web analytics
The Standard

Rant: Why reconnect to broadcast?

Written By: - Date published: 3:40 pm, October 21st, 2012 - 59 comments
Categories: copyright, hone harawira, Media, tv, video, youtube - Tags: , ,

After Lyn’s 6 year time commitments to her documentary have subsided, we didn’t need the space to produce and then market it around the world. So nearly two months ago we moved out of the larger rental we’d had for the last 3 years back into my old apartment in a flurry of concrete dust from polishing concrete and cursing from fitting storage. But I still haven’t bothered with connecting up broadcast TV. Why would I want to bother? Broadcast TV is largely mindless and endlessly frustrating.

It is really hard to think why it will ever make its way up my nearly infinite list of tasks to the point that I actually do it. And I’d have to confess on this Labour weekend that is because I’m always short of time outside of work (greater than 50 hours per week) and the task of running this blog site (about 10-20 hours per week). And I’m not that unusual for the more highly skilled in our society.

At present, I’m currently heavily involved in the software side of the release of two products that I’ve been working on for two and half years for my employers. And Lyn isn’t any better so I can’t just foist tasks on to her. She snuck in the house move in between a shoot in China and a shoot in India as well as her usual workload at the Business School. Time is at a premium and really has to compete against the simple joy of blobbing out and reading a ePub on my iPad (I got rid of all my books during the move. Lyn kept her ones as “decorations”).

So there is a priority ordered list of 18 tasks on the fridge with everything in it from “sticking door” down to “buy a washing line” and “plug for the bathroom sink” that we’re steadily working through. At the very bottom next to “plants for patio” is the lowest priority task – “fix the aerial”.

I’ll explain that. Basically we can’t get Freeview in our apartment despite the building having it on the central aerial. This is most likely because the process of fitting cupboards over the aerial connection damaged the wiring. It is probably a problem that I could fix easily if I could locate my old soldering iron, moved the TV, my server and workstation (and the innumerable wires), and partially emptied the cupboard. Ummm.. we’re talking much of a day to do that because this area is wire heaven.  Ignoring it and going to Mitre 10 for a basic plug to get something off the list seems a whole lot easier.

But there are the benefits to broadcast TV that would outweigh the effort – surely?  Uh no… It is hard to think of any compared to the alternatives for me. And there is story behind that.

About 6 months ago I brought a BluRay player, mainly because the old DVD player’s firmware was having real problems with the steadily worsening problem of scratches and gunk coating the surfaces of video store DVD’s. You know you have a problem when the player doesn’t just skip the affected section, and you have to unplug the device before it will respond to controls. It was about a decade old so it went in the pile to go to the City Mission when we moved.

I got a a previous years model Sony BDP-480 (for well less than listed) because:-

  • The old DVD player was a Sony and it lasted well. Certainly a lot longer then the expensive DVD recorder I’d brought at the same time.
  • The TV is a Sony and the devices will work well together at full HDTV (Lyn insists on that)
  • It could play MP4‘s from both my DLNA server and USB (the TV was restricted to VOB‘s)
  • Because it was all setup to connect to the internet via a network cable.
  • It had the right jacks for everything including several USB’s in the right places.
  • It wasn’t expensive and was being specialled.

When I got it home and tested it it did everything perfectly.

But being a inveterate fiddler for function I checked out everything on the system. This included a pile of local and international internet media sources. After trying the usual YouTube junk that makes most reality TV look like it is worth watching, I found QuickFlix and MUBI subscription services. There were a pile more like Vice, Ziln, and (shudder) the bloody Wiggles but most of the content wasn’t up to wasting much of my time on. Turned out that there is only so much TEDTalks, Munchies, Citizen Bomber, nzheraldtv, money shows, OpenMic (I wonder where that came from?), and the like that we could watch.

But QuickFlix was for me definitely the pick of the bunch. Sorry, but the next bit is going to sound like an advertorial.

I want to watch mainstream movies and TV series and I don’t care much if they are up to date. If I want that then I can go to the movies or rent videos. What I need is what TV sometimes used to provide – actual entertainment, but to do it to my schedule – not to that of the advertisers. And it has to be cheap because I’m paying for most of the operational costs already through my internet link because the ISP’s grossly overcharge for local traffic.

And that is what QuickFlix provides. It costs $10 per month which is a damn sight better than the $70 I used to pay for Sky a few years ago. It has a moderately large selection that appears to have been culled from the frequency of rentals for older stuff from video stores, but which I suspect is more constrained by  licencing restrictions. And above all it is is truly on demand, has no ads, doesn’t require me to have disk cleaners at hand, and is legal. Moreover it has interesting programmes that have never been displayed on NZ TV – like Being Erica which amused the hell out of me.

So back to my original point. Why would I want to revert to broadcast TV? What does it give me? This is my rough list looking at local TV (with Sky comments in brackets).

  • Mindless repeated ads with the sound mixing frequencies pushed to irritate me (and that includes Sky). All of the bullshit put out by the ad agencies is crap. They damn well mix them to be intrusive and loud.
  • Programs that are never ever on when you want to watch it in your busy time schedule (Sky is as bad).
  • Mindless TV reality shows  that I never want to watch (with Sky it is endless drivel ‘documentaries’ about military conflicts of no interest or value).
  • TV News and Current affairs that is rarely worth watching (Sky has a few channels worth watching – but I’d like to pay for them individually – like BBC or Al Jazzerra(which they don’t offer from memory)).
  • Irritating media celebrities, Te Radar comes to mind, doing travel commercials (the infomercial content is pretty high on Sky as well).
  • Shows, movies and documentaries that are repeated far too often (especially on Sky).

Ok there are a few things of real interest on TV as Brian Edwards pointed out today in “When Hone met Rachel – Now that was a surprise!“, and I agree with him that was definitely worth watching. Both Hone Harawira and Rachel Smalley were impressive.

But consider that I saw it on my iPad was the result of recommendation by someone whose opinion I value. I didn’t have to wade through the mindless drivel that broadcast TV has becoming to find a gem. Moreover, I did it strictly on my time schedule and using a direct link to the video page.

This is how I see almost everything these days on “broadcast” TV – I see fragments of their content. Someone tells me or I read that something is interesting – typically with a link. I watch it via the net. If it has adverts in it or is too damn slow (on-demand-TV from both channels comes to mind), then I find another source (video store or the like) or I simply wait for it to appear as a unencumbered link.

Sure I’m willing to pay for services, but as a discerning consumer that will be done strictly on my terms. Paying Sky for a pile of crap channels that I don’t want, paying rental on a obsolete junk device to decode broadcast, and doing it on their schedule isn’t a useful business model any more. I’ll pay for content provided across the internet where I can pick from a selection when I feel like watching something. And I want that as a fixed charge each month.

I’d pay to have the news and current affairs programs from all NZ channels available as a service. There are usually at least 5 minutes that I want to watch in the news each night. But there is no way that I want to go back to watching bloody ads and not being able to discard the sports and other dross.

I’m a pretty typical near the bleeding edge techie – I use what works. Where I go, you typically find the others follow over the following decades. And I’m so relieved that alternatives are available that I doubt that the aerial will ever go back in.  The day of mass marketing via broadcast is nearly over. The internet provides point-to-point delivery and media organisation should stop pissing around and develop a way of delivering content that way.

59 comments on “Rant: Why reconnect to broadcast?”

  1. Tom 1

    I feel your pain. Really, I do. I’ve just stubbed my toe so I *really feel* it.

    What I don’t understand is your evident angst and nostalgia for a simple world .. of a few years ago. My box stands alone, unloved, unconnected.

    I find the speed of Debian’s latest kernel and a fibreoptic connection as well as html5 more than adequate for a/v news on demand from any number of sources.

    Don’t grieve for the CRT. It’s long gone.

    • lprent 1.1

      My sympathies for your pain. Fortunately I don’t feel it.

      But I do think that you rather missed my point whilst posing with your foot in the air.

      I don’t want to do it through a computer – I have been able to do and have done that for decades. A computer is what I program on. It includes a permanently kludged system, some messy reboots, lots of partitions and virtual machines, several operating systems, etc etc. A typical programmers system.

      And when I compile code, I run g++ on -j$RUNS where

      CORES=`cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep "^processor" | wc -l`
      RUNS=`expr $CORES + 2`

      Which kind of makes it a bit sluggish to stream video over while that is happening even on a 8 core debian kernel system. Lyn’s OS/X systems are damn near as bad with the video stuff she does.

      A ‘box” is far preferable because I tend to watch TV when I want to avoid fiddling with systems. Start up a box and knowing that it is exactly where you left it last time is a boon. You’ll be able to watch TV rather than fiddling.

      As I said with all of your posturing you rather missed the point.

      But they are finally only just finally rolling out fibre in my area at the end of the month. But that isn’t the problem usually. ADSL2 is fine for video, even full HDTV, where I am. Almost all of the problems wind up as being on the server side.

      At this point I can’t see any use for fibre to the home unless Lyn starts pushing video direct to festivals again. In which case whoever she is employed by can pay for the link.

      • lprent 1.1.1

        Ok that was a trivial unfair. I just reread the post and realised that I’d forgotten an important restriction. No more fans. This is a small apartment, and we currently share with 4 computers, a fridge, and a air-conditioner for summer. It gets a bit noisy because currently two of my machines are on all of the time.

        The old windows server is getting the last of its old vbscript code ported this weekend (I hope). And will get shutdown next week. My laptop seldom goes on. Lyn’s mac laptop is pretty quiet. I’m starting the big shift from hard disks to SSD’s but since there are 6 terabytes that will take a while.

        The big advantage with a box is that they’re designed solidstate with no fans…

      • Nate 1.1.2

        See, this is why I have my home server as the MythTV backend and frontend too. My laptop runs Windows and rarely gets turned on and my main pc is always half broken for similar reasons to you…
        If there is anything worth watching on broadcast TV, we have usually already watched it from the US. If it’s a local program the MythTV box has a freeview-capable tv tuner card in which, like MyFreeview, can record and watch simultaneously. What more would we need? :)
        OK, so Linux Blu-Ray support would be good…

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.3

        I don’t want to do it through a computer

        Then don’t. My sister has a TV that can connect to the wireless internal network and through that connect to the internet and every PC as well. This means that all the local media files are available as well stuff that’s available through the net.

        • lprent 1.1.3.1

          My tv does as well. But the firmware doesn’t do anything but VOB. It isn’t upgradeable. Not a format commonly available on the net.

      • Peter 1.1.4

        Agree. I have never owned a television, nor do I plan to. Actually, that’s a lie, I once owned a valve television bought for $20 in a nostalgia filled phase when I was younger and reminisced about the days when you had to warm the thing up for 10 minutes before watching the Network News at 6, and in the process, heated your living room. So, I’ve never owned a transistor television.

        Do I miss it? Well, I’m not sure what I’m missing, and if it’s mindless programming by unaccountable elites, I’m quite happy to miss it.

  2. karol 2

    My answer to Lynn’s question is – My Freeview.  My only concern now is that NAct are trying to kill off Freeview.
     
    I am a bit of a TV (and media) watcher.  But then again, it’s said that TV is something more women are into than men, while guys are more into movies – except that a lot of guys also like to watch sports and news/current events on TV. 
     
    With TV fiction, I particularly have an appetite for fantasy, adventure, crime/mystery, sci fi (especially if they have a bit of a political slant). Also will watch shows with assertive women characters.  These sort of shows lately have had a tendency to be pushed out of the primetime schedules by “reality” and game shows.  Some of the fiction shows I watch are now broadcast at fairly unsociable hours. I also feel that if a TV show is good, it’ll be good in a month or year’s time.
     
    I was becoming disaffected with broadcast TV, watching a lot of web series and DVDs, but was looking out for My Freeview to become cheaper.  A couple of months ago I found DSE had stopped selling My Freeview (making way for Igloo?).  So I took a punt and bought (from Appliance Shed) a Panosonic Freeview receiver with My Freeview, DVD player and recorder, and USB (I haven’t yet found a  USB stick that it will recognise).
     
    It has the added advantage that I can start watching a programme while it is still recording.  So, now I usually wait til about 20 minutes into an hour’s show before I start watching.  I also record Question Time, and start watching almost immediately.  It means I can stop to do stuff that needs attending to, and then just skip through those NAct patsy, “That’s a very good question”, advertorials.”  I can record both TV One and TV3 6 pm News, and flick back and forth between them, comparing their coverage, and flick through the dreary crime and celeb pieces.
     
    I can record 2 Freeview programmes at once, unlike my old freeview box + DVD recorder, which would only allow recording of 1 channel at a time. Setting to record is very easy, and I can set it up to record a whole series.
     
    I have no idea how this Panosonic machine will stand the test of time, but for now I’m happy with it.  And I no longer play around online during ad breaks, then forget to switch the show back on after the commercials – just flick through the commericals.  And when I do sit down to watch TV, even  if there’s nothing being broadcast that I want to watch, there’s plenty waiting on my recorder.
     

    • lprent 2.1

      The usual failures on things like My Freeview/ My Sky etc are the hard disks. But it is an option.

      Of course I still have to fix the aerial… And I can still get most of the local news etc on the net to my TV using a computer. I should look at buying something like that or just making a dedicated device.

      I wonder how good the automatic advert strippers are these days. They weren’t bad 5 years ago..

      • karol 2.1.1

        How long is one of the hard discs likely to last?  I am disappointed that, so far, I haven’t been able to connect an external hard drive to the Panosonic recorder.
         
        I like the idea of a TV that can also connect with a computer, so that I could easily switch between them.

        • lprent 2.1.1.1

          The resolution on TV’s isn’t particularly high.

          I have had hard disks that failed after two years of continuous use. And I have had ones operating as boot drives that were still functional after 8 years when I wiped and disposed of them. Apart from saying that slower rpm drives usually last longer, have never been able to tell.

  3. Pete 3

    Area man constantly mentioning he doesn’t own a television. I’m being tongue in cheek, but I think we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the quality of television shows over the past decade. With plot arcs and production values, no less. Look at Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Mad Men for stuff that’s currently being made or Battlestar Galactica and Band of Brothers for shows that completed their run. This increase in quality is due in no small way to competing with the plethora of media options open to people today. Unplugging the aerial wouldn’t be for me.

    • karol 3.1

      Agree with you on the improvement in quality.  I’m watching Game of Thrones, and was majorly into BSG. The others you mention, except for Mad Men, have a fairly masculine bias.  But I have watched some Boardwalk Empire and liked some of it. 
       
      Actually, earlier this morning, I was pondering on doing a post on my year’s TV watching – I was  thinking of doing such a post over the summer on one of those slow news days.

    • lprent 3.2

      Most of the interesting US ones are coming of HomeBoxOffice or ShowTime which are subscription cable channels. In other words they are coming off non-broadcast media.

      They tend to arrive in NZ almost as fast as they wind up on DVD/BluRay. In fact several times the hardcopy arrives here before the broadcast does. Of course you have to buy them “in the US”, just the same as having to use a VPN exiting in the US to watch them online. The difference is that you can minimize the ads.

      BTW: Most of the techniques these US shows use I can see in old 80’s and 90’s tv series from the UK. Lower budgets, same techniques.

      • Pete 3.2.1

        That said, some kind soul keeps on uploading episodes of QI to YouTube. I have a Sony TV too and it plays YouTube beautifully. I have unmetered youtube through my ISP, so I’m very pleased with that and the other shows I’ve discovered on there.

    • weka 3.3

      “Unplugging the aerial wouldn’t be for me.”
       
      All the TV programmes I watch I do so on DVD. I get to watch them when I want, no ads, and I don’t have to wait a week to watch the next episode and risk missing it.
       
      On of the turning points for me was a few years ago when TV3 joined TVNZ in the bizarre practice of taking a series off for an indeterminate period of time and I had no way of knowing when it would start up again (and thus missed some crucial episodes).
       
      btw, does anyone know how I can buy an external optical drive for my laptop that is region free? I’m on a mac. Can’t seem to find any in NZ, and places like Amazon won’t let me buy electronics from NZ.
       
       
       
       

      • Pete 3.3.1

        Install VLC media player. It’s open source and it bypasses the region locking on your computer.

        • weka 3.3.1.1

          Thanks, but it doesn’t work on my mac.

          • lprent 3.3.1.1.1

            It should do. Works in Linux, and Lyn pointed me in its direction, and she mostly uses macs.

            • weka 3.3.1.1.1.1

              It’s a known issue, something to do with the macbook pros I think. I’ll try again, but last time I tried this it didn’t work.

              • weka

                Just tried again. Looks like VLC can’t recognise the disc, even though I can get it to see the disc to try an open it, it doesn’t actually work. I get an error message saying “playback failure DVDRead could not read – 1/4 blocks at 0xae” and then in the log there is a highlighted bit that says “macosx warning: unknown disc type, no idea what to display”.
                 
                 

                • weka

                  Although according to this, it should either work or trip the mac’s region code check
                   

                  You can use an alternate video player like VLC that doesn’t check the region code. Beware that your drive’s firmware still triggers the OS counter, which may then trigger a firmware setting change on your drive. It’s hit and miss on whether or not this will happen, with some Macs allowing any region movie to be viewed in VLC without triggering a change and others triggering a change and potentially locking you out of future switches when you hit the limit. If you know you have at least two changes left, try it and see. My Mac Pro works fine using VLC on Region 3 movies, but my MacBook Pro and PowerBook G4 prompt me to switch regions when I try. Your mileage will vary.
                   

                  http://lowendmac.com/fishkin/08af/region-free-dvd-mac.html

                  • weka

                    Here’s the explanation from VLC
                     

                    Why won’t VLC play DVDs from a region other than what my drive is set to?

                    Many people try to use VLC to play DVDs from regions their drive is not set to. However, the DVD drives on most new Macs have region lockout on the hardware level, so VLC will not necessarily be able to play discs from multiple regions. You may be able to play the disc by opening it as a Video_TS folder instead of a DVD, or by changing the method used by libdvdccss to decrypt DVDs (go to Preferences->All->Input/Codecs->Access Modules->DVD without menus->Method used by libdvdcss for decryption). If you play a lot of DVDs from different regions your best option is to buy a USB or Firewire external drive that you can set to the region you require.
                     

                    http://wiki.videolan.org/FAQ_on_MacOSX_only_issues#Why_won.27t_VLC_play_DVDs_from_a_region_other_than_what_my_drive_is_set_to.3F

                • PlanetOrphan

                  Is there a version of DVDDecryptor for Mac?
                  (U could do a VM machine for Windoze if not)

                  Just rip it too the hard drive …. problem solved.

                  (PS don’t try to “Break” the DVD, ie leave the disk encryptions etc alone, and you can play it like a normal DVD)

                  • weka

                    I don’t know what DVDDecryptor is sorry. I do know that I don’t want to hack the firmware as I still have two years left on the warranty which would be voided if I did that.
                     
                    Ripping discs to the hard drive, yeah but kind of tedious for a TV series that has 20 episodes x 5 seasons.

  4. captain hook 4

    my dvd is a transonic cheapy from the warehouse for $60 and it doesn’t want to stop going.
    recently I got a freeview box because I was sick of the reception from rabbits ears and I thought I would get a whole lot more channels and whooppeee.
    nada.
    the airwaves are filled with utter nonsense, movies that TVNZ re runs over and over and most of the rest is just pure piffle.
    alien masterchef?
    senior masterchef?
    bi-polar masterchef.
    so whats new?

  5. chris73 5

    I’ve heard good things about isohunt

  6. willie maley 6

    Best thing I have done over the past year was cancel the Sky subscription.
    Now using a VPN which allows me to watch TV from all over the World, particularly enjoying the iPlayer content.

  7. karol 7

    The main issues I have with NZ TV, is the lack of accessible and affordable public service broadcasts that everybody could watch.  Also, TV is a social medium, watcing on a laptop is more of a solitary activity.
     
    Access to a good selecton of programmes internationally also is a good idea – but prefereably from a range of countries.  Why is our overseas content so US dominated.  And why are a lot of the Kiwis who download overseas programmes, so addicted to US TV?  There’s a lot of right wing propaganda mixed in with shows from there.
     

    • willie maley 7.1

      Karol good points regarding public broadcasting, the BBC has 4 channels and among the dross there are some gems. Amazing that people in the UK moan about the BBC!
      With regards to watching on the laptop, I use an HDMI cable which allows me to watch the feed on the TV screen.

      • karol 7.1.1

        I have a little HD TV that I got about 5 years ago.  For some reason it doesn’t work when I plug an HDMI cable from my laptop into my TV.  I asked down at DSE a few months back.  They used my HDMI cable to connect a TV and computer in their store and it worked fine.  They couldn’t explain why it doesn’t work with my TV.

  8. Rogue Trooper 8

    Rachel Smalley is a Deaconess (maybe even, a priestess)

  9. the sprout 9

    As a tv addict with very low standards, even i can’t find anything to watch on the box most nights now.
    Don’t bother fixing the aerial, you’d only be disappointed.

  10. captain hook 10

    bought a box of music world vids the other day for a buck each, whole lotta 60’s stuff but more oomph for the buck than any drongo that cant play, cant sing, can whine and can afford a gibson les paul.
    how come they all got the top gear but cant play it?
    anyway. one bawl from grace slick has more emotion than kimbra, wigmore, ladyhawke, brooke whatshername and all the rest put together.

  11. geoff 11

    Why should you reconnect to broadcast?

    The shopping channel!!

  12. Flying Kiwi 12

    My Sky subscription would be on the first tumbril to the guillotine if the going got tough but currently – and I’m sure not accidentally – there are just enough pearls amongst the dross to dissuade me from cutting the umbilical.

  13. tc 13

    Agree, it was only worth it when the 4 SBS channels,on the Optus D1 came on my ‘Strong’ freeview box.

    Apparently Sky saw that off from 1/5/12 as it’s encrypted now so between that and Heartland being behind a paywall that sums up the state of play here in a nutshell,if they can’t make money off it, they go all out to ensure it can’t be viewed by others for free.

    Currently looking at a solution that can get both SBS and ABC satellite channels, both have excellent content and SBS does fantastic football coverage, it’s not looking easy or cheap.

  14. PlanetOrphan 14

    Anyone know a good digital decoder for Linux?

    I’ve looked and come up empty handed.

  15. I only watch BBC/Fox/CNN and occasionally documentaries but even they are getting shit now.
    My TV is mainly for playstation and movies.

  16. terryg 16

    I only had sky tv because my darling wife liked it – she loved the cooking channel in particular. then she died, so I cancelled it – but of course they demand one months notice. next week I have to take the box back. I briefly considered freeview, but I have no interest in TV fiction and cant stand adverts, so I wont bother. Youtube works well enough for me.

  17. brybry 17

    “Democracy Now” is good. Daily. 1hr. Stream from democracynow.org

  18. SHG 18

    I have an AppleTV and an Internet connection.

  19. Rich 19

    I gave up TV five years ago. In my current house, it would just be a matter of buying a coax cable and plugging the TV into Freeview, but I don’t. All that time spent watching is time you’ll never get back. It takes a TV news programme 5 minutes to convey the same infomation as 30s of reading – dialup for the mind, basically.

    I guess if one aspires to a political or media career, it’s important to know what the proletards are being fed. For the rest of us, there’s no point.

  20. Lloyd 20

    Hey. Where is the comment supporting a reinstatement of Channel Seven?

    Channel Seven on Freeview was a public service TV channel that was INFORMATIVE as well as being entertaining. There was minimal, channel only, advertising and was a breath of fresh air compared to all the other channels.

    Labour gave birth to it without any real support (No listings in magazines, no advertising on Channel One or Two) and National killed it by starvation, malice and distortion of statistics.

    Two or three Channels like Seven on Freeview would cause a lot of you to give up your clunky internet connections because it would be RELEVANT, other people would be watching at the same time so you could talk about it in the lunch room next day, and it would be coming from a studio in this country. It seems to me that internet TV is just another way to lose another industry from this country to foreign sources.

    Internet TV is for sad people who will never get the revolution together.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Health chickens coming home to roost as Dunedin loses right to train doctor...
    News today that Dunedin Hospital has lost orthopaedic training accreditation is a major blow and proves the Government’s prevarication is having devastating consequences, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Losing orthopaedic advanced training is serious. There is a knock on… ...
    7 hours ago
  • $74,000 quarterly rise shows crisis out of control
    New figures out today showing Auckland house prices have spiked by a massive $74,000 in the past quarter is further evidence the city’s housing crisis has spiralled out of control, Labour’s “In spite of constant announcements and photo opportunities from… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Democracy for Nauru now
    Murray McCully must send the strongest possible message to the Nauruan Government that New Zealand does not condone its actions given the disturbing developments there, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “Right now we are seeing Nauru stripped of… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Recovery needs more than a rebrand
    Today’s announcement of new governance arrangements for Canterbury seems to be nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on the same old approach, says Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “The Canterbury Recovery has been too slow, with… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households
    New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “In an apparent attempt to appease everyone,… ...
    9 hours ago
  • It’s time for hard decisions in the Bay
     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    11 hours ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    11 hours ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    14 hours ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 day ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    1 day ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 day ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    1 day ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    1 day ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    1 day ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    1 day ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    2 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    2 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    2 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    2 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    3 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    4 days ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    4 days ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    5 days ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    6 days ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    7 days ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    7 days ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    1 week ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    1 week ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    1 week ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    1 week ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour calls on all parties to end coat-tailing
    Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway is encouraging all parties to support his Bill to end the coat-tailing provision when it is debated in Parliament this week.  “New Zealanders have sent MPs a clear message. An opinion poll found more than 70… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government social sector reforms
    I’ve written previously about the major shake-up that is happening in the provision of government and community services. Yesterday, the Minister of Social Development spoke publically about what these reforms are likely to look like within MSD. There are major… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • PM must explain Saudi sheep scandal backflips
    John Key’s explanations of the Saudi sheep scandal continue to be riddled with inconsistencies and irreconcilable backflips, Labour’s Trade Spokesperson David Parker says. “Either he has been misled by his Minister Murray McCully or the Prime Minister is deliberately obfuscating… ...
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere