NZ’s struggling screen industry

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 am, October 24th, 2013 - 117 comments
Categories: broadcasting, film, infrastructure, jobs, john key, overseas investment, telecommunications, tourism, trade, tv - Tags: , ,

So three years on from the Hobbit dispute, and the NZ screen industry is in a precarious state.  The outcome of that dispute, engineered by John Key, was to pander to the demands of the US film corporates at the expense of New Zealand workers and tax payer funding.  The industry has benefited in recent years from the off-shoring of film and TV production from the dominant production centres in the US and, to a lesser extent, Europe. As such, it lacks a strong basis to enable the local industry to withstand the shocks from global competition and changing international economic circumstances.

What would it take to make a solid independent screen production industry in New Zealand?  This industry includes all the digital production that is linked to film and TV production.  So it incorporates gaming and other work done by the likes of Weta Digital, and productions that can be viewed online. (The VFX industry in NZ is also dependent on the more powerful centres elsewhere.)

Jacinda Ardern raised the issue of the current precarious state of the NZ film industry in the House this week, and via this press release:

“The high Kiwi dollar has put huge pressure on the screen production industry. Add to this the fact that other countries are being increasingly savvy with their rebate regimes, and the result is a screen industry that is experiencing the worst downturn in at least a decade.

“Auckland is home to roughly 70 per cent of screen production in New Zealand, and a host of small businesses who prop it up.

A lot of the hoohah around Weta, Peter Jackson and films like the Hobbit and Avatar, make it seem like Wellington is the mainstay of NZ’s screen industry.  But it is long running TV series filmed in Auckland, like Xena, Hercules and more recently, Spartacus, that provide some stability in the industry.  This enables the relevant businesses to develop locally that service production, from catering through transport to the specialist services like lighting and Visual effects.

While this network developed around overseas TV productions, they also provided an infrastructure available to local productions, albeit that the local companies can’t afford the costs overseas companies are willing to pay.

Unfortunately Ardern doesn’t offer any suggestions of a way out of this dependency on overseas corporates.  She nods in the direction of further government subsidies or incentives, and towards the state of NZ’s economy.

Hilariously, Steven Joyce blamed the Auckland industry slump on the increased use of the railway near the West Auckland studios. This is not providing any suggestions about the way the NZ industry could be self sufficient. One possibility might be in the development of public service broadcasting via Freeview, linked with online streaming of screen productions.  NZ’s democracy needs more fact and fiction produced by and for New Zealanders.  Instead of the continuing importation of US, largely “neoliberal” values via our TV news, current events and entertainment, home grown productions could incorporate more values relevant to 21st century New Zealanders into local conversations.

Kiwis are capable of this, but we see it all too rarely these days: see for instance, TV 3’s Blue Rose, which was exciting, funny and socially and politically relevant.  We need more of this.

seth flynn blue rose

Peterson corproate dirt bag blue rose

One News has also picked up on the issue this week, and uses it to highlight the neeD for more taxpayer funding for Cameron’s latest Avatar movie.

There are new calls for the Government to review tax incentives for foreign productions as the industry faces losing a billion dollar blockbuster.

The industry is suffering its worst downturn ever, with thousands already out of work.

Avatar is one of the most expensive films ever made and its three sequels are expected to cost close to $1 billion.

That is money that could be coming to New Zealand if director James Cameron still films here.

The evidence of the direct contribution to NZ’s economy from such productions is weak, with the government usually pointing to how it boosts the countries economy via tourism.  However, the One News article paints a dire picture of NZ’s inability to compete with other countries for Hollywood crums.

Time for a re-think, by encouraging more innovative proposals to develop a strong, resilient and independent NZ screen industry: one suited to the digital era, and that would work in conjunction with a rejuvenated public broadcasting system and online capabilities.

backbenchers-live-TVNZ7

 

[Update]: Maori TV & Barry Barclay’s legacy

marty mars makes an excellent point below:

personally I’d like to see more stories from our deep heritage. The stories of the land, of the people on the land – the heroes, the sacrifices, the naming of everything – I really can’t see why people wouldn’t be into it. But I’m not thinking doco’s I’m thinking ‘crouching tiger’ – action. Forget the America’s Cup and put the money into scriptwriting with tangata whenua.

This reminds me of the work and approach of filmmaker Barry Barclay, and his legacy in the Maori TV channel. See for instance Brannavan Gnanalingam’s article on Barclay, one of NZ’s most significant film makers who coined the term “fourth cinema” in relation to indigenous film-making. While Gnanalingam is critical of the application of Barclay’s philosophy, he acknowledges Barclay’s influence on later developments, such as Maori TV.

 Programmes such as Waka HuiaMarae, and the more recent developments in Māori Television owe a large debt to the impact of Barclay’s work.

117 comments on “NZ’s struggling screen industry ”

  1. shorts 1

    Part of it is the NZ$, partly its just a lull (longterm or not we will see) in productions basing themselves here and part if it is the lack of infrastructure – our studios are basically large warehouses, not the custom designed/outfitted studios that productions can find elsewhere (coupled with more favourable exchange rates)

    I don’t know if there is anything the govt can actually do to reverse the quiet time currently being felt due to offshore productions being here – incentives help but they are only part of the picture.

    The one thing our govt could do that would make a huge difference is a refocus and investment in local productions and our TV and film industry coupled with a similar focus and investment in public broadcasting – we should be focusing on local productions and exporting them – a win for jobs and export earnings. I’d rather this approach than more handouts and incentives to offshore businesses who only see our country as a place to exploit

    • richard 1.1

      The one thing our govt could do that would make a huge difference is a refocus and investment in local productions and our TV and film industry coupled with a similar focus and investment in public broadcasting…

      You’ve nailed it. The running down of public broadcasting over the last 30 years has deprived the NZ film industry of both a valuable training ground for actors, directors etc and an outlet for their art.

  2. Thanks Karol, for telling peter jackson how the movie industry is run.

    • BLiP 2.1

      Just as well Steven Joyce has his finger on the pulse His analysis and final conclusion that the slump in production is due to increased train journeys is . . . umm . . . remarkable. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if this realisation of his forms the basis for his logic behind the need to create motorways which, when analysed by professionals, are found to be completely uneconomic.

    • Tat Loo 2.2

      We’re after a full bodied NZ film industry, not a Peter Jackson industry.

      • greywarbler 2.2.1

        ‘Full-bodied’ to everyone’s taste. Handsome and beautiful and interesting actors. Lots of bodies getting employment, and lots of bodies seeing the productions. And lots of bodies with funds for grants to encourage innovation, imagination, production, skills, sales, etc. A good term Tat.

    • karol 2.3

      Bwhahahahah! ur funny!

      Brett, thanks for showing how little you know about the workings of the screen industries.

      But, of course, I forgot, Sir Peter is the unassailable authority on all things movie, and is above criticism. That’s if you ignore all the research and well-referenced analysis done of these industries, as for instance in the papers on the Hobbit dispute, which is linked to in my post.

      Never mind, fanboi. In the world of fanfic, Sir Peter will forever be the god of the NZ movie industry.

      Meanwhile, there are very experienced and talented Kiwis losing their jobs in the screen industries, and many talented young people with career hopes, seeing doors closing in front of them. And, while they do this, Kiwis keep turning to Hollywood fantasies riddled with US “neoliberal” values for their entertainment.

      • Brett Dale 2.3.1

        So Perter Jackson or yourself, I know who the movie industry worldwide will listen to.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 2.3.1.1

          Most of the so called ‘screen industry’ is not feature films.

          Its television, and the local advertisers.

          And most employment related to movies is in the screening business side, those operating and running movie theatres

          • karol 2.3.1.1.1

            Well, as BM mentions @ 10.58am below, most of the money now is in gaming.

            This is why I mainly refer to “screen industry/ies”.

            Cinemas are struggling to compete with the diversity of platforms for screen productions, hence the quite high prices for getting into NZ picture theatres, and the focus on big screen spectacle (3 D, VFX-driven movies like LOTR and Avatar).

        • BLiP 2.3.1.2

          Nah . . . neither Jackson nor our wonderful karol. The international movie industry will be listening to John Key when he nexts puts New Zealand’s laws and Human Rights up for sale to the highest bidder because, as John Key oftens sings to himself since becoming Pramunsta. . .

          ♪ ♫ . . . the Beehive, the Beehive, where everyone gets a bargain . . . ♫ ♪

          . . . as he merrily goes about his way selling the country on the cheap to his banker / movie / mining / millitary / Chinese government mates. Wattaguy. Real ashparashnul for Noozilund.

        • karol 2.3.1.3

          *Sigh* – power and influence does not mean someone is correct, nor that they are above criticism.

      • BM 2.3.2

        Why would you want to invest 100’s of millions of dollars making a movie and then have some one upload an illegal version on to some file sharing site so people can then download it for free.

        Films are dying all the money is in games now.

        The only films that will end up getting made will be 4D movies.

        • McFlock 2.3.2.1

          because 3d wasn’t enough of a gimmick?

          Piracy is advertising – I can think of a couple of films that I liked so much that I actually bought a DVD. Would never have bothered with them otherwise.

          Cinemas might have issues because TVs are getting large enough and with enough definition to compete with movie screens, but movies are fine.

          The only issue studios face is the cyclical one they face periodically, where they’re throwing so much money at so many blockbusters each year that they’re becoming more conservative in the movies they greenlight (sequels, anyone?).

          Sooner or later a dozen multi-hundred-million-dollar blockbusters are going to compete with each other in one summer. Some of those movies will flop badly, so a studio or two might collapse like UA did, and the rest will retrench and generally move into other genres for lower budgets.

        • andy (the other one) 2.3.2.2

          Films are dying all the money is in games now.

          Except when the have record year on year profits.

          The summer concluded with a record $4.7 billion (NZ$6.03b) in box-office revenue despite much maligned flops like The Lone Ranger, After Earth and White House Down.

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11118631

          • karol 2.3.2.2.1

            Yet that article also points to the uncertainty of the Hollywood movie business, with peaks and slums continuing.

            This article shows how difficult it is for the major movie corps, with only one or two of them maintaining high profits last year. It also highlights how dependent the corproates are on gaming and TV etc to boost their profits.

            • FastSage 2.3.2.2.1.1

              The peaks and slums are the problem with our film industry being dependent on international work.

              More public broadcasting would provide a stable base. What we really need to do is have NZers OWN the IP/story/characters/merchandise. That way the profits stay in NZ and the margins are higher. No cut for Warner Bros, and we are masters of our own destiny. That’s what a sustainable, successful film industry would look like. Or, if we are partners in the project (not contractors) then of course the work comes here.

              The shame is that Peter Jackson/Weta are doing work-for-hire for US studios, not creating their own IP which they’re more than capable of doing.

          • greywarbler 2.3.2.2.2

            andy 2
            You could have hit on a formula that NZ could work on. Make certain films that are tailored to have game potential, work hard at getting the film out there, if looking good, then build the game to go after it. Perhaps then the film will get another showing with PR from the game helping, and the game gets a boost too.

            Two bites at the public interest, then DVDs too.
            Nice if it worked. And everything to be done here. And we think of ways to dramatise the film premiere in different cities. Have feedback loops that carry on into other things.

            What a great idea. If it could work, well that would be worth much. Who had never heard of Iceland and Finland a while back. And I listen and look at what is going on here and there is a bunch of throbbing pulsing creative ideas and enthusiasm from young people who can do lots if directed at something positive focussed on a good outcome.

          • QoT 2.3.2.2.3

            I see your $4.7 billion and raise you $14.8 billion (or to be fair, 6.7bn discounting subscriptions, apps, DLC and Farmville.)
            http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/ESA_EF_2013.pdf

        • Draco T Bastard 2.3.2.3

          Why would you want to invest 100′s of millions of dollars making a movie and then have some one upload an illegal version on to some file sharing site so people can then download it for free.

          So that millions of people can enjoy it.

          Life isn’t about money.

          • Populuxe1 2.3.2.3.1

            That is the most arrogant, ignorant thing I’ve heard today, firmly rooted in the notion that creative industries are somehow not labour and that the adulation should be enough. Oh yes, the wee artists and writers should all be starving away picturesquely in a garret somewhere – how romantic! Even Lady Gaga can’t eat applause.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.3.2.3.1.1

              Didn’t say anything about them not being fed, housed and clothed, having free education available to them etc etc now did I?

              • BM

                So people should just spend 100’s of million of dollars on a film and then just give that film away.

                Oookay, riiight…. so this is how things work in Draco world?

      • Populuxe1 2.3.3

        “Brett, thanks for showing how little you know about the workings of the screen industries.”

        To be fair, karol, skimming a bunch of research on the internet doesn’t make you an expert either.

        “But, of course, I forgot, Sir Peter is the unassailable authority on all things movie, and is above criticism. That’s if you ignore all the research and well-referenced analysis done of these industries, as for instance in the papers on the Hobbit dispute, which is linked to in my post.”

        Not an unassailable authority, no, but certainly someone who has made the industry work for him. Again, there is a difference between an academic and an experiential understanding. Check your academic privilege.

        “Never mind, fanboi. In the world of fanfic, Sir Peter will forever be the god of the NZ movie industry.”

        His movies up to Forgotten Silver were very clever and localised. I might not like most of his Hollywood potboilers, but politics aside Lord of The Rings has earned him that kudos.

        “Meanwhile, there are very experienced and talented Kiwis losing their jobs in the screen industries, and many talented young people with career hopes, seeing doors closing in front of them. And, while they do this, Kiwis keep turning to Hollywood fantasies riddled with US “neoliberal” values for their entertainment.”

        The shrinking local production industry is a concern, but oversaturation is often a problem with glamour industries in small countries. Anti-populist snobbery is boring and the average NZer who just wants to be entertained does not deserve to be patronised by you or anyone else, left or right. Check your academic classist priviledge.

        • karol 2.3.3.1

          What is it, pop? I have a knowledge only from skimming the Internet, or I am exercising academic privilege?

          What makes you think I’m anti-popular culture? I have spent a lot of time viewing and listening to “populist” culture. It’s more US-focused values I’m opposed to, and the need for a more NZ focused approach.

          From your comments you have no idea of where I’m coming from or my experiences.
          Try dealing with the arguments rather than ad hominems based on your fantasies about my knowledge, background and interests.

          For instance, how is saying Tapert’s productions have been the back-bone of Auckland’s industry in recent years, being an anti-populist snob? how does watching programmes like some popular Aussie productions make me anti-populist?

          I really only liked Heavenly Creatures of Jackson’s earlier work – watched other stuff, but never really appealed to me. And HC was more Fran Walsh’s project than Jackson’s.

          • Populuxe1 2.3.3.1.1

            “And, while they do this, Kiwis keep turning to Hollywood fantasies riddled with US “neoliberal” values for their entertainment.”

            That is a deeply prejudiced statement and it oozes academic privilege. How can you say that isn’t patronising and judgmental? The whole “their lack of theory blinds them to their enslavement” angle is the academic privilige equivilent of “mansplaining” and it is offensive and elitist, and quite probably classist too.

            And I fail to see how Tappert’s productions don’t come under the rubric of “Hollywood fantasies riddled with US “neoliberal” values for their entertainment” – that strikes me as shifting goalposts.

        • Tanz 2.3.3.2

          I loved all of Jackson’s early films, the do it yourself stuff and Heavenly Creatures.
          Everything else, no thanks, just swashbuckling swashbucklers forever. Kudos to Jackson, but I wish he’d go back to the more inventive, creative, number eight wire type movies that made his name to start with.

  3. Philgwellington Wellington 3

    This government doesn’t support public broadcasting. In reality it killed of TVNZ7 and the kids network, to support the rise
    and profit of SKY TV. Funding
    strangulation of RNZ. FREEView is a pathetic offering, a commercial pile of….. There is unlimited space for quality public broadcasting, as there currently is none.! Even in Australia they have a good public broadcaster. Those poor returning Kiwis to see what’s happened to poor Lil Nu Zild. Frying pan to the fire.

    • tc 3.1

      Oz has 2 public broadcasters, ABC and SBS. Mature and stable with fantastic content, ABC outrates Channell 10 since it’s been Murdoched.

      For starters we should get some agreements with Oz’s ABC/SBS over content sharing. There’s some great local TV over there full of kiwi craft (actors, crew) much preferable to the crud from US. Upper Middle Bogan being a current example.

      This can reinflate the virtually worthless Freeview by carrying the ABC/SBS digital channels and offers kiwi productions a bigger market. Sky had SBS booted off our freeview sattelite.

      Smash up TVNZ into a public broadcasting TV1 and TV2 can do all the reality, cop, house challenge content to part fund TV1, insert charter and cleanout the gadflys at TVNZ.

      Film’s a tougher beast, we have great locations and talent but do we want to get into a bidding war on subsidies etc in a race to the bottom. For our size and distance we do well but IMO it’s lull is partly driven by a dying TV industry as the craft has to start somewhere.

      • karol 3.1.1

        Good idea, tc. I think we could do with more SBS/ABC productions here: documentaries and dramas. Maori TV do show some Aussie TV series, with an indigenous focus.

        I have also watched some of the more commercial Aussie drama series in recent years: Wentworth (with Daniel Cormack), Rush, Crownies, Homicide, etc. Kind of Hollywood genres once removed, but with an Aussie accent, local issues, and often with a bit of grit – often as good, if not better than many US mainstream TV dramas.

        • tc 3.1.1.1

          also checkout todays guardian with a ’10 reasons TV is better than film’ all good reasons to beef up the not so small screen.

          • karol 3.1.1.1.1

            Hmmm, thanks tc. It all looks to be about “Breaking Bad” for that writer – definite skewing towards more masculine styles of drama. Not the short of shows I watch. however, his points are good ones about long form dramas. They have been made possible by improved recording technologies and digitisation – not possible in pre-VCR days.

            It has really be the asccess to TV shows online and onDVD that has increased the popularity of such series.

            netflix & “Orange is the New Black” are interesting. OitNB, has a bit of grungy, low budget, alternative film making style.

  4. personally I’d like to see more stories from our deep heritage. The stories of the land, of the people on the land – the heroes, the sacrifices, the naming of everything – I really can’t see why people wouldn’t be into it. But I’m not thinking doco’s I’m thinking ‘crouching tiger’ – action. Forget the America’s Cup and put the money into scriptwriting with tangata whenua.

  5. King Kong 5

    I guess that Helen Kelly giving New Zealand a reputation for disruptive union strong arming of major film projects hasn’t helped much.

    • BLiP 5.1

      Yeah, true. John Key’s idea of reducing New Zealand to the Mexico of the South Pacific is a far better for all of us. Totally ashpahrashnul.

    • greywarbler 5.2

      ook here KK
      What do you mean? Was Helen Kelly the leader of that little debacle linking our industry to Australian unions? I don’t think so. Her job however is to work for better conditions for workers so she wouldn’t condemn it. But did she instigate it? Give some background from your excellent sources for those of us who have forgotten the detail.

    • millsy 5.3

      Yes, god forbid that our actors (and crew) should have holiday pay, ACC, sick leave and the like. And that employers in the film industry be held to the same standards as other employers.

      And, our screen industry wont have any problems if they actually made decent films/programmes/documentaries — kinda like what they used to do. the National Film Unit docos that you find online are quite awesome.

  6. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 6

    On watching the item covering this issue on the news last night I wondered what sort of ‘tax incentives’ are involved. What are the numbers? i.e. What are the deals being offered by the countries with ‘better deals’? This matters because I don’t know whether it is a case of film producers expecting not to pay any tax in the country they film in?

    I was thinking it would be great if there was some type of move to have a ‘fair trade’ type labelling on movies. It would be nice to think that people would start supporting films that are prepared to bring in benefits to the countries that they film in. Otherwise ‘tax incentives’ becomes a race to a free-for-all like occurs in other sectors.

    • karol 6.1

      Good question, bl. When looking into this issue a day or 2 ago, I came across this article about the upturn in international film production in Ireland:

      In 2008, the Government introduced new measures through Section 481 to strengthen the Irish tax incentive for film and television production. In an industry where strong competition from New Zealand, Eastern Europe and Asia competes to attract major film projects, the new incentives have dramatically increased Ireland’s competitive position as a location for international film and TV productions.

      The new improvements, in place until 2020, mean the ceiling on qualifying expenditure for any one film is increased from €35m to €50m. Qualifying expenditure includes all EU personnel and purchases of goods and services in the State. The main benefits of Section 481 are: worth up to 28% of Irish budget; is available to both film and television productions; and its value is determined at the outset. Section 481 also allows individuals to invest up to €50,000 in a tax year by means of share acquisition in a qualifying production company and can deduct this investment from their taxable income for that year

      As well as some great out door locations, Ireland is closer to some other centres of finance and screen production in England and Europe, than is NZ.

      • Populuxe1 6.1.1

        Ireland is also one of the “I”s in “PIIGS” – which should suggest something to you.

  7. greywarbler 7

    Good to look at this karol. Our creatives are one of the few sectors that are forging new markets and products and ideas and just wonderful imagination and skill in New Zealand. They are a body of people taking us, along with our minds and understanding, into the 21st century.

    There are too many others of the bovine type taking us into a Back to the Future scenario where we will go through the motions again, but end up with a worse outcome than before. That’s not the happy ending that film produced.

  8. Adrian 8

    One important point Karol is that all of the TV series that propped up the industry in Auckland for the last 20 years, Hercules, Xena and Spartacus were all produced by Lucy Lawless and husband Rob Tapert’s company. All the eggs in one basket as it were, so that when their operation moved on or more likely the market ( small US tv networks ) changed focus to reality tv or whatever the work disappeared. Bugger.
    Of course it wo’t happen to dairy !.

    • karol 8.1

      Indeed, Robert Tapert has provided the backbone to Auckland’s and (arguably) NZ’s TV and movie industry in recent decades. The positive side has been up-skilling of Kiwis, and international career opportunities. The downside, is, as you say, Adrian, it’s too dependent on one person – plus it doesn’t focus enough on telling stories by and for Kiwis, while, unfortunately, most of the profits still go overseas.

      It looks like Tapert is now involved in a new TV series being produced in NZ, Noir. Looks like anime – remake of a Japanese series that I saw some eps for online a few years back. So it’s largely a digital creation.

      And not all Tapert’s NZ productions were that successful – it takes time to create a succesful new series.

      Hence,a s you say, the need for more than one major initiative.

      • shorts 8.1.1

        I believe in the Tapert productions post the warners deal more and more jobs were going to people from offshore – more reason for us to think carefully as a nation about creating our own film industry (well expanding the one we have)

        Add to this the Zena et al styled TV show has all but run its course

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1

          The problem is that people expect the film industry to continue the same as it was last century which it won’t. Read an article a few months back that professional CGI people are finding it hard to get work in the OECD countries because it’s easy to find capable CGI people in the so called 3rd world countries for less.

          Competition is heating up and, over time, the big studios will collapse as talented amateurs start producing stuff just as good and for a millionth of the price.

          • McFlock 8.1.1.1.1

            Not so sure about that.

            The studios don’t just have production budgets, but advertising and distribution is the other half of the equation.

            Whacking another indie movie onto a website might or might not turn it into the next dramatic look squirrel, but those will be few and far between compared to a studio’s marketing and distribution budget.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    There are new calls for the Government to review tax incentives for foreign productions as the industry faces losing a billion dollar blockbuster.

    Forget the tax incentives, just have the government fully fund it with a reasonable return from the proceeds. NZ will do far better doing that than giving even more money to foreign corporates.

    • greywarbler 9.1

      We have a wonderful Natural life production company grown from a government film unit. It is still up there with world production isn’t it? Or did it get sold to some corpulent corp.? Why can’t we have a film SOE? Some seeding money and some input from time to time and the turnover of the $ from productions would help with a multiplier, ripple effect.

      Some links – one to USA small business page on ripple effect
      http://smallbusiness.chron.com/ripple-effect-business-22463.html

      and one to a page of South Carolina Policy Council. http://www.scpolicycouncil.org/about
      I thought what good thing will come out of South Carolina.
      And I wasn’t disappointed – a right wing think tank. They manage to produce some findings that put down multiplier effects, quote Keynesian ec. in rather disparaging terms and profess that it’s more likely to be useless.
      And their Home Page makes interesting statements. –
      They aren’t a Policy Council –
      Our Role
      We don’t design policies. We identify barriers to freedom.
      Our Vision
      The Policy Council’s purpose is to promote freedom, to protect freedom, and to prove that freedom works. In short: we want South Carolina to be the freest state in the nation…
      Freedom from dependency on federal money. Well over a third of South Carolina’s state budget consists of federal money. All that money comes with strings attached. So when it comes to artifact museums and artist development and tourism marketing, South Carolina makes its own decisions.
      But when it comes to educating our children and maintaining our roads and bridges, many of the key decisions are made in Washington. That can change only when state politicians learn how to say “No” to Washington’s welfare.

      It’s interesting to see the case that RW makes for not having a government that works for the people and sets minimum standards for all. Seems to make the odd rational point that anyone could agree with. But it wants to close down the benefits of government and funding until it must become a tight little entity run on crony capitalism. Yammering on about choice to really poor people who are not in a position to do anything or accept what’s available.

      • McFlock 9.1.1

        Natural History Unit?
        Still in dunners, I think, but a part of a fiendish corporation now.
        Probably reduced to “ancient aliens surviving alone in the jungle” shows.

        Sigh – yeah

  10. infused 10

    Probably because major screen projects have all just finished.

  11. captain hook 11

    The NZ film industry started off with a hiss and a roar making films in NZ with imported screenplays.
    The thing is until the NZ film industry finds people who can write meaningful stories without delusions of grandeur and overinflated estimations of their own importance then it will always be at the mercy of forces that it cannot control.
    In other words the NZ film industry is full of ruperts and rolands and full of shit.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      Plenty of authors in NZ. If they’re not being found then I suggest that we have a systemic problem. Probably something to do with the makers of movies waiting for a NYT bestseller or similar.

      • Tat Loo 11.1.1

        Didn’t we have an author just win the international Man-Booker prize?

      • tc 11.1.2

        Warners told their UK office years ago, get us another franchise like a Bond or we close you down. They found Harry Potter which saved them and kick started a UK industry renaissance.

        It’s all about the story and if it fits the movie exec’s ‘vision’ to get the funding and as for where it gets shot, and post production occurs that’s where the big egos get to play.

        PJ is PJ, one man does not an industry make but he can drag the post production back to wingnut from where ever he shoots as he’s at that big swinging donger level of the industry.

    • karol 11.2

      Actually the US screen writers guild is very powerful. You will note that the Tapert NZ productions didn’t secure any regular NZ screen writers, while Kiwis got a look in on most other areas of the productions.

      Jackson has had enough clout to include his own screen writers, from his own close associates – but few other Kiwi writers get a look in.

      Kiwis have scripted some pretty good movies and TV programmes over the years: Outrageous Fortune, Blue Rose, Boy, Whale Rider etc.

      The talent is there, they just need some breaks in the face of powerful US interests.

      • captain hook 11.2.1

        have to disagree there K. none of those movies were worth a tin of shit and I have to think of the chilean minears dying of lung disease mining silver for these nitwits to foist their inane versions of the world on the rest of us.

        • karol 11.2.1.1

          Well, I’m not sure what kind of movie you’re looking for. Those movies etc had pretty good writers. There’s a load of different movies and TV series in different genres and styles been made and written by Kiwis:

          Came a Hot Friday, In My Father’s Den, World’s Fastest Indian, Eagle vs Shark, Sione’s wedding, etc, etc.

          And talent there waiting for an opportunity.

        • Populuxe1 11.2.1.2

          Hmmm the majority would seem to disagree with you.

        • greywarbler 11.2.1.3

          Captain Hook
          Well apart from whirling the s..t around let’s have a look.
          The dopey ham thing like Adam Sandler has been done and the USA know how to go with that style.
          We need something imaginative and different – some will just catch the Cannes film festival prize but not become big public earners.
          Some will.
          The n there is the quirky NZ
          goodbye Pork Pie.? Boy?
          There are interesting Moari ones and someone I think Marty Mars was saying what about it. I saw Utu the other day and it was fascinating.
          There are things to show about the pakeha Maori culture clash which would be interesting and intriguing.
          Then there was the poignant story I heard of the Maori from a rangatira line who married a scummy Brit and her lands became part of his marriage settlement uner Brit law, and she lost them when the bum left her and probably went gold hunting in Australia. That would be dramatic.

          There are bright people falling over themselves to make stuff. In the film festivals there are collection of shorts and lots of people serve their apprenticeships on those I think.
          Peter Jackson had an interesting time learning his trade from a young age.
          Just don’t sneer at everything Hook. We’ll send the crocodile after you. Blanch every time you hear tick tock. And for heaven’s sake take some large spoonfuls of physic and get over the NZ disease of putting everything and everybody down if they don’t come up to your finely tuned critical faculties.
          As a more celebrated NZr than you said ‘ We haven’t much money so we have to think hard.”

      • Mike S 11.2.2

        “You will note that the Tapert NZ productions didn’t secure any regular NZ screen writers”

        That’s because with guys like Steven DeKnight on board you don’t go looking for local screen writers.

  12. Philgwellington Wellington 12

    Xox
    Are we turning into South Caroline? Is it too late? I read Rodney Hyde saying that the absent vote at recent local body elections should be exercised by central government.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 12.1

      He would say that, only because nationals local show ponies arent having much electoral sucess.

  13. Tim 13

    This is actually quite a simple one.

    We have the skilled workforce, we have the facilities and we have the locations.

    What we don’t have is a competitive rebate. Ours stands at 15% while our competitors stand at 20-32%. Studios don’t care about unskilled labour, lack of infrastructure, proximity to train lines. They care about the budget, that’s all. Bumping the rebate to 25+% would save our film industry.

    The UK is booming, studio space is completely booked up. The market now is in the overflow. We can capture that.

    …either that or chuck an extra $50m annually at the film commission and make some loss making (but still good) kiwi films.

    • Mike S 13.1

      Rob Tapert told me a couple of years ago that once the NZ dollar gets over 74c US (I think that was the number) then he has to start thinking about filming elsewhere as it is no longer worthwhile financially to film here.

      The high dollar could be the reason Tapert’s (or Starz, can’t remember which ) Pirates TV series has been filmed in South Africa instead of here, why Hercules cancelled plans to film here and why Steven DeKnight’s new sci fi series Incursion won’t be filmed here to name a few.

  14. Tat Loo 14

    I’m usually pretty hesitant with solutions which say “shift this one lever from 15% to 25% or 30% and the problem will be solved”. In the real world issues are way more complex than that, and engaging in a race to the bottom of the barrel is not the way to go. What happens when some European country decides to offer 35% to 40% rebates? We get forced to go to 45% to 50% rebates? And so on.

    • McFlock 14.1

      exactly.

      Basically, the way to compete budget-wise is to have capabilities that other places don’t. An example is the computing power at Weta: at one stage it was once of the top-line high performance computing facilities in the world, and about the best set up for movies.

      So the studios lose money off the rebates, but gain on less production time to produce a better product.

      The $50mil chucked at the film commission is also a better idea than rebates – even if only a few of the directors who get their starts from it go on to bring hollywood productions back here, it still pays off (Peter Jackson springs to mind). And it keeps the skillsets current in NZ, for another Xena/Hercules/OnceWereWarriors export.

      • karol 14.1.1

        I actually think the big success story around Jackson productions is Weta workshops – and that is based in the developments of digital technologies. This indicates to me where NZ independent, and/or niche market screen productions should be looking. ie ties in with Labour and Greens focusing on “high end” smart production in NZ generally.

        Jackson has been very successful in negotiating with the Hollywood industry as a business, rather than as an “artiste”. This compares with the captain hook kind of focus above, which is more on the quality of creations and/or some sort of cultural values – ie it seems to me ch is looking for something other than either middle class and/or US Hollywood style productions.

        Developments in digital technologies, along with the increased capabilities for (computer based) VFX, made it possible to produce slick Hollywood productions in NZ. It also makes it increasingly possible for the production of various kinds of screen productions by and for Kiwis, at relatively low cost: from animations and gaming to TV series and movie productions.

        • shorts 14.1.1.1

          I think its flawed to have the primary goal to bring foreign productions here as the income stays offshore, we only get a cut of production costs – we should be looking to build up our own ability to tell compelling stories others want to see and producing it ourselves using our own talent (of which we have in abundance) – be it movies, games or whatever becomes the dominant entertainment form in the future

          To constantly compete for foreign business in a world where it is a race to the bottom in incentives will only see the local industry face crisis semi regularly

          Kiwi stories, kiwi made….

          • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1.1.1

            +1

            To constantly compete for foreign business in a world where it is a race to the bottom in incentives will only see the local industry face crisis semi regularly

            Almost precisely but that crisis will be ongoing.

      • Draco T Bastard 14.1.2

        Basically, the way to compete budget-wise is to have capabilities that other places don’t.

        We shouldn’t even be trying to compete to bring in the foreign corporations. We really can do it all here. We have the talent to do it.

        to bring hollywood productions back here

        Fuck the Hollywood productions – we’re not here to make foreign corporates richer. $500m per year funding direct from government to NZ on air to make blockbusters with the caveats:

        1.) Must use NZ authors
        2.) Must use NZ actors
        3.) Must use NZ sound and video production studios
        4.) NZ government gets a fairly large chunk of the proceeds from the sales

        The government would probably end up making a profit.

        • McFlock 14.1.2.1

          “Blockbusters” would only make a profit if they move offshore – the NZ movie market is barely the size of melbourne, let alone the US.

          So either way NZOA would need international production partners.

          • shorts 14.1.2.1.1

            not production partners – marketing and distribution channels, which as the entertainment world increasingly moves online for such the cost and networks, (and gatekeepers of), needed to do so decrease

            we can think outside of the current stagnating US centric models surely?

          • Draco T Bastard 14.1.2.1.2

            Nothing stopping us from distributing them worldwide.

            • shorts 14.1.2.1.2.1

              no not at all – however at least in the short term it is better to employ or license to existing channels, companies are hungry for “content” to champion and license and creators need access to audiences – distribution partnerships deliver both with local marketing expertise -everyone wins

        • BM 14.1.2.2

          I notice all your business ideas will always be a roaring success, it’s like they’re guaranteed not to fail.

          On a side note.
          Not quite sure how much profit the government will get with your make it then give it away for free business philosophy.

          • McFlock 14.1.2.2.1

            bit like national’s brighter future.

          • Draco T Bastard 14.1.2.2.2

            Not quite sure how much profit the government will get with your make it then give it away for free business philosophy.

            Actually, I’d make the opening and ending credits have a website mentioned where people can easily make payment.

            • BM 14.1.2.2.2.1

              Actually, I’d make the opening and ending credits have a website mentioned where people can easily make payment.

              ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
              …………………………………………………………
              …………………………………………………………
              …………………………………………………………

              ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

              You’re a funny guy, LOL

              • Draco T Bastard

                Seen those honesty boxes and tip jars in stores that most people put money into?

                Yeah, I think most people would actually pay.

                • McFlock

                  Have done already, in fact. Some damned good films have been crowdfunded.

                • Populuxe1

                  And do you know why people in the US have to live off their tips? Why, I do believe that might be something to with them not being paid properly for their work.

        • tc 14.1.2.3

          Onto it as always DTB.

          Oz has effectively run a quota system for many years in terms of on air content and where foreign interests can provide the talent. It also did well from the hollywood writers strike in terms of learning from the big boys and showing US that down under had benefits.

          Plenty of commercials have been pulled up for having insufficient Oz content, it generates local work, and helps grow the talent pool.

          People love a local product you just need to create the right environment. Many kiwi movies/TV do well because they are made here. I’ve seen plenty on that basis.

    • greywarbler 14.2

      Tat
      Ooh no. Others are doing something and if we are going to do something then they will do something more and we are into paralysis by analysis so we will sit here and whine and do nothing.

      • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1

        He’s right though. Making tax breaks to compete with other nations to bring in foreign movie producers is just a race to the bottom and one that we need to get out of as it will make us worse off.

        • Mike S 14.2.1.1

          I’m not sure about the tax breaks thing. For example, say the total payroll for 3.5 seasons of Spartacus was 90 million NZ dollars. That’s a lot of money over just a 3 year period being paid to the crew who were made up almost entirely of Kiwis. Tax will be paid on all that plus jobs for the crew plus they spend into local economy, etc, etc.

          If we said that the production company has to pay no tax at all, we still get the benefits of the series being produced here. If it is a series that is going to have a number of seasons of ongoing work then that is a huge plus. Does it matter that the government is not getting any direct tax out of the production company? The governments not really losing anything but there is a lot to gain.

          I’m not saying I think that productions should pay no tax, just throwing out some info. I can’t really see how giving tax breaks makes us worse off as without the production we wouldn’t be getting tax anyway.

          • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1.1.1

            If we said that the production company has to pay no tax at all, we still get the benefits of the series being produced here.

            I can’t really see how giving tax breaks makes us worse off as without the production we wouldn’t be getting tax anyway.

            If we just had NZAir funding production of a series that we could sell overseas then we’d get the benefits of the production and the sales. We don’t need productions from outside NZ.

            Does it matter that the government is not getting any direct tax out of the production company?

            Yes because it means that some people using our infrastructure aren’t paying their fair share and so taxes will have to go up on the rest of us.

            • Mike S 14.2.1.1.1.1

              People using our infrastructure? Such as what exactly? The vast majority of people employed on Tapert’s productions are Kiwis who pay income tax here and spend money here. The few foreign people who work on the production here use our roads, but they pay petrol tax, they use our power generators but they pay power bills (massive ones at that), No doubt they have health insurance to cover any unexpected medical costs, they use our sewerage system and pay for wastewater, etc,etc. I’m not sure what you mean by using our infrastructure and not paying their fair share. How would taxes on the rest of us go up due to Tapert filming TV series here?

              If by infrastructure you mean the crews, studios, etc? Without Tapert there would hardly be any experienced skilled crew and other than the studios out west, shows like spartacus were filmed in warehouses in MT Wellington which I assume were hired for a fee so hardly a drain on the taxpayer.

              I’d much rather have guys like Tapert bring money here and employ thousands than other foreign investors who simply buy property and the like, employ nobody, and send all profit offshore. Even the lowest paid on the crew rung on Spartacus were paid $20 an hour plus which is a bit better than the thousands of companies who pay workers the minimum wage.

          • Tat Loo 14.2.1.1.2

            Of course there is the economic rationale that getting something is better than getting nothing. It is also the mark of desperation, of holding your hat out to passing strangers in order to get by.

            Now, this is not necessarily av problem in of itself. But what’s the plan from there? What’s the plan to ensure that we only have to do this for a few years before we transition into being a much higher value provider?

            If there’s no plan to climb up, why assert a position for ourselves near the bottom of the rungs?

            • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1.1.2.1

              +1

            • Mike S 14.2.1.1.2.2

              Well, when someone like Rob Tapert comes along and spends 90 million dollars on the wage bill alone for Spartacus, just the latest in many years and years of employing thousands of Kiwis in many successful productions, all filmed here. I think hercules started filming in 1994 or thereabouts so he’s had ongoing productions filming here for nearly 20 years. There’s not that many NZ companies in any industry that have employed so many kiwis for such a sustained period. You could hardly call that the bottom rungs! He’s done more economically over a sustained long period for many ordinary kiwis than things such as America’s cup, bailed out finance companies, warner brothers, etc,etc which all received massive government funding.

              I can’t believe there are people commenting here that we don’t want guys like Mr Tapert bringing productions to NZ….

              • Tat Loo

                I’ve got no issue whatsoever with the good Mr Tapert. But we can also see that we’ve dropped the ball as a nation – from all those years of headstart, we know find ourselves with no local industry able to sustain itself, and are now scrambling to bring in the foreign dollars again at any cost.

                My question is not whether or not we welcome a future Mr Tapert. Of course. Yes we do. My question is: how do we use that as a springboard to create and sustain a local, independent, self sustaining industry?

                Coz we haven’t managed it thus far.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I suspect that you fail to understand what’s actually being said. We can bring in as much production from offshore as we want but that will never translate into an actual industry. To do that we need to develop our own TV shows and movies which we then sell offshore removing the need to bring in offshore production.

          • FastSage 14.2.1.1.3

            The current rebate (not tax break) is 15% – effectively ‘get your GST back.’ So that absolutely is a net benefit for NZ. We’re only loosing GST that we wouldn’t have got otherwise plus the jobs and local spending and any ‘multiplier spillover effects.’

            If it was raised to 25% I reckon it looks like NZ would still receive a net benefit.

            First we need the 25% to be on par with others to get us onto the shortlist, THEN all our other advantages (skills, tech, locations, attitude, easily altered labour laws…) kick in.

  15. greywarbler 15

    Perhaps a slight movement in that direction in the meantime without waiting to find the better system, sort of a holding action while we wait for the market?? We may wait for ever for that I know. But with the absence of any innovative thought from NACT a raise in subsidy might give us one more movie, one more blood transfusion.

    • karol 15.1

      I actually agree with John Key, when he said a while back that there are more possibilities in (international) TV series here. They provide the bread and butter that keeps an industry turning over (ditto for the computer/digital game productions). It keeps people up-skilled, and helps them to maintain and update the technologies they need to keep on producing stuff.

      But I also think that maybe it’s now a turning point for NZ: maybe concentrate more on local productions, plus on some co-productions with Aussie and some South East Asian countries – that includes for entertainment productions and documentaries with a reasonably popular appeal.

  16. Vanessa 16

    I believe that the Damage to our flailing Industry has been caused by Frankenstein that I see many continually overlook and never consider as one of the main reasons life is difficult in present times. And 1 devil that we know. The ‘Devil we know’ is of course our wise and caring National Govt. There’s a saying in the Film Industry “When National is in the Film Industry Suffers”, the same can’t be said about Labour. Some of us had the best run of work and consistent projects ever whilst Labour was in. But most effective and foremost is the never ending; Recession. Almost everyone I know seems to completely overlook this fact of present day life. The Recession is at the top of the list when it comes to bringing the world to its knees.
    More close to home, one could assume that the merge of the Australian and NZ Actors Equity would have something to do with the lack of work for actors here. I might agree with that, if there was ongoing work for the actors to squabble over. But the fact is there are a minimal amount of films being made here and that includes off shore projects, for any actors to be hired on.
    One could also assume that the decision to change tax policy (whether we liked it or not) that National made, in order to give Warner Bros a tax break at the request of PJ, so Warner Bros would come here to make the Hobbit, has had a negative effect on the Film Industry here. But I again don’t think that’s had a major effect on our film Ind, because the money wouldn’t have gone back into the Film Industry anyway. No I’ll go back to re iterating the 2 major hits that are immediately effecting us is, The Recession and the National Government……with its ignored lack of support on all levels.

    • karol 16.1

      Interesting observations, thanks Vanessa.

      As both National and Labour have provided some incentives to off-shore productions being filmed in NZ, what sort of things does Labour do to support the industry, that aren’t usually done under Labour.

      It’s not just that we are in a (temporary) recession, but that the whole direction of the global economy is changing in the long term. So I think a change in approach is needed. I think that support of NZ produced screen productions, in all their forms, might be a way forward. This includes a substantial public service TV, and the use of various kinds of digital technologies/platforms. The old, “thinking smart” rather than thinking US style/dominated BIG.

  17. Ad 17

    To me the difference in the economic performance of the screen industry relies not so much within tax breaks but within leadership.

    I headrd Joyce on National Radio today, and he made a clear case that they had given industry players a lot of cash and tax breaks and labour reform to support the industry. It’s not everything, granted, but the deals they landed are big and lumpy.

    It’s also clear in Auckland that the film studios that the old Waitkaere City Council formed and partnered up are not working much at all.

    What we are missing is a layer of public sector leadership – either Mayors or Ministers – who are prepared to promote such an industry hard. The Waitakere studios and indeed the entire screen industry of Auckland prospered when we had a Mayor in Sir Bob Harvey and a PM who were prepared to tout to Hollywood and Bollywood (and China and Korea) together. Massive and long term deals continued to roll out for nearly a decade.

    Central government, from the perspective of overseas film investment, has worked reasonably hard for them. Local government in Auckland, not so much.

    We don’t appear to have ATEED working effectively to bring in the overseas deals either – or there would be results.

    It’s a notoriously fickle and fashion-driven industry, but with our sustained international screen manufacturing profile there’s clearly something missing. In my view it’s not tax breaks primarily, but leadership that’s missing. The Mayor of Auckland appears again missing in action.

    • FastSage 17.1

      Joyce and Finlayson wasted two years conducting a Screen Sector Review to review these things, which finally reported back in July.

      I also heard Joyce on Morning Report this morning, and he mentioned officials are ‘working on new ideas so we create original IP in NZ.’ He’s had two years to think about this already, and changed nothing. NZOA’s mandate is NZ stories for NZ audiences, and Film Commission are mandated to tell NZ stories (which occassionally do well overseas when they’re great stories). As far as I know there is no international audience IP development funding in NZ.

      If incentives are a “race to the bottom” (Joyce’s words) when are we going to start the “race to the top” (fund riskier original IP)?

  18. Sable 18

    The reality is the film industry in NZ is to a lesser or greater degree, a curiosity and little more. The reality is big corporations who finance these productions go where they can make the most money. Canada has been useful for television in particular but with the global economy still in the toilet they will look for the cheapest locations possible and that does not mean NZ.

    NZ is not the cheap, affordable country it used to be and that’s down to persistent screw ups and corruption by both Labour and National governments over the years. Regressive taxation is rampant, the food industry here is in real terms an oligopoly and housing prices have been artificially inflated by foreign investment.

    All of this and more conspires against companies setting up shop here and staying over the longer term.

  19. Tracey 19

    Captain hook

    read the luminaries. You are in for a pleasant surprise. I dont usually buy award winning books but I have this one.

    reader warning: contains real englush as opposed to textified street speak.

  20. Lloyd 20

    Steven Joyce hasn’t pulled in new movies and he’s wrong about the trains – see http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/10/23/steven-joyce-claims-its-the-trains-fault/

  21. Possum 21

    Unfortunately, we are in a perfect storm of both a decline in the TV, Advertising and Film industry. Spartacus’s ending, and not being replaced by another big budget US series has been a real blow for the industry in Auckland. This has in part being caused by the strong US dollar, which has also scared off other overseas films and overseas advert shoots. The other problem is that TV channels are only spending small amounts on money on programmes not funded by NZ on Air. Sadly, because these programmes are commissioned purely on their ability to maintain a primetime audience, the programmes are increasingly commercial and often very bland in nature. (Look at how few programmes that say anything about politics, science or are in anyway educational are made here) NZ on Air has thus had to forgo its original mandate to fund only programmes that wouldn’t normally be funded – and fund programmes that are totally commercial, even to the point of funding overseas format shows like X Factor and NZ’s Got Talent. We have also got to the absolute dire situation where NZ on Air is now expected to fund current affairs talk shows on TV1 and TV3. To me this shows a pretty strong need to have a public service channel making and showing NZ content. The elephant in the room – not mentioned here is Sky of course. They provide a very good service not doubt, but they also suck enormous amounts of money out of the public while not making any local content of note. (Not counting the hugely subversive sport jock parody Deaker on Sport). In most countries there is some requirement for the cable channels to make local content. I worked out that in 1976 rates we paid the equivalent of $360 in a broadcasting license fee per household. Today, we pay about $90 per household for NZ on Air (which pays for national radio and concert radio and some TV) and Maori TV Service. But NZ household’s are paying on average $600 per year to Sky. Are we getting the NZ television we want?

    • karol 21.1

      You make some excellent points here, Possum.

      This:
      To me this shows a pretty strong need to have a public service channel making and showing NZ content.

      Yes. That’s one strand of what is needed, coupled with funding for straight web productions and funding for innovative NZ Intellectual product. The latter can be sold to niche markets overseas at times.

      In most countries there is some requirement for the cable channels to make local content.

      Yes there needs to be some sort of regulation to promote/prioritise NZ-made and focused content.

      And this:

      Today, we pay about $90 per household for NZ on Air (which pays for national radio and concert radio and some TV) and Maori TV Service. But NZ household’s are paying on average $600 per year to Sky. Are we getting the NZ television we want?

      The argument against a TV/Radio license was that people were paying it and not watching/listening to state supported stations/channels.

      It is possible to draw funds by putting levies on production and/or delivery of content.

      Peter Thompson reckons it would only be a small amount of dollars (I think maybe a couple of dollars per NZ household per month to fund public service TV & radio.

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    There comes a point in all our lives when we must stop to say, “Enough is enough. We know what’s happening. We are not as stupid or as ignorant as you believe us to be. And making policies that kill or harm our people is not acceptable, Ministers.”Plausible deniability has ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    21 hours ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Thursday, July 18
    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:The inside stories of KiwiRail’s iRex debacle, Westport’s perma-delayed flood scheme and Christchurch’s post-quake sewer rebuild, which assumed no population growth, show just how deeply sceptical senior officials in Treasury, the Ministry of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • What's that Jack Black?
    Ah-rah, deeSoo-guh-goo-gee-goo-geeGoo-guh fli-goo gee-gooGuh fli-goo, ga-goo-buh-deeOoh, guh-goo-beeOoh-guh-guh-bee-guh-guh-beeFli-goo gee-gooA-fliguh woo-wa mama Lucifer!I’m about ready to move on, how about you?Not from the shooting, that’s bad and we definitely shouldn’t have that. But the rehabilitation of Donald J Trump? The deification of Saint Donald? As the Great Unifier?Gimme a bucket.https://yellowscene.com/2024/04/07/trump-as-jesus/Just to re-iterate, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 day ago
  • June 2024: Earth’s 13th-consecutive warmest month on record
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson June 2024 was Earth’s warmest June since global record-keeping began in 1850 and was the planet’s 13th consecutive warmest month on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, or NCEI, reported July 12. As opposed to being focused in ...
    1 day ago
  • Connecting the dots and filling the gaps in our bike network
    This is a guest post by Shaun Baker on the importance of filling the gaps in our cycling networks. It originally appeared on his blog Multimodal Adventures, and is re-posted here with kind permission. In our towns and cities in Aotearoa New Zealand, there are areas in our cycling networks ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 day ago
  • Webworm Down Under Photos!
    Hi,I wanted to share a few thoughts and photos from the Webworm popup and Tickled screening we held in Auckland, New Zealand last weekend.In short — it was a blast. I mean, I had a blast and I hope any of you that came also had a blast.An old friend ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 day ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 18
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:30 am on Thursday, July 18 are:News: Christchurch's sewer systems block further housing developments RNZ’s Niva ChittockAnalysis: Interislander: Treasury, MoT officials' mistrust of KiwiRail led ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 18
    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • The politics of managed retreat
    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 day ago
  • Some changes are coming
    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    2 days ago
  • About fucking time
    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking
    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.
    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    2 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?
    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.
    Slip-Sliding Away: Labour may now enjoy a dominant position in Britain’s political landscape, but only by virtue of not being swallowed by it.THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY’S “landslide victory” is nothing of the sort. As most people understand the term, a landslide election victory is one in which the incumbent government, or ...
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent
    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17
    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac
    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation
    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17
    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...
    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    2 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz
    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    3 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again
    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister
    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.
    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    3 days ago
  • Come on Darleen.
    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won
    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16
    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16
    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother
    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    3 days ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?
    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    4 days ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)
    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    4 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.
    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Law & Order: National Party 1, Police 0, Public -1
    What happened?Media is reporting that police have lost in their pay dispute with the Coalition Government.Some of you might remember that the police rejected Labour’s previous offer in September, 2023, possibly looking forward to be taken care of by the self-touted ‘Party of Law and Order’ - National.If you look ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Trump shooting and a potential hike in fees for visiting the doctor
    Having watched Donald Trump systematically exploit social grievances, urge people not to accept his election loss and incite his followers to violent insurrection… it is a bit hard to swallow the media descriptions over the past 24 hours of Trump being a “victim” of violence. More like a case of ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Monday July 15
    The exploitation of workers on the national fibre broadband rollout highlights once again the dark underbelly of our ‘churn and burn’ economy. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:An extraordinary Steve Kilgallon investigation into ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 15
    Photo by Jessica Loaiza on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days to 9:00 am on Monday, July 15 are:Investigation: Immigration NZ refused to prosecute an alleged exploiter despite a mountain of evidence - ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • City Centre Rebuild: How Soon Is Now?
    Patrick Reynolds is deputy chair of the City Centre Advisory Panel and a director of Greater Auckland There is ongoing angst about construction disruption in the city centre. And fair enough: it’s very tough, CRL and other construction has been going on for a very long time. Like the pandemic, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    4 days ago
  • Peril, dismay, resolution
    This afternoon we rolled into Budapest to bring to a close our ride across Europe. We did 144 km yesterday, severe heat messages coming in from the weather app as we bounced along unformed Hungarian back roads and a road strip strewn with fallen trees from an overnight tornado. Somewhere ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Bullet the Blue Sky
    In the locust windComes a rattle and humJacob wrestled the angelAnd the angel was overcomeYou plant a demon seedYou raise a flower of fireWe see them burnin' crossesSee the flames, higher and higherBullet the blue skyBullet the blue skyThe indelible images, the soundtrack of America. Guns, assassinations, where-were-you-when moments attached ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 15
    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the three days to 6:00 am on Monday, July 23 are:University of Auckland researcher Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy published an analysis of the impact of Auckland's 2016 zoning reforms.BNZ's latest Performance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 23 and beyond
    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 23 include:PM Christopher Luxon has returned from a trip to the United States and may hold a post-Cabinet news conference at 4:00 pm today.The BusinessNZ-BNZ PSI survey results for June will be released this ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Was The Assassination Attempt Fake?
    Hi,It’s in incredible photo, and we’re going to be talking about it for a long time:Trump, triumphantly raising his hand in the air after being shot. Photo credit: Evan VucciYou can watch what happened on YouTube in real time, as a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania lets off a series of gunshots ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • 40 years ago, inside the crisis that made modern NZ
    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28
    A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 7, 2024 thru Sat, July 13, 2024. Story of the week It's still early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The season comes as our first year of 1.5°C warming ...
    5 days ago
  • Unsurprising, but Trump shooting creates opportunity for a surprising response
    I can’t say I’m shocked. As the US news networks offer rolling coverage dissecting the detail of today’s shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and we hear eye-witnesses trying to make sense of their trauma, the most common word being used is shock. And shocking it is. ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    5 days ago
  • Escalation in the States as Trump is shot and his allies capitalize on the moment
    Snapshot summary of the shooting in the States belowAnd a time to remember what Abraham Lincoln once said of the United States of America:We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Bernie Sanders: Joe Biden for President
    I will do all that I can to see that President Biden is re-elected. Why? Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Questions from God
    Have you invited God into your online life? Do you have answers for his questions? Did I just assume God’s pronouns?Before this goes any further, or gets too blasphemous, a word of explanation. When I say “God”, I don’t meant your god(s), if you have one/them. The God I speak ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • The politics of money and influence
    Did you know: Four days ago, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, opined that he didn’t really care who won the US Presidential election, so long as they were M&A and business friendly. Please share my Substack so I can continue my work. Thank you and happy ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Auckland & Transport Minister Simeon Brown's insanity
    Excuse me, but I just don’t feel like being polite today. What is going on with Simeon Brown? I mean, really? After spending valuable Ministerial time, focus, and government resources to overturn tailored speed limits in school and high fatality zones that *checks notes* reduces the risk of deaths and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Were scientists caught falsifying data in the hacked emails incident dubbed 'climategate'?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Were scientists caught falsifying data in the ...
    6 days ago
  • What Happened to David D'Amato's Millions?
    Today’s podcast episode is for paying Webworm members — and is a conversation seven years in the making. Let me explain.Hi,As I hit “send” on this newsletter, I’m about to play my 2016 documentary Tickled to a theatre full of about 400 Webworm readers in Auckland, New Zealand.And with Tickled ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Voting as a multi-order process of choice.
    Recent elections around the world got me to thinking about voting. At a broad level, voting involves processes and choices. Embedded in both are the logics that go into “sincere” versus “tactical” voting. “Sincere” voting is usually a matter of preferred … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Women in Space.
    Count downThree twoI wonderIf I'll ever see you againI'm 'bout to take offI'm leaving youBut maybeI'll see you around somewhere some placeI just need some spaceA brief reminder that if you’re a Gold Card holder you can subscribe to Nick’s Kōrero for 20% off. You’re also welcome to use this ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday Soliloquy for the week to July 13
    Auckland waterfront, July. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the week to July 13 are:The National-ACT-NZ First Coalition Government watered down vehicle emissions standards this week, compounding the climate emissions damage from an increasingly ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Dems need to ask the right question about Biden as his age now defines the campaign
    Midway through the news conference that many American political commentators had built up as critical to Joe Biden’s re-election chances, the US president said European leaders are not asking him not to run for a second term, “they’re saying you gotta win”.The problem for Biden and his advisors is that ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Govt flounders while ocean temps soar
    TL;DR : Here’s the top six items of climate news for Aotearoa-NZ this week, as selected by Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer, most of which they discussin the video above. According to experts, the rate of ocean surface warming around New Zealand is “outstripping the global ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Learning From Brexit
    Whether Britain leaving the European Union was right or wrong, good or bad is for the Brits to decide. But there are lessons about international trade to be learned from Brexit, especially as it is very unusual for an economy to break so completely from its major training partner.In Econ101 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    7 days ago
  • Bernard’s Chorus for Friday, July 12
    TL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so on the morning of Friday, July 12 are: Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Hot Damn! It's The Soggy Bottom Boys!
    Good morning lovely people, and welcome to another weekly review. One which saw the our Prime Minister in Washington, running around with all the decorum of Augustus Gloop with a golden ticket, seeking photo opportunities with anyone willing to shake his hand.Image: G News.He had his technique down to overcome ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • When an independent expert / advisory group is anything but ..
    OPINION: Yesterday, 1News reported that the Government's "independent" advisory group had recommended Kiwirail offload its ferries to another entity.Except this wasn't entirely new news at all, besides that it came formally from Nicola Willis’s advisory team.TVNZ is under significant cost pressure, and earlier this year, after expressing strong discontent with ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago

  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals
    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan
    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset
    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • School attendance continues to increase
    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights
    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery
    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki
    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will hold a series of nationwide summits to discuss regional priorities, aspirations and opportunities, with the first kicking off in Nelson on August 12. The 15 summits will facilitate conversations about progressing regional economic growth and opportunities to drive productivity, prosperity and resilience through the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston
    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety
    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship
    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality
    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers
    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
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    4 days ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy
    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
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    5 days ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants
    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
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    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
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    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
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    7 days ago
  • District Court judges appointed
    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
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    7 days ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins
    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
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    7 days ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended
    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance
    New compliance funding in Budget 2024 will ensure Inland Revenue is better equipped to catch individuals who are evading their tax obligations, Revenue Minister Simon Watts says. “New Zealand’s tax debt had risen to almost $7.4 billion by the end of May, an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2022. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Taking action to reduce road cones
    The Coalition Government is taking action to reduce expenditure on road cones and temporary traffic management (TTM) while maintaining the safety of workers and road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  Rolling out a new risk-based approach to TTM that will reduce the number of road cones on our roads.  ...
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    1 week ago
  • Celebrating 100 years of progress
    Te Arawa Lakes Trust centenary celebrations mark a significant milestone for all the important work done for the lakes, the iwi and for the Bay of Plenty region, says Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka. The minister spoke at a commemorative event acknowledging 100 years ...
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    1 week ago
  • Foreign Minister to travel to Korea and Japan
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week.    “New Zealand enjoys warm and enduring relationships with both Korea and Japan. Our relationships with these crucial partners is important for New Zealand’s ongoing prosperity and security,” says Mr Peters.    While in the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government creates MAG for retail crime victims
    The coalition Government is establishing a Ministerial Advisory Group for the victims of retail crime, as part of its plan to restore law and order, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee says.  “New Zealand has seen an exponential growth in retail crime over the past five ...
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    1 week ago
  • Huge opportunity for educators and students as charter school applications open
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says today is another important step towards establishing charter schools, with the application process officially opening.  “There has already been significant interest from groups and individuals interested in opening new charter schools or converting existing state schools to charter schools,” says Mr Seymour. “There is ...
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    1 week ago
  • Decreasing gas reserves data highlights need to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    MBIE’s annual Petroleum Reserves report detailing a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural gas reserves shows the need to reverse the oil and gas exploration ban, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says.“Figures released by MBIE show that there has been a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural ...
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    1 week ago
  • Providers of military assistance to Russia targeted in new sanctions
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further sanctions as part of the Government’s ongoing response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.    “Russia’s continued illegal war of aggression against Ukraine is a direct and shocking assault on the rules-based order. Our latest round of sanctions targets Russians involved in that ...
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    1 week ago
  • OECD report shows New Zealand is a red tape state
    Minister for Regulation David Seymour says that the OECD Product Market Regulation Indicators (PMRI) released this morning shows why New Zealanders sorely need regulatory reform. “This shocker result should end any and all doubt that the Government must go to war on red tape and regulation,” says Mr Seymour.  “The ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government unveils five-point climate strategy
    The coalition Government is proud to announce the launch of its Climate Strategy, a comprehensive and ambitious plan aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change and preparing for its future effects, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “The Strategy is built on five core pillars and underscores the Government’s ...
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    1 week ago
  • National Bowel Screening Programme reaches 2 million life-saving screening kits
    The National Bowel Screening Programme has reached a significant milestone, with two million home bowel screening kits distributed across the country, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.   “This programme, which began in 2017, has detected 2,495 cancers as of June 2024. A third of these were at an early ...
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    1 week ago
  • Granny flats popular with all ages
    More than 1,300 people have submitted on the recent proposal to make it easier to build granny flats, RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk say. “The strong response shows how popular the proposal is and how hungry the public is for common sense changes to make ...
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    1 week ago
  • $25 million boost for conservation
    Toitū te taiao – our environment endures!  New Zealanders will get to enjoy more of our country’s natural beauty including at Cathedral Cove – Mautohe thanks to a $25 million boost for conservation, Conservation Minister Tama Potaka announced today.  “Te taiao (our environment) is critical for the country’s present and ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand increases support for Ukraine
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have announced a further $16 million of support for Ukraine, as it defends itself against Russia’s illegal invasion. The announcement of further support for Ukraine comes as Prime Minister Luxon attends the NATO Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC. “New Zealand will provide an additional ...
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    1 week ago
  • Country Kindy to remain open
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says that Country Kindy in Manawatu will be able to remain open, after being granted a stay from the Ministry of Education for 12 weeks. “When I heard of the decision made last week to shut down Country Kindy I was immediately concerned and asked ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government lifts Indonesian trade cooperation
    New export arrangements signed today by New Zealand and Indonesia will boost two-way trade, Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. Mr McClay and Dr Sahat Manaor Panggabean, Chairman of the Indonesia Quarantine Authority (IQA), signed an updated cooperation arrangement between New Zealand and Indonesia in Auckland today. “The cooperation arrangement paves the way for New Zealand and Indonesia to boost our $3 billion two-way trade and further ...
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    1 week ago
  • Carbon capture framework to reduce emissions
    A Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) framework has been released by the Coalition Government for consultation, providing an opportunity for industry to reduce net CO2 emissions from gas use and production, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says. “Our Government is committed to reducing red tape and removing barriers to drive investment ...
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    1 week ago
  • Faster consenting with remote inspections
    The Government is progressing a requirement for building consent authorities to use remote inspections as the default approach so building a home is easier and cheaper, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “Building anything in New Zealand is too expensive and takes too long. Building costs have increased by ...
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    1 week ago

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