Top Shows

TVNZ Heartland

Ken Douglas - Traitor or Visionary

About the show:

"Ken Douglas: Traitor or Visionary" is a biographical exploration of NZ's leading trade unionist.

He's the man who led the trade union movement through what has been described the most difficult times of any trade union movement in the Western world.

People on both sides of the political spectrum praise and revile him, and his life is full of contradictions and contrasts.

The documentary looks at Ken Douglas' life and work, and attempts to answer the title question: is this a man a turncoat?

Did he betray the socialist beliefs and trade union principles which governed so much of his life, to kowtow to the employers, and now to sit beside them on boards?

Or is he a man of great integrity and vision, who understood how the world was changing in the 20th century, strategised to deal with those changes, and is now following that path to its next logical step?

Ken Douglas has been described as an enigma, and a huge character.

The 75-minute documentary focuses on the many twists and turns of this fascinating life: from Ken's working-class upbringing to his globe-trotting consultancy work over the last 10 years. 

Beyond the political is the personal, and the documentary covers Ken Douglas' quirks and foibles; his reputation as a ladies' man, his connection to his family; and his battle with obesity.

Throughout the film are comments from range of business people, politicians and trade unionists, including Margaret Wilson,  Roger Kerr,  the former head of PSA, Peter Harris, former Minister of Finance, Roger Douglas, and many others. 


Ken Douglas: Traitor or Visionary- screening on TVNZ Heartland. To see the programme schedule for TVNZ Heartland, click here .