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The Hobbit ‘crisis’: cui bono?

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, October 22nd, 2010 - 163 comments
Categories: capitalism, national/act government, tax - Tags: ,

I don’t believe that the ‘crisis’ over the Hobbit has all been a set up from the start but Peter Jackson and Warner Bros have clearly used the situation to their advantage. This has been a troubled project for years and the producers’ are keen to squeeze extra money from the government to reduce the upfront costs.

As the graph shows, the Hobbit is an enormous exercise that will cost hundreds of millions and bring in billions. These numbers totally dwarf the actors’ claims, which Robyn Malcolm described as ‘less than the coffee budget’ (in the graph, I made it $500,000 – it’s invisible beside the other numbers).

You don’t make major decisions about enterprises on this scale because of a vague ‘uncertainty’ created by a few actors asking for a bit more. Hell, the cost of flying Warner Bros executives out here from LA and back in a private jet will probably exceed the extra cost the actors’ demands entail.

The producers’ new talk of filming in the UK or Ireland reveals the lie of the actors’ demands being a deal breaker. After all, in the UK and Ireland actors would get the same wages and conditions as are being asked for here.

But aren’t we scared? The Government is terrified of losing that kind of monetary injection into the ailing economy it is presiding over (it also sees a golden opportunity to put the boot into unions and force through some anti-worker measures).

You must always ask yourself who benefits from ‘crisis’ – who benefits from our fear? That will tell you who is behind it.
Jackson’s Lord of the Rings took tens of millions in tax breaks, and the Government is certain to offer additional breaks to keep the Hobbit here. John Key needs to be ‘the man who saved the Hobbit’ not the man who let it slip away. When he meets with the big US execs next week Key will have his cheque book out and say ‘how much do you need?’ This is the real game, where the producers are playing for big bucks.

Warner Bros and Jackson are cynically exploiting fear (whipped up by the mainstream media) because they know it will open the Government’s purse strings wider. Movie makers, second only to financiers as the ultimate international capitalists, are experts at playing off countries against each other to demand more taxpayer-funded sweeteners.

That’s the real money, not some piddling payments to a few actors but tax breaks worth tens of millions.

163 comments on “The Hobbit ‘crisis’: cui bono?”

  1. Stand by for Gosman to comment …

    • Blighty 1.1

      … 150 times

      I thought Jackson’s interview overegged the whole thing calling actors wanting the same rights as other actors ‘disgusting’ and saying ‘I literally don’t know what to tell them’ as if Holywood execs aren’t used to the idea of dealing with unions.

      To me, it revealed he is trying to put the frighteners on us.

    • Carol 1.2

      LOL, MickySavage. Indeed.

      Also, as I just posted on the “A quick note on The Hobbitt and Labour stability thread, Helen Kelly said yesterday, on Public Address,
      performers around the world that enjoy union representation and negotiations (Warners are in a 6 week negotiation with SAG as we speak), extended their solidarity to NZ performers to enjoy the same. Those foreign actors contracted to the Hobbit will be on union negotiated contracts and will be union members – luxury!…

      So Warners also, will benefit from making the NZ actors’ union look weak. I’m sure they are not keen on such international union solidarity.

    • Joe Bloggs 1.3

      Sorry I think Comrade Gosman’s recovering from over-use of the keyboard yesterday. However I’m here to help…

      You’re fixated on that tired smokescreen that this is a set-up by Peter Jackson and Warners. However you’ve missed the big picture.

      There’s a deeper, dirtier struggle going on between Goff and the unions – that’s wht Goff’s lips are sealed on the shambles that Kelly’s created for the Left.

      A quick note on the Hobbit and labour stability

      captcha: apples, as in how do you like them apples Mickey?

      • Lazy Susan 1.3.1

        Seems more likely to be Key and NActs fear of Labour’s shift left.
        With NAct policies acting against working people Labour returning to it’s union roots is a real challenge to them.

        The right have set in motion a campaign to demonise the unions and Labour by association. The Hobbit was a convenient vehicle to hang some crap on. Heard the unbearable Leighton Smith “connecting the dots” yesterday morning between The Hobbit, teachers strike, healthworkers strike, unions and Labour. Labour don’t like National and are using the unions to attack and destroy the economy to make National look bad was his line of fantasy. No Leighton NAct are successfully destroying this country alone.

      • bbfloyd 1.3.2

        that doesn’t even qualify as a “nice try” joe.. you guys must be getting frantic if that crap is the best you can do…

    • J Mex 1.4

      Have any of the Standard authors tackled the fact that the Unions called for, and implemented, a global boycott until their demands were met – and those demands subsequently turned out to be illegal in NZ?

      [lprent: *sarcasm on* The search functionality is freely accessible to anyone that wants to use it. It is on the right hand side of the screen. Just use the ‘Advanced’ part to select posts only. I hardly think that you are too illiterate to be able to use it to great effect. *sarcasm off*

      In other words – don’t waste my time having to respond to something you can examine yourself. There is also the categories and tags at the top of the posts and in the archives or in . ]

      • The Voice of Reason 1.4.1

        That’s not a fact at all, Jmex. Contractual arrangements such as AE are after are the norm in NZ for contractors. Ask a cabbie, courier driver or a VisionStream electrical worker. Every company that employs contractors has them sign an agreement that is identical to the ones every other contractor to the firm signs. The usual variations will be money, days of work and start times. That’s all. The rest of the conditions are the same.

  2. Janice 2

    And Donkey wants his name in the credits……..

    • The Voice of Reason 2.1

      I believe the usual vanity title for money men is Associate Producer. “Warner Bros would like to thank Associate Producer John Key”. Yep, sounds about right.

  3. Carol 3

    And I notice also, that some lefties are being influenced my the media and NACT, and slamming Helen Kelly. But you need to ask, who benefits from undermining Helen Kelly & CTU? And why is there such a concerted attempt to portray her in a negative light? Could this be that she has emerged as a strong player in the cause of union issues in the media lately?

    If she wasn’t doing something right, the righties wouldn’t be trying so hard to portray her as a f**kup.

    • Rob 3.1

      The peope who will probably benefit are the thousands of support workers who have had their lives turned over due to the blundering incompetence of a useless self serving union. Thats who Carol.

  4. Sam Vilain 4

    These numbers totally dwarf the actors’ claims, which Robyn Malcolm described as ‘less than the coffee budget’ (in the graph, I made it $500,000 – it’s invisible beside the other numbers).

    …and those claims were?

    • Blighty 4.1

      don’t you have the internet where you are Sam? Most righties are saying the workers got too greedy, Sam’s implying they had no demands. Well here you are:

      NZAE “Recommends that all performers wait before accepting any engagement on the production of The Hobbit until the production has advised whether it will enter into good faith negotiations with NZ Actors’ Equity with respect to the minimum conditions of engagement under which NZ Actors’ Equity will recommend performers work on the production The Hobbit, including minimum fees, conditions of engagement, professional protections and residuals.”

      obviously specific terms would be subject to confidential bargaining and would vary for different grousp of actors (just as for other workers covered by the same collective in other industries)

      • The Baron 4.1.1

        OH SO AT LAST – it is all about the filty lucre after all is it? Minimum fees and residuals eh – oh and as yet still unspecified “conditions of engagement” and ” professional protections”?

        Note the contrast to the original statements from Jennifer Ward Lealand here: http://www.3news.co.nz/Robyn-Malcolm-and-Jennifer-Ward-Lealand-interview/tabid/367/articleID/179200/Default.aspx were she and retard in Chief Malcolm repeat “it isn’t about money at all!”

        These people are professional [deleted – r0b] who have been IMPOSSIBLE to deal with because they still cannot clearly articulate what they goddamn want in exchange for holding an entire industry ransom.

        • Blighty 4.1.1.1

          of course it’s about money. the actors want a fairer cut. do you think it’s immoral for a employee to bargain for higher wages?

          but that doesn’t change the fact that their demands are trifling on the scale of this project and would have to be paid if it moves to the UK or Ireland – so there must be some other reason for the ‘crisis’

          • The Baron 4.1.1.1.1

            Blighty – for clarity, I am comparing the original stance of their representatives versus their stance now.

            Do you think this is bargaining in good faith? To publicly claim that money isn’t the issue when what you want is, ah, more money?

            Or do you think, as I do, that that is one of the more retarded bargaining strategies ever used in workplace negotiations?

            • bbfloyd 4.1.1.1.1.1

              baron… your sense of reality amuses me, and creeps me out at the same time….at this stage i have to concede that you have no peer when it comes to butchering “clarity”… stick to pulling the legs off spiders… as an intellectual exercise, it’s right up there with the rest of your contributions…

              • The Baron

                Clarity: noun
                1.
                clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity.

                bbfloyd, your misuse of full stops horrifies me, and you fundamental inability to think beyond the narrow confines of your ideological world view saddens me.

                So now we’ve cleared that up, I’d love to know whether you think this “money – no not money” approach has been a sensible one for the unions to follow?

                I’d really appreciate some clarity from you thanks.

                • Colonial Viper

                  The union screwed up their comms management. They have always spoken of minimum terms and conditions – including overtime. And that means money. Things like break and leave arrangements – OK isn’t money in the bank but it is worth money.

                  The unions should have stuck to their line of minimum terms and conditions, and fleshed out some definite examples. It leads me to think that not enough of the union types are media trained and they definitely have insufficient high intensity media experience.

                  However its all too late at this stage and the million dollar PR boys well and truly control the media war now.

                  • Carol

                    I don’t know. I see the Mayor-elect for Wellington has offered to talk with the Warners people about the benefits of basing the filming in Wellington. Seems like a quite down-to-earth offer without a lot of PR hooha.

        • Vicky32 4.1.1.2

          If there was provision to do so, I’d complain about your language… Aside from owt else, grown ups don’t use “spastic” as a term of abuse. Shame on you, I rebuke you on behalf of people with disabilities.

          [Turns out there is provision after all! — r0b]

  5. comedy 5

    Remarkable ! If you draw a trend line through that graph it seems to mirror public support for the unions over the last couple of weeks.

    Coinicidence I think not ……… we’re through the looking glass here people !

  6. clandestino 6

    Who benefits? Well, we don’t unless we pull our heads in and come to grips with where our bread is buttered.

    The subsidies are provided for good reason, the payoff to the economy (particularly where I live, in Miramar) is huge. Businesses far beyond the film industry depend on the cash injection and foreign expertise (a lot of whom end up staying as it’s a mint place to live). There are service industries and artists and builders who are relying on this.

    Now to many on here, it’s a simple big business vs worker arm wrestle. But the few dozen actors involved, who don’t represent the actors who signed up already for the film btw, are causing huge disruption for an ideological dead end.

    By demanding equal pay, residuals, etc, and hitting the ‘nuclear option’ stopwork button, they are destroying the competitive advantage we have had here in NZ. I don’t understand why you would want to screw it up…if they want the same as the Americans, why don’t they move over there and see how truly impossible it is for anyone to get an acting job!

    We are lucky in NZ we have had governments keen to grow the industry, a climate of stability and people who will contract for less than the rest but still bloody good by local standards. It’s not just the animators, it’s the crew and props people, costume makers, builders etc. They want a contract too remember

    • Carol 6.1

      There’s lots of benefits to us here in west Auckland, too. PJ is not the only person who brings international productions to NZ. But there may be better ways to use that tax payer money, to ensure the same amount of business and employment benefits, without making us all serfs to serve the big US studios, and bend to their wills.

      • clandestino 6.1.1

        Yes I’ve heard about the West Auckland studios…apparently some of them are going under, that true?

        The thing is, all the work generated for you up there and us down here is off the back of a positive image for big studios to invest in NZ. I’m not a big believer in conspiracy theories. They’re mostly just screw ups. The screw up is on the unions part for being naive and rigidly ideological. And it is now logical for the studio to ask for more, we have bent ourselves over and invited them to have a crack.

        And what’s with the hyperbole? We are not serfs, my cousin isn’t a serf, she works long hours for good pay, I suggest she would be insulted. As for ‘us all’, that is bullshit. 1500 people down here? A few k up there? The rest of us benefit from the circular cash flow from those people, which is considerable. And if any one thinks actors are on some terrible low wage rate, they really need to get a grip on reality.

        • Blighty 6.1.1.1

          “the rest of us benefit from the circular cash flow from those people, which is considerable.”

          you’re not seriously arguing trickle down are you old boy?

          There’s no conspiracy here, just big boys playing for big money and each for their own interests.

          • clandestino 6.1.1.1.1

            No, the circular flow of income is the first thing you learn in economics. Firms pay households and households spend creating income for firms.
            Trickle down is the neo-classical theory arguing the personal income taxes of the rich should be low as they are the business/investor class who are more likely to invest in creating new firms and jobs, thus passing on the benefits of the decrease in government revenue directly to employees instead.
            I don’t subscribe to that at all, it has been thoroughly discredited as capital will always look for the best return which can be anywhere. I am a fan of government fiscal stimulus though, which is effectively what a(n) (in)direct subsidy to a local industry is.

            • Shane 6.1.1.1.1.1

              The only “competitive advantage” we have here are low wages. Everyone (except the bosses) in the industry gets paid peanuts compared to overseas – esp. Ireland and the UK where Equity have a firm control on the contracts and renumeration. My brothers work in the industry from time to time as “stunt-extras” and “specialist extras” (they do sword-fighting semi-professionally) and earn more than proper stunt men here do. And so it goes throughout the industry. So moving to Ireland or the UK where they have to pay Euros or Sterling and at a much greater rate gives the lie to the fact that this is about salaries or conditions. It will be a lot more expensive to film there. But the tax breaks will make it all worth while and this is what is going on here.
              This is a manufactured crisis to get some big tax breaks. That is money that cannot be spent on schools, hospitals, infrastructure… Warner Brothers will be laughing all the way to the bank and NACT will have been able to put the boot in to the unions at the same time.
              And most of the country is falling for this international con-job. Is it because Kiwis are too naive?
              Yep… reckon so.

              • clandestino

                Peanuts? Compared to americans it probably is peanuts, but compared to you and me, they get paid well.
                You are typical mate, let’s not use our lower wages and exchange rate and stability to gain economically we wouldn’t otherwise. The government is still in the black if they charged 0.00001% interest, as it wouldn’t be here at all and coz we benefit in many ways other than tax..
                Con job my arse, WB is acting out of their own interests coz of a missed tackle by NZE and the studio is under the posts just waiting to add the extras

              • mcflock

                we also have diverse scenery types for film locations, a fairly safe/secure social environment, and some decent logistics firms.

      • Rob 6.1.2

        And what are the chances of on -going big budget productions comming here now Carol. Unions are industry killers.

    • Blighty 6.2

      you’re still assuming that a half billion project turns on a non-existant threat from a few actors.

      Projects this big don’t turn on things so small.

      You have to ask what kind of money flows matter to a project this size. It’s got to be the tax breaks.

      • clandestino 6.2.1

        And what’s so wrong with that? Of course they are gonna go for more concessions, what business (and for that matter, union) wouldn’t, once they sniffed the opportunity provided to them on a plate.
        What happened to that old phrase ‘beggars can’t be choosers’? Or was that just a social construction used by the Man to keep us down?

        • Edosan 6.2.1.1

          There’s nothing wrong with Studios seeking bigger tax breaks for bringing their production here (in my eyes at least). There is something wrong with them using small demands from a Union to formulate a crisis in order to do so. Especially with the kind of brinkmanship we are currently seeing.

        • Blighty 6.2.1.2

          it’s not ‘wrong’. it’s reality.

          But blaming the workers for wanting a better cut when this is all about getting more tax breaks from the government is dishonest.

  7. Lazy Susan 7

    Remember Jackson is a director and story teller and everyone loves a happy ending. As Key hands over the money bag he turns to camera and smiles. The crowd cheers for the dark forces that aimed to destroy everything have finally been defeated. Or have they?

  8. Cnr Joe 8

    Is it just me or has that nice Smeagol of a Sir Peter Jackson twisted into the Gollummy side of hisself?
    (just comparing images of the PJ back in the cuddly LotR’s days and this thinner angrier darker character I watched on Campbell….)

  9. Peter Jackson and Warner Bros have clearly used the situation to their advantage…

    …cynically exploiting fear (whipped up by the mainstream media) because they know it will open the Government’s purse strings wider.

    yeah and what sort of successful business men and company would they be if they didn’t ?

    they’re not a charitable, not for profit making organisation in it for the warm fuzzies, a bit of a laugh and a free lunch after a powerpoint presentation.

    • Blighty 9.1

      no-one’s saying they’re ‘wrong’ (in the terms of capitalist ethics) to do so. But let’s not pretend that this is about anything else than a big corporate trying to scare up more tax breaks.

  10. ianmac 10

    By the way, Actors Equity said that the boycott was lifted in the weekend (Friday?) but were told it had to be held embargoed.
    Warner Brothers say no. Not lifted till Thursday their time.
    Wonder which story is true? Equity should be able to produce an e-mail? If so who blocked it?

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      yeah and what sort of successful business men and company would they be if they didn’t ?

      I don’t know, good old fashioned “my word is my bond” types?

      I guess the unions were really fooled by Jackson’s supposed mana.

      ianmac: the international actors boycott, and the facts around it is at the heart of the matter. Jackson and the studio have cynically positioned the situation as – the boycott has long since done the damaged, the union has frakked it, basically there is nothing they can say or do now to change that fact, we are going to have to ride in ourselves and save the project from these nasty self centred people.

      But what are the facts around the boycott, the situation leading up to calling for it, and the scenario where the unions thought things were going good enough they could lift the boycott in good faith – only to be slammed down hard by the big boys that it was too little too late.

      The boycott was an international one. If SAG lifted it, a lot of official notices would have been sent out straight away. To studios, to agents, to casting companies, to everyone. Again I ask, where are the facts? There is no way that Warner would have learnt about an SAG sanction lift through the press. That’s so stupid to be incredulous.

      Problem is, although we might eventually be able to get to the truth, frankly no one in NZ cares anymore. Jackson is the hero, the unions are out to stuff the economy, Key and Brownlee are heroes who have to save the day.

      And no doubt they will pin the blame for the cost of the additional tens of millions in tax payer subsidies that Jackson and Warner are blackmailing the country for…you got it, on Helen Kelly and the unions.

      Be ready with your PR fellas!!!

      • pollywog 10.1.1

        well if you could point me to the bit where jackon and warners said they wouldn’t try to get more tax breaks, i’ll toe the ‘word is my bond’ line…

        but once again, we live in a new world fashion where ‘good old fashioned’ has been replaced by ‘everyone out for themselves’ and its all about the bottom line.

        come to think of it, as a western aligned nation when was it ever not, in good ol’ fashioned capitalist NZ ?

      • clandestino 10.1.2

        “I don’t know, good old fashioned “my word is my bond” types?”

        Hahahaha yeah! Like old Allan Hubbard eh!

        And your right by the way with the rest of it, as I keep saying. Own goal from the unions, Helen Kelly needs to get out of the limelight and resign as spokeswoman.

        Jackson isn’t the devil you make him out to be. All the interviews I’ve seen he comes across as not really understanding what’s going on. He doesn’t control the purse strings, the studios probably just give him a call or email on their own time and tell him exactly what they tell the media. He’s thinking what I am, the actors didnt know a good deal when they saw it and shot the country in the foot. Clap fukn clap

  11. Colonial Viper 11

    By the way, in case you ahven’t figured it out, Peter Jackson is SARUMAN.

    And Chris Trotter has been on the case as well

  12. James 12

    The actors haven’t said what their demands are.

    Therefore this post=fail.

  13. Lanthanide 13

    Everyone likes repeating Robyn’s comment about it “not being the coffee budget”, which seems to imply that what the actors are doing is a tiny tiny drop in the bucket. But actually there are three more significant things that Warner Bros are worried about, and that’s the flow on effects.

    1. The unions have delayed the film by a further month, before it has even really got running. If they held a boycott at some point during filming, rather than being “the cost of the coffee” you’d be looking at tens of thousands of dollars lost every day that production sits (mostly) idle because the actors are refusing to work. Presently WB are disinclined to take actors on their word that they won’t strike during production. I believe this is really the crux of the matter – if WB can come to some legally binding agreement to ensure they won’t strike, then this issue goes away. Note, promises on a national telly show don’t equal legally binding agreements.

    2. Movies are made on timelines with projected release dates. Yes, these dates can often be moved around, but only when they think they will financially benefit, eg by moving it to a better release window, or pushing it back because the film just isn’t finished. WB don’t want to risk further disruption to the project than what they’ve already suffered.

    3. Following on from #2, diruptions to the timeline for The Hobbit can easily spill into disruptions of other projects if they are using shared resources to make multiple films at a time. Especially as The Hobbit films are going to be produced in 3D, it is reasonable to assume that the gear and skills required to make 3D films is scarce and must be carefully managed, and throwing out timelines from unpredictable union disruption is something they’ll want to avoid.

    So while Robyn may be correct in saying that the direct up-front costs are “not even the coffee budget”, she is failing to mention (or perhaps comprehend) the flow on effects from their actions.

    • clandestino 13.1

      Exactly! What do people not understand about us being on their terms, except resenting it!

      As the techies put it the other night: “They’re so Whipped it’s unbelievable!” (Phoenix fans will get it)

      • Fisiani 13.1.1

        Funny how one MEAA executive called a boycott of the Hobbit and three weeks later the entire Union movement is vilified and by extension the Labour(union)Party. Helen Kelly’s reputation is now in tatters and John Key might just possible single handedly save a $3.5 billion dollar industry. Amazing how this turn around is apparently is all a well planned right wing dastardly plot. What are you lot smoking? Must be P

        • ianmac 13.1.1.1

          Maybe not planned Fisiani but opportunist Key will make the best of it and be able to blame those terrible union people.

    • Blighty 13.2

      Lan. The actors have pledged no industrial action during the filming. They were trying to bargain before the filming for exactly that reason. And if the filming oges elsewhere exactly the same ‘risks’ will be there too.

      Add a million to the coffee budget if you want – it still isn’t enough to matter in a $660 million project.

      Look at the big picture.

      • Lanthanide 13.2.1

        “The actors have pledged no industrial action during the filming. ”

        I already pre-empted that:
        “Note, promises on a national telly show don’t equal legally binding agreements.”

        “And if the filming goes elsewhere exactly the same ‘risks’ will be there too.”
        WB don’t seem to agree. I’ll also point out that what really kicked the shit onto the fire is that the union got SAG involved. If it had stayed a NZ union dispute with NZ actors wanting a deal, things may have gone very differently. But by calling in the Hollywood bigwigs, seemingly right at the very start of the whole process, it has really done a number on WB.

        “Add a million to the coffee budget if you want – it still isn’t enough to matter in a $660 million project.”
        Where did I suggest that the costs from 1, 2 and 3 combined would be 1 million? The thing is, I don’t know, you don’t know, Robyn Malcom doesn’t know and probably even WB don’t know for sure, but they can guess that it’d be big and simply don’t want to take the risk.

        Are the costs from 1, 2 and 3 combined less or more than the difference between a 15% and a 30% tax rebate? I’d have to guess that they’d likely be smaller, but we simply can’t know for sure. It may also be that WB are more concerned about getting everything costed and squared away up-front, and are quite willing to forgo $60M in tax savings up-front (by staying in NZ with 15%, instead of going elsewhere to get 30%) if they could also be sure that there wouldn’t be any potential union action that might cost them big bucks but still less than the $60M.

        Bear in mind, that if what the actors in NZ are saying is true, that NZ actors aren’t paid fairly, if the production ends up going to the UK and having to pay the actors over there more to do the same roles, then really it isn’t as much about the money as what you seem to want to believe.

        • Blighty 13.2.1.1

          “Bear in mind, that if what the actors in NZ are saying is true, that NZ actors aren’t paid fairly, if the production ends up going to the UK and having to pay the actors over there more to do the same roles, then really it isn’t as much about the money as what you seem to want to believe”

          Yeah, it’s not about the actors’ pay. That’s the whole point. It’s about scaring up more tax breaks.

          anti-spam: calculations

          • Lanthanide 13.2.1.1.1

            If it were purely about tax breaks, why were they intending to film in NZ in the first place? Wouldn’t they have told the government “give us tax breaks or we won’t film here” before any of this crap even started? They never did that, indicating that they were happy with the tax breaks as they stood.

            Are you instead suggesting that they were happy with the tax breaks, then this crap with the union started, so they figured it was a good excuse to get bigger tax concessions out of the government? I don’t see why they’d need to go to all that effort, especially when they didn’t start the fight to begin with.

            Finally, I’d suggest that maybe they were fine with the tax breaks and the labour situation as it was, but now because the labour situation has deteoriated they consider that they need some recompense from tax cuts in order to take the risk on the labour – when you put it in that light it isn’t so much “opportunism” as it is making the best of a bad situation and doing what is necessary to keep the film moving forwards.

            Also, what happens if the government offers tax breaks, and WB still chooses to go overseas anyway? What are you going to say then? Or, what if the government really does refuse to budge on tax breaks, but the labour situation is sorted out, and they still stay here? Clearly this whole argument about “it’s the tax stupid” will be shown to be incorrect, so I’d be wary of pinning my whole argument on that.

            • Carol 13.2.1.1.1.1

              As others have said, Key would not stick his neck out and say what he is offering, if he thought there was a danger in his move failing. The evidence from diverse comments (eg Malcolm saying she’s heard that tickets are right now being bought to fly major actors to NZ), indicate that the Hobbitt will be filmed here…. it’s just some terms that are still to be negotiated.

              • Lanthanide

                Lol, plane tickets can be refunded easily enough, I don’t take that as proof of anything except her naivety.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Finally, I’d suggest that maybe they were fine with the tax breaks and the labour situation as it was, but now because the labour situation has deteoriated they consider that they need some recompense from tax cuts in order to take the risk on the labour

                  Warner is in serious financial trouble and they are not going to pass up a scenario where they can generate an extra $20-30M in tax breaks.

                  The have insurance to cover labour disruption. Workforce disruption is the absolute smallest factor in the delays to The Hobbit to date. We should keep that in mind.

                  And by the way, a labour force in NZ is primarily a business risk – like in any western country – when you treat them unfairly and take them for granted.

                  PJ has really really bad people management skills. Maybe not as bad as George Lucas, but up there.

                  • Lanthanide

                    “The have insurance to cover labour disruption.”
                    Do you have proof of this? You realise that insurance costs money, and any insurance company looking at the situation in NZ will be increasing their premiums, compared to those that might’ve been paid for past films in NZ, or films made in other countries that haven’t just had a boycott by the international unions. To brush it under the carpet saying “insurance covers it” really isn’t looking at the matter seriously.

                    That’s assuming you can even get insurance for a risk like that, which I’m not even sure that they can – we’re talking about rapidly spiralling costs here once the movie is in full production and work has to be suspended.

                • Blighty

                  [deleted]. what’s wrong with you i thought your were a science type.

                  let’s go through this:

                  there’s supposedly an unquantified but small risk arising from the fact that some actors wanted better conditions and have lifted their blacklisting of the project. Those risk, if they exist, will not be avoided by going somewhere witht he stronger work conditions that the NZ actors want.

                  millions have already been invested in the project happening in New Zealand by the producers.

                  This is a $660 million project where small cost risks are to be expected and are budgeted for.

                  So, there’s no case here for saying that the actors have somehow made filming in NZ too risky.

                  On the other hand, tax breaks are serious money. Warner Bros and MGM are cash-strapped. They need to make this movie to get the revenue but fronting the cost is tricky, tax breaks will help.

                  Now, there is a reason for this crisis.

                  [lprent: I don’t allow pseudonyms to be outed even if you do know the person. If I can search for this type of identifying info, then anyone can – including garbage divers like Whaleoil. ]

                  • Lanthanide

                    Yes, I am a science type. And yes, your theory of what is going on with $ here and there does make logical sense, but it means that everything WB and PJ etc have been saying has been lies all along. While that is certainly possible, it is business after all, I prefer to look at this with an open mind, rather than jumping to the assumption that they must all be assholes.

                    Remember, very early on the piece PJ said that WB was looking at other countries (eastern Europe was first mentioned). This was considered to be ‘sabre rattling’ and threats at the time, but with hindsight it looks like they were serious, doesn’t it?

                    • Carol

                      As I understand it, it’s pretty routine to run numbers on comparative shooting locations. I think the fact this was happening was over-stating things, while spuriously linking it to union action.

                      Dn’t forget, part of Lovely Bones was filmed elsewhere.

                    • Blighty

                      It doesn’t mean they’ve been lying all along, it means they’re exploiting the situation as it develops.

                      you should follow your financial logic. Rigth now you’re assuming Warner Bros and Jackson are angels and, therefore, the fault must be someone else’s even if that doesn’t make any sense.

                    • g-man

                      (Used to be graham, someone else now making comments using that name)

                      Actually Lanthanide, Blighty’s theory of what’s going on with the dollars DOESN’T make sense.

                      He says “there’s supposedly an unquantified but small risk arising from the fact that some actors wanted better conditions and have lifted their blacklisting of the project. Those risk, if they exist, will not be avoided by going somewhere witht he stronger work conditions that the NZ actors want.”

                      WRONG. The risk, as so many have tried to explain, is that for WB it is a matter of “once bitten, twice shy”. They’ve seen industrial action before the damn film is even started. As Lanthanide points out, if the actors decide to boycott again during filming, the studios are looking at probably millions of dollars wasted, bad reputations, etc. because the actors are refusing to work. What happens when the first film is made, and the actors say, “Right, if you want your second film completed, here’s our conditions …”?

                      Blighty: “This is a $660 million project where small cost risks are to be expected”. Yeah, but entire days or even weeks of production delays because some actors refuse to work aren’t small costs.

                      So, there is a huge case here for saying that the actors have somehow made filming in NZ too risky.

                      And on the tax breaks: I’m just waiting for the howls of protest if these tax breaks are indeed announce. “TAX BREAKS FOR JOHN KEY’S RICH PRICK MATES!” “GIVE IT TO THE WORKERS!”

                  • Lanthanide

                    Lynn – I really have *no clue* what you’re talking about. You censored out my nickname from Blighty’s post. As far as I can see, the only personal information he’s included about me at all is that I’m “a science type”, which anyone who read through sufficient numbers of comments on this site could deduce (and my nickname is a bit of a giveaway, too). Otherwise there is no personal information in his comment at all.

                    • lprent

                      Sorry, it was a proper name and I have an instinctive response to seeing one in the comments section addressed to a pseudonym. The most common reason for doing it is to try and spook someone into outing themselves – usually to start stalking them in real life. I’ve seen it a multitude of times and usually it is incorrect from the information that I know about the persons. The rule here is that I ignore it is I’ve seen the person it is addressed to previously volunteer the information. In this case I hadn’t.

                      Anyway, if you have a look at the policy privacy section you’ll see how seriously we do take it. One of the reasons that we have a growing readership is because we do obey these restrictions…

          • jbanks 13.2.1.1.2

            Depends if those tax breaks cover the risk of staying in NZ and working with an incompetent Actors Equity

            • Blighty 13.2.1.1.2.1

              what risk do those actors cause?

              • jbanks

                There’s nothing stopping them from taking further industrial action during filming.

                Warner Bros will be looking for the option that represents the smallest chance of getting sued by its own investors for knowingly filming in a risky place.

                • wtl

                  Don’t be daft – agreements will be in place at the time of the filming and neither party will be legally entitled to break the terms of that agreement. i.e. if the actors have signed agreements to do the movie under a set series of conditions, they can’t start any industrial action just because they suddenly decide they don’t like those agreements.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Everyone is forgetting that these are the very same actors who pulled off the LOTR and made it a huge success.

                    What they want now is a chance to have the protections of employment law and minimum terms and conditions.

                    • Chess Player

                      No.

                      A small number of the small number of NZ Equity members had a small part in the success of the movie.

                      Some perspective please….

                  • jbanks

                    Why would the law stop them?
                    The Union clowns were insisting that the employer beak the law. Also, not all the workers are part f the Union,

  14. the sprout 14

    this is just part of Warner Brother’s gambit.
    I can’t believe the gullibilty of all those who scrape and bow to their interests without any thought to what their negotiation strategies might be and how threatening flight might just be part of that strategy.

    • clandestino 14.1

      please, if scraping and bowing is getting paid by an employer, I chose the wrong profession!

  15. Carol 15

    Nat Rad news reporting now in the news, that they have seen some emails that show that the agreement to call off the boycott was being circulated between unions and Warners on Monday night (probably Sunday in NZ). But there is still lack of clarity as to why the end of the boycott wasn’t released publicly. And we are still getting claims and counter claims. I think it said that the emails show MEA (Aussie) had agreed to call off the boycott.

    • Carol 15.1

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/60105/emails-contradict-warners-on-hobbit-boycott

      A series of emails appears to show that the film studio financing The Hobbit knew five days ago a union boycott would be ended.

      US film studio Warner Bros issued a statement on Friday confirming it is considering locations in countries other than New Zealand in which to film movies.

      In the statement, the studio also said reports that an international actors’ boycott was lifted by unions a number of days ago, and that Warner Brothers asked to delay this announcement, were false.

      It says it was not until Thursday night that confirmation of the boycott being lifted was received from the US-based Screen Actors Guild and New Zealand Actors’ Equity. The studio said it was still awaiting retractions from other guilds.

      However the emails, between actors’ union representatives in Australia and the US and a senior lawyer for Warner Bros in Los Angeles, show the Australian union MEAA, which was behind the international boycott a month ago, was negotiating a news release with Warners welcoming the end of the ban.

      The messages were sent back and forth and forth between the studio and the unions on Monday night, and it appears a statement was intended for release on Monday (LA time).

      It remains unclear why the statement was not released, and at exactly what point it faltered.

      …. quote continues at the url

      • jacinda 15.1.1

        Umm, its no longer about the boycott. It is about their lack of confidence. It ceased being about the boycott weeks ago.

        Get with the times

        • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1

          Their lack of confidence? What do they want then to salve their confidence? Million dollar tax breaks from the Government?

          Oh, wait…

          • IrishBill 15.1.1.1.1

            Which is why Warners were still involved in negotiations last weekend. They’d lost confidence but thought they’d stick around for the fun of it.

    • Lanthanide 15.2

      US time is behind NZ, so it would be Monday night NZ time, Sunday US time. I have read a report somewhere that said it was “Sunday US time”.

      • wtl 15.2.1

        No, Monday night NZ would be late Sunday night/early Monday morning in the US. Basically, anytime during the day on Sunday US would be earlier in the day Monday here. They are a day behind but some hours ahead. Anyway, regardless of the precise time it was NOT Thursday but considerably earlier. WB is lying. I’m not sure what your point is.

        • Lanthanide 15.2.1.1

          I didn’t have “a point”, I was correcting Carol’s interpretation of the timezones, in that Sunday here would be Monday in the US, when clearly it is the opposite.

          • wtl 15.2.1.1.1

            Fair enough, my bad – I thought you were implying something else but I missed the earlier error.

  16. tsmithfield 16

    It seems to me that the basic problem for unions in this case is that the normal rules don’t apply. In other industries unions can paralyze an industry if they down tools. However, in this case, the industry can simply pick up its bat and ball and play the game somewhere else. Thus, in reality, the union has very little power in this situation.

    • clandestino 16.1

      And this is why it was a terrible lapse in judgment from actors egged on and blinded by dollar signs (don’t try to argue they didn’t want more cash) and lack of foresight re the flow on effects

    • Lanthanide 16.2

      “the industry can simply pick up its bat and ball and play the game somewhere else. Thus, in reality, the union has very little power in this situation.”

      Um, no. The reason this whole thing spiralled out of control is because the Oz union got the international acting unions involved in the boycott, including the Screen Actors Guild of American (SAG). It’s difficult to make a movie staring Ian McKellen as Gandalf when he (and all other American actors) are boycotting your film. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world when that happens.

      In this case, the union has VERY strong powers if they can get their mates on board. The problem is that those strong powers only relate to the specific country and production that is being run. That is, if The Hobbit were filmed in the UK with all of the UK’s tried, true and accepted film practices in place, the international unions drop their boycott and co-operate. But if The Hobbit is attempted to be filmed in NZ in a way that the international unions don’t like, then they start their boycott up and the shit hits the fan.

      So in a sense you are correct, but really the situation is a quite complex and not as simple as “unions have no power vs film industry”. Just recall back to the writers strike in ~2007 to see what a big disruption that had in the US.

      • Carol 16.2.1

        But the MEA was just responding to the wishes of the AE that had been trying in vain to get better conditions. It’s an issue of power. The AE is pretty powerless against the power of the big industry corporations and studios. If SPADA, Jackson et al had been prepared o negotiate a fairer deal, then the AE would not have looked for support elsewhere.

        • Lanthanide 16.2.1.1

          Perhaps the idea, then, is for MEAA to get SAG to send out ‘warning’ letters to WB first, before they go for an all-out boycott as their first step?

          I don’t have any problem with union negotiations, but the way this one has been carried out from start to finish is a complete shambles.

          Also the fact that AE were asking for things that were technically illegal in this country doesn’t help. Yes I know that Irish says they could’ve made everyone employees on fixed term contracts or whatever, but the problem is that isn’t what AE was asking for! Perhaps if they *had* asked for that at the start, things might have gone differently (or the same, who knows).

          • Carol 16.2.1.1.1

            AE has done some things wrong. But they are a small and very weak union dealing with some powerful and sophisticated corporations. AE doesn’t have a full time PR person, for instance. And that’s why Kelly came on board to help them.

            • Colonial Viper 16.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes AE have done some things wrongs. They will learn. The CTU have got to make sure they are on the ball. Helen Kelly is smart but I imagine she hasn’t been up against Hollywood studio sharks before, especially with a duplicitous National Govt setting the background.

              To me, this is a perfect example of the importance of economic sovereignty. Have access to your own capital, your own talent, and your own international connections. Create a film industry (and an economy) which can’t be blackmailed from corporate offices in LA, New York or Shanghai.

            • Chess Player 16.2.1.1.1.2

              Why do they need a PR person? Is simply stating the truth not sufficient?

          • The Voice of Reason 16.2.1.1.2

            Crikey, will the ‘illegal’ meme ever die? There is nothing illegal in NZ commercial or employment law to stop a standard set of base conditions being applied to contractors. Every NZ company who employs contractors does it, without exception. Identical contracts, identical house rules. Taxi drivers, couriers, IT pro’s, building contractors, power contractors, Weta Studios and on and on and on. Hell, even the trolls here will have the same Crosby/Textor contract.

            • Lanthanide 16.2.1.1.2.1

              That’s exactly what The Pink Book is, VoR, and the union wanted something above and beyond the pink book precisely because the pink book is not binding.

      • tsmithfield 16.2.2

        In this case, the union has VERY strong powers if they can get their mates on board. The problem is that those strong powers only relate to the specific country and production that is being run. That is, if The Hobbit were filmed in the UK with all of the UK’s tried, true and accepted film practices in place, the international unions drop their boycott and co-operate. But if The Hobbit is attempted to be filmed in NZ in a way that the international unions don’t like, then they start their boycott up and the shit hits the fan.

        I have to disagree with you.

        The big stars likely to take the lead roles don’t need a union. So they would still be available I expect, blacklist or no blacklist.

        The film makers could easily pluck people out of obscurity for the minor roles. Also, there are plenty of people doing mundane jobs at the moment hoping for their big break into the movies. Do you think a blacklist would stop them taking up the opportunity for a part in a movie like “the Hobbit”?

        The basic problem for the union is there are plenty of people available for the roles so the law of supply and demand is working against the unions. Their position is very weak.

    • KJT 16.3

      The normal rules in NZ are that a Union cannot strike for industry wide agreements. Only one with a specific employer and then only during contract negotiations.

      Cannot complain about “stability” in NZ. Once an agreement has been made the Union cannot take industrial action until after its expiry. All, but a couple of unions stuck to that principle even in the 70’s.
      There are even more restrictions on striking if you are deemed to be in an “essential industry”.

      • jbanks 16.3.1

        Cannot complain about “stability” in NZ. Once an agreement has been made the Union cannot take industrial action until after its expiry

        How is this guaranteed exactly?

        • IrishBill 16.3.1.1

          Industrial action during the term of an agreement is illegal. If a union tried to take industrial action during the term of an agreement both the union and the officials would pretty much automatically be liable for any costs incurred (such as missed production time). On a film like the hobbit those costs would finish off most unions. That’s a very strong incentive for a union to maintain a stable workforce.

          • jbanks 16.3.1.1.1

            You don’t seem to understand that not everyone belongs to unions. Under the ERA and the Commerce Act employers can’t get into a collective bargaining agreement with individual workers. There’s no guarantee for WB that individual workers won’t strike.

        • IrishBill 16.3.1.2

          Industrial action during the term of an agreement is illegal. If a union tried to take industrial action during the term of an agreement both the union and the officials would pretty much automatically be liable for any costs incurred (such as missed production time). On a film like the hobbit those costs would finish off most unions. That\’s a very strong incentive for a union to maintain a stable workforce.

          • comedy 16.3.1.2.1

            Don’t the teachers have a current agreement…… or is that completely different………… honest question I know fuck all about employment law.

            • IrishBill 16.3.1.2.1.1

              Their agreement has expired. If they’d tried to take action six months ago they would have been sued into oblivion by the ministry of education. A hobbit agreement could be agreed to have a term matching production time (as long as it didn’t extend past three years which is the legal maximum term for a CEA).

  17. randal 17

    As Lenin would say; who gains?
    looks like the american unions to me.

    • Carol 17.1

      Well the unions were joining together internationally for the benefit of all. According to Kelly’s comments on Public Address, the NZ union wouldn’t have benefitted more than SAG from being allied with the US SAG. But not if Warners demonises & smashes down AE & MEA as, at the same time as Warners are in negotiations with SAG. It would also help in undermining SAG. So Warners gains more. It’s a power struggle, and Warners & Jackson have way more clout than the unions right now (especially if the unions are fragmented and/or actors are set against each other).

      • Rob 17.1.1

        Carol, how has any of this benefited the technicians and support staff. You are absolutely blinded to the fact that this union has done great harm to many kiwi families. I just think you and this fuken union are a big fuken disgrace, and you have not even seen the kik back that is going to happen here.

        So before you start spouting on about unions joining toegther to support everyone get your fuken facts right.

  18. BLiP 18

    Shouldn’t National Ltd™ back off and leave it to the market?

  19. weizguy 19

    Ms Cui Bono? May I introduce Mr Lex Parsimoniae…

    • clandestino 19.1

      Ockham strikes again!

    • Blighty 19.2

      and the most reasonable explanation for a $660 million project threatening to move is not a small, already resolved, dispute with a few actors. It has to be something bigger, like tax breaks.

      To think that this project would do something as major as change countries over the actors’ dispute is like thinking an elephant will cross a river to avoid an ant.

      • weizguy 19.2.1

        Sorry – I think you misunderstand the concept of parsimony. It requires the simplest explanation – not the one you think is the most reasonable.

        If I understand the theory – at its most likely – Warners saw the boycott, thought “We can extract some tax breaks out of this” and then proceeded to game the NZ Govt. Now either PJ is in on the plan, in which case, he’s a far better actor than I’ve ever given him credit for, or they’ve left their second biggest asset out of the loop, putting him through hell on the basis of opportunism. Now I don’t have the highest regard for the excesses of multinationals, but it just seems to convoluted and conspiratorial. And that’s about as reasonable as I can make the conspiracy sound. I won’t even bother addressing the suggestion that this is a VRWC hit job.

        Compare with what Jackson is saying:

        Warners got spooked by the boycott (which is understandable after what has happened in Australia, and after they’ve had to deal with the fallout of the writers strike) and decided that it wanted some more stability.

        Note also that the above doesn’t require Warners to be in the right, or even rational about their concern. It just requires them to be concerned enough to pull out.

  20. Adrian 20

    Warners weren’t even on the horizon 4 months ago when Guillermo del Toro spat the dummy. They only got involved a matter of weeks ago. I think PJ built the sets with his own dollar ( that must have hurt ) as a bargaining tool before WB had fully committed. It’s bullshit that there has been $100 million spent, the sets that have been built are just the work of 20-30 chippies and a couple of painters, anything Weta have done ( costumes, weapons etc ) will be used anywhere in the world. The emails prove that we’ve been royally bullshitted.

    • Roflcopter 20.1

      If ya wanna talk bullshit, let’s all admire the “lynch mob” in action…. oh the humanity! I feel SOOOOO sorry for Robyn having to put up with this!

      *sob sob*

      Only ok when unions do it, right?

  21. Carol 21

    Hmmm, now, according to Nat Rad’s news, Sir Peter is saying, Warners was holding off announcing the end of the boycott (and presumably lying about it later) because they were waiting for an apology from SAG for supporting the boycott? That makes sense…. *frowns*

    And when an industrial dispute is ressolved, are apologies usually expected?

  22. Big Dog 22

    I was moved by my comrades, particularly Polynesian, from the SWFU etc, at Parliament.
    Robyn “200K+” Malcolm etc are wet flakes.
    It’s sad how some on the left suspend intelligence, and cravenly support any “union” action, however counterproductive.
    The world is much more complex than simple Manicheanism.
    What my hero Jimmy Reid said: “Arthur Scargill’s leadership of the miners’ strike has been a
    disgrace. The price to be paid for his folly will be immense. He will
    have destroyed the NUM as an effective fighting force within British
    trade unionism for the next 20 years. If kamikaze pilots were to form
    their own union, Arthur would be an ideal choice for leader.”
    A fine credo: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/still-irresistible-a-workingclass-heros-finest-speech-2051285.html
    The Workers Party. A bunch of bourgeois students.

    • Carol 22.1

      Typical rightist/neoliberal short-term thinking.

      Scargill was leading the miners’ strike while I was living in London and actively participating in teachers union actions. Both unions supported each other. We knew the stakes. Thatcher was hell bent on destroying unions one way or another, and undermining the working classes & the left. In the end she changed the law to outlaw teachers’ union action,and break the strong support of the union.

      She destroyed the manufacturing industries in the UK and built up the financial sector, partly to bring about the demise of unions in the manufacturing area, but also to fulfill her visions of re-creating the glorious empire internationally, through the finance sector..

      For a couple of decades, Britain was riding high on her ponzi scheme built on the City of London and the banks, financial specualtion etc. Now the bubble has burst, and Britain is left in dire straits with very little manufacturing to build the “real” economy. Scargill and the unions knew they needed to give the strikes their best shot, for the good of the people and the long term prosperity of the country.

      Thatcher’s government and their neoliberal scam was the problem, not the unions, and Britain is now reaping the dubious legacy.

      • Rob 22.1.1

        You really are an oxygen thief Carol.

        [lprent: Pointless abuse. I don’t tolerate many of those – read the policy. You have to explain why you consider that a person deserves it or you’ll find I make a point of banning people who repeat the offense. Your comments today show a very low informational to abuse level. So much so that I’m starting to consider that you’re a idiot troll.

        Consider yourself warned. ]

        • Francisco Hernandez 22.1.1.1

          whoa what the fuck?

          That’s way to far.

          Is there some way to report this?

        • Vicky32 22.1.1.2

          What a piggy remark Rob! Shame…

          • The Baron 22.1.1.2.1

            But who are you – the human swear jar? Do you have anything else to contribute?

            • Vicky32 22.1.1.2.1.1

              I don’t like to see people abused and denigrated.. It makes me ill. Oh and yes, I am the Pedant Queen…As long as the Internet lives, so will this… do you want your great-grandkids to look at your contributions and think “what a twat grand-dad was?” 🙁
              Deb

  23. tsmithfield 23

    Some of these union people need to read “How to win friends and influence people”.

    Now some of these half wits are threatening industrial action during the world cup.

  24. Big Dog 24

    You’re saying Jimmy Reid is “Typical rightist/neoliberal”. ? WTF?
    Aunty Jo Stalin, must be great living in your own fantasyland .

    • Carol 24.1

      Are you directing that comment to me, BD? I said nothing about Jimmy Reid, only disagreed with the quote about Scargill. I see nothing to disagree with in the speech linked to. It’s easy to be critical about a leader in retrospect. But I doubt anyone else could have done much better than Scargill, given the forces they were up against at the time.

  25. Francisco Hernandez 25

    http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/lynch-mob-o-the-day/

    *facepalm*

    There is no way that the AE position is tenable after this one. He can’t even defend his own position.

    Words cannot express how angry I feel right now.

    • comedy 25.1

      Gawd what a clusterfuck – Robyn Malcolm and Helen Kelly’s credibility is officially fucked.

      • Francisco Hernandez 25.1.1

        I don’t think Robyn Malcolm had any credibility to begin with.

        But I immensely respected Helen Kelly up to this point. Her speech at the Labour Party Conference was quite inspirational and rallying to me.

        But she’s fucked up here.

        • comedy 25.1.1.1

          A lesson for us all in that when it’s turned to shite admit you’ve got it wrong, do the mea culpa, fix it and move on…….. don’t continue fighting and digging a bigger hole for yourself ……. karma’s a bitch at times

          • Roflcopter 25.1.1.1.1

            Yup… and now they’re at the point of no return… they have to go all the way, they can’t back down now, they’re damned if they do and they’re damned if they don’t. Just like the LWNJ’s here… totally screwed.

            It’s awesome to watch the lefties spinning this all over the place.

            The next conspiracy will be that because everything was going fine until Simon Whipp got involved, he must be a right-wing sleeper planted by Warners 15 years ago, so that when Hobbit was confirmed he could pop up and set in motion what we are seeing today.

            Awesome watching Robyn Malcolm and cohorts being shown for what they are…. duplicitous liars, and they’ve dragged the whole left with them.

            Roll on 2011, gonna be beautiful watching National return with a bigger margin than 2008.

    • The Baron 25.2

      Wow, they can’t even bother explaining themselves to the people they supposedly represent – and all after a dinner at one of Wellington’s best restaurants, probably on their members’ dime.

      Regardless of the merits of this case (which are dubious – I am still confused as to what the unions want FFS), I cannot see how anyone can paint the particular tactics used as being anything but incredibly stupid.

      So many own goals in so little time…

      • clandestino 25.2.1

        Hey! That’s my ‘own goal’ schtick your usin’!
        However, at least you’ve seen the light. Celia Wade-Brown has it right on the news this arvo, the money and benefits for Welly and NZ are too great for the high horsing of a couple of actors and Ms Kelly.

  26. clandestino 26

    I hope everyone heard The Panel this arvo. Russell…brown is it?….explained the situation as many of us intuitively saw it.

  27. Sookie 27

    What a nasty little country NZ is turning into, that even a national hero like Peter Jackson turns into a massive, duplicitous disappointment of a man throwing hissy fits and holding the country to bloody ransom over a bunch of niave, toothless jobbing Kiwi actors. Except its not about them, its all about the money. I am one of the biggest LOTR geeks around and until recently, a massive admirer of Sir PJ, but I smell a rat. A dirty fat greedy one called Warners. I’m still refusing to watch the shark jumping Hobbit, even if it is saved by Smile n’ Wave on Shadowfax at the last minute.

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      Might as well move to Oz i suppose, at least there people accept that unfairness and racism is a commonplace issue instead of pretending it doesn’t exist.

      And the pay is good too…

      • Chess Player 27.1.1

        Ok, well done, we all give up.

        You have officially made more comments on this post that anyone else, and with a higher proportion of irrelevant comments.

        I think you need to consider getting a hobby.

  28. Vicky32 28

    Big sigh… Hil’ry Berry doing her thing, playing footage from YouTube of a skinny teenage male harassing Helen Kelly and Robyn Malcolm, and announcing that “we know” that Warners are taking ‘The Hobbit’ elsewhere… Oh do we, Hil’ry?
    OK, I know she’s speaking the script she’s been given, but even so, she’s deffo not the sharpest tool in the shed, and seems to be the sort of “girl” (as she calls herself), who would uncritically accept whatever PJ says…
    Deb

    • Carol 28.1

      Yes, TV3 was still beating that drum. So were comments on Nat Rad by NZ producers of other productions/SPADA, saying further international productions in NZ were under threat. Does anyone now seriously believe that The Hobbit (or part therof as with Lovely Bones) is not going to be shot in NZ?

      Do they need a whole team of Warners execs to come down to NZ to make that decision next week? Just seems like more PR and photo ops for PJ and Shonkey (will they let Brownlee be included in the shots?)

      PS. What’s the big deal about that video of Malcolm & the MEA guy? Don’t people know that it’s a basic of worker/union approaches to not negotiate or debate differences in public. The most powerful employers will do their best to divide and conquer – just as is happening with movie industry workers right now.

      And the media is very good at driving wedges between workers and/or unions too. I don’t see Warners and PJ airing their differences & negotiations in public. And it’s the way workers are divided, by picking them off when they feel insecure about losing a job or not getting one.

      • bobo 28.1.1

        Labour Weekend…. anyone spot the irony of taking the holiday while bashing the unions we have in this country generally. The one sided reporting is making me dry reach.

        John Key will use this whole ugly incident in the same way he so-called saved NZ from a credit rating downgrade from moodys..

    • Herodotus 28.2

      Vicky have a look at the footage, they were not from this footage harassing and Helen Kelly from what I could see was not even in the shot !!
      These people were standing up and asking questions regarding their livelihood (Where is their union in this?) towards an Aussie union rep, Robyn, Helen (if there) and others should think themselves extremely lucky that this did not happen in Paris.

      • Vicky32 28.2.1

        I can’t look at it, sorry – I saw it out the corner of my eye on TV, and I heard what was being said – but I can’t see videos on this computer – dial up!
        He was harassing several people – like a TV reporter doing the ‘broken record’ technique. I didn’t see who, and assumed on the basis of the soundtrack. Nevertheless, he seemed to me to be a rather pathetic bully.
        Deb

        • weizguy 28.2.1.1

          A question – has anyone managed to get an interview with Simon Whipp. I can understand him taking a silent approach to someone who stuck a camera in his face in the street, but surely he should front up to the media?

          Why is a major player managing to avoid commenting?

          • IrishBill 28.2.1.1.1

            Personally I think it’s because he’s not a major player, just an advisor. I’d like to see an interview with whoever is advising Peter Jackson in this because there are clearly some pros calling the shots in the background.

            Although when I think about it, even Jackson only gave his first interview yesterday and I’m yet to hear anyone from Warners.

            • Roflcopter 28.2.1.1.1.1

              I think you’ll find that the MEAA fund the NZ AE, so they’re pulling the strings

  29. Santi 29

    The unions and CTU’s boss Kelly in particular blew it big time. She’ll pay a heavy price for her huge cock-up. Shame on her.

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