Archive for October, 2010

Mark Ames on the rally to restore sanity

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 pm, October 31st, 2010 - 27 comments

Liberals too cool to be caught standing for anything sit on the fence and make clever whithering comment while oligarchs who realise just how serious it really is wage war on the poor and the middle class.

No, it’s not the Hobbit fiasco, it’s Mark Ames’ take on the rally for vanity and what it really means for the US.

We don’t know how lucky we are

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, October 31st, 2010 - 27 comments

There was in interesting snippet in The Herald on Thursday: “NZ scores fifth place in world prosperity stakes”.  Not much detail, so it was good to see a follow up on Saturday with a lot more detail.  Take home message – we don’t know how lucky we are!

The dust settles on the Hobbit fiasco

Written By: - Date published: 9:54 am, October 31st, 2010 - 35 comments

Eventually the dust was going to settle on the Hobbit fiasco and the truth was going to come out.

Fortunately the media has done a bloody good job of making sure that happened.

So what have they been saying?

NZ gets a shake-down

Written By: - Date published: 8:37 am, October 31st, 2010 - 13 comments

From 1999 t0 2009, the economy grew by $8 billion a year. It’s so bad now the Prime Minister hands over $33 million and our sovereignty as soon as foreign capital says ‘boo’. Which international corporate will shake us down next? Maybe if the Nats had a plan for the economy. Then we could stand on our own feet. But they’re asleep at the wheel.

Open mike 31/10/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 31st, 2010 - 20 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

Stewart interviews some guy called Obama

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 pm, October 30th, 2010 - 14 comments

It’s a strange world we live in when comedians step out of the box and become the best political interviewers that America has to offer. But so it goes!  Here is Jon Stewart interviewing President Obama.  It will be interesting to see how the Stewart / Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity goes this weekend.

On the foreshore

Written By: - Date published: 3:21 pm, October 30th, 2010 - 10 comments

Seems like the Maori Party conference is off to a rocky start.  Likely to get even rockier as they move on to the main event today, the vexed issue of the foreshore and seabed.  The differences between the existing Act and the proposed replacement Bill are mostly symbolic.  Is a symbolic change enough for the Maori Party?

Democratising capital

Written By: - Date published: 10:18 am, October 30th, 2010 - 83 comments

After the Hobbit debacle, no-one can fail to understand the power that those who control capital exercise in a capitalist economy. The system is set up for them, hence the name, and their power is never stronger than during recessions. While capital is unaccountable, we cannot have true democracy and freedom. How can we democratise capital?

Rolling back transparency

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 am, October 30th, 2010 - 41 comments

Last year MPs’ spending was opened up to public scrutiny, and many hailed a “new era” of openness. Well it didn’t last long.  Now MPs’ travel costs are to become secret again.  We won’t get to know about cases like Rodney Hide and Chris Carter.  This will prevent incidents like the Carter witch-hunt. But on balance I have to come down on the side of transparency.  This move to start rolling it back is a mistake.

Open mike 30/10/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 30th, 2010 - 43 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

A rushed law, a bad law

Written By: - Date published: 5:11 pm, October 29th, 2010 - 53 comments

The Hobbit Enabling Act is meant to do is say ‘you’re an employee if you are called an employee in your contract, if not, you’re a contractor’. But it doesn’t say that and it doesn’t override the Bryson case that caused the ‘uncertainty’ Warners supposedly feared. Now, nobody knows what the law actually is. Well-founded disagreements will mean court cases.

Friday fun: in praise of public transport

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, October 29th, 2010 - 2 comments

Another 5-second film. Joyce might want his holiday highway Road of Personal Significance but has he considered the benefits of buses for crime fighting?

And Glenn Beck loses it after some web comic guys launch their self-published book on Amazon and beat him out of first place.

Meanwhile, elsewhere.

Written By: - Date published: 1:10 pm, October 29th, 2010 - 21 comments

28% of the population raised out of poverty.

50% growth over a five and a half year period

8.2% growth per annum

Unemployment down from 21.5% to 8.5%

Inflation adjusted wages up by more than 40%

Going backwards with National

Written By: - Date published: 11:59 am, October 29th, 2010 - 32 comments

It takes a lot to screw up a great country like New Zealand. It can’t be done overnight. But if you’re really negligent, anti-worker, and focused on hand outs to the rich, you can start to make things worse pretty quickly. Let’s look at the key measures of National’s performance, according to their own criteria:

Tourism: revenue flat, employment down

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, October 29th, 2010 - 29 comments

I’m confused by the up beat coverage of the tourism figures released on Wednesday. Have people actually read the numbers? Tourism is in decline. Employment and revenue are still going down, and the next time oil prices go through the roof, the situation will get worse. No cycleway will change that.

Death threats and dud deals

Written By: - Date published: 9:10 am, October 29th, 2010 - 77 comments

Today we learn just how extreme some of the anti-union nutters in our country are, with news of death threats to unionists and actors involved in The Hobbit fiasco.  I hope we hear soon of a sustained police effort to track down the perpetrators.  Or are we as a country going to effectively condone these actions by ignoring them?

Tolley twisting on education

Written By: - Date published: 8:02 am, October 29th, 2010 - 24 comments

According to a recent piece in The Herald: “Education Minister Anne Tolley said a recognition that New Zealand’s education was the best in the world did not rule out reform.”  Reform may not be ruled out.  But charging ahead with untested, unwanted, and probably damaging national standards certainly is.  Where is the case for them, if our education system is so good?

Open mike 29/10/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 29th, 2010 - 52 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

At least Barbara Castle had some guts

Written By: - Date published: 9:07 pm, October 28th, 2010 - 10 comments

Wellington’s Embassy theatre hosted the New Zealand premiere of the Ring movies a few years ago. There’s another good movie showing there now. It comes from the producer of “Calendar Girls” and is called “Made in Dagenham”. It tells the story of women sewing machinists who went on strike for equal pay at England’s largest […]

The changes to employment law

Written By: - Date published: 7:36 pm, October 28th, 2010 - 40 comments

The government is currently rushing through changes to employment law.

But the change won’t make any difference to the kind of action Actors Equity took.

So what’s the point?

Campbell on Key’s sell out

Written By: - Date published: 3:39 pm, October 28th, 2010 - 18 comments

Scoop’s Gordon Campbell has written a long piece on the Hobbit settlement and its implications.  Key said that we couldn’t match the tax deals offered by other countries, but according to Campbell’s calculations that’s exactly what we have done. Campbell also has harsh words to say about Key’s “skill” as a negotiator, and advice about strengthening the film industry in NZ.

20 hours free to go?

Written By: - Date published: 1:57 pm, October 28th, 2010 - 30 comments

The last Labour government introduced 20 hours free early childhood education.  It’s a resource that many parents have since come to rely on, taking some pressure off household budgets as every other cost seems to keep on going up and up.  But now we have the latest in a series of indications that the Nats are going to cut the programme…

The best country money can buy

Written By: - Date published: 12:35 pm, October 28th, 2010 - 95 comments

Today, the Hobbit Enabling Act will be slammed through Parliament by National removing the right of employees working in the film industry to get employment rights if their contract calls them a contractor. It’s the latest in a series of anti-democratic laws that show National is the party of big business, not democracy and ordinary Kiwis.

Q&A on The Hobbit

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, October 28th, 2010 - 83 comments

The Right argues that an already settled labour dispute involving a small union somehow scared a multi-billion film company enough to make them consider abandoning the $100 million already invested in NZ. Blue has gone beyond the slogans and done some excellent research to answers our questions on what really happened.

Harawira off foreshore committee

Written By: - Date published: 9:06 am, October 28th, 2010 - 7 comments

Select committees are very important. They take Bills after first reading, hear submissions, and recommend alterations. Ministers do not (usually) sit on them and they are not meant to be mere rubber stamps for the government. But Harawira’s removal from the foreshore committee shows this government doesn’t care about good lawmaking.

Caption Contest

Written By: - Date published: 7:39 am, October 28th, 2010 - 24 comments

  There was some expenditure that didn’t qualify under the old scheme…We’ve looked to broaden that out. John Key on Warner Brothers, 27 Oct 2010

Open mike 28/10/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 28th, 2010 - 48 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

The price of our hysteria

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 pm, October 27th, 2010 - 178 comments

The Government will give the Hobbit producers an extra $33 million to stay in New Zealand and it’s going to use this ‘crisis’ as an excuse to slam through more anti-worker laws. New Zealand has been played like naive hicks. The Hobbit was never leaving. We let Jackson and his Hollywood mates whip us into a frenzy of fear – now we’re paying the cost.

Key’s announcement

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 pm, October 27th, 2010 - 178 comments

John Key will be making an announcement on The Hobbit this evening, with a press conference due to be held at 7.20pm. Will update this post after the announcement.

Update: Predictably, the movies are staying in NZ, with a sell out of our employment law, and further tax sweeteners for the studios.

Matt McCarten standing in Mana

Written By: - Date published: 2:07 pm, October 27th, 2010 - 95 comments

Matt McCarten is chucking his hat into the ring for the Mana by election.  This is a typically gutsy move by McCarten, but a third candidate on the left simply isn’t going to find the space for a win.  My guess is that he will split the Green vote.  But with Key quietly campaigning in Mana, Labour needs to stay on top of their game. Labour activists — with greetings and thanks to you all — get out there and give it all you have!…

Gillard gives Key the finger

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, October 27th, 2010 - 12 comments

It’s highly unusual for a new PM to meet a foreign leader of the opposition before she meets her fellow leader. But Julia Gillard’s direct snub of John Key is a fair payback for the leaks by the Key Government to try to help his mate Tony Abbott win the Australian election. Key didn’t set up the Gillard-Goff meeting. But his actions certainly cleared the way.

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