Pacific Media Watch

8 May 2015

NZ: Climate change doco Hot Air launched free on YouTube

Trailer for the climate change documentary Hot Air. Watch the full film on YouTube here.

AUCKLAND (Vanguard Films/Pacific Media Watch): HOT AIR: Climate Change Politics In NZ - the award-winning feature length documentary which reveals how big business stopped New Zealand government action on climate change - was launched for on-demand free viewing today.

The film's on-demand release is being promoted via an advertising campaign on the leading NZ political news website

After a sellout Wellington premiere at the International Film Festival, and nomination as finalist in NZ Film Awards Best Documentary and Best Editing, Hot Air won the 2013 Bruce Jesson Senior Journalism Award.

Describing its strong use of dramatic news archive and interviews as 'riveting and compelling' judges and critics praised its detailed coverage of conflict and intrigue between government and powerful business players.

Hot Air chronicles the expensive campaigns mounted by business leaders to delay and obstruct the efforts of National and Labour governments to slow down global warming.

Fearful that carbon tax and similar proposals would cut their profits, the men in charge of some of New Zealand's biggest businesses hired local and foreign propagandists and climate-change deniers to discredit scientific reports and reverse growing popular and political support for action to reduce global warming.

Their corrosive undermining of the work of three Cabinet Ministers (National's Simon Upton, and Labour's Pete Hodgson and David Parker) and scientific advisers has proved effective.

No new action
Since 2008, the Key government has taken no new action to curb climate change.

Hot Air tells the full and alarming story of this contest between elected governments and wealthy business and it is now available for free on-demand viewing via Youtube.

Disappointed by the apparent official failure to engage the public on climate change issues, producer and co-director Alister Barry hopes free Youtube access to Hot Air will help New Zealanders understand how lobbying by business interests have inhibited positive action by successive New Zealand governments to address climate change,

Barry also hopes his decision to release the film for free viewing will promote discussion about practical steps to deal with the most urgent issue of our times.

"The December 2015 UN conference on climate change in Paris is very important; our government said it would set a target for reduced greenhouse gas emissions in preparation for the conference, but that has not yet happened," Barry said.

"Once again, our country is being very slow to act and it seems most likely that our national target will be decided behind closed doors after consultation with the big industrial emitters. Who is in charge here?

"Yesterday the government launched a consultation round on the target that New Zealand ought to take to the Paris Climate Change meeting. Public meetings begin next Wednesday and run for a week - submissions can be made till June 3.

Free public access
"I hope that by releasing this documentary now for free public access via Youtube (it has been screened twice by Maori Television) it will provide useful context for the discussion around what NZ's target ought to be for reducing its emissions."

The free on-demand on-line launch of Hot Air is something of an experiment. With DVDs predicted soon to go the way of VHS, and more and more use of mobile devices to view films and video, putting a feature documentary online is logical.

Barry’s last production, The Hollow Men, has had more than 170,000 You Tube visits over two years - but Barry stresses this does not mean everyone watched the documentary right through. He hopes free viewing will simplify and maximise access to Hot Air and above all he wants young people to watch the film because,“It's about their future more than mine”.

His recent approach to TVNZ asking if they would be interested in screening the film has had no response.

“Thankfully, Maori Television has once again stepped in as our default public broadcaster and screened Hot Air twice," Barry said.

"When I was young, a documentary like this would have been made and aired by our state-owned broadcaster as a matter of course. Perhaps this on-line experiment will help prove to NZ On Air that there are other ways for them to support local documentary makers."

Watch the film at at

Creative Commons Licence


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence.

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The Pacific Media Centre - TE AMOKURA - at AUT University has a strategic focus on Māori, Pasifika and ethnic diversity media and community development.