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Of Hollywood, Hobbits & NZ-US politics: Episode II

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 am, October 4th, 2012 - 65 comments
Categories: accountability, business, capitalism, copyright, culture, film, International, jobs, john key, Media, overseas investment, Politics, uncategorized, Unions, us politics - Tags: ,

As Key heads off to the US to promote the NZ film industry, I look back at the Hobbit union-busting dispute and the issues it raised.

Key Issues Raised by the Hobbit Dispute:

NZ is considered to provide an advantage to international movie companies because of its flexible employment relations (i.e. it is not highly unionised).

Due to the intermittent nature of movie production, Employment contracts are often used, and, especially since 1991changes in NZ law, this gives a lot of power to the employers.
Financial investors with no” creative” have come to play a big part in the Hollywood film industry.  this industry is increasingly global, involving massive organisations, and focused primarily on profit. In 2010, film corporations, MGM and Warners had major debt problems and needed some big successful blockbusters.

Sir Peter Jackson was a significant player in the dispute due to his seemingly unchallengeable (?) position as an NZ cultural icon, and his reputation for creating jobs and income for Kiwis. However, contrary to his Kiwi-bloke image, he is involved in a global industry, with his, and Weta’s, NZ location being secondary. Jackson’s reputation and international successes give him fairly direct access to the NZ government.

Both the government and Jackson manipulated the dispute and its coverage in the MSM to their advantage. As Nigel Haworth (NZ Journal of Employment Relations, 2011: Vol 36:3) says, the result was:

Thus, analytically, the New Zealand state simultaneously conceded, financially and legislatively, to the global film sector whilst taking the opportunity to further its ER liberalisation and attack the domestic trade union movement.

Contrary to the way it was portrayed in the MSM,(as argued by Haworth) trade unions need to counter the power of globalised capital by developing equivalent international institutions and practices (Haworth). In contrast, the John Key government, placed investment issues ahead of its commitments to global labour standards.

The Hobbit dispute was part of an issue that had been developing since 2009, in terms of negotiations between employers, industry representatives and workers, especially performers, with a fairly weak unions wanting some standard elements included in contracts. The government took the opportunity to try to weaken the NZ union movement, partly through trying to isolate NZ Actors’ Equity and its Aussie partner from international solidarity pledged by equivalent overseas unions.

Sir Peter and the government also exploited some divisions between workers in the industry.  They don’t all work within similar conditions.  For instance, technicians and other members of a film crew stand to gain some certainty of work.  Life is more competitive and precarious for performers. They face  competition from performers outside NZ, especially “names” from the US and UK. NZCTU stepped in and tried to support the weak NZ union and help in negotiations, with Helen Kelly playing a leading role.

However, as Haworth concludes:

It is rare indeed to observe such a textbook case of national interests being so comprehensively subordinated to the interests of international capital and its domestic agents.

There has been a strong and sustained, but ultimately superficial, promotion of Sir Peter’s “New Zealandness”.  This is often done in association with the marketing of the filming locations of his internationally successful movies, supported by the NZ government.  The result is an equally superficial and misleading rebranding of Planet Key’s NZ Inc as Middle Earth.

But where does this leave the production of NZ made, NZ funded films telling NZ stories?

Key’s Latest Hollywood Mission

With Key’s latest mission to Hollywood, who would be the winners and who the losers from any deals he helps to negotiate, and what benefit will it provide to Kiwis?  More jobs?  Boost the NZ economy?  Will it result in improving (or undermining?) the resources and systems that can be used to produce more authentic NZ movies, including ones that could be sold overseas?

Or will it just further increase the Americanisation of New Zealand culture, along with the promotion of international free-market capitalism?   Will it mean more Hollywood films, which ultimately siphon off profits to overseas multinationals?

And most importantly, what significance does this have with respect to the TPPA, currently being negotiated secretly? See also, Jane Kelsey on the implications of Key’s trip to Hollywood and the relevance to TPPA.  This would involve giving the US government and corporates more control of intellectual property in NZ.

Professor Kelsey predicts “the chilling effect would see the Hobbit saga pale into insignificance. This Prime Minister has shown a penchant for backroom deals. His current trip to the Hollywood studios no simple photo opportunity; it will be a time of intense lobbying by Hollywood to sell us down the river”.

[Update: Link added above to the NZ Journal of Employment Relations, 2011: h/t Draco T Bastard].

65 comments on “Of Hollywood, Hobbits & NZ-US politics: Episode II”

  1. Kotahi Tāne Huna 1

    “Key heads of to…”

    His timing couldn’t be worse.

    Every new bit of information breeding questions like Hydra.

    And on his return, the feeding frenzy :)

  2. just saying 2

    Excellent post. Well said.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 2.1

      +1

      • karol 2.1.1

        Thanks, KTH & JS. I was just looking around for some articles to refresh my memory about the finer details of the Hobbit dispute, as background in preparation for anticipated reports on Key’s Hollywood mission.

        The whole of that edition of the NZ Journal of Employment Relations is focused on the Hobbit dispute, but I found the Haworth article, ‘A Political Economy of ‘The Hobbit’ Dispute’ particularly useful.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1

          The whole of that edition of the NZ Journal of Employment Relations is focused on the Hobbit dispute, but I found the Haworth article, ‘A Political Economy of ‘The Hobbit’ Dispute’ particularly useful.

          PDF Here

          • mike 2.1.1.1.1

            Thanks karol and DTB.

            It is rare indeed to observe such a textbook case of national interests being so comprehensively subordinated to the interests of international capital and its domestic agents.

            From the conclusion of said article.

            • karol 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks, DTB.  The access to the article i had seemed to require a library membership login, which is why I didn’t link to it.

              [Update: Journal link added to the post above.]

    • LynW 2.2

      +100 Very informative Karol. Thank you

      • mickysavage 2.2.1

        Thanks Karol.  Utterly disturbing.  Haworth elegantly expresses what many of us felt.  

        The politics of the dispute started to descend into the levels of Nazi Germany where much evil occurred in the name of TINA.  Apologies for breaking Goodwin’s law but this is how it felt to me.

  3. marsman 3

    Excellent Post once again karol!

  4. Red Rosa 4

    Well said.

    This is a full-scale constitutional crisis, when you think of the implications.

    Is the Prime Minister working for the best interests of New Zealand, or is he using every means – legitimate and illegitimate – to advance the interests of the United States?

    These revelations make John Key look more like the agent of a foreign power than PM of NZ.

    And for sure, there is more to come.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Is the Prime Minister working for the best interests of New Zealand, or is he using every means – legitimate and illegitimate – to advance the interests of the United States?

      I don’t think there’s any doubt – he’s working for Wall Street.

  5. Chris 5

    Whatshisname key has said that he will not be offering any sweeteners/inducements to movie moguls.Could this possibly be true????????? Or maybe he will go ahead and do it and then won’t remember that he had said that he wouldn’t do it so therefore in his view it will be allright to go ahead and do so. “Right guys,what do you want, just ask and it’s yours”Anything,anything at all!
    What is this trip going to cost US!!

    • karol 5.1

      Depends on what he means by “sweeteners/inducements”. That usually means money: such things as tax breaks for filming in NZ. But would it include NZ law changes (like the Hobbit law, weakening worker rights), or things included in the TPPA?

      eg Jane Kelsey, in her press release linked in my post above, says the visit is all to do with the TPPA and intellectual property rights:

      The next round of TPPA talks is in New Zealand in early December and (secret) new US proposals are expected to be on the table.

      The intellectual property negotiators from the US Trade Representative’s Office are currently in Wellington putting pressure on the government to stop resisting the US demands and agree to its new text.

      Hollywood is driving the US push for unprecedented extensions to intellectual property rights, carrying with them the further criminalization for breaches and massive cost increases for everyday Internet users. It also wants a ban on parallel imports.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Can we have “sweeteners and inducements” for our own on-shore manufacturing industry please.

        • karol 5.1.1.1

          Yes.  That’s a thought, CV.
          But then, of course, it wouldn’t involve Key swanning off to the US to hang out with the rich, powerful, famous and beautiful people!

  6. Ad 6

    Perhaps it’s easier now to think of new Zealand no longer as a country at all but as a set of globally fluid molecules that join up for specific commercial projects, like films, and are then released back to the fluid of the world’s economy.

    Key is less relevant because he doesn’t generate any commercial molecular formation.

    According to outbound immigration, everyone who can still float, is doing so.

    Jackson is still choosing to stay.

    • karol 6.1

      Following your metaphor, Ad, I think maybe Key’s role is to improve the flow, and in ways that are on balance, more likely to favour the interests of multinational corporates.

  7. mike e 7

    Where is gooseman Kim.Kong BM etc no where to be found!

    • David H 7.1

      They must be off at a Nact indoctrination day. Have to get their instructions sometimes.

  8. Bill 8

    Google Richard O’Dwyer. English student being extradited to the US for hosting a file sharing website that didn’t hold any files. As with Dotcom, it was US agencies that sought to bring him to trial. O’Dwyer hadn’t broken any UK laws. But the US claim that since ‘.net’ and ‘.com’ are domain names or suffixes hosted in the US that any copyright infringement using those suffixes are crimes on US soil.

    O’Dwyer is facing 10 years. He was a smaller fish than Dotcom. The US is pursuing a number of individuals around the world for copyright infringement based on their use of ‘.com’ or ‘.net’.

    Dotcom is their biggest fish yet. So maybe JK is looking to grease the wheels of ‘justice’…a wee tweak of NZ law? And that could easily sit apart from or be in addition to any TPPA agreement.

  9. muzza 9

    NZ is now so obviously under the influence/control of “America*” these days, its sickening!

    • karol 9.1

      Well the US government and its agencies are particularly keen to re-establish their dominance in the Pacific, now that China is making some economic inroads into the area.  So we are at the centre of a bit of a struggle.
      Key seems to want to play both sides a bit, but his main allegiance seems to be to the US.  And most of NZ culture, economy and politics (not to mention spy agencies) have leaned that way for a long time.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        Notice how the US is using force and pressure to push its own interests in the Pacific.

        I think that’ll be received well by locals over the medium term, don’t you.

        • Jim Nald 9.1.1.1

          Labour/Greens: green jobs for NZ

          John Key/Natz: bl _ _ jobs for US :-)

        • Populuxe1 9.1.1.2

          Force? I am not thinking this word is meaning what you think it is meaning. And as this has pretty much been the status quo since WW2 I doubt anyone will notice much.

  10. David H 10

    I haven’t watched a P. Jackson movie since I tried to watch the absolutely way too long King Kong. And his other movies are even longer, so I have NO inclination to watch anything he does. Maybe if he does a good remake of The Dambusters but I hear the wowsers were up in arms at the dogs name FFS. Just wait for ASH or who ever to have a conniption fit about the pilots smoking and the anti drinking league about the parties All part of life in the 1940’s but i fear the wowsers will make him make changes, and ruin the movie. At least I have a copy of the original version.

    • karol 10.1

      I’m not a great fan of PJ’s Hollywood movies, or his early schlock horror stuff.  Like Heavenly Creatures.

      LoTR and King Kong seem to me to be largely boys own, stuff, and more a mix of US and UK culture than anything specifically Kiwi.  This all suggests to me where PJ’s allegiance lies.  And his Hollywood blockbuster movies do tend to be a bit of an indulgence in VFX cleverness, and go on for too long, for my taste.

    • Reagan Cline 10.2

      David H,

      Another “part of life in the 1940s”.

      Operation Chastise caused flooding that led to the death of 1,294 people, 749 of which were Ukrainian POWs and the rest innocent civilians.

      • McFlock 10.2.1

        Part of the point of the whole operation, really.
             
         

        • Rich 10.2.1.1

          I don’t think any of the Nazi generation of German’s could be considered “innocent”. They voted for and tolerated the Nazis and (some of them) got what they deserved.

          The deaths of the prisoners could be regarded as the fault of the Nazis for bringing them into a war zone.

        • Rich 10.2.1.2

          I don’t think any of the Nazi generation of Germans could be considered “innocent”. They voted for and tolerated the Nazis and (some of them) got what they deserved.

          The deaths of the prisoners could be regarded as the fault of the Nazis for bringing them into a war zone.

  11. Jokerman 11

    “it’s my precious”-Gollum / Smeagle “it’s my precious” “I wants it, I needs it!”

  12. mike 12

    But Mr Key yesterday dismissed suggestions that his call on industry executives who may have made the original complaint about Dotcom was untimely.

    “I’d say it’s excellent timing insomuch that this is an industry that’s worth $3 billion to New Zealand … Yep, there will always be conspiracy theorists out there but I’m interested in jobs, not people who live in fantasy land and want to make things up.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10837799

    Oh look he’s doing it again – ‘my opponents are full of shit’. And the sheeple go – ‘Yep, makes sense to me…’

    • Clashman 12.1

      $3 Billion? I read somewhere that the Hobbit was supposedly worth about $350 million to NZ. If true then there must be about 9 other big budget films being made here. What are they? Sounds like more bullshit from Key.

    • karol 12.2

      I think international/ Hollywood productions filmed in NZ, do provide an access route into the industry for some individuals, which didn’t exist very much before the 1990s.  It especially provides a career for some NZ techies and film crew.

      It also has given some Kiwis access to technologies, and knowledge of systems used on such productions.
      However, many of the most successful also then go overseas.  And there are questions about how it impacts on Kiwi filmmakers trying to produce local stories – i.e. not PJ Hollywood blockbusters.  They are competing with international productions that have better technologies and can pay better wages.

      And in the process of getting some access to work on Hollywood productions, it can draw many of us further into US culture, and capitalist values.
      John Key doesn’t really seem that interested in helping to stimulate a more NZ-focused movie industry, that would train new workers. 

      A big problem, though for making a successful industry in NZ, is the difficulty in a big enough audience to make it commercially viable.  That’s why some people favour international co-productions.  But it’s hard to find a successful overseas film company that wouldn’t be the dominant partner.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1

        I think international/ Hollywood productions filmed in NZ, do provide an access route into the industry for some individuals, which didn’t exist very much before the 1990s. It especially provides a career for some NZ techies and film crew.

        And we could do all that without Hollywood. Just need to have the government make funds available through, say, NZOnAir. Make the whole movie from beginning to end in NZ and then the profits also come back to NZ and the profits are far higher than the measly few hundred million we get from the Hollywood studios.

        It also has given some Kiwis access to technologies, and knowledge of systems used on such productions.

        All of which is commercially available. Here’s a free (limited) version of the software used to make Avatar. It’s part of the range of software I use to make my desktop wallpapers.

        A big problem, though for making a successful industry in NZ, is the difficulty in a big enough audience to make it commercially viable.

        Movies go international especially through the internet so I really don’t think that’s an excuse. We don’t need to use the old distribution channels which is really the only reason left for using Hollywood studios.

        • karol 12.2.1.1

          Yes, the technologies have become increasingly accessible.  Jackson and Weta were able to get a start here when the first off the shelf CGI technologies became available.  Before that each US movie studio had developed their own.
           
          I guess it’s really a similar situation to the manufacturing sector – Hillside trains etc.  The government needs to put some effort into developing a more independent NZ industry. Instead of Key doing the LA photo ops schmoozing with the stars and other rich and famous (as seen on TV3 6pm news tonight.
           
          It’s the access to a potentially sizeable audience int the US that many NZ producers are interested in chasing.  But then they have to make film and TV programmes that US-ians can relate to.

          • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1.1.1

            It’s the access to a potentially sizeable audience int the US that many NZ producers are interested in chasing.

            Which is really quite stupid considering the bigger market, and thus the possibility of finding an audience, is in Europe. And even then they’d still be able to find a market in the US as well as there will be some who will watch the films.

            What I’m getting at here is that movies don’t need to be made for a particular country but for the people who will watch the film and that comes down to genre – SciFi, Fantasy, Horror, thriller etc. Making them specifically for the US is actually limiting the market.

            • karol 12.2.1.1.1.1

              What I’m getting at here is that movies don’t need to be made for a particular country but for the people who will watch the film and that comes down to genre – SciFi, Fantasy, Horror, thriller etc. Making them specifically for the US is actually limiting the market.
               
              That sounds like a sensible suggestion. I guess some of the problem with that is that all other countries’ movie industries kind of look to the US (at least in the “west” ). Countries like Japan, China, India and South Korea are another matter.  Though I thought NZ was looking to do some co-productions with South Korea a couple of years back?
               
              And the US (government and entertainment/screen industries) works hard to maintain their international dominance.  Of course the likes of Dotcom and the Internet threaten that.  I know a few US-ians, who, once they could access them online, started watching more movies and TV from other countries – stuff they wouldn’t usually see on their TVs, or movie screens.

      • Ad 12.2.2

        From that description isn’t the film industry simply an instance of the new Zealand manufacturing sector? We will always rely on international markets, our products always have to reify the values of the markets they are exported into, we will only ever support a very few domiciled multinationals.

        Has ever been so.

        I don’t ever see this changing under any of our political parties. Do you?

  13. captain hook 13

    Jeebus, I hope that I can get the peanuts, popcorn and candyfloss concession to the upcoming Warner Brothers feature, “The Country That Went Crazy”.

  14. John Gilbert 14

    I actually work in the film industry, and think the changes made in response to the Hobbit dispute were good for the industry. For many years I was subject to various audits by the IRD to determine whether I was an employee or a contractor. I worked for various film companies for periods from a day to many months,.The uncertainty as to my tax status was problematic for me in determining how I would organise my business.

    I prefer to be a contractor as I like being a free agent. I can choose what work I want to do, rather than have it thrust upon me by an employer. I can negotiate a fee for each job based on how much I want to be involved with that particular film, and how much they want me. The uncertainty is balanced by the rewards.

    The issue of Peter Jackson’s kiwiness is irrelevant. Whether he makes ‘kiwi’ films, or films for an international marketplace doesn’t matter, nor does it matter if the commenters here like his films. What matters is that worldwide he has a large number of fans that do want to see them, and therefore he is a powerful player in the international film business. That he has chosen to stay in Wellington is remarkable, and he has built world class film infrastructure here, employing thousands directly, and many more indirectly. I thought Labour was for job creation in ‘smart’ industries here in NZ…Why would you not want to support Peter Jackson’s efforts?

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 14.1

      That all sounds very reasonable, but for one thing: The Standard does not represent the Labour Party.

      I note that the dispute was between actors and the industry, not editors. Are you claiming to speak for the actors?

      What with the Actors Equity Association having such power it’s little wonder no movies ever get made in the USA. No, wait…

    • Colonial Viper 14.2

      John Gilbert: do you think NZ actors in the industry should have standard minimum breaks, travel allowances etc, just like foreign actors get?

      Or are you just thinking of yourself and not the difficult situation many other industry workers find themselves in?

      BTW your tax status with the IRD would have been clear if you weren’t sailing so close to the wind with how you organised your affairs.

      • John Gilbert 14.2.1

        Ill informed Mr Viper. Actors here get minimum breaks, travel allowances etc. And carrying out a business where my status as a contractor or employee was unclear does not mean I was ‘sailing close to the wind’. You are one eyed. Without Peter Jackson those workers would not have the opportunities they currently have.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1.1

          Without Peter Jackson those workers would not have the opportunities they currently have.

          BS. If not him then someone else would have and if we actually had a rational economy it would’ve been those people getting together to do it without the need for the capitalist.

        • Colonial Viper 14.2.1.2

          Actors here get minimum breaks, travel allowances etc.

          Wrong. That’s a completely voluntary and unenforceable standard you are referring to, one which was set by the likes of Peter Jackson with no input from workers. Please don’t try and mislead.

          Peter Jackson stopped NZ workers from having the same protections that his overseas workers get, and that he gets as a union member himself.

          The guy is slime.

  15. John Gilbert 15

    I am speaking for myself of course. The dispute ended the uncertainty of employee vs contractor, which affected everyone in the industry. I was also reacting to some of the the negativity directed at Peter Jackson, which I think is unwarranted.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Peter Jackson sold out Kiwi workers.

      Here was a half billionaire who resisted giving Kiwi workers the same protections and organisation that he has as a member of at least 3 different unions.

      For that he deserves to be lambasted.

      • karol 15.1.1

        John, I’ve never been a great fan of Jackson’s Hollywood movies, even before the Hobbit dispute.  And I do like action/adventure/fantasy movies.  I’ve always been unhappy with the spinning of Jackson and Middle Earth as somehow being a Kiwi cultural thing. It’s pure Hollywood branding.

    • karol 15.2

      John, I have said above that there are pluses for some NZ workers in the industry being able to stay in NZ and work on international productions.
       
      You have actually pretty much repeated something that I said in the post, albeit with a bit of a different slant – that Jackson is primarily working in an international industry.  I see that as meaning his primary allegiance is to the big multinational movie studios, and distributors, and not to NZ.
       
      At the time of the dispute, workers in many industry were under attack (still are) from changes to the laws.  Jackson, Boyens and Walsh played to the governments attacks on unions generally, mainly to gain more taxpayer funds to support his productions.  The NZ actors union also had a legitimate case that was smeared and undermined by the government, Jackson and the media.
       
      There are big issues about the Americanistion of NZ’s economy, values and culture, that don’t seem to be of interest to you.
       
      I can see pluses and minuses for smaller NZ filmmakers in being in an environment where there are international productions.  I am interested in exploring that a bit more.  But Key doesn’t seem to be interested in that, only in the glamorous and lucrative side of the Hollywood industry.  I would like to see the government put more focus on the NZ industry generally, rather than the high end of the international industry.

      PS: I’ve never been a member of a political party, and haven’t given my party vote to Labour for a few elections now.

    • CarolJ 15.3

      John

      There *was* no uncertainty.

      The fact is that the IRD may continue to audit you as their rules and regulations are completely separate from the question of whether you are, in employment regulation matters, an employee or sub-contractor and so entitled or not to the protections of employment regulation – such as (in the Bryson case which was constantly paraded in defence of the ‘clarification” Bryson v Three Foot Six Ltd [2005] 1 ERNZ 372 (SC) ) the right to notice and redundancy on dismissal.

      This is settled law in every other common law jurisdiction – including the UK and USA – , and still for everyone in NZ outwith the film industry the only “uncertainty” is when there is no actual agreement between the parties as to the nature of he contract – “of services” or “for services”.

      The test then applied to determine employee/contractor is pretty clear for those who wish to take the time to read it, and I would have thought that someone such as Jackson (or rather his HR managers) would have had plenty of opportunity to find that out.

      When, and only when, there is a disagreement between the parties as to the nature of the contract the main, and easily discoverable, points are that:

      • The Court must determine the real nature of the relationship;
      • The real nature of the relationship can be ascertained by analysing the tests that have been historically applied, such as control, integration and the “fundamental” test;
      • The fundamental test examines whether a person performing the service is doing so on his or her own account;

      There are decades of case law, and none of it particularly controversial, to give examples of all of the above.

      This was nothing more than the continuation of a neo-liberal agenda to totally gut the rights of workers (including you btw) in NZ, to drive down wages and working conditions generally ensuring that the capital holders retain an ever greater proportion of the wealth created on the backs of others.

      Now you speak of your choice to work as a sub-contractor – good for you – but now *no-one* else in your industry has the choice to do otherwise because you can be sure the “employers” (because in reality for most people that’s what they are) won’t employ anyone when they don’t have to, and won’t maintain minimum standards of employment if they don’t have to.

      As for Jackson – he lied to the public and the workers about whether the dispute was over, he lied about (or totally misunderstood) employment law, and given some of information that’s come out through OIA requests used his position as a “Kiwi icon” (whatever that is) to have a temper tantrum over losing the Bryson case. Like a small minded, petty adolescent is how came across to me throughout September and October 2010.

      • karol 15.3.1

        CarolJ, I deleted your duplicate post.  
         
        Thanks, very much for explaining clearly just what happened with respect to Jackson et al’s role in the employment contracts dispute.
         
        And this:

        This was nothing more than the continuation of a neo-liberal agenda to totally gut the rights of workers (including you btw) in NZ, to drive down wages and working conditions generally ensuring that the capital holders retain an ever greater proportion of the wealth created on the backs of others.

        and this:

        As for Jackson – he lied to the public and the workers about whether the dispute was over, he lied about (or totally misunderstood) employment law, and given some of information that’s come out through OIA requests used his position as a “Kiwi icon” (whatever that is) to have a temper tantrum over losing the Bryson case. Like a small minded, petty adolescent is how came across to me throughout September and October 2010.
         

        Sum it up very well.  Well said.
         

  16. This will create more jobs and help the economy.

    If people here are so against it, then i guess you wont be going to see any movie here
    filmed in New Zealand by an overseas company??

    Oh of course you wont be doing that.

    • CJ 17.1

      Brett

      Maybe we will, maybe we won’t – it depends on your taste for moves I guess.

      But what I will be doing is continuing to try and debunk the lies that those in power and those with capital continue to tell in order to take away more rights and pay from the workers in order to line their own pockets.

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     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    4 days ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    4 days ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    4 days ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    4 days ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    4 days ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    5 days ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    5 days ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    5 days ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    6 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    6 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    6 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    6 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    6 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    1 week ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    1 week ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    1 week ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    1 week ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    1 week ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    2 weeks ago

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