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Some clarity on the Hobbit dispute

Written By: - Date published: 8:58 pm, October 23rd, 2010 - 103 comments
Categories: business - Tags: , , , , , , ,

With all of the shit flying around the hobbit dispute it I decided to ring a few contacts and find out what’s actually happening. And I’ve got to say it’s a bloody labyrinthine situation.

On October the 13th Actors Equity, SPADA, the CTU and Gerry Brownlee meet and negotiated a memorandum of understanding (apparently the CTU SPADA drafted it). Part of the deal was that the advice not to sign would be called off. AE advised they’d meet with their executive to sign this MoU off but this was considered a formality. It was a done deal. So much of a done deal Gerry Brownlee felt compelled to release a statement hinting at it.

As a (very) interested party to the dispute Warners was informed of this straight away. As was Jackson. By Sunday (our time) AE had formally agreed and by Monday there was a joint media release in train. Warners said they wanted to hold this release back to make sure everything was lined up when it was released.

All this was in the emails the Herald and RNZ reported on but I’ve been told that, for legal reasons, they will never be officially released.

The night of Wednesday the 20th (our time) Richard Taylor led his crew on the protest in Wellington. It sounds like it is unlikely he was told about the deal before he led the march.

On the morning of the 21st Peter Jackson announced that Warners were considering taking the Hobbit offshore because of industrial uncertainty. At that time he knew that a deal had been done and the ban had been called off.

Jackson’s announcement was as much of a surprise to the government as it was to the union (and, I suspect, to SPADA). A point which goes a long way to explaining why Brownlee sounded so unsure of himself on Morning Report on Thursday and why he and Bill English, and John Key all had different stories about the situation throughout the next couple of days (there must have been panic on the 9th floor at the time).

It also explains why Kelly claimed the government was being bullied.

There’s still a bit to play out now but everyone I talked to said the smart money is on the Government increasing the tax breaks to keep the film here. Given Fran O’Sullivan was already softening the ground for this today, I’d tend to agree.

There’s no doubt this is a hell of a mess and I expect the government will try to land it at the feet of the union because if they don’t it’s going to look like they got their arm twisted by a big Hollywood studio. And to be fair, AE were pretty amateur hour on this one.

But they weren’t the only ones, the truth seems to be that New Zealand got taken by a well organised and very aggressive production studio. And all for a tax-break that probably should have been offered in the first place. It just goes to show there’s no business like show business.

103 comments on “Some clarity on the Hobbit dispute”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Frankly what a shower of shit our media is….between yourself IB, and Gordon Campbell, you two have been almost the only sane and reliable voices in this whole mess.

  2. Agreed RedLogix.

    Irish’s post from October 2 erringly predicts what will happen.

    The link is at http://thestandard.org.nz/some-advice-for-actors-equity/

    Reading this and then reviewing subsequent events is scary.

    IrishBill take a bow.

    • IrishBill 2.1

      I’d rather have been wrong on this one.

      • pollywog 2.1.1

        As more of the facts enter the public sphere most Kiwis will support the actors

        terms and conditions in the film industry have been pretty bad for a long time now

        I’d rather you were right with these claims.

      • SHG 2.1.2

        Item 7 “Talk to the CTU” was not good advice 🙂

        The CTU itself should have been given your list, Irish.

        • IrishBill 2.1.2.1

          By the time the CTU got involved it was a straightforward negotiation to get it settled. And it was settled. I doubt they expected to be attacked a week after the deal was done.

  3. Carol 3

    Thanks. Very interesting. What is the evidence that Jackson knew about the emails and/or that the boycott had been called off when he made the press statement on Thursday 21st am?

    The thing that most got my back up on Thursday morning, was the interview I listened to live on Nine-To-Noon, with Fran Walsh & Phillippa Boyens. I was especially irked because I had been to the union rally the day before. Boyens & Walsh were heavily bashing the union & I was totally disgusted by it. Later of course, we learned that the boycott had been called off but not publicly declared.

    I just listened again to the beginning of the interview, just now.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/20101021

    Walsh & Boyens start by saying Jackson had made the press statement especially because Helen Kelly was spreading misinformation. Ryan asked if Kelly’s statement about the boycott being off was true. Boyens/Walsh says, “Let’s be clear. The boycott has not been lifted. And that’s one of the reasons we wrote that statement. And Helen Kelly, no matter how much she said it, it’s not true.”

    She cites as evidence that it is still on the SAG site that the Hobbit is blacklisted. So then Boyens/Walsh says that (from Kelly) is “just more misinformation.” ie pretty much saying that Kelly had a pattern of spreading misinformation.

    If, as you say, IB, Jackson knew the boycott was off, then Boyens & Walsh were doing exactly what they were smearing Kelly for doing… spreading misinformation. By pointing to the statement on the SAG site, they weren’t lying, but they were being economical with the truth, if they knew of the emails or lifted boycott.

    If it is confirmed that Team Jackson knew about the emails, I doubt I will ever think much of them again. It was so soon after the union day of action, I felt the Boyens/Walsh union bashing was helping to undermine unions generally.

    • IrishBill 3.1

      I’ve been told that Jackson was in the email loop. I haven’t seen them myself but I’d find it hard to believe that a whole week would pass without him being told about the deal.

      • Carol 3.1.1

        I kind of suspected that. But even without that knowledge, Boyens & Walsh were VERY nasty about Kelly. It wasn’t just what they said, but the tone of voice, and the way they first and foremost directly targetted her. It was viscous. Walsh & Boyens did themselves and their cause no credit.

        • SHG 3.1.1.1

          Did either of them call her a spoiled brat?

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.2

          Almost sounds like evidence of serious personal animosity between the women. Interesting.

          • Carol 3.1.1.2.1

            Well Kelly’s involvement adds some Kiwi organisational strength to the tin-pot AE union. And it makes it harder to claim that it’s all been orchestrated by that nasty Aussie union. Just made it a little more difficult to play the actors’ unions in forwarding their main agenda by undermining the union.

        • aj 3.1.1.3

          Agreed. The RNZ interview was so anti-Kelly it was almost bizzare. The thought of ‘jack-up’ was the first thing to come to mind. After the TV interviews on 1 & 3 that night, looked so badly acted that it just confirmed to my mind this is an attempt to discredit unions in general, and by association Andrew Little & Labour.
          The fact that Kelly’s version is right leaves me with no respect for the PJ crowd.

  4. Gina 4

    I think the right wing corporte division of our media are getting into attack mode re labours recent improved polling. Hopefully enough kiwis can see through them by now. Even National supporters I’ve spoken to have picked up on the fact that the media are giving labour and Phill Goff hell. One problem with Goff is that certain National party supporters know that if they destroy him before the next election Labour doesn’t have anyone else. They appear to be intent on hacking Labour into a million pieces before 2011. Stick together and don’t let them do it.

    Never watched Paul Henry much ( cause I don’t like him ) and had no idea that he had put himself forward for selection to stand for the National Party previously. How many viewers do you think were aware of that? We should at least know if there is a strong party political association with media front people. Maybe I’m the last one to know.

    • IrishBill 4.1

      I think the timing is coincidental to the union rallies as I can’t see why Warners would care. Henry didn’t stand for selection. He was National’s candidate in the Wairarapa – not that I can see that’s got anything to do with this dispute. I disagree with your hypothesis that the media is out for Labour.

      • Gina 4.1.1

        “Henry didn’t stand for selection. He was National’s candidate in the Wairarapa – not that I can see that’s got anything to do with this dispute.”

        Sorry that was OT.

        “I disagree with your hypothesis that the media is out for Labour.”

        This is my belief yes but its not just my theory. As I said both National and Labour party people have told me they see this. Its not like Ive been asking them, they volunteered their opinions. That doesnt prove I’m right I guess.

        • IrishBill 4.1.1.1

          Nah, you’re right. It was certainly the case for a while but I think things are changing now.

          • Gina 4.1.1.1.1

            Yeh I’m right and so are you as it has been changing. Hope it continues.

            • mcflock 4.1.1.1.1.1

              On a slight tangent I think that while the MSM support the money parties wherever possible, they need to tread carefully to keep viewers. Sooner or later they have to admit there’s an elephant right in front of them.

              And when they do it feels good to be finally validated.

              I can recall Letterman when he switched from “the president is our holiest god ever”-type commentary into just ripping seven kinds of sh*t out of GW B*sh. And then of course there’s the story about Johnson watching Cronkite’s coverage of Tet – and basically acknowledging defeat when he saw he no longer had the support of the MSM.

    • Vicky32 4.2

      Aside from Henry, all I know about is Duncan Garner + ACT… (3 News… we used to call him Fatty Garner, but he lost weight exactly when his business partner Wodders did!) Tee hee..
      Deb

  5. Tammy Gordon 5

    And as feared yesterday, there was no TV coverage about the emails and whether Warners & co have been playing with a straight bat on the news tonight. I may have missed it but as far as I could tell there was no coverage at all on the hobbit dispute – which has led almost every news bulletin for the past 3 days – except for a feel-good quickie story on TV One’s News at 8 about the let’s-put-this-behind-us and-save-the-hobbit-march,featuring a real life film industry worker ie no name.

    To be fair, the networks are probably scared shitless of WB wiping them off the face of the planet in a libel case.

  6. I reckon if there’s tax breaks on the table it’ll be because brownlee put ’em there when it wasn’t needed and way after the studio knew the actors couldn’t hold their position.

    i doubt there was any real chance the movie was going anywhere else. It was NZ or nowhere. Jackson or no-one.

    ‘smile and wave’ will have his work cut out making himself look like anything like the saviour of anything, let alone ‘the hobbit’, cos whatever deals on offer have been done by now.

    why would warners even bother meeting the smiling waving one ? its got fuck all to do with him !!!

    next week will be all about reassurance and reconciliation.

    Jackson 1- actors nil….deal with it

  7. tsmithfield 7

    I tend to agree with you Irish. NZ is getting played here. I don’t actually like it happening to us. However, I do appreciate the tactical finesse from Warners on this compared to what is happening on our side. We are coming across as desperate, which only further strengthens Warner’s hand.

    I still think that AE provided the excuse for Warners to muscle in for more. I agree AE were very amaturish. However, I can’t really be too hard on them as I don’t think they would have seen this coming.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Desperate and 3rd world? Wait until Key, English and Brownlee agree to abrogate our employment laws for Jackson and his US corporates paymasters.

      Yeah, its hard to say too much good about Equity at this juncture. Helen Kelly, I think she got parachuted into an impossible position with a lot of players (looking at you Jackson, Boyens, Walsh) willing to trash whatever integrity they had to get the effect they wanted.

      • pollywog 7.1.1

        There won’t be any abrogating. We’ve just reverted to the status quo that existed before all they hype and drama..

        As i see it, if Jackson has, as been reported in his role as producer, built up and contracted chippies and techies to build up hobbiton and proceed with props building at his own cost.

        He’s got the most to lose and his job next week is to convince warners to stump up with the rest of the production costs.

        If not, warners doesn’t sound like they’ve invested much to lose and can afford to write it off. Unless Jackson can convince them it’s a viable project anywhere else, which i don’t reckon it is, given Jacksons investment in NZ already, it will get canned.

        Any wonder he’s pissed off. If the hobbit gets canned or he has to move it to save it, he’s just pissed a hefty sum up against the wall for no reason. And if he ‘has’ to move it, i reckon he’ll consider it a bridge too far and not bother unless he wants to recoup his initial investment.

        Sure, theres a case for a tax breaks incentive in NZ but i dont think it’s the deal breaker. It’s a sweetener if Key wants to help out Jackson but as it stands, warner’s money is money we’ve not seen and so won’t miss.

        Film crew should know by now that there is never a done deal until the wrap party.

        • Anthony C 7.1.1.1

          The Hobbit seems like too much of a sure bet money spinner for Warners to be that worried or screw with a winning formula that made roughly 6 billion dollars, PJ has such a good track record that the smart money would be to fund him, let him do his thing with the pre existing infrastructure he’s amassed and pocket a couple of billion dollars.

          Is there any doubt this will make cash hand over foot?

          I think PJ is obsessive, as you have to be to get a project like LOTR done, his reaction is that of an obsessive person, heavily invested in time, money and emotion who sees people ‘f*cking with his dream’ – most people would act the same way.

          • pollywog 7.1.1.1.1

            dunno eh. I doubt the hobbit would clear 2 billion at the box office.

            It’s not 2000 all over again and we’re in a GFC inspired depression.

            Jackson was off his game with ‘lovely bones’ and the big draw card for ‘the hobbit’ was Del Toro.

            We’ve still got the last 2 harry potters to go before the hobbit and who knows, by then the public could well and truly be over the magical sword and sorcery genre.

            It’s a risk for warners to put up the dosh and thats what i reckon next week is about.Threatening to move overseas is Jackson in damage control to keep their investment.

            it either gets made in NZ by Jackson or it doesnt get made at all in the forseeable future by anybody…IMHO

            • QoT 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I’ve got to agree with you, pollywog.

              The Hobbit is simply not Lord of the Rings. It’s a prequel lacking the bulk of the LoTR cast (including most of the hot ones, so goodbye Orlando/Viggo girl-fanbase), it’s a much smaller-scale story, it’s aimed at a much younger audience. Now a kids + geeks fanbase will still give you good returns at the box office but it’s simply not going to come anywhere near the scale of LoTR.

              • pollywog

                …and 2 years from now the whole 3d protection from hackers and copyright thieves will be cracked so there’ll be no guarantee punters will fill the cinemas just to see bilbo’s hairy feet sticking out from the screen.

                save the hobbit from going overseas ?…i still reckon it’s more about saving the hobbit fullstop.

                maybe they should ditch the live actors and big sets altogether and Weta does the Avatar option.

        • BLiP 7.1.1.2

          As i see it, if Jackson has, as been reported in his role as producer, built up and contracted chippies and techies to build up hobbiton and proceed with props building at his own cost.

          Do you know this as a fact? The props shown on tele looked like left overs from the Rings. This whole thing only makes sense from the point of view that Jackson has already decided to move production off shore and is looking for an excuse to save face. I hope that it not the case and you can confirm Jackson has spent any significant money on this project here at all.

      • Swampy 7.1.2

        There’s changes needed to the employment laws to remove the right for unions to demand a collective agreement, that is the one they should be looking at.

        • KJT 7.1.2.1

          There should be changes to employment laws so employers cannot collude on driving wages down.

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.2.1.1

            Would it be OK then if an employer and the Government colludes on driving wages down?

            Just askin’

    • RedLogix 7.2

      However, I do appreciate the tactical finesse from Warners on this compared to what is happening on our side.

      Seems like you’re starting to get a glimmer of how deeply asymmetric workplace negotiations usually are.

      ‘Tactical finess’ is of course a luxury the studios can well afford, given their enormously greater resources, experience and barginning power. By constrast NZAE is a tiny union, with a wobbly past and very limited access to professional resources. If everyone just shrugs their shoulders and accepts that’s ‘just how things are’ then of course the little guys finish up getting screwed. Everytime.

      The only decision here is between rolling over and taking it… or standing up for ourselves.

  8. NZ is getting played here.

    Speak for yourself fella.

    Only one getting played now is Key and co. They should have stayed well the fuck out of it. It’s game over for the actors while the rest of NZ didn’t even know what the rules were.

    You can’t lose if you dont play but since Key and co decided to play they’re the ones looking desperate….ain’t none of this we shit !!!

  9. truthseeker 9

    Can this be true? The Daily Mail (U.K.) reported this on the 22-10-10:
    “The Hobbit is set to be shot in Britain after director Peter Jackson decided against filming in his native New Zealand………..” Brits will begin to think it is.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1322837/The-Hobbit-set-Britains-Harry-Potter-studios-Martin-Freeman-star-Bilbo.html#ixzz13AqoUvaF

    • NickS 9.1

      The Daily Mail’s nickname is “The Daily Fail” for a very good reason, as they get things wrong and blow shit completely out of proportion daily. So unless there’s an independent supporting source, just ignore them.

  10. Helen Kelly 10

    I first got involved in this dispute on 28 September when Peter Jackson released a four page statement putting the dispute between Warners and Equity in the media, and I immediately contacted Wingnut to propose we meet to try and find a solution.

    I met with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens on 1 October and following the meeting we agreed to release advice saying we had met and “… we are hopeful that a meaningful dialogue between Equity, SPADA and Three Foot Seven can be established”

    This meeting never happened.

    Prior to the meeting being organised with Brownlee, on 4 October I emailed Peter Jackson expressing my surprise that Philippa Boyens had been on National Radio disclosing elements of the meeting I had had with her, Jackson and Walsh when we had agreed that the only thing that would be said was that which was released in the statement (people may remember I was on Q and A the day after that meeting and refused to discuss the Hobbit). He emailed me back and amongst other things said:

    “I’m going to contact SPADA and encourage them to be very open minded, and take a meeting listening to all the actors concerns. Such an open discussion is long overdue, and I’m sure progress can be made to addressing many of their concerns.”

    So at that point Peter Jackson supported the settlement and we reached a settlement (the original MOU was drafted by SPADA actually) and as you say, let Warners know shortly after. As late as 9 October I was still in contact with Peter Jackson and he was supporting the SPADA process.

    So with CTU support, and on the understanding that Peter Jackson also supported the process we used, we reached a full settlement of the dispute on 13 October and recommended the “do not work” orders be lifted on the Sunday. Given this and the fact that all this information was known to Peter Jackson (as you say, emails veryify this) the meeting and demonstration organised by Weta was a complete surprise and has created an impression that the industrial issues have not been resolved.

    • Zorr 10.1

      Thank you very much for the clarification there Helen.

      Is it possible that he was never acting in good faith in the beginning? Setting the patsy up for the fall to achieve his own ends? Not to suggest that you acted poorly but that it is obvious that the broadside from “Sir” Peter Jackson was unexpected and unwelcome and out of keeping with his dealings with you.

    • SHG 10.2

      we reached a full settlement of the dispute on 13 October and recommended the “do not work” orders be lifted on the Sunday

      Why did the Screen Actors Guild not lift their boycott until Thurs 21 October?

      • handle 10.2.1

        Because “recommend” is not the same as “do”? Because the many international unions involved took some time to act? Because Warners do not have a trusting relationship with Mr Whipp after previous disputes and wanted solid evidence of a result?

        • SHG 10.2.1.1

          Different but related question: why did the MEAA/AE call for a global boycott before even meeting internally to discuss what they wanted? Global boycott is a “game over” move, not a “let’s start talking” move.

          Muppets.

          • Swampy 10.2.1.1.1

            Absolutely, it is the union tactic of old seen here a lot in 1970s, go on strike every 5 minutes etc. I grew up in that era, there was a strike every week.

            • lprent 10.2.1.1.1.1

              A facile and limited view of the labour relations at that time…

              From what I saw a high proportion of those disputes were demarcation disputes from some bloody silly legislation put in the late 60’s and subsequent decisions by the arbitration court under that legislation. It was designed to bring out the worst in unions because it pitted union against union for members. Needless to say if you want stupid labour law, then you only have to look to National.

              The other issue in the 1970’s was the sharp rise in inflation during the decade from virtually none to close to 20%. To prevent a sharp decline in purchasing power by their members, unions were having to continuously run wage rounds. Rather than the multi-year agreements that we now get and were also gained during the 60’s, the inflation (mostly caused by Muldoon being a well-meaning idiot when responding to external shocks) caused far more frequent negotiations and therefore more industrial actions.

              On top of that, and probably the least of the factors, there were more unions and more union members – which is what I think you were referring to.

    • IrishBill 10.3

      the original MOU was drafted by SPADA actually

      Sorry my mistake, I heard it was the CTU.

    • Marty G 10.4

      Thanks Helen. I saw Q+A just now and thought it was disgraceful the way Holmes let his rightwing prejudices shape the whole thing, in the interview it was 2 vs 1 with you being interrupted ever few seconds and in the panel it was 3 vs 1 with Bradford being interrupted twice in 20 seconds by Holmes while he let the others speak.

      Who is producing that show and what happened to profesional standards?

      • comedy 10.4.1

        I saw you on Q and A also Helen – get some media training you were a fucking disaster.

        Do they let you know who’s on the panel before you go on the show ? – having Sue Bradford backing you up made things even worse – she’s got the media presence of Quasimodo.

      • Anne 10.4.2

        @ Marty G
        It was the worst display of infantile school-yard bullying of Helen Kelly by Paul Holmes in particular (although the side-kick from the film industry was helping him out) that I have ever seen. I’ve fired off an email to Q&A and told them I’m laying a formal complaint. I hope to God I’m one of many complainants.

        One problem: can someone tell me how you go about laying a formal complaint?

        • comedy 10.4.2.1

          @Anne

          That’s a remarkable coincidence as I’ve just sent in an email congratulating them on an interviewer who’s prepared to go after the interviewee – we need more of this in NZ.

          [This one has really bought out your ‘funny’ side alright. Another spot of content-free trolling like this and you get a month off. …RL]

          • mickysavage 10.4.2.1.1

            Comedy I have a suggestion for you.

            You should try posting comments that tease out and develop peoples understanding of an issue rather than viewing comments as a chance to bludgeon those who have a different view to you.

            • comedy 10.4.2.1.1.1

              Greg if I wanted your advice, unlikely as from what I’ve seen you’ve little to offer apart from pronouncements on the glory of Labour and anything they are associated with and very little else, I’ll ask for it.

              Anne’s understanding is very simple – she believes anything put out from the union’s side and whatever the posters at this site tell her…… a bit of bludgeoning was overdue.

              • Anne

                @ comedy
                Your ignorance, arrogance and uninformed pronouncements are getting to the point when the moderators just might start to review your continued presence on this site.

          • Anne 10.4.2.1.2

            Ten minutes to read my comment and fire off a counter-email. Not bad. You’re a laugh a minute comedy 😀

        • Lazy Susan 10.4.2.2

          Hi Anne. Go here for an explanation of how to make a formal complaint to TVNZ. During the Paul Henry thing there was an online form but can’t find that now – maybe got a bit worn out during Henry’s demise!

      • pollywog 10.4.3

        Dunno bout the right wing prejudice thing. I thought he was more a Peter Jackson eatarse and repping for the non actors point of view.

        Thought that other guy was askew on a few facts as well. Jen and Robyn put themselves out there in the forefront of the dipsute. No one forced them to do anything.

        And Bradford is wrong in thinking Ward-Lealand and Malcolm aren’t damaged goods or that they’re heroes of the work force. By my read, they’re second rate actors who got greedy in being egged on by some ozzy dickhead.

        Helen Kelly came out of it alright. She held her ground and didn’t lose her composure despite some serious goading by the mischeivous impy looking holmes who was doing it hard sweating all profusely and such…not a good look eh

        maybe he should think about retiring before he has a heart attack on live TV.

      • lprent 10.4.4

        I watched it too, saw the panel on Heatley and I’d agree. Sue Bradford would barely be able to start and Holmes would talk over her as soon as he saw a point being made that he didn’t like. I had to admire that she persisted making the points.

        I suspect in the end that she got more airtime simply because Holmes did it too often, it was too obvious, and he got orders to let her make the points on about the 3rd time though.

        It was pretty apparent that Holmes wanted a particular ‘message’ to come from the panel and it wasn’t about the future of the numbers of social housing stock and the number of people accommodated under it. That makes me more interested in that than the fiddling with the numbers that Heatley’s message was about.

      • mickysavage 10.4.5

        The video is now up on TV ones site at http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a/q-and-s2010-e39-video-3849555

        I agree with Marty and Anne (surprising I know) but this was some of the most appalling TV I have seen for a while. Holmes was literally frothing and continuously interrupted and blamed Helen even though she responded precisely to every point he made.

        In the end they blamed her for the perception that has been created by the MSM. I did not know that she controlled the MSM and I wish she could.

        So if enough wingnuts jump up and down and say that you are to blame for something even though you are not, your failure to stop this perception being created is your fault?

        My head hurts …

  11. truthseeker 11

    This was also to be found in The Guardian newspaper- written on Thursday which seems pretty quick off the mark on the ‘timeline’

    “Film
    Hobbit films ‘could be on way to UK’

    * guardian.co.uk, Thursday October 21 2010
    * Ben Child

    The Hobbit, Peter Jackson’s two-part prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, could be on its way to Britain, it has emerged. Jackson’s wife and creative partner, Fran Walsh, revealed that the UK was being considered as a filming location following a dispute with an actors’ union in New Zealand, where producers had originally planned to shoot the films and where sets remain…

    The Hobbit, Peter Jackson’s two-part prequel to the Lord of the (…)”

    Not that any of this helps really — just makes me feel rather sad….
    …Am beginning to look for people whose noses appear to be growing longer

  12. SHG 12

    This isn’t news, English and Irish locations have got discussed for weeks.

    • Swampy 13.1

      Bit silly bringing an Australian union into the dispute, it simply reinforces the impression that the NZ union gets the Aussies involved because they want more leverage, not a good thing for a NZ union to be seen to getting international leverage and meddling in our domestic affairs.

      • IrishBill 13.1.1

        Domestic? What are you smoking? It’s an international film backed by an American studio.

  13. Carol 14

    Right wing tirade on Qu & A. Look at yourselves, Holmes et al. Who is stirring it up after things have been resolved? Our problem is not the unions, it’s the journos in the MSM. What a bunch of verbal bullies!

  14. big bruv 15

    Please make sure that you guys encourage Helen Kelly to appear on our screens as much as possible, every time she does she drives another nail into the coffin of the parasitic union movement.

    She was hammered on Q&A this morning, exposed once again as a liar and once again demonstrated her incompetence.

    All the same, keep putting her up there guys, it is so much fun watching her get shot to pieces as she pretends to care about the average worker trying to make a living.

    [Blatant, ugly trolling… keep this up and we’ll have so much fun ripping you new ones…RL]

    • KJT 15.1

      She was not even allowed to talk on Q and A this morning.

      Helen Kelly was doing her job. Not her fault the other side are liars.

      Herald is very quiet this morning. I suppose they cannot apologize to AE and the CTU for getting it wrong without stirring things up again.

      • Mike 15.1.1

        Had a laugh at this – Poor Kelly was practically reduced to covering her ears and shouting “Im not listening” Barnett was the one with the facts, you can call them liars all you like, but unless you’re either in the Film & TV industry, or have done a little more digging than reading a few blogs, you wouldn’t know that.

        • RedLogix 15.1.1.1

          And Barnett was shown up as an ugly misogynist. He’s toast.

          The simple fact is that SPADA refused to negotiate for years. It’s members have been screwing actors over repeatedly and it wasn’t until the NZAE got some international clout via their Australian parent organisation that they got listened to.

          That’s why the big money players got so anxious and vicious, the one thing they hate more than anything else is international worker solidarity which takes away their ability to play off countries and governments against each other.

          But you would know this if you really had anything to do with the ‘industry’.

    • Armchair Critic 15.2

      Piss off BB, the way she shows up to answer the difficult questions is much more prime-ministerial than our chicken of an actual PM.

  15. big bruv 16

    Touch a raw nerve did I chaps?

    Since when has telling the truth been considered as trolling?

    Oh..I forgot, this is not about the truth this is about the continuing lies of the union movement.

    Seeing Liar Kelly take such a hammering on Q&A this morning was the perfect start to a Sunday, long may this continue, it is about time that our media took the union movement to task.

    Parasites like Kelly are not the ones losing their income, she will not be out of work, but she is happy (the smug grin gives it away) to see 1500 people lose the chance of making good money.

    [You’ve been warned…take a month off…RL]
    [lprent: Agreed. I looked back over the last 50 comments to see if a month was justified (I’m trying to keep the ban lengths down after they got a bit enthusiastic). But bb isn’t adding anything to the debate – he is just trolling. It isn’t even up to his usual standard for trolling – it is outright boring. ]

  16. wasi 17

    hold the line helen…you`re doing fine…just saw Q and A…what a disgrace paul holmes is…a nasty right wing dwarf…he`s sure changed from his days up on the coromandel peninsula in the late 70`s…i remember seeing him with a joint the size of the skytower sticking out of his fucking mouth…as for Big Bruv..what a twat…time for him to put on his davy crockett coon skin cap and fuck off back to the alamo…

  17. come get some 18

    if the PM had have appeared on Q+A today they would have asked him about tarantulas

  18. wasi 19

    Fran Walsh & Phillippa Boyens eh….hmmmm….when`s the wedding?

    • SHG 19.1

      wasi
      24 October 2010 at 12:07 pm
      Fran Walsh & Phillippa Boyens eh….hmmmm….when`s the wedding?

      Classy.

  19. Swampy 20

    When it looks bad for the union they can always launch another attack on the evil capitalists, true to form.

    Fran O’Sullivan has it about right on the money, it is the meddling behind the scenes by Kelly and co that has got them into hot water. When you have a union interfering in NZ’s domestic affairs especially with calling in support from overseas it warrants a strong stance by the government because it amounts to an attack by undemocratic organisations on our democracy.

    As O’Sullivan has pointed out, Kelly meddled earlier in the year when the goverment wanted a US union leader to come to NZ, she got him to say he wouldn’t come. In the Hobbitt case the union got the Screen Actors Guild and other overseas unions to impose an international boycott, not a smart move for a union in NZ to get involved in this sort of thing. That has got Kelly’s fingerprints all over it, the CTU is too political not to see a chance to get more political power from moves like that.

    All this meddling gives the government a good agenda to look at NZ’s domestic labour laws to clip the union’s wings as they are obviously getting too big for their boots.

    • handle 20.1

      Nice conspiracy you have there Swampy but it was the MEAA’s Australian head who started the blacklist, not the CTU.

  20. Kevin Welsh 21

    Funny how things change.

    • handle 21.1

      That is worth remembering when people claim Jackson is an evil tool of American film company capitalists, oppressing the proletariat.

  21. Maggie 22

    Key will inevitably do a deal to give a very profitable industry bigger tax breaks.

    Will people like big bruv and Swampy complain when their taxes are used to line Jackson’s pocket?

    • RedLogix 22.1

      No of course not.

      And that tells you all you really need to know about them. Life is full of folk who suck up to those above them and dump on those less fortunate or privileged.

      • comedy 22.1.1

        Is the institution of a global boycott against working on the Hobbit by unions representing the acting “profession” a basis for good-faith bargaining?

        [lprent: umm the ego of ‘factchecker’ appears to have terminated you as well at the ip level. It is a pity, I sometimes enjoyed this alter ego. This note is to tell other commentators why you are no longer going to be around. ]

        • felix 22.1.1.1

          Oh dear, terminated you say? He’ll be baacck.

          • lprent 22.1.1.1.1

            Not in the short term he won’t. When I get annoyed enough to spam block people I start really blocking them.

            Despite his multiple personalities, one of which walked over the cliff today of asserting who an author was in real life, he uses a very limited range of IP’s

          • Colonial Viper 22.1.1.1.2

            I laughed out loud.

  22. Logie97 23

    Yes Q and A was a disgrace. But only to those of us who bother to watch it.

    The majority of New Zealand, today, was either out cranking up the lawn-mower, or packing the picnic hamper or singing hymns when Holmes was in full cry.

    What would be more reassuring (never going to happen mind you) would be to hear and read Bill O’Reilly’s take on the whole thing. He appeared to me to be admitting that it has been a total PR disaster from both sides, and not Equity’s fault alone, but that was as far as he would take it. Just for once, if only the Captain’s of Industry would make more reasoned statements repeatedly throughout the MSM and put the journalists (including Holmes) in their place. But that would be cutting their political noses to spite …

    Incidentally, and this might hurt many Kiwis to have to admit it, Peter Jackson is really only world famous in New Zealand. The ordinary offshore movie punter (judging by reported surveys of the standard of general knowledge world-wide) wouldn’t have a clue where N.Z. is. It is the N.Z. media that has told us how the L.O.R. movies sold the NZ landscape.

    Perhaps tourists “flock” to Hobbitville simply because some tour companies schedule it on their itineraries, and Matamata isn’t a bad spot for a comfort break on the journey North or South.

    • wasi 23.1

      “Incidentally, and this might hurt many Kiwis to have to admit it, Peter Jackson is really only world famous in New Zealand.”

      too true…big fish in a little pond…being good at, or being successful at something in NZ doesn`t necessarily translate into being the biggest or the best in the world…unfortunately…in a funny, inverted sort of way it`s the same as the aussie envy that we have here in NZ…we want their wages..we want their economy..and we`ll try to break our workers to get there.

  23. truthseeker 24

    Big Bruv I don’t think you should call Ms Kelly a liar.What she states eventually proves to be so.
    The Dom Post (22-10-10) under the heading”Studio confirms Hobbit moves”, stated that “Ms Kelly said she believed Warners may always have planned to take the films elsewhere but was trying to blame the unions to deflect criticism from Jackson.” The previous day, The Dom Post (Michael Field) under the heading, “Is the Hobbit heading to London?” wrote that it might be heading to Leavesden Studios (where Harry Potter was filmed) which are owned by– WARNER BROTHERS–who bought them earlier this year as a permanent European base! Certain people didn’t have to look too hard for a new place to get a away from the horrid,damaging, tyrannical nz actors’ union.(654 members!)

    “Peter Jackson decided against filming in his native New Zealand because of industrial action there.

    All three of the Rings films were shot there but yesterday, studio Warner Bros said the ongoing pay wrangle with country’s acting unions had ‘forced us to consider other filming locations for the first time’.” Call me cynical but… ….
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1322837/The-Hobbit-set-Britains-Harry-Potter-studios-Martin-Freeman-star-Bilbo.html#ixzz13EsEpnTp

    P.S Thankyou Helen for your helpful post last night and for a great,calm but positive presence on Q& A this morning- Paul Holmes really showed a red neck- and face as he became more and more heated – and all because he had grasped the wrong end of the stick and allowed wrong perceptions and defective insight to muck up his thought processes. And thankyou Nick S for giving me a giggle me about “The Daily Fail”- so much better to retire on a cheery note last night!
    I hope all this Hobbit stuff resolves itself on a cheery note too, so that innocent people (the actors union ) aren’t made to feel bad about them selves…. by the way who is Karl ( is it?) Icahn ? Gordon Campbell is so good on guiding the way through briars and thickets…..

  24. James 25

    Irishbill – now I know we’ve had our differences, and I know you probably couldn’t care less what I think, but I have to say that this is a very perceptive, intelligent, helpful, sensible post. I’m glad you made it. Cheers.

    Some posters do seem to be suggesting PJ is some kind of evil, calculating asshole in all this, and I think that’s extraordinarily unhelpful, unconstrutive, and is basically smears made from conjecture. The kind of thing Helen Kelly I’m sure would say herself is extremely unhelpful.

    Say the studios are money-grubbing a-holes all you want (common sense though, really), but Peter Jackson… it’s all really just unsubstantiated smears at the end of the day, and it doesn’t do anyone any favours.

    • RedLogix 25.1

      Some posters do seem to be suggesting PJ is some kind of evil, calculating asshole in all this,

      I can’t speak for everyone here, but personally speaking…no.

      PJ is an remarkable guy, a talented geek with an enormous obssesive drive. Most times (and with the huge help of the people around him) that’s worked out well for him.

      This time it hasn’t…he’s not been able to delegate off what should have been a simple contract negotiation matter that should have been settled ages ago. Instead he’s gotten himself tangled up in something that’s resulted in a dented ego and a hurt sense of pride… and he’s over-reacted. (As did Helen Kelly with her ‘spoiled brat’ remark…which she’s unreservedly apologised for.) Which all points to a lot of irrational emotions, mis-communication and high anxiety all round.

      And for what it’s worth, I sense that Jackson’s lifestyle castle in the Wairarapa is an unfortunate omen. While he’s not isolated himself in there (he’s likely one of the most connected people around), it’s still a highly filtered environment. Over time it seems he’ll drift further and further out of touch with the rest of his fellow New Zealanders.

      In the meantime the murky role of the studio (who have big troubles of their own) in this fiasco remains largely unscrutinised by most New Zealanders.

      [Edit]: And it makes sense as suggested above that PJ’s anxieties around the studio’s agenda are the underlying driver here. It’s not hard to imagine the man getting highly stressed fighting a shadow-battle with the studio’s machinations, and then feeling betrayed by the stance of the actors behind his back so to speak.

      All the more reason why all the local parties should have had this matter put to bed ages ago.

  25. Carol 26

    I heard an interesting set of interviews on Nat Rad in my lunch break today. It was a work weekend for me, and I’m too tired to comment in depth on the interviews in detail.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/artsonsunday/20101024

    With the Hobbit saga continuing we attempt to get some actual facts into the discussion. We hear from Robyn Malcolm of the NZ Actors Equity, expat NZ actor and agent Holly Shanahan and crew members caught in the crossfire, Theresa Eberhardt and Ra Vincent. (duration: 17′51″)

    Malcolm talked about how actors were aiming to be treated more professionally, and to have the same basic standards as SAG & MEA. She also said that NZ actors’ agents spend a lot of extra time re-inventing the wheel , having to negotiate the basics with each contract.

    Shanahan is in Aussie & compared her experiences acting in NZ & Aussie. In contrast to the MSM line that MEA had destroyed the industry in Aussie, Shanahan talked about the pros & cons – and there have been advantages, shown in egs in the last year or so.

    It was also interesting to hear the 2 techies talk. They work in different circumstances from actors. One said that he tended to work in a department when working on a movie. Consequently, workers like him often asked the head of the department when they wanted some specific demands met. In contrast, I think actors’ agents negotite for each actor more in isolation.

    [and I ended up writing more than I was intending to]

    • Vicky32 26.1

      I heard that this morning – and Shanahan was rather upset that she was cut off mid-word! I’d have liked to have heard more from her – pity the item couldn’t have been a lot longer!
      Deb

  26. gobsmacked 27

    One intriguing sideline to all this is that Martin Freeman (from The Office, etc) has been cast as Bilbo Baggins, the starring role. Hobbit fans seem pretty happy with this choice, if a quick glance at internet forums is any guide.

    Intriguing, because Freeman is a lifelong Socialist, pro-Greenpeace etc, and generally stands somewhere to the left of Helen Kelly.

    If there was a union boycott, he wouldn’t take the role – guaranteed. As it is, there isn’t a boycott, so he’ll come down to NZ and when someone asks him what he thinks about bloody Tories, he’ll tell them. (Hopefully with John Key grinning alongside him for the Movie Star photo-op).

    Looking forward to it already!

  27. Graham Dunster 28

    It is easier, cheaper, more efficient and productive to fix problems before they become too big. This is a mantra for business. The drama production industry has known for years of actors’ dissatisfaction with the way that they perceive they are treated. This dissatisfaction is why NZ Equity opted to join the MEAA. It is why there were recent requests for discussions on contracts for actors working on Outrageous Fortune 6, The Cult, This Is Not My Life. It is why there has been a long standing request to meet with SPADA to mutually agree minimum terms and conditions for drama actors.

    The current situation is a direct result of decisions taken not to engage with Equity over the past years. The request to meet with the producers of The Hobbit was simply the latest in a series of chances for the industry to sit down with Equity and discuss the situation. Instead of dialogue, cant and vitriol were heaped on the actors, at first collectively and now individually.

    There have been mutually agreed minimum terms and conditions for actors working on television commercials for decades, which has created an ongoing positive working environment for all parties.

    Now that SPADA has finally agreed to talk to Equity over how to replace the existing unenforceable ‘Pink Book’ guidelines, perhaps we can move forward, accepting that at long last the producer/actor problem will be addressed in a constructive way and become an inclusive section of the entertainment industry.

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