Save TV7, come to Back Benches and even a march on Parlie :-)

Haven’t updated y’all on the progress of Back Benches for a week or two, so here goes. COME ALONG TO SEE IT FILMED, IT RUNS OUT SOON!

Right, now I’ve got that off my chest, some cut’n’paste goodness and linky-love for you to play clicky with:
As you may have heard, the Back Bencher was damaged in a kitchen fire, so there’s been a lot of woe and dismay about the final three shows.
Last week’s episode was filmed in the Shepherd’s Arms in Tinakori Rd, just uphill & around the corner as it were, from BB. Notorious to a certain generation of VUW law students as the Western Park tavern, it’s now less of a booze barn and more of a heritage pub with a ‘southern’ twist. Once more, my trusty companions and I eschewed the brews for coffee and soft drinks, all the better to pay attention.
The acoustics are not great, as half the bar is incapable of seeing or hearing the set, thus talk amongst themselves. We had fun anyway, and Damian and Wallace soldiered on, attempting to get good soundbites from Nat MP Paul Goldsmith, Labour’s Clayton Cosgrove, our own lovely Julie-Anne Genter, and NZ First’s inimitable and intractable Richard Prosser.

This week, it’s the turn of Green MP Kevin Hague, Labour MP David Parker, New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin and National MP Louise Upston, with topics on ACC, Asset Sales, and Gareth Morgan’s opinions. TVNZ blurb here. Once again, at the Shepherd’s Arms Tavern in Tinakori Rd, Thorndon, get in by 6pm if you want food, or 8pm if you just want a spot to stand. Filming starts at 9.05pm, live broadcast with help from the big techy truck parked outside.
Closest thing you can get to being an unpaid extra on a film set … no, wait, it is actually being an unpaid extra on a film set. Damn, shoulda checked that with the union!

Then for even more excitement, join the Save TV7 crew for a march through Wellington on Thursday 28th June, meet at Civic Square 12 noon and march to Parliament. More at their website www.savetvnz7.co.nz, where you can also find the petition – it’s still worth signing to save our only ‘TV for grown-ups’ channel in NZ.

Advertisements

More about Back Benches, and a plug from the Green’s AGM.

I’m just a decade or so outside the boundaries for participation in the Young Greens, but due to my years as a mature, post-grad student at VUW, I know a lot of energetic young people who have gone places in the Greens’ networks.
I’d just like to give a plug for a speech by new Young Greens Co-Convenor Jackson Wood, which you can read here.

Back Benches is still rolling along, last week’s episode involved the sterling efforts of Kennedy Graham to prevent spin from clouding facts on International Relations – you can watch it here.

Coming up, this Wednesday the show goes on tour again, with an initial filming at the Britomart Country Club in downtown Auckland. See Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye perform on a panel with Green’s co-Leader Dr Russel Norman, Winston Peters from NZ First, and new Labour Leader David Shearer. This will be interesting, to put it mildly!
More details at TVNZ On-demand’s website.

There’s some Save TV7 action on!

The lovely folks running the campaign to Save TV7 have sent me an e-mail advising me of a bunch of things happening around the country.
I’ll paraphrase, but the important part is this, for Aucklanders – go to the public meeting at Freemans Bay Community Centre TONITE Tuesday 15th May, from 7-9pm.

Brian Edwards is moderating a discussion with Clare Curran, Julie Anne Genter, Andrew Williams, Joe Atkinson and the public. They’re still hoping a representative from the Government will join them as well to explain the policy of closing down New Zealand’s last Public Service TV channel.

If you live in Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Dunedin, or Hamilton, your turn is coming up, from 21st May in Welli thru to 13th June in Hamilton – see the Save TV7 site for more details.

The on-line petition is still going, with over 22,000 signatures as of Monday night. Still time for more supporters to sign, so get cracking!

The Save TV7 crew have been busy getting badges, t-shirts and stickers produced, so look out for those at the meetings, and show your support.

There’s also a crowd-sourced ad campaign coming up, a follow-on from the articles and interviews that have been published in various media, and the half-page ad in last Friday’s NZ Herald. Here’s the blurb verbatim:

And finally we’re asking our friends (that’s you) to send us photos of yourselves in striking poses for our future ad campaigns. We’d like shots that put you in context (however that might be) and also a little rant about why TVNZ 7 is important to you. We’ll be compiling lots of the photos into an ad to show the government that there are real people who’ll be affected by the closure of TVNZ 7. Send it to savetvnz7@gmail.com and note that by doing so you agree to have your photo put on the internet and in newspapers up and down the country. So remember to SMILE.

Finally, another plug for my favourite TV7 programme – Back Benches, filming again this week on Wednesday night at the Back Bencher pub in Molesworth St across from Parliament, be there from 8pm-ish to get a seat, or book yourselves a table from 6pm to have dinner before the show.

This week it’s Green Party MP Holly Walker, Labour MP Grant Robertson, National MP Colin King, and New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin. Gutted I’m away and can’t be there to see this lot tackle the topics of bullying in schools and online, and the ramifications of new social welfare provisions aimed at beneficiary mothers and their children.
More details here.

Update:
The Auckland Meeting went off pretty well – media coverage including video here, by Granny Herald.

It’s been busy, so here’s a round-up!

I admit that my writing skills have been taking a back-seat as I have been doing a lot of running around lately.

The have been some excellent episodes of Back Benches, I’ve had a look at Court Report fronted by Linda Clark, and then there was that big Hikoi arriving in Wellington, and an ‘Aotearoa is not for sale’ march from Te Papa to Parliament, protesting against the proposed asset sales.

I made it to most of those, but due to other circumstances, won;’t be posting pix with this story. Meh, go search Facebook, there’ll be thousands of albums of pix of that march.

One more plug for TV7, and the episode of Back Benches airing this Wednesday 9th May. (If you’re in Welli, go down to the pub in Molesworth St, and join in, while you still can!)

Last week I went to my final episode, as I’m leaving town for a while. Wallace and Damian were very sweet about my apologies for not being able to attend the final show filming on 26th June; after letting me take a souvenir shot, they came back over a few minutes later and presented me with an impromptu gift.

So all those who have ever been even semi-regular – get down and watch the show, there will be goodies for people who have supported Back Benches over the years, and I’ll be sitting on the couch somewhere in Canterbury, looking to see what kind of bedlam ensues on the night.

So here’s this week’s line-up:
Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty, Labour MP Shane Jones, New Zealand First MP Brendan Horan and National MP Mark Mitchell.
There’s more info here.
Here’s Back Benches episode 11 from 26th April, and here’s episode 12 from last week, 2nd May.
And what the heck, here’s where to find Court Report.

There is a lot of talk about the Government’s plans to sell our remaining energy SOE’s. The Green Party are heavily opposed to this plan, and along with several other concerned groups, are collecting signatures this winter to petition the Government for a referendum on asset sales.
There’s a place to sign-up to help this campaign here, and an excellent frogblog post about it here.

That should be enough to keep you busy for a while 😉

This week’s Back Benches on TV7

THIS WEEK ON BACK BENCHES: Watch Wallace Chapman, Damian Christie, the Back Benches Panel and special guests discuss the week’s hottest topics!

WHAT THE FRACK?: Fracking – the mining process which blasts a mixture of water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth to extract gas or petroleum. We’ve been doing it for decades but now there is Parliamentary inquiry into process. The Greens are calling for a moratorium on fracking until the inquiry is over but the Government says that’s not necessary. It’s controversial-the practice has been blamed for groundwater contamination and earthquakes. Is fracking safe? Is there enough oversight? Oil and Gas exports bring about $3 billion to the economy. Can we say no to the practice?

PAID PARENTAL LEAVE: A bill by Labour’s Sue Moroney says 6 months(26 weeks) rather than the current 3.5 months/14 weeks. The Government says that is unaffordable. Do we need more time for the country to recover financially? Key has left the door open for the future – but will our country EVER be able to afford extended leave? Is it ever a good idea to borrow money for additional entitlements? Or are there benefits, bigger than financial to consider?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 18th of April. Our Panel: Green Party MP Gareth Hughes, Labour MP Annette King, and National MP Katrina Shanks.

Yes, I am having a busy week, so I just stole that again from Wal & Damian’s site PR.

Do come down, last week was the Young Pollies episode which was a very sardine-packed session (I left it to them & stayed home, I’ll admit) – footage here. Wilbur Townsend represented the Young Greens admirably, despite his own personal misgivings before the filming. Student loans policy got a good thrashing, and one or more young pollies got themselves booed by the crowd – but I’m not saying whom, you’ll have to watch it yourselves.

Pub politics, every week until mid-year when the channel goes off air … boo hiss, TVNZ!

Our public service broadcasting is a backbone of intelligent viewing in NZ, it’s certainly not worth expecting the USA to provide intelligent programming that is affordable and can be broadcast free-to-air, so this is yet another decision made at the expense of our own jobs, our own sovereignty and reflecting our own communities, in all their diversity, on our own screens.

I will become an even more averse consumer of broadcasting after this happens; even now I’m more likely to show up and participate in the filming of Back Benches, than I am to watch an episode of anything else that TVNZ broadcasts across all it’s channels. I consider that the standard of programmes broadcast has fallen substantially in the past decade, and that New Zealand residents are getting ripped off by the decisions that favour cheap, rubbishy ‘reality’ show programmes over drama or comedy that could be keeping NZ-based writers, actors and production crews in work, and in the country.

If HBO is the only place where we can see award-winning kiwi comedy, then how does that make us look?

C’mon TVNZ, pull your socks up and keep our local content on our local stations. Or watch your audience decline to the point where those fat salaries just cannot continue to be dished out to those who make the decisions….

Update:
The show ran with Meteria Turei instead of Gareth Hughes (who was ill with a sore throat), and was unintentionally funny every time Katrina Shanks responded to a question with some phrase or other that had been vetted by her minders, but didn’t seem to answer the question.

Wallace got in a few good shots there, too, which left her doing the four-year-old “the grown-ups are making fun of me” pout. Go on, watch the episode, I kid you not, she really did that!

Annette King actually impressed me when the paid parental leave topic got a second airing, but she was no match for Meteria, who whomped the pair of them on every topic. The episode is here, and well worth a look.

Back Benches is still going strong

It’s Tuesday already, my how this week has flown!
Which means tomorrow night is Back Benches filming live at the Back Bencher pub in Molesworth St, downtown Welli.

Green Party MP Steffan Browning, Labour MP Charles Chauvel, New Zealand First MP Andrew Williams, and National MP Tim Macindoe are this week’s panel line-up, and the topics under debate will be –
HOUSING CRUNCH?: Are we in a Housing Boom or a Housing Crunch? Perhaps it depends on whether you’re a renter or an owner? Should you buy or rent? Which is more affordable? Rents are on the rise and affordable housing is becoming more scarce. Why are rents going up? Does there need to be a limit on how much a landlord can raise the rent? Is this a local council issue? Should this be a national government issue? Or should we let the marketplace decide what it can bear?

SAVE THE DOLPHINS: Just 55 little (adult) Maui Dolphins are left. Is it time for urgent action to save the endangered animal? Can they be saved? Do we save endangered animals no matter the cost? Is a sanctuary or a net ban the solution? And do we need to have a big look at our fishing industry? Do you eat sustainably or do you throw a little Snapper or Bluefin Tuna on the grill?

[Yeah, I’m shameless, that was pasted straight off TV7’s website. ]

The episode is up on TVNZ on-demand here.

Co-incidentally, there was a pretty big march through town today by supporters of Maui’s Dolphins being protected.
While they stopped to yell outside MAF (ably MC’d by Pete Bethune) I got this pic:

Some staunch painted laydees marching for Maui's Dolphins

Some staunch painted laydees marching for Maui's Dolphins

Update:
FB scandal has broken out over the painted ladies pix put up on albums by photographers associated with Forest & Bird/WWF/Greenpeace et al, covered here by Coley Tangerina.
More on the campaign to save Maui’s dolphins here.

C’mon down to Back Benches!

Yep, it’s Wednesday again, and so there is another opportunity to be entertained and informed, whilst supping a beverage of one’s own choosing, by the inimitable Wallace and Damian. (not to be confused with Wallace and Gromit)

This week’s show has Green Party Co-Leader Dr. Russel Norman, Labour MP Dr. Megan Woods, National MP Scott Simpson, and New Zealand First MP Denis O’Rourke.

Topics include performance pay for teachers, and astronomical pay figures for public sector CEO’s .. are they worth it?

C’mon down, June is looming and we need to enjoy as much of this as we can before TVNZ’s overpaid CEO’s put a stop to it ….
Save TV7 petition here.

Update:
That was a very entertaining evening. Russel Norman was very well on form, and there was a huge support crew of Green staff, members and YG’s. Have a looky here for the episode, at TVNZ’s On-demand website. Worth looking at what else TV7 produces, if I may say so, since it’s about the only intelligent programming for grown-ups available in NZ free-to-air.

Wallace looking suitably chuffed at the end of the show!

Wallace looking suitably chuffed at the end of the show!

The pub was as packed as I’ve seen it for a while (possibly since the last of the pre-election shows), and as Wellington had turned on a beautiful day, I suspect happy, well-sunned students were a large factor in the increased attendance. Oh, and that about half the audience was there to cheer Russ on!
There was a marked absence of the student wings of ACT, Young Nat’s, or even Young Labour, which was rather a surprise.

More Back Benches!

I realise that this may seem to be the only thing that I’m doing lately, which is not true, but I’m just not blogging here about other stuff I’m involved in.

So, moving right along, this week’s lineup is:
Labour MP Phil Goff, Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira, and National MP Michael Woodhouse.
Details here.

Could be worth attending for the fireworks.
TV7 is still likely to be closing down mid-year, so if you’ve ever enjoyed participating in the circus that is live filming of pub politics, come down.

Update:
I once again failed to make it along, but there was certainly a good crowd handy, have a look here. Phil Goff got a minor ragging from Wallace for his first appearance ever on the show (not ever having been a Back Bencher while the show has been recording before now) and both Hone Harawira and Michael Woodhouse had strong showings.

Otherwise, my lovely green friends, you will have to suffice yourselves with Pints’n’Politics, the latest brainchild of the local branch worthies, who fancy sitting and talking about politics without the intrusion of floor managers, cameras, Damian or Wallace.

There was a trial run at the Southern Cross in Te Aro CBD a while back, and it’s being mooted as a ‘first-of-the-month’ travelling circus, so that the day of the week varies each month to capture all those people who are busy every Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday, etc and won’t commit to another regular event.

Kick-off is Sunday April 1st, prolly around 3pm, and venue still being disputed, I mean discussed. I’ll keep you posted about how that turns out, and provide details if the decision comes down that it is to be widely promoted. *sigh*

More Back Benches to come!

Haven’t done a post about Back Benches for a while. Not because I haven’t been attending (I have had the soggy overcoat to prove my dedication) but because other things going on in my life have interfered with writing posts for a while.

So here’s a compendium of reviews of the past two shows and a plug for the next one.

The first one (22nd Feb) was very busy, the bar was crowded and the topic in hand was the Christchurch earthquake anniversary. Christchurch MP’s were on the panel – Liane Dalziel (L), Nicky Wagner (N), Kennedy Graham (G) and Denis O’Rourke (NZ1). They had all been at commemoration events during the day in Christchurch, then flown to Wellington to be on the show, so kudos for that. The media coverage of the days events was pretty much wall-to-wall, and the MP’s referred to where they’d been under the assumption that non of the audience could possibly have missed seeing footage.

The following week was ‘leap day’, 29th Feb, and a re-shoot of the Hamilton show that didn’t get broadcast during the summer tour. The pub was barely filled, and I was surprised to be invited, with my young companion (a friend’s son) to move to another, closer table so that the cameras had some audience to film. So we did, and ended up sitting right next to National MP David Bennett’s wife and daughter, who both got spots speaking with Damian Christie. Other MP’s on the panel were Cath Delahunty (G), Sue Maroney (L) and Richard Prosser (NZ1). Students with or without jobs got a fair bit of airtime, especially given recent announcements by the Minister for Social Development during that week’s press on welfare reforms.

Pre-show shot of the panel with Damian and Wallace

Pre-show shot of the panel with Damian and Wallace

This week 7th March, the line-up is Labour MP Rino Tirikatene, Dr. Cam Calder (Nat) and Denise Roche (Green) – still from 8pm if you want to get a drink beforehand, at the Back Bencher pub, opposite Parliament in Molesworth St, Wellington.
There’s been some good young Green crews along in the past, now that Orientation is on again, might be nice to get some more yoof down to the pub for a bit of a laff, eh?

Update
That was a very good night out, episode here and here’s a quick pic from before filming began showing all the panellists.

Panel being readied by production crew, March 7th

Panel being readied by production crew, March 7th

There’s still time to email TVNZ about saving TV7, have a look here.

Back in the House, and Back Benches.

Well, it was a marathon busy day yesterday.
Seven maiden speeches in the House by new Green MP’s, our highest number of new MP’s since the Party first came into Parliament in 1999.
There’s speech transcripts and Parlie TV footage on Frogblog. So I’m not going to repeat the review of the afternoon’s speeches, except to say that I was very moved by each and every one of them, some who have been colleagues on issues campaigning for over ten years.
There are concurrent numbers of extra parliamentary Green office staff, too, so the mix’n’mingle afterwards was a good catch-up time & helped to work out who’s doing which jobs post-election.

Then later, on to the Back Bencher pub for another round of Damian and Wallace ‘back on home soil’, as they put it themselves, which seems like an extraordinary admission from two Aucklanders.

Eugenie Sage had her first experience on the panel, along with Alfred Ngaro (N), David Clarke (L, Dunedin North) and Richard Prosser (NZ 1st). There were some interesting moments as panelists wrestled with ways not to answer direct questions put by the presenters, and some bemusement when Prosser appeared to be quoting history when responding to questions about his party’s policies.

Alfred Ngaro (obscured), Wallace, David Clarke, Eugenie Sage, Damian obscuring Richard Prosser completely.

Alfred Ngaro (obscured), Wallace, David Clarke, Eugenie Sage, Damian obscuring Richard Prosser completely.

Holly Walker and a table of Green family & friends got quite a bit of notice during the evening, as well, especially during Damian’s wee pep talk to get incidental footage to use in the promo for this season of Back Benches. Being such great sports, none of the extremely relaxed Young Greens even considered the option of asking for appearance fees for performing in an advertisement.

Voluble and Relaxed Young Greens surrounding MP Holly Walker.

Voluble and Relaxed Young Greens surrounding MP Holly Walker.

Myself, I was hiding down the back with some more mature friends, and chewing my way through most of a block of Whitaker’s Dark Almond; my only concession to Valentine’s Day being to buy myself what I like, and share it with those I happen to be with as the week progresses. Don’t even bother trying to spot us, we were well shielded by loquacious and inebriated folk in the table nearer the bar.

The full episode is here on TV7’s chunk of the On-demand website.
Do have a look for the petition to save TV7 as well, while I’ve got your attention.
If nobody bothers, we lose them mid-year when this season finishes.