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The Standard

Jackson statement worsens Hobbit fiasco

Written By: - Date published: 8:23 am, December 23rd, 2010 - 78 comments
Categories: film, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

Peter Jackson yesterday did what the government has refused to do and commented on the revelation that he told Gerry Brownlee the Actors’ Equity blacklist was no threat to the Hobbit movies being filmed here. Unfortunately, Jackson has just further sullied his reputation by revealing the true motives for the Hobbit Enabling Act.

I haven’t been able to find Jackson’s full statement online anywhere but Brent Edwards read part of it out on National Radio and Red Alert has some of it too:

“Worse, it was clear to ourselves and to the studio that the MEAA, had an agenda to unionize the NZ film industry by exploiting a grey area that existed in employment law. The change in the law, which clarified the independent contractor status of film industry workers, gave the studio confidence that the film could made in New Zealand without the threat of unjustified ongoing industrial action and for that we remain very grateful.”

So, Warners and Jackson didn’t want the film workers to unionise. That was the real problem they had with the Bryson case, which Jackson had spent tens of thousands of dollars losing in 2005.

Bryson recognises the long-established principle that if your work is in the nature of an employment relationship you can have the rights of an employee – no matter if your contract calls you a contractor or an employee. This is a vital legal protection that prevents employers calling their workers contractors to avoid having to pay them leave and go through due process to fire them.

Making your workers contractors when they’re really employees also prevents them unionising – only employees are legally allowed to form unions.  Jackson didn’t want his workers joining a union. He wanted to block that most basic and fundamental of work rights.

That makes a lie of Jackson’s statements right at the beginning of this whole mess that he isn’t anti-union.

So, now we know what feels like the full story of Jackson/Warners motivation for causing this whole Hobbit shakedown:

The Hobbit project has been a disaster with long delays and the loss of the original director. Warners is short on cash after a few expensive flops, the Hobbit will make them mega-bucks but they want more cash now. Jackson has already unsuccessfully agitated for more money in the review he did for National of the film grant system.

Jackson fears that his workers are going to unionise, meaning they’ll only work human hours and want better pay and conditions for it. That may mean fewer millions to spend on private jets and old military planes for him.

Along comes the Actors’ Equity blacklisting. It is no threat to the Hobbit being filmed here – movie producers are used to settling blacklistings; Warner’s already put $100 million in production here; they don’t have time to move production elsewhere, which is already behind schedule, and other locations have more expensive, unionised, workforces, not the ‘Mexicans with cellphones’ you can get here.

But it does give an opportunity to manufacture crisis. Jackson tells the public that the blakclisting may send the production overseas, while secretly telling the government it is no threat. Jackson’s business partner, Richard Taylor orders his staff at Weta to a march against the blacklisting. Little do these saps realise, it is their work rights that are under attack. The government gleefully joins in with this crisi manufacturing because it helps Key get to play the hero and stir up anti-union sentiment, which will aid the passing of upcoming anti-worker legislation.

Crisis created, Jackson/Warners demand more money and a law to block the unionisation of Jackson’s tech staff. The Nats give them everything they want.

They say that there’s only three basic plots in Hollywood movies and this is just a variation on the old Hollywood shakedown that the big producers have run on small, naive communities again and again.

For it to work, Jackson had to lie to us. He had to say that the blacklisting was a threat to the films being made here when it wasn’t. He had to say that the Bryson law created confusion that threatened the production, when all it really did was allow the possibility that some of his techs might unionise and negotiate better pay and conditions.

The Nats had to lie to us too, but they made it look more genuine that Jackson, who looked like a C-grade actor. They lied and claimed that the blacklisting was going to send the production overseas when they knew that Warners just wanted more money and they knew that Jackson just wanted to stop his workers unionising.

Too much has been lost in this sorry mess. Weta’s techs have lost the right to unionise with a law targeted specifically against them, the New Zealand taxpayer has lost $34 million in an old-fashioned shakedown, and Jackson has lost his reputation.

In the New Year, the government will have to answer for its part in all of this.

78 comments on “Jackson statement worsens Hobbit fiasco”

  1. Hmmm

    The plot really thickens. I thought that Jackson would came out and say he was mistaken or there was a typo in the email published yesterday but this statement confirms that he, Key, Brownlee and co lied.

    The funny thing is that the law change may actually have no legal effect and may not have changed the law.

    The argument goes like this:

    Clause 4(2) of the amending act says that the deeming provision (that film workers are not employees) does not apply “if the person is a party to, or covered by an employment agreement that provides that person is an employee”. The definition of an employment agreement includes a contract of service which can be written, verbal or both. So you still get to apply the test set out in Bryson and if the result is that the person is an employee the amendment does not apply.

    If this argument holds the bill is toothless and does no more than reflect current law. It would be no more than an inconsequential sop thrown to an anti union tantrum throwing genius who we have given a knighthood to.

    • Marty G 1.1

      “I thought that Jackson would came out and say he was mistaken or there was a typo in the email published yesterday”

      I loved farrar’s post with the ‘missing word theory’.

      straw. clutch.

    • Bunji 1.2

      Essentially, rather than give certainty, the law just means that someone will now need to go back to court again with another Brysonesque test case, to see how it will be interpreted – as you say, quite possibly in exactly the same way it was before…

      Well done Nats.

  2. Peter Martin 2

    ‘In the New Year, the government will have to answer for its part in all of this.’

    Hahahahahahahahahaha *gasp* Hahahahahahahahahaha

  3. katusbratus 3

    I have to agree with Peter! We’re going to be so busy next year what with a Rugby World Cup, and an MMP referendum to tickle our intellectual ivories, and best of all, not one, but two royal weddings!

    I’m sorry but my diary’s looking rather full at the moment. I couldn’t possibly schedule in any government scandals, unless it were to involve infidelity or scamming the public for a $5.95 burger meal.

    • Jim Nald 3.1

      Uhhhhhh … mmmmm …. hey wait!
      The Government has just issued a press release first thing this morning.
      It is truly insightful. Quite a long statement – consists of only one alphabet.
      Here it is:

      “zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZzzzzzzzzzz …..”

  4. Anne 4

    “… an anti union tantrum throwing genius who we have given a knighthood to.”

    Well, perhaps we can take it away. After all he doesn’t deserve it anymore.

    Talking of anti-union tantrums. Paul Holmes’ a-u tantrum (directed at Helen Kelly) on Q&A had a little sequel. On Newstalk ZB he described the union movement as “the filthy left”.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1

      He would say that
      Coming from someone who dumped his wife and kids so that he could have an extra marital affair- and then he has the cheek to lament about the effects of P on families and young people.

      And he still maintains the sun shines out of Veitchs a***

      • Tigger 4.1.1

        I’ve really noticed this year, more than last, how those who used to at least stick a mask over their nasty faces have now abandoned the facade. How else to describe Jackson basically just going ‘fuck you’ rather than try to retain his saintly, I love everyone, sheen. And Holmes has totally dropped any pretence of where he stands – possibly he’s been reined in by Paul Henry being further right (more prejudiced?) than him but now Henry’s gone he’s filling in that vacuum.

        • Jim Nald 4.1.1.1

          Rest assured. John Key still has his mask on.
          And, like his blind trust, it can see even while he says he can’t.

    • Jim Nald 4.2

      Anyone care to set up a Facebook page calling for the removal of PJ’s knighthood?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debasement_%28knighthood%29

      I’ve mentioned to a friend about organising an evening get-together with friends where PJ’s DVDs will be ceremoniously broken with a hammer and thrown into a bonfire in the backyard.

    • Cnr Joe 4.3

      Baron Holmes went much further than that Anne – he was apoplectic, frothing with the vitriol, quite mad

      • Anne 4.3.1

        Yet according to the TVNZ Complaints Committee it was simply robust debate and as such is acceptable. Methinks they’re protecting their star TV host from public criticism. Far more important than balance and objectivity – and just plain decency!

    • Vicky32 4.4

      Insane… It would be funny if it wasn’t Holmes!
      Deb

  5. Speakign Sense To Unions 5

    It’s what a lot of people suspected all along. Simon Whipp was using AE as a vehicle to change the employment regime not of actors but of other film workers.

    It was never about nudity clauses, it was never about the actors. Whipp wanted to destroy the contract system.

    Now I gather that gets a lot of support here but it certainly doesn’t get a lot of support from film workers. But then they are workers not The Workers.

    If the unions have some sort of case against the contract system how come they never put that to the very people they claim to work for – the film workers?

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Workers who are doing the work of a typical employee, and are being expected to work like they are a typical employee (as opposed to a contractor with professional freedoms) should have access to employment law protection.

      Sir Jackson is the bad actor in all this. His title simply confirms him as a toff through and through.

      • Speaking Sense To Unions 5.1.1

        A bit of an own goal then from Whipp – prior to his meddling film workers could do just that, although only one ever did as everyone else wants to be on contract.

        So by trying to get rid of the contract system – by using the actors as a vehicle – against the wishes of the vast majority of film workers Whipp achieved pretty much the opposite.

    • SSTU your post is as correct as the spelling in your title.

      • Speaking Sense To Unions 5.2.1

        which part is incorrect, apart from my spelling?

        • mickysavage 5.2.1.1

          Well all of it. It is a collection of glib grandeoise statements that do not have the benefit of the support of reality.

          • Speaking Sense To Unions 5.2.1.1.1

            but which bit in particular? You think PJ was wrong in his statement about the attempt to unionise?

            • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Its pretty simple. Unionised countries like Australia, UK, Canada, US, have far stronger and far richer film industries than NZ does.

              Jackson knows this and this is why he is the member of several international unions himself. He is a hypocrite, of the first class.

              The NZ film industry should unionise across the board.

              • Speaking Sense To Unions

                you mean like this?

                http://www.nztecho.com/

                film workers have already banded together. They have also decided that they are better off working as contractors. If the unions know better then it was a very strange campaign not to be upfront but to use actors.

                Like film workers, actors have a union but they also choose to sign individual contracts via agents.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Banding together! Great!

                  They can call themselves a guild or an association or whatever they like, its great to see worker solidarity :)

                  • Speaking Sense To Unions

                    perhaps the CTU could have talked to them directly rather than going along with Whipp’s devious plans.

                    But I wonder if Kelly really knew what was going on. Maybe she did and chose not to talk to the workers.

                    • Seer

                      Where did you get this idea that Simon’s ulitimate goal was to use our Actors as a pawn to remove contracts??
                      That is insane!
                      The man is the head of a very large Union who spends every day working for the rights of their Actors.
                      That he has time to come to Nz to destroy the industry and thereby the livelihoods of the Actors his organisation works to protect is nothing short of conspiracy with a healthy dose of fancy.
                      You are mad and you make no sense let alone speak any.

              • Draco T Bastard

                The NZ film industry should unionise across the board.

                /agreed

                And so should builders but, as Eddie points out “only employees are legally allowed to form unions” – they’re not actually allowed to which would seem to go against the “freedom of association” that the right always seem to say that they’re fighting for.

  6. AndyB 6

    “Jackson tells the public that the blakclisting may send the production overseas, while secretly telling the government it is no threat”

    Sorry, but i call bullshit. Again for those that didn’t see it the other day, here is PJ’s quote from back in October before warners arrived:

    “it’s rubbish to say that Warners has wanted to take The Hobbit overseas. There are sets behind us being made to shoot on. This is Gollum’s cave for goodness’ sake. It (the allegation) is absolute junk. One month ago, no one in a million years thought this movie was going to leave the country. At that point (four weeks ago) the confidence in our country as a stable base to make movies was eroded. Is the movie going to come or go? We don’t know. Unfortunately, lifting the blacklist doesn’t have anyting to do with it: The damage will be done. Warners are coming here next Monday and we’ve got to fight like hell.”

    You spin so much I’m surprised you know which way is up sometimes.

    • Bright Red 6.1

      Andy – that’s what he was telling the public, that the blacklist has eroded confidence and lifting it didn’t sovle the problem.

      Here’s what he was telling the government in secret:

      “There is no connection between the blacklist (and it’s eventual retraction) and the choice of production base for The Hobbit,”

      Are you trying to rewrite history and claim that Jackson never said the blacklist had caused Warners to consider moving the film? Because your own quote contradicts that with Jackson saying that lifting the blacklist doesn’t solve the problem because the damage is done.

      Own goal there, Andy.

      • Speaking Sense To Unions 6.1.1

        Jackson was saying that by that time the damage causes by the blacklist was already done and lifting it was no longer enough to ensure the production stayed. Jasckson and the studios knew by then that Whipp’s target was not the conditions of the actors, it was the employment arrangemnents of the other film workers.

        • mickysavage 6.1.1.1

          There is no connection between the blacklist (and it’s eventual retraction) and the choice of production base for The Hobbit

          There is no connection between the blacklist (and it’s eventual retraction) and the choice of production base for The Hobbit

          There is no connection between the blacklist (and it’s eventual retraction) and the choice of production base for The Hobbit

          There is no connection between the blacklist (and it’s eventual retraction) and the choice of production base for The Hobbit

          There is no connection between the blacklist (and it’s eventual retraction) and the choice of production base for The Hobbit

          There is no connection between the blacklist (and it’s eventual retraction) and the choice of production base for The Hobbit

          Capiche?

          • AndyB 6.1.1.1.1

            You are so ideologically blind that you will not, or cannot see any other interpretation of these events that don’t fit your narrow minded outlook. Shame on you, Peter Jackson has done more for this country than you will ever do. Merry Christmas!

            • mickysavage 6.1.1.1.1.1

              I was merely repeating Peter Jackson’s very words which confirm that there was no connection between the blacklist and the subsequent panic.

              His statement today reaffirms his previous statement and totally contrdicts yours.

              Can you not see that?

              • AndyB

                The blacklist was only ONE of the issues that the unions bought to a head. this is what else he said:

                “This is why Warner Bros lost all confidence in filming in New Zealand, because they had just witnessed how a tiny and capricious union, manipulated by an offshore agency, could bring a multimillion production to its knees – for no legitimate reason”

                There you go … blacklist, not problem … offshore union bringing New Zealand film industry to it’s knees, big f’ing problem!

                get it now? or can you still not see?

                • mcflock

                  see, now I’m a bit confused.

                  Only found the dom article with the excerpts of PJ’s statement yesterday, not the full statement yet. So the international union was going to bring the NZ film industry “to it’s knees” but not via a blacklist, (which obviously had no connection with the choice of location). What was the big mean international union going to do – a nude protest to distract the film crew?

              • Draco T Bastard

                It’s more that they will not see it.

          • pollywog 6.1.1.1.2

            There is no connection between the blacklist (and it’s eventual retraction) and the choice of production base for The Hobbit

            So the choice wasn’t about location. It was about Warners writing off any investement they had made so far and canning the project altogether.

            Meaning if it was going to be made, it was here in NZ or not at all. They must have been pretty fucken close to pulling the pin before Jackson’s big play and the gov’t rolling over.

            And if it had got canned there’d be a reluctance for any big productions to shoot here. As it is, we’ve now got a continuing green light for more big budget films to be made here and workers are secure in the knowledge of where they stand in the general scheme of things.

            …personally, i stopped cutting off my nose to spite my face aaaaaages ago.

      • AndyB 6.1.2

        no it doesn’t. the quote: “There is no connection between the blacklist (and its eventual retraction), and the choice of production base for The Hobbit”, is the same as: “lifting the blacklist doesn’t have anyting to do with it: The damage will be done”.

        you have no idea if his quote was all about the blacklist, or in fact stating that the blacklist has nothing to do with it, rather the unions meddling in the production in the first place has.

        it is your interpretation of what was said you are basing as fact when you can’t.

        • Bright Red 6.1.2.1

          the quote: “There is no connection between the blacklist (and its eventual retraction), and the choice of production base for The Hobbit”, is the same as: “lifting the blacklist doesn’t have anyting to do with it: The damage will be done”.

          No they’re not the same. your one says that the lifting of the blacklist doesn’t matter, Jackson’s says the blacklist doesn’t matter.

        • Seer 6.1.2.2

          (and its eventual retraction) indicates that Jackson knew the boycott was lifted. 2 days later he says publicly that he’s not sure if it has. He lied.

          The whole time Jackson has said that it is industrial action that makes NZ unstable.
          He even told Campbell live that the retraction of the boycott was needed to end all this. The email reveals that its the LAW that makes it unstable from their point of view.
          When he finds out it has (but he knew days before) he says: Too late.

          How convenient.

          In the context of the email (that I have read) ““There is no connection between the blacklist (and its eventual retraction), and the choice of production base for The Hobbit” comes right before a paragraph where he states what the real problem is: the LAW

          Bottom line: the Actors nor their actions had anything to do with anything as the LAW would remain the same. The law had to change and they created a bogey-man to sucker you all into supporting him.

          • Swampy 6.1.2.2.1

            Since 2005 NZ has had a law that gives unions a guaranteed right to demand a collective contract. There s being a lot of industrial actio n since based on that right.

            Jackson and others are fully within their rights to highlight that this is in large part about the union taking advantage of this law to force the Hobbit to negotiate a collective contract with the union

    • Kaplan 6.2

      “You spin so much I’m surprised you know which way is up sometimes”

      That’s right Andy, you are spinning so much and so fast in that comment that we really don’t know which way up you should be.

      Peter is a complete sell out in this but it really is the Weta techs you have to feel sorry for, they got played for complete saps by being convinced to walk in support of stripping their own rights from them. Unbelievable.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    Jackson wants complete control of NZ film industry industrial relations.

    Basically its now all about the Peter Jackson film industry.

  8. uke 8

    “Mexicans with cellphones”

    I heard that Hollywood execs used the phrase “wetbacks with cellphones”, a “wetback” being an illegal-immigrant Mexican worker in the USA, with no employment rights. This seems to remain the Warner/PJ/Nat preferred status for the NZ film workers – and seemingly for many of those workers too. Go figure.

  9. The RWNJ Union is running short of people today. The only ones they could send into battle were AndyB and Speakign Sense To Unions.

    All others refused to engage in what was considered to be a kamikazi battle.

    Times must be tough …

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        Yeah, Jackson’s Cock & bull story, originally swallowed hook line and sinker by the RWNJs, now they are choking

        • grumpy 9.1.1.1

          No one cares CV, AndyB and SSTU have done an outstanding job in demolishing your argument. The obvious fact is that Jackson and Warners took exception to their movie being used as a vehicle for Whipp to pursue a political agenda to unionise film production.

          The simple fact is that the workers in that industry do not want to be unionised. If unionisation was such an attractive option, the workers woyuld be queueing up to join, not the other way around.

          You can spout all the political claptrap you like but that does not alter the fact that an overseas union, having declared a boycott, sought to bring the production to it’s knees in it’s hidden agenda of unionising the film industry – nobody on these pages is denying that.

          Actor’s Equity was a dupe in all this, Helen Kelly was sucked in trying to save their arse and it all ended in tears.

          Moral – dont get sucked in by an Aussie union trying to fight it’s own political war.

          • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.1.1

            Wow, all those words and not a single coherent reference to reality.

            The simple fact is that the workers in that industry do not want to be unionised.

            Except possibly the actors whose union made the “do not sign until negotiations are finished” call. The rest are willingly (and ignorantly) being duped out of their rights by PJ, WB and the NACTs.

            The Australian union was called in for help by the local union which didn’t have the necessary resources or experience.

            Actor’s Equity was a dupe in all this,

            Just inexperienced.

            Moral – dont get sucked in by an Aussie union trying to fight it’s own political war.

            Better idea, listen to reality rather than the shit coming out of your arse.

            • grumpy 9.1.1.1.1.1

              The “reality” is that:

              1. “The Hobbit” will now be made in NZ
              2. The unions have lost credibility
              3. The unions, rather than gain a unionised film industry have achieved the opposite.
              4. The workers actually engaged in the industry have secured their future employment and conditions in a triumph for individual rights over unionist compulsion.

              • Grumpy to the rescue!!

                But I do not understand. You say

                The “reality” is that:

                1.

                But you then do not describe a reality? Unreal …

              • felix

                err, grumpy – the hobbit was always going to be made here.

                You guys were trying to spin this shit weeks ago. We didn’t believe you then, and now Jackson’s two statements show we were correct not to believe you.

                • grumpy

                  You guys really need to get a union like mine – my conditions give me a “wind down” period a few day prior to Xmas and lift all restrictions on alcohol.

              • Draco T Bastard

                1.) The Hobbit was always going to be made in NZ.
                2.) The unions are just as credible now as they were then. One inexperienced union made a few mistakes as can be expected of the inexperienced.
                3.) The opposite of what? Please note: The film industry around the world, except NZ, is unionised and has better working conditions and gets paid better than NZ film industry workers.
                4.) See 3. If anything, they did themselves a disservice in their march against the unions.

                • Swampy

                  Warners were happy to come to NZ to escape th closed shop blackmail they have in Hollywood.

                  Considering the SAG and fellow travellers have a policy of trying to stop productions being moved offshore they would have gladly responded to the call for a boycott

                  But such things are all about the unions power over the film indistry. consider how George lucas left. because he did not use the unions dictates format about how the titles should appear in a film. the union turned around and fined him so he told them where to go.

    • Cnr Joe 9.2

      ‘Speakign Sense To Unions’ – this has made my day Mickey

      even better – captcha – literally

  10. ghostwhowalksnz 10

    Some comments about actors , who are contractors , not being allowed to ‘unionise’.

    Well they are allowed to join a union. But the difference they cant have that union negotiate collectively for other contractors.

    What the actors usually want is to have a’ minimum standard’ – I thinks its called the pink book or something and they get what they can , individually, above that

  11. Genuine questions here …

    When Jackson says: “Worse, it was clear to ourselves and to the studio that the MEAA, had an agenda to unionize the NZ film industry by exploiting a grey area that existed in employment law”, is there any actual evidence that this agenda actually existed? Can anyone who has followed this saga more closely than I have point to any such suggestions at the time? Or is it an ex post facto explanation that happens to fit with what happened?

    Because the union’s purported strategy seems a bit of a long-shot to me. It would mean that the union would have to:
    1: Claim that persons hired as “independent contractors” actually are “employees”, as per the Supreme Ct’s test in Bryson. Note that this test applies case-by-case, on-the-facts … so it’s not as simple as saying “all model makers on The Hobbit are employees”, or “all sound-crew are employees”, etc.
    2: Rally these “employees” into the union.
    3: Get these “employees” to agree to commence action to get Jackson’s company to collectively bargain with the union.

    Further, I don’t actually see how the law change solves the risk of disruption to the project. What is to stop the model-makers/sound crew/etc collectively refusing to sign “independent contracts” and instead demanding to be “employed” on the project?

    • When Jackson says: “Worse, it was clear to ourselves and to the studio that the MEAA, had an agenda to unionize the NZ film industry by exploiting a grey area that existed in employment law”, is there any actual evidence that this agenda actually existed?

      No actual evidence but Jackson was really miffed about the Bryson case. He must have spent hundreds of thousands going to the Supreme Court on a case that in damages would probably have been worth less than $10k. Maybe he took the case because he could see the ranks of film workers being infiltrated by the scourge of communist trade unionists. As if …

      The facts of Bryson are quite interesting. They have the feel of sloppy paperwork rather than an attempt to unionise the industry. What Jackson should have done is reviewed his contracts. It is not that difficult to design a contract for services rather than of employment.

      The situation dates back to 2000. I sense no surge of trade union joining by film workers since then.

    • Tiger Mountain 11.2

      Exactly, it is a little condsidered fact that some workers actually still retain the capacity for independent thought and action.

    • Speaking Sense To Unions 11.3

      (reply to Andrew above)

      nothing to stop them but they don\’t because it would not be in their interest. Maybe some commentators could spend some time talking to people who work in films and see what they think.

      The ammendment was to stave off any possiblity that Whipp would stir up trouble during production. He had an agenda which was to change the employment system within the NZ film industry to be more along the lines of what they have in the US. The actors issue was a front.

      The MEAA demanded that Jackson change the nature of employment of actors – a collective agreement – for the entire industry. Something which he could not possibely do. He told them to talk to SPADA. That was just the start.

      But the MEAA put in place the boycott before – that\’s before – trying to talk to Jackson.

      • Draco T Bastard 11.3.1

        All RWNJ spin and BS. Not a word or any evidence of fact in anything you wrote.

        The ammendment was to stave off any possiblity that Whipp would stir up trouble during production.

        No it wasn’t, it was so that W/B would have “confidence”. the union, once negotiations were complete, wouldn’t have done a damn thing.

        He had an agenda which was to change the employment system within the NZ film industry to be more along the lines of what they have in the US.

        You mean like the better working conditions and better pay that the actors in the US have due to their union? You know, the one that PJ belongs to.

        The MEAA demanded that Jackson change the nature of employment of actors – a collective agreement – for the entire industry.

        No they didn’t. What they wanted was to negotiate actual written working conditions that can be upheld in court which the present “guidelines” can’t be. Once those were down then it would be up to the each single actor to then negotiate their own pay rate and any other conditions that they wanted above those stated minimums.

        But the MEAA put in place the boycott before – that’s before – trying to talk to Jackson.

        It wasn’t a “boycott” but a don’t sign until minimum condition negotiations are complete. Hell of a difference really. The boycott tells people not to sign at all while the other tells people not to sign until negotiations are complete.

  12. Speaking Sense To Unions 12

    Think about it this way, if Whipp’s primary motivation was the working conditions of actors on the Hobbit why did no one ever come up with a list of issues about employment on the Hobbit they were concerned about? Did any actor complain about the Hobbit? They never did and when asked for this Ward-Lealand famously mumbled some thing about nudity clauses. That coming from someone whose husband makes Spartacus – you know, where actors actually take off their clothes. But that production wasn’t targeted.

    The real issue was not the employment conditions of actors on the Hobbit, Whipp’s traget was industry-wide issues which he thought he could blackmail Jackson over.

    • The Voice of Reason 12.1

      They did put up a list of issues, primarily about meeting SAG minimums, but what they fundamentally wanted was the opportunity to negotiate collectively for those that wished to be represented. A right that is common in the states, Oz and Britain. SAG put out a notice to members that it was a non union production, something they do regularly. That’s the ‘blacklist’. Check their website; the Spiderman stage show that is currently under H&S investigation is there, too.

      The location was not an issue to SAG, the refusal of the producers to talk was. Warner Bros wanted have the law changed to make it more oppressive than it is in their own country, to tip the balance of power even further than it is now. And Jackson lied to make it happen.

      Speaking of bringing unions into disrepute, anyone know what unions Jackson’s in and how to lay a complaint? He’s not fit to be any union worth the name.

      • Speaking Sense To Unions 12.1.1

        “They did put up a list of issues”

        that’s pretty much news to everyone. Do you have link to that list?

        ” primarily about meeting SAG minimums”

        MEAA was neogiating SAG minimums??? Dear lord, SAG is the US actors guild.

        So no actor had any issue with any of the employment conditions for the Hobiit. No actor complained at the time, no actor has complained since. So that was never the issue for Whipp. Which leaves the issue of industry wide employment arrangement which as so many people have pointed out PETER JACKSON HAD NO AUTHORTITY TO NEGOTIATE.

        He could not unilateral change how actors are employed for the producers of Spartacus, the producers of Power Rangers, the producers of Outrageous Fortune, for the producers of TV ads. The only people that can do that is SPADA – not Peter Jackson.

        • The Voice of Reason 12.1.1.1

          The SAG minimums are a list, you idiot. A list of minimum conditions, geddit? SAG represents actors worldwide and I’ve no doubt some of their members will be working on the Hobbit. As unions do, they acted in solidarity with the NZ union. When SAG puts out the notice to members, it advises that a production does not meet their minimums and asks actors worldwide not to sign contracts. That’s actually what happened, not your fantasy version.

          Jackson already collectively negotiates with his employees. They all get a standard contract, and they can be represented by an agent, for limited negotiation. AE wanted to be that agent. The law allows collective negotiation, or at least the ‘grey area’ appears to allow it. That is what Key has legislated to remove. Or not, because as has been pointed out elsewhere, the amendment is pants.

      • Swampy 12.1.2

        hahaha! the law in US is firmly in unions favour due to closed shops. hats off to warners for taking their chance to get free of this

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.2.1

          Yeah good of you to back a Hollywood corporate ahead of your fellow NZ workers. I got a name for corporate shoe shining hacks like you, oh whoops already said it.

  13. Swampy 13

    Jackson isn’t anti union per-se but he is anti the Hollywood unions. Closed shop over there etc

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      You’re right Sir Jackson the Hyprocrite isn’t opposed to being a member of unions when it puts money into his own pocket.

      He hates his workers being members of unions because it puts money into THEIR pockets INSTEAD of HIS.

  14. Justin 14

    Can anyone point me to the statements in their entirety? The FULL statement(s)? Thanks!

    – Justin

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