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Key, Brownlee & McCully have questions to answer

Written By: - Date published: 10:10 am, December 22nd, 2010 - 44 comments
Categories: corruption, film, Gerry Brownlee, Minister for Overseas Holidays, Parliament - Tags: , , , ,

It seems we don’t have a government at the moment. John Key is incommunicado in Hawaii. The Acting PM, Bill English, and Key’s press people refuse to speak for him. Someone needs to front up because serious questions are emerging about the honesty of statements Gerry Brownlee and Murray McCully made in Parliament and to the New Zealand people.

Last year McCully told Parliament that there was no government policy not to meet the Dalai Lama:

KEITH LOCKE (Green) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs: Is it Government policy that no Minister will officially meet with the Dalai Lama when he visits next month; if so, why?

Hon MURRAY McCULLY (Minister of Foreign Affairs) : No.

But MFAT diplomat Graeme Morton told the US embassy:

“PM Key had earlier conversed with Premier Wen Jiabao concerning the Dalai Lama’s December 4-7 visit to Auckland, saying that neither he nor any of his ministers would meet with the Dalai Lama.

“Morton said the Chinese ‘obviously registered’ this. Morton added that the PM … made this decision without any consultation, but others in the Government are still obliged to respect it.”

You can’t take the account of a Kiwi diplomat as reported by US diplomats as the gospel truth but it’s up to Key and McCully to set us straight if it isn’t – just as Labour has corrected misinterpretations in other leaked US cables.

The fact that McCully and Key have both been silent and Kevin ‘Captain Panic-pants’ Taylor refuses to make a statement on Key’s behalf suggests that the cable has revealed the truth – Key did have a secret policy of not meeting the Dalai Lama despite his pre-election pledge and McCully knew that. This means McCully’s statements to the contrary where deliberately misleading the House and Key aided and abetted him.

Then, there’s Brownlee and the Hobbit shakedown. The new revelations have destroyed Jackson’s reputation and exposed him as a liar. They should take down Brownlee too.

We now know that on the 18th of October Peter Jackson told Brownlee:

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

What Warners requires for The Hobbit is the certainty of a stable employment environment and the ability to conduct its business in such a way that it feels that its $500 million investment is as secure as possible.

Unfortunately Warners have become very concerned at the grey areas in our employment laws. The situation hasn’t been helped by the fact that they spent a lot of money fighting the Bryson case – unsuccessfully – in the New Zealand courts.”

Which says two things: the blacklist didn’t matter and Warners wanted a law change so workers couldn’t get employee rights even if their work was in the nature of employment if they were signed up as contractors.

Yet here’s what Brownlee told the House in subsequent days (he doubtlessly made similar statements in the media):

“If we look at the history, we see that there is no doubt there were some financial concerns about the future of The Hobbit. Everyone knows that. Those concerns have been sorted. There were some concerns about the effect of Bryson v Three Foot Six, but there had been a history over a period of 4 years where it felt like we were getting to a slightly more settled position. Indeed, Warner Bros came here earlier this year and made a movie called Yogi Bear, which was about $160 million worth, and there was no issue at that point.

So, Brownlee is saying that the Bryson decision – which upheld the long-established law that it is the nature of work that creates an employment relationship, not whether the contract says ‘employee’ or ‘contractor’ – was not an issue for Warners, the opposite of what Jackson told him.

Where things tipped over seriously is when the Australian union decided through the International Federation of Actors to issue a ban on anyone signing a contract for The Hobbit unless that contract was negotiated by the Australian Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance. That was the problem. At that point, everybody who was likely to have a stake financially in the picture asked themselves what that would mean for the next 4 years as they went ahead producing those pictures. It was pretty clear that there was an unsettled industrial road ahead

Of course there was a settlement and Jackson said that the blacklist wasn’t an issue anyway.

The Government has moved to try to get things back on the right track. I want to make it very clear that Warner Bros did not tell us what to do.

In fact, they’re doing exactly what Warners and Jackson told them to do.

Brownlee is refusing to make any comment other than that he is ‘comfortable’ with his actions. No surprises there.

Labour will need to hunt down these ministers in the coming year because there’s no what Hawaiian John will.

A final note, in Parliament Brownlee also said:

I have seen in the street some of the actors who want to work on this production, and they were protesting against the union’s activity. Anyone on that side of the House who wants to say that people somehow are being misled, or otherwise, assumes that those actors are not intelligent enough to work out that without these films being made here, this industry will not grow.

Those Weta workers, mainly techs, who marched when their boss told them to must be feeling like real chumps now. And they are. They marched against workers rights and it was they themselves that lost out the most from the Hobbit Enabling Act. They were being used as extras in a shakedown staged by Jackson and Warners who knew the issue was never the blacklist and that the Hobbit was never going overseas.

44 comments on “Key, Brownlee & McCully have questions to answer”

  1. Those Weta workers, mainly techs, who marched when their boss told them to must be feeling like real chumps now. And they are. They marched against workers rights and it was they themselves that lost out the most from the Hobbit Enabling Act.

    so what exactly did they lose out most from the act ?

    and you make it seem like they didnt have a choice to march, as though Taylor told them to or he wouldn’t have employed them if they didn’t…that’s a big call

    all i know is, one thing they didn’t lose for sure was employment for the next year or so !!! way to endear yourself to them though, calling them chumps…yeah nice one bruvver

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      so what exactly did they lose out most from the act ?

      well for one thing they are pretty smart dudes, and with these latest email releases it will be clear that they were not told the full story and instead used by the money side in a much bigger game.

      and you make it seem like they didnt have a choice to march, as though Taylor told them to or he wouldn’t have employed them if they didn’t…that’s a big call

      Come now, we all know that work place peer pressure and politics is seldom that obvious.

      all i know is, one thing they didn’t lose for sure was employment for the next year or so !!! way to endear yourself to them though, calling them chumps…

      Dude thats just the thing. Most of them DON’T have EMPLOYMENT. Most of those marching were CONTRACTORS. With no minimum wage protection, with no employment court protection, and then had those lacks of protection entrenched by NAT legislation.

      So when you say “what exactly did they lose out”, all of the above and more.

      • Speaking Sense to Unions 1.1.1

        that’s why they all supported the CTU I suppose

      • pollywog 1.1.2

        I’ve been a contractor for lots of events, been screwed a couple of times and never worked for those people again cos they get a rep for it…they tend not to last long in the industry

        It’s the nature of the beast that we got paid lots for a short term and it was a risk we undertook knowing full well the fickle nature of events. Thats just how it is, if the promoter or production company go broke, you don’t get paid.

        No amount of legislation is gonna make it so we would and now the law says that. So all its done is remove the false hope. Even more so now, contractors need to value themselves for what they’re worth, don’t sell themselves short and read the fucking fine print…the devil is always in the details !!!

        • mickysavage 1.1.2.1

          So polly

          How do you feel about Key and Brownlee and McCully lying to the New Zealand public?

          • pollywog 1.1.2.1.1

            about the same as i did Goff lying about selling his property, Fa’afoi remembering going to the opening of McDonalds in Porirua, Wong not doing business on holiday, Key not raising GST etc etc…

            it’s par for the course with politicians of all ideologies and ethnicities and something i’ve come to expect and can’t do much about

            i’ll vent on line about corruption and abusing taxpayer money and use my vote for whomever i decide come election time perks but thats about it for now

            i’m pretty much your average guy and i imagine theres lots of people like me who feel this way. political spinsters know this and play on it and i can’t see that that’s gonna change by me getting antsy about it

    • Bright Red 1.2

      the techs lost most from the Act because it was they who were able to get the true nature of their work recognised as employmetn if they wanted to and the facts justified it. Now, they can’t.

      (btw, being an employee was never complusory, so going on about how great contracting is is beside the point)

  2. Speaking Sense to Unions 2

    there’s workers and then there’s The Workers.

    The first are real people, like film workers, the other is a political device. The CTU stands for The Workers. That was not lost on a lot of workers who stood to lose their livelihood because of the unions antics.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Hey Speaking Cents to Unions

      This country needs strong unions to counter balance the power and co-ordination of large employers and corporates. 90 day right to fire, ACC changes, wage suppression activities must all be fought and fought hard. This country also need unions to stand up against political leaders willing to sell out the sovereignty of our a country and the protections for our workers to foreign money.

      Unions are there for workers. Unions get their workers higher wages and better working conditions.

      Unions are for those who understand that workers who stand together move forward together, and that workers divided are workers who will fall.

      • pollywog 2.1.1

        All well and true CV but it’s about picking your battles and lining the troops up behind a strong leader with a good cause…none of which Actors Equity had

        I’m still keen to hear how film workers were hobbled by the hobbit enabling act cos i already know McCully, Brownlie Key and co are liars, it’s part of the job description for being a politician.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          Yeah I’m with you on the fact that AE bumbled and caused a lot of damage in the process.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2

          …and co are liars, it’s part of the job description for being a politician.

          No it’s not and any politician caught doing so should face instant dismissal and jail time.

          • uke 2.1.1.2.1

            Absolutely.

            Nor is lying acceptable from business-people. It’s fraud. No doubt some people will soon be praising PJ and co. for their “business acumen” in manipulating public opinion, but I expect most will be experiencing a distinct sense of disenchantment.

            • felix 2.1.1.2.1.1

              No doubt some people will soon be praising PJ and co. for their “business acumen” in manipulating public opinion

              yeah pollywog pretty much did yesterday

              • pollywog

                If Jackson hadn’t lied, i believe there’d be no hobbit and little chance of ever getting another big budget movie here. He would just gone ‘fucken bunch of ingrates can all go to hell now’ and taken off overseas to ply his trade.

                not that it worries me cos i’m pretty much out of the game but i still got mates who would be hella pissed.

                • uke

                  Nah, I think it just got a bit personal for PJ and he couldn’t put ego aside and find a way to resolve things without lying.

                  Now he (+ Walsh + Boyens + the rest) has been caught out and, although probably still in denial, I bet one day he’ll wish he hadn’t been such an disingenuous spinster. Moral reputation counts for something in the court of public opinion and business circles, too. And reputation is one thing you can’t CGI once it’s been tarnished.

                • felix

                  That wasn’t the comment I was referring to polly.

                  But if it’s ok for Jackson to bullshit all of us like that, is it ok for anyone else too?

                  What’s your criteria?

                  • pollywog

                    studying motive and intent is my criteria…

                    if in the best interests of the maximum amount of people then sure, bullshit and blag away. do what you gotta do to get what you want as long as your motives remain pure and you have noble intent

                    it’s a far cry what Jackson did than say Hotchin…fudging your prospectus to dupe potential investors or hiring a trusted public figure to pimp your shit only to maximise the bottom line for your majority shareholders and then to extort large sums for personal gain and stash it in offshore accounts.

                    for all the sideline bullshit, Jackson is an artist and a visionary and i believe his motive was pure and his intent noble… ie to benefit NZ and the wider NZ film industry. Its not like he needs the money or the grief.

                    Brownlie and Key are IMHO self serving politicians who exploited the situation for their own benefit…ie to shit on the unions and protect Key’s brand of public likeability. Their lies were duplicitous, their motives impure and their intent totally ignoble.

                    I can’t wait to see the arse end of those clowns. The only ones who come out of this with any mana intact is Helen Kelly and surprisingly enough Blinglish for not playing the game, and even implying he wouldn’t have opened the cheque book for Warners, possibly even calling their bluff.

                    • felix

                      Sorry mate I just don’t believe that Jackson bullshitted us for our own good. If you do, the question you need to ask yourself is “Why then couldn’t he have gone on telly and told the truth for our own good instead – i.e. made his actual case, that the film being made here hinged on getting the employment law changed?”

                      The “he doesn’t need the money” bit is a red herring too – where do people get this idea that multi-millionaires, after spending decades building personal wealth and empires, suddenly decide it’s not important to operate in their own interest any more? Straight up bullshit. I see this all over the blogs but never in real life – real people tend to keep doing what they’re good at, and usually get better at it over time.

                      None of this is a criticism of his work or status as an artist btw – I have my own thoughts about that but that’s another story (and not a nine hour one about walking)

                      Anyway the point is Jackson’s real cut of this whole scam wasn’t money, his cut was the law change. He’s the one who benefits from it and he’s wanted it done since Bryson.

                      And that’s why he lied to us on telly – ‘cos to tell the truth would make him look petty and vindictive, a greedy boss. And that’s not a look for a Knight of the Realm so he hid behind Warners’ skirts and had his little cry and all your mates bought it.

                      As for English, yeah I suppose you could say Bill’s best quality is that he’s a tight fisted bastard.

                    • Akldnut

                      Polly – it almost reads like you could be making a defense that Jackson may have been sucked in by the puppet masters playing in the big show?

                      Not your intention……?

                      My two cents says that the achieved result was the ultimate goal of everyone concerned except the people who are actually bank rolling this sham………you, me and every other taxpayer in the country.

                      Jacksons not that naive or gullible – he should be fucking ashamed of himself.
                      Can’t wait to see the end of these pricks and their assault on, and manipulation of New Zealand.

                    • pollywog

                      Why then couldn’t he have gone on telly and told the truth for our own good instead

                      The truth ?…we can’t handle the truth. Son, we live in a moviemaking world that has rules. And those rules have to be guarded by a few good men with money. Who else is gonna do it? You ? Me Felix ?…PJ has a greater responsibility than we can possibly fathom :)

        • ron 2.1.1.3

          Pollywog – I keep hearing that argument. You seem to be saying that because AE were on a hiding to nothing they shouldn’t have stood up for their rights. Or that because they were incompetent then somehow the appalling actions of Brownlee et al are ok..

          I think the scabs that marched against the union are still scabs – no matter how wrong the union got the process. It doesn’t change the fact – scabs marched against fellow workers.

          BTW = It is very rich to hear those same scabs saying how dumb AE was and how badly they got it wrong. The truth is those scabs were too fucking stupid to see they were being manipulated. -If St Peter was telling the truth – that the blacklist wasn’t the issue = then why were the scabs in the street? They marched against the wrong thing, the wrong people, a non-issue. Dumb fucks, they marched to back the Warners campaign to assault the sovereignty of New Zealand. Nice work dumbies.

          • pollywog 2.1.1.3.1

            You seem to be saying that because AE were on a hiding to nothing they shouldn’t have stood up for their rights

            what rights are we talking about here ?… actors might have rights to larger residual payments overseas but they didn’t here and its unreasonable and generally unworkable to apply pay parity of our industries to overseas rates.

            and essentially thats what guts of their gripe was, a bigger share of profits should the film blow up, but if they arent prepared to share the risk up front and cut a loss on their paycheck if the film tanks, then they shouldn’t expect more rights to a profit thats not theirs.

            scabs, workers, marches *yawn* its just not that simple anymore…

            the film techies marched in the hope they’d still have work regardless of any machinations behind the scenes. There was for a time a very real chance these movies wouldn’t get made here or at all.

            • adriank 2.1.1.3.1.1

              Off topic but Pollywog, I just flicked through your blog and was wondering if there’s any reason you left Ladytron off your elle-x-tronica playlist?

              If you’re not familiar with them, check out their songs Seventeen, Beauty*2 and Ghosts, they are brilliant.

              • pollywog

                heh…theres heaps of ladies left off that playlist. Theres bound to be a version 2 at some stage.

                i tend to just throw an absolute shitload of them together and then pare it all back to some sort of…dunno really

                not really looked into Ladytron so much but will give em a decent go on your say so..

                chur

  3. AndyB 3

    re: wikileaks/Dalai Lama – if it’s good enough for Helen Clark so say: “My jaw dropped open when I read this rubbish, it’s absolutely incredible,”

    it’s enough to amuse that most of what was said in the cables is a pack of lies.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Its the US interpretation of NZ comments and events. You can call it a “pack of lies” but these cables get built into reports that Congress and the White House sees. So sorta important.

      Still want to know why NZ officials were briefing US diplomats on sensitive internal NZ discussions.

    • pollywog 3.2

      it’s enough to amuse that most of what was said in the cables is a pack of lies.

      politicians lying… tell me ait ain’t so !!!

      never mind that most of the wikileaks stuff has already been vetoed for all the juicy stuff so what you get is what ‘they’ want you to ‘know’….

      …amusing and worthy of gossip and thats about all.

      Politicians are the new rockstars…get used to it

      • mickysavage 3.2.1

        politicians lying… tell me ait ain’t so !!!

        Arn’t you at least a little upset?

        • pollywog 3.2.1.1

          sure, but what’s the point ?…it’s just a waste of energy if i’m not going to do anything more than whinge on the net about it.

          and like i said, it’s something i’ve come to expect from them…especially this gov’t

          • Maynard J 3.2.1.1.1

            Are you going to do anything more than whinge on the net about how people shouldn’t criticise Peter Jackson for lying?

            Maybe organise a wee rally of your own to support his right to lie and manipulate.

            Maybe hand out flyers affirming pollywog’s support for Jackson’s cynical behaviour.

            Go on, get amongst it, you won’t look ridiculous in the slightest.

            • pollywog 3.2.1.1.1.1

              People can criticize Jackson all they like for lying and so they should if they’re moved to do so but that’s not my point.

              My point is, if he hadn’t and events hadn’t transpired as they have, would we still be a viable option for big budget moviemaking and would the Hobbit have gone ahead ?

              I doubt it…do you ?

    • Bright Red 3.3

      AndyB. It would be foolish to assume that everything is wrong or exaggerated in these cables just because some things are.

      That would be like me assuming you don’t know the difference between “assume” and “amuse” just because you mixed them up in that comment.

  4. randal 4

    national knows now that they can do whatever they like while the left falls into a froth wondering why the slogans they have relied on since 1917 dont seem to work anymore.
    until the left lets go of its old ideas and tunes into the working man for its inspiration and direction then this bunch of scoundrels will have free rein.
    when the captain of the allblacks is in the paper every second day posing with the prime minister then national know their roll is almost unstoppable.
    its time for new directions all roundand time to get rid of the dweebs in the party and get some tough guys instead of spoonfed pantywaists.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    The media know where Key, McCully and Brownlee are. Normally, I agree that the media should respect the holiday time of ministers. Normally. But this government has a modus operandi of simply refusing to front up and discuss anything in the media, and ramming the change through under urgency.

    If John Key and his ministers refuse to front in the grounds they are out of town, the media should make it easier for them by going to where they are and knocking on their door. What could be more reasonable?

  6. Adrian 6

    The captain of the ABs is not posing with the PM, the PM is posing with the C of the ABs. Key is the most serial society stalker the country has ever seen to the point of being sickening. The most un-Kiwi thing I have ever seen is his autograph on a NZ soccer jersey with all the World Cup team. Shit like that has to be EARNED in NZ Key you wanker!

  7. M 7

    ‘The captain of the ABs is not posing with the PM, the PM is posing with the C of the ABs.’

    Adrian, absolutely correct – this is shameful that Kay is using the ABs as Viagra for his reputation and I’m not a rugby fan either.

    Maybe we need some British reporters to hold seminars for journos to show them how to pursue the truth of a story or situation like to constant refusal of Key to front up on anything, why no action is being taken on getting people into jobs via urgently needed public works and not greenwash cycle tracks, why no preparation is being made for peak oil, why beneficiaries get the bash to pay for his mates monthly payments on the Audi/BMW/Mercedes and weekend jaunts.

    If the press did its job, Key could conceivably be hounded out of office after being exposed for the sniveling little creep he is.

  8. prism 8

    Apparently Gerry Brownlee is feeling impatient about the slowness of the Pike Mine solution. Does this man think at all or is he just a human bulldozer with verbal abilities that give the impression that he is sentient?

    And why is John Key in Hawaii? I approved of him visiting Kaikoura earlier this year, and I think he should be turning up in a number of places in NZ and spending his money here, same for most MPs. We don’t want more overseas currency being used by consumers when our accounts are so unbalanced, and we have a domestic recession, the Leaders should be setting an example of supporting the country’s tourism and earning dollars for NZ not spending them anywhere but here.

  9. tsmithfield 9

    The government may well have no policy not to meet anyone in particular. Doesn’t mean to say they will meet with them though. If I rocked up to parliament, how far do you think I would get if I claimed that John Key had to meet with me because they had no policy that said they wouldn’t?

  10. The Voice of Reason 10

    How is the air up there, PJ? As the song says:

    You tried to put the blame on me
    You’ve got a lot of nerve
    You say you’re so lonely, well
    It’s all that you deserve

    When you get tired of your
    Love of life in high society
    Well, get some kicks and take a trip
    And come on down with me

    And everyday I’ll pass and say
    Hey!

    How is the air up there
    How is the air up there
    How is the air up there
    According to you I just don’t care
    I’m falling on the ground

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/64855/actors'-union-demands-apology-from-peter-jackson

  11. Am I aloud to say that I think all politicians should be striped naked and chained to parking meters in say Cortney Place, then left to die of exposure …. as well as letting the general public spit on them as the walk by …. also we need to get all public servants on say 100 +K a year and string them up as well.
    Those thoughts give me such a warm feeling.

  12. randal 12

    by the look on gerries face its either where are the pies or who just farted.

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    After being caught red-handed the CIA has finally admitted spying on the US Senate Committee which is investigating them for torture:The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, issued an extraordinary apology to leaders of the US Senate intelligence...
    No Right Turn | 01-08
  • Lifestyles of the rich & famous – hangin’ with Groser, McCu...
    The quarterly release of the ministerial and MP expense returns paints an interesting picture of some of our MPs. Most of our ministers, it must be said, seem to have heeded the harsh lesson of Shane Jones. The bright, shining...
    Occasionally erudite | 01-08
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Curatin’ for Your Love
    I'm pleased and intrigued that Lorde has been commissioned to curate the soundtrack for the next Hunger Games movie -- and I'd like to claim credit. Well, I can't really, but it was obvious to me after Ella picked Lorde's...
    Public Address | 01-08
  • Roads of Significance to National
    The Minister of Transport released a statement on Wednesday which boasted that traffic volumes were up, and that this was a sure sign of economic recovery: “Total travel [measured in kilometres travelled] was flat between 2005 and 2012, but growth returned in...
    Rebuilding Christchurch | 01-08
  • The problem with reporters…
    The problem with reporters, as Usain Bolt has discovered, is that they tend to record things when they want a quote. So when Mr Bolt, sprinter extraordinaire, was quoted as saying the Glasgow Commonwealth Games were “a bit shit”, and...
    Occasionally erudite | 01-08
  • World News Brief, Friday August 1
    Top of the AgendaIsrael Vows to Destroy Gaza Tunnels...
    Pundit | 01-08
  • Helen Kelly Speaks at Otago Uni AGM
    Helen Kelly NZCTU President TEU Annual General Meeting 1pm, Wednesday 13 August Moot Court, Otago University...
    Tertiary Education Union | 31-07