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MEAA fisks Jackson tirade

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 pm, September 27th, 2010 - 50 comments
Categories: Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

There doesn’t seem to be much coverage of the MEAA’s side of the Hobbit boycott story but there’s a lot of Saint Peter Jackson’s side.

That’s why it’s interesting to see the union’s response appear on info news today.

By the looks of things Jackson has refused to deal with the union which represents Kiwi workers despite months of approaches. It also looks like when he said he dealt fairly with union members he was talking about the Screen Actors Guild members – an American union that could finish him if he went against it (so it looks like he’s only pro-union when it’s unions he can’t bully).

Anyway here’s Steve Colbard’s response to Jackson’s tirade:

The makers of feature film The Hobbit – to be shot in New Zealand next year – are refusing to engage performers on union-negotiated agreements.

Members of Canadian Actors Equity, US Actors Equity, the Screen Actors Guild, UK Actors Equity, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (Australia) and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists have been advised not to accept work on this non-union production.

Peter Jackson responded to the allegations about non-union contracts with a few “facts”.

Here

This article adds some of the facts he left out.

“Personally speaking, I’m not anti-Union in the slightest. I’m a very proud and loyal member of three Hollywood Unions – the Directors Guild, the Producers Guild and the Writers Guild. I support the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). All these organisations (I must confess I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between a “Guild” and a “Union”) do terrific work on behalf of their members.”

No-one ever suggested Peter or the producers were anti-union. The materials distributed by the actors unions to their members say nothing of the sort. They simply articulate the fact that the producers refuse to negotiate fair union contracts with them. Have a look. http://www.actorsequity.org.nz/hobbit_fact_sheet.pdf (Now moved to http://www.alliance.org.au/documents/hobbit_fact_sheet.pdf

“Many Actors are members of SAG, but many are not — especially younger actors and many Australian and New Zealand performers. MEAA claims we are “non-Union”, but whenever we hire an actor who belongs to SAG, we always honour their working conditions, their minimum salary agreements and their residuals.”

No claim has been made suggesting The Hobbit is non union – simply that the production is aiming to employ New Zealand performers on non-union contracts by refusing to negotiate with NZ Actor’s Equity.

“These residuals can be worth tens of thousands of dollars to an individual if the film is successful – however the normal situation is that if an actor is not a member of SAG, they do not share in the profit pot. This has always struck us as unfair, since most Kiwi actors are not lucky enough to be SAG members. For the Hobbit, Warner Brothers have agreed to create a separate pot of profit participation, which will be divided up amongst non-SAG actors who are cast in the film. This was not done because of any pressure from Guilds or Unions – it was actually Warners doing the decent thing, and New Zealand and Australian actors will be the principle beneficiaries. SAG members have their pot, and non-SAG members now have theirs. We have introduced the scheme to Kiwi agents and it’s now part of all our Hobbit cast deals.”

What the producers have offered is far below international standard of SAG and the distribution of these residuals is not clearly articulated in any contract used so far in NZ. These residuals are significantly less than the MEAA usual agreements in every respect. Kiwis will be paid less than anyone else who might be engaged to do the same work. Fair?

Also if Kiwi performers are contracted subject to the standing NZ guidelines the usual provisions of the New Zealand contract would apply. These include a provision which permit the producer to terminate the contract at any time without obligation to pay out the performer’s contract. This provision could also be used to justify non-payment of any residual obligation which may have been agreed above (even after the performer has performed all their work on the film and even if the performer’s work is used in the film).

This clause alone makes the residual offer above meaningless.

“Whatever damage MEAA is attempting to do — and it will do damage, since that’s their principal objective in targeting The Hobbit – we will continue to treat our actors and crew with respect, as we always have.”

However earlier films such as Lord of the Rings, international performers were protected by their unions and kiwis worked on contracts with conditions that were significantly lower than their international counterparts. In fact some of the Kiwis on the that film sued New Line over the money made from merchandising and it was settled out of court.

“As I said earlier, money and power lies behind this threatening behaviour from our Australian cousins, and to fully understand that, you simply have to step back and look at the greater picture in context. It starts with “NZ Actors Equity”. This is a tiny organisation that represents a small minority of New Zealand Actors. They are not a Union, and have none of the legal status of a Union. They are a … well, a smallish group who have some New Zealand actors as members.

Just some of those New Zealand actors are Dame Kate Harcourt, Jennifer Ward Lealand, Bruce Hopkins, Tandi Wright, Michael Hurst, Cameron Rhodes, Elizabeth McCrae, Stephen Lovatt, Kirk Torrance and Lisa Chappel. Not small names in New Zealand.

“How many actors are members of NZ Equity? They guard that information very closely, but various reports I’ve seen put their membership at 200, although somebody in the know swears it’s nearer 100.”

If we are going to engage in rumours a more accurate one (from a member of the National Performers Committee of Equity itself) places membership in excess of 400. Still small but read on …

“How many professional actors are there in New Zealand? Somewhere between 2000 and 4000, depending on just how you describe a “professional actor”. Obviously most Kiwi actors have other employment too, but there’s certainly over 2000 actors available to cast in a film production.”

Actually in the 2006 census the occupation count for actors in New Zealand (ie. those who said they were actors!) was 588 …. see here http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2006CensusHomePage/classification-counts-tables/about-people/~/media/Statistics/Publications/Census/2006-reports/Classification-Count-Tables/People/occupation-revised.ashx

“So taking the most generous numbers, NZ Actors Equity represents 200 out of 2000 Kiwi actors, or 10%. Perhaps I’m wrong, and if so, NZ Equity will no doubt reveal their real membership numbers.”

Taking those alternative stats and calculating suggests NZ Actors Equity represents 68% of Nz actors. Even if you take Peters “generous” estimate of 200 its still at least a third.

“Now there’s nothing wrong with NZ Actors Equity representing 10% of the actors in this country. It’s great that they offer that service, and if an actor chooses, there’s a supportive group they can join. Obviously the more actors that join NZ Equity, the better, since these organisations usually survive by taking a small percentage of their members acting fees. I’m guessing that Equity do something like that. Recently they have been part-funded by MEAA.”

Actors do pay a small due to help keep their union running. Recently NZ Actor’s Equity asked the Australian union for help in order to combat the behaviour of NZ producers who have been exploiting their members. MEAA have been providing this support. NZ Actors Equity is now an independent arm of the MEAA.

“Over the last 10 years our relationship with NZ Equity has been rocky — whenever we cast an “overseas actor”, we get a letter telling us why such and such Kiwi actor would be so much better in the role. In most cases we have already auditioned the actor in question, and formed our own opinions…”

Standard immigration policy all over the world demands that businesses demonstrate that any foreign national they hire doesn’t take a job away from a local.

“What really does strike me as wrong, and this is my personal opinion, is the why that the MEAA is using NZ Actors Equity as a vehicle to represent the voices and opinions of New Zealand actors. A couple of years ago, the members of NZ Actors Equity voted to join some kind of alliance with the Australian MEAA group. At the time, there were voices of alarm at how this relationship could damage the interest of Kiwi Actors, but the merger went ahead – and now we’re about to find out just how damaging it’s going to be.”

One of the many reasons NZ performers voted to accept the support of the MEAA is they were tired of being “Mexicans with cellphones” as some of the international producers colourfully called them. Doing the same work on the same productions and being awarded less than their international cousins.

“I personally have a problem with any organisation who represent a small minority, but attempt to take control of everyone – but that’s not the real issue. The complex web of NZ labour laws are the reason why this demand will never be agreed to. NZ law prohibits engaging in collective bargaining with any labour organisation representing performers who are independent contractors, as film actors clearly are. The NZ Commerce Act claims it would be unlawful to engage with an Australian Union on these matters.”

However NZ Actors Equity has obtained legal advice that there are a variety of lawful means which could be used to establish the minimum wages, working conditions and residuals for performers on the production. A copy of this advice has been provided to the lawyers for the producer. So somebody has their facts wrong …

“My personal opinion is that this is a grab for power. It does not represent a problem that needs a solution. There will always be differing opinions when it comes down to work and conditions, but I have always attempted to treat my actors and crew with fairness and respect. We have created a very favourable profit sharing pool for the non-Union actors on The Hobbit — and now the Union is targeting us, despite the fact that we have always respected SAG conditions and residuals.

I can’t see beyond the ugly spectre of an Australian bully-boy, using what he perceives as his weak Kiwi cousins to gain a foothold in this country’s film industry. They want greater membership, since they get to increase their bank balance.”

This emotionally charged statement has been quoted extensively by news media thus far. To be clear it is all of the Australian, American, Canadian and British unions who stand with the NZ performers not just an Australian “bully-boy”. They are supporting New Zealand performers at the request of Actors Equity NZ. The request isn’t much. A standard union negotiated contract for all New Zealand performers.

Interestingly enough the person complaining about the “Australian bully-boy” (who are involved only to support fair contracts for New Zealand actors) is the one who is perpetuating unfair conditions on his own country men. A Kiwi exploiting his own?

“But it sure feels like we are being attacked simply because we are a big fat juicy target – not for any wrong doing. We haven’t even been greenlit yet! It feels as if we have a large Aussie cousin kicking sand in our eyes … or to put it another way, opportunists exploiting our film for their own political gain.”

Or it could be viewed as the acting community of the world standing up for the rights of a small group.

lprent: Updated to fix the links and put in a link that had moved (thanks to tiger).

50 comments on “MEAA fisks Jackson tirade”

  1. Wow, great post Irish.

    It is great when the facts get in the way of PR and this post is an example of what can happen when the facts are reported.

  2. Swampy 2

    Now isn’t it strange, that file is not on their server any more.

  3. Swampy 3

    Where’s a response to the statement that the MEAA is not a registered union in NZ and therefore an NZ employer is not able to negotiate a collective agreement with them.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Can’t wait until the Jackson PR accusations of simply being an innocent Tall Poppy start to appear.

    An innocent Tall Poppy who only respects the value of the per hour labour supporting his multi-million dollar profit stream when absolutely forced to.

  5. millsy 5

    I had a lot of respect for Sir Peter Jackson until this.

    • Jim Nald 5.1

      Ditto

    • jagilby 5.2

      Yeah, how dare he not lay down for the unions.

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.1

        Forget the unions, that’s a red herring. How dare he diss fellow NZ workers in favour of his multinational paymasters. That’s the issue.

        • jagilby 5.2.1.1

          Uhh ha, looks like he will diss NZ workers by packing up his sandpit and taking the production offshore.

          Such a cock that Sir Pete – single handedly setting up that multi-million industry here.

          What’s worse than (alleged) poor working conditions for (otherwise unskilled) workers?
          No working conditions.

          Just shows all this hand-wringing about job creation is so disingenuous.
          Jobs are all well and good only if they result in more union subsidies to fund your political agenda. It’s so transparent that, frankly, it’s sickening.

  6. Standard immigration policy all over the world demands that businesses demonstrate that any foreign national they hire doesn’t take a job away from a local.

    And standard Hollywood big-budget movie policy all over the world is that the producers and director decide which actors are going to play the parts. If you don’t want big-budget movies made here, fine – it’s a free country. But if you would like them made here, this kind of blather is just plain delusional.

    The request isn’t much. A standard union negotiated contract for all New Zealand performers.

    Actually, that request is much – it’s a demand for non-union workers to be covered by the union’s contract without them having to join the union. Why the employer would be interested in assisting with this is anything but obvious.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    And standard Hollywood big-budget movie policy all over the world is that the producers and director decide which actors are going to play the parts. If you don’t want big-budget movies made here, fine – it’s a free country. But if you would like them made here, this kind of blather is just plain delusional.

    Maybe you’re a real “Stars in their Eyes” type but WTF would you let these rich pricks turn up on our shores with their million dollar making projects, and short change your fellow New Zealanders?

    You really think that they cannot afford an extra NZ$100K in wages to give NZ’ers a fair go out of a US$150M Hollywood block buster budget?

    Grow up and learn to back your fellow workers mate.

    • Not interested. If the people actually working in the sector don’t care enough about this to actually join the union, I’m certainly not going to lose any sleep over it.

      • lprent 7.1.1

        Ummm if the numbers in the post are correct, then it does look like the majority of actors are in the union?

        BTW: I checked from another source of occupational data and I’d say that the census over estimates the numbers who call themselves actors. Furthermore when I peek at the historical data there aren’t that many who stay in the occupation for very long. I wonder why? Lousy wages and lack of security perhaps? The very thing that unions formed over?

        • pollywog 7.1.1.1

          Maybe they cant be bothered paying union fees to a union that is so ineffectual that they feel capable of representing themselves at the negotiating table and commanding what they’re worth based on the value they place on themselves and their work or are prepared to take a hit in the wallet for the love of the craft.

          No ones forcing actors to take the money on offer but this union is trying to force the producers to offer more when maybe the actors just aren’t worth it.

        • Salsy 7.1.1.2

          there aren’t that many who stay in the occupation for very long. I wonder why? Lousy wages and lack of security perhaps? The very thing that unions formed over?

          How about lack of roles, funding and a small indie industry ?

          • IrishBill 7.1.1.2.1

            Milt, you’re looking at it like it’s a standard job that gets organised as the ongoing job is done. That’s not how this sort of thing works as there’s nobody employed on the project to be in the union yet.

            Think of it like a major construction project such as a hydro dam. What happens in Aussie (and occasionally here) is the union negotiates with the companies running the project to get a collective agreement and then workers who sign up for the project get the option of joining the collective.

            The other option is to unionise the project once it’s under way. A situation that is both disruptive to the project and messy for the workers.

  8. fatchecker 8

    More nz sux posts from the substandard mmmkay

  9. the sprout 9

    What a surprise that a Hollywood millionaire with a colonial title should turn out to be a lying arsehole.

  10. Salsy 10

    What NZ actors who do bit parts in Weta Movies should be forced into a union which makes them pay around $2000 per year to be part of, and then dictates which movies they can and cant be in (i.e SAG). Tarantino for instance is known to hire non union, because like Jackson he knows actors unions threaten independant film making… The knee jerk anti Jackson reactions here are painful..

  11. Craig Ranapia 11

    No claim has been made suggesting The Hobbit is non union

    The MEAA should drop the Screen Actors Guild a line and suggest they stop claiming exactly that — repeatedly — in the Member’s Alert on their own website. Then again, MEAA director Simon Whipp would look ever so slightly foolish doing so, because I assume he concurred with the wording before he agreed to have it sent out with his signature attached.

    http://www.sag.org/sag-member-alert-non-union-production-hobbit

  12. Jeremy Harris 12

    If the film loses money do the Actors have to chip in to pay the bills..?

  13. Just some of those New Zealand actors are Dame Kate Harcourt, Jennifer Ward Lealand, Bruce Hopkins, Tandi Wright, Michael Hurst, Cameron Rhodes, Elizabeth McCrae, Stephen Lovatt, Kirk Torrance and Lisa Chappel. Not small names in New Zealand.

    You’re just saying they belong to Actors Equity but do you actually know what their position is ?…Has anyone asked them ?

    Not that i’m particularly interested in what mostly TV regulars, none of whom could command the star power residuals which lie at the heart of the matter, have to say about this.

    So explain to me again why actors think they deserve a bigger cut of the take if they dont actually take any risk and front up with any stake money from the outset. Is it cos they’re soooo hard done by and their working conditions suck ?

    I’d still be keen on hearing what Sam Neill, Karl Urban and Cliff Curtis have got to say more than anyone but somehow i dont think we’re gonna hear them complain much about their lot in life or put their careers on the line for any of those mentioned above nor do i think those mentioned are gonna step up, put their money where their mouth is and their careers on the line for the assembled throng of disgruntled bit players and cast offs.

    • Carol 13.1

      Just as I thought, Urban is a bit of a union man:

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/film/4172672/Urban-backs-unions-over-conditions

      Kiwi movie star Karl Urban has thrown his weight behind a union demand for better conditions for actors.

      • pollywog 13.1.1

        NZ Actors Equity president Jennifer Ward-Lealand said it did not want to jeopardise production of The Hobbit in New Zealand but had been seeking a meeting to discuss the issue for more than a month.

        “NZ Actors Equity is concerned that local actors working on the production receive a fair and equitable contract, just as their international colleagues will do.”

        Karl urban said

        “[The] NZ Actors Equity has my full support in their struggle to gain a higher standard of contract for New Zealand performers

        If he [Jackson] has the opportunity to help improve the working conditions for actors in New Zealand, to bring us more in line with our colleagues in Australia, the UK, and the US…”

        Good on ya Karl

        So would that concern also extend to your international colleagues in Bollywood, Nigeria or Eastern Europe and it’s only NZ Actors Equity that has your full support but lets be specific…

        Whats your position regarding supporting the MEAA and their demand for NZ actors to boycott ‘the hobbit’ ?

        …and these working conditions you’d like to see improved. Could you expound on that a bit more ? I thought it was only about gouging more dosh from the producers in the form of residuals ?

        And heres a question you and Jen might perhaps like to answer ?

        What impact do you think it will have on the NZ film industry if international standards of contract are applied across the board to all NZ shot films, not just the major studio blockbusters ?

        It seems the MEAA dont have any qualms about sacrificing our film industry. That would see foreign productions shift to non unionised locales, for the sake of the few well to do actors who will benefit most.I mean, it’s not like the MEAA have anything to lose, but a whole lot of membership fees to gain, plus a degree of power in the NZ film industry.

        Is that a sacrifice you’re prepared to make over a few measly dollars ? So really, how bad are these conditions and contracts ?

        • Salsy 13.1.1.1

          What impact do you think it will have on the NZ film industry if international standards of contract are applied across the board to all NZ shot films, not just the major studio blockbusters ?

          These are the exact questions we should be asking Polly :). Given the NZ film industry consists almost entirely of independent films, bar the few big budget Studio funded films Jackson brings to the shores…

      • Craig Ranapia 13.1.2

        I’m rather more bemused that Ian McKellen, AFAIK, has no comment. As far as I’m aware, he’s been an active member of Actor’s Equity in the UK for over forty years, and God know he’s never been shy about saying what he really thinks.

      • William 13.1.3

        When Sam Neill was employed at the NFU he was a staunch PSA member. The political causes he has supported in more recent times would indicate he hasn’t moved far from the support of workers rights.

  14. SHG 14

    Simple question: is the MEAA a registered union under the Employment Relations Act?

    If the answer is “no”, then it has no standing and the producers cannot legally negotiate with it, which would make this entire exercise a NZ PR campaign by an Australian union.

    • The Voice of Reason 14.1

      Except NZ employers regularly ‘negotiate’ collectively with workers who are not union members. Most recently this has taken the form of fat cat CEO’s announcing wage freezes. Illegal, but rarely challenged.

    • William 14.2

      Bullshit. The producers seem quite willing to honour conditions negotiated by SAG and other overseas unions, and those unions are not registered under the ERA.

    • Rich 14.3

      As far as I’m aware, being a registered union is only required to get the various rights unions have. There is no law that prevents a company negotiating with an unregistered union or any other body – they aren’t legally obliged to either. Point to the ERA section if you disagree.

      I believe the approach of the various international acting unions is that if the film is non-union, their members, including the stars the film needs to be a success, shouldn’t sign up to work on it. This applies if the film is made in Wellington, Moldova or on an floating disused oil platform. Sure, it can be made with unknown East European actors, but the chances are that nobody would pay to watch it.

  15. factchecker 15

    “The Alliance agreement for large budget international studio films (such as Mad Max 4 aka Fury Road
    and Happy Feet 2) provides for residuals that are equivalent to those under the SAG Agreement. The
    residuals proposed by the producers of The Hobbit are less in every respect.”

    Fantasists

  16. Daveo 16

    When the MEAA talk about the New Zealand contract they are talking about the situation where people that would usually be employees covered by employment law (minimum wage, right to challenge dismissal etc) are hired as “independent contractors”.

    Independent contractors are considered to be one-person businesses engaged in a contract with the producers. the relationship is similar to that you might have with a plumber you call in to fix a leak – you’re not the employer, rather you get a quote for the whole job and then they do it for that price and if you’re not happy with the job you break the contract.

    This means the employment relationship is considered to be a contract that falls under the commerce act rather than under employment law.

    This may be a suitable circumstance for hiring a plumber (in which both parties have similar negotiating power when the contract is created, such as you and your plumber) but there is no way an individual film worker has the ability to negotiate a fair contract with a multi-million dollar producer in that the cost of losing the contract for the worker is significantly greater than the cost of not hiring that individual worker is to the producer (the former risks losing their livelihood the other only risks having to find another contractor).

    As such many film workers in the small NZ film market end up working contracts that would be below legal minimum standards if they were deemed employment agreements but don’t have employment law to protect them.

    A union draws together the negotiating power of individual workers (and, in this case, international stars) to provide a balance to the power of the producers in order to achieve a more balanced outcome in the form of a collective agreement. In short, the union members’ risk is still the loss of their livelyhood but so too is the producers as there are no other “contractors” to do the work.

    What we are seeing here is Peter Jackson and other film producers trying to stop this collective process because it threatens their monopoly on bargaining power.

    It should be noted that Jackson pays union rates to international members of the Screen Actors Guild. This is simply because the collective negotiating power of SAG is considerably greater than his negotiating power. Which is to say if he took SAG on he would never get work in Hollywood again.

    While this may seem a cynical reduction of the issue it is the reality of doing business in a liberalised labour market such as New Zealand’s.

  17. Carol 17

    On Campbell Live just now, Bruce Hopkins (actor in Hercules, Xena, LOTR), threw some light on the Jackson-actors’ union issue. It seems it goes back to some time in the 90s when the Nats deregulated unions, and set a minimum limit on the number of members needed to form a union. The actors’ didn’t have enough members to be a union & have tried attaching themselves to other unions in the past. But this wasn’t very satisfactory because they were attached to unions they had nothing in common with. So, then a key leader put out a call for a union to affiliate with in Melbourne, and MEA responded.

    So, basically, they have a history of not being able to negotiate bottom-line conditions of employment. This issue pre-dates LOTR. And Kiwi actors are about the only ones in the world who haven’t been able to negotiate a basic agreement.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      And it sounds like Jackson, instead of siding with Kiwi actors to fight for a better deal, has simply become a money taking agent of the multinationals and is pushing a free market model for labour i.e. one which benefits the corporations the most by disempowering workers to the maximum.

      Shame shame shame

    • Craig Ranapia 17.2

      Carol: I think Bruce should stick to the acting (which he’s rather good at) because his history is FUBAR. He might start by asking someone at the CTU to send him a copy of the Employment Relations Act – which was passed by the Fifth Labour Government.

  18. RedLogix 18

    This is what happens when you live in a ‘gated community’ … in this case a mansion tucked away in the Wairarapa… you completely loose touch with ordinary people.

    All through history there are endless examples of people who through talent, luck or sheer guts have risen to the top…only to be toppled by their own hubris. It’s the oldest tragedy.

  19. millsy 19

    As much as I greatly admire what Jackson has done for the New Zealand cinema and film industry, I dont think it should be an exuse to treat film industry workers like crap.

    The set and costume designers (and the people who put it together) did a great job on LOTR and are more than capable of drawing a viewer into the film, and it would be a shame that they had to be paid less than minimum wage

  20. Jum 20

    captcha: voices

    Doesn’t Peter remember the bullshit from New Line Cinema trying to rip him off; he needs to remember that NZ actors are entitled to being treated fairly; remember that Peter – a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and no loading the rich guy’s side.

    Unfortunately, Peter is beginning to sound like John Key. I thought he was different.

  21. Tiger Mountain 21

    It seems last night several hundred NZ actors (not Australian Actors) met in New Zealand (not Australia) and democratically decided to recommend to NZ Equity members they not accept work on the ‘Hobbit’ until a meeting to discuss conditions has been held with Sir Jackson.

  22. Jum 22

    My goodness, these captchas are spooky; I was intending to post that Peter has gone over to the dark side, National.

    captcha: NATIONAL

    I don’t believe Lord of the Rings would have taken on the amount of magic it did without the total immersion of New Zealand and New Zealanders in it. Key as Tourism minister should know how much Kiwi actors put into taking New Zealand and fantasy to the world and Jackson should know how much less of a film it would have been if filmed in Eastern Europe.

    If Peter’s planning to go over there because unions aren’t operating for their workers, then he really has morphed into the Wolf.

    The sheer pleasure of New Zealanders in taking the actors to their hearts; the actors like Orlando Bloom, the wee hobbits, etc who responded to that by giving a better performance; these are all unquantified positives but certainly would have increased the monetary intake at box offices around the world.

    At best, Jackson is a puppet being manipulated because he wants to do The Hobbit, but at what cost to his mana here or actors here if they cave in when there is so much support for them in Australia, America, etc.

    Key, of course, would love to see yet another Union weakened in New Zealand. We must be grateful other countries are supportive. We must be too, in order to strengthen the meaning of Union around New Zealand which is for people, people, people as opposed to the moneytrader’s mantra – money, money and more money/power, power and more power.

    Let’s give the power to the people.

  23. angus 23

    It also looks like when he said he dealt fairly with union members he was talking about the Screen Actors Guild members – an American union that could finish him if he went against it (so it looks like he’s only pro-union when it’s unions he can’t bully).

    Sir Peter Jackson is a union member, who is being targeted unfairly in an agressive smear campaign. He can therefore go to his union and get them to boycott working with any “talent” from the MEAA.

  24. David 24

    Well if the shitbag Aussie wankers who obviously cant do anything for themselves, so they are trying to ruin the NZ film industry .

    Here’s a suggestion for you
    FUCK OFF

    • Marty G 24.1

      The workers are Kiwi.

      They are members of New Zealand Actors’ Equity which is an autonomous part of the Australasian union MEAA. Film is an international business, so the unions operate and cooperate across borders too.

      no need for the language.

  25. David 25

    If the Aussies are intent with the help of a few RICH NZ actressess and actors to ruin the NZ film industry I will NOT tone down the language. They don’t care about anyone or anything except thier own over inflated bank accounts..

    So I repeat

    FUCK OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Marty G 25.1

      Why would New Zealand actors who want to be in The Hobbit want to send The Hobbit overseas?

      You’ll tone down the language if you want to continue commenting here. This isn’t anarchy. This site is the private property of The Standard Trust.We welcome robust debate and all we ask is that you behave civilly while here. If you’re unclear on what good behaviour in company is check the policy: http://thestandard.org.nz/policy/ Nearly everyone manages to behave civilly and those who don’t face consequences.

      [lprent: and I enjoy implementing the consequence when people violate my interpretation of the policy. ]

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Public and Māori housing to trial renewable energy technology
    Tenants in public and Māori housing may be benefiting from their own affordable renewable energy in future – a fund to trial renewable energy technology for public and Māori housing has today been announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods and Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Nanaia Mahuta. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • $2.7m for Hokianga infrastructure
    Hokianga will receive $2.7 million to redevelop four of its wharves and upgrade its water supply, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. Far North District Council will receive $1.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund for the work on the wharves. “The work will include the construction of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • New fund to support housing and construction sector
    A $350 million Residential Development Response Fund is being established to support the residential construction sector and to minimise the economic impact from COVID-19, the Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods has announced. “The Residential Development Response Fund will help to progress stalled or at-risk developments that support our broader housing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Government investment to boost Auckland’s community recycling network
    As part of a broader plan to divert waste from landfill, the Government today announced $10.67 million for new infrastructure as part of the Resource Recovery Network across the Auckland region. “This key investment in Auckland’s community recycling network is part of the Government’s Infrastructure Reference Group ‘shovel ready’ projects ...
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    23 hours ago
  • Te Papa transformation starts at Cameron Road
    The Government is investing $45 million in the first stage of an ambitious urban development project for Tauranga that will employ up to 250 people and help the region grow, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says the funding has been allocated out of the $3 billion ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Low-emissions options for heavy transport a step closer
    Getting low-emission trucks on the road is a step closer with investment in infrastructure to support hydrogen vehicles, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. The Infrastructure Reference Group has provisionally approved $20 million for New Plymouth company Hiringa Energy to establish a nationwide network of hydrogen-fuelling stations. ...
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    2 days ago
  • New training centre to upskill workers
    A new trades training centre to upskill the local workforce will be built in the South Waikato town of Tokoroa through funding from the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Government will contribute $10.84 million from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Subsequent children legislation to change
    The Government has agreed to repeal part of the Oranga Tamariki Act subsequent children provisions, Minister for Children Tracey Martin announced today. “There are times when children need to go into care for their safety – the safety and care of children must always be paramount,” Minister Martin said. “But ...
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    2 days ago
  • Funding to expand mental health support for Pacific peoples
    A $1.5 million boost to grow primary mental health and addiction services for Pacific peoples in Auckland, Hamilton and Canterbury will lead to better outcomes for Pacific communities, Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says.  Pasifika Futures has received funding to expand services through The Fono, Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest by ...
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    2 days ago
  • Funding boost for sustainable food and fibre production
    Twenty-two projects to boost the sustainability and climate resilience of New Zealand’s food and fibres sector have been announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The $18m funding will deliver practical knowledge to help farmers and growers use their land more sustainably, meet environmental targets, remain prosperous, and better understand ...
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    2 days ago
  • Mature Workers Toolkit launched on business.govt.nz
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson welcomes an initiative that assists employers to get mature workers into New Zealand small businesses. The disadvantages that older people face in the workplace was highlighted in the whole of Government Employment Strategy.  In order to address this, a Mature Workers Toolkit has been developed and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Trans-Tasman cooperation in a COVID-19 world
    New Zealand and Australia reaffirmed today the need for the closest possible collaboration as they tackle a global environment shaped by COVID-19, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said. “In these challenging times, our close collaboration with Australia is more vital than ever,” said Mr Peters. Mr Peters and his Australian ...
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    2 days ago
  • Pike recovery efforts now in unexplored territory
    The recovery and forensic examination of the loader driven by survivor Russell Smith means the underground team are now moving into an area of the Pike River Mine that has not been seen since the explosion, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little said. “The fifth and last robot ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government confirms CovidCard trial to go ahead
    The Government has confirmed a community-wide trial of CovidCard technology as it explores options for COVID-19 contact tracing. “Effective contact tracing is a vital part of the COVID-19 response,” Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said. “While manual processes remain the critical component for contact tracing, we know digital solutions can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Enhanced process for iwi aquaculture assets
    The government is proposing changes to aquaculture legislation to improve the process for allocating and transferring aquaculture assets to iwi. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has introduced the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Amendment Bill to Parliament. It proposes a limited new discretionary power for Te Ohu Kaimoana Trustee Limited (ToKM). ...
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    2 days ago
  • Bill introduced to fix National’s Family Court reform failures
    The Minister of Justice has today introduced the Family Court (Supporting Children in Court) Legislation Bill – the next step in the ongoing programme of work to fix the failed 2014 Family Court reforms led by then Justice Minister Judith Collins.  The Bill arises from the report of the Independent ...
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    2 days ago
  • DOC takes action to adapt to climate change
    A new Department of Conservation (DOC) action plan tackles the impacts of climate change on New Zealand’s biodiversity and DOC managed infrastructure including tracks, huts and cultural heritage. Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage says extreme weather events around the country have really brought home our vulnerability to changing weather patterns. ...
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    2 days ago
  • Reduced international Antarctic season commences
    A heavily scaled back international Antarctic season will commence this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods have confirmed. “Antarctica is the only continent that is COVID-19 free,” Mr Peters said. “Throughout the global pandemic, essential operations and long-term science have continued at ...
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    2 days ago
  • New high performance sports hub for Upper Hutt
    The Government is providing up to $30 million to help fund the NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport in Upper Hutt - an investment that will create 244 jobs. “The sports hub is designed to be a world-leading shared service for a range of sports, offering the level of facilities ...
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    2 days ago
  • Govt keeps projects on road to completion
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today transport projects currently in construction will continue at pace due to extra Government support for transport projects to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. To keep the $16.9 billion 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme going the Government has allocated funding from the COVID Response and ...
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    2 days ago
  • First project utilising $50 million ‘shovel ready’ fund for rural broadband announced
    $50 million for further rural broadband digital connectivity has been allocated from the $3 billion infrastructure fund in the COVID Response and Recovery Fund has been announced by Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure and Kris Faafoi, Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media. The investment will go to boosting broadband ...
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    2 days ago
  • Ultra-fast Broadband programme hits major milestone with more than one million connections
    The Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media has congratulated the Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) programme on its major milestone of connecting more than 1 million New Zealand households and businesses to UFB. “This milestone has been 10 years in the making and demonstrates the popularity of the UFB network. “Uptake ...
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    2 days ago
  • Vaping legislation passes
    Landmark legislation passed today puts New Zealand on track to saving thousands of lives and having a smokefree generation sooner rather than later, Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa says. The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill regulates vaping products and heated tobacco devices. “There has long been concern ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government repeals discriminatory law
    A discriminatory law that has been a symbol of frustration for many people needing and providing care and support, has been scrapped by the Government. “Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill (No 2) was introduced under urgency in 2013 by a National Government,” Associate ...
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    3 days ago
  • More competitive fuel market on the way
    Kiwi motorists are set to reap the benefits of a more competitive fuel market following the passing of the Fuel Industry Bill tonight, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods says.  “This Act is where the rubber meets the road in terms of our response to the recommendations made in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government delivers on rental reforms promise
    The Government has delivered on its promise to New Zealanders to modernise tenancy laws with the passing of the Residential Tenancies Amendment (RTA) Bill 2020 today, says Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing), Kris Faafoi. “The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 was out-dated and the reforms in the RTA modernise our ...
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    3 days ago
  • New rules in place to restore healthy rivers
    New rules to protect and restore New Zealand’s freshwater passed into law today. Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor welcomed the gazetting of the new national direction on freshwater management. “These regulations deliver on the Government’s commitment to stop further degradation, show material improvements within five years and ...
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    3 days ago
  • Foreign Minister announces new Consul-General in Los Angeles
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced the appointment of Jeremy Clarke-Watson as New Zealand’s new Consul-General in Los Angeles. “New Zealand and the United States share a close and dynamic partnership, based on a long history of shared values and democratic traditions,” Mr Peters said. “Mr Clarke-Watson is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Rental reforms provide greater support for victims of family violence
    Victims of family violence can end a tenancy with two days’ notice Landlords can terminate tenancies with 14 days’ notice if tenants assault them Timeframe brought forward for limiting rent increases to once every 12 months Extension of time Tenancy Tribunal can hear cases via phone/video conference Reform of New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Apprenticeships support kicks off today
    Two employment schemes – one new and one expanded – going live today will help tens of thousands of people continue training on the job and support thousands more into work, the Government has announced. Apprenticeship Boost, a subsidy of up to $12,000 per annum for first year apprentices and ...
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    3 days ago
  • Infrastructure to transform Omokoroa
    The Government is funding a significant infrastructure package at Omokoroa which will create 150 new jobs and help transform the Western Bay of Plenty peninsula, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says the Government is investing $14 million towards the $28 million roading and water package. This ...
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    3 days ago
  • Bill passes for managed isolation charges
    The Bill allowing the Government to recover some costs for managed isolation and quarantine passed its third reading today, with charges coming into force as soon as regulations are finalised. Putting regulations into force is the next step. “The COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill and its supporting regulations will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Unemployment drop shows Govt plan to protect jobs and support businesses is working
    Today’s unemployment data shows the Government’s plan to protect jobs and cushion the blow for businesses and households against the economic impact of COVID-19 was the right decision, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ said today that New Zealand’s unemployment rate in the June quarter – which includes the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New role to champion reading for children
    A new role of New Zealand Reading Ambassador for children and young people is being established, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Internal Affairs and for Children, Tracey Martin announced today. The Reading Ambassador, announced at a Celebration of Reading event at ...
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    3 days ago
  • Funding boost for Community Law Centres
    Community Law Centres will receive a funding boost to meet the increased need for free legal services due to COVID-19, Justice Minister Andrew Little said. The $3.5m funding is for the next three financial years and is additional to the almost $8 million for Community Law Centres announced in Budget ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand joins initiative to boost women’s role in global trade
    New Zealand has joined Canada and Chile in a new trade initiative aimed at increasing women’s participation in global trade. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker, together with Canada’s Minister for Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng, Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrés Allamand, and Chile’s Vice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government provides $2.2m to heritage buildings for quake strengthening
    Building owners around New Zealand have benefited from the latest round of Heritage EQUIP funding with grants totalling $2,230,166. “The Heritage EQUIP grants for seismic strengthening assist private building owners to get the professional advice they need to go ahead with their projects or support them to carry out the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago