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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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    Judith Collins, Justice Minister, is playing dumb in parliament at question time and avoiding media. Her patronising responses, or non-responses, to allegations of corrupt influence is not becoming of a Cabinet Minister.  Her abuse of the House by criticising questions...
    Tumeke | 17-04
  • Can fracking save the climate?
    Blogging is a great way MPs can communicate and engage with citizens about the issues facing us. I have joined The Daily Blog blogging team and have so far posted on Anadarko’s failure to find oil and a piece outlining...
    frogblog | 17-04
  • New Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • Labour’s manufacturing plan
    David Cunliffe has launched Labour's policy to get more manufacturing jobs back in New Zealand: Labour leader David Cunliffe launched the policy to an Auckland business audience this morning, adding the depreciation and procurement policies to the known suite of...
    Polity | 17-04
  • Easter PT shutdown
    It’s Easter weekend and that invariably means the rail network is shut down for works. Auckland Transport advises the rail network will be closed for Easter and there are changes to timetables for buses and ferries during the holiday break....
    Transport Blog | 17-04
  • Another perspective on the postgraduate allowance cuts
    I have already shared two stories from psychology students about how the postgraduate allowance cuts have affected them. These stories demonstrate the widespread impact the changes are having. Here is yet another story I have received, this one giving the...
    frogblog | 17-04
  • Against secret "justice" in NZ
    Last year, in response to a series of court cases challenging its control orders or claiming compensation for human rights abuses by its intelligence services, the UK passed the Justice and Security Act 2013. The Act introduces a "Closed Material...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • Massey chancellor sets up company in opposition to university
    Massey Chancellor Chris Kelly will chair the board of a company that intends to be New Zealand’s largest private training provider (PTE)...
    TEU | 16-04
  • Gibbs, Hayek, Canterbury and the free market for degrees
    The New Zealand Herald notes that philanthropist Alan Gibbs is about to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Canterbury today. One of the many institutions Alan Gibbs has donated his money to...
    TEU | 16-04
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Record Store Day
    As readers will know, I have long embraced the internet music revolution. The ability to discover and download new things pretty much as they're being made has reinvented and refreshed my lifelong relationship with popular music. But I still really...
    Public Address | 16-04
  • Great Sorkin Parody
    Aaron Sorkin (SportsNight, The West Wing, The Newsroom) makes a very particular style of TV. Some good parts to that, some really silly parts. Amy Schumer' Comedy Central parody of Sorkin is pitch-prefect and hilarious. Enjoy: Inside Amy SchumerGet More:...
    Polity | 16-04
  • Photographic proof
    Deborah asked for a picture of my bicycle, after I wrote about it, and there is now one in existence which even includes me riding it along Mt Albert Rd, thanks to a dear friend who drove past me and...
    The Hand Mirror | 16-04
  • Our future lies in science
    This is not a column on global warming, climate change or whether humans are or aren’t having an impact....
    Pundit | 16-04
  • Gordon Campbell on drone strikes and Judith Collins‘ last stand
    Reportedly, US drone operators refer to their kills as “bug splat” – mainly because when the carnage is viewed on their screens thousands of kilometres away at home, it looks like an insect strike on a windscreen. The name has...
    Gordon Campbell | 16-04
  • Revealed: Steven Joyce’s select committee submission
    Dear Education Select Committee, Well, there are less than two weeks for people to get their submissions in to you on my proposals to remove staff and students from university and wānanga councils. You...
    TEU | 16-04
  • World News Brief, Thursday April 17
    Top of the AgendaTensions Rise in Ukraine’s East Ahead of Talks...
    Pundit | 16-04
  • Northern Europe looks to end fixed-term agreements for academics
    Long strings of fixed term employment agreements are not just a problem here in New Zealand but Sweden too, according to Education International. But the Swedish Association of University Teachers (SULF) has a plan to solve this. It is turning...
    TEU | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    Date of Release: Thursday, April 17, 2014Body:  FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today.The union represents workers in the wood, food and textile manufacturing sectors. “In a week that has seen another manufacturing company, Christchurch Yarns, go into...
    First Union Media | 16-04
  • Collins: More contemptible lying
    Yesterday, Judith Collins treated New Zealand's media and people as if we were all complete fools. Here is what she said (via this morning's Herald): Ms Collins said she was unaware Oravida was having any problems getting its products into...
    Polity | 16-04
  • The Downside of Park and Ride
    Flicking back through older Atlantic Cities posts led to one from last year about Park and Ride catching my eye. It’s a fairly well reasoned cautionary tale which highlights the pitfalls and potential perverse outcomes from something that would appear...
    Transport Blog | 16-04
  • Heartland logic: More people have heard of Fidel Castro than Michael Mann, ...
    This is a guest post from Narahani.   Or is happening and is good for you, or has stopped happening, or is caused by CO2 but only a little, or is about to reverse due to lots of yet-to-be-discovered negative...
    Skeptical Science | 16-04
  • Submission
    Below is my draft submission on the Environmental Reporting Bill. I'm primarily interested in the freedom of information issues; I expect other groups to be focused on the reporting itself. I support the aims of the Environmental Reporting Bill of...
    No Right Turn | 16-04
  • Government’s ‘rock star economy’ throws hospital staff ou...
    The Public Service Association says administrative staff at hospitals around the country are missing out on Bill English’s ‘rock star...
    PSA | 16-04
  • Lip service: it’s all climate action ever gets from Key & Co
    As expected, the New Zealand government’s response to the IPCC’s Working Group 3 report on mitigating climate change pays lip service to the science, while maintaining that NZ is doing all that can be expected. Climate change minister Tim Groser’s...
    Hot Topic | 16-04
  • Progress of FCV “slave ships” Bill is good news – but much work remai...
    The Maritime Union of New Zealand says the progress of the “slave ships” Bill in the New Zealand Parliament is good news – but much work remains to be done....
    MUNZ | 16-04
  • Judith Collins’ reputation dependent on Slater’s scandals
    Judith Collins' reputation as the possible next leader of the National party is in shreds. Her reputation as a minister of the crown in the Key owned National party caucus is in tatters. A resignation is the only honorable thing...
    the Irascible Curmudgeon | 16-04
  • Photo of the Day: Red III
    Learning Your Stripes, 2013, Regan Gentry, Papatoetoe. Commissioned by Auckland Council aer  ...
    Transport Blog | 16-04
  • The cost of tax cheats
    How much do corporate tax cheats cost? In the US, over US$180 billion a year:US taxpayers would need to pay an average of $1,259 more a year to make up the federal and state taxes lost to corporations and individuals...
    No Right Turn | 16-04
  • Cats cavorting through capital – Morgan
    The capital’s cats are cavorting through Wellington properties at a rate of 49 million trespasses a year, according to a new study by anti-cat campaigner Gareth Morgan. Island Bay and the rest of the Southern Ward turned out to be...
    Gareth’s World | 16-04
  • “Stick to your knitting”…Gratuitous insult from Minister Groser to NZ...
    Climate Minister Groser continues to insult the New Zealand people – this time through our leading scientists. On Monday the IPCC released Working Group III’s section of its 5th Assessment Report.  Building on Group I (science) and II (impact), this...
    frogblog | 16-04
  • Needlessly shitty
    Parliament has been rejecting select committee submissions for not being written in English or Maori:The Health Select Committee is rejecting 60 submissions against plain packaging legislation because they were made in neither English nor Maori. [...] Committee chairman, National MP...
    No Right Turn | 16-04
  • Fiji: Hoist by his own petard?
    Last year Fijian dictator Voreqe Bainimarama tried to ban political parties in an effort to limit opposition in the lead-up to promised elections. A key part of the crackdown was a ban on political campaigning by anyone who wasn't a...
    No Right Turn | 16-04
  • The first victim!
    It is well established that the first victim in war is truth. Mind you the dispatch of truth usually comes well before the shooting starts. I have a personal interest in Ukraine and the dispatch of truth occurred for me...
    Open Parachute | 16-04
  • Key makes it up on “fat tax”
    Today John Key rejected suggestions that a tax on sugary drinks could save dozens of lives a year. Why? Read on: The New Zealand Medical Journal reported in February that a 20 per cent tax on sugary soft drinks would...
    Polity | 16-04
  • Workers support plain packaging of tobacco
    The CTU have today presented to the health select committee in support of plain packaging of tobacco. Photo:  ...
    CTU | 16-04
  • Labour focuses on minor transport issues
    Labour released a small part of their transport policy yesterday and frankly it’s absolute rubbish with it seemingly designed just to target a handful of complainers. You can get a good feel for what they’re aiming at when the policy...
    Transport Blog | 16-04
  • Lincoln cleaners outsourced
    Lincoln University will outsource its staff to an as yet undecided cleaning company, but TEU organiser Cindy Doull says it’s not worth it, and what money the university might save is negligible. “We’re disappointed... The post Lincoln cleaners outsourced appeared...
    TEU | 15-04
  • Gordon Campbell on the life and ACC work of Sir Owen Woodhouse
    With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. In its original incarnation in the early 1970s, ACC had been a...
    Gordon Campbell | 15-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney's Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members' ballot. “It’s time the Government acted in the interests of families,” Sue Moroney says. “National has tried every...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the price for Genesis far too low in a desperate attempt to beef up demand....
    Labour | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Associate Immigration spokesperson. “In the past 12 months, temporary...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Since 2009 resignation rates among sworn staff have...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand to revisit its decision to evict an essential community organisation in Christchurch with only eight weeks notice.Yesterday at the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence support services the organisation...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Auckland Council has implemented a by-law banning the use of psychoactive...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination after revelations that three out of seven properties sold in Wanganui tested positive for methamphetamine,...
    Labour | 17-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Before his departure, John Key said he would wait until all...
    Labour | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today.The report tabled in Parliament yesterday shows that total use of ozone depleting gases in New Zealand has...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.  ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Collins must admit misleading Parliament
    ACC Minister Judith Collins must front up and admit she has misled Parliament over ACC’s policy to stop paying compensation to clients who refused to fill in its privacy form, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Judith Collins claimed Labour...
    Labour | 16-04
  • English confirms he has no plan to raise wages
    Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed he has absolutely no plans to lift wages, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues, Andrew Little says. “Bill English told the Chamber of Commerce yesterday that workers could expect a rise in average income of...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Govt careless and callous about threatened birds
    The National Government is increasing the threat to two of the world's most threatened and unique birds by opening up Victoria Forest Park to petroleum drilling, the Green Party said today.Scientists have recently published a ranking of the 100 most...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Genesis: The biggest fire sale of them all
    National has finished its asset sales with a massive bonfire of a fire sale, showing once and for all how much of a disaster this programme was, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “Just 68,000 Kiwis bought shares in Genesis,...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Interest rates rise but only smokes increasing
    Mortgage rate rises are making life harder for homeowners, and many of them will be surprised the latest CPI figures show inflation would be zero were it not for tobacco tax hikes, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “New Zealanders...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Term One Report Card for Hekia Parata
    Assignment Teacher’s Comments Grade      ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools
    Schools will be appalled to learn Education Minister Hekia Parata knew since January that hundreds of exam booklets had been returned to the wrong students but said nothing about it, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Exams are stressful enough...
    Labour | 15-04
  • What has ACC Minister been doing?
    The ACC Minister needs to front up and explain what, if any, changes she has made to the broken culture of ACC rather than denying that she has any part to play in the dysfunction of her Ministry, the Green...
    Greens | 15-04
  • Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake
    A claim by Minister of Finance Bill English that average wages will climb by $7,500 over the next four years is a cynical promise of jam tomorrow by a government whose record on wage growth is atrocious, Labour spokesperson on...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder
    ACC Minster Judith Collins must front up and tell New Zealand how many people who refused to hand over their private details to ACC have been denied cover, says Labour’s ACC Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The legality of ACC’s privacy waver,...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand
    The Ruataniwha dam decision released today has protected the Tukituki River and dashed the Government’s hope of the “one nutrient model” (TRIM) being adopted nationwide, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It is a massive victory for those in the...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Labour turns wheels for cycling safety
    With more than a million New Zealanders now using cycling as an attractive alternative means of transport it is past time their safety was taken seriously, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Darien Fenton says. Due to speak to a cycling rally at...
    Labour | 15-04
  • SPEECH: Institute of Directors
    LEADING AND MANAGING OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE David Cunliffe MP, Labour Leader Speech to the Institute of Directors 15 April 2014, Auckland It's a privilege to be speaking here. The Institute of Directors has a proud history of developing New Zealand's...
    Labour | 15-04
  • More Oravida endorsements from John Key
    The use of a picture of John Key in an advertisement for Oravida’s scampi products in a Chinese airline magazine is further evidence of an unhealthily cosy relationship between the National Party and this company, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 15-04
  • Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support
    Workers faced with redundancy at Canterbury Yarns need a redundancy support co-ordinator, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Last week, Canterbury Yarns was placed in receivership. Canterbury Yarns joins a long list of New Zealand manufacturers who have...
    Greens | 14-04
  • Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers
    The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “There’s nothing Kiwis like more than getting on the road and going on holiday. But on...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Ae Marika! 15 April 2014
    Our MANA AGM down in Rotorua on the weekend was a sold-out affair – even the media were struggling to get in! Political conferences can be very dull, but not this one. We had a great line-up of speakers including...
    Mana | 14-04
  • Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme
    Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. “Around 3000 New Zealanders develop bowel cancer each year and about 1200, or 100 a month,...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate
    The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. Justice Minister Judith Collins has just recently indicated her...
    Labour | 13-04
  • IPCC report shows Government ignoring climate experts
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) report into climate mitigation, just released in Berlin, shows the National Government is ignoring the pleas of the world's best climate scientists.The report says deep and fast emission cuts are vital from all...
    Greens | 13-04
  • Japan’s quick turnaround on whaling disappointing
    News that Japan plans to recommence some form of “scientific” whaling programme so quickly after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against it is very disappointing, says David Shearer, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “New Zealanders expected the ICJ ruling -...
    Labour | 13-04
  • Reviewable tenancies will increase risks for vulnerable children
    Instead of kicking families out of their homes if they can pay their rent, parents with young children should have the opportunity to purchase equity in a state-built home over time, the Green Party said todayFrom July, Housing New Zealand...
    Greens | 13-04
  • 48,000 New Zealanders drinking faecally contaminated water
    Some 48,000 people were provided with water that had issues with faecal contamination, 18,000 of whom were from Canterbury, the Green Party said today. The Ministry of Health's Annual Report on Drinking-Water in New Zealand for 2012/13 shows that 48,000...
    Greens | 12-04
  • Labour will move to save the Kauri
    Labour will spend $20 million over the next 10 years to stop the spread of Kauri dieback disease, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “We are facing an ecological disaster with over 11 per cent of the Kauri trees in the...
    Labour | 12-04
  • SPEECH: Saving our Kauri
    Seech notes Good morning. Thank you for joining us here today. As a West Auckland MP I am very aware the kauri is an important part of this place. The Waitakere Ranges with their thousands of kauri, are a taonga....
    Labour | 12-04
  • MANA to continue negotiations with the Internet Party
    The MANA AGM has decided unanimously tonight to continue negotiaitions with the Internet Party. Within a month further negotiations, further consultation with MANA branches and a final decision on whether to proceed with a relationship is expected....
    Mana | 12-04
  • National’s tax dodge
      National’s insistence that it is cracking down on tax dodgers is little more than a bit of election year chest beating, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Revenue Minister Todd McClay surely doesn’t believe collecting $100 million of an estimated...
    Labour | 12-04
  • Housing prices go up – Gens X & Y give up
    Today’s REINZ report shows house prices continue skyward while first home buyers are dropping out of the market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand the national median house price has risen...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Do Key and Adams support Chorus appeal?
    John Key and Amy Adams must tell New Zealanders whether they support Chorus’ appeal of the High Court’s ruling in favour of the Commerce Commission, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “Chorus’ appeal is a waste of time. The company is...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Is Judith Collins unapologising
    Judith Collins appears to have retracted her apology for failing to disclose her meeting with her husband’s fellow company directors and a senior Chinese border control official just weeks after being ticked off by John Key for not doing so, Labour...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Media Advisory
    There have been a few minor changes to the MANA AGM agenda. Moana Jackson is unable to attend due to family commitments. Speaking in his place on Saturday morning MANA is pleased to welcome Georgina Beyer and Willie Jackson. MANA...
    Mana | 10-04
  • Green Party requests inquiry into Peter Dunne and Trust
    Green Party MP Denise Roche today wrote to the Parliamentary Registrar of Pecuniary Interests requesting an inquiry into whether Peter Dunne should have included his involvement as chair of the Northern Wellington Festival Trust on the Register of Pecuniary Interests...
    Greens | 10-04
  • Veterans short-changed
    The Veterans’ Support Bill reported back to Parliament today rejects a key recommendation of the Law Commission Review on which it is based and ignores the submissions of veterans and the RNZRSA, says Labour’s Veterans’ Affairs Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “A...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Tribute for Maungaharuru- Tangitu settlement
    Labour Member of Parliament for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, Meka Whaitiri paid tribute to Maungaharuru-Tangitu today as their Treaty of Waitangi settlement became law. “The Bill acknowledges Treaty breaches that left Maungaharuru-Tangitu virtually landless. Today we were reminded of the history, mamae, loss...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Neglected rural and regional roads will cost more lives
    The government must take urgent action to prevent more accidents to truck drivers and other road users of increased logging trucks on neglected roads, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Transport spokesperson. “The dangers to drivers and other road users in the...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Judith Collins’ refusal to answer a disgrace
    If John Key is holding his Ministers to any standards at all, he must make Judith Collins answer questions about the senior Chinese official she met during her taxpayer-funded visit to China last October, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “Judith...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Ryall needs to heed hospital workforce issues
    The public health workforce, the same one Tony Ryall argues is making a lot of progress is facing increased pressure and staff burnout through his continued shuffling of the deckchairs, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Mr Ryall uses all...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Key ducks but can’t avoid High Court slap
    The High Court’s slap in the face to John Key and his Government over Chorus has left it with no option but to accept the Commerce Commission’s lawful process in deciding the price of copper, says Labour’s associate ICT spokesperson...
    Labour | 09-04
  • First home buyers shut out as LVRs bite
    The bad news continues for young Kiwis as the latest Core Logic report shows the proportion of first home buyers has declined since LVR lending restrictions came into force, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Twenty two centres across the...
    Labour | 09-04
  • MANA – and, or, or not – DOTCOM
    Both MANA and the Internet Party share goals in common with other parties, like getting rid of National and reining in the GCSB. There are also differences, as there are with other parties as well. MANA accepted a request to...
    Mana | 09-04
  • Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release We don’t need any more official reports. We know the problem and we have the plans....
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release New Zealanders do not want asset sales and they do not want the Government wasting millions of dollars on...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground Monday, 27 Aug 2012 | Press Release Instead of betting on a boom and bust industry and selling off assets the government needs to invest in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance Sunday, 26 Aug 2012 | Press Release It is not fair that many rich New Zealanders are cheating on their tax. National’s 2010 tax cuts, that...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release In its rush to sell our assets, National has found itself in a crisis of its...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Privacy across all departments needs checking
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Privacy across all departments needs checking Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release “People don’t have a choice about giving their information to the state so the Government has an absolute duty to...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Restoring public trust and confidence is an essential goal and will require very major change starting from the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government must front up on full costs of asset sales
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government must front up on full costs of asset sales Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release It’s time for the Government to front up over just how much these asset sales are...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Our society has never been as unequal as it is today. New research from the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release “It would be a shock for any other Government to introduce such a self-defeatist piece of legislation but unfortunately...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney’s Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members’ ballot. “It’s...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 | Press Release Christchurch cannot afford to lose this agency The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Resignation rates among cops soar The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Work visa problems need monitoring The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today. The report...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • The issues behind the possible MANA-Internet Party Alliance
      Last weekend Kim Dotcom spoke at MANAs AGM to discuss the possibility of the Internet Party and MANA Party working together to defeat John Key this election. As someone who knows both Hone and Kim, I have a unique...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Manufacturing Upgrade   Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.   – The claims and opinions...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Get work on 29th and the ANZAC spirit deserts the TPPA
      Groser and co would have been spitting tacks last week as the ANZAC spirit deserted the TPPA negotiations. Australia has done a deal directly with Japan which undercuts the demand for Japan to opening all agriculture in the TPPA....
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • No fracking solution to climate change
    Some British tabloids and oil lobbyists have jumped on comments made by an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change author that fracking could play a role in addressing climate change as an argument for it here in Aotearoa, so is fracking...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    Source: First Union – Press Release/Statement: Headline: At Last: A Manufacturing Policy Date of Release:  Thursday, April 17, 2014 Body:  FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Drone murder of New Zealander “justified” by Prime Minister
    Yesterday Prime Minister John Key justified the extrajudicial killing of a New Zealander in a US drone strike in Yemen with a few cynical, callous words at a stand-up press conference. Key said he’d been briefed by our spy agencies...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Secret Policeman’s Ball
      Amnesty International’s Secret Policeman’s Ball is back in New Zealand for one night of some of the best stand-up comedy from both national and international comics The freedom to provoke and in some cases offend is essential to the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • So the US has assassinated a NZ citizen – what did Key know?
    A non judicial assassination by the US on a NZ citizen raises questions. Key made the idea that NZers were training with terrorists part of his farcical defence for the GCSB mass surveillance legislation. I say farcical because even if...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Something Better Than Something Worse: Why John Key could become our longes...
    IN HIS MEMORABLE holiday-home encounter with the host of Campbell Live, the Prime Minister, John Key, did not rule out running for a fourth term. Were he to be successful, the long-standing record of Sir Keith Holyoake (11 years and 2...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • GUEST BLOG: RIO TINTO WINS 2013 ROGER AWARD
      Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third  The seven finalists for the 2013 Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand were: ANZ, Chorus, IAG Insurance Group, Imperial Tobacco, Rio Tinto, Sky City Casino and Talent 2. The criteria for judging are...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • National drowning in an ocean of poisoned milk
    It is becoming difficult to keep up with which National Party MP is bleeding the most at the moment. Simon Bridges is being crucified by Whaleoil almost as much as Greenpeace are attacking him, suggesting Cam is seizing the moment...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Want to get rid of synthetic cannabis? Legalize real cannabis
    Have we managed to appreciate the madness that synthetic cannabis is legal yet more harmful than organic cannabis which is illegal? I find the current moral panic over synthetic cannabis difficult to become concerned with when alcohol is FAR more...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Save our homes – stop the evictions!
    “We will keep on fighting because it frightens me to think my grandchildren could become homeless,” Tere Campbell told me. Tere is a member of Tamaki Housing Group. In September 2011, tenants in 156 state homes in Glen Innes received...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The daily humiliation of women and the constant policing and shaming of our...
    The last few months have been particularly bad for the shaming and policing of women’s bodies in the media, both in New Zealand and globally. First we had NZ Newstalk ZB presenter Rachel Smalley referring to women weighing over 70kgs...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • A case study of racism by Police at Auckland Airport
    A couple of days ago I returned from Samoa after attending a family matter and some contract work. Spending a few days in the warmth of our homeland was welcome relief from the cold weather starting to make its presence...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • An acute shortage of emergency youth housing
    The housing crisis is effecting everyone in Christchurch but some are more vulnerable than others. Recently I attended a workshop on emergency youth housing hosted by the 298 Youth Health Centre, who I worked for from 2001-2003. Over fifty people...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The Oceans Issue
    The ‘Earth’ is 71% water but our oceans are the last frontier. The oceans are huge, relatively unexplored, full of weird and wonderful diversity. In New Zealand we’re never far from the sea, and our identity, our landscapes, our communities,...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Fear of South Auckland
    Fear of South Auckland...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • TV News Geography
    TV News Geography...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The best bit about gay sex
    The best bit about gay sex...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • On not voting 1
    On not voting 1...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • On not voting 2
    On not voting 2...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Labour on trucks
    Labour on trucks...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • ALCP welcomes Campbell Live poll result
    The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party welcomes last night's Campbell Live poll, saying it is an overdue reality check for public opinion on personal cannabis use....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Q+A This Week 20/4/14
    Q+A This Week SUNDAY 20 APRIL, 9AM ON TV ONE The latest on the US-NZ relationship from the US military’s top man in the Pacific, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear . Deputy Political Editor Michael Parkin asks him whether we’re allies,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Community detention for pokie theft
    A 67-year-old former company director, convicted of stealing pokie machine profits, was today sentenced to six months community detention, 160 hours of community work and ordered to make reparation of $6,000....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Waitangi National Trust Board Amendment Bill
    The Māori Affairs Committee is inviting public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Wednesday, 14 May 2014....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Collaboration stops drugs from crossing borders
    Collaboration between Hong Kong and New Zealand Customs has stopped millions of dollars worth of drugs coming into New Zealand this year, with a number of seizures and arrests in both countries....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Call for public enquiry into the future of farming
    Fish & Game NZ is calling for a public enquiry “to examine the future of agriculture in New Zealand”....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Comment on Labour Policy Announcement by NZMEA President
    “This policy release from the Labour Party is so important that if it becomes government policy it would define a shift in New Zealand’s culture,” says Brian Willoughby President of the NZMEA and Managing Director of Plinius Audio and Contex...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Manufacturing policy makes sense but….
    On the surface much of Labour's prescription for manufacturing is sound though questions remain over some of the detail not yet announced, the Employers and Manufacturers Association says....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Where Are The 15,000 Jobs?
    “Paula Bennett is today proudly telling New Zealand that beneficiary numbers have decreased by 15,000 in the past year. There is no proud declaration that 15,000 jobs have been created in the same period,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Change of approach to government procurement needed
    The rail engineering industry has been totally let down by National’s lack of manufacturing policy, and Labour’s measures outlined today represent a marked shift in approach to supporting domestic industries, the RMTU said today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Depreciation Policy Shouldn’t Be Just for Pet Industries
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Labour’s announcement to beef up rates of depreciation in the manufacturing sector, but is questioning why David Cunliffe is picking winners rather than applying the policy across all sectors. Jordan Williams,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup NZ 2015 Kick Off Times Announced
    An array of kick-off times to suit football fans of all ages has been confirmed for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015. With 52 matches spread across the nation, the public will be able to enjoy a collection...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • “Legitimate purpose” provides no protection under 167 form
    On Radio New Zealand today, the Privacy Commissioner indicated that ACC could only request information that was "relevant" for a "legitimate purpose". His view was therefore that the ACC167 form is not a "blank cheque" or...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • State: still keeping you safe on the road this Easter
    The long-awaited Easter/ Anzac break is nearly upon us while the weather may have taken a turn for the worse in several parts of the country, many Kiwis will still be packing up their cars to take a road trip....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Govt plan for community input into residential red zone
    Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has welcomed Prime Minister John Key’s announcement today of a community participation process for the public to have a say on the future use of the residential red zone....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Governor-General to visit Turkey
    The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, is to visit Turkey next week to lead New Zealand’s representation at the annual Gallipoli commemorations....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Actions of Police prior to death in custody were justified
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority on the death of Adam Palmer while in Police custody found the actions of Police were justified during the arrest. The report also found that Police took all possible steps to try...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • New Electorate Boundaries Finalised
    New boundaries for the country’s 64 General and seven Māori electorates have been finalised – with an additional electorate created in Auckland. The 2014 Representation Commission has completed its statutory role of reviewing and redrawing electorate...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Save The Children Welcomes Strengthening Children’s Rights
    Save the Children New Zealand welcomes a new treaty which allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour takes manufacturing seriously
    Labour takes manufacturing seriously Manufacturing workers and employers will all benefit from economic policies announced today by the Labour Party leader, David Cunliffe. The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has welcomed the announcement...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Manufacturing policy welcomed
    “Today’s announcement of Labour’s manufacturing policy is very welcome,” says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg. “Just as many other developed countries are realising, having a strong manufacturing sector pays off in good jobs, retaining...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Operation Unite – a Blitz on Drunken Violence
    New Zealand Police are hoping to reduce the number of victims from alcohol related crime by asking the public to say ‘Yeah, Nah’ more often this holiday weekend....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Dunne Speaks
    Dunne Speaks 17 April 2014 There have been a number of harrowing cases presented this week about the impact of psychoactive substances on vulnerable young people. At one level, the tales are deeply disturbing. It is awful to see anyone...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Research announcement welcomed
    A leading Māori researcher has welcomed the announcement of the 2014 Te Pūnaha Hihiko - Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    At Last: A Manufacturing Policy FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and textile manufacturing sectors. “In a week that has seen another manufacturing company,...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Republic campaigners still positive after royal visit
    "Campaigners for a New Zealand Head of State are still feeling positive after ten days of royal events" says NZ Republic Chair, Savage. "Our polling before the visit showed increased support for a kiwi head of state. We have a...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Selling homes to foreigners benefits New Zealanders
    Winston Peters has apparently convinced David Cunliffe that when foreigners buy New Zealand property they make New Zealanders worse off. Mr Cunliffe has announced his intention to adopt Winston Peters’ policy of banning foreigners from buying...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes Key’s Rejection of ‘Fat Tax’
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Prime Minister John Key’s rejection of fat and sugar taxes ahead of this year's election. Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Union, says:...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Law Commission Paper on a New Crown Civil Proceedings Act
    The Law Commission has released A New Crown Civil Proceedings Act for New Zealand , its Issues Paper on reforming the Crown Proceedings Act 1950. The Issues Paper proposes a new statute to replace the Crown Proceedings Act 1950....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for NZ workers
    Maritime Union says focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for New Zealand workers...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Make the choice to stay safe on the road
    With Easter and Anzac Day giving us two successive long weekends this year there will be a lot of happy families preparing for trips....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Students Welcome Engagement with StudyLink
    The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has welcomed the improved performance from StudyLink in 2014. There is no doubt that getting their loans and allowances processed on time makes it easier for students to concentrate on being...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised
    Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised Imagine if you could not access vital news and information. What would you do?...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Public lose interest in this council, 2016 to be a watershed
    The second term Auckland Council is proving to be an interesting one and very different to the inaugural 2010 – 2013 Governing Body. We are currently going through a budget round to lock in where council’s $3b expenditure is directed...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour and National join forces in new Maori confiscations
    Chris McKenzie, former-treaty negotiator and Te Tai Hauauru Maori party candidate, says that the Minister of Primary Industries’ plans to remove temporary exemptions for vessel operators derived from settlement negotiations is akin to confiscation...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • The FCV Bill – Flagging 30 years of failures?
    Paying seafarers at least a minimum wage under the Minimum Wage Act 1983 has applied to the New Zealand fishing industry for more than 30 years. It was, and is, a basic protection which had two universals – it was...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Oxfam’s Morning Tea 2014
    Oxfam’s Morning Tea 2014 Kiwis across the country are getting together over a cuppa to make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty in the developing world. They’re getting involved in Oxfam’s Morning Tea, a fun and...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • 1 in 4 Want to Improve Financial Literacy But Don’t Know How
    1 in 4 Want to Improve Financial Literacy But Don’t Know Where to Go...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award
    Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third - The criteria for judging are by assessing the transnational (a corporation with 25% or more foreign ownership) that has the most negative impact in each or all of the following categories: economic dominance...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • ACC’s Strategy to stop compensation using ACC 167 Form
    On Radio NZ national’s morning report on 15 April 2014, ACC’s spokesperson Sid Miller denied the non-compliance was just a way for ACC to refuse people....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Workers support plain packaging of tobacco
    The CTU have today presented to the health select committee in support of plain packaging of tobacco. “Any steps that can be taken to lower smoking rates will result in New Zealand workers and their families having healthier and better...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Christchurch Housing Accord a Joke
    Christchurch Housing Accord a Joke Hugh Pavletich Performance Urban Planning Christchurch New Zealand 16 April 2014 The Housing Accord entered in to today between the Government and the Christchurch City Council, can only be described as a joke. Christchurch...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Infographic : World Giving Index 2013
    Infographic from Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index 2013 A Global View Of Giving Trends (click to see full size version)...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Tranter questions CEO’s assurances
    “There is a bizarre notion among bureaucrats, politicians and others that if they say something then it must be so - despite all evidence to the contrary” said David Tranter, Health spokesman for Democrats for Social Credit....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • UNICEF NZ Urges Progress on Plain Packaging of Tobacco
    In its oral submission to the Health Select Committee today, UNICEF NZ expressed its strong support for the Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill as a measure that will help reduce the uptake of smoking, and urged parliament...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Whitebait partners look for solutions
    Waikato-Tainui, local marae, councils and agencies are working together to better manage whitebait fisheries at Port Waikato following the compilation of a new report....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • NZ’s biggest killer fails to receive the Roger
    The Smokefree Coalition is disappointed Imperial Tobacco did not win the Roger Award for Worst Trans-national Company operating in New Zealand, despite manufacturing products that kill 5000 New Zealanders every year....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Tukituki decision a win for water quality and farming
    The draft decision by the Board of Inquiry (BOI) on the Tukituki Catchment proposal represents a significant win for freshwater management and the urgency of a transition to environmentally sustainable agriculture in New Zealand, says Fish & Game NZ....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • ACC reflects on passing of great Kiwi
    Today is a very sad day for ACC, as news of the passing of Sir Owen Woodhouse has become public knowledge....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • Lincoln cleaners outsourced
    Lincoln University will outsource its staff to an as yet undecided cleaning company, but TEU organiser Cindy Doull says it’s not worth it, and what money the university might save is negligible....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
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