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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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    Open Parachute | 17-09
  • Key admits the GCSB has broken the law
    When on Monday Edward Snowden alleged that New Zealand data was held in the NSA's XKEYSCORE database, and that the GCSB had access to it, Key refused to comment. Now he's come clean and admitted that Snowden "may well be...
    No Right Turn | 17-09
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #38A
    $1 Trillion: Annual investment goal puts climate solutions within reach Big firms brace for global carbon price rollout China, the climate and the fate of the planet Climate change report: prevent damage by overhauling global economy Does the new Prime...
    Skeptical Science | 17-09
  • Key declassified secret information in error
    It was unprecedented to see the Prime Minister, John Key, release sensitive information concerning a spying tool called CORTEX simply to bolster his claim that there was no mass surveillance in New Zealand. At the time, some very experienced commentators exclaimed...
    The Jackal | 17-09
  • Politicians not experts on transport – Why trust them to make smart decis...
    Transport has been one of the big dividing lines between the parties in this election. How is a voter supposed to make an informed decision? Given the current state of public information, they can’t. On one hand we have the...
    Gareth’s World | 17-09
  • National plans to cut numbers by 25%
    The National Party has today announced plans to cut all numbers by 25 per cent....
    Imperator Fish | 17-09
  • The Pullman Hotel – Pulled into line?
    Greetings from Barcelona, where I’m currently winding up a 3 week European holiday that has also taken me to Amsterdam, Paris, and Porto. But my thoughts on those cities will have to wait for another day, because right now I want to engage in some bloated,...
    Transport Blog | 17-09
  • Taking a stand against dirty politics
    A month ago, Nicky Hager published Dirty Politics, and set this election on fire. Today, over 2,100 people took a stand against the dirty politics he revealed, through a crowdfunded full-page ad in the Herald (Image stolen from @DirtyPoliticsNZ) Collectively,...
    No Right Turn | 17-09
  • Revealed: Which parties will do the most to reduce New Zealand’s growing ...
    The Equality Network, a group of New Zealand organisations dedicated to reducing inequality, is today releasing a rating of political parties and their policies on tackling income gaps The ratings reveal the Greens out in front, with a rating of...
    Closing the Gap | 16-09
  • New Fisk
    Islamic State: Assad lures Obama into his web...
    No Right Turn | 16-09
  • Fiji votes
    Fijians are heading to the polls today in the first elections since the 2006 coup. Good - Fiji deserves an elected government, not an unelected dictator. But the dictator is fighting hard to stop it. There's the weird ballot paper...
    No Right Turn | 16-09
  • John Key’s Top 69 Lies: Today no. 3 – GCSB mass surveillance would take...
     John Key defends the GCSB bill  “If GCSB this afternoon, were to decide they’re going to listen to every phone call, and read every txt message in New Zealand, do you know how many people that would take? A hundred...
    Arch Rival | 16-09
  • Hard News: Interview: Glenn Greenwald
    I was offered an interview with Glenn Greenwald yesterday in the wake of his appearance at the Moment of Truth event. What follows is the transcript of that interview. It covers both the specifics of what he reported at the...
    Public Address | 16-09
  • Great family policy from the Greens
    I’m not just saying this because I suggested exactly this policy three months ago on Twitter, though it is always satisfying to see great minds thinking alike! The Greens’ Welcome Pack for newborn babies is modelled on Finnish baby boxes...
    Boots Theory | 16-09
  • Sell your house privately in New Zealand – the book.
    Over at 200 Square we help people sell their house by using the latest internet tools, and avoiding expensive print and high agent overheads like fancy offices. Our licensed real estate agents  to the wheeling and dealing for clients, and are very...
    Lance Wiggs | 16-09
  • Population-weighted densities in New Zealand and Australia
    Urban population density is a hot topic – some people complain that it’s getting too high in Auckland, while others worry that it’s too low to get the urban outcomes we want. Either way, density matters – it can have...
    Transport Blog | 16-09
  • Access: Disability: Election Promises for the 24%
    In the latest census 24% of the population were identified as disabled, that is 1.1 million people New Zealanders. Many of those are older people with physical impairments, but for young people learning disability is the most common. Then there...
    Public Address | 16-09
  • Speaker: The plan against the rebuild
    There is a great deal of ruin in a city, to paraphrase Adam Smith’s calm reply to those heralding the doom of Britain after the battle of Saratoga. In other words, it takes a lot to really wreck either a...
    Public Address | 16-09
  • A conspiracy theory too far
    Just over a month ago, the Prime Minister of New Zealand claimed that an award-winning writer was nothing more than a "screaming left-wing conspiracy theorist" and in so doing hoped to dismiss all his exceptional work that documents the National...
    The Jackal | 16-09
  • Attack! Attack!! Attack!!!!
    We’ve had several weeks now since the release of Dirty Politics and just as we thought it might be dying down as our lords and masters in the mainstream media decided followed National’s argument and moved on to reporting about...
    My Thinks | 16-09
  • TPPA a Sellout to American Corporate Greed
    Press Release – Internet MANA New Zealand will become a permanent prisoner to the United States greed and global arrogance if the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) isnt stopped, warns Internet MANA.MEDIA RELEASESeptember 17, 2014 TPPA a Sellout to American Corporate...
    Its our future | 16-09
  • 2014 Party Gender Balance
    Out of interest I have looked at each party's list rankings and worked the ratio and percentage of women who would be elected if they got the best possible vote. I compared the parties on the so called 'left' and...
    Local Bodies | 16-09
  • Katherine Rich – resign!
    . I reprint the following from the Herald, in full, as I believe it tells the story better than I could;  . I don’t usually write columns about politics but I’m going to talk about smear campaigns and conflict because...
    Frankly Speaking | 16-09
  • Katherine Rich – resign!
    . I reprint the following from the Herald, in full, as I believe it tells the story better than I could;  . I don’t usually write columns about politics but I’m going to talk about smear campaigns and conflict because...
    Frankly Speaking | 16-09
  • Gordon Campbell on first time voting (centre right)
    For the next two days, I’m turning my column over to two guest columnists who are first time voters. I’ve asked them to explain why they were voting, for whom and what role they thought their parental upbringing had played...
    Gordon Campbell | 16-09
  • It’s time for Key to go!
    Key – it’s time to resign! .   .   John Key is no longer fit to lead this country. Sign the petition. Tell him it’s time to go! Sign Here . . = fs =Filed under: The Body Politic...
    Frankly Speaking | 16-09
  • It’s time for Key to go!
    Key – it’s time to resign! .   .   John Key is no longer fit to lead this country. Sign the petition. Tell him it’s time to go! Sign Here . . = fs =Filed under: The Body Politic...
    Frankly Speaking | 16-09
  • Think of these things: whence you came; where you are going; and to whom yo...
    I gave the ODT my thoughts on "The Moment of Truth" event last night - the tl;dr of which is that there are some important questions about the issue of data collection and surveillance to be addressed, but that the...
    Pundit | 16-09
  • Political joke of the week…
    . NEWSFLASH: Dotcom email almost certainly a fake, says handwriting expert hired by the National party!   . . = fs =Filed under: On A Lighter Note, The Body Politic Tagged: Dear Leader lies through his teeth, GCSB, Hollywood, Kim...
    Frankly Speaking | 16-09
  • Political joke of the week…
    . NEWSFLASH: Dotcom email almost certainly a fake, says handwriting expert hired by the National party!   . . = fs =Filed under: On A Lighter Note, The Body Politic Tagged: Dear Leader lies through his teeth, GCSB, Hollywood, Kim...
    Frankly Speaking | 16-09
  • Certain Arctic lakes store more greenhouse gases than they release
    This is a re-post of an NSF press release New research, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), counters a widely-held scientific view that thawing permafrost uniformly accelerates atmospheric warming, indicating instead that certain Arctic lakes store more greenhouse gases...
    Skeptical Science | 16-09
  • A Working Majority
    Constitutional Guardian: Only the person who can assure the Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, that he or she commands a majority on the floor of the House of Representatives has the right to assume the office of Prime Minister. If John...
    Bowalley Road | 16-09
  • Stuart’s 100 #27 Civic Uses for a Civic Asset
    27: Civic Uses for a Civic Asset What if we found better uses for the old Beach Road Rail Station? Continuing the series on forgotten and under-utilised spaces in the city, some of them, like the former Beach Road Railway...
    Transport Blog | 16-09
  • A Matter of Simple Logic
    One of the few journalists to do his job properly over the course of the dirty politics scandal has been Guyon Espiner. He has, without in any way breaching his duty of impartiality, seen it as his responsibility on Morning...
    Bryan Gould | 16-09
  • Eminem Publishers Sue New Zealand National Party
    Ha! Those of us who thought, Gee, that sounds pretty close to Eminem … Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? - P h/t: Radio NZ’s Chris Bramwell...
    The Paepae | 16-09
  • Aussie Liberals embroiled in Key campaign
    John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says....
    Labour | 17-09
  • The MANA Plan for Beneficiaries and Income in Waiariki
    Median Personal Income for Waiariki is $21,700. Over 13,000 Maori who live in Waiariki rely upon a form of government benefit including the Unemployment Benefit, Sickness Benefit, Domestic Purpose Benefit and the Invalids Benefit. “If you’re lucky enough to have...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Māori development crucial to New Zealand’s future
    Labour recognises the concern of Māori about child poverty and the rising costs of living, and in Government will make a real difference to the wellbeing of whānau and iwi, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “As our Māori...
    Labour | 16-09
  • MAORI PARTY – DON’T COMPLAIN … WALK
    “If the Maori Party are serious about stopping government spying on NZ citizens then they should tell the Prime Minister to either stop doing it or they will walk away” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, on...
    Mana | 16-09
  • JOHN KEY SUPPORTING LABOUR
    “There is something really sick about a National Party Prime Minister coming out in support of a Labour candidate” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira, after hearing that John Key is urging voters to back Labour in...
    Mana | 16-09
  • SHUT DOWN THIS GOVT NOT KAITI WINZ – Nikora
    “I’m going to make it as hard for you to get help as I can” is Paula Bennett’s message to the people of Kaiti  said MANA candidate Te Hāmua Nikora today in response to the news that National will close...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Winegums make for better polling – Harawira
    I wanted to laugh when I saw the Native Affairs poll the other night (Hone Harawira 38%, Kelvin Davis 37%) because it was almost the same as the one they did back in 2011”, said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau...
    Mana | 16-09
  • The Leadership of MTS Lied – Harawira
    “Normally I’m happy to tell people that I was right but when I received the news about the staff cuts at Maori Television, I had nothing but sympathy for the three Maori media leaders who are going to be made...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Privileges Complaint Laid against Prime Minister – Harawira
    MANA Movement Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has today lodged a Privileges Complaint with the Speaker regarding the Prime Ministers denials in parliament that he knew anything about Kim Dotcom before 2012. “Information made public today appears...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Sharples’ new appointments are out of order
    The new appointments to the Waitangi Tribunal announced by Dr Pita Sharples this morning are completely out of order given the election is just five days away, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “This Government continues to show disdain...
    Labour | 15-09
  • MANA Movement Housing Policy
    “When families are living in cars, garages, cockroach-infested caravans and three families to a house then we have a housing crisis”, said MANA leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira. “When you have a housing crisis for low-income...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Bigger than the Foreshore and Seabed – Sykes
    “Over the past week I have received some disturbing information that has led myself and a number of Maori lawyers to conclude that this National - Maori Party - ACT and United Future Government are going to put an end to both...
    Mana | 14-09
  • MANA wants Te Reo Māori petition fulfilled
    Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki Te Hāmua Nikora, MANA candidate for Ikaroa Rāwhiti  “More than four decades have passed and the petition calling for Te Reo Māori in schools...
    Mana | 14-09
  • Primary focus on the critical issues
    A Labour Government will prioritise New Zealand’s agricultural sectors by recreating a Rural Affairs Minister and appointing a Primary Industry Council and a Chief Agricultural Adviser. Releasing Labour’s Primary Sector and Rural Affairs policies today, spokesperson Damien O’Connor says the...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Maori Television fears confirmed – Harawira
    ...
    Mana | 12-09
  • More ghost houses from National
    The Government’s desperate pre-election announcement of more ghost houses won’t fool Aucklanders wanting action on the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “These are ghost houses, to go with National’s ghost tax cut. Families cannot live in ghost...
    Labour | 12-09
  • National bows to union pressure over travel time
    National has reluctantly bowed to pressure from unions and adopted Labour’s fair and sensible policy to pay home support workers for the time they spend traveling between clients, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “This decision is long overdue...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Predators on Poverty – Harawira
    “As poverty has ballooned out of control, the Predators on Poverty have emerged to suck the lifeblood from whole families and communities” said MANA Movement leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “They are deliberately targeting low-income areas, particularly those...
    Mana | 11-09
  • MANA Movement Policy Launch
    Predators on Poverty (pokie machines, alcohol outlets and loan sharks) 1pm, Thursday 11th September Corner Great South Road and Criterion Street Otahuhu Shopping Centre...
    Mana | 10-09
  • Eliminating Poverty – Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, Otara | Internet MAN...
    A campaign to Eliminate Poverty, Feed the Kids, build more houses, and create thousands of new jobs, was outlined by Internet MANA at a public meeting in Otara this evening. When MANA and the Internet Party first sat down to...
    Mana | 09-09
  • Housing in Waiariki – Sykes
    Fact:  Under this National-Maori Party-ACT-United Future Government 61% of Maori in Waiariki do not own their own home and nearly 70% of Maori rentals in Waiariki pay $200 or more per week. “Maori in Waiariki have low rates of home ownership...
    Mana | 09-09
  • Charter school crisis shows time to axe costly experiment
    Dysfunction from day one at a Northland charter school shows it is time to dump this costly and failed experiment by the National-ACT Government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru received $27,000 in government funding...
    Labour | 08-09
  • Labour will crack down on loan sharks
    A Labour Government will crack down on predatory loan sharks by making it illegal both to charge exorbitant interest rates and to exploit uninformed borrowers, Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson Carol Beaumont says. Labour today released its Consumer Affairs policy which...
    Labour | 08-09
  • Let’s do the FEED before the weed
    “Last week I put out a very strongly worded email to my colleagues about an online promotion about cannabis law reform” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira “and I stand by that criticism today.” My concern was...
    Mana | 08-09
  • TE KAEA and NATIVE AFFAIRS live to fight another day
    “I understand that both the chair of the Board of Maori Television, Georgina Te Heuheu, and new CEO, Paora Maxwell, are now saying that my comments this morning about their plans to cut Te Kaea and Native Affairs, were wrong, and that...
    Mana | 08-09
  • How come the PM only pays 2.8% of his income in tax – Harawira
    “Before John Key talks about the piddling tax cuts he plans for low and middle income families today he needs to explain why he only pays 2.8% of his income on tax while a minimum wage worker pays 28% tax,”...
    Mana | 07-09
  • THE DEATH OF INDEPENDENCE FOR MAORI TV
    “If what I’m hearing is true, tomorrow Maori Television Service (MTS) will dump its news programme, Te Kaea, and staff will lose their jobs” said MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira “and the Minister of Maori...
    Mana | 07-09
  • Labour recommits to Pike River families
    An incoming Labour-led government will do everything possible to recover the bodies of the Pike River Miners and return them to their families, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “This tragedy and its aftermath has left the families of the 29...
    Labour | 06-09
  • Voting has started and still no tax plan or fiscal budget for voters to see
    "Even though voting for the election has already begun, National still refuses to provide any details of its proposed tax cuts. And Bill English admitted this morning that he won’t provide any specifics until after the election", Labour’s Finance spokesperson...
    Labour | 06-09
  • National’s partners’ tax plans cost at least $42 billion
    If National forms the next government its partners’ tax plans will cost the country at least $42 billion, and maybe as much as $50 billion, wreaking havoc with the books, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National claims to be...
    Labour | 05-09
  • Labour: Providing more opportunities for young Kiwis
    A Labour Government will ensure every young Kiwi under the age of 20 is given the opportunity to be in work, education or training, and plans to develop a conservation apprenticeship scheme to help do that, Labour’s Youth Affairs spokesperson...
    Labour | 04-09
  • Candles out on teachers’ slice of birthday cake
    Today may be Novopay’s second birthday, but there’s little to celebrate, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Novopay has cost the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars already, and the cost is still climbing....
    Labour | 04-09
  • National’s blatant broadband pork barrelling misses the mark by a country...
    National’s blatant pork-barrelling ICT announcement today should reinforce a growing sceptical electorate’s view that they are all about the gift wrap and not the present, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Instead of addressing the real issues - the woeful...
    Labour | 04-09
  • More evidence of the need to clean up the system
    The latest release of emails and messages between disgraced Minister Judith Collins and blogger Cameron Slater are more evidence of the urgent need to clean up politics, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. "This new evidence confirms a near constant flow...
    Labour | 04-09
  • Labour commits to stable funding for voluntary sector
    A Labour Government will establish long-term funding and streamline contract accountability for community and voluntary groups, says Labour’s spokesperson for the sector Louisa Wall. Announcing Labour’s policy for the community and voluntary sector, she said this would give much greater...
    Labour | 04-09
  • Better trained and skilled workforce under Labour
    Labour is committed to a skilled workforce that benefits businesses as well as their workers, and will increase workplace training to improve productivity and drive innovation, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Labour believes the Government should support New Zealanders into...
    Labour | 03-09
  • Labour will make renting a better option
    Labour will provide greater security of tenure for renters, and build more state and social housing, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Labour believes every kid deserves a decent start in life. That means a warm, dry and secure home....
    Labour | 03-09
  • At least 15 new taxes under National
    John Key is the last person to talk about creating taxes, presiding over a Government that has imposed at least 15 new taxes, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “John Key tried a novel line in the debate last night claiming...
    Labour | 03-09
  • Labour will strengthen New Zealand’s democracy
    A Labour Government will act quickly to protect and enhance New Zealand’s reputation as one of the most open and least corrupt countries in the world, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “The health of any democracy is improved by greater...
    Labour | 02-09
  • MANA Movement says tax cut on GST must be first priority – Minto
    “If Prime Minister John Key has money available for tax cuts then cutting GST must be the first priority”,  said MANA Movement Economic Justice Spokesperson John Minto. GST is a nasty tax on low-income families”, said Minto. “People in the...
    Mana | 02-09
  • The Maori Party’s Mana-Enhancing Relationship with National – Minto
    “First we had Cameron Slater and David Farrar backing Labour’s Kelvin Davis bid to unseat MANA Movement Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira.  Now we have Slater writing a pro-Te Ururoa Flavell article on his website, Whale...
    Mana | 02-09
  • There’s Only One Poll That Counts
    “One of the oldest sayings in politics is that there is only one poll that counts – the one on Election Day – and that’s the one that I am focusing on” remarked the MANA Movement candidate for Waiariki, Annette...
    Mana | 02-09
  • Local communities critical to Civil Defence
    Labour will focus on empowering New Zealand communities to be resilient in Civil Defence disasters, says Labour’s Civil Defence spokesperson Clare Curran. Announcing Labour’s Civil Defence policy, she says that Labour will work with schools, voluntary agencies and community groups...
    Labour | 02-09
  • Labour looks to long-life passports, gambling harm review
    A return to 10 year passports and a review of gambling laws are highlights of Labour’s Internal Affairs policy released today. “More than 15,000 New Zealanders signed a petition calling on the Government to revert to the 10 year system...
    Labour | 02-09
  • MANA Movement Leadership stands strong behind Internet MANA relationship
    “There is now, and always will be, a range of views about many issues within our movement and members are free to express them, but Georgina’s views on Kim Dotcom are not shared by the MANA Movement leadership or the vast majority...
    Mana | 01-09
  • Rebuilding the New Zealand Defence Force
    A Labour Government will make it a priority to rebuild the capacity of the Defence Force to carry out the tasks expected of it, says Labour’s Defence Spokesperson Phil Goff. Releasing Labour’s Defence Policy today he said the NZDF has...
    Labour | 01-09
  • Speech to Canterbury Chamber of Commerce
    Today I'm going to talk about our policy package to upgrade and grow our economy and how we turn that growth into a foundation for a decent and fair society. But first I want to address the issue of our...
    Labour | 01-09
  • Commission of Inquiry must have bipartisan support
    The Labour Party is drafting terms of reference for a Commission of Inquiry, Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker says. “It is abundantly clear there is a need for an independent Commission of Inquiry, chaired by a High Court Judge, into...
    Labour | 01-09
  • Rapid Transit to unclog Christchurch
    Labour will build a 21st century Rapid Transit system for Christchurch, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “The long delayed recovery of Christchurch hinges on a modern commuter system for the city. “We will invest $100 million in a modern rail plan...
    Labour | 31-08
  • Labour’s commitment to public broadcasting
    A Labour Government will set up a working group to re-establish a public service television station as part of our commitment to ensuring New Zealand has high quality free-to-air local content. “We will set up a working group to report...
    Labour | 31-08
  • Live blog: Bainimarama takes early lead in Fiji’s election
    Pacific Scoop’s Alistar Kata reports from yesterday’s voting. By Alistar Kata of Pacific Scoop in Suva Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama took an early lead in provisional results in the Fiji general election last night. With provisional results from 170 out...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • Has The NSA Constructed The Perfect PPP?
    Former intelligence analyst and whistleblower, Edward Snowden – speaking live to those gathered at the Auckland Town Hall on Monday September 17, 2014. Investigation by Selwyn Manning. THE PRIME MINISTER JOHN KEY’s admission on Wednesday that whistleblower Edward Snowden “may...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • No way – Key admits Snowden is right
    After claiming there was no middle ground. After claiming there was no mass surveillance. After calling Glenn Greenwald a henchman and a loser. After all the mainstream media pundits screamed at Kim’s decision to take his evidence to Parliamentary Privileges...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • Bad luck National
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • The incredible changing John Key story on mass spying – why the Moment of...
    While the mainstream media continue to try and make the Moment of Truth about Kim’s last minute decision to prolong his battle against John Key past the election into the Privileges Committee, the reality is that the Moment of Truth...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Themes of the Campaign
    There’s one area of a political campaign that just about everyone, at some point, falls afoul of. The campaign song. I’m not sure quite why it is, but it seems to be almost impossible for political parties to come up...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Denis Tegg – The NSA slides that prove mass surveillance
    The evidence presented by Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden on The Intercept of mass surveillance of New Zealanders by the GCSB is undeniable, and can stand on its own. But when you place this fresh evidence in the context of...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland
    The Ukrainian civil war discomforts me. It seems to me the most dangerous political crisis since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. And it’s because of our unwillingness to examine the issues in a holistic way. We innately prefer to...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • John Key’s love affair with a straw man – the relationship intensifies
    John Key’s love affair with the straw man is now a fully-committed relationship. It’s now the first love of his life. Sorry Bronagh. Yesterday I pointed to Key’s constant assurances that there is no mass surveillance of New Zealanders by...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • A brief word on why Wendyl Nissen is a hero
    Wendyl Nissen is a hero. The sleazy black ops attack on her by Slater and Odgers on behalf of Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich is sick. All Nissen is doing in her column is point out the filth and...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • She saw John Key on TV and decided to vote!
    . . NZ, Wellington, 15 September – ‘Tina’* is 50, a close friend,  and one of the “Missing Million” from the last election. In fact, ‘Tina’ has never voted in her life.  Not once. In ‘Tina’s’ own words, politics has...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • Eminem sues National Party for unlawful use of ‘Lose yourself’ bhahahah...
    …ahahahahahahahaha. Oh Christ this is hilarious… National Party sued over Eminem copyright infringment US rapper Eminem is suing the National Party for allegedly breaching copyright by using his song Lose Yourself in its campaign advertisements. The Detroit-based publishers of Eminem’s...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • Are the Greens about to be snookered by a Labour-NZ First Government?
    I wrote last week that it was smart politics that the Greens pointed out they could work with National, the soft blue vote that’s looking for a home in the wake of Dirty Politics isn’t going to Labour, so the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • BLOGWATCH: Fonterra join 2Degrees and boycott Whaleoil
    In the wake of Dirty Politics, advertisers are pulling their advertising out of Whaleoil. PaknSave, Evo Cycles Pukekohe, Localist, 2 Degrees, Fertility Associates, iSentia, NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, Maori TV, Bookme.co.nz, Dobetter.co.nz and the Sound are now joined by Fonterra...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • PM Key accused of allowing secret ‘spook’ cable sensors to spy on citiz...
    Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald (left) and Kim Dotcom at the “moment of truth” political surveillance meeting in Auckland last night. Image: PMW By ANNA MAJAVU of Pacific Media Watch NEW ZEALAND Prime Minister John Key has been accused of...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • Fiji pre-election ‘politics’ blackout stirs media protests, frustration
    BLACKOUT DAY – Monday, day one of the “silence window” in Fiji leading up to the close of polling in the general election at 6pm on Wednesday. And this is under the draconian threat of a $10,000 fine or five...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • “Now the work of movements begins”: government corruption, media bias, ...
    I am so tired of the dirty politics of the National government, aren’t you? I am tired of John Key and his pathetic attacks on award-winning journalists who have spent their careers fighting and digging for truth and good. The...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • Moment of Truth review, smoking guns and the awful coverage by the NZ msm
      There were queues unlike any the Town Hall has seen, 1000 were turned away once it became full…     …full to the rafters. The energy and atmosphere within the room was extraordinary, and it begun…   …Glenn Greenwald...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • Why Maori TV’s Te Tai Tokeraou Poll will be proved wrong
    If Hone Harawira had a dollar every time the media wrote off his chance of winning Te Tai Tokeraou, he would have more money than Kim Dotcom. Remember the by-election? Hone was 1 point ahead of Kelvin in an exact...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • September 15 RNZ interviews – and then the Moment of Truth
    . Acknowledgement: Emmerson . 15 September – Leading up to the Moment of Truth public meeting this evening, these Radio NZ interviews are worth listening to; . Alt link . Alt link . Alt link . Alt link . Alt...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • Live Stream: Moment of Truth Tonight 7pm
    Live Video Stream by eCast: The Daily Blog will Live Stream the Moment of Trust public meeting from 7pm. The meeting will feature Glenn Greenwald, Kim Dotcom, Robert Amsterdam, and a very special guest…...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • The proof Key lied about GCSB mass surveillance
    And we start getting to the evidence that proves Key has lied about mass surveillance. The article by Glenn Greenwald is out and it is beyond damning… Documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the government worked in...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • A brief word on the Ede-Slater emails
    Every day I have rushed to read the paper to see if a breaking story on the Ede-Slater emails had broken yet. They haven’t. Day after day, where are these emails? We know Rawshark sent the emails to David Fisher...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • The email that proves Key is a liar
    This is the Email proving Key knew about Kim Dotcom before he claims he did… “We had a really good meeting with the Prime Minister. He’s a fan and we’re getting what we came for. Your groundwork in New Zealand...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • Henchmen
    Henchmen...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Why it simply isn’t credible that Key stepped in and shut down the mass s...
    Key’s staggering admission that yes there was a year long business model by the GCSB to mass spy on all of NZ but  that he stepped in and shut it down after Cabinet had signed it off just sounds like make...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • John Key’s love affair with a straw man
    Politicians like putting up straw men for the purpose of self-righteously knocking them over. Prime Minister John Key has a particular straw man he loves to punch over. He raises it whenever he’s asked about mass surveillance of New Zealanders...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • John Armstrong turns on Glenn Greenwald
    Where does a mediocre journalist like John Armstrong get off attacking a journalist with the credibility of Glenn Greenwald as he has in his ridiculous column today? Armstrong has the audacity to try and play the terrorism card to justify why...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Denis Tegg – Which of John Key’s many statements on the GC...
    We already have Glenn Greenwald’s assertion on The Nation that John Key has misled New Zealanders as to whether the GCSB has engaged in mass surveillance of Kiwis. But Key has made many other statements about the GCSB’s powers and...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Election 2014: Numbers and Faces
    Democratic politics is a game of numbers and faces. How can we translate the numbers into the 120 or more faces that will be in the next Parliament? Below is my prediction of a likely result: 120 people, divided by...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Scotland the brave
    The possibility that Scotland will vote for independence this Thursday has panicked the British establishment. An unholy alliance of Tory, Labour, Liberal and corporate leaders has resorted to fear-mongering and bullying on grand scale in a last ditch effort to...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Why Key’s denials sound so off and why Dotcom’s fight is all our fight
    The shrillness of Key is the issue. His denials just too forced and rehearsed. Key has gone from Hollow Man to Shallow Man with his lashing out at Pulitzer Price winning Journalist Glenn Greenwald by calling him a ‘henchman’. This...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Letters to the Editor – Spies, Lies, Five Eyes, and other matters on a S...
    . . Sharing a few thoughts and observations with newspaper editors around the country… . from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>to: Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz>date: Sun, Sep 14, 2014 subject: Letter to the Editor . The Editor Sunday Star Times . Our...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Letters to the Editor – Spies, Lies, Five Eyes, and other matters on a Su...
    . . Sharing a few thoughts and observations with newspaper editors around the country… . from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>to: Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz>date: Sun, Sep 14, 2014 subject: Letter to the Editor . The Editor Sunday Star Times . Our...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • As TDB predicted, Labour to use universal super fund to buy back assets and...
    Greens about to be snookered again?   As The Daily Blog has pointed out several times now, Labour will use a universal super fund to buy back NZs assets in a bid to offer Winston a legacy project… Labour plans...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • A lesson in caring for our most vulnerable
    Some of the comments on this article make me sick. Because I am so very much over people who think they are better than others because things have gone their way in life and think those who aren’t as functional...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – Please vote positive
    One of the features of campaigning is the meet-the-candidates event.  As an opportunity to present policies to the voter, they aren’t the best vehicle but still serve a useful purpose.  The problem is that there are too many candidates and...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • For this who don’t vote this election
    For this who don’t vote this election...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • Where does Key get off abusing a Pulitzer prize winning Journalist like Gle...
    We are seeing the Dirty Politics PM today when Key decided the best way to counter the Glenn Greenwald claims of GCSB mass surveillance was to denigrate Greenwald… Prime Minister John Key says he will prove Glenn Greenwald’s claims by the...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • Teflon Man No More
    . .   On 26 August, as Nicky Hager’s expose on New Zealand’s right wing politics hit public consciousness and confirmed our worst fears, I wrote, “Dirty Politics” has achieved more than simply revealing  unwholesome machinations between National party apparatchiks,...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • Dear mainstream media – regarding Key’s promise to resign if GCSB expos...
    Dear Mainstream media. How’s it all going? I would like to acknowledge the deep depression many members of the Press Gallery are going through as their boy Key looks less and less likely to win. I appreciate how a loss...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • It’s official: ACT’s Jamie Whyte is several-sandwiches-and-a-salad sho...
    .   . There aren’t very many times I agree wholeheartedly with our Dear Leader – but on this occassion I believe he spoke for those 99% of New Zealanders for whom common sense is as natural as breathing air....
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • ‘I’ll not be intimidated … by cowards’, says Fiji death threat jour...
    Fiji Sun’s Jyoti Pratibha … death threats via fake Facebook profiles. Image: Pacific Scoop THE PARIS-based media freedom advocacy organisation Reporters Sans Frontières and the Pacific Media Centre have condemned threats and intimidation against political reporters this week covering Fiji’s...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Glenn Greenwald on TV3s ‘The Nation’ – Everyone remember when Key pro...
    Glenn Greenwald has just given his first NZ interview on TV3s ‘The Nation’ and what he had to say was incredibly damaging. Glenn is here for Kim Dotcom’s Moment of Truth on Monday and what he has just had to...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • What will soft National vote do, why Colin Craig will be a focus in final w...
    In what has been the most unpredictable elections of our time, the final week promises more shocks and bombshells than World War One trench warfare. We have the media who still have the Rawshark emails that detail the Ede-Slater exchanges....
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Would a National-Conservative Party reduce rights to an abortion? Legalise ...
    With the possibility of a Conservative-National Party coalition looming, let’s consider the impact of this new hard right religious Government on social policy. We know Conservative Party candidate Edward Saafi, believes the inability to legally bash your kids is responsible for teenage prostitution, teenage pregnancy and...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • ACTs solution to crime – more guns?
    How insane are the ACT Party? Honestly? Their solution to crime is to arm every shop keeper with a sawn off shotgun??? “Criminals are well aware that shopkeepers are defenceless and are taking advantage of this in brutal robberies. What...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • John Key’s gift to teenage girls…
    Yesterday I was at the MANA Movement policy release on “Predators on Poverty” in the Otahuhu Shopping Centre. Successive Labour and National governments have left vulnerable communities on their own to face these merciless thieves who prey on the poor...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Poverty denial – Where does National get its advice from?
    National is displaying a quite inadequate understanding of their own policies and worrying inability to respond to criticism. When John Key trots out his old, tired example of how ‘work pays’ on Morning Report this week to justify leaving 260,000...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Education reformers mean well, so what’s the problem?
    The thing about education reformers is that, mostly, they mean well. Whether it’s charter schools, National Standards, Teach First, or another reform, many people involved have good intentions.  They want to improve things, try something new and innovate, they say. The thing...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Pregnancy Help Welcomes Green Party Packs for Newborn Babies
    Pregnancy Help applauds Metiria Turei acknowledging that “for many parents the birth of a new child is a highly stressful and financially straining time” and the desire for every child to thrive....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • McVicar Welcomes ASA Decision
    Napier Conservative Party Candidate Garth McVicar welcomes the Advertising Standards Authority’s decision to not uphold the pamphlet complaint of Robert Johnson, Campaign Manager for Napier Labour candidate Stuart Nash. The ASA acknowledged that one complaint...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Whyte: In 12 months’ time, here is what will matter
    In three days’ time I will be elected along with a number of ACT MPs. I think the media will be surprised and ask how it happened?...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Internet MANA Will Grant Special Residency to Edward Snowden
    Internet MANA will put the case to the new government to welcome global surveillance whistle blower Edward Snowden, granting him safe passage and residency in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Ten millionth traveller uses SmartGate
    The 10 millionth traveller to pass through SmartGate, Customs’ automated passenger processing system, was greeted by Customs Manager Passenger Operations, Peter Lewis today at Auckland International Airport....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Key vs. Cunliffe: Final Live NZ Election Reactor 7pm Tonight
    John Key and David Cunliffe go head to head for the last time tonight and you can decide who wins by driving the worm. This is the last live Election Reactor covering the debate tonight at 7pm on TV One....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Offenders Get Road Safety Message
    Wellington Community Corrections partnered with emergency services, government agencies, organisations and Kapiti Coast District Council to deliver an innovative road safety programme to 70 community-based offenders at Southwards Car Museum on Tuesday 16...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Proposed law to decriminalise Abortion
    http://images.tvnz.co.nz/tvnz_images/news2011/politics_news/12/q_a_interview__list_mp_jan_logie_n2.jpgRight to Life is disappointed that the Green Party is refusing to provide a response to the seven very important questions that have been addressed to Jan Logie, spokesperson...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Election 2014 Will Be Costly
    The Taxpayers’ Union has today released the final update for its ' Bribe-O-Meter ' election costing website in the lead-up to Saturday’s general election. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Roy Morgan Poll September 17
    John Key set to win narrow election victory on Saturday as Labour/Greens slump puts Winston Peters in powerful position as NZ First surge to 8% Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows National (46.5%, up 1.5%) set to win a...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Wahakura Package would provide warm welcome for babies
    The Greens Wahakura Welcome package announced yesterday is a wonderful example of child-centred policy which would help all children get a fair and equal start in life, says Child Poverty Action Group. CPAG health spokesperson Innes Asher says,...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • TPPA a Sellout to American Corporate Greed
    New Zealand will become a permanent prisoner to the United States’ greed and global arrogance if the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) isn’t stopped, warns Internet MANA....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Wintry showers and blustery winds for Election Day
    As we head towards the weekend, it is time to look at what the weather will be for New Zealand's "Have Your Say" Day....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • New national secretary announced
    The PSA is pleased to announce the appointment of Erin Polaczuk to the role of national secretary....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Public Secotr & TISA: On the cusp of something very special?
    Is the National Party keeping some things out of sight in case they frighten the electorate? Here is some worrying evidence that this may be the case....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • MPI ups yacht biosecurity ante
    Yachts arriving in Northland from overseas this season will face greater biosecurity scrutiny, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • iPredict Election Update
    John Key’s National Party now has an 88% probability of leading the next government , most probably with the support of NZ First, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. There...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Crowdfunding to Save Native Fish
    NZ Landcare Trust is offering an exciting project designed to assist native fish, as part of the launch of a new global crowdfunding category called 'The Landcare & Environment Collection.' This exciting step, aims to help raise funds and support,...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • New methods needed to reach non-voters
    Non-voters are much heavier users of the internet than those who do vote, while 43 per cent of non-voters say they never read a newspaper according to research released today by the Election Data Consortium....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Parties sent home with report cards
    More than 2000 New Zealanders came together to run a full page ad in the Herald today asking all Parties what they will commit to do to clean up politics. The answers are in, and ActionStation has graded Parties on...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • One in 10 Kiwis want Winston Peters to Run the Country -Poll
    New Zealand First leader, Winston Peters has seen his personal popularity reach a three-year high in the final 3News/Reid Research poll ahead of Election Day....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Shut Down This Govt Not Kaiti WINZ
    "I’m going to make it as hard for you to get help as I can" is Paula Bennett’s message to the people of Kaiti said MANA candidate Te Hāmua Nikora today in response to the news that National will close...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • New methods needed to reach non-voters
    Non-voters are much heavier users of the internet than those who do vote, while 43 per cent of non-voters say they never read a newspaper according to research released today by the Election Data Consortium....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Conservatives Break Through 5% Threshold
    Reports in today’s Dominion Post that the Conservative Party is polling at 6% in Nationals internal polling are not surprising says the Conservative Napier candidate Garth McVicar....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • The MANA Plan for Beneficiaries and Income in Waiariki
    Median Personal Income for Waiariki is $21,700. Over 13,000 Maori who live in Waiariki rely upon a form of government benefit including the Unemployment Benefit, Sickness Benefit, Domestic Purpose Benefit and the Invalids Benefit....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • IGIS: No Indiscriminate Interception of NZers’ Data Found
    “As part of my role as Inspector-General, I review whether the GCSB complies with the restrictions upon interception of New Zealanders’ communications and with the requirement to intercept communications only for authorised purposes. That review...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Conservatives Break through 5% Threshold
    Reports in today’s Dominion Post that the Conservative Party is polling at 6% in Nationals internal polling are not surprising says the Conservative Napier candidate Garth McVicar....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Hundreds of Students Turn Out for Political Debate
    With only a few days left before the general election, over 500 Victoria students packed the central Hub space on campus today to listen to a political debate on student issues organised by the Students’ Association. Victoria University of Wellington...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Ex-prisoners make most of mentoring to make most of life
    It’s not every day that an organisation triples a programme in size, but PARS Inc (formerly known as the Prisoners’ Aid and Rehabilitation Society of the Auckland District Inc) has managed to do just that with their Community Mentoring Scheme,...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Unscrupulous worker highlights why 90-days works
    Federated Farmers believes the experience of a husband and wife farming team in Taranaki underscores why the 90-days provision is so important to small businesses. “Yesterday a member called 0800 FARMING to alert us to a guy doing the rounds...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Eye to Eye Uploaded
    Leading Maori broadcaster and political commentator Willie Jackson previews Eye to Eye Uploaded, a multi-platform series of interviews that he’s aiming to put in front of media radars next year....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Party Rankings against Inequality
    Revealed: which party will do the most to reduce New Zealand’s growing inequality crisis...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Maritime Union backs change of Government
    The Maritime Union says a change of Government is required to deliver secure jobs and decent wages for New Zealand workers....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Green Party package for newborns welcomed
    16 September 2014 Media Release The New Zealand College of Midwives has welcomed a policy announced today by the Green Party which would provide a package of essential items for every newborn baby. The College is a non partisan organisation...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • ALCP Release Election Manifesto
    The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party has released its manifesto in the lead up to the election on Saturday....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Election Daily Update #9
    John Key’s National Party appears to have received a major boost from last night’s “Moment of Truth” event, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. Despite no major changes...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Eminem Publishers Sue New Zealand National Party
    Detroit-based music publishing companies sue National Party for damages for unauthorised use of song in election campaign advertising...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Parties Back Rethink of WINZ Shared Care Parenting Laws
    Overwhelming Majority of Parties Back Rethink of WINZ Shared Care Parenting Laws. Press release- Fifty Fifty Campaign, 16 September 2014 National is the only political party willing to defend the way WINZ treats separated parents who share their kids...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Parents Smacking Down Prime Minister
    "John Keys failure to deliver on his promise to change the anti-smacking law is costing National votes, and helping the Conservative Party," says Colin Craig....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Political Debate on Family Violence – Video & Audio
    The Dunedin Collaboration Against Family Violence was happy to host a political debate on Family Violence chaired by Professor Nicola Atwool of the University of Otago. Family Violence is a huge problem in our community and we invited representatives...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Greens Take Nanny State To A New Level
    Family First NZ is labelling the Green’s ‘welcome package’ for newborns policy as wasteful and misdirected. “This policy is taking ‘nanny state’ to a new level but indicates just how much the Greens want to intervene in family life,”...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • 2,100 people send message about dirty politics
    2,100 people have signed their name to a full-page open letter featuring in the New Zealand Herald this Wednesday. The letter is designed to send a message to politicians that dirty politics is an important election issue....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Are DoC manipulating Rat Numbers?
    Ban 1080 Political Party co-leader Bill Wallace says there are serious rumours DoC has changed their rat counting technique to cover up the lack of the mythical “Rat Plague” claimed by the Department in Kahurangi National Park, and also that...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Average Full time Student Is in Financial Distress
    A new survey has found that nearly half of all full time students are in significant financial distress....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Key and Cunliffe, research revealed by Ancestry.com.au
    Contrasting family histories of John Key and David Cunliffe, revealed by research from Ancestry.com.au....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Revelations a Damning Indictment of Key’s Honesty
    The Prime Minister’s honesty is now central to the election, says Internet Party Leader Laila Harré, following the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden that there is mass surveillance of New Zealand citizens by the GCSB....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Organisations Have ‘Duty of Care’ for Players says Law Firm
    Concussion injuries in amateur and professional sporting arenas are currently highly topical. Concussion potentially appears to have been implicit in the recent death of a young player in Northland....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Media Release from Closing the Gap on Health and Housing
    “Inequality is the biggest problem facing New Zealand at the present time” says Peter Malcolm National Secretary of Closing the Gap. It underlies many of our social ills, poverty, lack of trust, an economy that could do much better, and...
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Expanding Whānau Ora – a bottom line for Māori Party
    Leaving the best to last, the Māori Party has launched its Whānau Ora policy today following a fun family event at Te Ore Ore Marae in Masterton last night. “When we change what happens in our homes, we change what...
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Colin Craig’s Incredible Claims Continue
    Hot on the heels of a Conservative Party candidate proposing to double the price of a bottle of wine, Colin Craig has come up with an even more fantastic idea to buttress his uncosted tax policy....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
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