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Of Hollywood, Hobbits & NZ-US politics: Episode II

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 am, October 4th, 2012 - 65 comments
Categories: accountability, business, capitalism, copyright, culture, film, International, jobs, john key, Media, overseas investment, Politics, uncategorized, Unions, us politics - Tags: ,

As Key heads off to the US to promote the NZ film industry, I look back at the Hobbit union-busting dispute and the issues it raised.

Key Issues Raised by the Hobbit Dispute:

NZ is considered to provide an advantage to international movie companies because of its flexible employment relations (i.e. it is not highly unionised).

Due to the intermittent nature of movie production, Employment contracts are often used, and, especially since 1991changes in NZ law, this gives a lot of power to the employers.
Financial investors with no” creative” have come to play a big part in the Hollywood film industry.  this industry is increasingly global, involving massive organisations, and focused primarily on profit. In 2010, film corporations, MGM and Warners had major debt problems and needed some big successful blockbusters.

Sir Peter Jackson was a significant player in the dispute due to his seemingly unchallengeable (?) position as an NZ cultural icon, and his reputation for creating jobs and income for Kiwis. However, contrary to his Kiwi-bloke image, he is involved in a global industry, with his, and Weta’s, NZ location being secondary. Jackson’s reputation and international successes give him fairly direct access to the NZ government.

Both the government and Jackson manipulated the dispute and its coverage in the MSM to their advantage. As Nigel Haworth (NZ Journal of Employment Relations, 2011: Vol 36:3) says, the result was:

Thus, analytically, the New Zealand state simultaneously conceded, financially and legislatively, to the global film sector whilst taking the opportunity to further its ER liberalisation and attack the domestic trade union movement.

Contrary to the way it was portrayed in the MSM,(as argued by Haworth) trade unions need to counter the power of globalised capital by developing equivalent international institutions and practices (Haworth). In contrast, the John Key government, placed investment issues ahead of its commitments to global labour standards.

The Hobbit dispute was part of an issue that had been developing since 2009, in terms of negotiations between employers, industry representatives and workers, especially performers, with a fairly weak unions wanting some standard elements included in contracts. The government took the opportunity to try to weaken the NZ union movement, partly through trying to isolate NZ Actors’ Equity and its Aussie partner from international solidarity pledged by equivalent overseas unions.

Sir Peter and the government also exploited some divisions between workers in the industry.  They don’t all work within similar conditions.  For instance, technicians and other members of a film crew stand to gain some certainty of work.  Life is more competitive and precarious for performers. They face  competition from performers outside NZ, especially “names” from the US and UK. NZCTU stepped in and tried to support the weak NZ union and help in negotiations, with Helen Kelly playing a leading role.

However, as Haworth concludes:

It is rare indeed to observe such a textbook case of national interests being so comprehensively subordinated to the interests of international capital and its domestic agents.

There has been a strong and sustained, but ultimately superficial, promotion of Sir Peter’s “New Zealandness”.  This is often done in association with the marketing of the filming locations of his internationally successful movies, supported by the NZ government.  The result is an equally superficial and misleading rebranding of Planet Key’s NZ Inc as Middle Earth.

But where does this leave the production of NZ made, NZ funded films telling NZ stories?

Key’s Latest Hollywood Mission

With Key’s latest mission to Hollywood, who would be the winners and who the losers from any deals he helps to negotiate, and what benefit will it provide to Kiwis?  More jobs?  Boost the NZ economy?  Will it result in improving (or undermining?) the resources and systems that can be used to produce more authentic NZ movies, including ones that could be sold overseas?

Or will it just further increase the Americanisation of New Zealand culture, along with the promotion of international free-market capitalism?   Will it mean more Hollywood films, which ultimately siphon off profits to overseas multinationals?

And most importantly, what significance does this have with respect to the TPPA, currently being negotiated secretly? See also, Jane Kelsey on the implications of Key’s trip to Hollywood and the relevance to TPPA.  This would involve giving the US government and corporates more control of intellectual property in NZ.

Professor Kelsey predicts “the chilling effect would see the Hobbit saga pale into insignificance. This Prime Minister has shown a penchant for backroom deals. His current trip to the Hollywood studios no simple photo opportunity; it will be a time of intense lobbying by Hollywood to sell us down the river”.

[Update: Link added above to the NZ Journal of Employment Relations, 2011: h/t Draco T Bastard].

65 comments on “Of Hollywood, Hobbits & NZ-US politics: Episode II”

  1. Kotahi Tāne Huna 1

    “Key heads of to…”

    His timing couldn’t be worse.

    Every new bit of information breeding questions like Hydra.

    And on his return, the feeding frenzy 🙂

  2. just saying 2

    Excellent post. Well said.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 2.1

      +1

      • karol 2.1.1

        Thanks, KTH & JS. I was just looking around for some articles to refresh my memory about the finer details of the Hobbit dispute, as background in preparation for anticipated reports on Key’s Hollywood mission.

        The whole of that edition of the NZ Journal of Employment Relations is focused on the Hobbit dispute, but I found the Haworth article, ‘A Political Economy of ‘The Hobbit’ Dispute’ particularly useful.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1

          The whole of that edition of the NZ Journal of Employment Relations is focused on the Hobbit dispute, but I found the Haworth article, ‘A Political Economy of ‘The Hobbit’ Dispute’ particularly useful.

          PDF Here

          • mike 2.1.1.1.1

            Thanks karol and DTB.

            It is rare indeed to observe such a textbook case of national interests being so comprehensively subordinated to the interests of international capital and its domestic agents.

            From the conclusion of said article.

            • karol 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks, DTB.  The access to the article i had seemed to require a library membership login, which is why I didn’t link to it.

              [Update: Journal link added to the post above.]

    • LynW 2.2

      +100 Very informative Karol. Thank you

      • mickysavage 2.2.1

        Thanks Karol.  Utterly disturbing.  Haworth elegantly expresses what many of us felt.  

        The politics of the dispute started to descend into the levels of Nazi Germany where much evil occurred in the name of TINA.  Apologies for breaking Goodwin’s law but this is how it felt to me.

  3. marsman 3

    Excellent Post once again karol!

  4. Red Rosa 4

    Well said.

    This is a full-scale constitutional crisis, when you think of the implications.

    Is the Prime Minister working for the best interests of New Zealand, or is he using every means – legitimate and illegitimate – to advance the interests of the United States?

    These revelations make John Key look more like the agent of a foreign power than PM of NZ.

    And for sure, there is more to come.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Is the Prime Minister working for the best interests of New Zealand, or is he using every means – legitimate and illegitimate – to advance the interests of the United States?

      I don’t think there’s any doubt – he’s working for Wall Street.

  5. Chris 5

    Whatshisname key has said that he will not be offering any sweeteners/inducements to movie moguls.Could this possibly be true????????? Or maybe he will go ahead and do it and then won’t remember that he had said that he wouldn’t do it so therefore in his view it will be allright to go ahead and do so. “Right guys,what do you want, just ask and it’s yours”Anything,anything at all!
    What is this trip going to cost US!!

    • karol 5.1

      Depends on what he means by “sweeteners/inducements”. That usually means money: such things as tax breaks for filming in NZ. But would it include NZ law changes (like the Hobbit law, weakening worker rights), or things included in the TPPA?

      eg Jane Kelsey, in her press release linked in my post above, says the visit is all to do with the TPPA and intellectual property rights:

      The next round of TPPA talks is in New Zealand in early December and (secret) new US proposals are expected to be on the table.

      The intellectual property negotiators from the US Trade Representative’s Office are currently in Wellington putting pressure on the government to stop resisting the US demands and agree to its new text.

      Hollywood is driving the US push for unprecedented extensions to intellectual property rights, carrying with them the further criminalization for breaches and massive cost increases for everyday Internet users. It also wants a ban on parallel imports.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Can we have “sweeteners and inducements” for our own on-shore manufacturing industry please.

        • karol 5.1.1.1

          Yes.  That’s a thought, CV.
          But then, of course, it wouldn’t involve Key swanning off to the US to hang out with the rich, powerful, famous and beautiful people!

  6. Ad 6

    Perhaps it’s easier now to think of new Zealand no longer as a country at all but as a set of globally fluid molecules that join up for specific commercial projects, like films, and are then released back to the fluid of the world’s economy.

    Key is less relevant because he doesn’t generate any commercial molecular formation.

    According to outbound immigration, everyone who can still float, is doing so.

    Jackson is still choosing to stay.

    • karol 6.1

      Following your metaphor, Ad, I think maybe Key’s role is to improve the flow, and in ways that are on balance, more likely to favour the interests of multinational corporates.

  7. mike e 7

    Where is gooseman Kim.Kong BM etc no where to be found!

    • David H 7.1

      They must be off at a Nact indoctrination day. Have to get their instructions sometimes.

  8. Bill 8

    Google Richard O’Dwyer. English student being extradited to the US for hosting a file sharing website that didn’t hold any files. As with Dotcom, it was US agencies that sought to bring him to trial. O’Dwyer hadn’t broken any UK laws. But the US claim that since ‘.net’ and ‘.com’ are domain names or suffixes hosted in the US that any copyright infringement using those suffixes are crimes on US soil.

    O’Dwyer is facing 10 years. He was a smaller fish than Dotcom. The US is pursuing a number of individuals around the world for copyright infringement based on their use of ‘.com’ or ‘.net’.

    Dotcom is their biggest fish yet. So maybe JK is looking to grease the wheels of ‘justice’…a wee tweak of NZ law? And that could easily sit apart from or be in addition to any TPPA agreement.

  9. muzza 9

    NZ is now so obviously under the influence/control of “America*” these days, its sickening!

    • karol 9.1

      Well the US government and its agencies are particularly keen to re-establish their dominance in the Pacific, now that China is making some economic inroads into the area.  So we are at the centre of a bit of a struggle.
      Key seems to want to play both sides a bit, but his main allegiance seems to be to the US.  And most of NZ culture, economy and politics (not to mention spy agencies) have leaned that way for a long time.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        Notice how the US is using force and pressure to push its own interests in the Pacific.

        I think that’ll be received well by locals over the medium term, don’t you.

        • Jim Nald 9.1.1.1

          Labour/Greens: green jobs for NZ

          John Key/Natz: bl _ _ jobs for US 🙂

        • Populuxe1 9.1.1.2

          Force? I am not thinking this word is meaning what you think it is meaning. And as this has pretty much been the status quo since WW2 I doubt anyone will notice much.

  10. David H 10

    I haven’t watched a P. Jackson movie since I tried to watch the absolutely way too long King Kong. And his other movies are even longer, so I have NO inclination to watch anything he does. Maybe if he does a good remake of The Dambusters but I hear the wowsers were up in arms at the dogs name FFS. Just wait for ASH or who ever to have a conniption fit about the pilots smoking and the anti drinking league about the parties All part of life in the 1940’s but i fear the wowsers will make him make changes, and ruin the movie. At least I have a copy of the original version.

    • karol 10.1

      I’m not a great fan of PJ’s Hollywood movies, or his early schlock horror stuff.  Like Heavenly Creatures.

      LoTR and King Kong seem to me to be largely boys own, stuff, and more a mix of US and UK culture than anything specifically Kiwi.  This all suggests to me where PJ’s allegiance lies.  And his Hollywood blockbuster movies do tend to be a bit of an indulgence in VFX cleverness, and go on for too long, for my taste.

    • Reagan Cline 10.2

      David H,

      Another “part of life in the 1940s”.

      Operation Chastise caused flooding that led to the death of 1,294 people, 749 of which were Ukrainian POWs and the rest innocent civilians.

      • McFlock 10.2.1

        Part of the point of the whole operation, really.
             
         

        • Rich 10.2.1.1

          I don’t think any of the Nazi generation of German’s could be considered “innocent”. They voted for and tolerated the Nazis and (some of them) got what they deserved.

          The deaths of the prisoners could be regarded as the fault of the Nazis for bringing them into a war zone.

        • Rich 10.2.1.2

          I don’t think any of the Nazi generation of Germans could be considered “innocent”. They voted for and tolerated the Nazis and (some of them) got what they deserved.

          The deaths of the prisoners could be regarded as the fault of the Nazis for bringing them into a war zone.

  11. Jokerman 11

    “it’s my precious”-Gollum / Smeagle “it’s my precious” “I wants it, I needs it!”

  12. mike 12

    But Mr Key yesterday dismissed suggestions that his call on industry executives who may have made the original complaint about Dotcom was untimely.

    “I’d say it’s excellent timing insomuch that this is an industry that’s worth $3 billion to New Zealand … Yep, there will always be conspiracy theorists out there but I’m interested in jobs, not people who live in fantasy land and want to make things up.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10837799

    Oh look he’s doing it again – ‘my opponents are full of shit’. And the sheeple go – ‘Yep, makes sense to me…’

    • Clashman 12.1

      $3 Billion? I read somewhere that the Hobbit was supposedly worth about $350 million to NZ. If true then there must be about 9 other big budget films being made here. What are they? Sounds like more bullshit from Key.

    • karol 12.2

      I think international/ Hollywood productions filmed in NZ, do provide an access route into the industry for some individuals, which didn’t exist very much before the 1990s.  It especially provides a career for some NZ techies and film crew.

      It also has given some Kiwis access to technologies, and knowledge of systems used on such productions.
      However, many of the most successful also then go overseas.  And there are questions about how it impacts on Kiwi filmmakers trying to produce local stories – i.e. not PJ Hollywood blockbusters.  They are competing with international productions that have better technologies and can pay better wages.

      And in the process of getting some access to work on Hollywood productions, it can draw many of us further into US culture, and capitalist values.
      John Key doesn’t really seem that interested in helping to stimulate a more NZ-focused movie industry, that would train new workers. 

      A big problem, though for making a successful industry in NZ, is the difficulty in a big enough audience to make it commercially viable.  That’s why some people favour international co-productions.  But it’s hard to find a successful overseas film company that wouldn’t be the dominant partner.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1

        I think international/ Hollywood productions filmed in NZ, do provide an access route into the industry for some individuals, which didn’t exist very much before the 1990s. It especially provides a career for some NZ techies and film crew.

        And we could do all that without Hollywood. Just need to have the government make funds available through, say, NZOnAir. Make the whole movie from beginning to end in NZ and then the profits also come back to NZ and the profits are far higher than the measly few hundred million we get from the Hollywood studios.

        It also has given some Kiwis access to technologies, and knowledge of systems used on such productions.

        All of which is commercially available. Here’s a free (limited) version of the software used to make Avatar. It’s part of the range of software I use to make my desktop wallpapers.

        A big problem, though for making a successful industry in NZ, is the difficulty in a big enough audience to make it commercially viable.

        Movies go international especially through the internet so I really don’t think that’s an excuse. We don’t need to use the old distribution channels which is really the only reason left for using Hollywood studios.

        • karol 12.2.1.1

          Yes, the technologies have become increasingly accessible.  Jackson and Weta were able to get a start here when the first off the shelf CGI technologies became available.  Before that each US movie studio had developed their own.
           
          I guess it’s really a similar situation to the manufacturing sector – Hillside trains etc.  The government needs to put some effort into developing a more independent NZ industry. Instead of Key doing the LA photo ops schmoozing with the stars and other rich and famous (as seen on TV3 6pm news tonight.
           
          It’s the access to a potentially sizeable audience int the US that many NZ producers are interested in chasing.  But then they have to make film and TV programmes that US-ians can relate to.

          • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1.1.1

            It’s the access to a potentially sizeable audience int the US that many NZ producers are interested in chasing.

            Which is really quite stupid considering the bigger market, and thus the possibility of finding an audience, is in Europe. And even then they’d still be able to find a market in the US as well as there will be some who will watch the films.

            What I’m getting at here is that movies don’t need to be made for a particular country but for the people who will watch the film and that comes down to genre – SciFi, Fantasy, Horror, thriller etc. Making them specifically for the US is actually limiting the market.

            • karol 12.2.1.1.1.1

              What I’m getting at here is that movies don’t need to be made for a particular country but for the people who will watch the film and that comes down to genre – SciFi, Fantasy, Horror, thriller etc. Making them specifically for the US is actually limiting the market.
               
              That sounds like a sensible suggestion. I guess some of the problem with that is that all other countries’ movie industries kind of look to the US (at least in the “west” ). Countries like Japan, China, India and South Korea are another matter.  Though I thought NZ was looking to do some co-productions with South Korea a couple of years back?
               
              And the US (government and entertainment/screen industries) works hard to maintain their international dominance.  Of course the likes of Dotcom and the Internet threaten that.  I know a few US-ians, who, once they could access them online, started watching more movies and TV from other countries – stuff they wouldn’t usually see on their TVs, or movie screens.

      • Ad 12.2.2

        From that description isn’t the film industry simply an instance of the new Zealand manufacturing sector? We will always rely on international markets, our products always have to reify the values of the markets they are exported into, we will only ever support a very few domiciled multinationals.

        Has ever been so.

        I don’t ever see this changing under any of our political parties. Do you?

  13. captain hook 13

    Jeebus, I hope that I can get the peanuts, popcorn and candyfloss concession to the upcoming Warner Brothers feature, “The Country That Went Crazy”.

  14. John Gilbert 14

    I actually work in the film industry, and think the changes made in response to the Hobbit dispute were good for the industry. For many years I was subject to various audits by the IRD to determine whether I was an employee or a contractor. I worked for various film companies for periods from a day to many months,.The uncertainty as to my tax status was problematic for me in determining how I would organise my business.

    I prefer to be a contractor as I like being a free agent. I can choose what work I want to do, rather than have it thrust upon me by an employer. I can negotiate a fee for each job based on how much I want to be involved with that particular film, and how much they want me. The uncertainty is balanced by the rewards.

    The issue of Peter Jackson’s kiwiness is irrelevant. Whether he makes ‘kiwi’ films, or films for an international marketplace doesn’t matter, nor does it matter if the commenters here like his films. What matters is that worldwide he has a large number of fans that do want to see them, and therefore he is a powerful player in the international film business. That he has chosen to stay in Wellington is remarkable, and he has built world class film infrastructure here, employing thousands directly, and many more indirectly. I thought Labour was for job creation in ‘smart’ industries here in NZ…Why would you not want to support Peter Jackson’s efforts?

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 14.1

      That all sounds very reasonable, but for one thing: The Standard does not represent the Labour Party.

      I note that the dispute was between actors and the industry, not editors. Are you claiming to speak for the actors?

      What with the Actors Equity Association having such power it’s little wonder no movies ever get made in the USA. No, wait…

    • Colonial Viper 14.2

      John Gilbert: do you think NZ actors in the industry should have standard minimum breaks, travel allowances etc, just like foreign actors get?

      Or are you just thinking of yourself and not the difficult situation many other industry workers find themselves in?

      BTW your tax status with the IRD would have been clear if you weren’t sailing so close to the wind with how you organised your affairs.

      • John Gilbert 14.2.1

        Ill informed Mr Viper. Actors here get minimum breaks, travel allowances etc. And carrying out a business where my status as a contractor or employee was unclear does not mean I was ‘sailing close to the wind’. You are one eyed. Without Peter Jackson those workers would not have the opportunities they currently have.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1.1

          Without Peter Jackson those workers would not have the opportunities they currently have.

          BS. If not him then someone else would have and if we actually had a rational economy it would’ve been those people getting together to do it without the need for the capitalist.

        • Colonial Viper 14.2.1.2

          Actors here get minimum breaks, travel allowances etc.

          Wrong. That’s a completely voluntary and unenforceable standard you are referring to, one which was set by the likes of Peter Jackson with no input from workers. Please don’t try and mislead.

          Peter Jackson stopped NZ workers from having the same protections that his overseas workers get, and that he gets as a union member himself.

          The guy is slime.

  15. John Gilbert 15

    I am speaking for myself of course. The dispute ended the uncertainty of employee vs contractor, which affected everyone in the industry. I was also reacting to some of the the negativity directed at Peter Jackson, which I think is unwarranted.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Peter Jackson sold out Kiwi workers.

      Here was a half billionaire who resisted giving Kiwi workers the same protections and organisation that he has as a member of at least 3 different unions.

      For that he deserves to be lambasted.

      • karol 15.1.1

        John, I’ve never been a great fan of Jackson’s Hollywood movies, even before the Hobbit dispute.  And I do like action/adventure/fantasy movies.  I’ve always been unhappy with the spinning of Jackson and Middle Earth as somehow being a Kiwi cultural thing. It’s pure Hollywood branding.

    • karol 15.2

      John, I have said above that there are pluses for some NZ workers in the industry being able to stay in NZ and work on international productions.
       
      You have actually pretty much repeated something that I said in the post, albeit with a bit of a different slant – that Jackson is primarily working in an international industry.  I see that as meaning his primary allegiance is to the big multinational movie studios, and distributors, and not to NZ.
       
      At the time of the dispute, workers in many industry were under attack (still are) from changes to the laws.  Jackson, Boyens and Walsh played to the governments attacks on unions generally, mainly to gain more taxpayer funds to support his productions.  The NZ actors union also had a legitimate case that was smeared and undermined by the government, Jackson and the media.
       
      There are big issues about the Americanistion of NZ’s economy, values and culture, that don’t seem to be of interest to you.
       
      I can see pluses and minuses for smaller NZ filmmakers in being in an environment where there are international productions.  I am interested in exploring that a bit more.  But Key doesn’t seem to be interested in that, only in the glamorous and lucrative side of the Hollywood industry.  I would like to see the government put more focus on the NZ industry generally, rather than the high end of the international industry.

      PS: I’ve never been a member of a political party, and haven’t given my party vote to Labour for a few elections now.

    • CarolJ 15.3

      John

      There *was* no uncertainty.

      The fact is that the IRD may continue to audit you as their rules and regulations are completely separate from the question of whether you are, in employment regulation matters, an employee or sub-contractor and so entitled or not to the protections of employment regulation – such as (in the Bryson case which was constantly paraded in defence of the ‘clarification” Bryson v Three Foot Six Ltd [2005] 1 ERNZ 372 (SC) ) the right to notice and redundancy on dismissal.

      This is settled law in every other common law jurisdiction – including the UK and USA – , and still for everyone in NZ outwith the film industry the only “uncertainty” is when there is no actual agreement between the parties as to the nature of he contract – “of services” or “for services”.

      The test then applied to determine employee/contractor is pretty clear for those who wish to take the time to read it, and I would have thought that someone such as Jackson (or rather his HR managers) would have had plenty of opportunity to find that out.

      When, and only when, there is a disagreement between the parties as to the nature of the contract the main, and easily discoverable, points are that:

      • The Court must determine the real nature of the relationship;
      • The real nature of the relationship can be ascertained by analysing the tests that have been historically applied, such as control, integration and the “fundamental” test;
      • The fundamental test examines whether a person performing the service is doing so on his or her own account;

      There are decades of case law, and none of it particularly controversial, to give examples of all of the above.

      This was nothing more than the continuation of a neo-liberal agenda to totally gut the rights of workers (including you btw) in NZ, to drive down wages and working conditions generally ensuring that the capital holders retain an ever greater proportion of the wealth created on the backs of others.

      Now you speak of your choice to work as a sub-contractor – good for you – but now *no-one* else in your industry has the choice to do otherwise because you can be sure the “employers” (because in reality for most people that’s what they are) won’t employ anyone when they don’t have to, and won’t maintain minimum standards of employment if they don’t have to.

      As for Jackson – he lied to the public and the workers about whether the dispute was over, he lied about (or totally misunderstood) employment law, and given some of information that’s come out through OIA requests used his position as a “Kiwi icon” (whatever that is) to have a temper tantrum over losing the Bryson case. Like a small minded, petty adolescent is how came across to me throughout September and October 2010.

      • karol 15.3.1

        CarolJ, I deleted your duplicate post.  
         
        Thanks, very much for explaining clearly just what happened with respect to Jackson et al’s role in the employment contracts dispute.
         
        And this:

        This was nothing more than the continuation of a neo-liberal agenda to totally gut the rights of workers (including you btw) in NZ, to drive down wages and working conditions generally ensuring that the capital holders retain an ever greater proportion of the wealth created on the backs of others.

        and this:

        As for Jackson – he lied to the public and the workers about whether the dispute was over, he lied about (or totally misunderstood) employment law, and given some of information that’s come out through OIA requests used his position as a “Kiwi icon” (whatever that is) to have a temper tantrum over losing the Bryson case. Like a small minded, petty adolescent is how came across to me throughout September and October 2010.
         

        Sum it up very well.  Well said.
         

  16. This will create more jobs and help the economy.

    If people here are so against it, then i guess you wont be going to see any movie here
    filmed in New Zealand by an overseas company??

    Oh of course you wont be doing that.

    • CJ 17.1

      Brett

      Maybe we will, maybe we won’t – it depends on your taste for moves I guess.

      But what I will be doing is continuing to try and debunk the lies that those in power and those with capital continue to tell in order to take away more rights and pay from the workers in order to line their own pockets.

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  • Karori Kids and Campbell Kindergarten must be saved
    The Minister of Education needs to show some leadership and secure the future of two not-for-profit early childhood education centres that could be faced with closure as the land they sit on is up for sale, Grant Robertson Labour MP ...
    2 days ago
  • Ministry reveals shocking charter school results
    NCEA results for charter schools have been massively overstated with documents revealing many students leaving school without basic NCEA level two qualifications despite this being a main educational target for the Government, says Labour Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Documents obtained ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister must protect MSD staff
      The Minister of Social Development should immediately implement safer work practices to ensure tragedies such as the Ashburton killings don’t happen again, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.   ...
    3 days ago
  • A vote for the Māori Party is a vote for National
    Comments made by the Māori Party leadership in the wake of John Key’s surprise resignation make one thing clear: a vote for them is a vote for a fourth term National Government, and the increasing inequality and poverty for Māori ...
    3 days ago
  • Collins and English split over police funding
    The bloodletting has already begun with splits and divisions emerging after the Police Minister knifed the Finance Minister via the media, says Labour Police spokesman Stuart Nash. ...
    3 days ago
  • Next Prime Minister must tackle foreign speculators
    The public rightly puts much of the blame for the housing bubble at the feet of foreign speculators, and the next Prime Minister must listen to their concerns, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 days ago
  • NZ student performance slips in international study – again
    The continuing fall in Kiwi kids’ performance in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study shows the damage being inflicted by National’s cuts to education and one-size-fits-all approach, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “For years, National has ...
    3 days ago
  • CYF reforms dangerous backward step
    Child protection has taken a massive step backwards today with the Government passing a Bill that will give significant powers to unspecified ‘professionals’ or contract holders, says Labour’s Acting Children’s spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    4 days ago
  • Improve workplaces, and address domestic violence
    Last week the Productivity Commission put out a report about how to grow “weak labour productivity”. These views are being criticised as being straight out of the 1980s. What is a real problem is that we have a problem of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Palm oil industry implicated in human rights abuses
    The Green Party has campaigned for several years for mandatory palm oil labeling to give consumers choice. Most consumers do not want to support a palm oil industry that is destroying tropical rainforests and contributing to dangerous climate change emissions. ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    4 days ago
  • Syphilis on the rise in NZ
    Cases of syphilis are increasing in Auckland. You read that right, syphilis!  RNZ reported today that rates of syphilis have increased by 71 percent (between 2013-2015). We have known about the increase in syphilis figures for a while, but nothing ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    5 days ago
  • We need to work smarter not longer
    The charade of this Government’s sound economic management is unraveling. Misleading GDP figures, pumped up by property speculation and high immigration, have given the impression that all is well, masking our continued productivity decline compared to OECD countries. In fact, ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    5 days ago
  • Statement on John Key’s resignation
    Labour Party Leader Andrew Little has acknowledged John Key’s contribution to Government.  “John Key has served New Zealand generously and with dedication. Although we may have had our policy differences over the years, I respect the Prime Minister’s decision to ...
    5 days ago
  • Positive plan secures victory
    The victory of Labour’s newest MP, Michael Wood, in Mt Roskill is the result of a well-organised campaign run with honesty and integrity, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “I congratulate Michael Wood on his great victory. He will be a ...
    7 days ago
  • Wave of support for Kiwibuild continues to grow
    Apartment builder Ockham Residential has become the latest voice to call for the government to build affordable homes for Kiwi families to buy, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Helen O'Sullivan of Ockham has now joined prominent businesspeople like EMA ...
    1 week ago
  • Cuba Si Yankee No – Fidel Castro and the Revolution
    The death of Fidel Castro is a huge historical moment for the older generation who grew up with the toppling of Batista, the Bay of Pigs debacle, the death of Che Guevara and the US blockade against Cuba. For younger ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Government slashes observer coverage, fails snapper fishery
    The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has more than halved the number of fisheries observers in the East Coast North Island snapper trawl fishery (SNA1). This reduction in observer days, combined with major failures in an unproven and controversial video ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • ‘Exemplar’ Māori Land Court under siege
    TheMāori Land Court, hailed as an “exemplar” by the Ministry of Justice chief executive and Secretary, Andrew Bridgman is under siege by the Government through Māori land reforms and a Ministry restructure, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    1 week ago
  • He Poroporoaki ki a Te Awanuiārangi Black
    Kua hinga he whatukura o Tauranga Moana. Kua hinga rangatira o te iwi Māori. Ka tangi tonu ana te ngākau nā tāna wehe kei tua o te ārai. E rere haere ana ngā mihi aroha o mātou o Te Rōpū ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • CYF reforms ignoring whānau based solution
    When approximately 60 per cent of children in state care are Māori processes need to change in favour of whānau, hapū and iwi solutions, said Labour’s Whānau Ora spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.  “Widespread concern about Government reforms of Child Youth and ...
    1 week ago
  • Hip and knees surgery takes a tumble
    The statistics for hip and knee electives under this Government make depressing reading, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Under the last Labour Government we achieved a 91 per cent growth in hip and knee elective surgery. Sadly under this ...
    1 week ago
  • Parata’s spin can’t hide cuts to early childhood education
    No amount of spin from Hekia Parata can hide the fact that per-child funding for early childhood education has been steadily decreasing under the National government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “In the 2009/10 year early childhood services received ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats will jump at chance to vote for KiwiBuild Bill
    National will welcome the chance to vote for a real solution to the housing crisis after their many, many failed attempts, says Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. Kelvin Davis’s Housing Corporation (Affordable Housing Development) Amendment Bill was ...
    1 week ago
  • Million dollar houses put homeownership out of reach of middle New Zealand
    35% of New Zealanders now live in places where the average house costs over a million dollars, and it’s killing the Kiwi dream of owning your own place, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Latest QV stats show that Queenstown ...
    1 week ago
  • Opportunity for political parties to back Kiwi-made and Kiwi jobs
    The First Reading in Parliament today of his Our Work, Our Future Bill is a chance for political parties to ensure the government buys Kiwi-made more often and backs Kiwi jobs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. The reading ...
    1 week ago
  • Solid Energy must open the drift
    Solid Energy is showing no moral spine and should not have any legal right to block re-entry into the Pike River drift, says Damien O’Connor MP for West Coast-Tasman.  “Todays failed meeting with  representatives from the state owned company is ...
    1 week ago
  • 20,000 at risk students “missing”
    A briefing to the Minister of Education reveals 20,000 at-risk students can’t be found, undermining claims by Hekia Parata that a new funding model would ensure additional funding reached students identified as at-risk, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crime continues to rise
    Overall crime is up five per cent and the Government just doesn’t seem to care, says Labour’s Police Spokesperson Stuart Nash. ...
    1 week ago
  • Treasury fritters $10 million on failed state house sell off
    The Treasury has wasted $10 million in two years on the National Government's flawed state house sell off programme, including nearly $5.5 million on consultants, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. "New Zealand needs more state housing than ever, with ...
    1 week ago
  • National slow to learn new trade lessons post TPPA
    Yesterday, the Minister for Trade misused economic data in order to try to make the case for more so-called ‘trade agreements’ like the TPPA which are actually deregulatory straitjackets in disguise. In welcoming a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Skilled migrant wages plummeting under National
    Wages have plummeted for people with skilled migrant visas working in low-skilled occupations, driving down wages for workers in a number of industries, says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Documents acquired by Labour under the Official Information Act reveal that ...
    1 week ago
  • Child abuse apology needed
    The Government's failure to act on recommendations from Judge Henwood, based on years of work by the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) will further undermine any faith victims may have put into the process, says Labour’s Children’s Spokesperson Jacinda ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank again highlights National’s housing failure
    National’s failure to deal with the housing crisis in New Zealand is once again being exposed by the Reserve Bank today, in a scathing assessment of the Government’s response, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson “Governor Wheeler is clearly worried ...
    1 week ago
  • Palm Oil Labelling: Possible Progress?
    On Friday, the Minister for Food Safety, along with her Australian colleagues finally looked at the issue of mandatory labelling of palm oil. We’ve been calling for mandatory labelling for years and we were hoping that the Ministers would agree ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • National: Fails to achieve
    The ineffectiveness of the National Government’s approach to schooling has been highlighted by the latest Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) report released overnight, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ...
    1 week ago
  • Faster into Homes – a new pathway for first home buyers
    This week Parliament will select another members’ bill from the cookie tin (I kid you not, it really is a cookie tin) and I’ve just launched a new bill I’m hoping will get pulled – to help people get into ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Selling off our state housing stock isn’t working for NZers
    I want to end homelessness and ensure that everyone has a warm, safe, dry home. This National Government has let down New Zealanders, especially the thousands of New Zealanders who are struggling with something so basic and important as housing. ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Government needs to ensure fair deal on EQC assessments
    Kiwis affected by earthquakes might not get a fair deal if the Government pushes ahead with secret plans to let private insurers take over the assessment of claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Under questioning from Labour the Government ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Key’s priorities the real ‘load of nonsense’
    The Prime Minister’s fixation with tax cuts, despite a failure to pay down any debt and growing pressure on public services is the real ‘load of nonsense’, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “We’re getting mixed messages from National. John ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Free Speech and Hate Speech
    Last week we were very concerned to hear that an Auckland imam, Dr Anwar Sahib, had been preaching divisive and derogatory messages about Jewish people and women during his sermons. It was a disturbing incident coming at the end of ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Kiwis struggling under record mortgage debt
    The Government needs to step in and start building affordable homes for first homebuyers now more than ever, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago