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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    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    6 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    6 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    7 days ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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