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Q&A on The Hobbit – Part 2

Written By: - Date published: 1:30 pm, November 3rd, 2010 - 51 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, john key, Unions - Tags: , ,

Q. So how exactly did NZ taxpayers end up handing over tens of millions of dollars to Warner Brothers?

A. After the actor’s dispute had been settled, but not publicly announced, Sir Peter Jackson put out a press release claiming that Warner Brothers were going to move the production overseas. A day later, Warner Brothers themselves said yes, they were sending their people over to make arrangements to send the production overseas. Why they would come all the way to New Zealand to do this was not explained.

The Government duly announced that they would meet with these representatives and try to negotiate some arrangement so the films would stay in NZ. Our sunny and optimistic PM gave only a 50/50 chance of the films staying here. This despite a long list of solid reasons why the films weren’t going anywhere:

• The actor’s union dispute was settled, the blacklist was called off, and once actors sign up to a contract, they have to honour it, i.e. no strikes during filming.
• Warners had already spent $100 million renovating the Hobbiton sets in Matamata. They couldn’t uproot the hills and take them overseas.
• Peter Jackson wanted to film in New Zealand and keeping their star director happy would be a big priority, especially since the previous director walked.
• Moving locations would mean a delay while new sets were built and new logistics arrangements were made, and this in a project already beset by delays.
• NZ’s labour laws are actually attractive to Warners, because our workers aren’t locked into strictly defined roles they can’t step outside of as is the case overseas. That means Warners can hire fewer people and get more out of them.
• If they shifted to higher-wage economies like the UK or Ireland, they would have to pay more to the local crew and actors.
• The LOTR was filmed in NZ and getting that same look for Hobbiton again to make the movies consistent would be desirable.
• NZ was clearly Warner Brothers’ preferred location to make the films

Warners had the scent of blood, and they knew there was a deal to be done. The NZ public had been stirred into a frenzy – people marching in the streets and directing vitriol at union leaders and any actors who dared speak out. NZ had let them know that we would do anything to ‘save’ the production.

Not ones to waste a good opportunity, they demanded ‘a lot’ in John Key’s words. They gambled on the fact that Key wouldn’t call their bluff – and he didn’t.

As Helen Kelly pointed out on Radio New Zealand, John Key consistently undermined New Zealand’s negotiating position prior to and during the talks with his anti-union rhetoric.

The Government’s first mistake was taking sides in the dispute. From the very first they made no bones about their anti-union, pro-studio stance. An opportunity to bash unions and have the public thank you for it is too great a temptation for almost any right-wing leader to ignore. Key got stuck in and had a great time.

But this is the very behaviour that came back to bite NZ later around the bargaining table.

Because when it was time to strike a deal with Warners, Key was already painted into the ‘evil unions’ corner. Not exactly an uncomfortable position for him, admittedly. But negotiations-wise it presented a problem. If Key’s sole aim was to retain the production for NZ, then he should have been doing his damndest to reassure Warners that the union action was over and there would be no more problems.

But he couldn’t do that when he’d been the one stirring up anti-union fervour from the beginning.

Instead, he kept up the attacks on the unions, emphasizing that in his view there was a problem and implying that Warners would be justified if they walked out on NZ.

In other words, he was asking to get done over.

Key had thrown away NZ’s negotiating position early on, but it wasn’t all bad news for him. He could be assured of ‘saving’ The Hobbit if he gave Warners what they really wanted, which was more money. He could come up with a way to save face by ‘clarifying’ a law to make it look like employment issues of some sort were still a factor, and by getting an ad put on some DVDs. And he could continue to gain long-term political mileage going into election year by bashing the unions and pretending it was all their fault.

While this issue has caused a lot of upset to a lot of Kiwis, for John Key it has been like all his Christmases come at once.

The deal looks expensive if it’s just to retain two movies. But to retain two movies and buy an election result, it’s a great deal.

-Blue

51 comments on “Q&A on The Hobbit – Part 2”

  1. Roflcopter 1

    Failed from the first line. We aren’t handing over anything.

    • Failed in the one and only line. No matter how you want to dress it up Warners are richer and New Zealand is poorer.

      Good analysis Blue.

      • The Baron 1.1.1

        What are you smoking Greg, you silly little lap dog.

        We are richer by about $600 million, and we only have to give up about $30m in tax credits that we wouldn’t have otherwise earned to get it.

        Ooooh I understand – you would rather have a minor union have a win than thousands of real workers actually having jobs… “the many not the few” huh, looks like you’re off message.

        • bbfloyd 1.1.1.1

          Baron,,,, childish behavior is a poor substitute for real comment.. accuracy is to be desired also… “we are richer by $600m”? who’s we then?

          • The Baron 1.1.1.1.1

            NZ?

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1.1.1

              OK, Jackson and Jackson’s companies and inner circle take $300M. Who else?

              • Speaking Sense to Unions

                “Who else?”

                actors for one.

                who will also get residuals, ie money every year for the rest of their lives – what other jobs give people that and certainly the film techs don’t, as negotiated by Peter Jackson with the studios well before the unions targeted him.

                then there’s lots of trades people as well as other film workers – the lynch mob as some unionists like to call them.

                I see you still haven’t been able to come to terms wih Ireland having a summer. Is that some sort of season denial thing?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Be surprised if the budget for film set staff and non-headline actors/extras, contractors or employed, exceeds $50-60M for the 2 entire films.

                  I see you still haven’t been able to come to terms wih Ireland having a summer. Is that some sort of season denial thing?

                  Oh yes Ireland will have a summer around May next year. Jackson happy to wait till then to start filming is he? He’ll miss the 2012 Christmas release dates he promised Warner of course *shrug*

                  • Speaking Sense to Unions

                    “start filming”?

                    ah, have you heard of “studios”? – they have what are called “rooves”. Keeps the rain out.

                    It’s proabably all a bit complicated for you but LOTR production was done in Wellington in summer AND winter. It’s quite common. Film people are used to dealing with the weather.

                    A few exterior scenes requiring summer can easily be done to meet the deadlines – in the Irish summer which they do have.

                    Still you asked who else benefits. You were provided with the example of actors who will get more because of Peter Jackson.

                    “Be surpised” – since you know nothing about film production yes you would be surprised, or perhaps you have some experience with film budgets.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I guess you think The Hobbit would look good filmed in a dismal cold Irish sun but you’re the only one.

                    • Speaking Sense to Unions

                      Ireland has what is called a “summer” where they have what is called “sunshine”. It’s actually very pretty. And film directors employ and pay a lot money for what are called “DOPs” who are paid a lot of money to make things look like what the director wants. Irrespective of the weather in many instances. (hint: a lot of what appears in a film is an illusion – day for night etc etc).

                      But if you talk to people who have been to Ireland you might find that the summers are not uniformly “dismal”. Google pitures of Irish landscapes – not hard to do.

                    • Lanthanide

                      CV – post production work.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yes I think Jackson and his companies will score a large portion of that budget.

                • jason rika

                  Residuals are what the union was fighting about. See they were to be reclassified as contractors of which residual payments would not be a part of their contract. Read and learn about the entire problem not just the sound bites comrade.

        • Adrian 1.1.1.2

          600 million my arse, the total spend on FILM MAKING is about $170 million for both. and we are paying $90 mil of that. It’s not the 2-day Irish summer that’s the problem it’s the sky full of vapour trails and noise.

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.2.1

            So does that much touted US$500M / NZ$600M figure include both production budget and marketing budget rolled into one?

            If so thats pretty damn sneaky.

            • Adrian 1.1.1.2.1.1

              And Warners commision of about 20% of the money they organise, say $150mil and 10-15% for points for principals another $60-90mil paid when you sue them.Warners don’t spend ANY of their own money.

              • Colonial Viper

                Wow. Thanks. Joe Public knows sweet FA about all this stuff. Bet Jackson works the system like a pro these days though. Ran rings around the National Govt.

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      Only handing over our self respect and constitutional sovereignty. But sure I agree with you ROFL, NAT doesn’t consider that to be anything special.

      • grumpy 1.2.1

        We are just getting a little bit less of something we would not have got anything of, if the government had not intervened.

        If it was only about money, the film would have been made offshore. Some people think that keeping people employed and collecting taxes that would not have been obtained otherwise is a bad thing??????

        • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1

          Ah yes, Jackson was always willing to film The Hobbit in the frigid Irish sleet instead of NZ summer sunshine, and to live in Ireland for the next 2 years out of an hotel. Good luck to him.

          • grumpy 1.2.1.1.1

            but if what you guys are saying that it was all about WB getting the best financial deal possible, then it would have gone to Ireland.

            In effect NZ did quite well then didn’t we?

            • bbfloyd 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Grumpy… do you know jackson well enough to argue his position for him? if you don’t, then maybe a little thought about continuing to argue for the sake of it might save us all a bit of time through not having to repeat the truth just for your benifit.

        • felix 1.2.1.2

          grumpy you’re a dumbass, it was always going to be made here. No-one seriously ever believed otherwise.

  2. MikeE 2

    Except taxpayers aren’t handing over anything to Warners, it is Warners who are handing LESS to the government than they might of (where the alternative was to be handing over NOTHING if they left the country) due to the extra negotiating power they had after the union actions.

    Paying less tax doesn’t mean taxpayers are paying you something.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Jackson was never leaving we got conned into paying more out, and selling out our legislative process, for nothing.

      • grumpy 2.1.1

        Mike E is right, if the union hadn’t barged in with a pre-emptive boycott, we would have had the lot.

        So, blame Actor’s Equity and the CTU if you feel you need to blame someone for a slightly reduced tax take.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          The tax take is one issue, but OK its just a few mill realistically; HOWEVER its the selling out of our democratic legislative process to a one man charge led by Jackson, and by foreign commercial interests which is the most disturbing.

          • The Baron 2.1.1.1.1

            And who opened the door to that? The stupid f*cking unions, with the most retarded campaign ever.

            I find it incredible that Blue, CV and Greg can see nothing wrong with how the Unions operated here, and continue to see this as some paranoid fantasy about long range mastermind plans from HoRRIBLE MULTINATIONALS!

            Oh look here comes Draco “Lets make them ourselves” T. Bastard; and Irish “the Unions are like fucking Santa” Bill.

            • mickysavage 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah it was all the Unions fault. All of them. They should have sat meekly by and been grateful for the bones thrown at them by the massah.

              The person most to blame was Gerry Brownlee. Why this was not sealed up months ago is beyond me.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1.2

              Dude why keep blaming the Union cup of water for the flood, blame the cunning rainstorm named Jackson-Warner Bros.

              And by the way, plenty of us have criticised the performance of the unions as you well know; please don’t be even more disingenuous with your BS.

              see this as some paranoid fantasy about long range mastermind plans from HoRRIBLE MULTINATIONALS!

              Hardly a paranoid fantasy any more if we wake up in a world where we have sold out our legislative sovereignty for REAL. Oh yeah, that just happened.

    • The Voice of Reason 2.2

      Semantics, MikeE, and not even convincing. We are gifting Warners $100 million and handing over our sovereignty as the cherry on top. That’s $100 million that could go on essential stuff like health, education and, er, cycleways. All gone because our PM can’t negotiate for shit. Hell, as the saying goes, Key couldn’t find his own arse with both hands on a moonlit night, so why would we expect him to do anything other than be relaxed with our money?

      • grumpy 2.2.1

        Rubbish, we are not paying over anything and the only soveriegnty lost is when the union called in a dodgy Australian outfit who was only interested in getting the movie shifted to Aussie.

        • mickysavage 2.2.1.1

          Yeah Warners filmers are not doing the following:

          1. Flying in using our airports.
          2. Driving on our roads.
          3. Using our climate data to work out when to film.
          4. Using our broadband network to receive/send email and data.
          5. Using our Kiwi trained and kiwi educated workers.

          They owe nothing to us. Maybe we should tell them to pay no tax and offer them some money as well.

    • marsman 2.3

      The poor subsidising the rich,nothing changes. ‘It’s not fair’ the rich sceaming ‘we are subsidising the poor.’

    • RedLogix 2.4

      Paying less tax doesn’t mean taxpayers are paying you something.

      Try that line with IRD sometime. We’ll all be interested to know how you get on.

    • Bright Red 2.5

      MikeE, you and me will be the ones paying more tax (and paying for higher government debt) because of this.

      Warners is better off becuase of this deal. That wealth didn’t come from thin air, it came from the government and, ultimately, from us taxpayers.

      the sad part is you’re defending the person who took our money. guess that’s why they call it mugging – it happens to mugs.

      • TightyRighty 2.5.1

        never seems to bother you having higher tax and debt when that money is spent on the black hole of welfare? this is an investment, remember when you crowed about how the govt should have borrowed to invest in super? this is more relevant

  3. Sanctuary 3

    Just one more (last) comment on the Hobbit. As a result of the GFC and the clear failure of “third way” identity politics as a response to neo-liberalism the left is in the process of, well, basically re-discovering the left. Issues of income inequality, wealth distribution and ideas around real alternative economic programs are back on the agenda. There seems to be a growing feeling that the pink liberal takeover of change agents like the NZLP and the Trade Union movement – just possibly useful in curbing some of the excesses of new right dogma when it was in full, near unstoppable cry in the twenty or so years prior to 2000 – can now be judged to be past its use by date. Much, for example, was made of the enthusiasm of the party faithful at the recent NZLP conference with this newly re-discovered economic leftism – a clear indicator that the left wants to re-discover its roots.

    It seems to me you cannot possibly make sense of the vehemence of the whole Hobbit controversy without putting it into this context above, and recognising that it quickly became part of a wider catharsis, part of the beginning of the left’s intellectual rejection of the exclusively petit-bourgeois agenda of the last thirty odd years.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      And don’t leave out the return to class struggle, which the Left relaxed on and forgot about, but which the Right never did.

  4. James 4

    Oh, I was rather hoping you might go back and clarify some of the errors that were made in the first one. Bummer.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    “• The actor’s union dispute was settled, the blacklist was called off, and once actors sign up to a contract, they have to honour it, i.e. no strikes during filming.”
    I thought no strikes applied to employees? The whole deal with this is that they’re contractors, so I don’t think they are actually legally prevented from striking? Also, this was an international boycott, and that was the problem. Perhaps labour laws in NZ say they can’t strike, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get the international unions to strike again should they have reason to.

    “• Warners had already spent $100 million renovating the Hobbiton sets in Matamata. They couldn’t uproot the hills and take them overseas.”
    I’ve seen this repeated many times. Can someone link to an actual authoritative source? Seems like a huge amount of money to spend on an individual set (entire movies are made for much less), especially one that showed up for maybe 30 minutes in the original trilogy and will probably show up for about the same in the new movies too.

    Also special effects these days are quite amazing in what they can do. Voldemort in the Harry Potter films for example is just Ralph Finnes – the funny mouth business is all added in post-production special effects. See also: Avatar. There’s no reason they *need* to film these scenes in NZ to replicate the same look.

    “• Moving locations would mean a delay while new sets were built and new logistics arrangements were made, and this in a project already beset by delays.”
    Yeah, so what’s another few months worth of delays on this project? Especially if the delays are all fully known and the company concludes it can save $$$ by delaying it for a few months to move overseas. As people like to keep saying, “follow the money” – if lots of money could be saved by moving overseas despite the delays, then the delays themselves aren’t really a reason not to move overseas.

  6. Sean Brooks 6

    Well they have paid 24 million for three seasons of Outrageous Fourtune, 250 thousand dollars so scribe can do a rap video, who knows how much for shortland street????, the arts have always got a huge boost from the labour party.

    So why not to multi international project that will actually be seen and heard outside our country.

    • grumpy 6.1

      Really?????? $24m on “Outrageous Fortune”?????? The only reason Labour would waste that amount of money would be if it starred a Labour and/or Union activist ……. oh wait………..

      “Outrageous Fortune” indeed!

    • $24 mil on 3 seasons of Outrageous Fortune? You mean $8 mil a series or about $1 mil a 40 minute program? Or $600 mil for a 3 hour movie??

      I actually prefer Outrageous Fortune. At least they use real people.

  7. gn 7

    “Well they have paid 24 million for three seasons of Outrageous Fourtune”….are you serious??? Is that information correct? What is your source, I’d like to know. $24million?? For that crap?

  8. Sean Brooks 8

    gn:

    $8 Million a season, my source is the NZONAIR website.

  9. Carol 9

    One ofthe recent panelists on Afternoons with Mora, referred to a Peter Jackson incident in the past, that he thought showed a bit of a MO of Jackson’s in brinkmanship. It was incident I had also remembered reading about, when the Hobbit debates were raging last week, but couldn’t remember the details. It might have been David Slack on Tuesday’s Panel. I can’t fully remember the details, but it involves Jackson bluffing and lying, in order to increase his bargaining position and get the deal he wanted.

    But the panelist said he recently read about this incident, when Jackson was trying to do a deal with, I think, New Line. It goes something like this: Jackson didn’t have much to bargain with, but he had a 5pm meeting to finalise some negotiations with New Line. He contacted the people he was set to met, calling the meeting off, and saying he had some other people to talk to about an alternative deal. It was a bluff that paid off, because ultimately Jackson got the deal he wanted with New Line.

    If I get time in the near future, I’ll check the Panel audios for the details.

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    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    4 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    5 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    5 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    5 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    6 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    6 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    7 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    7 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    7 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    1 week ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago

  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago