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The Bechdel Test

Written By: - Date published: 6:59 pm, May 23rd, 2010 - 44 comments
Categories: blogs, feminism, Media, Politics, youtube - Tags: , ,

‘The Bechdel test’ requires a movie to pass three questions:

1)  Does it have two or more women in it (who have names)?

2)  Do they talk to one another?

3)  Do they talk to one another about something other than a man?

The two minute video below explains…

Check out this listing of movies that pass and fail the test.

(Via Neatorama, via Sociological Images via Feminist Frequency)

44 comments on “The Bechdel Test”

  1. QoT 1

    I await with bated breath the cries of anguished white boys, “But you CAN’T expect EVERY movie to feature multiple three-dimensional women with dialogue! What about Shakespeare/Victorian mysteries/etc etc?”

    I would point out that actually, there would be no problem with all-male buddy films in a world which also had a plentiful supply of all-women buddy films (in the same genres). But then they’d have to start thinking about things and that hurts.

  2. Carol 2

    Watching Alien Resurrection . It kind of passes the test – except the 2 women who talk to each other about stuff other than men are cyborgs & not totally humanoid beings.

    • Zorr 2.1

      One of them is an android and the other is Ripley – neither is a cyborg. Learn your sci fi terms! ^_^

      Just going through Wiki for some quick and easy definitions:
      Cyborg – cybernetic organism
      Android – synthetic organism
      Ripley – kick ass

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        Neither of them are totally humans though.

        • lprent 2.1.1.1

          The whole movie seems to emphasize that if you don’t have while ‘blood’ or a tendency to fry metal when you bleed – then you’re there as a victim..

      • Carol 2.1.2

        Oh, you’re probably right on the Android case. I hadn’t seen this movie in a long time. I was using the term Cyborg as Donna Haraway does. The android just seems human.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyborg_theory

        For her a cyborg can be a mixture of human and animal, or human and machine. Ripley is a mixture of alien & human, so she’s a cyborg in Harraway’s conception of it.

        But anyway, neither are totally human, which was my main point.

        PS: On second thoughts, Ripley’s a creation of human technology that mixed human and alien elements. So she’s kind of a human-alien-machine hybrid.

        • Tigger 2.1.2.1

          The test is ‘women’ – not ‘human women’. Artificial life forms have rights too!!!!

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.1.1

            Actually, wasn’t that the main gist of that particular movie?

            The main critique I’d say about “Ripley” was that she was portrayed more as a female being a male than as a female.

    • Anita 2.2

      I think one could reasonably apply the Bechdel test to a cartoon in which all the characters were animals if the animals had a female/male distinction.

      • Tigger 2.2.1

        Shrek is the one the movies that fails the test according to the video. A little nasty of them to include Milk in the list. Might fail the Bechdel test but it it’s a gay male movie – yes we’re men but we’re men who never see ourselves in media….

        • Anita 2.2.1.1

          I guess whether that bothers you depends whether you think the Bechdel test is a value judgement, or a judgement of fact able to be used to inform value judgements or movie preferences. For me I find it useful in considering whether I will enjoy a movie; there are very few movies which fail they test which I have genuinely enjoyed, the presence of significant characters with whom I feel a connection is important to me.

          I wonder if the queer community has developed a similar test for the presence of real queer characters (I sure haven’t heard of one but it may exist). Similarly it would provide a useful way of summarising whether a movie contains well developed queer characters, something that would be important to some queer moviegoers.

          • Carol 2.2.1.1.1

            Well, Anita, there are so few queer movies, I’d go and watch most ones available.

            But as far as lesbian/bi women characters go, they can probably be slotted in as a subset of the Bechdel test: e.g. Bound, Imagine Me & You, etc, etc. If they spent most of their time talking about men, I’m sure it’d be pretty much a fail. Also it’d be a fail if one of the women dies or goes off with a man.

            Also, plot/dialogue are not the only elements that are used to judge a lesbian/bi woman character/story as a pass or fail. There’s often intense scrutiny on HOW it’s done in comparison with heterosexual characters and romance. So there’s usually quite a bit of comment on sex scenes , whether the actors/characters look like they are into it, whether there’s tongue etc etc.

            There’s probably more time spent on TV than film because it usually includes a larger range of women characters and lesbian stories.

            http://www.afterellen.com/

            Is a key site where all this is monitored. And having decided a year or so ago that “Hollywood just isn’t into us”, they also trawl the world for TV programmes & films that are avaliable online (Germany & Spain are pretty good sources), plus direct to web drama series (a form of screen production that has escalated in the last year or so).

            • Anita 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Carol,

              I totally agree about the limited number of queer movies, what I was thinking more about was mainstream movies which have a token queer character or two. What would be the tests, stated as simply as the Bechdel test, which would allow us to rate mainstream movies with queer characters so that we can separate movies which have only a token queer character from those which have queer characters with real depth? (or any depth at all :) )

              • Carol

                Anita, I’m not sure that it’s possible to cover all the negatives with one or two points, but I’ll take a stab:

                1) Does one or more of the LGBT characters get punished/die (pretty much the same thing in most stories)

                2) Is the main story focused on a heterosexual character and/or relationship.

                Oh, It should be framed in the reverse/positively:

                1) Does the LGBT character live and/or not get punished?

                2) Does the main storyline focus on an LGBT character/s and/or relationship?

              • Anita

                Hm… I think the dieing might cause problems – Four Weddings and a Funeral springs to mind, while the gay characters are not the main characters, they are significant, their relationship is portrayed as archetypally healthy, and the death is not amn implicit punishment IMO.

                I’m also going to struggle with positive phrasing but…

                1) Does one or more LGBT characters have a role within the main narrative arc(s) of the movie?

                2) If the most significant LGBT character is not queer, does the most significant LGBT character have a relationship or sex life which is
                a) included in the movie; and
                b) no less healthy than the main character’s

                3) Do the LGBT characters make it to the end of the movie without experiencing punishment (either implicit or explicit) for their sexual orientation?

  3. Carol 3

    Well, I certainly like Alien Resurrection because of those two female characters. And as Haraway says, we’re all cyborgs really.

    I do think it passes the test. Though, I wonder if there isn’t an element of exceptionalism about these two characters, in the Hollywood scheme because they are human creations and not fully human females – probably both created by men as well.

  4. SHG 4

    Where the Boys Aren’t 6

    1) all-female cast
    2) lots of interaction between the characters
    3) they don’t discuss men at all

  5. wtl 5

    While I don’t dispute the fact that many movies are male-character-centric (it’s pretty obvious I’d say), something tells me that all three criteria are actually closely correlated with a single variable: the proportion of characters in the movie that are women:
    Criteria 1) directly depends on the proportion of characters in the movie that are women.
    Criteria 2) would be more likely be true if there were a greater proportion of characters in the movie that are women, as they will have more chances to interact.
    Criteria 3) would be more likely true since the conversation in most movies revolves around the other characters in the movie, and if those other characters are more likely to be women, than it is more likely to hold.

    But I guess the point of this test is to try to get a point across, as simple arguing for a 50/50 cast is easier to shout down :)

    • Carol 5.1

      I haven’t seen the Sex and the City movie, but do the women in that talk about anything but their relationships with men?

      oooh: anti-spam word “roots”

      • QoT 5.1.1

        Exactly! Part of the issues around the Bechdel-Wallace test is the fact that for a film to feature two named speaking women in the first place, it’s generally a chick flick – whereas films with multiple named speaking men can be in any genre.

        Same goes for my fave, Pride & Prejudice – a five-hour miniseries in which if they’re not talking about Darcy, Wickham or Mr Collins in particular they’re still talking about marriage/men in general.

        • Bored 5.1.1.1

          On the Chick Flick front I thought immediately of Thelma and Louise…..at first sight it passes the BW test except it is actually a blokes road movie with a couple of women playing surrogate blokes. The lady presenting in the clip is depressingly correct.

          As a bloke I find the movies obsession with “action”, sex, violence and stereotypes a real turn off. But they sell, and are easy formulaic vehicles. Now if the lady in the clip might get together with her friends and write a real script, something to trump the status quo, that would really help, we guys might even get into it.

        • Ari 5.1.1.2

          I wonder if what Jane Austen wrote would be any different if she had thought about the Bechdel test while writing. (not that it existed back in her time, of course)

          I can think of books that aren’t marketed at women that pass the criteria, but not any films.

          • Carol 5.1.1.2.1

            There is a general perception in the industry, that men watch films a lot and need to be catered for, while women are more into fiction TV.

            I don’t know how much marketing and promotions result in a kind of self-fulfilling prophesy when it comes to box-office & ratings stats.

            But perceptions can change….. on a bit of a tangent:

            I few years back, within the last decade, I used to ask anyone who would listen why only men did the voice -over promos for up-coming TV programmes – you know, those annoying voices that drown out the music while credits are rolling on TV. Most people, including quite a few young men & women (teens, early 20s) would say that people just wouldn’t accept it because male voices were more authoritative.

            Then one day, a few years back, I noticed that it was a woman’s voice doing the voice-over promo. And after that, I noticed that they would be done sometimes by men, and sometimes by women. As far as I’m aware, the sky has not fallen… in fact I haven’t seen anyone comment on it or complain.

            So, the moral is, IMO, the powers that be should just do it, with confidence & in good faith, and people will see all those discrimatory “perceptions” are built on thin air, and of little substance.

          • QoT 5.1.1.2.2

            Well, it’s a bit unfair to Ms Austen, since if she were versed in feminist theory she could have very well written the exact same books, just with a bit more savagery against a society which much more explicitly than ours forced women to centre their lives around men.

            Which could lead me into a whole other rant about the current “common knowledge” about Austen’s works (I think it was Karen Healey who had a masterful [mistressful?] stab at a comic author who used the phrase “swoons like a heroine in a Jane Austen book”) and the fact that her works *have* been largely reduced to shallow Chick Flicks.

            What’s depressing is when you go through modern sci fi which is lauded for having Strong Female Characters and sure, they pass – on the basis of ONE scene or ONE line.

            • NickS 5.1.1.2.2.1

              Which authors? Because I’m running out of good sci-fi (and non-lazy fantasy) to read…

              • lprent

                Just found the sequel to Cyteen by Cherryh in Wellington on the weekend.

              • NickS

                I tried reading that, but too much science in university has left me unable to read some of the older stuff :(

                And way too much Alastair Reynold, Sir Terry and tvtropes mean I’m a bit snobby on writing style and structure.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Tried Richard Morgan’s Takeshi Kovaks series?

              • NickS

                I have actually, probably wont read Altered Carbon again, but I’m on the hunt copies of Broken Angels and Woken Furies since Morgan tends to write quite well . Though presently I’m aiming to collect Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars series via trademe.

                Oh yeah, Sean McMullen’s Greatwinter trilogy is pretty good, some annoying science fantasy with genetics, but the characters, plot and world-building make up for it.

                There’s also Ian McDonald’s books Chaga and Kirinya books, though I don’t quite know if Chaga fits the literary version of the Bechdel test, though he does female characters much better than Peter Hamilton. And also, there’s Ian Irvine’s View from the Mirror quartet, still a bit iffy over the later sequels, plus I’ll throw in Charles Stross, Paul McAuley and Peter Watts as authors to read.

  6. joe bloggs 6

    is there a similar test for the portrayal of men in television commercials?

    Seems to me that the male TV commercial archetype is rather harshly portrayed as a hapless fool who can’t find his way around a pot drawer in his own kitchen…

    • Pascal's bookie 6.1

      ” archetype is rather harshly portrayed as a hapless fool who shouldn’t be expected to do any housework that he is clearly incapable of, and should be left to take the kids fishing or play with their toys, while the better half makes more effecicent use of all the groceries she probably also does the shopping for.

      Fixed.

      • joe bloggs 6.1.1

        yup that’s the stereotype alright… so you’ve noticed the unsubtle barrage of put-downs of men on commercial TV as well…

        • Ari 6.1.1.1

          There are certainly better ways to engage the interest of women than to put down men, but try telling that to marketing execs.

          • Anita 6.1.1.1.1

            Tho one has to ask, given the implicit put down of women is at least as offensive as the explicit put down of men, exactly who the ads are aimed at.

  7. Brett 7

    I find it hard to believe that people pay good money to study this shit.

    • Anita 7.1

      I think if you’d actually watched the video or read any of the links you might not have made that statement.

      Tho I must say that I am ever grateful to the number of private individuals who have paid their own good money for Alison Bechdel’s comic strips and books.

      The original, I think, is here.

      • Brett 7.1.1

        I did watch the video.
        Does a certain percentage of movies have to involve woman have deep discussions on “meaningful topics” such as climate change, feminism etc.
        The majority of people, woman included find these types of movies dull beyond belief, which is why you don’t see a lot of that style of movie made.
        I know this really grates feminists but a lot of woman like talking about men, babies,shopping etc.
        Just except it and you will be a lot happier.

        • just saying 7.1.1.1

          Watch it again Brett. It’s got nothing to do with “deep and meaningful” or worthy conversations, just two women (with names) in one movie talking together, even for a few seconds, about anything at all – except a man, just once in the movie. It’s about what this absence in most mainstream movies is telling us, and what it means.
          Think 51 percent of the human population.
          Get it?

        • Anita 7.1.1.2

          If you did watch it and read the links then why did you say the following?

          people pay good money to study this

          • Jewish Kiwi 7.1.1.2.1

            Haha, he isn’t going to answer that, Anita. He just talked out of his arse and then spent his next comment walking back, trying to qualify himself. Nitwit

  8. To my mind, the saddest inclusion in that list is ‘Watchmen’.

    Oh, that film deserves to be there. But what’s sad is the comparison to the comic. That comic had some pretty impressive feminism in it, because even where Sally and Laurie where talking about men, they were also talking about the changing expectations and goals of women in incredibly male worlds, and about the fact that they were, to a certain extent, bound and restricted by their relationships (it doesn’t get more boyish than superhero comics!) It had impressive gender reversal stuff, like where Laurie is the person who teaches Dan the Nite Owl that it’s okay to get turned on by his costume. It had the most impressive examination of the “rape=romance” trope that I had ever seen – as in, I felt like it was in the comic so they could directly engage the systemic problems that produce that narrative trope. All in all, the comic, I felt, if not entirely successful, and not a full pass, deliberately set out to discuss some of the sexism in the superhero world.

    And then the movie comes out, and it’s like all that intelligence evaporated and was replaced with B.S. and fight scenes!! It makes me think of Edward Said’s great comment about how everything that isn’t normative is “politics”. And, what? Too complicated? Oy!

    (anti -spam word: “character”)

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    . . This recent editorial from”The Listener”  is not one I ever thought I’d see… . . My response… . from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com> to: Listener <letters@listener.co.nz> date: Mon, Sep 29, 2014 subject: Letter to the Editor . The editor...
    Frankly Speaking | 28-09
  • Updated poll of polls, now with dubious new ‘election’ datapoint
    ...
    DimPost | 28-09
  • Updated poll of polls, now with dubious new ‘election’ datapoint
    ...
    DimPost | 28-09
  • Hard News: A message from The Fabians
    Dear Fabian FriendNarratives from the 2014 Election: what do we learn?A Fabians Reflection on Dirty Politics, Dotcom and Labour’s worst result.WithSue Bradford, Russell Brown and Kirk Serpes.Thursday 16th October in the Owen Glen Building, Lecture Theatre 3 (basement level) You...
    Public Address | 28-09
  • Hold fast to your Mana – Harawira
    Hone Harawira today called on the voters of Tai Tokerau to hold fast to their mana, and not be dictated to by those party leaders who have ganged together to tell them how to vote. “I call on our people...
    Mana | 18-09
  • Media Advisory – Interview availability
    This is to advise all media that Hone Harawira will be available in Auckland tomorrow, Friday the 19th of September from 7am to 4pm for interviews relating to his recent press releases. If you are interested in interviewing Mr Harawira on...
    Mana | 18-09
  • Labour stands on proud record on Suffrage Day
    Women have come a long way in the 121 years since New Zealand became the first country to give them the vote on September 19 1893, but there is still more to do, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Carol Beaumont says....
    Labour | 18-09
  • Polling Booths asked to treat Maori voters with respect
    “Polling booths without Maori roll voting papers, Maori people not being offered assistance to vote, people getting sent from Whangarei to Wellsford to vote, Maori people getting turned away from voting because they didn’t have their ‘easy vote’ card, Maori...
    Mana | 17-09
  • Aussie Liberals embroiled in Key campaign
    John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says....
    Labour | 17-09
  • The MANA Plan for Beneficiaries and Income in Waiariki
    Median Personal Income for Waiariki is $21,700. Over 13,000 Maori who live in Waiariki rely upon a form of government benefit including the Unemployment Benefit, Sickness Benefit, Domestic Purpose Benefit and the Invalids Benefit. “If you’re lucky enough to have...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Māori development crucial to New Zealand’s future
    Labour recognises the concern of Māori about child poverty and the rising costs of living, and in Government will make a real difference to the wellbeing of whānau and iwi, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “As our Māori...
    Labour | 16-09
  • MAORI PARTY – DON’T COMPLAIN … WALK
    “If the Maori Party are serious about stopping government spying on NZ citizens then they should tell the Prime Minister to either stop doing it or they will walk away” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, on...
    Mana | 16-09
  • JOHN KEY SUPPORTING LABOUR
    “There is something really sick about a National Party Prime Minister coming out in support of a Labour candidate” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira, after hearing that John Key is urging voters to back Labour in...
    Mana | 16-09
  • SHUT DOWN THIS GOVT NOT KAITI WINZ – Nikora
    “I’m going to make it as hard for you to get help as I can” is Paula Bennett’s message to the people of Kaiti  said MANA candidate Te Hāmua Nikora today in response to the news that National will close...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Winegums make for better polling – Harawira
    I wanted to laugh when I saw the Native Affairs poll the other night (Hone Harawira 38%, Kelvin Davis 37%) because it was almost the same as the one they did back in 2011”, said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau...
    Mana | 16-09
  • The Leadership of MTS Lied – Harawira
    “Normally I’m happy to tell people that I was right but when I received the news about the staff cuts at Maori Television, I had nothing but sympathy for the three Maori media leaders who are going to be made...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Privileges Complaint Laid against Prime Minister – Harawira
    MANA Movement Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has today lodged a Privileges Complaint with the Speaker regarding the Prime Ministers denials in parliament that he knew anything about Kim Dotcom before 2012. “Information made public today appears...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Sharples’ new appointments are out of order
    The new appointments to the Waitangi Tribunal announced by Dr Pita Sharples this morning are completely out of order given the election is just five days away, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “This Government continues to show disdain...
    Labour | 15-09
  • MANA Movement Housing Policy
    “When families are living in cars, garages, cockroach-infested caravans and three families to a house then we have a housing crisis”, said MANA leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira. “When you have a housing crisis for low-income...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Bigger than the Foreshore and Seabed – Sykes
    “Over the past week I have received some disturbing information that has led myself and a number of Maori lawyers to conclude that this National - Maori Party - ACT and United Future Government are going to put an end to both...
    Mana | 14-09
  • MANA wants Te Reo Māori petition fulfilled
    Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki Te Hāmua Nikora, MANA candidate for Ikaroa Rāwhiti  “More than four decades have passed and the petition calling for Te Reo Māori in schools...
    Mana | 14-09
  • Primary focus on the critical issues
    A Labour Government will prioritise New Zealand’s agricultural sectors by recreating a Rural Affairs Minister and appointing a Primary Industry Council and a Chief Agricultural Adviser. Releasing Labour’s Primary Sector and Rural Affairs policies today, spokesperson Damien O’Connor says the...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Maori Television fears confirmed – Harawira
    ...
    Mana | 12-09
  • More ghost houses from National
    The Government’s desperate pre-election announcement of more ghost houses won’t fool Aucklanders wanting action on the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “These are ghost houses, to go with National’s ghost tax cut. Families cannot live in ghost...
    Labour | 12-09
  • National bows to union pressure over travel time
    National has reluctantly bowed to pressure from unions and adopted Labour’s fair and sensible policy to pay home support workers for the time they spend traveling between clients, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “This decision is long overdue...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Predators on Poverty – Harawira
    “As poverty has ballooned out of control, the Predators on Poverty have emerged to suck the lifeblood from whole families and communities” said MANA Movement leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “They are deliberately targeting low-income areas, particularly those...
    Mana | 11-09
  • MANA Movement Policy Launch
    Predators on Poverty (pokie machines, alcohol outlets and loan sharks) 1pm, Thursday 11th September Corner Great South Road and Criterion Street Otahuhu Shopping Centre...
    Mana | 10-09
  • A brief word on reinvading Iraq
    So after telling the country before the election that NZ would not send forces to Iraq, lo and behold now he’s won the election with a full spectrum dominance political majority, Key is suddenly now looking to join the re-invasion of...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • A brief word on the importance of ACT, Maori Party and United Future to Nat...
    I’m a far right wing clown who attacks tax money going on anything collective, gimmie some cash and privilege.  One of the great successes of National has been to implement hard right policy but have it sold as moderate. For some NZers,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Labour’s Angst
    Was Labour’s predictably low vote David Cunliffe’s fault? Was it policy? Was it something else that has aroused perceptions of electoral carnage? My analysis of the numbers suggests that, as uncertain voters made up their minds, there was a late...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Information wars: Gaza as “the last taboo”, the threat of mass surveill...
    “When the truth is replaced with silence” wrote the soviet dissident Yevgeni Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.” There has been a silence these past months full of noise, static and sound bites of those in power justifying their violence,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • When the media say they covered Dirty Politics – did they?
    I was watching The Nation in the weekend, and watched the defenders of NZ media up against Minto telling him he was wrong in his claims of media bias and that the media covered Dirty Politics. I laughed. When the...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG – P Campbell – To the Left with love
    A week after the general election results I feel wrung out emotionally, having been through the disappointment, depression and anger of seeing  another right wing government elected overwhelmingly by winning support from the parts of NZ that will never benefit...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – I will be the new Labour Leader!
    One week after the election, while I was still waiting to be consulted about contributing to the review on what went wrong, what do you know? There is a leadership challenge. So instead of opting for a united, thoughtful and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – A Prescient Post
    A very prescient pre-election post by Martyn Bradbury tells us why the Labour Party are at war now. “The NZ First-Labour Party attack strategy against Internet MANA better work” Despite Martyn Bradbury warning them this Right Wing strategy “Better Work”...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – W(h)ither Labour (!/?)
    There’s an old saying that success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Not so in the Labour Party, wherein soul-crushing defeat on a scale unseen since 1925 definitely has many fathers (and more than a few mothers and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • At the end of the day…
    At the end of the day…...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty
    Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Internet MANA the election and the media
    I’ve been very critical of media reporting of Internet MANA during the election campaign and not surprised at the predictable response from representatives of the corporate media establishment. I wasn’t going to carry this further but was asked at the...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Rachel Jones – A superficial discourse analysis of a superfic...
    On Sunday there was a story about Paddy Gower and his detached retina in the Herald on Sunday. Really? I hear you ask. Really? Yes, really. Pam Corkery will have sprayed toast crumbs over her dressing gown. The reporter has become...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Terrorising Australia’s Muslim population
    We should be suspicious when 800 police conduct “terror” raids across Australia, but only one person is charged with a relevant terrorism offence (of which we know few details). We should be suspicious of the lurid tales of terrorists planning...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its min...
    Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its mind. I know the Labour party has its problems and I’m not even going to try to prescribe what should be done about it. But what I...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – Loyalty, Leadership and the Labour Party
    My first after the election and I can only say I’m feeling pretty sad.  It was a terrible result, and feels even more so knowing the number of volunteers hours, hard work & sacrifice made by so many people who...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • A Study in Party Stability
    . In terms of long-term stability, one party above stands above all others, with the exception of personality-driven groups such as NZ First and United Future. That party is the Greens. If the Labour Party wants to look elsewhere for...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Cunliffe vs Robertson – Round 2
    Much to the disappointment of the NZ Herald and other right wing pundits who have decided they would like to appoint the next Labour leader, Cunliffe has surprised by deciding to damn the Caucus and appeal directly to the members...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The tasks before the left and labour movement
    Anyone on the left would have been disappointed at the result of the election. There was an opportunity to win, but that got lost through a combination of factors. There were tactical decisions made by Labour, the Greens and Internet-Mana...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • From Fiji’s dictatorship to ‘democracy’ – the AUT student team on t...
    Mads Anneberg’s profile on Ricardo Morris and Repúblika. David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. THREE STUDENTS from AUT University covered Fiji’s historic “from dictatorship to democracy” general election this month. While the election arguably legitimised Voreqe Bainimarama’s so-called 2006...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • David Cunliffe Resigns As Labour Leader – Forces Robertson Out of the Bel...
    David Cunliffe has made a smart move, resigning as the leader of the Labour Party so as to force a leadership primary campaign. The move draws rival Grant Robertson out of the beltway to parts of the country where he...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Deep thought vs Deep prejudice
    . . This letter to the editor appeared in The Listener, on 27 September, and caught my attention; . . Mr Dawson wrote in response to one of those typically unthinking comments which  condemned the poor for their “unbridled, reckless...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The NZ National voters elected
    The NZ National voters elected...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – The post election postmortem is giving me post p...
    I feel the need to contribute to the discourse. This is a new experience for me. Not having an opinion, but expressing it on a popular forum in a public sphere. That’s why I have waited till now and put...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A dictionary of education terms and definitions, brought to you by the let...
    Free to all TDB readers, please enjoy your very own cut-out-and-keep handy primer of terms that I predict you will need to know over the next three years… Achievement Gap (noun) Synonym for wealth gap. ACT (abstract noun) Intangible. Reported to exist in...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A Mines Rescue brigadesman’s perspective on the Pike River Mine
    My husband and I lived in Greymouth in 2010, we were a coal mining family.  The day Pike River Mine blew up and the days following changed us profoundly, as it did for so many.  This is a Mines Rescue...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • The Left Triumphant! A Counterfactual History of the Last Twelve Months.
    DID IT REALLY HAVE TO END LIKE THIS? Reading through the commentary threads of the left-wing blogs it is impossible to not feel the anger; the sense of betrayal; the impression of having had something vital ripped from their grasp;...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Myles Thomas: The media won it!
    Make no mistake, John Key is a clever communicator – reasonable, authoritative and relaxed – but without the media he wouldn’t be PM. Depending on your viewpoint, New Zealand’s news media are either a bunch of Grey Lynn lefties or...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Not Learning Lessons Past: the West’s Response to IS
    In an earlier posting Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, I noted that the first lesson of conflict learned by Robert McNamara was “understand your adversary”. If we have honourable objectives, our first and most important weapon is empathy. In the Vietnam War,...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Dr Jarrod Gilbert – Proof of David Farrar’s deception: my ...
    In the lead up to the election the Minister of Corrections Anne Tolley launched a gang policy. In order to justify the government’s approach she used gang figures that overstated the gang problem. Not by a little bit, but a...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Stuart Nash – Red To The Rescue?
    SPECIAL FEATURE by Selwyn Manning. IF THE ELECTION RESULT which was dished out to Labour was not enough to incite an immediate leadership primary, then the caucus’ refusal to recognise David Cunliffe as the leader should cement it. Now is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Has the one party state crackdown begun already? Left wing NZ activist grou...
    Well known left wing activist social media group, ‘John Key Has Left Down NZ’ has been shut down on Facebook. At 11.40pm last night, Facebook, without any warning shut the group down siting a breach of terms of service as...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Why Cunliffe should probably just let Nash & Robertson win
    We have to face some very unpalatable home truths. If you are a left wing political person, best you put your vote now to the Green Party, although you’ll have to do that all the while the Greens frantically tell you...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • The graceless win of Kelvin Davis
    The graceless win of Cameron Slater’s mate in the North, Kelvin Davis is difficult to swallow. Here Cameron Slater’s mate in the North is shitting on Hone Harawira by calling Hone all steam, no hangi as Kelvin rubs his ganged up win into...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So Labour shifted too far to the left?
    So Labour shifted too far to the left?   Here’s the ill-judged view of Josie Pagani in the Pundit “Labour must change”: “At the last election I made myself a heretic when I wrote a column mentioning how unpopular the...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Uncomplicated Loyalties: Why Cunliffe and the Labour Left Cannot Win
    THE STORY of David Cunliffe’s leadership of the Labour Party has been one of missed opportunities and unforced errors. That he was the only choice available to those who wanted to rid the Labour Party of its neoliberal cuckoos is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So we can expect this now?
    So we can expect this now?...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Can Labour be saved? Why Whaleoil & National won and why we need a new ...
    As the shock of my optimism that NZers would recoil from the real John Key as exposed by Dirty Politics and mass surveillance duplicities wears off, I am surprised to find that the right in NZ are not content with...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Three more years (up shit creek and paddling hard)
    “If the future is not green, there is no future. If the future is not you, there is no future”. Emma Thompson’s stirring words to the climate marchers in London last Sunday are worth considering in the aftermath of the...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • One Party State
    In years to come this election will be seen as a historic turning point towards one party rule. I don`t mean this literally, absolute single party dictatorship is not in prospect. In the New Zealand context though, one party has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • No More. The Left Falls.
    . We cannot be beaten down Because we are down already. We can only rise up and if you should beat us down, We will rise again. And again. And again… And when you tire of beating us down, We...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Hang tight everyone – Marama Davidson campaign reflection
    To the many people who had expressed their overwhelming support for me to enter Parliament this election – thank you. That the Greens held steady in a big loss for progressive politics is an achievement. We are hopeful that after...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA
    New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • Reflecting on Elections Past
    There are a number of past elections that can give the left in New Zealand guidance and hope. Two major points though. Major parties require leaders who can bridge the political divide through strength of personality, vision of what it...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – The Reptile Room
    I stress, at the outset, that I’ve got nothing against reptiles. Some of my best friends are reptiles. Some say I am one, but I’m not really. I just emulate that ability to sit, stationary for hours in court, eyes...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • The success of right-wing counter messaging in the election
    One of the reasons National won the election was due to its success in counter messaging – and the way so many media commentators ran with th the right-wing spin. Here are some examples. Dirty Politics The original message was...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New Flag competition
    New Flag competition...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • No time for self-pity
    After 23 meetings across the largest non-Maori electorate in the country – almost all of which went fantastically, approx 4,500km on the odometer, positive MSM and social media coverage, and polling well, I admit my team and I headed to...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • The 30 second speech that could have saved the Moment of Truth
    As the dust settles and we struggle to understand what the bloody hell happened on Saturday, many point to Kim’s failure at the Moment of Truth to present his evidence. I think that Kim was poorly advised and that politics requires a...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • Internet MANA and the 2014 election
    It was always going to be a hard task for Hone Harawira to hold onto his Te Tai Tokerau seat when the political establishment united in a coalition to defeat him and the chance for Internet MANA to bring more...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • New Zealand Red Cross Responds to Drought in Tonga
    New Zealand Red Cross has sent an aid worker and two desalination units, to turn seawater into safe drinking water in the drought-hit Ha’apai islands of Tonga....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Can you ever tell if an email is real or forged?
    Computer industry veteran Brian Eardley-Wilmot warns that we should never take claims about stolen emails at face value....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • NZ MPs to attend the ASPG Annual Conference in Sydney
    New Zealand MPs to attend the Australasian Study of Parliament Group Annual Conference in Sydney...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Independent Maori seats still needed in Parliament
    “He’s got to be joking!” is the reaction of the president of the Maori Party, Rangimarie Naida Glavish to a call by a former Labour Minister of Maori Affairs, Dover Samuels, for debate by Maori on whether the Maori electorates...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    Rallies supporting the rights for universal suffrage will take place all over New Zealand today and tomorrow...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand
    Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand The Graf Boys New Zealand has some of the best trout fishing in the world! Every year thousands of international visitors wade pristine rivers in search of the freshwater game fish....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New Zealand’s 2014 Hottest Vegetarians Crowned
    With winter gone things are heating up, and things just got even hotter with the crowning of New Zealand’s hottest vegetarians, says animal advocacy group SAFE. Marking World Vegetarian Day, 1st October, director James Napier Robertson and actor...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A day to remember our duty to look after our senior citizens
    Human Rights Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says International Day of the Older Person (1 October) is a United Nations day to celebrate our senior citizens, but also acknowledge the need to protect our kaumatua, or older people from abuse and...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Clear data needed on impact of benefit sanctions on children
    A lack of data on benefit sanctions means there is no way of knowing whether welfare reform is helping or harming children, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The socialist alternative to austerity and war
    Public meeting: After the New Zealand election—the socialist alternative to austerity and war By Tom Peters 29 September 2014...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New recruits to boost border protection
    Twenty six new recruits began an intensive nine-week training course in Auckland today that will see them graduate as Customs officers in time for the busy summer season....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Dwindling Mallard population shows up ‘pest’ myth
    The pro hunting organisation Fish & Game is researching the causes of the decline of the mallard duck population, upset at the prospect of fewer ducks to kill....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    New Zealanders in Auckland will gather on Wednesday to support the rights for universal suffrage in Hong Kong....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Campbell Live Exclusive Interview with David Cunliffe
    David Cunliffe resigned as leader of the Labour party on Saturday; but he still wants the top job....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Action needed on cycling safety
    “Clearly we aren't doing enough to protect the 1.5 million New Zealanders who ride bikes,” said Mr Morgan....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • World Rivers Day Passes Without A Whimper
    Sunday 28 September was World Rivers Day to celebrate clean, flowing rivers and caring about them. But a recreation-conservation advocacy the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) says the day seems to have slipped by without...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The Kiwifruit Claim: Q&A
    1. Who is running The Kiwifruit Claim? The Kiwifruit Claim was founded by kiwifruit growers representing well in excess of 10% of the industry. 2. Why are you running this claim? The introduction of Psa into New Zealand had devastating...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Fed Farmers Need to Be Weaned
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Federated Farmers to make a firm commitment to reject any future Government funding, after it was revealed that the lobby group had received over $200,000 of payments in recent years....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Children paying the price for charter school stitch up
    New Zealand children will be paying a high price for a one-seat deal between ACT and National, with an expansion of the beleaguered charter school system says education union NZEI Te Riu Roa....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Hikoi From North Reaches Oil Conference Tomorrow
    Today: The Hikoi opposing Statoil plans for seismic testing and deep sea oil drilling has marched through Dargaville and later be welcomed to Piringatahi Marae, West Harbour,Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Communities Still Count
    The efforts of many organisations to influence the electorate and the political parties they voted for in the lead up to the 2014 Election is over. The voting public has spoken and provided a strong endorsement to the centre-right National...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Eleven social enterprises get ready to take off
    Eleven teams from across the country will take part in the Launchpad, Ākina’s programme to get social enterprise ideas off the ground....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • An open letter to the Prime Minister
    in which Transparency International New Zealand asks the Prime Minister to ensure integrity underpins all work he leads "in the best interests of all New Zealanders"...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Paula Bennett ‘great work’ acknowledged – McVicar
    “Paula Bennett, as Minister of Social Development, has contributed significantly in lowering our crime rate and preventing further victims.” - McVicar...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Key’s Restraint in Propping up ACT Welcomed
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming the announcement that ACT MP David Seymour will not be appointed as a Minister....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Only Concession is from the Taxpayer
    Responding to the confidence and supply agreement reached between John Key and Peter Dunne’s United Future Party, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A Tent for Any Tenant
    AUT students and Salvation Army Manukau Community Ministries team up to raise awareness, as South Auckland’s housing situation moves from crisis to collapse...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report Seeks Comments
    The Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report and Recommendations was published on 25th September 2014 and the panel are inviting comments. Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds, the organisation campaigning for consistent speed limits outside schools, is encouraged...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour’s Review – Terms of Reference Agreed
    Labour's Review - Terms of Reference Agreed Following a meeting of its ruling New Zealand Council yesterday, Labour has released the terms of reference for the comprehensive review initiated following its 2014 election result. The review will comprise three...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • The final countdown for Kiwi smokers
    There are just two days left until many smokers stubb out their cigarettes for the last time and embark on Stoptober – New Zealand’s first national quit-smoking month....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose”
    “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose” – Chris Hipkins Labour Senior Whip I would say to all of the caucus and all of the members let's actually hear the arguments from the people who want to be leader,...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Campaign to make Murder of Unborn ”Safe and Legal”
    The IPPF have launched an international campaign through its 161 affiliates including the New Zealand Family Planning Association [NZFPA] to make the murder of the unborn safe and legal and accepted as a human right. This is an acceleration of...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Grant Robertson Labour leader hopeful on TVNZ Q+A
    “Look I think what we need to be is relevant, clear and consistent with New Zealanders about the Labour Party's values,” said Labour leader hopeful Grant Robertson on TVNZ’s Q+A programme....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour Needs to Get House in Order Before Deciding Leader
    Ex Labour party leader and possible repeat contender David Shearer says the Labour Party is going about the post-election period in the wrong way....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Hate merchants at it again with smear tactics
    “It’s disappointing to see the hate merchants at it again with yet another attempt to smear and silence a health professional who’s doing research they disagree with,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Women’s group heartened by response to promo girls
    The National Council of Women of New Zealand is heartened by the strong response to the inappropriate use of bikini-clad girls at a technology expo....
    Scoop politics | 27-09
  • Owen interviews Jim Anderton, Helen Kelly and Selwyn Pellet
    Lisa Owen interviews Jim Anderton, Helen Kelly and Selwyn Pellet ___________________________________________ The Nation on TV3, 9.30am Saturdays and 10am Sundays. Check us out online , on Facebook or on Twitter . Tell us what you think at thenation@mediaworks.co.nz or text...
    Scoop politics | 27-09
  • Owen interviews Mark Boyd, Jonathan Milne and John Minto
    Lisa Owen interviews Mark Boyd, Jonathan Milne and John Minto ___________________________________________ The Nation on TV3, 9.30am Saturdays and 10am Sundays. Check us out online , on Facebook or on Twitter . Tell us what you think at thenation@mediaworks.co.nz or text...
    Scoop politics | 27-09
  • Prime Time on Labour
    Mike Smith - former General Secretary of the NZ Labour Party Jim McAloon, Assoc Prof, Victoria University of Wellington History Department (currently writing official history of the Labour Party) Rob Salmond, consultant to Labour Leader's office and...
    Scoop politics | 27-09
  • Korero Mai Ki Ahau – Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 September 2014
    Saturday 27 September 2014 | One million people voted for National in last week’s election. Another million didn’t vote at all. In Kia Korero Mai this week, Eru Morgan talks to political commentator Henare Kingi about the figures and what...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • On The Nation this weekend: Labour, National, The Media
    This weekend on The Nation… Labour’s had its worst election result in 92 years, so what happens next? We’ll talk to former Labour president Jim Anderton, CTU president Helen Kelly, and tech entrepreneur and past donor Selwyn Pellett about the...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Red Cross, Pacific leaders prepare for cyclone season
    The New Zealand Red Cross Pacific Advisory Group, met for the first time this week, to develop a disaster response plan for the upcoming Pacific cyclone season, which is forecast to be severe....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Teachers support PM’s call for solutions to child poverty
    NZEI Te Riu Roa is pleased to hear that the Prime Minister is calling for new ideas to address child poverty....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • First batch of household protection kits arrives in Liberia
    Kits containing protective gear will equip a network of community-based Ebola care centres nationwide...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Dr Paul Hutchison praised for work to reduce child poverty
    The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) has thanked retiring National MP Dr Paul Hutchison for his work to reduce child poverty....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Bag snatch hero deserves a medal – McVicar
    The Justice Spokesman for the Conservative Party, Garth McVicar, is calling for the woman known as the bag-snatch hero to be awarded a medal for bravery....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Police Remembrance Day
    This week, Police staff and others have been wearing the distinctive huia feather-shaped Police Remembrance Pin as they reflect on those who have lost their lives in service to the society they swore to protect. Police Remembrance Day falls on...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Affordable Auckland Attacks Creeping Apartheid
    Affordable Auckland Leader Stephen Berry is disturbed by developments increasing the number of local body regions choosing racially based representation. The Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Councils already have Maori wards, while New Plymouth...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Dairy Strategy Proving to be a Disaster
    The intensification of the dairy industry is proving to be a disaster, says SAFE. This comes after the forecast 2015 milk price payout was cut 12% by Fonterra this week. “Last year, the government effectively gave the green light for...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Where Next for the Left?
    26 September 2014 A discussion of the post-election prospects for radicals, facilitated by Fightback. 6pm | Monday 28th September | 19 Tory St [ Facebook event ]...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
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