News aggregator

Hard News: Family Matters: a post about 2020

public address - Wed, 23/12/2020 - 10:49am

My sense of recent history is a mess; sometimes I can't rightly say what happened, when. I tell people about something I did two years ago and it turns out it was late last year. And still, like all of us, I'm still effectively in the moment that unfolded in March.
I recall realising even before we went into our pandemic lockdown that what a lot of what people – including me – were doing was a matter of processing anxiety in public. It was evident, vividly, on social media, where sometimes we expressed it by policing each other, shouting at each…

Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2020: Doomscrolling

public address - Mon, 21/12/2020 - 7:00am

The Public Address Word of the Year 2020 is "doomscrolling", which narrowly beat out "bubble". But in a shocking turn of events, Public Address founder Russell Brown was unable to complete his traditional mock press release announcing the results of the vote.
"There has just been far too much 2020," Brown told reporters, "and quite frankly, it's used up my sense of irony. I'm at a point where I can't even do sarcasm, let alone satire. I mean, how do you even start to process that?"
After his brief remarks to journalists, Brown excused himself, explaining that "I just need…

Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2020: The Vote!

public address - Tue, 15/12/2020 - 7:08am

It's that time again! You can now vote for the Word of the Year 2020. Thanks very much to all the people who nominated for the long list in the form below, and to Hadyn Green for his good work in getting the voting form together for another year. As he has noted on the form, there has been a hell of a lot of 2020 to be thinking about.
As previously noted, thanks go to Nura for our prizes this year. There's a pair of the amazing Nuraloop earphones for one lucky voter, and I'll give another pair to…

Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2020: Discussion and nomination

public address - Wed, 09/12/2020 - 7:00am

In the normal course of things, I launch the Public Address Word of the Year with a post looking back at all the previous winners. But 2020 patently has not been a normal year, so I'll skip that part. (You can still check the record here if you like.)
I've made a change to this, the korero phase, too. It's a given that our thoughts will revolve around a particular global phenomenon this year, so  you'll only be able to nominate one word per post. And three in total.
For the same reason, I've tweaked the prize criteria. Traditionally, the…

Legal Beagle: Election '20: The No Threshold Hypothetical

public address - Fri, 06/11/2020 - 1:01pm

The final count of the 2020 general election has been released, with five parties making it into Parliament.
If New Zealand had no threshold, and parties just had to get enough votes to be entitled to be in the first 120 seats given out, there would be 10 parties represented. Of course, without a threshold, voting patterns would have been different, but below, I present the hypothetical New Zealand House of Representives, if the 2020 general election got the result it did, without an artifical threshold:

New Zealand Labour Party


The New Zealand National Party


The Green Party…

Speaker: Mum

public address - Fri, 30/10/2020 - 8:08am

Ten years ago this week, Mum died.
Her death wasn't surprising: my mother Alison had been living with a terminal breast cancer diagnosis for two and a half years.
But it was still shocking. One evening, she was sleeping in the living room of our family home in Karori, Wellington. The next morning, she was gone.
At her funeral, her four children described Mum in the following ways: she told the truth, even uncomfortable truth; she nurtured her family and her friends with empathy, patience and kindness; she was a control freak, trying to manage in great detail every situation…

Speaker: Rewarding competence

public address - Tue, 27/10/2020 - 8:17am

If you were listening to New Zealand’s punditocracy in the days since Labour won the general election with a record-setting outright majority, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Labour had actually lost.
Last time around pundits could barely deal with the fact that the National government had lost its majority, and this time, faced with a left-wing landslide, there’s been a retreat into full-blown fantasy. The sheer depth of the cognitive dissonance on display can be seen in these RNZ snippets from the last few days: 

Analysis - There's only crumbs for the Greens from Labour's table, National's caucus backs…

Legal Beagle: Election '20: The Special Votes

public address - Sun, 18/10/2020 - 3:12am

The 2020 General Election has a preliminary result. For reasons I am unable to really explain, we will not have even a preliminary result for the end of life choice and cannabis legalisation referendums for some weeks (I dropped the ball on that one when the referendum legislation was before select committee, focusing on other concerns with the bill).
The preliminary result is mostly meaningless from a legal standpoint, but we want to know what happened before we go to bed on election night, so we get a rough and ready count of the ordinary votes: those cast by people…

Hard News: The long road to "Yes"

public address - Mon, 12/10/2020 - 1:25pm

One day in 1985, I came down from the loft where I was working as deputy editor of Rip It Up magazine, looking for lunch, and walked into a scene. There, on the corner of Queen and Darby Streets, a man was in the process of getting two kids to sign a petition against homosexual law reform.
I was incensed. I knew all about the petition, which had been founded by two Labour and two National MPs, taken up by the Salvation Army and then by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, a conservative lobby group that also railed against biculturalism…

Hard News: Cannabis: legalisation versus decriminalisation

public address - Sun, 04/10/2020 - 2:58pm

One thing I've been hearing fairly regularly, usually from more conservative voters, is that they're wary of voting "yes" for legalisation and regulation of cannabis, but that they'd definitely get behind decriminalisation if that was on offer.
I think most of them are sincere in saying so, and I understand the appeal of decriminalisation: it seems like a nice middle ground, easing the harm of criminalisation without going all the way. But I also think that it's clearly  an inferior option that comes with its own risks.
So I was pleased to hear John Hudak, Deputy Director of the Center…

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