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The Standard

In other news, selling NZ: TPP, Hobbit rulz …

Written By: - Date published: 11:47 am, November 20th, 2012 - 57 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, copyright, film, internet, john key, tourism, trade, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: ,

It looks like while many of us on the Left are focused on a struggle for the political direction of NZ, John Key is steaming ahead in selling NZ.  Today he is acting as wing-man to Obama, to ensure the success of the TPP in the Asia-Pacific region.  Meanwhile, the impact of the “Hobbit Law” (selling NZ workers to Warners) is taking a heavy toll on many NZ actors.  And it seems the tax payer-supported Hobbit production has also been taking a toll on animals.

John Key claims that NZ will benefit from the TPP.  However, the way Key is linking up with Obama to extend the TPP into Asian terrritory suggests otherwise.

Prime Minister John Key will team up with United States President Barack Obama in Cambodia on Tuesday morning in a push to seal a major trade deal with Asian leaders. …

The meeting,  … – will see Mr Obama launch discussions with the United States’ vision for the deal, with intellectual property regulation a major sticking point.

The main problem with TPP is that it enables multinational (largely US-based) corporates to over-ride NZ laws and interests for their own profits.  This includes intellectual property laws, which, in the TPP, has strong links to the Hollywood, media and communications industries.  I’ve posted before about Key’s efforts to sell NZ to Hollywood, in a deal to give US interests control over promoting tourism in NZ (here and here).

In an earlier post, recapping the Hobbit dispute, I outlined the linkage between Key’s sucking up to Hollywood and the TPP, with reference to a link to Jane Kelsey’s press release. She said:

“The entertainment industry is the principal driver of US demands for radical new intellectual property protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, currently under negotiation,” Jane Kelsey said. …

Hollywood is driving the US push for unprecedented extensions to intellectual property rights, carrying with them the further criminalization for breaches and massive cost increases for everyday Internet users. It also wants a ban on parallel imports.

In my post recapping the Hollywood dispute, I argued that,

Both the government and Jackson manipulated the dispute and its coverage in the MSM to their advantage.

Key and Jackson did this by undermining the actors’ union’s campaign for better pay and conditions working on international productions. I quoted Nigel Haworth (2011) who said

Thus, analytically, the New Zealand state simultaneously conceded, financially and legislatively, to the global film sector whilst taking the opportunity to further its ER liberalisation and attack the domestic trade union movement.

Today Tom Hunt and Paul Easton report how NZ actor’s have been suffering as a result of the “Hobbit Law”; a law that was pushed through parliament to please Warner Brothers.

Since the infamous actors’ dispute over terms and conditions on The Hobbit, some Kiwi actors have had to endure on-set conditions that include sharing coloured prop contact lenses, their union says.

Phil Darkins, of Actors’ Equity, told a conference in Wellington yesterday he had also heard of actors being verbally abused, denied shelter, and not being offered blankets or warm drinks after long shoots in the water.

Those who spoke out would not get further work, he said.

Also today, PETA claims animals have been harshly treated in the making of The Hobbit.  A claim Sir Peter Jackson rejects.

So, remember, John Key has not stopped in his endless drive to sell NZ to overseas governments and big business interests.  It’s not only that Key is being Obama’s wing-man in negotiating the TPP in the Asia Pacific region.  His government is juggling the TPP with an Asean based trade agreement-in-the-making: the RECP, as I posted about here.

57 comments on “In other news, selling NZ: TPP, Hobbit rulz …”

  1. maffoo 1

    I would support any party that promised to withdraw from TPPA negotiations, regrdless of any other policy. Yes it is that serious.

  2. Dr Terry 2

    Key continues to gamble, as ever. These are major stakes. He risks becoming neatly wedged right between American and Chinese interests. As he only “thinks” short-term, he will be counting on playing a two-way game, without concern for alienating one side or the other in the longer term.
    Should his passion for all things American prevail, he will eventually alienate China to our great cost (e.g. bye-bye free trade deal!)

    • muzza 2.1

      To me it looks like a rigged game of chicken..

      Talk of US/Chinese interests is mising the point, there are simply “interests”, and they happen to be the same thing!

      Notice the ever expanding list of entries, this is about making a play to form the EU of ASIA!

  3. Wayne 3

    I know the Left commentatators on this site are oppossed to TPP (but not David Shearer, or for that matter David Cunliffe), and many of you are oppossed to all free trade agreements. However, I would have thought it would be a considerable success for NZ, if John Key can work with President Obama to get TPP across the line. If John Key really is that essential for TPP, that will be a huge boost for NZ’s profile in the Asia/Pacific.

    The fact that newly re-elected President Obama has made TPP such a priority so soon after the election shows the US committment to getting a deal done. It will give much greater substance to the Pacific Pivot, breaking it out of purely security concerns.

    You need to look at the gains for NZ if TPP succeeds. The US market will be open for NZ’s argriculture, especially in dairy products. That is huge, with benefits right through the economy.

    I would guarantee that Labour will support TPP, as much for the strategic relatioship issues as anything else. If Labour was in Govt when it is ratified, I am sure they would come to the Nats to get the legisalation through the House, assuming that the Greens would be oppossed. And in that event the Greens will stay in Govt rather than bring down a Labour/Green Govt.

    • maffoo 3.1

      We will get nothing. US interests will never allow NZ agricultural products into the US, & they are heavily subsidized anyway. All that will happen is we will get sued left right & center every time we try & implement any policy that threatens the profitability of US corporates.
      We also lose sovereinty as we can be sued in courts that have no connection to any country, more a kangaroo court made up of lawyers & CEO’s.
      Anyone who thinks we will ‘win’ under this agreement is delusional.

      • aerobubble 3.1.1

        Obama needs to swing the Republican controlled house of congress, so of course he wants to put as many levers on the table to negotiate over and win a legacy for himself. NZ, where’s that he will say.

    • muzza 3.2

      You need to look at the gains for NZ if TPP succeeds. The US market will be open for NZ’s argriculture, especially in dairy products. That is huge, with benefits right through the economy.

      Hi Wayne, are you aware of how the UA agribusiness operates, the power it has, and the protection it receives.

      You are being foolish if you see the US market being opened to NZ! This is about foreign ownership, plain and simple.

      Fools are blinded by rehetoric, please do some reading!

      • Wayne 3.2.1

        Well, I know the Left view very well. I know Jane Kelsey’s views, and have read all her material, plus others with similiar views. I disagree with her. She was also oppossed to the China FTA and CER, plus any other free trade agreement you can think of.

        Those of us not of the Left have a different view on the importance of free trade agreements. Many of us have done huge amounts of reading in the area. You might just as well tell Tim Groser to read more; he has and has a diffrent view to you.

        In any event I note no one has commented on the position of Labour on this, which was really the point of my comment.

        At least I note Rosy could see the value to NZ if the deal can be largely done here in Dec, though I know she will be opposed. But all FTA’s involve both sides giving a bit, but also gaining something of even greater value.

        Those of us who beleive in free trade see the overall reduction of tarriffs and quotas that occures in all members of an FTA as a net benefit to the economy.

        • muzza 3.2.1.1

          Those of us who beleive in free trade see the overall reduction of tarriffs and quotas that occures in all members of an FTA as a net benefit to the economy.

          Is that what you reckon will even out the playing field Wayne? You believe in free trade, LOL. I believe that the 40 year history of NZ, and globalisation since it came to be tells a very different story about which side of the debate has their pants down, which is scant help to those in NZ who are suffering the effects of the lie that is free trade/globalisation!

          Feel free to explain how NZ as a country has benefitted from the various FTAs in place currently, and how it has assisted the actual position of NZ inc Wayne, and while you’re there go explain it to those in NZ who can no longer get jobs, which dont exist, which has in turn lead to massive poverty, and other social disasters!

          FYI – I am not from the left (and if you call Labour, left, you would be wrong) , and I certainly am not from the “free trade/globalist camp either, which is where you will find Tim Grosser, and anyone who thinks that TG knows what he’s doing, and/or supports his position.

          • Mike 3.2.1.1.1

            +1

            Smaller economies such as ours never EVER benefit from free trade agreements. The only thing we the NZ public or consumers get out of such things are cheap TV’s and the like (which is not really a benefit). Free trade and globalization is destroying our sovereignty.

            Decentralization = Evolution

        • lprent 3.2.1.2

          My post http://thestandard.org.nz/labour-conference-2012-policy-remits/

          Passed: Remit 35: Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement
          THAT in light of the Labour Party’s strong commitment to both the benefits of international trade and New Zealand’s national sovereignty, and recognising the far-reaching implications for domestic policy of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, in which trade is only a small part, Labour will support signing such an agreement only if it which:
          a) Provides substantially increased access for our agriculture exports to the US market;
          b) Does not undermine PHARMAC, raise the cost of medical treatments and medicines or threaten public health measures such as tobacco control;
          c) Does not give overseas investors or suppliers any greater rights than domestic investors and suppliers, such as Investor-State Dispute Settlement, or reduce our ability to control overseas investment or finance;
          d) Does not expand intellectual property rights and enforcement in excess of current law;
          e) Does not weaken our public services, require privatisation, hinder reversal of privatisations, or increase the commercialisation of government organisations;
          f) Does not reduce our flexibility to support local economic and industry development and encourage good employment and environmental practices;
          g) Contains enforceable labour clauses requiring adherence to core International Labour Organisation conventions and preventing reduction of labour rights for trade or investment advantage;
          h) Contains enforceable environmental clauses preventing reduction of environmental standards for trade or investment advantage;

          There is an amendment by Phil Goff to “Labour will support signing such an agreement only if it which“. The rationale is that it is a negotiation, getting 90% and then being unable to do it because of absolute adherence to this list would be daft. I think that he is right to insert that amendment. The TPPA agreement is pretty problematic in my view – but that is because of the current information of the US stance. This appears to be the stance of the most of the unionists which is interesting.

          The lack of information on the TPPA is the real issue.

          That is now the policy of the NZLP (and that “which” still makes no sense to me).

          My view. I like free trade agreements. I approved of both CER and the Chinese FTA when they came up because we were given pretty full info during the process of those agreements proceeding. You can quibble about parts of each, but as a whole they were beneficial to us all.

          What I don’t like about the TPPA is how secretive the development has been, and obviously what has been released so far isn’t exactly settling to the mind of someone who works in the IT sector. The idea of in effect destroying the local tech industries by introducing the damn silly US patent laws on software in exchange for indeterminate access for farm products is silly. There are other markets for farm produce that won’t carry such awkward trade offs and we can carry on growing our tech exports which actually employ a lot more people for the capital employed.

          I gather the secrecy is meant to continue until ratification and for some parts of any agreement for some time afterwards.

          In NZ such agreements are not subject to parliamentary review and therefore the select committee process except where legislation changes are concerned. Since much of what it will affect can be done with regulation then potentially it will effectively be a quiet imposition without consultation. And reading about the “consultation” in the US makes my skin crawl.

          Basically as far as I can see we’re being asked to take a great deal on trust of the MFAT and the suspicion is that it will be completely skewed towards the interests of corporates rather than the interests of most of NZ businesses and workers.

          • Macro 3.2.1.2.1

            There are no benefits for workers from international trade deals as evidenced by the continual export of jobs since NZ freed up imports and opened up our borders in the mid ’80s. The current exporting of manufacturing jobs to China is a sad case in point. It is a foolhardy not to say naive position to take to continue to support ANY ‘free trade” agreement, if we have the interests of NZ workers are heart. Labour are as much at fault in this ideological stance as National and will never get my vote whilst they maintain this position of selling off employment for NZers overseas.

          • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.2.2

            Labour will support signing such an agreement which:

            Hmmmmm…Conference passed an amendement which strikes out the “only if”, and replaces it with “which”. IE it weakens the remit somewhat, but Goff made a good case to say that it gave the NZ negotiating team more to use at the table.

        • Rosie 3.2.1.3

          Hi Wayne.

          You say “all FTA’s involve both sides giving a bit, but also gaining something of even greater value”. How does this pan out for the worlds workers and the worlds consumers?

          How does reducing tarriffs benefit NZ’s already gravely threatened manufacturing sector? How do FTA’s protect our workers jobs when we outsource our manufacturing to sweat shops in Honduras, China, Chile, Pakistan, Argentina and many more? How do you and I as consumers feel when we have no choice left but to purchase items made in factories where we know human rights abuses and deaths are occuring as part of the normal operational procedures of that business? How are indigenous environments protected when exemptions are given to multi nationals, who can pollute and contaminate the land and waterways that people are reliant on for a food source? Under FTA’s the only winners are global business giants. All else lose and its a huge price to pay.

          • Wayne 3.2.1.3.1

            Rosy, In NZ we virtually have no tarriffs on manufactures, so we dont give up much there, certainly not enough to make any difference to NZ manufacturers.

            Look in any shop – full of Chinese, Indonesian, and other Asean nations goods, and we all buy them. All those nations have gained huge prosperity precisely because markets are essentially open to manufactured goods.

            Free Trade agreements are now more about services and agriculture, and different nations have different interests.

            That is why the NZ debate is all about Pharmac, and intellectual property rights. The US wants more protection for IP in movies, sorftware etc, and better access to the pharmacuetical market. That is their big issue in TPP. A competive market should in theory lower costs in pharmacueticals

            We want access for our agriculture – notwithstanding the skeptics. If tarriffs and quotas were much lower on dairy products, Fonterra would definitely sell more product in the US. Food manufacturers would get cheaper ingredients, and supermarket chains would buy cheaper cheese, butter and infant formula than they would get from US suppliers. There is simply no monoply control in the food industry.

            So clearly the US is going to get something out of TPP, just as we expect to. No point in having a negotiation unless all states each get something they want.

            • karol 3.2.1.3.1.1

              Wayne, to me yours all looks like the view from big business.  Don’t know about the “theory”, but in practice, ordinary Kiwis have a lot to lose, e.g. if US pharmaceutical companies over-ride Pharmac – higher costs, less access to important drugs.

              And the Hobbit case shows how workers will lose out. Rosie’s view, is from that of ordinary workers and other Kiwis.

              And just “improving the economy” depends on what aspects you consider, and whether it takes into account the lives and well-being of ordinary people.

              • Rosie

                Hi Karol,

                As an aside, thanks for posting this article and the Palestine/Israel article. It’s been a whirl of Labour party conference/leadership news and big ups to all the authors who covered it. Special mention to QOT who gave us the lolz.

                • karol

                  Thanks, Rosie.  It’s a turbulent time for the Left in NZ, so I also am glad for the coverage of the conference/leadership issues by other authors.

            • rosy 3.2.1.3.1.2

              I agree with your assessment of what the US wants from New Zealand. The Dotcom saga is integral to the IP debate. As for “A competitive market should in theory lower costs in pharmaceuticals”

              That’s the thing about theories – they need to be proven. Check exhibit 7, page 7 in this document from the Comonwealth Fund as an example of what is at stake here. The US pays more for the 30 most commonly prescribed drugs than countries with more regulated health systems. New Zealand pays the least by quite some margin, which is why the position of Pharmac is so heavily debated, along with IP.

              • aerobubble

                But? Capitalism distorts, after it meets basic needs (and even then). So take any product and you’ll find that if you buy the generic, say lawn mower, it will rust, or handles will wear out faster, than the expensive one. You pays peanuts. Essential this is wrong since building a cheap and nasty lawn mower takes energy and resources, and there is no means to punish the manufacture who cheapens the end product. Same goes for medicines, the more minor aliments that aren’t life threatening, but cause detriment to ones ability to live a full life, the more incentive it is to create them in our medical system. Distort and profiteer. Free trade without regulation, or harder to regulate as products are internationalized, actively creates more opportunity for distortion.
                And trade agreements that allow businesses to sue sfor adverse regulation are fool hardy at best, and just create monopolies for distortion rackets. Look I not against free trade, I’m just against castrating capitalism by leaving the market place to openly uncompetitive behaviors. Its a myth that you can have a free market through government non-involvement, its like sayong one side of a contract has to be silent and take everything however adverse. Government represent a group of people who like an investor in a business, has rights to their common protection, form other states, and also global corporations..

            • Rosie 3.2.1.3.1.3

              Hi Wayne,
              (Theres Rosy and Rosie here BTW:-) )
              Every day for the last few years I have woken up to an inbox full of news from labour rights and environmental rights campaigners. Its not good news. These news bulletins are from NGO’s who work directly with communities and worksites who have in some way been affected by their loss of power in controlling their own destinies and their ability to produce their own food. In the majority of those cases the cause of their disempowerment and susequent loss of well being is due to the influence of a multi national. Sometimes there doesn’t even need to be a FTA in place for this to happen due to an ineffective government but often it is, especially in the cases of NAFTA countries.

              If you want I can dig out these examples if you’re interested. I guess Shell Oil in Nigeria is the most common example of win/lose “trade”. (Actually the Nigerian govt is currently considering fining Shell an unprecendented 5 billion for environmental damages.)

              I do understand the TPPA has a different set of issues clouding the negotiations, as you rightly point out: Pharmac, internet acess and freedom etc but the mechanisms of power vs powerlessness underlie the TPPA too.

              In regard to your comment about how our shops are already full of imported goods from Asean countries and we all buy them. Does that make it ok to support sweat shop manufacturing just because we can and we’re too lazy to consider the implications of our purchasing decisions? With a little bit of effort you can chose to shop in a more ethical way, although sometimes it can’t be avoided, due to our dwindling choices. Geez, with a little bit of effort we could bring back manufacturing to NZ so we can support our own workers and support our own economy. You say those aforementioned nations have gained huge prosperity. But for who? Newsflash, profit sharing isn’t one of the perks on the job at the FoxxConn factory. The average worker in many of these countries live in absolute poverty and do dangerous work.

              In regard to ganing greater access to markets for Fonterra: Isn’t it a bit simplistic to assume that this must be good? What price to our environment due to the intensification of industrial farming? We have a population of 6 million dairy cows and already we have loss of wetland habitats due to pollution. What price to the NZ consumer who is forced to pay global prices for their dairy products already? What price to the US dairy farmer who loses his /her livlihood due to imports they can’t compete with?
              For trade to be good it has to be sustainable and it has to benefit all which leaves me at your final point “No point in having a negotiation unless all states get something they want”. Our one sided and unsustainable approach to trade has depleted the worlds natural resources and impoverished communities.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.3.1.4

              Look in any shop – full of Chinese, Indonesian, and other Asean nations goods, and we all buy them. All those nations have gained huge prosperity precisely because markets are essentially open to manufactured goods.

              And we got all those goods by having more poverty and less development here in NZ.

              Any and all FTAs come with far too high a cost.

              • OneTrack

                I don’t see where you are going with this. Are you saying we should cancel the FTAs with China and Australia and stop exporting to them? Nek minnit, conomy collapses.

                • KJT

                  And China would not have bought from us without an FTA. Dream on!

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Don’t need FTAs to trade. Calling FTAs a trade agreement is tantamount to lying as their more properly called free-capitalism agreements. They have very little to do with trade and a hell of a lot to do with capitalists being able to move money in and out of a country at will and being able to buy up that countries assets allowing them an even higher rate of capital accumulation.

        • Bill 3.2.1.4

          But all FTA’s involve both sides giving a bit, but also gaining something of even greater value.

          Erm. How does that work out? One side – the weaker economic ‘partner’ – will be pressured to ‘give up’ far more than the stronger economic ‘partner’ is willing to ‘give up’. And so the stronger economic ‘partner’ will gain and the weaker will lose.

          That’s the way mercantilism/classical/neo-classical/neo-liberal/free trade (call it what you will) dealing has always worked

          Or am I missing something?

          I mean, I accept that people in NZ won’t have to ‘give up’ their thumbs as the Indian cotton weavers had to do in return for the ‘privilege’ of exporting raw materials to Paisley, Manchester etc when the British thought free-trade was just a fine idea. But y’know?

        • rosy 3.2.1.5

          “At least I note Rosy could see the value to NZ if the deal can be largely done here in Dec”

          Sorry Wayne, I should have put a /sarc tag on the ‘what a coup’ line. Key will think it’s a coup to announce an agreement in Auckland. The distraction from all the incompetence of his ministers and the Dotcom saga will be a bonus for him. My concern is we, the public, have no idea until he announces an agreement, what we are conceding. I suggest he knows already. So the value I see is for Key, not for New Zealand.

          • Wayne 3.2.1.5.1

            Rosy,

            I did realise you were being a bit sarcastic. But it will be a big foreign relations “coup” if the deal could be done here, not just for John Key, but for NZ. If we can be seen to be a broker of of a major free trade agreement in the Asia Paific (think of the number of nations involved) then we will gain influence on other Asia Pacific issues – disarmament, environment, security etc. Mind you completing TPP is likely take more than the December meeting.

            The Asia Pacific has a whole of things of going on at the moment, especially with the growing competition between China and the US. If we can be seen to facilitate solutions to the things that are driving that competition, that will be to NZ’s benefit, no matter who is the Govt.

            ASEAN is playing this role at the moment. They have facilitated most of the forums which bring the whole region together. But we could take a more active role.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.5.2

            My concern is we, the public, have no idea until he announces an agreement, what we are conceding.

            We won’t even know then as it will be years before some of the agreement is made public. The TPPA process is totally undemocratic and the reason for can only be that the multi-national corporations and the politicians know damn well that the people won’t agree to the terms and condition within it.

    • prism 3.3

      Wayne
      “You need to look at the gains for NZ if TPP succeeds. The US market will be open for NZ’s argriculture, especially in dairy products. That is huge, with benefits right through the economy”

      In your dreams

    • ropata 3.4

      TPPA is a vote winner for the property owning middle class and capital gains farmers. Selling off NZ land piece by piece for a few pieces of silver and a comfortable retirement

      Disgusting

  4. rosy 4

    It’s starting to look like Key already knows which bits NZ is going to have to “give a little bit on”. Jane Kelsey was certainly correct on the importance of the October Hollywood trip in that regard.

    I’m thinking he’s beginning on the softening up process for the NZ public while finalising details for the NZ leg of the negotiations in December – what a coup if he gets some agreement that can be publicised then. The opposition needs to mobilise, it would be good to learn what’s being given away beforehand. Oh for transparency!

  5. prism 5

    Key is amusing in that he says that he sees no conflict between the TPP and the Asian agreement now under way. What a tur-key! If only we had a system where MPs and especially PMs had to make some reasonable financial contribution after bringing in a policy that proved not to be in the country’s advantage.

  6. vto 6

    Well if Key is an Obamaite then he should listen to what Obama said today about the importance of extending democracy and giving people the vote, because Key has done nothing but the opposite to that. Key has stripped me of my vote in Canterbury, the c&@t.

  7. ianmac 7

    “…with intellectual property regulation a major sticking point.”
    Wonder if that means that Warner Brothers will not need extradition rights for folk such as Dotcom. Under the agreement will they just sue at anything that moves regardless of NZ Law?

  8. David H 8

    The only winner here will be Key, he will get his pic taken with Obama and have his name in the paper as well. More crap for his scrapbook entitled How I sold NZ down the river.

    Anything for a photo op with famous people what a tosser.

  9. Daveosaurus 9

    PETA claims animals have been harshly treated in the making of The Hobbit

    Before anyone gets too excited about this, they should pause and reflect on the fact that PETA has a reputation, in comparison with which Peter Jackson is honest and Sea Shepherd are moderate.

  10. millsy 10

    “…sharing coloured prop contact lenses….”

    That’s a health and safety issue and would be unacceptable in any workplace.

    I felt that the actors were quite reasonable in their ‘demands’, and Jackson’s overreaction, along with the government’s snatching of the rights of workers in the film industry, turned me off The Hobbit. Ill probably download it in a few months, but no way I plan to fork out $10.50 and see it in the theatre. I really cannot get excited about them like I got excited about LOTR, I think those in the film industry (which is not known for its gold plated wages and conditions — the fact that there are thousands of people who are fooled by the glamour and reckon they would work for nothing, is used as a weapon).

    I kinda get the feeling that the general excitement that was around when LOTR was released is not there this time round. The people in my circle are more excited about series 3 of ‘Game of Thrones’ due to come out next March/April.

    • KJT 10.1

      Same here. I am not paying to go to any Peter Jackson Movies.

      I suspect many people will be quietly boycotting them.

      Expecting our support for Union bashers is too much.

      • millsy 10.1.1

        And other thing: I cringe to know that Wellington City Council is spending over a million dollars on the red carpet opening. At the same time looking to cut services such as parks and libaries, and outsourcing task to find money to meet leaky home liabilities and eathquake strengthening.

        • vto 10.1.1.1

          “And other thing: I cringe to know that Wellington City Council is spending over a million dollars on the red carpet opening”

          What?

          Yet another example of the free market and private enterprise being unable to look after itself? $%##@8 (*6 &&%#$ !!!

          Don’t mind if it is willingly acknowledged that assistance is needed but ffs, this sort of stuff? Why bother with civilisation? It is just a full-on grabfest.

          Grab it grab it grab it. Get what you can. Mortgage it, derivatise it, take it, delete democracy to get it, sink the jackboots in, just take what you can get ….

          In the amazing words of ex-all black captain David Kirk “you only get in this world what you can take”

          endeth

    • Mike 10.2

      Totally agree. In fact I think that the hobbit movies might turn out to be shite and have heard from some sources that the script is rubbish. While I didn’t work on the Hobbit, I do work in the industry and know plenty of people who worked on Hobbit both in front of and behind the camera. They have pretty much all told me the same sorts of things:

      It was one of the worst productions they’ve ever worked on. There was absolutely no sense of fun involved in the shooting. There was no moral at all within the crew and people were constantly fearful for their jobs. So much so that there was an unprecedented level of “setting other crew members up” to help solidify your position. The pay and conditions were way below par, (some crew and performers got much higher daily pay on a recently finished American production filmed in Auckland than they did on Hobbit.) There were massive technical mistakes made in the actual shooting which had to be rectified and no doubt cost huge sums. Sometimes on a scheduled shoot day, nothing at all would be shot due to P Jackson being a perfectionist to a damaging level and apparently, P Jackson has turned into a complete up himself a’hole now he is a major player in Hollywood.

      This is all second hand info so I can’t verify it, but similar subjects seemed to be brought up by many different people.

      But sorry Millsy, I have to disagree on Game of Thrones. I quite enjoyed season 1 but thought season 2 was crap. If season 3 is anything like book 3 it will be downright painful!

      What do you think of Spartacus, filmed here in Auckland? Even aside from the graphic violence and sex, it is an awesome show in terms of character conflict and drama as well as being beautifully shot. Blood and Sand (season 1) was absolutely outstanding and if you haven’t seen it you should.

      • millsy 10.2.1

        Never seen Spartacus, but have heard about it – Personally its good to have historical dramas that show life in that particular period as it most likely was – no rose tinted glasses.

      • karol 10.2.2

        Thanks, Mike, for that report.  It seems to confirm the reports I linked to in the post.  It’s depressing.

        I have been watching Game of Thrones on Prime.  I like the story line about the outcasts on the Night’s Watch, and the Tomboy character.  The rest seems quite macho stuff. i’m kind of fascinated by the dragon princess storyline – but the “savage” tribe was such a negative stereotype.

        I have seen some of Spartacus.  It’s well done and generally does have a good story -sex and violence is a bit gratuitous & aimed at attracting an audience. 

        • millsy 10.2.2.1

          The Dorthrakians (sp?) seem to be modelled on the Central Asian/Mongolian tribes, the Lannister family modelled on English aristocracy during the Medieval era, the city of King’s Landing modelled on a Meditaraniean city-state, and Winterfell reminds me of Scotland – while the Night’s Watch seem to have a Scandanivan feel about it.

  11. If the SPCA came out and said animals were hurt during filming , I would listen. But since its PETA, it cannot be taken seriously.

    I also think kiwi extras/ actor have done pretty well because of Peter Jackson, if it wasnt for him, they would be struggling to be in a countdown food commercial with that annoying family, who think they’re clever.

    • millsy 11.1

      Personally I dont find the the industry to be too attractive in terms of wages and conditions, Jackson or not. And I would rather work in a TV commercial than in a film production — the ‘Hobbit Law’ specifically excluded workers in TV.

    • Mike 11.2

      They would be getting paid more to do the countdown commercial than they got on Hobbit. In fact many extras worked for free on Hobbit.

      Kiwi extras / actors have been sold down the road by Jackson to American corporations. Kiwi extras / actors have done pretty well because of guys like Rob Tapert who has been making TV shows here employing thousands of people for over 15 years. His shows always pay extras more than any others produced here. The wage bill alone for Spartacus was over 90 million dollars in 3 seasons. You don’t hear extras and crew talking about how bad their experience was on his shows like you do about Hobbit even though the budget on Hobbit is so massive.

  12. karol 12

    When I was out driving earlier, I heard a report on Checkpoint, about an RNZ journalist being refused entry to the Hobbit premiere.  Apparently it’s because she has done too many negative stories on The Hobbit.  She was told that other journalist had been refused entry, too.  But she couldn’t find any NZ journos who had been rejected.

     

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