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Nats back Jackson over Kiwi workers

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 am, September 30th, 2010 - 111 comments
Categories: Unions, workers' rights - Tags: ,

The Dom Post reports that the government is backing Jackson’s claim independent contractors can’t negotiate as a group.

Apparently it would be price fixing because these workers are not considered workers but are considered to be a whole lot separate businesses. Which is exactly the situation big employers in the film industry have engineered over time.

This is a classic example of asking a narrow question to get the answer you want.

A more interesting question to ask crown law would be whether there is any impediment to producers employing these film workers as fixed term employees and, if there isn’t, what rights they would have to collective bargaining if they were employed this way. But I don’t think that National would like the answer they got to that question.

If anything this situation highlights the huge loophole in New Zealand law that allows large employers to circumvent employment law, and the protections it offers workers, by refusing to offer work to anybody unless they accept it as an independent contractor.

This comes with the added benefit of transferring a whole lot of the business risk (such as insurance, weather delays and health and safety) from the company to the worker.

Just last year Telecom did exactly this to nearly a thousand lines workers in Northland and Auckland by swapping regional contracts from firms that employed them to a firm that refused to allow them to work unless they did so as independent contractors; a move that triggered massive strike action but that ultimately resulted in hundreds of Auckland workers ending up stripped of protections such as minimum wage, health and safety protections and the right to collective bargaining.

Clearly this is a loophole that a government that cared about the basic rights of Kiwi workers would be looking to close (and it’s shameful the last government didn’t) but it seems that, once again, National is more interested in looking after overseas businesses than it is in stopping the exploitation of Kiwi workers.

111 comments on “Nats back Jackson over Kiwi workers”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    Expected opinion from the Natz Finlayson. The film industry has always been divide and rule with producers preying on underemployed actors and techies, some of whom unfortunately seem to have acquired a fawning attitude to their cruel masters. Others are just scared “you’ll never work in this town again” anecdotes abound in media circles. NZ Equity has soldiered on bravely largely with volunteer staff and it was heartening to see the well attended meeting a day ago.

    Lets hope some international solidarity with SAG and other offshore unions pulls Sir Jackson back into line.

    The Chorus workers Irish Bill mentions above in reality are ‘dependent’ contractors-who else would majorly direct work their way apart from the company-‘Telecon’ that just previously payed them wages and provided various conditions for performing the same tasks for largely the same customers. It is just a ‘shell game’ to strip workers rights.

    • Carol 1.1

      But the CTU has responded pretty quickly to Nats taking sides:

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4181258/Union-criticises-Nats-over-battling-for-Jackson

      The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) says it is furious at Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson for “taking sides” in the debate over The Hobbit. …
      CTU president Helen Kelly said that advice was biased towards Jackson and as a lawyer, Mr Finlayson would know that.

      “That’s like saying, ‘I can’t talk to you because this conversation would be illegal,'” Ms Kelly said.

      Just because there would be contractors working on the project that did not rule out having a union contract, she said.

      “The union is simply seeking to set the minimum terms and conditions for workers – whether its an employment agreement or contractual agreement there can still be standard terms and conditions.”

      Ms Kelly said the matter was actually very simple – a union was seeking to negotiate terms and an employer was refusing.

  2. Roflcopter 2

    So, considering this whole existing arrangement between NZ film companies and actors has been in place across 3+ PJ films, and numerous others, over a period covering at least a decade, why has it suddenly become a problem now for you lot?

    A shonky union, with no legal standing in New Zealand blurts out some crap and you go “Oh look it’s a union it must be right!”.

    The decision to move off-shore is now completely out of PJ’s hands. If his backers in the U.S say move, he’ll have no choice, and you will have been responsible for the wiping of $2.5b+ of spending and tax revenue, 000’s of jobs being lost etc.

    You are so awesome!

    But of course, you’ll just blame PJ coz he’s rich.

    • IrishBill 2.1

      It’s always been an issue but it is now a public issue because people are finally taking a stand on it. Your argument is akin to saying “slavery has been around forever why should we suddenly be against it now?” It’s the worst kind of conservatism.

      I don’t think they’ll move to Eastern Europe as the money saved on wages would be eaten up by the difficulties of doing business there but you seem to be arguing that the only thing that makes NZ a good place to make films in is a low-paid workforce. That’s not really the kind of competitive advantage a first world nation can build a sustainable industry on.

      • Tigger 2.1.1

        Some of us worked to alter this situation for years. No progress because the forces against us, producers, were simply too big. And we couldn’t get traction overseas about it. Equity has worked long and hard towards this position.

        This union is not ‘shonky’ – they are acting utterly appropriately. The shonkiness is coming from Jackson and now the Minister, who is part of a government that created this situation (pre-Employment Contracts Act the industry was employee-based).

        Great posts, IB. Keep them up.

        And Equity need support. It’s scary and lonely being up against Orcs like Jackson and Finlayson. http://www.actorsequity.org.nz/contact-equity to send them a quick ‘stay brave’.

      • Roflcopter 2.1.2

        I don’t think they’ll move to Eastern Europe as the money saved on wages would be eaten up by the difficulties of doing business there”

        Well, with the CTU wading into the furor thinks are getting worse and worse, and the risk greater and greater. Solidarity for the good of all right? Well, except for the workers who will probably miss out, but that’s OK according to you.

        If a big overseas corporate started dictating how it wanted business done in NZ you’d be all over it with fire and brimstone, but an overseas union with no legal standing in NZ tries it on and it’s ok…. simply awesome.

        but you seem to be arguing that the only thing that makes NZ a good place to make films in is a low-paid workforce.”

        Really? Myself and many others who worked as extras thought we were extremely well paid and looked after. And calls to talkback yesterday echoed these same sentiments.

        • Tigger 2.1.2.1

          Really? Because I know many ‘extras’ who have been not well paid nor well treated on shoots here.

          And it’s about more than just giving you a cup of coffee during the break…

      • jacinda 2.1.3

        Lol, thats one of the worst strawman positions I’ve ever heard……

        Comparing people getting paid above minimum wage (yes above $12.50) to slavery. Sorry, but thats just so far off the mark, there wasn’t any point even coming up with it.

        Newsflash, I work in IT (for a European company) and people in equivalent positions to me get paid more in the Northern Hemishphere and Australia too. If I wanted to get paid the same amount as people in Europe or the States or wherever, then it is up to me to move over there and live. I’m happy as larry living in NZ though, and love the lifestyle, so I don’t mind getting paid less. These twit actors need to wake up and realise this too.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.3.1

          If I wanted to get paid the same amount as people in Europe or the States or wherever, then it is up to me to move over there and live.

          Speaking of strawman positions you just created one right here. The argument is not about being paid the same as actors in Europe or the US, is it?

          These twit actors need to wake up and realise this too.

          Oh you’re so superior :roll:

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      why has it suddenly become a problem now for you lot?

      Because it has become clear that now there is a lot of money on the table – the corporates and the bosses want it all for themselves. They aren’t even willing to sit down and discuss minimum conditions with workers.

      The decision to move off-shore is now completely out of PJ’s hands. If his backers in the U.S say move, he’ll have no choice,

      BS***. PJ should have backed NZ workers from the get go, instead of acting as an agent for his corporate pay masters and their corporate legal advisors.

      But of course, you’ll just blame PJ coz he’s rich.

      You’re being deliberately simplistic. PJ could be rich and also back minimum standards and employment protections for workers. Then he’d be a bloody hero to working people in the industry.

      • jacinda 2.2.1

        So, can you link to me some articles about how badly people were paid and treated when working on King Kong and Lord of the Rings?

        If not, what are you complaining about?

        • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1

          That people should have the right to be on an employment contract with employment protections and minimum wage stipulations if they are being used as employees.

          If not, what are you complaining about?

          You’re smart, why haven’t you figured it out for yourself yet? Deliberately obtuse huh?

    • Tiger Mountain 2.3

      Lets employ some basic comprehension skills here ‘Rofl’ “you lot” and “you will”… who the hell are you attempting to describe here? The people that will decide the fate of the Hobbit are film execs and investors and union members both here in NZ and offshore. Blog commenters to greater and lesser degrees just give opinions, reasonably accurate like mine or off the wall like yours.

    • Roger 2.4

      Riiiight. Its all the unions and workers who are at fault for having the audacity to not accept being criminally exploited. Same with every other industry right? I we all offered our service for 50c an hour we would be a much better country with all of our industries being much stronger. It is never the fault of the executives who decide they unreasonably want more for less, it is the unscrupulous workers and unions who unreasonably want a living wage and conditions that are better than concentration camps.

      • Roflcopter 2.4.1

        Riiiight. Its all the unions and workers who are at fault for having the audacity to not accept being criminally exploited.

        This is an environment Labour set up and endorsed, for almost a decade, for the investment opportunities to be realised. Or has all that changed now that National is government?

        • Roger 2.4.1.1

          Now that the investment opportunities have been realised and the industry is doing well is it not fair that having paid their dues, that the workers should expect something in return from the people at the top that they helped to elevate there?

        • IrishBill 2.4.1.2

          I agree that Labour should shoulder a lot of the blame here. In fact I mentioned that in my post. My take on it is that they placed more value on the film industry’s ability to help build nationalism than they did on the rights of film workers.

          • Colonial Viper 2.4.1.2.1

            Well sometimes you have to lean over backwards to build a new industry up in the hope of future rewards for your citizens. (And no doubt Labour were advised by the film industry players what was needed to do that). Well, the future is today, people, lets go get those rewards.

        • Swampy 2.4.1.3

          Not quite. Labour changed the law around 2005 so that the union has a pre eminent right to demand a collective agreement, they are just trying on their new powers before National removes them.

  3. comedy 3

    From the same article you link to

    “WHAT’S AT STAKE?

    A PricewaterhouseCoopers study into the contribution of the film and television industry to the New Zealand economy in 2008 found it:

    Added $2.54 billion.

    Created 22,000 fulltime equivalent positions.

    Created $6.1b in total gross output.

    Generated $1.2b in labour income.

    Created average salaries of $63,000, or $91,000 in the production and post-production areas. The national average salary in 2008 was $39,000.

    The study was commissioned by the NZ Federation Against Copyright Theft.”

    OH if only all workers in NZ could have their rights exploited to the same extent….

    • IrishBill 3.1

      I noted they use average salary. Most film workers are contracted and so don’t receive a salary and those that do would be the handful of key people who would be able to negotiate high salaries (which would distort the average).

      I’d be very interested to see the median income earned per hour of work for lotr workers as I suspect it would be below minimum wage.

      • Roflcopter 3.1.1

        I’d be very interested to see the median income earned per hour of work for lotr workers as I suspect it would be below minimum wage.

        You’d be wrong.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          IB could actually be right because not having people on employment contracts means that minimum wage regulations do not apply.

        • IrishBill 3.1.1.2

          I may well be but I’d still like to know. You seem quite sure of yourself, care to post some figures?

          • Roflcopter 3.1.1.2.1

            I’ll see if I can drag up some old payment stuff from years back.

            We were very well looked after overall.

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      OH if only all workers in NZ could have their rights exploited to the same extent….

      comedy, you mean workers should be grateful for drippings from the lord’s table? That they should work in NZ for far inferior pay and conditions to Australians and Americans in the same industry?

      Of course you leave out the fact that workers in this industry routinely do shiftwork, work 12-16 hours per day and have no employment certainty despite that. Worker exploitation that you are callously supporting.

      This is another case of the elite 10% of the industry wanting 90% of the benefits. (As usual).

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    So the party of business, which wants to see wages drop, is supporting businesses in lowering wages…

    Is anybody really surprised?

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Combination of Hobbits

    nd so at a stroke, by virtue of an arbitrary designation imposed by Jackson in an effort to shirk his responsibilities as an employer, labour relations are taken back two hundred years…

    As I’ve said before – NACT are trying to take us back a few hundred years to when the aristocracy ruled. They, of course, see themselves as the aristocracy.

  6. The Voice of Reason 6

    Finlayson’s class war position is not a surprise and it’s not unique. There is a case rumbling on in the Employment court between NZ Steel and the EPMU where NZ Steel are seeking a declaration that the union is engaged in conspiratorial price fixing when it seeks to bargain for its workers. It’s full steem ahead for a return to the Contracts Act, methinks.

  7. Roflcopter 7

    CTU trying to add legitimacy to attempted economic sabotage by an Australian organisation with no legal standing in New Zealand.

    Simply awesome!

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      I can see how speaking out against wealthy corporate decision makers trying to keep the whole pie for themselves, leaving only crumbs for workers, could be seen by the wealthy as an act of “economic sabotage” (against them).

      For everyone else it is simply a matter of standing up for minimum employment conditions for fellow NZ workers. Maybe you should try it.

      • Roflcopter 7.1.1

        leaving only crumbs for workers

        Really? Got proof of that?

        It’s the beloved Labour Party that helped define and support the flourishing film industry in NZ, setting minimum guidelines that would assist in securing overseas work.

        Nice to see you are happy to let all that be torn apart on the whim of an illegal entity constructing economic sabotage in our country.

        • IrishBill 7.1.1.1

          I think you may need to provide some proof of your own assertions up the thread before you start demanding proof from others.

      • Bored 7.1.2

        Thanks Viper,

        The RWNJs sem to think that it is the correct course of action to push down wages and conditions across the board because:
        1. All boats rise on a rising tide…absolute crap theory as one person (Jackson) gets to float high whilst the rest of the boats sink lower into the mud.
        2. “Capital will go where ever it will get the best returns”…..another crap theory as if Jackson went to the cheapest place they would soon be too busy and would put up the price…more importantly if capital efficiency were the case we as a nation might as well just shut down.

        Myself, I for one resent Jackson taking my tax dollars as his industry was incubated and now saying he will take the resultant capital offshore. Great film maker and social shit head….you only need to look at what he did to divert a river without consents at his Wairarapa mansion to realise that he thinks he is above the rest of us.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.2.1

          I bet PJ is upping the private security he uses as this issue leaks out. Walled compounds for the wealthy eh.

          • Bored 7.1.2.1.1

            Its the same as gated communities, we know where the bastards are, and they may be forced to stay in.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    There are probably plenty of people out there who would love to be in a movie and would even offer to act for free for the chance.

    If I was Jackson, I would probably go to those people. Would probably unearth heaps of new talent in the process.

    • Tiger Mountain 8.1

      Great idea smithy-“Scabbits” just what we need. In this age of internships and working for nothing it would not surprise me though.

      • Bored 8.1.1

        Glad you mentioned “internships”, last time I was at parliament some of the MPs had “interns”….I did not ask as to the status of there remuneration. Then I was looking at the Dom and saw a link to “journalism internships”…unpaid shit work that cuts the costs for employers on the promise of a “job”….its just bollocks.

        • Vicky32 8.1.1.1

          “last time I was at parliament some of the MPs had “interns”…”
          Oh how American we are!
          Deb

    • Kaplan 8.2

      I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that would love to do your job, and for half the salary/wages you receive. If I was your boss I’d go to those people. Could probably unearth some real talent in the process.

  9. Bill 9

    Why is Nat Radio uncritically broadcasting Finlayson’s bullshit about independent contractors being unable to enter into a CEA? Is there a problem with calling bullshit on bullshit? I mean, that would be satisfying any remit to inform wouldn’t it? Which they patently aren’t doing at the moment.

    In my mind they should broadcast Finlayson but expose the disingenuous nature of his comment.

    Easy.

  10. The Voice of Reason 10

    Filthy, nasty scabbitsses! We hates them!

  11. Supermaorifella 11

    Loved this comment on the herald website:

    The Code of Practice for the Engagement of Cast in the New Zealand Screen Production Industry – known within the industry as the ‘Pink Book’.

    Crew who work on movies have what is known as the ‘Blue Book’.

    These are both guidelines and negotiated in good faith between all the industry bodies and further more they have worked well for years.

    This dispute has nothing to do with actors, it’s all about the Aussies. Mind you actors are very good at taking direction.

    • Swampy 11.1

      It is the MEAA as the NZ represented union demanding a collective agreement as Labour gave to unions in 2004 the preeminent right to do this.

      http://www.employment.org.nz/ERA%20Amendment%2024Mar07%5B1%5D.pdf
      “From the perspective of some employer groups however, the changes were far
      more significant than even the introduction of the original Act (Tritt, 2004), introducing
      major constraints and requirements on employers’ behaviour and creating a bias
      towards collective bargaining and union membership.”

      This is just the latest example of a union trying to use this law to force a collective agreement to be negotiated where they couldn’t make such a demand before. Notably this particular argument didn’t come up on the previous films, they must have been made before the law change came into force.

      As you can see by reading the history of this legislative process (see link) dating from 1999 the original attempt to bring in this law in 2000 was dropped because of widespread opposition yet Labour simply ignored the similar opposition that they got when they pushed it through in 2004.

      Employment Relations Amendment Act (No 2) 2004 No 86, Public Act

      12 New section 33 substituted

      The principal Act is amended by repealing section 33, and substituting the following section:

      “33 Duty of good faith requires parties to conclude collective agreement unless genuine reason not to

      “(1) The duty of good faith in section 4 requires a union and an employer bargaining for a collective agreement to conclude a collective agreement unless there is a genuine reason, based on reasonable grounds, not to.

      “(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), genuine reason does not include—

      “(a) opposition or objection in principle to bargaining for, or being a party to, a collective agreement; or

      “(b) disagreement about including in a collective agreement a bargaining fee clause under Part 6B.”

  12. grumpy 12

    If it’s true that Chadwick and Locke are behind this, then it’s good news for National in the next election. National should just let this take it’s course, lose the film to overseas and then just blame the unions and their political backers. They’ll be in power for decades.
    Even more than the teachers, there is absolutely no public support for the CTU on this.

    • Roflcopter 12.1

      Yup, the CTU will be happy they backed an illegal overseas organisation promoting economic sabotage in our country, in trying to win this, which could result in billions in lost spendings and the loss of 000’s of jobs.

      For the people!!!

      Simply awesome, the CTU is so clever.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        Rich asset wealthy decision makers always consider it economic sabotage against themselves personally when workers resist their efforts to take all of the pie just to leave crumbs on the table for everyone else.

  13. tsmithfield 13

    The thing is that actors who are truly famous and talented have little need for a union as they tend to command their own price.

    Therefore, it seems to me that those who feel they do need a union are probably mostly wannabes with little in the way of exceptional talent anyway. So these actors might struggle to get a role in a Jackson movie.

    Thats the thing about movies. The wage disparity from the top to the bottom is enormous. I am aware of movies that have gone to the Cannes festival where the budgets have been too tight to pay any of the actors. Still hasn’t stopped them from being quite good movies though.

    So it seems to me that actors are likely to fall into one of three groups:

    The truly famous who get paid huge amounts.
    Those who are looking for a break and would be willing to work for nothing to get noticed.
    Those in the middle who are mediocre and feel they need a union to help them get more.

    • Ron 13.1

      Smithy – you’re taking the poiss, right?

      Yes – wage disparity from the top to the bottom is enormous. But it has nothing to do with “talent”.

      Yes – truly famous and bankable = ask your price. Everyone else is the same “other” boat

      The industry has traded for years on the idea that “letting” you work on a film is giving you an “opportunity”. Work for a pittance, they say, because it’s an opportunity to get known.
      Have a look at the low budget “films that have gone to Cannes”.
      How many careers are made from them? How many ACTORS careers? You’ll find not many.
      Any actor will tell you stories of working on some up and coming director’s film for nought on the promise of a profile and an opportunity. Most will also tell you about their “mates” the directors who the got jobs in advertising, televivion (or more rearely the film inductry) and forgot all about the people who worked on their films for goodwill.

      Let’s do that for all industries, shall we? Doctors? Teachers?

      Get a grip

    • Maynard J 13.2

      The thing is that actors who are truly famous and talented have little need for a union as they tend to command their own price.

      (Aren’t Kidman and co part of the union? Your fundamental point is correct. Given the imbalance in power between employers and employees, those rare 0.0001% or people who hold more power in the relationship can command their own price.)

      Therefore, it seems to me that those who feel they do need a union are probably mostly wannabes with little in the way of exceptional talent anyway.

      (Maybe they’re just people looking to act for a living, and want a wage that equates with a living so they can support their families. Maybe you’re just being obnoxius for sport, or you’re just a genuinely unpleasant and uncaring individual.)

      So these actors might struggle to get a role in a Jackson movie.

      (If they would struggle for any roles, is it a problem if they refuse to work with Jackson… Your comment implies that they’re not needed – if so what is this whole debate about? Utterly illogical)

      Thats the thing about movies. The wage disparity from the top to the bottom is enormous. I am aware of movies that have gone to the Cannes festival where the budgets have been too tight to pay any of the actors. Still hasn’t stopped them from being quite good movies though.

      (Yes, the ‘doing it for the love of it’ argument. I suppose you have to fit your lines in somewhere. Irrelevant when the budget is several million, dont you think?)

      So it seems to me that actors are likely to fall into one of three groups:

      The truly famous who get paid huge amounts.
      Those who are looking for a break and would be willing to work for nothing to get noticed.
      Those in the middle who are mediocre and feel they need a union to help them get more.

      (Yes, those who have ‘made it’ and get vast sums of money, those who want to ‘make it’ and will be subservient and accept hardship in order to do so, and those who will stand up for themselves and make a living out of it, and get called mediocre by charming folk such as yourself.)

  14. Francisco Hernandez 14

    Guys,

    I don’t think the issues are as clear as you folks are making it out to be.

    http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2010/09/29/gordon-campbell-on-the-trade-unions-vs-the-hobbit/

    http://publicaddress.net/system/topic,2731,hard-news-hobbit-wars.sm

    I’d also like to caution agaist an instinctive urge to side with trade unions. Don’t ge me wrong – I love trade unions, I think they’re fantastic and I’ve been elected to serve in the executive of one but they don’t always get it right. Especially in a case like this you have to look at all the facts(which are unclear) before you decide in a situation. I don’t wanna see standard devolve to the echo-chamber circle-jerk that is kiwiblog…

    Catchpa: facts (which are indispute)

    • Salsy 14.1

      We should be discussing the threats and opportunities of the industry unionising, put down the pitchforks and stop spreading hatred of Peter Jackson.

      I havent heard/read a single complaint of workers in any of Jacksons films being underpaid, undervalued, exploited etc – and certainly dont get the impression that we have a serious issue within the NZ film industry with thousands of vulnerable workers in unteneble conditions requiring a union in order to protect them. The New Zealand film Industry has worked thus far within its own culture, a non-unionised system with a booklet of rules – seemingly working quite well – able to produce low budget films gaining exceptional international repsonse – BOY and This way of life, two examples of late. Would these films be being made AT ALL in a unionised industry and were the workers on these films disgruntled, exploited, underpaid?

      Suddenly theres a whiff of BIG money and a non-Kiwi union steps in. With potentially 2 to 3 thousand new members at AUD$300 per year, one can only begin to wonder if this is an issue for workers rights, or really the money/power grab Jackson suggested it was.

    • IrishBill 14.2

      If you read my post you’ll see that I’m addressing the issue of independent contractor status vs employee status. This is about employment law, not about Jackson in particular.

      I’ve reas both Campbell’s piece and Brown’s post. The first finishes by pointing out that the wages and conditions should be better the second is a weird assortment of anti-meaa gossip, a rather strange argument that because he accepts lower rates than other freelancers film workers shouldn’t be paid better than they are and some “I’m not anti-union” hedging. Frankly I would have expected something better, more factually based and less condescending from him.

  15. Francisco Hernandez 15

    I realize that now Irish – but there’s still an undertone of “Fuck the Rich Prick Jackson” and “Let’s side with the Poor Oppressed Workers” which is a fair enough thing to do and certainly an instinct I found myself what with being left-wing but we have to realize that the Mnats (Maori National Act) are at fault here.

  16. Bobby J 16

    The government sought legal advice from the crown law office. That advice happened to agree with what Peter Jackson was arguing. How does that constitute ‘backing jackson?’

    • The Voice of Reason 16.1

      They are backing Jackson because they believe that all workers should be dependant contractors. Remember the Contracts Act? The question Finlayson asked was designed to get an answer that supported Jackson’s position. Thats how lawyers work, Bobby. Never ask a question you don’t know the answer to.

      • Swampy 16.1.1

        Remember the Contracts Act? Changed in 2004 to force an employer to enter a collective agreement:

        http://www.ers.dol.govt.nz/publications/pdfs/era%20_2004_amendments.pdf

        Original 2000 Act Section 33:

        33 Duty of good faith does not require concluded collective agreement

        The duty of good faith in section 4 does not require a union and an employer
        bargaining for a collective agreement—
        (a) to agree on any matter for inclusion in a collective agreement; or
        (b) to enter into a collective agreement.

        Employment Relations Amendment Act 2004 substitutes new section 33:

        33 Duty of good faith requires parties to conclude collective agreement unless
        genuine reason not to

        (1) The duty of good faith in section 4 requires a union and an employer bargaining
        for a collective agreement to conclude a collective agreement unless there is a
        genuine reason, based on reasonable grounds , not to.
        (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), genuine reason does not include—
        (a) opposition or objection in principle to bargaining for, or being a party to, a
        collective agreement; or
        (b) disagreement about including in a collective agreement a bargaining fee
        clause under Part 6B.

  17. BLiP 17

    I know! Lets run the film industry the same way we’re trying to run the RWC.

  18. the second is a weird assortment of anti-meaa gossip, a rather strange argument that because he accepts lower rates than other freelancers film workers shouldn’t be paid better than they are

    Eh? I’m not aware of saying anything of the kind.

    and some “I’m not anti-union” hedging. Frankly I would have expected something better, more factually based and less condescending from him.

    Oh, whatever. I was wary of even commenting in this thread, given its tone, but I’m just not buying your demonisation of Jackson.

    For years, screen actors in New Zealand have been paid as contractors. Up until 2005 (when the MEAA took over Actors’ Equity) Spada and Actors’ Equity re-negotiated its’ standard pay and conditions annually. Spada approached AE/MEAA 18 months ago to try and update the Pink Book, but the union refused, presumably unwilling to validate the contractor model. Which I guess they have a right to do — but it’s not the producers who are trying to shift the goalposts.

    I have friends on both side of the argument, and I actually think the statement out of this week’s meeting was reasonable and will hopefully lead to some sort of compromise. By contrast, the statement drafted by the MEAA’s Simon Whipp ordering a guild members’ boycott was cynical and dishonest. (For goodness sake, the union has been directing people to a paper from another MEAA member which explicitly disavows the statement’s repeated claim that The Hobbit is a “non-union production”.) I’m not entirely sure the SAG’s motives are pure in this, given the high priority that guild places on preventing film productions leaving the US. I still can’t fathom the MEAA’s behaviour in allowing itself to be struck off the NZ register of of incorporated societies. As Gordon Campbell notes, AE hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory recently.

    I have read, and sought advice on, the advice from Simpson Grierson. It does suggest ways in which the producers could strike a collective price with a group of contractors, but they’re all a bit tenuous. I hope this can be sorted out fairly. But I’m fucked if I’m going to join you in declaring class war over it.

    • Blighty 18.1

      “But I’m fucked if I’m going to join you in declaring class war over it.”

      Russell. You’re in the class war and you’re fighting for your side.

      • the sprout 18.1.1

        yeah, reminded me a bit of “politics should be kept out of sport” :lol:

      • Colonial Viper 18.1.2

        Not sure why the elite and their agents insist that there is no class war going on and that they are not engaged in one. Probably because they’d be royally ****’ed when the masses of people cottoned on.

    • IrishBill 18.2

      Of course the producers aren’t trying to shift the goalposts. The goalposts are exactly where the producers want them. That’s the kind of unthinking conservatism that is used against every progressive change.

      As for your comments about the “tone” of this thread, I’m saddened to see you trying to take the high-ground as if your fact-free post was some kind of reasonable objective response to this dispute.

      I’m also disappointed to see you again focusing on the “anti-union” claim as if it is some integral part of the debate that fundementally discredits the MEAA’s position. I note you have not similarly focused on Peter Jackson’s equally fallacious claim that workers cannot be employed on fixed term or casual agreements – a statement that is far more objectively untrue and indicative of political motive than a member’s opinion about whether or not the union claims Jackson is anti union.

      Rather than quoting industry gossip about the MEAA’s reputation or repeating what Gordon Campbell has said why don’t you state clearly whether or not you believe people that want to work as employees covered by basic employment law should be made to work as independent contractors? It’s a pretty simple question.

    • BLiP 18.3

      How come the Union has to play fair and be whiter than snow but the employers don’t?

    • Swampy 18.4

      So it was in 2005 that they changed their tune? That was when Labour changed the law so they could demand a collective contract as a preeminent right. How many industrial disputes have there been since then due to this change I wonder?

  19. Harpoon 19

    Why doesn’t the union take a case under S.6 of the Employment Relations Act — definition of employee.

    IANALB essentially, the Act trumps whatever the employer wants to call the person doing the work. It dosn’t matter if the employer calls them a contractor, service supplier, preferred tenderer, indentured labourer, slave, servant, son, ‘boy’, whatever; if the relationship is one of employer/employee as defined under the Act, then the employee can claim to be protected by the Act.

    • IrishBill 19.1

      The problem with that is it would take legal action for every single employment relationship. That’s a lot of legal costs.

    • The Voice of Reason 19.2

      No point going to court on that particular question. They’re not employees, they’re independent contractors, coz that’s the way Sauron likes ‘em. They would be better off as employees for sure, but I’m not sure that Actor’s Equity is even asking for that much freedom. I think they are suggesting a standard set of base conditions for their members, whatever the contractual arrangements finally end looking there.

      That sounds fair and reasonable to me, but then, I don’t own a private plane.

  20. Carol 20

    Penny Ashton on Nat Rad Panel is just sounding off about the “lies” in the media, and as an actor says they are just asking to talk and have been turned down. She said it’s not about the Aussie Union, but what the NZ union & its actors want. And she is angry – called PJ the “biggest bully boy there is”.

    And she says more about what they ACTUALLY want. Recommended to listen to when it goes online.

  21. Carol 21

    Penny Ashton and Chris Trotter on The Panel are also talking about the Commerce Act. Apparently the actors are being told that they are independent/individual contractors and that if they get together to agree pay, they are being like supermarkets colluding on price fixing. Trotter says that is how the Commerce Act works, but that the actors COULD be employed on fixed term contracts etc.

    Hamish Keith is now talking. Keith says it’s not just the Aussie union – it’s all the unions internationally, and The Hobbit would run into the same complaints from them in eastern Europe or where ever. Keith is asking all concerned to pull back, talk and calm down a bit. Underlying this, Keith says we don’t have a tax break that attracts films here.

  22. Russell. You’re in the class war and you’re fighting for your side.

    Okay, thanks. I’ll withdraw from this now.

    • IrishBill 22.1

      I guess, it’s easy to leave in faux offence than engage in the argument. It’s a shame I’ll never get to know what you think about the employment issue at the heart of this dispute.

      • Neil 22.1.1

        It’s a shame I’ll never get to know what you think about the employment issue at the heart of this dispute.

        yes it certainly is a shame but the repsonsibility for that lies with you and not RB. He’s stated his views clearly only to be met with the Standard’s usual set of insults. I’m relieved that the Standard has much less conection to the union movement than you would like us believe.

        And a bit of advice, if you want to condescend to him you’ll have to apply a few more brain cells. I know, I’ve tried and you really have to keep your wits about you or you’ll very quickly look like a fool.

        • Colonial Viper 22.1.1.1

          The elites are waging a class war against New Zealanders and you are worried about harsh language on The Standard?

          I suggest you get over it, the Left is getting staunch and going on the march.

        • IrishBill 22.1.1.2

          He’s not stated his views clearly at all. And frankly I’m tired of the kind of patronising liberal elitism your comment is couched in. It’s generally a cowardly attempt to sit on the fence while pretending to be above the fray and it is fundamentally anti-progressive.

          • Neil 22.1.1.2.1

            I’d be interested to know just how many of the brave anonymous Standard posters are actually union members.

            • IrishBill 22.1.1.2.1.1

              Every single one of them.

              Edit: except one who isn’t working at the moment

              • Neil

                how would we know? You brave people keep your identities hidden. Perhaps you could detail your union connections. It being the class war and all.

            • IrishBill 22.1.1.2.1.2

              As for our anonymity, I have to say for myself I have no interest in becoming some kind of minor NZ internet celebrity. Blogging is a small part of my life and I like to keep it that way. But if you want to make something more of it than that you’re welcome to. Or you could try running an argument that didn’t rely on ad hom. Are you capable of doing that?

              • IrishBill

                Thought not.

                • Neil

                  cheers, I was looking for that. the brave champions of the working class are so shy about their union connections, or lack thereof.

                  • IrishBill

                    Take a week off tough guy.

                    • Salsy

                      OMG are you banning someone because they dont agree with you? What the fuck has happened to the standard? Where is the democracy in that?

                      IrishBill: read the policy. Your mate didn’t.

                    • Neil

                      you’ve just made my day, in only a few moves.

                      IrishBill: if that’s all it takes you really need to get a life.

                    • The Voice of Reason

                      Only a week, IB? Tough love I say! I’d have had him gone for a month just on the stupidity of someone using a pseudonym sneering at those who do the same. Honestly, hangings too good, etc.

                    • Harpoon

                      Irish, you look petulant, unfair and harsh. And I’m a progressive.

                      Was he overly rude? Abusive? He was being critical, and he was attempting to argue against your position, but your policy states you’re in favour of robust debate. I’ve just re-read the policy and can’t find justifiable grounds for a ban.

                      Just because you dislike his “patronising liberal elitism” does not make it fair to ban him. And neither should you ban him for being “cowardly” or “sit[ting] on the fence,” or “pretending to be above the fray” or even for (HORROR!!) being “fundamentally anti-progressive”.

                      IrishBill: Fair enough, I should have pointed him to the about section rather than the policy section but if a commenter’s argument relies on attacking my anonymity rather than attacking my arguments I’ll cut the argument short. This is a forum of ideas, not of identities. Because (at the risk of sounding anti-individualist) it’s the arguments that matter not who is making them. Neil’s banning had nothing to do with his political position or with my disagreeing with it. If we banned on that basis half the commenters here wouldn’t be here.

      • Craig Ranapia 22.1.2

        Who’s being pissy and previous? There’s a lengthy post (and a lively comments thread) over on Public Address – but I guess RB should just take infantile name calling around here and at Kiwibog.

        • pollywog 22.1.2.1

          hah…good that Rusty has finally seen through the toxic old asexual fruitbat from Okarito.

          but we all know his russell brownness is a delicate wee thing that needs to be stroked just so if you want to get the best from him.

          I’m almost tempted to spam his joint for old times sake, get that fire in his belly stoked again :)

  23. Graeme 23

    penny is pissed because she isnt in it, and can only get work on third rate shows like 7 days and the odd advert.

    the unions have this wrong, it is a hi jack from the aussies because our film industry is getting to big.

  24. JKing 24

    “I don’t think they’ll move to Eastern Europe as the money saved on wages would be eaten up by the difficulties of doing business there …”

    You are entirely wrong about that. From Hell, Hellboy II, The Black Dahlia, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Casino Royale, Mission Impossible, The Brothers Grimm, Prince Caspian were all shot out of Prague. Big films shot there is hugely common … and no idle threat on Jackson’s part, rather a warning of what is a very real — and common — option for the studios.

    • Tiger Mountain 24.1

      @JKing, bit of a roll call of rather questionable films. Really if Sir Jackson doesn’t play some positive role in resolving this, he should leave his knighthood at the door on his way to Prague.

      • Salsy 24.1.1

        The list above merely illustrates that huge budget films get made successfully in Eastern Europe and suffer no box office boycot as a result…

        Leave his knighthood at the door

        *cringe*

        • Tiger Mountain 24.1.1.1

          Artistic and cultural merit obviously not your thing Salsa, those responsible for “greenlighting” the above horreurs should have been shot, not the films.

    • Colonial Viper 24.2

      More corporate threats of offshoring New Zealand jobs?

      Sounds like the usual National drum beat of suppressing pay levels and racing to the bottom of international wage rates.

      *Yawn*

  25. The Voice of Reason 26

    Interesting article on why Jackson fancies Eastern Europe. Fuck art, gimme cash.

    “And because the film industry in Hungary is largely nonunionized, everyone can be employed as an independent contractor, saving on the benefits and other charges that can add 30 percent or more to labor costs in Paris, London or Los Angeles.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/03/business/global/03iht-eastfilms.html?pagewanted=all

  26. RobertM 27

    Somewhat ironically on whats on this thread I agree only with Tsmithfield, that this is international entertainment business and in most such activities be they motor racing, cinema, novel writing or journalism only the best now get paid livable or high wages and the rest do it for love, hope or politics.
    But the debate on this blog misses the point that the real issue with Finalyson, Rosemary McLeod and Tom Scott et all is that it is a desperate display of the kiwi cultural cringe. Were so desperate to get the movie starts here, get Cruise and Paltrow and Tyler here that we’ll undersell ourselves, cut our rates, wages, offer absurd subsidies for glamour, prestige and artificial jobs. Yes the film business has been of benefit to Wellington and some industries in Taranaki and Kerry Prendergast will be doing her knitting in terror the Jackson industry will desert.
    It seems to me unlikley the Hobbit will disapear overseas as its a NZ Niche established by the Lord of Rings and pulling out would be bad publicity for the film industry even in LA. But down the track the costs of filming here will be a factor in any future production.
    By own view is we should not undercut ourselves in any professional activity and NZ rates of pay for doctors, architects, engineers, computer experts, actors and bofins should be at least close to Australia’s. That would probably mean fewer professionals but of a higher standard and and morepeople more making their own decisions and entertainment at their own expense.
    If we want film stars to come here we really need a 24 Hour all on society. A sort of society were people make it thru talent and drive and world class insight and brilliance not something old , hackneyed and totally inoffensive as the hobbit. To me the NZ film industry is really valued here because its the sort of things that gives our politicians, local government officials and diplomats credibilty in the salons and clubs of the world and I don’t know if thats a very good way to set priorities and expendure

    • jacinda 27.1

      What small country coming out of recession wouldn’t want the 2.5 billion plus of spending and the thousands of jobs it will create?

      For sure we are desperate – anyone turning that down is simply a tool……

      • Colonial Viper 27.1.1

        Have some self respect and some self value. If you don’t value yourself who the hell will.

        2.5 billion plus

        Yeah that’s the total budget for at least 9 Star Wars films you’ve just quoted, stop dreaming.

      • Maynard J 27.1.2

        jacinda, do you have any children I can pay 7 cents a day to work 18 hours making jeans? NZ needs a clothing industry, these are my terms and you’d be a tool to turn that down.

        Now, I realise that’s that’s a facetious comparison, and not reasonable. What that implies, of course, is that there is a line at which one is not a tool for turning down work. You might want to reflect on the minute fraction of the budget that will go to paying some of these folk, and why they’re tools for accepting such a tiny amount.

        You’re asking them to accept working for years on a pittance because it will be good for everyone else!

  27. Swampy 28

    This situation has come about because four years ago Labour changed the Employment Relations Act to give unions a pre-eminent right to demand a collective contract. I expect National will act to remove this right in their next term in order to restore balance in industrial negotiations.

    • The Voice of Reason 28.1

      Nope, nothing to do with that change to the Act, which just reinforces good faith behaviour in collective bargaining. You need to keep up, Swampy, Actors Equity aren’t asking for a CEA.

      • Harpoon 28.1.1

        TVOR: “Actors Equity aren’t asking for a CEA”

        Ummmm … how could they do that anyway? Actors Equity is not an incorporated society, and therefore is not a union in law, and therefore cannot negotiate a valid CEA.

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    Labour
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    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased is the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2014. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog
  • The Warehouse & Noel Leeming Praised for Principled Stand
    Family First NZ is congratulating The Warehouse and Noel Leeming for reinforcing their ‘family-friendly values’ by removing R18 games and DVD’s from its shelves, and is calling on other retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Dick Smith...
    Scoop politics
  • PM’s Post-Cab on Iain Rennie, China and the Smith Inquiry
    In a press conference held today in Wellington, Prime Minister John Key answered questions regarding Iain Rennie’s potential resignation, the independent inquiry into the Smith/Traynor escape, and recent trade deals with China....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety Week 2014 focused on a safe summer
    ACC’s annual Safety Week kicks off today. With summer just around the corner, Safety Week this year is focusing on keeping safe when playing sport, enjoying recreational activities or drinking alcohol....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety focus during motorcycle month
    As the Central District Police annual Month of Motorcycles campaign cruises into its second week, the results so far have been positive with many motorcyclists playing their part to keep our roads safe....
    Scoop politics
  • Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST
    Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST The Sensible Sentencing Trust is slamming a decision which may acquit a Whakatane offender of serious dangerous driving charges....
    Scoop politics
  • Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons
    Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons to show violence towards women is never OK...
    Scoop politics
  • Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media
    Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media to say “no” to domestic violence Everyone has the right to feel safe at home. Many do not. One in three partnered New Zealand women report having experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner...
    Scoop politics
  • Smoke Alarms in Rental properties
    TPA says recent calls for mandatory smoke alarm installations in rental properties is an opportunity for all parties to come together to improve the safety and quality of rental housing....
    Scoop politics
  • CTU will not engage in Governments sham consultation process
    Today the CTU has sent a letter to Prime Minister John Key articulating serious concerns about both the content and the rushed process the Government has clearly signalled it intends to follow to progress the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation...
    Scoop politics
  • Job vacancies steady in October
    The number of skilled job vacancies advertised online remained steady in October across most industry groups and occupations, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Jobs Online report....
    Scoop politics
  • 600 Slaves And Counting on New Zealand Soil
    The 2014 Global Slavery Index has just been released, and buried within its pages is New Zealand’s growing issue of human exploitation and slavery. When taken in conjunction with the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2014,...
    Scoop politics
  • Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and NZ
    Media Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand: Police Commissioners take a stand against violence against women and children...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ Police Commissioner makes a stand against Family Violence
    New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has joined with his Australian Police Commissioner colleagues at Parliament House in Canberra this morning to take a stand on violence against women and children....
    Scoop politics
  • Amnesty International campaigns for end to domestic violence
    Amnesty International will be making a donation of over $500 to Aviva (formerly known as Women’s Refuge Christchurch) at the conclusion of Tuesday’s inner city march against domestic violence....
    Scoop politics
  • Waka Hourua celebrates what’s working in suicide prevention
    On 19 and 20 November, Māori and Pasifika national suicide prevention programme Waka Hourua held its first national hui-fono in Auckland. The theme was Whakarauika Mai: Bringing Communities Together to Prevent Suicide in Aotearoa. ...
    Scoop politics
  • Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower
    Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower SKYCITY’s Sky Tower in Auckland will be lit up in white on Monday evening Nov 25th at 10pm, on the eve of White Ribbon Day. The anti-domestic violence network SAFTINET (Safer Auckland Families...
    Scoop politics
  • State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little
    State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little The new Labour leader Andrew Little has called for the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to be stood down after his handling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment case. "The idea...
    Scoop politics
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
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  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
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  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
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  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
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  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
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  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
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  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
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  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
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  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
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  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
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  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
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  • New Ombudsman opinion
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  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
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  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
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  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
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  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
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  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
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  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
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  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
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  • Bascand: Brighter Money
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  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
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  • 25 years of children’s rights
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  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
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  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
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  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
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  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
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  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
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  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
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  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
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  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
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  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
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  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
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  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
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