TWO STUNNING DOCUMENTARIES TO BE FINALLY
Someone Else's Country & In A Land of Plenty
Sunday and Monday of Labour weekend on TV One (12 Noon 24th and 10.05pm 25th Oct).
24th October - Noon - TV One
The story of the new right revolution in New Zealand
Perhaps 75,000 people have already seen "Someone Else's Country", Alister Barry's feature documentary telling the story of the politics of Rogernomics. It has come to be regarded as a New Zealand classic. After eight years TVNZ is finally screening it.
In the 1980s and 90s the nation's assets were sold off at bargain basement prices, generally into foreign ownership. The nation's oil and gas resources, vast tracts of forest, the railways, and Telecom all went. For the small elite of right wing businessmen, public servants and politicians behind this transformation, privatisation were just a part of a wider agenda to turn New Zealand into a model free market state.
The film uses extensively researched library footage and interviews with people Alister Barry calls, "witnesses to history", to craft a moving and eye opening account of the decade after 1984. We see David Lange, Richard Prebble, Roger Kerr, and Rod Deane in their glory days insisting that there can be no gain without pain. Tax cuts for the rich would bring prosperity to the poor.
The subjects of this "experiment" found it difficult to defend themselves. Here, ordinary New Zealanders speak for themselves without being shouted down by experts and business commentators. Workers made redundant, communities watching their local post office close voice their anxieties and outrage. Some of the most moving interviews are with the older breed of public servant who enacted the Rogernomics revolution while disagreeing with it.
"Underneath, this film is about the strength and weaknesses of our democracy," says Alister Barry, "Ironically, it was the popular outrage at the abuse of our democratic processes during those years that led to the most significant advance in democracy in New Zealand in a century, the adoption of proportional representation."
"Someone Else's Country" has been described as a coherent and comprehensive account of the Rogernomic years, but more important, it brings alive the years which changed our political landscape for generations to come.
Short and lively.
In a Land of
Plenty In a Land of Plenty
25th October - 10.05pm - TV
New Zealand currently has 89,000 registered unemployed. The Reserve Bank is trying to slow the economy which will lead to this number increasing.
"In a Land of Plenty" is an historical documentary describing how New Zealand moved from being a country of genuine full employment to one where unemployment is used as a tool of economic management. With rising unemployment workers are less likely to seek wage increases. Wages make up the largest part of the cost of goods and services and so by constraining wages the general level of prices is held steady. Inflation is contained.
Economic theory aside, unemployment is an emotional subject and this documentary gives voice to the low paid, the beneficiaries and their dependents whose quality of life is now shaped by Reserve Bank policy makers. Reserve Bank officials like Don Brash are seen explaining their actions. One of the most shocking scenes involves young Treasury officials deciding on a "poverty line". To increase the motivation of the unemployed to search for work, they decide that benefits should be cut to a level at which the recipient would have only just enough to eat.
Extraordinary footage from WINZ training videos shows Christine Rankin personifying the steady shift in attitude from compassion to compulsion in our welfare state. Pearl Biggs gives a moving account of having to choose whether to buy food for her children or to pay the power bill.
Director/researcher Alister Barry says "I am delighted that this film is to be screened on tv, I never expected it. The more people understand the way power really works in New Zealand, the more they can get some control over their lives. Michael Cullen says there is no alternative. I believe we can return to genuine full employment."