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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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    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – Loyalty, Leadership and the Labour Party
    My first after the election and I can only say I’m feeling pretty sad.  It was a terrible result, and feels even more so knowing the number of volunteers hours, hard work & sacrifice made by so many people who...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • A Study in Party Stability
    . In terms of long-term stability, one party above stands above all others, with the exception of personality-driven groups such as NZ First and United Future. That party is the Greens. If the Labour Party wants to look elsewhere for...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Cunliffe vs Robertson – Round 2
    Much to the disappointment of the NZ Herald and other right wing pundits who have decided they would like to appoint the next Labour leader, Cunliffe has surprised by deciding to damn the Caucus and appeal directly to the members...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The tasks before the left and labour movement
    Anyone on the left would have been disappointed at the result of the election. There was an opportunity to win, but that got lost through a combination of factors. There were tactical decisions made by Labour, the Greens and Internet-Mana...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • From Fiji’s dictatorship to ‘democracy’ – the AUT student team on t...
    Mads Anneberg’s profile on Ricardo Morris and Repúblika. David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. THREE STUDENTS from AUT University covered Fiji’s historic “from dictatorship to democracy” general election this month. While the election arguably legitimised Voreqe Bainimarama’s so-called 2006...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • David Cunliffe Resigns As Labour Leader – Forces Robertson Out of the Bel...
    David Cunliffe has made a smart move, resigning as the leader of the Labour Party so as to force a leadership primary campaign. The move draws rival Grant Robertson out of the beltway to parts of the country where he...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Deep thought vs Deep prejudice
    . . This letter to the editor appeared in The Listener, on 27 September, and caught my attention; . . Mr Dawson wrote in response to one of those typically unthinking comments which  condemned the poor for their “unbridled, reckless...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The NZ National voters elected
    The NZ National voters elected...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – The post election postmortem is giving me post p...
    I feel the need to contribute to the discourse. This is a new experience for me. Not having an opinion, but expressing it on a popular forum in a public sphere. That’s why I have waited till now and put...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A dictionary of education terms and definitions, brought to you by the let...
    Free to all TDB readers, please enjoy your very own cut-out-and-keep handy primer of terms that I predict you will need to know over the next three years… Achievement Gap (noun) Synonym for wealth gap. ACT (abstract noun) Intangible. Reported to exist in...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A Mines Rescue brigadesman’s perspective on the Pike River Mine
    My husband and I lived in Greymouth in 2010, we were a coal mining family.  The day Pike River Mine blew up and the days following changed us profoundly, as it did for so many.  This is a Mines Rescue...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • The Left Triumphant! A Counterfactual History of the Last Twelve Months.
    DID IT REALLY HAVE TO END LIKE THIS? Reading through the commentary threads of the left-wing blogs it is impossible to not feel the anger; the sense of betrayal; the impression of having had something vital ripped from their grasp;...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Myles Thomas: The media won it!
    Make no mistake, John Key is a clever communicator – reasonable, authoritative and relaxed – but without the media he wouldn’t be PM. Depending on your viewpoint, New Zealand’s news media are either a bunch of Grey Lynn lefties or...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Not Learning Lessons Past: the West’s Response to IS
    In an earlier posting Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, I noted that the first lesson of conflict learned by Robert McNamara was “understand your adversary”. If we have honourable objectives, our first and most important weapon is empathy. In the Vietnam War,...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Dr Jarrod Gilbert – Proof of David Farrar’s deception: my ...
    In the lead up to the election the Minister of Corrections Anne Tolley launched a gang policy. In order to justify the government’s approach she used gang figures that overstated the gang problem. Not by a little bit, but a...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Stuart Nash – Red To The Rescue?
    SPECIAL FEATURE by Selwyn Manning. IF THE ELECTION RESULT which was dished out to Labour was not enough to incite an immediate leadership primary, then the caucus’ refusal to recognise David Cunliffe as the leader should cement it. Now is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Has the one party state crackdown begun already? Left wing NZ activist grou...
    Well known left wing activist social media group, ‘John Key Has Left Down NZ’ has been shut down on Facebook. At 11.40pm last night, Facebook, without any warning shut the group down siting a breach of terms of service as...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Why Cunliffe should probably just let Nash & Robertson win
    We have to face some very unpalatable home truths. If you are a left wing political person, best you put your vote now to the Green Party, although you’ll have to do that all the while the Greens frantically tell you...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • The graceless win of Kelvin Davis
    The graceless win of Cameron Slater’s mate in the North, Kelvin Davis is difficult to swallow. Here Cameron Slater’s mate in the North is shitting on Hone Harawira by calling Hone all steam, no hangi as Kelvin rubs his ganged up win into...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So Labour shifted too far to the left?
    So Labour shifted too far to the left?   Here’s the ill-judged view of Josie Pagani in the Pundit “Labour must change”: “At the last election I made myself a heretic when I wrote a column mentioning how unpopular the...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Uncomplicated Loyalties: Why Cunliffe and the Labour Left Cannot Win
    THE STORY of David Cunliffe’s leadership of the Labour Party has been one of missed opportunities and unforced errors. That he was the only choice available to those who wanted to rid the Labour Party of its neoliberal cuckoos is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So we can expect this now?
    So we can expect this now?...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Can Labour be saved? Why Whaleoil & National won and why we need a new ...
    As the shock of my optimism that NZers would recoil from the real John Key as exposed by Dirty Politics and mass surveillance duplicities wears off, I am surprised to find that the right in NZ are not content with...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Three more years (up shit creek and paddling hard)
    “If the future is not green, there is no future. If the future is not you, there is no future”. Emma Thompson’s stirring words to the climate marchers in London last Sunday are worth considering in the aftermath of the...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • One Party State
    In years to come this election will be seen as a historic turning point towards one party rule. I don`t mean this literally, absolute single party dictatorship is not in prospect. In the New Zealand context though, one party has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • No More. The Left Falls.
    . We cannot be beaten down Because we are down already. We can only rise up and if you should beat us down, We will rise again. And again. And again… And when you tire of beating us down, We...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Hang tight everyone – Marama Davidson campaign reflection
    To the many people who had expressed their overwhelming support for me to enter Parliament this election – thank you. That the Greens held steady in a big loss for progressive politics is an achievement. We are hopeful that after...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • Robertson now expected to be Labour leader by Xmas
    Grant Robertson is now overwhelmingly picked to become the next leader of the Labour Party by the end of the year, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. Another potential Labour...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Documenting historic Māori land law cases for the first time
    A new book from Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law will continue to put the spotlight on Māori Land Law judgments which have never before been published....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • ‘Oily’ people greet Petroleum Summit diners
    Greenpeace activists smeared in fake oil have greeted guests arriving at the part-Statoil sponsored Petroleum Summit dinner this evening....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Key Decisions Made About Labour’s Leadership Election
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has made the key decisions about the timetable and process around the election of Labour’s Party Leader. The result will be announced on Tuesday 18th November, following a comprehensive and extensive process unique...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Suspected $6 Million Dollar Wananga Fraud Alarming
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on on the Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi to front up over claims the Wananga has pocketed government overpayments amounting to $6 million of taxpayers' money. Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Submissions sought on herbicide for weed control in maize
    The Environmental Protection Authority is calling for submissions on a herbicide to improve broadleaf weed control in maize. The substance CADET contains 100g fluthiacet-methyl in the form of an emulsifiable concentrate and would contain a new active ingredient...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line
    Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line TV personality Jesse Mulligan will live on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line this October in order to raise awareness of sex trafficking. Mulligan will survive on $2.25 for his food from October...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn?
    Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn? - Sue Bradford, Russell Brown & Kirk Serpes discuss....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change
    Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change at launch of Pacific environment report...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages
    The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management advises that while changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages come into effect from today (Wednesday 1 October), the Ministry has been, and remains, the authoritative voice for tsunami...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Police remove banner at Statoil Offices in Wellington
    Oil Free Wellington hung a banner at 9:30 this morning at the Statoil office headquarters in Wellington as the Petroleum Summit opened in Auckland. The banner, which read 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil', has now been removed...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Mixed massages raise concerns
    Mixed massages raise concerns for Te Taumata Kaumatua Ngapuhi nui tonu, and Te Wakaminenga O nga Hapu Ngapuhi....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Union Slams Port Boss’s Pay Rise
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) says Lyttelton Port CEO Peter Davie’s 18% wage rise, taking his pay packet to $1.24m, is unjustified and inflammatory. ‘Lyttelton port has an appalling health and safety record, with three deaths on...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Prisons expert Ron Nikkel to speak in Auckland October 15
    Prison Fellowship NZ and JustSpeak have the privilege of hosting the former president of Prison Fellowship International, Ron Nikkel....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Hundreds of educators protest IES in Rotorua
    Four hundred educators from around the country took their opposition to the Government's controversial Investing in Educational Success policy to the public today....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Crime drops by 3.2 % in the 2013 / 2014 financial year
    Criminal offences dropped by 3.2 % in the last financial year according to figures released today through Statistics New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: what do we learn?
    I would like to invite you to a Fabians Reflection on "Dirty Politics, Dotcom and Labour’s worst result" with Colin James, Keith Ng, Stephanie Rodgers and Richard Harman. They will provide a debrief of analysis and lessons from the 2014...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Oil Free Wellington drops banner from Statoil headquarters
    Today members of Oil Free Wellington have targeted the offices of Statoil, by attaching a banner reading 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil' to the entrance of Vodafone on the Quay Midland Park, where Statoil's New Zealand office...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Media Statement from Karen Price
    “After a period of intense media attention and scrutiny of our family, I set up and used an anonymous Twitter account over the weekend and made a number of comments that I deeply regret....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Greenpeace disrupts Simon Bridges’ speech to oil industry
    Greenpeace activists have disrupted the opening speech by Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges at the Petroleum Summit in Auckland this morning....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • New Zealand Red Cross Responds to Drought in Tonga
    New Zealand Red Cross has sent an aid worker and two desalination units, to turn seawater into safe drinking water in the drought-hit Ha’apai islands of Tonga....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Can you ever tell if an email is real or forged?
    Computer industry veteran Brian Eardley-Wilmot warns that we should never take claims about stolen emails at face value....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • NZ MPs to attend the ASPG Annual Conference in Sydney
    New Zealand MPs to attend the Australasian Study of Parliament Group Annual Conference in Sydney...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Independent Maori seats still needed in Parliament
    “He’s got to be joking!” is the reaction of the president of the Maori Party, Rangimarie Naida Glavish to a call by a former Labour Minister of Maori Affairs, Dover Samuels, for debate by Maori on whether the Maori electorates...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    Rallies supporting the rights for universal suffrage will take place all over New Zealand today and tomorrow...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand
    Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand The Graf Boys New Zealand has some of the best trout fishing in the world! Every year thousands of international visitors wade pristine rivers in search of the freshwater game fish....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New Zealand’s 2014 Hottest Vegetarians Crowned
    With winter gone things are heating up, and things just got even hotter with the crowning of New Zealand’s hottest vegetarians, says animal advocacy group SAFE. Marking World Vegetarian Day, 1st October, director James Napier Robertson and actor...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A day to remember our duty to look after our senior citizens
    Human Rights Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says International Day of the Older Person (1 October) is a United Nations day to celebrate our senior citizens, but also acknowledge the need to protect our kaumatua, or older people from abuse and...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Clear data needed on impact of benefit sanctions on children
    A lack of data on benefit sanctions means there is no way of knowing whether welfare reform is helping or harming children, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The socialist alternative to austerity and war
    Public meeting: After the New Zealand election—the socialist alternative to austerity and war By Tom Peters 29 September 2014...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New recruits to boost border protection
    Twenty six new recruits began an intensive nine-week training course in Auckland today that will see them graduate as Customs officers in time for the busy summer season....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Dwindling Mallard population shows up ‘pest’ myth
    The pro hunting organisation Fish & Game is researching the causes of the decline of the mallard duck population, upset at the prospect of fewer ducks to kill....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    New Zealanders in Auckland will gather on Wednesday to support the rights for universal suffrage in Hong Kong....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Campbell Live Exclusive Interview with David Cunliffe
    David Cunliffe resigned as leader of the Labour party on Saturday; but he still wants the top job....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Action needed on cycling safety
    “Clearly we aren't doing enough to protect the 1.5 million New Zealanders who ride bikes,” said Mr Morgan....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • World Rivers Day Passes Without A Whimper
    Sunday 28 September was World Rivers Day to celebrate clean, flowing rivers and caring about them. But a recreation-conservation advocacy the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) says the day seems to have slipped by without...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The Kiwifruit Claim: Q&A
    1. Who is running The Kiwifruit Claim? The Kiwifruit Claim was founded by kiwifruit growers representing well in excess of 10% of the industry. 2. Why are you running this claim? The introduction of Psa into New Zealand had devastating...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Fed Farmers Need to Be Weaned
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Federated Farmers to make a firm commitment to reject any future Government funding, after it was revealed that the lobby group had received over $200,000 of payments in recent years....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Children paying the price for charter school stitch up
    New Zealand children will be paying a high price for a one-seat deal between ACT and National, with an expansion of the beleaguered charter school system says education union NZEI Te Riu Roa....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Hikoi From North Reaches Oil Conference Tomorrow
    Today: The Hikoi opposing Statoil plans for seismic testing and deep sea oil drilling has marched through Dargaville and later be welcomed to Piringatahi Marae, West Harbour,Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Communities Still Count
    The efforts of many organisations to influence the electorate and the political parties they voted for in the lead up to the 2014 Election is over. The voting public has spoken and provided a strong endorsement to the centre-right National...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Eleven social enterprises get ready to take off
    Eleven teams from across the country will take part in the Launchpad, Ākina’s programme to get social enterprise ideas off the ground....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • An open letter to the Prime Minister
    in which Transparency International New Zealand asks the Prime Minister to ensure integrity underpins all work he leads "in the best interests of all New Zealanders"...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Paula Bennett ‘great work’ acknowledged – McVicar
    “Paula Bennett, as Minister of Social Development, has contributed significantly in lowering our crime rate and preventing further victims.” - McVicar...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Key’s Restraint in Propping up ACT Welcomed
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming the announcement that ACT MP David Seymour will not be appointed as a Minister....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Only Concession is from the Taxpayer
    Responding to the confidence and supply agreement reached between John Key and Peter Dunne’s United Future Party, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A Tent for Any Tenant
    AUT students and Salvation Army Manukau Community Ministries team up to raise awareness, as South Auckland’s housing situation moves from crisis to collapse...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report Seeks Comments
    The Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report and Recommendations was published on 25th September 2014 and the panel are inviting comments. Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds, the organisation campaigning for consistent speed limits outside schools, is encouraged...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour’s Review – Terms of Reference Agreed
    Labour's Review - Terms of Reference Agreed Following a meeting of its ruling New Zealand Council yesterday, Labour has released the terms of reference for the comprehensive review initiated following its 2014 election result. The review will comprise three...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • The final countdown for Kiwi smokers
    There are just two days left until many smokers stubb out their cigarettes for the last time and embark on Stoptober – New Zealand’s first national quit-smoking month....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
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