Gardening can be cool and scrappy
Resisting the cottagecore impulse and growing things anyway
Kia ora and welcome to The Weekend brought to you by Coffee Supreme. Advance voting starts on Monday, and overseas and telephone dictation voting is already open — it’s all election all the time in my brain, it must be said, which this newsletter certainly reflects. First though, I talked to Gabi Lardies about her new and very cool gardening column: Their House, My Garden. As a lazy gardener who loves talking about gardening but ideally checks my plants about once every three weeks I am a big fan! Keep reading for more about Gabi’s column and lots of other good links from The Spinoff and around the internet. And if you’re just here for the politics, keep up with all our coverage here.
-Shanti Mathias, staff writer
In a new column, Gabi Lardies has the janky guide to gardening. After confronting her landlord, who threatened to raise her rent after she built a garden bed, the second installment covers how to grow things in pots. “I wanted to do a gardening column that wasn’t too wholesome, that makes gardening cool and edgy rather than cringe and cottagecore,” Gabi told me. “This is accessible gardening, for people who are messy and imperfect and cheapskates — you don’t have to have a perfect garden with everything from Bunnings.” Gabi has just planted some vegetables, so expect updates on those in future columns, and in the meantime, find some pots!
A blend of several excellent Brazils, roasted medium-dark to give a sweet, milk chocolate cup, a smooth silky body and a long finish. Grab a bag.
Lots of debates this week: a youth voters debate on Monday, a kaupapa Māori debate on Tuesday, a Newshub leader’s debate on Wednesday and an oceans and environmental policy debate on Thursday that I wanted to watch except the livestream froze :(. And there have been heaps of local electorate candidate debates: it’s a cornucopia of election content. The Spinoff has covered most of the major debates and we’ll continue to do so until the election sets us free. Here’s an excerpt from Tommy de Silva’s recap of the kaupapa Māori debate, where he thought Marama Davidson stood out. “The Greens co-leader looked like the veteran she is, and even though she didn’t speak as much as others, her kōrero was straightforward and highly impactful. During a co-governance [section], it took Davidson one short sentence to explain the policy better than Jackson’s Labour could in over a year of trying. “Co-governance is mahi tahi“, she explained simply.”
Number of the week: 24,717 people on the state housing waitlist
There aren’t enough affordable houses in New Zealand, which leads to bad outcomes for the people who are most vulnerable. This, certainly, was a consensus between the candidates at a Renters United debate I went to earlier this week. State housing, with thousands of people on the waitlist, is especially dire. But which government is responsible for all the housing that has been sold in the last two decades? Max Rashbrooke crunches the numbers, looking at houses sold and built. One standout statistic: to get New Zealand back to having state houses as 5.4% of total housing stock, which it was in the early 90’s, the government would have to build 43,000 homes.
Independent journalism is never more important than in an election year.
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Another week, another set of installments to the Hot Seats series which offer little glimpses into interesting electorates around the country. “With the Beehive at its centre, the symbolic importance of Wellington Central is obvious: it’s the home of the government, the seat of power. It’s an electorate every party would love to claim as a jewel for their crown,” writes Joel MacManus. Here’s why he thinks it’s so interesting: “The decision of the incumbent, Labour’s Grant Robertson, to run list-only blew the race wide open. The Greens see the potential to pull off another urban victory after Chlӧe Swarbrick’s win in Auckland Central, National thinks it can ride a wave of dissatisfaction toward the government to pull off a coup, and Labour is fighting hard to keep onto the seat it has held for 24 years.”
The race for Ōhāriu in Wellington’s suburbs
The Spinoff published a beautiful, thoughtful excerpt from writer Etta Bollinger’s first book this week, about disability, desire and engaging sex workers. Here’s a section of it. “My own misconception about how sexuality could or should be part of my life was compounded by years of being asked, Can you even…? I guess you just lie there, right? Years of people who can see beyond the “how does that work” question still somehow saying, Oh yeah, nah, but casual wouldn’t suit you. It has felt like my job in so many interactions to make other people comfortable with my body, my emotions about my body, and their emotions about my body. In conversations, both with others and in my own head, my potential future lovers are always cast as extraordinary people much more ‘good’ or ‘caring’ than regular people. They would have to be.”
Gabi Lardies told me that writing this feature about the onslaught of armyworms gave her nightmares
Why does Trade Me own a URL from Montenegro? (.me is valuable real estate!)
A seventeen-year-old describes their experience of OCD as far more than the cliches
It’s the tail that directs the fish: why Te Tai Tokerau is such an influential electorate
What does scrolling on phones have to do with scrolls, one of the earliest reading technologies?
Remember Tellydots, one of the weirdest TV promotions in New Zealand?
Very useful introduction to the gnarly debate over “ultra-processed foods” in New Zealand
If Luxon has to call Winston Peters during post-election negotiations, which version will he get on the phone?
Despite international treaties, your gold jewellery may still have been manufactured using poisonous mercury
An intriguing glimpse into TOP leader Raf Manji’s reading habits
Remembering the bizarre Telly Dots advertising campaign
I loved this essay about Leonard Cohen by NZ poet Jordan Hamel
More sport should be streamed via YouTube — and btw, Rabbitholebd Sports is legit
Construction has finally started on Wellington’s Golden Mile refurbish
How a farmer and environmental activist find common ground on freshwater issues
This year’s most emotional TV? A ten-minute interaction between activist Tame Iti and comedian James Mustapic on Celebrity Treasure Island
Cost-of-luxury crisis: the most expensive diamond in New Zealand went to auction and no-one wanted to buy it