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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

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    1 day ago
  • A BIG win for the Arctic!
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    1 day ago
  • Inner East cycle consultation
    Auckland Transport recently consulted on cycle networks for the inner western suburbs of the isthmus. Now they’re doing the same thing but for the inner eastern suburbs. Aucklanders have an opportunity to shape the cycle network in the inner-east… ...
    1 day ago
  • Minister undermines State Sector Act
    25 May 2016 The education minister is undermining the principles of integrity and honesty in teacher appointments by interfering with a legal decision designed to avoid cronyism.Today Hekia Parata introduced a supplementary order paper (SOP) to the Education Legislation Bill attempting… ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    1 day ago
  • Paula Bennett’s housing deja vu
    After a week of bad media coverage about homelessness in Auckland, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett was today forced to act, announcing that she would pay homeless Aucklanders $5,000 to move to the regions (where they'd conveniently be out of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    frogblogBy Mojo Mathers
    1 day ago
  • Fluoridation: One small step sideways?
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    1 day ago
  • Finding a sense of porpoise
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    1 day ago
  • Member’s Day
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    frogblogBy Metiria Turei
    1 day ago
  • Forcing transparency on Ministerial transport
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Wicklow 2 win unconditional bail
    From éirígí: Great result today as éirígí’s Sean Doyle and Citizens Against Privatisation stalwart Eamonn McGrath were released from Cloverhill prison on unconditional bail. The unexpected outcome came virtue of a “technicality” in committal warrants as papers that were due… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • We shouldn’t just forgive, but pay back odious debt
    Over 9,000 people have signed Action Station's petition calling on the government to forgive odious emergency housing debt. The government's response? Nope:Wiping the debt of people who have been staying in motels for emergency accommodation would not be fair to… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Opening up NLTF to all modes
    The Green Party released a new freight policy yesterday. They’re looking at ways to invest to increase safety and reduce carbon emissions: The Safer, Cleaner Freight policy sets a target for moving half of freight on rail… ...
    2 days ago
  • The American Black Movement in the Sixties: Victories and Lost Opportunities
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    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Three Dreams
    I have three dreams. One is characteristic, one is recurring and one is singular.The characteristic one is simple in concept: it's me and my friends going places and doing things. In the last one I can recall, there was a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Did you know this about tigers?
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    2 days ago
  • How well do you know the Polar Bear?
    Since the very beginning of Greenpeace, our movement has been fighting to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable animals. And over the years, we’ve learnt some truly incredible things about the magnificent creatures we share this planet with. So… ...
    2 days ago
  • How well do you know the orangutan?
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    2 days ago
  • Income inequality is one of the defining issues of our time
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    Closing the GapBy Ben Smith
    2 days ago
  • Dying For Latvia?
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    2 days ago
  • How much do you really know about turtles?
    I’m Willie and I’m an oceans campaigner here at Greenpeace.Over the years I’ve had the privilege of watching turtles from the bow of Greenpeace ships, and many of my colleagues have encountered these peaceful ocean wanderers far out at sea… ...
    2 days ago
  • How much do you know about whales?
    I’m Willie and I’m an oceans campaigner here at Greenpeace.Over the years I’ve had the privilege of seeing lots of whales, both from the deck of Greenpeace ships, and also on whale-watching trips. I’ve been lucky enough to see massive… ...
    2 days ago
  • Are noisy oceans to blame for beached whales?
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    2 days ago
  • Sylvia Park growth plans
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    Transport BlogBy John Polkinghorne
    2 days ago
  • PrintNZ Forum Speakers Enlighten Delegates
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    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago
  • Nick Smith: There is NO crisis
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    My ThinksBy boonman
    2 days ago
  • Tracking the 2°C Limit – April 2016
    April is starting to come down off the shockingly high anomalies of the first couple of months of this year. GISS is clocking in a still strong warm anomaly of 1.11°C. This is by far the hottest April in the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Fanshawe St Bus Stop improvements
    Occasionally it is small projects that can have a lot of impact on people’s PT experience. With the ever growing number of people working near Victoria Park, an upgrade to the bus stops on Fanshawe St along with improvements to the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Fanshawe St Bus Stop improvements
    Occasionally it is small projects that can have a lot of impact on people’s PT experience. With the ever growing number of people working near Victoria Park, an upgrade to the bus stops on Fanshawe St along with improvements to the… ...
    2 days ago
  • An abuse of the Speaker’s chair
    Last week NewsHub revealed leaked MPI reports which showed that MPI had been turning a blind eye to widespread criminal behaviour in the fishing industry. Today was the first day of Parliament since those revelations, and given their seriousness, it… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • An abuse of the Speaker’s chair
    Last week NewsHub revealed leaked MPI reports which showed that MPI had been turning a blind eye to widespread criminal behaviour in the fishing industry. Today was the first day of Parliament since those revelations, and given their seriousness, it… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Punakaiki Fund invests in Populate
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    Lance WiggsBy Lance Wiggs
    2 days ago

  • How the budget fails new New Zealanders
    Greens co-leader James Shaw was absolutely correct to say the 2016 budget is just papering over the cracks. There’s nothing in this budget to increase wages, address inequal pay for carers or deal with the shocking pay rates and employment… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 hours ago
  • Parents will pay more as school budgets frozen
    Parents will pay more for their kids’ education as a result of this year’s Budget after the Government froze operational funding for schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This means schools are effectively going backwards. They will need to… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Sticking Plaster Budget fails the test
    Bill English’s penultimate Budget fails to tackle the structural challenges facing the economy – a housing crisis, rising unemployment, underfunded health and creaking infrastructure, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This Budget applies a sticking plaster to a compound fracture.… ...
    9 hours ago
  • John Key fails middle New Zealand with no fix for housing crisis, more underfunding of health
    Middle New Zealand has again missed out in this year’s Budget with not a single fix for the housing crisis, and health and education woefully underfunded again, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This Budget is just a patchwork… ...
    9 hours ago
  • Labour Bill would back Kiwi jobs
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    11 hours ago
  • Julie Anne Genter: My Budget 2016 wish is fairness
    When my parents first visited me in Auckland ten years ago, they remarked on how there were no homeless people on the streets. Coming from Los Angeles, they were used to seeing the impacts of horrendous inequality and a lack… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    12 hours ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    13 hours ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    13 hours ago
  • Minister won’t fess up on wrong figures
    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 day ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    1 day ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    1 day ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 day ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    1 day ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    1 day ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    2 days ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    2 days ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 days ago
  • A great Budget would
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    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 days ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    3 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 days ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    4 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    4 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    4 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    5 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    6 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    6 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    7 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    7 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
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    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    1 week ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    1 week ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
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    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    1 week ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago

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