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NZ’s struggling screen industry

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 am, October 24th, 2013 - 116 comments
Categories: broadcasting, film, infrastructure, jobs, john key, overseas investment, telecommunications, tourism, trade, tv - Tags: , ,

So three years on from the Hobbit dispute, and the NZ screen industry is in a precarious state.  The outcome of that dispute, engineered by John Key, was to pander to the demands of the US film corporates at the expense of New Zealand workers and tax payer funding.  The industry has benefited in recent years from the off-shoring of film and TV production from the dominant production centres in the US and, to a lesser extent, Europe. As such, it lacks a strong basis to enable the local industry to withstand the shocks from global competition and changing international economic circumstances.

What would it take to make a solid independent screen production industry in New Zealand?  This industry includes all the digital production that is linked to film and TV production.  So it incorporates gaming and other work done by the likes of Weta Digital, and productions that can be viewed online. (The VFX industry in NZ is also dependent on the more powerful centres elsewhere.)

Jacinda Ardern raised the issue of the current precarious state of the NZ film industry in the House this week, and via this press release:

“The high Kiwi dollar has put huge pressure on the screen production industry. Add to this the fact that other countries are being increasingly savvy with their rebate regimes, and the result is a screen industry that is experiencing the worst downturn in at least a decade.

“Auckland is home to roughly 70 per cent of screen production in New Zealand, and a host of small businesses who prop it up.

A lot of the hoohah around Weta, Peter Jackson and films like the Hobbit and Avatar, make it seem like Wellington is the mainstay of NZ’s screen industry.  But it is long running TV series filmed in Auckland, like Xena, Hercules and more recently, Spartacus, that provide some stability in the industry.  This enables the relevant businesses to develop locally that service production, from catering through transport to the specialist services like lighting and Visual effects.

While this network developed around overseas TV productions, they also provided an infrastructure available to local productions, albeit that the local companies can’t afford the costs overseas companies are willing to pay.

Unfortunately Ardern doesn’t offer any suggestions of a way out of this dependency on overseas corporates.  She nods in the direction of further government subsidies or incentives, and towards the state of NZ’s economy.

Hilariously, Steven Joyce blamed the Auckland industry slump on the increased use of the railway near the West Auckland studios. This is not providing any suggestions about the way the NZ industry could be self sufficient. One possibility might be in the development of public service broadcasting via Freeview, linked with online streaming of screen productions.  NZ’s democracy needs more fact and fiction produced by and for New Zealanders.  Instead of the continuing importation of US, largely “neoliberal” values via our TV news, current events and entertainment, home grown productions could incorporate more values relevant to 21st century New Zealanders into local conversations.

Kiwis are capable of this, but we see it all too rarely these days: see for instance, TV 3’s Blue Rose, which was exciting, funny and socially and politically relevant.  We need more of this.

seth flynn blue rose

Peterson corproate dirt bag blue rose

One News has also picked up on the issue this week, and uses it to highlight the neeD for more taxpayer funding for Cameron’s latest Avatar movie.

There are new calls for the Government to review tax incentives for foreign productions as the industry faces losing a billion dollar blockbuster.

The industry is suffering its worst downturn ever, with thousands already out of work.

Avatar is one of the most expensive films ever made and its three sequels are expected to cost close to $1 billion.

That is money that could be coming to New Zealand if director James Cameron still films here.

The evidence of the direct contribution to NZ’s economy from such productions is weak, with the government usually pointing to how it boosts the countries economy via tourism.  However, the One News article paints a dire picture of NZ’s inability to compete with other countries for Hollywood crums.

Time for a re-think, by encouraging more innovative proposals to develop a strong, resilient and independent NZ screen industry: one suited to the digital era, and that would work in conjunction with a rejuvenated public broadcasting system and online capabilities.

backbenchers-live-TVNZ7

 

[Update]: Maori TV & Barry Barclay’s legacy

marty mars makes an excellent point below:

personally I’d like to see more stories from our deep heritage. The stories of the land, of the people on the land – the heroes, the sacrifices, the naming of everything – I really can’t see why people wouldn’t be into it. But I’m not thinking doco’s I’m thinking ‘crouching tiger’ – action. Forget the America’s Cup and put the money into scriptwriting with tangata whenua.

This reminds me of the work and approach of filmmaker Barry Barclay, and his legacy in the Maori TV channel. See for instance Brannavan Gnanalingam’s article on Barclay, one of NZ’s most significant film makers who coined the term “fourth cinema” in relation to indigenous film-making. While Gnanalingam is critical of the application of Barclay’s philosophy, he acknowledges Barclay’s influence on later developments, such as Maori TV.

 Programmes such as Waka HuiaMarae, and the more recent developments in Māori Television owe a large debt to the impact of Barclay’s work.

116 comments on “NZ’s struggling screen industry”

  1. shorts 1

    Part of it is the NZ$, partly its just a lull (longterm or not we will see) in productions basing themselves here and part if it is the lack of infrastructure – our studios are basically large warehouses, not the custom designed/outfitted studios that productions can find elsewhere (coupled with more favourable exchange rates)

    I don’t know if there is anything the govt can actually do to reverse the quiet time currently being felt due to offshore productions being here – incentives help but they are only part of the picture.

    The one thing our govt could do that would make a huge difference is a refocus and investment in local productions and our TV and film industry coupled with a similar focus and investment in public broadcasting – we should be focusing on local productions and exporting them – a win for jobs and export earnings. I’d rather this approach than more handouts and incentives to offshore businesses who only see our country as a place to exploit

    • richard 1.1

      The one thing our govt could do that would make a huge difference is a refocus and investment in local productions and our TV and film industry coupled with a similar focus and investment in public broadcasting…

      You’ve nailed it. The running down of public broadcasting over the last 30 years has deprived the NZ film industry of both a valuable training ground for actors, directors etc and an outlet for their art.

  2. Thanks Karol, for telling peter jackson how the movie industry is run.

    • BLiP 2.1

      Just as well Steven Joyce has his finger on the pulse His analysis and final conclusion that the slump in production is due to increased train journeys is . . . umm . . . remarkable. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if this realisation of his forms the basis for his logic behind the need to create motorways which, when analysed by professionals, are found to be completely uneconomic.

    • Tat Loo 2.2

      We’re after a full bodied NZ film industry, not a Peter Jackson industry.

      • greywarbler 2.2.1

        ‘Full-bodied’ to everyone’s taste. Handsome and beautiful and interesting actors. Lots of bodies getting employment, and lots of bodies seeing the productions. And lots of bodies with funds for grants to encourage innovation, imagination, production, skills, sales, etc. A good term Tat.

    • karol 2.3

      Bwhahahahah! ur funny!

      Brett, thanks for showing how little you know about the workings of the screen industries.

      But, of course, I forgot, Sir Peter is the unassailable authority on all things movie, and is above criticism. That’s if you ignore all the research and well-referenced analysis done of these industries, as for instance in the papers on the Hobbit dispute, which is linked to in my post.

      Never mind, fanboi. In the world of fanfic, Sir Peter will forever be the god of the NZ movie industry.

      Meanwhile, there are very experienced and talented Kiwis losing their jobs in the screen industries, and many talented young people with career hopes, seeing doors closing in front of them. And, while they do this, Kiwis keep turning to Hollywood fantasies riddled with US “neoliberal” values for their entertainment.

      • Brett Dale 2.3.1

        So Perter Jackson or yourself, I know who the movie industry worldwide will listen to.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 2.3.1.1

          Most of the so called ‘screen industry’ is not feature films.

          Its television, and the local advertisers.

          And most employment related to movies is in the screening business side, those operating and running movie theatres

          • karol 2.3.1.1.1

            Well, as BM mentions @ 10.58am below, most of the money now is in gaming.

            This is why I mainly refer to “screen industry/ies”.

            Cinemas are struggling to compete with the diversity of platforms for screen productions, hence the quite high prices for getting into NZ picture theatres, and the focus on big screen spectacle (3 D, VFX-driven movies like LOTR and Avatar).

        • BLiP 2.3.1.2

          Nah . . . neither Jackson nor our wonderful karol. The international movie industry will be listening to John Key when he nexts puts New Zealand’s laws and Human Rights up for sale to the highest bidder because, as John Key oftens sings to himself since becoming Pramunsta. . .

          ♪ ♫ . . . the Beehive, the Beehive, where everyone gets a bargain . . . ♫ ♪

          . . . as he merrily goes about his way selling the country on the cheap to his banker / movie / mining / millitary / Chinese government mates. Wattaguy. Real ashparashnul for Noozilund.

        • karol 2.3.1.3

          *Sigh* – power and influence does not mean someone is correct, nor that they are above criticism.

      • BM 2.3.2

        Why would you want to invest 100’s of millions of dollars making a movie and then have some one upload an illegal version on to some file sharing site so people can then download it for free.

        Films are dying all the money is in games now.

        The only films that will end up getting made will be 4D movies.

        • McFlock 2.3.2.1

          because 3d wasn’t enough of a gimmick?

          Piracy is advertising – I can think of a couple of films that I liked so much that I actually bought a DVD. Would never have bothered with them otherwise.

          Cinemas might have issues because TVs are getting large enough and with enough definition to compete with movie screens, but movies are fine.

          The only issue studios face is the cyclical one they face periodically, where they’re throwing so much money at so many blockbusters each year that they’re becoming more conservative in the movies they greenlight (sequels, anyone?).

          Sooner or later a dozen multi-hundred-million-dollar blockbusters are going to compete with each other in one summer. Some of those movies will flop badly, so a studio or two might collapse like UA did, and the rest will retrench and generally move into other genres for lower budgets.

        • andy (the other one) 2.3.2.2

          Films are dying all the money is in games now.

          Except when the have record year on year profits.

          The summer concluded with a record $4.7 billion (NZ$6.03b) in box-office revenue despite much maligned flops like The Lone Ranger, After Earth and White House Down.

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11118631

          • karol 2.3.2.2.1

            Yet that article also points to the uncertainty of the Hollywood movie business, with peaks and slums continuing.

            This article shows how difficult it is for the major movie corps, with only one or two of them maintaining high profits last year. It also highlights how dependent the corproates are on gaming and TV etc to boost their profits.

            • FastSage 2.3.2.2.1.1

              The peaks and slums are the problem with our film industry being dependent on international work.

              More public broadcasting would provide a stable base. What we really need to do is have NZers OWN the IP/story/characters/merchandise. That way the profits stay in NZ and the margins are higher. No cut for Warner Bros, and we are masters of our own destiny. That’s what a sustainable, successful film industry would look like. Or, if we are partners in the project (not contractors) then of course the work comes here.

              The shame is that Peter Jackson/Weta are doing work-for-hire for US studios, not creating their own IP which they’re more than capable of doing.

          • greywarbler 2.3.2.2.2

            andy 2
            You could have hit on a formula that NZ could work on. Make certain films that are tailored to have game potential, work hard at getting the film out there, if looking good, then build the game to go after it. Perhaps then the film will get another showing with PR from the game helping, and the game gets a boost too.

            Two bites at the public interest, then DVDs too.
            Nice if it worked. And everything to be done here. And we think of ways to dramatise the film premiere in different cities. Have feedback loops that carry on into other things.

            What a great idea. If it could work, well that would be worth much. Who had never heard of Iceland and Finland a while back. And I listen and look at what is going on here and there is a bunch of throbbing pulsing creative ideas and enthusiasm from young people who can do lots if directed at something positive focussed on a good outcome.

          • QoT 2.3.2.2.3

            I see your $4.7 billion and raise you $14.8 billion (or to be fair, 6.7bn discounting subscriptions, apps, DLC and Farmville.)
            http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/ESA_EF_2013.pdf

        • Draco T Bastard 2.3.2.3

          Why would you want to invest 100′s of millions of dollars making a movie and then have some one upload an illegal version on to some file sharing site so people can then download it for free.

          So that millions of people can enjoy it.

          Life isn’t about money.

          • Populuxe1 2.3.2.3.1

            That is the most arrogant, ignorant thing I’ve heard today, firmly rooted in the notion that creative industries are somehow not labour and that the adulation should be enough. Oh yes, the wee artists and writers should all be starving away picturesquely in a garret somewhere – how romantic! Even Lady Gaga can’t eat applause.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.3.2.3.1.1

              Didn’t say anything about them not being fed, housed and clothed, having free education available to them etc etc now did I?

              • BM

                So people should just spend 100’s of million of dollars on a film and then just give that film away.

                Oookay, riiight…. so this is how things work in Draco world?

      • Populuxe1 2.3.3

        “Brett, thanks for showing how little you know about the workings of the screen industries.”

        To be fair, karol, skimming a bunch of research on the internet doesn’t make you an expert either.

        “But, of course, I forgot, Sir Peter is the unassailable authority on all things movie, and is above criticism. That’s if you ignore all the research and well-referenced analysis done of these industries, as for instance in the papers on the Hobbit dispute, which is linked to in my post.”

        Not an unassailable authority, no, but certainly someone who has made the industry work for him. Again, there is a difference between an academic and an experiential understanding. Check your academic privilege.

        “Never mind, fanboi. In the world of fanfic, Sir Peter will forever be the god of the NZ movie industry.”

        His movies up to Forgotten Silver were very clever and localised. I might not like most of his Hollywood potboilers, but politics aside Lord of The Rings has earned him that kudos.

        “Meanwhile, there are very experienced and talented Kiwis losing their jobs in the screen industries, and many talented young people with career hopes, seeing doors closing in front of them. And, while they do this, Kiwis keep turning to Hollywood fantasies riddled with US “neoliberal” values for their entertainment.”

        The shrinking local production industry is a concern, but oversaturation is often a problem with glamour industries in small countries. Anti-populist snobbery is boring and the average NZer who just wants to be entertained does not deserve to be patronised by you or anyone else, left or right. Check your academic classist priviledge.

        • karol 2.3.3.1

          What is it, pop? I have a knowledge only from skimming the Internet, or I am exercising academic privilege?

          What makes you think I’m anti-popular culture? I have spent a lot of time viewing and listening to “populist” culture. It’s more US-focused values I’m opposed to, and the need for a more NZ focused approach.

          From your comments you have no idea of where I’m coming from or my experiences.
          Try dealing with the arguments rather than ad hominems based on your fantasies about my knowledge, background and interests.

          For instance, how is saying Tapert’s productions have been the back-bone of Auckland’s industry in recent years, being an anti-populist snob? how does watching programmes like some popular Aussie productions make me anti-populist?

          I really only liked Heavenly Creatures of Jackson’s earlier work – watched other stuff, but never really appealed to me. And HC was more Fran Walsh’s project than Jackson’s.

          • Populuxe1 2.3.3.1.1

            “And, while they do this, Kiwis keep turning to Hollywood fantasies riddled with US “neoliberal” values for their entertainment.”

            That is a deeply prejudiced statement and it oozes academic privilege. How can you say that isn’t patronising and judgmental? The whole “their lack of theory blinds them to their enslavement” angle is the academic privilige equivilent of “mansplaining” and it is offensive and elitist, and quite probably classist too.

            And I fail to see how Tappert’s productions don’t come under the rubric of “Hollywood fantasies riddled with US “neoliberal” values for their entertainment” – that strikes me as shifting goalposts.

        • Tanz 2.3.3.2

          I loved all of Jackson’s early films, the do it yourself stuff and Heavenly Creatures.
          Everything else, no thanks, just swashbuckling swashbucklers forever. Kudos to Jackson, but I wish he’d go back to the more inventive, creative, number eight wire type movies that made his name to start with.

  3. Philgwellington Wellington 3

    This government doesn’t support public broadcasting. In reality it killed of TVNZ7 and the kids network, to support the rise
    and profit of SKY TV. Funding
    strangulation of RNZ. FREEView is a pathetic offering, a commercial pile of….. There is unlimited space for quality public broadcasting, as there currently is none.! Even in Australia they have a good public broadcaster. Those poor returning Kiwis to see what’s happened to poor Lil Nu Zild. Frying pan to the fire.

    • tc 3.1

      Oz has 2 public broadcasters, ABC and SBS. Mature and stable with fantastic content, ABC outrates Channell 10 since it’s been Murdoched.

      For starters we should get some agreements with Oz’s ABC/SBS over content sharing. There’s some great local TV over there full of kiwi craft (actors, crew) much preferable to the crud from US. Upper Middle Bogan being a current example.

      This can reinflate the virtually worthless Freeview by carrying the ABC/SBS digital channels and offers kiwi productions a bigger market. Sky had SBS booted off our freeview sattelite.

      Smash up TVNZ into a public broadcasting TV1 and TV2 can do all the reality, cop, house challenge content to part fund TV1, insert charter and cleanout the gadflys at TVNZ.

      Film’s a tougher beast, we have great locations and talent but do we want to get into a bidding war on subsidies etc in a race to the bottom. For our size and distance we do well but IMO it’s lull is partly driven by a dying TV industry as the craft has to start somewhere.

      • karol 3.1.1

        Good idea, tc. I think we could do with more SBS/ABC productions here: documentaries and dramas. Maori TV do show some Aussie TV series, with an indigenous focus.

        I have also watched some of the more commercial Aussie drama series in recent years: Wentworth (with Daniel Cormack), Rush, Crownies, Homicide, etc. Kind of Hollywood genres once removed, but with an Aussie accent, local issues, and often with a bit of grit – often as good, if not better than many US mainstream TV dramas.

        • tc 3.1.1.1

          also checkout todays guardian with a ’10 reasons TV is better than film’ all good reasons to beef up the not so small screen.

          • karol 3.1.1.1.1

            Hmmm, thanks tc. It all looks to be about “Breaking Bad” for that writer – definite skewing towards more masculine styles of drama. Not the short of shows I watch. however, his points are good ones about long form dramas. They have been made possible by improved recording technologies and digitisation – not possible in pre-VCR days.

            It has really be the asccess to TV shows online and onDVD that has increased the popularity of such series.

            netflix & “Orange is the New Black” are interesting. OitNB, has a bit of grungy, low budget, alternative film making style.

  4. personally I’d like to see more stories from our deep heritage. The stories of the land, of the people on the land – the heroes, the sacrifices, the naming of everything – I really can’t see why people wouldn’t be into it. But I’m not thinking doco’s I’m thinking ‘crouching tiger’ – action. Forget the America’s Cup and put the money into scriptwriting with tangata whenua.

  5. King Kong 5

    I guess that Helen Kelly giving New Zealand a reputation for disruptive union strong arming of major film projects hasn’t helped much.

    • BLiP 5.1

      Yeah, true. John Key’s idea of reducing New Zealand to the Mexico of the South Pacific is a far better for all of us. Totally ashpahrashnul.

    • greywarbler 5.2

      ook here KK
      What do you mean? Was Helen Kelly the leader of that little debacle linking our industry to Australian unions? I don’t think so. Her job however is to work for better conditions for workers so she wouldn’t condemn it. But did she instigate it? Give some background from your excellent sources for those of us who have forgotten the detail.

    • millsy 5.3

      Yes, god forbid that our actors (and crew) should have holiday pay, ACC, sick leave and the like. And that employers in the film industry be held to the same standards as other employers.

      And, our screen industry wont have any problems if they actually made decent films/programmes/documentaries — kinda like what they used to do. the National Film Unit docos that you find online are quite awesome.

  6. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 6

    On watching the item covering this issue on the news last night I wondered what sort of ‘tax incentives’ are involved. What are the numbers? i.e. What are the deals being offered by the countries with ‘better deals’? This matters because I don’t know whether it is a case of film producers expecting not to pay any tax in the country they film in?

    I was thinking it would be great if there was some type of move to have a ‘fair trade’ type labelling on movies. It would be nice to think that people would start supporting films that are prepared to bring in benefits to the countries that they film in. Otherwise ‘tax incentives’ becomes a race to a free-for-all like occurs in other sectors.

    • karol 6.1

      Good question, bl. When looking into this issue a day or 2 ago, I came across this article about the upturn in international film production in Ireland:

      In 2008, the Government introduced new measures through Section 481 to strengthen the Irish tax incentive for film and television production. In an industry where strong competition from New Zealand, Eastern Europe and Asia competes to attract major film projects, the new incentives have dramatically increased Ireland’s competitive position as a location for international film and TV productions.

      The new improvements, in place until 2020, mean the ceiling on qualifying expenditure for any one film is increased from €35m to €50m. Qualifying expenditure includes all EU personnel and purchases of goods and services in the State. The main benefits of Section 481 are: worth up to 28% of Irish budget; is available to both film and television productions; and its value is determined at the outset. Section 481 also allows individuals to invest up to €50,000 in a tax year by means of share acquisition in a qualifying production company and can deduct this investment from their taxable income for that year

      As well as some great out door locations, Ireland is closer to some other centres of finance and screen production in England and Europe, than is NZ.

      • Populuxe1 6.1.1

        Ireland is also one of the “I”s in “PIIGS” – which should suggest something to you.

  7. greywarbler 7

    Good to look at this karol. Our creatives are one of the few sectors that are forging new markets and products and ideas and just wonderful imagination and skill in New Zealand. They are a body of people taking us, along with our minds and understanding, into the 21st century.

    There are too many others of the bovine type taking us into a Back to the Future scenario where we will go through the motions again, but end up with a worse outcome than before. That’s not the happy ending that film produced.

  8. Adrian 8

    One important point Karol is that all of the TV series that propped up the industry in Auckland for the last 20 years, Hercules, Xena and Spartacus were all produced by Lucy Lawless and husband Rob Tapert’s company. All the eggs in one basket as it were, so that when their operation moved on or more likely the market ( small US tv networks ) changed focus to reality tv or whatever the work disappeared. Bugger.
    Of course it wo’t happen to dairy !.

    • karol 8.1

      Indeed, Robert Tapert has provided the backbone to Auckland’s and (arguably) NZ’s TV and movie industry in recent decades. The positive side has been up-skilling of Kiwis, and international career opportunities. The downside, is, as you say, Adrian, it’s too dependent on one person – plus it doesn’t focus enough on telling stories by and for Kiwis, while, unfortunately, most of the profits still go overseas.

      It looks like Tapert is now involved in a new TV series being produced in NZ, Noir. Looks like anime – remake of a Japanese series that I saw some eps for online a few years back. So it’s largely a digital creation.

      And not all Tapert’s NZ productions were that successful – it takes time to create a succesful new series.

      Hence,a s you say, the need for more than one major initiative.

      • shorts 8.1.1

        I believe in the Tapert productions post the warners deal more and more jobs were going to people from offshore – more reason for us to think carefully as a nation about creating our own film industry (well expanding the one we have)

        Add to this the Zena et al styled TV show has all but run its course

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1

          The problem is that people expect the film industry to continue the same as it was last century which it won’t. Read an article a few months back that professional CGI people are finding it hard to get work in the OECD countries because it’s easy to find capable CGI people in the so called 3rd world countries for less.

          Competition is heating up and, over time, the big studios will collapse as talented amateurs start producing stuff just as good and for a millionth of the price.

          • McFlock 8.1.1.1.1

            Not so sure about that.

            The studios don’t just have production budgets, but advertising and distribution is the other half of the equation.

            Whacking another indie movie onto a website might or might not turn it into the next dramatic look squirrel, but those will be few and far between compared to a studio’s marketing and distribution budget.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    There are new calls for the Government to review tax incentives for foreign productions as the industry faces losing a billion dollar blockbuster.

    Forget the tax incentives, just have the government fully fund it with a reasonable return from the proceeds. NZ will do far better doing that than giving even more money to foreign corporates.

    • greywarbler 9.1

      We have a wonderful Natural life production company grown from a government film unit. It is still up there with world production isn’t it? Or did it get sold to some corpulent corp.? Why can’t we have a film SOE? Some seeding money and some input from time to time and the turnover of the $ from productions would help with a multiplier, ripple effect.

      Some links – one to USA small business page on ripple effect
      http://smallbusiness.chron.com/ripple-effect-business-22463.html

      and one to a page of South Carolina Policy Council. http://www.scpolicycouncil.org/about
      I thought what good thing will come out of South Carolina.
      And I wasn’t disappointed – a right wing think tank. They manage to produce some findings that put down multiplier effects, quote Keynesian ec. in rather disparaging terms and profess that it’s more likely to be useless.
      And their Home Page makes interesting statements. –
      They aren’t a Policy Council –
      Our Role
      We don’t design policies. We identify barriers to freedom.
      Our Vision
      The Policy Council’s purpose is to promote freedom, to protect freedom, and to prove that freedom works. In short: we want South Carolina to be the freest state in the nation…
      Freedom from dependency on federal money. Well over a third of South Carolina’s state budget consists of federal money. All that money comes with strings attached. So when it comes to artifact museums and artist development and tourism marketing, South Carolina makes its own decisions.
      But when it comes to educating our children and maintaining our roads and bridges, many of the key decisions are made in Washington. That can change only when state politicians learn how to say “No” to Washington’s welfare.

      It’s interesting to see the case that RW makes for not having a government that works for the people and sets minimum standards for all. Seems to make the odd rational point that anyone could agree with. But it wants to close down the benefits of government and funding until it must become a tight little entity run on crony capitalism. Yammering on about choice to really poor people who are not in a position to do anything or accept what’s available.

      • McFlock 9.1.1

        Natural History Unit?
        Still in dunners, I think, but a part of a fiendish corporation now.
        Probably reduced to “ancient aliens surviving alone in the jungle” shows.

        Sigh – yeah

  10. infused 10

    Probably because major screen projects have all just finished.

  11. captain hook 11

    The NZ film industry started off with a hiss and a roar making films in NZ with imported screenplays.
    The thing is until the NZ film industry finds people who can write meaningful stories without delusions of grandeur and overinflated estimations of their own importance then it will always be at the mercy of forces that it cannot control.
    In other words the NZ film industry is full of ruperts and rolands and full of shit.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      Plenty of authors in NZ. If they’re not being found then I suggest that we have a systemic problem. Probably something to do with the makers of movies waiting for a NYT bestseller or similar.

      • Tat Loo 11.1.1

        Didn’t we have an author just win the international Man-Booker prize?

      • tc 11.1.2

        Warners told their UK office years ago, get us another franchise like a Bond or we close you down. They found Harry Potter which saved them and kick started a UK industry renaissance.

        It’s all about the story and if it fits the movie exec’s ‘vision’ to get the funding and as for where it gets shot, and post production occurs that’s where the big egos get to play.

        PJ is PJ, one man does not an industry make but he can drag the post production back to wingnut from where ever he shoots as he’s at that big swinging donger level of the industry.

    • karol 11.2

      Actually the US screen writers guild is very powerful. You will note that the Tapert NZ productions didn’t secure any regular NZ screen writers, while Kiwis got a look in on most other areas of the productions.

      Jackson has had enough clout to include his own screen writers, from his own close associates – but few other Kiwi writers get a look in.

      Kiwis have scripted some pretty good movies and TV programmes over the years: Outrageous Fortune, Blue Rose, Boy, Whale Rider etc.

      The talent is there, they just need some breaks in the face of powerful US interests.

      • captain hook 11.2.1

        have to disagree there K. none of those movies were worth a tin of shit and I have to think of the chilean minears dying of lung disease mining silver for these nitwits to foist their inane versions of the world on the rest of us.

        • karol 11.2.1.1

          Well, I’m not sure what kind of movie you’re looking for. Those movies etc had pretty good writers. There’s a load of different movies and TV series in different genres and styles been made and written by Kiwis:

          Came a Hot Friday, In My Father’s Den, World’s Fastest Indian, Eagle vs Shark, Sione’s wedding, etc, etc.

          And talent there waiting for an opportunity.

        • Populuxe1 11.2.1.2

          Hmmm the majority would seem to disagree with you.

        • greywarbler 11.2.1.3

          Captain Hook
          Well apart from whirling the s..t around let’s have a look.
          The dopey ham thing like Adam Sandler has been done and the USA know how to go with that style.
          We need something imaginative and different – some will just catch the Cannes film festival prize but not become big public earners.
          Some will.
          The n there is the quirky NZ
          goodbye Pork Pie.? Boy?
          There are interesting Moari ones and someone I think Marty Mars was saying what about it. I saw Utu the other day and it was fascinating.
          There are things to show about the pakeha Maori culture clash which would be interesting and intriguing.
          Then there was the poignant story I heard of the Maori from a rangatira line who married a scummy Brit and her lands became part of his marriage settlement uner Brit law, and she lost them when the bum left her and probably went gold hunting in Australia. That would be dramatic.

          There are bright people falling over themselves to make stuff. In the film festivals there are collection of shorts and lots of people serve their apprenticeships on those I think.
          Peter Jackson had an interesting time learning his trade from a young age.
          Just don’t sneer at everything Hook. We’ll send the crocodile after you. Blanch every time you hear tick tock. And for heaven’s sake take some large spoonfuls of physic and get over the NZ disease of putting everything and everybody down if they don’t come up to your finely tuned critical faculties.
          As a more celebrated NZr than you said ‘ We haven’t much money so we have to think hard.”

      • Mike S 11.2.2

        “You will note that the Tapert NZ productions didn’t secure any regular NZ screen writers”

        That’s because with guys like Steven DeKnight on board you don’t go looking for local screen writers.

  12. Philgwellington Wellington 12

    Xox
    Are we turning into South Caroline? Is it too late? I read Rodney Hyde saying that the absent vote at recent local body elections should be exercised by central government.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 12.1

      He would say that, only because nationals local show ponies arent having much electoral sucess.

  13. Tim 13

    This is actually quite a simple one.

    We have the skilled workforce, we have the facilities and we have the locations.

    What we don’t have is a competitive rebate. Ours stands at 15% while our competitors stand at 20-32%. Studios don’t care about unskilled labour, lack of infrastructure, proximity to train lines. They care about the budget, that’s all. Bumping the rebate to 25+% would save our film industry.

    The UK is booming, studio space is completely booked up. The market now is in the overflow. We can capture that.

    …either that or chuck an extra $50m annually at the film commission and make some loss making (but still good) kiwi films.

    • Mike S 13.1

      Rob Tapert told me a couple of years ago that once the NZ dollar gets over 74c US (I think that was the number) then he has to start thinking about filming elsewhere as it is no longer worthwhile financially to film here.

      The high dollar could be the reason Tapert’s (or Starz, can’t remember which ) Pirates TV series has been filmed in South Africa instead of here, why Hercules cancelled plans to film here and why Steven DeKnight’s new sci fi series Incursion won’t be filmed here to name a few.

  14. Tat Loo 14

    I’m usually pretty hesitant with solutions which say “shift this one lever from 15% to 25% or 30% and the problem will be solved”. In the real world issues are way more complex than that, and engaging in a race to the bottom of the barrel is not the way to go. What happens when some European country decides to offer 35% to 40% rebates? We get forced to go to 45% to 50% rebates? And so on.

    • McFlock 14.1

      exactly.

      Basically, the way to compete budget-wise is to have capabilities that other places don’t. An example is the computing power at Weta: at one stage it was once of the top-line high performance computing facilities in the world, and about the best set up for movies.

      So the studios lose money off the rebates, but gain on less production time to produce a better product.

      The $50mil chucked at the film commission is also a better idea than rebates – even if only a few of the directors who get their starts from it go on to bring hollywood productions back here, it still pays off (Peter Jackson springs to mind). And it keeps the skillsets current in NZ, for another Xena/Hercules/OnceWereWarriors export.

      • karol 14.1.1

        I actually think the big success story around Jackson productions is Weta workshops – and that is based in the developments of digital technologies. This indicates to me where NZ independent, and/or niche market screen productions should be looking. ie ties in with Labour and Greens focusing on “high end” smart production in NZ generally.

        Jackson has been very successful in negotiating with the Hollywood industry as a business, rather than as an “artiste”. This compares with the captain hook kind of focus above, which is more on the quality of creations and/or some sort of cultural values – ie it seems to me ch is looking for something other than either middle class and/or US Hollywood style productions.

        Developments in digital technologies, along with the increased capabilities for (computer based) VFX, made it possible to produce slick Hollywood productions in NZ. It also makes it increasingly possible for the production of various kinds of screen productions by and for Kiwis, at relatively low cost: from animations and gaming to TV series and movie productions.

        • shorts 14.1.1.1

          I think its flawed to have the primary goal to bring foreign productions here as the income stays offshore, we only get a cut of production costs – we should be looking to build up our own ability to tell compelling stories others want to see and producing it ourselves using our own talent (of which we have in abundance) – be it movies, games or whatever becomes the dominant entertainment form in the future

          To constantly compete for foreign business in a world where it is a race to the bottom in incentives will only see the local industry face crisis semi regularly

          Kiwi stories, kiwi made….

          • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1.1.1

            +1

            To constantly compete for foreign business in a world where it is a race to the bottom in incentives will only see the local industry face crisis semi regularly

            Almost precisely but that crisis will be ongoing.

      • Draco T Bastard 14.1.2

        Basically, the way to compete budget-wise is to have capabilities that other places don’t.

        We shouldn’t even be trying to compete to bring in the foreign corporations. We really can do it all here. We have the talent to do it.

        to bring hollywood productions back here

        Fuck the Hollywood productions – we’re not here to make foreign corporates richer. $500m per year funding direct from government to NZ on air to make blockbusters with the caveats:

        1.) Must use NZ authors
        2.) Must use NZ actors
        3.) Must use NZ sound and video production studios
        4.) NZ government gets a fairly large chunk of the proceeds from the sales

        The government would probably end up making a profit.

        • McFlock 14.1.2.1

          “Blockbusters” would only make a profit if they move offshore – the NZ movie market is barely the size of melbourne, let alone the US.

          So either way NZOA would need international production partners.

          • shorts 14.1.2.1.1

            not production partners – marketing and distribution channels, which as the entertainment world increasingly moves online for such the cost and networks, (and gatekeepers of), needed to do so decrease

            we can think outside of the current stagnating US centric models surely?

          • Draco T Bastard 14.1.2.1.2

            Nothing stopping us from distributing them worldwide.

            • shorts 14.1.2.1.2.1

              no not at all – however at least in the short term it is better to employ or license to existing channels, companies are hungry for “content” to champion and license and creators need access to audiences – distribution partnerships deliver both with local marketing expertise -everyone wins

        • BM 14.1.2.2

          I notice all your business ideas will always be a roaring success, it’s like they’re guaranteed not to fail.

          On a side note.
          Not quite sure how much profit the government will get with your make it then give it away for free business philosophy.

          • McFlock 14.1.2.2.1

            bit like national’s brighter future.

          • Draco T Bastard 14.1.2.2.2

            Not quite sure how much profit the government will get with your make it then give it away for free business philosophy.

            Actually, I’d make the opening and ending credits have a website mentioned where people can easily make payment.

            • BM 14.1.2.2.2.1

              Actually, I’d make the opening and ending credits have a website mentioned where people can easily make payment.

              ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
              …………………………………………………………
              …………………………………………………………
              …………………………………………………………

              ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

              You’re a funny guy, LOL

              • Draco T Bastard

                Seen those honesty boxes and tip jars in stores that most people put money into?

                Yeah, I think most people would actually pay.

                • McFlock

                  Have done already, in fact. Some damned good films have been crowdfunded.

                • Populuxe1

                  And do you know why people in the US have to live off their tips? Why, I do believe that might be something to with them not being paid properly for their work.

        • tc 14.1.2.3

          Onto it as always DTB.

          Oz has effectively run a quota system for many years in terms of on air content and where foreign interests can provide the talent. It also did well from the hollywood writers strike in terms of learning from the big boys and showing US that down under had benefits.

          Plenty of commercials have been pulled up for having insufficient Oz content, it generates local work, and helps grow the talent pool.

          People love a local product you just need to create the right environment. Many kiwi movies/TV do well because they are made here. I’ve seen plenty on that basis.

    • greywarbler 14.2

      Tat
      Ooh no. Others are doing something and if we are going to do something then they will do something more and we are into paralysis by analysis so we will sit here and whine and do nothing.

      • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1

        He’s right though. Making tax breaks to compete with other nations to bring in foreign movie producers is just a race to the bottom and one that we need to get out of as it will make us worse off.

        • Mike S 14.2.1.1

          I’m not sure about the tax breaks thing. For example, say the total payroll for 3.5 seasons of Spartacus was 90 million NZ dollars. That’s a lot of money over just a 3 year period being paid to the crew who were made up almost entirely of Kiwis. Tax will be paid on all that plus jobs for the crew plus they spend into local economy, etc, etc.

          If we said that the production company has to pay no tax at all, we still get the benefits of the series being produced here. If it is a series that is going to have a number of seasons of ongoing work then that is a huge plus. Does it matter that the government is not getting any direct tax out of the production company? The governments not really losing anything but there is a lot to gain.

          I’m not saying I think that productions should pay no tax, just throwing out some info. I can’t really see how giving tax breaks makes us worse off as without the production we wouldn’t be getting tax anyway.

          • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1.1.1

            If we said that the production company has to pay no tax at all, we still get the benefits of the series being produced here.

            I can’t really see how giving tax breaks makes us worse off as without the production we wouldn’t be getting tax anyway.

            If we just had NZAir funding production of a series that we could sell overseas then we’d get the benefits of the production and the sales. We don’t need productions from outside NZ.

            Does it matter that the government is not getting any direct tax out of the production company?

            Yes because it means that some people using our infrastructure aren’t paying their fair share and so taxes will have to go up on the rest of us.

            • Mike S 14.2.1.1.1.1

              People using our infrastructure? Such as what exactly? The vast majority of people employed on Tapert’s productions are Kiwis who pay income tax here and spend money here. The few foreign people who work on the production here use our roads, but they pay petrol tax, they use our power generators but they pay power bills (massive ones at that), No doubt they have health insurance to cover any unexpected medical costs, they use our sewerage system and pay for wastewater, etc,etc. I’m not sure what you mean by using our infrastructure and not paying their fair share. How would taxes on the rest of us go up due to Tapert filming TV series here?

              If by infrastructure you mean the crews, studios, etc? Without Tapert there would hardly be any experienced skilled crew and other than the studios out west, shows like spartacus were filmed in warehouses in MT Wellington which I assume were hired for a fee so hardly a drain on the taxpayer.

              I’d much rather have guys like Tapert bring money here and employ thousands than other foreign investors who simply buy property and the like, employ nobody, and send all profit offshore. Even the lowest paid on the crew rung on Spartacus were paid $20 an hour plus which is a bit better than the thousands of companies who pay workers the minimum wage.

          • Tat Loo 14.2.1.1.2

            Of course there is the economic rationale that getting something is better than getting nothing. It is also the mark of desperation, of holding your hat out to passing strangers in order to get by.

            Now, this is not necessarily av problem in of itself. But what’s the plan from there? What’s the plan to ensure that we only have to do this for a few years before we transition into being a much higher value provider?

            If there’s no plan to climb up, why assert a position for ourselves near the bottom of the rungs?

            • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1.1.2.1

              +1

            • Mike S 14.2.1.1.2.2

              Well, when someone like Rob Tapert comes along and spends 90 million dollars on the wage bill alone for Spartacus, just the latest in many years and years of employing thousands of Kiwis in many successful productions, all filmed here. I think hercules started filming in 1994 or thereabouts so he’s had ongoing productions filming here for nearly 20 years. There’s not that many NZ companies in any industry that have employed so many kiwis for such a sustained period. You could hardly call that the bottom rungs! He’s done more economically over a sustained long period for many ordinary kiwis than things such as America’s cup, bailed out finance companies, warner brothers, etc,etc which all received massive government funding.

              I can’t believe there are people commenting here that we don’t want guys like Mr Tapert bringing productions to NZ….

              • Tat Loo

                I’ve got no issue whatsoever with the good Mr Tapert. But we can also see that we’ve dropped the ball as a nation – from all those years of headstart, we know find ourselves with no local industry able to sustain itself, and are now scrambling to bring in the foreign dollars again at any cost.

                My question is not whether or not we welcome a future Mr Tapert. Of course. Yes we do. My question is: how do we use that as a springboard to create and sustain a local, independent, self sustaining industry?

                Coz we haven’t managed it thus far.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I suspect that you fail to understand what’s actually being said. We can bring in as much production from offshore as we want but that will never translate into an actual industry. To do that we need to develop our own TV shows and movies which we then sell offshore removing the need to bring in offshore production.

          • FastSage 14.2.1.1.3

            The current rebate (not tax break) is 15% – effectively ‘get your GST back.’ So that absolutely is a net benefit for NZ. We’re only loosing GST that we wouldn’t have got otherwise plus the jobs and local spending and any ‘multiplier spillover effects.’

            If it was raised to 25% I reckon it looks like NZ would still receive a net benefit.

            First we need the 25% to be on par with others to get us onto the shortlist, THEN all our other advantages (skills, tech, locations, attitude, easily altered labour laws…) kick in.

  15. greywarbler 15

    Perhaps a slight movement in that direction in the meantime without waiting to find the better system, sort of a holding action while we wait for the market?? We may wait for ever for that I know. But with the absence of any innovative thought from NACT a raise in subsidy might give us one more movie, one more blood transfusion.

    • karol 15.1

      I actually agree with John Key, when he said a while back that there are more possibilities in (international) TV series here. They provide the bread and butter that keeps an industry turning over (ditto for the computer/digital game productions). It keeps people up-skilled, and helps them to maintain and update the technologies they need to keep on producing stuff.

      But I also think that maybe it’s now a turning point for NZ: maybe concentrate more on local productions, plus on some co-productions with Aussie and some South East Asian countries – that includes for entertainment productions and documentaries with a reasonably popular appeal.

  16. Vanessa 16

    I believe that the Damage to our flailing Industry has been caused by Frankenstein that I see many continually overlook and never consider as one of the main reasons life is difficult in present times. And 1 devil that we know. The ‘Devil we know’ is of course our wise and caring National Govt. There’s a saying in the Film Industry “When National is in the Film Industry Suffers”, the same can’t be said about Labour. Some of us had the best run of work and consistent projects ever whilst Labour was in. But most effective and foremost is the never ending; Recession. Almost everyone I know seems to completely overlook this fact of present day life. The Recession is at the top of the list when it comes to bringing the world to its knees.
    More close to home, one could assume that the merge of the Australian and NZ Actors Equity would have something to do with the lack of work for actors here. I might agree with that, if there was ongoing work for the actors to squabble over. But the fact is there are a minimal amount of films being made here and that includes off shore projects, for any actors to be hired on.
    One could also assume that the decision to change tax policy (whether we liked it or not) that National made, in order to give Warner Bros a tax break at the request of PJ, so Warner Bros would come here to make the Hobbit, has had a negative effect on the Film Industry here. But I again don’t think that’s had a major effect on our film Ind, because the money wouldn’t have gone back into the Film Industry anyway. No I’ll go back to re iterating the 2 major hits that are immediately effecting us is, The Recession and the National Government……with its ignored lack of support on all levels.

    • karol 16.1

      Interesting observations, thanks Vanessa.

      As both National and Labour have provided some incentives to off-shore productions being filmed in NZ, what sort of things does Labour do to support the industry, that aren’t usually done under Labour.

      It’s not just that we are in a (temporary) recession, but that the whole direction of the global economy is changing in the long term. So I think a change in approach is needed. I think that support of NZ produced screen productions, in all their forms, might be a way forward. This includes a substantial public service TV, and the use of various kinds of digital technologies/platforms. The old, “thinking smart” rather than thinking US style/dominated BIG.

  17. Ad 17

    To me the difference in the economic performance of the screen industry relies not so much within tax breaks but within leadership.

    I headrd Joyce on National Radio today, and he made a clear case that they had given industry players a lot of cash and tax breaks and labour reform to support the industry. It’s not everything, granted, but the deals they landed are big and lumpy.

    It’s also clear in Auckland that the film studios that the old Waitkaere City Council formed and partnered up are not working much at all.

    What we are missing is a layer of public sector leadership – either Mayors or Ministers – who are prepared to promote such an industry hard. The Waitakere studios and indeed the entire screen industry of Auckland prospered when we had a Mayor in Sir Bob Harvey and a PM who were prepared to tout to Hollywood and Bollywood (and China and Korea) together. Massive and long term deals continued to roll out for nearly a decade.

    Central government, from the perspective of overseas film investment, has worked reasonably hard for them. Local government in Auckland, not so much.

    We don’t appear to have ATEED working effectively to bring in the overseas deals either – or there would be results.

    It’s a notoriously fickle and fashion-driven industry, but with our sustained international screen manufacturing profile there’s clearly something missing. In my view it’s not tax breaks primarily, but leadership that’s missing. The Mayor of Auckland appears again missing in action.

    • FastSage 17.1

      Joyce and Finlayson wasted two years conducting a Screen Sector Review to review these things, which finally reported back in July.

      I also heard Joyce on Morning Report this morning, and he mentioned officials are ‘working on new ideas so we create original IP in NZ.’ He’s had two years to think about this already, and changed nothing. NZOA’s mandate is NZ stories for NZ audiences, and Film Commission are mandated to tell NZ stories (which occassionally do well overseas when they’re great stories). As far as I know there is no international audience IP development funding in NZ.

      If incentives are a “race to the bottom” (Joyce’s words) when are we going to start the “race to the top” (fund riskier original IP)?

  18. Sable 18

    The reality is the film industry in NZ is to a lesser or greater degree, a curiosity and little more. The reality is big corporations who finance these productions go where they can make the most money. Canada has been useful for television in particular but with the global economy still in the toilet they will look for the cheapest locations possible and that does not mean NZ.

    NZ is not the cheap, affordable country it used to be and that’s down to persistent screw ups and corruption by both Labour and National governments over the years. Regressive taxation is rampant, the food industry here is in real terms an oligopoly and housing prices have been artificially inflated by foreign investment.

    All of this and more conspires against companies setting up shop here and staying over the longer term.

  19. Tracey 19

    Captain hook

    read the luminaries. You are in for a pleasant surprise. I dont usually buy award winning books but I have this one.

    reader warning: contains real englush as opposed to textified street speak.

  20. Lloyd 20

    Steven Joyce hasn’t pulled in new movies and he’s wrong about the trains – see http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/10/23/steven-joyce-claims-its-the-trains-fault/

  21. Possum 21

    Unfortunately, we are in a perfect storm of both a decline in the TV, Advertising and Film industry. Spartacus’s ending, and not being replaced by another big budget US series has been a real blow for the industry in Auckland. This has in part being caused by the strong US dollar, which has also scared off other overseas films and overseas advert shoots. The other problem is that TV channels are only spending small amounts on money on programmes not funded by NZ on Air. Sadly, because these programmes are commissioned purely on their ability to maintain a primetime audience, the programmes are increasingly commercial and often very bland in nature. (Look at how few programmes that say anything about politics, science or are in anyway educational are made here) NZ on Air has thus had to forgo its original mandate to fund only programmes that wouldn’t normally be funded – and fund programmes that are totally commercial, even to the point of funding overseas format shows like X Factor and NZ’s Got Talent. We have also got to the absolute dire situation where NZ on Air is now expected to fund current affairs talk shows on TV1 and TV3. To me this shows a pretty strong need to have a public service channel making and showing NZ content. The elephant in the room – not mentioned here is Sky of course. They provide a very good service not doubt, but they also suck enormous amounts of money out of the public while not making any local content of note. (Not counting the hugely subversive sport jock parody Deaker on Sport). In most countries there is some requirement for the cable channels to make local content. I worked out that in 1976 rates we paid the equivalent of $360 in a broadcasting license fee per household. Today, we pay about $90 per household for NZ on Air (which pays for national radio and concert radio and some TV) and Maori TV Service. But NZ household’s are paying on average $600 per year to Sky. Are we getting the NZ television we want?

    • karol 21.1

      You make some excellent points here, Possum.

      This:
      To me this shows a pretty strong need to have a public service channel making and showing NZ content.

      Yes. That’s one strand of what is needed, coupled with funding for straight web productions and funding for innovative NZ Intellectual product. The latter can be sold to niche markets overseas at times.

      In most countries there is some requirement for the cable channels to make local content.

      Yes there needs to be some sort of regulation to promote/prioritise NZ-made and focused content.

      And this:

      Today, we pay about $90 per household for NZ on Air (which pays for national radio and concert radio and some TV) and Maori TV Service. But NZ household’s are paying on average $600 per year to Sky. Are we getting the NZ television we want?

      The argument against a TV/Radio license was that people were paying it and not watching/listening to state supported stations/channels.

      It is possible to draw funds by putting levies on production and/or delivery of content.

      Peter Thompson reckons it would only be a small amount of dollars (I think maybe a couple of dollars per NZ household per month to fund public service TV & radio.

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    You’ve no doubt heard of the issues surrounding the newly released iPhone 6, but do […] The post Smartphones are meant to bend appeared first on Connected....
    Potentia | 30-10
  • Tea Party takes on “President Obola”
    OK, so this happened: Theatricality is one of the best ways to shake the sleepwalking public awake. One brave liberty advocate made a bold statement when he donned a Hazmat suit and an Obama mask, and took to the president’s...
    Polity | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said.  Photo:  ...
    CTU | 30-10
  • Herald vs Hosking-in-Herald on teabreaks
    The New Zealand Herald editorial today is distinctly unimpressed with the government’s decision to remove mandated tea breaks for workers: It is a pity that almost the first legislative act of the Government's new term is an act abolishing mandatory...
    Polity | 30-10
  • Forest Safety report first step in making our forests safe to work in
    Our forests are a very dangerous place to work. Between 2008 and 2013 there have been 32 fatalities and more than a thousand serious harm incidents in this industry. The Council of Trade Unions and First union have been doing...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • Ghost Dancing?
    Ghost Dancing circa 1890: With the buffalo effectively exterminated, the material basis for the Native American cultures of the Great Plains was destroyed. The Ghost Dance, it was believed, would reconstitute the basis for an independent indigenous existence. Has the...
    Bowalley Road | 30-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Way back in March, 2012,  I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18...
    Frankly Speaking | 30-10
  • WINZ: Bureaucratic Befuddlement and Confustication
    Yeah, I know. Confusticate isn’t a word, unless you’re quoting Urban Dictionary. Definition: This word is the coalescing of the English words “confuse” and “complicate”. It refers to anything of, or relating to the process of being both confused and...
    On the Left | 30-10
  • The idiot
    Here’s why this Steffan Browning/Ebola/Homeopathy thing is a really big deal for the Green Party. (a) Historically they’ve been stereotyped by their opponents as a bunch of nutters (b) The main focus of the party for the past five years –...
    DimPost | 30-10
  • The idiot
    Here’s why this Steffan Browning/Ebola/Homeopathy thing is a really big deal for the Green Party. (a) Historically they’ve been stereotyped by their opponents as a bunch of nutters (b) The main focus of the party for the past five years –...
    DimPost | 30-10
  • Climate change and New Zealand cities
    Environmentalists sometimes have an uneasy relationship with cities. Because they concentrate a lot of people and economic activity in relatively small places, they also concentrate a lot of negative environmental effects. All that concrete, all that energy being consumed, the...
    Transport Blog | 30-10
  • Got a mystery? Just ask John!
    Tuesday, November 24, 2009John Key has learned the identity of the entertainer guilty of an indecency charge through the grapevine of people circumventing the suppression order....
    Pundit | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD....
    CTU | 30-10
  • Blocked
    It is safe to say before the election last month I was fairly prolific in the blogosphere as we headed to an election. Was it because there was a glimmer of hope for we on this side of the coin?...
    My Thinks | 30-10
  • Blend with the Bruntletts Group Ride
    While Vancourerites Chris and Melissa Bruntlett are here for their Auckland Conversation talk, Generation Zero, Frocks on Bikes and TransportBlog have organised a slow, family friendly ride around the city centre. The map is below. The ride is designed to be self-directed so...
    Transport Blog | 30-10
  • Rawshark – Is she Maori or Pakeha?
    Cameron Slater blamed someone for being behind the hacking of his emails and passing them on to Nicky Hager. And then he named someone he thought was Rawshark. John Key says someone told him who Rawshark is but he ain’t telling. @B3nRaching3r is...
    Te Putatara | 30-10
  • Employment law: it’s toasted
    In an early episode of Mad Men, when the company’s going for the Lucky Strike account, sleazebag antihero Don Draper asks the client exactly how cigarettes are made. They talk through the process, mentioning the tobacco is toasted – and...
    On the Left | 30-10
  • Owners of the wind
    Thirty-odd years ago in the Kingdom of Denmark lived some brave people who disliked nuclear power and loved renewable energy. Determined to keep their country clean and safe, they began building their own wind turbines. Today, thanks to these passionate...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • TPPA Bulletin #58
    NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014 Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Levin,Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin,Invercargill. REGIONAL UPDATES Auckland (1:00 pm at Aotea Square): speakers include Robyn Malcolm (Actors Equity), Bunny McDiarmid (Greenpeace), Dayle Takitimu...
    NZ – Not for sale | 30-10
  • Seabed mining: drums in the deep
    Out on the Chatham Rise, the ridge jutting into the waters off Christchurch and extending out beyond the Chathams, Chatham Rock Phosphate has a mining permit and is now seeking EPA approval for its project to mine phosphate for fertiliser,...
    Pundit | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today.“Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so again...
    CTU | 30-10
  • An unmanaged conflict
    Katherine Rich is a member of the government-appointed Health Promotion Agency, responsible for (as it says on its website) "inspiring all New Zealanders to lead healthier lives". Katherine Rich is also Chief Executive of the New Zealand Food and Grocery...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • Robert Fisk
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • A stretch
    This morning the Herald revealed that Kim Dotcom had been convicted and fined for dangerous driving in 2009, but had not declared it on his application for residency. Immigration is now talking about deporting him. So, this is what we...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • Tauranga port happy to take the money – but not happy to accept responsib...
    Comments from a Port of Tauranga manager about deaths and injuries in their port during a Radio New Zealand interview are unacceptable....
    MUNZ | 30-10
  • New Ebola Toys for Xmas. Yay?
    From the "too soon?" file, here are two oddly successful exercises in niche marketing. First, the molecularly-sort-of-correct ebola plush toy. Apparently it has sold out: And, of course, the sexy ebola nurse outfit: Ebola, as everyone knows, ignores cleavage. And...
    Polity | 30-10
  • Temporary, discriminatory and an admission of Faliure
    The PM says that the legislation his government proposes to pass under urgency allowing for the confiscation of passports of NZ citizens in order to combat the threat of returning foreign fighters will be “tightly focused” on those traveling to...
    Kiwipolitico | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • Experiment-gate update
    Readers may recall the saga around an experimental mailer some Stanford / Dartmouth researchers sent into the state of Montana. In a randomised trial, it provided voters with some added information about two candidates running for a judicial election, and...
    Polity | 30-10
  • Why are our Politicians Auckland Toll Chickens?
    Yesterday both the National Government and Green Party opposed the suggestion to place a toll on Auckland’s roads, but for completely different reasons. The Government opposes it because they see it as a new tax. The Greens because they would...
    Gareth’s World | 29-10
  • The obvious question
    John Key says he knows who the hacker Rawshark is. So, will the police be raiding his home for ten hours and taking all his data, or is that something they only do to enemies of the National Party?...
    No Right Turn | 29-10
  • Guest post: Living with a criminal conviction
    What happens when one moment of bad judgement changes everything anyone ever thinks about you? Mike Jones* used a weapon to defend his girlfriend from an aggressive man at a party seven years ago. He’s still paying for that choice....
    On the Left | 29-10
  • James Shaw speaks on the four Bills formerly known as the Accounting Infras...
    The assurance industry is a critical component of our economic framework. The idea that there is a trusted independent watchdog of the public interest underpins investor confidence and ensures financial probity on behalf of our country's leading institutions. New Zealand...
    Greens | 31-10
  • ANZ needs to look after its workers after another super profit
    The ANZ bank needs to acknowledge the super profits it makes are coming at the expense of its workers, the Green Party said today.Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) 2014 full year results show a lift in performance...
    Greens | 31-10
  • James Shaw’s maiden speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • National’s “Auckland housing boom” a fizzer
    Falling Auckland consent numbers show the Government’s housing policy is going backwards contrary to wild claims by Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith that we are on the cusp of a massive construction boom, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Local job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Zero tolerance for forestry accidents a must
    The Government must adopt a zero tolerance approach to workplace accidents in the forestry sector to stop people being killed, Labour’s Forestry spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It is time for the Government and the forestry sector to put an end...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Return to less holidays on the cards?
    John Key needs to lay his cards on the table regarding the Government’s intentions around holiday pay and annual leave entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “A day after National pushed through laws that take away the legal...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Forest Safety report first step in making our forests safe to work in
    Our forests are a very dangerous place to work. Between 2008 and 2013 there have been 32 fatalities and more than a thousand serious harm incidents in this industry. The Council of Trade Unions and First union have been doing...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Catherine Delahunty Speaks on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill
    Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. He mihi nui ki te Whare Paremata. Welcome to the glorious 19th century, dressed up in the not-so-new flexibility-speak. At the final moment of this bill, let us drop the charade. The Government has a...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Ruataniwha Feds refuse to present a balanced view
    A bid to sell the Ruataniwha water project to Hawkes Bay farmers has turned in to an incredibly one sided affair, says Labours spokesperson on Water Meka Whaitiri.  “It’s being promoted as ‘Ruataniwha it’s now or never’ and it promises...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Worker’s rights dealt severe blow with Bill’s passing
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is another blow to workers' rights in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.This afternoon, National's Employment Relations Amendment Bill passed with the support of Act and United Future."This bill will force...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Barriers to reporting sex crimes must go
    Both the Government and police need to take action to ensure that, in future, sexual abuse victims know they will be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “The young women involved in the Roast Busters case, and...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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