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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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    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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