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The Hobbit episode II… continues…

Written By: - Date published: 11:59 am, November 27th, 2012 - 103 comments
Categories: brand key, Environment, film, greens, labour, slippery, tourism, workers' rights - Tags:

One the eve of The Hobbit premier the employment dispute is revived, exposing gaps between principle and practice. In a Stuff article Jackson is still claiming there was a very real threat of the filming being done in the UK; some of the Labour’s ABC club make headlines by deciding to attend the premier even though Labour criticised the government’s handling of the dispute; and John Key-speak weaves a curious path of nonsense through contradictory, populist references to linking The Hobbit movie, NZ as 100% Pure and 100%  Middle-earth and Macdonald’s branding (meanwhile obscuring the significance of the TPP).

In an earlier post I argued that

 Both the government and Jackson manipulated the dispute and its coverage in the MSM to their advantage.

I referred to Nigel Haworth’s excellent article on the dispute, in which he concluded:

Thus, analytically, the New Zealand state simultaneously conceded, financially and legislatively, to the global film sector whilst taking the opportunity to further its ER liberalisation and attack the domestic trade union movement.

In the Stuff article this morning Jackson defends his role in The Hobbit employment dispute:

Speaking on the political and legal wrangling which marred the beginning of filming, Jackson said the argument centred around a misunderstanding over collective bargaining.

“Which as I understand it, wasn’t allowed in this country. It was being driven by an Australian union who were then getting the support of the American and British unions who didn’t understand the laws here.”

He said the whole thing felt “dubious” in that it was driven by a group of people who did not understand New Zealand law.

Despite that, he said The Hobbit still came very close to not being filmed in New Zealand.

In my earlier post linked above, I outlined how Key’s submission to Hollywood corporates linked in with the TPP, and attempts by US corporates to impose intellectual copyright laws on NZ in their interests. There are problems for our culture, employment laws and sovereignty with letting Hollywood dominate our film industry. There is also evidence that an attempt to revive NZ’s flagging tourism industry, resulted in Warners controlling Tourism NZ’s rebranding of NZ as 100% Middle-earth, piggy-backing on the 100% Pure branding.

Today Bunji exposed some of the clownish nonsense being peddled by Key, when he defended NZ’s tarnished 100% Pure branding by comparing it to Macdonald’s “lovin’ it” slogan.  This was on  top of the nonsensical populist statements Key made about The Hobbit on Sunday, in which he manages to be patronisingly dismissive of avid Hobbit/LOTR fans:

Prime Minister John Key is excitedly looking forward to the premiere of the first of the Hobbit movies but admits he has never read the book the movie is based on….

I’ll watch the movie, I’ll be fine.”

He also admitted to seeing only the first of the three movies based on Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the sequel to the Hobbit story.

“It was good, I enjoyed it,” Key said.

“People that are into it are really into it, and they just can’t get enough of it.

“It’s one of those things where if it’s your big thing they just have an insatiable appetite for this stuff,” he said.

“In its own world, in its own way, it’s a franchise like a James Bond thing. Those people just love it.”…

About 3000 people had worked on the movie, with brilliant post-production work done by Weta.

“Isn’t this our time just to stand up for once and say, ‘hey we’re pretty cool … we’re a neat little country and we’ve produced these great movies’.”

There is no doubt that Weta is a classy outfit that, along with many NZ actors, has done a lot of excellent work.  But, Key is ignoring the poor conditions many NZ actors have experienced as a consequence of the ‘Hobbit Law’.

Good on Green MPs for standing by their principles,  as reported by Claire Trevett in the above linked NZ Herald article on the MPs attending The Hobbit premier:

The Green Party also criticised National at the time and a spokeswoman said none of its MPs were going.

It’s always important to closely observe the consistency of MPs and their parties in putting their principles into practice.  In John Key’s case, there seem to be no principles other than selling (out) NZ to powerful corporate interests, at home and abroad, while masking his true intentions with nonsensical populist language.

[Update] US lawyer, Jonathan Handel, disputes Hobbit movies at risk of being shot in UK. (h/t mickysavage)

103 comments on “The Hobbit episode II… continues…”

  1. Wayne 1

    Give it up, you are going nowhere with this.

    • karol 1.1

      And yet Bomber (Peter Jackson tries to re-edit history), Gordon Campbell (on John Key and the Hobbit)and Chris Trotter (Welcome to Middle-earth) all have published posts on this today.

      But I’m sure Key, Jackson and their fan clubs would like all the dodgy issues diversions, and contradictions to be swept under the carpet. 

      • Tracey 1.1.1

        I think what Wayne means, is that he’s ok with the lies as long as the lovely film is released.

      • Wayne 1.1.2

        Karol, I would say the same to them as well. Who do you beleive, Peter Jackson who actually had to deal with the producers, or the entertainment lawyer who didn’t.

        Now, I know each political party has to have its pet hates, but really, is this the right one for Labour and the Left.

        If you knew there would be no more large scale movie productions, would you still repeal the law? I guess I know the answer, because ideological purity is more important to you than doing what works. But it is not as if the Hobbitt set was notorious for its slave labour conditions.

        One of the skills of Tony Blair was working out what Labour should accept of the Thatcher reforms, just as John Key did with the changes bought about by the Helen Clark government. I don’t see too much of that in Labour yet, but it is an essential part of being in Opposition. Actually DS is likely to work it out.

        A new government has to be less about whinging about the past, and more about a new programme for the future.

        • karol 1.1.2.1

          Wayne, I’ve been a movie lover all my life.  I enjoy watching well-made movies from wherever.  Some Hollywood movies are great.  There’s also been brilliant movies made in other countries.

          I want to see the NZ movie industry thrive, especially with making stories that represent NZ/Aotearoa more accurately than the Hobbit/LOTR, which Chris Trotter aptly describes thus:

          Tolkein’s writings may be fictional but they possess a cultural power that is very real. And thanks to the cinematographic skills of Sir Peter Jackson and the digital magic of Weta Workshops, Pakeha New Zealanders have been given reference points that owe nothing to their country’s indigenous culture. In our post-modern world, where reality has taken on an alarmingly subjective quality, “Middle Earth” is a much more comfortable fit than “Aotearoa”.
           
          More comfortable, too, for dwellers in a “West” beset with economic, political, environmental and cultural challenges. A West in whose eyes New Zealand stands as a refuge every bit as wholesome and protected as “The Shire”. New Zealanders’ desire for cultural reassurance and comfort is thus reinforced by an international audience desperate to escape the daunting challenges of multiculturalism and austerity. 

          I prefer movies that help us face our challenges rather than escape them.

          And I want to see all NZ actors and other workers getting a fair shake at working with the same pay and conditions as overseas people.

          • Wayne 1.1.2.1.1

            We are talking about a global industry, not making movies with primarily a local appeal. For instance Whale Rider was a great movie but it was not a global blockbuster.

            It is a global scale industry that Peter Jackson has created, and it has provided thousands of jobs. He has done at least eight movies in the last decade that have had global success.

            NZ has precious few global industries, this is one of them. There must be at least 2,000 high paid permanent jobs in Wellington and elsewhere directly related to this business.

            That is why the Govt worked hard to keep it here.

            • karol 1.1.2.1.1.1

              More continuous work in the industry has been provided by international TV productions in NZ, but without so much of the fanfare. e.g. Power Rangers, Spartacus.

              There’s also been a lot of work put into developing treaties to enable co-productions with other countries closer to NZ.

              What’s the big deal about Hollywood “global productions”?

              Whale Rider was a better movie than Jackson’s Hollywood stuff, and more relevant to NZ/Aotearoa, IMO. But, also, if was a bit Disney-ish compared with the book.  It was pretty well-received overseas, though. 

              • Beryl_Streep

                Whale Rider came out a decade ago, there’s been a ton of great kiwi movies since then.

                All of them were made while Hollywood blockbusters such as King Kong, Avatar and The Hobbit were also being made in NZ. One industry doesn’t cancel out the other.

                Have you seen Boy, No. 2, Sione’s Wedding I & II, Two Little Boys, Eagle vs Shark, Matariki, Secondhand Wedding and the dozens of other great NZ movies that were made after 2003, which was apparently the last time you saw a New Zealand movie (i.e. Whale Rider)

                Despite your negativity, the NZ movie industry is going great guns. Maybe as a “movie lover” you should go out and see more movies. 

                • karol

                  Beryl, yes I agree those movies you mention are excellent ones, and I have seen most of them.  I only referred to Whale Rider because Wayne mentioned it – it was a response to him.

                  Where was I being negative about the NZ movie industry?  I am just negative about the LOTR & Hobbit movies. 

                  But I would also like to see our PM put as much (or more) effort into promoting NZ productions as he is into his Hobbit-backing & manipulations.

                • Wayne

                  Actually I have seen most of these movies. But they are essentially local.

                  The large scale movies generate much higher levels of income, support a much larger infrastructure and have many more high skilled jobs. CGI is a complete high tech industry in itself, would it have happened without the push of Peter Jackson?

                  Yes I know it seems vulnerable to have a global scale industry essentially initiated by one person, but a whole movie eco system has grown up, with other directors and producers coming to the fore.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Jackson should not still be receiving massive amounts of government subsidies now he is by far the strongest player in NZ.

                    That money needs to go to small start up directors and talent.

                    And why is he preventing NZers from receiving the same union protections he himself benefits from?

            • Mel 1.1.2.1.1.2

              The trouble with the jobs created by the Hollywood movie industry is that most are short term and only last for the length of the movie. Those other jobs that have been created rely on Govt (tax payer) subsidies towards the Hollywood movie industry.

              Additonally, there is no loyalty towards NZ from Hollywood. It is all about the dollar and profits. The industry expects major ‘social welfare’ benefits from countries who are used as locations and NZ is offering Hollywood those benefits.

              Any country that offers more benefits could be the next location.

          • Populuxe1 1.1.2.1.2

            Hollywood’s values are commercial, not aesthetic. Deal with it.
            http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?type=&id=1178&fulltext=1&media= 

        • felix 1.1.2.2

          After listening to Jackson on the radio this morning I wouldn’t put too much weight on his understanding of the business.

          He said the thing that made him so certain that Warners were about to send the production overseas was that they sent him a box full of pictures of location shots taken in the UK.

          Here’s the punchline: When asked if he considered that this was just a bit of brinksmanship from Warners he said, straight up, that they MUST have been serious because there’s no way they would have sent someone out to scout locations and take photos for 3 or 4 weeks if they weren’t.

          Sorry my dear little hobbits, but that’s fucking retarded. Talented he may be, but he’s obviously none too smart about negotiation.

          (Or he’s being disingenuous of course, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt).

          • vto 1.1.2.2.1

            ha ha, yep noticed that too.

            ffs, oldest trick in the book.

            funny that key and jackson fell for it…. talk about hopeless negotiating.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.2.2

            Here’s the punchline: When asked if he considered that this was just a bit of brinksmanship from Warners he said, straight up, that they MUST have been serious because there’s no way they would have sent someone out to scout locations and take photos for 3 or 4 weeks if they weren’t.

            Probably grabbed them off iStockphoto or similar.

            • felix 1.1.2.2.2.1

              Nah, it’s nothing for a company at that level to send people around the world scouting locations. They spend more on “fruit & flowers” for the head office.

              And as v says, it’s the oldest trick in the book to do it as a negotiating tactic.

          • Fisiani 1.1.2.2.3

            Felix -your partisan comments based on sheer prejudice show why Labour rightly earned the name Hobbit Haters. It was part of the reason that Labour came third in Wellington Central.

            • mickysavage 1.1.2.2.3.1

              And that is why Grant Robertson lost the electorate vote as well.

              Oh wait … 

              • Fisiani

                Grant (He…) Robertson lied through his teeth and tried to claim in 2011 that he was not a Hobbit Hater. Just shows that you can fool some of the people some of the time. Labour still came a humiliating third.

            • felix 1.1.2.2.3.2

              What partisan comments, fisi?

              Did you even listen to the interview? If you did then you’ll know I’m simply reporting what Jackson said, without exaggeration, and what he said was really fucking dumb.

              Nothing to do with his films. Nothing to do with Hobbits. Just a dumb comment from an apparently very naive man.

              ps no-one says “hobbit-haters” except John Key, a man who hasn’t even watched the LOTR films.

              • Fisiani

                Read your partisan comments again and your further disgusting and insincere denigration of Sir Peter Jackson who fought with John Key and they saved 3,000 jobs. How can you claim to care about employment when your team was prepared to sacrifice 3000 in the film industry and is still holding up work for West Coasters and fighting every inch of progress on Transmission Gully and the RONS?

                • felix

                  Please point out the comments you keep referring to. I’m just reporting what Jackson himself said.

                  Then we’ll try to figure out who my “team” is.

                  • McFlock

                    lol
                    maybe he used up his cut&paste quota for the day. 

                  • fisiani

                    here you are felix.

                    He said the thing that made him so certain that Warners were about to send the production overseas was that they sent him a box full of pictures of location shots taken in the UK.

                    Here’s the punchline: When asked if he considered that this was just a bit of brinksmanship from Warners he said, straight up, that they MUST have been serious because there’s no way they would have sent someone out to scout locations and take photos for 3 or 4 weeks if they weren’t.

                    Sorry my dear little hobbits, but that’s fucking retarded. Talented he may be, but he’s obviously none too smart about negotiation.

                    You obviously do not know what happened in the lead up to the emergency discussions that saved the NZ film industry and will bring in 500 million in tourism revenue as stated by the tourism head on TVNZ this morning.
                    Your team btw is the Hobbit Haters.
                    3 of your scabs will strut the red carpet today

                    • felix

                      “You obviously do not know what happened in the lead up to the emergency discussions “

                      fisi you moron, I’m going by what Jackson says happened in the lead up.

                      Are you calling Lord Peter Jackson a liar now fisi you ungrateful peasant?

                • Colonial Viper

                  3000 jobs were never at risk…Jackson was never going to live in Estonia for 3 years to film there.

                  • Fisiani

                    It is incredible that the Left are oblivious to the work of Sir Peter and NZ’s greatest ever Prime Minister in securing 3000 jobs. The cynical scorched earth nihilistic always say no to progress attitudes displayed here are truly breathtaking. Even worse the activists here will soon be able to choose a leader NOT supported by caucus before an election AND choose a leader NOT supported by the voters after an election.

                    [RL: You’ve been warned comprehensively about the creepy sickening sycophancy before. Two week ban.]

        • Jared 1.1.2.3

          I completely agree that Jackson would’ve known what was going on. In fact, I’m sure he was right when he said to John Key that “There is no connection between the blacklist (and it’s eventual retraction) and the choice of production base for The Hobbit” (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10695662). Considering it was at the time it was happening rather than a couple of years down the track, I’m going to take his word then not now.

        • Tracey 1.1.2.4

          Are you saying you believe there was a risk The Hobbitt would be filmed overseas??

        • Galeandra 1.1.2.5

          But it is not as if the Hobbitt set was notorious for its slave labour conditions.

          Geez Wayne, there were a number of serious criticisms made in the media recently, including shooting days without breaks and the forced sharing of coloured contact lenses by actors.

          • Wayne 1.1.2.5.1

            These criticisms you have raised were not about the Hobbit – must have been some other film, or TV series.

            • One Tāne Huna 1.1.2.5.1.1

              Really? Says who?

              “There is no connection between the blacklist [and its eventual retraction], and the choice of production base for The Hobbit.” Peter Jackson.

              “That is why the Govt worked hard to keep it here.” Wayne.

              Can you see why people might think you have fuck-all credibility on this issue or any other?

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.6

          Who do you beleive, Peter Jackson who actually had to deal with the producers, or the entertainment lawyer who didn’t.

          Who to believe??? PJ who got caught lying about the Hobbit fiasco or a lowly lawyer…

          I think I’ll go with the lawyer.

          If you knew there would be no more large scale movie productions, would you still repeal the law?

          But that’s just it – there would still be large scale movie productions. They’d just be made by us rather than be made by a mega-rich multi-national corporation subsidised by us.

  2. marsman 2

    Radio NZ news at midday had a US entertainment lawyer refuting Peter Jackson’s claim that The Hobbit filming was in danger of being moved overseas. In the same newscast was John Key saying no to even bigger tax incentives for big movies in reply to demands by Jackson.

  3. Good stuff Karol.  I wonder why, if it was a case of some foreigners not understanding New Zealand law, there was such an urgent need to change it.

    The whole situation was a manufactured crisis that ultimately led to an increased public subsidy to a foreign corporation to avert something that was not going to happen anyway.

    The justification has been shot to pieces by comments from US entertainment lawyer Jonathan Handel.  He has recently written a book on the subject and says the movies were never at risk of being shot elsewhere because the cost of moving and the impact on the film’s schedule would have been too great.

    “They had a release date set and these schedules are very tight, the amount of work to be done on a huge movie like this is a lot – those (factors) really mitigate against any possibility of moving the film.”

    • karol 3.1

      Thanks, micky – I’ve updated the post to include that link.
      Cheers. 

    • tc 3.2

      The sets were pretty much built at that stage (y’know Hobbiton aka matamata) and the locations already scouted based largely on LOTR locations, the book rights set a hard expiry date that was a non negotiable milestone.

      It was never ever going anywhere else, they knew that but you always need some sort of shonky reason to give your US mates more taxpayer money and a compliant MSM to demonise the likes of Helen Kelly/Robyn Malcolm and plenty of gullable and ill informed punters.

      Those pesky POA workers are next !

  4. burt 4

    It’s just not fair when unions can’t control everything in the best interests of extracting union fees from low paid workers so fat cat union bosses can enjoy better quality Chardonnay.

    • One Tāne Huna 4.1

      What’s unfair is the low intelligence dished out to conservatives at birth.

    • framu 4.2

      what? no retrospective? c’mon burt, your slipping

    • Tracey 4.3

      far better that wages get driven lower so that fat cat bosses can siphon more money offshore and out of the economy aye burt?

      Foreign currency trader goo. Union bad.

      Life’s so simple when you’re rich.

      • tc 4.3.1

        And there’s plenty of holidays and golf courses also Tracey.

      • OneTrack 4.3.2

        We should just held our ground and if they took the movie offshore well too bad. Oh. Wait……

        Good plan guys. Keep doing your best to piss-off the guy who works hard to bring these movies here. Really good encouragement for him to keep coming back. “But the US lawyer said…”. And the Kiwi director said …. And, you guys want to believe the American! Who isn’t even Obama! This must be a first. But keep that confirmation bias going. I do. And it tells me that JK was forced into a situation that he had to react to. And take action he did. And the movie was made here.

        The alternative scenario some of you are presenting here simply doesn’t have that benefit.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.3.2.1

          We should just held our ground and if they took the movie offshore well too bad.

          Yes, that’s exactly what we should have done because there was no fucken chance of the movie being made elsewhere.

        • felix 4.3.2.2

          Not just a clever name, is it?

          • OneTrack 4.3.2.2.1

            Is that some strange version of lefty 101 – play the man and not the ball? Where does this “nasty” meme keep coming from. Is it because your argument is so completely indefensible so name calling is all that’s left. Yep, I think that’s probably it.

    • marsman 4.4

      Yes burt it’s not fair when the Business Roundtable Union wants to control everything and extract everything for their own enrichment.

      • burt 4.4.1

        Correct… But for some reason partisan hacks carrying a blue flag think it is – just like partisan hacks carrying a red flag think it’s fine for the unions.

        It’s good however that you seem to recognise they are the same thing in pointing out the similarity as you have done.

        • Tracey 4.4.1.1

          Except IF the unions are evil, their evil raises working conditions and pay for those at the lowest end of the wage scale… the evil business supports lowering wages and their own tax rate. See the subtle difference?

          • burt 4.4.1.1.1

            Yes I see the difference between our opinions on unions. If unions were as good as they think they are they would have made themselves redundant 50 years ago… Sadly it’s in the union bosses interests to always be fighting the man never quite getting the workers out of poverty – this is the problem….

            • One Tāne Huna 4.4.1.1.1.1

              That must be why union members get paid more than non-union members – to keep them in poverty.

              Fish, meet barrel.

              • burt

                Yes… yes … Most top tax bracket people are union members …. All pigs are feed and ready to fly but I fear you won’t see them take off against the pink sky in your world.

                • One Tāne Huna

                  :roll:

                  Got a substantive argument there Burty?

                • RedLogix

                  Most top tax bracket people are union members

                  Doctors, lawyers, dentists, real-estate agents, stockbrokers, accountants, auditors, engineers … most high-paid professionals are indeed members of ‘unions’.

                  • burt

                    Doctors

                    PSA card carrying public sector Dr’s compared to private practice Dr’s (accepting they probably both belong to the same medical professional associations) – how is the ‘union’ looking now?

                    Lawyers

                    PSA card carrying public sector Lawyers compared to private practice Lawyers (accepting they probably both belong to the same legal professional associations) – how is the ‘union’ looking now?

                    Dentists, real-estate agents, stockbrokers, accountants, auditors, engineers

                    Never know them to have a strike, is their a union or a professional association for the best interests of their patients/clients and professional standards rather than practitioner pay rates ? I do however accept that some of these people may operate under a union collective but would once again question their pay rates compared to private practice expectations.

                    Auckland Wharf workers though… If you average their pay over the last 12 months what effect do the strikes have on their effective pay rates compared to less unionised ports ?

                    • RedLogix

                      Professional associations usually promote the interests of their members in different ways to unions. Typically they ensure that there are fairly high barriers to entry into the profession, restricting the labour supply available and thus ensuring high professional fees can be maintained.

                      And this is note wholly a bad thing because it works partly in the interests of their clientele by providing some minimum reassurance of standards and competency … albeit at the cost of having to pay higher fees.

                      Working class people don’t get the same privilege of being able to control their labour market, as individuals they’re almost always price takers, so for this reason unions have to use other tactics, such as solidarity and strikes to obtain the same ends.

                      But in ultimately while they may look a little different from the outside, at heart workers unions and professional associations perform the identical function … the protection of the value of their members’ labour.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Typically they ensure that there are fairly high barriers to entry into the profession, restricting the labour supply available and thus ensuring high professional fees can be maintained.

                      Which is why the guilds were destroyed and free-market principals implemented brining about huge amounts of poverty and disassociation. It’s the same reason that today’s businesses attack unions.

            • Populuxe1 4.4.1.1.1.2

              Probably because the bosses and their cronies on the right reverse all the progress as soon as a right wing party comes into power.

  5. muzza 5

    Again what people need to understand about Peter Jackson is, as soon as he became “big” he became the property of Hollywood, the studio owners, and those who fund/own them, that is the reality.

    PJ is only about PJ, and those who fund/back him – Sure he was talented in his own right to get on the track, but without that “hollywood” backing he would not even be close to where he is now.

    His owners care nothing about NZ, its people/animals or the workers, and as such this is what PJ speaks/works on behalf of, regardless of what he believes at heart.

    Its called selling out!

    Hollywoods owners are the same people looking currently looking to drill/mine the heck out of NZ, and the same who we repatriate billions of dollars to every year, both in interest/debt servicing, and profit gauging of the goods and services we buy/use!

    • Beryl_Streep 5.1

      Oh my god, he sold out! Wake up sheeple!

      Yep, I was a clueless adolescent once too. Thanks for the memories.

    • OneTrack 5.2

      But, of course, as bad as they are (eating babies, etc., like all neolibs) they wouldn’t think of moving the whole movie to eastern europe if somebody, say a union, starting screwing around with their expensive production, literally days before shooting was meant to start. No, of course not. They are pussycats really.

  6. marsman 6

    We, the NZ taxpayer, should be funding NZ Films. NOT Hollywood films. Let the Hollywood film industry get it’s own funding AND pay a FEE to film in NZ.
    Films like Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit should pay a percentage of the profits to NZ as a return to NZ for funding the films, just like any other backer.

  7. Tracey 7

    LOTR made a big profit. The Hobbit probably will too. So explain to me again why they need a leg up, when say putting together rail carriages in Dunedin did not??

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Because giving the multi-nationals more of our money so that they can buy us out quicker is Nationals sole reason to be. Actually helping NZ to become better is off the table.

      • burt 7.1.1

        Draco

        What would you suggest were Labour’s reasons for doing the same with LOTR as National did with The Hobbit ?

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1

          But they didn’t did they? Labour didn’t re-write the laws and give special tax breaks for one multi-national corporation. They gave general tax breaks to all the multi-national corporations and didn’t re-write the laws.

          And, no, I don’t agree with any government giving tax discounts to multi-nationals. I would rather the same amount be given directly to NZ companies to produce NZ stories in NZ. We’d be far better off for it.

          • burt 7.1.1.1.1

            see: Key defends Hobbit tax deal

            The National Government’s Hobbit tax deal is understood to be worth $75m to Warner Bros across two movies.

            Mr Key indicated Labour’s Warner Bros deal was worth in excess of $100m per movie for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

            I think you missed a memo.

            But Mr Mallard says a tax loophole created by National in the 1990s opened the door for the $200m subsidy.

            But it’s National’s fault even after 9 years of Labour govt … and probably usage of … the loop hole…

        • mike e 7.1.1.2

          Burt the govt was already funding the the hobbit they just asked for more Dickensian idiotJust like a bad parent key” caved in”.

  8. Populuxe1 8

    Because making railway carriages is just a sop to employment rather than anything actually useful to the economy. Unless it’s high end luxury manufacturing, it’s absolutely no good to us because we can never compete with China and India.

    • burt 8.1

      A subsidised work scheme… A crowning achievement of socialism at it’s finest.

      Using other peoples money to keep an entire industry, operation, service or department sheltered from the fact it’s inefficient and uncompetitive. Dressed up as ‘helping’ the sheeple miss the real point that everyone pays more than required so a few don’t need to retrain.

      In a constantly changing world that’s always going to fail – but try telling that to committed flag followers!

  9. One Tāne Huna 9

    “Wingnut” Films. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

    I enjoyed LOTR, but I’m expecting The Hobbit(s) to be a creative (if not box-office) flop. I’ll be delighted to be proved wrong.

  10. Rich 10

    I think it’s all about our politicians getting to party with Famous Movie Actors. Isn’t that worth $100 million and a few law changes?

  11. CJ 11

    I wonder if it’s really “illegal” for the actors, as independent contractors, to collectively bargain for minimum terms and conditions in NZ why there already were collectively bargained minimum terms & conditions for actors (“The Pink Book”)?

    This dispute, between Actors Equity (a Kiwi union btw) and the Screen Production and Development Association, was about updating these – *not* about putting them in place at all.

    Added to that, the agreement between SPADA and NZ Equity concluded on 13 October 2010 (which led to the grey listing of the production being lifted by the FIA (International Federation of Actors on or before 17 October) was to begin bargaining on that very update.

    So the film production industry body in NZ has agreed to enter illegal collective bargaining with the union?

    Really?

    Colour me sceptical but anyone who continues to peddle this line is mis-representing the facts – whether wilfully or mistakenly.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      I wonder if it’s really “illegal” for the actors, as independent contractors, to collectively bargain for minimum terms and conditions in NZ why there already were collectively bargained minimum terms & conditions for actors (“The Pink Book”)?

      It is and it’s been that way for centuries and the Pink Book is a set of guidelines not an actual binding agreement.

  12. OneTrack 12

    Did Labour decide at their conference that they are actually going to ditch the hobbit law. If not, why not. If so, will be interesting to see how many more movies will be made in NZ. With some of the comments here it looks like poor PJ might even be banned from working in NZ at all.

    • McFlock 12.1

      good question. Stupid hypothesis of a relationship between that and the movie industry, though. At least this time you were an intellectual rollercoaster, rather than your usual brick impersonation.

  13. Mike 13

    I remember the whole bullshit “movie going offshore” crap from Jackson got me into an interesting email argument with the editor at the Herald, who will no longer publish my letters. This is the txt of the original email I sent to the paper… (I may have put this up before in another thread so apologies if I have, but it just goes to show how much it got on my wick..hehehe)

    Letter to the herald regarding Time Warner and The Hobbit.

    Sir

    I find it extraordinary that one media corporation, namely Time Warner has enough power not only to get millions in concessions from our government, but to be able to actually force a law change in our country. 1.4 million New Zealanders recently asked for a law change through referendum and were ignored. But one American corporation which exists only to maximise profit for its foreign owners requests a law change and our Prime Minister pushes through a new law in less than a day! This shows John Key’s true colours, always profit before people just like in his days working on the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Those criticizing the actors and CTU should remember that for centuries our ancestors have fought and sometimes sacrificed their lives fighting for the human rights we enjoy today. However small a particular right may be, to flippantly suggest that someone should give up that right to a foreign corporation is hugely disrespectful to those ancestors. Wake up New Zealand. Your government clearly views the profiteering demands of a foreign corporation as more important than those of the New Zealand people. We must be a laughing stock in Hollywood.

    ********

    Reply from Kevin Hart, Letters Editor

    Dear reader. John Key never worked for the Federal Reserve. If you wish your letter to be considered for publication, you might amend it so it is factually correct. Regards.
    Kevin Hart.
    NZ Herald.

    ********

    My reply back to Kevin

    Hi Kevin

    Below taken from wiki and from John Key’s own website. My understanding is that the New York Fed is the main branch of the United States Federal Reserve. (A privately owned run for profit central bank) I have amended the letter to reflect (see below). Hope that suits

    regards
    Mike

    In 1995, he joined Merrill Lynch as head of Asian foreign exchange in Singapore. That same year he was promoted to Merrill’s global head of foreign exchange, based in London, where he may have earned around US$2.25 million a year including bonuses, which is about NZ$5 million at 2001 exchange rates. Some co-workers called him “the smiling assassin” for maintaining his usual cheerfulness while sacking dozens (some say hundreds) of staff after heavy losses from the 1998 Russian financial crisis.[4][8] He was a member of the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve Bank from 1999 to 2001.[9]

    ********

    Kevin’s reply back to me
    Mike. The Federal Reserve is the US equivalent of our Reserve Bank. To repeat, John Key had had nothing to do with it. Regards.
    Kevin Hart.
    NZ Herald.

    ********

    My reply back again to Kevin

    Hi Kevin

    Thank you for your reply. Being a journalist, your research skills are no doubt a good deal better than mine; so I’d be grateful if you could point me in the right direction in the hope I can get the correct information now and in the future? I’m trying to find a summary of John Key’s work history prior to him becoming an MP in NZ. The links below are some of the sources I have used to gather my information. But they all state Key’s involvement with the New York Federal Reserve, an organisation you’re telling me that “John Key had had nothing to do with”

    So I’m confused, as the sources I’ve listed would appear to be reliable, including an article from your own New Zealand Herald. I would really appreciate your help in finding the true facts regarding this matter, which I’m assuming you must get from a non-mainstream, non-widely regarded, perhaps even non-even heard of, secret journalist source?

    thanks in advance and regards
    Mike
    http://www.newyorkfed.org/fxc/members/members_past.html
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10412660
    http://www.ny.frb.org/fxc/members/members_past.html
    http://www.johnkey.co.nz/pages/bio.html
    http://www.national.org.nz/bio.aspx?id=28
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article5119885.ece
    http://www.nyse.com/press/1253528968415.html
    http://www.thecommonwealth.org/YearbookInternal/172036/head_of_government/

    ********

    Received no further correspondence

    • Gosman 13.1

      Technically both of you are correct as he never worked for the Federal Reserve but was a member of the Foreign Exchange committee that came under their auspices.

      The FXC sounds like it is more an industry advisory group than any direct report arm of the Federal Reserve. It would be similar to someone being made a member of a government board in NZ. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are a member of Government or support the views of the current government of the day.

      I’m not sure what your problem with this is exactly. John Key was a top Foreign exchange trader. This body was set up to advise the Federal Reserve on matters relating to that sector. Surely it is a good thing that his advice was sought.

      • One Tāne Huna 13.1.1

        The natural suspicion that arises, given the timing, is that the rotten lowlife had something to do with the repeal of Glass/Steagel.

        • Gosman 13.1.1.1

          This should be realitively easy to find out. The minutes of the FXC and any recommendations they made are likely to be available to read. EDIT: in fact they are. Here is a link to their work in 2000 when John Key was involved.

          http://www.newyorkfed.org/fxc/annualreports/ar2000/fxcar00.html

          However I suggest it is unlikely the FXC would be recommending the repeal of Glass/Steagal. It made little difference to the Foreign exchange markets whether Retail and Merchant banking were kept separate. It did make a big difference to the Bond markets though.

        • Gosman 13.1.1.2

          Here are the highlights of the areas they were involved with in that year

          -e-commerce and its expected impact on prevailing best practices and procedures, -the expected operation of the CLS (Continuous Linked Settlement) Bank and how the CLS will affect different institutions,
          – ring-fencing1 and possible ways to avert industry disruptions,
          – possible solutions to the problems caused by unscheduled holidays
          – ways to improve the operations of the barrier options market.

          How insidious. I can see why you lefties are up in arms. How dare these evil people think up ways of solving the problem of unscheduled holidays. Prison is too good for this lot.

          • One Tāne Huna 13.1.1.2.1

            Thanks for the link Gos. I doubt you’ve had time to trawl through the whole lot (shall we leave that to Penny?), so your opinion is faith based at best. Points duly noted however.

            • Gosman 13.1.1.2.1.1

              I’d suggest it is a little more than faith based. I have been involved with the finance industry for the past 16 years and have worked for a number of investment banks. Funnily enough they aren’t staffed entirely with Hell demons intent on enslaving the rest of humanity. That’s just Goldman Sachs.

              I am surprised that someone like Mike hasn’t taken the time to find this out for himself though. It took me little more than 5 minutes to find this information. Actually strike that. I’m not surprised at all. People like Mike aren’t interested in the mundane reality of business. They much prefer to see evil conspiracies behind everything they don’t fully understand.

              • One Tāne Huna

                Hell demons? I thought they were vampire squid :)

              • felix

                Gos, you really ought to drop all the conspiracy stuff. It makes you look paranoid.

                The finance industry is full of ideologues intent on enriching themselves at the expense of everyone else. That’s uncontroversial.

                Why do you always have to turn it into “hell demons” and “evil” and “enslavement”?

                ps The editor isn’t “technically right”, he says “To repeat, John Key had had nothing to do with it.”

                Mike is “technically right” but not entirely accurate, as you’ve pointed out, but the editor is 100% wrong in that statement.

                • Gosman

                  I was meaning the editor was correct when he stated that John Key never worked for the Federal Reserve. This is an accurate statement.

                  As for your views on the Finance industry, I suspect you have never worked for a major investment bank so base your opinions on secondhand information.

                  There are people working in banks that match your criteria just as I am sure I can find similar types of people in any organisation, including charities. My mother used to be a member of the Pacific Institute of Resource Management in the early 1990’s and that was run by a complete sociopath.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I was meaning the editor was correct when he stated that John Key never worked for the Federal Reserve. This is an accurate statement.

                    Key was a member on the foreign exchange committee of one of the Federal Reserve’s most important constituent members: the Federal Reserve of New York.

                    So he was a relatively senior player in the Federal Reserve system.

                    • Gosman

                      No he wasn’t. He was a member of an industry advisory group. He had no managerial authority within the Federal Reserve system at all.

                    • felix

                      lol Gos, I’m just gonna put the goalposts back now, k?

                      Mike. The Federal Reserve is the US equivalent of our Reserve Bank. To repeat, John Key had had nothing to do with it. Regards.
                      Kevin Hart.

                      Kick away.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      No he wasn’t. He was a member of an industry advisory group. He had no managerial authority within the Federal Reserve system at all.

                      Key was a member of a NY Fed committee responsibile for GOVERNANCE.

                      Your bullshit use of the phrase “managerial authority” neatly and accurately sidesteps this fact, but in the final analysis is nothing more than obfuscation.

                  • felix

                    “I was meaning the editor was correct when he stated that John Key never worked for the Federal Reserve. This is an accurate statement. “

                    Ok Gos, try this one. It’s the same as (parallel to) what the editor wrote:

                    The cat is not a dog, the cat is not a mammal.

                    To be consistent you’ll have to say that I’m being technically correct. Which I’m definitely not.

                    ps That’s no way to talk about your Mum.

                    • Gosman

                      Given my mother did not run the organisation I think I’m safe from any charge of insulting her.

                    • felix

                      Please answer the first part of the comment rather than the silly bit at the end, Gos.

                      Am I technically correct or not?

      • Mike 13.1.2

        “Technically both of you are correct as he never worked for the Federal Reserve but was a member of the Foreign Exchange committee that came under their auspices. ”

        You’re missing the point. In my letter, I didn’t say he worked for the Fed, as per the letter above, I wrote – “just like in his days working on the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve Bank.”

        The editor stated that Key had had nothing to do with the Fed, which is clearly incorrect. Regardless, if the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Fed isn’t working for the Fed then who is it working for?

        I’m not interested in the function of the committee or what they do, I was simply alerting people to Key’s connection with the Fed, a dodgy corporation at best.

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    Labour | 17-11
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens | 17-11
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens | 16-11
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour | 13-11
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour | 13-11
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens | 13-11
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour | 12-11
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens | 12-11
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour | 11-11
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Morbid Symptoms: Can Labour Be Born Anew?
    THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • What’s Small, White, and Having Trouble Attracting New People?
    If your answer was something intimately connected to the person of Peter Dunne … then you’d be right. Last night, P-Dunney decided to bring his comedy and/or hair stylings to the twitterverse; penning a potentially somewhat ill-advised tweet in which he compared...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • LATE at the Auckland Museum review – Slacktivisim: Its not just for Slack...
    Monday night is my yoga night. I’m not really very good it, I don’t really have the bendy, but I made a New Years resolution. This Monday however, I decided to put the yoga on prone and attend a gig...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared
      This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Real reasons to fear Government’s new approach to child poverty
    Now  I really am worried.  Selling state houses is bad enough but a taking a ‘social investment focus’ to deal with child poverty? “The Treasury will issue a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Power to the people!
    With all the huffing and puffing of the election out of the way and the right-wing still in ascendancy after 30 years of community-sapping neoliberalism it was a pleasure to attend a strike by workers at Carl’s Jr in Lincoln...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: OIA reveals WINZ trespassing 400 people a year
    W.I.N.Z is broken and it’s breaking my heart. Every year WINZ issues trespass notices to just under 400 people. 2008 / 418 2009 /  382 2010 /  347 2011 /  411 2012 /  373 2013 /  384 And this year...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • So David Farrar and the Government were wrong on gangs after all?
    Oh the predictability of this… Ministers acted on inaccurate gang data Cabinet signed off tough new measures to tackle gangs on the basis of inaccurate information which over-estimated the scale of the crime problem. The briefing paper told ministers 4000...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • State Services Commissioner on Roger Sutton Investigation
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton’s conduct was robust. Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Predator Free NZ project welcomed
    Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Stock rustling set to continue under lax laws
    The theft and illegal slaughter of farm stock can only be expected to continue if tougher laws are not introduced, said ACT Leader David Seymour today....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Visit of President Xi Jinping to New Zealand
    As president Xi Jinping of China pays short visit to New Zealand, of Friends of Tibet (NZ) has called upon Foreign Minister Hon Murray McCully and the Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key to raise the issue of Human Rights...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Right to Life Congratulates the new Labour Leader
    Right to Life congratulates Andrew Little MP, on being elected as the new leader of the Labour Party. This is a very important election as Andrew Little is now a Prime Minister in waiting His election follows a line of...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Reply to open letter on earthquake repair in Christchurch
    You raise many points and I acknowledge the frustration some people are experiencing when their homes are still not repaired or rebuilt. We have consistently said that the scale and complexity of events has always meant that it will not...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Andrew Little New Labour Party Leader
    In a press conference held on Tuesday in the Labour Party Caucus room at Parliament, it was announced Andrew Little had been voted in as Leader of the Labour party....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
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