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The failures of visual special effects

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, March 20th, 2013 - 45 comments
Categories: film, International, internet, social democracy, twitter, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: ,

life of piI “attended” a fascinating “town hall” meeting last week of artists from around the world in the Visual Special Effects sector. Ignited by the failure of the company Rhythm and Hues (despite recently completing most of the special effects for the film The Life of Pi and winning award recognition for the work), these workers have started to consider how the structure of the industry is leading to their exploitation and vulnerability

Workers attended meeting in LA, San Francisco, Austin, Vancouver, NZ, London, Brazil and many other parts of the world and were hooked up together through the internet. Clear from the twitter feed was that workers were also joining in from India and other countries and that the issues discussed are universal.

The format for the two hour meeting was a series of presentations by a panel with questions and comments from those attending either directly though the link or by social media. The key concerns were well expressed and widely accepted.

Firstly the industry is dominated by a few major studios who effectively broker and fund these films, contracting out all the creative content. When it comes to special effects, the studios are contracting the work to stand-alone companies who are underbidding to win work, making them vulnerable when extra work is demanded or who are simply under pricing their bids under pressure. These companies are in competition with each other and also more and more of the work is being done in low wage countries putting additional pressure on price. Basically the business model is faulty and designed to suit only the studios.

The second issue is the subsidy system being demanded by studios which sees countries and states using tax payer money to subsidise these films and busily out-bidding each other all around the world. It is common practice for the studios to directly bargain with national and state Governments for big subsidies, playing them off against each other and taking money that would otherwise be used for social services to make their films. The artists talked about chasing work around the world as the subsidy benefits shift. They complained of raising their kids by phone, of not being able to get decent health care or security from this ever shifting sand, and of the futility of these subsidies when they are not accompanied by any bottom lines regarding ongoing commitment of the industry to the country or state or to any guarantees around decent work. The workers reported many states now refusing to engage in this game and they called on all Governments to stop the practice. They are considering legal action in regards to WTO and other trade rules.

Finally they talked about the lack of organisation in the industry – both the employers and the artists – neither are well organised and they are being played off against each other to the detriment of both themselves and the industry in which they work. One person talked about being involved in 5 company failures and losing wages in each. One talked of losing his house and being unable to stay in the industry. All talked about the lack of recognition for what they now contribute to these films. They not only do a great deal of work now in films but they are also both creative and innovative. They are at the cutting edge of the challenge a film like the Life of Pi creates and are creating more and more intellectual property and making these films look better and better. As one person put it – they are lucky if the credits mention them after the catering. Personally I couldn’t give you one name of a star in this industry – they are invisible.

These workers are talking together to formulate a plan – the plan includes encouraging employers to work together through a trade association to challenge the business model and work together on what they need to thrive. As was pointed out at the meeting – many industries have trade organisations that work as a lobby, on information sharing and which takes a co-ordinating role. The studios have one! The workers also want representation and voice – there was debate about what this looks like – but the desire is clear – they want some leverage to improve their lot and secure their future in the industry. Thirdly they want the dignity of recognition for their work – for their creative contribution to be acknowledged!

I found two things very challenging about this meeting:

  1. First was the fear – I felt if for them too (Hobbit lesson number one!). Many workers got up and talked about the fear they had of organising. This meeting could be watched by anyone and I believe some will be targeted now for just being there. They expected no mercy from the studios for their issues and clearly repercussions were a real possibility. Interestingly they discussed the need to recognise that the workers in this industry from India and China also had a desire for decent work as well and these workers did not want to be continually in low wage jobs.

    The workers then talked about the appalling conditions they work in all countries – including in the video game industry – very very long hours, many hours not paid and a total expectation that they will work any time, any place. Insecurity and risk was a key feature or these stories.

    When a question was asked about Chinese workers, one participant, without irony talked about the lack of human rights in China and how Freedom of Association in China was a risk! This was in a space where almost every worker that spoke said they felt that exercising these rights was dangerous at least to their job security in their own country. Clearly this fear is real and in my view it is too trusting if all the focus is on the big bad studios. While the employers in the industry may support these workers in the first instance and form a trade association to improve the business model – I bet they won’t then support these workers organising themselves in the same manner. They should – because it is also in their interests that workers raise industry wide issues like this, but in my experience – they shouldn’t be relied on.

  2. The second thing I found interesting and challenging was the lack of flexibility in the Union model being discussed. The model was traditional and did not respond to what these workers were saying was their real needs in the industry nor in my view did it provide an answer to the consensus regarding the challenges in the industry. I use the capital U in the first sentence of this paragraph because it really was a discussion about Unions with a capital U rather than unions – the possibility of organising collectively as workers to meet their needs and give them leverage, in the manner which they can see is powerful and realistic. This is very controversial – especially for me to say, and I do so with a bit of naivety about the situation in some of these countries in regards union potential. The lack of flexibility in my view lead to a discussion about whether or not to join a Union – rather than what would a union look like that would help crack the issues identified and how the work could be done safely. The main Union format on offer was to sign a “check card” and somehow initiate enterprise based collective bargaining within a business model where this may simply reinforce the weaknesses identified in the industry rather than sort them. It was clear to me that while many wanted to join a union, most did not see the enterprise based recognition model as realistic and some saw it as clearly dangerous to them.

The fact is the industry is structured to make Unionisation dangerous unless it is done in a manner that can tackle that danger. So what is the answer? Well it is not really for me to say in the sense that I don’t quite get the local legal arrangements but it seems to me the number one desire of the group was to collectivise to enable strategising together on way forward

Goal one: Collectivise

There are unions in the sector clearly especially in the USA and Canada. These unions could modify their model to allow these workers to join quietly in order to initially facilitate the discussion. If these workers each made a contribution by way of a union fee and were supported to meet, discuss, research, design and strategise in the first instance this would be a start and very reassuring. This model could be made available by union movements in other countries as well.

Goal two: Political issues

These workers want a voice on the political issues – they want lobbying on subsidies and status. This could be a priority action of this union membership – to promote some stars, to explain some techniques and innovations and to point out the downside of subsidies and create the political momentum to get this part of the model changed. The creative skills of these new union members could be used in innovative ways to do this collectively.

Goal three: Leverage

These workers want leverage for both the companies they worked for and themselves. A good project identifying potential for leverage could be developed and implemented. I would think this would include a formal and regular relationship with the new Trade Association if it gets going, or with willing players if not. It would include working with the other national and international unions in the industry (SAG, British Equity etc) to build relationships and win support for the key issues. It would build up the union membership – training recruitment leads, producing material, keeping everyone informed. It should include direct contact with Governments about the industry and should use the training schools for support. It should seek support from employers in the industry to support and promote the union membership so it can truly be a right and not a risk. As I say, this is a creative group – I reckon together they could be very inspiring in the methods they use.

Goal four: Gaining improvements for those that work in the industry

Clearly these workers want improvements – it seems to me that this has to happen at the studio level in the first instance. Supply chain pressure is needed – this is a long term strategy to put pressure on the studios to agree to industry based standards for these workers and implementation of these standards through the supply chain – basically only contracting with Special Effect Companies that sign up to these standards – therefore securing for those employers that want to improve conditions and security for their workers, the level playing field required to do it. This, in relevant countries could also include provision of health care insurance etc. This will come as leverage is built.

So all of these things would be beneficial and in my view fit within the mandate of a social organisation called a union to which these workers should belong. It could provide a safe and progressive programme of resourced activities to achieve the issues identified at the meeting. It should be a union and not a guild – this is what these workers need – and ideally it will be a union already in the industry that is able to link these workers together and support them, with the commitment and confidence of workers in the industry and work towards real change. The US laws allow anyone to join a union without the card check. The card check is only needed to gain formal recognition by the employer for bargaining. I don’t think, at this point at least, the card check and what it delivers is what these workers see as working for them. The real question is are unions up for recognising this?

And why is this relevant to NZ – The issue of unionisation with a big or small U is very much on our agenda. Looking at Forestry for example – telling these workers to join a Union and we will collectively bargain with their employer (all small contractors competing for work) is a nonsense and doesn’t ring true with these workers anyway. The problem here is the shape of the industry – the forest owners encourage and like the model as it exists because it leaves only them with power, and they will have to be pressured to change – forest workers can join a union that can do this. It can lobby on their behalf, raise the key issues in the industry, and allow them to have a voice. We are working on offering this model – easy and safe association meeting their needs and tackling the structure of the industry.

New successful social movements (including unions) are springing up around the world to represent workers that find themselves in non traditional industries or situations – street sellers organisations that want insurance and to live free from police harassment, migrant workers that want protections from unfair deportation and protection from unfair employment practices, youth who want employment and voice across the three or four jobs they may hold. Some of these organisations are huge and growing – they are unions with a small u and in my view hold out hope for workers in the global industry of film special effects.

I greatly admired the artists that turned up and spoke at the meeting. They were passionate about their jobs and each other. They showed great respect for those they work with and for. They simply want a fair go as all workers do, and I think it is in the industries interest and in the interest of all of us who love the movies that they get one!

45 comments on “The failures of visual special effects”

  1. lprent 1

    I really really feel for those workers who have been bitten by failing companies and lost pay in the VFX fields – both movies and also the even more massive and very similar games industry. In the last few decades the only time I haven’t been paid was working for a local games company that lost their financing in the GFC.

    I was left about $10k out of pocket and scrambling to find a new job. The small team of programmers have a lot easier job doing that than the much larger team of graphics artists and animators – most of whom I saw still looking for work quite some later on the net.

    I decided after that, that working for games companies or films was a lousy way to make a living. All of the programmers who’d specialised in games had carried the can during at least one other of these failures. The graphics and animation people even more so.

    • Ben Clark 1.1

      I’ve certainly been involved in my share of company failures / “restructures” in my time in the entertainment industry as a programmer.
      Took a smaller haircut than Lynn in the above mentioned one (got out early), and got my wages in full in previous ones (in UK), but it’s not a stable industry (games / vfx).

      But it is a very exciting industry, so employers feel able to take advantage. If you don’t want to put in the unpaid hours then you’re obviously not “passionate” about it enough and there’s someone behind you who will… (programmers there’s some scarcity at least, but everyone else…)
      But there are good employers too. And those that don’t take advantage and don’t work the long hours actually get better results. You’re not so creative or motivated when you’re knackered…

      Anyway, pleased to be working in the “real world” now – may not be as “sexy”, but the hours and the pay are better… (and there’s still good problems to solve, which is the important part for a programmer).

      • lprent 1.1.1

        As well as the pay; the hours really were excessive (and that is saying something bearing in mind the hours I spend on various forms of work), and it was unproductive and dissatisfying in terms of coding (I’m as immune to glamour of particular jobs as I am to politicians charm).

        I prefer the “real world”.

    • infused 1.2

      Games companies are a dime a dozen now. Never use to be, now it is… what was this game company? Phone/Web, or platforms like PC/XBOX etc…

      Mobile game developers come and go like the wind. If you are a talented programmer, you will have no issue getting a job.

      Like point #1 of this post, a lot of programming work is now outsourced to India.

  2. karol 2

    Thank-you for such a detailed and useful report, Helen.

    I had assumed that VFX workers were the least vulnerable section of film workers in NZ, as indicated by them coming out in support of Jackson over the Hobbit, and the success of Weta.

    Maybe they just give that impression because of fears of opposing the exploitative system?

  3. Rich 3

    I get the impression that (in NZ, but probably the rest of the developed world) people work in big-studio SFX because it’s seen as glamorous (at least compared to doing GST changes for a supermarket). This means the industry can enforce low wages (especially on an hourly basis) and of course excludes those who need to earn a better living (those without rich parents or savings).

    As an industry, it isn’t a particularly valuable or sustainable one and we’d be better off if government funding went to the grassroots end of the film industry (NZ On Air got roughly the same amount of money as the Hobbit to produce over 900 hours of television).

    • erentz 3.1

      we’d be better off if government funding went to the grassroots end of the film industry

      Makes a lot of sense — the idea here shouldn’t be to make Peter Jackson richer, but to make more Peter Jacksons. Fund more small, local productions, this can enable more talent to have their chance of being discovered, and would it also not provide a smoothing effect for employment inbetween the big productions? Maybe it’s not needed…

      Unrelated: Speaking of PJ, I recently watched his West of Memphis documentary — there’s an amazingly ironical part in the film where Peter talks about how he and Fran hate big bullies who pick on the small guy. Who is the bully now.

      • geoff 3.1.1

        the idea here shouldn’t be to make Peter Jackson richer, but to make more Peter Jacksons.

        Eeek! One’s more than enough thanks

        • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 3.1.1.1

          Yeah! Goddamn tall poppies. We should cut them all down.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Cut down anyone with the potential to compete with today’s well established very wealthy tall poppies you mean.

      • MrV 3.1.2

        And I suppose this extends to the Robyn Malcoms of the world, who now they have established their name in the acting world can cease sucking on the public tit, to allow others to get their chance?

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.2.1

          Only one sucking on the public teat is Peter Jackson who cried poor and wanted millions more in tax breaks, and being a half billionaire you could call him already established.

  4. Saccharomyces 4

    That areticle was a bit TL:DR, did skim it though.

    One thing I will say is the real failure of special effects is the deployment of them (along with the ubiquitous stupid bass drop) by big budget studios to wow the punter without having to worry excessively about good stories or acting.

    • infused 4.1

      Yeah I got to point #1.

      Shorter posts if you want people to read it.

      Weta seem to be doing well. I know quite a few people there.

  5. George D 5

    When Labour is next in power, how do we change the law to allow unionisation to happen?

  6. Scott Squires 6

    Thanks for the article. There’s a bit of confusion in the article regarding unions.

    The entire US film industry is unionized with the exception of visual effects (and composers but that’s a separate issue) Directors, writers, cinematographers, actors, etc are all union.

    “modify their model to allow these workers to join quietly in order to initially facilitate the discussion. ” There is no visual effects union. And by law you can’t simply join a union unless you’re employed at a union shop. To do that you have to submit rep cards (in secret). When enough have submitted for a given company then the US labor laws kick in and an official (secret) vote is held. If majority vote for union, then it’s now a union shop. There are specific laws in the US related to Unions so I’m not sure where the flexibility is supposed to come into play. And legally employers can not fire people for discussing the union or attending an event where the word union is used.

    Unionizing would certain encourage companies to consider a trade association. After the protest that was held a few more large companies have been at least willing to discuss a trade assoc. If that protest had happened this probably wouldn’t be discussed. Without a union the companies may simply slip back to being individual companies without a group.

    “it seems to me that this has to happen at the studio level in the first instance. Supply chain pressure is needed – this is a long term strategy to put pressure on the studios to agree to industry based standards for these workers and implementation of these standards through the supply chain” And exactly who is putting pressure on the studios to achieve this? The big if is will there be a trade association, if so, how long will that take and will their intent be on the workers standards?

    ” to point out the downside of subsidies and create the political momentum to get this part of the model changed. ” Fighting subsidies is a huge , time consuming and costly battle. You have politicians taking money from tax payers and deep pocketed lobbyists pushing. New Zealand should be well aware of it and it’s problems. (And the issues of the film unions in New Zealand)

    “It would include working with the other national and international unions in the industry (SAG, British Equity etc) to build relationships and win support for the key issues”
    Win support from who? Almost everyone else on a film is hired by the studios. The visual effects workers are not. Most are hired by companies.

    • Helen Kelly 6.1

      Hi Scott
      My understanding from the AFLCIO is that workers are free to join unions without the card check as I would expect in terms of freedom of association. The card signing system is for union recognition by the employer but many many workers simply join the union without this and never seek recognition or never reach the threshold needed.

      “And by law you can’t simply join a union unless you’re employed at a union shop.” And legally employers can not fire people for discussing the union or attending an event where the word union is used.

      My understanding from the AFLCIO is that workers are free to join unions without the card signing system as I would expect in terms of freedom of association. The card signing system is for union recognition by the employer but many many workers simply join the union without this and never seek recognition or never reach the threshold needed. Have a look at what the lobstermen are doing to join a union. http://bangordailynews.com/2013/03/15/business/growing-number-of-lobstermen-looking-to-unionize-gain-voice-in-augusta/

      Legally you cant sack union members but you need to spend a day in my shoes! But actually in this industry with all the insecurity they simply dont employ people again.

      “And exactly who is putting pressure on the studios to achieve this? [ supply chain pressure] ”

      It cant be just the companies in this sector. Workers are already putting pressure on through the campaign and this can be increased. Other workers in the industry especially those directly employed by the studios and powerful can use this security and power to raise the issues and get support. Other unions in the industry can support this as SAG did here for our performers. Film viewers can be included and so can investors. You will have seen in my post I discussed our forestry sector. Turns out a major investor in one of our forest comapanies is Canadian teacher union pension funds – we will be contacting them about our issues here – it is called leverage and flows from solidarity.

      . ” Fighting subsidies is a huge”

      Yep but politically controverisal enough to get traction (and in a sexy industry)

      Win support from who? Almost everyone else on a film is hired by the studios. The visual effects workers are not. Most are hired by companies.

      Yep this is why they are in a good position to support this work.

      thanks for the feedback

      regards
      Helen Kelly

      • Helen Kelly 6.1.1

        sorry for the double up in this reply – I am overseas and facing technical challenges – not sure how the edit function works! Hope you can work your way through my reply and work out the “he said” “she said” issues!

        • lprent 6.1.1.1

          Hi Helen. There is rather a lot of interest in this post.

          I’ve beefed up the primary server to prevent the time-outs we were getting a few hours ago. We’re getting waves of page views as it gets recommended around face book, and circulates around e-mail groups. Some of the IP’s on the logs are from parts of the net I have never seen before. You did warn me :)

          But the interest looks sustained and the servers are now handling it without major problems….

          BTW: good post

          • Helen Kelly 6.1.1.1.1

            thanks – not sure what that all means but yes my email has gone mad with people asking for more info and maybe having a bit of trouble reading the site? Interesting.

            • lprent 6.1.1.1.1.1

              They probably would have had a problem at about 8pm NZDT and for the next hour – the database server was getting overwhelmed. We got half a days normal load in an hour. I threw more grunt on to it and turned on a cache. That fixed it.

              Should be ok now.

  7. ghostrider888 7

    it was a dense article Helen.

    interesting to see the continued development and refinement of avatars; does not bode well.

    Life Of Pi? one of the best thematic movies ever made imo. :)

  8. illuminatedtiger 8

    Great article Helen – many thanks.

    Where do you think the VES fits into this?

    • Helen Kelly 8.1

      Hi thanks – I am not sure. I thought it was a little unfair that they were criticised given they were simply working in the frame that currently exists and now the sand is moving. That is for the membership to decide and if they are influential (cant tell from here), then people should join and influence its policie etc.

  9. ghostrider888 9

    You are an amazing human being Helen
    Carpe Diem
    http://books.scoop.co.nz/2012/07/17/poem-learning-revolution-by-john-elijah/
    Amor Fati
    Be Well.

  10. JTDesign 10

    There are very similar issues affecting the field of graphic design, and I’m having an increasingly difficult time making a living. I have a lot of friends in the VFX industry, and I hope they are able to successfully organize. Unfortunately, I don’t think my industry will ever be able to do the same. After 20 years in design, I may need to find something else to do to provide for my family.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      Hard lessons forgotten.

      In medieval times skilled workers had guilds which transformed over time into various forms of professional associations for the middle class and unions for the trade workers.

      Our mistake is thinking that all our clever technology makes us wiser than our forefathers…

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        In medieval times skilled workers had guilds which transformed over time into various forms of professional associations for the middle class and unions for the trade workers. got banned because the capitalists wanted to pay workers less.

        FIFY

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          Only in part; the other part was that you couldn’t keep techniques like rope making and candle making secret in the modern age.

  11. bad12 11

    Not much i can do about a crap New Zealander making crap films except not watch them, which i happily do, even switching off the free to air broadcasting of the barefoot ones little fantasies,

    People must sooner or later wake up to the fact that they as a mass have a vast amount of power in the use of the Boycott of a product as a means of protest,

    The internet the perfect tool of organization through sites like here at the Standard and social media like FaceBook….

    • MrV 11.1

      Yeah, you show them, boycott the big companies by using … wait for it … Facebook.

  12. chris73 12

    Just for some perspective the estimated budget for the lord of the rings trilogy was 281 million and the box office was 2.92 billion

    The estimates for the hobbit trilogy is between 600-900 million and thus far has earned just over 1 billion (with 2 films to go)

    • felixviper 12.1

      What do you mean, Chalupa?

      • chris73 acualy is Dolan 12.1.1

        Just thought some figures thrown in might help…or not

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          It already earned just over a billion dollars and Jackson still wanted tax breaks from NZers.

    • bad12 12.2

      Yeah McDonalds make burgers that without the secret sauce taste like warmed up plastic, and in my opinion only moderately less so with the sauce added,

      That’s a billion dollar industry as well which only goes to prove that one hell of a lot of people happily eat s**t and pay for the privilege to do so,

      Now which country did you say that the billion dollars of takings from the latest piece of fluff offering from the bare-foot one will be deposited in…

  13. str0be 13

    I was following along with the townhall meeting very closely, and a couple of things came up in the comments that I thought were potentially very interesting and largely unaddressed.

    First, the tax subsidies (aptly called out as kickbacks) could be addressed through legal action through the WTO, instating Tariffs on international effects work to balance out the unlevel playing field. This wouldn’t fix the inter-state subsidy imbalance, but it would help keep the big US studios from outsourcing.

    Second, royalties/profit sharing/partial-ownership of the property. After a movie has made back it’s initial investment, the creator studios should see a percentage of the profits, and ideally distributed to the artists as well. The partial ownership model could involve establishing stocks or shares in the property, and studio bids would include purchasing these stocks. If the movie makes money, the studios receive a dividend, and if the movie is a profit loss, those losses are distributed among a larger field, and thus don’t bankrupt entire facilities.

    I’m no expert, but I thought these were interesting angles to view the issue from, and potentially start steering this Titanic away from the iceberg.

    • lprent 13.1

      …through legal action through the WTO…

      WTO doesn’t come cheaply and/or quickly. I’m thinking about the very expensive decades that it took the NZ government to get the Aussies to allow our apples into their country because they had a largely cosmetic disease prevention barrier – that wasn’t straight forward. Anything that is problematic is long and expensive. Tax subsidies are one of the more problematic areas for the WTO.

      Similarly tariffs from where to where? Tariffs are something that the WTO was specifically set up to deal with. So putting in a tariff to restrain trade only requires a complaint rather than an expensive argument. It is still slow but with a rather inexorable result.

      The question would be who would take these actions.

      The second ‘angle’ is better idea since all that requires is a change to contracts between companies. The problem is that it requires that the effects companies cooperate across a number of countries so the studios don’t cherry pick suppliers. This is likely to cause legal issues in restraint of trade legislation in various countries as well.

  14. s y d 14

    Oh man…how do you collectivise when every ‘self employed’ geezer thinks they have to to outwit, outsmart and undercut the next dude in a white van/black audi/18 wheeler.
    Our working lives have become a farcical imitation of survivor papatoetoe (or wherever)

    This is the New NZ way…

    The only collectivising I see is in the corporate world, maybe something there but I don’t have an answer. Maybe just being able to ‘talk’ to others could be the catalyst….

    Basically it’s going to take a change in mindset from dog eat dog to share it out and find fun/valuable things to do instead of acting like A holes all the time.

    Too many A holes on the shopfloor

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    No Right Turn
  • John Banks isn’t (yet) innocent
    The news that the Court of Appeal has overturned the guilty verdict against John Banks' for knowingly filing a false election return in relation to his failed 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign is not surprising. To understand why, you need to...
    Pundit
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Good ideas that don’t work
    Stinky Jim has been playing a rather engaging cumbia version of New Order's 'Blue Monday' on his 95bFM radio show. Having tracked down the Soundcloud stream, I thought that I would quite like, in my old-fashioned way to, you know, buy...
    Public Address
  • And the Banks saga rolls on…
    It’s just been reported that John Banks has been successful in his appeal, with the Court of Appeal overturning his conviction and ordering a new trial. The appeal hinged on the evidence of two US-based businessmen, David Schaeffer and Jeffery...
    Occasionally erudite
  • Tonga votes
    Tongans went to the polls yesterday in their second election since the 2010 democratic reforms - and threw out most of their Parliament, returning only five of their incumbent People's Representatives (and only one PR Cabinet Minister). Unfortunately this doesn't...
    No Right Turn
  • What if a technology revolution happened and nobody noticed?
    A new NZIER research report, entitled “Disruption on the road ahead! How auto technology will change much more than just our commute to work“, makes the case that new technologies will upend urban transport systems: Near autonomous cars followed by...
    Transport Blog
  • Submission on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill
    Below is my submission on John Key's Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill. Hopefully some of you made your own as well. I oppose the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill and ask that it not be passed. I also oppose the...
    No Right Turn
  • River story winner Bill Kerrison – Saving NZ’s longfin eel
    The Award winning River story for the 2014 New Zealand River awards story is about one man, Bill Kerrison, who has worked tirelessly for more than 20 years trapping and transferring eels and other native fish species past the dams...
    Gareth’s World
  • Little Expecting A Lot
    Great Expectations: Labour's new leader, Andrew Little, is expecting a lot more from his Shadow Cabinet than the standard neoliberal commitment to keeping the books in the black. He will not be judging the worth of Labour’s economic policies by...
    Bowalley Road
  • Prolongation of Life and the Quality of Life.
    A couple of comments to an earlier column asked questions about the quality of life versus the prolongation of life....
    Pundit
  • Saving Peatland With the President
    Today we made history in the protection of Indonesian peatlands. I’ve just got back from a monitoring trip to Sumatra’s devastated peatland forests with Indonesia’s new president Jokowi, where the president witnessed firsthand ongoing peatland and rainforest destruction and took...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • Submission on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill
    Submission of the Tertiary Education Union Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee on the “Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill” Introduction The Tertiary Education Union Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa (TEU) welcomes this opportunity to respond to the proposed...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Gordon Campbell on Andrew Little’s debut, Mockingjay, and drunk texting
    John Key’s credibility has taken a hammering this week – at least among the 50% of the electorate who have always had doubts about him on that score. The other substantial story of the week has been about Andrew Little’s...
    Gordon Campbell
  • Five houses
    Labour's Phil Twyford says: The Fourth Auckland Housing Accord monitoring report shows the Accord has failed to make a dent in the city's housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. "The report says consents for only 354 dwellings were...
    Polity
  • Round up the usual suspects
    This post is just to keep track of all the people Cameron Slater has accused of being involved in the conspiracy to hack his computer and kill him. As Giovanni Tiso has pointed out, when Slater posts about Rawshark he...
    DimPost
  • The Soya Moratorium lives on – but what will follow after it?
    For eight years, the Soya Moratorium has protected the Amazon rainforest from deforestation. It has just been renewed for the eighth time. But what happens when it ends for good, 18 months from now?The Soya Moratorium was the industry’s answer to our campaign...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • 2014 New Zealand River Award Winners
      Two Canterbury rivers – the Otukaikino and Cam – took out 1st and 3rd place in the 2014 New Zealand River Awards for the most improved rivers in the country. The Oroua River in the Manawatu was the 2nd...
    Gareth’s World
  • Neetflux: Leak absorbent
    ...
    On the Left
  • Housing Accord first year results
    The results for the first full year of the Housing Accord between the government and Auckland Council have just been released. It’s a politically charged topic – witness the government talking it up (“First year Auckland Housing Accord target exceeded“),...
    Transport Blog
  • Armchair psychoanalysis of the day
    A week ago I was having coffee with some fellow politics nerds, scoffing at the idea that newly elected Labour MP Andrew Little could defeat Key in 2017. ‘The best he could hope for’, I pontificated, ‘Is to get up into...
    DimPost
  • Mercury Rising: 2014 Likely to Surpass 2010 as Warmest Year on Record
    The monthly global analysis for October has been released at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and it reveals that global surface temperature for October 2014 is the warmest October in 135 years of record-keeping. This follows on from the 2nd...
    Skeptical Science
  • Legal Beagle: A rather incomplete submission on the Countering Terrorist Fi...
    I've been busy lately, and have been unable to prepare the submission on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill that I would have liked. I also have a half-written blog post fact-checking claims made before the bill was released by...
    Public Address
  • US Report shows zero Australian economic growth from TPP
    ...
    Its our future
  • Stuart’s 100 #59: Missing from the City Centre Series: Street Kiosks
    59: Missing from the City Centre Series: Street Kiosks What if there were flower sellers on Queen Street? Our city centre is really starting to burgeon with pedestrian activity and public life through the day and well into the evening,...
    Transport Blog
  • The Law Society on the spy bill
    At the moment the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee is hearing submissions on John Key's Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill. One of the first submitters was the Law Society. So what did they think of it? It is a...
    No Right Turn
  • John Key’s TXTs and the Public Records Act
    Today in Question Time, in response to further questions about the Prime Minister's communications with sewerblogger Cameron Slater, Steven Joyce (on behalf of the PM) informed the House that Key deletes all his text messages, "in case his phone is...
    No Right Turn
  • No freedom of speech in Pakistan
    Veena Malik is a Pakistani actor. In May this year she played a role in a historical wedding scene based on the marriage of one of Muhammed's daughters. For this, she has been sentenced to 26 years in jail for...
    No Right Turn
  • John Key’s Immoral Governance
    I was in Wellington last weekend, alternating between spending time with my two student children and attending our Green Party executive meeting. Being with intellectually engaged and compassionate people was a useful foil to the depressing events that hit me...
    Local Bodies
  • FFS
    This is all getting really silly now. Alice in Wonderland stuff. The Prime Minister is ranting that he "absolutely [did] not" lie to reporters on Tuesday. He told reporters he had not been in communications with Cameron Slater about the...
    Polity
  • The Labour Party plot to kill Cameron Slater: the shocking evidence
    Cameron Slater has claimed that people within Labour have tried to kill him. Shortly after Slater made this astonishing claim, I received from an anonymous source a recording of a conversation between senior Labour Party members in which a plan...
    Imperator Fish
  • Getting it Wright on sea level rise
    Sea level rise of up to 40cm around New Zealand by the middle of this century is already locked in and will cause significant problems for coastal communities and infrastructure, according to a new report just released by Dr Jan...
    Hot Topic
  • The Kiwi Bach is a Sinking Ship and Taxpayers Should Not Pay to Bail You Ou...
    A new report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) Jan Wright released today highlights the perilous status of our national institution – the seaside bach or crib. The PCE’s report is a summary of the state of the...
    Gareth’s World
  • Climate change: Rising seas
    One of the primary consequences of climate change is sea-level rise due to thermal expansion and melting ice. What impact will this have on New Zealand? The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is going to tell us:The Parliamentary Commissioner for...
    No Right Turn
  • Guest Post: Dear AT HOP
    This is a guest post by reader Frith Stalker Dear AT Hop I have used Auckland buses for 30 years I am very smart, very pedantic, very polite and very Rule Abiding I am your perfect customer. I always thank...
    Transport Blog
  • Staff deserve right to use te reo Māori
    Tertiary Update Vol 17 No 41 Student’s at most tertiary institutions have the right to use te reo Māori as provided for and protected in their institution’s policies and practices, but staff do not always have that same right. TEU’s...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Creationist ‘audits’ science museum
    Imagine you are 10 years old and your crazy aunt is taking you out for a treat. A crazy aunt can be fun. Problem is this aunt is also a creationist and she is taking you to the local natural history museum....
    Open Parachute
  • Government digs deeper into $10m fraud
    The government has uncovered nearly $10 million in misappropriated tertiary funding and is expanding its investigations into other institutions around the country. Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce told the New Zealand Herald the Tertiary Education Commission is planning 12 more...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Council washes hands of pensioner housing
    Hamilton City Council is washing its hands of its social responsibility to care for its elderly residents by selling off its homes for pensioners, Labour’s Hamilton-based MP Sue Moroney says. “The Council’s decision to sell its remaining 344 pensioner housing...
    Labour
  • Bold response required to Blueprint
    The Government must give urgent consideration to recommendations in The People’s Blueprint if it is serious about tackling New Zealand’s deplorable record of child abuse and domestic violence, Labour’s Justice and Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The ‘one family, one judge’...
    Labour
  • Private prisons poaching in state jails
    The Corrections Department-sanctioned poaching of public prison officers for the new private prison at Wiri has to stop, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “It is unacceptable that prison staff are being trained by Corrections and then being poached by...
    Labour
  • Climate report- a must read for all New Zealanders
    A strong scientific analysis of rising sea levels in New Zealand by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment makes climate change the number one issue for our city planners, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “Dr Jan Wright’s report...
    Labour
  • Exports drop puts more pressure on surplus
    A 5 per cent fall in exports shows National’s reputation for economic management is taking a hit and even puts its golden surplus target at risk, say Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson and Exports Growth spokesperson David Parker. “Bill English’s...
    Labour
  • Fourth housing report confirms failure
    The Fourth Auckland Housing Accord monitoring report shows the Accord has failed to make a dent in the city's housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. "The report says consents for only 354 dwellings were approved in the special...
    Labour
  • Fourth housing report confirms failure
    The Fourth Auckland Housing Accord monitoring report shows the Accord has failed to make a dent in the city's housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. "The report says consents for only 354 dwellings were approved in the special...
    Labour
  • Ministers all over the place on Smith passport
     Ministers responsible for the Phillip Smith debacle are at  odds over the passport he used to escape, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “It  beggars belief that Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says the passport issued to Smith, under his...
    Labour
  • Ministers all over the place on Smith passport
     Ministers responsible for the Phillip Smith debacle are at  odds over the passport he used to escape, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “It  beggars belief that Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says the passport issued to Smith, under his...
    Labour
  • Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman’s speech – Rod Donald Memorial Lect...
    It's been nine years since Rod's tragic death. I'd like to start out by talking about what Rod achieved. Then I want to talk about the things that I think he might want us to achieve in his absence. We...
    Greens
  • Hard road ahead for thousands more Kiwi kids
    News that there will be 8000 more students in low decile schools next year reinforces the absolute failure of the National Government’s economic approach, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The gap between the haves and the have-nots is increasing....
    Labour
  • Hard road ahead for thousands more Kiwi kids
    News that there will be 8000 more students in low decile schools next year reinforces the absolute failure of the National Government’s economic approach, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The gap between the haves and the have-nots is increasing....
    Labour
  • Free your voices
    Last week Victoria University of Wellington lecturer’s Dr. Sandra Grey and Dr. Charles Sedgwick released some figures from the 2013/14 update of the 2008/9 survey of the community and voluntary sector. Their research question was: ‘How is democracy – as...
    Greens
  • The facts of power price rises
    Everyone knows power prices are increasing and it feels like it is eating more and more of their weekly pay check. This morning I released census data showing this common feeling is in fact borne in the data. The data...
    Greens
  • Slavery was cheap too…Pay equity fight back to court
    Today the NZ Aged Care Association announced they will appeal the decisions of the Employment Court and Court of Appeal in favour of Kristine Bartlett, to the Supreme Court. They say they have no choice but to appeal because many...
    Greens
  • Why Pakeha are so offended by John Key’s idea of a peaceful settlement
    The statements by the Prime Minister on the Waitangi Tribunal ruling that Maori never ceded sovereignty in 1840 are enough to make any student of history choke. First was the denial that the ruling means anything significant. And then there...
    Greens
  • Restoration of the Christchurch Arts Centre well underway
    It was inspiring to be shown some of the major restoration and rebuilding work underway at the Christchurch Arts Centre recently. With 22 of 23 Arts Centre buildings damaged by the earthquakes, this is one of the largest heritage restoration...
    Greens
  • Key’s vile smear machine questions left unanswered
    The report into Judith Collins’ involvement in undermining the former Serious Fraud Office boss leaves major questions unanswered about the smear machine run out of John Key’s office, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “This report has deliberately narrow terms of...
    Labour
  • Key’s vile smear machine questions left unanswered
    The report into Judith Collins’ involvement in undermining the former Serious Fraud Office boss leaves major questions unanswered about the smear machine run out of John Key’s office, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “This report has deliberately narrow terms of...
    Labour
  • Govt must make up lost time on sexual violence law reform
    The Government must prioritise any recommendations from the Law Commission to improve criminal process for sexual violence cases after it stalled reform work for two years, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Labour is pleased Justice Minister Amy Adams has...
    Labour
  • Govt must make up lost time on sexual violence law reform
    The Government must prioritise any recommendations from the Law Commission to improve criminal process for sexual violence cases after it stalled reform work for two years, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Labour is pleased Justice Minister Amy Adams has...
    Labour
  • White Ribbon day should last all year
    White Ribbon Day is an opportunity for all men to stand up and affirm to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women, says Labour’s Associate Justice Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “Violence towards women is rampant across all sectors...
    Labour
  • White Ribbon day should last all year
    White Ribbon Day is an opportunity for all men to stand up and affirm to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women, says Labour’s Associate Justice Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “Violence towards women is rampant across all sectors...
    Labour
  • Report confirms John Key abused power of PM’s Office
    Today's Inspector General of Intelligence and Security's (IGIS) report confirms that the Prime Minister's office engaged in a serious abuse of power, says the Green Party.The IGIS report looked at the release of an Official Information Act request to disgraced...
    Greens
  • IGIS report a damning indictment on former spy boss
    The report by Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the release of classified documents is a sad and damning indictment on former spy boss Warren Tucker, Labour’s MP for Mount Roskill and former leader Phil Goff says.  “This report upholds...
    Labour
  • IGIS report a damning indictment on former spy boss
    The report by Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the release of classified documents is a sad and damning indictment on former spy boss Warren Tucker, Labour’s MP for Mount Roskill and former leader Phil Goff says.  “This report upholds...
    Labour
  • South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings
    New decile rankings have South Auckland schools at scores that show they are much more disadvantaged than the national average, says Labour’s Associate Auckland  Issues spokesperson Louisa Wall.  “As a measurement of disadvantage it is alarming that the average score...
    Labour
  • South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings
    New decile rankings have South Auckland schools at scores that show they are much more disadvantaged than the national average, says Labour’s Associate Auckland  Issues spokesperson Louisa Wall.  “As a measurement of disadvantage it is alarming that the average score...
    Labour
  • Sexism, rape culture and power
    Our discourse around sexual violence is complicated. All too often perpetrators are described as ‘monsters’, so when someone you know tells you the lovely man that you really like sexually abused them it’s hard to believe, because they’re not a...
    Greens
  • Time for an economy that works for all New Zealanders
    New Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says the challenge for the National Government is to support an economy that delivers good, sustainable jobs paying decent wages. “It’s time the economy delivered for all New Zealanders, not just the fortunate few....
    Labour
  • Time for an economy that works for all New Zealanders
    New Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says the challenge for the National Government is to support an economy that delivers good, sustainable jobs paying decent wages. “It’s time the economy delivered for all New Zealanders, not just the fortunate few....
    Labour
  • New faces, wise heads in bold Labour line up
    Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience....
    Labour
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep 2.
    TDB Video: The Daily Blog Breakfast Club, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week Activist and blogger Jessie Hume and political commentator Keith Locke. This Week: Topic...
    The Daily Blog
  • When the teflon is stripped away…
    . . To re-cap something I wrote on 13 September, regarding a hard-hitting interview between “The Nation’s” Lisa Owen and John Key; For possibly the first time since Stephen Sackur interviewed Key on Hard Talk in May, 2011, this [...
    The Daily Blog
  • My Select Committee submission against the “terrorist fighters” bill
    This morning I gave this “oral submission” to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee opposing the Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill.  It is a pity only Greens are against the Bill. It’s a pleasure to be able to talk to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Pixies in the Garden? Making money
    In 2009, John Key said “there aren’t little pixies at the bottom of the garden printing cash” (John Armstrong, Colin Espiner). He was wrong of course. Just about every country has its own pixie-in-chief, though not at the bottom of the...
    The Daily Blog
  • AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE – Government must allow further scrut...
    As the New Zealand government seeks to rush new through new anti-terror legislation, Amnesty International is raising grave concerns over the speed at which the Bill is being rushed through Parliament and is calling for an extension to the consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • Tension inside the Blue Tent – questions that should be asked
    With Andrew Little on fire taking a straight shooting no crap approach to Key’s dead eyed duplicity, the tensions inside the Blue Tent of National are at risk of erupting again. When the TeamKey brand falters, National’s factions sharpen their knives....
    The Daily Blog
  • FiveAA Australia: Is NZ’s PM a Liar? + Kim Dotcom Says He’s Broke
    5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.In this week’s Across The Ditch bulletin on FiveAA.com.au Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey discuss how allegations of dirty politics continue to dog the Prime Minister John Key’s third term in government. Also, internet tycoon...
    The Daily Blog
  • Cam’s ‘Slightly Left of Centre’ sock puppet threatens Key in public
    What did Judith Collins say about payback? Looks like Slater has taken that lesson to heart as he uses his sock puppet over at Slightly Left of Centre to drop threats and hints that he has recorded conversations with Key that has...
    The Daily Blog
  • Justice System Changes Must Ensure No More Roastings In Court
    On Monday there was good news for rape survivors and this blog was supposed to be about the success of our advocacy, and it is about that success, but today’s events have brought into stark focus the real-world importance of...
    The Daily Blog
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Key Post Electio...
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Key Post Election...
    The Daily Blog
  • Top 5 Texts from Cam to Key
    So Cam texted Key before the report came out despite Key claiming no contact? Top 5 Texts from Cam to Key 5 – I still have all the photos 4 – Yes my shapeshifting Lizard Master Overlord 3 – Max isn’t talking to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Hold on – did NZ just have a coup?
    Ummmmm. Wait a minute here. Just so that we all understand what’s been revealed. The Prime Minister’s Office used the Secret Intelligence Service to falsify classified information to smear the Leader of the Opposition via a far right hate blogger...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter in reference to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter in reference to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter in reference to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins The report into Collins is a whitewash. The difference between an independent inquiry like the IGIS report that connected the PMs Office with using edited Secret Intelligence Service information to smear a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins The report into Collins is a whitewash. The difference between an independent inquiry like the IGIS report that connected the PMs Office with using edited Secret Intelligence Service information to smear a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins The report into Collins is a whitewash. The difference between an independent inquiry like the IGIS report that connected the PMs Office with using edited Secret Intelligence Service information to smear a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased are the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased are the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • Q + A 30/11/14: Spying, Family Violence, Texts
    We'll debate why the State needs new powers to spy on Kiwis and the controversial laws that are being rushed through Parliament....
    Scoop politics
  • Arrival of Phillip Smith in New Zealand
    On arrival with his police escort at Auckland Airport tomorrow morning Phillip Smith will be met by other police staff and complete customs and immigration formalities....
    Scoop politics
  • UNICEF Calls on NZ Youth to Apply for Youth Ambassador Roles
    UNICEF NZ Calls on NZ Youth to Apply for Youth Ambassador Roles UNICEF NZ has once again launched its nationwide search for six new Youth Ambassadors and is calling on enthusiastic young people to apply before Friday, 12 December 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwifruit Claim Filed in High Court in Wellington
    The Kiwifruit Claim’s statement of claim has been filed in the High Court in Wellington this afternoon....
    Scoop politics
  • Judgment: John Banks Dotcom Donation Appeal
    A The application to adduce the evidence of Messrs Schaeffer and Karnes is granted. B The application to adduce evidence of Mr Dotcom’s driving conviction is declined. C The appeal is allowed. D The conviction is set aside and a...
    Scoop politics
  • Doctors support call for independent health assessment
    Senior doctors and dentists are formally throwing their weight behind growing calls for a formal independent health assessment of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). A recommendation about the TPPA was put to 134 public hospital specialists...
    Scoop politics
  • Korero Mai Ki Ahau: Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 November 2014
    Broadcast on Waatea 603AM Saturday 12.00 - 12.30pm Sunday 12.00 - 12.30pm Both shows repeated 5.00pm – 6.00pm On Sunday Saturday 29 November 2014 | The new Minister for Maori Development is taking a fresh look at the Te Reo...
    Scoop politics
  • Anti-speeding campaign based on phony science
    Ticketing ordinary motorists will have no effect on the groups who cause most road deaths, says the car review website dogandlemon.com ....
    Scoop politics
  • Human Rights lawyers’ concerns over Terrorist Fighters Bill
    The Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill will dramatically erode human rights and civil liberties if passed in its current form, said the Human Rights Lawyer’s Association Aotearoa New Zealand (HRLA)....
    Scoop politics
  • Privacy Commissioner’s naming policy
    Following a period of public consultation, the Privacy Commissioner is implementing a new policy on naming agencies that are in breach of the Privacy Act. The change takes effect on 1 December 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Need for whole-of-government approach to family violence
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says The People’s Blueprint report by the Glenn Inquiry makes a strong case for a whole-of-government approach to combatting family violence, and highlights some of the ways we could do things better....
    Scoop politics
  • Stop Fracking in Our Big Blue Backyard – Frack Free Kapiti
    Evidence given at the EPA hearing of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at sea blows the industry accepted line that fracking is not happening offshore in New Zealand right out of the water....
    Scoop politics
  • Solidarity with West Papua on 1 December
    Below are the details of the solidarity events in Aotearoa New Zealand to mark West Papua Independence Day, 1 December - there are four events this year: one in Christchurch, one in Wellington and two in Auckland. If you are...
    Scoop politics
  • No charges laid over piggeries investigations
    No charges laid over piggeries investigations 28 November 2014 The Ministry for Primary Industries did not have sufficient evidence to lay charges following two animal welfare investigations into incidents at piggeries earlier this year. The investigations...
    Scoop politics
  • Deep Sea Drilling in Rising Seas
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's report on the effects of rising sea levels and climate change adds another argument against this Government's expansion of fossil fuel exploration....
    Scoop politics
  • Slower population growth in the long term
    New Zealand's population will likely grow by 1.4–1.8 percent a year during 2014–16, but growth will be lower in the long term, Statistics New Zealand said today....
    Scoop politics
  • Big Buddy on the Glenn Inquiry People’s Blueprint
    November 28, 2014 The inclusion of robust screening as a tool to prevent child abuse, highlighted in the Glenn Inquiry’s People’s Blueprint, is welcomed by Big Buddy CEO Richard Aston. “It’s heartening to see this high-calibre report come out...
    Scoop politics
  • People’s Blueprint for tackling Family Violence
    The recently Dunedin Collaboration Against Family Violence (DCAFV) is pleased to support the fundamental changes in the way our legal system deals with family violence that the report calls for. We need to do more to support victims, and ensure...
    Scoop politics
  • People’s Blueprint – Both Good News and a Wake-Up Call
    The Patron of the Glenn Inquiry, Dame Catherine Tizard, says there is some good news in The People’s Blueprint, after the shocking picture painted six months ago in The People’s Report....
    Scoop politics
  • Glenn Inquiry Funder Keeps His Promise
    The founder and funder of the Glenn Inquiry, Sir Owen Glenn, said today he has kept the promise he made when he set up the independent inquiry in 2012. “I set up the Glenn Inquiry because it was clear to...
    Scoop politics
  • Support for Blue Print call for a stand-alone agency
    Human Rights Commissioner lead on family violence, Dr Jackie Blue welcomes the Glenn Inquiry, ‘The People’s Blue Print’, which places at its heart that being safe and free from violence is a fundamental human right....
    Scoop politics
  • People’s Blueprint Offers Solutions to Family Violence
    New Zealand has a fresh opportunity to reduce child abuse and family violence and save and restore lives under a powerful new model for combating the problem proposed by the Glenn Inquiry....
    Scoop politics
  • Submission: Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill
    My three key areas of concern relate to: • The duration of visual surveillance warrants; • The controls around warrantless surveillance powers; • Clarifying the continuation of controls around access to Passenger Name Record (PNR) data under...
    Scoop politics
  • The case is clear for climate action that supports health
    The need for rapid action on climate change in New Zealand in order to protect health is clear, according to a group of climate and health experts. Countries elsewhere in the world are already taking significant action, while New Zealand...
    Scoop politics
  • EDUCANZ Debate Ignores Teachers
    The legislation for the creation of the new EDUCANZ to replace the former Teachers’ Council body is now undergoing its second reading. Without warning, it was promoted to the top the queue this week....
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip Smith en-route back to New Zealand.
    Police confirm that Phillip Smith has been deported from Brazil and is en-route back to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • Scaremongering and Showing Contempt for Democracy
    The government has been accused of fabricating an increased risk to New Zealand security to justify new invasive powers in the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill. And its decision to allow just 48 hours for public submissions on the Bill...
    Scoop politics
  • Legislation “a travesty of democratic process”
    Peace Movement Aotearoa today called on the government to put the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill on hold - pending a comprehensive review of existing legislation - in a written submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee,...
    Scoop politics
  • Bill needs amending to better protect human rights
    The Human Rights Commission submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee this afternoon on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill makes specific recommendations relating to passport denial; increasing safeguards around visual...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ’s gender equality issues in international forum
    New Zealand faces similar gender equality issues and opportunities to those of its neighbouring countries, according to the latest international conference on women’s empowerment....
    Scoop politics
  • Countering human trafficking is an ongoing challenge for NZ
    At first glance, it is difficult to believe that human trafficking is an offence that is taking place in New Zealand. It is a harsh reminder that the rule of law sometimes does not reach far enough....
    Scoop politics
  • Government must allow further scrutiny of bill
    As the New Zealand government seeks to rush new through new anti-terror legislation, Amnesty International is raising grave concerns over the speed at which the Bill is being rushed through Parliament and is calling for an extension to the consultation...
    Scoop politics
  • Calling on anti-violence activists to step up
    Māori Party co-leaders believe every individual, whānau, hapū and iwi can help stop the high level of family violence that exists in our country....
    Scoop politics
  • More effective social services inquiry update Nov 2014
    The Productivity Commission’s More effective social services inquiry aims to shed light on how commissioning and contracting influence the quality and effectiveness of social services, and to suggest actions government agencies and others could take...
    Scoop politics
  • Keith Locke presentation on Countering Foreign Fighters Bill
    It’s a pleasure to be able to talk to members of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee again, and remember my 12 years on your committee. However, I don’t wish my submission today to be taken as endorsement of...
    Scoop politics
  • Significant issues for NZ in sea level rise report
    Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) has recognised findings of Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright’s report released today on the impact of rising seas as significant for coastal areas of New Zealand, aligning well with work the...
    Scoop politics
  • White Ribbon Campaign Shocked at Fatal Stabbing
    The White Ribbon Campaign extends its condolences to the family of a women fatally stabbed in Auckland's North Shore....
    Scoop politics
  • One Plan signing is “historic moment” for the environment
    The signing of the Horizon Regional Council’s One Plan after a decade of debate, legal action and controversy is being hailed by Fish & Game as a landmark in the battle to protect the nation’s water quality. Horizons councillors approved...
    Scoop politics
  • Look at the Road, Not the Speedo
    Responding to the Fairfax article that police will be issuing tickets over the summer to anyone driving 1km/h or more over the speed limit, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics
  • Worker immunity critical to safety in Meat Industry
    The Meat Workers Union has today urged the Select Committee hearing submissions on the Health & Safety Reform bill to strengthen provisions that protect the rights of workers to be involved and speak out, saying that it’s becoming increasingly...
    Scoop politics
  • PCE report brings home impacts of climate change
    Youth climate organisation Generation Zero has welcomed the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's ' Changing Climate and Rising Seas ' report and says it demonstrates climate change will affect all of us....
    Scoop politics
  • Law Society urges reduction of terrorist fighter bill powers
    The New Zealand Law Society says powers proposed in the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill should be reduced to ensure they are strictly limited to countering the threats that have arisen....
    Scoop politics
  • Sea level rise won’t only affect infrastructure
    The independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird is asking the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) to widen the focus of her next report on climate change-driven sea level rise....
    Scoop politics
  • Changing climate and rising seas: Understanding the science
    During my seven years as Commissioner, I have consistently said that climate change is the biggest environmental issue we face. This investigation has provided an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of what is causing climate change and one of...
    Scoop politics
  • Council refuses to take part in farcical submissions process
    The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties refuses to take part in the submissions process around the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill....
    Scoop politics
  • Laws of War to Be Debated at Wellington Event
    The political and human consequences of war and civil unrest are widely covered in themedia but International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the body of law which exists to protect all parties to armed conflict, rarely gets attention....
    Scoop politics
  • Forum Compact Development Partner Peer Review of New Zealand
    Following the completion of the first leg of the review of New Zealand’s development cooperation in the Pacific, the Forum Compact Review Team is now visiting Kiribati to assess the effectiveness of New Zealand’s assistance in the small island developing...
    Scoop politics
  • YWCA Auckland award for long-time women’s role model
    New Zealand’s first female Governor General and Mayor of Auckland has been granted a Lifetime Achievement Award by YWCA Auckland, for her services to the Auckland community and acting as a role model for Kiwi women nationwide....
    Scoop politics
  • Government Urged Not To Miss Cosmetics Win For Animals
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE is urging the Government not to let animals down and vote for an amendment to the Animal Welfare Bill. The amendment would ban cosmetics testing on animals forever. The Bill had it’s second reading in Parliament...
    Scoop politics
  • Police pursuit results in serious injury of innocent man
    A report released today by the Independent Police Conduct Authority has found Police failed to comply with policy during a pursuit in Auckland in 2013 which left an innocent man with serious injuries....
    Scoop politics
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