Thursday, September 30, 2010

NZ Actors equity union hits back at Peter Jackson...

Peter Jackson promoting the 2009 film District...Image via Wikipedia

NZ Actors Equity union hits back at Peter Jackson...

The NZ Actors Equity union has hit back at Sir Peter Jackson’s claim their actions are threatening the continued filming of The Hobbit in New Zealand.

“The union is simply seeking an opportunity to sit down calmly with the producers to find a suitable solution,” says President Jennifer Ward-Lealand.

The union has taken advice from a barrister specialising in competition law and say:

“There’s no legal impediment to negotiating fair wages and terms for actors taken on as employees.

“Nothing in the Act prohibits us from having some meaningful engagement with the producers on non-price terms for actors taken on as independent contractors, such as rolling credits to acknowledge New Zealand actors' input into the movie.

“Nor does the Act prohibit us from discussing pricing in general terms with the producers to enable us to help our independent contractor members in their individual negotiations with producers. The union accepts that these could only be recommended prices - nothing more.”

In his earlier press release Jackson said the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s “demand that producers on the film enter into collective bargaining with NZ Equity/MEAA” was illegal under New Zealand law.

The stoush erupted when the Australian actor’s union, the MEAA, asked actors to boycott filming of The Hobbit until a standard employment agreement was reached. The union was concerned actors on the film were being employed on inferior non-union contracts.

Jackson says the union's actions could jeopardise the New Zealand movie industry, resulting in a long - term big budget movie drought. He has also threatened to move production of The Hobbit to Eastern Europe.

Ward-Lealand says the union just wants to secure a meeting with the production team for The Hobbit.

“I can assure the producers that our requirements are entirely reasonable. Many relate to basic conditions of engagement with no cost implications at all, and the overall impact of our demands is likely to be miniscule for a production of this scale.

“As we’ve been unable to secure a meeting with the production, Sir Peter does not yet have any idea of what we’re seeking,” she says.

However, Jackson says the Screen Production and Development Association (Spada) has tried to meet with the MEAA for 18 months without success.

Yesterday The Hobbit’s producers made several requests to attend a Wellington union meeting, at which some actors voted against the union’s proposals, but were refused entry shortly before it started.

It is not usual policy for management or owners to attend union meetings.

This dispute is undoubtably having some affect on Jackson's standing and mana within New Zealand.

Acknowledgements: 3 News /Reuters

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

God and an election campaign budget of NZ$4 billion, and an earthquake helped too

Jim Anderton, former Deputy Prime Minister of ...Image via WikipediaBob Parker on top in Chch mayoral poll. God and a campaign budget of $4 billion made all the difference - of course an earthquake helped too!

A new poll reveals current mayor, Bob Parker, is favourite to hold on to his job after a big swing in public opinion

A new survey has found the race for the Christchurch mayoralty has dramatically changed since the earthquake. The current Mayor, Bob Parker, is now the favourite to take out the race next month.

A UMR research poll released today shows a huge turn-around.

Incumbent Mayor Bob Parker now has the vote of 55% of decided voters - up 27% since June.

Main rival Jim Anderton, who was the clear favourite in June on 60%, has dropped to 41%. Poor old Jim didn't see the earthquale coming. But on the Friday before the EQ he quipped that it would take an earthquake to beat him. You never know, do you?

The poll has an error rate of 5.2

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Latest NZ Political Poll: Cold shower for labour - what does it mean?

This image was taken at the Europa Lecture 200...Image via Wikipedia
The latest political poll still shows a huge advantage for National - what does it mean?

Latest NZ Political Poll: Cold Shower For Labour  - what does it mean? Indeed! NZ First could prove to be the giant killer if it receives 5% or more at the next election. John Key would be well advised to give this some consideration. Phil Goff could be a New Zealand version of Julia Gillard in Australia. Just imagine National with 45% and Labour putting a coalition government together with a total  of 55% .

It would  take more than slickness and a silly smile for National to survive in power. He would then have to stand down and hand over the leadership to Bill English, earlier than he intends to do if National wins next year.

The poll results:

Labour leader Phil Goff grudgingly admitted this week John Key is a “slick operator.” In damning his opponent with faint praise Goff was seeking to explain Key’s popularity, as distinct from his own lack of it. The latest TVNZ-Colmar Brunton poll rated Key at 48% against Goff’s 8%, suggesting even some Labour supporters prefer Key as PM to the Opposition leader. Given Goff has been in Parliament for 26 years, 15 of them as Minister, his rating remains a conundrum his party may have to wrestle with for some time. Opposition MPs had been confident the public was becoming disenchanted with the Govt because of the prospective GST rise, plans to mine the conservation estate and the re-opening of the foreshore & seabed issue.

But the Colmar-Brunton sampling gave them a cold shower. National support is still around 54%, which indicated it has bounced up from the Roy Morgan poll earlier in the month, a track followed by National’s own polling. Labour remained static at 33%, and the gap is so large it adds to pressure on Labour’s hierarchy to find new answers which differentiate it not only from National, but from the legacy of the Clark Govt. Given Jim Anderton is getting set to leave Parliament (possibly to contest the Christchurch mayoralty), the Green Party has lost its greenest champion in Jeanette Fitzsimons, Winston Peters has joined the grey brigade, thousands of votes may be looking for a fresh home at the next election. But Labour in its present shape doesn’t look capable of capturing them.

KR says:

What does this poll really mean? Labour has basically stood still. National goes up and down a bit in percentages. What has never been considered since the last elections is the 4.5% that NZ First received, but failied to win any electorate seats. When MMP is reconsidered in a few years, the coat-tail gains through an electorate seat should be scrapped.  A party which fails to gain 5% of the vote should only receive  what it gains in electorate seats. This should apply to any party. Act would only have one seat under that formula and the Maori Party would still have what it gained through electorate success - five seats.

Please go to: The latest poll!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Auckland Super City electoral police investigation into allegations of bribery on the North Shore...

View of Auckland's North Shore from the reserv...Image via Wikipedia Police have started a second Super City electoral investigation, this time into allegations of bribery on the North Shore.

The Shore Voice ticket, which includes five North Shore City councillors, is being investigated for allegedly asking voters to participate in a survey with a $15,000 prize draw.

Detective Senior Sergeant Brett Batty, of the North Shore police, yesterday said this followed a complaint to the Auckland electoral officer, Dale Ofsoske, by the Citizens & Ratepayers Association.

Police are focusing on the bribery clause in the Local Electoral Act.

This says it is an offence punishable by up to two years in jail to offer or give money to voters.

A separate police inquiry is being made into a possible voting scam in Papatoetoe, South Auckland, which could involve more than 1000 voters.

Police are concentrating on 306 names which have been removed from the roll by the Electoral Enrolment Centre, but sources said that number was the tip of the iceberg.

Last night, there were conflicting interpretations between Shore Voice leader Chris Darby and the company providing email survey work for the ticket about entering voters into a $15,000 prize draw.

Q Group head Kevin Francis said the company sent emails asking voters to register with Shore Voice.

In the next sentence, the email invited voters to click on another information link to go into a draw for $15,000.

"The act of doing that puts you in the draw," Mr Francis said.

Mr Darby, a North Shore City councillor, said the political group had never thought of treating, bribery or inducements for voters.

He said the survey copy seen and approved by the group did not include any financial inducements.

Mr Darby said C&R was trying to smear Shore Voice because its polling showed Shore Voice was rattling its Auckland City-based rival.

The other four city councillors standing for Shore Voice are Dianne Hale, former Labour MP Ann Hartley, Margaret Miles and businessman Kevin Schwass.

With 12 other candidates, the ticket is contesting the North Shore and Albany wards on the Auckland Council and the Hibiscus & Bays, Upper Harbour, Devonport-Takapuna, and Kaipatiki local boards.

C&R president John Slater, who calls Shore Voice a "Labour Party-aligned ticket", said the right-leaning group would assist the authorities.

Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Mark Gutry yesterday said police were making good progress on the possible Papatoetoe voting scam, and hoped to wrap it up before the postal election closed on October 9.

Up to 40 officers are working on the inquiry.

Mr Gutry said he expected the figure of 306 falsely enrolled voters to increase, but would not comment further.

People living in Hamilton, Tauranga and Hastings have allegedly been enrolled in the Papatoetoe subdivision of the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board.

Electoral Enrolment Centre executive Murray Wicks said the 306 people dropped from the roll included seven from Tauranga, eight from the Western Bay of Plenty and 291 from Auckland, mostly South Auckland.

A field officer contracted to the Electoral Enrolment Centre to enrol Indian community voters has denied being involved in the alleged scam.

Harjinder Singh, editor of the Punjabi News website, was named in an official letter of complaint to Mr Ofsoske. The letter was passed on to the police.

Mr Singh said he visited Hindu and Sikh temples on Sundays to help people fill out voter forms, and handed out forms which people completed and returned in pre-paid envelopes.

He did not know how many people he had enrolled in total, but said it was sometimes up to 50 a day.

Mr Singh said he never enrolled anyone outside of Papatoetoe in the subdivision of the local board. He said police had not spoken to him.

Mr Wicks would not say if Harjinder Singh had enrolled any of the 306 removed voters.

The Weekend Herald revealed the Super City police inquiry a fortnight ago after visiting two Papatoetoe addresses where nearly 90 people were enrolled.

It is understood that Daljit Singh, one of two Labour Party candidates in the Papatoetoe subdivision, has now spoken to police.

He was trying to arrange a meeting with detectives on Thursday night, but did not return telephone calls yesterday.

Earlier in the week, police visited Daljit Singh's real estate office and took his laptop computer.

Mr Singh said he had done nothing wrong and was the victim of a politically motivated smear campaign.

Acknowledgements: Weekend Herald

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A despicable S.O.B and a hypocrite to boot...

Best election hoarding we've seenImage by Sandy Austin via FlickrWhat a despicable son of a bitch David Garret really appears to be! It is not just his unsavoury act of over two decades ago when he used the name of  a dead boy to gain an identity for a false passport - the dead boys parents were gutted beyond belief - it is the sheer  hypocricy of the man. He is both a liar - he omitted to inform the judge of his earlier assault conviction in Tonga - and a hypocrite. The man responsible for the "Three Strikes" legislation - he is on about strike three himself.

 Rodney Hide, the perks buster himself, is tainted along with the Act Party, and the National Party by its association with Act. If Key and National have any credibility they would give Act the flick and battle on with the Maori  Party until the next election. They can always call an early election if their coalition becomes unstuck.

What does Phil Goff think of the whole episode? Hello Phil, hello are you there?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Act MP David Garrett explanation defies credibility - The Day of the Jackal indeed

Cover of "The Day of the Jackal"Cover of The Day of the Jackal

Act MP David Garrett's explanation defies credibility - The Day of the Jackal indeed...

ACT MP reveals a thoughtless prank -  do you believe it was a prank? It defies credibility!

MP David Garrett wants to explain 'thoughtless prank' carried out 26 years ago where he used a dead child's name to get a passport


ACT MP David Garrett is in deep  trouble today, after admitting he once illegally obtained the birth certificate of a dead child and used it to get a passport.

Using the protection of parliamentary privilege, Mr Garrett has explained how he carried out the action 26 years ago and was arrested and discharged without conviction five years ago.

He's told Parliament he doesn't know why he did it and got the idea from the novel The Day of the Jackal.

"To this day I cannot explain the rationale behind my actions, except to say that I was simply curious to see whether such a thing could be done. I never used the passport for any purpose. It duly expired, never having being used and I later destroyed it."

Mr Garrett describes it as a thoughtless prank that caused great pain to the family of the child.

He says he received name suppression for the incident, which he's now working to get lifted so he can explain his actions further.

His confession comes a day after it was revealed he'd been convicted of assault in Tonga eight years ago and fined ten dollars. Would have been a lot more in New Zealand.

Nobody would do what Garrett has owned up to unless they had 'nefarious reasons' to do so. Only serious criminals or secret agents would  do what Garrett has owned up to. The  Day of the Jackal indeed!

'Act' is a good name for his party! They will be dog tucker at the next elections. They will not sweep back to Parliament on the coat tails of Rodney Hide next year - because Hide himself has a dog's and no show of getting back into Parliament. Along withe the Maori Party, National's coalition partners will be decimated

Acknowledgements:© 2010 NZCity, NewsTalkZB; My imagination.

Kiwi blogger to appeal his conviction for breaching suppressiion orders

Kiwi blogger to appeal his conviction for breaching suppression orders:

Does Cameron Slater have his own agenda?

Read at either site and draw your own conclusion?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Developers built on unsafe land - Christchurch mayor claims

Developers built on unsafe land - Christchurch mayor claims...

Have you been affected by the earthquake?

Cleaning up after the Christchurch earthquake. Photo / Greg BowkerDevelopers went ahead and built on areas of land that could turn into murky soup after an earthquake, despite legal opposition from the local council, the mayor of Christchurch says.

Christchurch City Council mayor Bob Parker said for the past 30 years his council has insisted Land Information reports record if homes are built on sandy soil deposits and subject to liquefaction.

Whole streets in Christchurch have been built on sandy soil deposits. Shortly before Saturday's magnitude 7.1 quake, rains had caused the soil to take on large amounts of water. The soil was then turned to mush when the ground began to shake - this process is known as liquefaction.

"With the benefit of hindsight, you would probably have to say that the nature of the foundations were not designed to cope in the end with the type of earthquake that we had," said Mr Parker.

"In a number of cases, there are areas where council has indicated that it did not want residential development to go ahead. In a number of cases this has resulted in court cases and on some occasions the council has lost those court cases," Mr Parker said.

He said there have also been some older areas of Christchurch which have suffered liquefaction damage but were developed long before the phenomenon was known.

"But it is interesting to note that the new Deans Stand built in AMI Stadium was built on a liquefaction zone. There is not an iota of damage, settling, or shifting that has occurred in that massive structure. And the reason is that the foundations have been designed to cope with the ground situation," Mr Parker said.

He said building is possible in liquefaction areas but, like the Deans stand, the appropriate type of foundation is needed.

Mr Parker said a lot will be learned about liquefaction from the earthquake in Christchurch.

Building requirements have been changed by the council as a result of the quake.

An urgent change has been pushed through by the council requiring earthquake-damaged buildings undergoing repairs to meet a higher standard of structural safety.

In an extraordinary meeting this morning, the council resolved to adopt a new policy whereby earthquake-prone buildings will have to aim for a goal of 67 per cent of building code levels rather than the existing 33 per cent.

The new standard would bring older buildings up from about 10 per cent of the strength of a brand new building, to about 50 per cent.

The policy comes six days after Canterbury was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that caused extensive disruption and damage across the region.

"What we are trying to do is make sure buildings don't fall on people," said Christchurch City Councillor Sue Wells.

"What we have learnt through the last little while is that buildings which are strengthened to 33 per cent of (building) code will not provide the security that we are needing."

Cr Wells said the increased costs of meeting the higher building standard would depend on a case-by-case basis.

"The cost to building owners of doing repairs will be vastly less than the cost to them of losing their livelihood, of losing their building, of losing their trading. That is what is happening out there."

Mr Parker said: "It is true to say this will cost more money in some cases."

Asked if the higher standards expected could encourage building owners to demolish rather than rebuild, Cr Wells said the previous standard was not adequate.

"And no-one is going to thank us for letting building owners repair their buildings to an inadequate level of code. Nobody wants to see buildings strengthened just to fall down again."

The council could not delay this change but building owners were already seeking to lodge applications for consent to rebuild.

Mr Parker said the city had a "duty of care" to the people of the city, and the council had to react to the quake.

"It will cause some issues for some property owners. And in the months to come, some people will have to make hard decisions.

"What we will not compromise on in is the safety of our citizens. We are making a decision that will save lives in the future."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Investigations into the dancing taggers...

The phenakistoscope – a couple waltzingImage via Wikipedia

Investigations into the dancing taggers...

Police investigations have been launched after a Whangarei couple forced two teenage males - who they suspected of tagging their fence - to dance.

Investigations have been launched after an incident in Whangarei where a couple forced two teenage males - who they suspected of tagging their fence - to dance.

The couple tracked down the young people and told them to dance while they waited for police, posting a 10 minute video on YouTube.

Police first on the scene laughed, took photos and called more officers to watch the performance.

Whangarei police say investigations have been launched into the conduct of the couple and the police who attended.

One of the alleged taggers is charged with willful damage

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Green and Green - NZ Greens congratulate Australians Greens on their success

Official photo of Russel Norman, Co-leader of ...Image via Wikipedia

NZ Green Party Congratulates Australian Greens on their success...

 Russel NormanNZ Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today congratulated his Australian Green counterparts on their involvement in Australia's next government.

"This is a great opportunity for Australia to begin moving ahead on climate change," said Dr Norman.

"11% of Australian's voted for the Greens in the recent election. Due to Australia's parliamentary system this did not result in proportional representation for those voters who supported the Green Party.

"However there is now a real opportunity to move ahead on tackling climate change due to the deal the Australian Greens signed with Ms Gillard."

Under the Australian Green Party's agreement with Prime Minister Gillard a well resourced climate change committee will be set up. The Committee will be resourced like a Cabinet Committee. Reducing carbon pollution by 2020 will likely require a carbon price according to this agreement.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Foreshore and seabed bill around the corner...

Māori PartyImage via Wikipedia

Foreshore and seabed bill around the corner?

The Government have made good progress on a bill designed to repel the existing law and guarantee access to the foreshore and seabed for all New Zealanders.

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealanders will find out what rights they have to the foreshore and seabed next week.

The Government has been seeking feedback on a proposal to repeal the existing law and replace it with a public domain regime where no one would own the foreshore and seabed.

Mr Key says the bill will likely be introduced into Parliament next week.

He says good progress has been made with the bill, and when it's released it will guarantee access to the foreshore and seabed for all New Zealanders.

Key can say what he likes. Will Maori support him? The Maori Party was formed because greedy radical Maori want it for themselves. They don't seem to understand they are not the owners of this land, just the caretakers of their few hectares.  Maori are not indigenous to NZ anyway; their ancestors came from East Polynesia. Nobody can own the land below the high-tide mark anyway!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New clue in 1984 Wellington Trades Hall bombing that killed Ernie Abbott...

Who killed Ernie Abbott in the 1984 Wellington Trades hall bombing? Poor Ernie was the elderly caretaker who was in the wrong place at the wrong time? There is a new clue that could lead to the bomber and killer!

Go to  'Down by the HuttRiver' and read now:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

National Puts Kiwi Supergold Free Travel Scheme At Risk Again...

TechEd09Image via Wikipedia

National Puts Kiwi Supergold Card Free Travel Scheme At Risk Again...

 The possibility that pensioners in Dunedin may have to pay for what have been free bus trips under the SuperGold Card free travel scheme shows National can't be trusted to keep the scheme going anywhere, says Labour transport spokesperson Darren Hughes.

"Grey Power has every reason to be fearful of a report in the Otago Daily Times today that says the Transport Ministry has told the Otago Regional Council it wants to cut the SuperGold Card bus subsidy from 75 percent of the adult fare to 65 percent," Darren Hughes.

"Grey Power knows how important it is to keep the pressure on John Key's National Government over this issue.

"Since March this year, when Transport Minister Steven Joyce seemed to suggest consultation was starting on a review of the scheme, Grey Power has been left in no doubt how slippery National is on this issue," Darren Hughes said.

"As soon as National realised at that time how angry pensioners were, it quickly backtracked, of course.

"Steven Joyce lamely and unconvincingly tried to explain that his media release might have been confusing --- and that he was never really talking about eligibility, but just about getting a better deal from transport operators," Darren Hughes said.

"Now, six months after John Key asked people to watch his lips, and promised that the scheme would not be cut back, the Transport Ministry, no doubt acting on Mr Joyce's instructions, is trying to back the Otago Regional Council into a corner where it is forced to try to screw more funding from bus companies.

"Steven Joyce's office says nothing has yet been approved by the cabinet, but who can trust National given what was first said in March, and given what Steven Joyce tried to fudge a few days later," Darren Hughes said.

"Otago Regional Council is not making this up. Nor is the newspaper making it up. Nor is the Transport Ministry making it up.

"Grey Power knows that, and that's why it smells treachery.

"The problem that National is finding is that when you start being slippery on an issue, people stop trusting you," Darren Hughes said