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07 August 2017

Editors — Tuioleloto Laura Toailoa and Tim Manktelow

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News Editor — Brigid Quirke News Reporters — Aimee Cox, E A Tombs, Harry Clatworthy, Liam Powell, Matt Currill, Olivia Pugh, Samantha Gordon, Siobhan O'Connor, Tharisheka Mohan Feature Writers — Ali Burns, Caoimhe Mckeogh, Gus Mitchell, Dan Kelly Chief Sub-Editor — Georgia Lockie

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Distributor — Darren Chin Arts Editor — Cameron Gray Section Editors — Annelise Bos (Podcast), Cameron Gray (Games), Finn Holland and Mathew Watkins (Film), Hanahiva Rose (Visual Art), Katie Meadows (Television), Kimberley McIvor (Books), Olly Clifton and Lauren Spring (Music), Sean Harbottle (Theatre) Contributors — Aidan Kelly, TB, Rory Lenihan-Ikin, Marlon Drake, Tamatha Paul, Jasmine Koria, V-ISA, Laura Sutherland, Henrietta Bollinger, Gus Mitchell, Tom Danby, Shakked Noy, Niamh Hollis-Locke, Madeline Bush, Callum Turnbull, Benjamin Clow, Jane Wallace, Hester Rowan, Hannah Patterson, Shariff Burke, Puck, Brooke Soulsby

About Us — Salient staff are employed by, but editorially independent from, the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA). Salient is a member of, syndicated, and supported by the Aotearoa Student Press Association (ASPA). Salient is partially funded by Victoria University students, through the student levy. Opinions expressed are not necessarily representative of those of VUWSA, ASPA, Service Printers, or the editorial staff. Complaints — Please email editor@ and if not satisfied with response contact VUWSA. Salient — 7 August, 2017 Volume 80, Issue 16


CONTENTS Editors’ Letter.......................................7 Letters..................................................8 Notices.................................................9 News General News.....................................10

A Precarious Position: The State of Abortion in New Zealand...................14 Politics Political Round-Up.............................16 Eye on Exec........................................16 The Party Line....................................17 Interview Chlöe Swarbrick.................................18 Opinion Know Your Mind… And Mind Your Own Business.............................20 — TB Columns Presidential Address............................21 VUWSA.............................................21 Te Ara Tauira......................................22 One Ocean..........................................22 Voice of V-ISA...................................23 Token Cripple.....................................23 Tinder Surprise...................................24 VICUFO............................................24 Sport...................................................25 Philosoraptor.......................................26 Super Science Trends..........................27

Features Chopping/growing.............................28 — Ali Burns Stop Telling Your Poor Friends to Try Minimalism..................................34 — Caoimhe McKeogh Next Gen Gentry................................38 — Gus Mitchell When The Past Whispers… Wicked Things...................................43 — Dan Kelly

Arts Poem...................................................49 Books..................................................50 Television...........................................52 Games................................................53 Music..................................................54 Podcast...............................................57 Film....................................................58 Food...................................................59 Visual Art...........................................60 Poem (back cover).............................. 64 Puzzles................................................62 Comic................................................63

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Editors’ letter

For my whole childhood I had one person who cut my hair. Then I left my home town and now have a complicated relationship with hairdressers where I never quite feel comfortable and often just put off getting my hair cut. Last Tuesday my girlfriend cut my hair in our freezing bathroom. I swept up the clumps and had a shower. Ali’s piece resonated with me, and I found myself thinking of how things are in flux, constantly moving somewhere, and sometimes it can feel that we’re just rushing along with the current. In this light, a haircut takes on symbolic gravity. It can be a momentary pause. Momentary in that your hair keeps growing, but still important: “What I do is trim my fringe some more, enough to feel new. I will trim my fringe every couple of weeks and let go of little pieces of hair until my fringe is new and there is no old hair left.” *** Caoimhe’s article responds to the rising popularity of minimalism and its transformational power (of the bedroom and office, but also the mind). Minimalism sees “less reliance on objects as a form of personal enlightenment.” However, this reliance is necessary for many who cannot afford to buy items (e.g. clothing or furniture) as they need it. “It is only safe to decide not to own many things if you have the money to buy things as soon as you need them.” Gus writes about the complexities of social media. It’s a tool for its users to shape and share discourse in a way traditional media can’t, but it also has algorithms that set the boundaries of the platform. Social media is a tool, and a community, and it’s unclear who holds more power — the creators, the moderators, the advertisers, or the users. With virtual spaces generating real income, how might it change our physical landscapes? Have we progressed socially (can we?), to match our progress in technology? One answer is to consider the past. Dan interviews William Ray, the creator of podcast Black Sheep that discusses “the shady, controversial, and sometimes downright villainous characters of New Zealand.” New Zealand, as a whole, when imagining its history, often celebrates the heroic figures and political progress; Ray’s podcast encourages us “to embrace the grimmer side of our history.” These four pieces complicate ideas of progress and transformation — on the micro level, like when you cut your hair, to the macro level, when we consider tech and social media giants. Nothing is straightforward; complicate and {{{ fracture {{{. — Tuioleloto Laura Toailoa and Tim Manktelow

8 If you don’t want to write for us — write to us! Salient welcomes, encourages, and thrives on public debate. Send us your honest feedback, be it praise or polemics. SUBJECT: DUDE, DID YOU READ THE COLUMN? To the editors, As a follower of Salient, and occasional contributor to the Arts section, I am very disappointed by the content of Sasha Beattie’s most recent “Shit Chat” column. In this, she stipulates that “white women”, a demographic she acknowledges she belongs to, perpetuate oppression against people of colour in modern society. I find this to be a wilful mischaracterisation of a large section of the population, and while I have ignored her accusations regarding people of the opposite sex as being “trash”, this recent contradiction speaks of monumental implications. Not only is she inferring all white women should be generalised because of their skin colour, this in turn affects synergy within a feminist movement, a movement based around the rights for all women, regardless of skin colour. This even extends towards the majority of those attending VUW, who are women, and among the many who read Salient weekly. Therefore, I wish to extend some sympathy towards Sasha. You should not have to denigrate yourself like this. You should not have to denigrate people, both men and women, whom you do not even know. You do not, as you say, “fucking suck.” If this belief is the result of your own personal experiences, then I extend some sympathies. On the other hand, you have power. Like everybody else you have, and are entitled to, agency as an individual. You do not have to take that away from yourself. Heck, I hesitate to use this word, but you are privileged enough to attend university, and have a platform through which you can express and publish your own opinions. While this magazine has a right to exist to bring attention to student issues, and our perspectives on the outside world, I argue that it should not incite such misanthropy against members of its own readership. Yours sincerely, A concerned reader


SUBJECT: WHAT SHE SAID Dear Concerned Reader Thank you — sincerely — for writing in. I’m a messy bitch that lives for drama and thus it brings me great joy to say, DING DONG YOUR OPINION IS WRONG If you had read the column, dear Concerned Reader, you might have stumbled across the final remark: White Women Need To Do Better. Because frankly, we do. Indeed feminism is a movement “based around the rights for all women,” which is why White Women — who have benefited the most from the Women’s Liberation Movement — need to step the fuck up and support the voices of those least advantaged within the movement. Save your sympathy, cherished reader, because I don’t need it. Understanding how society has benefitted me is just as — if not more — important as understanding how it has marginalised me. Instead, may I suggest that you expend your energy Googling why “but not all [men/white women/insert demographic here]!!!” is a terrible argument. If you are not practicing active inclusion then you are practicing passive exclusion, and the fact of the matter is, my sweet Concerned Reader, that people don’t realise — much less give a fuck — about how they unconsciously contribute to a toxic culture, unless they are called out. Lucky you have me to get inebriated and write columns doing just that hey? Love you still my dear Concerned Reader, xoxo




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11 ethical policy was similar to that of the VUW Foundation. Students in attendance raised questions about fair trade and gender equality. Manning and Stevens For the first time in 28 years, the both voiced a personal support of renewal of the VUW Foundation’s investing in companies that supportfunding proposal was discussed with ed gender equality, but admitted that of the 12 trustees of the Foundation, students. On August 2, trustees and board only two were women. Throughout the panel, Manning members of the Foundation, Brent Manning and Craig Stevens, hosted and Stevens discussed the trustees’ a public panel at Rutherford House role in decision making. Due to their to discuss the Foundation’s ethical lack of experience and knowledge in particular investment schemes, the investment policies. The Foundation manages and in- board’s job was not to make direct vests money donated to the univer- decision making about investment, sity by alumni and other donors. In but to raise money for the fund by 2014, it made the decision to rule out seeking donations through their own any direct investments in fossil fuels, personal connections. Stevens stated that although in response to a global campaign and student pressure to shift investments it would not be efficient to have a board that was representative of all away from the fossil fuel industry. With the funding proposal now students at VUW, “we have talked up for renewal, the panel was an op- with people like Grant Guilford portunity for students to voice their about positively discriminating so opinions about the Foundation’s in- that we can have Pasifika women on the board,” to help move forward on vestment decisions. Both Stevens and Manning dis- the board’s goal of building a fale for cussed the importance, especially in VUW. “The best way we can help [make 2017, for investors to think ethically, sharing their policy to not invest in this happen] is to get connected with industries or organisations whose people who want to donate.” — Samantha Gordon purposes do not “meet generally accepted ethical standards or that do not align with the values and objectives of the university.” Their current MPS ATTEMPT TO areas for investment exclusion were CONVINCE PASIFIKA armaments, tobacco, gambling, and PEOPLE TO CARE carbon emitting fossil fuels. Manning argued that, although ABOUT THEM the Foundation had made a point to exclude certain areas of investment, “one person’s idea of ethical doesn’t The VUW Pasifika Students’ align with another’s view of it,” and Council (PSC) hosted a Pasifika companies that supported alcohol, in Politics panel on August 2, fosugar, the sex industry, and child cussing on the topic Why Should labour were not directly excluded Pacific People Care? More than 50 people attended for investments. VUWSA President Rory Leni- the event, which saw the panel, made han-Ikin, who attended the event, up of MPs and candidates from was asked by an audience member across the political spectrum, speak about the VUWSA Foundation’s in- to issues affecting Pasifika youth. PSC President Sina Ah Sam vestment fund. He stated that their


News NEWS said that the inspiration for the event was learning about a surprisingly low Pasifika voter turnout. In 2014, according to a Ministry of Social Development report, 17.6 per cent of Pasifika people did not vote. For New Zealand First’s Tracey Martin, this statistic could be explained by Pasifika people not having “the same equity for opportunity as Pākehā and Māori.” The challenge for the panelists was to make a case to the students as to why they should care. Alfred Ngaro, Minister for Pacific Peoples, centred his focus on members of the community who are “young, brown and gifted.” “There’s a browning of New Zealand [...] by 2038, over 11 per cent of the population will be brown and Polynesian.” Green Party candidate for Manurewa, Teanau Tuiono, was strict on his speaking topics, framing many of his initial answers solely around issues of climate change and poverty. He believed focusing on those issues which most affected Pasifika people was a way of “consciously supporting our home islands.” Like Tuiono, deputy leader of The Opportunities Party, Geoff Simmons, was keen to stick to the topic of housing and his vast experience in the public sector. “I’m not interested in left or right wing… just what works.” As the debate swung towards the minimum wage, living wage, and improving Pasifika students’ rates of University Entrance, Labour MP Carmel Sepoluni urged students to fight for better opportunities, which was met with snaps of approval from the student audience. “All of these politicians had their education paid for. Do you know who paid for that? Taxpayers, your parents, the ones working in the factories.” — E A Tombs



New Zealand’s current political climate, showed that there was a need for greater youth participation in We Have Power, a nationwide stu- politics. “The system isn’t working for dent-led campaign, was launched by the New Zealand Union of Students’ young people, and while it’s not our Association (NZUSA) on August 7, responsibility, we can’t wait around with the aim of getting every New for that to change.” — Liam Powell Zealand student to vote in the upcoming general election. At least 15 tertiary institutions have agreed to participate in the iniTHE UNITED FUTURE tiative, with several more expected to TUITION TRADE OFF join within the next month. NZUSA will provide training and resources to campus teams based at each institution, although each On July 30, United Future released campus team has control over its on- their policy promise of free tuition for the-ground execution of the cam- all tertiary students. This policy seeks paign. NZUSA President Jonathan to “improve access” to students of low Gee told Salient that this is because income households in New Zealand. However, in order to fund the pol“no one-size-fits-all approach has a icy, United Future have also commithope of being successful.” VUWSA plan to engage VUW ted to removing the Student Allowstudents for the campaign by having ance and Accommodation Benefit. NZUSA President Jonathan Gee volunteers operate at all VUW halls of residence and campuses, as well as believes that compromising on stuin the CBD. VUWSA’s initial objec- dent allowances would see many stutive is to inspire political awareness dents finding it almost impossible to among students through an online continue their studies. Gee stated that although “incampaign, presenting briefly to students before lectures, and having creasing access to tertiary education one-on-one conversations, with the and transforming the lives of comultimate goal of a 100% student munities should be at the top of the turnout for the election on Septem- government’s list, [...] this trade-off does not make it happen.” ber 23. Under the Student Allowance Gee informed Salient that the campaign was inspired by the sig- scheme, full time domestic students nificant youth turnout in the last UK who are younger than 24 and are livgeneral election, as well as the “big ing away from home, and who meet organising” model of campaigning the financial criteria, are currently used in the recent US presidential eligible for a maximum of $177.03 per week after tax. Those students are primary elections. New Zealand has seen a low also eligible for an Accommodation youth voter turnout over the last few Benefit of up to $40 per week. United electoral cycles, with only 62.73% of Future’s policy would see all students enrolled voters aged 18–24 voting in borrowing for living costs, regardless the 2014 general election. Data from of their parents’, or their own, finanthe Electoral Commission showed cial position. The policy also proposes an inthat as of June 30, only 64% of eligible voters in this age bracket are crease in the amount borrowable under the Student Loan scheme, relative currently enrolled to vote. Jonathan Gee told Salient that to average rent prices in each region. Gee argued that, rather than tying recent international elections, in conjunction with an appreciation of student loan borrowing to the cost of


living, the cost of living itself must be addressed. If not, the situation would result in “spiralling and unmanageable debt.” VUWSA President Rory Lenihan-Ikin agreed with Gee. “Most students know what makes up the highest proportion of their student loan each year is borrowed living costs… Those living in high cost areas like Wellington and Auckland will end up with a higher average student loan, which isn’t equitable either.” “Any other New Zealander gets support from the government, why should that be different when you become a student?” — Aimee Cox

NOT SO ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY The use of “greenwashing” — marketing an unsustainable product as environmentally friendly — has risen considerably, according to Environmental Choice New Zealand. The practice involves the use of marketing techniques, such as false certification scheme logos, pictures of plants, and phrases such as “contains natural ingredients” to create a false impression that a product is environmentally friendly. The increase in misleading product labels likely reflects a rise in sustainability awareness in consumers. General Manager for the New Zealand Ecolabelling Trust, Francesca Lipscombe, told Salient that there are “no rules in place around [greenwashing].” It is left up to the consumer to “take manufacturers’ claims with a grain of salt and rely on a third party’s verification of environmental claims.” Common household items, such as Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner, claim the words “non toxic” and “biodegradable” on their label. However, the cleaning spray contains an Isothiazolinone mixture, which includes

13 Methylisothiazolinone, a highly corrosive chemical. The American Environmental Protection Agency’s 1998 document “Reregistration Eligibility Decision, Methylisothiazolinone” found that the chemical is toxic when ingested, inhaled, or applied to the skin or eyes in animal studies. The chemical is also toxic to freshwater, estuarine, and marine organisms. Environmental Choice New Zealand was established in 1992 to reduce “greenwashing” and make it easier for consumers to identify whether a product is environmentally friendly. Products which meet the Environmental Choice criteria are proven to have a minimal negative environmental impact. “To display the tick says this product has met all of our requirements and is not having an adverse affect on the environment at any stage in the production process,” said Lipscombe. — Olivia Pugh

2001, with all but one successfully eradicated. Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries labelled RIFA a “social menace,” citing the US experience where “people don’t go barefoot or sit or lie on the ground, or even stand for too long in one spot because they will be stung.” RIFA attack en masse, inflicting an itching and burning sting that can last hours. Fatal allergic reactions have been reported, and secondary infections from stings can be serious. Three RIFA colonies have been detected and destroyed in NZ since 2001. Unlike Australia, New Zealand currently has no targeted RIFA eradication policy, although preventative measures being undertaken under broader biosecurity practices. In 2006, the Government pledged $10 million to fight RIFA, as part of a $138 million annual biosecurity budget. A Landcare Research risk assessment identified that RIFA have a high likelihood of being introduced to New Zealand through the transportation of shipping containers and FIRE DON’T WALK untreated natural materials. WITH ME In March 2001 an Auckland Airport gardener found a RIFA nest, MPs and industry representatives which was subsequently destroyed. from Australia and New Zealand No further signs of incursion were met at the Agricultural Ministers discovered. Three years later, in FebForum on July 26 to discuss critical ruary 2004, 200 RIFA were found in agricultural concerns, including the bait traps at the Port of Napier. eradication of the red imported fire In 2006, a nest which is thought ant (RIFA) from Australia and New to have been two to three years old Zealand was discovered in Whirinaki. The The Australian Government nest was destroyed, and surveillance committed $411 million over ten and treatment of the area was carried years to eradicate RIFA. The decision out until 2009. expanded the National Red ImportA report by The Ministry of ed Fire Ant Eradication Program Agriculture and Forestry, issued in in response to concerns raised by 2001, identified the potential efenvironmentalists and farmers over fects of RIFA introduction, citing their potential effects on Australia’s the annual cost of living with RIFA lifestyle, economy, and environment. at an estimated to be $318 million. Red imported fire ants (RIFA), 70% of that attributed to household native to South America, are one of impacts, such as repairs and treatthe world’s most invasive ant spe- ment costs. cies. Seven RIFA incursions have — Matt Currill been recorded in Australia since


GARBAGE PATCH SUFFOCATING MARINE LIFE A marine conservation team from Algalita Marine Research Foundation, led by oceanographer Charles Moore, has found at least one million square kilometers of plastic in the South Pacific Ocean. The “garbage patch” is made up of a concentrated mass of microplastic debris. The patch is believed to have a significant impact on the lives of marine animals. Director of VUW’s Coastal Ecology Lab, Jeff Shima, told Salient that the new research “confirms what many scientists already know.” Shima said that the high concentration of plastic is surprisingly common. The plastic accumulates at points where currents, winds, and other ocean features come together to form highly concentrated patches. Marine animals in the garbage patch are likely to consume the plastic materials, particularly as large volumes of debris become coated with algae. Marine Ecologist and VUW lecturer James Bell said that the negative impacts are likely to affect all marine organisms, “from seabirds through to filter feeders living on the seabed.” According to conservation group, SEE Turtles, the number of marine animals being affected is vast. “Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals, and more than one million seabirds die each year from ocean pollution and ingestion or entanglement in marine debris.” — Tharisheka Mohan




The current status of abortion in New Zealand law is a “fundamental breach of women’s human rights,” according to VUW lecturer and academic Ann Weatherall. In New Zealand, access to abortion is governed by criminal law. The Crimes Act 1961 provides the legal grounds for abortion, and the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977 covers abortion procedures and administration. In practice, around 99% of abortions requested in New Zealand are authorised — however, the current legal framework makes abortion in New Zealand vulnerable to legal and political challenges. While under the current system, “New Zealand women feel reasonably assured that if they want to end an unwanted pregnancy they can, [...] all it would take is a slight political shift for it to tighten up and become that much harder,” according to Weatherall. The Crimes Act allows abortion when the risk ‘‘that the continuance of the pregnancy would result in serious danger (not being danger normally attendant upon childbirth) to the life, or to the physical or mental health, of the woman or girl’’; ‘‘that there is a substantial risk that the child, if born, would be so physically or mentally abnormal as to be seriously handicapped’’; that the pregnancy is the result of incest or sex with a guardian; or if ‘‘the woman or girl is severely subnormal.” After 20 weeks’ pregnancy, the only ground for legal abortion is ‘‘to save the life of the woman or girl or to prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health.” Rape, extremes of age, and socioeconomic factors are not grounds for a legal abortion in New Zealand. Family Planning (FP) CEO Jackie Edmond told Salient that FP “believe the laws should be reviewed and changed,” describing them as “old, costly, and discriminatory.”

“Abortion shouldn’t even be in the Crimes Act — it’s a health issue, not a criminal issue,” explains Weatherall. She points to changes in technology, such as the ability for chemical abortions through the use of medication, which highlight the inappropriateness of governing the practice through criminal law. Under the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act, a woman who seeks an abortion in New Zealand must gain the approval of two certifying consultant physicians. These physicians are delegated by the Abortion Supervisory Committee (ASC), which is appointed by the Governor-General. This “direct line to Parliament,” according to academic Alison McCullough, “further highlights just how vulnerable the current system is.” The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand President, Terry Bellamak, told Salient, “the reason we currently have 99% of abortions being approved is that the ASC and the current certifying consultants have taken a broad view of the law. All it takes is a few changes in those positions for it to dramatically change.” Under the current system, around 200 women are denied an abortion every year. It is unclear how many more women do not have the opportunity to access the services required to consult with a certified physician. “If you live in more rural areas, it’s going to be much harder to get those certifying appointments. So there’s those very practical difficulties in the current law which makes it inequitable for poorer women, for women in rural areas, to access the services they need,” according to Weatherall. Bellamak described the “hoops women have to jump through” with the current system of certified consulting physicians as “discriminating against those who are disadvantaged by geography and socioeconomic factors.” “What if you live in rural New Zealand and


your GP is a conscientious objector to abortion? How are you going to be referred to a consulting physician? I don’t think any woman should be thrown under the bus like that.” In 2005, the Catholic anti-abortion organisation Right to Life launched a legal challenge against the way the ASC oversees the doctors who authorise abortions. Right to Life argued in Court that parliament did not envisage the current practice — a broad interpretation of the legislation to approve most abortions — when it passed legislation regarding abortion in New Zealand. Right to Life sought to have the ASC impose a more restrictive regime of abortion approvals. Although Right to Life ultimately lost the case in the Supreme Court in 2012, this action demonstrated the vulnerability in the framework governing abortion practices. “[The case] brought into sharp relief how precarious it is in New Zealand. You don’t need to have much of an imagination to see that just a small shift would be required to tighten it up and make it much harder,” said Weatherall. In March 2017 Prime Minister Bill English reiterated his position on abortion law reform, telling Q+A “I’m not [in favour of liberalising abortion law], and wouldn’t vote for legislation that did.” The lack of political will to make a change is “frustrating,” according to Weatherall. “As long as women can get it, it’s seen as acceptable.” “The rhetoric around women’s position in NZ society is that they have equal opportunity, that they have control over their reproduction, and so on. But a lot of the time, it is just rhetoric.” Former Labour Party leader, Andrew Little, told Q+A that he supported a review of the system, agreeing that “it should not be in the Crimes Act.” However, the Green Party is the only political party to have developed a policy to that effect.


Green MP Jan Logie told Salient, “The Green Party supports the decriminalisation of abortion because we trust women to make decisions that are best for them and their whānau.” Both Weatherall and McCullough were concerned about global shifts towards restricting women’s reproductive rights. In the US, the Tissue Disposal Mandate (TDM), passed on July 30, requires women in Arkansas to gain permission from a foetus’ father before getting an abortion. TDM also requires both parents to agree on the details of the disposal of an aborted foetus prior to the procedure being carried out. This also applies in cases of rape and incest. Pastor Kim Hammer, a Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, who introduced the bill, said that its purpose was to “ensure the foetus is given a proper burial, not to give undue power to third parties.” A representative for the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws disagreed, telling the Huffington Post that the intention of the bill is clearly to “make it harder for a woman to access basic health care by placing more barriers between a woman and her doctor.” “There needs to be a political move forward to ensure that women’s rights are being protected,” explains Bellamak. “All it takes is a shift in the way the law is being interpreted to step backwards.” “It’s kind of ironic that NZ is held up as being liberal and progressive in terms of women’s rights” said Weatherall. “Because you don’t have to scratch the surface very far to find that that’s not actually the case at all.” — Siobhan O’Connor and Brigid Quirke

16 16 24 as part of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties, and state that the Labour/ Metiria Turei Greens prospective alternative govThe Greens unveiled their welfare ernment would reduce the national policy, “Mending the Safety Net”, debt, retain a surplus, and ensure on July 16, which co-leader Metiria that government spending does not Turei described as “the most signif- exceed 30 per cent of Gross Domesicant changes to our welfare system tic Product. in a generation.” The BPRs alienated Green Party The package would increase all stalwarts like Sue Bradford, who saw benefit payments by 20 per cent, them as a sell-out to the pro-busiremove sanctions on beneficiaries ness political Right. Following the who do not actively seek work, and announcement of their welfare polreduce taxes for low income workers icy, the Green Party may be able to while creating a new top tax rate of regain the support of its more radical 40 per cent for those who earn over supporters. $150,000 per year. A Colmar Brunton poll pubDuring the policy launch, Turei lished on July 30 showed that Turei’s disclosed that, before her political admission appears to have paid off, career and while raising her daugh- with the Greens gaining two points ter on the Domestic Purposes Bene- to reach 11 per cent. The Greens’ fit (DPB), she had lied to Work and bold policy announcement and the Income to increase her allowance. unorthodox admission from Turei She concealed how many flatmates are resonating with voters just seven she had, creating the impression that weeks out from the general election. her accommodation costs were much higher than they actually were. Māori Electorates Turei stated at the launch: “This In a speech at a NZ First convention is what being on the benefit did to on July 16, titled “The Battle for New me — it made me poor and it made Zealand”, leader Winston Peters anme lie.” nounced that his party would push Deputy Prime Minister Paula for a referendum on whether to abolBennett, who had also been on the ish the Māori electorate seats. DPB in the past, said in an interview Peters believes that the sepaon July 17 that while she “certainly rate electorates do not benefit most never deliberately misled [Work and Māori because it is “a terrible mesIncome] or took money that [she] sage to send to young Māori” that shouldn’t have,” she was not “inter- “they are not good enough to be ested in sitting here and throwing equal.” stones.” Peters faced dissent on this isWary that support for Turei sue from within his own party. NZ could damage his party’s reputation, First’s candidate for Whangarei, then-Labour leader Andrew Little Shane Jones, said that “the Māori distanced himself from the Greens seats will subsist for as long as people on July 26, saying that “it’s not of Māori extraction remain on them right for MPs to condone breaking or want them to continue, but it’s a the rules.” kaupapa for the people to decide.” Turei’s admission, and the reIronically, the party has previouslease of the welfare policy, has helped ly gained much political support in the Greens move on from its cen- the Māori electorates. NZ First won trist Budget Responsibility Rules every Māori electorate seat in the (BPRs). The BPRs were agreed to 1996 general election. by the Greens and Labour on March While the National Party is of-


POLITICS ficially opposed to separate electoral seats, it has not pushed for their abolition since it formed a government in 2008 due to its reliance on the Māori Party as a coalition partner. However, it is in National’s interest to remove the electorates, with Labour winning six of the seven Māori seats in the 2014 election. Some of National’s Māori MPs support removing the seats. Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett said “you know, I’m a Māori woman who has stood in a general seat and won that.” Nevertheless, National will not endorse Peters’ referendum proposal. Prime Minister Bill English said on July 24 that National is “not taking that [proposal] particularly seriously.” Labour rejected NZ First’s call for a referendum, with former leader Andrew Little saying that the seats give “good representation of Māori in our Parliament and I foresee that continuing.” Labour will focus on retaining its Māori electorate seats during this election campaign. Winston Peters was forced to apologise to Parliament on July 26 after he yelled across the House at Te Ururoa Flavell to stop “hiding behind the Māori language” when Flavell answered a question in Parliament in Te Reo. — Aidan Kelly

EYE ON EXEC On July 31 Treasurer/Secretary Tom Rackley presented current drafts of the many proposed changes to VUWSA’s Constitution. These changes ranged from the “non-controversial” (relocating some articles to a different section) to more substantive changes such as disbanding the Student Media Committee (SMC) and changing the way VUWSA sets its budget. When Salient became editorially

17 independent from VUWSA, the role of the SMC was reduced to simply financial oversight, rather than content advisory. The SMC could make recommendations to the editors or VUWSA, but it could not make binding decisions. Maintaining the SMC was “just overcrowding bureaucracy.” The other major change proposals concerned Part VII — FINANCE. Many of the points are to be reworded or deleted. Deletions were to be made to sections that were already located to the Financial Delegation section in VUWSA’s Delegated Authority Policy, or would no longer relevant due to other changes to the Constitution (e.g. regarding SMC). The Delegated Authority Policy’s purpose is to “clarify the roles and responsibilities of the General Manager”. However, VUWSA’s General Manager has been replaced by a Chief Executive Officer, and it was not discussed at the meeting how this implicates the policy. Probably the biggest proposed change to the Finance section would be regarding how VUWSA sets and passes its budget. Transparency was a major concern for the Executive, and it will be proposed that future budgets must be presented to students for approval. Currently, VUWSA is constitutionally bound to not go into deficit. However, VUWSA feels that this “unrealistically” binds the Executive to a budget that may not account for unforeseen costs. If future Executives are going to budget for a deficit, they must make their case to the student body, “de-incentivising the budgeting of deficits.” VUWSA will release their confirmed proposed changes before their Annual General Meeting. The date is to be confirmed. The full version of this Eye on Exec can be found online: http://salient.


THE PARTY LINE At a policy launch on July 16, Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei revealed that she had misled Work and Income as to the number of people living in her flat while on the benefit in the late 1990s. She stated that “whatever way I split up my dole-day money, I still did not have enough to get by at the end of the week.” At the time Metiria was a studying, solo mother. Her admission has sparked significant debate, and following her announcement numerous people have shared stories on social media about struggling while on the benefit, under the #IamMetiria hashtag. Political questions aside, do you think that the current welfare regime is working as it should? Greens at Vic Our welfare system is designed to keep people in poverty. The 1990s National Government commissioned a review of the minimum amount of money it costs to live, took the most modest estimate, slashed it by 20 per cent, and set the dole at that level. Benefits are intentionally too low for people to survive on. 40 times more government money is lost to tax avoidance than to benefit fraud — wealthier people commit more fraud, and fraud that creates a much bigger burden on the taxpayer. Metiria is brave to stand up and fight for beneficiaries in a deeply hostile media environment. We are so proud to call her our co-leader. Greens at Vic welcome our party’s policies of raising benefit levels by 20 per cent and raising the minimum wage progressively to $20. The only vote to end poverty in this election is a party vote for the Greens — we are fighting for the the many, not the privileged few — Elliot Crossan, Young Greens Co-Convener

Young Nats — Lower North Island The emphasis of this National Government’s approach to welfare reform has been supporting those on the benefit into long term and stable work, as this is the most successful way to assist those in need. Since 2008, we have seen the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs and large investment in job seekers support, giving work opportunities to those in need. Additional to this, in 2015 the National Government announced the first rise in core welfare rates since 1972, providing for an increase of up to $25 per week after tax. This shows that the National Government is supporting those truly in need either into work or during long-term hardship. The Young Nats are proud of the Government’s work in the welfare space and continue to support a comprehensive and strong safety net for those in need. — Sam Stead Vic Labour The current welfare regime is punitive and full of catch-22s for those just trying to feed their kids and survive the day to day. Labour created the welfare system in the 1930s to address the reality that not everyone can work or is able to find work. Capitalism systematically requires unemployment. But the unemployed deserve a dignified life, alongside those who are single parents, disabled, or otherwise need assistance. When parents are faced with a choice of lying to the government or feeding their kid, the moral integrity of the system is called into question. We must urgently reform our welfare system (always a necessary part of our social safety net), but we must also make sure we provide work to those who need it. These two kaupapa have always been a historic mission of the Labour Party and we will do it again in government.



Chlöe Swarbrick is a candidate for the Green Party. She is 22-years old (as everyone keeps telling her), and owns a doughnut shop in Mount Eden in Auckland. Salient sat down with Chlöe to discuss Green Party policy, smashed avocado, and moving past capitalism. Below is a shortened transcript, you can read the full transcript on our website: http://salient. *** According to the Green Party website, you entered the 2016 Auckland mayoralty election to “stand up for the things [you] believed in, the people [you] loved — all our people, especially those neglected by the status quo.” Given the lack of a portfolio, and the limited amount of time you’ve been in the political spotlight, it seems important to know where you stand, especially for young voters. So, ideologically, how would you identify yourself ? There’s obviously the whole left-right divide, and I sit on the left of that. I believe in social justice and for me — this is one of the many reasons why I’m with the Greens — social justice and [addressing] climate change are the same thing, for all intents and purposes. Because if you look at the people who are the biggest contributors to climate change, they are

the biggest polluters and the richest, whether they be countries or individuals; and if you look at the people dealing with the brunt of climate change, they are by and large the most vulnerable and the poorest — whether it’s countries, like the Pacific islands, which are literally sinking into the ocean at this moment, and also individuals in New Lynn or Edgecombe who are dealing with incessant flooding, and that flooding is only going to get worse because of climate change. [...] So you’re drawing this link between climate change and inequality — I’m not saying the two concepts aren’t linked, but how do you get past that surface-level association, when you’ve got, for example, solar panels being made by low-wage workers. I think that we need to admit that the free market economy is not going to solve all of our problems. That looks like government subsidies and support for changing the way we operate. This is one of the hesitations I have about signing up to all of these free trade deals — an example of where this has gone wrong is in Canada, where they tried to implement a localised scheme to create solar panels in Canada and people had to purchase them inside Canada, by high-paid workers in local businesses. And then the World Trade Organisation came along after this had been quite successful (they were on track to meet their climate targets) and said this was a breach of the free trade agreements. That’s super problematic, because this is the way we’re going to actually solve these problems. Because materialism and consumption for consumption’s sake is not working anymore, so it is a recalibration in that respect. Let’s not work 70-hour weeks. It does look like a living wage, it does look like warm dry homes, it does look like affordable public transport. Essentially what you’re talking about is moving past the current iteration of capitalism — how do you do that, with the government we have at the moment, or even with the Green Party in government? Another reason I’m with the Green Party is because I believe we have the potential to fundamentally change how politics work in this country. What I mean by that is


when you look at [the Green Party’s] values, which haven’t changed for 27 years now, we’ve spent 27 years building up our credibility and legitimacy in those areas. We’ve got ecological wisdom — We have one planet, let’s look after it. On that point, I just want to speak to climate change for a moment. Whenever we talk about climate change, that conversation is always being framed in terms of the planet. And we do need to look after the planet. But at the end of the day, what climate change represents is actually the biggest existential crisis that humanity has ever faced — it’s us who will be screwed if climate change happens, and obviously all of the animals that we are systematically wiping out with the status quo of our system operating as it is. So if we want to survive in any habitable, livable way, we need to take action, because the window is narrowing. Social responsibility and social justice — In South Auckland at the moment you’ve got people working 40 hours per week at minimum wage, and they can’t afford the average house rental. So, they’re then working 60 or 80 hours — I can’t buy into this narrative that these people need to be harder working, or smarter working. Things are not working if some of the hardest working people you could imagine can’t afford to feed their families. Non-violence — Basically, let’s do this all peacefully and communicate and collaborate towards something that works for everyone in that respect. And finally, appropriate decision-making — Not all decision making needs to rest with central government. It’s about devolving decision making down to the level where it actually affects people, and that’s a huge win for local government as well. I think if you implement those four things, you’ve got transformative politics in this country. I think it’s really interesting to look at the parallels with, for example, Max Harris’ The New Zealand Project, and his three principles of compassion, creativity, and community. You spoke to the Greens’ building their legitimacy over the last 27 years. Political commentator Gordon Campbell reflected recently about the shift toward the centre that the Green Party has undergone since its entry into parliament. He suggests there’s been a strong focus on personality politics and marketability, but points out there are “different ways of convincing the public that the left’s policy prescriptions are rewarding, rather than scary — and elsewhere, Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders have chosen a more difficult route, but with a good deal of success.” Given the recent success of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK election, how would


you respond to Campbell’s claim? Has the Green Party watered itself down in favour of marketability? It’s funny, Holly Walker has recently released her book, The Whole Intimate Mess, and Steve Braunius from The Spinoff asked me to interview her. I asked her this — how, as a past Green MP, she feels about the party in 2017 — and she said that it was super exciting. The debates about the North & South cover and all of the rest are the same debates that happened in 2014 and 2011. There’s consistently been this framing every election, about whether the Green Party is becoming more centrist to attract more people. And I genuinely think, if you look at the issues that are on the table for this election — they are water, housing, transport — they are all Green issues. I think that perhaps the centre has moved towards the Greens. Those values that we’ve had for 27 years now, they have not changed — they are unwavering, and they can be communicated in different ways. That does not amount to an abdication of those values. What is your favourite colour? I guess I’ve got to say Green! — Brigid Quirke


— TB



also generally frowned upon, unless it is done in a classroom context and you are tasked by the tutor to talk to the person sitting next to you. When the tutor suggests that the class should partake in an icebreaker, an obligatory sigh, moan, or groan at the cringeworthiness of their suggestion will be quietly appreciated. Talking exposes your unique and interesting personality; it brings out your warmth in a society where it is trendier to appear cold. If you’re still struggling to find ways to show off your self-absorption, fashion will definitely provide you with a helping hand. Wear any clothing you like so long as it’s overpriced and condescending, and keep far away from the less affluent dressers. Add a smug and toffee-nosed demeanour to your ensemble and you’ll be sure to hide the unwanted compassion and goodwill you have deep down inside. Whether you want to or not, some of you may get through the day without speaking a word to anyone. Keep your knowledge, life experience, and affability locked away and unnoticed for nobody to experience. Some individuals may slip through the cracks by trying to interact with others on account of being friendless and in need. Don’t let this be you. Stand back from these individuals and let the mental health system take care of them. Otherwise, they can always take care of themselves, right? Follow this advice and keep up with the latest antisocial trends. Among all the individuals in our individualised institution, you will undoubtedly stand alone. How selfsatisfying that must feel.


Welcome to Victoria University, an institution for the socially unengaged. Individuality and egoism have replaced collectivism and community so much that it is hip to avoid interaction altogether. No longer must people suffer the burden of looking out for one another. In this so-called welcoming and widely diverse society, it is polite now to simply keep to yourself and let people be. So here is the protocol of social (dis)connection: Here at Victoria, personal space is of high value to most individuals. You should acknowledge this by avoiding sitting next to people in lectures unless you have to. In fact, sitting as far away from them as possible will surely highlight your politeness. Demonstrate your courteousness even further by not greeting fellow students or thanking teachers, as these good manners will probably just take up their time. Sitting next to someone you don’t know and having the audacity to talk to them is invasive and creepy. Secondly, you must be stimulated if you are alone, as it is vulnerable to appear lonely. When by yourself, you should pretend to be busy on your phone so as to signal to others that you do have friends, but that they’re just not with you at the moment. That’s right, you need to appear self-confident and standoffish. Look like you’re in a hurry to get somewhere if you have to, because nobody will disturb you then. By appearing too cool for new relationships, you’ll not only make others green with envy, but you’ll also avoid having to care for someone other than yourself. Smiling at and making eye contact with others are not tolerated at Victoria, unless you know them well enough to tag them in memes. Doing so will make you appear desperate and overly cheerful. Likewise, coughing should only be carried out in a way that shames others for eating their sushi too loudly in the silent study spaces. Talking is











PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS In less than 60 days, the New Zealand public is expected to head out to the polls and vote in a new government. It’s a point, every three years, where those invested in politics get together with their mates for beer and political banter, and a large portion of eligible voters turn off the TV and wait for the whole “boring” process to be over. Young people are guilty of the latter. Four out of every ten people in the 18–25 year old voting bracket did not turn out to vote in the last election. But I’m sick of seeing this statistic so easily manipulated to be part of the intergenerational blame culture. Every day young people engage in politics. Whether it be on internet forums or through art and music, university debates or conversations in a dingy Wellington flat about a system that could work better — young people are political. However, their way of doing politics is often dismissed, so it’s no wonder young people often dismiss the more conventional way of engaging in politics: voting. But with less than two months until the election we need to focus our energy not on what we can’t do, but what we can. Regardless of the result on September 23, whether it’s Bill English, Jacinda Ardern, Winston Peters, or even Gareth Morgan that are in the hot seat to be PM, youth voting could arguably play a bigger role in determining the future direction of our country. Ultimately politicians care about votes, because they need them. Therefore it is no surprise that as youth turnout has declined over the last few elections, so has the prominence of the issues that matter to many of us. This election we have a big opportunity. By turning this trend around, we will send our issues right back up to the top of the political agenda, well beyond the term of whoever takes up the Prime Ministership this September. The opportunity is there, the challenge is there. Let’s get 100% students voting. — Rory Lenihan-Ikin

VUWSA Well Re-O-Week is over, so we must be getting dragged, kicking and screaming, straight into the second trimester. Money is short, and so is patience. After the blur that was the first trimester there’s a good chance you’re looking for a way to spend your time that is less expensive and less intensive than the usual weekend binge. Well, have we got the opportunity for you! Before I get into that though, I’m keen to give you a quick update on what I’ve been up to in my role as Clubs and Activities Officer. Last trimester, members of the Clubs Council and myself set to planning out a Clubs Manual. This manual would provide information on who to contact for what, how to utilise VUWSA’s services, and at the very least would point you in the right direction. I’m proud to say that this manual has just finished its first design phase, and is now being updated due to a few recent changes in contact details. There’s also a couple of handy discount deals that Victoria clubs can use, so it’s the first step in VUWSA providing tangible services for the long term. I can’t wait to show it to you! Now, onto the big stuff. This trimester VUWSA is launching its general election campaign, with the goal of getting 100% of students voting. Gotta aim high right? This is part of a comprehensive national campaign and we’re taking it across all three campuses, inside halls, in the electorate, and in digital spaces. If this sounds super exciting, that’s because it is! The plans are ready, and now we need volunteers! If you want to get involved this election (and maybe political parties aren’t quite pulling you in) then sign up to volunteer for VUWSA’s campaign at nz/volunteer/. — Marlon Drake (Clubs and Activities Officer)





One of the biggest problems here in Aotearoa is that a lot of us fail to see the connection with all the shit that happened to us 200 years ago. It is a mamae that we can see manifest in our whānau in the prison system. The current makeup of that population reflects decades of policy engineered by early-Pākehā to imprison and enslave Māori. I know the gut-wrenching feeling of having someone you know and love go through the courts and having to pray that they don’t end up in remand for months, that they don’t have their soul broken by a system that hates them. Despite being around 15% of the general population, Māori make up around 50% of the prison population. Those are mums, dads, brothers and sisters, aunties, uncles, sons, and daughters in there. Last week I was lucky enough to head up to Rotorua for JustSpeak’s Whiti te Rā, a kaupapa Māori hui about transforming the justice system. It was there that I heard this: “To cage and imprison someone is the most violent act of terrorism you can wield against a Māori person.” Where do we go from here? We can’t all be choice prison abolitionists like JustSpeak, but we can change the way we think about prisons; the way we think about prisoners. Prison is nowhere near adequate enough to address the reasons why people are in jail, let alone heal those people and end those cycles of crime. We gotta stop thinking about it as an individual problem, and start realising that it’s actually our problem as a collective. We gotta stop looking externally for solutions to our problems because we already have all the tools we need to solve all these issues, which weren’t ours to begin with.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting on my flight to Wellington thinking, time for another trimester of of uni. I have soooo much to do and 0.00 ideas on how to get everything done! As the aircraft steadied itself at cruising altitude, the guy beside me got his laptop and a trillion other things out of his bag and proceeded to… watch rugby. Not real rugby though. It was animated rugby like in my little brother’s video games. I was like, okay, you do you… but also there’s like zero space in economy so please don’t move so much! Then I saw him writing in his notebook. He had several lists, and on the opposite page, in capital letters, he was making extensive notes about the game on the screen. One word that I picked up was STABILITY. I realised he was writing some sort of game plan, neatly assembling all the players in even sections and thinking, very carefully, about how time could be best spent so that the team could score as many tries as possible and. ultimately, win the game. He was looking at what was worth a try, and what was a waste of their (limited) time. I think uni life is like that. Sometimes you gotta take a step back and think about everything. When you do, you realise how much potential you have, and how big the field that is student life can be. I believe there’s room to score tries (like acing this trimester!) and of course, if you get tackled, be patient with yourself and try again (note to self: no more all-nighters!) P.S. turns out this guy is an Actual Rugby Player which I found out when the flight attendant recognised him. He’s Samoan so yeaahh, here’s to that growing Pasifika representation that keeps us all going!

— Tamatha Paul

— Jasmine Koria




VOICE OF V-ISA Cold Feet If you have survived to July in Wellington, congratulations to you! Good news — the worst is over (fingers crossed) as we have put the shortest day behind us and are now sailing towards longer and warmer spring days. Keeping well and warm without drowning yourself in vitamins and busting your electricity bill can be quite a struggle we know. For those of you on a budget we have a few old but gold tips for riding out the rest of the winter: • Stay late at university and make the most of the heat and light. Let’s be honest, the free Wi-Fi makes a good bonus too. • Invest in a hot water bottle. We’ve heard you can get them at the Warehouse, Briscoes, or even at New World. It’s cheap, efficient, and, if you put a furry cover on, it even makes a good substitute for cuddling a warm dog. • Stock up on soup sachets and winter vegetables like leek and carrots. Trust us on this one. You’ll be very thankful on wet blustery nights when you just can’t bring yourself to leave the flat. While it is the coldest and greyest time of the year, don’t forget that winter is also the best time to get out on the mountains and enjoy some snow sports. All the cold is almost worth catching that first glimpse of silver snow or successfully skiing or boarding down a smooth slope. Join us on our upcoming ski trip this mid-trimester break to make the most of winter! — V-ISA

With an election on the horizon I’ve been pondering how to vote as a disabled person. For me, my vote, and in some sense my political voice, are very much informed by this experience. Access to democracy is a difficult thing; it requires people to have access not only to the ballot box but also the conversations around politics. It requires that our community be represented, be visible. As a disabled woman then, Mojo Mathers’ entry into politics was pretty significant to me. More recently still, I was surprised by a Facebook message from a friend which read: Hey, Australia’s answer to Chloe Swarbrick has Cerebral Palsy! Opening the attached article, I read that in the wake of Scott Ludlam’s departure from the Australian Greens, Jordon Steele-John will take his seat. He is considered an unconventional candidate. At 22 he will be the youngest person ever elected to the Senate, as well as being a wheelchair user and having come to politics through disability activism. This is significant in more ways than one. However, it seems he is facing barriers right from the start, barriers which stem from our limited expectations of disabled people. I laughed through gritted teeth at his revelation that “throughout the day people came up to me and were putting silver coins on the table — they assumed I was fundraising for charity. They were surprised to find out I actually wanted to be their elected representative.” It has me wondering what it will take to normalise disabled people as active participants in our society and democracy. Not as passive recipients of support, but as people equally as capable of shaping their world as their ablebodied peers. Not as people being spoken for and cared for, but as leaders in their own right. — Henrietta Bollinger



TINDER SURPRISE Kia ora sex-lovers, Recently I’ve been thinking about how (as a vagina-owning person) sometimes after having sex (with a person with a penis) I’m sometimes left feeling a bit unsatisfied. Sometimes in the heat of the moment you just want to be fucked, but you don’t cum from it, while the other person does. They offer to go down on you after, but you don’t wanna be touched down there after a sex session. So while I was scrolling on the internet I discovered this brand called Dame, which makes feminist-oriented sex products. What I really like about this brand (besides the marketing making me want to open my wallet) is that the products are so well-designed. Unlike other sex toys, they don’t get in the way during sex and feel like a natural extension of your body. It’s hard to describe them without pictures, but if you look them up you’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about. One is basically a clitorial stimulator that a) you don’t need to hold in place, and b) will give your clit the extra “push” it needs during sexual intercourse to allow you to achieve orgasm. The other product fits on your fingers so you can touch yourself and others without having to hold something like a giant vibrator or dildo. So once I have some money I’m definitely going to purchase at least one of these products and put it to the test. It seems like “the ultimate win” for us vagina people. Especially when apparently 70% of us need clit stimulation to cum. Much intimacy, Tinder Surprise xoxo

VICUFO The decision-making body we call parliament is rarely referred to by its more precise name, the House of Representatives. This could be because it’s a mouthful, or because it sounds admittedly colonial and stuffy. But I like to think that it has something to with our House of Representatives not really doing what the name implies. Our current House of Representatives consists of 66% men and 34% women. Representing a population of roughly equal numbers of men and women, with the addition of minority genders, means this is clearly imbalanced. This lack of equal representation can be seen in other parts of government. Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have championed the need for equal representation in government, forming gender-balanced cabinets in Canada and France respectively. John Key, however, defended his cabinet of 13 men and seven women with the argument that appointing women for the sake of a gender balance would be “stupid.” This merit-based argument always shows up in discussions about affirmative action — why replace those best qualified for the job with others who are less so, in order to fulfil a quota? While Key was referring to his cabinet, the argument has been applied more broadly to seats in parliament. It falls flat as it assumes that women are less worthy of seats in parliament than their male counterparts, who in the current system face substantially fewer hurdles on their path to parliament. The merit that sees a woman into parliament is not her merit as a politician — although this is also indisputably present. This merit is in her ability to somehow beat the odds that place her near the bottom of electoral lists, and see her shut out of cabinet. When a candidate’s legitimacy has nothing to do with their gender and everything to do with their talents, dedication, and honesty, John Key will be right that there’s no need for a gender quota. But for now, I don’t think we really have a House of Representatives. — Laura Sutherland




Moral Outrage: UFC v Boxing On the weekend before last, UFC 214 was held in California, the highlight of which was the heavyweight rematch between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. The fight itself ended in typically protracted fashion after Cormier took a kick to the head, which clearly did damage but failed to finish the fight. A dazed and stumbling Cormier was eventually corralled by Jones, who mounted Cormier’s back and landed three more head shots before the referee called the match. But it was not this extended display of violence that has sparked controversy. Rather, in the aftermath of the fight, Cormier, who clearly needed to be escorted from the ring and receive medical treatment, was subjected to an interview. It was unnecessary and more than a little unpleasant to watch this man struggle to answer the questions through tears and obvious head trauma. Why didn’t his own trainers, the various UFC officials, including the president of the sport, who were all in the octagon, step in for the health of their competitor? These moments removed for some any notion of credibility the sport could maintain; the violence in the fight was somehow acceptable but the aftermath was straight negligence. Throughout its rather short history the Ultimate Fighting Championship has struggled with legitimacy, and there has been a significant amount of moral grandstanding claiming it to be barbaric. A particular brand of this grandstanding, which is often offered by older heads, attempts to condemn the violence of UFC while maintaining the integrity of boxing, as if repeatedly punching someone in the head is not only fine but something to be analysed and respected, but as soon as you add kicking and various forms of wrestling some line has been crossed. For some, this stance screams of hypocrisy, but it points to a difference in how the two sports are viewed and engaged with and why the end of the Cormier/Jones fight has created such consternation. Part of why boxing is held in a different regard is its history, which is defined not only

through the sport itself but through its treatment in various media. There is a long list of boxingbased film and literature which are held in high regard by at least a few, who we can assume, would never consider watching the sport proper. Boxing therefore exists simultaneously as a sport and as a narrative form, with its own tropes, character types, and expectations. The violence at the heart of boxing has been legitimated through these various depictions, which provide a map to the viewing experience by placing the violence within a context of narrative norms. This, at least in part, explains why boxing is viewed differently, but not the UFC’s rapid rise in popularity. Coinciding with the UFC rise has been a slow erosion of boxing from the mainstream. The former’s disregard for the appearance of the legitimacy boxing commentators often strive for would suggest that its audience is attracted to its violent, hypermasculine tendencies. So even as commentators continue to take to their soap boxes declaring the sport an immoral waste, much of what they will be doing is simply articulating the sports very appeal. — Tom Danby



PHILOSORAPTOR Let’s imagine for a moment that God is creating the universe. In an instant, God determines all of the physical facts about the universe, down to the exact position of every single atom. The question now is — is God done? That is to say, has God created everything that exists? “Physicalists” would say yes. They believe that everything in the world is physical, i.e. is made of atoms or subatomic particles. Physicalism seems like the commonsense scientific position. Yet “dualists” deny physicalism, and claim that something extra, something non-physical, exists. Two famous Australian philosophers, David Chalmers and Frank Jackson, believe that this mysterious non-physical thing is conscious experience, and they present a pair of innovative arguments to demonstrate that conscious experience cannot be explained physically. Jackson first. He asks us to imagine Mary, a neuroscientist who has spent her whole life in a black and white room interacting with black and white objects. Mary spends her time studying the neuroscience of colour experience — studying exactly how different-wavelength photons stimulate the retina and create reactions which travel to and stimulate the neurons in our brain. Mary knows every physical fact there is to know about how colour experience works, despite having never seen colour. Then, one day, someone brings an apple into the room. Jackson claims that, in this instant, Mary learns something new — namely, she learns what it is like to see red. Yet if Mary knows everything there is to know about the physical aspects of colour experiences, and she nevertheless learns something new, there must be some non-physical facts about colour experience.Chalmers, meanwhile, asks us to imagine a “zombie world” — a world which is physically identical to ours, but in which there is no conscious experience. The world is populated by “zombies” — people who look just like us and act just like us, but who experience

nothing. All that Chalmers requires for his argument to succeed is that this world is logically coherent, that there is no contradiction involved in imagining it. If it is logically coherent that two situations are physically identical but differ with respect to conscious experience, then conscious experience must be non-physical. The concept of “dualism” may intuitively seem unscientific, a sort of spiritual mysticism. And it may seem that Chalmers and Jackson are ignoring the ability of neuroscience to provide physical explanations of conscious experience. Far from it. Chalmers, in his discussion of the issue, does not deny that neuroscience can provide physical explanations of many aspects of mental processes. It can explain what he calls “functional” properties — things like learning, information processing, or responses to stimuli like pain or light or sound. But, Chalmers claims, neuroscience cannot explain why there is something it is like to feel pain. Neuroscience is silent on the question of conscious experience. Interestingly, Frank Jackson changed his mind about his own argument, and is now a physicalist. But his argument, and Chalmers’s, continue to be powerful defenses of dualism. — Shakked Noy


Super Science Trends


Space! What’s It Up To?

I’ve been wanting to do a SPAAAAAAAAACE column since I started writing Super Science Trends. The only issue is “everything outside of Earth” is a pretty broad category to cover, so here’s a smattering, a constellation if you will, of news stories about the final frontier. SpaceX’s reusable rocket, the Falcon 9, achieved a successful repeat launch in March, after first launching the previous April. Being able to recover and reuse a booster rocket is the next big hurdle to leap if Elon Musk wants to achieve his dream of putting people on Mars cheaply and quickly. After all, it’s a lot to pay for a rocket out of pocket. According to Jim Cantrell, founder and CEO of Vector Space Systems and the Steve Jobs to Elon Musk’s Bill Gates, it takes about five to ten reusable rocket flights before you make money back on your investment, and most current generation SpaceX rockets will likely only be used for three trips at most. The next stage is to make the rockets reusable within 24 hours of a previous launch by 2018. Looks like Team Elon is blasting off again. US Congress voted 60 to 1 on a bill to approve a new branch of the military, the United States Space Corps. Don’t go expecting the Guardians of the Galaxy though (even if they will answer to a ego the size of a planet, heyooooooo), as they’re being assembled as a division of the Air Force in order to protect America’s evergrowing phalanx of communication satellites, not future alien attacks. In 2007, China showed they have the capability to take out America’s “eyes and ears”, and as Cold War II starts to heat up, the Trump administration is antsy to send either soldiers or weapons into orbit as early as 2019 to protect them. The Air Force isn’t so keen on the idea, but space travel optimists hope a military budget will be the kick in the pants the space program needs, even if it is in anticipation of a War in Our Stars.

This July marked the 20th anniversary of the landing of Pathfinder, the first ever Mars rover mission. One interesting tidbit is that it, and other rovers like it, have to undergo an intense sterilisation process to avoid contaminating our neighbour with Earth cooties. However, a recent re-examination of Martian soil found that the combination of sun exposure and the presence of perchlorates, the same salts that allow for liquid water, might make the planet too salty to keep any germs alive. The flipside is that it also means it is unlikely that we could grow anything there if we colonised it. Yes, even potatoes. All these sweet robots and you’re still salty? Man, I was looking forward to some Martian vodka. Oh, I also recently finished Guardian cartoonist Tom Gauld’s graphic novel Mooncop, which tells the story of the only police officer on a colonised moon, who has the job of protecting a community with zero crime. The retro-futurist frontier town where he lives is slowly undergoing a process of decolonisation after the appeal of living on Earth’s premiere natural satellite starts to lose its luster. It’s a subtle critique of colonisation and futurism, asking the question of why there was ever an appeal in living on the moon in the first place, while also telling a touching story about finding true human connection in a rapidly automating future. Comes highly recommended. Right, I’m off to watch the new Rick and Morty. Live long (assuming the depreciating air quality and temperature rise doesn’t make Earth inhospitable) and prosper (as sustainably and ethically as you can under late capitalism). — Gus Mitchell



Written by Ali Burns


Ali Burns


Apparently there is power in changing your hair, I was told by a friend it was like a magic trick.

I stand looking in the mirror considering cutting my hair off as a way of coping with a current sad and stressful situation. It would be nice to feel powerful. It would be nice to feel like a new person. It seems destructive enough to feel unruly and it doesn’t hurt anyone so why not? One person I spoke to about cutting their hair when going through change said that “having people receive me differently to the way they did before made a huge difference to my confidence.” People notice when you make a drastic change to your hair, they see you when you walk into a room. If you are sad, this can help you feel a sense of strength. Ovid, a classical poet, said in Ars Amortoria to never let “your lover find cosmetic bottles on your dressing table: art delights in the hidden face.” In other words, don’t let your efforts at beauty be visible or obvious. Cutting off a large chunk of your hair is a big fuck you to this idea and it feels like you are allowing yourself to be seen. Being visible in new ways and showing different versions of you can be affirming and positive. My friend who shaved her head talked about how it made her “feel ‘seen’ as queer in a way that [she’d] never experienced before, which was really validating since [she’d] spent quite a lot of time feeling quite invisible.” Feeling valid and having control over how you present yourself is powerful.

In the back of my mind a horrible little voice considers that maybe I will be less pretty with short hair. I feel disappointed in myself that beauty ideals still bog me down. Royce Mahawatte writes in Hair that the “history of women’s hairstyles can be read as a history of the perception of femininity.” Beauty standards and ideals are something that I cannot ignore when it comes changing my hair. No matter what my decision is or motivations are, it still feels like I am either rebelling or conforming to some sort of archetype. In the 1920s the bob became popular, and this marked a change for women’s hairstyles, as short hair on women was not considered feminine. There was resistance to the bob, and women were discouraged against it. Emma Tarlo talks of “doctors, hygienists, and priests” arguing that this haircut “was a symbol of paganism” and suggesting that “it stimulated baldness and the excess growth of facial hair.” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short



story “Bernice Bobs Her Hair� tells of a woman who is tricked into cutting her hair and is subsequently snubbed by all the boys. The bob blurred the line dividing femininity and masculinity. It was also a physical step, of women moving into places designed for men, as many women went to barber shops to have their hair cut in this style. Despite the active manipulation and resistance against it, the style won over convention, and it gave women room to experiment more freely with their hair and identity.

Holding the scissors and looking at myself in the mirror. I tentatively trimmed a little bit off my fringe and some pieces of my hair fell into the sink. I consider gathering up the hair I just cut off and keeping it. I know my hair will be around longer than the rest of my body, except for maybe my fingernails. Which makes me feel sentimental towards it as I separate it from my body. My hair also sheds all the time and I am always picking strands off my jersey and throwing them away, so I am not sure why I am being so sentimental. There is a 90-year old woman in London who saves every strand of her hair that she is able to. She has been doing this since early childhood. Emma Tarlo talks of her in her book Entanglement. She is careful to collect strands of her hair as they fall from her head. The idea of holding on to your physical history by holding onto your hair is not specific to this one woman. Tarlo also writes about a minority group in China who cut their hair in the prime of their youth; they keep their hair and bring it out when they are dying. They believe this connects them to the start of their life before they pass away, creating a full circle. Hair can hold considerable emotional weight, as a part of you from a different time. It carries such power that people used to burn their hair after cutting it for fear that it could be used against them to create curses or spells. I found a strand of my ex boyfriend’s hair in my bed a week after we broke up. Red hair on a blue pillow. A physical part of a person who is no longer there, it felt strange to just throw it in the bin. Historically people have kept locks of hair from loved ones as mementos. It is a representation of their connection to that person. Often this hair was made into jewellery. In the Encyclopedia of Hair, Victoria Sherrow explains how Queen Victoria fueled the popularity of this type of jewellery,


Ali Burns


by wearing it for 40 years after her husband passed away. The weight of meaning behind being in possession of somebody else’s hair can be observed it literature, including Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, where a lock of hair was kept as a confirmation of a marriage proposal, and The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope which shows the scandal and shame that can result if a lock of hair is taken without permission. Sherrow also explains that this was common practice during the American civil war; hair was exchanged between soldiers and their sweethearts when they parted, to keep as a reminder of their affection. Cutting your hair can be a tangible way to separate your timeline. Cutting your hair can be a way to let go of a past self, or can be a way to grieve for the loss of somebody else. Hair is rife with meaning and the decision to change your hair can be incredibly intimate and personal. My childhood hairdresser said that when someone comes in to change their hair after a loss or break up she has to ask a lot of questions to make sure it is what they want, rather than just a rebellion that they will regret later.

I consider cutting all my hair off to try and make myself feel better. I have done this in the past and it has felt destructive as well as freeing. But I am so sentimental lately and I don’t feel ready to let go of everything at once. What I do is trim my fringe some more, enough to feel new. I will trim my fringe every couple of weeks and let go of little pieces of hair until my fringe is new and there is no old hair left.

Emmett Sutherland



Stop Telling YourStop Poor Friends Telling to Try Your Minimalism Poor Friends to Minimalism Try Minimalism Written by Caoimhe McKeogh

Stop Telling Your Poor Friends to Try Minimalism

Minimalism Written by Caoimhe McKeogh


Caoimhe McKeogh

Stop Telling Your Poor Friends to Try Minimalism

A month ago, my middle-aged neighbour disappeared, leaving all of his belongings in the house and locking the doors behind him. Yesterday, I watched out the window as the landlord gave up waiting, broke into the flat, and began loading clothes, CDs, furniture, and electronics onto a trailer to take to the dump. All these little pieces of somebody’s life were suddenly transformed into rubbish when they were in a pile outside, instead of their rightful places in the house. When I went to hang up washing in the garden, I got chatting to the landlord — who is also my landlord — and he said I was welcome to have a look at the stuff he hadn’t yet taken to the dump, and I could grab whatever I wanted. spare lens


I wanted everything. rcycle

al exe ex-rent


giant dusty bookca

four broken cameras

The landlord helped me carry home a giant dusty bookcase with a snapped shelf. On my next trip I dragged over an ancient ex-rental exercycle that is stuck on the highest resistance setting. I got a TV that would have once been considered a flat screen and now seems rather chunky, even though I don’t have an aerial and it doesn’t have an HDMI port. I got four broken cameras that look very interesting and old, and a spare lens that doesn’t go with any of them. One day, I might get new books and not have anywhere to keep them, so the empty bookcase will probably come in handy. If I ever fancy a bike ride when it’s raining, I have a fall-back plan. Mostly, though, I have filled up some empty spaces in my house and I feel fulfilled by the presence of the new things. Cue the arrival of a well-meaning fellow student to tell me that my dependence on objects to feel comfortable and happy is a sign that I have become caught up in capitalist, consumerist over-indulgence. She has cut her wardrobe down to twenty items, which are displayed on wire hangers on an expensive metal costume rack in the corner of her white-walled bedroom. She decided that clutter in her flat was the reason she was so stressed all the time, so “simplified” her life down to only the items she actually uses, and now feels much calmer and more positive. She realised that she was clinging to some objects because she wasn’t able to emotionally detach herself from the parts of her history that they represented, so she took a photo of each of those items and then donated them or threw them out. The act of taking the photos helped her to let go of the objects, even though she never actually looks at the photos.

Stop Telling Your Poor Friends to Try Minimalism 36

Now she is living in the present. Of course, I’ve heard about minimalism before. A thousand times. Friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram post photos of their “things to donate” bags and their new, sparse desks and cupboards. People rave online about the life-changing power of books like Goodbye, Things and The Joy of Less and (my favourite title) Minimalism: Live A Meaningful Life. Advocates of minimalism tend to frame it not as an aesthetic decision, but as a moral, political, or spiritual one. They see less reliance on objects as a form of personal enlightenment. There is a weird crossover between the literal and metaphorical when people claim that owning less stuff means “having more space to breathe” or “removing the objects that are obstacles in the way of achieving your real goals.” And of course there’s the rhetoric about living minimally meaning that you are not “a capitalist.” At risk of being facetious, I have to say that it kind of seems like these minimalists are obsessed with stuff. They’re centering their lives around it, even if their goal is having less of it, and they are acting like it has a whole lot of power over them. It’s like the way that people on diets are often thinking about food much more than those who are overeating. My main problem with minimalism, though, is that it is a movement born from privilege. I am pretty privileged myself (here I am at university, I have a flat to live in, I never go hungry), but I spent a lot of my childhood being cared for by my mother while she was on the dole, and I am now juggling two jobs to subsidise my student living cost loan, so money is something I am conscious of and worry about pretty much everyday. I work in disability support and childcare, so I also spend a lot of time in other families’ houses, and in my experience, the less money people have, the more things they have in their house (and garage and attic and basement). I would even go so far as to say that the less money someone has, the more things they tend to carry around with them in their bag on a day-to-day basis. Of course, this is about people who actually have houses and bags to fill — there are people out there with so much less than that, who can’t “declutter” because they don’t have anything to get rid of. It would be pretty offensive to discuss this level of poverty in comparison to the performative “having nothing” of minimalism, so I will leave that for another day. But for those who have a small amount of disposable income, and a place where they can keep things, clutter is a way of reducing risk. It is only safe to decide not to own many things if you have the money to buy things as soon as you need them. Taking a photo of something before you throw it away is absolutely no use to you if you end up unable to replace that thing the next time you need it.



Stop Telling Your Poor Friends to Try Minimalism


Stop Telling Your Poor Friends to Try Minimalism 37

Caoimhe McKeogh

Stop Telling Your Poor Friends to Try Minimalism Features

I have clothes in storage that are too big for me, and others that are too small for me, so that if I ever gain or lose weight at a time when I’m not getting enough hours at work, I can dig something out that fits. I have a drawer full of half used up pens, because one day I might have an exam, but not have a working pen, and be unable to find $2 to grab a new one from Vic Books. I have spare sheets and duvet covers and towels, because in the winter it can take a week for washing to dry in my dark, damp house, and I don’t have a tumble dryer. And so it goes on, until every cupboard and drawer is full. I know what it’s like to have something break or run out or get lost, and be unable to replace it, and I know that while I may not be interested in something right now, I could really want it in the future... so I hold on to everything that might be useful one day. There is also the fact that the aesthetic that goes with modern minimalism is actually very expensive to achieve. All that matte black and white furniture, the kitchen gadgets that do ten things at once (so you can throw nine other things away), the simple black dress that can be “dressed up” or “dressed down” and worn in seven different ways… I can’t afford any of those things. If I had less furniture in my house, less decorative stuff, emptier shelves and benches, and didn’t buy anything new, I’d still be left with a gross blue and mustard carpet with the last tenants’ holes in it, a faded couch from the Salvation Army, and unmatched retro curtains. My life wouldn’t look any sleeker or classier, just a bit more empty — it’s the new stuff you buy to go with the new attitude that makes minimalism look so good. I’m not saying that there aren’t people out there who grew up without much, or don’t have much now, who won’t get a lot out of minimalism. I’m not saying there aren’t people out there who have always had everything they wanted, yet still have an emotional need to be surrounded by superfluous objects. I’m just saying that “I’M A MINIMALIST!” is becoming a bit like those “I’M VEGAN” memes — I’m keen to hear less about why other people think their lifestyle would help me to become a better person. So, minimalists: I’m glad you’ve found something that fulfills you; enjoy your newfound enlightenment and calmness! Just stop and think before you start preaching about your lifestyle to your friends — there are a myriad of reasons why it might not be right for them.


Stop Telling Your Poor Friends to Try Minimalism



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☻☻☻☻☻☻☻☻☻☻ ☻☻☻☻☻☻☻☻☻☻ Written by Gus Mitchell




Gus Mitchell

Next Gen Gentry

In an increasingly secular age, we often look to technology as our salvation. In borrowing that narrative from religion, we treat every new development, from the steam engine to CRISPR, as either the Second Coming or the herald of an apocalypse. Social media is a complicated case of this. While it is restricted by programming and primarily dependent on advertising revenue to keep running, its uses have grown to serve journalism, democracy, media, commerce, and general social discourse. By incorporating so many domains and purposes, one might be mistaken in thinking that social media is the ultimate tool, that if it encompasses all human experience, then perhaps it can better all human experience. The technological saviour complex is common in Silicon Valley, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In February this year, Zuckerberg published a 6000-word essay to Facebook entitled “Building Global Community”. After initially scoffing at the idea that Facebook had contributed to the spread of “fake news,” this was Zuckerberg’s attempt to come to grips, in his own distanced technocratic way, with the fact that his Frankenstein’s monster of echo chambers hadn’t brought about a glittering utopia. Zuckerberg envisions a world where Facebook functions as a “universal city,” a global community where everyone knows everyone. In his essay, he particularly wanted to address how Facebook can “encourage civic participation,” especially as democracy is “receding in many countries.” But the way Zuckerberg sees Facebook and how we see Facebook are two different things, and he fails to acknowledge how much it is defined by its users, the actions or inactions of its moderators, and the interests of corporations. Going back to the Frankenstein metaphor, he may have made the thing but he is not master over it. Social media expands on something that humans do naturally: we build and sustain communities and share ideas with one another. With the advent of the internet, social media was the next logical step in creating a global community, one where every person was in contact with each other at any one time. With the creation of this new global territory came the idea that it would somehow elevate us to a new era of compassion and understanding. That… didn’t really happen. While social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends, curate the content you consume, and gain an understanding of issues and beliefs you wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise, the human brain is still operating on TribeThink: Fertile Crescent Edition and, as a result, our technology has rapidly outpaced our ability to comprehend it’s unexpected effects. As Zuckerberg puts it: “Giving everyone a voice has historically been a very positive force for public discourse because it increases the diversity of ideas shared. But the past year has also shown it may fragment our shared sense of reality.” In trying to make sense of the multitude of voices, issues are often simplified and polarised with people — however complex their humanity — being reduced to either an “us” or a “them”. The way social media is programmed often perpetuates this polarisation.



This is a massive problem when you understand that Facebook operates according to a completely different ethical framework to our present social and judicial understandings of society. An article by Julia Angwin and Hannes Grassegger on Propublica outlined how Facebook’s “secret” censorship policies operate on an incredibly specific algorithm that more often than not protects people that least need to be protected, and censors people who most need a voice. The article outlines how Facebook censors or removes any post that directly attacks what they classify as “protected categories,” which covers all races, religion, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. However, a way around this is to address your attack in a way that only incorporates a “subset” of those groups, and these subsets are not protected. An example from the training document for Facebook’s 4,500 content viewers, their “human censors,” asks which out of three groups is protected from hate speech: women drivers, black children, or white men. The correct answer according to the document is white men, as they are a protected group, whereas the other two fall under the subsets of “children” and “drivers”, instead of the protected groups “women” and “blacks”. A post by a US congressman calling for the death of radicalised Muslims “for all that is good and righteous” will be ignored, as it is directed at a subset (radicals) of a protected group (Muslims). Meanwhile, a post by a Black Lives Matter activist saying “All white people are racist. Start from this reference point, or you’ve already failed” will be removed for attacking a protected category. So while Facebook seeks to treat everyone equally, it doesn’t focus on equity. I asked a former Facebook employee, who chose to remain anonymous, about whether this was the fault of the company for not being more transparent, or whether Facebook users are not using the platform “correctly,” so to speak. “When it comes to social platforms I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to use them,” they said. “It’s the challenge of these mediums; they can’t anticipate exactly how people will use their product and [they] can’t really be curated because users are dictating the pace.” They pointed out that Facebook frequently has to adjust. “Social platforms like Facebook are creating their policies as they go; there are no norms of behavior yet defined nor enshrined for this group.” In his essay, Zuckerberg outlined solutions for addressing these issues. Artificial intelligences would be built to better determine the difference between hate speech and posts that directly address hate speech, alongside an upped censor task force of 7,500. Echo chambers would be combatted by making changes to the News Feed to provide users with the whole perspective on an issue, rather than one aggressively polarised one. While the approach is admirable, actually implementing it isn’t going to solve every problem at once, and one gets the impression that Zuckerberg has clearly set the standards for what Facebook is actually able to achieve too high.


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Gus Mitchell

Next GenFeatures Gentry

The platform exists only to facilitate an experience to its users, and if too many things are changed that interfere with that experience, they might jump ship to another one that better suits them. As my contact from Facebook explained to me, “I think in our digital world people are less concerned with this rules-and-regulations view so much as what they are ‘experiencing’. Generations raised in this environment are very quickly picking and choosing their experiences (and ditching them quick if they get bored or it no longer resonates).” “Facebook… [is] primarily used by older people; teenagers don’t see it as relevant to them and way way way too slow. Going forward, remaining relevant seems more of a challenge than whether or not everyone understands the rules sitting in behind it all.” Some platforms have worked those experiences into their business model. Where Facebook attempts to be about connection and fostering community, Twitter thrives on polarisation. A thread by user @pookleblinky explained that the reason Twitter is slow to act on abuse is because removing Tweets that harass people is antithetical to what Twitter is. When a harassment Tweet goes viral and the post calling it out goes viral in turn, all that does is play into Twitter’s business model of making more Tweets. Then, they can use that newly generated content (created for free by people needing to bring attention to the event) to create spaces for advertisements, and all the followers to those accounts involved in that dispute become a new “audience” they can sell things to. That constant stream of content puts eyeballs on screens and signs more followers up. That’s why they’re never going to ban, say, that one heinous alt-right user, or the perennial national security fiasco that is Donald Trump’s account, because that would be taking away Twitter “space” and, from Twitter’s perspective, that is a Bad Thing. Social media, or any one technology, is not going to “save” the world. That’s asking the wrong question. Salvation implies an end goal, that there is a balm for all our problems or one perfect solution. But if we’re sensitive and clever about it, we can use what we have to do good where we can. Not end all harm, but reduce it. Alternatively, we can convince ourselves that we’re doing a lot while actually doing very little. Humans thrive on their capacity for self-deception, and if there’s one thing that social media curation is good at, it’s creating an experience in which everything conforms to our expectations of how the world works. Which (and I am well aware of the irony of this statement) accusations of Facebook’s complicity in spreading “fake news” only serves to prove. There was a running joke through 2016 that we were living in a cyberpunk future that nobody wanted. Cyberpunk is a genre of science fiction that imagines futures where technological advancement occurs without the accompanying expected gains in social progress, and it examines the conflicts that arise out of that juxtaposition. Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus imagines a world where after several successive disasters, every government becomes privatised, and territory is divided up



between a series of warring feudal corporate families. America is fought over between the agriculture giant Carlyle and the pharmaceutical empire Hock, whose advancements in genetically modified seeds and medicine respectively keep the world fed and healthy, but only by making the workers on their territories completely dependent on them, determined by their usefulness to the company as either “serfs” or “waste”. Imagine Game of Thrones but with Pfizer and Monsanto instead of Lannisters and Freys. When data is a resource that people naturally generate through posts and blogs and Tweets and Snaps, the only lands left to conquer are invisible. And as these invisible lands get larger, the companies that run them are forced, half by choice and half by circumstance, into becoming a gentry to their consumers, and, in a more literal sense, to their employees. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google was buying and assembling 300 prefabricated apartment blocks to house their employees, who can’t find affordable housing due to rising rents around the company base in Mountain View, California. Google already owns around a tenth of the real estate in Silicon Valley, and recently got the go-ahead to expand into a 370,000 square-foot office space after settling a property dispute with LinkedIn. Facebook has similar plans to build what they called a “mixed-use village,” with 1,500 housing units, a pharmacy, a grocery store, and retail outlets, which is set to be completed by 2021. They also have plans to invest in public transport, or eliminate their employee’s need for it by allowing them to live in a corporate-owned apartment within walking distance to the office or the company store. One Tweet put it succinctly: “Google is beta-testing feudalism.” In the dystopian future, the internet serfs you.




When The Past Whispers… Wicked Things

Black Sheep and the Villains of NZ History Interview by Dan Kelly

Black Sheep crept up on me…. Not in a field or a dream — but on my phone, in my ears. No, not the weird splatter film of 2006, but a podcast, on “the shady, controversial and sometimes downright villainous characters of New Zealand history.” From tales of infamous chief Hongi Hiki to that of “bad cop” John Cullen, graverobber Andre Reischek, and the more nebulous (but equally nefarious) idea of eugenics and the influence it had here, Black Sheep presents an entertaining, informative take on some of the juicy morsels of our past, each in concise twenty minute chunks. While available online, the series is produced by RadioNZ, and joins existing history-based shows such as Eyewitness and The 9th Floor — not distinct from the broadcaster’s content, but occurring within and alongside it. I was curious how the show came to be, so sat down to talk with its creator and presenter, journalist and self-professed dinosaur aficionado, William Ray.


Dan Kelly: As far as I can tell (no guarantees here), there doesn’t seem to be much precedent for what you’ve done with Black Sheep, at least within New Zealand. What gave you the idea for the series, and how did it come about? Were there any other podcasts that inspired you?

William Ray: So the story of how it came about is a bit convoluted. When RNZ was first setting up our podcast unit I knew I wanted to do something on NZ history. One of my colleagues recommended looking at Rua Kenana, so I originally was trying to make a pilot based on his story. But the more I got into that, the more I became fascinated with John Cullen’s side. I think there’s just something compelling about hearing the backstory of the “villain” so I decided to shift the focus to that. As far as inspiration goes, I’m a huge fan of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast. His style of picking out weird, twisty side stories is something I’ve definitely tried to copy in Black Sheep. I also took some inspiration from Extra History, which is a popular YouTube-based history show. I actually got some tips from the creator of that series before I started Black Sheep. He had some really interesting


advice which funnily enough comes from his background as a computer game developer. For example, in their series they keep a really strict cap on the number of proper nouns and dates which appear per minute of each episode. Dan: There is a general sense (in my opinion, unjustified) that history is boring, a bit dusty, and generally removed from our day-to-day lives: the feuds of Kings and Queens, warring armies, and the urge to control that drives them. The narratives of power aren’t absent from your stories (John Cullen, the bad cop who illegally raided Rua Kenana, was obsessed with legacy; property speculators Thomas Russell and Frederick Whitaker explicitly used their position of power to obtain cheap land; and so on), but they seem to play out on a human scale, and as such are much more relevant to life today. Is this something you aimed to do? To make history relevant?

William: I guess the answer is both yes and no…. Some episodes, like the one about eugenics, I think are really relevant right now. Partly that’s because eugenic thinking

Prisoners, including Rua Kenana Hepetipa, being led from Maungapohatu. Arthur Ninnis Breckon. 1916. Alexander Turnbull Library


Author Dan Kelly

is still with us and we are starting to develop the technologies like CRISPR and rapid gene sequencing which early eugenicists would have died for (not that I think any of the people working on those technologies right now are eugenicists!). Also, I think that episode was a real wake up call for how well meaning, intelligent people can end up doing reeeeally bad things. I mean the whole time I was working on it I was thinking that if I’d been born in the 1900s, I probably would have been a eugenicist. I’m pretty progressive as far as politics go and I’m really interested in science — and at that point in history pretty much everyone who had those kind of views also believed in eugenics. It can also be fun just to see how forces which drove historical figures are still around. Like how the New Zealand Wars were largely driven by greedy Auckland property speculators (with more than a healthy dose of racism thrown in). That said, I don’t think you can treat history as a morality play, so you have to be careful to what degree you make parallels with the world we live in today. Dan: That’s a good point, and perhaps a slightly sobering one. For all our notions of self-determination, so much of “who we are” comes from the time and place we find ourselves. For example, I often think that, despite my aversion to war, if I was of age at the time of, say, World War I or even II, then I think I would have served. It’s not that I’m into it; I just wouldn’t have known any better. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that I hated Serial [the American whodunit podcast that *spoiler* fails to ever reveal whodunit]. Perhaps it reflects my aversion for “news” and the generally grim account of the world it supplies, day after

When The Past Whispers… WickedFeatures Things

day, but I found it sensationalist, misleading, and largely devoid of content — none of which applies to Black Sheep. However, there is still a macabre angle to the series (grave robbing, racism, murder), and so I was wondering if you could speak to this? What drove you to focus on our villains, and why is it so appealing? Would you ever do a series on… white sheep? No, saintly sheep? Shepherds? This metaphor is going nowhere.

William: [Laughs] I actually quite liked Serial but I’m a total news junkie so maybe that explains it. Everyone has a morbid fascination for why people do bad things, that’s part of why I decided to do the “villains”. I also think that their stories are more interesting because they tend to be less black and white than you originally think. Andreas Reischek, for example. I started his story thinking he was basically a caricature of everything wrong with science in the 1800s, but the more I worked on it the more I came to decide he was really just a creature of his times. I wouldn’t rule out “white sheep” but I think we already do a pretty good job of telling our more heroic stories. I also think that it’s good for New Zealanders to embrace the grimmer side of our history. Dan: Media is a hotly contested, global arena now, and while the internet reduces our isolation, it also illuminates our difference. In particular, Michael King is very strong on the need to tell our own stories: “We've got to be able to trace our own footsteps and listen to our own voices or we’ll cease to be New Zealanders, or being New Zealanders will cease to have any meaning.” Is this something you think about at all?


Is there a growing interest in New Zealand stories?

William: I don’t know that it’s growing… I think we’ve always been interested in New Zealand stories. I mean for many Māori, knowing the stories of their history, both pre and post-colonisation, is just a fundamental thing to their culture. But even with Pākehā, stories about New Zealanders have always been popular. I mean RNZ’s Spectrum programme was telling NZ stories for 44 years until it finally ended in 2016. Maybe you could say that interest is being served better than it used to with a wider variety of styles of storytelling? It’s surprising what people are interested in. For example, before The 9th Floor was released I was pretty sceptical that many people would listen to a series of hour long interviews with former Prime Ministers, but that show was the most downloaded thing on RNZ’s website for several weeks running. I also think it’s interesting how popular New Zealand stories can become overseas. The awesome thing about the internet is that really niche content can reach a huge number of people in a global audience. On Spotify Black Sheep actually got a lot of downloads in the USA which I found pretty surprising. * I explained to William that what I meant was whether there was a growing interest in facing up to the darker parts of our past — whether we were moving beyond narratives of battling white settlers, myths of good race relations, and our “pure” environment, often in denial of what was (and to a certain extent still is) a very gritty process of colonial conquest. Black Sheep seems to do this really well, offering a nuanced take on the various pieces — good, bad, and messy — but William deferred,


suggesting that I see what an actual historian had to say. I took William’s advice, and called Vincent O’Malley, historian and most recently author of The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000. Dan: Do you think New Zealanders are getting better at this, at facing up to the bad side of our history?

Vincent: Yeah I think we are starting to get better at acknowledging that stuff, and really that was the key theme of my book: that New Zealanders need to take ownership of our own history, the bad stuff as well as the good. And it’s not about finger-pointing or making people feel guilty or ashamed, it’s just about being mature enough to say, yup, this happened, it’s bad but it’s part of our history, and we can’t just cherry pick the good stuff. You know — rallying round the flag on ANZAC day and so on. We need to acknowledge that some really bad things happened as well in our history, and what I say in the book is that acknowledging that for Pākehā is crucial to better relationships with Māori in the future, so, you know, it’s a way of healing. A precondition for genuine reconciliation between Māori and Pākehā is accepting and understanding and owning that history. I mean, at the same time, to be realistic about this — my book’s had a really overwhelming kind of response, which has been heartening, but it’s still kind of a small minority of the population, and large numbers of people will be unaware of this history. There is still this kind of wider forgetting, and there’s this phrase I quite like that some historians came up with, it’s called “the art of forgetting”, which kind of implies that there’s kind of... a deliberate aspect to this. It’s not as though things are completely forgotten. People know that it’s there as a background and bad stuff happened, but for many people


Dan Kelly

they don’t want to know, they don’t want to acknowledge it, and so it’s kind of a suppressed history. And so for me, the important thing is that we bring this out, and we acknowledge it and own it.

When The Past Whispers… Wicked Things

represent the villains of New Zealand history, what would you pick and why?

William: Ooooh tricky one… I’ll pick a local native: Taniwhasaurus.

Dan: Your book is obviously quite a formal and serious look at this stuff, whereas by comparison Black Sheep is a little more pop culture-y… I’m not quite sure how to put it, but maybe that’s helping it play a broader role?

Vincent: I think so, and it has quite a sort of humorous aspect to it as well, it’s a bit sort of hard-case if you like, so it’s tapping into this sort of thing. I saw someone say on Twitter that a lot of history podcasts are pompous and very serious, whereas this is a bit more jaunty. *

Dan: By the end of its run, Black Sheep was the highest rated New Zealand podcast. Is there a second season in the works? What can listeners expect?

William: Yes, Season Two is in the works. I’ve already done one interview so far, which is for an episode we’re looking at doing on how NZ authorities handled the 1918 flu epidemic, in Samoa. I’ve also got a really weird story about a guy who managed to con New Zealand’s top spy into thinking there was an underground network of Nazi agents operating in NZ during the second world war. Dan: Sounds great man, looking forward to it! Lastly, let’s talk dinosaurs: you love them; I’m… pretty into them, I thought I loved them, once, but ah, it’s difficult— anyway, if you had to pick one dinosaur to

It’s technically not a dinosaur, it’s a mosasaur, which is sort of like a giant seadwelling monitor lizard. I’m not sure how well it represents the villains of NZ history other than that it comes from New Zealand, it was pretty scary looking, and we know very little about it.






Here in sunset city The streetlamps flicker on In sickly saffron grid-lines, marching Out across the plains, While headlamps pulse Down darkening streets In liquid floods of light. In sunset city, Cicadas clatter like Loose screws In empty lots, where Weeds, persistent as grief, Push between the cracks In memory.

— Niam h Hol lis-L ocke


Aspects of Love — David Garnett David Garnett’s 1955 novel Aspects of Love (adapted as a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1989) is about a group of rich people of various ages sleeping around with each other while travelling through Europe’s postcard locations. This book is not merely a depiction of the shallow lives of rich people, but a warning to all of us if we pursue our desires unrelentingly. It’s a simple read, though you may be searching for something a little longer and fleshed out. This is the downfall of the novel. Garnett employs a technique where in each chapter, years have passed. I finally felt like I understood the characters, but then the book was finished. If the author slowed down a little, stayed in the scenes and explained more detail, the reader could connect with the story easier. The main character Alex is expelled from school and wants to join the army. He falls in love with a rich actress, Rose. Alex’s uncle, Sir George, falls for Rose as well, and drama ensues as the uncle and nephew become rivals for Rose’s affections. I was shocked by how easy it was for them to lie, to cheat on their partner, or fall into violence when they didn’t get their way. Rather than simply being melodramatic, these characters represent how we can compromise our morals and “lose ourselves” when we do not get what we truly want. Sir George at first hides his feelings for Rose out of respect for his nephew, but over time his own passions take over and he disregards any hurt feelings Alex may have. Garnett conveys this beauty and yearning for love among several characters. Whether it was an old man, a young soldier, or an aspiring actress, the characters feelings are real and tangible. It is a short book that took me two days to read, but it spans over 20 years. All the characters really do is sleep together in rich villas, argue about their sex lives, and go to expensive restaurants. We can look down on these uberrich characters, call them snobbish and out of touch with reality. But Garnett is using them for a specific purpose. It is easy to read a book through our own prejudices and say “screw the


rich, I want to read about reality.” This is, however, a device Garnett uses to create a vacuum. These people have all the opportunities in the world to relate to each other without the excuse of long days at work to fall back on. They may seem petty and shallow, but what made me care about them, and not just dismiss their issues, was what they show about the universal human condition. If we examine our own behaviour when it comes to relationships and not getting what we want, we can come across as shallow and obsessing over the trivial. What I liked the most about the characters was their honesty. My favourite moment of the book was the opening chapter when Alex, having watched every night of Rose’s performance on stage, asks if she wants to stay with him at his uncle’s unused villa in France. Alex’s uncertainty and nervousness when he asked her, and his excitement when she says yes, really set up the themes of the novel. Love can make us on top of the world, or can sink us right down to the very bottom. Right now in 2017 we are in an exciting period as we slowly depart the cynical postmodern scepticism of romance and emotional feelings. George Saunder’s Lincoln in the Bardo, longlisted for the Man Booker, celebrates the sentimentality of family love. Local Wellington writer, Pip Adam, also writes back against this cynicism in her new book The New Animals. It is great to be able to witness this exciting movement happen in our own time. Perhaps now we can read old books like Aspects of Love and examine them with respect towards the subject matter. Upon finishing the book you may feel like hosting a fancy dinner party at your flat or falling in love with a stranger at a bus stop. For me, I sat down and listened to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music. Michael Ball singing Love Changes Everything perfectly captures the insanity and all-consuming nature of strong romantic feelings. — Benjamin Clow



The Return — Roberto Bolaño

“A special issue of mini things,” Minicry brings together poetry, headlines, Tweets, and conversations in a tiny riso-printed, hand-stitched collection. Produced by the people who brought together Mimicry and Mimicry 2, the 24 teenytiny pages showcase works from emerging writers, such as Henry Cooke, alongside well-known New Zealand authors and poets the likes of Ashleigh Young and Courtney Sina Meredith. Minicry is far from being just a Mimicry-lite — it does something quite different than its more serious older sibling. Capturing snapshots and fragments, each piece seems to flow seamlessly to the next, despite canvassing a range of artists. Minicry reads like a series of half-heard conversations, intimate snippets of the most interesting, most eloquent voices at the party. Guy Montgomery’s “From Email” encapsulates this: I had my headphones in, google maps open and no music playing: the perfect crime

Illustrations by Kate Depree — a packet of soy sauce, a thimble, a Tangy Apple — punctuate the pages, further drawing the pieces together as a cohesive collection of small, but special, everyday moments. Kate’s doodles, paired with the handwritten nature of the pieces, highlight the intimacy of the collection — at times, the work is raw and self-conscious, more like diary entries than parts of a published collection. Uther Dean’s “Haiku” highlights this: panic architects designing the best places for hidden crying

As individual works, each piece holds its own; but it is when presented together in this pocket-sized publication that they really resonate. Foretelling good things for Mimicry 3, which will be released in September, Minicry highlights the diversity of talent within New Zealand’s writing community. — Brigid Quirke


The Return (2010) is a collection of 13 stories, drawn from two of Chilean author Roberto Bolaño’s earlier published volumes, Llamadas Telefonicas (1997) and Putas Asesinas (2001), and translated by Chris Andrews. Published posthumously, and following the earlier translated collection Last Evenings on Earth (2007), the title is felicitous. Reading the stories, in fact reading all Bolaño’s work, there’s the sense of being in the same night, with familiar shadows playing upon familiar objects. Each story, if topically and formally different, is a return to the same, potentially subterranean, world. In “Meeting With Enrique Lihn” we encounter the author, Bolaño, recounting a dream from 1999 in which he met playwright Enrique Lihn. The meeting takes place in a bar “in a city that could well have been Santiago, bearing in mind that Chile and Santiago once resembled Hell, a resemblance that, in some subterranean layer of the real city and the imaginary city, will forever remain.” The distancing between the real and the imaginary occurs in the stories carefully constructed so as to be told at a remove: the meeting with Enrique Lihn occurs in a dream; the narrative of “William Burns” is told to the narrator by his friend Pancho Monge who heard it from William Burns; “Snow” is recounted by a narrator who heard the tale in a bar in Barcelona five years ago. By failing to connect to the material world, the stories occur in a shadow land of memory, speculation, dream — one that is coherent in Bolaño’s thematic treatment of politics, sex, and violence. What is the point? Each story feels like a walk in the dark, finger-tips out, brushing objects which might help find a lightswitch. Each is a trip down a quaking path. “Invariably harsh. The path that leads into or out of hell.” — TGM




Grandma’s House Two hours deep into a Wikipedia black hole last week, I saw that the long-running music themed quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks had finally come to an end in 2015. Beginning in 1996, it seemed like a show that would just go on forever, a British stalwart as comforting as a good cup of tea. Formerly one of my favourite shows to binge watch on repeat, my interest petered off around 2010 approximately a year after Simon Amstell announced his retirement. During his tenure as host of Buzzcocks, Amstell became a very special comedian to me, whether he was serving up the perfect balance of macabre humour and pop culture banality, or berating D-list pop stars so relentlessly that they walked off the show. After his departure the show struggled to find a new permanent host who could reach Amstell’s high and abrasive standards, and I lost both hope and interest. If you’ve found yourself in a similar predicament, then have no fear because Grandma’s House is here. Grandma’s House is blisteringly awkward in the tradition of Peep Show and Curb Your Enthusiasm, made twenty times more uncomfortable because of how familiar it all is — think of every casual family gathering you were forced to attend growing up before you could fob them off with your more pressing adult responsibilities. With each episode taking place within his grandmother’s house, Amstell plays a not-even-very-exaggerated version of himself trying to find his place in the world. If you’ve seen Amstell on Buzzcocks before, it’s hard to tell if his performance in Grandma’s House even qualifies as “acting”, but instead an elaborate form of personal therapy achieved by recreating scenes from his life in a controlled environment and reacting to them on camera. The first episode begins with Simon announcing his decision to quit Buzzcocks, much to the dismay of his mother, whose only joy is getting to tell people her son is on television, and to the rest of his family, who enjoy using his B-grade celebrity status for freebies. When his mother announces

her engagement to boring douchebag Clive, a hit-and-run driving alcoholic box factory worker, Simon’s desperation to know the meaning of life kicks into overdrive — does anything really matter, or is it just about living in a reasonably sized mortgage-free house with someone you can put up with 60% of the time? The following two seasons of Grandma’s House ultimately exist as the answer to “what should Simon do next?”, but without coming across as cringey as the kid who writes a speech about writing speeches in Year Eight English class. The supporting cast are infallible in their fully-realised roles as Simon’s family, especially Aunt Liz (Samantha Spiro), who can never do (or wear) anything right, and Grandma Lily (Linda Bassett), who specialises in blackmail with a purse-lipped smile. If I was ever going to make a television series it would be just like Grandma’s House; snappy, snarky, depressing, uncomfortable, and all about me (but without the handful of rape jokes; honestly, can we please agree to be edgy without that shit?). It’s a quick watch and in being so properly funny, only twelve episodes seems unfair — I laughed, I cried, I hid behind my t-shirt collar, and I commiserated. Fans of Amstell should also check out Carnage, his recent BBC mockumentary set in the not-too-distant UK 2067, where everyone is vegan and having difficulty coming to terms with their selfish meat-eating pasts as “carnists”. — Katie Meadows



GAMES Titanfall Deserves Better

It was one of the most anticipated games of 2014, a brand new IP from the team that made Call of Duty the juggernaut it is today. It combined fast-paced movement and parkour elements with giant mechs that really pack a punch. Its sequel built on everything the original did well, in addition to having one of the best single player campaigns in recent times. It showed the world that multiplayer shooters could be something more. So why does Titanfall get nowhere near as much love as it deserves? I picked up the original Titanfall when it launched on PC in March 2014, eager to try out what had been hyped up as an innovative next-gen experience that would change the way we thought about multiplayer shooters. I was almost instantly hooked by the speed of on-foot movement as a “pilot” (reminiscent of “arena shooters” like Unreal Tournament), and the adrenaline rush that came with calling down a Titan and rampaging through the map. The Smart Pistol was the game’s most iconic weapon, requiring good positioning and strategy to lock onto enemies for kills; while many argue it was unbalanced, I contend that the amount of time needed to lock onto pilots is much longer than just aiming with a different weapon. Regardless, I had so much fun, even with no single-player mode to speak of, and I begged everyone I knew to try it. Unfortunately, a number of factors conspired to make Titanfall fade into near-obscurity. While developers Respawn Entertainment had high autonomy, the game was published by Electronic Arts at a time when the latter company was especially hated. EA had been named the Worst Company in America as a result of numerous controversies, including the botched launches of SimCity and Battlefield 4, and while Titanfall had few issues at launch, the presence of a season pass for paid DLC maps did not help perceptions. The PC player-base evaporated to the point where the concurrent

player count in the most popular game mode was often below 1000 three months post-launch — a death sentence for multiplayer-focused games. In addition, the game was subject to a console exclusivity deal with Microsoft, which quickly turned out to be a case of backing the wrong horse. These factors would come back to haunt the series once Titanfall 2 was announced. Everything related to this game’s late 2016 launch seemed like a desperate attempt to fix the perceived mistakes made with the original; not only would there be a full single-player campaign and no paid DLC at all, but the game would be on PS4 as well. Unfortunately, EA screwed up the timing and managed to launch the game in-between its own Battlefield 1 and CoD: Infinite Warfare, two of the largest game releases of the year. As a consequence, sales of the sequel were a fraction of the original, dooming the game to low player counts and potential irrelevance. Titanfall doesn’t deserve to become irrelevant. It is a series that has dared to shake things up, and hasn’t been afraid to make things purely about having fun rather than getting involved in a dick-swinging contest with its competitors. It proved that not every game needs to become an e-sport for players to find it compelling. Perhaps most importantly, and in light of its perceived failure, Titanfall proves that no matter how good your game might be, long-term success is not always guaranteed. Besides, it helps that the game is going cheaply at this point. I recommend picking up Titanfall 2 either during a sale or with Origin Access, where it will be available in the Vault. — Cameron Gray




Over the last decade, Dunedin has established a rapidly growing and developing music scene, the most notable act to emerge of course being Six60. The international and local success the band found has created something of a new wave of music in the city, and at the forefront of this new wave is Albion Place. Releasing their first EP back in 2014, the band encapsulates the Dunedin student lifestyle, with a gritty but welcoming sound that resonates with the echoes of a day-long Castle Street party. Their latest single “Easier” follows the release of their self-titled EP earlier in the year, and sees the band adopting a larger sound while still retaining that essential Otago spirit. Ahead of their upcoming four date tour around New Zealand, I interviewed the band’s front man Micah Ray-Davis.

The Dunedin music scene has witnessed such a great revival in the last decade with acts like yourselves, The Shambles, and Soaked Oats. Could you pinpoint at all where you think this new wave has come from? Strange you should say that, my mum was asking me that just last night. Yeah, it’s pretty sick, there’s so much going on. Shame there’s not many places to play, but there is a huge amount of musical output. In terms of tracking it down to a single moment, Six60 were definitely up there, obviously GROMz as well — their album just blew up on a national, even international scale, [and] people sort of realised what you can do. Dunedin has a rep for being pretty humble for the way people go about things, but then seeing someone go from nothing to something in such a short amount of time is crazy. And on top of that, Chick’s Hotel, which used to be a venue out in Port Chalmers, kind of converged into a recording studio recently. So, accessibility to things like that are key. But it’s just great to be part of it. Encapsulating the Otago student lifestyle seems to be one of the core ideas of musicians like you and your contemporaries. When articles come out disparaging this lifestyle, do you think it impacts the scene in anyway? Or do just you carry on regardless? It totally does, it’s not just the articles from Stuff — it’s the university itself. We tried to put on a show at Castle Street recently and it was pretty untimely. It was a year after the Six60 balcony crash. But we took a lot of precautions to make sure it was safe; we had security and made sure the flat itself didn’t have any balconies or anything like that. We got in touch with police and they gave us the thumbs up, we got in touch with Campus Watch and a few other stakeholders and we had the thumbs up from everyone. But then we had a meeting about half an hour before the gig was set to start and the university told us we’d be kicked out if

55 we went ahead. So there’s a lot of pulling and tugging with the student centre authorities. But I don’t think it’s a “screw the system” kind of relationship, it’s more like “how can we celebrate this culture while keeping it safe?” We feel like we’ve definitely been on the exploited end of that on a couple of occasions. I guess it’s just recognising it’s an issue and trying to do what we love to do. Your second self-titled EP came out at the start of the year and you managed to enlist Lyall Moloney [Australian hip-hop producer] to come and help work on the project. It’s a collaboration I wouldn’t normally expect because of the contrast in genres; how did you find the process of working with him? Was your approach quite different in terms of how you made music? It was great. It was real cool because we didn’t use an official studio; we just used someone’s house in Wellington and set up there. He was really experienced and he’s a great dude/character. It was interesting; we kind of used electronic drums and stuff like that which we’re not really used to, but it was interesting to see his approach to that, and we learnt from it and came up with something we’re stoked with. It was something we felt we could build on, which is something we’re doing with this next album. “Easier”, the latest single that has spurred this tour, is quite a notable pivot from your older work; it’s groovy but gives the instrumental a lot more room to move. Did Lyall help inspire this change, or was it just a direction you seemed to come naturally to? Yeah, he had some really interesting points to say about using the “less is more” philosophy, which is something I hadn’t really considered in great depth before. But it was great to reflect on that process and come out with something that I guess is minimal in its instrumentation. We’ve

Music really enjoyed the process of making the song; it goes down a slightly different path, and a lot of the songs we’re writing on this new album are slightly different from that too. Because we just like making different kinds of music, aye? What are the plans for Albion Place going forward from this tour? Any plans or ideas that you’re looking to explore? Yeah, so we’ve got our first album recording session next week. I think we’re going do it over two or three sessions, and do it slightly DIY at home as well. After that, we’ve got a few festivals lined up for the summer, and we’ll do another tour; I’ve started planning an Australian tour so it would be sick to get over there for the first time, do a few shows. It’s very early days in the organisation but it’s coming along. Albion Place’s latest single “Easier” is out now on any sensible streaming service. They are performing at Meow in Wellington on August 11. — Callum Turnbull



Ohney is the solo project of Auckland-based musician Leith Towers. Farewell Lester Square is the second four track album Leith has released this year, following Sweet Aromas which came out in April. Musically, both records are tricky to define, blending elements of electronic music, jazz, folk, and indie rock, all with a very proggy and creative mentality. I asked Leith where this sound was coming from, to which he replied “It wasn’t coming from anything specific, I’d just moved out of a flat that was heavily EDMcentric so my listening’s been all over the show.” According to Leith, the recording of the first album Sweet Aromas was all over the place. “Parts of that album were just voice memos I recorded. Then my computer crashed so I only had the memos I’d dumped in my drive. Then I dumped them into my flatmate’s Logic and played with them until I finished something I thought was pretty interesting. A lot of the drums on Sweet Aromas was done with acoustic drums recorded on phones. It was the ugliest recording method, that whole project.” The latest album Farewell Lester Square came about when Wellington-based artist (and friend of Leith) Matt Pogson (aka Jim Essef ) told Leith he was keen to mix some of his songs.“So I recorded them quickly as I could on my flatmate’s computer while he was at work. They were quite rough, it was all guitar pieces I had, and I fleshed them out into the full songs. Then I Mana bussed down to Wellington and spent a week hanging out with Matt and mixing the songs. A couple of the tracks were written for my old band


and never made the cut like “The Kind of Thing I Usually Lie About”. But I added some synthesizess and stuff, and it was helpful not having other people to worry about (like in a band) so I could play with the time signatures a bit more.” I asked Leith why he has released the two Ohney projects so close together and as four track pieces rather than as a whole album. “They weren’t really planned too stringently. They’re just things I’ve done in a year that’s been a bit of a tricky patch in terms of finding out what kind of music I wanna make. Trying to ease away from indie rock and that kind of thing. I wasn’t really too concerned about having a nice clean release. It’s been a learning experience more than anything else.” In regards to what we can expect next and whether or not we can expect to see Ohney live Leith explains: “It’ll probably stay a recording thing, I’m gonna do one more by the end of the year. The next ones are a lot more acoustic guitar and organ based, bordering on folky kind of tunes. When I’m at that stage of wanting to have my own band again I’ll have it with my own name and stuff on it, but right now I’m happy playing in a few groups.” Look out for Leith playing in bands like Dirty Pixels, Jim Essef, and an upcoming Auckland prog-pop project, but for now check out Ohney’s music at — Olly Clifton

— Hannah Patterson


Dear Sugars is the audio equivalent of snuggling up in your blankets with a cup of tea or taking a warm bath on a rainy day. The point is, it is the ultimate feel good podcast. The series began as an advice column where the anonymous “Sugar” would answer questions on love, relationships, and life in general. The column quickly rose in popularity, and in 2012 Dear Sugars was born. The podcast is hosted by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, the writers behind the original column. It functions like an advice column in that each week Strayed and Almond read letters from listeners and respond with their advice. However, let me assure you that the series is nothing like the cliché and often very unhelpful agony aunt columns typically found in magazines. Strayed and Almond don’t jump to conclusions or pretend to be all-knowing. Rather, they listen to the letters carefully and respond in a way that does justice to the complexity of human emotions and relationships. They also have an uncanny ability to read between the lines and get to the crux of the letter-writer’s dilemma. The greatest thing about Dear Sugars is that it is not afraid to care. The ethos of the series is “radical empathy”, a term I at first scoffed at because, let’s be frank, it sounds kind of dumb. But after binge-listening to several episodes, this notion started to make sense to me. Dear Sugars is a podcast that embraces feeling all the feels, and lets you know that it’s okay to care a lot about things. It assures you that you aren’t selfish for feeling overwhelmed by your fears, problems, or relationships. To put it simply, I love listening to this podcast because it is nice — two nice people trying to help others with their problems. When life is stressful and the world seems to be going haywire, this podcast reminds me that there are good people in the world.

57 57 57 Thursday: Totems / lskse_ NZ tour Wellington w/ Brace + The Scrussian — Don’t go out on student night, save yourself for this instead. At the Pyramid Club from 8.30pm: “Totems ... ambient long-form compositions (akl) // lskse_ ... pushing, pulling, uniting in unexplained noise clutter (akl) // Brace ... biting, grinding pleasure // The Scrussian ... skellies get jelly when they see me on the telly.” Saturday: KAVA CLUB presents The Live Mixtape — KAVA CLUB is a collective that brings together emerging and established Māori and Pasifika artists, and they are facilitating a live mixtape performance, including visuals, waiata, korero kupu, and taonga puoro, at the Flux venue, part of the Wellington Museum, in support of the Wāhine | Ngā Wāhine Māori exhibition. 5.00pm until late. Saturday: UZ — To be honest I have no idea who UZ is but he has a song called “Trapshit V20”, and another one called “Trapshit V22”, and another called “Trapshit V24”, so you probably are going to be in for some trap (hopefully not shit) from 8.00pm at Caroline.

PODCAST Dear Sugars





Why 10 Things I Hate About You is a Secret Feminist Masterpiece Now, I know what you’re thinking. 10 Things I Hate About You, that ’90s movie where the angry feminist gives up her whole identity to win lush-locked young Heath Ledger — how can that be a nuanced exploration of the struggles of modern day female freedom-fighters? Well. Let’s think about Kat Stratford (remember Julia Stiles with slicked-back hair and too much midriff ?). At the beginning of the movie, Kat is, well, a heinous bitch. She bans her best friend from going to prom and apparently kicked a guy in the balls so hard he had to have them surgically retrieved. She disregard her English teacher when he asks why she’s angry that their prescribed texts are all by male authors, but not that they’re all white. Kat’s response to living in a patriarchal society is to reject it. Kat embodies many of the critiques of second wave feminism: while she fiercely stands up for her beliefs, she never acknowledges issues faced by those who aren’t white, middle class, straight women. As much as she is my queen, Kat is a somewhat stereotypical manhating feminist. She’s different at the end of the movie, and yes, she gets the guy — but this doesn’t mean that she changed for the guy. Kat changes because she learns to function within society, a huge part of which is learning to have healthy relationships with other people — not just young Heath, but also her sister, her dad, and her Shakespeareobsessed bestie. Basically, Kat learns to be a third wave feminist. She realises that existing within society often (always) means existing within the patriarchy. Feminism should be intersectional, and acknowledge the complexities it exists in. Kat spends most of

the movie raging against her over-protective father, her personal reminder of the patriarchy. In the end Kat realises that even though her father is a male authoritative figure, he’s a parent and wants what’s best for her. Just because an individual occupies a position that is patriarchal, it doesn’t make them an enemy. Can the movie be feminist if in the end juvenile Heath wins her back by buying her a guitar?! To answer that, you must pay attention to that slightly dull sub-plot about Kat wanting to start a band. And now think with me — there was something significant about music in third wave feminism, right? If you went “wait, was that Riot Grrrl?” then ten points to Gryffindor. ’90s third wave feminism fostered Riot Grrrl culture, a huge part of which was centred around DIY music — the only way to stop the music industry being full of men was for women to make it themselves. Throughout the movie, Kat toys with the idea of starting a band but can’t quite go through with it. Teen Heath buying her a guitar implies that she’ll finally do it, and by accepting, Riot Grrrl culture will complete her journey from a second to a third wave feminist. Not only is baby Ledger encouraging Kat to do what she loves, he is symbolising his support for her feminism. So go on, rewatch 10 Things I Hate About You. Freak out at how much of a child Joseph Gordon Levitt is. Cry internally over the fact that my boy Heath went too soon. But please, don’t say that Kat Stratford gives up her feminism. Because the film is not that shallow. Not even a little bit. Not even at all. — Madeline Bush




Pineapple Soju Nights

Goo Dae Young, the protagonist of the hit K-drama Let’s Eat, describes Korean cuisine as a plain canvas that is waiting to be transformed into a tapestry through the addition of an array of strokes and hues. As the street lights smeared blurry through the restaurant window, I gazed out onto a rain-dripped Dixon Street and I finally understood what Dae Young meant. With our dinner plates now empty and waiting to be cleared, we marveled at the number on our table considering we only ordered for two. The Korean term banchan denotes the side dishes that come as part of any main dish. This is a long practice in Korean cuisine, whether at home or in a restaurant. By no means limited to kimchi, banchan is an assortment that varies in colour, texture, and flavour, and should be read as contributing principally to the harmony of the cuisine. To get our Saturday night under way, we proceeded to order a few bottles of pineapple soju, drinking it with exaggeration out of shot glasses. “She’s at it again,” Ashley says to me. With this as her entry line, Ashley proceeds to narrate the latest hiccup with her on and off girlfriend. It seemed Ashley believed she was on a gallant mission, that there was some art here worth her suffering. She was in love to a high degree, but it was clearly unrequited to an equally high degree. My realist impulse told me she was an absolute sucker, but I fell soft to her conjecture of a romantic dreamscape, one of quiet love, that was serendipitous and true. As such, I failed to give her my true impression — negativity kept in a cage. “Have you ever noticed how there are no knives on Korean dining tables,” I say, attempting to change the subject. Ashley shakes her head. “Everything is always cut up in the kitchen beforehand, bite-sized, easy to pick up and share. Isn’t that so practical and also polite?” I chirp with glee. “Well, that’s because the knives are under the table,” Ashley replies. With excitable karaoke-going groups sliding up and down the staircase behind us, we are five bottles in and began to variate between pineapple and grapefruit soju. I watched giddily as a couple on the next table tucked into the heap of fried chicken before them. Greasy thighs yet crispy skin. The K-Pop beats were certainly holding up and we were a breezy warm. Being new to Korean food, Ashley enthusiastically asks the manager a little about kimchi (the classic fermented cabbage with plenty of purported health benefits) and the fermentation process. After a bit of toing and froing, the manager finally concludes that in order to make good kimchi, it doesn’t really matter how ideal or not your cabbage is initially; more important is the right measure of ingredients and keeping it in the right conditions during its incubation. Startled to hear this, Ashley looks at me. A familiar face yells at us from the staircase, gesturing to come up and join their group for some karaoke. Soju-soaked, we agree, and before long we sing “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by The Shirelles together. Aft-er a little more soju, song, and then some chalky rice drink I now know as makgeolli, I say to Ashley, “I think we should we head to the Ivy.” “Yeah, let’s sojourn,” she says with innocence. — Shariff Burke

Visual Art


The Tomorrow People

In the Adam Art Gallery’s current exhibition The Tomorrow People, Claudia Dunes and Rainer Weston’s work is on unsteady footing. Of other spaces (arch) and (drape) comprise two 32-inch screens: one mounted upright and the other lying down, as though asleep. Both show soft dirt, marred by heavy vehicle tyre tread. These are photographs used for computer-generated imagery, and the data embedded in them seems to effect lighting changes, so that the patterns pulse faintly. This oscillation makes me seasick when I look at it for too long, and I’m still unsure if there is any real motion here. Thick strips of vinyl are draped over both screens, a fraction of the images cropped out of view. I see myself in the vinyl, and in the tyre tracks. I am languid, liquid, reflective, at once there and dissolving away. Slippery — baby, I want to be a speed racer — and yet static, tyre tracks just given up the chase. In of other spaces (arch) and (drape), Dunes and Weston locate our place immediately after something has happened, a truck rolling over a landscape, and before its traces are lost. Thus, their works exist in real time on screen, but also in the moment just before we look. Of other spaces (arch) and (drape) have always already occurred, and we have always just missed them. We are reeling, left behind in the uncertainty of inhabiting a space that wasn’t created for us. The exhibition builds on this feeling a lot; sometimes it teeters on the edge of cultural capitalisation. This is an unexpected discomfort that wriggles its way into small corners of the show. What are the implications of an exhibition that attempts to negotiate the unsureness of existing as a part of this generation, yet still hints at a gatekeeping that allows Māori and Pacific artists to be exhibited only in the context of youth, and for youth to be celebrated only in the context of its vulnerability? Fresh and Fruity don’t buy these tropes. They are both present tense and future, “a sexy new look.” An indigenous online art collective, their existence is primarily digital: a realm beyond fixed time or space, that doesn’t privilege the physicality of the gallery as white cube. I am a Pākehā woman, and Fresh and Fruity don’t need my words either. Their work, Manifesto vol 1: Fresh and Fruity is a sexy new look, is DayGlo pink and hot to touch. It’s the inclusion of artists and collectives like Fresh and Fruity that mean my apprehensions about the intentions of The Tomorrow People are mostly fleeting. It feels like something is being overcome with Hikalu Clarke’s Choke Point, a physical intervention onto the banisters that run down the stairs between levels. There is security in disruption that has been orchestrated for you, architectural anarchy played out against a historical stairwell. The bannisters jut too far, and bow too low, but there’s more support, more to hold onto now. This is crowd control for broken dialogues. The Tomorrow People is suspended in the hypothetical, a juncture between doubts, but this is not posited as the end point. There is space for humour, for anger and healing, and anger again, and transformation. I don’t feel as unsteady anymore. — Jane Wallace


Visual Art

Feeling Blue In the exhibition Feeling Blue, Harriet Bright’s Kayte (2009) is surrounded by famous faces, hanging opposite Jenny Shipley and next to the Queen. Despite being unknown, Kayte manages to attract attention and assert her place among these powerful women. Kayte stares directly out of the canvas with a nonchalant expression, confidently returning the gaze of the viewer and inhibiting us from enjoying the comfort of staring at her undetected. In this painting Bright acknowledges the depictions of female nudes that have dominated much of the history of painting. She presents her subject reclining without clothes on, much like the numerous goddesses and prostitutes who have been painted before her. However, instead of conforming to the sexism of this tradition, Kayte’s body confronts the viewer and challenges objectification. Like her gaze, her body is directed straight out towards us. Rather than posing so as to accentuate the curve of her hips or the pertness of her breasts, she sits so that her breasts hang to either side of her body, and her stomach forms a series of undulations which end in a glimpse of her pubic hair. The wrinkles on her face and short brown hair on the brink of grey reveal her age, rejecting the beauty industry’s infatuation with youth. Instead of being a sign of her sexual availability, Kayte’s frank nakedness and her assertive stare force us to accept her body as exactly that — a natural human body. Kayte’s legs are stretched out towards us, propped up on the footrest of her LaZ-Boy. This large blue chair links Bright’s work to the others in Feeling Blue, an exhibition dedicated to the colour. It also serves to assert Kayte’s power over the way that we view her body. Her arms are spread apart, placed firmly on the arms of the chair, like a monarch seated on her throne. This powerful stance, combined with the gendering of the very name La-Z-Boy, encourages us to view Kayte as a masculine figure. She stares out at us with all the power of the male gaze, subverting the long history of female figures rendered nothing more than sexual objects. Her portrait confidently asserts “I am here”, “I can see you”, and “I decide how you see me”. As this exhibition centres around colour, the portraits feature a variety of styles and subjects. Kayte herself is a Blues musician from the Kapiti Coast, a fitting career for the subject of a blue exhibition. Feeling Blue is currently showing at The New Zealand Portrait Gallery and runs until August 24. Entry is free. — Hester Rowan





Sudoku difficulty: Easy



Make as many words of three letters or more as you can. Each word must contain the letter in the central square.



Target goals: Good: 17 words Great: 19 words Impressive: 22 words


1. Twitter phrase added to an honest photo or opinion (coffee time!) (7,2,6) 9. Canadian city where ‘Scott Pilgrim’ is set (7) 10. It starts around sunset (7) 13. Search engine feature that gave immediate results - until it was discontinued two weeks ago (more coffee!) (6,7) 19. With 21-Across, term for domestically-made beer... and a hint to this puzzle’s theme (4,4) 20. ‘Wonderwall’ band (5) 21. See 19-Across 22. Tool for dealing with bathroom blockages (another coffee!) (6,7) 27. See 30-Down 31. Country whose largest city is Guayaquil (7) 32. It’s hooked to your veins (a good way to get another coffee!) (11,4)

1. Escape an egg (5) 2. Usual serving size of parsley (5) 3. “Whiskey ____ Foxtrot” (“What the hell is that?”) (5) 4. Monster that can be either a ghost or a zombie (5) 5. ‘___ on a Grecian Urn’ (3) 6. It’s added to drinks on the rocks (3) 7. New Zealand bird that can mimic human speech (and, I know from experience, car alarms) (3) 8. Starboard-side (5) 11. Deer meat (7) 12. Worth paying attention to (7) 14. Cover the same timeframe, like badly-scheduled lectures (7) 15. New parts of a plant, say (7) 16. Stand for an artist (5) 17. ___ Gallagher (member of 20-Across) (4) 18. Deceased bird of Mauritius (4) 22. ___-frutti (ice cream flavour) (5) 23. ‘In ___’ (1993 Nirvana album) (5) 24. Larvae (5) 25. Air traffic control system for locating planes (5) 26. Get naked (5) 28. It might be for yoga or wiping your feet (3) 29. Actress Mendes of ‘The Other Guys’ (3) 30. With 27-Across, Shakespeare play with Miranda and Prospero (3,7)



In this quiet town In this quiet, sleeping town where I grew up powerlines rest lazily down the streets, seemingly dormant. Unaware of their power, The trees rustle; languishing. They rest in perfect symmetry on the roadside, in the backyards of mismatched houses; Adorned with rustic fences. The houses were kindling for the embers within. They lived with quiet hearts, alight and for the taking. They waited for the day that they could grow into a flame — The clouds smothered the sleeping town where I grew up. They lay thick over the landscape. Perfect hues of grey; their melancholy seemed harmless, but daylight of day was dimmed by those embers, Fizzling away in their kindling houses. Yes, those restless trees framed empty streets, those powerlines expanded along the edges; unknowingly charged as wardens. This is the town where I grew up. Soundless, sleepy and resigned. — Brooke Soulsby

Volume 80 | Issue 16  
Volume 80 | Issue 16