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Apocalypse Now

Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, December 21st, 2012 - 56 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, disaster, film, sustainability - Tags:

Humans seem to have a paranoid fascination with our own demise.  Aside from the doomsday predictions like that for today, there’s numerous movies.  They show our fears and sometimes the realisation of the most destructive elements embodied by our species: social, environmental, behavioural, political.  Some of them are propaganda for some form of dictatorial political dominance.

Some of the causes come from out of space – though often these are a metaphor for the war within the planet: cold war (alien invasion movies for and against the cold war or McCarthyism), justifications for US imperialism (Independence Day).  Some are the result of human created viruses:  creating rampant rage, zombies, and other monstrous things.  Some are the results of human created machines or computers taking over (Terminator films).   And some are the result of climate change, with the world reaching a tipping point followed by a collapse of the natural world (The Day After Tomorrow).

Climate collapse as the result of climate change is more likely to be a long descent than sudden collapse of the eco-system.  But this is too political progressive for many, and involves preparing now by changing our lifestyles.  Too many apocalyptic moves put the blame on others: beyond individual, political or state control. In contrast, Bill’s post from yesterday gives some more realistic tips on how to adapt to and prepare for the impact of climate change.

One of my favourite apocalyptic movies is Children oi Men. There is a commentary by Zizek on the DVD, explaining the movie as portraying the collapse of capitalism.  In the movie human society collapses because women are no longer able to conceive children.  You need to adjust yourself to Zizek’s odd shlishing style of speech to watch the video where he explains the poltiical meanings in the background of the movie.

Naming today as the end of the world, is based on predictions related to the Mayan calender.   Some say it is going to be the end of the world, others that it is the beginning of a new era.  Apocalypse tourism is enabling tourists are flocking to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.  But in Guatemala, Mayans themselves are not panicking.  Al Jazeera has a video report providing a thumbnail sketch of the survivors of a once highly advanced civilisation: now living nearer to subsistence level, sensitive to their relationship with nature, and planning hopefully for the future.

Some peoples choices of best apocalypse movies: Stuff 25 best; shareranks top 20.

56 comments on “Apocalypse Now”

  1. just saying 1

    Thank you for this Karol (and for your post on poverty over there).
    I enjoyed the clip.
    Someone, a commenter on TS, said that it wasn’t until the great depression had been underway for some time, that most people gave up their denial about what was happening around them was actually happening. I think it is the same way now.

    My favourite tv show right now is the apocalyptic, ‘The Walking Dead’. Probably no coincidence.
    Anyone else watch?

    • karol 1.1

      Thanks, js.

      I have only watched an ep or 2 of Walking Dead. I’m not so great on horror, especially not schlock horror & zombie, though I can appreciate that such movies and are well done & significant. I did like the 28 Days/weeks later movies in spite of the grossness and one or two others.

      Walking Dead is probably better on many levels than Revolution. But, having been disappointed by the first 2 eps of Revolution, I picked up again on watching it when I found myfreeview had continued recording it. It’s gripping action, but politically very dodgy. I like the main premise of a world without electricity as the cause of the apocalypse. And I like that the women are as active and assertive as the male characters.

      Revolution is, however, too much of the glossy pretty people, and it is US imperialist propaganda: the resistance are people wanting the return of US governance, and their symbol is the US flag. Loss of electricity is caused by humans, by not because of resource depletion, and there is the hope that electricity use can be re–instated.

      Revolution is one of my guilty pleasures time-wasters.

      I did enjoy the UK programmeSurvivors, but it didn’t last long.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 1.2

      The comment about the depression being underway for some time was also evident during the dust bowl as well and the holding out because next year will be better.

      If you can get hold of or stream Ken Burns dust bowl documentary well worth a watch. I believe it was shown on arts channel recently if anyone has this.

  2. end o times viper shorts 2

    Walking Dead rules… wish Revolution had not be so crap in terms of apocalyptic vision and viewing

    and like Just Saying I’d like to say cheers for your insightful and thought provoking posts Karol

    • aerobubble 2.1

      Why do they never use bicycles? no need for petrol. And what’s with the roaring motorcycle attracting all the zombies. And have they never worked out a ship/boat is a great place to have a garden. A yacht marina, if deep enough, and the wharf removed/removal, would allow each person to have their own area and not be a threat to the group, each with their own vegies growing on the boat roof. Its just seems so boring, car oriented, any adapting to the new reality is forbidden.
      Even when they do come up with the sound making device, to trap zombies, they use the zombies for arena fighting, when they could just keep setting up these devices and traps for zombies to remove them entirely. Its just the same, fight or flight, with a lot of personal infighting, limited social adaption going on.

  3. Ennui in Requiem Mass for CV 3

    Down here in Purgatory we don’t much care for the concept of a mass influx of souls due to a Mayan prophesy. There is a spelling mistake in the translation, you earthlings have been sold a pup and you are staying aloft.

    As for the paranoid fascination with your demise, it all ends with a whimper and an inaudible death rattle. There is a bard up there in Heaven who put total perspective on it…Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    • Anne 3.1

      Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day….

      Yes, my favourite quote from the bard.

      it wasn’t until the great depression had been underway for some time, that most people gave up their denial about what was happening around them was actually happening. I think it is the same way now.

      Sadly very true. The other day I met an old acquaintance in the hairdressers and the conversation turned to talk-back radio. It turned out she is an avid follower of Leighton Smith on ZB Radio and it wasn’t long before she was passionately decrying the Climate Change believers. I dared to suggest Leighton Smith was a fake and that he quoted ideologically driven pseudo-scientists and he was a dangerous man. Probably not very diplomatic in the circumstances. Anyway the hairdresser prevented blood on the floor by swiftly changing the subject to something more benign.

      This is the third time in 12 months I’ve come across someone who has fallen for Smith’s maniacal crap about Climate Change. He appeals to the middle-class voter who has done reasonably well in life but is neither well informed or overly burdened with grey cells.

      • Napkins 3.1.1

        People always believe convenient lies. Find those who have the courage to accept the inconvenient truths 😉

  4. fisiani 4

    Sadly the world will not end today so David Cunliffe can still conspire to mount a coup in February

    • Craig Glen Eden 4.1

      He may as well he was publically flogged for having a coup at conference which those of us who were present and support him didn’t know anything about. Though I have heard David sheare is actually the one who is bring about this democratic change in labour so maybe it was shearer who mounted a coup against himself.

    • Foreign waka 4.2

      He never had in the first place – this was just a chess move worthy of the roman senate.

    • Dr Terry 4.3

      fisiani – suggest you try to avoid emotive (prejudicial) language. How about “David Cunliffe can still plan to offer a challenge in February”?

      • RedLogix 4.3.1

        @ Dr Terry,

        fisiani is one of our regular trolls. He drops these creepy sycophantic little turds and then runs.

        I’ve considered banning him as a waste of pixels many times. But then most of the regulars here have learnt not to take his obvious bait and for the most part he’s pretty harmless.

  5. ad 5

    Curious this post revels in narrating the end of the world, and on others today it’s all about the end of the world through climate change.

    Too often the Left broadly reaches for crisis as an end-times scenario. Because then only extreme measures will save us.

    Which makes the state necessary both as the instrument of force and to exproporiate the private into the public and common good.

    I don’t believe in the necessity of crisis, to enable the Left to force its way in.

    And we need to be better than catastrophist. because we will only have hope in anything if we know it can be made real.

    To be made real we need a measure of control, even if that is merely leverage.

    I think that is the essence of agency within a Labour politics.

    • aerobubble 5.1

      Capitalism unchecked exploits. Now the argument for capitalism is that the cumulative effects of exploitation produce better outcomes than any other system. This however ignores the negative long term outcomes of capitalism, resource deplete, pollution, decline in quality of ecology, etc, etc.
      Is capitalism unchecked always to take us to the brink of some calamity? Or will the hero naysayers force checks upon capitalism, welfare to stop exploit of citizens, health cover to stop exploitation of disease people desperate for relief, taxation to stop exploitation of the weak by the economically strong. Will every ‘lefty’ have the correct right answer right off the bat? No. No, what we have is
      a pivot point, an inflection, where the denialists are desperate to cling on to their illusional reality and so invent the idea, that left progressives are always wrong, because they always want more stat control, and its always turned out bad. Sorry, but the insufferable left are here for a while, as people wake up the present over reach of crony capitalism.

      Oh, and no I’m not a lefty, I’m fed up with really stupid people who thing the right defends anything at all, rights, liberties, freedoms, economic efficiency. The right wing filled with zombies. Didn’t you get the metaphor of zombie movies, the billionarie grabbing his sacks of cash, getting in his limo as the last refuge of commercialism collapses in a zombie plague around him. Whose the zombie? The rich twit deluded about the nature of money without a soveign backer, or the zombies who destroy everything they despise?

      Take the walking dead, the governor gets two survivors to fight while four zombies try to bite them, in a ludicrous attempt to create the veneer of control over the plague, for the on lookers, while a sword wielding survivor meets up with a man gone mad with the reality of baby born into that hell, his anger at it for not being his, etc, etc.

      Nothing good comes from the Zombie plague, that’s you and your right wing delusions about the left.

      • ad 5.1.1

        It’s getting a bit late in the day for me today as i still have some shopping to do…

        But otherwise i would have a good old fashioned film argument with you.

        To me zombie films are generally only there to be enjoyed. The same attraction as popping pimples as a teenager.

        The only catastrophist film that has really stuck with me over the last year is Melancholia.
        The main lead actually has to rail firstly against a massive patriarchal order; weddings. And she does it in a wholesale trashing of every trope and liminal threshold she can get her hands on. barelay makes it through the vows. Shits on the golf course. Shags the houseboy. Smashes the plates. Stays asleep upstairs rather than do the speeches.

        Anyway without going through the entire list of every order sustaining humankind, she goes through all of them.

        It’s like Julia Kristeva, and Hardt and Negri, and Adorno and Horkheimer, all decided to write a script together.

        I don’t care whether it’s left or Right or anything else.

        If it takes the world apart and forcesyou to look at it afresh, and thrills you in the process wilfully and with skill, they’ve got me.

        And then it’s the end of the world. My kind of movie.

  6. Rogue Trooper 6

    just an idea… :)
    http://www.amazon.com/Living-Word-Resisting-World-Paternoster/dp/1842270532

    Thanks ad, I hope you have a” bon mot” Christmas yourself.

    -John

    • ad 6.1

      You could also turn to the original Apocalypse by Ellul, which sifted through Revelation.

      But for Christmas reading I’m reaching for Vargas-Llosa, salman, and as much magic realism as I can find in Wanaka.

  7. karol 7

    I don’t believe in the necessity of crisis, to enable the Left to force its way in.

    The motivation for this post was seeing the item on Al Jazeera, as in the vid linked to. It’s a topical issue, and led me to ponder on the cultural fascination with End Times. It seems to be something embedded strongly in contemporary culture.

    However, I think such scenarios have different meanings for people at either side of the left-right spectrum. Right-wingers are as fascinated by it as left-wingers.

    On the right such scenarios usually represent the threats to their conservative (especially US imperialist) ideal of their “civilisation” (see Independence Day and various cold war movies). Usually they face the threats and survive, reassuring themselves that all is right in the world.

    Some on the left, like Zizek in the vid in the post, see Children of Men as graphically depicting the collapse of capitalism – a kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy. I guess it serves as a dramatic way to focus our minds on the issues.

    However, I agree, we don’t need End Time scenarios, to realise our political world needs to change direction, and to develop a plan for it.

    • ad 7.1

      Probably I’m just theorising my desires; I want to be bourgeoise-comfortable, so I don’t want scary and messy things I don’t have control of. I’m a bit less Zizek or Ellul, and a bit more Adorno and Habermas.

      • karol 7.1.1

        I think Adorno was right to point out the ways “popular” (ie films etc using new technologies of the early 20th century) culture can reinforce capitalism and divert the attention away from class-based inequalities. However, he also had some old European snobbery about popular culture forms, and saw classic forms as being more able to critique society and the economy, as well as motivating to action.

        I think that some films, TV, non-classical music, etc, can critique the world, and be a motivation to activism. I am a bit more Walter Benjamin than Adorno.

        • ad 7.1.1.1

          I can see that. Adorno’s old European snobbery was something like that of Clive James; he liked it complex and serious and high-minded. And of course part fo a mythical canon that he made up.

          • Populuxe1 7.1.1.1.1

            If Clive James is such a snob, why does he also like Tony Curtis and Screwball Comedies?

            • Ad 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Can’t understand it myself.
              Have you had a look at his Amnesia? It’s got the elegant showiness of good ice skating. Definitely not petty in his summaries of his canon, but so clear that there is one.

              • Populuxe1

                I regard Cultural Amnesia as his masterpiece – but doesn’t everyone have a canon of personal taste? His is probably better than many – he got me reading in a lot of directions I might not previously have taken.

                • Ad

                  Yes, every home should have one. At least where one holidays. Clive – still hanging on – would be proud of his snobbery. A word to roll around the mouth not for braying ‘class’, but certainly for pronouncing ‘discernment’, ‘breadth’, likely for ‘entitled to a canon’, and probably for ‘deference to mastery of form’.

                  • Populuxe1

                    It’s hardly snobbery – he’s certainly not uncritical of the authors he likes. There’s nothing particularly elitist is his background, raised by a solo mother etc, and unlike John Key, he worked on his intellectual wealth over his physical wealth. I don’t have the faintest interest in sport, but only a total wanker would accuse those who do of snobbery.

  8. Rogue Trooper 8

    also, I enjoy cucumber (and cheese ) sandwiches just as much as they do at Downton Abbey;
    sandwich bread $1.48 and cucumbers, 98c ea. at Pak N Save.
    I tell you all what though…there sure are some cold-hearted, self-centred you know whose of what faith, about this Christmas. Ahhh, the paddock is broad yet the gate is narrow.

    -Shrek (where’s Flockie?)

  9. Ennui in Requiem Mass for CV 9

    To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, and then its Christmas, yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Napkins 10

    Look at other screen hits e.g. Hunger Games, Battlestar Galactica. The tattered remnants of humanity trying to conduct society and civilisation after the apocalypse.
    Some people are waiting for collapse to be forced upon them by some external calamity eg. asteroid hit, zombie virus, killer cyborgs etc, so that they do not have to make hard, conscious, pro-active decisions themselves.
    The best advice I’ve read so far on the blogosphere for getting one’s own house in order: Collapse now and avoid the rush!

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 10.1

      With the obsession this government has with women and reproduction I’d be thinking Handmaid’s Tale.

      • Populuxe1 10.1.1

        ???? Please explain that one – cite some examples. Perchance you are confusing the Nats with the American Republicans, who genuinely do have some scary attitudes to women and their bits.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 10.1.1.1

          The changes to sole parent benefits, subsequent children policy, contraception push and the entire subtext around breeding for a business.

          You could achieve more sole parents into work without any of those changes simply by actually helping them find work and helping them through support and encouragement.

          The funding of parenting programs to religious fringe groups.

          None of those changes have a positive approach to women and reproduction.

          Next they’ll be looking to allow men to move all their assets into trusts – oops done that
          or making men pay less towards the cost of raising their children – yep they are thinking about that.

          • Populuxe1 10.1.1.1.1

            All relatively minor except for the revamp of the sole parent benefit – certainly not positive, but mostly not excessively scary stuff. The contraception was only ever optional, hardly enforced steralisation. And the assumption that only men can be deadbeat parents is a sexist one – women and whole families can just as equally take advantage of trust laws – some peopel abuse it, but then some people abuse welfare as well.

  11. Tim 11

    As a recent and intermittent interloper to TS….I figured this was a far less frustrating visit (online) than was listening to the very very very “agreeable” Jim Mora on RNZ. The guy agrees with everything and everyone whilst holding the right wing nice-man prejudice.

    Thanks all so far…..Karol for the post, and all others for the comments.
    You’ve saved me from an afternoon vomit.

    Where did people get the idea that RNZ National were a bunch of bleeding heart lefties? Nine-to-Noon with the delightful Rinni Roin and all her isssssssssyoos, a brief interlude of sanity, then everyman’s best friend, sage, rent-a-comment guests (all of whom Jim can agree with despite their diversity – unless of course they’re Bomber Bradley) on “Afternoons”.
    Thanks again people. It would have been more of a dry wretch than a vomit too.
    Such a nice man aye!
    Does anyone know if there are still some sort of media awards I could nominate Jim for? (Perhaps something like an OBE for services to broadcasting?)

    • Curran's Viper 11.1

      That’s OK, there’s always ‘Christmas with Noelle’ on RNZ .. which for a long long time seemed to me to be a play on ‘Xmas’. Save your eyes, enjoy ..

  12. TheContrarian 12

    “…Some say it is going to be the ned of the world”

    ned? Not the ned!

    Anyways, capitalism is not the problem. We are the problem. Every economic or societal problem we have transcends any system of governance we put in place. It is extremely naive to consider if we ditched capitalism everything would be fine.

    • karol 12.1

      ned? Not the ned!

      Heh! Thanks, TC. Fixed the typo. :)

    • Napkins 12.2

      “It is extremely naive to consider if we ditched capitalism everything would be fine.”

      Of course. What we do is ditch neoliberal forms of capitalism, and return to more localised, co-operative economies.

    • OneTrackViper 12.3

      But it worked for Russia, North Korea and Cuba. People are just desparate to move there.

      • Napkins 12.3.1

        Russia is capitalist. What is your problem with Russia.

        Cuba is socialist. With better employment, housing, education and healthcare stats than the USA. What is your problem with Cuba.

        North Korea. Well, its a great place if you are a rocket scientist, they like rocket scientists.

        • Populuxe1 12.3.1.1

          My problem with Cuba can be readily read on the website of Amnesty International among others. That’s what I fucking think of your Cuba.

          • RedLogix 12.3.1.1.1

            As can a whole bunch of other countries. A quick scan of their news page doesn’t seem to have Cuba as a stand-out country all on it’s own:

            http://www.amnesty.org.nz/category/story-type/international-news

            • Populuxe1 12.3.1.1.1.1

              Here, let me help you with that.

              http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/cuba

              I’m ok with sausagefests about how great the Scandinavian countries are, because for th emost part they generally are. Cuba is still a dictatorship with a disgusting human rights record, so let’s not pretend otherwise.

            • RedLogix 12.3.1.1.1.2

              Snap:

              http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/usa

              Or a whole list of other countries; but none of which is especially relevant to point that Napkins was making.

              Indeed it’s pointed out somewhere in one of the later chapters of The Spirit Level that Cuba is the ONLY country of earth which has a GINI and development indexes which can be considered over the threshold for social stability … and at the same time has a carbon footprint considered below the threshold for environmental stability.

              That’s an interesting fact which can be quite reasonably considered alongside their human rights records. Indeed if we were to pre-qualify any observation about every nation on earth with the criterion you are applying here to Cuba, there would not be much we could say about a lot of other places either.

              • Populuxe1

                So? Who mentioned the USA? I certainly didn’t and few people would hold it up as a benchmark to aspire to. Aw it’s precious how some of the hard left can’t give up the precious sacred cow of Cuba. What is a little freedom of speech, assembly, and the right to elect one’s government when one can have sustainable GINI and development indexes (although what makes these two things exclusive eludes me). It’s also curious that in a book like The Spirit Level that argues that the more equal society is the more sustainable it is, would use Cuba as an example when the only people in Cuba with any real power are the Castros. And the figures throughout The Spirit Level are rubbery at best – so don’t hold your breath.

                • RedLogix

                  What is a little freedom of speech, assembly, and the right to elect one’s government when one can have sustainable GINI and development indexes (although what makes these two things exclusive eludes me).

                  Read what I said…. it’s not what you think I said. Nor have I for an instant defended Cuba’s human rights record; it’s certainly as bad as a whole lot of other countries.

                  It’s also curious that in a book like The Spirit Level that argues that the more equal society is the more sustainable it is,

                  Yes while it’s certainly true that in terms of political power Cuba is a very unequal society. But the case they made were in terms of income inequality and how the correlation was remarkably consistent across numerous countries independently of their political system.

                  And no I’m not overly precious about Cuba. In all the years I’ve been commenting here I think this is the first or maybe second time I’ve ever mentioned it.

      • Foreign waka 12.3.2

        Russia is an oligarchy, similar concept that is practiced in the West. Difference between the two: Experience that really nothing changes – just the players. The West beliefs Hollywood stories.

  13. Colonial Weka 13

    I happened to see a copy of the ODT today, and the front page had a headline with the acronym teotwawki. The article itself was idiotic (they seem to have missed that the world really is ending, just not today). Still, nice to see the acronym pasted into mainstream consciousness.

    The ODT also had an article and picture on the the proposed 18 storey waterfront hotel. I’m not sure how many stories the highest Dunedin building has, but this is much bigger and is in an incredibly obvious place. Eyesore is the word that comes to mind, but it was also hard not to see it as the welcoming beacon for teotwawki tsunami that will eventually charge up the Otago harbour. Would make a nice movie.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/240079/waterfront-hotel-how-big-would-it-be

  14. Viper73 14

    Walking dead and Y the Last man, The Road, Mad Max, Doomsday preppers, World War Z…its all good

  15. RedLogix 15

    Only one contender for me: Dark City

    I still haven’t a clue what it meant, but the cast is a collection of my favourites and the aesthetics unique.

  16. lenore 16

    I found Torchwood interesting whereby when the British Govt was deciding what children (became known as units) they would sacrifice to the aliens, someone said “it’s easy, what are league tables for?” – so got the low socio economic schools. Lots of uses for league tables obviously!

  17. Populuxe1 17

    The assumption that most people are ignorant of some of the subtexts is incredibly patronising and naive. A smattering for critical discourse entered the popular discourse thirty years ago and the last two or three generations of viewers are incredibly savvy to it. The trope that anything populist or entertaining has to be bad is just out and out snobbery, and Zizek is a hypocritical arseclown.

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    Today’s confirmation of job losses at Solid Energy’s Stockton and Spring Creek mines shows the urgent need for new economic opportunities on the West Coast, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our economy can no longer rely on… ...
    2 days ago
  • Ramadi proves Iraq deployment high risk, low benefit
    The fall of Ramadi and the collapse of the Iraqi Army proves Labour was right to be concerned about the deployment of our troops to Iraq, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “The fall of Ramadi brings IS fighters within… ...
    2 days ago
  • English admits new taxes on the cards
    Eight months after pledging “no new taxes” at the election Bill English today admitted he would bring in more sneaky taxes along the lines of the border tax, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Not only did National bring in… ...
    2 days ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping methods. “The Board’s draft 10-year plan document forecasts a cumulative… ...
    2 days ago
  • Teachers turn backs on new professional body
      The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Answers to written… ...
    2 days ago
  • No spade work done on big building plan
      Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This was National’s bold new idea to… ...
    2 days ago
  • National: Seven KiwiSaver cuts in seven years
    National’s campaign of KiwiSaver cuts has reached seven in seven years as it dismantles KiwiSaver block by block, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “KiwiSaver is critical to establishing a savings culture in New Zealand but National has taken a jenga-style… ...
    2 days ago
  • Tolley’s actions contradict reassurances
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.… ...
    2 days ago
  • SkyCity downsize another broken promise
    The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would… ...
    2 days ago
  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    3 days ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    3 days ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    5 days ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    5 days ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    6 days ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    6 days ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    6 days ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    6 days ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    6 days ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    6 days ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    6 days ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    6 days ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    6 days ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    6 days ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    7 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    7 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    1 week ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    1 week ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    1 week ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    1 week ago

  • Ongoing celebrations for Supreme Court ruling
    Recreational fishers are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that changed the fisheries management landscape in New Zealand. In a landmark decision in 2009 the Supreme Court confirmed the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, ...
    6 mins ago
  • Banks investigation “not subject to political interference”
    A report released today by the Independent Police Conduct Authority found that the Police investigation into John Banks’ return of expenses and donations at the conclusion of the 2010 Auckland Super City Mayoral election was thorough and robust and was… ...
    39 mins ago
  • Using racism to win means you’ve already lost
    The Human Rights Commission is urging everyday New Zealanders to stand up to racist sports fans and players. ...
    56 mins ago
  • Jim Butterworth
    Jim Butterworth was the elder statesman of our great union. He served to protect and advance the interests of New Zealand working people over many years of union organising and leadership. Jim led the northern region of the Engineers’ Union… ...
    1 hour ago
  • Closure of Relationships Aotearoa
    The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) Chief Executive Lucy Sandford-Reed is concerned about the closure of a national service which provides a wide range of services to rural and urban communities throughout New Zealand.  ...
    1 hour ago
  • Three Years Since Villaggio Fire
    Jane and Martin Weekes, the parents of the two-year-old triplets, New Zealand citizens, who were killed in the Villaggio mall fire in Doha, Qatar, on 28 May 2012 will be reflecting on the short lives of Lillie, Jackson and Wilsher… ...
    2 hours ago
  • Count human health in your climate calculations
    The government may be asking for public input on New Zealand’s planned action to address climate change in the lead-up to global negotiations this year in Paris, but health is left out of the equation, health groups say. ...
    2 hours ago
  • PSA welcomes Hawke’s Bay DHB’s decision on food services
    The PSA welcomes Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s decision to reject Health Benefits Limited’s proposal to outsource food services to multi-national company Compass Group. ...
    13 hours ago
  • Overseas Trade Indexes (Prices and Volumes)
    We are combining the Overseas Trade Indexes (Prices) and Overseas Trade Indexes (Volumes) into one release as of next week’s 2 June publication. ...
    19 hours ago
  • Core government cap disappointing and disingenuous
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says the Government’s continued focus on capping the size of core government administration is counter to providing New Zealanders with the services they need and depend on. ...
    19 hours ago
  • Saudi ‘Compensation’ Not in Full And Final Settlement
    The Taxpayers’ Union is has uncovered that despite building a $7.5 million ‘Agri-hub’ and paying $4 million to the Al Khalaf Group, no settlement agreement or liability waiver was secured in relation to the apparent claim the Government is using… ...
    20 hours ago
  • SkyCity still holds winning hand
    SkyCity still holds winning hand despite having to pay more for Convention Centre The Problem Gambling Foundation says it is not surprising SkyCity was prepared to put more money into the Convention Centre considering the Casino has been granted ...
    20 hours ago
  • Doctor, I’ve got a 7 year itch
    Young Labour supports the campaign by the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association to have the 7 year lifetime limit on student loans scrapped. “This policy by the National Government makes no sense. It means that medical school students may be… ...
    20 hours ago
  • Vulnerable people will be most affected by closure
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is concerned that vulnerable clients are being left in the lurch in the wake of the abrupt closure of Relationships Aotearoa. ...
    20 hours ago
  • Young Nats call for Govt to back Med Students
    The Young Nats support the New Zealand Medical Students Association’s campaign to exempt medical students from the seven year equivalent full time study cap on borrowing for course costs, and want the cap extended to nine years for this group… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Review of fire services a major opportunity for future
    Wellington, Wednesday 27 May 2015 - Rural and urban volunteer firefighters make up 80 percent of New Zealand’s fire services. Their representative organisation, the United Fire Brigade’s Association (UFBA), says the Minister for Internal Affairs, ...
    23 hours ago
  • Fire Service review rules out fairest option
    Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton says “the Government has made a mockery of genuine consultation by ruling out the fairest, most cost effective and sustainable way of funding the Fire Service” in its release of the Fire Services review… ...
    24 hours ago
  • NZMA supports students’ call on loans
    The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) supports the call by the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA) for the Government to urgently address the impact of time restrictions on the student loans of many medical students currently ...
    24 hours ago
  • No Rights of Access to $11.5 Million Dollar Saudi Farm
    Exclusive: No Rights of Access to $11.5 Million Dollar Saudi Farm WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE The Taxpayers’ Union has uncovered that despite taxpayers forking out $11.5 million to build an ‘Agri-hub' in Saudi Arabia, officials failed ...
    1 day ago
  • Abduction attempt blamed on lax politicians
    Commenting after yesterday's attempted abduction of a five year old boy outside a Hastings school the Sensible Sentencing Trust has lashed out at politicians for “putting our kids at an undue and totally unacceptable risk”. ...
    1 day ago
  • Press Release from SuperGrans Aotearoa
    SuperGrans applaud the government for providing an extra $25 per week for low income families and further supporting Whanau Ora, Children’s Teams and CYF. These are all initiatives that will enhance collaborative effort to support our precious and ...
    1 day ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa welcomes discussion
    The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) advised by phone this afternoon (26 May) that five agencies have been selected to undertake the work Relationships Aotearoa (RA) had been contracted to provide for MSD. “Since 15 May, RA has been working… ...
    1 day ago
  • Human Rights Commission welcomes Rotorua partnership model
    Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy has welcomed news that Rotorua District Council has agreed to a modified version of the Te Arawa Partnership model. ...
    1 day ago
  • Final nail in coffin for Solid Energy workers
    Today’s confirmation of job losses at Solid Energy’s Stockton and Spring Creek mines shows the urgent need for new economic opportunities on the West Coast, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. ...
    2 days ago
  • Comments sought on Takapūneke Reserve
    Comments sought on Takapūneke Reserve Christchurch City Council wants public input into a plan that could help make Banks Peninsula's Takapūneke Reserve a National Reserve. The Council is currently seeking written suggestions to help draft a Reserve ...
    2 days ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    What the Dickens is going on at SDHB? Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping ...
    2 days ago
  • Maori Party Labels One Man, One Vote Supporters as Racist
    The Maori Party’s approach of bullying and intimidation against those who have stood up for one person, one vote, in Rotorua, is a dishonourable act by Members of Parliament that should know better. Democracy Action, a pressure group which champions… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government proses weakening the Health and Safety law
    “The Government’s suggestion that the new workplace health and safety laws will be weakened is very disappointing”, says Hazel Armstrong health and safety lawyer and member of the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel. ...
    2 days ago
  • Giving faces to the faceless
    Powerful films and unforgettable documentaries can highlight human rights in ways speeches and documents never will says Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy. ...
    2 days ago
  • Deaf Aotearoa applaud NZ On Air funding announcement
    Deaf Aotearoa are thrilled with the announcement that NZ On Air will be providing additional funding for captioning on TV One, TV2, TV3 and FOUR. Independent captioning and audio description service Able will receive $400,000 more in the coming year,… ...
    2 days ago
  • Scott Technology lays off Christchurch workers
    Thirteen workers at Scott Technology, which manufactures, services and installs equipment for the appliance industry, were informed last week that they have been made redundant. This announcement, which came as a shock to the workers, comes after ...
    2 days ago
  • Smaller Convention Centre Should Mean Less Pokies
    Family First NZ says that with the downsizing of the SkyCity Convention Centre, the legislative concession for allowing an increased number of pokie machines should be significantly reduced, if not scrapped. “As we said from the outset, this deal ...
    2 days ago
  • Parliament missing in action on RMA reform
    Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said recent indications of ‘no change’ to sections 6 and 7 of the Act means it is now clear that after six years Parliament is incapable of delivering anything more than the lowest common denominator –… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government wants safer workplaces… or does it?
    Government wants safer workplaces… or does it? Today a widow and a mother sit together in the High Court in Wellington fighting for justice for the men that were killed at work in the Pike River Mine disaster of 2010,… ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealanders reckon they’re doing pretty well
    The majority of New Zealanders say they’re highly satisfied with their lives, and slightly more rate their sense of purpose highly, Statistics New Zealand said today. These are the first results from Statistics New Zealand’s survey of nearly 9,000 ...
    2 days ago
  • Rural hospitals’ services vulnerable
    “The Southern District Health Board’s efforts to tighten its financial belt are clearly going to have very serious consequences for rural hospitals,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists ...
    2 days ago
  • Settlement and iwi unity overwhelmingly important to Ngāpuhi
    The settlement of historical Te Tiriti Waitangi grievances and iwi unity are growing in importance to Ngāpuhi, says a Horizon Research survey report released on 24 May. ...
    2 days ago
  • Protecting workers’ lives is not “onerous”
    26 May 2015 Media Release Protecting workers’ lives is not “onerous” The government must not water down changes to health and safety legislation which are vital for New Zealand workers, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union. “The ...
    2 days ago
  • Taxpayers Short-Changed by Skycity Deal
    The Taxpayers’ Union is outraged over the latest details of the SkyCity convention centre released today, specifically that the number of delegates the centre will be able to hold has been reduced for a second time. Taxpayers’ Union Executive ...
    2 days ago
  • Parental Notification Supported by Parents & Teens
    Family First NZ is calling on politicians to reflect the concerns and wishes of parents and also teenagers, and ensure that young pregnant girls in a crisis situation receive the family support they deserve and need. ...
    2 days ago
  • Integrated approach needed for Māori economic development
    Business and asset development, employment opportunities and wealth creation must contribute to Māori well-being, according to iwi at the launch of a Māori economic development research report in Whakatāne. ...
    2 days ago
  • Unions stand together on rejection of poor pay offer
    The Public Service Association (PSA) supports the decision by New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) members to reject the settlement offer made by DHBs in their Multi-Employer collective agreement, announced earlier today. ...
    2 days ago
  • Government forces closure of Relationships Aotearoa
    Negotiations between Relationships Aotearoa (RA) and government agencies failed late yesterday afternoon (25 May 2015) when the negotiation’s lead agency, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), broke good faith provisions. ...
    2 days ago
  • 10-Year Passports Welcome But Cost Still Above Average
    The  Taxpayers’ Union  is delighted with today's announcement from Minister of Internal Affairs, Peter Dunne, that New Zealand passports will have a ten-year validity from the end of the year. ...
    3 days ago
  • Judd and Fox presenting at Māori Governance Hui
    New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd and Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox are the latest to join an exciting line up of speakers and presenters attending this weekend’s Te Tatau Pounamu Maori Governance and Representation Conference in Palmerston North. ...
    3 days ago
  • Sri Lanka bans Glyphosate imports
    The President of Sri Lanka has banned the importation of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) [1] due to the increased incidence of chronic kidney disease associated with the use of these glyphosate formulations. Argentina [2] has also published evidence ...
    3 days ago
  • iPredict New Zealand Weekly Economic & Political Update
    Budget Boosts National And Key, But PM Still Expected to Retire by End of 2017 ...
    3 days ago
  • Nurses say no to District Health Boards’ offer
    Nurses, midwives and health care assistants working in the 20 District Health Boards (DHBs) around the country have voted overwhelmingly not to accept the DHBs’ proposed multi-employer collective agreement. ...
    3 days ago
  • Taxpayers’ Union Urge Car Owners to Avoid ACC Over-Payment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is urging car owners to be careful renewing motor vehicle licences before lower ACC levy rates come into effect on 1 July and is encouraging the public not to follow the New Zealand Transport Agency’s default option… ...
    3 days ago
  • Kenia Serrano to visit Auckland, June 10-12
    Kenia Serrano is president of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), which organises solidarity activities between Cuba and organisations and individuals around the world. She is a member of Cuba’s parliament. ...
    3 days ago

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