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Nats back Jackson over Kiwi workers

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 am, September 30th, 2010 - 111 comments
Categories: Unions, workers' rights - Tags: ,

The Dom Post reports that the government is backing Jackson’s claim independent contractors can’t negotiate as a group.

Apparently it would be price fixing because these workers are not considered workers but are considered to be a whole lot separate businesses. Which is exactly the situation big employers in the film industry have engineered over time.

This is a classic example of asking a narrow question to get the answer you want.

A more interesting question to ask crown law would be whether there is any impediment to producers employing these film workers as fixed term employees and, if there isn’t, what rights they would have to collective bargaining if they were employed this way. But I don’t think that National would like the answer they got to that question.

If anything this situation highlights the huge loophole in New Zealand law that allows large employers to circumvent employment law, and the protections it offers workers, by refusing to offer work to anybody unless they accept it as an independent contractor.

This comes with the added benefit of transferring a whole lot of the business risk (such as insurance, weather delays and health and safety) from the company to the worker.

Just last year Telecom did exactly this to nearly a thousand lines workers in Northland and Auckland by swapping regional contracts from firms that employed them to a firm that refused to allow them to work unless they did so as independent contractors; a move that triggered massive strike action but that ultimately resulted in hundreds of Auckland workers ending up stripped of protections such as minimum wage, health and safety protections and the right to collective bargaining.

Clearly this is a loophole that a government that cared about the basic rights of Kiwi workers would be looking to close (and it’s shameful the last government didn’t) but it seems that, once again, National is more interested in looking after overseas businesses than it is in stopping the exploitation of Kiwi workers.

111 comments on “Nats back Jackson over Kiwi workers”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    Expected opinion from the Natz Finlayson. The film industry has always been divide and rule with producers preying on underemployed actors and techies, some of whom unfortunately seem to have acquired a fawning attitude to their cruel masters. Others are just scared “you’ll never work in this town again” anecdotes abound in media circles. NZ Equity has soldiered on bravely largely with volunteer staff and it was heartening to see the well attended meeting a day ago.

    Lets hope some international solidarity with SAG and other offshore unions pulls Sir Jackson back into line.

    The Chorus workers Irish Bill mentions above in reality are ‘dependent’ contractors-who else would majorly direct work their way apart from the company-‘Telecon’ that just previously payed them wages and provided various conditions for performing the same tasks for largely the same customers. It is just a ‘shell game’ to strip workers rights.

    • Carol 1.1

      But the CTU has responded pretty quickly to Nats taking sides:

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4181258/Union-criticises-Nats-over-battling-for-Jackson

      The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) says it is furious at Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson for “taking sides” in the debate over The Hobbit. …
      CTU president Helen Kelly said that advice was biased towards Jackson and as a lawyer, Mr Finlayson would know that.

      “That’s like saying, ‘I can’t talk to you because this conversation would be illegal,'” Ms Kelly said.

      Just because there would be contractors working on the project that did not rule out having a union contract, she said.

      “The union is simply seeking to set the minimum terms and conditions for workers – whether its an employment agreement or contractual agreement there can still be standard terms and conditions.”

      Ms Kelly said the matter was actually very simple – a union was seeking to negotiate terms and an employer was refusing.

  2. Roflcopter 2

    So, considering this whole existing arrangement between NZ film companies and actors has been in place across 3+ PJ films, and numerous others, over a period covering at least a decade, why has it suddenly become a problem now for you lot?

    A shonky union, with no legal standing in New Zealand blurts out some crap and you go “Oh look it’s a union it must be right!”.

    The decision to move off-shore is now completely out of PJ’s hands. If his backers in the U.S say move, he’ll have no choice, and you will have been responsible for the wiping of $2.5b+ of spending and tax revenue, 000’s of jobs being lost etc.

    You are so awesome!

    But of course, you’ll just blame PJ coz he’s rich.

    • IrishBill 2.1

      It’s always been an issue but it is now a public issue because people are finally taking a stand on it. Your argument is akin to saying “slavery has been around forever why should we suddenly be against it now?” It’s the worst kind of conservatism.

      I don’t think they’ll move to Eastern Europe as the money saved on wages would be eaten up by the difficulties of doing business there but you seem to be arguing that the only thing that makes NZ a good place to make films in is a low-paid workforce. That’s not really the kind of competitive advantage a first world nation can build a sustainable industry on.

      • Tigger 2.1.1

        Some of us worked to alter this situation for years. No progress because the forces against us, producers, were simply too big. And we couldn’t get traction overseas about it. Equity has worked long and hard towards this position.

        This union is not ‘shonky’ – they are acting utterly appropriately. The shonkiness is coming from Jackson and now the Minister, who is part of a government that created this situation (pre-Employment Contracts Act the industry was employee-based).

        Great posts, IB. Keep them up.

        And Equity need support. It’s scary and lonely being up against Orcs like Jackson and Finlayson. http://www.actorsequity.org.nz/contact-equity to send them a quick ‘stay brave’.

      • Roflcopter 2.1.2

        I don’t think they’ll move to Eastern Europe as the money saved on wages would be eaten up by the difficulties of doing business there”

        Well, with the CTU wading into the furor thinks are getting worse and worse, and the risk greater and greater. Solidarity for the good of all right? Well, except for the workers who will probably miss out, but that’s OK according to you.

        If a big overseas corporate started dictating how it wanted business done in NZ you’d be all over it with fire and brimstone, but an overseas union with no legal standing in NZ tries it on and it’s ok…. simply awesome.

        but you seem to be arguing that the only thing that makes NZ a good place to make films in is a low-paid workforce.”

        Really? Myself and many others who worked as extras thought we were extremely well paid and looked after. And calls to talkback yesterday echoed these same sentiments.

        • Tigger 2.1.2.1

          Really? Because I know many ‘extras’ who have been not well paid nor well treated on shoots here.

          And it’s about more than just giving you a cup of coffee during the break…

      • jacinda 2.1.3

        Lol, thats one of the worst strawman positions I’ve ever heard……

        Comparing people getting paid above minimum wage (yes above $12.50) to slavery. Sorry, but thats just so far off the mark, there wasn’t any point even coming up with it.

        Newsflash, I work in IT (for a European company) and people in equivalent positions to me get paid more in the Northern Hemishphere and Australia too. If I wanted to get paid the same amount as people in Europe or the States or wherever, then it is up to me to move over there and live. I’m happy as larry living in NZ though, and love the lifestyle, so I don’t mind getting paid less. These twit actors need to wake up and realise this too.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.3.1

          If I wanted to get paid the same amount as people in Europe or the States or wherever, then it is up to me to move over there and live.

          Speaking of strawman positions you just created one right here. The argument is not about being paid the same as actors in Europe or the US, is it?

          These twit actors need to wake up and realise this too.

          Oh you’re so superior 🙄

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      why has it suddenly become a problem now for you lot?

      Because it has become clear that now there is a lot of money on the table – the corporates and the bosses want it all for themselves. They aren’t even willing to sit down and discuss minimum conditions with workers.

      The decision to move off-shore is now completely out of PJ’s hands. If his backers in the U.S say move, he’ll have no choice,

      BS***. PJ should have backed NZ workers from the get go, instead of acting as an agent for his corporate pay masters and their corporate legal advisors.

      But of course, you’ll just blame PJ coz he’s rich.

      You’re being deliberately simplistic. PJ could be rich and also back minimum standards and employment protections for workers. Then he’d be a bloody hero to working people in the industry.

      • jacinda 2.2.1

        So, can you link to me some articles about how badly people were paid and treated when working on King Kong and Lord of the Rings?

        If not, what are you complaining about?

        • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1

          That people should have the right to be on an employment contract with employment protections and minimum wage stipulations if they are being used as employees.

          If not, what are you complaining about?

          You’re smart, why haven’t you figured it out for yourself yet? Deliberately obtuse huh?

    • Tiger Mountain 2.3

      Lets employ some basic comprehension skills here ‘Rofl’ “you lot” and “you will”… who the hell are you attempting to describe here? The people that will decide the fate of the Hobbit are film execs and investors and union members both here in NZ and offshore. Blog commenters to greater and lesser degrees just give opinions, reasonably accurate like mine or off the wall like yours.

    • Roger 2.4

      Riiiight. Its all the unions and workers who are at fault for having the audacity to not accept being criminally exploited. Same with every other industry right? I we all offered our service for 50c an hour we would be a much better country with all of our industries being much stronger. It is never the fault of the executives who decide they unreasonably want more for less, it is the unscrupulous workers and unions who unreasonably want a living wage and conditions that are better than concentration camps.

      • Roflcopter 2.4.1

        Riiiight. Its all the unions and workers who are at fault for having the audacity to not accept being criminally exploited.

        This is an environment Labour set up and endorsed, for almost a decade, for the investment opportunities to be realised. Or has all that changed now that National is government?

        • Roger 2.4.1.1

          Now that the investment opportunities have been realised and the industry is doing well is it not fair that having paid their dues, that the workers should expect something in return from the people at the top that they helped to elevate there?

        • IrishBill 2.4.1.2

          I agree that Labour should shoulder a lot of the blame here. In fact I mentioned that in my post. My take on it is that they placed more value on the film industry’s ability to help build nationalism than they did on the rights of film workers.

          • Colonial Viper 2.4.1.2.1

            Well sometimes you have to lean over backwards to build a new industry up in the hope of future rewards for your citizens. (And no doubt Labour were advised by the film industry players what was needed to do that). Well, the future is today, people, lets go get those rewards.

        • Swampy 2.4.1.3

          Not quite. Labour changed the law around 2005 so that the union has a pre eminent right to demand a collective agreement, they are just trying on their new powers before National removes them.

  3. comedy 3

    From the same article you link to

    “WHAT’S AT STAKE?

    A PricewaterhouseCoopers study into the contribution of the film and television industry to the New Zealand economy in 2008 found it:

    Added $2.54 billion.

    Created 22,000 fulltime equivalent positions.

    Created $6.1b in total gross output.

    Generated $1.2b in labour income.

    Created average salaries of $63,000, or $91,000 in the production and post-production areas. The national average salary in 2008 was $39,000.

    The study was commissioned by the NZ Federation Against Copyright Theft.”

    OH if only all workers in NZ could have their rights exploited to the same extent….

    • IrishBill 3.1

      I noted they use average salary. Most film workers are contracted and so don’t receive a salary and those that do would be the handful of key people who would be able to negotiate high salaries (which would distort the average).

      I’d be very interested to see the median income earned per hour of work for lotr workers as I suspect it would be below minimum wage.

      • Roflcopter 3.1.1

        I’d be very interested to see the median income earned per hour of work for lotr workers as I suspect it would be below minimum wage.

        You’d be wrong.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          IB could actually be right because not having people on employment contracts means that minimum wage regulations do not apply.

        • IrishBill 3.1.1.2

          I may well be but I’d still like to know. You seem quite sure of yourself, care to post some figures?

          • Roflcopter 3.1.1.2.1

            I’ll see if I can drag up some old payment stuff from years back.

            We were very well looked after overall.

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      OH if only all workers in NZ could have their rights exploited to the same extent….

      comedy, you mean workers should be grateful for drippings from the lord’s table? That they should work in NZ for far inferior pay and conditions to Australians and Americans in the same industry?

      Of course you leave out the fact that workers in this industry routinely do shiftwork, work 12-16 hours per day and have no employment certainty despite that. Worker exploitation that you are callously supporting.

      This is another case of the elite 10% of the industry wanting 90% of the benefits. (As usual).

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    So the party of business, which wants to see wages drop, is supporting businesses in lowering wages…

    Is anybody really surprised?

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Combination of Hobbits

    nd so at a stroke, by virtue of an arbitrary designation imposed by Jackson in an effort to shirk his responsibilities as an employer, labour relations are taken back two hundred years…

    As I’ve said before – NACT are trying to take us back a few hundred years to when the aristocracy ruled. They, of course, see themselves as the aristocracy.

  6. The Voice of Reason 6

    Finlayson’s class war position is not a surprise and it’s not unique. There is a case rumbling on in the Employment court between NZ Steel and the EPMU where NZ Steel are seeking a declaration that the union is engaged in conspiratorial price fixing when it seeks to bargain for its workers. It’s full steem ahead for a return to the Contracts Act, methinks.

  7. Roflcopter 7

    CTU trying to add legitimacy to attempted economic sabotage by an Australian organisation with no legal standing in New Zealand.

    Simply awesome!

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      I can see how speaking out against wealthy corporate decision makers trying to keep the whole pie for themselves, leaving only crumbs for workers, could be seen by the wealthy as an act of “economic sabotage” (against them).

      For everyone else it is simply a matter of standing up for minimum employment conditions for fellow NZ workers. Maybe you should try it.

      • Roflcopter 7.1.1

        leaving only crumbs for workers

        Really? Got proof of that?

        It’s the beloved Labour Party that helped define and support the flourishing film industry in NZ, setting minimum guidelines that would assist in securing overseas work.

        Nice to see you are happy to let all that be torn apart on the whim of an illegal entity constructing economic sabotage in our country.

        • IrishBill 7.1.1.1

          I think you may need to provide some proof of your own assertions up the thread before you start demanding proof from others.

      • Bored 7.1.2

        Thanks Viper,

        The RWNJs sem to think that it is the correct course of action to push down wages and conditions across the board because:
        1. All boats rise on a rising tide…absolute crap theory as one person (Jackson) gets to float high whilst the rest of the boats sink lower into the mud.
        2. “Capital will go where ever it will get the best returns”…..another crap theory as if Jackson went to the cheapest place they would soon be too busy and would put up the price…more importantly if capital efficiency were the case we as a nation might as well just shut down.

        Myself, I for one resent Jackson taking my tax dollars as his industry was incubated and now saying he will take the resultant capital offshore. Great film maker and social shit head….you only need to look at what he did to divert a river without consents at his Wairarapa mansion to realise that he thinks he is above the rest of us.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.2.1

          I bet PJ is upping the private security he uses as this issue leaks out. Walled compounds for the wealthy eh.

          • Bored 7.1.2.1.1

            Its the same as gated communities, we know where the bastards are, and they may be forced to stay in.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    There are probably plenty of people out there who would love to be in a movie and would even offer to act for free for the chance.

    If I was Jackson, I would probably go to those people. Would probably unearth heaps of new talent in the process.

    • Tiger Mountain 8.1

      Great idea smithy-“Scabbits” just what we need. In this age of internships and working for nothing it would not surprise me though.

      • Bored 8.1.1

        Glad you mentioned “internships”, last time I was at parliament some of the MPs had “interns”….I did not ask as to the status of there remuneration. Then I was looking at the Dom and saw a link to “journalism internships”…unpaid shit work that cuts the costs for employers on the promise of a “job”….its just bollocks.

        • Vicky32 8.1.1.1

          “last time I was at parliament some of the MPs had “interns”…”
          Oh how American we are!
          Deb

    • Kaplan 8.2

      I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that would love to do your job, and for half the salary/wages you receive. If I was your boss I’d go to those people. Could probably unearth some real talent in the process.

  9. Bill 9

    Why is Nat Radio uncritically broadcasting Finlayson’s bullshit about independent contractors being unable to enter into a CEA? Is there a problem with calling bullshit on bullshit? I mean, that would be satisfying any remit to inform wouldn’t it? Which they patently aren’t doing at the moment.

    In my mind they should broadcast Finlayson but expose the disingenuous nature of his comment.

    Easy.

  10. The Voice of Reason 10

    Filthy, nasty scabbitsses! We hates them!

  11. Supermaorifella 11

    Loved this comment on the herald website:

    The Code of Practice for the Engagement of Cast in the New Zealand Screen Production Industry – known within the industry as the ‘Pink Book’.

    Crew who work on movies have what is known as the ‘Blue Book’.

    These are both guidelines and negotiated in good faith between all the industry bodies and further more they have worked well for years.

    This dispute has nothing to do with actors, it’s all about the Aussies. Mind you actors are very good at taking direction.

    • Swampy 11.1

      It is the MEAA as the NZ represented union demanding a collective agreement as Labour gave to unions in 2004 the preeminent right to do this.

      http://www.employment.org.nz/ERA%20Amendment%2024Mar07%5B1%5D.pdf
      “From the perspective of some employer groups however, the changes were far
      more significant than even the introduction of the original Act (Tritt, 2004), introducing
      major constraints and requirements on employers’ behaviour and creating a bias
      towards collective bargaining and union membership.”

      This is just the latest example of a union trying to use this law to force a collective agreement to be negotiated where they couldn’t make such a demand before. Notably this particular argument didn’t come up on the previous films, they must have been made before the law change came into force.

      As you can see by reading the history of this legislative process (see link) dating from 1999 the original attempt to bring in this law in 2000 was dropped because of widespread opposition yet Labour simply ignored the similar opposition that they got when they pushed it through in 2004.

      Employment Relations Amendment Act (No 2) 2004 No 86, Public Act

      12 New section 33 substituted

      The principal Act is amended by repealing section 33, and substituting the following section:

      “33 Duty of good faith requires parties to conclude collective agreement unless genuine reason not to

      “(1) The duty of good faith in section 4 requires a union and an employer bargaining for a collective agreement to conclude a collective agreement unless there is a genuine reason, based on reasonable grounds, not to.

      “(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), genuine reason does not include—

      “(a) opposition or objection in principle to bargaining for, or being a party to, a collective agreement; or

      “(b) disagreement about including in a collective agreement a bargaining fee clause under Part 6B.”

  12. grumpy 12

    If it’s true that Chadwick and Locke are behind this, then it’s good news for National in the next election. National should just let this take it’s course, lose the film to overseas and then just blame the unions and their political backers. They’ll be in power for decades.
    Even more than the teachers, there is absolutely no public support for the CTU on this.

    • Roflcopter 12.1

      Yup, the CTU will be happy they backed an illegal overseas organisation promoting economic sabotage in our country, in trying to win this, which could result in billions in lost spendings and the loss of 000’s of jobs.

      For the people!!!

      Simply awesome, the CTU is so clever.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        Rich asset wealthy decision makers always consider it economic sabotage against themselves personally when workers resist their efforts to take all of the pie just to leave crumbs on the table for everyone else.

  13. tsmithfield 13

    The thing is that actors who are truly famous and talented have little need for a union as they tend to command their own price.

    Therefore, it seems to me that those who feel they do need a union are probably mostly wannabes with little in the way of exceptional talent anyway. So these actors might struggle to get a role in a Jackson movie.

    Thats the thing about movies. The wage disparity from the top to the bottom is enormous. I am aware of movies that have gone to the Cannes festival where the budgets have been too tight to pay any of the actors. Still hasn’t stopped them from being quite good movies though.

    So it seems to me that actors are likely to fall into one of three groups:

    The truly famous who get paid huge amounts.
    Those who are looking for a break and would be willing to work for nothing to get noticed.
    Those in the middle who are mediocre and feel they need a union to help them get more.

    • Ron 13.1

      Smithy – you’re taking the poiss, right?

      Yes – wage disparity from the top to the bottom is enormous. But it has nothing to do with “talent”.

      Yes – truly famous and bankable = ask your price. Everyone else is the same “other” boat

      The industry has traded for years on the idea that “letting” you work on a film is giving you an “opportunity”. Work for a pittance, they say, because it’s an opportunity to get known.
      Have a look at the low budget “films that have gone to Cannes”.
      How many careers are made from them? How many ACTORS careers? You’ll find not many.
      Any actor will tell you stories of working on some up and coming director’s film for nought on the promise of a profile and an opportunity. Most will also tell you about their “mates” the directors who the got jobs in advertising, televivion (or more rearely the film inductry) and forgot all about the people who worked on their films for goodwill.

      Let’s do that for all industries, shall we? Doctors? Teachers?

      Get a grip

    • Maynard J 13.2

      The thing is that actors who are truly famous and talented have little need for a union as they tend to command their own price.

      (Aren’t Kidman and co part of the union? Your fundamental point is correct. Given the imbalance in power between employers and employees, those rare 0.0001% or people who hold more power in the relationship can command their own price.)

      Therefore, it seems to me that those who feel they do need a union are probably mostly wannabes with little in the way of exceptional talent anyway.

      (Maybe they’re just people looking to act for a living, and want a wage that equates with a living so they can support their families. Maybe you’re just being obnoxius for sport, or you’re just a genuinely unpleasant and uncaring individual.)

      So these actors might struggle to get a role in a Jackson movie.

      (If they would struggle for any roles, is it a problem if they refuse to work with Jackson… Your comment implies that they’re not needed – if so what is this whole debate about? Utterly illogical)

      Thats the thing about movies. The wage disparity from the top to the bottom is enormous. I am aware of movies that have gone to the Cannes festival where the budgets have been too tight to pay any of the actors. Still hasn’t stopped them from being quite good movies though.

      (Yes, the ‘doing it for the love of it’ argument. I suppose you have to fit your lines in somewhere. Irrelevant when the budget is several million, dont you think?)

      So it seems to me that actors are likely to fall into one of three groups:

      The truly famous who get paid huge amounts.
      Those who are looking for a break and would be willing to work for nothing to get noticed.
      Those in the middle who are mediocre and feel they need a union to help them get more.

      (Yes, those who have ‘made it’ and get vast sums of money, those who want to ‘make it’ and will be subservient and accept hardship in order to do so, and those who will stand up for themselves and make a living out of it, and get called mediocre by charming folk such as yourself.)

  14. Francisco Hernandez 14

    Guys,

    I don’t think the issues are as clear as you folks are making it out to be.

    http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2010/09/29/gordon-campbell-on-the-trade-unions-vs-the-hobbit/

    http://publicaddress.net/system/topic,2731,hard-news-hobbit-wars.sm

    I’d also like to caution agaist an instinctive urge to side with trade unions. Don’t ge me wrong – I love trade unions, I think they’re fantastic and I’ve been elected to serve in the executive of one but they don’t always get it right. Especially in a case like this you have to look at all the facts(which are unclear) before you decide in a situation. I don’t wanna see standard devolve to the echo-chamber circle-jerk that is kiwiblog…

    Catchpa: facts (which are indispute)

    • Salsy 14.1

      We should be discussing the threats and opportunities of the industry unionising, put down the pitchforks and stop spreading hatred of Peter Jackson.

      I havent heard/read a single complaint of workers in any of Jacksons films being underpaid, undervalued, exploited etc – and certainly dont get the impression that we have a serious issue within the NZ film industry with thousands of vulnerable workers in unteneble conditions requiring a union in order to protect them. The New Zealand film Industry has worked thus far within its own culture, a non-unionised system with a booklet of rules – seemingly working quite well – able to produce low budget films gaining exceptional international repsonse – BOY and This way of life, two examples of late. Would these films be being made AT ALL in a unionised industry and were the workers on these films disgruntled, exploited, underpaid?

      Suddenly theres a whiff of BIG money and a non-Kiwi union steps in. With potentially 2 to 3 thousand new members at AUD$300 per year, one can only begin to wonder if this is an issue for workers rights, or really the money/power grab Jackson suggested it was.

    • IrishBill 14.2

      If you read my post you’ll see that I’m addressing the issue of independent contractor status vs employee status. This is about employment law, not about Jackson in particular.

      I’ve reas both Campbell’s piece and Brown’s post. The first finishes by pointing out that the wages and conditions should be better the second is a weird assortment of anti-meaa gossip, a rather strange argument that because he accepts lower rates than other freelancers film workers shouldn’t be paid better than they are and some “I’m not anti-union” hedging. Frankly I would have expected something better, more factually based and less condescending from him.

  15. Francisco Hernandez 15

    I realize that now Irish – but there’s still an undertone of “Fuck the Rich Prick Jackson” and “Let’s side with the Poor Oppressed Workers” which is a fair enough thing to do and certainly an instinct I found myself what with being left-wing but we have to realize that the Mnats (Maori National Act) are at fault here.

  16. Bobby J 16

    The government sought legal advice from the crown law office. That advice happened to agree with what Peter Jackson was arguing. How does that constitute ‘backing jackson?’

    • The Voice of Reason 16.1

      They are backing Jackson because they believe that all workers should be dependant contractors. Remember the Contracts Act? The question Finlayson asked was designed to get an answer that supported Jackson’s position. Thats how lawyers work, Bobby. Never ask a question you don’t know the answer to.

      • Swampy 16.1.1

        Remember the Contracts Act? Changed in 2004 to force an employer to enter a collective agreement:

        http://www.ers.dol.govt.nz/publications/pdfs/era%20_2004_amendments.pdf

        Original 2000 Act Section 33:

        33 Duty of good faith does not require concluded collective agreement

        The duty of good faith in section 4 does not require a union and an employer
        bargaining for a collective agreement—
        (a) to agree on any matter for inclusion in a collective agreement; or
        (b) to enter into a collective agreement.

        Employment Relations Amendment Act 2004 substitutes new section 33:

        33 Duty of good faith requires parties to conclude collective agreement unless
        genuine reason not to

        (1) The duty of good faith in section 4 requires a union and an employer bargaining
        for a collective agreement to conclude a collective agreement unless there is a
        genuine reason, based on reasonable grounds , not to.
        (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), genuine reason does not include—
        (a) opposition or objection in principle to bargaining for, or being a party to, a
        collective agreement; or
        (b) disagreement about including in a collective agreement a bargaining fee
        clause under Part 6B.

  17. BLiP 17

    I know! Lets run the film industry the same way we’re trying to run the RWC.

  18. the second is a weird assortment of anti-meaa gossip, a rather strange argument that because he accepts lower rates than other freelancers film workers shouldn’t be paid better than they are

    Eh? I’m not aware of saying anything of the kind.

    and some “I’m not anti-union” hedging. Frankly I would have expected something better, more factually based and less condescending from him.

    Oh, whatever. I was wary of even commenting in this thread, given its tone, but I’m just not buying your demonisation of Jackson.

    For years, screen actors in New Zealand have been paid as contractors. Up until 2005 (when the MEAA took over Actors’ Equity) Spada and Actors’ Equity re-negotiated its’ standard pay and conditions annually. Spada approached AE/MEAA 18 months ago to try and update the Pink Book, but the union refused, presumably unwilling to validate the contractor model. Which I guess they have a right to do — but it’s not the producers who are trying to shift the goalposts.

    I have friends on both side of the argument, and I actually think the statement out of this week’s meeting was reasonable and will hopefully lead to some sort of compromise. By contrast, the statement drafted by the MEAA’s Simon Whipp ordering a guild members’ boycott was cynical and dishonest. (For goodness sake, the union has been directing people to a paper from another MEAA member which explicitly disavows the statement’s repeated claim that The Hobbit is a “non-union production”.) I’m not entirely sure the SAG’s motives are pure in this, given the high priority that guild places on preventing film productions leaving the US. I still can’t fathom the MEAA’s behaviour in allowing itself to be struck off the NZ register of of incorporated societies. As Gordon Campbell notes, AE hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory recently.

    I have read, and sought advice on, the advice from Simpson Grierson. It does suggest ways in which the producers could strike a collective price with a group of contractors, but they’re all a bit tenuous. I hope this can be sorted out fairly. But I’m fucked if I’m going to join you in declaring class war over it.

    • Blighty 18.1

      “But I’m fucked if I’m going to join you in declaring class war over it.”

      Russell. You’re in the class war and you’re fighting for your side.

      • the sprout 18.1.1

        yeah, reminded me a bit of “politics should be kept out of sport” 😆

      • Colonial Viper 18.1.2

        Not sure why the elite and their agents insist that there is no class war going on and that they are not engaged in one. Probably because they’d be royally ****’ed when the masses of people cottoned on.

    • IrishBill 18.2

      Of course the producers aren’t trying to shift the goalposts. The goalposts are exactly where the producers want them. That’s the kind of unthinking conservatism that is used against every progressive change.

      As for your comments about the “tone” of this thread, I’m saddened to see you trying to take the high-ground as if your fact-free post was some kind of reasonable objective response to this dispute.

      I’m also disappointed to see you again focusing on the “anti-union” claim as if it is some integral part of the debate that fundementally discredits the MEAA’s position. I note you have not similarly focused on Peter Jackson’s equally fallacious claim that workers cannot be employed on fixed term or casual agreements – a statement that is far more objectively untrue and indicative of political motive than a member’s opinion about whether or not the union claims Jackson is anti union.

      Rather than quoting industry gossip about the MEAA’s reputation or repeating what Gordon Campbell has said why don’t you state clearly whether or not you believe people that want to work as employees covered by basic employment law should be made to work as independent contractors? It’s a pretty simple question.

    • BLiP 18.3

      How come the Union has to play fair and be whiter than snow but the employers don’t?

    • Swampy 18.4

      So it was in 2005 that they changed their tune? That was when Labour changed the law so they could demand a collective contract as a preeminent right. How many industrial disputes have there been since then due to this change I wonder?

  19. Harpoon 19

    Why doesn’t the union take a case under S.6 of the Employment Relations Act — definition of employee.

    IANALB essentially, the Act trumps whatever the employer wants to call the person doing the work. It dosn’t matter if the employer calls them a contractor, service supplier, preferred tenderer, indentured labourer, slave, servant, son, ‘boy’, whatever; if the relationship is one of employer/employee as defined under the Act, then the employee can claim to be protected by the Act.

    • IrishBill 19.1

      The problem with that is it would take legal action for every single employment relationship. That’s a lot of legal costs.

    • The Voice of Reason 19.2

      No point going to court on that particular question. They’re not employees, they’re independent contractors, coz that’s the way Sauron likes ’em. They would be better off as employees for sure, but I’m not sure that Actor’s Equity is even asking for that much freedom. I think they are suggesting a standard set of base conditions for their members, whatever the contractual arrangements finally end looking there.

      That sounds fair and reasonable to me, but then, I don’t own a private plane.

  20. Carol 20

    Penny Ashton on Nat Rad Panel is just sounding off about the “lies” in the media, and as an actor says they are just asking to talk and have been turned down. She said it’s not about the Aussie Union, but what the NZ union & its actors want. And she is angry – called PJ the “biggest bully boy there is”.

    And she says more about what they ACTUALLY want. Recommended to listen to when it goes online.

  21. Carol 21

    Penny Ashton and Chris Trotter on The Panel are also talking about the Commerce Act. Apparently the actors are being told that they are independent/individual contractors and that if they get together to agree pay, they are being like supermarkets colluding on price fixing. Trotter says that is how the Commerce Act works, but that the actors COULD be employed on fixed term contracts etc.

    Hamish Keith is now talking. Keith says it’s not just the Aussie union – it’s all the unions internationally, and The Hobbit would run into the same complaints from them in eastern Europe or where ever. Keith is asking all concerned to pull back, talk and calm down a bit. Underlying this, Keith says we don’t have a tax break that attracts films here.

  22. Russell. You’re in the class war and you’re fighting for your side.

    Okay, thanks. I’ll withdraw from this now.

    • IrishBill 22.1

      I guess, it’s easy to leave in faux offence than engage in the argument. It’s a shame I’ll never get to know what you think about the employment issue at the heart of this dispute.

      • Neil 22.1.1

        It’s a shame I’ll never get to know what you think about the employment issue at the heart of this dispute.

        yes it certainly is a shame but the repsonsibility for that lies with you and not RB. He’s stated his views clearly only to be met with the Standard’s usual set of insults. I’m relieved that the Standard has much less conection to the union movement than you would like us believe.

        And a bit of advice, if you want to condescend to him you’ll have to apply a few more brain cells. I know, I’ve tried and you really have to keep your wits about you or you’ll very quickly look like a fool.

        • Colonial Viper 22.1.1.1

          The elites are waging a class war against New Zealanders and you are worried about harsh language on The Standard?

          I suggest you get over it, the Left is getting staunch and going on the march.

        • IrishBill 22.1.1.2

          He’s not stated his views clearly at all. And frankly I’m tired of the kind of patronising liberal elitism your comment is couched in. It’s generally a cowardly attempt to sit on the fence while pretending to be above the fray and it is fundamentally anti-progressive.

          • Neil 22.1.1.2.1

            I’d be interested to know just how many of the brave anonymous Standard posters are actually union members.

            • IrishBill 22.1.1.2.1.1

              Every single one of them.

              Edit: except one who isn’t working at the moment

              • Neil

                how would we know? You brave people keep your identities hidden. Perhaps you could detail your union connections. It being the class war and all.

            • IrishBill 22.1.1.2.1.2

              As for our anonymity, I have to say for myself I have no interest in becoming some kind of minor NZ internet celebrity. Blogging is a small part of my life and I like to keep it that way. But if you want to make something more of it than that you’re welcome to. Or you could try running an argument that didn’t rely on ad hom. Are you capable of doing that?

              • IrishBill

                Thought not.

                • Neil

                  cheers, I was looking for that. the brave champions of the working class are so shy about their union connections, or lack thereof.

                  • IrishBill

                    Take a week off tough guy.

                    • Salsy

                      OMG are you banning someone because they dont agree with you? What the fuck has happened to the standard? Where is the democracy in that?

                      IrishBill: read the policy. Your mate didn’t.

                    • Neil

                      you’ve just made my day, in only a few moves.

                      IrishBill: if that’s all it takes you really need to get a life.

                    • The Voice of Reason

                      Only a week, IB? Tough love I say! I’d have had him gone for a month just on the stupidity of someone using a pseudonym sneering at those who do the same. Honestly, hangings too good, etc.

                    • Harpoon

                      Irish, you look petulant, unfair and harsh. And I’m a progressive.

                      Was he overly rude? Abusive? He was being critical, and he was attempting to argue against your position, but your policy states you’re in favour of robust debate. I’ve just re-read the policy and can’t find justifiable grounds for a ban.

                      Just because you dislike his “patronising liberal elitism” does not make it fair to ban him. And neither should you ban him for being “cowardly” or “sit[ting] on the fence,” or “pretending to be above the fray” or even for (HORROR!!) being “fundamentally anti-progressive”.

                      IrishBill: Fair enough, I should have pointed him to the about section rather than the policy section but if a commenter’s argument relies on attacking my anonymity rather than attacking my arguments I’ll cut the argument short. This is a forum of ideas, not of identities. Because (at the risk of sounding anti-individualist) it’s the arguments that matter not who is making them. Neil’s banning had nothing to do with his political position or with my disagreeing with it. If we banned on that basis half the commenters here wouldn’t be here.

      • Craig Ranapia 22.1.2

        Who’s being pissy and previous? There’s a lengthy post (and a lively comments thread) over on Public Address – but I guess RB should just take infantile name calling around here and at Kiwibog.

        • pollywog 22.1.2.1

          hah…good that Rusty has finally seen through the toxic old asexual fruitbat from Okarito.

          but we all know his russell brownness is a delicate wee thing that needs to be stroked just so if you want to get the best from him.

          I’m almost tempted to spam his joint for old times sake, get that fire in his belly stoked again 🙂

  23. Graeme 23

    penny is pissed because she isnt in it, and can only get work on third rate shows like 7 days and the odd advert.

    the unions have this wrong, it is a hi jack from the aussies because our film industry is getting to big.

  24. JKing 24

    “I don’t think they’ll move to Eastern Europe as the money saved on wages would be eaten up by the difficulties of doing business there …”

    You are entirely wrong about that. From Hell, Hellboy II, The Black Dahlia, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Casino Royale, Mission Impossible, The Brothers Grimm, Prince Caspian were all shot out of Prague. Big films shot there is hugely common … and no idle threat on Jackson’s part, rather a warning of what is a very real — and common — option for the studios.

    • Tiger Mountain 24.1

      @JKing, bit of a roll call of rather questionable films. Really if Sir Jackson doesn’t play some positive role in resolving this, he should leave his knighthood at the door on his way to Prague.

      • Salsy 24.1.1

        The list above merely illustrates that huge budget films get made successfully in Eastern Europe and suffer no box office boycot as a result…

        Leave his knighthood at the door

        *cringe*

        • Tiger Mountain 24.1.1.1

          Artistic and cultural merit obviously not your thing Salsa, those responsible for “greenlighting” the above horreurs should have been shot, not the films.

    • Colonial Viper 24.2

      More corporate threats of offshoring New Zealand jobs?

      Sounds like the usual National drum beat of suppressing pay levels and racing to the bottom of international wage rates.

      *Yawn*

  25. The Voice of Reason 26

    Interesting article on why Jackson fancies Eastern Europe. Fuck art, gimme cash.

    “And because the film industry in Hungary is largely nonunionized, everyone can be employed as an independent contractor, saving on the benefits and other charges that can add 30 percent or more to labor costs in Paris, London or Los Angeles.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/03/business/global/03iht-eastfilms.html?pagewanted=all

  26. RobertM 27

    Somewhat ironically on whats on this thread I agree only with Tsmithfield, that this is international entertainment business and in most such activities be they motor racing, cinema, novel writing or journalism only the best now get paid livable or high wages and the rest do it for love, hope or politics.
    But the debate on this blog misses the point that the real issue with Finalyson, Rosemary McLeod and Tom Scott et all is that it is a desperate display of the kiwi cultural cringe. Were so desperate to get the movie starts here, get Cruise and Paltrow and Tyler here that we’ll undersell ourselves, cut our rates, wages, offer absurd subsidies for glamour, prestige and artificial jobs. Yes the film business has been of benefit to Wellington and some industries in Taranaki and Kerry Prendergast will be doing her knitting in terror the Jackson industry will desert.
    It seems to me unlikley the Hobbit will disapear overseas as its a NZ Niche established by the Lord of Rings and pulling out would be bad publicity for the film industry even in LA. But down the track the costs of filming here will be a factor in any future production.
    By own view is we should not undercut ourselves in any professional activity and NZ rates of pay for doctors, architects, engineers, computer experts, actors and bofins should be at least close to Australia’s. That would probably mean fewer professionals but of a higher standard and and morepeople more making their own decisions and entertainment at their own expense.
    If we want film stars to come here we really need a 24 Hour all on society. A sort of society were people make it thru talent and drive and world class insight and brilliance not something old , hackneyed and totally inoffensive as the hobbit. To me the NZ film industry is really valued here because its the sort of things that gives our politicians, local government officials and diplomats credibilty in the salons and clubs of the world and I don’t know if thats a very good way to set priorities and expendure

    • jacinda 27.1

      What small country coming out of recession wouldn’t want the 2.5 billion plus of spending and the thousands of jobs it will create?

      For sure we are desperate – anyone turning that down is simply a tool……

      • Colonial Viper 27.1.1

        Have some self respect and some self value. If you don’t value yourself who the hell will.

        2.5 billion plus

        Yeah that’s the total budget for at least 9 Star Wars films you’ve just quoted, stop dreaming.

      • Maynard J 27.1.2

        jacinda, do you have any children I can pay 7 cents a day to work 18 hours making jeans? NZ needs a clothing industry, these are my terms and you’d be a tool to turn that down.

        Now, I realise that’s that’s a facetious comparison, and not reasonable. What that implies, of course, is that there is a line at which one is not a tool for turning down work. You might want to reflect on the minute fraction of the budget that will go to paying some of these folk, and why they’re tools for accepting such a tiny amount.

        You’re asking them to accept working for years on a pittance because it will be good for everyone else!

  27. Swampy 28

    This situation has come about because four years ago Labour changed the Employment Relations Act to give unions a pre-eminent right to demand a collective contract. I expect National will act to remove this right in their next term in order to restore balance in industrial negotiations.

    • The Voice of Reason 28.1

      Nope, nothing to do with that change to the Act, which just reinforces good faith behaviour in collective bargaining. You need to keep up, Swampy, Actors Equity aren’t asking for a CEA.

      • Harpoon 28.1.1

        TVOR: “Actors Equity aren’t asking for a CEA”

        Ummmm … how could they do that anyway? Actors Equity is not an incorporated society, and therefore is not a union in law, and therefore cannot negotiate a valid CEA.

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    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    1 week ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
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    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
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    1 week ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
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    1 week ago
  • War of the worms
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    1 week ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    1 week ago
  • 1000 of these now
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    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
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    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
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    2 weeks ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
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    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
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    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Justice for Bomber
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Protests Rage On: But Slogans Are Not Plans.
    Feeding The Flames: It is simply not enough to demand an end to “corruption”, or “inequality”, or the overbearing influence of the authorities in Beijing. These are just “lowest common denominator” demands: the sort of slogans that pull people onto the streets. They are not a plan.WHERE’S THE PLAN? Across ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 11,000 employed under Labour
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Boycott this democratic fraud
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on Andrew Little's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. Normally I encourage participation in the democratic process. I am not doing so in this case. Instead, I encourage all of you to boycott this submissions process, and to post ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz If tiny concentrations of carbon dioxide can hold enough heat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Ban private jets
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Untold Suffering
    That's what we face if we don't stop climate change, according to a warning from 11,000 scientists:The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The left and violent misogyny
    by Phil Duncan Here’s just a few of the kind of threats issued day in and day out against gender-critical women – feminists, marxists, etc – overwhelmingly by MEN (albeit men identifying as women). “Kill all Terfs”. “Shoot a Terf today”. “All terfs deserve to be shot in the head”. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and the iPhone
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    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • New Zealand’s key assets are not for sale: national interest test delivered
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will ...
    2 hours ago
  • National interest test added to protect New Zealanders’ interests
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high-risk assets to overseas buyers. Under current Overseas Investment Act (OIA) rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and ...
    3 hours ago
  • Electoral law breach allegations
    Rt Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years. Declarable donations were declared to the Electoral Commission. Our ...
    4 hours ago
  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    1 day ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    1 day ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    5 days ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    6 days ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued
    We’ve improved border security with the NZeTA, New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, which helps us to screen travellers for border and immigration risks off-shore before they travel to New Zealand. It was launched in August and became mandatory on 1 October 2019. More than 500,000 NZeTAs have been issued since ...
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    3 hours ago
  • Plan of action to protect seabirds
    A proposed national plan of action to reduce the number of seabirds caught in fisheries is being circulated for public feedback. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage say New Zealand is a global centre of seabird diversity with about 145 species in our waters. It has more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • National interest test added to overseas investment rules
    The Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. Associate Finance Minister David Parker said under current Overseas Investment Act rules, assets such as ports and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • New housing part of support for Kaumātua
    The Government is building special housing to accommodate one of Aotearoa’s greatest taonga- our kaumātua, says the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Speaking at a National Kaumātua Service Providers Conference in Rotorua today, the Minister reinforced the importance kaumātua play in maintaining and passing on mātauranga Māori, knowledge, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Forestry helps prisoners into jobs
    Eleven men from a pilot forestry training programme for prisoners in Northland now have full time jobs or job offers upon release, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. The ‘release to work’ programme was a collaboration between Te Uru Rākau and the Department of Corrections, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Reform of public service a step closer
    Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins today introduced into Parliament a Bill that will make it easier for the public service to tackle the biggest challenges facing Governments. The Bill represents the most significant change in the public service in 30 years. The State Sector Act 1988 will be repealed ...
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    1 day ago
  • Donations scheme to relieve pressure on families
    The families of more than 416,000 students will be better off next year as their schools have signed up to the Government’s donations scheme, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. The scheme will see almost $62.5 million in additional Government funding go to schools nationwide next year. “I’m really pleased ...
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  • Further support for Samoan measles outbreak
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced further support as the Government of Samoa responds to a serious measles outbreak. “New Zealand will deploy a further 18 vaccination nurses, bringing the total to 30 working in Samoa over the next four weeks,” Mr Peters said. “A New Zealand Medical Assistance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to the Child Poverty Action Group 2019 Summit
      Fa’atalofa atu, malo e lelei, Kia ora koutou katoa Thank you to the Child Poverty Action Group for asking me to be here today to provide an update on some of the things that have been happening across my the social development portfolio.  Can I firstly acknowledge the vast ...
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    1 day ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Annual Conference
    ***Please check against delivery*** Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be with you this morning to open this year’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Conference and AGM. Firstly, thank you Dr Alan Jackson, NZTR Chair for your introduction. And let us acknowledge also: The NZTR Board; Dean McKenzie, Chair ...
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    1 day ago
  • Fairer rules for tenants and landlords
    The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer and more secure, Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi has announced today. Both renters and landlords will benefit from the suite of practical changes to the Residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Two decades of marine protection celebrated at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako in Tairawhiti
    A marine conservation milestone - the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve - is being celebrated today at a community event in Tairāwhiti/East Coast attended by the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “The creation of this marine reserve in November 1999 was a game ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Food industry asked to step up fight against obesity
         The Government is asking the food industry to step up work to tackle obesity including reducing sugar, fat and salt in their products, better information for consumers, and tighter restrictions on advertising to children. Health Minister David Clark and Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor have responded to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Modern emergency care for Queenstown area
    ew, modern emergency department and outpatient facilities at Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital mean better emergency care for the growing tourist mecca’s visitors and locals, says Health Minister David Clark. Today Dr Clark officially opened the hospital’s redeveloped Emergency Department and Outpatient facilities. The new facilities include: •    An extended Emergency Department ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Contraception important for New Zealanders
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter says today’s release of sexual and reproductive health data reinforces the significance of the Government’s commitment to providing free or very low-cost contraception. The Ministry of Health today published statistics from the Ministry of Health’s 2014/15 Health Survey. “It is important people can make ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ medical staff and measles vaccines going to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that at the request of the Samoan Government, New Zealand will be providing further support to Samoa as it faces a worsening measles outbreak. “In response to a request from the people of Samoa, New Zealand is providing 3000 measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Disability Action Plan 2019 – 2023
    “The new Disability Action Plan 2019–2023 moves us towards the inclusive and accessible New Zealand that this government has committed to,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today.  “The Action Plan was designed by disabled people, their family and supporters, the disability sector and government agencies. It will ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Joint Statement – Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting
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    5 days ago
  • Sexual Violence Legislation Bill has its first reading
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    5 days ago
  • Streamlined business invoicing a step closer
    Streamlined payment practices are a step closer for Kiwi businesses with the formal launch of New Zealand’s e-Invoicing framework. Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says the government has now established the structure to enable automated and direct data exchange between the accounting systems of buyers and sellers. “The move to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More frontline biosecurity officers protecting NZ
    Another 51 quarantine officers and four new biosecurity detector dog teams will help protect New Zealand from invasive pests and diseases this summer, says Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “The Government is delivering on its commitment to strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system and support our valuable primary sector “New Zealand’s flora, fauna ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ space economy worth $1.69 billion
    A new report has found New Zealand’s space sector contributed $1.69 billion to the economy in the last financial year and employs 12,000 people, Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford announced today. The report by Deloitte was commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and shows New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Chair for Royal Commission into Abuse
    Judge Coral Shaw has been appointed as the new Chair of the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today. "Judge Shaw, who is currently one of the inquiry commissioners, is extremely well qualified for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Better mental health facilities for Palmerston North
    The Government has confirmed its third major mental health facility upgrade since the Budget, this time at Palmerston North Hospital. The Prime Minister and Health Minister today visited MidCentral DHB to announce that $30 million has been allocated to upgrade its acute mental health facility. It follows earlier announcements in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bowel Screening hits halfway point
    The roll out of the National Bowel Screening Programme has reached the halfway mark, with 10 out of 20 District Health Boards now part of the programme. MidCentral DHB, which covers Palmerston North, Manawatu and surrounding districts, this week became the latest to DHB to offer free bowel screening to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More vaccines for meningococcal disease
    The Government welcomes PHARMAC’s decision to fund a vaccine to protect young people from meningococcal disease from 1 December this year. “Meningococcal disease is a serious threat which people at higher risk should be protected from,” says Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter. “The combined pharmaceutical budget was increased by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Fisheries innovation projects supported
    Groups involved with innovative fisheries research projects are encouraged to apply for government support in the latest funding round from the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures programme. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash says the SFF Futures funding is designed to be flexible enough to support small or large projects across a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government fixes culturally arranged marriage visa issue
    The Government has fixed an issue affecting how Immigration New Zealand has processed visa applications for culturally arranged marriages, which will now see a consistent process applied which ensures people with legitimate arranged marriages can visit New Zealand while also preventing any rorting of the system. Earlier this year Immigration ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Extension for Royal Commission into Mosque attacks
    The Royal Commission into the Attacks on Christchurch Mosques will report back on 30 April 2020 to give it more time to hear submissions and consider information, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Royal Commission was originally scheduled to report back to Government by 10 December 2019. “There has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Terrorism and Trade on agenda as Foreign Minister visits the United States
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington DC today to attend a ministerial meeting focused on defeating ISIS, and to continue pursuing New Zealand’s trade opportunities. Mr Peters will participate in a meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers from key countries contributing to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Hoiho get extra support alongside 168 community conservation groups backing nature
    The recently crowned Bird of the Year, the hoiho/yellow eyed penguin, is getting a much needed helping hand alongside more than 168 other community conservation projects announced Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage today. 168 community conservation projects throughout New Zealand are benefiting from $8 million in government grants, including $500,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New safety measures for modified pistols
    Controls on assault rifles and semi-automatic firearms are to be broadened to include some types of pistols, under changes to a bill currently making its way through Parliament. Police Minister Stuart Nash has tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to the Arms Legislation Bill, which is currently before a Select Committee ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit Singapore and Thailand
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark will travel to Singapore today to conduct a counterpart visit and to co-chair the third annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting with his counterpart, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen. “Singapore is one of our most important defence partners in the region, and our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Future secured for Salisbury School
    Nelson’s Salisbury School is to be rebuilt, creating a modern and suitable learning environment for students at the residential special school, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The school for girls aged 8-15, in Richmond, was earmarked for closure by National until the process ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Resource management reform options released
    The panel undertaking a comprehensive review of the Resource Management Act has identified the main issues to be addressed and options for reform and is calling for feedback to inform its final report.  In July the Government announced the comprehensive review of the resource management system, including the RMA - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission established
    An important safety valve has been added to New Zealand’s criminal justice system with the third reading of the Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill today. The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) will investigate claimed miscarriages of justice. “We’ve seen how our justice system can very occasionally get things spectacularly wrong, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Racing Industry destined to be on-track
    Racing Minister Winston Peters welcomes the tabling of the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) 2019 Annual Report in Parliament today. He says the 2019 Annual Report marks the point when New Zealand’s racing industry’s decline was arrested and a turnaround started. RITA’s 2019 Annual Report recorded an industry net profit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand firefighter support to Queensland
    The New Zealand Government is today sending 21 firefighters to help fight the ongoing catastrophic Australian bushfires. “The fires in Australia are in some of the toughest, most challenging conditions ever,” says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin.  “As of yesterday morning, there were 100 active bushfire-related incidents across Queensland and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting all schools to succeed
      More frontline support for schools through a new education agency, as part of a redesigned Ministry of Education More support for principals and school boards including through a new centre of leadership and local leadership advisor roles New independent disputes panels for parents and students Management of school property ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Reform to support better outcomes for Māori learners and whānau
    The Government’s reform of the Tomorrow’s Schools system is a watershed moment in education and an opportunity to create meaningful change for ākonga Māori and their whānau, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis said today. “Last year through Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation, Māori teachers, parents, ākonga, whānau, hapū and iwi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago