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.
“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)