Back Benches 23 July 2014

July 21st, 2014 at 7:11 pm by Kokila Patel

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


WORK, WORK, WORK:  Larry Page, boss of the internet giant, Google suggested it’s time for us to work less saying a 4-day work week would create a better work/life balance, happier workers and more productive. Should New Zealand get on board? Do we work too hard? How many work more than 40 hours a week? Do we respect a healthy work/life balance? Are we judged for taking time off? http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/60148227/google-boss-says-people-should-work-less

CENTRAL vs LOCAL BODY DECISIONS: Should water fluoridation be a central government decision versus being left up to local councils to decide. At the Local Government NZ Conference in Nelson, Kapiti Mayor Ross Church says the decision should be with the Ministry of Health rather than local bodies. Does it matter there is no consistency from town to town? And if it becomes a national decision-will it properly represent the feelings of the local residents?


There are two ways to get in on the political pub action:
First, you can join the live audience in Wellington’s iconic Backbencher Pub on Wednesday, 23rd of July at 6pm. Filming begins around 6:15pm.

Or watch us that night on PRIME TV at 10:30pm!
http://www.primetv.co.nz/

Plus, Follow us on Facebook (BackBenchesTV) or on Twitter @BackBenchesTV.

Our Panel: Labour MP David Shearer, National MP Louise Upston, and Green Party MP Eugenie Sage.

” This show is shaping up to be essential election year viewing ” – Paul Casserly, NZ Herald 3/6/14

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Back Benches 7 August 2013

August 5th, 2013 at 7:58 pm by Kokila Patel

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

 

FONTERRA:  The company’s share price has taken a dive. So has the New Zealand dollar. New Zealand’s brand is suffering as countries we trade with ban Fonterra product. Can one rusty pipe destroy our economy? What can and should government be doing about it?

 

SNAPPER QUOTA: Snapper stock in the North Island is in trouble and the Ministry of Primary Industries has decided it’s time to do something about it. But it’s not targeting commercial fishers; it’s the recreational anglers who are most likely to take a hit. They could be going home with as few as three fish compared to the current nine. Anglers say the value of the New Zealand lifestyle is at stake while commercial fishers waste hundreds of kilos of fish a year. But the Ministry says it’s the recreational fishers doing the most damage. Who’s right?

 

SICK LEAVE:  When Bruce Taiapa took a sick day to go to the waka ama champs in Rotorua he got a medical certificate. When his employer caught wind of the truth Mr Taiapa was fired, a decision backed up by the Employment Court – not because he went to waka ama but because he lied. Now the Medical Council wants to toughen up on medical certificates by putting more detailed information on them which will make it harder for employees to get them willy-nilly. But is that a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality? And should the employer decide how an employee might want to recuperate from illness?

 

BRINGING BACK ROUGH PLAY: If a child breaks their arm at the local playground, is it a right of passage or a health and safety issue? A long, steep slide in a West Auckland playground has been shut temporarily after two children were injured bruised and grazed flying down it. Efforts to have the slide shut down permanently have failed after the community pushed back against years of safe swings and rubber mats. Are they right?

 

QUIZ:   We have a small quiz at the end of the show. It is a couple of questions on the shows topics. It is meant to be quick and fun. Plus, if you’re the winner you get a prize.

 

LAST WORD: We are giving each one of the panellists 30 seconds to say what is on their mind. You may talk about whatever is on your mind. It could be about a personal story you would like to share or a particular piece of legislationthat you are working on…or it could be a final word about one of the previous topics…or it could be about a pet project you would like to see come to fruition.  You have 30 seconds to say whatever is on your mind! You will be timed for fairness.

 

Our panel : Labour MP Annette King, National MP Alfred Ngaro, New Zealand First MP Andrew Williams

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Back Benches 24 July 2013

July 22nd, 2013 at 4:44 pm by Kokila Patel

THIS WEEK ON PRIME TV’s “BACK BENCHES”—AUCKLAND CENTRAL SPECIAL: Watch Wallace Chapman, Damian Christie, the Back Benches Panel and special guests discuss the week’s hottest topics!

THE FUTURE OF AUCKLAND: Over the next 30 years, our largest city is set to become even larger, will another million people moving to Auckland. What to do with all of them? Auckland needs to grow and change, but how? What will the future of Auckland look like? What should it look like? The decisions made will have ramifications on the rest of New Zealand. What kind of lessons can we learn from other fast growing large cities around the world? And why Auckland—should we be encouraging people to move to other New Zealand cities instead?

A PLACE TO CALL HOME: Is the supercity set to become the high-rise capitol of NZ? Is the dream of a house on a quarter acre disappear for most Aucklanders? Instead, will the increased intensification mean more and more of us are living in high-rises? And will these tall buildings be popping up next to your little villa? Is it time to take a page from New Yorkers—getting used to living in smaller places in closer quarters? Affordability is an issue right now—so, what can we do to make it easier to get into the housing market? Who will be able to afford to live in Auckland? Will people have to move further and further out? Will young people every be able to afford a house? More houses are needed? But how do we build affordable housing? Labour says they have a solution—but will it work?

GETTING AROUND: More people means more cars & passengers. The Inner City Rail, the loop, roads, harbour crossing, tunnels, busses—the ways to get around Auckland are numerous but not necessarily convenient or quick. So, how to fix it? The Government has pledged several billion dollars to improve some of Auckland’s transportation woes, but is it just a drop in the bucket? Where should we be placing most of our transportation dollars—roads or rails? Or is it really roads AND rails? Who should be paying for the majority of upgrades to Auckland’s transport system? Aucklanders? Government? Or should all of us be chipping in? What’s the best way to pay? Gas tax? Congestion tax? Toll booths?

There are two ways to get in on the political pub action:
First, you can join the live audience from the Britomart Country Club (31 Galway Street, Auckland) on Wednesday, 24th of July at 6pm. Filming begins around 6:15pm.

Or watch us that night on PRIME TV at 10:30pm!

http://www.primetv.co.nz/

Plus, Follow us on Facebook (BackBenchesTV) or on Twitter @BackBenchesTV.

Our Panel: Labour Leader & MP for Mt Albert David Shearer, National MP for Botany & Party Whip Jami-Lee Ross, and Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman.
Plus—we are joined by several fantastic guests in the audience, including Auckland Mayor Len Brown!

http://www.primetv.co.nz/Default.aspx?tabid=352

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Back-Benches/148104478699579?fref=ts

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PRIME TV’s Back Benches: June 26 2013

June 24th, 2013 at 10:09 pm by Kokila Patel

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

WHO SHOULD GET THE PILLS?:  Pharmac—the Government’s drug-buying agency wants your input on their funding policies? Who should be getting the pills? Where should our priorities lie? Should they put more money extending the lives of the elderly? Or should they prioritise medicines that would improve the lives of younger people?   What about the poor—are they more deserving of help than rich people? Should the future earning potential of children be considered? Focusing on preventable diseases vs. genetic?

SPY BILL—IS IT SAFETY vs. PRIVACY?: The Law Society has made their opinion over the GCSB law changes proposals known. They hate it. They say the changes would mean the GCSB would go from a foreign intelligence agency to a domestic one. So, would the new powers be too broad? Why would New Zealanders need to watched? In order to gain safety—is a loss of privacy the price to pay?

There are two ways to get in on the political pub action:

First, you can join the live audience in Wellington’s iconic Backbencher Pub on Wednesday, 26th of June at 6pm. Filming begins around 6:15pm.

Or watch us that night on PRIME TV at 10:30pm!

http://www.primetv.co.nz/

Plus, Follow us on Facebook (BackBenchesTV) or on Twitter @BackBenchesTV.

Our Panel: Labour MP Lianne Dalziel, National MPPeseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, and Green Party MP Kevin Hague.

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Back Benches 17 April 2013

April 15th, 2013 at 8:11 pm by Kokila Patel

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

MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Although, we are pre-taping the programme hours before the 3rd reading of Louisa Wall’s marriage equality bill—it currently looks as though it is set to pass. What we want to know—what will happen now? Will we notice the difference? What will Thursday look like in this new environment?

WILL MIGHTY RIVER SHARES = MIGHTY PROFITS FOR YOUR BOTTOM LINE?: The shares into Mighty River Power open to the public this week. So far 440,000 people pre-registered for shares but how many of them will actually be purchasing shares? How keen are mum & dad investors? What could happen to the Mighty River shares should the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter close? What will this mean for power prices? Can reform lower power prices? Or are rising power prices much like death and taxes-a certainty?

FEELING SUPPRESSED?: The Jesse Ryder case is one of the many recent examples where suppression laws have come into question. The men accused of Ryder’s attack have suppression but one citizen journalist is now facing charges of breaking suppression after videotaping the two men and posting the video on-line. Fair? A step-too far? Is it time to have a look at our suppression laws? Are too many people given suppression unnecessarily? Or in a country of 4.5 million—is suppression necessary to protect privacy? Are there some crimes that should be named & shamed?

There are two ways to get in on the pub political action:
First, you can join the live audience in Wellington’s iconic Backbencher Pub on Wednesday, 17th of April at 6pm. Filming begins around 6:15pm.

Or watch us that night on PRIME TV at 10:30pm!

Plus, Follow us on Facebook (BackBenchesTV) or on Twitter @BackBenchesTV.

Our Panel: Labour MP Jacinda Ardern, National MP Jami-Lee Ross, and Green Party MP Holly Walker.

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Back Benches is Back – 10 April 2013

April 8th, 2013 at 9:36 pm by Kokila Patel

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

MARRIAGE EQUALITY: The 3rd reading of Louisa Wall’s marriage equality bill is a week away. Will it pass? What is the difference between Marriage and a Civil Union? Why get married? Does allowing gays to marry diminish the meaning of traditional marriage? Is marriage merely about commitment? Or is it about families? And what does it mean for our children?

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT?: Is the old adage true—we are what we eat? If so, then are we eating good healthy things? Or do we only think so? The Government is changing the way food & drink makers can label their foods. No more claiming healthy or low in fat if the company can’t back it up. But how many of us look at the labels? Do these regulations go far enough? Will it make us healthier?

There are two ways to get in on the pub political action:
First, you can join the live audience in Wellington’s iconic Backbencher Pub on Wednesday, 10th of April at 6pm. Filming begins around 6:15pm.

Or watch us that night on PRIME TV at 10:30pm!

Our Panel: United Future Leader Peter Dunne, Labour MP Trevor Mallard, New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin, and National MP Louise Upston.

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Back Benches 27 June 2012

June 25th, 2012 at 10:36 pm by Kokila Patel

THIS WEEK ON BACK BENCHES: Watch Wallace Chapman, Damian Christie, the Back Benches Panel debate the big issues on our final episode of “Back Benches.”

THE ECONOMY: When Back Benches began in April 2008, we were in the first few months of the Global Financial Crises—which has been at the centre of the New Zealand and World economies ever since. So, where are we today? Are we better off than we were four years ago? How have we fared compared to other nations? What impact have decisions over the last four years meant to our financial footing? And when will the years of austerity be over?

EDUCATION: We have talked about Education many times on Back Benches—Early Childhood, Primary-High School, Adult Education and University. In April 2010, we headed South to Dunedin to discuss University Life—from fees to paying back student loans. Now, in 2012—what’s the state of University Education? How are students affording Uni? Are they paying back their loans any faster or at all?

BINGING & BOOZING: One of the topics we have discussed more than any other is alcohol. The irony is not lost this pub politics programme. In 2009—the law commission released an issues paper on our liquor laws. While, the final report was to be published nearly a year later but we had our panel weigh in. Now, in 2012, Parliament is near deciding which of the 153 recommendations it will adopt. Will there be an increase in the purchase age? Will there be new sale restrictions? Minimum pricing? And will any of these changes actually make a dent in our binge drinking culture?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Shepherds Arms Hotel & Speights Ale House on Tinakori Road: Wednesday, 27th of June. Our Panel: Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei, Labour MP Jacinda Ardern, Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira, National MP Chester Borrows, and United Future Leader Peter Dunne.

Broadcast on TVNZ 7 at 9.05 pm, repeated on Saturday at 10.05 pm

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Back Benches 20 June 2012

June 19th, 2012 at 10:53 pm by Kokila Patel

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

ACC—WHAT IT IS & WHAT IT SHOULD BE: Like the leaked private files of thousands of claimants—ACC Chief Exec Ralph Stewart and Board Chairman John Judge are out. Now it is time for us to ask, “What is ACC?” & “What Should it Be?” Will new leadership be enough to change the culture at ACC? How can an organisation like ACC have sent out the private files of its claimants on more than one occasion? Are claimants too often considered bludgers until proven sick? Is ACC still the best health scheme in the world? Can we afford ACC? Can the problems be fixed? Will a band-aid be enough to fix the problems or is it time for open heart surgery? How will we begin the healing process?

“GREEN EXTREME”: Philanthropist and economist Gareth Morgan has called out the Green Party for being extreme—anti-economic development and turning people off conservation. Is he right? Are their views too extreme? Can economic-growth and conservation live in harmony side-by-side? Do average kiwis feel like they’ve done their part by putting their plonk bottles in the recycling bin? How do we get more New Zealanders involved in conservation? And how do we grow our economy by keeping our 100% Pure NZ image?

SOLD!: The Government ran on asset sales. One argument says their win at the polls was an indication that most New Zealanders support Partial Asset Sales or at least not scared enough by asset sales to vote for the opposition. And yet—the debate over Asset Sales continues, especially in Parliament. Some in the opposition are calling for a referendum on the issues, NZ First Leader Winston Peters is predicting this will break the current Government and the filibuster word is floating in the air. What will the partial sale of our assets mean for kiwis? Will it raise our power prices? Will this be the key to putting us back into surplus? And are mum and dad investor dying to get a piece of mighty power?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Shepherds Arms Hotel & Speights Ale House on Tinakori Road: Wednesday, 20th of June. Our Panel: Green MP Kevin Hague, Labour MP David Parker, and National MP Louise Upston.

Broadcast on Wednesdays at 9.05pm and Saturdays at 10.05pm | TVNZ 7

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Back Benches 13 June 2012

June 13th, 2012 at 8:45 pm by Kokila Patel

PLEASE NOTE: WE HAVE A NEW LOCATION!

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

BOOZE BATTLE: The Government’s Alcohol Reform Bill will soon get its third & final reading in Parliament. At the heart of the debate is the split purchase age, minimum pricing, restricting trading hours, and eliminating alcohol advertising and sponsorship. Which of these measures will make the final bill? Will these measures change our binge drinking culture? Do the proposals go too far? Or not far enough?

SUPERANNUATION, SUPER PROMISES, SUPER TAXES?: Will we need a super-size tax in order to keep our Superannuation promises? The Financial Services Council is saying young kiwis will have to pay significantly higher taxes in order to receive superannuation. The Government has promised to keep the retirement age at 65. Is that a promise they should keep? Or should we be raising taxes instead? What about people who do manual labour or Maori & Pacific Islanders who have lower life-expectancy rates—is it unfair to raise the retirement age for them?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Shepherds Arms Hotel & Speights Ale House on Tinakori Road: Wednesday, 13th of June. Our Panel: Green MP Julie Anne Genter, Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove, New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser and National MP Paul Goldsmith.

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Back Benches in Auckland 6 June 2012

June 5th, 2012 at 9:44 pm by Kokila Patel

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

MOST LIVEABLE CITY: Auckland has been voted one of the world’s most liveable cities. But what makes it so super? The Auckland City Council has laid out its plans for the next 30 years? What will and should our biggest city look like in the future?

BUT WHERE TO LIVE IN THE MOST LIVEABLE CITY: Auckland is already our largest city but over the next three decades—the city’s expecting to accommodate 60% of the nation’s population growth or a million people. So, where will they live? Where will the houses go? Council planners want to see an additional 280,000 houses to the area over the next 30 years. Where will those go? Will they be affordable? And with the growth spurt—where are we going to put our BBQs?

I GET AROUND: Getting around Auckland can be a struggle now—so what happens as the city grows? Does the city need a 3rd harbour crossing? What about light rail? Better highways? Who and how will we pay for it? And will Aucklanders want to get out of their cars?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics in AUCKLAND from the BRITOMART COUNTRY CLUB: Wednesday, 6th of June. Our Panel: Green Party Co-Leader Dr. Russel Norman, Labour Leader David Shearer, New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters and National MP for Auckland Central Nikki Kaye.

Broadcast on Wednesday at 9.05pm and Saturday at 10.05pm on TVNZ 7

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Back Benches 30 May 2012

May 29th, 2012 at 12:38 pm by Kokila Patel

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

IT’S OUT!: The Budget is out and now it’s time to wade through hundreds of pages to sort out the candy from the coal. There’s not much fun in fiscal responsibility. Yes, there is more money for Science and R&D, Housing and Education but there’s been some robbing of Peter to save Paul. We need to make tough choices, but are we robbing the wrong Peter and saving the wrong Paul?

A 25% REDUCTION: Corrections Minister Anne Tolley has promised a 25% reduction is prisoner reoffending. Is this doable or just a number pulled out of the air? How do we reduce recidivism? New drug and alcohol treatments in prisons, rehabilitation services & education and job training are part of the plan. But will that be enough to do the trick?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 30th of May. Our Panel: Green Party MP Dr. Kennedy Graham, Labour MP Maryan Street, New Zealand First MP Andrew Williams and National MP David Bennett.

Wednesday 9.05 pm, repeated on Saturday 10.05 pm – TVNZ 7

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Back Benches 16 May 2012

May 14th, 2012 at 1:52 pm by Kokila Patel

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

CYBER-BULLIES: It used to be, if you were bullied at school, home could be a refuge. But now in the age of the internet—bullies can always be there simply with a click of a mouse. How can we reduce the harm caused by cyber-bullies? The law commission has several proposals but how many will or should we adopt? Do parents need to do more to protect their kids on the internet? Can they do more? And when the Chief Coroner talks—why aren’t we listening?

A REQUIRED SHOT: A new proposal under consideration for beneficiaries—immunise your children to get your benefit. As Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says, “We see immunisations as important so when you’re looking at those kinds of things, you question at what point should a social obligation be part of a requirement to get a benefit.” We’ve got shocking immunisation rates—so is this a good idea? Or benefit bashing? As always, prevention is cheaper than a cure so does compulsory immunisation make sense? By that argument then, why not require immunisation jabs for entry into schools?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 16th of May. Our Panel: Green Party MP Holly Walker, Labour MP Grant Robertson, National MP Colin King, and New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin.

Wednesday 9.05 pm, and Saturday 10.05 pm – TVNZ 7

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Back Benches 9 May 2012

May 8th, 2012 at 2:27 pm by Kokila Patel

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

FOR SALE: Last Friday, a hikoi of 5000 marched to Parliament to protest the Government’s plan to sell state assets. The vote in Parliament will be close. Which way will the small parties fall? Did the 2011 election give the Government have a mandate for a mixed ownership model? Was the prospect of asset sales not scary enough to voters? Why do we need to own these assets? Is privatisation a dirty word?

GIMME A LOAN: The zero budget has brought big changes to the student loan scheme. Students will have to pay back their loans more quickly. While access to student allowances is tightened. Are these changes unfair to the youth of NZ? Are the students of tomorrow paying the prices for the students of yesterday who haven’t paid their loans? The money will be reinvested in tertiary education—so isn’t this a good thing?

PLAYING POSSUM: Playing possum, the NZ drinking game, which has some Dunedin students boozing until they fall out of trees has made international headlines. So, perhaps a good sign we’ve got a bit of an issue with the drink? Here are some proposals from the Alcohol Reform Bill—split purchase age, sales ban between 4am-7am, and parental permission for under-18s to drink at a party. Will these changes do the trick? Do they go far enough? Or are we over-reacting to a few stupid apples who ruin the cider for the rest of us?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 9th of May. Our Panel: Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty, Labour MP Shane Jones, New Zealand First MP Brendan Horan and National MP Mark Mitchell.    Wednesday at 9.05pm and Saturday at 10.05pm | TVNZ 7

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Back Benches 2 May 2012

May 2nd, 2012 at 1:20 pm by Kokila Patel

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

POLITICAL ROUNDUP: This week has been full of political hot topics…the state of the parties, the state of their donations and dealings with the police. The Government is still riding high in the polls? So are the Greens. Meanwhile, Labour is trying to make a dent in their approval ratings. Do they have a problem of style vs. substance? Meanwhile, ACT’s John Banks is in hot water for campaign contributions. Do we need full disclosure over contributions to politicians and/or political parties? Is it a matter for police?

SEX OFFENDERS REGISTRY: Does New Zealand need a sex offender registry? Will a registry prevent new sex offenses? Or will a list merely stigmatise people who have served their time? In recent weeks, we’ve seen stories about convicted sex offenders—one a teacher, the other a school bus driver. Would a registry prevent that? Are we just naming and shaming? Are sex offenders different—do they ever serve their time? Does the proposed sex offenders registry go far enough? Do we need full public disclosure? How would you feel if a paedophile moved in next door?

Wednesday 9.05, and Saturday 10.05 pm

A TIME TO DIE: Should we be able to decide when it’s time to die? New poll shows more of us support voluntary euthanasia. Labour’s Maryan Street as a “End of Life Choice Bill” would allow Kiwis to say when and how they die. But opponents say allowing euthanasia would lead to abuse. The bill has failed to pass twice before—but are we now more open to change? Should there be limits on who can determine their death? Perhaps reserved for the terminally ill?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 2nd of May. Our Panel: Green Party MP Denise Roche, Labour MP Phil Twyford, Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell and National MP Maggie Barry

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Back Benches 25 April 2012

April 24th, 2012 at 10:09 pm by Kokila Patel

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

ANZAC DAY: It’s ANZAC Day on Wednesday—a day to remember the sacrifices made by our military. But what does the day mean to our younger generations? Is it more than a veteran’s day? Is it our national day? And do we need to mondayise the holiday?

LET’S MAKE A DEAL…: The Government’s still facing criticism over the Sky City convention centre deal. The opposition is saying the Government sold law changes for the $350m centre. While National says Sky City were the only ones with the numbers to make the build work. So, we’re getting a new convention centre and more pokies. We’ve already got 1600 pokies at Sky City—what another 500 going to do? Is it better to have pokies at the casino rather than pubs? Or are more pokies a bad idea full stop?

DRAWING A BLANK: Should cigarette packets be brand free? Tobacco companies, obviously, are not fans of the idea. Australia’s doing it and we’re thinking about it. But will this bring lawyers for the tobacco companies out in force? And will they be successful? Will the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) give U.S. companies the right to change our laws? And should we be using plain packaging on all addictive or dangerous products?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 25th of April. Our Panel: Green Party MP Jan Logie, Labour MP Trevor Mallard, New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser and National MP John Hayes.

Wednesday at 9.05pm and Saturday at 10.05pm | TVNZ 7

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Back Benches 18 April 2012

April 16th, 2012 at 11:24 pm by Kokila Patel

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.

Wednesday at 9.05pm and Saturday at 10.05pm

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Back Benches 11 April 2012

April 10th, 2012 at 3:39 pm by Kokila Patel

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

PAY IT BACK: The kids have been bludging from the taxpayer too long by buggering off to the UK or Oz rather than paying off their school loans, right? True or not, the Government is tackling student debt by making those borrowing more accountable. How? A shorter repayment holiday and the IRD chasing you down. Will this lower the debt? Is the Government being too tough? Is it in the country’s best interest for our youth to get a uni-degree? Do students understand what they’re getting into? And how many are dodging vs. how many are broke?

GETTING THE JOB: Now that you’ve got the student loans, it’s time to get a job. How on earth do you start? Does University prepare you for the work force? What on earth do you do with a BA in History? What are employers looking for? Are there jobs for the Uni-grad? And should we be advising our young what’s in demand?

TIME FOR BABY: How long should new parents stay home with baby? A bill by Labour’s Sue Moroney says 6 months(26 weeks) rather than the current 3.5 months/14 weeks. Is that affordable? Do we need the time for the country to recover financially? Will our country EVER be able to afford extended leave? Or should the leave time be longer? Are there benefits, bigger than financial to consider?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 11th of April. Our Panel is representing the Youth Wing of the parties: ACT on Campus Hayden Fitzgerald, Young Greens Wilbur Townsend, Young Labour Glenn Riddell, New Zealand First Youth Curwen Rolinson, and Young Nationals Sean Topham.

Wednesday at 9.05pm and Saturday at 10.05pm | TVNZ 7

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Back Benches 28 March 2012

March 26th, 2012 at 10:30 pm by Kokila Patel

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

PAY PERFORMANCE: Is pay for performance the best way to get the most from our teachers? How do we insure our teachers are the best they can be? Who determines what makes a good teacher? Should it good performance be based on test scores? And will charter schools be the way to lift achievement?

SPEAKING OF HIGH PAY…CEO’s: Speaking of high pay—CEO’s in the public sector are earning the big bucks. The average wage of bosses in the public sector is $340,000 while those running our state-owned energy companies are in the million dollar range. Are they getting paid too much? Should there be a limit how much those in the Public Sector can get paid? Or are high wages the only way to entice the best? Should CEO’s earn more than the Prime Minister of our country?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 28th of March. Our Panel: Green Party Co-Leader Dr. Russel Norman, Labour MP Dr. Megan Woods, and National MP Scott Simpson.

Wednesday at 9.05pm and Saturday at 10.05pm | TVNZ 7

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Back Benches 21 March 2012

March 19th, 2012 at 10:26 pm by Kokila Patel

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

JAILHOUSE BLUES: Old regional prisons are going to be closed and replaced with a shiny new one at Wiri in South Auckland. Closing prisons—that must be a good thing, right? Well, the new prison is privately-built and run. Plus without regional prisons—will prisoners lose touch with the families? Will it impact their rehabilitation? Do the closings mean a loss of jobs? But then again—is one new modern prison better than a bunch of run down old prisons? Is a gaol from the 1860s conducive to rehabilitation?

NATIONAL vs. LOCAL: Local council debt and our rates are on the rise and the Government wants to do something about it. Local Government Minister Dr. Nick Smith is expected to announce sweeping reforms this week aimed at reducing debt levels and curbing local powers. Are the reforms needed? What should we expect to get from our council rates? What should local councils be responsible for vs. National Government? Will any reforms mean we pay less?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 21st of March. Our Panel: Labour MP Phil Goff, Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira, and National MP Michael Woodhouse.

Wednesday at 9.05pm and Saturday at 10.05pm | TVNZ 7

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Back Benches 14 March 2012

March 12th, 2012 at 9:30 pm by Kokila Patel

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

CASUALIZATION OF WORKERS: The union protests at the Ports of Auckland continues—the Maritime Union wants a continuation of eight-hour shifts and job security. While the ports wants greater flexibility and productivity. But is greater flexibility—the casualization of the workforce—the future? Should any worker expect job security? Have the needs of workers and businesses changed? Is the age of 9-5 over? Or are businesses thinking only of themselves?

JOB CUTS: Every industry is looking to cut money from their budgets and our State Sector is not any different. MFAT is looking to save $40million but they are not alone with the Defence force and the Police are looking at places to save, too. Some 3500 public sector jobs are set to go but does this mean a cut in services. Or was the industry bloated in need of big cost cutting measures? With new technologies—do we need as much staff? Is the future—doing more with less?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 14th of March. Our Panel: Green Party MP Gareth Hughes, Labour MP Kris Faafoi, and National MP Ian McKelvie.
Wednesday at 9.05pm and Saturday at 10.05pm | TVNZ 7

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Back Benches 12 March 2012

March 5th, 2012 at 10:11 pm by Kokila Patel

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

COME ON IN…IF YOU’RE RICH: Are we only interested in wealthy immigrants? A leaked Cabinet paper shows new immigration laws could make it harder for poor, non-english speakers to move to NZ. Do we need a larger population? Do we have too many unskilled workers in the country? Is a two-tier process fair or discriminatory? Should parents with dependent children be left out? And should you have to pre-pay for language lessons? Does this mean we only want the rich & famous? Can we afford for immigrants to come into NZ on the benefit?

A NIGHT AT THE POKIES: Do we have a gambling problem? SkyCity is planning a new $350m convention centre but in turn wants a revamp of our gambling laws. SkyCity wants a higher cap on gaming tables and machines and a licence extension. Key says policy is not for sale and says the number of Pokie machines are in decline. Do bars need pokie machines? Should gambling be restricted to casinos? Should we be asking casinos to help stop problem gamblers?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 7th of March. Our Panel: Green Party MP Denise Roche, Labour MP Rino Tirikatene, and National MP Dr. Cam Calder.

Wednesday at 9.05pm and Saturday at 10.05pm on TVNZ 7

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Back Benches 29 February 2012

February 29th, 2012 at 7:40 pm by Kokila Patel

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

CHANGES ARE A COMIN’: Changes to the benefit are a comin’—with reforms announced this week. The focus is on our youth and getting them off the dole and into work. $20 million a day or $8 billion a year is spent on beneficiaries. What are the reforms? Is it about training or incentives? Are there jobs for the unemployed? Do the reforms look at early intervention programmes? Do we need to reform more than our youth sector? Will these reforms fix the problem or leave more young people out in the cold?

SPEAKING OF JOBS: A new poll shows many tertiary students plan to head overseas because they fear they won’t be able to find a job in New Zealand. Are their fears justified? It’s “O” week—should new students keep this in mind when entering University? How do we keep our students in the country?

MMP: In November we decided we wanted to stick with MMP. Now, it’s time to have our say on MMP reform. What changes would you like to see to MMP? What should the threshold be for list seats? Should a list MP be able to stand in a by-election? Should a candidate have to choose between the list and an electorate? Who should rank the list? How many MPs do we need in Parliament? How should we manage proportion of the seats? What if a party wins more electorate seats than it would get under its share of the party vote?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 29th of February. Our Panel: Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty, Labour MP Sue Moroney, New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin, and National MP David Bennett.

Wednesday 9.05 pm and Saturday 10.05 pm TVNZ 7

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Back Benches 22 February 2012

February 20th, 2012 at 10:28 pm by Kokila Patel

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

THE PRICE TO PAY: It’s a year since the February 22nd Christchurch earthquake which claimed the lives of 185 people and so many buildings and homes in the Canterbury region. Insurance companies have paid out millions to Cantabrians. What is the state of their coffers? Is there enough money? Will we all have to pay more for our premiums? Will it become harder to get coverage? Do we need more regulation of the sector? Are enough of us properly insured?

EQC: The EQC has paid out over $2.8 billion over the last 15 months. They have fixed 8200 homes out of the 100,000 in need of repair. They currently have over 433,000 claims. The reserves are drained so what next? How do we refill the reserves? What happens if there is another natural disaster? The EQC is under review—what will the commission look like the future? Should the EQC still cover contents? Is the land cover sufficient? What about the first $100,000 of building insurance? Should it be raised?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 22nd of February. Our Panel: Green Party MP Kennedy Graham, Labour MP Lianne Dalziel, New Zealand First MP Denis O’Rourke, and National MP Nicky Wagner.

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Back Benches 13 December 2011

December 12th, 2011 at 8:30 pm by Kokila Patel

A VERY SPECIAL BACK BENCHES:Watch Wallace Chapman, Damian Christie, the Back Benches Panel and special guests discuss the issues surrounding 2011 and they Rate the MPs!

YEAR IN REVIEW: We take a look back at 2011. What were the highs and lows of the year? How did the Government and the Opposition handle the big issues? Any real stand-outs? We will look back at the election. Any big surprises? Who were you sorry to see go? And the new Parliament will be set—new parties, new leaders, new ministers, etc?

NEWBIES:We take a look at the new intake of MPs. Who has the most promise? Which party has the most interesting new MPs? What about the new Ministers? Who will make the biggest difference?

Join us for a night of pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Tuesday, 13th of December. Our Panel: One News Political JournalistJessica Mutch, Maui Street Blogger Morgan Godfery, Political Science Lecturer Ana Gilling, and Jordan Williams of Franks & Ogilvie and Vote for Change Campaigner.

Come watch the action on Tuesday, 13th of December from 8-9pm. The show airs on December 21st between 9-10pm on TVNZ 7.

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Back Benches 7 December 2011

December 6th, 2011 at 10:14 pm by Kokila Patel

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

THE SELL-OFF DEBATE CONTINUES: The election may be over but the debate over asset sales continues. Does National have a mandate for asset sales? Will their coalition partners United Future, ACT and possibly the Maori parties be a great influence on what is sold? Will the opposition hold much sway? What protections will be in place to make sure the majority stake in the assets stay in Kiwi hands?

A TIME FOR GIVING: Tis’ the season for giving. But are we only opening our wallets for more crap we don’t need or are we helping our fellow man? Are we a charitable nation? Are our corporations giving? What about the common man? Are we generous? Should we be encouraging one another to give either with time or money? Is it time to offer tax credits to encourage us to give?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 7th of December. Our Panel: Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty, Labour MP Andrew Little, National MP David Bennett.

Back Benches screens on TVNZ 7 every Wednesday at 9.05pm with encore screenings on Thursdays at 9.05am and 1.05pm, Saturdays at 10.05pm, Sundays at 10.05am and 2.05pm.

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