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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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    10 hours ago
  • The value of parenting
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    10 hours ago
  • Let Them Eat Scraps: Bill English’s Budget Outflanks The Left By Moll...
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    10 hours ago
  • Bloody marvelous
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    Politically CorrectedBy sleepdepriveddiva
    12 hours ago
  • Congratulations #CanonMediaAwards 2015 winners…
    ...
    Politically CorrectedBy sleepdepriveddiva
    12 hours ago
  • National Minister refers to PM as “Wild Eyed” Right-Winger!
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    13 hours ago
  • Truly Depressing
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    13 hours ago
  • Document Shows Elizabeth Warren Is Right About TPP
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    21 hours ago
  • Singing the Budget Blues
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    23 hours ago
  • Submit on Mill Rd
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    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    1 day ago
  • Budget Blues
    Twenty five dollars a week can’t be bad, can it? For families on the breadline, it’s surely better than nothing and every little helps. And when the total spend is $790 million, that’s not peanuts, is it? – even if… ...
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    1 day ago
  • Punakaiki Fund and Snowball Effect
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    1 day ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 day ago
  • Game review: Republique
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    1 day ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
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    1 day ago
  • Labour MPs are taking it to the Government in the House over their destruct...
    ...
    1 day ago
  • The price of rotten cops IV
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Best and worst New Zealand flag designs
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    1 day ago
  • World News Brief, Friday May 22
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    1 day ago
  • A hard rain is a’gonna fall.
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    1 day ago
  • Got business out of town? Need a hire car?
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    1 day ago
  • An abuse of the OIA
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
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    frogblogBy Eugenie Sage
    1 day ago
  • Calling Peak Car?
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    1 day ago
  • Australia’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on...
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Fiji: Removing the opposition
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    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: Don’t worry about the surplus, worry about this… Whiteboar...
    Bill’s budget put a bit of extra change in the pocket of poor families, but that came at the cost of the promised surplus. But should you be worried about it? With government debt still only at 25%… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Gareth Morgan
    1 day ago
  • The productivity trap – heads they win, tails we lose
    The article below was written in 2006, so some of the stats are a bit dated.  However the fundamental argument remains.  For instance, NZ productivity growth continues to be poor and NZ capitalists remain behind most of the OECD in… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Attention leftie campaigners: Watch Lynton Crosby
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    1 day ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Out there in the world
    Friday Music posts here don't generally have much to do with my day job helping make a media TV show, but next week's Media Take is an exception. We're putting together a New Zealand music month-themed programme and one of the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government announces plan to grow Auckland housing bubble
    The key initiative in yesterday’s budget is a plan to grow Auckland’s housing bubble. Auckland’s housing bubble is projected to take over from dairy farming as the fastest-growing sector of the New Zealand economy. Consider a typical Mangere housewife. For… ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    1 day ago
  • Paul F Tompkins: The undisputed king of podcasts
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  • Budget 2015: What does it mean?
    ...
    1 day ago
  • What next?
    It feels really, really surreal to nearly be done with my degree. And terrifying, mostly. Right now I have a single 2000 word essay remaining for Politics of Protest and then three exams mid-way through next month, and… that’s it.… ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    2 days ago
  • Solo parents forced to work; but where are the quality jobs?
    The Government is increasing the expectations of paid work from solo parents without any thought as to where the jobs will be, the Council of Trade Unions said today. “There are already 100,000 part time workers who are wanting more secure… ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    2 days ago
  • April-15 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    2 days ago
  • April-14 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    2 days ago
  • Children and steady-as-you-go – but how steady?
    There are three political dimensions to the budget’s star “children in hardship” item. One is John Key’s ownership. That fits his protestations of concern about disadvantaged children — though action has been slow coming. He made his pile in… ...
    Colin JamesBy Colin James
    2 days ago
  • Thoughts on budget 2015
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    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • What if your MP was decided on the flip of a coin?
    The provincial election in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island finally came to an end a couple of days ago when its last MLA was declared elected following a judicial recount.(What - you didn't know that Prince Edward Island… ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015
    From the outset, the slogan for yesterday’s Budget – “The Plan Is Working” – begged to be mocked. There’s actually a plan for the national economy? Who knew? And its been working for whom, exactly? Not for families in poverty,… ...
    2 days ago
  • Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific
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    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago

  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    6 hours ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    10 hours ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    1 day ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 day ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    1 day ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 day ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    1 day ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    1 day ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 day ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 day ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    1 day ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    1 day ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    2 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    2 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    2 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    3 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    5 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    5 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    5 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    5 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago

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