web analytics

Tax breaks and the Hobbit

Written By: - Date published: 7:06 pm, October 26th, 2010 - 93 comments
Categories: capitalism - Tags: , ,

From Stuff:

A meeting between Warner Brothers and senior government ministers has ended, with studio executives asking for larger incentives to keep The Hobbit movies in NZ.

The two-hour meeting, which included New Line Cinema boss Toby Emmerich, ended with no resolution to the Hobbit standoff.

Following the meeting, Prime Minister John Key confirmed there would be more discussions overnight and tomorrow before a decision on whether the movie would be filmed here.

He reiterated that industrial issues had been the major concern of the studios but confirmed for the first time that the studio was also seeking a bigger sweetener from taxpayers.

Classic.

93 comments on “Tax breaks and the Hobbit”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    but confirmed for the first time that the studio was also seeking a bigger sweetener from taxpayers.

    I’m shocked. SHOCKED I tell you 😯

    • Fisiani 1.1

      I am also shocked that a greedy Australian union with no thought for the health of the NZ Film industry could end up costing us so much.

      • IrishBill 1.1.1

        Heh. Your desperate denial is kinda touching.

      • rijab 1.1.2

        Did you read the above?…

        I figure someone with your interesting opinion must AT LEAST follow stuff coverage almost as gospel…

        My security word for this post is ‘analysis’ … Maybe you would have been better suited to get this one!

      • SHG 1.1.3

        I had taken the “greedy Australian union” line earlier this week, but today I saw this in an article on Stuff:

        Mr Whipp led the boycott call against The Hobbit and has been slammed by Sir Peter for destabilising the Australian big budget movie industry and seeking to do the same here.

        But Mr Whipp told Radio New Zealand he was only acting on the instructions of New Zealand actors.

        ”I have no particular interest in this whatsoever. Our interest is in doing what it is that those people working in the film industry want us to do. The performers have decided they want to join the union and want us to speak for them so that’s what were doing.”

        Either he’s lying, or NZ Actors Equity is more to blame than it would have us believe.

        • prism 1.1.3.1

          I think the Oz guy had carte blamche – the guy was seen to be as smart as a whipp – he planned the campaign and the NZs were just bobbing along behind. It would no doubt have seemed a bit naff to get cold feet as soon as any action was proposed. And it’s possible that the NZs might just have been advised of it without any opportunity of discussion and alteration.

    • Chess Player 1.2

      Glad you can see the funny side…

      There’s real people, with real jobs at stake here. ‘Knowledge Wave’ type jobs no less – the ones we really need in this country.

      Oh well, at least you’re getting a good laugh out of it I guess…

      • IrishBill 1.2.1

        Mate, when you’ve seen as much of this kind of dirty sharp business as I have you either laugh or you cry.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.2

        There’s real people, with real jobs at stake here. ‘Knowledge Wave’ type jobs no less – the ones we really need in this country.

        Then you support workers across the industry banding together to negotiate fair minimum terms and conditions?

  2. rijab 2

    The MSM act as if this is some great revelation… If they’d done their job, they’d be able to actually follow up with some decent analysis, but instead they’re all silly possums staring into bright headlights waiting for the impact!

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    The arrogance of the Studio!
    The ministers should have gone for a Co executive Producer billing and in the opening titles. Nothing less

    Dare we ask for John Key- Peter Jackson Film credit?

    • Rich 3.1

      I reckon every New Zealander should get a credit in return for the $20 or so we’re all putting in if this gets made here.

      It wouldn’t be any more boring to watch than the preceding 180 minutes of overlong effects-driven filmage.

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        You mean 540 minutes, if you’re talking about LotR. IIRC the director’s cut for Return of the King was 4 hours long.

  4. Bob Stanforth 4

    Thats right, huge surprise that a powerful company will take the opportunity presented to them by some dumb fuck Australian unionist to talk money. And worse, the CTU, who eat dinner at Matterhorn when they stay in Wellington, backed them up. LMFAO.

    That never happens LOL

    Get real.

    Warners will rightly take ANY opportunity to cut costs, as would any organisation – even a union. They would be stupid not to.

    Thanks for the wonderful opportunity youse fullahs, choice eh bro 🙂

    • IrishBill 4.1

      Nope the CTU came in, settled the dispute and got the ban called off. Try harder bob.

      • Bob Stanforth 4.1.1

        No need to, ask Joe and Joanne Public. Hated. End. Of. Story.

        Hence why Ms Kelly is showing on iPredict. Big change a comin’ – bring it. 🙂

        Hell, even I think twice about going to Matterhorn, and often (90%) of the time the client pays. But then my clients aint earning $30K and paying dues.

        But do keep trying, its fun watching 🙂

        • mickysavage 4.1.1.1

          All trade unionists are witches, they are witches, burn them, burn them, it is their fault

          And if you try to reason that there are no witches then this is conclusive proof that you are also a witch and need to be burned

          After all a couple of Internet polls say so. It must be true …

          • Herodotus 4.1.1.1.1

            Mickey Take a bus, visit a cafe and listen to the conservations. The PR war is lost irrespective of who (If any side) is right, now there is this association of additional govt subsidies being paid to keep the film due to the actions of a few from AE. Nat govt sponsored brought to you by the letters C T & U.

            • mickysavage 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Does it bug you Herodotus that you may win the PR war but it is because people made a mistake about what actually happened?

              I would be ashamed …

              • Herodotus

                Dont apply the “You may win” . You just do not know how any of us vote or for what reasons ;-). We sometimes learn(I hope) very painful lessons from our experiences.
                “it is because people made a mistake about what actually happened?” this could also be applied to many supposidly successful govts until we examine their legacy. But I digress. Or that the main issue has past and now there are peripheral issues that have taken over. There are most probably 2 people more untouchable than PJ to attack in NZ at the moment. He was a bad target without a water tight backup.

                • OK so does it bug you because you believe that you will win the PR war even though the majority of the public have got it wrong?

                  • Bob Stanforth

                    Thats right.

                    Millions of NZ’ers have it wrong. They are stoopid.

                    Or maybe, just maybe, they have it right and YOU are wrong. And HK (wow, irony or what???) fucked it all up

                    Sky is falling x 3 LOL

                    But again, please keep going, who would have thought the opportunity to watch stoopid would have come this way 🙂

                    • Maynard J

                      Well everyone seems to have forgotten the CTU got involved well after the boycott was called with the sole intent of ending the boycott through resolving the dispute, and had succeeded until Jackson’s tirade.

                      I’m pretty sure that is factually correct. What with that would you disagree with in that?

                      (Your comments appear to be written by someone old enough to know better, yet trying to sound like an angry young person, or the immature rantings of an angry young person – parody is hard to detect online – so I’m not sure you’re given to rational reply. Surprise me.)

                  • Herodotus

                    From my reading of the story (majority sourced from this site) there are many asumptions, and time lines. Yet the timelines do not marry up (from one version to the other)as to when events were suppose to happen and connections as to when different individuals were made aware of these. Perhaps what would demonstrate to us comon folk. Would be a time line with who knew what when. Sure Warner Bros were notified of A at this date but does that mean also those on PJ’s team were informed and if so when. Same with the AE, CTU and Mr Whipp.
                    Why where the associated workers not rep by their union and the CTU co-ordinated the different union groups. (I ass-u-me they have union representitive). It has been portrayed that the Actors were after more $ without thinking of the implications of work being lost and thus affecting other workers livelihoods.

          • tea 4.1.1.1.2

            That’s what Paul Holmes says. He’s a journalist. Me Ma saw ‘im on the tele. Once he was even media advisor to the great man Don Brash.

  5. Bill 5

    “…John Key confirmed there would be more discussions overnight and tomorrow before a decision…”

    Gee. Must be great to go into discussions/negotiations knowing the precise time scales required to reach an agreement…decision…except people don’t have negotiations over decisions. So Johnny – the casting couch whore auditioning for the role of Hero of Middle NZ (Middle Earth is spoken for) – is sitting down for drinks and nibbles tonight and tomorrow. Nice.

    Before announcing that x millions of my money and your money has been given away to wealthy people. Again. And that it’s for our own good.

    And many will believe him and cheer the new hero, ‘Mighty Slayer of Integrity’.

  6. jbanks 6

    “He reiterated that industrial issues had been the major concern of the studios but confirmed for the first time that the studio was also seeking a bigger sweetener from taxpayers.”

    They’re seeking a bigger sweetener because of the industrial issues.

    It’s about covering risk. It’s really not that hard to comprehend.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      They’re seeking a bigger sweetener because of the industrial issues.

      It’s about covering risk. It’s really not that hard to comprehend.

      Pathetic rationale. How much tax payers money is it going to take to cover off the risk of a US$500M production? US$500M? How does a “sweetener” change risk *at all*?

      And if they are using the NZ Govt as an insurance company, why aren’t they paying us?

      Basically you’re full of it, again.

      More to the point, why are you backing a foreign corporate taking tax payer dollars on corporate welfare?

      • jbanks 6.1.1

        You’re about to overtake Draco as the stupidest poster here.

        Unless somehow Warner Brothers is different from just about every other foreign investor then the illegal actions of the union scum would have affected their confidence in many wider respects in relation to NZ. We’re covering the risk of WB exposing themselves to a volatile labour market when there are less risky alternatives available.

        Why the hell would they stay based solely on the word of illegitimate, incompetent unions?

        When it comes to business, you need to STFU fool.

        • mickysavage 6.1.1.1

          You lost any chance of my treating your comment with any sort of intellectual respect when you said “union scum”.

          We are covering the risk of Warners wanting even more money because the situation here has been so badly misrepresented.

          How do you feel that your tax money is being used to bolster National’s union bashing reelection prospects?

    • Nah they just want more money. They do not care what the reason is.

  7. burt 7


    “But there is no question the industrial action has caused real concern… and they’ll need resolution to some of those issues. It’s also fair to say if it wasn’t for the industrial action they were good to go.”

    Says it all really.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Idiot. Both of you.

    • So Burt

      As Viper says there are two statements of fact in the same article and you choose without support to accept Key’s comment. Did you think about researching the other comment before slavishly supporting the first one?

      • burt 7.2.1

        mickysavage

        Back in January I said this;

        I agree there are some issues to discuss here. There are up sides and down sides to govt picking the winners and losers for tax breaks and an open discussion needs to be had about it.

        And I provided this link and this quote from it;

        The amount of money that New Line reclaimed in tax breaks on the 3 “Lord of the Rings” films was ten times more than the entire annual budget of the New Zealand Film Commission, which funds local film-making.

        I’ve never supported the govt picking the winners and losers in business via favourable or targeted tax breaks. It’s a wide open door to ill thought out and/or popularist intervention plus it is fertile soil for the seeds of corruption. Look I understood the economic benefits in 2003 and I had my say then. I don’t get why National are funding it at all, if the conditions are not as favourable for local business as they are for multi nationals then that’s wrong IMHO.

        So sure, talk to me about how you define the appropriate level of tax breaks? Tell me what made Labour’s just the right balance of seeding the economy and what makes National’s a gross abuse of tax payers money. Oh and I’d be interested to hear your perspective on what so needed changing from the employment terms and conditions the LOTR movies were made under as well.

  8. Carol 8

    It’s not just about the money (at least not as far as the government’s concerned). The government is seeking to tailor or employment laws just to keep Warners (and/or themselves) happy:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/60438/goverment-looking-at-law-change-to-save-hobbit

    Government ministers are meeting with their legal advisers on Tuesday night about possible changes to industrial law to try to ensure The Hobbit films are made in New Zealand.

    ….He says ministers will be meeting with lawyers about what possible changes can be made to industrial law, to give an assurance to Warner Bros that if The Hobbit is made in New Zealand it will not be upset by industrial action.

    Mr Key said he expects a decision on the films later this week …

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Tailor employment laws?

      Hey I bet Gerry Brownlee could do all of that with a wave of his CERRA wand!

    • SHG 8.2

      Of course the Government is looking for ways to tweak employment laws; that it might want to do so is of surprise to no-one. But until the past two weeks it would have faced public opposition. Now the Government can do whatever the f*ck it wants, thanks to the PR disaster wrought by the representatives of Actors Equity, the MEAA, and the CTU. It doesn’t matter what the facts are because the story has a life of its own now, and that story is that THE UNIONS ARE TRYING TO F*CK THE KIWI FILM AND TOURISM INDUSTRIES.

      If Gerry Brownlee were tomorrow to announce that AE, the MEAA, and the CTU had been dissolved by executive order, the voting public of New Zealand would support it. THAT’s the disaster here. The representatives of Actors Equity, the MEAA, and the CTU have handled this whole situation with such incompetence that now the Government has carte blanche to do whatever it wants to employment legislation.

  9. gn 9

    [Not needed…RL]

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Workers rights are more important than kowtowing to foreign shareholders and corporates who treat our workers with disdain, mate.

      Fucked an entire export industry

      These films are not a NZ export industry, the final finished product is owned by foreigners. Or do you not get that?

      That is why economic sovereignty and owning our own methods of production is crucial for our economic future.

  10. nilats 10

    hands growing on the palms of the hands lefties?
    Govt in weak position bc of union idiots thought they could roll over WB.
    Real Homer Simpson thought processes.

  11. prism 11

    From the end of stuff piece referring to Simon Whipp in Oz “He disputed claims from the Jackson camp that the MEAA had brought the Australian movie industry to its knees and said conditions under which big budget movies filmed in Australia hadn’t changed in 30 years.”

    That should be incorrect. What would be the point of having a union if they couldn’t win some improvements in 30 years?

    Key says that warners are unsure of the integrity of all the unions involved. If he and the NACT govt took the trouble to talk to and build a relationship with our unions then he would know that they can be trusted and be able to reassure warners about this. Instead he has climbed into bed with his buddies and turned off his brain.

  12. Rharn 12

    I think I’ll stop watching the news for the next day or so. The idea of Key strutting about how the Hobbit is going to be good for the economy etc and all the Nat commenters poncing on about how Key sorted out the unions etc will make me puke. Hell I may even ‘boycott’ the film in protest against my taxpayer money being increased to keep the movie here. And I am a Tolkien fan from way way back before the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings became mainstream literature.

    • burt 12.1

      I hope you didn’t go and watch LOTR after all the tax payer money Labour poured into it – but hey let me guess – it’s different when Labour do it !

      • Crumble 12.1.1

        Its different because Labour did not bullshit around with it and claim its all the unions fault and then whored the country, like some tin-pot 3rd world shit hole, to a big international company.

      • Adrian 12.1.2

        It wasn’t Labour, it was National in May 1999 after the Budget that got rid of non-recouse loans for films ,kiwifruit etc. Labour inherited it. There was blood on the floor until 2am in the morning between Jackson, New Line and Miramax and the then National finance ministers when the tax breaks got reinstated. Learn your history, this is the second time Jackson and these arseholes have ambushed a NZ government.

    • SHG 12.2

      I thought the whole film-industry tax-break system was implemented by Jim Anderton during the last Labour Government?

      • IrishBill 12.2.1

        I never said the tax-break was a bad idea. I just said it was the reason that Warners were looking at moving the Hobbit.

        • Marty G 12.2.1.1

          funny to see Key, having talked up ‘crisis’ to hit the unions, then try to jawbone down the tax breaks justified by said ‘crisis’ before the talks.

          Also, hours before the meeting Key dismissed Mallard’s suggestion that the high exchange rate was a cause of the producers wanting more money – their costs in US$ are rising with the falling exchange rate… Emerging from the meeting, according to TV1, Key said that the exchange rate was a big part of it…

          … he didn’t say they had said anything about the union.

      • Crumble 12.2.2

        I don’t have an issue with the tax breaks for the film. The issue I have is old Johnny Boy saying its nothing to do with tax breaks but if we give them more they might stay here. Bloody pimp.

      • Marty G 12.2.3

        Actually, SHG, what happened was the previous system of breaks (instituted by National in the 90s I presume) expired in 2002 and the current system was instituted in its place when Jackson and Taylor threatened capital flight….

        hmmm, that sounds familiar….

  13. MrSmith 13

    What exactly where we exporting ? I fiction movie about fiction book, nothing then. all things come to an end some time gn, even nothing.

    • Marty G 13.1

      well, people place value on art and intangible services as much as wood and wool.

      To say that people are dumb to want to consume art or that people are dumb to produce it for them reduces the human experience to just being good producing automatons.

      That said, I’ll never understand how these movies can cost $2 million a minute to make. Especially when some of the great movies have been made on a shoestring.

      • Adrian 13.1.1

        They don’t, the true cost is about 25-30% of the published cost. The rest is promotion ( about 40% of the headline), 20% finders fees for the money taken in by the studio and about 10% padding. Remember the studio never puts up any of it’s own money, it is merely a clearing house.

  14. bobo 14

    Look I have no problem with PJ lobbying for more tax incentives out in the open , just the whole weaselly underhand way this whole beat-up has gone on day after day as lead on the news is pathetic no wonder its 90% opinion polls against the union whipping boy. The right wingers know this was never about a tiny union stalling the hobbit, its just an excuse to bag unions full-stop. Its like watching a fucking pantomime how this is playing out with Key coming out of the Warners meeting with his typical lying forehead frown commenting on how its the unions fault but oh he’s smoothing them over..

    Think ill watch Coro the acting is way better..

  15. tea 15

    You will find- if you’re not jounralists- well at least if you are able to find it you are too good a journalist to be employed in NZ- ie Gordon Campbell writing for stuff- that the Nats commissioned Jackson to write a report about this.

    He said: more tax breaks asap please.

    English said: No.

    Now they are saying it a little louder. And the unions are copping the flack.

    • SHG 15.1

      And rightly so, NZ Actors Equity and the CTU are so stupid I’m amazed that they can collectively remember to breathe. I’ve never seen an industrial negotiation handled with such staggering incompetence.

      Seriously, it’s almost enough to have me BELIEVING that there’s a shadowy conspiracy behind everything. Because there’s no way that people can really be as utterly self-destructively useless as NZ Actors Equity and the CTU appear to be. They MUST have been set up. No-one’s that inept in real life.

  16. Nick C 16

    I dont think anyone is surprised that the studio is asking for more money given the circumstances; they have been opportunistic as any company would.

    The real question is: Would this meeting be occuring if there hadnt been a global boycott? Of course not, the movie would have gone ahead as scheduled in NZ. You can come in and say ‘but they sorted out the boycott weeks ago’ but that misses the point. You cant drop a bomb, realise it was a bad move, and ignore the fallout. No one can predict the path which industrial relations in the film industry will go down now, but it seems a lot more probable that it will be a rocky one than before the boycott, which worries the studio.

    • RedLogix 16.1

      Really…do you think WB are such wilting flowers that they’ve never dealt hard-ball with a union before?

    • Armchair Critic 16.2

      Would this meeting be occuring if there hadnt been a global boycott?
      Yeah, it probably would have occurred. It would not have hogged the headlines, though.
      And this government loves handing out subsidies.

      • Nick C 16.2.1

        “Yeah, it probably would have occurred.”

        Rubbish. THere have been heaps of other overseas productions which have happened in NZ since the film tax credits were established for LOTR (Avatar, Narnia movies, King Kong, Gladiator TV series and more). This is the first time that the increasing of the income tax credits has been considered by the government.

        “And this government loves handing out subsidies”

        Name some other examples then. I dont think there are, there hasnt really been wholesale subsidies of big business in this country since Roger Douglas abolished them; film tax credits are very much an exception.

        • Marty G 16.2.1.1

          The SCF bailout is equivalent to a 100% risk subsidy for high risk investors.

          • Nick C 16.2.1.1.1

            True, but if you look at it that way almost everything government spends money on could be considered a subsidy.

            • Colonial Viper 16.2.1.1.1.1

              No Nick C, it is a subsidy if you are giving tax payers money to an established private sector interest which should be funding their profit motivated activities itself.

              Looks like the Right quite like their corporate welfare subsidies.

              • Nick C

                ACC is a subsidy for those who get injured playing dangerous sports, Income tax is a subsidy of gambling because gambling winnings arent taxable, Insulation schemes are a subsidy for building companies, Government investment in internet fiber is a subsidy for businesses which use large amounts of internet, GST off Fresh Fruit and veges, banning alcohol at conveniance stores is a subsidy for supermarkets, just about every complication in the tax code is a subsidy for lawyers.

                I could go on.

                • Colonial Viper

                  No my friend, subsidies are those Government monies directly set aside for and then given over to private business interests conducting private for profit business.

                  Supporting the injury recovery of a person with ACC is therefore not a subsidy, just like putting a road in front of your house is not a subsidy.

                  I could go on.

                  just about every complication in the tax code is a subsidy for lawyers.

                  I see it now. The price of everything and the value of nothing has infected your DNA.

                  • Nick C

                    No no Marty used the term ‘equivilent’, so not just something which is literally a subsidy. I took this to mean anything where some of the cost of an activity are paid for by the government.

                    Clearly a cost of skateboarding is that you might break your leg and not be able to do your job for a few months. But if this happens ACC gives you most of your income. So it is equivilent to a risk subsidy for most of the risk of skateboarding, just as the bailout of SCF is a risk subsidy for the risk of investing.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I took this to mean anything where some of the cost of an activity are paid for by the government.

                      So everything spent by and associated with the Government is a ‘subsidy’?

                      Its ridiculous and meaningless. Government enables societal function and looks after the welfare of its citizens, it does not ‘subsidise’ good societal function because society is a superset of economic activity not a subset.

                      “Risk subsidy” my ass. Throw away the economics cost/capital dominant perspective and look at these issues from the people oriented perspective of social equity and justice.

              • Nick C

                As for this charge that ‘the right loves corperate welfare’, much of rogernomics was about abolishing corperate welfare. Import licences used to be known as licences to print money because they were effectivly government granted monopolies to those who were friends of politicians. Agricultural subsidies and equiviletn subsidies to many manafacturers were also abolished.

                You could argue that privitisation is a subsidy for corperations. Admittedly if you privitise at too lower price it is, but if you get a fair price it isnt. And I can think of no greater corperate welfare policy in the last 15 years than the nationalisation of kiwirail.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Oh get off it, Rogernomics was not about abolishing corporate welfare it was about kicking out supports for NZ based and owned SMEs, ones which collectively employed tens of thousands of NZ’ers. And giving money to huge foreign multinationals is similar to this in what ways?

                  And I can think of no greater corperate welfare policy in the last 15 years than the nationalisation of kiwirail.

                  We bought Kiwirail from Toll as an infrastructure asset for all of NZ. How is that corporate welfare? We own Kiwirail now as a core strategic asset for the benefit of all NZ’ers. Can you say the same for the SCF bail out? Or The Hobbit film when it is released?

    • Lazy Susan 16.3

      Would this meeting be occuring if there hadnt been a global boycott? Of course not, the movie would have gone ahead as scheduled in NZ.

      So what make you certain about this Nick C. This movie has been beset by problems and Warners are looking to trim costs. Last week Jackson said Warners weren’t interested in additional tax breaks but now according to Key they are. We are being played mate – wise up.

  17. ak 17

    So to recap:

    The Left wins major victories in Local Body elections.

    The unions step up a series of campaigns.

    By-election Labour victory coming up before Christmas break.

    Govt bennie-bash due just before bleak Christmas.

    Key is old mates with top Warners executive.

    Warners execs threaten to take populist toy away, blame unions.

    Key backs Warners, offers them taxpayer millions, blames unions.

    MSM and rabid blograbble blames unions.

    Should’ve seen it coming.

    A good ole engineered union-bash.

    Corker. Desperation. Recycling targets for hate.

    Forging greater resolve with every gloating utterance.

    The doughboy and the fatcats

    Playing kiwis for hobbits.

  18. Adrian 18

    ak. Exactly. Welcome to commerce American style. The only things that the Yanks are World Champions at.

  19. IanG 19

    Echos of “shock doctrine” here for me – create a crisis, then use the crisis as an opportunity to bash the unions and screw the workers – just watch for law changes and handing over taxpayers money to private hands

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      Simply awful. What’s worse is that NZ’ers are cheering on as they themselves are being totally bent over a barrel.

    • SHG 19.2

      You forgot “accompanied by a huge leap in the polls”

      • Colonial Viper 19.2.1

        Oh no SHG, we haven’t forgotten that for Key, the main point of handing over these tax payers dollars is to stay in political power.

        • SHG 19.2.1.1

          And the unions handed it to him on a plate, while Phil Goff was…um… say, where HAS Phil Goff been during all this?

          • Colonial Viper 19.2.1.1.1

            Doing what political leaders should be doing – not getting involved in an industrial dispute between workers and private sector interests.

            Someone send a memo to Jonkey.

            • SHG 19.2.1.1.1.1

              Someone send a memo to Andrew Little, his career choices look irreconcilable.

              Hey, maybe that’s where Phil Goff has been. Distancing himself from anything to do with unions.

              • Colonial Viper

                Hey why don’t you write your own political sitcom?

                Call it the Right Wing, a group of politicans who don’t even realise that political meddling in private sector industrial disputes is inappropriate, but actually welcomes it.

                On the other hand it sounds so shit that it’d get cancelled after just one season.

  20. Lazy Susan 20

    The Warners boys must think they’ve struck gold. Not only do they get open door to the PM but he’s willing to change the country’s labour laws and entertain the idea of sending them away with a cheque that, according to PJ, they don’t even want!

    Oh, if only they could get such red carpet treatment back home. JK for President!

  21. seeker 21

    Gordon Campbell wrote “On the latest stages of the Hobbit drama” in Scoop 22-10-10 and included this (hope I’m allowed to copy?):

    “The Boyens argument is that everything was hunky dory from her perspective, until the unions intervened a few weeks ago. If that was true for her, it wasn’t for Warners. At the beginning of September, Warners thought that a deal for MGM – their co-partner in The Hobbit – was in the bag, with Spyglass at the helm. Currently, it isn’t. The situation won’t become clear until October 29, when the MGM creditors vote on it. Currently, Warners faces a raft of new headaches, including the genuine prospect of its partner (a) contracting with it under a Spyglass run regime to market and distribute The Hobbit or (b) entering a deal with Lionsgate where the new MGM will probably have to buy out maverick investor Carl Icahn. Both options will reverberate and affect the numbers on The Hobbit, Both make the level of production subsidies available on The Hobbit anything but a red herring.

    Only Warners know how those numbers are currently shaking down. Hopefully by the time their executives arrive next week, Jackson will have stopped behaving like Thorin Oakenshield, having a hissy fit over the Arkenstone. ”
    ENDS ”

    Thus I figured that we would not get answers until Friday at least and now John Key has confirmed that almost. The L A Times wrote a similar set of facts and included the updated fact that Carl Icahn, apparently a quite formidable blue meanie on the old business and money front, was putting off his decision until November 1!!
    Alana Brown has written quite well on this topic too on Scoop, and provided the LA Times links on the subject.

    Meanwhile back in the old shire kingdom of the U.K., Leavesden Studios, was recently bought by Warner Bros .a few months ago (Dom Post21-10-10 and Financial Times ) as a permanent European Base, and is looking forward to the Hobbit arriving there according to the Daily Mail,UK22-10-2010. Fran Walsh mentioned Leavesden as a possible location in a couple of newspaper reports. She must know that Warners have just bought it and that it has 3D facilities and can recreate most environments (it’s huge). Perhaps Warners’ want PJ to work there, they would have spent much money on it I would think. However British unions….
    Whoops how late is it!

  22. Irascible 22

    Here’s Key’s clarification on the issue from the Herald:
    A meeting last night between Warner executives and senior Government ministers pinpointed labour laws as the greatest issue.

    Mr Key said the “paramount” problem was that film workers on independent contracts could be legally seen as employees, even if their contracts specifically called them contractors.

    That followed a Supreme Court ruling in 2005 on James Bryson, a model maker on the Lord of the Rings movies, who was deemed an employee, even though he was hired as a contractor.

    “They’re not arguing people can’t be employees,” Mr Key said.

    “They’re just saying that if someone is engaged by their production company as a contractor, they want to know if that’s how it’s going to end up, and if it doesn’t, that has other economic consequences for them.

    “They’re out of here, if we can’t give them the clarity. There’s no question about that.”

    So it’s nothing to do with Actors’ Equity and their attempts to get an employment contract or clarity about their contracts with Wing Nut but everything to do with Warners wanting to keep their profit margin up without worrying about any legal consequences blowing up in the event of them being taken to court in NZ over any possible employment issue arising from their behaviour as employers while operating in NZ.

    Key’s reaction is to agree to change NZ’s employment laws to suit the demands of Warners lawyers.

    So the spin was there to divert attention from the blatant attempt to change NZ’s employment laws to benefit a privileged few. Corruption from the USA business again???

    • If the law is the problem it has been a problem since 2005. AFAIK it has only been raised as an issue recently. Another smokescreen?

    • Kevin Welsh 22.2

      I saw this comment on the NBR yesterday, posted by Penny Bright. I hope it is acceptable to cut and paste here:

      Bryson v Three Foot Six Ltd: Employee or Independent Contractor?

      Under NZ law, it has been determined that at least one ’employee’ of Three Foot Six (previously involved in the production of Lord of the Rings) had been hired as an ‘independent contractor’ – when he was NOT. So – arguably this employer acted ‘illegally’ of their own accord.
      FYI.
      SPADA UPDATE ON THE BRYSON DECISION
      In the aftermath of the Bryson Supreme Court decision of 16 June 2005[1] some media articles appeared predicting a shake up for the industry.
      More balanced articles ensued, outlining what the Court had actually decided and why, including commentary from lawyers who work with the screen industry.
      SPADA, with the assistance of Minter Ellison has prepared this update for members. This is the third update in a series that SPADA has put out since the Bryson case began its trajectory through the courts.
The main message remains the same: there has not been any recent material change to the law regarding the status of workers as employees or contractors.
      However, the Bryson decision is a timely reminder that production companies need to make sure that their contractual documentation is clear and that it is consistent with what happens on a day to day basis between the parties.
      For your guidance, Minter Ellison has set out relevant questions for applying the traditional tests (see the attached checklist) when considering the real nature of the relationship between parties.

      [1] Supreme Court of New Zealand Media Release (16 June 2005)

      James Bryson v Three Foot Six Limited (SC CIV 24/2004) [2005 NZSC 34]
      
EMPLOYEE OR INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR?
      Section 6 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 governs whether an individual will be found to be an employee or an independent contractor. If there is any dispute as to status, it is up to the Employment Court or the Employment Relations Authority to determine the “real nature” of the relationship between the parties.
      The recent decision of the Supreme Court in Bryson v Three Foot Six Ltd [2005] NZSC 34 has confirmed that the traditional tests (see the attached checklist), will continue to be used in establishing the true nature of the relationship between parties.
      In addition, the intention of the parties continues to be relevant, but not determinative. One indication of the parties’ intention is the contractual wording.
      Another relevant factor may be industry practice, although, again, this is not determinative (Bryson v Three Foot Six Ltd [2003] 1 ERNZ 581(EC)).
      There are a number of questions to be asked, the answers to which will help to establish whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor.
      As a general guide, if you have more ticks in the “YES” column then there is more prospect that the status of a worker is that of a contractor; if you have more ticks in the “NO” column then there is more prospect that the status of a worker is that of an employee.
      Relevant questions to ask:
      YES Indicates Independent Contractor
      NO Indicates Employee
      “Real nature of the relationship test” – look at the contractual wording, industry practice and any other relevant factors, as well as the following tests to determine what the “real nature” of the relationship is:
      “Control Test”: how much control does the worker have?
      Does the worker have control over his or her hours?
Does the worker have control over where the work is done?
      
Does the worker have control over what work is done?

      Can the worker be dismissed without a good reason?
      
“Integration Test”: is the worker a part of the “employer’s” business?
      
Does the worker charge the principal GST?
Does the worker invoice the principal?
      
Does the worker have his or her own client base?

      Does the worker pay his or her own ACC levies?

      Does the worker pay any overheads related to the job? 
Is there anything preventing the worker from having the benefit of “minimum entitlements” such as paid holidays, paid sick leave and paid bereavement leave? “Fundamental (or Economic Reality) Test”: is the worker in business on his or her own account?
      Does the worker provide his or her own equipment?

      Does the worker hire his or her own helpers?
Does the worker take any responsibility for investment and management?

      Does the worker have the opportunity to profit from sound management and performance of his or her tasks?

      Does the worker undertake any financial risk him or herself?
      Other relevant factors may include the following
      Does the worker claim for expenses off his/her tax (eg tools, equipment, clothing, transport costs etc)?
 Does the worker operate as a company?

      Does the worker invoice for his or her services?

      • lprent 22.2.1

        Cut and paste that length. Normally no. I’d expect links and small quotes. But the NBR is behind a pay wall and that is an interesting comment.

        I see penny bright is continuing to target the NBR

      • mickysavage 22.2.2

        The other interesting issue is that this is a problem for Three Foot 6 but not Warners? Surely the contract will be for the provision of a film and the fact that the contractor may subsequently have problems with an employee/independent contractor surely is of no relevance to Warners.

        Some more detail is needed.

  23. Cnr Joe 23

    So – the new line is Warners and Jackson are concerned about Unionised employee unrest – threaten to move somewhere else (where there are no unions, just contractors?). Where would that be? Somalia?
    So PJ gets so upset at the prospect of having to negotiate with NZ workers on his films – imagine how ropeable he’ll get with his new workforce (wherever that may be) if they dare talk back to him.
    He says its not about the money (exchange rate, subsidies..) but his whole career has been about the money since LotR. He seemed to do it for the love before then but hey – planes as a hobby and method of transport are quite spency.
    So PJ and his self-interested priorities have changed. Kiwi Middle Earth fans have not caught up with that.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • National’s cuts shave $100K off KiwiSaver by retirement
    New analysis shows National’s constant cuts to KiwiSaver will reduce the average worker’s retirement savings by $100,000 over their working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “The former Labour Government launched KiwiSaver nine years ago today to boost ...
    13 hours ago
  • TPK struggles to measure Whānau Ora outcomes
    The Government needs to explain why so many vulnerable whanau are falling through the cracks, Labour’s Whānau Ora spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. The Minister of Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell attended the Māori Affairs Select Committee to highlight “gains” – ...
    15 hours ago
  • EY: TPP stamp duties on foreigners may have to apply to Kiwis
    The Government’s claim that a TPP-enabled tax on foreign buyers would amount to a ban has been exposed as folly by tax experts, who say that in most cases a tax would apply to Kiwi buyers too, says Labour’s Trade ...
    1 day ago
  • Project 300 short on facts
    A Minister’s pet scheme to employ 300 disabled people in Christchurch seems to be short on facts, says Labour’s Disability Issues spokesperson Poto Williams.  “Nicky Wagner cannot provide solid evidence to show that her much vaunted Project 300 has actually ...
    1 day ago
  • Who are they going to call?
    A cry for help from New Zealand’s longest-running crisis line highlights chronic underfunding of the sector by the Government, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Lifeline is THE go-to helpline for people in crisis, taking up to 180,000 calls each ...
    2 days ago
  • Five months too long for homeless to wait
    New figures revealing homeless people registered with Work and Income are waiting an average of 155 days to be housed shows the Government is totally overwhelmed by the housing crisis, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “What’s worse is ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister in cloud cuckoo land
    Hekia Parata needs a very big reality check if she truly believes every parent has the choice of sending their child to a private school, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Questioned in the House today about plans to pump ...
    2 days ago
  • Convention centre failure means years of uncertainty for CBD
    The failure of Gerry Brownlee’s planned convention centre deal leaves Christchurch facing uncertainty about when activity will be restored to the CBD, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “As one of the CBD’s major anchor projects, the convention centre complex ...
    2 days ago
  • PCE proves water quality still deteriorating
    The PCE State of the Environment Report shows that river water quality is continuing to get worse across large parts of New Zealand, says Labour’s Environment and Water spokesperson David Parker. “Water quality has deteriorated in Canterbury, Central Otago, Auckland, ...
    2 days ago
  • Families with new babies victims of today’s veto
    Families with new babies are the victims of an historical “first” for the New Zealand Parliament today. “For the first time ever, a Bill will have a third reading debate and no vote will be taken at the end because ...
    3 days ago
  • Crime on the rise…again!
    The Police Minister’s contention that Police have enough resources to meet the expectations of New Zealand communities is not reflected in the Police’s own statistics, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Yet again, reported burglaries have increased in every region ...
    3 days ago
  • Private schools beneficiaries of extra cash
    Plans to give more taxpayer money to private schools at a time when state schools are struggling to make ends meet says everything about the National Government’s twisted priorities, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Not only did this year’s ...
    3 days ago
  • Inequality getting worse under National
    Inequality is getting worse under National with almost 60 per cent of the wealth in this country concentrated in the hands of the top 10 per cent according to Statistics NZ figures released today, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    4 days ago
  • Government freezes elderly out of insulation subsidy
    Government cuts to the Warm Up New Zealand insulation subsidy means it will now only be available for rental properties and could leave many elderly homeowners cold this winter, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In this year’s Budget the Government ...
    4 days ago
  • Shewan report delivers rebuke to National
    John Shewan’s report into foreign trusts is a rebuke to John Key and the National Party who have protected an industry that has damaged New Zealand’s reputation, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Three years ago the Inland Revenue Department ...
    4 days ago
  • Auckland Airport rail analysis must be made public
    The Government should publicly release its detailed analysis of rail to Auckland Airport before it closes off options, so the public can have an informed debate, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Transport Agency today said it is ...
    4 days ago
  • Minister approved OIO consent despite death and investigations
    Louise Upston must say if she knew Intueri was being prosecuted for the death of a student and under a funding investigation when she approved its overseas investment consent to buy another education provider, says Labour’s Land Information and Associate ...
    5 days ago
  • Brexit vote costs NZ effective EU voice
    Despite being extremely close the result of the referendum in Britain reflects the majority voice, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “While we respect the decision to leave the EU, it goes without saying the move will usher in ...
    1 week ago
  • Pasifika Education Centre doomed
    The Pasifika Education Centre appears doomed to close down this December, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio  “In a written question I asked the Minister whether he would put a bid in for more money. His answer ...
    1 week ago
  • Onetai Station review a shameful whitewash
    A report released today on the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) good character test is a whitewash that does nothing to improve New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “The review of the good character test ...
    1 week ago
  • We need a national strategy to end homelessness now
    Long before I entered Parliament, housing and homelessness were issues dear to my heart. I know from personal experience just how hard it is to find an affordable home in Auckland. In my maiden speech, I talked about how when ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Capital feels a chill economic wind
      Wellington is on the cusp of recession with a sharp fall in economic confidence in the latest Westpac McDermott Miller confidence survey, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark.  “Economic confidence amongst Wellingtonians has dropped 12% in the past ...
    1 week ago
  • Dive school rort took six years to dredge up
    News that yet another private training establishment (PTE) has rorted the Government’s tertiary funding system since 2009 shows that Steven Joyce has no control of the sector, says Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Like Agribusiness Training and Taratahi, ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s housing crisis hitting renters hard
    National’s ongoing housing crisis is causing massive rental increases, with Auckland renters being hit the hardest, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Government holds Northland back
    New information shows Northland remains the most economically depressed region in New Zealand, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark. “The latest Westpac McDermott Miller regional survey found that more Northlanders believe their local economy will deteriorate this year than ...
    1 week ago
  • Rebstock report into MFAT leaks a disgrace
    An Ombudsman’s report on the Paul Rebstock investigation into MFAT leaks shows the two diplomats at the centre of the case were treated disgracefully, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi.  “The Ombudsman says one of the diplomats Derek Leask ...
    1 week ago
  • More families forced to turn to food banks for meals
    Increasing numbers of families are having to go to food banks just to put a meal on the table, according to a new report that should shame the Government into action, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Aussie reforms signal trouble ahead for school funding plan
    Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The signaled return to bulk funding is ...
    1 week ago
  • Toxic Sites – the down low on the go slow
    In  2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Aucklanders face new motorway tax of up to $2500 a year
    The Government wants to tax Aucklanders thousands of dollars a year just to use the motorway network, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Officials estimate the average city commute is 11.8km. This means for the average Aucklander commuting five ...
    1 week ago
  • 15 corrupt bank managers identified in student fraud
    New information show 15 bank managers in India have been identified by Immigration New Zealand as presenting fraudulent documents on behalf of foreign students studying here, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Documents obtained by Labour under the Official Information ...
    1 week ago
  • National leaves Kiwi savers the most vulnerable in OECD
    News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail. Most Kiwis ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Comprehensive plan for future of work needed
    A Massey University study showing many New Zealanders are unaware of the increasing role of automation in their workplace, highlights the need for a comprehensive plan for the future of work, says Grant Robertson, Chair of Labour’s Future of Work ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another National Government failure: 90 day work trials
    On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Iraq mission extension case not made
    The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Melanoma deaths could be avoided by an early access scheme
      The tragic death of Dunedin’s Graeme Dore from advanced Melanoma underlines the cruelty of this Government in promising a treatment but delaying for months, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “Graeme was diagnosed with Melanoma last year. He used ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Assessing the Defence White Paper
    The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities. The Green Party has a longstanding belief that priority must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis’ confidence drops again: Economy needs a boost
    Westpac’s consumer confidence survey has fallen for the seventh time in nine quarters, with middle income households ‘increasingly worried about where the economy is heading over the next few years’, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This survey is a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Relocation grant simply kicks can down the road
    The response by state house tenants and social agencies to the Government’s rushed plan to shift families out of Auckland tells us what we already knew – this is no answer to the chronic housing shortage, Opposition Leader Andrew Little ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Peace hīkoi to Parihaka
    On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Children’s Commissioner right to worry about CYF transition
    The Government must listen to the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that young people under CYF care could be ‘negatively impacted’ as the new agency’s reforms become reality, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. “Dr Russell Wills has used the second annual ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill English exaggerates PPL costs to justify veto
    The Finance Minister has used trumped-up costings to justify a financial veto against parents having 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Bill English’s assertion on RNZ yesterday that the measure would cost an extra $280 million ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must refund overcharged motorists
    Labour is calling on the Government to refund motor registration fees to three-quarters of a million Kiwi motorists whose vehicles were wrongly classified under National’s shambolic ACC motor vehicle risk rating system, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says.“Minister Kaye’s ridiculous ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 90-day work trials an unfair failure which must change
    A new Treasury report shows the Government’s 90-day trials haven’t helped businesses and are inherently unfair, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Motu report found that 90-day trial periods had no impact on overall employment and did not ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere