In 2000 the Employment Relations Act was passed into law in New Zealand, replacing the Employment Contracts Act. The bill proved controversial: some suggested it placed unfair obligations on employers, while others claimed it restored much-needed rights to workers that had been undermined. This Assignment episode explores both angles. Among them, business owner John Holm argues that he shouldn’t be told how to treat his employees, while union leaders and Alliance Party MP Laila Harré all argue that without the bill, workers will continue to be exploited.
Mikey Havoc and Newsboy (Jeremy Wells) take a typically sideways glance at the 2002 general election in this one-off special, broadcast live from inside "a giant stainless steel question mark on the neutral electorate of Rangitoto Island." In case you hadn't noticed (Havoc presents in Paul Frank pyjamas), the analysis is more satirical than factual, and along the way they find time to put the boot into Auckland's then-mayor John Banks, learn parliamentary etiquette from Jonathan Hunt and compliment Don Brash on his six-cylinder Ford.
The TVNZ Leaders Debate for the 2002 General Election attracted controversy for its use of an onscreen graph, which tracked the response of 100 undecided voters in real time. There was concern that the device – aka 'The Worm', first launched in 1996 – would put a focus on populism and TV performance over policy. This post-debate analysis, with broadcaster Peter Williams hosting a panel of political commentators, includes a behind the scenes look at The Worm. Peter Dunne’s later success in the 2002 election was credited in part to his mastery of the line's rises and dips.
This extraordinary moment in New Zealand political history occurred during the 2014 election campaign. Kim Dotcom, a colourful German-born file-sharing mogul exiled in NZ, had helped form a political party — Internet Mana — to “disrupt” the campaign. The party’s 24 August launch went awry when Dotcom fled from reporters keen to follow up a remark made during his speech (he hinted he could hack Prime Minister John Key’s credit rating). Internet Mana press secretary Pam Corkery infamously berated reporters, calling TV3's Brook Sabin a “puffed up little s**t.”
Tadpole’s 2000 debut album The Buddhafinger debuted at No.2 in the RIANZ Top 40, and spawned no less than six singles. ‘Alright’ showcases the band’s ability to fuse nu-metal and dance elements into a hooky pop concoction, dominated by the polished, theatrical vocals of Renee Brennan (who had a sideline in voiceovers and DJ’ing). The dreadlocked guitarist in red Dickies is Chris Yong — political groupies may recognise him for his later stint as Laila Harre’s deputy in the Internet Party.
Sima Urale, Samoa’s first female filmmaker, has brought touching stories of Pacific peoples to the screen, often from an NZ outsider’s point of view. Urale credits her film success to determination and dealing with social issues close to her heart. Her lauded shorts (O Tamaiti, Still Life) were followed by her 2008 feature debut Apron Strings. Urale has also spent time as head tutor at Wellington's NZ Film and Television School.