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The price of our hysteria

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 pm, October 27th, 2010 - 178 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class war, film, john key, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

The Government will give the Hobbit producers an extra $33 million (USD$25 million) to stay in New Zealand (just above the prediction I made the other day) and it’s going to use this ‘crisis’ as an excuse to slam through more anti-worker laws. New Zealand has been played like naive hicks. We let Jackson and his Hollywood mates whip us into a frenzy of fear, and now we’re paying the cost.

The fact is that this whole ‘crisis’ was instigated by Peter Jackson and the Hollywood producers to squeeze more money out of us. Jackson has a long history of threatening capital flight to maximise his taxpayer subsidies, and this is just par for the course in Hollywood. The depreciating US dollar just gave them more reason to squeeze harder than usual.

It is right for the Government to invest to get big movies here when other countries are playing the same game because there is a net economic benefit to the country (and don’t you wish they apply the same logic to NZ industry like getting Kiwirail to build the new railcars?) but we’re only paying so much more because we let ourselves be conned by what was always a hollow threat. Jackson and Warners held the gun of capital flight to our heads but, with $100 million already invested here to make the Hobbit, the gun was never really loaded.

Basically, we’ve been played like rubes at the county fair. And we made such easy marks. The media lost its rag as soon as Jackson said ‘boo’ and failed to analyse the situation on anything other than a purely emotional level. This national hysteria enabled the con-job that was pulled on us.

To be fair to Key, while he did play his part in whipping up the ‘crisis’ for his own purposes (which I’ll get to shortly) he did do the negotiations right: he acted pretty indifferent to whether Warners stayed or left and said there wasn’t much money to be had. Basically, that called Warner’s bluff. As everyone with an ounce of sense has known all along, Warners was never leaving.

Key had to pay something though, because he couldn’t be 100% sure they wouldn’t leave and couldn’t face the political cost if they did. The films needed to stay here and paying up was the only way to insure they did. Jackson and the Hollywood execs won’t be disappointed to walk away with an extra $33 million for a week’s work scaring some colonial hicks.

Of course, Key has his own interests in this ‘crisis’ – the anti-union element.

The Nats were already putting Parliament into Urgency tomorrow to repeal a ‘tough on crime’ bill that they stuffed up last year (remind anyone of how they passed those first tax cuts under Urgency only to repeal them under Urgency five months later?). Now, they’ll use that Urgency to rush through a law (the Hobbit Enabling Act?) that says: ‘if you’re a film worker and your contract says you’re a contractor, you’re a contractor not an employee, no matter if your actual employment is in the nature of an employee’.

So what you might say? Well, in the law whether you are an employee or a contractor has always been a matter of fact, not merely what the contract says. The Employment Authority looks at the reality of your work relationship – whether you worked on a stable basis and had a reasonable expectation of ongoing work. It has to be so otherwise bosses would just employ you as a contractor and you would miss out on leave entitlements, natural justice rights, notice of termination, and redundancy, which employees have a right to and contractors generally do not.

As a result of this law, which will be rushed and shoddily drafted no doubt, every film worker in the country faces the prospect of being re-employed as an independent contractor to do the same work they’re already doing as employees, just with fewer rights.

All in all this is a bad result for New Zealand. The Hobbit was always going to be filmed in New Zealand. We (by which I mean, the msm and that portion of the public that still listens to it) allowed ourselves to get whipped into a hysteria that was completely at odds with reality. That hysteria was instrumental in seeing us pay over a further $33 million to Hollywood and Jackson, and it will be instrumental in seeing yet another group of workers lose key employment rights.

178 comments on “The price of our hysteria”

  1. A great day for NewZealand, the benefits will be immense, everybody must be rapt, thousands of kiwis in employment for years to come.

    This will give nz some decent publicity, unlike nzonair that spend millions and millions of crap like shortland street and outrageous fortune and scribe and Chefu albums that has no actual benefit for anyone.

    • Rich 1.1

      Millions of Kiwis will be employed for many, many years. Billions of dollars will come to the country, and all our\ economic problems will be over.

      I think we should erect giant statues of the Warners execs (soon to be knighted, I hope) in places of honour in all our major cities..

      Rejoice!

      • R2D2 1.1.1

        We are fortunate that we have such a brilliant PM like John Key who has been able to save this production for the country and her citizens.

        Thank you Prime Minister Key.

        • Marty G 1.1.1.1

          mate, a good parody of a Key-lover isn’t this over the top. Dial it back a little and it’ll be much funnier.

          • R2D2 1.1.1.1.1

            Sorry Marty if the emotion has come across too strong, I’ll leave with a simple God Bless Prime Minister Key.

            • Marty G 1.1.1.1.1.1

              If you want god to bless him for giving $33 million of our money to a Hollywood company that made $2 billion last year, I’d hate to see what you would want to do to him had it been $50 million.

              • R2D2

                Small change in comparison to the benefits the production will bring the country.

                • Maynard J

                  R2D2 – I’m picking you see no irony whatsoever in God Blessin’ the man who in your eyes is the sole reason a production based on a book written by a man who was trying to create a mythology for the West that was diametrically opposed to the traditional judeo-christian religious mythology will be made here!

                  • R2D2

                    It all depends on which God I was invoking the blessing to. From you text you appear to presume I am using the biblical God when it could be a Celtic, Norse, Egyptian etc God.

                    Which ever way I’m comfortable with it though with hind site will apologise in advance if My use of God offend anybody. That wasn’t the intent.

                    • Maynard J

                      Given you used God in the singular you’ll have to forgive me for ruling out those religions you mentioned, none of which are monotheistic.

                      I’m more offended that you use a capitalised ‘my’, only He may do as such. 😉 I’ll charitably assume it was a grammatical error and not blasphemy.

                  • Vicky32

                    “written by a man who was trying to create a mythology for the West that was diametrically opposed to the traditional judeo-christian religious mythology will be made here!”
                    Just a wee point – Tolkien was a dedicated Christian, so no, that wasn’t what he was trying to do…
                    Deb

                • Marty G

                  the production was always going to happen in NZ, this never need have happened.

                  We got swindled by the big boys. We had to pay up, yes, but it’s not something to celebrate.

                  • R2D2

                    The probability is that you’re right however the actions of the union gave WB the avenue the re-negotiate and after the ground swell of public support It was a political necessity to retain the production.

                    We’re lucky though that Prime Minister Key was able to limitbthe damage caused to only $35 million when WB could have pushed for so much more.

                    • mcflock

                      the assumption being, of course, that the producers wouldn’t have found another “crisis” that would have threatened the production.

                      So much for provocation not justifying an overreaction.

                  • Murray

                    I guess not seeing were all paying for the unions stuff up and arrogance

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      Good to see you celebrate the selling out of our economic and national sovereignty for chump change.

      But I guess beggars can’t be choosers eh, good to see Key’s drive to lower wages and working conditions taking effect.

      • R2D2 1.2.1

        I agree CV it is great to be able to celebrate our Prime Minister for rescuing this production from the threat of being moved off shore.

        We are all fortunate that our country is being lead by Prime Minister Key.

        • Kevin Welsh 1.2.1.1

          If I repeat your comment verbally in the voice of Con from The Castle, its much more believable.

          • R2D2 1.2.1.1.1

            Sorry Kevin I’ve never seen the Castle, but does Con speak with a thick Scottish accent too?

        • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.2

          for rescuing this production from the threat of being moved off shore.

          What is it with the gullibility factor of the Right tonight. Moved offshore where? So that Jackson could film The Hobbit in the dim freezing cold of an Irish winter? In landscape which looks completely different and alient to the scenary in LOTR’s brilliantly lit NZ summer locations?

          We are all fortunate that our country is being lead by Prime Minister Key.

          Relax eh, we’re in a democracy, supposedly, we’re not in reverential North Korea.

    • felix 1.3

      Nice gravatar you have there.

      • Marty G 1.3.1

        🙂

        Sean. The symbols beside commentators’ names are created by a formula based on the email address you enter. The symbols are actually four identical quarters each rotated 90 degrees. Unfortunately, that means some people end up with ones that look like swastikas.

        If you want to change yours, just change the email address you enter – it can be made up – or register as a user and you can make your own permanent image – like Felix’s black box, apparently he is still protesting over s92a or a nihilist.

        • felix 1.3.1.1

          Ha, I was originally protesting s92a but while doing so I became a nihilist 🙂

          I wonder why they don’t use – for example – 3 shapes, rotated 120 degrees. The “4 shapes” formula seems like it’s almost designed to make swastikas.

    • Chess Player 1.4

      Shortland St gets no govt money actually, it pays for itself.

      Outrageous Fortune gets heaps, and will stop before it makes any money. Plenty of money has gone to a certain actor who will soon be on the Green list in Sue Kedgley’s place.

    • SHG 1.5

      The inclusion of NZ tourism info on the Hobbit DVDs is a masterstroke. That’s worth tens of millions all by itself.

      Key has come out looking golden, and right now the NZ public wouldn’t cross the street to piss on a unionist if he was on fire.

      Whoever is in charge of PR and communications at the CTU should be taken out the back and shot.

      • Vicky32 1.5.1

        “wouldn’t cross the street to piss on a unionist if he was on fire.”
        Speak for yourself! And, er – there are women unionists, isn’t that what you wusses have been whining about for weeks? (Note to RWNJs – using generic he makes you look like a prat from the 1950s or the USA…

  2. IrishBill 2

    $25m

    • Marty G 2.1

      $7.5 million in tax rebates, $10 million for their marketing costs.. I’m missing something I guess.

      • Marty G 2.1.1

        ah $7.5 per movie.

        • tsmithfield 2.1.1.1

          Nice to see you giving Key some credit Marty.

          This was skillful negotiation IMO. Skillful because each concession we made was matched by a concession of equal or greater value (to us) on the other side.

          1. The 7.5m per movie is contingent on the success of the movie.
          2. We have a substantial marketing package (NZ promos on each DVD for instance, world premier etc). If the movie is successful and we have to pay the 7.5m then the marketing package will likely be worth every bit of the 7.5m if not more.
          3. We have a strategic agreement for Warners to assist in the ongoing marketing of NZ which we are contributing 10m for.

          I would expect that Warners would have been asking substantial amounts for a marketing package of this nature under normal circumstances. So, NZ has done well IMO. We haven’t simply rolled over and let them have their way with us. And we haven’t got into a dutch auction with the likes of Ireland et al.

          • Marty G 2.1.1.1.1

            Key helped whip up this nonsense in the first place.

            It’s good that we didn’t just give them cash for nothing but the fact they were willing to give those things, which are pretty costless to them but valuable to us, just proves to me that this was never about the imagined threat somehow arising from an already settled labour dispute.

        • Pascal's bookie 2.1.1.2

          While we are clarifying…

          US$25m

          • Marty G 2.1.1.2.1

            sonofabitch.

            cheers PB

            • tsmithfield 2.1.1.2.1.1

              The way the US currency is going, I am quite comfortable with US$. If and when the full whack ever has to be paid, the NZ$ is probably going to be past parity with the US anyway. 🙂

              • Marty G

                surprising they didn’t ask for it in NZD as a form of hedging against rising production costs measured in USD. I guess the existing tax breaks help with that.

          • Fisiani 2.1.1.2.2

            Hmm

            $25 million investment

            $5000 million return.

            ( could easily be even more as this represents the saving of the entire NZ film industry, 50 million NZ advertising DVD’s, thousands of tourists and more WB and other Hollywood studios movies)

            A fantastic foreign exchange dealer, a fantastic tourism minister, a fantastic prime minister.

            Yet the Communists still begrudge the $25m investment. Pathetic.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.2.2.1

              It seems like the PM negotiated a solid deal re: tourism promotion.

              But that is still an extra $25M out of the public purse which did not need to be paid – the movies were never going to be filmed in wintery Ireland/UK instead of NZ’s brilliant sunshine light.

              Yet the Communists still begrudge the $25m investment. Pathetic.

              What are you on about “communists”? We got screwed by Jackson and US corporates, recognise it, move on.

  3. Anthony C 3

    Who would of thought this would happen!!

  4. Fisiani 4

    What a great result for New Zealand. Join in the celebrations and toast the thousands of jobs saved by the hard work of the Government.

  5. Francisco Hernandez 5

    I’d hate to fisk the standard like this but here I go…

    “The Government will give the Hobbit producers an extra $17.5 million to stay in New Zealand (bang on the prediction I made the other day) and it’s going to use this ‘crisis’ as an excuse to slam through more anti-worker laws. New Zealand has been played like naive hicks. We let Jackson and his Hollywood mates whip us into a frenzy of fear, and now we’re paying the cost.”

    It’s a bit racist to use the word hick isnt it?

    “The fact is that this whole ‘crisis’ was instigated by Peter Jackson and the Hollywood producers to squeeze more money out of us. Jackson has a long history of threatening capital flight to maximise his taxpayer subsidies, and this is just par for the course in Hollywood. The depreciating US dollar just gave them more reason to squeeze harder than usual.”

    Um. This maybe the case but the Actors Equity Affair and subsequent mishandling of the situation led the Left into losing the PR war.

    “It is right for the Government to invest to get big movies here when other countries are playing the same game because there is a net economic benefit to the country (and don’t you wish they apply the same logic to NZ industry like getting Kiwirail to build the new railcars?) but we’re only paying so much more because we let ourselves be conned by what was always a hollow threat. Jackson and Warners held the gun of capital flight to our heads but, with $100 million already invested here to make the Hobbit, the gun was never really loaded.”

    Do you know that Jackson and Warners weren’t going to move it offshore or is it just baseless assertion 🙂

    “Basically, we’ve been played like rubes at the county fair. And we made such easy marks. The media lost its rag as soon as Jackson said ‘boo’ and failed to analyse the situation on anything other than a purely emotional level. This national hysteria enabled the con-job that was pulled on us.”

    The media are a bunch of parasitic, brain-dead, right-wing hacks who like shinny shit. If you don’t know this, if the CTU didn’t know this then its our fault for not coming up with strategies to deal with the media environment *as it is* rather than what we wish it to be.

    “To be fair to Key, while he did play his part in whipping up the ‘crisis’ for his own purposes (which I’ll get to shortly) he did do the negotiations right: he acted pretty indifferent to whether Warners stayed or left and said there wasn’t much money to be had. Basically, that called Warner’s bluff. As everyone with an ounce of sense has known all along, Warners was never leaving.”

    Yah.

    “Key had to pay something though, because he couldn’t be 100% sure they wouldn’t leave and couldn’t face the political cost if they did. Jackson and the Hollywood execs won’t be disappointed to walk away with an extra $17.5 million for a week’s work scaring some colonial hicks.”

    Again, stop with the anti-NZ racism.


    Of course, Key has his own interests in this ‘crisis’ – the anti-union element.

    The Nats were already putting Parliament into Urgency tomorrow to repeal a ‘tough on crime’ bill that they stuffed up last year (remind anyone of how they passed those first tax cuts under Urgency only to repeal them under Urgency five months later?). Now, they’ll use that Urgency to rush through a law (the Hobbit Enabling Act?) that says: ‘if you’re a film worker and your contract says you’re a contractor, you’re a contractor not an employee, no matter if your actual employment is in the nature of an employee’.”

    Yep. The left has been played like rubes here.

    So what you might say? Well, in the law whether you are an employee or a contractor has always been a matter of fact, not merely what the contract says. The Employment Authority looks at the reality of your work relationship – whether you worked on a stable basis and had a reasonable expectation of ongoing work. It has to be so otherwise bosses would just employ you as a contractor and you would miss out on leave entitlements, natural justice rights, notice of termination, and redundancy, which employees have a right to and contractors generally do not.

    As a result of this law, which will be rushed and shoddily drafted no doubt, every film worker in the country faces the prospect of being re-employed as an independent contractor to do the same work they’re already doing as employees, just with fewer rights.

    All in all this is a bad result for New Zealand. The Hobbit was always going to be filmed in New Zealand. We (by which I mean, the msm and that portion of the public that still listens to it) allowed ourselves to get whipped into a hysteria that was completely at odds with reality. That hysteria was instrumental in seeing us pay over a further $17.5 million to Hollywood and Jackson, and it will be instrumental in seeing yet another group of workers lose key employment rights.

    I got bored and stoped fisking

    _________________________________________

    Look, the key lesson here for the left is this:

    Deal with the media reality as it is. Have a solid campaign plan. Don’t overplay your hand.

    We should be seeking to learn lessons from this rather than basking in our smug superiority.

    • Marty G 5.1

      not sure why ‘hicks’ is racist but ‘rubes’ isn’t. They’re synonyms and I didn’t say Kiwis are these words, they’re used as similes.

      • James 5.1.1

        Glad you missed the point though…

        • felix 5.1.1.1

          That Francisco doesn’t know what the words “racism” or “fisking” mean?

          • James 5.1.1.1.1

            Unbelievable. Congrats on driving as many people from your cause as you possibly can. Just…. wow.

            • felix 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks for the concern.

              • Francisco Hernandez

                At least I’m courageous enough to present my views in my real name…

                You racist fisker :p

                [lprent: Not a viable argument around here. I’m interested in debate and discussion. It is a lot freer if pseudonyms are used because material put on tbe net has a habit of persisting like my more niave usenet arguments from 20 years ago. Personally I’d prefer people to use psuedonyms to protect their future selves and to make the discussion flow. The moderators will limit the behavior. ]

          • Vicky32 5.1.1.1.2

            What *does* fisking mean? I gather it’s an insult aimed at Robert Fisk, which IMO is simply right wing ignorance – but even so, I’d like to know what it means…
            Deb

    • Hicks are a race now? Arising out of intermarriage between the Westie and Bogan races, I presume?

      Critique by all means, but that’s like fingernails on a blackboard to anyone with the slightest understanding of racism and the damage it does.

      If this nonsense does any further I’m going to start insisting that jaundiced, indolent, cynical middle aged white blokes are a race apart and started writing to Joris de Bres every time someone cust in front of me in the checkout queue… coz that’s so, like racist of them.

  6. You really think that if John Key had just told the Warners executives that he wasnt opening his chequebook the movie would still be here?

    Yep.

    They had spent $100m setting up sites and preparing. Moving would have cost them 6 months and all the setting up costs.

    • Marty G 6.1

      agreed. But it wasn’t a risk the government could really afford to take – politically as well as economically.

      • mickysavage 6.1.1

        The most interesting aspect of this is the absolute chaos in the Government’s ranks. They really did drop the ball on this. It should have been tidied up months ago and Warners and Jackson should not have been able to engage in this sort of brinkmanship.

        If it was Helen she would have had it organised perfectly without stress and it would have just happened.

        • Marty G 6.1.1.1

          English ruled out an employment law change for the Hobbit last week. With Key overseas tomorrow, Labour should question the PM on the law change and English would have to answer.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.1

            English isn’t in frakkin charge and has been told in no uncertain terms so.

            He ain’t gonna have liked that pondering over a glass of single malt tonight.

        • Murray 6.1.1.2

          What chaos? it all ran as smoothly as it could given the incompetent bungling of Helen Kelly and the unions

  7. tazirev 7

    Uhmm $10M US ups the ante
    a bit more than $10M NZ

  8. The nz acting community also gets the pleasure of working with the great Martin Freeman, I say in the long run this will be worth it.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      In the ‘long run’?

      What, is this a new version of ‘Trickle Down’?

      • Jim Nald 8.1.1

        Ah the joys and delight of ‘trickle down’ … if NZ is really really subservient and good, we’ll be pissed on. And then, as bonus, shat upon.

    • gobsmacked 8.2

      The great Martin Freeman is a lifelong socialist, unionist, and an active supporter of many left-wing causes. So yes, it will be worth it to have him in NZ, annoying the Tories each time he gives an interview!

  9. gn 9

    [Blatant trolling…RL]

  10. IrishBill 10

    Meh, I didn’t know if they would stay or go. I’m ambivalent about the tax-breaks but if the cost benefit analysis adds up then fair enough. The law change to contracting is a joke. It just stops film contractors challenging that status (I suspect it’s a sop to Jackson for the case he lost a couple of years ago – he’s a petty wee fella) but it doesn’t offer any greater protection from boycotts. This was never about the settled dispute it was always about the tax stuff and it’s sorted.

    A more competent government would have had those bases covered months ago.

    • Marty G 10.1

      I would certainly not mean to imply you don’t have an ounce of sense, you saw through this faster than anyone 🙂

      I doubt a real cost-benefit has been done, and we’re kind of guessing that the spending will be worth to tax breaks etc but that’s not actually a sure thing.

  11. Bill 11

    So let’s get this straight.

    Execs from a Hollywood studio that doesn’t have two hobbit farts to rub together at the moment, come to NZ and the PM invites them to his home. Over tea and bickies (or coffee and donuts) the PM pushes through some, as yet unspecified, employment law changes for their delectation. In return, they promise him a walk on part in NZ tourism ad thing that will be on the ‘never watched portion’ of their DVD’s..for an extra $NZ 13.5 million. And in return they get up to $NZ10 million if the film satisfies certain criteria that are not to be made public due to commercial sensitivity.

    And what did we get again? I mean you and I or our fellow workers; apart from the pleasure of funding all the above nonsense from our taxes at a time when shit we really want is being slashed apparently due to a lack of tax revenue, as well as losing some more of our employment protections?

    • NZ tourism ad thing that will be on the ‘never watched portion’ of their DVD’s

      You win bonus internetz for being the one person to point out that no one watches DVD extras. They do on “cult” films, where it’s all part of the experience. They don’t on Hollywood blockbusters. A few tragics like me might watch a good “making of” hoping to pick up some tricks we can use in our next low-budget production or just to simmer with envy, but that’s about it. No one, but no one watches the unrelated drivel like music videos of the theme song to the movie, or dull travelogues.

      And DVDs are themselves a declining technology, with sales in the first 9 months of this year falling by 16.5 percent versus sales of (legal) downloads and streams up by 23 percent (and set to rocket as broadband plans become more affordable… Australian ISPs already have “terabyte plans” on the market).

      This “tourism masterstroke” is a crock. Warners must be pissing themselves that NZ is so far behind the technological cutting edge we think DVDs are still the medium.

      If Key wanted to spend a few million on tourism, why didn’t he try and lure Oprah across the Tasman when she’s in Australia? That’s only costing the Australian government $3 million, and her show gets 40 million American viewers, and is screened in 145 countries. Few more pairs of eyeballs than The Hobbit’s extras, methinks.

      • Cnr Joe 11.1.1

        look out for the Mactional Govt ministers in background shots.
        Tariana as a hobbit wench, Brownlee – one or two of the forest trolls, Blingbling DoubleDipt as Beorn ya dee ya

      • MikeE 11.1.2

        As I understand its for “ALL digital media” or something along these lines, not “DVDs”

  12. wasi 12

    it`s official…NZ is now a subsidiary of Warner Brothers…

  13. dave 13

    But Bill, Key has done what the country wants. Watch National go up up up in the polls.

  14. David 14

    ah well, let’s at least be all happy for the bright side: another stellar movie will be made in NEW ZEALAND! 😀

    • Rich 14.1

      Or an overlong, over-fxed, somewhat boring one. Does anyone really care whether Zorber the Gork manages to get the Zing from the Swamp of Asgord. Really?

      Give me Black Sheep any day. Or even Braindead. neither of those cost us $7 a head (does that include a free ticket each? Nah, didn’t think so. Bit like the RWC).

      • Akldnut 14.1.1

        Why didn’t goober enter into secret negotiations with the actors union and just pay out the actors what they wanted – that would have been a lot cheaper than the 33 mil for Warner Bros.

    • Marty G 14.2

      yep that is great.

  15. Gosman 15

    I know I stated I wouldn’t be posting for a while but I couldn’t resist given this outcome today.

    So from what I gather Marty G is claiming here, the poor NZ tax payer and the CTU have been used by the ‘evil’ capitalists in the guise of the Warner Bros execs and Sir Peter Jackson. They did this by a combination of lying and bad faith bargaining.

    If so then why doesn’t the Union movement withdraw the assurance of no action against the Hobbit and reinstate the blacklist?

    Is the Union movement, (and by extension the wider Labour movement), gutless or something?

    • Marty G 15.1

      “why doesn’t the Union movement withdraw the assurance of no action against the Hobbit and reinstate the blacklist?”

      Because the labour dispute was settled two weeks ago to their satisfaction.

      The ‘crisis’ has always been about tax breaks, and that has never had anything to do with the Actors’ Equity workers.

      • Gosman 15.1.1

        Ummmmm…. hang on a minute here. The CTU has been made to carry the can here by the ‘evil lying spoiled brat’ Peter Jackson and his foreign capitalist mates from the States. The National Government is changing labour laws to accomodate them as well as shelling out tax payer money, (I presume Union members are tax payers as well). Isn’t his something the Union movement should be a tad bit anoyed about?

        • Maynard J 15.1.1.1

          Yes Gosman, I suspect they are annoyed.

          What is your point? That they should go back on an agreement? That’s Jackson’s forte, not theirs.

          • Gosman 15.1.1.1.1

            So when Employers go back on agreements doesn’t that make the agreement null and void?

            If I agree with a Union to give a 4 % pay rise but actually only give a 2% one does that mean the Union won’t go on strike?

            • Maynard J 15.1.1.1.1.1

              They’ll take you to court.

              Again – what it your point?

              • Gosman

                My point is that people here have claimed that Warner Bros and Peter Jackson have acted in bad faith and gone back on agreements made. Hence any agreement that the Union had they can’t morally be held to surely?

                Given the fact that this is a brutal, and coordinated attack on the integrity of the organised labour movement in NZ then I’d expect something stronger from the leaders of that movement. Do you think Helen Kelly will come out and call Warner Bros executives and Peter Jackson something stronger than ‘spoiled Brat’ now?

                • Maynard J

                  Not when there’s nothing to gain, and that they’ve lost this PR war. What would your suggestion achieve?

                  • Gosman

                    So principles are not that important to stand up for?

                    Hmmm… I thought that kowtowing to public opinion is a crime many on the left accuse John Key of being guilty of.

                    It seems as though both sides are capable of forgetting their principles it seems.

                    BTW do you think Helen Kelly will make a statement on this soon?

                    • Maynard J

                      I just don’t see what your suggestion would achieve. The unions haven’t made concessions, and the boycott has been lifted. What is it you’d see them do, and specifically in reaction to what?

                      I’m not sure, Gosman, I haven’t spoken to her. I’d ask you, but unlike you I’m not a fan of asking questions that rely on knowing what other people think. Bit of a silly habit you have.

                    • Joe Bloggs

                      nup, Helen Kelly is a poisoned chalice, tainted goods in the CTU. That’s why Peter conway was fronting for the CTU last evening, not Kelly.

                      Won’t be long before the next putsch sees the back of her.

                • Murray

                  I see your point Gosman, I guess the unions have been so thoroughly pussy whipped by Peter Jackson and John Key that they are to scared to do anything now.

                  • Carol

                    I don’t think so. Listening to the emails read out on Morning Report this morning, and looking at a range of blogs, I think there’s a very lively debate and that Kiwis are quite divided on the issue. I expect the debates to continue to be pretty intense (and viscious) right up to next year’s election.

                    Helen Kelly is a hero to many, for grace under extreme fire and right wing smear attempts. She was there commenting on Morning Report this morning. I’m sure she’s learned from this issue, and will be around for a long time to come, fighting for fairness at work.

                    • Vicky32

                      Carol, was it you who said that there’s a wee bit misogyny involved in the attacks on Kelly, Malcolm and Ward-Lealand? If so, I agree totally!
                      Deb

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Helen Kelly is a gun. Good on her. And you are right, she will have learnt a lot after the bloodletting of the last week and will be all the more capable for it.

                      Even more impressed with her now than I was listening to her speak at the Labour Party Conference.

    • wtl 15.2

      No because they have principles and will stick to them. If they’ve agreed to halt the boycott, they will stick to it. Just because the other party acts in bad faith does not mean you need to sink to the same level as them

      • Gosman 15.2.1

        You mean the same sort of principles that slapped a global boycott on a film BEFORE they even bothered talking to Peter Jackson about what they wanted.

    • Gosman

      Who said this?

      The money is not the issue. It is the damage the actions of the Actors Union has caused to the image of NZ as a place for the big studios to do business in. By holding the project to ransom the big studios will think that at any stage in the future they could do the same. Given the amount of money involved they aren’t going to want to risk that happening on a regular basis.

      So the deal today was to pay Warners more money, to take away a few more rights from workers and nothing about Actors Equity.

      Guess what?

      The money was the issue.

      To find out who said this click on the following link …

      Jackson’s bad faith posturing

      • Gosman 15.3.1

        Peter Jackson, John Key, and Warner Bros have all come out and stated that money was not an issue initially in this dispute until AFTER the Union movement went a bit mental and decided to slap the global boycott on.

        If it was about the money from the get go then how come Peter Jackson didn’t come out and say that the movie needed more support? He isn’t exactly the sort of guy that is afraid of speaking his mind now is he.

        Please explain that first without resorting to ridiculous conspiracy theories that you have no actual EVIDENCE to back you up on.

        • Maynard J 15.3.1.1

          EVIDENCE: they all said it wasn’t about the money. Then they said it was about the money. Ergo: it was about the money.

          “If it was about the money from the get go then how come Peter Jackson didn’t come out and say that the movie needed more support? He isn’t exactly the sort of guy that is afraid of speaking his mind now is he.

          Please explain that first without resorting to ridiculous conspiracy theories that you have no actual EVIDENCE to back you up on.”

          Oh, so to be able to argue this point we have to be able to tell you what Jackson was thinking three months ago.

          Righto mate, brb with that…hold your breath (literally), won’t be long.

          • Gosman 15.3.1.1.1

            That’s not evidence it is just your biased supposition that it was all about the money because money is involved now.

            Changes to Labour laws are also involved now. I could equally use your own logic to state it was all about the changes to the Labour laws.

            • Maynard J 15.3.1.1.1.1

              Two things Gosman

              1 – since the changes to employment laws will not have any effect on ‘workforce stability’ that is clearly not an issue, and never really was. Nor will the changes materially affect production & crew composition, so you can try to argue it’s about Labour laws but I struggle to see how you’d pull that off. Have a go though, I’m intrigued seeing as you said you could do it.

              2 – they originally said it was about stability, but are happy to settle for money. They are a business – they aren’t here to smell flowers and make children laugh. They make money.

              Honestly, we’re not talking about your fairy godmother.

              From the Herald:

              “The major sticking point during negotiations appeared to be what financial incentives the Government could offer Warner Bros to keep the $670 million production here.”

              Hmm. “Financial incentives”. About the money much?

              • Gosman

                John Key stated in his press conference that Warner’s was concerned of more court cases, such as the one involving the model maker, taking place after the production had started. According to the PM this had the potential for delaying filming and costing them more money.

                Now he could be making all this up, (I’m sure many here think he is), however it is still a valid argument to make. You therefore need some evidence to help determine which theory is correct. At the moment you have virtually none supporting your theory about it being all about money from the start.

                • Maynard J

                  Hmm, that was an honest crack, well done. Shame the quote is from Key. Find something to validate it from the standpoint of someone who doesn’t have to expalin away to NZ why he will be pushing through rushed legislation for the Hobbit, when that person also has a vested interest in strengthening employment laws in favour of employers, and you’ll be looking a bit more likely…

                  (And what was the outcome of that court case? What did it cost them to defend? Seems like that’s a financial reason…i.e. no matter what you come up with – they are a business and everything they do will be about the money. That’s just how it is.)

                  • Gosman

                    All you have supporting your theory is your own biased view that it was all about the money from the get go. Numerous people, (from both the left and right), have disputed this. You are entitled to believe what you like but unless you have actual evidence supporting this then your view is just as valid as thopse that think the issue was one of clarifying Labour laws

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Of course it was about the money from the get go. Lots of it. Tens of millions of dollars. You don’t think Hollywood is about films do you? It’s about money. Has been for decades.

                      Otherwise Jackson and the Studio would have settled the few hundy $K’s worth of worker minimum terms and conditions, and got on with the business of making movies instead of fragging around for two weeks.

                      But since they made about $10M per week there from the NZ taxpayer it was time well spent eh?

                      Actual evidence? What are you kidding me? None of us were in the closed door meetings. There are only 20-30 people in NZ who really know what went on, but we can definitely observe what fits the facts.

                    • Maynard J

                      The whole thing ‘started’ over stability – the boycott and resulting ‘concerns’.

                      The resolution has nothing to do with the original supposed problem, and the parties involved have stated that the main sticking point in negotiations was not the original issue (which does not appear to have been mentioned), but money.

                      The labour laws also do nothing to address the original stability issue, and at best, might save the production some money.

                      Draw from that what conclusions you will.

                    • Gosman

                      So no evidence then eh?

                      Ah well let’s just fall back on paranoid conspiracy theories then. 😉

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hardly a conspiracy. Unions and workers feared that they would get hammered on as scapegoats by Key and Jackson in tandem, and guess what, they did. It turned out be reality.

                    • Maynard J

                      No, I’ll draw the logical conclusion from the fact that they said they want money, and that now they have money they are happy. That’s not a wild conspiracy theory, and as I have pointed out, their bottom line is, and always will be, money.

                      But you go right on being disingenuous where you think it helps you make a point. Have a little winkey thing too: 😉

                    • felix

                      Gosman you moron of course it’s about money. WTF do you think Warners are doing here? Making films for fun? Key just gave them 34million and claims that it’s all good now but you’re insisting it’s not about money? Then what was the 34 mil for? You fucking idiot.

                      Seriously, if you are trying to make a case for Warners’ interests being about anything but money then it’s you has need to show proof, not the other way around.

                      So far you’ve shown none. And going by past behaviour you never will. Next you’ll find an out-of-context quote that has already been explained to you, then you’ll revert to putting words in people’s mouths and telling outright lies about what has already been said (“you all think everybody is evil”).

                      Then you’ll run away. Again. God you’re boring.

                    • Gosman

                      Then simply ignore me Felix.

                      Bet you can’t though 😉

                    • mcflock

                      Gos, I for one find you fascinating.
                      Your ability to hold so many mutually contradictory but equally unfounded positions truly beggars belief.

        • lprent 15.3.1.2

          Didn’t he do exactly that earlier in the year? He did a report for the government that concluded amongst other things that they needed to subsidize more to get large overseas films here. I guess he got impatient waiting for a decision to his demand.

          • Gosman 15.3.1.2.1

            Yep, which just goes to highlight he isn’t afraid of stating upfront that the film industry needs more Government support. Why would he involve himself in some Machievalian plot and engineer a Union dispute to achieve the same ends he could have done by just reiterating a point he has already made? The Government would most likey still have had to stump up the cash. If they didn’t they would have looked like the bad guy’s.

            • Colonial Viper 15.3.1.2.1.1

              Why would he involve himself in some Machievalian plot and engineer a Union dispute to achieve the same ends

              He didn’t engineer the union dispute. Jackson did. All Key did was see a golden opportunity to hammer away at unions and workers.

              • Gosman

                Ummmm…. I was meaning Jackson.

                The trouble with many on the left’s take on this is you essentially try and turn one of the most beloved living New Zealanders into a raving nasty double crossing profiteerer who is trying to screw the poor benighted film workers and tax payers of NZ for his own ends.

                Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much actual evidence for this view from anyone who has had any dealings with the guy apart from Helen Kelly. Robyn Malcolm even apologised to him on air and stated she has nothing against the man.

                • Vicky32

                  It amazes me Gosman, that you claim PJ is “one of the most beloved ” living New Zealanders. Who says so, and why? Fred Hollows, yes.. except that he’s not living, and I have a sneaking suspicion he might be Australian.. However PJ’s achievements don’t exactly inspire love!

            • felix 15.3.1.2.1.2

              Your problem Gosman is that you describe quite straightforward explanations as being examples of “Machiavellian plots” and “conspiracies” and even use words like “nasty” and “evil” to describe very vanilla circumstances.

              Jackson said he thought big film projects should get more money from the govt. Then he went and got more money from the govt for his big film project. From this we conclude that he was telling the truth about wanting more money from the govt.

              See how that worked? Try another one:

              Warners said they wanted more money from the govt. Then they had a meeting with the govt where the govt gave them more money. From this series of events we conclude that they did indeed want more money from the govt.

              Do you get it yet? Neat!

              So where is the evil, the conspiracy, the machiavellian plot? These are business people looking out for their own interests. Why do you find it so hard to understand that these people want more money?

              • lprent

                That is the way that I view it as well. When you look at machinations as just being straightforward, then when you look closely they frequently are.

                In this case John Key was interested in getting popularity, and was willing to give money away (that will have to be cut from elsewhere) for popularity – so he did. There is no project analysis looking at the returns on the money and if there were they’d probably say that subsidizing a business like this is a negative return compared to alternate uses of that money.

                The real question is from where is the money to be cut? The film commission? Nz on air? Innovation funds for startups? Or will it be debt and future tax increases to repay it?

            • lprent 15.3.1.2.1.3

              Not exactly, he specifically said that his part of the industry needed more susidies. I can’t recall him suggesting that any other parts of the film industry needed more. He effectively said that they should spend what little they got more efficiently.

              I don’t think that he did engineer a dispute. However I also don’t think that he us above taking advantage of it in his own interests ANC ignoring the overall interests of the local film industry.

              In other words I think he acted like most businessmen who have their noses firmly stuffed in the trough of government subsidies. I remain unconvinced of the efficacy of the value of those subsidies for nz as a whole.

    • lprent 15.4

      At least you write with some intelligence and who can and does actually argue. Completely unlike the troll that I just banned who seems to have remained locked into 2007…

  16. Irascible 16

    48 Hours to reduce NZ’s sovereignty to that of third world client state subservient to an American conglomerate… not bad John Key, a real grasp of national identity and responsible governance. Along with the restoration of knighthoods, appeals to the Privy Council and subsidising large US companies with taxpayers’ dollars how long will it be before we ask to have colonial status returned to us and be governed from NSW on behalf of Whitehall?

  17. Tigger 17

    So where is the money coming from? Arts budget I assume. Or Tourism?

  18. Bored 18

    Fekk. Was I wrong about Key or what? Yesterday I predicted that he would negotiate from a position of strength and use some of his commercial acumen. My mistake, our collective cost. John boy, you have let down the patron Saint of negotiators (Roger Fisher) big time. Hang your head in shame, you are not worthy.

    Oh, to the sainted Peter, you may be a great NZ director, precious to us no doubt, and you are also a money grubbing grabber of our tax dollars for which we hold you in complete contempt.

  19. BevanJS 19

    Why do people seem to think tax dollars not yet created are in the coffers and are “our tax dollars”?

    • Bored 19.1

      Bevan, you might turn it around and ask if the dollars are not created how iis the film going to be paid for? Your real question is probably aimed at that loathsome (but ultimately true) expression “our tax dollars”….where else does that come from other than the tax paying base? Which is why every one of us can legitimately question how our taxes are spent. I have noticed over time this is usually a preoccupation of the right, are questions of this nature from the left less valid?

      • BevanJS 19.1.1

        My biggest concern in this area is that the left rarely seems concerned about the creation of tax dollars or even acknowledging what it takes to bring money into the coffers so we can moan about how it gets spent by those we collectively elect.

        • Bored 19.1.1.1

          I do, and I would like to know when some tax breaks might be given to me and my 23 employees? Thats a $230 tax subsidy from one small company alone, directly to some robber baron corporate. As you go to work today consider that (if you are not in the film industry) you personally are now liable for tax to the total of around $10 which will go to St PJ and Warners. They conversely will not share any profit. Thats neither a left or right argument, to me its just business.

          • BevanJS 19.1.1.1.1

            The cherry picking for tax break is pretty disgusting. I’m not so fussed what %age of profits they choose to share or not. All sides are “grown ups” and Warners and PJ are creating the opportunity. Without employers we don’t have opportunity.

            • Bored 19.1.1.1.1.1

              Bevan, employees dont have opportunity courtesy of me (I employ people)…its actually the other way around. Without the workers willingness to work for me at what I can get for their skills minus my costs I dont have opportunity. Perhaps in reality we share the opportunity. And I for one dont like sharing opportunity that is in reality a cost to me, my employees and our business.

          • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.1.2

            Subsidy provided by the 24 heads in your company kindly donated to half billionaire Jackson and co is closer to $650.

            Remember, we were already gifting ~NZ$60M to The Hobbit, this is an additional ~NZ$33M.

            Figures mildly variable based on how ‘successful’ the films will be.

  20. Carol 20

    On the settlement with Warners including a change in employment law to give Warners assurance of employment stability:
    When Jackson wrote his report about the film industry a few months back, he said there needed to be an increase in the financial incentives from the NZ government, in order to make NZ more competitive in attracting overseas film corporations. Did he mention anywhere in his report that NZ employment law was an issue and the law needed to be changed?

    I think the most valid argument for having the filming in NZ is the work for Kiwis, and the learning experience and international exposure they get working on the movies.

    But in the rhetoric for keeping the films here at all costs, there’s been a strong appeal to the value for NZ’s image overseas by branding NZ as the can-do nation with great scenery. But within this rhethoric there’s a line in branding NZ as “Middle Earth”, presided over by that great kiwi icon, Sir Peter of Jacksonville shire. This just seems to repeat the older versions of NZ national identity as male/masculine (Sir Ed, Sir Peter Blake, All BLacks), not to mention it has elements of a throw-back to NZ as a colonialist outpost of Britain (but this time rebranded in widescreen, digitised, Hollywood technocolor.

    When are we going to get a national identity/branding as genderless, bi-gendered, or even for a change, as female/feminine? Furthermore, when are we going to put as much energy into promoting and embracing movies that present the country internationally in more realistic contemporary terms as Aotearoa-NZ, a multicultural nation firmly embedded in the South Pacific? I guess Boy and the Disneyfied Whale Rider are a step in that direction. I think those go more in the direction of the kinds of movies Kiwis should be putting more of their/our energy behind.

    How much does the investment in the hobbit films help develop the NZ industry & culture, and how much will it draw finances and energies that would be better spent on developing in industry by and for Kiwis in contemporary Aotearoa-NZ?

  21. Rob 21

    I’m sorry Marty but I think this package is a good one. The Hobbit may have moved even without all this drama.

    1. The labour laws probably will be clarified against film workers. However at the moment they were already assumed to be that way by the right which just made the unions look stupid. If National clarifies they have no rights they can make lots of noise about it and Labour can give them the rights when they are next in with some clear legislation which they probably wouldn’t do if the current laws were left as is.

    2. Yes rebates cost lots but ours are low internationally and movies are a genuinely international business with a real risk of capital flight. They aren’t the same as normal industry working in NZ and the reasons for them paying tax here are not because they are using New Zealand resources. There are also substantial tourism benefits to keeping these particular movies in NZ above other movies anyway. Even if Warner hadn’t gotten angry our rebates were quite low especially given how much the NZ dollar has risen since they agreed to make it here which would have bumped up their costs more than the original rebate itself.

    3. This deal is worth far more to NZ than $10 million. Depending how much promotional material this is and how many DVDs they make this may actually cost Warner more than $10 million to do let alone charging us a retail price for it.

    Obviously it would be nice if movies would come here and give us a high quality workers rights when they aren’t in our legislation and give up higher rebates in other countries but that isn’t going to happen.

    • Marty G 21.1

      ‘The Hobbit may have moved even without all this drama.”

      No it wouldn’t have. The Hobbit was never going anywhere. That was Warners/Jackson spin to get more money out of us. It’s one thing to get suckered, it’s enough to still believe it the spin after the fact.

      “Depending how much promotional material this is and how many DVDs they make this may actually cost Warner more than $10 million to do let alone charging us a retail price for it.”

      Don’t be dumb. Warners wouldn’t give us anything that would cost them more than $10 million in return for $10 million. The ads, of course, might be worth more than $10 million to us but they won’t cost that much to produce – just a little more code on each DVD, marginal cost effectively zero.

      • Rob 21.1.1

        Our rebates are substantially lower than they were in other countries and our exchange rate had changed around 10c in the dollar against the US dollar since they agreed to come here. That is a substantial price difference that would have made them seriously consider moving. They may not have done it but it was definitely a risk. If they could make the film cheaper in another country why would they not do it?

        It said in the news releases NZ would be included in all promotional material that is a lot more than a bit of code on a DVD. If they are printed material also the costs could be high and Warner’s won’t know at this stage how much promotional material exactly they would do. If it comes in the end to be something like an NZ flyer in every DVD case that would add up to a lot and could come close.

        • IrishBill 21.1.1.1

          The promotional video will come after the end credits.

        • Kaplan 21.1.1.2

          Rob.

          The $10,000,000 that key is coughing up just secures the right to include the material. He… no scratch that ‘WE’ are still going to have to pay for the promotional material to be filmed, produced, (or printed though the media say;’s it is film) and physically included on the extra’s DVD. No surprises for guessing who will receive that money… St PJ. A nice little payback for landing this labour law change gift in the PM’s lap.

        • Carol 21.1.1.3

          As I recall, the original LOTR website had promotional material for NZ locations. Not new, IMO. Probably would have been done anyway. I guess Warners may be paying more for it this time, but were we told that?

          LOTR is still being used by Tourism NZ.

          http://www.tourism.net.nz/lord-of-the-rings.html

          • felix 21.1.1.3.1

            I wonder if it was part of the pre-existing arrangement re: tax breaks. Has fearless King John just paid 34 million for something we already had?

  22. Tombstone 22

    John Key didn’t win Warner Bros. over he paid them off by the way of using tax payers money – our money. He also bought himself yet more time in front of the cameras and so it, the JK Smile and Wave Show continues. Key didn’t bring these films to NZ, Sir Peter Jackson did. Key just used tax payer’s hard earned money to keep the films here. I agree – Warner Bros. execs will be thinking what a bunch of backward hicks we are. And don’t get me started on the changes to our employment law … nothing is aimed at the rich boys with this lot, funny that.

  23. vto 23

    So LOTR cost abolut 250 million to make as I recall. Numbers bandied around for this two-movie production sit at 700 million. Something doesn’t make sense here. Perhaps 700 million is the expected income from people watching the movies. And the actual amount spent to make the movies closer to 200million. Which changes things very significantly.

    Who is lying?

    • Rob 23.1

      This is a larger budget than lord of the rings I believe. They are planning to spend 5-600 on production here. The expected revenue from the movies is 2-3 billion.

      • Colonial Viper 23.1.1

        I would never believe Hollywood budget numbers.

        That US$500M being bandied around includes a huge chunk of international promotion costs which NZ will never see a cent of. Further, have a think about how much of that budget is allocated to wages of NZ actors and extras – would that number break US$50M*? I very seriously doubt it, even with hundreds of NZ actors and extras.

        *And if it did, why would they begrudge a few hundred thousand more in minimum terms and conditions for workers?

    • Adrian 23.2

      Precisely VTO, I,ve outlined the money in previous posts. Up to 40% of stated budget is promotion and p.r, prepaid or promised by exhibitors ( like Keys ” we don’t pay till after made” deal, this is covered by forward cover) 15-20% studio finders fee for getting the money ( they don’t use a cent of their own) About 10% for points to actors and principal crew, director, writer etc. A lot of this money doesn’t get paid until years after the box office comes in, and then you need to sue the bastards to get it, just ask Peter Jackass. Warners etc only own sound stages so they can charge shit loads on to the production.About 30% headline is actual film making costs. Both Hobble-its will cost about 100mil each tops. There is your 15% of NZ spend i.e $30million. Only about a half of film making will be spent here, the rest will be bullshitted. Interestingly, the private jet,execs costs etc will be billed to the project, and studios are the greatest creative accountants about. With this extra money NZ taxpayers will be paying bloody near 40% of the real cost of film making, just ask Treasury , Michael Cullen and a very, very pissed off Bill English. captcha … TRAPPED.. How do you do that ??????

      • MrSmith 23.2.1

        Just wondering Adrian, is the 30 mil on top of the tax breaks they where already up for?

        • Adrian 23.2.1.1

          It looks like it, and it could even be more than that if there are ( which there usually is ) penalty clauses. Who would know, film financing is more convoluted and labyrintian than you could possibly imagine, which is why every deal ends up in the US courts.

  24. OleOlebiscuitBarrell 24

    The fact is that this whole ‘crisis’ was instigated by Peter Jackson and the Hollywood producers to squeeze more money out of us.

    ..and such are the depths of their evil genius that they were able to do this by getting a union to blacklist the movie worldwide.

    • Kaplan 24.1

      At that stage it was not a crisis. It never would have been if PJ & PM hadn’t wanted it to be. That’s the point.

      • Colonial Viper 24.1.1

        Yeah, they deliberately escalated it. Jackson in particular led the charge. Warner Bros was just following his lead as he had all the local knowledge and was their man on the ground. In addition, Jackson was playing a game of corporate brinksmanship with the union all the way up to that point by refusing to meet with them under any conditions.

      • Murray 24.1.2

        It never would have been a crisis if Peter Jackson had just rolled over and given to the unions as he was supposed to. Therefore its all his fault

  25. Carol 25

    Yep, opportunism on the part of Jackson, Warners & Key. Otherwise it would have been a pretty run-of-the-mill industrial dispute that companies like Warners are quite used to. NZAE just did not expect Jackson to use such a dispute in the way he did to manufacture a crisis.

    • OleOlebiscuitBarrell 25.1

      a pretty run-of-the-mill industrial dispute

      Racing straight to a worldwide blacklist is run-of-the-mill round your way, I suppose.

      • Carol 25.1.1

        Well, compare a global boycott of one film, with the screenwriters dispute that brought a lot of US film and TV production to a halt a year or two ago:
        http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jul-C6g3ZFbnefZfuQkazVcabghA

        I believe Aussie actors initiated the international boycott of a Fox movie fairly recently, a deal was done, and the movie was made in Aussie. It wasn’t major international news.

        • JB 25.1.1.1

          Have a source for this Fox movie info?

          • Carol 25.1.1.1.1

            OK, some slight errors, but still supports my initial point. They didn’t spark off an international boycott, but MEAA initiated some action for equal pay (wanting equal to what SAG members get in Aussie), and some other conditions. It wasn’t a movie, it was Spielberg’s TV series Terra Nova. The union action initially was reported as causing Fox to consider not shooting it in Aussie, but Fox later settled, and production went ahead in QLD:

            http://www.couriermail.com.au/entertainment/tv/steven-spielberg-sci-fi-series-will-be-shot-in-north-queensland-and-the-gold-coast/story-e6freqj6-1225903136361

            This is also an interesting piece by Kiwi actress, Holly Shanahan, now working in Aussie, who also talks about the success of the MEAA with respect to Terra Nova as an example of why it’s important to have a strong union. She says that it probably wasn’t so effective for NZ AE to use the same tactics that work in Aussie, but thinks it’s part of the “teething process”. ie maybe a necessary step towards a strong NZ actors union that is long overdue:

            http://www.theatreview.org.nz/news/news.php?id=677

            Also, as some have mentioned on The Standard, there has been a few similar disputes in the UK in recent times (2001):
            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1358143.stm

            The problem is that NZ AE is a small union, and has had problems getting taken seriously in NZ, hence their aliances with overseas unions.

            But the main point is, overseas production companies in Aussie, the US, and UK are used to being faced with such strike/boycott threats, without them becoming major international news, until they start to impact on the industry more widely than one production.

  26. Armchair Critic 26

    In a parallel universe under exactly the same circumstances a Labour prime minister has acted exactly as John Key did, and the right-leaning commentators are just as fulsome in their praise. Believable?

  27. Adrian 28

    Exactly who is Key’s BFF on the Warners team? Ex Merrill Lynch , Lehmans ? No one is mentioning this , if Helen Clark had an old friend on any international visiting lobby group, we’d never hear the end of it. And was Key talking to him privately before the arsehole even got here? Theres the answer as to why this thing played out the way it was.

  28. Anne 29

    Nat rad this morning with Kathryn Ryan talking to Industrial Law expert, Jane Latimer.

    NAct and John Key supporter.
    Expert status based on this morning’s effort questionable?
    Has no knowledge of, or empathy for ordinary working-class New Zealanders. (I use the term working-class deliberately.)

    How do I know? She’s a relative.

  29. Francisco Hernandez 30

    I’ve been doing some further thinking on this topic.

    Does anyone seriously believe that a Goff or Clark-led Labour Government would have acted differently from John Key?

    I mean, barring the minor details, I’m certain that Goff or Clark would have done whatever it took to keep the Hobbit in here.

    • Colonial Viper 30.1

      A Labour Minister in charge would have been more proactive in encouraging calm and quiet negotiation in the early stages BEFORE allowing either the union or Jackson to enter their dangerous BS game of brinksmanship.

      So to answer your question – yep quite different because the fight would never have got to this stage.

      whoops Anne I see you said the same thing…

  30. Anne 31

    @ Francisco Hernandez:
    Yes, you’re right. They would have done everything they could to keep The Hobbit in NZ. For starters, they would have ensured it never reached this stage in the first place.

    The person who comes out of this debacle the worst… has got to be Peter Jackson. Looked up to him once but no more! He shrouds himself with the banner of patriotism, then machinates with Warner Bros. to squeeze us – the tax-payers – for more loot in which to line his and their pockets. He has shown himself to be as greedy as his industrial and political mentors.

  31. KJT 32

    The Parnell saga continued.

    Employer. “If you insist on an 8 hour day we will shift our business back to England”.

    Carpenter. “The Carpenters in England will refuse to work in your business if you do not talk to us.

    Media. “The sky is falling”.

    Employer. “Foul. The peasants are telling me how to run my business. I am throwing my toys out of the cot unless I get more money from the Government and the law is changed so carpenters have to work under any conditions I want”.

    JK. “Alright”.

    It is no more blackmail for international unions to band together to improve employment conditions than it is for international big business to threaten capital flight to get more subsidies/cheaper labour/repressive labour laws.

    It most cases, if that is all that is keeping them, they will find somewhere more repressive of workers with lower wages and go eventually anyway.

    The only mistake the union movement made, is being naive, and trusting that once a deal was made the other side would stick to it.

    NACT tried to spin the Teachers strike. Then they tried to pull the same tactic with the health workers. At some stage they were going to score a hit.

    • tsmithfield 32.1

      “It is no more blackmail for international unions to band together to improve employment conditions than it is for international big business to threaten capital flight to get more subsidies/cheaper labour/repressive labour laws.”

      I don’t think many are disagreeing with the right to band together to negotiate. Its the misguided strategy employed that is being criticised. Calling for an international boycott of the Hobbit without provocation was a big mistake.

  32. Francisco Hernandez 33

    Helen Clark being seen with the Enemy of the New Zealand Proletariat at 0:16

  33. Anne 34

    Yeah. Back in 2002. Eight years ago. Still had his integrity.
    Don’t try to pull that one FH.

  34. Francisco Hernandez 35

    I’m not trying to pull anything… Relax.

  35. tsmithfield 36

    The repeating theme from Marty et al. is that the movie was never really under threat. Unfortunately this is an unfalsifiable theory. The only way it could have been falsified is if the movie had actually moved off-shore. However, since that hasn’t happened Marty et al can keep repeating this meme without any supporting evidence whatsoever.

    However, what is clear is that Warners actually did have other much cheaper alternatives to consider and a high NZ dollar to contend with. The possibility of cheaper production costs elsewhere plus a gung ho union complicating matters, meant Warners could provide very believable reasons to the our side as to why they could well move off shore. Thus, Key et al. had no option but to assume that Warners were serious about considering other options available to them.

    • Colonial Viper 36.1

      Jackson and Warner were never going to delay filming the movie 6-8 more months in order to shoot locations in the UK or Irish summer.

      Which would have meant that they would needed to have been willing to film in the Irish/UK wintery darkness with very short daylight hours and high monthly rainfall/snow.

      Instead of a brilliant NZ summer, in scenery which perfectly matches the LOTR.

      Yeah we got duped by Jackson and the big money corporates, and you’re continuing the campaign, cheers mate.

      • tsmithfield 36.1.1

        “Jackson and Warner were never going to delay filming the movie 6-8 more months in order to shoot locations in the UK or Irish summer.”

        You don’t know that. If the price advantages justified the delay they may well have.

  36. Carol 37

    Carol, was it you who said that there’s a wee bit misogyny involved in the attacks on Kelly, Malcolm and Ward-Lealand? If so, I agree totally!
    Deb

    No reply option left under this comment up thread:

    No, Deb, it wasn’t me. I think maybe someone said there was quite a bit of mysogyny involved in the attackes on them over at that well-known RW blog. I guess they thought they got rid of the “uppity women” in politics when we had a change of government &, yet, it seems there’s always more women to stand tall.

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