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Posts Tagged ‘the hobbit’

The failures of visual special effects

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, March 20th, 2013 - 45 comments

life of pi

I “attended” a fascinating “town hall” meeting last week of artists from around the world in the Visual Special Effects sector. Ignited by the failure of the company Rhythm and Hues (despite recently completing most of the special effects for the film The Life of Pi and winning award recognition for the work), these workers […]

Lies and sanctions

Written By: - Date published: 8:58 am, February 27th, 2013 - 219 comments


The Nats lied over the hobbit movie. What are we as citizens to do when a government deliberately and shamelessly lies to us? How can we stop this kind of barefaced lying from happening again?

Hobbit emails show Jackson’s dodgy dealings

Written By: - Date published: 4:01 pm, February 26th, 2013 - 314 comments


The government has released the Hobbit documents. The Ombudsman ordered them to. The full release is available at stuff and what stands out (apart from the insistent and narcissistic tone of every film industry correspondent) is the fact that Peter Jackson himself noted the “do not sign” advice from the union was being called off. TWO DAYS before he went public with his “evil union” story.

Working for a Living

Written By: - Date published: 2:21 pm, February 24th, 2013 - 117 comments

living wage

The thing I like about the Living Wage campaign is the branding represents strongly both the problem and the solution.  The Prime Minister fell into its trap when he said that the Living Wage was not a priority for his Government. The statement says it all really. The Government don’t want you to work for a living, they just want you to work.

Bait and switch

Written By: - Date published: 9:25 am, October 5th, 2011 - 27 comments

rugby money

The national icon suddenly announces that the future of the thing we pride ourselves is at stake. Some big mean foreigners are going to take if off us. Oh no, oh no! Fortunately, there’s a solution. It just requires a few tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. Sound familiar? As with the Hobbit, now with the All Blacks. We got suckered once. Will we again?

Be careful what you wish for

Written By: - Date published: 3:25 pm, September 25th, 2011 - 43 comments


On Friday the government announced a law change that opens the door to a whole world of cheap contract labour now available to anyone producing short projects like advertisements, tv episodes or parts of movies in New Zealand.

Many of the industry locals who will be most hurt by this are the same ones who were banging the drum against actors and for international producers during the Hobbit dispute. Ironic, huh?

Actors’ Inequity

Written By: - Date published: 10:43 am, February 14th, 2011 - 29 comments

actors equity logo

Another piece of union-bashing has been quietly implemented. Before, when bringing in foreign actors, the burden of proof lay on the production company to prove the talent they were importing was truly required. Now, no proof is required. This undermines Kiwi actors and their unions. It’s all about punishing Actors’ Equity for the Hobbit fiasco.

Key’s priorities laid-bare

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, February 7th, 2011 - 23 comments


When a millionaire director and a foreign corporate wanted millions in tax breaks, Key jumped to it. When SCF collapsed the investors got an average of $60K, no questions asked. But when it comes to helping the ordinary families of Christchurch and the West Coast, the Nats are nowhere to be seen once the cameras are gone.

Brownlee in gun for misleading the House

Written By: - Date published: 1:45 pm, January 20th, 2011 - 14 comments

key meets warners

Mallard has laid a Privileges complaint over Brownlee’s Hobbit lies. Good. Brownlee and Key deserved to be hammered for their part in the Warners/Jackson shake-down that cost just $34m and work rights. Lockwood won’t uphold the complaint though. He hates Brownlee. Not enough to severely embarrass his party in election year though.

Clipshow – Jackson’s bad faith posturing

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, December 29th, 2010 - 12 comments


From the ‘I told you so’ file comes IrishBill’s first post on the Hobbit dispute after Jackson suddenly announced that a settled dispute with a small union was forcing Warner Bros to abandon a $100m investment and move overseas. We now know Jackson was lying to extort more money and a law change but Irish called it at the time, resulting in 516 comments – a record.

Key, Brownlee & McCully have questions to answer

Written By: - Date published: 10:10 am, December 22nd, 2010 - 44 comments


It seems we don’t have a government at the moment. John Key is incommunicado in Hawaii. The Acting PM, Bill English, and Key’s press people refuse to speak for him. Someone needs to front up because serious questions are emerging about the honesty of statements Gerry Brownlee and Murray McCully made in Parliament and to the New Zealand people.

Nats & Jackson played us for fools

Written By: - Date published: 8:09 am, December 21st, 2010 - 129 comments


The Herald has used the OIA to get hold of emails Peter Jackson sent Gerry Brownlee during the Hobbit shakedown. They show that the Actors’ Equity blacklisting was not a threat to the film staying here – yet Jackson and Brownlee told us it was to justify handing Warners $34 million and rushing through an anti-worker law.

Exploiting disaster

Written By: - Date published: 11:47 pm, December 16th, 2010 - 32 comments

mountaintop removal mining

It’s a tough Christmas for far too many Kiwis. Poverty is up, wages are down. 350,000 Kiwis are jobless or underemployed. The job losses are still coming. The rich got tax cuts, 70% got nothing. Drought is spreading. Thousands of Cantabrians face an uncertain future. Meanwhile, the Nats cynically exploit disaster to advance their agenda.

$6K bill for Key’s kowtowing to Warners

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, December 10th, 2010 - 17 comments

key meets warners

OIA papers show how the Nats prostrated themselves for Warners. $6K was spent treating the movie execs like foreign dignitaries – ministerial cars, customs ‘facilitation’. Nats wanted to “present an image of an effective government that is worth working with“. All they showed was they had fallen for Warners’ hollow threats. Cost us $33 million.

Treasury warned on risk of Hobbit hustle

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, December 2nd, 2010 - 11 comments


Remember how Peter Jackson and Warner Bros pulled the old Hollywood shakedown on us? By making a hollow threat to film elsewhere they got an extra $30 million and a law passed just for them. This was supposedly necessary to save a vital economy gain for the country but the Government knew that was bollocks all along.

Q&A on The Hobbit – Part 2

Written By: - Date published: 1:30 pm, November 3rd, 2010 - 51 comments


In a highly-charged debate like the Hobbit fiasco, it’s easy to lose sight of the real issue amongst the claims and counter-claims over petty details. In a second post that strips things back to what matters, Blue asks the big question: ‘how exactly did NZ taxpayers end up handing over tens of millions of dollars to Warner Brothers?’

Made in Wellington

Written By: - Date published: 8:35 am, November 3rd, 2010 - 31 comments

equal pay

I went to see Made in Dagenham last night. The parallels between the dispute, that began when female workers at a Ford plant in the UK struck for better pay, and then equal pay with men, and the Hobbit fiasco were striking. But it’s the dissimilarties in the outcomes that I was left pondering. Let’s take a look at the two events:

The dust settles on the Hobbit fiasco

Written By: - Date published: 9:54 am, October 31st, 2010 - 35 comments

leading man

Eventually the dust was going to settle on the Hobbit fiasco and the truth was going to come out.

Fortunately the media has done a bloody good job of making sure that happened.

So what have they been saying?

A rushed law, a bad law

Written By: - Date published: 5:11 pm, October 29th, 2010 - 53 comments

mickey mouse law-making

The Hobbit Enabling Act is meant to do is say ‘you’re an employee if you are called an employee in your contract, if not, you’re a contractor’. But it doesn’t say that and it doesn’t override the Bryson case that caused the ‘uncertainty’ Warners supposedly feared. Now, nobody knows what the law actually is. Well-founded disagreements will mean court cases.

Death threats and dud deals

Written By: - Date published: 9:10 am, October 29th, 2010 - 77 comments

eye of sauron

Today we learn just how extreme some of the anti-union nutters in our country are, with news of death threats to unionists and actors involved in The Hobbit fiasco.  I hope we hear soon of a sustained police effort to track down the perpetrators.  Or are we as a country going to effectively condone these actions by ignoring them?

Campbell on Key’s sell out

Written By: - Date published: 3:39 pm, October 28th, 2010 - 18 comments


Scoop’s Gordon Campbell has written a long piece on the Hobbit settlement and its implications.  Key said that we couldn’t match the tax deals offered by other countries, but according to Campbell’s calculations that’s exactly what we have done. Campbell also has harsh words to say about Key’s “skill” as a negotiator, and advice about strengthening the film industry in NZ.

The best country money can buy

Written By: - Date published: 12:35 pm, October 28th, 2010 - 95 comments

money into pocket

Today, the Hobbit Enabling Act will be slammed through Parliament by National removing the right of employees working in the film industry to get employment rights if their contract calls them a contractor. It’s the latest in a series of anti-democratic laws that show National is the party of big business, not democracy and ordinary Kiwis.

Q&A on The Hobbit

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, October 28th, 2010 - 83 comments


The Right argues that an already settled labour dispute involving a small union somehow scared a multi-billion film company enough to make them consider abandoning the $100 million already invested in NZ. Blue has gone beyond the slogans and done some excellent research to answers our questions on what really happened.

Caption Contest

Written By: - Date published: 7:39 am, October 28th, 2010 - 24 comments

John_Key_and_Stephen_Joyce_in_the_wings 1

  There was some expenditure that didn’t qualify under the old scheme…We’ve looked to broaden that out. John Key on Warner Brothers, 27 Oct 2010

The price of our hysteria

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 pm, October 27th, 2010 - 178 comments


The Government will give the Hobbit producers an extra $33 million to stay in New Zealand and it’s going to use this ‘crisis’ as an excuse to slam through more anti-worker laws. New Zealand has been played like naive hicks. The Hobbit was never leaving. We let Jackson and his Hollywood mates whip us into a frenzy of fear – now we’re paying the cost.

Key’s announcement

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 pm, October 27th, 2010 - 178 comments

eye of sauron
John Key will be making an announcement on The Hobbit this evening, with a press conference due to be held at 7.20pm. Will update this post after the announcement.

Update: Predictably, the movies are staying in NZ, with a sell out of our employment law, and further tax sweeteners for the studios.

An invitation to Warner Brothers to be up front

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, October 27th, 2010 - 7 comments

wallace chapman

Wallace Chapman has a thoughtful Open Letter to the visiting Warner Brothers executives on his blog, inviting them to front up to the New Zealand public: We have a small segment called “Soapbox” and we’d just love you to come over and join us and speak your mind to camera for 60 seconds. We know […]

Lord of the tax breaks: A history of capital flight threats

Written By: - Date published: 7:53 am, October 27th, 2010 - 87 comments


The Hobbit ‘crisis’ is just the latest in a series of capital flight threats from Jackson and Hollywood. We’ll end up paying more to stave off the threat of capital flight because the wider economic benefit makes it worthwhile. Key is trying to talk down how much we can pay but he bears responsibility for talking up the ‘crisis’ to put the boot into unions.

Tax breaks and the Hobbit

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

eye of sauron

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…

Bending over for Warner Brothers

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, October 26th, 2010 - 27 comments

elmo experiments

Otago Law Professor Paul Roth says possible law changes by the Key Government to provide more tax-payer funded charity to corporate giants Warner Bros Entertainment is ‘Third-World’ lawmaking and a ‘race to the bottom’ in an attempt to compete against developing nations with little or no labour rights. Roth says if we ‘lie back and prostitute ourselves […]

Key the real target of Hobbit producers’ game

Written By: - Date published: 2:01 pm, October 24th, 2010 - 70 comments

eye of sauron

The Hobbit ‘crisis’ is all about money. It’s about the producers of this long-troubled production, who are in financial difficulty, wanting to minimise their up-front costs. The mark in the con is the only one with cash to offer on the scale they need – the Prime Minister. He’s the one with the most to lose and the most ability to pay.

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