Remember way back when the government were changing the law to take rights off film workers and increase tax breaks for Warners? It was all about keeping Kiwi jobs they said.
Well it turns out that at the same time they were doing this they were also making promises to Peter Jackson that those Kiwi jobs would be given to imported workers.
Usually when workers are brought into New Zealand by an employer they need to prove that the skills they are bringing are not available in New Zealand. And if there’s union coverage in the industry that union gets to vet the applications and make a case against them if they believe there is no skills shortage.
Thanks to this secret deal this system no longer applies to Jackson/Warners.
Despite this situation the good news would be that imported workers would be bound by NZ employment law, maybe even a collective if there was one. At the very least these minimum standards would ensure that they couldn’t undermine local workers.
However the government’s change to the law covering film-workers means (as far as I can tell) that Jackson/Warners are free to import workers as contractors – contractors who could legally be contracted on terms and conditions below New Zealand’s minimum standards.
I’d be very interested to know how many workers were being imported under this deal and what kind of terms and conditions they’ve been given. But seeing as it’s taken more than a year to find out about this shoddy affair I doubt we’ll ever know just what the results of the government’s secret deal have been.