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Q&A on The Hobbit

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, October 28th, 2010 - 83 comments
Categories: business, tax, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

Q. What were the actors asking for?

A. Actors in NZ are usually employed as independent contractors. They have a set of guidelines (The Pink Book) which set out the standard conditions for the employment of actors, but this is a guideline only and not enforceable.

Actor’s Equity have outlined the following areas as causes of concern: minimum fees, conditions of engagement, professional protections and residuals.

In lay terms, there is no minimum that you can pay a NZ actor and no minimum working conditions. A contract can be terminated at any time with no obligation to pay out the contract. ‘Residuals’ are a bit like royalties – they are payments to someone for their work when it is used again after the original showing (such as releasing a movie on DVD).

For the most part, the Kiwi industry is made up of low-budget, no-budget and modest-budget productions, so these conventions have worked for actors for some time. But things are changing. Big budget international productions have been filming more and more in NZ – examples being LOTR, The Last Samurai, Spartacus and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

It’s not so acceptable for these large budget productions to play by the same rules as a modest-budget Kiwi production. Especially when they employ international actors on much better conditions to do similar work on the same production.

Actor’s Equity wanted to address these issues with the makers of The Hobbit. The producers came out saying that the union was not registered in NZ and that contractors can’t bargain collectively. That didn’t need to be an obstacle however.

From Actor’s Equity on 1 October 2010 below:

“Advice we have received today from Miriam Dean QC, a senior barrister specialising in competition law, confirms our views that:
•       “There’s no legal impediment to negotiating fair wages and terms for actors taken on as employees.
•       “Nothing in the Act prohibits us from having some meaningful engagement with the producers on non-price terms for actors taken on as independent contractors, such as rolling credits to acknowledge New Zealand actors’ input into the movie.
•       “Nor does the Act prohibit us from discussing pricing in general terms with the producers to enable us to help our independent contractor members in their individual negotiations with producers.  The Union accepts that these could only be recommended prices – nothing more.”

The union accepted that there would be no formal collective agreement bargained by the union. As they point out, there is nothing in the law to stop the union having a meeting with the producers to argue their piece and have the producers voluntarily offer improved conditions to the actors.

Q. How did it all go so wrong?

A. The first approaches to the producers appear to have been through FIA (The International Federation of Actors) an international collective of actor’s collectives from around the world. The letters they sent to the production company do demand a union-negotiated collective agreement or a blacklist will apply. These demands don’t sit easily with NZ’s situation, where most actors are contractors and are not allowed to bargain collectively. What FIA was asking for seems to have been nothing short of bringing NZ fully into line with the situation in other countries, where film industry work is highly unionized.

However, if the producers had discussed the situation with the union, then the issues could have been clarified and worked through a lot earlier.

Q. Was the dispute ever a credible threat to the production going ahead?

A. In the early stages, yes. The support of international unions including the US Screen Actors Guild for the blacklisting meant that the dispute could have halted the production of The Hobbit.

However, the international blacklist has been lifted. Actor’s Equity have resolved their dispute and have guaranteed that no further industrial action will disrupt The Hobbit.

There seemed to be an agreement between Warner Bros and Actor’s Equity that it was all settled, until Peter Jackson announced that the studio was thinking of moving the production overseas due to the now-settled dispute.

Q. How scared could Warner Bros really be of a small Kiwi union?

A. Warner Bros has been engaged in industrial action with much bigger, scarier unions than NZ. The most recent major action being the Writer’s Guild strike in America in 2008, which was also about residuals.

These are some of the other major strikes engaged in by the US film industry:
•  2000 Commercial actors strike, almost six months.
•  1988 Writers Guild of America strike, 22 weeks.
•  1987 Directors strike, 3 hours and 5 minutes.
•  1985 Writers strike, two weeks.
•  1981 Writers Guild of America strike, three months.
•  1980 Actors strike, three months.
•  1960 Actors strike, led by SAG President Ronald Reagan, six weeks.
•  1952 Actors strike, two and a half months.
•  1945 Set decorators Hollywood Black Friday strike, six months.
•  1942–44 Musicians’ strike, thirteen months plus.
•  1941 Disney animators’ strike, five weeks.

During the Writer’s Guild strike, the financial impact on the studios of accepting the writer’s demands was assessed as ‘negligible’ and that the studios were afraid that a settlement would ‘embolden directors and actors in their coming renegotiations’.

The American alliance of producers, AMPTP used the following strategy:

“Fabiani & Lehane’s strategy appeared to be to try to weaken the WGA membership’s resolve and foment resentment and doubt regarding WGA leadership within its ranks and in the film industry at large, especially with below-the-line workers [technical crew], by framing the strike as “havoc… wreaked… by the WGA’s actions” (paraphrased) and by blaming the WGA for “start[ing] this strike”.”

A major difference in the WGA strike appears to be that the public actually supported the writers, rather than the studios:

“One national survey conducted by Pepperdine University from November 7 to November 9 found that…nearly two-thirds of the sample sided with the writers, one third was unsure, and only four percent sympathized with the AMPTP (1,000 American adults participated). A second regional poll conducted by SurveyUSA on November 11 of Los Angeles residents indicated that eight percent supported the studios with sixty-nine percent supporting the writers (550 American adults participated, with 482 identifying themselves as being familiar with the strike).”

Q. Was the Warner Bros decision to consider other locations the result of the NZ actor’s industrial action?

A. The issues that Warner Bros took to the NZ Govt appear to have been the following:

* Clarification over the Bryson case – where a contractor successfully claimed to have actually been an employee and entitled to the protections given to employees.
* The appreciation of the NZ dollar against the US dollar, which makes it more expensive to film in NZ
* The size of the tax breaks given by the Government to big budget film productions.

The first point is only tangentially relevant to the Actor’s Equity dispute, and the other two points are completely unrelated.

Q. Did the actor’s industrial dispute give Warner Bros an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have had to renegotiate tax breaks?

A. Warner Bros could already have been agitating behind the scenes for increased tax breaks, but the actor’s industrial dispute unquestionably gave them the opportunity to increase their leverage by threatening to leave NZ if they didn’t get what they wanted.

However, the actors cannot be blamed for this. Warner Bros exploiting them to gain an advantage is not their fault.

– Blue

83 comments on “Q&A on The Hobbit”

  1. Sufi Safari 1

    I disagree with you on the final point. Perhaps not the actors, but NZAE and MEAA should absolutely be blamed for giving Warner Bros an opportunity to improve their position. It was clear from day one of the boycott hitting the front pages that it was a bad option, and if NZAE and MEAA had been at all competent it should have been pretty clear to them that it was a bad option before they took it.

    I have no love for exploitative industry, but at the same time as decrying Warner Bros we should be holding NZAE and MEAA to account for their amateur hour approach to playing hard ball with a major studio. With any luck they’ll learn their lesson from the debacle and will end up better equipped to negotiate with SPADA, lobby the Government and Opposition and be an effective voice for their members.

  2. smhead 2

    New game for today: Let’s count how many times a leftie calls it an “already settled labour dispute”.

    You guys need to hire Crosby Textor. If you are going to use blatant propaganda like that at least get the experts in to finesse it a little.

    • SMhead.

      Guest post presents a reasoned analysis backed by considerable factual information and you brand it as “blatant propaganda”.

      Is there a chance that you could indicate which facts are not admitted and why an alternative analysis is appropriate?

      Or are you just trolling?

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      It was all about tax breaks and breaking the union. Nothing more, nothing less.

      NZ workers deserve the same rights to negotiate as workers in successful, established film making countries like Australia, US, Canada, UK and Ireland.

      Instead we got ourselves a sell out corporately complicit Government.

      • Joe Bloggs 2.2.1

        what a complete misrepresentation Wormtongue – disingenuous mischievous nonsense – and typical of a species that spends its whole life crawling on its belly.

        • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1

          Australia, US, Canada, UK and Ireland have successful longstanding film industries.

          Our workers deserve the same rights to negotiate as workers in those countries, if not more.

          Perhaps you should back your fellow NZ workers for a change instead of backing the foreign money.

          • Joe Bloggs 2.2.1.1.1

            Australia, US, Canada, UK and Ireland have successful longstanding film industries.

            Colonial Viper’s raised this smokescreen a few times now – successful, longstanding film industries.

            Take a moment to look at each in turn:

            Canada, a country of 33.3m people produces around C$3.3bn in film and television programmes. That’s around NZ$130 a year for every man, woman and child. The Canadian industry faces huge financing problems and the output of productions has dropped by nearly 50% in the past 50 years. The CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival believes the industry is financially unviable

            UK value their industry at 4.3bn stg – including revenues, merchandising and tourism. That’s NZ$149 per man, woman and child – but includes the value of merchandising and tourism on top of production revenues. According to the UK Film Council the industry is underfinanced, under-resourced, suffers from poor quality outputs and doesn’t investment in new talent.

            The Irish industry is worth 550m euros and is the only country from CV’s list that remotely approaches NZ’s industry. The Irish industry generates NZ$230 a year per capita. This is the only significant success story of the Western European film industries.

            The much-vaunted Australian industry is in a crisis. It generates A$2bn a year in revenues, less than NZ$125 a year per capita. SPAA notes that the industry is devoid of artistic merit in its productions, significantly underfinanced, and suffers from a destabilised workforce.

            At $2.9bn in 2009, the NZ industry generates $675 per man, woman and child in NZ. In the group singled out by CV NZ stands, head, shoulders, and chest above the rest.

            That’s why I back the foreign money – because it brings a shitload more to NZ than to other countries – and that’s why I support the workers who benefit from filming continuing to be based in NZ – because the workers benefit.

            And that’s why I think the unions have behaved like a large bunch of burst arseholes throughout this fiasco – because they seriously jeopardised the successful, longstanding local industry with their ideological brain-fart of a boycott.

            captcha: owed – an apology from Simon “Washed my hands of the whole sordid affair and scuttled back to Australia” Whipp

            • The Baron 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Thanks Joe for adding to the relatively impartial analysis above with some real hard facts, instead of the vacant fanboyism of Gleg and CV.

              Really guys, just cos a Union said it, doesn’t meant its true.

              And as for this “supporting NZ workers” meme of yours, CV – I’m supporting the 1,500 non union members that the 80 member Actors Equity wouldn’t side with. Looks like you support the team more than the players – bit of a shame your such a hypocrite really.

        • Jim Nald 2.2.1.2

          Yup, agree that Wormtongue reference sums up the current prime ministership.

    • The Voice of Reason 2.3

      Yeah, CT are the experts all right, Smeggy. They’re that good they managed to lose John Howard not only an election, but his own blue ribbon seat. Blue has done a great summary of the situation, have you got anything intelligent to say about the post or are just into public self abuse?

  3. tsmithfield 3

    Only two words for the unions on this one.

    Own Goal.

    • Joe Bloggs 3.1

      and three words for the next elections:

      Remember The Hobbit

    • And one word for Warners/Jackson

      Caching

    • Colonial Viper 3.3

      I guess thats what you get when Jackson blackmails his own country for more taxpayers money, and Key sees an opportunity to break down our employment law for foreign interests. The meeting of like minds.

      As if Warners was ever going to film the Hobbit in the middle of a frigid Irish winter, instead of in in NZ brilliant summer light. We got sold down the river.

  4. Joe Bloggs 4

    SPADA’s illuminating email on MEAA – Liars, damned liars and Simon Whipp:

    http://thestandard.org.nz/the-price-of-our-hysteria/#comment-264668

    now this makes for illuminating reading – a comprehensive 11 point arsehole ripping of the MEAA’s inflamatory actions and barefaced lies. Should be obligatory reading for those who seek to defend the MEAA.

    Hattip to Infused

  5. Speaking Sense to Unions 5

    “As if Warners was ever going to film the Hobbit in the middle of a frigid Irish winter, instead of in in NZ brilliant summer light.”

    I think even in the Northern Hemisphere summer follows winter and if you knew anything about film making you might know that NZ’s ever-changing light makes shooting here quite challenging.

    There’s also things called “studios” and “green screens”, they probably have them in Ireland.

  6. tsmithfield 6

    Great link Joe. Just shows exactly why Warners had justifiable reasons not to want to deal with these people.

  7. The Voice of Reason 7

    Thanks for the summary, Blue, it’s a good read. I was struck by the similarity of the bosses response to the ’88 writers strike to the response here. Undermine the union, lie about the facts. Add to that breaching good faith agreements, publicly dissing your bargaining partners, and, particularly, exaggerate the threat to the economy from the workers actions, even though you are the group making the threat. Add in a compliant Government and it’s an effective industrial coup. It’s classic stuff really.

    Out of all of this, I can’t help thinking that if the Actors had gone to a more mature and thinking union for advice and support, they would not have been done over like this. At the very least, a union like the EPMU would have had a bailout strategy for the possibility of the dispute going off the rails. And I don’t think they would have straight to the strike option without mounting a more engaging campaign first, both within the industry and with the wider public..

    • Anne 7.1

      @TvoR
      “… I can’t help thinking that if the Actors had gone to a more mature and thinking union for advice and support, they would not have been done over like this.”

      Andrew Little and Co. from the EPMU would never have fallen into the same trap. I hope it’s a big lesson for the Actors – and other related groups.

      It’s time another of the current establishment players was ‘done over’. I refer to John Barnett. Heard him on Nat Radio this morning describing AE as “those bloody actors who caused the whole thing”. What an arrogant bastard. They’re all coming out of the woodwork under NAct!

      • SHG 7.1.1

        AE did cause the whole thing. AE, through its representative Simon Whipp, called an international boycott on the Hobbit before requesting an illegal meeting.

  8. TightyRighty 8

    Sorry blue, who are you? and what the hell do you know? this isn’t a reputable post, this is just pro-union anti-employer spin. Why won’t you just accept the fact the unions and their puppets got smashed in the face with the big stick the unions usually like to wield? no one sees the unions or the actors represnting them as the victims in this, except of course the actors and unions the unions they represent.

  9. I see are studiously avoiding commenting on the contents of Blue’s post.

    Much easier to have a stab at ill informed and unmeasured “public perception” and rely on that.

  10. SHG 10

    The letters they sent to the production company do demand a union-negotiated collective agreement or a blacklist will apply

    Incorrect. The letters stated that A BLACKLIST WAS ALREADY IN EFFECT.

    Resolved, that the International Federation of Actors urges each of its affiliates to adopt instructions to their members that no member of any FIA affiliate will agree to act in the theatrical film The Hobbit until such time as the producer has entered into a collective bargaining agreement with the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance

    Resolution to impose boycott: fail

    Requirement for illegal collective bargaining: fail

    Requirement to deal with an unregistered union (MEAA) with no legal right to negotiate: fail

    • The Baron 10.1

      Yup, why keep going when there’s a lie right up front. is that enough analysis for you Greg?

      • Richard 10.1.1

        If the unions were relevant to the negotiation they would have been at the negotiation table.

        The important negotiation was that between Warners and the government. The fact that the unions were not invited goes to show that they had sod all to do with it. The union was just a pretext.

  11. Bart 11

    Colonial viper, you idiot, do you really think natural light is what a movie\’s location is based on, or are all those lighting credits at the end of a movie just made up, like the unions arguements about this whole sorry saga!

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Bart, you work in a cartoon, and as such I don’t expect you to know anything about natural light, or filming in fog/snow/winter storms in Ireland/UK as compared to the brilliant long summer hours of NZ daylight.

      • Speaking Sense to Unions 11.1.1

        CV, which movies have you done lighting on?

        You might be surprised to find they do actually make films in Ireland. A lot of the exterior material for Saving Private Ryan was shot there. I suppose Speilberg did make a huge mistake.

        Dealing with weather is not a new problem for the film industry and you might find that after winter comes summer plus on rain days they have back-up studio shoots.

        • lprent 11.1.1.1

          That was because a large portion of the scenes required dull and overcast weather. After all that is what most of the weather was like just after d-day.

          Why bother making such an silly statement? It is pretty nonsensical.

          • Speaking Sense to Unions 11.1.1.1.1

            you might find that they can shoot films in Ireland with sunshine as well. The sun does shine there. But how many films have you and CV done lighting on?

            Quick question – what sort of day is easier to shoot on, overcast or bright sunlight?

            • Roflcopter 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Much easier to shoot on an overcast day. It’s easier to add light than remove it.

              And Ireland/UK have some of the biggest and best sound stages available.

          • luva 11.1.1.1.2

            lprent…what makes you think The Hobbit will need bright sunshine as opposed to D-day type conditions

            • lprent 11.1.1.1.2.1

              Because it is easier to put filters on than it is to setup lights. That leaves more shooting time. The cameras themselves tend to capture less light than is available (pretty obvious if you think of the mechanics). When you get to post you can only fiddle with the recorded detail on the images. The more detail on the images you have, the easier it is to manipulate to what is required.

              Especially when you are going through those tedious transcriptions to all of the various formats with all of the various frame rates and colour transforms. Lyn has (from memory) about 8 different formats flying around the world to festivals based on what they can display. Each is a nightmare in it’s own right..

              Basically no one who has been near a edit suite or transcribing from masters wants anything less than the best light available. Articifical light is good, and really good at highlighting shadow features. But full on natural sunlight is cheap and usually more powerful here for overall lighting.

              Incidentially, in my personal view, directors are obsessional and producers are almost as bad (usually about the director)

              Besides, have you read the hobbit? There are some dark sections, but a lot is in sunlight.

  12. James 12

    “However, if the producers had discussed the situation with the union, then the issues could have been clarified and worked through a lot earlier.”

    This is incorrect. The VERY FIRST request for a meeting with Peter Jackson was made on the 17th August AFTER the boycott had already been enacted.

    This has been confirmed, in writing on the MEAA’s own ‘hobbit factsheet’ which is on their website.

    How could they work through the situation before that when no one had EVER actually asked for a meeting first?

    The Union never bothered working through the legal issues, they just charged right out and did it.

    It’s crazy. And that’s why this whole horrible mess happened.

    If you want to blame anyone, the Actor’s Union deserves a VERY large portion of it.

    Oh, and from the MEAA’s latest email to their members, they seem to be lying to their members about it as well.

    Nice.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      This has been confirmed, in writing on the MEAA’s own ‘hobbit factsheet’ which is on their website.

      No link, no truth. Please point us the way good James.

      • James 12.1.1

        http://www.alliance.org.au/documents/100922_hobbit_factsheet.pdf

        Read the August 17 letter VERY CAREFULLY. The boycott was in effect, before the first letter on August 17th.

        There are emails out in the public between Frances Walsh of AE and Peter Jackson confirming that the August 17th letter was their first communication with Peter Jackson or his company. It is also confirmed in a letter from the MEAA/AE to its members that was leaked 2 days ago:

        http://publicaddress.net/system/topic,2769,hard-news-anatomy-of-a-shambles.sm?p=187587#post187587

        This email has been confirmed to be legitimate. You can probably request a copy if you want to try. I know SPADA have one, but you might be able to get it direct from Actor’s Equity.

        The emails between Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh of Actor’s Equity were first leaked here:

        http://publicaddress.net/system/topic,2769,hard-news-anatomy-of-a-shambles.sm?p=187715#post187715

        FW is indicating in the ‘over a month ago’ line confirms the first letter was 17th August.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          I don’t quite get your time line here. It clashes with many reports which say the boycott was activated by the SAG and other unions on Sept 24, essentially 5 weeks *after* your claim of a pre Aug 17 activation e.g.:

          Variety magazine says the boycott was initiated Sept 24.
          http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118026048.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&nid=2562

          This Sept 26 Reuters article announces the boycott as new news.
          http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE68Q03820100927

          The LA Times writes on Sept 27 that an industrial dispute has ‘erupted’
          http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2010/09/labor-dispute-erupts-over-the-hobbit.html

          Basically the union was stonewalled for at least 5 weeks by the studios and/or Jackson before the global boycott actually came into effect.

          Read the August 17 letter VERY CAREFULLY. The boycott was in effect, before the first letter on August 17th.

          In conclusion, no it wasn’t, you are wrong.

          • SHG 12.1.1.1.1

            DATE: 17 August 2010
            TO: Directors, 3 Foot 7 Limited
            FROM: International Federation of Actors
            (…)
            Recently, The International Federation of Actors (FIA) became aware that the production of “The Hobbit” intends to hire performers under non-union contracts.

            For this reason FIA, at its most recent meeting, unanimously passed the following motion: “Resolved, that the International Federation of Actors urges each of its affiliates to adopt instructions to their members that no member of any FIA affiliate will agree to act in the theatrical feature film “The Hobbit” until such time as the producer has entered into a collective bargaining agreement with the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance for production in New Zealand providing for satisfactory terms and conditions for all performers employed on the production”.

            FIA therefore encourages you to meet immediately with representatives of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance in order to reach an agreement covering all performers engaged on this production.

            In the first instance could you please make contact with Simon Whipp of the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance on 612 9333 0999 or via email: simon.whipp@alliance.org.au
            (…)

            Full text: http://www.scribd.com/doc/40284396/FIA-17-VIII-10-en

            That’s the union saying on August 17 that at its previous meeting it passed a boycott resolution. A meeting some time before August 17.

            • Speaking Sense to Unions 12.1.1.1.1.1

              don’t distract them with more facts, they’re still pondering whether or not the northern hemisphere has a summer.

              • lprent

                The northern hemisphere does have a summer.

                But the quality of light here is far more intense than it is in any continental or near continental climate. There is less airborne dust. It is the same reason why the sunburn times here are a *lot* shorter than anywhere near a continental area.

                Before you start being stupid and going off into the usual irrelevant fallacies. The ozone hole has no appreciable effect anywhere above the lower south island and lets through more UV with little difference to visible light. Tropical areas have a lot of moisture in the air which adsorbs a lot of UV and some visible light.

                The vast ocean around NZ makes the light here a lot sharper and clearer on film. It means quite a lot of difference when you’re shooting.

                Perhaps you should actually understand what you’re talking about before sprouting your nonsense.

                • Speaking Sense to Unions

                  how many films have you done lighting on?

                  you’re arguing that Warners would never shift the film to Ireland because of the weather, I’m curious about what you base that on.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Being intelligent? Not just having a brain but using it too?

                    you’re arguing that Warners would never shift the film to Ireland

                    Not never, just not in the next 6-8 months during the Irish winter, sleet, snow, storms, short murky daylight,…

                    • Speaking Sense to Unions

                      you know that a studio often has a roof?

                    • Speaking Sense to Unions

                      ok, you’ve got a brain

                      you’re on set and you’ve got 60 sec to make this decision:

                      it’s an interior day location shoot. Overcast skies and about to roll but the director now wants a shaft of sunlight.

                      The genny’s down, do you call for a diva, a source 4 or a 10k. The director also wants even exposure over a large room. How do you respond?

                  • lprent

                    None. But I have a degree in earth sciences so I understand climate factors. Of course my partner is a filmmaker who spends a large chunk of her time behind a camera.

                    • Speaking Sense to Unions

                      so your argument that Warner’s couldn’t relocate in time is based on knowldge of the film indusrty and that is what exactly? You haven’t said.

                • Speaking Sense to Unions

                  “…and lets through more UV with little difference to visible light.”

                  so you wouldn’t factor in UV light for a scenic long shot?

                  • lprent

                    The equipment doesn’t have UV capabilities. For some reason if we can’t see it then the film makers don’t think it is worth recording.

                    • Speaking Sense to Unions

                      film is actually sensitve to UV. If you want less haze you use a UV filter. If you want more you don’t.

                      we can’t see IR either but it is something film makers have to consider, hence hot mirrors.

                      So your argument is…?

                    • lprent []

                      As I said, filmmakers aren’t interested in shooting uv. Their equipment is designed to exclude it. Especially from film

                      So your point is? More nonsense from an fool trying sidetrack using antiqitated troll techniques from ACToid central as far as I can see…do you actually have anything substantive to say, or should I just ignore you as being too stupid to debate with?

                    • Speaking Sense to Unions

                      “As I said, filmmakers aren’t interested in shooting uv. Their equipment is designed to exclude it.’

                      well you actually said –

                      “The equipment doesn’t have UV capabilities.”

                      which is quite different.

                      The “equipment” does have UV “capabilities” because film is sensitive to UV. A film maker can decide to make an aesthetic choice of using the UV or not using it. It makes a significant differnce on how some scenic wide and long shots look.

                      some filters are designed exclude UV, cameras and lens are not and some film makers will use UV to give a certain quality to some shots.

                      If you have some argument that for logistical and/or aesthtic lighting reasons Warners could not reloacte in time then put it forward. So far you have shown no understanding of any of this.

                    • lprent []

                      I was referring to digital camera equipment. I haven’t seen anyone shoot on film for a quite a while. I notice you ignored my rather pointed reference to that and didn’t quote it? Why was that?

                      You haven’t shown yourself to be a person worth debating at this point. But consider this. One of the crucial features to getting a workable shooting schedule is to know before the start of the project where and when you are likely to be shooting. That takes time, and the pre has probably been going on here for quite some time. Quite a lot of it is required from what i understand for a feature film. As I understand it they haven’t started doing more than starting to look outside nz, and shooting is meant to be starting mere months away.

                    • Speaking Sense to Unions

                      digital equipment is also sensituve to UV, they have to have UV filters if you don’t want it.

                      Film making – “film”. Yes more is done on digital but still a lot is done on film and in both cases film makers have to make allowances for UV. In the case of digital they also have to make allowances for IR.

                      your quote –

                      “For some reason if we can’t see it then the film makers don’t think it is worth recording.”

                      completely wrong. Not just landscapes but flowers and clothing – with both film and digital equipment.

                    • Speaking Sense to Unions

                      Ok, so you don’t know very much about film lighting, camera equipment etc so now your agument is not about light but about organisational logistics and all it amounts to is your assertion that it couldn’t possibly be done.

                      Film is all about planning. Planning for the unexpected, weather, location changes. It’s all part of what film people do everyday. Large numbers of people are paid very well to make sure things happen on time. However you think you can make a judgement call on the basis of wild speculation.

                      Much like Helen Kelly you don’t know much about the film industry and that lack of knowledge had contributed to this disaster for the unions.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Film is all about planning. Planning for the unexpected, weather, location changes.

                    Jackson was never going to film The Hobbit in wintery, freezing Europe. Neither was Warner going to agree to a 6-8 month delay in shooting. As a country we were had, even if you argue that Jackson would have happily planned to film in Irish sleet as opposed to a brilliant clear NZ summer, in scenary which is a perfect match to the LOTR.

                    Much like Helen Kelly you don’t know much about the film industry and that lack of knowledge had contributed to this disaster for the unions.

                    Uh, just because its possible to technically overcome filming in snow or fog, does not mean that it is desirable.

                    Fact of the matter is we were had, and Jackson and Key double teamed the tax payer who got screwed proper.

                    • Speaking Sense to Unions

                      I’ll take you through things slowly.

                      In Europe you have winter, followed by spring followed by summer. In Ireland they have what are called in the film industry “studios”. A lot of the production will be done in studios and they will orgainise their shooting schedule so that when they can’t get the exterior locations they want they’ll shoot indoors.

                      When they need to shoot scenes that demand summer – not all of The Hobbit is set in summer – then they will shoot that in the European summer.

                      If they want specific NZ scenery they’ll use a B unit. No big deal.

                      NZ has a special quality of light but talk to some DOPs and they will tell you it can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on what you want. It’s often dust in the atmosphere that they want to give an extra glow to sunsets.

                      And they’ll be using a DOP who has spent their career dealing with such issues, they get paid the big bucks to deal with light.

                      Where do you get this 6-8 months from?

                • Speaking Sense to Unions

                  Any advice for Andrew Lesnie on hot mirrors?

              • Colonial Viper

                Hey yeah it does, if Jackson and Warner Bros want to push back the release of their blockbuster by 6-8 months :P

                • Speaking Sense to Unions

                  ?

                  They just reschedule if they have to. Shoot more location in the summer and more studio in the winter. They would have to do that in NZ. There’s always plans for poor weather on any movie with locations.

                  Working around the weather is not a new skill in the film industry and in NZ it is a particular problem because of the 4 seasons in 1 day nature of a lot of our weather.

                  Where do you get the 6-8 months from? Have you seen their shooting schedule?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    LOLz mate yeah ‘reschedule’ on a mmovie late already they would make it more late by 6-8 months?

                    I guess they could shoot indoors in Ireland through the whole of the european winter but *shrug* it was never on the cards except to blackmail the NZ tax payer.

                    Give up the brilliant long NZ summer light, and settings exactly the same as LOTR for an Irish fog which looks nothing like it? Never was gonna happen.

                    • Speaking Sense to Unions

                      Where do you get this 6-8 months from?

                      Are you aware of what portion of the film will be shot on location and what in studio? Are you aware that Ireland does have a summer when they can shoot the exterior location scenes?

                      And I presume you do know that quite a bit of what appears to be an exterior location actually isn’t or that if it is a lot of it has CGI.

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.1.2

              Hahaha urges a boycott != a boycott.

              Boycott did not occur for another 5 weeks during which time Jackson et al proved intractable in their corporate brinksmanship.

          • James 12.1.1.1.2

            You absolutely MUST be kidding. The letter on the MEAA website, sent by the MEAA on the 17 August says they’s instited the boycott, and you still won’t accept it.

            That’s just… you’re insane, right? You do realise that. IT’S RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU.

            And now we’re talking about the fucking weather in Ireland now, almost as if avoiding the issue. That’s all just… ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

            If people like you have anything to do with the Union movement, no wonder it’s f***ed.

            • IrishBill 12.1.1.1.2.1

              I think you need to take a couple of deep breaths there Jimmy.

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.2.2

              No boycott occurred until Sept 24. The letter is posturing to try and get Jackson to listen.

              Good frakin luck with that as we foubnd out.

              • James

                I’m sorry, but you’re wrong and you know it. It’s right there in black and white. You should be ashamed of yourself.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Sept 24th is the earliest entertainment media announcement of the global boycott having gone into actual effect.

                  As opposed to having been bandied around as a negotiation tactic.

                  You should be ashamed of yourself.

                  Meh, what does the self-moralising Right know?

                • Speaking Sense to Unions

                  James, it’s honestly not worth the effort. Most people have give up on The Standard as some sort of honest and intelligent Left-wing discusion forum. I only mess with them coz its morbidly funny.

                  Go over to Public Address and save your sanity.

                  If you’re Left-wing you’ll cheer up by mixing with nicer and brighter people, if you’re Right-wing you’ll actually debate people who appreciate facts.

      • The Baron 12.1.2

        Backing down now, CV? Or can you still spin this to suit your beloved Union, even though there were more real workers protesting against that Union than they have members?

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.2.1

          Oh, and you are wrong too.

          • The Baron 12.1.2.1.1

            Tally ho – am I also wrong about you supporting an 80 member union over 1,500 real workers – then claiming that you’re the one who is pro worker?

            No, you haven’t addressed that yet, have you. Sounds to me like your support for hard working kiwis really means support for lazy union bosses, who like to nosh it up at expensive restaurants and not actually respond to the people they purport to represent.

            Pigs in a trough, ruining jobs and lives. And that’s who you back over the real working men and women. Shame CV, shame.

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.2.1.1.1

              Good to see you backing foreign corporates and hundred millionaires over basic workers’ rights Baron. Nothing if not consistent.

              Equity an 80 member union? Meeep! Wrong AGAIN. This time only by a factor of 7, mind you.

              Last night, NZ Actors’ Equity, which has about 600 members, cancelled its Auckland meetings for safety reasons

              http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10682244

              Pigs in a trough, ruining jobs and lives.

              My friend, are you referring to the true fat NAT cats? Because a union organiser is a pretty averagely paid job and most of them do it because they are passionate about helping ordinary workers through difficult disadvantaged situations.

              And before I forget – gosh darn it, you are WRONG again.

  13. The bill is out and there is a major bug as identified by Charles Chauvel. He was incidentally one of the counsel involved in the Bryson case.

    Clause 4(2) of the bill says that the deeming provision (that film workers are contractors) does not apply “if the person is a party to, or covered by an employment agreement that provides that person is an enmployee”.

    So you still need to analyse the contract to see if it is an employment contract or not and if it is an employment then the amendment does not apply.

    If this argument holds the bill is toothless and does no more than reflect current law.

    The trouble is that when you rush things you invariably stuff it up.

    • The Baron 13.1

      Quick Greg, get on the wires – you and Charles have a scoop! Hell, if you ever get into the big house you could even pat him on the back for his good work, then go back to sitting on Goff’s lap like a good little dog.

      • mickysavage 13.1.1

        TB

        Before your lot trash parliamentary custom and muck around with employment law and use urgency again when it is not warranted you should at least make sure that what you are doing actually achieves what you intend to do.

        This is why the select committee process is so important. The problems could be sorted out.

        But this tory born to rule we know better stuff is a recipe for disaster.

        Watch lawyers rub their hands as a new avenue for litigation is opened up.

        And BTW you could address the points rather than engage in personal abuse.

        • ianmac 13.1.1.1

          Yes Micky. The abuse from some is in inverse proportion to the discussion of the issues. Must be important for the political game to have so many visitors here. Wonder why?

          • Jim Nald 13.1.1.1.1

            The tory spin machine is in overdrive to try to counteract the emerging true facts. The polls are telling them that Jonkey is looking shakey.

            • wtl 13.1.1.1.1.1

              And they continue do go on about how everyone in NZ supports the move by the government, even though opt-in polls, that are usually right-leaning, suggest people are very split on this issue. Perhaps they think that if they keep repeating to themselves that it is a clear win, it will come true.

            • Armchair Critic 13.1.1.1.1.2

              Ultimately this National government will come unstuck on its own contradictions, which are really starting to accumulate.

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  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Bartlett case means Govt must act on equal pay
    The Court of Appeal victory for Lower Hutt caregiver, Kristine Bartlett demonstrates that both the Government and employers have been ignoring and not fully implementing equal pay law, the Green Party said today.The Court of Appeal today upheld earlier rulings...
    Greens | 27-10
  • Rotorua shift for Maori TV a bizarre move
    The bizarre idea to move Maori TV to Rotorua is either poor planning or possible political interference that adds to the perception of a service in crisis, says Labour MP for Tamaki Makaurau Peeni Henare. “Moving Maori TV to Rotorua...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Second rate deal a no go – Goff
    A second rate deal on dairy in the TPP would totally contradict the agreed purpose of the Pacific trade agreement, Labour’s Trade spokesperson, Phil Goff says. “Both the origin of the trade negotiations and leaders’ statements on its objectives emphasise...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Legal victory a boost for all working women
    Today’s legal victory for equal pay is a much-needed boost for working women at a time when the Government is pushing through reforms which will make it harder for them to get pay rises, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney...
    Labour | 27-10
  • National’s failed commodities export strategy exposed
    National's strategy to rely on commodities such as milk powder and logs has been exposed in the September trade figures released today, the Green Party said."National's strategy to hang all economic hope on exporting ever-increasing volumes of milk powder and...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Caution needed on calls to arm police
    There is no justification for routinely arming our police and doing so would change forever the way officers interact with their communities, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “As one of the few organisations distinguished by its unarmed status,...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Govt strains to get tea break law through
    The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“National desperately...
    Labour | 23-10
  • How low can you go? Mining the depths
    The company says there will be economic benefits, which the EEZ Act says the EPA must consider, but even these benefits are in doubt. The royalties while not set will be tiny, the profits will flow offshore, and whatever phosphate...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Fed Farmers defend GE Agriculture
    Federated Farmers, which represents a minority of farmers, appears to be captured by a pro-GE clique hell bent on increasing unsustainable technologies for the benefit of the herbicide and patent controlling seed companies. That there are better more sustainable farming...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Government loses the affordable housing race
    Nick Smith is dreaming if he thinks he can deliver affordable housing to Cantabrians on his current figures, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Minister’s announcement that the Government will build 237 new homes, most of which will...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Labour’s thoughts with Canadians
    Labour has offered its sympathies to the family and friends of the Canadian soldier who died in what appears to be a premeditated and unprovoked attack while standing at guard at the Ottawa National War Memorial. “Our thoughts are also...
    Labour | 23-10
  • What next for TVNZ? Outsourcing the news?
    Television New Zealand’s decision to outsource Māori and Pacific programming is a real blow to the notion that our state broadcaster is a public broadcaster, says Labour. “CEO Kevin Kenrick has said today that TVNZ has ‘a very long and...
    Labour | 22-10
  • Green Party expresses sympathy for Canadian shooting victims
    The Green Party expressed its solidarity with Canadians and the Canadian Parliament today, offering its sympathy for family and friends of the soldier killed in the attack. "Our thoughts are with all those caught up in the shooting in Canada...
    Greens | 22-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • More Latté Than Lager: Reflections on Grant Robertson’s Campaign Launch.
    BIKERS? SERIOUSLY! Had Grant Robertson’s campaign launch been organised by Phil Goff? Was this a pitch for the votes of what few Waitakere Men remain in the Labour Party? Was I even at the right place? Well, yes, I was....
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Invercargill
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Invercargill on Friday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Public now needs to have its say over new tolls
    “I welcome the likes of new tolls and fuel taxes going out for public consultation after these matters have been talked about for 20 years. However the timing is not ideal as it comes on top of the likes of...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis to fight back against TPPA ‘corporate trap’
    New Zealanders in at least sixteen different locations around the country are organising for an International Day of Action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on 8 November, co-ordinated by It's Our Future NZ. This is part of an international...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes NZ First MP’s Resignation
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming NZ First MP, Clayton Mitchell’s resignation from the Tauranga City Council, despite Party Leader Winston Peters' public comments in July that Mr Mitchell would do both jobs if elected to Parliament. The Union's...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Stopping unnecessary roading projects solution to transport
    Today Auckland Council released the Funding Auckland’s Transport Future report which claims Aucklanders need to choose higher rates, petrol taxes or tolls to pay for future transport projects, when the real issue is the prioritisation of unnecessary...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Fixing Auckland’s transport
    Today marks a critical step in the most important funding debate Auckland has ever had: whether or not Aucklanders are willing to pay for the transport system this city desperately needs to keep it moving, says Mayor Len Brown....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • The New Zealand Gazette Moves into the Digital Age
    On Monday 20 October, the New Zealand Gazette was published completely online bringing to a close 173 years as a purely printed publication. First published in 1841 as the official government newspaper, the Gazette website gazette.govt.nz , replaces...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • International report shows NZ struggling with child poverty
    A report by UNICEF International shows that child poverty rates in New Zealand have scarcely changed since 2008 – this stands in contrast to a number of other countries that managed to significantly reduce child poverty in this time, including...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Dunedin
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Dunedin on Thursday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF Report a Waste of Paper
    In response to the hysteria coming from the far left, Josh Forman of slightlyleftofcentre.co.nz writes the following:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Press Council opens doors to digital media
    The New Zealand Press Council, the body which handles complaints against newspapers and magazines and their websites, is offering associate membership status to news and commentary-oriented digital media including bloggers....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Tolls Should Be for New Roads, Not Old Ones
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming Auckland Council for wanting to introduce a motorist tax under the guise of ‘tolls’. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Media freedom in West Papua: Protest at Indonesian embassy
    Today, Wednesday 29 October, there will be a peaceful protest at the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington to call on new Indonesian President Joko Widodo to honour his election promise to ensure greater media freedom in West Papua....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Lack of leadership blamed for decline in Gender Equity
    BPW NZ challenges NZ’s lack of leadership with the decline in Gender Equity Ranking...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Richard Falk visit to NZ
    Professor Richard Falk, who recently completed a six-year term as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, will deliver a public lecture in Dunedin on Monday 10 November....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Apprehension for meat workers as employment law bill passes
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill today will send a wave of apprehension through the workers in the NZ meat industry says the Meat Workers Union....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • “Yes to Children, No to Poverty” Says Commissioner
    Children’s Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills will describe impacts of poverty on children, with a focus on local solutions at the Tū Kaha biennial conference for Māori health for the central region DHBs at the Hawke’s Bay Racing Centre in Hastings...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF report card highlights need for action
    Unicef’s child poverty report released today shows that New Zealand needs to be more proactive in pursuing policies to protect our most vulnerable members of society....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Children of the Recession: NZ’s shame
    Children of the Recession : NZ’s shame Media release Wednesday 29 October 2014 “It is to New Zealand’s deepest shame that the latest Unicef report on children living in poverty ranks us 16th out of 41 developed countries. “Every day...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF cautions NZ child poverty rates are “stagnating”
    An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • TPP Too Important for Compromised Finish
    The New Zealand dairy industry is urging Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) partners not to compromise on the quality of the deal to get it done quickly....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Nelson
    Labour leadership candidates in Nelson The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Nelson on Tuesday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • History is made. Equal pay not just legal but possible!
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) congratulates Kristine Bartlett and the Service and Food Workers Union: Ngā Ringa Tota on their historic win. Today the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from Kristine’s employer; opening the way for...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
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