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Lord of the tax breaks: A history of capital flight threats

Written By: - Date published: 7:53 am, October 27th, 2010 - 87 comments
Categories: capitalism, film, tax - Tags: , , ,

Anyone who thinks that the Actors’ Equity dispute matters is a rube. Hollywood deals with unions all the time, and the Irish and UK film industries are more highly unionised than here. The truth is that this is just the same old trick of the international film industry threatening us with tax breaks if they don’t get what they want.

The 1990s National Government abolished tax breaks for films. But it post-dated the implementation until 2000 and grandfathered the breaks for the Lord of the Rings when Peter Jackson and the producers threatened to take production elsewhere. LOTR got about $200 million in tax breaks.

In 2002, Richard Taylor (Peter Jackson’s Weta co-founder), threatened the government with capital flight if the tax breaks weren’t brought back in:

“Double Oscar winner Richard Taylor says New Zealand might lose out as a film location if the Government refuses to reinstate tax incentives for visiting film productions.”

Michael Cullen wasn’t keen on the taxpayer shelling out, at gunpoint, to one industry but what’s a government to do when a genuinely international industry threatens capital flight? The Large Budget Screen Production Grant was introduced in 2003. The government has paid out about $200 million under this grant, including $45 million for Avatar.

In 2009, Peter Jackson got himself appointed to review the tax break legislation. In July this year, he recommended that big films (ie. his projects) get more tax breaks. Bill English said no.

A couple of months later, a tiny, settled union dispute suddenly becomes a huge ‘crisis’ and Jackson’s latest project stands to get more tax breaks.

Funny that.

This is what the Hollywood does. An international industry, truly global capital, playing us off against other countries.

What are we to do? Ultimately, the way to stop international capital forcing countries into a race to the bottom is to agree international rules between countries. Obviously, that’s not an immediate option. So, we’ll end up paying more to stave off the threat of capital flight because the wider economic benefit makes it worthwhile.

John Key is now desperately trying to talk down how much we can pay and trying to act blase about whether or not the filming happens here. He resembles a middle ages traveler trying to nonchalantly hide some of his jewels from the highwayman. But Key bears responsibility for talking up the ‘crisis’ as an opportunity to cynically put the boot into unions.

It is Key’s responsibility to keep the Hobbit in New Zealand at as little cost as possible, and certainly without some tin-pot dictatorship-style change to employment law.

PS. Funny to see Key, after the meeting, admitting that one of the reasons Warner Bros wants more money from us is the high NZD/USD exchange rate. Key had earlier dismissed that idea when Trevor Mallard raised it. Who’s the money market expert now?

87 comments on “Lord of the tax breaks: A history of capital flight threats”

  1. Adrian 1

    Spot on, Marty. If only paid “journalists” could be as concise. I have noticed this morning questions are starting to be asked about “kowtowing” and dancing to multi-nationals tune. About time.

    • Marty G 1.1

      I think once this issue is done, the msm journos will need to sit down and ask themselves, once again, if they are too quick to accept the word of authority figures like Jackson and the PM. I doubt it will happen.

      The only independent analysis that hasn’t taken any players’ word for granted that I’ve seen has been here (mostly Irish’s excellent pieces) and Gordon Campbell.

      The way the soft-left liberal elitists like Russell Brown, Lew, and (if he’s feeling left today) Danyl have automatically sided with Jackson because they admire him as an artist just shows that kind of person is not the future of the Left.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.1

        Russell Brown is more of a producer himself these days. No wonder he threw journalism out of the window.

        • rich 1.1.1.1

          It’s the geek agenda. They’re all very liberal unless it conflicts with their comfortable consumer desires.

          So China is a democracy full of empowered workers churning out Apple kit and flatscreen tellies, etc, etc.

          Employee rights are nothing against the imperative to have a big budget NZ movie that will make Americans respect us on Twitter.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.2

        The only independent analysis that hasn’t taken any players’ word for granted that I’ve seen has been here (mostly Irish’s excellent pieces)

        Marty, how about you guys set up a media syndication company, and allow your pieces to be picked up under license by both foreign media and local newspapers. For free or for some minimal charge.

        And they will pick it up, even as a space filler, and The Standard will be represented in the otherwise shite MSM.

        Especially since what goes up on The Standard gives a far more complete NZ context and history to current events than any other media pieces ever do.

      • bobo 1.1.3

        As they say never meet your heroes…

  2. IrishBill 2

    The LA times announced the work ban was lifted on the 20th. That’s the 19th our time. The day before it all blew up again: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2010/10/sag-ends-boycott-of-the-hobbit.html

    (just in case anyone still thought the dispute was live at the time)

    • AndyB 2.1

      wouldn’t that be the 21st our time?
      the US are behind us, not ahead.

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      Yes 21st our time. They are a day behind us. That’s how we get to have movie premiers and iPads first – sometimes.

    • Lanthanide 2.3

      At the bottom of the latest stuff article on the whole thing, PJ says that it was the unions that shot first:

      ” Meanwhile, Sir Peter Jackson today released a letter which he said proved the actors’ unions had already decided to blacklist The Hobbit before requesting a conversation with him.

      The letter, from The International Federation of Actors, was sent to the US directors of production company 3 Foot 7 Ltd on August 17, warning that the federation had instructed its members no to act in the film until the producers had entered into bargaining with the union.

      Sir Peter said that letter was the first time he had been made aware of the issue.

      “It was the first time a meeting was ever requested and it was clear from the letter they had already voted to blacklist us, before even asking for one conversation with me,” he said.”

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/4275149/Hobbit-used-to-push-through-law-changes-CTU

      • Blighty 2.3.1

        Lan. For the last time, this is not about some little union, whose dispute is already over.

        You need your head read if you think that a $670 million project that has already spent $100 million here would move over something like that.

        Incidentally, whatever happened the The Dambusters? This isn’t the only Jackson (or ‘PJ’, as Lan lovingly calls him) project that has money woes.

        • Lanthanide 2.3.1.1

          In my opinion, the whole thing was *started* by the union. I agree that it does look like the studio is taking the opportunity to extort extra money out of us, but that doesn’t absolve the union of any blame.

          Also your use of $670M NZ instead of $500M US is telling – the exchange rate really isn’t in our favour at the moment.

          Finally, I wrote “PJ” as a shorthand to save time, not because I have any great affection for the man.

          • Blighty 2.3.1.1.1

            wait, it this all the union’s fault or is it the exchange rate?

            Or are we looking at history of behaviour from Hollywood with the union ‘issue’ just an excuse to try to screw more money from us?

            If you want it to be the union’s fault you have to show causation – how a now settled dispute with a small union could cause a $670 million production to write-off $100 million of investment and move elsewhere.

            • mcflock 2.3.1.1.1.1

              “sorry I mugged you, mate, but they got me so riled up by being reasonable. So actually THEY’RE the ones who mugged you”.

            • Lanthanide 2.3.1.1.1.2

              It’s called “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

              • Colonial Viper

                Jackson’s mishandling of industrial relations in NZ to the extent a boycott was called pissed his US handlers off, and I suggest the fact that they had to become involved to firefight was what ‘broke the camels back’.

                • Lanthanide

                  From my post 2.3, quote of Jackson:

                  “It was the first time a meeting was ever requested and it was clear from the letter they had already voted to blacklist us, before even asking for one conversation with me,” he said.”

                  Yeah, he really mishandled those industrial relations by somehow not reading the unions mind that they wanted a meeting before they started the boycott…

                  • Zorr

                    As has already been pointed out many times Lanth, this industrial spat between actors and producers has been many years in the brewing. Jackson could have always sidestepped any issues by being aware of the employment issues in his native country where he likes to make his films and making sure to engage rather than just react.

                    At the moment though it has boiled down to a “he said, she said argument”. However, the unions have shared their emails, would love to see PJs inbox so that he could verify that his recounting of events is accurate. So far he has only been shown as, at best, an incompetent manager or, at worst, a vicious minion of the American film industry.

          • wtl 2.3.1.1.2

            The flaw in this reasoning is no one knows what REALLY would have happened if the union had not done anything. It is very easy for WB to say, “oh, we would have filmed in NZ if it wasn’t for the boycott in the first place”, but given their record of being misleading (at best), can you really count on this being the truth? I’m betting they would have found some other issue to make a fuss about if it wasn’t for the boycott. Sure, perhaps it would have been more difficult for them get the NZ public on their side but I’m betting that their PR team could have twisted things their way, regardless.

        • William 2.3.1.2

          “Incidentally, whatever happened the The Dambusters?”

          That’s a good question. It’s been confirmed since at least 2006.

          And as an example of their desire to create work for NZers, this story is interesting
          Takeoff looms for Dambusters “It took a large crew a week to put together the replica, which is one of 10 designed by Weta Workshop and built in China out of fibreglass and steel.” Given the NZ expertise in yacht construction with composite materials there must be some special reason they had them built in China. Money perhaps?

  3. Bored 3

    Truly splendid Marty!

    Judge: “Defendant at the Bar: you have been found not guilty of the charges of Treason brought against you and Union members and are free to leave this place”.

    Council for Defense: “What about costs m’lord?”

    Judge: ” $1 and dont come before me again or I wont be this lenient……..”

  4. burt 4

    Michael Cullen wasn’t keen on the taxpayer shelling out, at gunpoint, to one industry but what’s a government to do when a genuinely international industry threatens capital flight?

    Yes nothing has changed since 2003, just the red team don’t clap and cheer the decision because it wasn’t the red team making it.

    • Marty G 4.1

      no. nothing has changed. The logic of Labour reintroducing the tax breaks and National being forced to extend them now is the same – a country with the gun of capital flight to its head.

      I’m not criticising National for looking at extending the tax breaks.

      I am criticising them for trying to use this issue to bash the unions and, in doing so, make the ‘crisis’ worse, which will ultimately increase the cost to us.

      • burt 4.1.1

        The employment terms and conditions that the LOTR movies were made under were obviously acceptable to the unions at the time but clearly something has changed. Other than having a blue team in govt, what makes the unions so determined to change the terms and conditions this time?

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          Because the NZ industry is maturing in its complexity and diversity.

          The actors want to be treated on a par with their colleagues in more established, successful, first world filming countries like Australia, US, Canada, UK, Ireland in terms of having industry agreed minimum terms and conditions. Whereas Jackson and the studios want the industrial relations situation in this country to stay the same as it was 10 years ago.

        • Blighty 4.1.1.2

          I’m impressed by burt’s inability to argue in a straight line. He accuses marty of hypocrisy on tax breaks, has it pointed out that there is no hypocrisy because marty’s position is the same, and so he starts going on about the irrelevant union issue.

          the idea that workers demand better pay and conditions merely to embarrass a rightwing government is laughable.

        • Lanthanide 4.1.1.3

          The legal ruling by the supreme court that said even though a contract says you are a ‘contractor’, if you’re actually working as an employee you’re really an employee. That’s what has changed (amongst other things).

          • Adders 4.1.1.3.1

            There’s been case law that has established that for decades, long before the now often cited example from 2005 involving a worker on LOTR. Nothing has changed in that regard.

            • Lanthanide 4.1.1.3.1.1

              Except now it is more obviously visible, and with a supreme court ruling it is more of a precedent.

              Visibility obviously doesn’t change the law, but it does mean Joe Bloggs who is sick of slaving away suddenly thinks “hey, why can’t I sue my employer under breach of employment law” whereas previously they might’ve just resigned.

            • Blighty 4.1.1.3.1.2

              yeah, not sure why that case is being regarded as something new, apart from that it applies directly to the film industry.

              It has always been the case that if you are in fact working as an employee it doesn’t matter if your contract claims you are a contractor

          • Irascible 4.1.1.3.2

            Isn’t this the reason ShonKey told the Herald was the real reason for Warners and Jackson threatening to go elsewhere. The root cause being the Employment court case against Weta which was decided in favour of the employee whose “contractor” status was regarded as a fiction under NZ law. Warners doesn’t like the NZ law so have pressured “Scuttle & Run Key” to change the law in their favour. Bang goes our independence as a Nation.

  5. vto 5

    I would like to produce some goods for selling overseas too. I need a foreign investor to pay for the production of these goods. It will emply many many and be around for a lot longer than one silly movie. Can I get the same tax breaks? If not, why not?

    • Blighty 5.1

      because you can’t take your $670 million investment to another country that will offer better breaks if you don’t get them here.

      international capitalism, baby, you’ve got to love it.

  6. tc 6

    The stage is set for Sideshow to enhance his position, bash some unions, claim he saved the Hobbitt movies and associate it with his minister of tourism mandate….all it’ll cost is a few hundred million taxpayers dollars….jeez just like he’s dealing again, someone else’s money and he can’t lose.

    Wonder how teachers and others feel about this when they can’t even get CPI, maybe they should form a film company and try a different approach.

  7. ianmac 7

    A comment on Morning Report was that many overseas employers admired the NZ way that “a painter could also handle a screw-driver, or change a light bulb.” (A soldier I know did a stint at the American Antarctic base. He said they wowed the Americans because the Kiwis could handle a range of jobs where the Americans were specialists.) This may be a factor in the mix of desirability of the Hobbits here?

    • Carol 7.1

      I thought such comparisons betwen NZ screen industry workers and US ones, had to do with the unionisation of the industry in the US. With the unions came a strong job demarcation ruling in the US. Consequently kiwi crews doing a range of jobs is due to their relative lack of unionisation. eg for US crews, a sfx person can’t lift lighting equipment.

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    “Hobbit folk grovel to feudal movie lords

    “The Hobbit is about a bunch of peasants living simple feudal lives. The way we’re behaving, where else but New Zealand could it be filmed?”

    This is a classic from Rudman in the New Zealand Herald.

    • M 8.1

      CV, an excellent piece by Brian especially his descrptions of Campbell and Holmes. Saw Q+A and wondered which exterminator had sprayed Holmes because he really was crazier than a sprayed roach.

      It’s hard to know who is the better actor Key or Jackson or should that be catamite?

      • Tigger 8.1.1

        “he really was crazier than a sprayed roach” – superb description M. And accurate.

  9. Joe Bloggs 9

    spot on Marty! Great post!

    You’ve adopted an approach that my 7 year old would be proud of. Caught red-handed with the shattered vase “it wasn’t me! It blew off the mantleshelf! There was an earthquake! It overheated and spontaneously shattered!”

    Ever think that the unions maybe, just maybe, fucked up big time and created this situation when they started their collective bargaining by detonating their boycott neutron bomb?

    And bullshit to the colonial asps, lootas, and leftards who claim “but the boycott was called off” – have you ever tried undetonating a neutron bomb?

    • Bright Red 9.1

      Warners, according to Key, are demanding two things:

      1) that contractors can’t become employees, which relates to the 2005 case of a Weta contractor/employee

      2) more tax breaks

      nothing to do with the union.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    Evidence the actors union has been telling porkies

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      meh. I’m waiting for an independent investigation instead of responding to Jackson’s spinmeister’s timed drips and dribbles.

      • Roflcopter 10.1.1

        Didn’t stop you spouting rubbish for the past week or so, based on the lies of the MEAA, AE and CTU.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          Oh, lies like the NZPA and The Hollywood Reporter saying that they had seen emails discussing an agreement between all the parties days *before* Jackson came out with his PR broadsides?

    • Blighty 10.2

      who gives a crap about the union? This is all about the producers wanting more tax breaks.

    • ianmac 10.3

      Or that the operation was disjointed. With so many factions it would be possible for the message sent not being received by the right people. Stuff-ups rather than deception or conspiracy.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    So, we’ll end up paying more to stave off the threat of capital flight because the wider economic benefit makes it worthwhile.

    No, really, it doesn’t. We don’t need the capital as we have enough in NZ already to produce films.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      And we’d be better off developing our own contacts in independent film distribution etc, instead of being the third world cocoa bean grower who gets ripped off by the corporates simply because the corporates have the distribution and retail networks.

  12. Bright Red 12

    can’t help but notice the Right has gone a lot quieter. 500+ comments when it was all the union’s fault. Now the truth is out and they’re embarrassed into silence.

    • James 12.1

      Either that or they got sick of arguing with idiots.

    • AndyB 12.2

      oh it’s still the unions fault alright. if the global boycott wasn’t made as a threat to the film none of this would be happening. i suspect that the right are just sick of arguing with blinkered union hacks.

      • Blighty 12.2.1

        rubbish. Jackson was calling for higher tax breaks in July. read the post.

        • AndyB 12.2.1.1

          bollocks …. that has nothing to do with why warners are here now. The threat of moving the movie off shore had nothing at all to do with what you are talking about. It is a DIRECT result of the global boycott.

          boycott lifted, boycott not lifted, lifted on this date, lifted on that date … makes no difference. it is a direct result of the boycott being actioned in the first place.

          • wtl 12.2.1.1.1

            The boycott is the excuse they are using. No one knows for sure what would have happened if there had been no boycott. See 2.3.1.1.2

    • Joe Bloggs 12.3

      can’t help but notice the Right has gone a lot quieter. 500+ comments when it was all the union’s fault. Now the truth is out and they’re embarrassed into silence.

      Nup, it is still the union’s fault – we’re just sick and tired of banging our heads against brick walls over here…

      So why is it the union’s fault? Because they instigated their neutron bomb call for a global boycott on the same day (August 17th) that they first made their request to meet with the producers to discussthe conditions under which performers would be engaged. That’s the truth that Helen Kelly’s been so frugal with.

      All the other talk of conspiracy theories is intellectually bankrupt – signs of a Left in total disarray.

  13. James 13

    Well, on KB, all the idiots usually agree with each other.

  14. Carol 14

    Brent Edwards pointed out, on one of this morning’s Nat Rad news bulletins, that the emails show Warners was pretty happy to accept the unions decision to end actions. BE said the emails show it was Jackson who suggested to Warners not to accept the union decision, and that Jackson has a lot of clout in influencing Warners. BE also said Jackson seems to have a fairly direct line of access to John Key.

    • Zorr 14.1

      And yet the narrative will continue with “Sir” Peter Jackson being NZs Messiah. Can we just get past this bit already and nail him to a tree?

    • Lanthanide 14.2

      That’s very interesting.

    • Colonial Viper 14.3

      Warners execs would probably defer to Jackson’s local knowledge on minor industrial matters.

      Especially if Jackson told Warner he could probably, ahem, influence NZ tax payers out of an extra $20-30M in tax breaks.

      Waiting for evidence of this, direct or circumstantial, to come out. Sir Jackson is no NZ saint, just a NZ capitalist.

      • Jim Nald 14.3.1

        I wonder if I will be soon emailing a certainly newly knighted national (and National?) icon …

        Dear Saruman
        There was a time, when you would walk with us in Wellywood, but now, you have a mind of metal and wheels … and of independent contractor agreements and tax breaks.”

  15. Kevin Welsh 15

    I’m loving how this is playing out today. Finally all of Warners motivations are becoming clear

    I think it’s fair to say on the financial side there’s a fair bit of hardball being played on both sides.

    “We have the capacity to move a little bit, but we don’t have the capacity to write out cheques that we can’t afford to cash.”

    He said if it was “just a matter of dollars and cents” the Government was not prepared to bridge the gap between what other countries offered and the 15 per cent tax breaks available here.

    He said Warner Bros was asking for “lots” and the Government was offering “not lots”.

    And there I was thinking it was down to those pesky bloody unions again and money had nothing to do with it. I wonder if Key has taken a look at the latest Stuff Poll, that great bastion of popular opinion the RWNJ’s so love?

    He (Key) signalled that the Government was almost sure to change the law to clarify when someone was a contractor and when they were an employee, but would not say whether it would apply just to the two Hobbit films, the film sector in general or all workers.

    This must be like manna from heaven to NACT at the moment. How often do you get the opportunity to change the employment law of this country and a large part of the population love you for it?

    • Jim Nald 15.1

      I’ve posted a comment in another context that would equally apply here …

      Our wonderful PM has such great abilities that while he makes love to one party (eg Warner B), the other (eg union) feels fucked.

      Regardless of that, the NZ people will be left holding the cost of the baby (whether tax break or employment law change).

    • jbanks 15.2

      “And there I was thinking it was down to those pesky bloody unions again and money had nothing to do with it.”
      Come on dopey, use your brain. The money isn’t a separate issue from the unions. The unions incompetency forced WB’s hand. WB’s are accountable to their investors.

      As your comrade Colonial Viper pointed out:
      And by the way, what is making industrial action during the filming of the Hobbit illegal going to achieve?

      So tell me again how the Govt fixed a financial risk caused by the union if they haven’t financially covered this risk ?

      • wtl 15.2.1

        No WB would be doing it anyway. The boycott was just an excuse. There would have found a different excuse if it wasn’t for the boycott.

        • jbanks 15.2.1.1

          Unless you have evidence that this process had begun, then it’s just baseless speculation.

          And even if this were true, a WB initiated money grab would have been a totally different ball game and we would not be in the situation where we are obligated to pay them more because of the unions incompetence.

          • Chess Player 15.2.1.1.1

            Amazing isn’t it how most of the people on this blog have these ingrained perceptions…

            Union = unbelievably amazing and right all the time
            Employers = mean spirited sociopaths, out to do us all
            Employees = the only idealogically pure way to provide services to another
            Independent Contractors = dangerous free thinkers
            Unemployed = unlucky
            Government = the saviour of us all

            • lprent 15.2.1.1.1.1

              I think that you’re just in a lazy wish-fufilment mode (like so many on the right). Rather than actually read what people are saying, you simply write what you think that they’re saying.

              I read these comments and posts all of the time and there is a hell of lot of critical analysis that doesn’t follow your daft model.

              However when we get some trolls through (like yourself), it becomes apparent that they are simply missing their comforting dog-whistle security blanket of everyone mindlessly chanting the same thing all of the time. You in particular appear to be incapable of developing and maintaining a coherent argument.

              Which of course is why you get few replies to your comments. There is nothing to debate because it is just idiotic slogans, unsubstantiated assertions, and the rantings of a fool…

          • wtl 15.2.1.1.2

            It is no more baseless than assuming everything would have been just fine if it wasn’t for the boycott.

            WB would have just made up a different excuse, use their PR people (and Peter Jackson) to sell it and we would be in a similar position as we are now.

  16. bobo 16

    I’m angry now that this film will weaken possibly every kiwis worker rights, talk about Key killing 3 Fell beasts with one stone. Whats the bet this will all end up on a hobbit directors cut limited edition bluray extra showing the evil unions (cue slow motion unflattering shot of Helen Kelly) vs the adoring PJ street protests with epic orchestral background track subjectively edited in the post production with monologue by PJ on how the film nearly got canned because of a tiny union.

  17. Betty 17

    Interesting that the government is happy to go offshore for corrections officers’ uniforms and rolling stock for the rail system, yet it dances around Warner Bros like this. Are film makers jobs the only ones they’re trying to save?

  18. just saying 18

    http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2010/10/we-are-not-for-the-hobbit-workers-and-we-are-not-against-them-labour-party.html#more

    Bryce Edwards asking why Labour is straddling the fence on the Hobbit situation rather than supporting the unfairly blamed and maligned workers.

    At first I thought it was good that Labour was keeping out of the issue on the grounds of not providing any more fuel to the fire in the hope it would burn itself out. But now it’s looking like more of the same from the party that so recently pledged change.

    On an unrelated note, Edwards is describing Standardista ‘Carol’ as a Labour Party activist, and she might want to have a word….

    • Bright Red 18.1

      Edwards is behind the times as usual. From newsroom:

      “Labour leader Mr Goff said the dispute was all about money and that the unions had walked into a trap.

      He challenged the Government’s position that the actors unions’ aborted boycott of the films and the law around independent contractors and employees was the root of the studio’s concerns and said people should “follow the money”.

      “Let’s be honest about this; we know it’s not about the industrial law, it’s about dollars,” Mr Goff said..

      “It’s about the exchange rate being at 75 cents American. That costs the film company money and it’s about the profit they can make and whether there will be a bigger subsidy from another country than the $60 million New Zealand has offered.”

      The unions had not handled it well and had walked straight into a trap. Their threatened action had been withdrawn and was no longer the issue.

      “They set out to make a negotiating bid and then they were used as a reason for why The Hobbit might be lost to New Zealand. I think the real reason is purely economic; it’s the bottom line for the company.”

      It would be a big mistake for Warners to choose another location because New Zealand had the expertise, experience and proven power to deliver, Mr Goff said.”

      like you say, it did make sense for Labour to stay out, until now.

      • just saying 18.1.1

        Kudos Phil!!

        • just saying 18.1.1.1

          Do you have a link for Goff’s statement Bright Red?
          I’ve been searching all over the place for it – including scoop which usually carries every press release. Nothing on the tele news either

          • Carol 18.1.1.1.1

            Thanks for the tip, just saying. The references to me kind of made me chuckle as I’ve never been a member of any party, and voted Green party last 2 elections.

            Anyway, I’m pleased to see Goff making a statement, along with Mallard and the Greens are questioning the proposed employment law change.

            Goff was on TV3 news a little while ago on this item:
            http://www.3news.co.nz/Warner-Bros-seeks-more-cuts-for-The-Hobbit/tabid/423/articleID/183389/Default.aspx

            But the union found support in Phil Goff – he claimed they walked into a trap.

            “I think they set out to make a negotiating bid, and then they were used as a reason why The Hobbit might be lost from New Zealand. I think the real reason is purely economic. It’s the bottom line for the company,” Goff says.

            • just saying 18.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks for the link, I’m glad to see Goff doing the right thing, does my heart good.

              My instincts were right – I picked you for a green rather than a Labour voter.

              • Carol

                Heh. Fairly accurate perception, then JS. Generally I’m a leftie and don’t have an a long-term commitment to any party. It depends on what’s on offer, especially with MMP. I might have voted Alliance if I’d been in NZ back then. In the UK I always voted Labour, because voting any other way would have, de facto, been a vote for Thatcher, or Major. I have voted for Laila Harre in the past, too.

  19. I’d tell warners and jackson to take their movie and shove it. Go somewhere else and make it.

    Fuck Key currying their favour with tax breaks. It had nothing to do with him. As soon as the gov’t made noises about tax breaks the producers knew he was an easy mark for it. And of course dipton dipshit will just roll over and let the foreigners scratch his soft underbelly if key says so.

    One good thing is changing labour laws will give the unions a stronger base to argue from in the future as more people will be unwilling to accept shit contractor conditions if it’s spelled out in no uncertain terms what they’re liable for and what they’re not covered by in their employment contracts.

    Hopefully the unions will garner more support now and film workers will band together to negotiate collectively on any future projects and hold out to become employees if they so wish.

  20. Anne 20

    Our very own ‘Porkie’ PM is holding a press conference at 7.20pm this evening. I wonder what lies he’s going to tell us tonight?

    • Carol 20.1

      Hmmm. I wonder if Key will decide his focus groups are not keen on extra financial sweetners, so that he’ll cut Warners loose, blame the unions & change the employment law anyway?

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    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    6 days ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    6 days ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    7 days ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    7 days ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    7 days ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Moko case should never have been manslaughter deal
    Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.“This should never have been a case where… ...
    1 week ago
  • Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices
    The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Documents obtained… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Key plucks $3b out of thin air – reckless and irresponsible
    John Key refuses to give up on his dream of tax cuts to the wealthy, despite being shot down by Bill English, and is resorting to plucking numbers out of thin air, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “On radio… ...
    1 week ago
  • John Key woefully out of touch on homelessness
    John Key is completely out of touch if he thinks desperate South Auckland families forced to live in cars can simply go to Work and Income for help, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Many of these families are working and… ...
    1 week ago
  • Under-reporting shows need to review quota system
    The Government must launch an independent review into New Zealand’s 30-year-old Quota Management System following a new report suggesting gross under-reporting of catch in the New Zealand fishing industry, Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker says.  “The Auckland University report found… ...
    1 week ago
  • Investigations into tertiary institutions overdue
    A Tertiary Education Commission investigation into the Tai Poutini Polytechnic is overdue and should have been launched last year, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “Labour has been calling for an inquiry into potential rorts at Tai Poutini… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Investigations into tertiary institutions overdue
    A Tertiary Education Commission investigation into the Tai Poutini Polytechnic is overdue and should have been launched last year, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “Labour has been calling for an inquiry into potential rorts at Tai Poutini… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the fair share for most New Zealanders?
    Most New Zealanders reading the news that chief executive pay has risen 12 per cent in the last year will be wondering when they are going to get their fair share, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “More and more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the fair share for most New Zealanders?
    Most New Zealanders reading the news that chief executive pay has risen 12 per cent in the last year will be wondering when they are going to get their fair share, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “More and more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Mega media merger is bad news
    Some people call newspapers “tomorrow’s fish and chips” but this week’s news around a mega media merger is not an issue we should discard. Media giants Fairfax and APN News & Media announced they were in discussions to merge their… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • Mega media merger is bad news
    Some people call newspapers “tomorrow’s fish and chips” but this week’s news around a mega media merger is not an issue we should discard. Media giants Fairfax and APN News & Media announced they were in discussions to merge their… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • National puts Easter trading in the too hard basket
    All Labour MPs will vote against National’s move to leave Easter trading laws up to councils, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain-Lees Galloway says.  “Despite this being a conscience vote, Labour MPs are united in their opposition to the Government’s moves… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National puts Easter trading in the too hard basket
    All Labour MPs will vote against National’s move to leave Easter trading laws up to councils, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain-Lees Galloway says.  “Despite this being a conscience vote, Labour MPs are united in their opposition to the Government’s moves… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Law Commission speaks up for domestic violence survivors
    I want to give kudos to the Minister for Justice for getting the Law Commission to review options for how our justice system responds when victims of domestic violence kill their partners. This is a relatively discrete piece of work… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago

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