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Jul 28 2023

Emmys postponed indefinitely due to Hollywood shutdown

RuPaul winning an Emmy for Drag Race in 2019 (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

September’s Emmy Awards won’t take place for the foreseeable future due to ongoing strike action by both writers and actors in the US.

It’s the first time the awards ceremony has been postponed since 2001, when the 9/11 terrorist attacks saw the event pushed back.

According to Variety, who first broke the news, the Emmys don’t have a back-up date for when the event could be held. However, it’s been previously claimed the ceremony could take place next January, right in the middle of the traditional film awards season.

Michael Wood thanked for work on new modern day slavery legislation

Carmel Sepuloni speaks about a bill announcing new protections for works in modern day slavery situations(Photo: Shanti Mathias)

Shanti Mathias reports:

Michael Wood – no longer a minister – was acknowledged multiple times at a press conference today announcing new modern day slavery legislation. Formerly holding Carmel Sepuloni’s portfolio of workplace relations and safety and part of the conversations around government action on this topic until earlier this, Wood, who recently resigned as a minister following issues with his shareholdings, stood at the back of the room where the announcement was taking place, looking on as his colleagues discussed the new public register organisations will be required to use to demonstrate supply chain transparency.

The public register will apply to all organisations operating in New Zealand with more than $20 million of revenue a year, including overseas organisations, trusts, churches, charities, local and central government and businesses. Sepuloni said there would be penalties between $10,000 and $200,000 for those that don’t complete their compliance forms.

Sepuloni, who is also the deputy prime minister, suggested that in the future an independent anti-slavery commissioner could be established, and measures like visas for New Zealand migrants leaving exploitative workplaces would be part of a programme of work too. However, she said it could be three years before the public register was available, citing the estimated time to draft the legislation, put it through multiple readings in parliament and give organisations opportunity to comply.

Carmel Sepuloni speaks to media in Auckland today
Carmel Sepuloni in Auckland today (Photo: Shanti Mathias)

Advocates for action against modern slavery welcomed the announcement, but said that they were disappointed it only included disclosure at this stage, not requirements for organisations to perform due diligence in changing their supply chains. “While a public register is a good place for the public to see company disclosures, both the UK and Australian legislation have proved that public disclosure alone does not result in the transformative change in business practice,” said Tearfund’s Claire Gray.

While Sepuloni said that these steps would come in time, World Vision’s head of advocacy Rebekah Armstrong said that establishing timelines was important. “We’d like to see some time bound commitments to due diligence – it was promising to hear about an anti-slavery commissioner but we’d like to know when that will come along. We think it’s important that due diligence is embedded in this disclosure law.”

All the new stuff you can watch this weekend…

This is an extract from our weekly Rec Room newsletter, edited by Chris Schulz

Yes, that’s Zach Galifianakis and yes, this is the first time anyone has seen him sans beard. The film that got him to finally shave it all off is The Beanie Bubble, a film documenting the massive rise and epic fall of the late 90s Beanie Babies craze. While it’s been criticised for being yet another corporate chaos caper – like Super Pumped, WeCrashed and The Dropout – it’s also been praised as a nostalgic romp. “A lively, well-told account of a bizarre toy craze gone wrong, and the big personalities behind it,” said a critic for Empire. It’s streaming via Apple TV+ now.

Elsewhere, Netflix fans finally have something to cheer about with the launch of How to Become a Cult Leader, a tongue-in-cheek doco chronicling the connecting tissue between six different cult bosses with narration by Peter Dinklage. Too dark? Try Happiness for Beginners, a hiking adventure rom-com film starring the always watchable Ellie Kemper, the chirpy receptionist who took over from Pam in The Office. And for all you fans of The Witcher, part two of season three is out now.

Elsewhere, Prime Video has the second season of the Neil Gaiman fantasy series Good Omens, TVNZ+ is streaming Twisted Metal, the dystopian TV series based on a Playstation game, and season three of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under. Meanwhile, the first new episodes of Futurama in 10 years are available on Disney+, along with Drag Me to Dinner, a reality show featuring “drag-tastic” dinner parties.

Barbie and Oppenheimer are still maxing out theatres, so Aussie horror Talk to Me has its work cut out trying to compete. All that chilling advance buzz will help. Elsewhere, the International Film Festival continues its run in Auckland, while music fans can seek out John Farnham: Finding the Voice and Elvis: The ‘68 Comeback. On streaming, Resident Evil: Death Island is available for rent through Neon and Apple.

For more try our weekly New to Streaming guide.

Sepuloni announces register to ensure modern slavery isn’t in NZ supply chains

Image: Archi Banal

Following years of effort from activists, the government today has announced a public register for all organisations with over $20 million in revenue to be transparent about exploitation risk in their supply chains. At an announcement at the Air New Zealand headquarters in downtown Auckland, the deputy prime minister and minister for workplace relations, Carmel Sepuloni, said that the register was part of New Zealand upholding its international commitments, including in free trade agreements with the UK and the EU.

“A lack of action will be detrimental to our trading relationships,” she said. “The focus on larger organisations was intentional [This] strikes an appropriate balance, by encouraging those most able to influence their more extensive supply chains.”

World Vision has estimated that New Zealanders spend an average of $34 a week on products made in exploitative environments. Taking action on modern day slavery is popular across the political spectrum, as well as with the wider public. National’s workplace safety spokesperson Paul Goldsmith told The Spinoff last week the party “would like to see something put down and delivered”, while eight out of 10 members of the public support action in this area too.

Sepuloni said that this would “level the playing field” for businesses already addressing exploitation in their supply chains.

The measures announced today fall short of what activists have asked for, as The Spinoff reported earlier this week. Claire Gray, a campaigner from Tearfund, said that the proposed legislation should apply to organisations of all sizes, and that there should be penalties for non-compliance.

“There is still much more to be done. In time, we hope the legislation will apply to organisations of all sizes with national and international supply chains in the public and private sectors,” said Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo, equal employment opportunities commissioner at the Human Rights Commission. “We are hopeful this will also empower Kiwis to make more ethical choices.”

Sepuloni added: “Broader reform to progress the other more complex components that were consulted upon remains a priority for this government, including ‘due diligence’ and ‘take action’ responsibilities. I am committed to progressing this work for future decisions.”

Drafting the legislation is expected to take six months.

National calls in former TV star to help media train Luxon

National’s Christopher Luxon launched a new pre-election tour in Birkenhead (Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund, design: Archi Banal)

Former television presenter Mary Lambie will help National’s leader as he prepares for October’s election.

According to the Herald’s Shayne Currie, the ex-Good Morning host has been tasked with ensuring Christopher Luxon breaks loose of corporate speak and to help him appear more natural and self-assured in interviews. It’ll become crucial as Luxon readies to go face-to-face with PM Chris Hipkins, a far more seasoned politician, in this year’s pre-election debates.

And with Luxon nipping at Hipkins’ heels in preferred prime minister polling, the National leader will be hoping he can win over more of the public in the weeks ahead.

National wouldn’t say much about its new appointment. “Mary Lambie has been helping the National Party with media training,” a brief statement provided to the Herald read.

For all those Sound of Freedom fans in the Facebook comments…

Jim Caviezel, right, as Tim Ballard in Sound of Freedom

Yesterday I wrote about Sound of Freedom, a new independent action film that’s been making waves in the United States. Based on a true story, the film follows US government agent Tim Ballard as he sets out on a mission to rescue sex trafficked children in Colombia.

But the film has since picked up a large following from fringe political communities and has been labelled “QAnon-adjacent” by some.

I wrote the story because my Facebook was filled with people asking when Sound of Freedom would be getting a New Zealand release date, which intrigued me because, as a film nerd, I had somehow never heard of this movie.

And after we published our story, The Spinoff’s Facebook comments were bombarded with people asking – again – when Sound of Freedom would be getting released here. (There were also a lot of other comments about, err, a lot of things).

Well just hours later, the film’s international distribution was confirmed – Sound of Freedom is hitting New Zealand cinemas on August 24. Go see it. Or don’t.

Read more: What is Sound of Freedom and why is it clogging up my social media?

Listen: What is the future of our banking system?

As the world globalises, open banking is becoming an increasingly attractive prospect to customers, so why aren’t our banks onboard yet? In the new episode of When the Facts Change, Bernard Hickey talks with Josh Daniell at FinTech firm Akahu about what’s being done in Aotearoa to accelerate the move to open banking, something already well advanced in Europe, the UK, and Australia.

The Bulletin: ‘Cheap as chips’ no more

A humble scoop of chips is rocketing up in price, Stuff’s Annemarie Quill reports, a result of a 48% increase in potato costs since the start of the year. Many fish and chip shops are responding by reducing their scoop sizes, raising consumer ire – one contributor to a Dunedin review site even measured the size of scoops in metres by laying out his chips.

However others, like Auckland’s Marsic Bros, have kept their scoops the same size and are raising prices instead. “Personally I’d rather pay a little bit more and have what I am used to,” says Daniel Marsic. “Former The Chip Group industry trainer, Kate Underwood, said the group’s recommendation was 330g per scoop or 35 to 50 chips depending on thickness,” reports Quill.

Want to read The Bulletin in full? Click here to subscribe and join over 38,000 New Zealanders who start each weekday with the biggest stories in politics, business, media and culture. 

Willis confident in leaked Labour tax policy, hints more might come out

Nicola Willis (Photo: Getty Images)

National’s deputy leader is standing by her claim she’s obtained a leaked copy of the Labour’s proposed tax policy – and teased that there might be more revelations to come.

Nicola Willis caused yet another headache for the government yesterday after claiming it would announce a plan to remove GST off fruit and vegetables. That’s something the finance minister Grant Robertson has previously criticised as a tricky move.

So far, nothing has been confirmed and government ministers were quick to offer a “no comment” response when pressed by media yesterday.

But speaking to RNZ, Willis said she’s confident in her source and her decision to go public with the leak. “I understand that this is their policy and I think people will be interested to know,” she said. “I’m not going to reveal sources, it’s very important that they can have the [assurance] they won’t be revealed. You never know, there might be more water from this well.”

The cost of living will undoubtedly be a key issue in this year’s election and so far neither major party has released its tax plan (Te Pāti Māori unveiled a “bottom line” plan yesterday that would go far further than just looking at GST on produce). Willis said that the leaked government proposal wouldn’t be enough. “The problem is in the past year alone fruit and vegetables have gone up 22%,” she said. “It would only take us back to the prices they were nine months ago. What we really need to do is solve the underlying drivers of rampant price inflation, that’s what’s catching New Zealanders out – it’s groceries, it’s rent, it’s prices across the board.”

National has long stood by its plan to adjust tax thresholds, which Willis said would allow every New Zealander to end up with more money in their bank account. “There is just no doubt New Zealanders are really struggling with the cost of living and National wants to see food be more affordable and people be able to get ahead once more,” she said.

On Newshub’s AM, Willis suggested her party may try to beat Labour to announcing a tax policy. “We are going to bring that forward and you will know about that really soon,” she said.