web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

All is not well in the VFX industry, Squires

Written By: - Date published: 9:57 am, June 18th, 2013 - 50 comments
Categories: capitalism, film, jobs, john key, overseas investment, same old national, slippery, us politics, workers' rights - Tags: , , , ,

Many in the MSM, NZ film industry and the wider public praise Jackson and Weta for the work it brings to NZ.  Weta, and Weta Digital are the life blood of Sir Peter Jackson’s Hollywood films. From the Lord of the Rings onwards, the visual effects (VFX) have been a major selling point for the films.  Weta Workshops continue with a range of work when not working on Jackson movies.

However, as told by Scott Squires, all is not well for workers in the international VFX industry, who are largely lacking access to union membership due to the conditions of their employment.

Squires (“World industry veteran”- RNZ blurb) and local VFX business owner Sebastian Marino were interviewed by Kathryn Ryan yesterday on RNZ, providing some interesting insights into the industry. Both are originally from the US, and have had to look outside their home country to get work, hence their presence in NZ.  They provide a US-centred perspective on the industry, even while, as for instance in Marino’s case, now living and working in NZ.  This, in itself says something about the state of the industry internationally.

VFX, often confused with Special Effects, are the processes that films are subjected to away from the camera. Special effects are more the fire, smoke and explosions that happen in front of the camera.  So in recent decades VFX are strongly associated with digital technologies.

Ryan seems to have brought Scott into the interview on the basis of a recent survey he did of VFX workers in diverse countries.  Squires reports on the survey is on his blog, showing that all is not well in the industry.  This was a “non-scientific” survey

of visual effects professionals and animators over the course of 2 weeks via twitter, Facebook and this blog

Squires claims that

it’s just a rough gauge of some of the issues for visual effects professionals around the world. Because no one monitors the visual effects industry there is a lack of any real data regarding companies and workers.

The main result of the survey is that, of the 663 who responded, their biggest concern was the lack of compensation for overtime, followed by “Minimizing overtime”, and “Having to move to keep working”.  Poor health insurance coverage and access to vacations are also significant concerns.  The respondents rated their current employers poorly on those issues, as well as on “Pensions”, “Credit placement” and “Deal memo” (“Deal memo is the written employment agreement with your title, rate, dates, etc.”)

Squires adds more background to this, in the Nine-to-Noon interview.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

In introducing the interviews, Ryan provides some statistics of local relevance taken from Squires’ survey: for the Kiwis who responded to the survey, 3% average a 40 hour working week. The rest do about 50-80 hrs in a “normal week”.  More than 40% said they worked more than 100 hrs in busy times: more than in other countries.  In the course of the interview, Ryan refers to input she received by informants from within the industry, who prefer not to be named.

In the interview, Marino responded to a Ryan question about the result of such things as the Hobbit taxpayer subsidies, saying that, everyone in NZ and the NZ industry benefit from the subsidies.  The rest of Marino and Squires responses were about the impact on US VFX workers of such subsidies, and about the current state of the  industry. This contributed to a picture of the US-based Hollywood industry, colonising local non-US industries.  This has resulted in some US-born VFX workers becoming industry “settlers”  in off-shore locations.

VFX workers are in a unique position within the film industry. They are not directly employed by the movie companies but by independent VFX companies, who are granted contracts by the movie studios.  There are only about 6 major corporates making the major Hollywood films, and in recent times, the numbers of trained VFX workers and companies have expanded: all following the carrot of a Hollywood dream.  This makes the competition for VFX contracts pretty intense.  The result is a lot of the less sophisticated “easy” work is contracted to low wage coountries, leaving US-based VFX companies fighting for the remaining “harder” work.

The result of subsidies being offered by non-US governments, mean that the large cohort of US VFX workers need to be prepared to move to countries like NZ for work.  Squires and Marino seem to be oblivious to the impact on the NZ workforce of this influx of skilled US workers.  Their concern was that the US ex-pats need to be able to use their expertise for a wider range of digital work, once they have relocated to NZ with their families.  Marino justified this by saying that the NZ government subsidies are an investment in “getting these very talented people here”: nothing about such subsidies being the basis for training Kiwis to do the work in the future.

Squires said that everyone working on a Hollywood movie has their union/guild, except for those working on VFX.  This is a consequence of not being directly employed by the movie companies.  When Squires started working, on Close Encounters, he was in a union because camera work was involved.  Now people in this work say they don’t need to do that.  US VFX workers don’t have health insurance because, usually it comes from a company. However, when VFX workers are moving from one project and company to another in fragmented way, “where are you going to get your health insurance?”  In past few years, some people have worked for months without any pay.  As a consequence, Squires is asking for a guild that would cover the situation of VFX workers.

Other US-based workers in the industry, echo squires concerns, such as in this online article: ‘VFX in Los Angeles: 100 hour weeks and homeless’; and a post on the Occupy VFX: Visual Effects Artists Before Profits website.

So this is the dubious situation that John Key and Sir Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit Law” and subsidies have contributed to: exploited and increasingly insecure US VFX workers; limited opportunities for Kiwis to become skilled VFX professionals and enter into this increasingly insecure and exploited international workforce; and all in the interests of big profits for the Hollywood studios.

[Update] Scott Squires has responded below to some of the points in this post, providing some extra useful information and comments.  To this point in the post (‘Squires and Marino seem to be oblivious to the impact on the NZ workforce of this influx of skilled US workers.’) Squires’ replied:

I’m not oblivious to it but there is not an ever increasing and steady stream of work. Film projects for vfx work has always been feast or famine. Any place that benefits from subsidies is simply causing work to move from one location to another. These are not creating new jobs in a global sense.  …

See Squires’ comment in full here.

50 comments on “All is not well in the VFX industry, Squires”

  1. Macro 1

    Sounds just like the match box girls of the 1890’s. So when ARE the young going to revolt?
    journals.hil.unb.ca/index.php/LLT/article/download/4675

  2. Winston Smith 2

    I’m interested to see this John Keys fault, here I was thinking hes the leader of a small country in the South Pacific whereas hes ackshully responsible for the goings on in the VFX industry

    Hes quite the mover and shaker

  3. Thanks for the write up.

    For details of the survey and many more posts about various issues in visual effects check my blog:
    Effects Corner Survey http://effectscorner.blogspot.com/2013/05/visual-effects-working-conditions-survey.html

    25 minutes wasn’t enough to cover all the issues or potential solutions.
    And to clarify a few things here:
    It’s not just US workers who have turned into migrant workers. Workers from Canada, UK, Europe and other areas are likewise having to become migrant workers as well.

    ‘Squires and Marino seem to be oblivious to the impact on the NZ workforce of this influx of skilled US workers.’
    I’m not oblivious to it but there is not an ever increasing and steady stream of work. Film projects for vfx work has always been feast or famine. Any place that benefits from subsidies is simply causing work to move from one location to another. These are not creating new jobs in a global sense. There are only so many films made a year and as a result there are only so many workers required. So the problem is each local area that provides subsidies (UK, Vancouver, etc) trains and educates people in visual effects such that there are probably twice as many or more workers than there is work. That means as soon as a subsidy changes or another location gets more subsidies then those jobs will move. They’re temporal jobs simply based on latest film. Now you end up with a number of unemployed people who have been trained at a specific task without a lot of application to other jobs. This is a poor long term strategy for anyone actually looking for a lasting career.
    It’s also a very poor investment for local governments who could have put the money in to more long term and stable investments.

    The other thing that should be pointed out the reality is the sales pitch of film incentives never matches the reality. Plenty of unbiased research shows the problems for the majority of the people in the area providing those subsidies. Sure, the government has favored a select industry and those who are able to get work in that particular industry are doing well but typically at the loss of others in that area. The tax payers money that is spent on film subsidies could have been used for public good. The return on investment for most subsidies of these types is 13-16 cents for every dollar spent. In most cases it would be better to lower taxes for all businesses in the area or to apply those funds to long term industry or public help (bridges, education, health, etc)

    More information here for those interested in the truth of subsidies:
    Visual Effects Subsidies http://effectscorner.blogspot.com/2012/08/visual-effects-tax-incentives.html

    Keep in mind Weta is the top of what they do and there are a lot of talented and skilled people working there from all over the world. Even without subsidies Weta will be going strong. But since we’re involved in a global industry it’s important for everyone to consider the impact and the future.

    • karol 3.1

      Thanks very much for such a full and detailed response, Scott. I will add a link to your comment in my post.

      For us NZ taxpayers it is useful to get as much information as possible about the impact of these subsidies and law changes impact on the local industry and workers.

    • Gosman 3.2

      This seems to ignore NZ rather unique situation in that Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor set up their own special effects company here and bid for work even if it isn’t filmed in the country. This means it is less dependent on any rebates or subsidies that Government might provide to the film industry. I’m not sure there is a similar set up in places like Australia or Canada. Certainly both Weta companies are world class.

      • karol 3.2.1

        Well, I certainly think Weta is the real success story, while Jackson’s movies ride on that, with the help of subsidies. It also has been made possible by the global digital revolution.

        However, Squires main point is that there are no more jobs internationally, just the same amount of jobs spread around the globe, in a very insecure way.

        Weta does get government grants, in 2009

        Special effects wizards Weta Digital have scored $5.8 million in Government funding for a research partnership.

        Science and Technology Minister Wayne Mapp said Weta’s investment would be on a basis of at least two-for-one.

        “It’s about growing new products and processes for export.”

        The joint partnership with TechNZ – the business investment programme of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology – is intended to accelerate the growth of New Zealand’s strong creative digital industry.

        plus the Hobbit law encompassed workers in the gaming and other digital industries.

        Weta also benefits from the work resulting from government subsidies to Hollywood movies filmed in NZ.

        • Gosman 3.2.1.1

          Isn’t that sort of grants that you lefties are big on promoting as the solution to all our problems?

          Regardless Weta digital is not dependent on the film subsidies/rebates for films to be made here.

          • karol 3.2.1.1.1

            Weta and the film industry are joined at the hip. that’s how Weta was able to be developed. It’s to TOTALLY dependent on subsidies and grants, but they enable them to be more more profitable than they would otherwise.

            I’m not against the grants, per se. however, if the are getting government grants, then they should be providing benefits to the whole of the country, not providing higher benefits to the top tiers and coporates at home and abroad,.

            • Gosman 3.2.1.1.1.1

              They are providing benefits to the whole country. I know very few people apart from hard core leftists like you who object to Weta Digital. Even our flake of a Mayor in Wellington is pro-Weta.

          • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.1.2

            Regardless Weta digital is not dependent on the film subsidies/rebates for films to be made here.

            That’s not what that fucking NZ union-busting (but foreign union supporting) rich prick Peter Jackson, or our Prime Minister, said.

            Isn’t that sort of grants that you lefties are big on promoting as the solution to all our problems?

            Grants to business people already worth hundreds of millions of dollars? No my friend, that’s called corporate welfare and it is the form of socialism that you Righties dream of.

            • Gosman 3.2.1.1.2.1

              No, Peter Jackson issue was with the filming being based here. He would still have likely engaged Weta Digital if not Weta Workshop. Weta Digital does lots of work for films that aren’t actually shot in NZ.

  4. infused 4

    50-100 hours a week, yeah, during production. According to my mate, he “creams it”.

  5. Gosman 5

    Shock horror! Highly paid IT contractors work long hours and have to sort out their own holidays.

    Whatever next? Perhaps you will provide some shocking revelation as to the Roman Catholic faith of the Papacy.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1

      Highly paid? According to whom? Or are you just applying Gosman’s Razor*?

      I note that arts graduates make up the majority of VFX workers. I note that arts graduates are the lowest paid professionals.

      *assume whatever you need to validate your opinion.

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        I know several workers in the visual effects industry in Wellington and they are on a good rate. We are talking in the vicinity of 70 – 90 dollars per hour for a 50 hour week. Even at the lower rate and say working only 40 weeks per year is 140000 per annum. Do you think that is too low?

        • karol 5.1.1.1

          Yes, that is the holy grail that many with high levels of expertise are chasing.

          And what of those internationally that work for months without pay? What of the fact that movie corporates are drawing massive profits, while many VFX workers are not fully compensated for the long hours they work? What of the insecurity of the work, where some go for long periods without work? What of the lack of health insurance, pensions etc, – especially for those working in the industry in the US?

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1

            Funny how Gossie always assumes him and the people he cares about is going to be accepted into the club of the 10%*, instead of being fucked over like everyone else.

            *I’m becoming aware that everyone in NZ is in the club of the 10% compared to conditions internationally…

            • felix 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Look CV, as long as someone’s doing well then the system is Working. Just. Fine.

              • Colonial Viper

                I once stood within 50m of Peter Jackson and with his radiant aura felt like a capitalist god myself. It was a religious experience.

          • Gosman 5.1.1.1.2

            It isn’t the holy grail. That is the standard rate most visual effects professionals working in the industry would expect to be getting in NZ.

            BTW if you guys are so big on this get them to join a Union. Before you reply that a Union won’t be able to negotiate their contracts for them surely they do more for workers than negotiate employment conditions.

            • felix 5.1.1.1.2.1

              Has everyone met Gosman, visual effects industry expert?

              • Colonial Viper

                Doesn’t Gossie know that without union collectivisation that rate is going to keep deflating over a short amount of time?

                And that many of the workers in the industry are contractors…and when there are no projects on, they get zip.

                • felix

                  Still, $90 an hour is nothing to be sneezed at.

                  Averaged over 12 months that could be as much as 10 grand a year.

                • Gosman

                  Yes and that is why they get the rate of 70 plus per hour. Even if they only worked 20 weeks per year the least they would earn is 70,000. How many NZer’s earn 70,000 for working only 20 weeks?

                  • felix

                    Apart from the one you just made up?

                  • felix

                    ps Gos they don’t “get” 70 plus per hour.

                    That’s what they charge out at. They’re contractors, remember?

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      This.

                      $70 ph on contract = about $23 ph in the hand = about $46k pa.

                      “Highly paid”? Gosman’s full of shit as usual.

                    • Gosman

                      Ummm… where did you get the $23 per hour figure from?

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Stuff published this in February so apologies if it’s old news: VFX artists’ not-so-special treatment.

                    • Gosman

                      Still no mention of the $23 per hour figure. Where did you get this from?

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Just a rule of thumb Gossie: contractors (who want to stay in business) need to charge about three times what they expect to earn in salary.

                      Only a rule of thumb, but the point is that if you’re contracting, $70 ph charge-out rate is not your take-home pay: the real figure is significantly lower.

                    • Gosman

                      I’m a contractor earning in the vicinity of those figures and what you state is rubbish. Tax and overheads really only take up 30 to 40 % of the amount not two thirds as you suggest. I take it you aren’t an IT contractor then?

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      So, it’s not $70k then, is it?

                      More like $42k.

                      Not exactly “highly paid”.

                    • framu

                      you forgot to budget for investment

                      i was always taught the thirds method – 1/3 for tax, 1/3 for equipment/software, 1/3 for your pocket

                    • Gosman

                      1/3 for equipment/Software? What sort of Contractors do you think these are? All of that is largely provided for by the place they work at.

                      Where did you get $42,000 from One Anonymous Knucklehead?

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      From my knuckle head. It should say $42 ph.

                    • framu

                      sigh – learn to read gosflop – i said it was the method i was taught if your going to be a contractor/freelancer

                      not what every single person working at weta should be doing

              • framu

                “Has everyone met Gosman, visual effects industry expert?”

                hes also a union expert, and lets not forget investment banker – such a busy lad

            • karol 5.1.1.1.2.2

              Did you read my post, Gos? I address why the VFX workers are not unionised and report that Squires is asking for a guild that will cover their circumstances.

              • felix

                Read the post? You think he’s got all day to read posts??

                What with all the visual effects industry work he does every week of the year he barely has time to write comments, let alone read the posts.

              • Gosman

                Well good luck with getting them involved with that.

            • framu 5.1.1.1.2.3

              ” That is the standard rate most visual effects professionals working in the industry would expect to be getting in NZ”

              no its not – your talking complete bollocks again

              yes there are some who would earn that – but some isnt most

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Is New Zealand heading up shit creek? [infographic]
    Embed Is New Zealand Heading up Shit Creek? Water Pollution in New Zealand on Your Site: Copy and Paste the Code Below Is New Zealand Heading up Shit Creek? Water Pollution in New Zealand – An infographic by the team...
    Gareth’s World
  • Reaction to Labour reshuffle
    The commentators have digested Andrew Little's reshuffle overnight, and their verdict is predictably positive. Even if the Herald can't agree on whether the reshuffle was a big deal or not (the editorial says "largely cautious" while John Armstrong says "radical...
    Polity
  • SIS report due out today
    The Gwyn Report into allegations the NZ SIS were used for political purposes to smear Phil Goff, via Cameron Slater, is due for release at 10 am. Radio NZ reports: The report by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn,...
    On the Left
  • Nothing Wrong With John Key’s History.
    Done Deal: The Prime Minister's comments regarding the peaceful settlement of New Zealand have been ridiculed by his detractors, but they were considerably less controversial than the Waitangi Tribunal's assertion that Maori never ceded sovereignty to the British crown. (Image...
    Bowalley Road
  • Hibiscus Coast New Network confirmed
    Back in July and August, Auckland Transport consulted on changes to the bus network on the Hibiscus Coast as part of the region wide new network. The main driver for consulting on the changes now is that AT want to...
    Transport Blog
  • (Not) changing the climate on climate change
    Here’s a foreign policy issue the government wishes would go away: climate change. Most other governments wish it would go away, too. They will nonetheless send emissaries to Lima in Peru for 12 days of talks from next Monday. Lima...
    Colin James
  • Will New Climate Treaty Be a Thriller, or Shaggy Dog Story?
    The following article is reprinted by permission of its author, Stephen Leahy, who writes for the Inter Press Service (IPS) News Agency. To access the article as posted on the IPS website, click here. The as-yet unfinished exhibit area which forms part...
    Skeptical Science
  • Ruins of our present future
    A friend of mine used to own a house in an abandoned village. It was a symbolic kind of ownership: he paid no rates nor taxes, because there were no services and the place had no value. He just had...
    Bat bean beam
  • The Gwyn Report
    This is the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security’s inquiry into how Cameron Slater obtained classified SIS documents that embarrassed then-Labour leader Phil Goff. It gets released tomorrow but some media have been briefed on some of the contents, presumably by Goff. So the...
    DimPost
  • Hard News: Prague
    There are always candles at the memorial to Jan Palach and Jan Zajic, who immolated themselves in protest at the forcible ending of the Prague Spring in 1968, but there were more there than usual last Thursday when I walked to...
    Public Address
  • Carbon News 24/11/14: penny-pinching on climate funding
    Govt slammed for weak climate fund contribution The Government is under fire for the size of its contribution to a global fund to help developing countries to combat climate change. New Zealand last week agreed to donate $3 million to...
    Hot Topic
  • Are New Zealand Economists Going in the Right Direction?
    In a speech to economics teachers  earlier this month, the Secretary of the Treasury, Gabriel Makhlouf, argued for a different approach to economics from the one which dominates the profession in New Zealand....
    Pundit
  • Stuart’s 100 #58: Four Seasons in One Year
    58: Four Seasons in One Year What if we made more of seasonal change in Auckland? Auckland does not, despite what many of us say, have a tropical, or sub-tropical climate, but a temperate maritime one. All the palm trees...
    Transport Blog
  • More rubbish stupid Tories
    Back in 2010, George Osborne made some rather stupid promises:The formal mandate we set is that the structural current deficit should be in balance in the final year of the five-year forecast period, which is 2015-16 in this budget.And:In order...
    Left hand palm
  • Tories admit they are stupid liars
    From the Guardian:Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1, May said: “It is of course unlikely that we are going to reach the tens of thousands by the end of the parliament. Why is that? It is because we...
    Left hand palm
  • Labour the winner on the day…
    After The Nation's Labour leadership debate in Hamilton a few weeks back, I said to some of my colleagues, 'if Little doesn't win this, he should be given the strategy job of making Labour relevant again, that's what he seems...
    Pundit
  • How to get rid of the State Services Commissioner
    Over the wekeend, Andrew Little effectively called for State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to resign over his mishandling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment claim. I'm inclined to agree. But as DPF points out, the SSC can't just be sacked,...
    No Right Turn
  • How British
    How corrupt is the British establishment? This corrupt:The security services are facing questions over the cover-up of a Westminster paedophile ring as it emerged that files relating to official requests for media blackouts in the early 1980s were destroyed. Two...
    No Right Turn
  • Sexism, rape culture and power
    Our discourse around sexual violence is complicated. All too often perpetrators are described as ‘monsters’, so when someone you know tells you the lovely man that you really like sexually abused them it’s hard to believe, because they’re not a...
    frogblog
  • Labour’s front bench: Demographics
    When he became Labour leader last week, Andrew Little promised a front bench that was representative of New Zealanders' background aspirations, and also promised a front bench that represented New Zealand's future aspirations. Here's how he did: The average age...
    Polity
  • Was Auckland’s motorway network built on “strategic misrepresentations...
    Last week, I took an empirical look at construction cost overruns for recent road projects in New Zealand, concluding that NZTA and regional transport agencies systematically underestimated the costs to build roads by an average of 34%. These findings are...
    Transport Blog
  • New Fisk
    Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf...
    No Right Turn
  • New Labour lineup: 8/10
    As readers will have seen, Andrew Little has announced Labour's new lineup. Overall, I think this is a pretty shrewd list, seeking to build a united caucus team after the very close leadership election. It is not exactly what I...
    Polity
  • Labour’s exciting new line up
    New Labour leader, Andrew Little, announced Labour's exciting new line up today. Check it out now!...
    Labour campaign
  • A war on judicial oversight
    In response to a leak, the government has been forced to release its "temporary" anti-terror legislation - and reveal that its a lot less temporary than they said it would be. Rather than a one-year patch-job pending a review, John...
    No Right Turn
  • CTU will not engage in Governments sham consultation process on Terrorist B...
    Today the CTU has sent a letter to Prime Minister John Key articulating serious concerns about both the content and the rushed process the Government has clearly signalled it intends to follow to progress the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill...
    CTU
  • Hard News: Team Little: pretty good
    New Labour leader Andrew Little has announced his first caucus lineup and, with one or two questions, it would seem to be pointing the party in the right direction. A clearout of a few of the usual suspects is offset...
    Public Address
  • Class of 2008
    Labour announced its new lineup today, and the change in leadership has led to a significant change: their top 10 are now absolutely dominated the Labour's class of 2008, while the old guard of Mallard, Goff etc have been shuffled...
    No Right Turn
  • Water fluoridation and dental fluorosis – debunking some myths
    Dental fluorosis is really the only “negative” side effect of community water fluoridation (CWF). It occurs in non-fluoridated as well as fluoridated areas but is often a little more common in the fluoridated areas. However, there is a lot of...
    Open Parachute
  • Water fluoridation and dental fluorosis – debunking some myths
    Dental fluorosis is really the only “negative” side effect of community water fluoridation (CWF). It occurs in non-fluoridated as well as fluoridated areas but is often a little more common in the fluoridated areas. However, there is a lot of...
    Open Parachute
  • Funding system pushing tertiary institutions towards fraud
    Pressure for funding is driving institutions to take illegal shortcuts says TEU national president Lesley Francey. News that the tertiary education minister Steven Joyce is investigating alleged fraud of at least $10 million from public tertiary education is shocking, but...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • GOP gulp
    The Daily Kos in the US is solidly on the liberal left side of the spectrum, so to see them declaring trouble for the Republicans despite their midterm win isn't much of surprise. But the source they are quoting is...
    Polity
  • 2014 New Zealand River Awards
    The second annual New Zealand River Awards will be announced this Thursday evening in Wellington. The Awards recognise the most improved river in each region where there’s robust data, and also identifies the three most improved rivers in the country....
    Gareth’s World
  • Economy, effectiveness and efficiency – yeah Right
    So - Gary Romano who took the fall for the Fonterra botulism scare was head hunted by Shanghai Pengxin -http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11226262the company which bought the Crafar farms (the original purchase of which was financed by loans made to Crafar by Fonterra) and which are...
    Te Whare Whero
  • Christmas singles and the White Saviour Complex
    In light of Sir Bob Geldof’s recent re-recording of ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas?’, controversy around the so-called ‘white saviour complex’ continues to grow. Naturally, I thought I would add my two cents to the debate surrounding the song and...
    On the Left
  • New Bus Priority coming
    Auckland Transport want to roll out 40km of new bus priority measures over the next 3 years to speed up buses, make them more efficient and support the new bus network being rolled out across the region. This is fantastic news as the...
    Transport Blog
  • Gordon Campbell on Rick Ellis as Te Papa’s new CEO
    The recent appointment of former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis to head Te Papa has copped a fair bit of criticism. Much of it has been inspired by the suspicion that Ellis has been hired to pursue the same purely commercial...
    Gordon Campbell
  • 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #47
    SkS Highlights President Obama's climate leadership faces the Keystone XL challenge by John Abraham attracted the highest number of comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Coming in a close second was John Cook's Why we need to...
    Skeptical Science
  • Andrew Little as Labour Leader
    So Andrew Little is the new Labour leader. I don't particularly agree with him axing capital gains but entirely agree Labour should ditch raising the retirement age. Andrew needs to handle the members better. Cunliffe ditched some policies such as...
    Topical
  • Hard News: Music: Watching on Twitter from afar
    TV3's decision to broadcast the Vodafone Music Awards live to air was a great call. Not that I was able to actually watch it, but being able to read tweets both from Vector Arena and the living rooms of home certainly...
    Public Address
  • Sunday music: Talking Heads on cities
    A blast from the past: the Talking Heads’ ode to urbanity, “Cities”. This is from the band’s fantastic concert film Stop Making Sense: The Talking Heads emerged from 1970s New York. The city itself wasn’t doing so well at the...
    Transport Blog
  • Our social betters
    by Michael Roberts In a great new book, Billionaires: reflections on the upper crust (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120092/billionaires-book-review-money-cant-buy-happiness), Darrel M West outlined various social surveys that show the richer a person is, the less likely they are to redistribute some of their wealth...
    Redline
  • More details on the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr path
    Auckland Transport have released more details about the route for the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr shared path that they and the NZTA are going to build over the next few years. The $30 million path will be built between 2015 and 2018 in four...
    Transport Blog
  • Headline of the week
    Original. To quote our very own Lamia, “Maybe the Maori Party should have included a history lesson in their confidence and supply agreement.”...
    On the Left
  • Who or What Was Onboard MH370, That Someone Doesn’t Want Found?
    239 people (including crew) were onboard MH370 when it mysteriously disappeared on March 8th this year.  Not one single piece of confirmed wreckage has ever been found, nor has a definite crash area been identified. I, like I am sure...
    An average kiwi
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #47B
    Acid maps reveal worst of climate change Buffalo mega snowstorm tied to climate change? China will place a limit on coal use in 2020 Climate change investment falls for second year in 2013 Fossil-fueled Republicanism  House Republicans just passed a...
    Skeptical Science
  • For oil companies, our rights are just another obstacle
    Once upon a time fossil fuel exploration took place far away, out of sight and out of mind. But as oil and gas giants become ever more desperate for new reserves they’re prepared to drill in places that were previously...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • The Arctic Sunrise, her journey continues
    Last Saturday, the ecologically pristine area around the Canary Islands was the watery stage of the next chapter in the story of the Arctic Sunrise. Last year, she carried Greenpeace activists across icy waters North of Russia, where they protested...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • New Wynyard Hotel disappointing
    More details were released yesterday surrounding a new luxury hotel – to be known as Park Hyatt Auckland – that is going to be built on the waterfront, on the site that currently houses the Team New Zealand headquarters.   The...
    Transport Blog
  • Guest post: what should Andrew Little learn from Ed Miliband?
    John tweets at @mrduttonpeabody. A Labour leader being elected on the back of an election loss, through a system of weighted bloc votes, is familiar to anyone who follows UK politics. The 2010 UK Labour leadership election saw Ed Miliband...
    On the Left
  • South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings
    New decile rankings have South Auckland schools at scores that show they are much more disadvantaged than the national average, says Labour’s Associate Auckland  Issues spokesperson Louisa Wall.  “As a measurement of disadvantage it is alarming that the average score...
    Labour
  • Sexism, rape culture and power
    Our discourse around sexual violence is complicated. All too often perpetrators are described as ‘monsters’, so when someone you know tells you the lovely man that you really like sexually abused them it’s hard to believe, because they’re not a...
    Greens
  • Time for an economy that works for all New Zealanders
    New Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says the challenge for the National Government is to support an economy that delivers good, sustainable jobs paying decent wages. “It’s time the economy delivered for all New Zealanders, not just the fortunate few....
    Labour
  • New faces, wise heads in bold Labour line up
    Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience....
    Labour
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revelled by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased is the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2014. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog
  • The writing’s on the wall in aged care
    The writing’s on the wall in aged care, so let’s get on with it....
    Scoop politics
  • Report on release of NZSIS information to Cameron Slater
    The inquiry found the NZSIS released incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information in response to Mr Slater’s request, and provided some of the same incorrect information to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office....
    Scoop politics
  • New Zealand a world leader in animal welfare
    The Animal Protection Index , which ranks 50countries across the world on their animal welfare standards, places New Zealand (along with the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland)in first place....
    Scoop politics
  • Corrections Review of Phillip Smith’s Illegal Departure
    Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith has made public a summary of the findings of the review into the illegal departure from New Zealand of prisoner Phillip Smith during a temporary release....
    Scoop politics
  • Proposal Would Ensure Mental Health Transparency: SST
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is once again calling for reform of the insanity defence following revelations over the weekend that mass murderer Stephen Anderson is tutoring at a Wellington art school. Anderson was acquitted of six murders in 1997 by...
    Scoop politics
  • The Warehouse Group praised for removing Grand Theft Auto V
    The decision by New Zealand’s largest retailer The Warehouse Group (TW Group), to withdraw stocks of the latest version of Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) and other R18 games, has been praised by advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation....
    Scoop politics
  • The Warehouse & Noel Leeming Praised for Principled Stand
    Family First NZ is congratulating The Warehouse and Noel Leeming for reinforcing their ‘family-friendly values’ by removing R18 games and DVD’s from its shelves, and is calling on other retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Dick Smith...
    Scoop politics
  • PM’s Post-Cab on Iain Rennie, China and the Smith Inquiry
    In a press conference held today in Wellington, Prime Minister John Key answered questions regarding Iain Rennie’s potential resignation, the independent inquiry into the Smith/Traynor escape, and recent trade deals with China....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety Week 2014 focused on a safe summer
    ACC’s annual Safety Week kicks off today. With summer just around the corner, Safety Week this year is focusing on keeping safe when playing sport, enjoying recreational activities or drinking alcohol....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety focus during motorcycle month
    As the Central District Police annual Month of Motorcycles campaign cruises into its second week, the results so far have been positive with many motorcyclists playing their part to keep our roads safe....
    Scoop politics
  • Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST
    Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST The Sensible Sentencing Trust is slamming a decision which may acquit a Whakatane offender of serious dangerous driving charges....
    Scoop politics
  • Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons
    Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons to show violence towards women is never OK...
    Scoop politics
  • Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media
    Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media to say “no” to domestic violence Everyone has the right to feel safe at home. Many do not. One in three partnered New Zealand women report having experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner...
    Scoop politics
  • Smoke Alarms in Rental properties
    TPA says recent calls for mandatory smoke alarm installations in rental properties is an opportunity for all parties to come together to improve the safety and quality of rental housing....
    Scoop politics
  • CTU will not engage in Governments sham consultation process
    Today the CTU has sent a letter to Prime Minister John Key articulating serious concerns about both the content and the rushed process the Government has clearly signalled it intends to follow to progress the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation...
    Scoop politics
  • Job vacancies steady in October
    The number of skilled job vacancies advertised online remained steady in October across most industry groups and occupations, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Jobs Online report....
    Scoop politics
  • 600 Slaves And Counting on New Zealand Soil
    The 2014 Global Slavery Index has just been released, and buried within its pages is New Zealand’s growing issue of human exploitation and slavery. When taken in conjunction with the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2014,...
    Scoop politics
  • Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and NZ
    Media Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand: Police Commissioners take a stand against violence against women and children...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ Police Commissioner makes a stand against Family Violence
    New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has joined with his Australian Police Commissioner colleagues at Parliament House in Canberra this morning to take a stand on violence against women and children....
    Scoop politics
  • Amnesty International campaigns for end to domestic violence
    Amnesty International will be making a donation of over $500 to Aviva (formerly known as Women’s Refuge Christchurch) at the conclusion of Tuesday’s inner city march against domestic violence....
    Scoop politics
  • Waka Hourua celebrates what’s working in suicide prevention
    On 19 and 20 November, Māori and Pasifika national suicide prevention programme Waka Hourua held its first national hui-fono in Auckland. The theme was Whakarauika Mai: Bringing Communities Together to Prevent Suicide in Aotearoa. ...
    Scoop politics
  • Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower
    Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower SKYCITY’s Sky Tower in Auckland will be lit up in white on Monday evening Nov 25th at 10pm, on the eve of White Ribbon Day. The anti-domestic violence network SAFTINET (Safer Auckland Families...
    Scoop politics
  • State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little
    State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little The new Labour leader Andrew Little has called for the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to be stood down after his handling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment case. "The idea...
    Scoop politics
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
    Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre Headlines: Laila Harre to quit as Internet Party leader by Christmas when the party has completed its review, but would love to return to parliament Says party considering options for its future including winding...
    Scoop politics
  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
    Scoop politics
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere