NZ Union Bans Tour By Blues Band
The Producers, one of the UK's premier blues bands, have become the first British blues band to be banned from New Zealand since the Rolling Stones in 1964.
Their tour of NZ, planned for January 1999, has been outlawed by the Musicians section of the New Zealand Service Workers Trade Union on the grounds that it would disadvantage local musicians. Whilst the band had agreed to hire NZ support groups on every leg of their month-long visit the Union remain unmoved. Spokesman for the Musicians Union, Mr Peter Shannon, having refused to consent to the issue of work permits by the immigration authorities, has made it clear that even in the event of permits being issued he intends to oppose the band's ability to book dates through the New Zealand Agent, Mr Harry Lyon, at every opportunity.
The Producers were due to play three of the "Blues, Brews and Barbecues" events planned by the Round-Table organisation and the Union's decision has now made it impossible for the band to perform at these charity-fund-raising events and any other engagements. The Producers are very disappointed in the outcome and regret that the New Zealand fans will be unable to see the group performing music from their forthcoming album "Somewhere Down The Line". Harry Skinner, guitarist and singer with the group, remarked that "I find it incredible that this level of protectionism still goes on, we have toured in many parts of the world and have never encountered problems of this sort before. We would have actively generated work and money for NZ musicians, our NZ record company the NZ agent, hire companies, PA companies, the charities, festivals, bars and so on as well as enlivening the live music scene in NZ.
In my view Mr Shannon's actions represent a form of private censorship. He has not offered anything other than short scribbled faxes by way of response and has changed his stance on several occasions. It really is not clear if he is expressing the view of a membership or of his own, what is more I understand that he applied, on behalf of his own group, to take the Producers' slots at the festivals even before we were cancelled.
The New Zealand fans will not be able to see the band next year and the band invite all of the live music audience and sympathetic musicians to support them in their dispute with Mr Shannon.
Note this is from 1999.
Basically the idea is to ban some particular successful foreign bands from performing in NZ, so that fans can't see them live and (theoretically) have to resort to watching NZSWTU bands. Does this come under freedom of information, censorship, anything else that we have a collective opinion on? it feels like it should.