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Tax breaks and the Hobbit

Written By: - Date published: 7:06 pm, October 26th, 2010 - 93 comments
Categories: capitalism - Tags: , ,

From Stuff:

A meeting between Warner Brothers and senior government ministers has ended, with studio executives asking for larger incentives to keep The Hobbit movies in NZ.

The two-hour meeting, which included New Line Cinema boss Toby Emmerich, ended with no resolution to the Hobbit standoff.

Following the meeting, Prime Minister John Key confirmed there would be more discussions overnight and tomorrow before a decision on whether the movie would be filmed here.

He reiterated that industrial issues had been the major concern of the studios but confirmed for the first time that the studio was also seeking a bigger sweetener from taxpayers.

Classic.

93 comments on “Tax breaks and the Hobbit”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    but confirmed for the first time that the studio was also seeking a bigger sweetener from taxpayers.

    I’m shocked. SHOCKED I tell you :shock:

    • Fisiani 1.1

      I am also shocked that a greedy Australian union with no thought for the health of the NZ Film industry could end up costing us so much.

      • IrishBill 1.1.1

        Heh. Your desperate denial is kinda touching.

      • rijab 1.1.2

        Did you read the above?…

        I figure someone with your interesting opinion must AT LEAST follow stuff coverage almost as gospel…

        My security word for this post is ‘analysis’ … Maybe you would have been better suited to get this one!

      • SHG 1.1.3

        I had taken the “greedy Australian union” line earlier this week, but today I saw this in an article on Stuff:

        Mr Whipp led the boycott call against The Hobbit and has been slammed by Sir Peter for destabilising the Australian big budget movie industry and seeking to do the same here.

        But Mr Whipp told Radio New Zealand he was only acting on the instructions of New Zealand actors.

        ”I have no particular interest in this whatsoever. Our interest is in doing what it is that those people working in the film industry want us to do. The performers have decided they want to join the union and want us to speak for them so that’s what were doing.”

        Either he’s lying, or NZ Actors Equity is more to blame than it would have us believe.

        • prism 1.1.3.1

          I think the Oz guy had carte blamche – the guy was seen to be as smart as a whipp – he planned the campaign and the NZs were just bobbing along behind. It would no doubt have seemed a bit naff to get cold feet as soon as any action was proposed. And it’s possible that the NZs might just have been advised of it without any opportunity of discussion and alteration.

    • Chess Player 1.2

      Glad you can see the funny side…

      There’s real people, with real jobs at stake here. ‘Knowledge Wave’ type jobs no less – the ones we really need in this country.

      Oh well, at least you’re getting a good laugh out of it I guess…

      • IrishBill 1.2.1

        Mate, when you’ve seen as much of this kind of dirty sharp business as I have you either laugh or you cry.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.2

        There’s real people, with real jobs at stake here. ‘Knowledge Wave’ type jobs no less – the ones we really need in this country.

        Then you support workers across the industry banding together to negotiate fair minimum terms and conditions?

  2. rijab 2

    The MSM act as if this is some great revelation… If they’d done their job, they’d be able to actually follow up with some decent analysis, but instead they’re all silly possums staring into bright headlights waiting for the impact!

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    The arrogance of the Studio!
    The ministers should have gone for a Co executive Producer billing and in the opening titles. Nothing less

    Dare we ask for John Key- Peter Jackson Film credit?

    • Rich 3.1

      I reckon every New Zealander should get a credit in return for the $20 or so we’re all putting in if this gets made here.

      It wouldn’t be any more boring to watch than the preceding 180 minutes of overlong effects-driven filmage.

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        You mean 540 minutes, if you’re talking about LotR. IIRC the director’s cut for Return of the King was 4 hours long.

  4. Bob Stanforth 4

    Thats right, huge surprise that a powerful company will take the opportunity presented to them by some dumb fuck Australian unionist to talk money. And worse, the CTU, who eat dinner at Matterhorn when they stay in Wellington, backed them up. LMFAO.

    That never happens LOL

    Get real.

    Warners will rightly take ANY opportunity to cut costs, as would any organisation – even a union. They would be stupid not to.

    Thanks for the wonderful opportunity youse fullahs, choice eh bro :)

    • IrishBill 4.1

      Nope the CTU came in, settled the dispute and got the ban called off. Try harder bob.

      • Bob Stanforth 4.1.1

        No need to, ask Joe and Joanne Public. Hated. End. Of. Story.

        Hence why Ms Kelly is showing on iPredict. Big change a comin’ – bring it. :)

        Hell, even I think twice about going to Matterhorn, and often (90%) of the time the client pays. But then my clients aint earning $30K and paying dues.

        But do keep trying, its fun watching :)

        • mickysavage 4.1.1.1

          All trade unionists are witches, they are witches, burn them, burn them, it is their fault

          And if you try to reason that there are no witches then this is conclusive proof that you are also a witch and need to be burned

          After all a couple of Internet polls say so. It must be true …

          • Herodotus 4.1.1.1.1

            Mickey Take a bus, visit a cafe and listen to the conservations. The PR war is lost irrespective of who (If any side) is right, now there is this association of additional govt subsidies being paid to keep the film due to the actions of a few from AE. Nat govt sponsored brought to you by the letters C T & U.

            • mickysavage 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Does it bug you Herodotus that you may win the PR war but it is because people made a mistake about what actually happened?

              I would be ashamed …

              • Herodotus

                Dont apply the “You may win” . You just do not know how any of us vote or for what reasons ;-). We sometimes learn(I hope) very painful lessons from our experiences.
                “it is because people made a mistake about what actually happened?” this could also be applied to many supposidly successful govts until we examine their legacy. But I digress. Or that the main issue has past and now there are peripheral issues that have taken over. There are most probably 2 people more untouchable than PJ to attack in NZ at the moment. He was a bad target without a water tight backup.

                • OK so does it bug you because you believe that you will win the PR war even though the majority of the public have got it wrong?

                  • Bob Stanforth

                    Thats right.

                    Millions of NZ’ers have it wrong. They are stoopid.

                    Or maybe, just maybe, they have it right and YOU are wrong. And HK (wow, irony or what???) fucked it all up

                    Sky is falling x 3 LOL

                    But again, please keep going, who would have thought the opportunity to watch stoopid would have come this way :)

                    • Maynard J

                      Well everyone seems to have forgotten the CTU got involved well after the boycott was called with the sole intent of ending the boycott through resolving the dispute, and had succeeded until Jackson’s tirade.

                      I’m pretty sure that is factually correct. What with that would you disagree with in that?

                      (Your comments appear to be written by someone old enough to know better, yet trying to sound like an angry young person, or the immature rantings of an angry young person – parody is hard to detect online – so I’m not sure you’re given to rational reply. Surprise me.)

                  • Herodotus

                    From my reading of the story (majority sourced from this site) there are many asumptions, and time lines. Yet the timelines do not marry up (from one version to the other)as to when events were suppose to happen and connections as to when different individuals were made aware of these. Perhaps what would demonstrate to us comon folk. Would be a time line with who knew what when. Sure Warner Bros were notified of A at this date but does that mean also those on PJ’s team were informed and if so when. Same with the AE, CTU and Mr Whipp.
                    Why where the associated workers not rep by their union and the CTU co-ordinated the different union groups. (I ass-u-me they have union representitive). It has been portrayed that the Actors were after more $ without thinking of the implications of work being lost and thus affecting other workers livelihoods.

          • tea 4.1.1.1.2

            That’s what Paul Holmes says. He’s a journalist. Me Ma saw ‘im on the tele. Once he was even media advisor to the great man Don Brash.

  5. Bill 5

    “…John Key confirmed there would be more discussions overnight and tomorrow before a decision…”

    Gee. Must be great to go into discussions/negotiations knowing the precise time scales required to reach an agreement…decision…except people don’t have negotiations over decisions. So Johnny – the casting couch whore auditioning for the role of Hero of Middle NZ (Middle Earth is spoken for) – is sitting down for drinks and nibbles tonight and tomorrow. Nice.

    Before announcing that x millions of my money and your money has been given away to wealthy people. Again. And that it’s for our own good.

    And many will believe him and cheer the new hero, ‘Mighty Slayer of Integrity’.

  6. jbanks 6

    “He reiterated that industrial issues had been the major concern of the studios but confirmed for the first time that the studio was also seeking a bigger sweetener from taxpayers.”

    They’re seeking a bigger sweetener because of the industrial issues.

    It’s about covering risk. It’s really not that hard to comprehend.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      They’re seeking a bigger sweetener because of the industrial issues.

      It’s about covering risk. It’s really not that hard to comprehend.

      Pathetic rationale. How much tax payers money is it going to take to cover off the risk of a US$500M production? US$500M? How does a “sweetener” change risk *at all*?

      And if they are using the NZ Govt as an insurance company, why aren’t they paying us?

      Basically you’re full of it, again.

      More to the point, why are you backing a foreign corporate taking tax payer dollars on corporate welfare?

      • jbanks 6.1.1

        You’re about to overtake Draco as the stupidest poster here.

        Unless somehow Warner Brothers is different from just about every other foreign investor then the illegal actions of the union scum would have affected their confidence in many wider respects in relation to NZ. We’re covering the risk of WB exposing themselves to a volatile labour market when there are less risky alternatives available.

        Why the hell would they stay based solely on the word of illegitimate, incompetent unions?

        When it comes to business, you need to STFU fool.

        • mickysavage 6.1.1.1

          You lost any chance of my treating your comment with any sort of intellectual respect when you said “union scum”.

          We are covering the risk of Warners wanting even more money because the situation here has been so badly misrepresented.

          How do you feel that your tax money is being used to bolster National’s union bashing reelection prospects?

    • Nah they just want more money. They do not care what the reason is.

  7. burt 7


    “But there is no question the industrial action has caused real concern… and they’ll need resolution to some of those issues. It’s also fair to say if it wasn’t for the industrial action they were good to go.”

    Says it all really.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Idiot. Both of you.

    • So Burt

      As Viper says there are two statements of fact in the same article and you choose without support to accept Key’s comment. Did you think about researching the other comment before slavishly supporting the first one?

      • burt 7.2.1

        mickysavage

        Back in January I said this;

        I agree there are some issues to discuss here. There are up sides and down sides to govt picking the winners and losers for tax breaks and an open discussion needs to be had about it.

        And I provided this link and this quote from it;

        The amount of money that New Line reclaimed in tax breaks on the 3 “Lord of the Rings” films was ten times more than the entire annual budget of the New Zealand Film Commission, which funds local film-making.

        I’ve never supported the govt picking the winners and losers in business via favourable or targeted tax breaks. It’s a wide open door to ill thought out and/or popularist intervention plus it is fertile soil for the seeds of corruption. Look I understood the economic benefits in 2003 and I had my say then. I don’t get why National are funding it at all, if the conditions are not as favourable for local business as they are for multi nationals then that’s wrong IMHO.

        So sure, talk to me about how you define the appropriate level of tax breaks? Tell me what made Labour’s just the right balance of seeding the economy and what makes National’s a gross abuse of tax payers money. Oh and I’d be interested to hear your perspective on what so needed changing from the employment terms and conditions the LOTR movies were made under as well.

  8. Carol 8

    It’s not just about the money (at least not as far as the government’s concerned). The government is seeking to tailor or employment laws just to keep Warners (and/or themselves) happy:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/60438/goverment-looking-at-law-change-to-save-hobbit

    Government ministers are meeting with their legal advisers on Tuesday night about possible changes to industrial law to try to ensure The Hobbit films are made in New Zealand.

    ….He says ministers will be meeting with lawyers about what possible changes can be made to industrial law, to give an assurance to Warner Bros that if The Hobbit is made in New Zealand it will not be upset by industrial action.

    Mr Key said he expects a decision on the films later this week …

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Tailor employment laws?

      Hey I bet Gerry Brownlee could do all of that with a wave of his CERRA wand!

    • SHG 8.2

      Of course the Government is looking for ways to tweak employment laws; that it might want to do so is of surprise to no-one. But until the past two weeks it would have faced public opposition. Now the Government can do whatever the f*ck it wants, thanks to the PR disaster wrought by the representatives of Actors Equity, the MEAA, and the CTU. It doesn’t matter what the facts are because the story has a life of its own now, and that story is that THE UNIONS ARE TRYING TO F*CK THE KIWI FILM AND TOURISM INDUSTRIES.

      If Gerry Brownlee were tomorrow to announce that AE, the MEAA, and the CTU had been dissolved by executive order, the voting public of New Zealand would support it. THAT’s the disaster here. The representatives of Actors Equity, the MEAA, and the CTU have handled this whole situation with such incompetence that now the Government has carte blanche to do whatever it wants to employment legislation.

  9. gn 9

    [Not needed…RL]

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Workers rights are more important than kowtowing to foreign shareholders and corporates who treat our workers with disdain, mate.

      Fucked an entire export industry

      These films are not a NZ export industry, the final finished product is owned by foreigners. Or do you not get that?

      That is why economic sovereignty and owning our own methods of production is crucial for our economic future.

  10. nilats 10

    hands growing on the palms of the hands lefties?
    Govt in weak position bc of union idiots thought they could roll over WB.
    Real Homer Simpson thought processes.

  11. prism 11

    From the end of stuff piece referring to Simon Whipp in Oz “He disputed claims from the Jackson camp that the MEAA had brought the Australian movie industry to its knees and said conditions under which big budget movies filmed in Australia hadn’t changed in 30 years.”

    That should be incorrect. What would be the point of having a union if they couldn’t win some improvements in 30 years?

    Key says that warners are unsure of the integrity of all the unions involved. If he and the NACT govt took the trouble to talk to and build a relationship with our unions then he would know that they can be trusted and be able to reassure warners about this. Instead he has climbed into bed with his buddies and turned off his brain.

  12. Rharn 12

    I think I’ll stop watching the news for the next day or so. The idea of Key strutting about how the Hobbit is going to be good for the economy etc and all the Nat commenters poncing on about how Key sorted out the unions etc will make me puke. Hell I may even ‘boycott’ the film in protest against my taxpayer money being increased to keep the movie here. And I am a Tolkien fan from way way back before the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings became mainstream literature.

    • burt 12.1

      I hope you didn’t go and watch LOTR after all the tax payer money Labour poured into it – but hey let me guess – it’s different when Labour do it !

      • Crumble 12.1.1

        Its different because Labour did not bullshit around with it and claim its all the unions fault and then whored the country, like some tin-pot 3rd world shit hole, to a big international company.

      • Adrian 12.1.2

        It wasn’t Labour, it was National in May 1999 after the Budget that got rid of non-recouse loans for films ,kiwifruit etc. Labour inherited it. There was blood on the floor until 2am in the morning between Jackson, New Line and Miramax and the then National finance ministers when the tax breaks got reinstated. Learn your history, this is the second time Jackson and these arseholes have ambushed a NZ government.

    • SHG 12.2

      I thought the whole film-industry tax-break system was implemented by Jim Anderton during the last Labour Government?

      • IrishBill 12.2.1

        I never said the tax-break was a bad idea. I just said it was the reason that Warners were looking at moving the Hobbit.

        • Marty G 12.2.1.1

          funny to see Key, having talked up ‘crisis’ to hit the unions, then try to jawbone down the tax breaks justified by said ‘crisis’ before the talks.

          Also, hours before the meeting Key dismissed Mallard’s suggestion that the high exchange rate was a cause of the producers wanting more money – their costs in US$ are rising with the falling exchange rate… Emerging from the meeting, according to TV1, Key said that the exchange rate was a big part of it…

          … he didn’t say they had said anything about the union.

      • Crumble 12.2.2

        I don’t have an issue with the tax breaks for the film. The issue I have is old Johnny Boy saying its nothing to do with tax breaks but if we give them more they might stay here. Bloody pimp.

      • Marty G 12.2.3

        Actually, SHG, what happened was the previous system of breaks (instituted by National in the 90s I presume) expired in 2002 and the current system was instituted in its place when Jackson and Taylor threatened capital flight….

        hmmm, that sounds familiar….

  13. MrSmith 13

    What exactly where we exporting ? I fiction movie about fiction book, nothing then. all things come to an end some time gn, even nothing.

    • Marty G 13.1

      well, people place value on art and intangible services as much as wood and wool.

      To say that people are dumb to want to consume art or that people are dumb to produce it for them reduces the human experience to just being good producing automatons.

      That said, I’ll never understand how these movies can cost $2 million a minute to make. Especially when some of the great movies have been made on a shoestring.

      • Adrian 13.1.1

        They don’t, the true cost is about 25-30% of the published cost. The rest is promotion ( about 40% of the headline), 20% finders fees for the money taken in by the studio and about 10% padding. Remember the studio never puts up any of it’s own money, it is merely a clearing house.

  14. bobo 14

    Look I have no problem with PJ lobbying for more tax incentives out in the open , just the whole weaselly underhand way this whole beat-up has gone on day after day as lead on the news is pathetic no wonder its 90% opinion polls against the union whipping boy. The right wingers know this was never about a tiny union stalling the hobbit, its just an excuse to bag unions full-stop. Its like watching a fucking pantomime how this is playing out with Key coming out of the Warners meeting with his typical lying forehead frown commenting on how its the unions fault but oh he’s smoothing them over..

    Think ill watch Coro the acting is way better..

  15. tea 15

    You will find- if you’re not jounralists- well at least if you are able to find it you are too good a journalist to be employed in NZ- ie Gordon Campbell writing for stuff- that the Nats commissioned Jackson to write a report about this.

    He said: more tax breaks asap please.

    English said: No.

    Now they are saying it a little louder. And the unions are copping the flack.

    • SHG 15.1

      And rightly so, NZ Actors Equity and the CTU are so stupid I’m amazed that they can collectively remember to breathe. I’ve never seen an industrial negotiation handled with such staggering incompetence.

      Seriously, it’s almost enough to have me BELIEVING that there’s a shadowy conspiracy behind everything. Because there’s no way that people can really be as utterly self-destructively useless as NZ Actors Equity and the CTU appear to be. They MUST have been set up. No-one’s that inept in real life.

  16. Nick C 16

    I dont think anyone is surprised that the studio is asking for more money given the circumstances; they have been opportunistic as any company would.

    The real question is: Would this meeting be occuring if there hadnt been a global boycott? Of course not, the movie would have gone ahead as scheduled in NZ. You can come in and say ‘but they sorted out the boycott weeks ago’ but that misses the point. You cant drop a bomb, realise it was a bad move, and ignore the fallout. No one can predict the path which industrial relations in the film industry will go down now, but it seems a lot more probable that it will be a rocky one than before the boycott, which worries the studio.

    • RedLogix 16.1

      Really…do you think WB are such wilting flowers that they’ve never dealt hard-ball with a union before?

    • Armchair Critic 16.2

      Would this meeting be occuring if there hadnt been a global boycott?
      Yeah, it probably would have occurred. It would not have hogged the headlines, though.
      And this government loves handing out subsidies.

      • Nick C 16.2.1

        “Yeah, it probably would have occurred.”

        Rubbish. THere have been heaps of other overseas productions which have happened in NZ since the film tax credits were established for LOTR (Avatar, Narnia movies, King Kong, Gladiator TV series and more). This is the first time that the increasing of the income tax credits has been considered by the government.

        “And this government loves handing out subsidies”

        Name some other examples then. I dont think there are, there hasnt really been wholesale subsidies of big business in this country since Roger Douglas abolished them; film tax credits are very much an exception.

        • Marty G 16.2.1.1

          The SCF bailout is equivalent to a 100% risk subsidy for high risk investors.

          • Nick C 16.2.1.1.1

            True, but if you look at it that way almost everything government spends money on could be considered a subsidy.

            • Colonial Viper 16.2.1.1.1.1

              No Nick C, it is a subsidy if you are giving tax payers money to an established private sector interest which should be funding their profit motivated activities itself.

              Looks like the Right quite like their corporate welfare subsidies.

              • Nick C

                ACC is a subsidy for those who get injured playing dangerous sports, Income tax is a subsidy of gambling because gambling winnings arent taxable, Insulation schemes are a subsidy for building companies, Government investment in internet fiber is a subsidy for businesses which use large amounts of internet, GST off Fresh Fruit and veges, banning alcohol at conveniance stores is a subsidy for supermarkets, just about every complication in the tax code is a subsidy for lawyers.

                I could go on.

                • Colonial Viper

                  No my friend, subsidies are those Government monies directly set aside for and then given over to private business interests conducting private for profit business.

                  Supporting the injury recovery of a person with ACC is therefore not a subsidy, just like putting a road in front of your house is not a subsidy.

                  I could go on.

                  just about every complication in the tax code is a subsidy for lawyers.

                  I see it now. The price of everything and the value of nothing has infected your DNA.

                  • Nick C

                    No no Marty used the term ‘equivilent’, so not just something which is literally a subsidy. I took this to mean anything where some of the cost of an activity are paid for by the government.

                    Clearly a cost of skateboarding is that you might break your leg and not be able to do your job for a few months. But if this happens ACC gives you most of your income. So it is equivilent to a risk subsidy for most of the risk of skateboarding, just as the bailout of SCF is a risk subsidy for the risk of investing.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I took this to mean anything where some of the cost of an activity are paid for by the government.

                      So everything spent by and associated with the Government is a ‘subsidy’?

                      Its ridiculous and meaningless. Government enables societal function and looks after the welfare of its citizens, it does not ‘subsidise’ good societal function because society is a superset of economic activity not a subset.

                      “Risk subsidy” my ass. Throw away the economics cost/capital dominant perspective and look at these issues from the people oriented perspective of social equity and justice.

              • Nick C

                As for this charge that ‘the right loves corperate welfare’, much of rogernomics was about abolishing corperate welfare. Import licences used to be known as licences to print money because they were effectivly government granted monopolies to those who were friends of politicians. Agricultural subsidies and equiviletn subsidies to many manafacturers were also abolished.

                You could argue that privitisation is a subsidy for corperations. Admittedly if you privitise at too lower price it is, but if you get a fair price it isnt. And I can think of no greater corperate welfare policy in the last 15 years than the nationalisation of kiwirail.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Oh get off it, Rogernomics was not about abolishing corporate welfare it was about kicking out supports for NZ based and owned SMEs, ones which collectively employed tens of thousands of NZ’ers. And giving money to huge foreign multinationals is similar to this in what ways?

                  And I can think of no greater corperate welfare policy in the last 15 years than the nationalisation of kiwirail.

                  We bought Kiwirail from Toll as an infrastructure asset for all of NZ. How is that corporate welfare? We own Kiwirail now as a core strategic asset for the benefit of all NZ’ers. Can you say the same for the SCF bail out? Or The Hobbit film when it is released?

    • Lazy Susan 16.3

      Would this meeting be occuring if there hadnt been a global boycott? Of course not, the movie would have gone ahead as scheduled in NZ.

      So what make you certain about this Nick C. This movie has been beset by problems and Warners are looking to trim costs. Last week Jackson said Warners weren’t interested in additional tax breaks but now according to Key they are. We are being played mate – wise up.

  17. ak 17

    So to recap:

    The Left wins major victories in Local Body elections.

    The unions step up a series of campaigns.

    By-election Labour victory coming up before Christmas break.

    Govt bennie-bash due just before bleak Christmas.

    Key is old mates with top Warners executive.

    Warners execs threaten to take populist toy away, blame unions.

    Key backs Warners, offers them taxpayer millions, blames unions.

    MSM and rabid blograbble blames unions.

    Should’ve seen it coming.

    A good ole engineered union-bash.

    Corker. Desperation. Recycling targets for hate.

    Forging greater resolve with every gloating utterance.

    The doughboy and the fatcats

    Playing kiwis for hobbits.

  18. Adrian 18

    ak. Exactly. Welcome to commerce American style. The only things that the Yanks are World Champions at.

  19. IanG 19

    Echos of “shock doctrine” here for me – create a crisis, then use the crisis as an opportunity to bash the unions and screw the workers – just watch for law changes and handing over taxpayers money to private hands

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      Simply awful. What’s worse is that NZ’ers are cheering on as they themselves are being totally bent over a barrel.

    • SHG 19.2

      You forgot “accompanied by a huge leap in the polls”

      • Colonial Viper 19.2.1

        Oh no SHG, we haven’t forgotten that for Key, the main point of handing over these tax payers dollars is to stay in political power.

        • SHG 19.2.1.1

          And the unions handed it to him on a plate, while Phil Goff was…um… say, where HAS Phil Goff been during all this?

          • Colonial Viper 19.2.1.1.1

            Doing what political leaders should be doing – not getting involved in an industrial dispute between workers and private sector interests.

            Someone send a memo to Jonkey.

            • SHG 19.2.1.1.1.1

              Someone send a memo to Andrew Little, his career choices look irreconcilable.

              Hey, maybe that’s where Phil Goff has been. Distancing himself from anything to do with unions.

              • Colonial Viper

                Hey why don’t you write your own political sitcom?

                Call it the Right Wing, a group of politicans who don’t even realise that political meddling in private sector industrial disputes is inappropriate, but actually welcomes it.

                On the other hand it sounds so shit that it’d get cancelled after just one season.

  20. Lazy Susan 20

    The Warners boys must think they’ve struck gold. Not only do they get open door to the PM but he’s willing to change the country’s labour laws and entertain the idea of sending them away with a cheque that, according to PJ, they don’t even want!

    Oh, if only they could get such red carpet treatment back home. JK for President!

  21. seeker 21

    Gordon Campbell wrote “On the latest stages of the Hobbit drama” in Scoop 22-10-10 and included this (hope I’m allowed to copy?):

    “The Boyens argument is that everything was hunky dory from her perspective, until the unions intervened a few weeks ago. If that was true for her, it wasn’t for Warners. At the beginning of September, Warners thought that a deal for MGM – their co-partner in The Hobbit – was in the bag, with Spyglass at the helm. Currently, it isn’t. The situation won’t become clear until October 29, when the MGM creditors vote on it. Currently, Warners faces a raft of new headaches, including the genuine prospect of its partner (a) contracting with it under a Spyglass run regime to market and distribute The Hobbit or (b) entering a deal with Lionsgate where the new MGM will probably have to buy out maverick investor Carl Icahn. Both options will reverberate and affect the numbers on The Hobbit, Both make the level of production subsidies available on The Hobbit anything but a red herring.

    Only Warners know how those numbers are currently shaking down. Hopefully by the time their executives arrive next week, Jackson will have stopped behaving like Thorin Oakenshield, having a hissy fit over the Arkenstone. ”
    ENDS ”

    Thus I figured that we would not get answers until Friday at least and now John Key has confirmed that almost. The L A Times wrote a similar set of facts and included the updated fact that Carl Icahn, apparently a quite formidable blue meanie on the old business and money front, was putting off his decision until November 1!!
    Alana Brown has written quite well on this topic too on Scoop, and provided the LA Times links on the subject.

    Meanwhile back in the old shire kingdom of the U.K., Leavesden Studios, was recently bought by Warner Bros .a few months ago (Dom Post21-10-10 and Financial Times ) as a permanent European Base, and is looking forward to the Hobbit arriving there according to the Daily Mail,UK22-10-2010. Fran Walsh mentioned Leavesden as a possible location in a couple of newspaper reports. She must know that Warners have just bought it and that it has 3D facilities and can recreate most environments (it’s huge). Perhaps Warners’ want PJ to work there, they would have spent much money on it I would think. However British unions….
    Whoops how late is it!

  22. Irascible 22

    Here’s Key’s clarification on the issue from the Herald:
    A meeting last night between Warner executives and senior Government ministers pinpointed labour laws as the greatest issue.

    Mr Key said the “paramount” problem was that film workers on independent contracts could be legally seen as employees, even if their contracts specifically called them contractors.

    That followed a Supreme Court ruling in 2005 on James Bryson, a model maker on the Lord of the Rings movies, who was deemed an employee, even though he was hired as a contractor.

    “They’re not arguing people can’t be employees,” Mr Key said.

    “They’re just saying that if someone is engaged by their production company as a contractor, they want to know if that’s how it’s going to end up, and if it doesn’t, that has other economic consequences for them.

    “They’re out of here, if we can’t give them the clarity. There’s no question about that.”

    So it’s nothing to do with Actors’ Equity and their attempts to get an employment contract or clarity about their contracts with Wing Nut but everything to do with Warners wanting to keep their profit margin up without worrying about any legal consequences blowing up in the event of them being taken to court in NZ over any possible employment issue arising from their behaviour as employers while operating in NZ.

    Key’s reaction is to agree to change NZ’s employment laws to suit the demands of Warners lawyers.

    So the spin was there to divert attention from the blatant attempt to change NZ’s employment laws to benefit a privileged few. Corruption from the USA business again???

    • If the law is the problem it has been a problem since 2005. AFAIK it has only been raised as an issue recently. Another smokescreen?

    • Kevin Welsh 22.2

      I saw this comment on the NBR yesterday, posted by Penny Bright. I hope it is acceptable to cut and paste here:

      Bryson v Three Foot Six Ltd: Employee or Independent Contractor?

      Under NZ law, it has been determined that at least one ‘employee’ of Three Foot Six (previously involved in the production of Lord of the Rings) had been hired as an ‘independent contractor’ – when he was NOT. So – arguably this employer acted ‘illegally’ of their own accord.
      FYI.
      SPADA UPDATE ON THE BRYSON DECISION
      In the aftermath of the Bryson Supreme Court decision of 16 June 2005[1] some media articles appeared predicting a shake up for the industry.
      More balanced articles ensued, outlining what the Court had actually decided and why, including commentary from lawyers who work with the screen industry.
      SPADA, with the assistance of Minter Ellison has prepared this update for members. This is the third update in a series that SPADA has put out since the Bryson case began its trajectory through the courts.
The main message remains the same: there has not been any recent material change to the law regarding the status of workers as employees or contractors.
      However, the Bryson decision is a timely reminder that production companies need to make sure that their contractual documentation is clear and that it is consistent with what happens on a day to day basis between the parties.
      For your guidance, Minter Ellison has set out relevant questions for applying the traditional tests (see the attached checklist) when considering the real nature of the relationship between parties.

      [1] Supreme Court of New Zealand Media Release (16 June 2005)

      James Bryson v Three Foot Six Limited (SC CIV 24/2004) [2005 NZSC 34]
      
EMPLOYEE OR INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR?
      Section 6 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 governs whether an individual will be found to be an employee or an independent contractor. If there is any dispute as to status, it is up to the Employment Court or the Employment Relations Authority to determine the “real nature” of the relationship between the parties.
      The recent decision of the Supreme Court in Bryson v Three Foot Six Ltd [2005] NZSC 34 has confirmed that the traditional tests (see the attached checklist), will continue to be used in establishing the true nature of the relationship between parties.
      In addition, the intention of the parties continues to be relevant, but not determinative. One indication of the parties’ intention is the contractual wording.
      Another relevant factor may be industry practice, although, again, this is not determinative (Bryson v Three Foot Six Ltd [2003] 1 ERNZ 581(EC)).
      There are a number of questions to be asked, the answers to which will help to establish whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor.
      As a general guide, if you have more ticks in the “YES” column then there is more prospect that the status of a worker is that of a contractor; if you have more ticks in the “NO” column then there is more prospect that the status of a worker is that of an employee.
      Relevant questions to ask:
      YES Indicates Independent Contractor
      NO Indicates Employee
      “Real nature of the relationship test” – look at the contractual wording, industry practice and any other relevant factors, as well as the following tests to determine what the “real nature” of the relationship is:
      “Control Test”: how much control does the worker have?
      Does the worker have control over his or her hours?
Does the worker have control over where the work is done?
      
Does the worker have control over what work is done?

      Can the worker be dismissed without a good reason?
      
“Integration Test”: is the worker a part of the “employer’s” business?
      
Does the worker charge the principal GST?
Does the worker invoice the principal?
      
Does the worker have his or her own client base?

      Does the worker pay his or her own ACC levies?

      Does the worker pay any overheads related to the job? 
Is there anything preventing the worker from having the benefit of “minimum entitlements” such as paid holidays, paid sick leave and paid bereavement leave? “Fundamental (or Economic Reality) Test”: is the worker in business on his or her own account?
      Does the worker provide his or her own equipment?

      Does the worker hire his or her own helpers?
Does the worker take any responsibility for investment and management?

      Does the worker have the opportunity to profit from sound management and performance of his or her tasks?

      Does the worker undertake any financial risk him or herself?
      Other relevant factors may include the following
      Does the worker claim for expenses off his/her tax (eg tools, equipment, clothing, transport costs etc)?
 Does the worker operate as a company?

      Does the worker invoice for his or her services?

      • lprent 22.2.1

        Cut and paste that length. Normally no. I’d expect links and small quotes. But the NBR is behind a pay wall and that is an interesting comment.

        I see penny bright is continuing to target the NBR

      • mickysavage 22.2.2

        The other interesting issue is that this is a problem for Three Foot 6 but not Warners? Surely the contract will be for the provision of a film and the fact that the contractor may subsequently have problems with an employee/independent contractor surely is of no relevance to Warners.

        Some more detail is needed.

  23. Cnr Joe 23

    So – the new line is Warners and Jackson are concerned about Unionised employee unrest – threaten to move somewhere else (where there are no unions, just contractors?). Where would that be? Somalia?
    So PJ gets so upset at the prospect of having to negotiate with NZ workers on his films – imagine how ropeable he’ll get with his new workforce (wherever that may be) if they dare talk back to him.
    He says its not about the money (exchange rate, subsidies..) but his whole career has been about the money since LotR. He seemed to do it for the love before then but hey – planes as a hobby and method of transport are quite spency.
    So PJ and his self-interested priorities have changed. Kiwi Middle Earth fans have not caught up with that.

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    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Morbid Symptoms: Can Labour Be Born Anew?
    THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • What’s Small, White, and Having Trouble Attracting New People?
    If your answer was something intimately connected to the person of Peter Dunne … then you’d be right. Last night, P-Dunney decided to bring his comedy and/or hair stylings to the twitterverse; penning a potentially somewhat ill-advised tweet in which he compared...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • LATE at the Auckland Museum review – Slacktivisim: Its not just for Slack...
    Monday night is my yoga night. I’m not really very good it, I don’t really have the bendy, but I made a New Years resolution. This Monday however, I decided to put the yoga on prone and attend a gig...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared
      This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Real reasons to fear Government’s new approach to child poverty
    Now  I really am worried.  Selling state houses is bad enough but a taking a ‘social investment focus’ to deal with child poverty? “The Treasury will issue a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Power to the people!
    With all the huffing and puffing of the election out of the way and the right-wing still in ascendancy after 30 years of community-sapping neoliberalism it was a pleasure to attend a strike by workers at Carl’s Jr in Lincoln...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: OIA reveals WINZ trespassing 400 people a year
    W.I.N.Z is broken and it’s breaking my heart. Every year WINZ issues trespass notices to just under 400 people. 2008 / 418 2009 /  382 2010 /  347 2011 /  411 2012 /  373 2013 /  384 And this year...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • So David Farrar and the Government were wrong on gangs after all?
    Oh the predictability of this… Ministers acted on inaccurate gang data Cabinet signed off tough new measures to tackle gangs on the basis of inaccurate information which over-estimated the scale of the crime problem. The briefing paper told ministers 4000...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Why lifelong prisoner surveillance is evidence of our failing prisons
    The intrusion of more and more State surveillance is easier to implement if the State begins with groups the populace are frightened of. Muslim radicals, Maori radicals, environmental radicals and prisoners are all easy fodder for ratings chasing media to...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • REVIEW: The Blind Date Project
    The Blind Date Project Silo Theatre 4-29 November The Basement  Part of the excitement of a live performance, be it music or theatre or a circus with trapeze artists and lion tamers, is the risk that it could all go...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Good News For The Left!
    EVER SINCE the debacle of 20 September 2014, the New Zealand left has been hanging out for some good news. Today, thanks to Stephen Mills, the Executive Director of UMR Research, it has finally got some. UMR Research has for...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • State Services Commissioner on Roger Sutton Investigation
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton’s conduct was robust. Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Predator Free NZ project welcomed
    Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Stock rustling set to continue under lax laws
    The theft and illegal slaughter of farm stock can only be expected to continue if tougher laws are not introduced, said ACT Leader David Seymour today....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Visit of President Xi Jinping to New Zealand
    As president Xi Jinping of China pays short visit to New Zealand, of Friends of Tibet (NZ) has called upon Foreign Minister Hon Murray McCully and the Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key to raise the issue of Human Rights...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Right to Life Congratulates the new Labour Leader
    Right to Life congratulates Andrew Little MP, on being elected as the new leader of the Labour Party. This is a very important election as Andrew Little is now a Prime Minister in waiting His election follows a line of...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Reply to open letter on earthquake repair in Christchurch
    You raise many points and I acknowledge the frustration some people are experiencing when their homes are still not repaired or rebuilt. We have consistently said that the scale and complexity of events has always meant that it will not...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Andrew Little New Labour Party Leader
    In a press conference held on Tuesday in the Labour Party Caucus room at Parliament, it was announced Andrew Little had been voted in as Leader of the Labour party....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Liam Butler interviews Professor Jay Kandampully
    Jay Kandampully is Professor of Consumer Sciences in the Department of Human Sciences. He also serves as a visiting professor at University of Innsbruck, Austria; Nanjing University of Science and Technology, China; and Furtwangen University, Germany;...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
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