A rushed law, a bad law

Written By: - Date published: 5:11 pm, October 29th, 2010 - 53 comments
Categories: Parliament, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

Charles Chauvel made a very good point about the Hobbit Enabling Act that National pushed through Parliament on Warner Bros’ instructions and National’s lawmaking practice in general last night.

The HBA says that the provision that all film workers are contractors “does not apply if the person is a party to, or covered by, an employment agreement that provides that the person is an employee.”

What this 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’. The problem is that it doesn’t say that. Straight off, you can see the definition is sort of circular: ‘you’re an employee if you’re an employee’ but it gets worse because to define ’employment agreement’ we rely on the very case that this law is meant to be supersede.

To understand, we have to go back to the Bryson case. Bryson was employed (without a written contract) by 3-foot six (a Jackson company) working fixed 8-hour days. He had a set lunch break, he got training, he was paid $18 an hour. In every way, you would describe him as an employee of 3-foot six. Six months in, the bosses presented Bryson and his workmates with contracts that referred to them as ‘independent contractors’. Bryson objected, because he didn’t want to lose his employment rights and have the employers’ GST and ACC costs lumped on him.

The Surpreme Court decided, in keeping with well established law, to apply the ‘duck rule’ – if it looks like an employment relationship (set work hours, breaks, expectations of holiday pay etc), it is an employment relationship. It was held that Bryson in fact did have an employment agreement and was an employee, despite 3 foot six attempting to make him into an independent contractor.

Following that ruling the law was clear: it is the facts of the employment relationship that give rise to the employment agreement, not the mere words on the paper the bosses thrust under the worker’s nose. The law was so settled that there has not been one more case over whether a worker is an employee or a contractor in the five and a half years since it was decided.

So, let’s go back to the law: the provision that all film workers are contractors “does not apply if the person is a party to, or covered by, an employment agreement that provides that the person is an employee.”

How do you define an employment agreement? Bosses will say that it’s simple, if the contract calls the worker an employee they have an employment agreement. But the Hobbit Enabling Act doesn’t expressly say that, so we have to go to case law.

Since the Bryson case hasn’t been explicitly overridden by this law its findings still stand. Bryson still forms the basis of how ’employment agreement’ is defined, ie on the facts, not on the mere wording. Or, at least, that’s a strong argument that many people will make if their employer tries to reclassify them as an independent contractor.

Before workers and employers knew that if they were, on the facts of the working relationship, in an employment relationship then the workers had employment rights. Now, the workers might say ‘the facts of my work mean I have an employment agreement, therefore my employment rights remain’ while the bosses might say ‘no you don’t, your contract says that makes you a contractor’.

So, the ‘problem’ hasn’t been solved at all. ‘Certainty’ hasn’t been provided. In fact, there’s greater uncertainty.

There will be many people right now looking at their working relationships and contracts to try to work out how to apply the HBA and Bryson, and who is an employee and who is a contractor. Reasonable people will disagree with strong arguments, which will lead to court cases.

Speaking in what appears to be Gabblese, Key seems to be acknowledging that the law doesn’t actually do what it purports to do:

“I rely on PCO and the lawyers to put all that stuff together. It’s never a perfect process going through urgency, we acknowledge and accept that, even when it’s a clarification for law. As a general rule we try and send legislation through a proper process right through to the select committee, just sometimes that’s not the case and this is not one of them.”

Take away the mangled syntax and information-free statements (yes, John we know it didn’t go to select committee, the question is why not) and Key is saying ‘yeah, we rushed and we stuffed up but I’m relaxed about it’.

Don’t you love a Prime Minister who refers to the law that he has just forced the Parliament to go into over-time to pass as “all the stuff”?

This is what you get when you rush through poorly thought-out laws. Whenever a new law is passed people have to look at it and decide how it applies to them in the real world. When the drafting is vague and doesn’t wholly address the existing situation, people are going to have strong and legitimate disagreements on how to interpret the new law and those disagreements have to be decided in court. It can be better to have settled law that is sub-optimal rather than constantly changing the law so nobody knows where they stand.

If this law had gone through select committee it would almost certainly have come out with this problematic drafting fixed so that there could be no confusion as to what an employment agreement is.

Which is exactly why you don’t rush though laws. But it’s National’s standard practice to do so. It has rushed through all kinds of legislation with vague definitions that are now leading to court cases.

Rushed law is not good law. By abusing the lawmaking process and slamming half-arse bills through Parliament, National is simply creating more problems for the future.

PS. I’ve just watched Chauvel’s third reading speech. Apparently, Wilkinson added a last minute amendment that an employment agreement must be in writing, thinking this cleared up the problem Chauvel has identified. As Chavuel explains, this doesn’t clear things up – it makes things worse. He also points out that by weakening labour laws, we’ve violated the China Free Trade Agreement. God, how embarrassing.

53 comments on “A rushed law, a bad law”

  1. The further problem is that “Employment Agreement” is defined in the legislation as the “contract of service”. As recognised in Bryson this can include verbal as well as written terms, depending on how the contract is formed. So it seems very likely to me that the Court will have to apply the Bryson case to see if there is an employment agreement.

    If there is, the amendment does not apply. If there is not then the amendment does apply but does not change anything.

    There was a SOP introduced today by the Government which I have not seen. It may have fixed this problem up. The mere fact that a SOP had to be introduced for such a short bill emphasises why urgency was so stupid. They should have sent it to a select committee.

    • toad 1.1

      Micky, the SOP related to employment agreements having to be in writing. It is a travesty of the principle of open governemtn that is still doesn’t appear on the Parliamentary website or on legislation.govt.nz.

      And I think you and Charles Chauvel are correct. If a purported “contract” actually has conditions in it that meet the test of the “contractor” actually being an employee, the Employment Court will accept jurisdiction and accordingly decide the “contract” is actually an employment agreement.

      This is what Government gets when it rams stuff through under urgency without Select Committe submissions and scrutiny. There are hole in this that don’t need a bulldozer to drive through, just as there were when the Nats similarly rammed through the fire@will Bill and the Employment Court’s judgment in Heather Smith’s case has now come to bite them on the bum.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    I have a feeling that the Key Government simply wants to make a point to unions and to the Labour Party. The week after Labour Day just adds salt to the wounds.

    Give them a bit of money and National will happily sell our sovereignty for a song.

  3. The Voice of Reason 3

    A thing worth knowing about Bryson v the Jackson company is that it wasn’t unique. It’s just the most recent example of a ruling that has been made regularly in employment courts around the world since there first was a legal concept of ’employee’.

    Usually the cases are about the different entitlements or treatment a worker gets under either option and at a guess, most, like Bryson, would determine whether a worker had the ability to lodge a presumably more advantageous personal grievance case in Employment Court.

    I’ve seen Jackson’s attitude many times. Otherwise well meaning employers who see workers organising collectively as ingratitude or disrespect. Warner Bros didn’t give a damn about the law. They only played along as a favour to their business partner, Peter Jackson, who is the one with a five year grudge and a reason to whinge. Warners were only there for the cash, helping St Peter out was a bonus. And having the leader of a democratic country dance for nickels like the broken arse town drunk was probably pretty kewl too. They’ll be laughing that bit up in a cigar bar somewhere on Sunset Blvd as we speak.

    • pollywog 3.1

      …having the leader of a democratic country dance for nickels like the broken arse town drunk was probably pretty kewl too. They’ll be laughing that bit up in a cigar bar somewhere on Sunset Blvd

      eh !!!

      He does a pretty mean poll dance too.

      I mean, don’t you just wanna get pissed and stuff a note down his knickers ?

    • Tigger 3.2

      Bryson is not unique also in that the film, and TV, industry are full of people who are contracted as contractors but expected to act like employees. Its the industry’s dirty little abuse and just like secret abuse anyone who dares speak up is vilified. All this crap about being wanting to be contractors is just that – they don’t have a choice and most of them weren’t in the industry pre-Employment Contracts Act so this is all they know.

      TVOR – “having the leader of a democratic country dance for nickels like the broken arse town drunk ” – this is easily the funniest, and most accurate, description of Key I’ve read – will never look at him again without this springing to mind – brilliant.

      • The Voice of Reason 3.2.1

        Cheers, Tigger, I wish I had the skills to animate it. It’d probably be even better with Brownlee in it too, maybe dressed in a beer barrel held up with braces and blowing frantically on a broken harmonica. Nice.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    No matter, King Gerry can sort it out in two ticks.

  5. Steve Withers 5

    This has all been fascinating to watch. Makes me wonder why any sane person would follow a career in the movie industry in NZ or anywhere else. Actors, perhaps….in the hope they become big names and can one day command a very good amount of money. But the technical people behind the scenes? Sounds like a lousy way to earn a crust, frankly. Especially when your own government acts to ensure you can only ever get a job on take-it-or-leave-it terms. I’d be leaving it before I even started.

    • mcflock 5.1

      I’ve known a few actors and techs, admittedly mostly theatre (they’d been in TV and films, but this is NZ). Generally they like doing the job and the entire hooplah of the work, but the techs usually have skillsets and certification to keep them alive between projects if they want to stay in NZ. Worst comes to the worst especially the lighting guys can usually go into the construction industry as they’re already certified to play with high voltage circuits and other poppenze spitzenze sparken things.

      Most of the actors I’ve know got the bulk of their money from customer service work. It’s just the nature of acting that you might be expressive with people, but it doesn’t necessarily translate to other careers in the same way that e.g. journalism and PR are related. But the work itself is pretty high octane – “one crowded hour” and all that.

      But it doesn’t mean they should be treated like third world fry-cooks.

  6. Rob 6

    It always makes bills seem so much more rushed when you look at the bills page on inthehouse this one comes up as 4 pages of debate in a row…

    On the bright side of it being such a stupid law it is likely to have an incredibly limited effect and can just be repealed later…

  7. Hilary 7

    The Court Report will be covering this law next week, TV7 Thursday 9.35. Should be interesting.

  8. ianmac 8

    Actors are necessarily contractors aren’t they? If so, then they copped the blame yet the Act as passed would make no difference to them at all, would it?
    Surely those affected would be techies, receptionists, painters and so on.

    • Rob 8.1

      My understanding was that it will only affect people in the film industry and the gaming industry. It means some full time staff in those industries and regular staff like stunt doubles who may actually work as employees but not have it stated in their contracts will now be declared as contractors. It will be quite a small group I imagine…

      • ianmac 8.1.1

        Asking it another way. Is there any film actor in NZ who is an employee?

        • Rob 8.1.1.1

          If someone was a major/consistent role in a film with a long shooting time it is quite probable they might get hired on a fixed term employment contract rather than as a contractor. It is on the borderline between the two categories and what you are at that point essentially depends on what they want to put in your contract.

  9. Em 9

    One might also ask just how this addresses the original ‘issue’ of actors (who were then and remain contractors) attempting to negotiate a set of minimum conditions for the shoot. If the problem was a planned boycott by overseas actor organisations, it’s hard to see how this helps at all.

    One might also ask what the need was to have the Bill/Act also apply to video game-makers?

    • Rob 9.1

      It wouldn’t affect the current dispute had it already been in place. In terms of including games I guess they couldn’t work out how to distinguish Weta from a game studio in the amount of time they had… Only 1 case has come up for the area this law is dealing with in the film industry. It was surprise surprise though a case against Jackson also 5-6 years ago.

      • mickysavage 9.1.1

        I really get the impression that the law change was for Jackson’s benefit, not Warners.

        Jackson’s companies had to deal with the contracts and pay the employees/contractors. Jackson’s company was the respondent in the Bryson case. Jackson spent a huge amount of money going to the Supreme Court when with a discrete settlement it could have disappeared without him breaking a financial sweat.

        And if Warners were worried about the (remote) possibility of strike action then different sorts of law reform would have appeared.

        The way that I see it the law change is that timid that in financial terms it is not needed, it just makes someone feel better.

        • Rob 9.1.1.1

          Yes that is pretty much exactly as I see it also.

        • Pascal's bookie 9.1.1.2

          maybe. But as I understand the Bryson case the threshold was pretty high. High enough that it hasn’t concerned PJ, (or anyone else), enough to lobby for a legislative fix in the intervening years.

          Sooo, this legislation doesnae fix the industrial issue that triggered the ‘crisis’. Something fixed that issue though, so it must’ve been Helen Kelly’s work resulting in the boycott call off and assurance of no further disruption.

          But oh noes.

          That being sorted before the negotiating team sets foot in Wellington doesn’t suit Warner’s narrative, and it doesn’t suit the government’s. Both those party’s would prefer a pretext for their arranging of tax cutz thank you very much.

          Warner’s held the cards in terms of being able to walk away, but it wasn’t that strong a hand given the costs in walking, the loss of goodwill with fans etc. Still worth playing though especially if you can say there is an industrial issue. It’s worth something, about 30 mill as it turned out.

          The Govt knew there was some risk of Warners walking and knew they would have to give something. They can’t publicly say the industrial issue is sorted though, because that gives a win to Kelly.

          So both warners and the govt knew the pretext was bullshit,

          but neither wanted the pretext out of the way,

          for slightly different reasons,

          so it needed to be dealt with somehow,

          hence

          the Hobbit enabling act.

          That’s my theory, I’m sticking with it.

          • mickysavage 9.1.1.2.1

            OK PB.

            I don’t disagree. I am trying to work out a rational reason for the crisis.

            There must have been a reason for Warners to want the law change. And the obvious reason is that Warners wanted more money.

            So they looked at the crisis and saw that there was a weakness and an issue and so they chose to make this weakness part of the negotiation. It was much better to raise this than to just make the dispute about money. And there was no other issue they could raise.

            So there was no benefit for Warners from the law change. Apart from the cover.

            • ianmac 9.1.1.2.1.1

              Brownlie said in the House that Warners did not ask for the legislation, so Key must have offered it. Did he want a scapegoat?

        • IrishBill 9.1.1.3

          Hmm. Perhaps it should be the “there, there Peter, the mean old courts don’t understand how special you are” amendment.

          • Craig Glen Eden 9.1.1.3.1

            ianmacs right Brownlie was also quoted in the Herald today saying Warners didnt ask for Labour Law changes. So either Brownlie’ lying or Key is.

            Brownlie also admitted that Helen Kelly had played a positive roll in resolving the dispute.

            So maybe Brownlie has had enough of Keys bullshit! It stuck me as odd that Brownlie was deliberately contradicting Key, I am waiting for Brownlie to have to come out and say he got it wrong and it was all as John had said. Pretty embarrassing for Key as it stands.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.4

          Yes, almost purely for Jackson’s benefit. Our democracy is reduced to law changes based on the lobbying of one man. Note the Hobbit law change covers both films and *video games*. Which coincidentally happens to be an area of future growth for WETA. Neat huh.

          • Em 9.1.1.4.1

            You are indeed correct, sirrah

          • QoT 9.1.1.4.2

            And can I just take this moment, when all my film-related acquaintances’ Hobbit-related jobs are safe for the time being, to say I am a bit fucking sick of Mr Cuddly Panda Richard Taylor getting wheeled out to act like an aggrieved party on this one? You’re an employer, Sir Richard, whose staff are almost entirely on short-term rolling contracts with no job security past the next project. Fuck off.

            • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.4.2.1

              And why are those so-called smart staff absolute frakin Lemmings?

              They missed out somewhere along the way in their education.

              • QoT

                Well, when you’ve got one major employer in your industry in the entire country and the boss says “jump”, and also “Look, over there, a threat to your employment that isn’t me!” …

            • Vicky32 9.1.1.4.2.2

              I wonder, why is he a “Sir?”
              Deb

  10. Joe Bloggs 10

    The irony is that without the union-initiated boycott, the law changes – which you claim will weaken workers’ rights – would probably never have happened.

    • The Voice of Reason 10.1

      Almost right. If it wasn’t for Jackson’s arrogant refusal to meet with the actor’s reps, the boycott would never have been called in the first place. The irony remains though, because it’s bloody ironic that even though St Peter successfully hid behind the current laws our craven leader still felt the need to make a meaningless law change as a sop to his hurt feelings.

      • Joe Bloggs 10.1.1

        More Leftist revisionism – check the timelines – the boycott was called before Jackson was approached to meet with the actors’ reps.

        then check out Fran O’Sullivan for an excellent summary of the settlement:

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10684017

        and Derek Cheng’s timeline – at last some objectivity on this site:

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10684062

        • Craig Glen Eden 10.1.1.1

          The funny thing is the Tories pass a law that opens the employer up to more potential court room action. Jackson got what he wanted and as the saying goes be careful what you wish for.

          As the facts have shaken down it has become clear according to Brownlie( Both in yesterdays Herald and in Parliment) Warners didn’t want the law changed nor did they ask for it.

          As for Frans summary, I thought it was crap myself but it will get her another bottle of wine no doubt.

          • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.1

            Fran all over the place, making excuses that big Studio money found John Key’s “inflexion point”. WTF, really?

            You mean they read him like an open book in order to walk away with (her figures) $90-100M of tax payers money.

            Looks like we are paying for the damn movie, at the cost of $21 per capita.

          • tea 10.1.1.1.2

            Hi Craig- sorry did Brownlee in the Herald make it to the website? Can’t find it straight off

            • Craig Glen Eden 10.1.1.1.2.1

              Yes it was on the website and he repeated it on Friday in Parliament.

              • tea

                sorry to be a douche…but any chance of a link? I had to really dig to find the bit about the emails showing the boycott had been called off…this has to be hidden fairly well too!

  11. Murray 11

    OH Diddums! some of you lot may need counselling to get over this

    • QoT 11.1

      Ah, the good old equating of disagreement and anger with mental illness. Class.

      • Murray 11.1.1

        what on earth has counselling got to do with mental illness

        • QoT 11.1.1.1

          It’s okay, Murray. I get that you’re in denial about how your comment explicitly linked people’s anger over this decision with distraught/traumatic emotions requiring professional intervention, entirely to make those people’s anger seem unimportant or irrational.

          • Joe Bloggs 11.1.1.1.1

            newsflash – your anger IS irrational – the unions fucked up and caused this mess.
            Start, middle and end of story.

            Nothing to do with Richard Taylor, et al. No dark conspiracies. Just a few fucked up unionists overblown with their own importance. That’s why the workers rose up against the unions on Labour Day.

            • ianmac 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Actually don’t people have the right in NZ to seek to improve their lot?
              Business Round Table. Employers Federation. Actors Equity. Act Party. Maori Party. Teachers. National Party. Auckland Citizens. My wife. Students. MP’s overseas trips.
              The trouble with you Joe is that by being against everyone, you automatically don’t play fair.

            • QoT 11.1.1.1.1.2

              The unions controlled John Key and forced him to pass [ironically probably ineffectual] anti-worker legislation in order to make a US studio happy? That doesn’t seem logical … OH WAIT, I get it, you’re talking out your ass and really don’t like people pointing out that attacking the Left for being emotional/irrational is a fairly boring tactic at this point.

            • Vicky32 11.1.1.1.1.3

              “That’s why the workers rose up against the unions on Labour Day.”
              To what are you referring? If you mean Sir Richard’s ermployees marching to his order, then that’s not “the workers (rising) up”, that is the workers doing what their boss tells them they must do, to keep their jobs…
              Deb

  12. tea 12

    Perhaps Kate and Gerry could give some of those ‘hand wringing academics’ a call and ask them what a law is and how it works and if it has a money back guarantee.

    surely if this is an example of National’s Standards someone has to call their arrogance and incompetence out and be heard by the general public?

  13. tea 13

    wow reading thread.

    How can questions not be asked when ministers are contradicting the Prime Minister?

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    5 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    6 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    1 week ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    1 week ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    1 week ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    1 week ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    1 week ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago

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