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The Hobbit episode II… continues…

Written By: - Date published: 11:59 am, November 27th, 2012 - 103 comments
Categories: brand key, Environment, film, greens, labour, slippery, tourism, workers' rights - Tags:

One the eve of The Hobbit premier the employment dispute is revived, exposing gaps between principle and practice. In a Stuff article Jackson is still claiming there was a very real threat of the filming being done in the UK; some of the Labour’s ABC club make headlines by deciding to attend the premier even though Labour criticised the government’s handling of the dispute; and John Key-speak weaves a curious path of nonsense through contradictory, populist references to linking The Hobbit movie, NZ as 100% Pure and 100%  Middle-earth and Macdonald’s branding (meanwhile obscuring the significance of the TPP).

In an earlier post I argued that

 Both the government and Jackson manipulated the dispute and its coverage in the MSM to their advantage.

I referred to Nigel Haworth’s excellent article on the dispute, in which he concluded:

Thus, analytically, the New Zealand state simultaneously conceded, financially and legislatively, to the global film sector whilst taking the opportunity to further its ER liberalisation and attack the domestic trade union movement.

In the Stuff article this morning Jackson defends his role in The Hobbit employment dispute:

Speaking on the political and legal wrangling which marred the beginning of filming, Jackson said the argument centred around a misunderstanding over collective bargaining.

“Which as I understand it, wasn’t allowed in this country. It was being driven by an Australian union who were then getting the support of the American and British unions who didn’t understand the laws here.”

He said the whole thing felt “dubious” in that it was driven by a group of people who did not understand New Zealand law.

Despite that, he said The Hobbit still came very close to not being filmed in New Zealand.

In my earlier post linked above, I outlined how Key’s submission to Hollywood corporates linked in with the TPP, and attempts by US corporates to impose intellectual copyright laws on NZ in their interests. There are problems for our culture, employment laws and sovereignty with letting Hollywood dominate our film industry. There is also evidence that an attempt to revive NZ’s flagging tourism industry, resulted in Warners controlling Tourism NZ’s rebranding of NZ as 100% Middle-earth, piggy-backing on the 100% Pure branding.

Today Bunji exposed some of the clownish nonsense being peddled by Key, when he defended NZ’s tarnished 100% Pure branding by comparing it to Macdonald’s “lovin’ it” slogan.  This was on  top of the nonsensical populist statements Key made about The Hobbit on Sunday, in which he manages to be patronisingly dismissive of avid Hobbit/LOTR fans:

Prime Minister John Key is excitedly looking forward to the premiere of the first of the Hobbit movies but admits he has never read the book the movie is based on….

I’ll watch the movie, I’ll be fine.”

He also admitted to seeing only the first of the three movies based on Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the sequel to the Hobbit story.

“It was good, I enjoyed it,” Key said.

“People that are into it are really into it, and they just can’t get enough of it.

“It’s one of those things where if it’s your big thing they just have an insatiable appetite for this stuff,” he said.

“In its own world, in its own way, it’s a franchise like a James Bond thing. Those people just love it.”…

About 3000 people had worked on the movie, with brilliant post-production work done by Weta.

“Isn’t this our time just to stand up for once and say, ‘hey we’re pretty cool … we’re a neat little country and we’ve produced these great movies’.”

There is no doubt that Weta is a classy outfit that, along with many NZ actors, has done a lot of excellent work.  But, Key is ignoring the poor conditions many NZ actors have experienced as a consequence of the ‘Hobbit Law’.

Good on Green MPs for standing by their principles,  as reported by Claire Trevett in the above linked NZ Herald article on the MPs attending The Hobbit premier:

The Green Party also criticised National at the time and a spokeswoman said none of its MPs were going.

It’s always important to closely observe the consistency of MPs and their parties in putting their principles into practice.  In John Key’s case, there seem to be no principles other than selling (out) NZ to powerful corporate interests, at home and abroad, while masking his true intentions with nonsensical populist language.

[Update] US lawyer, Jonathan Handel, disputes Hobbit movies at risk of being shot in UK. (h/t mickysavage)


103 comments on “The Hobbit episode II… continues…”

  1. Wayne 1

    Give it up, you are going nowhere with this.

    • karol 1.1

      And yet Bomber (Peter Jackson tries to re-edit history), Gordon Campbell (on John Key and the Hobbit)and Chris Trotter (Welcome to Middle-earth) all have published posts on this today.

      But I’m sure Key, Jackson and their fan clubs would like all the dodgy issues diversions, and contradictions to be swept under the carpet. 

      • Tracey 1.1.1

        I think what Wayne means, is that he’s ok with the lies as long as the lovely film is released.

      • Wayne 1.1.2

        Karol, I would say the same to them as well. Who do you beleive, Peter Jackson who actually had to deal with the producers, or the entertainment lawyer who didn’t.

        Now, I know each political party has to have its pet hates, but really, is this the right one for Labour and the Left.

        If you knew there would be no more large scale movie productions, would you still repeal the law? I guess I know the answer, because ideological purity is more important to you than doing what works. But it is not as if the Hobbitt set was notorious for its slave labour conditions.

        One of the skills of Tony Blair was working out what Labour should accept of the Thatcher reforms, just as John Key did with the changes bought about by the Helen Clark government. I don’t see too much of that in Labour yet, but it is an essential part of being in Opposition. Actually DS is likely to work it out.

        A new government has to be less about whinging about the past, and more about a new programme for the future.

        • karol

          Wayne, I’ve been a movie lover all my life.  I enjoy watching well-made movies from wherever.  Some Hollywood movies are great.  There’s also been brilliant movies made in other countries.

          I want to see the NZ movie industry thrive, especially with making stories that represent NZ/Aotearoa more accurately than the Hobbit/LOTR, which Chris Trotter aptly describes thus:

          Tolkein’s writings may be fictional but they possess a cultural power that is very real. And thanks to the cinematographic skills of Sir Peter Jackson and the digital magic of Weta Workshops, Pakeha New Zealanders have been given reference points that owe nothing to their country’s indigenous culture. In our post-modern world, where reality has taken on an alarmingly subjective quality, “Middle Earth” is a much more comfortable fit than “Aotearoa”.
          More comfortable, too, for dwellers in a “West” beset with economic, political, environmental and cultural challenges. A West in whose eyes New Zealand stands as a refuge every bit as wholesome and protected as “The Shire”. New Zealanders’ desire for cultural reassurance and comfort is thus reinforced by an international audience desperate to escape the daunting challenges of multiculturalism and austerity. 

          I prefer movies that help us face our challenges rather than escape them.

          And I want to see all NZ actors and other workers getting a fair shake at working with the same pay and conditions as overseas people.

          • Wayne

            We are talking about a global industry, not making movies with primarily a local appeal. For instance Whale Rider was a great movie but it was not a global blockbuster.

            It is a global scale industry that Peter Jackson has created, and it has provided thousands of jobs. He has done at least eight movies in the last decade that have had global success.

            NZ has precious few global industries, this is one of them. There must be at least 2,000 high paid permanent jobs in Wellington and elsewhere directly related to this business.

            That is why the Govt worked hard to keep it here.

            • karol

              More continuous work in the industry has been provided by international TV productions in NZ, but without so much of the fanfare. e.g. Power Rangers, Spartacus.

              There’s also been a lot of work put into developing treaties to enable co-productions with other countries closer to NZ.

              What’s the big deal about Hollywood “global productions”?

              Whale Rider was a better movie than Jackson’s Hollywood stuff, and more relevant to NZ/Aotearoa, IMO. But, also, if was a bit Disney-ish compared with the book.  It was pretty well-received overseas, though. 

              • Beryl_Streep

                Whale Rider came out a decade ago, there’s been a ton of great kiwi movies since then.

                All of them were made while Hollywood blockbusters such as King Kong, Avatar and The Hobbit were also being made in NZ. One industry doesn’t cancel out the other.

                Have you seen Boy, No. 2, Sione’s Wedding I & II, Two Little Boys, Eagle vs Shark, Matariki, Secondhand Wedding and the dozens of other great NZ movies that were made after 2003, which was apparently the last time you saw a New Zealand movie (i.e. Whale Rider)

                Despite your negativity, the NZ movie industry is going great guns. Maybe as a “movie lover” you should go out and see more movies. 

                • karol

                  Beryl, yes I agree those movies you mention are excellent ones, and I have seen most of them.  I only referred to Whale Rider because Wayne mentioned it – it was a response to him.

                  Where was I being negative about the NZ movie industry?  I am just negative about the LOTR & Hobbit movies. 

                  But I would also like to see our PM put as much (or more) effort into promoting NZ productions as he is into his Hobbit-backing & manipulations.

                • Wayne

                  Actually I have seen most of these movies. But they are essentially local.

                  The large scale movies generate much higher levels of income, support a much larger infrastructure and have many more high skilled jobs. CGI is a complete high tech industry in itself, would it have happened without the push of Peter Jackson?

                  Yes I know it seems vulnerable to have a global scale industry essentially initiated by one person, but a whole movie eco system has grown up, with other directors and producers coming to the fore.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Jackson should not still be receiving massive amounts of government subsidies now he is by far the strongest player in NZ.

                    That money needs to go to small start up directors and talent.

                    And why is he preventing NZers from receiving the same union protections he himself benefits from?

            • Mel

              The trouble with the jobs created by the Hollywood movie industry is that most are short term and only last for the length of the movie. Those other jobs that have been created rely on Govt (tax payer) subsidies towards the Hollywood movie industry.

              Additonally, there is no loyalty towards NZ from Hollywood. It is all about the dollar and profits. The industry expects major ‘social welfare’ benefits from countries who are used as locations and NZ is offering Hollywood those benefits.

              Any country that offers more benefits could be the next location.

          • Populuxe1

            Hollywood’s values are commercial, not aesthetic. Deal with it.

        • felix

          After listening to Jackson on the radio this morning I wouldn’t put too much weight on his understanding of the business.

          He said the thing that made him so certain that Warners were about to send the production overseas was that they sent him a box full of pictures of location shots taken in the UK.

          Here’s the punchline: When asked if he considered that this was just a bit of brinksmanship from Warners he said, straight up, that they MUST have been serious because there’s no way they would have sent someone out to scout locations and take photos for 3 or 4 weeks if they weren’t.

          Sorry my dear little hobbits, but that’s fucking retarded. Talented he may be, but he’s obviously none too smart about negotiation.

          (Or he’s being disingenuous of course, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt).

          • vto

            ha ha, yep noticed that too.

            ffs, oldest trick in the book.

            funny that key and jackson fell for it…. talk about hopeless negotiating.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Here’s the punchline: When asked if he considered that this was just a bit of brinksmanship from Warners he said, straight up, that they MUST have been serious because there’s no way they would have sent someone out to scout locations and take photos for 3 or 4 weeks if they weren’t.

            Probably grabbed them off iStockphoto or similar.

            • felix

              Nah, it’s nothing for a company at that level to send people around the world scouting locations. They spend more on “fruit & flowers” for the head office.

              And as v says, it’s the oldest trick in the book to do it as a negotiating tactic.

          • Fisiani

            Felix -your partisan comments based on sheer prejudice show why Labour rightly earned the name Hobbit Haters. It was part of the reason that Labour came third in Wellington Central.

            • mickysavage

              And that is why Grant Robertson lost the electorate vote as well.

              Oh wait … 

              • Fisiani

                Grant (He…) Robertson lied through his teeth and tried to claim in 2011 that he was not a Hobbit Hater. Just shows that you can fool some of the people some of the time. Labour still came a humiliating third.

            • felix

              What partisan comments, fisi?

              Did you even listen to the interview? If you did then you’ll know I’m simply reporting what Jackson said, without exaggeration, and what he said was really fucking dumb.

              Nothing to do with his films. Nothing to do with Hobbits. Just a dumb comment from an apparently very naive man.

              ps no-one says “hobbit-haters” except John Key, a man who hasn’t even watched the LOTR films.

              • Fisiani

                Read your partisan comments again and your further disgusting and insincere denigration of Sir Peter Jackson who fought with John Key and they saved 3,000 jobs. How can you claim to care about employment when your team was prepared to sacrifice 3000 in the film industry and is still holding up work for West Coasters and fighting every inch of progress on Transmission Gully and the RONS?

                • felix

                  Please point out the comments you keep referring to. I’m just reporting what Jackson himself said.

                  Then we’ll try to figure out who my “team” is.

                  • McFlock

                    maybe he used up his cut&paste quota for the day. 

                  • fisiani

                    here you are felix.

                    He said the thing that made him so certain that Warners were about to send the production overseas was that they sent him a box full of pictures of location shots taken in the UK.

                    Here’s the punchline: When asked if he considered that this was just a bit of brinksmanship from Warners he said, straight up, that they MUST have been serious because there’s no way they would have sent someone out to scout locations and take photos for 3 or 4 weeks if they weren’t.

                    Sorry my dear little hobbits, but that’s fucking retarded. Talented he may be, but he’s obviously none too smart about negotiation.

                    You obviously do not know what happened in the lead up to the emergency discussions that saved the NZ film industry and will bring in 500 million in tourism revenue as stated by the tourism head on TVNZ this morning.
                    Your team btw is the Hobbit Haters.
                    3 of your scabs will strut the red carpet today

                    • felix

                      “You obviously do not know what happened in the lead up to the emergency discussions “

                      fisi you moron, I’m going by what Jackson says happened in the lead up.

                      Are you calling Lord Peter Jackson a liar now fisi you ungrateful peasant?

                • Colonial Viper

                  3000 jobs were never at risk…Jackson was never going to live in Estonia for 3 years to film there.

                  • Fisiani

                    It is incredible that the Left are oblivious to the work of Sir Peter and NZ’s greatest ever Prime Minister in securing 3000 jobs. The cynical scorched earth nihilistic always say no to progress attitudes displayed here are truly breathtaking. Even worse the activists here will soon be able to choose a leader NOT supported by caucus before an election AND choose a leader NOT supported by the voters after an election.

                    [RL: You’ve been warned comprehensively about the creepy sickening sycophancy before. Two week ban.]

        • Jared

          I completely agree that Jackson would’ve known what was going on. In fact, I’m sure he was right when he said to John Key that “There is no connection between the blacklist (and it’s eventual retraction) and the choice of production base for The Hobbit” (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10695662). Considering it was at the time it was happening rather than a couple of years down the track, I’m going to take his word then not now.

        • Tracey

          Are you saying you believe there was a risk The Hobbitt would be filmed overseas??

        • Galeandra

          But it is not as if the Hobbitt set was notorious for its slave labour conditions.

          Geez Wayne, there were a number of serious criticisms made in the media recently, including shooting days without breaks and the forced sharing of coloured contact lenses by actors.

          • Wayne

            These criticisms you have raised were not about the Hobbit – must have been some other film, or TV series.

            • One Tāne Huna

              Really? Says who?

              “There is no connection between the blacklist [and its eventual retraction], and the choice of production base for The Hobbit.” Peter Jackson.

              “That is why the Govt worked hard to keep it here.” Wayne.

              Can you see why people might think you have fuck-all credibility on this issue or any other?

        • Draco T Bastard

          Who do you beleive, Peter Jackson who actually had to deal with the producers, or the entertainment lawyer who didn’t.

          Who to believe??? PJ who got caught lying about the Hobbit fiasco or a lowly lawyer…

          I think I’ll go with the lawyer.

          If you knew there would be no more large scale movie productions, would you still repeal the law?

          But that’s just it – there would still be large scale movie productions. They’d just be made by us rather than be made by a mega-rich multi-national corporation subsidised by us.

  2. marsman 2

    Radio NZ news at midday had a US entertainment lawyer refuting Peter Jackson’s claim that The Hobbit filming was in danger of being moved overseas. In the same newscast was John Key saying no to even bigger tax incentives for big movies in reply to demands by Jackson.

  3. Good stuff Karol.  I wonder why, if it was a case of some foreigners not understanding New Zealand law, there was such an urgent need to change it.

    The whole situation was a manufactured crisis that ultimately led to an increased public subsidy to a foreign corporation to avert something that was not going to happen anyway.

    The justification has been shot to pieces by comments from US entertainment lawyer Jonathan Handel.  He has recently written a book on the subject and says the movies were never at risk of being shot elsewhere because the cost of moving and the impact on the film’s schedule would have been too great.

    “They had a release date set and these schedules are very tight, the amount of work to be done on a huge movie like this is a lot – those (factors) really mitigate against any possibility of moving the film.”

    • karol 3.1

      Thanks, micky – I’ve updated the post to include that link.

    • tc 3.2

      The sets were pretty much built at that stage (y’know Hobbiton aka matamata) and the locations already scouted based largely on LOTR locations, the book rights set a hard expiry date that was a non negotiable milestone.

      It was never ever going anywhere else, they knew that but you always need some sort of shonky reason to give your US mates more taxpayer money and a compliant MSM to demonise the likes of Helen Kelly/Robyn Malcolm and plenty of gullable and ill informed punters.

      Those pesky POA workers are next !

  4. burt 4

    It’s just not fair when unions can’t control everything in the best interests of extracting union fees from low paid workers so fat cat union bosses can enjoy better quality Chardonnay.

    • One Tāne Huna 4.1

      What’s unfair is the low intelligence dished out to conservatives at birth.

    • framu 4.2

      what? no retrospective? c’mon burt, your slipping

    • Tracey 4.3

      far better that wages get driven lower so that fat cat bosses can siphon more money offshore and out of the economy aye burt?

      Foreign currency trader goo. Union bad.

      Life’s so simple when you’re rich.

      • tc 4.3.1

        And there’s plenty of holidays and golf courses also Tracey.

      • OneTrack 4.3.2

        We should just held our ground and if they took the movie offshore well too bad. Oh. Wait……

        Good plan guys. Keep doing your best to piss-off the guy who works hard to bring these movies here. Really good encouragement for him to keep coming back. “But the US lawyer said…”. And the Kiwi director said …. And, you guys want to believe the American! Who isn’t even Obama! This must be a first. But keep that confirmation bias going. I do. And it tells me that JK was forced into a situation that he had to react to. And take action he did. And the movie was made here.

        The alternative scenario some of you are presenting here simply doesn’t have that benefit.

        • Draco T Bastard

          We should just held our ground and if they took the movie offshore well too bad.

          Yes, that’s exactly what we should have done because there was no fucken chance of the movie being made elsewhere.

        • felix

          Not just a clever name, is it?

          • OneTrack

            Is that some strange version of lefty 101 – play the man and not the ball? Where does this “nasty” meme keep coming from. Is it because your argument is so completely indefensible so name calling is all that’s left. Yep, I think that’s probably it.

    • marsman 4.4

      Yes burt it’s not fair when the Business Roundtable Union wants to control everything and extract everything for their own enrichment.

      • burt 4.4.1

        Correct… But for some reason partisan hacks carrying a blue flag think it is – just like partisan hacks carrying a red flag think it’s fine for the unions.

        It’s good however that you seem to recognise they are the same thing in pointing out the similarity as you have done.

        • Tracey

          Except IF the unions are evil, their evil raises working conditions and pay for those at the lowest end of the wage scale… the evil business supports lowering wages and their own tax rate. See the subtle difference?

          • burt

            Yes I see the difference between our opinions on unions. If unions were as good as they think they are they would have made themselves redundant 50 years ago… Sadly it’s in the union bosses interests to always be fighting the man never quite getting the workers out of poverty – this is the problem….

            • One Tāne Huna

              That must be why union members get paid more than non-union members – to keep them in poverty.

              Fish, meet barrel.

              • burt

                Yes… yes … Most top tax bracket people are union members …. All pigs are feed and ready to fly but I fear you won’t see them take off against the pink sky in your world.

                • One Tāne Huna


                  Got a substantive argument there Burty?

                • RedLogix

                  Most top tax bracket people are union members

                  Doctors, lawyers, dentists, real-estate agents, stockbrokers, accountants, auditors, engineers … most high-paid professionals are indeed members of ‘unions’.

                  • burt


                    PSA card carrying public sector Dr’s compared to private practice Dr’s (accepting they probably both belong to the same medical professional associations) – how is the ‘union’ looking now?


                    PSA card carrying public sector Lawyers compared to private practice Lawyers (accepting they probably both belong to the same legal professional associations) – how is the ‘union’ looking now?

                    Dentists, real-estate agents, stockbrokers, accountants, auditors, engineers

                    Never know them to have a strike, is their a union or a professional association for the best interests of their patients/clients and professional standards rather than practitioner pay rates ? I do however accept that some of these people may operate under a union collective but would once again question their pay rates compared to private practice expectations.

                    Auckland Wharf workers though… If you average their pay over the last 12 months what effect do the strikes have on their effective pay rates compared to less unionised ports ?

                    • RedLogix

                      Professional associations usually promote the interests of their members in different ways to unions. Typically they ensure that there are fairly high barriers to entry into the profession, restricting the labour supply available and thus ensuring high professional fees can be maintained.

                      And this is note wholly a bad thing because it works partly in the interests of their clientele by providing some minimum reassurance of standards and competency … albeit at the cost of having to pay higher fees.

                      Working class people don’t get the same privilege of being able to control their labour market, as individuals they’re almost always price takers, so for this reason unions have to use other tactics, such as solidarity and strikes to obtain the same ends.

                      But in ultimately while they may look a little different from the outside, at heart workers unions and professional associations perform the identical function … the protection of the value of their members’ labour.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Typically they ensure that there are fairly high barriers to entry into the profession, restricting the labour supply available and thus ensuring high professional fees can be maintained.

                      Which is why the guilds were destroyed and free-market principals implemented brining about huge amounts of poverty and disassociation. It’s the same reason that today’s businesses attack unions.

            • Populuxe1

              Probably because the bosses and their cronies on the right reverse all the progress as soon as a right wing party comes into power.

  5. muzza 5

    Again what people need to understand about Peter Jackson is, as soon as he became “big” he became the property of Hollywood, the studio owners, and those who fund/own them, that is the reality.

    PJ is only about PJ, and those who fund/back him – Sure he was talented in his own right to get on the track, but without that “hollywood” backing he would not even be close to where he is now.

    His owners care nothing about NZ, its people/animals or the workers, and as such this is what PJ speaks/works on behalf of, regardless of what he believes at heart.

    Its called selling out!

    Hollywoods owners are the same people looking currently looking to drill/mine the heck out of NZ, and the same who we repatriate billions of dollars to every year, both in interest/debt servicing, and profit gauging of the goods and services we buy/use!

    • Beryl_Streep 5.1

      Oh my god, he sold out! Wake up sheeple!

      Yep, I was a clueless adolescent once too. Thanks for the memories.

    • OneTrack 5.2

      But, of course, as bad as they are (eating babies, etc., like all neolibs) they wouldn’t think of moving the whole movie to eastern europe if somebody, say a union, starting screwing around with their expensive production, literally days before shooting was meant to start. No, of course not. They are pussycats really.

  6. marsman 6

    We, the NZ taxpayer, should be funding NZ Films. NOT Hollywood films. Let the Hollywood film industry get it’s own funding AND pay a FEE to film in NZ.
    Films like Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit should pay a percentage of the profits to NZ as a return to NZ for funding the films, just like any other backer.

  7. Tracey 7

    LOTR made a big profit. The Hobbit probably will too. So explain to me again why they need a leg up, when say putting together rail carriages in Dunedin did not??

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Because giving the multi-nationals more of our money so that they can buy us out quicker is Nationals sole reason to be. Actually helping NZ to become better is off the table.

      • burt 7.1.1


        What would you suggest were Labour’s reasons for doing the same with LOTR as National did with The Hobbit ?

        • Draco T Bastard

          But they didn’t did they? Labour didn’t re-write the laws and give special tax breaks for one multi-national corporation. They gave general tax breaks to all the multi-national corporations and didn’t re-write the laws.

          And, no, I don’t agree with any government giving tax discounts to multi-nationals. I would rather the same amount be given directly to NZ companies to produce NZ stories in NZ. We’d be far better off for it.

          • burt

            see: Key defends Hobbit tax deal

            The National Government’s Hobbit tax deal is understood to be worth $75m to Warner Bros across two movies.

            Mr Key indicated Labour’s Warner Bros deal was worth in excess of $100m per movie for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

            I think you missed a memo.

            But Mr Mallard says a tax loophole created by National in the 1990s opened the door for the $200m subsidy.

            But it’s National’s fault even after 9 years of Labour govt … and probably usage of … the loop hole…

        • mike e

          Burt the govt was already funding the the hobbit they just asked for more Dickensian idiotJust like a bad parent key” caved in”.

  8. Populuxe1 8

    Because making railway carriages is just a sop to employment rather than anything actually useful to the economy. Unless it’s high end luxury manufacturing, it’s absolutely no good to us because we can never compete with China and India.

    • burt 8.1

      A subsidised work scheme… A crowning achievement of socialism at it’s finest.

      Using other peoples money to keep an entire industry, operation, service or department sheltered from the fact it’s inefficient and uncompetitive. Dressed up as ‘helping’ the sheeple miss the real point that everyone pays more than required so a few don’t need to retrain.

      In a constantly changing world that’s always going to fail – but try telling that to committed flag followers!

  9. One Tāne Huna 9

    “Wingnut” Films. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

    I enjoyed LOTR, but I’m expecting The Hobbit(s) to be a creative (if not box-office) flop. I’ll be delighted to be proved wrong.

  10. Rich 10

    I think it’s all about our politicians getting to party with Famous Movie Actors. Isn’t that worth $100 million and a few law changes?

  11. CJ 11

    I wonder if it’s really “illegal” for the actors, as independent contractors, to collectively bargain for minimum terms and conditions in NZ why there already were collectively bargained minimum terms & conditions for actors (“The Pink Book”)?

    This dispute, between Actors Equity (a Kiwi union btw) and the Screen Production and Development Association, was about updating these – *not* about putting them in place at all.

    Added to that, the agreement between SPADA and NZ Equity concluded on 13 October 2010 (which led to the grey listing of the production being lifted by the FIA (International Federation of Actors on or before 17 October) was to begin bargaining on that very update.

    So the film production industry body in NZ has agreed to enter illegal collective bargaining with the union?


    Colour me sceptical but anyone who continues to peddle this line is mis-representing the facts – whether wilfully or mistakenly.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      I wonder if it’s really “illegal” for the actors, as independent contractors, to collectively bargain for minimum terms and conditions in NZ why there already were collectively bargained minimum terms & conditions for actors (“The Pink Book”)?

      It is and it’s been that way for centuries and the Pink Book is a set of guidelines not an actual binding agreement.

  12. OneTrack 12

    Did Labour decide at their conference that they are actually going to ditch the hobbit law. If not, why not. If so, will be interesting to see how many more movies will be made in NZ. With some of the comments here it looks like poor PJ might even be banned from working in NZ at all.

    • McFlock 12.1

      good question. Stupid hypothesis of a relationship between that and the movie industry, though. At least this time you were an intellectual rollercoaster, rather than your usual brick impersonation.

  13. Mike 13

    I remember the whole bullshit “movie going offshore” crap from Jackson got me into an interesting email argument with the editor at the Herald, who will no longer publish my letters. This is the txt of the original email I sent to the paper… (I may have put this up before in another thread so apologies if I have, but it just goes to show how much it got on my wick..hehehe)

    Letter to the herald regarding Time Warner and The Hobbit.


    I find it extraordinary that one media corporation, namely Time Warner has enough power not only to get millions in concessions from our government, but to be able to actually force a law change in our country. 1.4 million New Zealanders recently asked for a law change through referendum and were ignored. But one American corporation which exists only to maximise profit for its foreign owners requests a law change and our Prime Minister pushes through a new law in less than a day! This shows John Key’s true colours, always profit before people just like in his days working on the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Those criticizing the actors and CTU should remember that for centuries our ancestors have fought and sometimes sacrificed their lives fighting for the human rights we enjoy today. However small a particular right may be, to flippantly suggest that someone should give up that right to a foreign corporation is hugely disrespectful to those ancestors. Wake up New Zealand. Your government clearly views the profiteering demands of a foreign corporation as more important than those of the New Zealand people. We must be a laughing stock in Hollywood.


    Reply from Kevin Hart, Letters Editor

    Dear reader. John Key never worked for the Federal Reserve. If you wish your letter to be considered for publication, you might amend it so it is factually correct. Regards.
    Kevin Hart.
    NZ Herald.


    My reply back to Kevin

    Hi Kevin

    Below taken from wiki and from John Key’s own website. My understanding is that the New York Fed is the main branch of the United States Federal Reserve. (A privately owned run for profit central bank) I have amended the letter to reflect (see below). Hope that suits


    In 1995, he joined Merrill Lynch as head of Asian foreign exchange in Singapore. That same year he was promoted to Merrill’s global head of foreign exchange, based in London, where he may have earned around US$2.25 million a year including bonuses, which is about NZ$5 million at 2001 exchange rates. Some co-workers called him “the smiling assassin” for maintaining his usual cheerfulness while sacking dozens (some say hundreds) of staff after heavy losses from the 1998 Russian financial crisis.[4][8] He was a member of the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve Bank from 1999 to 2001.[9]


    Kevin’s reply back to me
    Mike. The Federal Reserve is the US equivalent of our Reserve Bank. To repeat, John Key had had nothing to do with it. Regards.
    Kevin Hart.
    NZ Herald.


    My reply back again to Kevin

    Hi Kevin

    Thank you for your reply. Being a journalist, your research skills are no doubt a good deal better than mine; so I’d be grateful if you could point me in the right direction in the hope I can get the correct information now and in the future? I’m trying to find a summary of John Key’s work history prior to him becoming an MP in NZ. The links below are some of the sources I have used to gather my information. But they all state Key’s involvement with the New York Federal Reserve, an organisation you’re telling me that “John Key had had nothing to do with”

    So I’m confused, as the sources I’ve listed would appear to be reliable, including an article from your own New Zealand Herald. I would really appreciate your help in finding the true facts regarding this matter, which I’m assuming you must get from a non-mainstream, non-widely regarded, perhaps even non-even heard of, secret journalist source?

    thanks in advance and regards


    Received no further correspondence

    • Gosman 13.1

      Technically both of you are correct as he never worked for the Federal Reserve but was a member of the Foreign Exchange committee that came under their auspices.

      The FXC sounds like it is more an industry advisory group than any direct report arm of the Federal Reserve. It would be similar to someone being made a member of a government board in NZ. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are a member of Government or support the views of the current government of the day.

      I’m not sure what your problem with this is exactly. John Key was a top Foreign exchange trader. This body was set up to advise the Federal Reserve on matters relating to that sector. Surely it is a good thing that his advice was sought.

      • One Tāne Huna 13.1.1

        The natural suspicion that arises, given the timing, is that the rotten lowlife had something to do with the repeal of Glass/Steagel.

        • Gosman

          This should be realitively easy to find out. The minutes of the FXC and any recommendations they made are likely to be available to read. EDIT: in fact they are. Here is a link to their work in 2000 when John Key was involved.


          However I suggest it is unlikely the FXC would be recommending the repeal of Glass/Steagal. It made little difference to the Foreign exchange markets whether Retail and Merchant banking were kept separate. It did make a big difference to the Bond markets though.

        • Gosman

          Here are the highlights of the areas they were involved with in that year

          -e-commerce and its expected impact on prevailing best practices and procedures, -the expected operation of the CLS (Continuous Linked Settlement) Bank and how the CLS will affect different institutions,
          – ring-fencing1 and possible ways to avert industry disruptions,
          – possible solutions to the problems caused by unscheduled holidays
          – ways to improve the operations of the barrier options market.

          How insidious. I can see why you lefties are up in arms. How dare these evil people think up ways of solving the problem of unscheduled holidays. Prison is too good for this lot.

          • One Tāne Huna

            Thanks for the link Gos. I doubt you’ve had time to trawl through the whole lot (shall we leave that to Penny?), so your opinion is faith based at best. Points duly noted however.

            • Gosman

              I’d suggest it is a little more than faith based. I have been involved with the finance industry for the past 16 years and have worked for a number of investment banks. Funnily enough they aren’t staffed entirely with Hell demons intent on enslaving the rest of humanity. That’s just Goldman Sachs.

              I am surprised that someone like Mike hasn’t taken the time to find this out for himself though. It took me little more than 5 minutes to find this information. Actually strike that. I’m not surprised at all. People like Mike aren’t interested in the mundane reality of business. They much prefer to see evil conspiracies behind everything they don’t fully understand.

              • One Tāne Huna

                Hell demons? I thought they were vampire squid 🙂

              • felix

                Gos, you really ought to drop all the conspiracy stuff. It makes you look paranoid.

                The finance industry is full of ideologues intent on enriching themselves at the expense of everyone else. That’s uncontroversial.

                Why do you always have to turn it into “hell demons” and “evil” and “enslavement”?

                ps The editor isn’t “technically right”, he says “To repeat, John Key had had nothing to do with it.”

                Mike is “technically right” but not entirely accurate, as you’ve pointed out, but the editor is 100% wrong in that statement.

                • Gosman

                  I was meaning the editor was correct when he stated that John Key never worked for the Federal Reserve. This is an accurate statement.

                  As for your views on the Finance industry, I suspect you have never worked for a major investment bank so base your opinions on secondhand information.

                  There are people working in banks that match your criteria just as I am sure I can find similar types of people in any organisation, including charities. My mother used to be a member of the Pacific Institute of Resource Management in the early 1990’s and that was run by a complete sociopath.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I was meaning the editor was correct when he stated that John Key never worked for the Federal Reserve. This is an accurate statement.

                    Key was a member on the foreign exchange committee of one of the Federal Reserve’s most important constituent members: the Federal Reserve of New York.

                    So he was a relatively senior player in the Federal Reserve system.

                    • Gosman

                      No he wasn’t. He was a member of an industry advisory group. He had no managerial authority within the Federal Reserve system at all.

                    • felix

                      lol Gos, I’m just gonna put the goalposts back now, k?

                      Mike. The Federal Reserve is the US equivalent of our Reserve Bank. To repeat, John Key had had nothing to do with it. Regards.
                      Kevin Hart.

                      Kick away.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      No he wasn’t. He was a member of an industry advisory group. He had no managerial authority within the Federal Reserve system at all.

                      Key was a member of a NY Fed committee responsibile for GOVERNANCE.

                      Your bullshit use of the phrase “managerial authority” neatly and accurately sidesteps this fact, but in the final analysis is nothing more than obfuscation.

                  • felix

                    “I was meaning the editor was correct when he stated that John Key never worked for the Federal Reserve. This is an accurate statement. “

                    Ok Gos, try this one. It’s the same as (parallel to) what the editor wrote:

                    The cat is not a dog, the cat is not a mammal.

                    To be consistent you’ll have to say that I’m being technically correct. Which I’m definitely not.

                    ps That’s no way to talk about your Mum.

                    • Gosman

                      Given my mother did not run the organisation I think I’m safe from any charge of insulting her.

                    • felix

                      Please answer the first part of the comment rather than the silly bit at the end, Gos.

                      Am I technically correct or not?

      • Mike 13.1.2

        “Technically both of you are correct as he never worked for the Federal Reserve but was a member of the Foreign Exchange committee that came under their auspices. ”

        You’re missing the point. In my letter, I didn’t say he worked for the Fed, as per the letter above, I wrote – “just like in his days working on the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve Bank.”

        The editor stated that Key had had nothing to do with the Fed, which is clearly incorrect. Regardless, if the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Fed isn’t working for the Fed then who is it working for?

        I’m not interested in the function of the committee or what they do, I was simply alerting people to Key’s connection with the Fed, a dodgy corporation at best.

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