’s ‘war on drugs’

As a minister in a National-led government I was proud to speak at the UN against pursuing an outdated and overly punitive approach on drugs. Now the bipartisan focus on drugs as a health issue seems to have been tossed aside by Simon Bridges’ party as a political inconvenience, writes Peter Dunne.

Hayden Donnell: Jacinda Ardern goes overseas, promptly emits beam of hope in our dark world

For Americans especially, our prime minister is a star shining high above the mound of fetid waste they’ve made their home. Progressive website The Daily Kos even gave its readers permission to enjoy a brief respite from their unending despair yesterday, saying Ardern’s visit to the US had shown there could be more to life than MAGA hats and unending assaults on the concept of shared reality. ‘In all the stress and diabolical degeneration of basic functions of US government, New Zealand is sending you Jacinda Ardern for a visit,’ its story begins. ‘Take just a minute of your time to recharge your progressive batteries and draw a deep breath.’

Joel MacManus: Otago proctor under fire for entering student flat and seizing private property

“About three weeks ago, the proctor was visiting flats on Castle Street and Leith Street North to deliver letters about initiations. The entire flat was away, apart from one person who was asleep upstairs. The flatmates said the proctor let himself in through the unlocked back door, where he found several water pipes sitting out on a table and took them.

Because they weren’t home, the flatmates didn’t know what had happened to the pipes and assumed they had been robbed. They estimated the pipes were worth $400.”

Jacinda Ardern on Today. Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Jacinda Ardern: Kindness and kaitiakitanga: Jacinda Ardern addresses the UN

“We are a self-deprecating people. We’re not ones for status. We’ll celebrate the local person who volunteers at their sports club as much as we will the successful entrepreneur. Our empathy and strong sense of justice is matched only by our pragmatism. We are, after all, a country made up of two main islands – one simply named North and the other, South.

For all of that, our isolation has not made us insular.

In fact, our engagement with the world has helped shape who we are.”

Elle Hunt: ‘You should move here too!’ How to get your NZ friends to join you in London

“’John Lennon lived there for three months while recording the White Album,’ I say, pointing at the blue ‘historical site’ plaque, heavily implying that that alone should justify the 45-minute Tube journey.

We usually end up at Pret. I’ve still not found anything in London that impresses New Zealanders more than Pret, not even the house where John Lennon lived for three months while recording the White Album. If the plan for Julia’s visit had been left up to me, we’d be at Pret right now.”

Linda Burgess: Toby

“Toby is not quite 11 weeks old.”

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