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The Standard

The best country money can buy

Written By: - Date published: 12:35 pm, October 28th, 2010 - 95 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, national, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

The Supercity legislation imposed on Auckland without referendum, ECan abolished, the 90-day law imposed on workers without a select committee process, CERRA slammed through making Gerry Brownlee dictator, The Rugby World Cup Empowering Act, and, now, the Hobbit Enabling Act to be rushed through today because a foreign corporate (supposedly) demanded it. National does not care about democracy, our political and economic rights are just inconveniences in their eyes.

John Armstong gets it:

“The obvious relief that the two Hobbit movies will be made in New Zealand will be somewhat tempered by the fact that the Government has buckled and increased tax write-offs for large-budget films, benefiting Warner Bros by up to $20 million.

On top of that, the company walks away from what insiders say were tough negotiations with another $13.4 million to offset the films’ marketing costs.

Far more unseemly, however, is the Government’s kowtowing to Warner Bros and agreeing to put legislation before Parliament as soon as today to clarify the distinction between “independent contractors” and “employees” as it relates to the local film industry.

Not only that. The legislation will be passed straight through all its stages, which means no select committee scrutiny.

What kind of a country, however, sells its democratic soul for 30 pieces of silver?”

The answer is a craven one run by a snivelling little money man who has no loyalty to New Zealand and the rights we have fought so hard to win. Whether Key has sold our sovereignty to foreign big business, or National is just exploiting this situation to attack workers, the result is the same: workers lose, big business wins, and democracy is overridden by those with the cheque books.

Let us not forget that an old mate of Key’s was in the Warners negotiating team.

A great comment coming off Armstrong’s article sums up what kind of country National is turning us into:

“FOR SALE, cheap: New Zealand. No offer (or demand) refused. Need an inconvenient law changed? Want some tax breaks? Mr Key is your man. Want to buy some land? How much do you want?”

95 comments on “The best country money can buy”

  1. Ari 1

    Another bill skipped through select committee? This is beyond ridiculous.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    1. At least the movies will now be made in NZ, so there actually will be jobs. 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

    2. Whats wrong with being a contractor anyway? They tend to get paid better than employees and they can claim their expenses against tax. So there is plenty of compensation for any loss of rights.

    • vidiot 2.1

      What’s wrong with contracting/being self employed ?

      a) You can claim a home office as an expense
      b) You can claim travel costs
      c) You can claim communication expenses
      d) You can split the income between you & your partner, thus reducing your tax bill.

      Replace Actor with Builder, funny how most of the teams that have contracts for large developers aren’t wanting to be classed as employees.

      With the announcement now of Avatar 2 & 3, sure looks like Weta & Co are going to be busy for a few years. Actually, I wonder if the announcement of those 2 projects was delayed due to this industrial action.

      • Bunji 2.1.1

        It depends whether you want to be a contractor, and whether you’re compensated for loss of holidays, sick pay, potential redundancy, ACC costs, etc etc, or whether it’s imposed on you without extra money.
        You need to earn almost twice as much as a contractor as you get as an employee to cover your additional costs. Yes, it does open many tax loopholes and ruses to you, but that doesn’t always add up to much for the scrupulous.

        • Dylan 2.1.1.1

          The vast majority of people working in film and TV (from producers on down) are already contractors. They were hired as independent contractors before this, and will continue to be after this. That is the norm in the industry and it makes sense given the nature of it.

          No one was going to be an employee before and will now be a contractor. The only issue this is addressing is avoiding a repetition of a single case where a contractor claimed, after his contract was terminated, that he was an employee and won. It was a very confusing case for other film industry workers, as they understand their working conditions and situation.

          If actors and other film and TV workers were employees it would be incredibly complicated for them. Grips, for example, may work on hundreds of jobs a year for different companies, some will overlap – as an employee that’s almost impossible. The same is true of actors – they are frequently working on multiple projects, which is generally incompatible with the employer/employee relationship.

          • Bunji 2.1.1.1.1

            Yes, it won’t make a difference to a lot of film workers, as they are already contracting.

            I don’t know about your argument that a grip will have hundreds of jobs – particularly in this country – or that you couldn’t be an employee with multiple jobs. Both are quite possible, and indeed done (I had about 4 part-time jobs at university as I recall, without conflict).

            The difference will not be for actors, or others who are flitting between projects, and have accepted being contractors. It will be for people who were employed by 1 production company, working on multiple jobs for them. Programmers and artists creating special effects. Roadies who set up sites. And model-makers, who work on project after project.
            These people may want job security (they may have families and mortgages), and now there’s no chance they’ll get it. They may well get screwed down on pay and conditions, as they don’t realise their extra expenses. Employee protections were fought for and put in place for a reason.

            • Dylan 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Maybe hundreds was a bit optimistic – a hundred is possible though, and certainly is the case for some.

              And while it’s possible to be an employee with multiple jobs it becomes very difficult when the employers are all in the same business. Typical employment contracts have non-competition and conflict-of-interest clauses and a variety of other provisions that aren’t very practical.

              The majority of our ‘film’ industry is devoted to quite short term work too – a few days to a few weeks, which it rather impractical for a typical employee relationship. For actors that’s even more pronounced, as even on a longer-term project an non-core cast may only be required for a small portion of the production period. For the core cast of Hobbit or a show like Shortland St an employee position might be viable, but for the majority of productions it really wouldn’t.

              • Bright Red

                “The majority of our ‘film’ industry is devoted to quite short term work too – a few days to a few weeks, which it rather impractical for a typical employee relationship. For actors that’s even more pronounced, as even on a longer-term project an non-core cast may only be required for a small portion of the production period. ”

                and those people can be contractors if they like.

                but if someone is actually working as an employee they should be able to get the rights of an employee if they so desire, no matter what the boss put in the contract

                • Dylan

                  You can hardly be a contractor and not know it. The employment relationship is different – you have to submit invoices, there are a whole range of tax things to consider.

                  It’s not as if employers are sneaking a secret clause in page 6 of the contract that says “oh, BTW, you’re a contractor”

        • vidiot 2.1.1.2

          ok, so you are contracted for 25 weeks work @ a fix price of $50K. Out of that $50K, you take off $4K for ‘Home Office’, $2.5K for transportation, $1K for communications – you end up with $42.5K. Split that between you & your partner, gross wages is $21.5K each.

          As an employee $50K = $1473 per week take home
          As a contractor $50K split as above = $1420 per week take home.
          Difference over 25 weeks = $1325 which is still $6K better off being a contractor

          Egro – twice as much, my arse.

          • Armchair Critic 2.1.1.2.1

            Except there would be GST at 15% on that $50k, which amounts to $7.5k and wipes out your $6k better off pretty quickly.
            Off the top of my head there’s also ACC and a whole lot of miscellaneous costs around administering the company.

            • AndyB 2.1.1.2.1.1

              GST would be on top of the 50k, not included. Then you get the write off expenses against GST and keep some of that as well. I’ve been a contractor for years, here and overseas.

              Much better off being a contractor thanks very much.

              • Armchair Critic

                I’ve been a contractor for years too. Before that I managed contractors for more than a decade.
                Saying the $50k must have GST paid out of it (i.e. includes GST) if it is paid under an employment contract, but excludes GST if paid to an independent contractor is not comparing apples with apples.

            • Zaphod Beeblebrox 2.1.1.2.1.2

              Not to mention the grief IRD may give you, they have pretty tight re claiming for these things and you can’t work more than 75% (I think) for one employer. You also don’t get paid for your holidays and sick leave (or kiwisaver employer subdsidy). Good accountants don’t come cheap if you want to do it prperly.

          • Bunji 2.1.1.2.2

            Most contractors charge per hour, rather than get a fixed price. Indeed your calculation doesn’t make much sense to me. You seem to be just throwing numbers around.

            Why do you get to split it between you and your partner? They are not doing the work.
            Even if you somehow go for that ruse and could get away with it (there are a lack of tax inspectors after all), what if you don’t have a partner, or they work?

            What if you want to take a holiday during that half-year? You don’t get paid.
            What if you are sick? You don’t get paid.
            On your $50K you’ll have to pay ACC instead of the employer paying for you.
            Odds are you can be dismissed a lot more easily – usually termination is on the employer’s terms. There’s no unfair dismissal recourse if you believe it to be unfair.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2.2.1

              And the ACC is twice as much because, as a contractor, you have to pay both the employers and the employees part.

              That said, I’m actually in favour of everyone becoming a contractor as everyone should be operating under the same rules so that the pricing signal is accurate rather than irrational. Of course, it would only work if we also had a Universal Income. It would also help if we had an IRD administered version of MYOB Live so that people would have immediate access to the necessary accounting tools.

              One thing I noticed about contract work is that when the contracts dry up you have a very large chance of losing everything. This means either that contractors need to be paid a hell of a lot more (my nephew in 2k8 was bringing in ~$150k, had saved up quite a bit but it didn’t last through the first year of the recession even though he had work and building work is still going down) so that when there’s no work each person can get by on their savings or that society must make up the difference.

            • vidiot 2.1.1.2.2.2

              “Most contractors charge per hour” – nope, most labourers (plumbers, sparkies, jibbers, etc) charge by the hour. Construction, Tenders, etc – contracts are ‘turn key’ fixed price / fixed time with measured deliverables.

              “On your $50K you’ll have to pay ACC instead of the employer paying for you.”
              Are you out of touch with reality ? When you get paid as an employee, factored in to the PAYE tables is your own personal ACC levy – which is iirc 2% of your gross. Yes the employer also has to pay an additional ACC levy (calculated against the risk of the job that company works within).

              Why do you get to split your income ?
              a) Because it’s done 95% of the times with ma & pa small businesses.

              • kirbya

                If it helps, for the current financial year a self-employed’ (contractors are considered as ‘self-employed’) builder earning $50 000 net would be looking at ACC levies totalling $3 250. Of this, $889 (before GST) is related to Earners Levies, the portion that the employer would usually pay.

    • Lazy Susan 2.2

      Nice try at distraction ts but the post is about National’s repeated disregard for democratic process. How about addressing the post rather than repeating the spin,

      • Jaghut 2.2.1

        I hope you realise the staggering amount of irony in your post, distracting from two very coherent posts, with great points… by saying it’s “distracting”.
        Lols.

    • freedom 2.3

      two things
      first, not everyone wants to be a contractor, some wierdos are actually happy and even prefer being employees and having rights

      secondly your “50% of something is better than 100% of nothing” comment only shows you are the sort who gives up their liberty for freedom

      • Bunji 2.3.1

        Indeed, some people like job security, knowing that they’ll have work in 6 months, that will pay the mortgage and feed the children. Contracting works much better for the single and highly mobile.

  3. Fisiani 3

    Keep up these unpatriotic slanders and watch the Leftist vote slip further into oblivion. If you are against the so called Hobbit Enabling Bill then you are against New Zealand. So be your fate.

    • You know I am sure that similar trolls said comparable things about Nazi Germany in the 30’s, you know something like if you are against the gassing of jews and trade unionists then you are against Germany …

      • Jaghut 3.1.1

        A little early in the debate for Godwins Law, isn’t it?

        • mickysavage 3.1.1.1

          Not really. Fisi’s comments smacked of naziism.

          • wasi 3.1.1.1.1

            “Fisi’s comments smacked of naziism….”

            Fisiani Bainimarama?

          • Fisiani 3.1.1.1.2

            Now you’ve really lost the plot Micky and any vestige of respect.

            • mickysavage 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Fisi

              Your uncritical reference to patriotism was the problem.

              A couple of sayings for you:

              Samuel Johnson – “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”.
              Oscar Wilde – “Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.”

              • Jaghut

                Because a couple of famous people said patriotism is bad, is must be so, right?

                I don’t consider patriotism inherently bad, because it is merely the love of this country, and the aspects that make it great.

                “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain

          • The Baron 3.1.1.1.3

            You are such a hysterical mess when people disagree with you Greg – pretty much a fail for a lawyer I would have thought.

            And come to think of it, where has this “naziism” line been every time CV utters “Why aren’t you supporting the noble workers of NZ” line? Oh no, principles only apply when they suit your side, right? You’re gonna make an awesome parliamentarian, Greg – just do what Phil tells you, that’s exactly what we need more of.

    • wasi 3.2

      “Keep up these unpatriotic slanders”

      i was born in NZ…i`ll say what i fucking well like…

      • Fisiani 3.2.1

        Who told you to shut up? Not me. Feel free to say…………………….like.
        It’s like watching people queue up to shoot Bambi’s mother.

    • Luxated 3.3

      Unpatriotic? Grow up, this is New Zealand not the ‘U S of A’.

    • Vicky32 3.4

      You’re having a laugh, right, Fisiani? Your statement is completely mental..
      Deb

  4. Roflcopter 4

    Send the bill to the CTU or AE or MEAA… perhaps split it 3 ways.

  5. Carol 5

    It’s going to be a lively session in Parliament today;

    http://parliamenttoday.co.nz/2010/10/questions-for-oral-answer-oct-28/

    .Questions to Ministers

    1. Hon TREVOR MALLARD to the Minister for Economic Development: What factors did he take into account when he agreed with Warner Brothers executives to change employment legislation in New Zealand?

    8. KEITH LOCKE to the Minister for Economic Development: Why is his Government intending to change industrial relations law under urgency instead of through the normal parliamentary process?

    And some people thought Key’s deal with Warners was the end of the issue, and the left would just roll over.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Pretty pedestrian questions, really.

      • toad 5.1.1

        The primary question almost always is. The guts of it is usually in the supplementaries. Don’t you ever watch how Trevor Mallard plays Anne Tolley like a cat with a mouse in question time Lanth?

        • Lanthanide 5.1.1.1

          I’ve only seen a little of Trevor’s games, I don’t want parliamentary TV much (doesn’t help not having freeview where I am).

          Point is, what is presented here wasn’t that interesting, and the supplementaries could easily fall-flat depending on their wording and how the minister wriggles out of it.

  6. wasi 6

    so…where`s the money coming from?

    “20 hours of free care to be reviewed, says Tolley…”

    …ohhh..i know…we`ll slash and burn some more social policy…those whose jobs have been saved by JK and who are working on the Hobbit will be able to pay for their own childcare won`t they?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10683588

  7. What is the definition of a contract? The two essential elements are OFFER and ACCEPTANCE. If the production company offers a contract to a person to work as a contractor, and the recipient accepts it, we have a legally enforceable contract between the parties; what the heck is wrong with that?

    • Bright Red 7.1

      Because the employment relationship is not equal. People need to work and nearly everyone takes the terms that are offered to them. People don’t shop around or bargain because there are fewer jobs than job-seekers (250,000 jobless, remember?).

      If you get offered work as a ‘contractor’ but you want to be an employee and the work is actually in the nature of employment, are you going to turn it down and remain unemployed? No, you can’t afford that luxury. But that doesn’t mean you sacrifice your work rights.

      Employment law has recognised for a very, very long time that employment is a matter of fact, not just what is stated on a piece of paper.

      • Bob Stanforth 7.1.1

        Dork, nice try.

        http://www.dol.govt.nz/lmr/lmr-hlfs.asp as of August. Try 160,000 unemployed and seeking work. Being on a benefit doesn’t mean you are jobless, and including all beneficiaries in your inflated total to support your weak argument makes it even weaker.

        Oh, and as a contractor who has a young family, wife etc, the crap spouted here about it being fine for young and mobile, further crap. Im 46, love contracting and the freedom it brings.

        • Bright Red 7.1.1.1

          Bob. I’m not adding beneficiaries to the unemployed. dumbarse.

          Joblessness is a wider measure than unemployment, people on the unemployment benefit are a subset.

          I am talking about the jobless, not just the unemployed.

          Joblessness is people who want work but can’t find it. Check here, table 8: http://stats.govt.nz/~/media/Statistics/Browse%20for%20stats/HouseholdLabourForceSurvey/HOTPJun10qtr/hlfs-jun10qtr-tables.ashx

          255,700 jobless.

          dumbarse

          It’s great if you want to be a cotnractor but others shouldn’t have employment rights denied when they are working as employees, depiste what the cotnract claims.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.2

          Im 46, love contracting and the freedom it brings.

          I take it you’re not working for less than minimum wage for the hours you do then? I take it that you get to pick and choose the work you take on, which clients, and how many hours a week you want to work?

          Well guess what, for a lot of the so-called ‘contractors’ on Jackson’s sets, none of that applied because they were contractors in name only, and expected to turn up and behave/be managed as employees.

          Its wrong, and the Govt should not be selling out the rights of our workers to a foreign multinational.

          • Bob Stanforth 7.1.1.2.1

            Minimum wage? No, generally $1200 a day, average, plus expenses. Ive gone back into it after a few years off because we have just built two rooms onto our house for the kids :)
            Pick and chose the work? Not even – the work I do is highly specialised, and there are maybe 100 companies in NZ where I can do it – and Ive done it in around 40 of those, and get repeat work
            Hours? Vary between 8 on a good day and 24 on a bad day. Flexibility required :)

            And its funny, where are the contractors who were on Jacksons sets? They dont seem to be complaining much?

            Its not wrong, its called freedom of choice – just as I chose the right to contract, I dont begrudge anyone else the ability to join a company or a union.

            • Bright Red 7.1.1.2.1.1

              do you understand the difference between being jobless and unemployed Mr $1200 a dollar a day?

              In my experience the people who try to skite about money on these sites are just making it up.

              • Bob Stanforth

                And I was skiting where you knob? Since when is a statement of fact skiting? $1,200 is fuck all for what I do, and the reason I charge so little is because I dont work offshore anymore. Do take your head out of your arse, its most unbecoming.

                Oh, and I had my fair share of jobless over the years – and not once claimed a benefit. Always found work doing something – anything, including moving boxes around a warehouse for 3 months – because I could and because I know that sitting on my fat arse helps no one – least of all me.

                • Vicky32

                  “Oh, and I had my fair share of jobless over the years – and not once claimed a benefit. ”
                  Well, all I can say is you’ve been bloody lucky mate! I have been prepared to do the small woman’s equivalent of labouring work, but believe it or not, bosses want experience even for hotel maids!
                  As for telemarketing at midnight, they want teenagers, (and good luck getting them, teens have better things to do) because teens don’t necessarily have to be self-supporting and are happy to take minimum wage on the promise of a commission…
                  Deb

            • Lanthanide 7.1.1.2.1.2

              My ex was running a contracting business, making about the same sort of money you are. Up until the earthquake. All of his clients (including University of Canterbury) have put their projects on hold for 6+ months, so he has absolutely no work now. He’s shutting the business now and moving back to the US.

              Don’t assume that you’re somehow ‘better’ than the unemployed – something you have no control over could easily come along and screw you out of your job.

              • Bob Stanforth

                Dont believe anywhere I have stated or implied that I am better than the unemployed, that is your construct alone, but nice try.

              • Dylan

                And that’s the nature of contracting. When the going is good it can be very lucrative. But you’re at the whim of the industry. I know heaps of people who do the same work I do for a lot more money, but they don’t always know where their next paycheck is coming from – usually they’re busy, but sometimes not. I’ve chosen to seek salaried employment instead as the stability is very important to me – but that is a choice I’ve made.

          • Dylan 7.1.1.2.2

            I take it you’re not working for less than minimum wage for the hours you do then? I take it that you get to pick and choose the work you take on, which clients, and how many hours a week you want to work?

            Well guess what, for a lot of the so-called ‘contractors’ on Jackson’s sets, none of that applied because they were contractors in name only, and expected to turn up and behave/be managed as employees.

            The contractors on Jackson’s sets (and all the other film and TV sets) are sure as well paid above minimum wage, they can pick and choose their work, and the number of hours they want to work.

            They can choose to take a longer-term contract on the film, or they can choose not to and take work on other productions instead.

            They take contracts to fulfill their roles in the productions, which does indeed require turning up when they are told (their call time), otherwise the production is held up. These people choose to work in this industry and their contracts are incredibly variable, from a half-day on a commercial set to 4-9 months on a film set. In accepting a contract on a feature they are agreeing to deliver a service to the production – the industry guidelines that outline how those services should be practically managed are contained in the Blue Book (for technical crew) and the Pink Book (for cast). They outline hours, breaks, notice periods, penalty rates, downtime, and a massive range of other things. And these guidelines are followed by the vast majority of productions, and deviations are discussed with affected crew and cast – despite what Equity might say.

            Contractors in the film industry have a much better working environment that contractors in many environments who have no industry working guidelines or anything else.

  8. ghostwhowalksnz 8

    How much will Sacha Baron-Cohen get to NOT make his next Borat/Bruno character about Kiwis

  9. bobo 9

    There was no mass of cases regarding contractor / employee definition before the employment courts before this hobbit beat up? Just like there was no crisis and need for the 90 day fire at will law. Just opportunistic ideology from Nact as per usual.

    “20 hours of free care to be reviewed, says Tolley…”
    The Hobbit beatup has been a great diversion for National. I guess parents could always leave their kids home alone watching the Lotr / hobbit full box set instead , probably around 20 hours run time all up..

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      “There was no mass of cases regarding contractor / employee definition before the employment courts before this hobbit beat up?”

      Did you know about this particular court case before the hobbit beat up? How many other people do you think didn’t know about the court case now? How many other people will now be thinking “hmm, I wonder if I could sue my employer”…

  10. Bright Red 10

    Brownlee says the Maori Party will be voting to take away film workers’ rights.

    Those fucken cunts.

    The last bloody straw.

    • The Baron 10.1

      Wah wah wah maybe if your beloved union wasn’t such incompetent, destructive lairs then you wouldn’t have this problem.

      The only people you have to blame for this is Robyn Malcolm, Helen Kelly, Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Simon Whipp. I suggest you vent your rage on them, princess.

  11. djp 11

    you missed the next line in your quote EDDIE:

    “The answer is a small one. And one where the economy shows little sign of recovery in the short term.”

    • Bright red 11.1

      so you support national selling our sovereignty because we’re small and the economy is bad under National? Next you’ll be saying we should just sign over the coutnry to China because they’re big and growing fast

      • The Baron 11.1.1

        Quick Greg, another Nazi!

      • djp 11.1.2

        It doesnt really matter what I support. I am just saying that adding the context to the quote changes the slant of the opinion piece (funnily enough on the front page of the Herald they quote it the same way, possibly to draw the reader in to the full text on page 2).

        But if you really want to know I do support removing trade barriers for all companies and individuals in NZ. If the balance of power is shifted slightly from sovereignty over the subjects of NZ to individuals then hooray.

  12. Francisco Hernandez 12

    I support the Hobbit staying here.

    This employment change stuff is frightening though.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      We all support the Hobbit staying here. Being shafted as a tax payer in the process and having Jackson turn on working NZ’ers, not so much.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1

        We all support the Hobbit staying here.

        No we don’t. Now, if we were putting in all the resources and getting all the returns I might be but that’s not happening. We’re putting in a fairly significant amount money (20% to 25%) and, from what I can make out, Warner Bros. are getting the all of the returns (the actual profits).

        • Lanthanide 12.1.1.1

          “Warner Bros. are getting the all of the direct returns (the actual profits).”
          Fixed that for you.

          Tourism from LotR was apparently a big money spinner, and I expect that The Hobbit will probably be even more so. Key’s gimmicky ad for NZ on the DVD might actually make quite a difference in the long run, too.

    • Bright Red 12.2

      yeah, well this is what you get for letting yourself get fooled into thinking that the Hobbit was ever going to leave. Screwed by Warners, screwed by National

  13. tc 13

    This issue typifies this gov’t approach on so many issues:
    a) whip up an emotional debate using the MSM’s 20 second attention span and inability to check/verify anything you say.
    b) fan those flames with more dis-information so the original issue is long buried in emotional baggage and unrelated tangents, see point (a) for tips on how.
    c) Resolve the issue as you expected however this will be so much better then expected under (b) the great unwashed will be grateful and believe you need (d).
    d) Use urgency to bypass the annoying select committe process remembering to rope in the MP, if they want something go see the baldy man as he’s easily blackmailed err I mean aligned.
    e) smile and wave and avoid question time unless lockwood has given you a ‘Don’t Answer’ card.
    f) repeat (d) should further issues arise.

  14. Even Trademe is getting in on the action …

    http://www.trademe.co.nz/327783119

  15. ianmac 15

    Does this mean that if a Union is big enough the NActs will be willing to “cave in” in a similar way to caving to Warners? Go the PPTA!

  16. Draco T Bastard 16

    Hobbit Enabling Bill

    So, that’s the cost of The Hobbit: the entire film and video game industry gets to be slaves. I hope all you people at Weta are happy with yourselves, arseholes.

    That’s it in a nutshell.

    • Dylan 16.1

      What I don’t get about this is how did people think it should work before?

      I take work as a contractor with a film company, including all the benefits that entails (expenses, tax write offs, etc etc etc) until such time as I want to gain some of the benefits of being an employee (sick pay, holiday pay) – then I just go to the Employment Court and claim them?

      This doesn’t make EMPLOYEES (people with an employment contract) who work in these industries into contractors. All it does it make it clear that contractors aren’t employees (although not very well, but then the ERA seems confusing on that issue to start with).

      I am an employee in the film/tv industry and I have no concern about suddenly losing the benefits of my employment. Nor do any of the contractors I know (many of my co-workers) seem concerned about not suddenly being able to make employment court claims later on.

      • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1

        I agree with contract work (see upthread). What I don’t agree with is the lack of enforceable minimum conditions and this is where contractors generally get screwed.

        • Dylan 16.1.1.1

          The difficulty I see with enforcable conditions is that the nature of contracted work can be quite different to an employee relationship. It would be difficult to draft minimum terms that would be clear enough in the variety of conditions they may cover – just thinking about the variety of contract jobs I know about in the film industry.

  17. tc 17

    yeah but the PPTA isn’t likely to have any of Sideshows mates he can buddy up to in negotiations nor can it offer him some photo or union bashing opportunities however if they commissioned Spielberg and got some gov’t dosh to make a movie…..now we’re talking.

    • bobo 17.1

      So we can expect John Key to intervene in the PPTA dispute and chuck cash at teachers to stop them from going overseas, It’s not like the teacher strikes are any urgent pressing crisis… the show must go on.

  18. Murray 18

    Rosemary Mcleod has a good article on the issue over at The Dominion
    says it all really.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/opinion/4280040/Union-vision-dimmer-than-a-Hobbits-burrow

      • Armchair Critic 18.1.1

        Conclusion – Patrick Gower is a twit.
        The unions did not give Warners or Jackosn a cent. John Key dipped into the taxpayer’s purse instead. Don’t beat around the bush – it was John Key that gave them the money. Let him take responsibility. A little union forced his hand? Yeah, right.
        I must answer this bit of Gower’s exceptional piece of rubbish:
        But the conspiracy theory advanced by unions that Jackson and Warners set this all up to get some cash out of the government is just ridiculous.
        I have no doubt that if this opportunity had not arisen another excuse would have been found to try to get a bigger subsidy. Do you really believe that Warners would have carried on without a whimper if the financials were the same and the only difference was a compliant workforce? Their job is to make money (preferably by making movies) and they have plenty of experience.

    • ianmac 18.2

      Funny how we colour our reactions to people like McLeod. I had read the same piece and thought it to be a very inept piece of careless writing full of bias and prejudice. I think that she is well past her sell by date.

  19. Carol 19

    NACT trying to implicate Labour is involved with all those nasty unions to undermine the Hobbit. But also slamming Labour and The Greens for being quiet on Labour Day – eg Hidney did a song & dance about that.

    Labour has been hammering that they have seen an email dated 18 Oct that shows Warners agreed that union action was over.

    Opposition parties referred to Jackson’s report asking for increase in subsidies a few months back, as well as strongly repeating criticisms about issues of sovereignty, the government shaming NZ by acting like a banana republic bowing to an overseas corporate, and the lack of process in rushing through the law change, thus undermining our democracy.

    Mallard targetted Brownlee’s lack of attention to the issue, (eg as highlighted in Jackson’s report, and references to how Mallard kept up relations with with Warners, so they would act as soon as an issue came up, tweaking things). Consequently he said Brownlee allowed the whole issue to get out of hand.

    Also opposition MPs asked why Wilkinson/Minister of Labour was not at the negotiations with Warners, when Warners were asking for a change in NZ law.

  20. Carol 20

    In Question Time, Locke asked Brownlee about use of urgency that meant that the public and people employed in the industry don’t get the opportunity to make submissions. Brownlee replied that there was an online digipoll that told him everything he needed to know about what the public supported.

    And maybe this says everything we need to know about how this government operates.

    • ianmac 20.1

      The Close Up poll tonight showed surprisingly that only 55% approved of Key’s actions and 44% thought that Key had sold us out. (Not the exact words.) Bit surprising given the time and effort to “sell” Key’s cleverness.
      Brownlie seemed to be saying that Warners did not demand a law change. Therefore Key must have offered it.

  21. Its also a law that ordinary kiwis support, imagine being an extra and getting to work with martin Freeman, imagine being a resturant owner and and having 500 to 1 1000 cast and crew walking past your business, imgaine being a worjker and wanting more hours and getting it, imgaine when this movie sells millions of dvds and people want the speical features, this is win, win, and if Helen Clark was still prime minster you guys will be saying how great it is.

    • Vicky32 21.1

      “Its also a law that ordinary kiwis support, imagine being an extra and getting to work with martin Freeman, … imgaine when this movie sells millions of dvds and people want the speical features, this is win, win, and if Helen Clark was still prime minster you guys will be saying how great it is.”
      I am leaving your spelling as it is, Sean…
      But with your first sentence, you are saying that NZ actors are adolescents? “Wow, I don’t care if I get screwed, I am gonna work with a *star*!”
      I will not be buying DVDs and I couldn’t give a toss about the special features. Probably I will rent the DVDs (if I can). Thanks to NACT I am unemployed, and DVDs are a luxury to we unemployed people…

      • Dylan 21.1.1

        Where’d the ‘actors getting screwed’ idea come from? There’s no suggestion that The Hobbit was ripping anyone off, and nothing that’s happened here will make any difference to any other productions.

  22. Vicky:

    Its not about working with a star, Martin Freeman isnt Britney or Keanu, he has his history in therate and is best known for his work on the english verison of the office, any young actor would love to learn from him, its not about being star struck, its about learning from the best and he is the best. He is also a heck of a nice guy.

  23. Logie97 23

    Welcome to New Warnerland as the DVD’s will advertise it. And in Hobbitville playing Smorg will be Jonkey. You can watch him reveling in guarding the jewelry in his cave.

    When does filming commence?
    Wouldn’t be in Warnerland aka Nuzilnd sometime in 2011 would it?) Given that Nuzilnd’s parliamentary sovereignty is being traded away by this “Jodrell Banker” there may be some suddenly-available actors around the beehive.

    How would we find out what blind trusts had connections with the filming industry.

  24. Hi Eddie,

    What was the name of John Key’s mate in the Warner team

  25. Adrian 25

    Anybody seen Bill English this week? Is he sitting somewhere seething and sharpening knives? He’s a Treasury man and they are diametricly opposed to these sort of tax breaks and winner-picking and I would imagine that he does not like being stiched up.

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