Much like the ongoing earthquake aftershocks in Canterbury, the rumblings following on from the tumultuous Hobbit wrangling are going to echo on for some time yet. Today we learn just how extreme some of the anti-union nutters in our country are:
Death threats fly over Hobbit
Actresses and unionists have received threats, including some against their lives, during the heated row over The Hobbit movie. Police have been called and private security arranged for some of those targeted.
The worst threats appear to have been aimed at Australian union boss Simon Whipp and Actors’ Equity organiser Frances Walsh, although actresses Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Robyn Malcolm have also been abused. The threats have become so bad the union has hired a guard for its Auckland office.
The people making such threats are dangerous. They need to be found, and brought before the courts. I hope we hear soon of a sustained police effort to track down the perpetrators. Or are we as a country going to effectively condone these actions by ignoring them?
In other news — I’ve been surprised at some of the media coverage of the Hobbit deal. I was expecting a one way Key love-fest, with little consideration of how the PM’s incompetence has sold us down the river. In fact there is much more balance than I was expecting. Today’s Herald editorial was particularly stinging:
Editorial: Price to keep Hobbit in NZ is extortionate
At some point during the negotiations over The Hobbit, someone should have stepped back and asked how much it was actually worth to this country to keep the filming here.
The hyperbole and hysteria of recent weeks might have led to the assumption that it was a matter of vital importance. Significant enough for Government ministers to be talking to executives of Warner Bros, the project’s financial backer.
And important enough for New Zealand to jettison part of its workplace law and compromise its economic principles. The hyperbole was misplaced. These were places the Government should not have gone in order to secure two films whose benefits are more in the realm of the imponderable than the imposing. …
There was no question of The Hobbit being shot elsewhere before an industrial boycott – lifted before the negotiations began – involving actors wanting to bargain collectively. Warner Bros simply seized the chance to apply pressure on unrelated issues. In both instances, it should have been resisted. The Prime Minister, however, always seemed relaxed about amending the law to provide “clarity” in the film sector. …
At the start of the talks, Mr Key had seemed opposed to providing bigger tax breaks. Unfortunately, his resistance went only so far. Warner Bros should not have got a cent more than was already on the table. …
In any event, the image is already ingrained, and the extra boost that The Hobbit might provide did not justify a greater outlay of taxpayer funds or a workplace law change. Warner Bros is used to playing hard ball. The allure of Hollywood goes far in most corners of the world. It should not have gone so far here. Confirmation that The Hobbit will be shot in this country is welcome. But the cost should not have been anywhere near so extortionate.
As ever, a picture (Emmerson, from The Herald) is worth a thousand words:
Emmerson has pretty much nailed it – though for the last panel I’d have gone with a different Disney character. I’d have gone with Mickey Mouse.