Archive for October, 2010

An invitation to Warner Brothers to be up front

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, October 27th, 2010 - 7 comments

Wallace Chapman has a thoughtful Open Letter to the visiting Warner Brothers executives on his blog, inviting them to front up to the New Zealand public: We have a small segment called “Soapbox” and we’d just love you to come over and join us and speak your mind to camera for 60 seconds. We know […]

Tax Cuts or High Wages?

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, October 27th, 2010 - 17 comments

At the last election we chose tax cuts and unemployment instead of stimulus and stability – which was the more ambitious, high wage way to go?

National are not fulfilling their government’s core reason for existence: closing the wage gap with Australia.  No, we’re fast going backwards on that score, and it’s predictable: high unemployment causes low wages.

Key’s Banana Republic?

Written By: - Date published: 8:50 am, October 27th, 2010 - 34 comments

So the question is: will John Key turn us into a tin-pot banana republic by changing employment law to suit Warners, and make one movie?

Are we going to change our laws, and remove protections every time a company demands it to invest in Aotearoa?

Lord of the tax breaks: A history of capital flight threats

Written By: - Date published: 7:53 am, October 27th, 2010 - 87 comments

The Hobbit ‘crisis’ is just the latest in a series of capital flight threats from Jackson and Hollywood. We’ll end up paying more to stave off the threat of capital flight because the wider economic benefit makes it worthwhile. Key is trying to talk down how much we can pay but he bears responsibility for talking up the ‘crisis’ to put the boot into unions.

Open mike 27/10/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 27th, 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…

Tax breaks and the Hobbit

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

From Stuff: A meeting between Warner Brothers and senior government ministers has ended, with studio executives asking for larger incentives to keep The Hobbit movies in NZ. The two-hour meeting, which included New Line Cinema boss Toby Emmerich, ended with no resolution to the Hobbit standoff…

Universal Income & the Minimum Wage

Written By: - Date published: 12:50 pm, October 26th, 2010 - 96 comments

There is no need to tolerate the existence of poverty. It is an economic and social drag on our country that wastes human potential. The minimum wage, super, and benefits help, yet 15% of Kiwis, and 20% of kids, live in households with incomes below 60% of the average income. A universal income is the best way to eliminate the blight of poverty.

Bending over for Warner Brothers

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, October 26th, 2010 - 27 comments

Otago Law Professor Paul Roth says possible law changes by the Key Government to provide more tax-payer funded charity to corporate giants Warner Bros Entertainment is ‘Third-World’ lawmaking and a ‘race to the bottom’ in an attempt to compete against developing nations with little or no labour rights. Roth says if we ‘lie back and prostitute ourselves […]

The State Housing review

Written By: - Date published: 10:35 am, October 26th, 2010 - 18 comments

It’s not surprising that the Housing Shareholders Advisory Group came to the conclusions it did. Despite its name, the group included no state house tenants. It was a group packed with private social housing providers, hand-picked to deliver the conclusion that these groups should be given control of state houses.

As The Dust Settles

Written By: - Date published: 10:06 am, October 26th, 2010 - 7 comments

It appears that Bob Parker is about to kick up a storm by insisting that commercial buildings be either repaired or demolished by 31/01/11.  He should be reaping a whirlwind.

Mana campaign heating up

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 am, October 26th, 2010 - 53 comments

The Mana by-election campaign has largely been missing from the national political news in the last few weeks, due in part to bigger stories but also because National is purposely running an under the radar campaign. John Key is spending a lot of time in Mana, hoping to surprise Labour and the media. Time to fight back.

Win win for Key

Written By: - Date published: 7:18 am, October 26th, 2010 - 155 comments

Lucky John Key – he’s going to have a great week!  It’s hard to see how he can lose.  He’ll either be the man who single-handedly saved The Hobbit, or he’ll be handed a big stick to beat the evil unions with forever.  In reality, however, the decision to keep the movies here is probably already made.  Key’s ego will be just another tool used against him in negotiations as the studios go for the best deal they can get…

Open mike 26/10/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 26th, 2010 - 54 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 time of trouble, a time for action

Written By: - Date published: 2:15 pm, October 25th, 2010 - 4 comments

The release of 400,000 classified documents on the Iraq war today highlights a much broader issue for New Zealand. As the world moves into uncertainty, some commentators call it a ‘new new world order’, New Zealand must establish itself definitively, cementing the values we wish to hold true for the coming century.

The sea-change on the left

Written By: - Date published: 1:59 pm, October 25th, 2010 - 40 comments

One of the strange things about helping to run a left blog like this is looking at the varied opinions of those on the left of the political spectrum, and then looking at the monolithic opinions that the right seem to have of the left. I was musing on this while reading Matt McCarten’s excellent Saturday article. Now you have to understand that Matt and myself are almost at the ends of the spectrum when it comes to politics on the left….

Granny Herald opening eyes?

Written By: - Date published: 11:43 am, October 25th, 2010 - 2 comments

There was an excellent piece in the Saturday Herald by John Armstrong.  A large 2-page spread, fairly prominent in the paper, and not critical of Labour.  Not fulsome praise; just great, unbiased reporting.

Now admittedly I shouldn’t get excited by such things, but the steadily slipping standards of New Zealand’s papers, combined with a media love-in with National at the last election, leaves good quality newspaper  journalism a sight to behold.

Tolley – the reverse Rumpelstiltskin

Written By: - Date published: 10:10 am, October 25th, 2010 - 3 comments

Rumplestiltskin spun hay into gold. It stikes me Anne Tolley is quickly becoming a “reverse Rumplestiltskin”. Taking a very successful Early Childhood Education sector and stripping out millions, putting the primary sector through the national standards debacle, forcing secondary teachers to strike – Tolley is turning gold into hay.

Performance Pay Paradox

Written By: - Date published: 8:57 am, October 25th, 2010 - 26 comments

I’ve just been reading The Age of Absurdity, which has many good ideas on modern happiness.

One of the ideas that won’t cause happiness – but will decrease motivation and quality of work – is performance related pay.

(Consumerism and a Sense of Entitlement also causes unhappiness, but big ups to Personal Responsibility. None of that is in this post though)

Labour Day: Thank a unionist

Written By: - Date published: 7:58 am, October 25th, 2010 - 138 comments

The Nats and their repeaters are trying to paint unions as some kind of public enemy.  How can we be a public enemy when we are the public?  Unions are just people.  Unions exist to work for our rights.  Rights like the eight hour working day, the origin of the celebration of Labour Day.  If you enjoy decent conditions at work, if you’re enjoying your long weekend, why not thank a unionist!

Open mike 25/10/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 25th, 2010 - 57 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…

Two conflicts don’t make a right

Written By: - Date published: 8:37 pm, October 24th, 2010 - 10 comments

Former ACT MP Deborah Coddington isn’t a journo anymore. Shot her reputation with the infamous ‘Asian Angst’ piece. Just does opinion pieces now. Strange, then, to see her by-line on 2 Herald articles attempting to vindicate disgraced conflict of interest judge Bill Wilson. Turns out her husband was Wilson’s lawyer.

Key the real target of Hobbit producers’ game

Written By: - Date published: 2:01 pm, October 24th, 2010 - 70 comments

The Hobbit ‘crisis’ is all about money. It’s about the producers of this long-troubled production, who are in financial difficulty, wanting to minimise their up-front costs. The mark in the con is the only one with cash to offer on the scale they need – the Prime Minister. He’s the one with the most to lose and the most ability to pay.

Some “watchdog”

Written By: - Date published: 12:20 pm, October 24th, 2010 - 23 comments

No Right Turn asks some questions about the behaviour of the Independent Police Conduct Authority in deeming the release of information about unlawful behaviour by the Police as “not in the public interest”. There are few safeguards on the police – perhaps the main one should explain its decision in this case.

I’ve had enough and I want my share

Written By: - Date published: 11:47 am, October 24th, 2010 - 7 comments

The Secretary for Education Karen Sewell has just had a minimum pay rise of $30,000p.a. Ironically the same 4% that teachers are after. Here is some maths for Mrs Sewell. Her 4% is 30,000 dollars. 4% of a teachers salary of around $65k is $2,600 dollars.

They do both start with P

Written By: - Date published: 10:58 am, October 24th, 2010 - 7 comments

“They are blue – to match other uniforms in the justice sector such as police.” These words from the Police Minister are very difficult to misconstrue. The choice of colour was deliberate and in case everyone has forgotten, the uniforms were olive to make the clear distinction of Prison Officers from Police. The Government is blurring the distinction.

Open mike 24/10/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 24th, 2010 - 21 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…

Some clarity on the Hobbit dispute

Written By: - Date published: 8:58 pm, October 23rd, 2010 - 103 comments

After days of trying to read the media and rumour mill tea-leaves on the Hobbit it was time to do some fact checking.

It turns out this has been a hard lesson in how the international film industry works.

Government manoeuvres on the Hobbit

Written By: - Date published: 12:37 pm, October 23rd, 2010 - 82 comments

Fran O’Sullivan reckons the Government will offer tax-breaks to keep the Hobbit in NZ.

But it also looks like they’ll try to keep claim it’s about the (settled) dispute.

If that’s the case there’s some truly gymnastic spin to look forward to this week.

Time to Export More, At Higher Value

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, October 23rd, 2010 - 36 comments

There was a time when New Zealand gave overseas aid to developing countries like Singapore. But we stopped moving forwards after the neoliberal revolution. Today New Zealand is still reliant on low value added commodity trading for its sustenance. One which is struggling to pay its bills after a lengthy period of selling off its economic sovereignty.

A welcome shift to the centre

Written By: - Date published: 9:18 am, October 23rd, 2010 - 32 comments

Labour’s new economic agenda is a welcome shift to the centre.

It’s the first time in more than 25 years that a major party has turned its back on the neo-liberal policies that have failed New Zealand so badly.

Bloody good stuff!

Labour policy Maori policy

Written By: - Date published: 8:18 am, October 23rd, 2010 - 19 comments

In a press release last week Tariana Turia claimed that Labour’s new policy directions are all Maori Party policies.  That puts the Maori Party in an interesting position after the next election.  Will the major party that they support be dictated by their policies, Labour’s policies, as Turia claims?  Or will their support be dictated by other, non-policy factors?

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