Why Russell Brown is wrong

Written By: - Date published: 10:58 pm, October 21st, 2010 - 67 comments
Categories: business, capitalism - Tags:

One of my biggest disappointments of the Hobitt dispute has been watching the way in which Russell Brown has been so quick to take sides against the actors union. Today he was at it again and, as much as I dislike cut and paste posts, I feel there are a few things that need to be corrected. So let’s start from near the start of Russell’s post:

Irish Equity changed that. Not by brinksmanship, boycott, or targeting high-profile productions, but by working out what needed to happen, and working towards it. It lobbied the Irish government for an amendment to competition law to allow collective bargaining — and last month, got that change.

The Screen Actors Guild has no case against the film being made in Ireland, and you can bet that the Irish union will not be attempting any stunts against the production.

NZ Equity might not have much show of persuading the present government to amend the law, but it never tried, even under the arts-friendly Clark government. Even now, it could have gone to Labour under Phil Goff, and stood a very strong chance of such a change becoming Labour policy.

Equity didn’t “not have much show” they had no show. Partly because they only got organised in the last days of the Labour government and partly because industrial relations are a lot more wild west here than they are in Ireland. Essential Russell is saying they should have embarked on a pointless, expensive and doomed to fail political campaign. WTF?

Instead, since its takeover by the Australian Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Equity has been so feckless that it failed to file reports for three years, until it was struck off the register of incorporated societies. New Zealand actors have a decent case for greater power and security in their industry. Their union – and the Australian union that was supposed to bring in a new era of professionalism – has failed them.

The registration was a bit rough but in a similar “crap at legal stuff” vein Peter Jackson has been claiming minimum standards are illegal. And yet Russell hasn’t made a big deal of that lack of “professionalism”. In fact he’s even repeated this bollocks.

Eighteen months ago, Equity refused an offer from the Screen Production and Development Association (Spada) to renegotiate the “Pink Book” code of conduct which covers actors’ pay and conditions and has been untouched since the MEAA moved in. Its precondition for any talks with Spada was that the existing system, which does generally work, be scrapped and replaced with collective agreements.

Yes, the same collective agreements which breach the law. Which is why – although the SAG member alert that signalled the boycott claimed (misleadingly) that it had been called because “the makers of feature film The Hobbit – to be shot in New Zealand next year – have refused to engage performers on union-negotiated agreements” – the actors union and the CTU eventually settled for a discussion with Spada about terms and conditions. The discussion the union refused to have nearly two years ago.

This is disingenuous. Collective agreements would be perfectly legal if producers employed film workers as fixed term and casual employees. The union resistance to negotiating the pink book was based on the fact it is not enforceable and the union wanted something better (hint: “something better” is what unions generally want). But, as I have pointed out in earlier posts, there are workaround ways that a union can negotiate for independent contractors. The producers of the Hobbit refused to do this. In fact they refused to even meet with the union until the ban was brought down.

To be fair to Russell the end result has been SPADA negotiations. That’s because the Hobbit producers successfully beat the union down from its position of wanting a Hobbit contract. I find it a little sickening that Russell uses this as a reason to stick the boot into the union again.

It actually got more farcical this morning when Kelly, in statement headed Facts on Hobbit, said

Following a meeting last week, which included Hon Gerry Brownlee, good progress is being made on developing an industry standard through improving the content and form of the current “Pink Book”.

So the union that has refused for years to renegotiate the Pink Book is … renegotiating the Pink Book? What brilliance.

Once again, the union has been forced to default back to the pink book negotiations. Personally I find Brown’s sarcastic attack on the union for trying to get a better deal for its members and not quite making it is disgraceful.

There were other things wrong with the union’s strategy, if it can be called that. The way the first meeting in Wellington was run was a disgrace – while anyone who turned up and called themselves a performer was allowed to vote in Auckland, the rules were changed in Wellington after the vote had begun to exclude non-Equity members. One actor trying to read a statement from Jackson (who had been refused permission to address the meeting) was shouted down and couldn’t finish.

Russell knows this isn’t true. He made this claim in an earlier post and was corrected by someone who was at the meeting. But he’s repeated it again. And was corrected again. That’s getting very close to knowingly lying.

Most notably, statements from organiser Frances Walsh clearly indicated it was seeking to negotiate a national agreement via The Hobbit (why else talk about wanting to negotiate rules on nudity in a film which features no nudity?) and Robyn Malcolm managed to say in successive sentences to John Campbell that they wanted “a fair deal for New Zealand actors working on the Hobbit”, but an agreement that was “not Hobbit-specific”. I’ve explained before why it would have been unethical for Jackson to put himself in that position.

There’s nothing unusual about using a negotiation with a big employer to create benchmark terms and conditions. It’s called pattern bargaining and it happens in every unionised industry in the country. It doesn’t mean that an agreement is negotiated with one employer that covers all employers in the same industry. In fact there has been no law to allow for such a thing since the awards were ended in 1990. If Peter Jackson had negotiated a deal with actors it would not have, could not have, set a legal precedent. And it certainly wouldn’t be “unethical” – that claim is simply hysterical.

By the time they’d settled for far less – and finally agreed to talk to Spada without showstopping preconditions — the damage had largely been done. Yes, if Ireland gets the gig, it will be because of its more-generous-than-the-others tax breaks. But the film was going to be made in New Zealand. The door for other countries was opened when MEAA executive Simon Whipp authorised the SAG member alert that brought the production to a halt by banning actors from working on it.

Russell’s got a strange thing against Simon Whipp, in a previous post he quoted a whole lot of industry scuttlebutt in a clear attempt to brand him as a troublemaker. I’ve never met Simon in my life, but I’ve also never met an effective union organiser that didn’t have someone calling them a troublemaker. Of course many of them have made “trouble” by simply insisting that workers are treated legally. Like I said, I don’t know Simon but neither does Russell. But unlike Russell I’m in no hurry to abuse the guy without knowing the full story. Nice to see that Russell is acknowledging the tax breaks though. Pity he’s too busy with his anti-union rant to think about the industrial/political/PR ramifications of that simple point.

If Warners thinks the industrial relations environment in New Zealand has become too risky and unpredictable, it has some cause for thinking so.

Risky? Compared to what? Unionised film workforces around the world? To be fair the film industry in NZ is a bit cowboy but that is very much a culture created by employers in that industry. If certainty is what’s wanted I’m sure the Hobbit producers could simply employ all workers as employees and then bask in the certainty, stability and predictability of NZ’s very stable employment law. But they haven’t. Seems a bit odd, no?

Exactly what happened with respect to the boycott supposedly being lifted on Thursday, that’s murky. The union claims to have agreed to the alert being rescinded, but consented to Warners’ request to announce it itself. The producers insist the ban was never lifted. It may be that someone has pulled a swifty on the union here.

Deal was done, boycott was lifted and a joint release was written. Then the producers went back on the deal and attacked the union. See what I mean about the employers creating an unstable environment?

But it was telling that the CTU’s Helen Kelly said on Nightline last night that the Equity meeting had been called for members to discuss “what they wanted in terms of terms and conditions”.

You’re saying that after all this — you still don’t know what you want?

It’s called a reportback meeting. It’s part of the democratic to and fro of unionism. Again I’m a little concerned by how incredulous Russell is when it comes to the union’s (very normal) processes but how credulous he is when it comes to the employers, for example:

It’s also generally not a good sign for a union leader, as Kelly did, to refer to the 1000-plus working people who met and marched in Wellington last night, most of them members of their own guilds and unions, as being in a “lynch mob” mood.

I saw this little protest and it was 150 absolute tops. I doubt many of them were in a guild or union as they were mostly dependant contractors being led by the guy who employs them. Which is not to invalidate their point but it was odd to see workers protesting against work rights. Especially as the industry contractors I know (who would all happily be employees if the law was applied properly) will tell you their biggest work issue is job security. Frankly the whole situation was ugly and I hope I don’t see such a thing again.

None of the other screen guilds have spoken in support of Equity, and they have privately assured both Spada and the government that they are on the side of the producers in this case. (NB: I can’t immediately verify what I’ve been told (by two people), and Writers’ Guild member Dean Parker tells me it’s not true, so I’m happy to withdraw that sentence.)

Again Russell rushes to run anti union gossip and then only backs down (and then only in a qualified manner) when he’s corrected by Parker (who has too much mana for Brown to snidely write off).

Even if the film can be hauled back here – and that’s the state of play – this will have badly damaged relations in the industry. And if the film really is lost, it will damage a lot more than that – the trade union movement included.

Firstly the film hasn’t gone anywhere so “hauled back” is a little hyperbolic. Secondly, the damage to relations in the industry has been lurking under the surface for many years; it’s only with this dispute that the sick culture of the industry has been put in the limelight. And thirdly the trade union movement will be just fine thank you Russell, despite your concern-troll melodrama.

67 comments on “Why Russell Brown is wrong”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    The CTU and Equity are losing the PR and key messaging battle. Hate to say it, but anytime you have to explain in this kind of detail, no one (hardly anyone) is going to get it. This is bad for the union movement at a time it should be gaining momentum. The comms strategy needs to be tightened up and a game changer looked for.

    Key is going to try and look like the bloody hero of course.

    Key/Brownlee/Finlayson allied with Jackson/Warner to
    – Break the union
    – Bash the union movement
    – Come out smelling like roses

    Key will love his opportunity to hobnob with big time Hollywood execs.

    He will add the photos to his ‘When I was PM of NZ’ scrapbook.

    • ZeeBop 1.1

      I disagree. It looks like the media is making the story worse, even pushing the rightwing alarm bell.

      The simple fact is contractors who if roder off the lot at a moment notice could go out and
      get a job in a cafe to make neds meet, so they could take the risk on four years ago, they
      could not now. A contractor who was seeing their homes increase in price, had access to
      cheap credit, could take on the risk side of the contract being offered by Peters.

      Now this is not going to go away. Rushing legislation through parliament under urgency,
      without concern any input from recessionary times means the laws we have are fickle and
      inappropriate for recessionary times.

      The simple fact is other countries do not rush half arsed into law making, tear up long
      running hard fought for citizen rights, and so are going to be able to assure global
      employers certainty of supply of Labour.

      The simple fact is that National and Key are completely clueless, the media has not
      got the depth of understanding, and we will lose as a result of our insipidly slow
      political and media establishment. They’ve spent so long saying no to progress
      that’s all they know how to do.

      Contracters cannot feasible promise to take on risks that expose them and their
      families to destitution in the event of a black swan boss sacking them on the spot,
      or worse being left to carry their own medical bills for a work place mishap.

      National will lose us the Hobbit and continue to insulate the elites from having
      to change and seize the opportunities of the new economy.

  2. TightyRighty 2

    why russell brown is wrong in a nutshell. He isn’t showing solidarity. Funny, neither is AE, so therefore they are wrong too. But they are conforming with the agenda, so IB will stroke their overly large ego’s and actor penor.

  3. I read Mr Brown’s comments today carefully, thought of responding, and then thought, why bother? He seems to have bought the Jackson-Government line, for whatever reason. But the issue is complex,not reducible to simple slogans, and will be used mercilessly by the Jackson-Key axis.

    • Gosman 3.1

      “Jackson-Key axis”

      Of you are so funny. I haven’t had this much fun for ages.

      Do you think Jackson and Key have meetings with Tojo and Mussolini to discuss strategy for this axis?

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Its in both Jackson and Key’s interests to break unions and break down workers rights.

      • Maynard J 3.1.2

        When George bush talked about the axis of evil do you think it was because he’d caught their leaders talking to Tojo and Mussolini?

        Or is it in fact part of normal lexicon, and the amount of fun you haven’t had in ages is born out of ignorance? Because something is bliss…now what was it. Oh who cares. x-factor’s on telly.

  4. Carol 4

    I use to read & like Brown’s column on Public Address, but stopped reading it a few months back. It generally seems MOR, and doesn’t say much I find relevant or enlightening any more, except maybe on some IT, techie issues.

  5. Russell is the ultimate chardonnay socialist. They’re not actually leftists, they’re elitists and look with as much disdain on people trying to get a better go as the Right.

    • pollywog 5.1

      …and he can’t handle constructive criticism or robust discussion.

      Most of that PA lot think they’re soooo bloody enlightened they don’t even realise it’s just a big ‘ol circle jerk of consensus reality. They don’t want their world view challenged, they just want it reinforced by like minds.

      I doubt russell has done a hard days work in his life . Hard news ???…pfffft

      Soft in the belly news for failed artists and frustrated intellectuals.

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        What is the definition of irony again?

        • pollywog 5.1.1.1

          dunno bout irony 🙂

          but what’s a word to describe the whole left/right ideological white middle class war thing being played out on line having little or no bearing on what the underclass think or have to do to get by in real life ?

  6. Wgtnsouth 6

    “I saw this little protest and it was 150 absolute tops.”

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Yeah its easily several times that number marching. Friends, family, partners all thrown in too.

      NZ Equity have been seriously outmaneouvered on the PR front, and the Righties will be rubbing their hands with glee that they have managed to get workers to march against workers.

      So much for solidarity.

      Bet you that those marching have no idea what the concerns of Equity actually are, nor will they have been given any kind of balanced narrative by say, the managers at WETA. Who is owned by whom again? And who coincidentally also have nothing to lose from the location shoots going offshore.

      • pollywog 6.1.1

        Bet you that those marching have no idea what the concerns of Equity actually are…

        …and i bet you have no idea what sort of conditions and pay actors get that require holding a big budget film to ransom and try to gouge more money from the producers.

        have you ever worked in the industry ?

  7. Adrian 7

    In this whole sorry shitfight everybody has forgotten that Guillermo del Toro walked away from the Hobbit because of the fucking STUDIOS. No unions in sight 4 months ago when he said he didn’t think it would even get made anywhere.

  8. millsy 8

    All that is wanted is decent wages and conditions, and some sort of job security. Why is it too much for some people?

    • pollywog 8.1

      Actors wages and conditions are PRETTY FUCKING DECENT as is, especially considering the ‘work’ they do !!!

      and the term of engagement is so limited for a film shoot that it barely covers the admin costs to shuffle the paperwork and accomodate actors or crew as employees.

      job security in the film industry…WTF ???

      Besides, that shit flew out the window back in the 80’s and will probably never return. Jobs for life in any industry with the union backing your negotiations in perpetuity…Dream on.

      Its a brave new world out here, survival of the fittest and you’re only as good as your last gig. I may not like it but thats just how it is and i got better things to worry about than some actors wanting a bigger share of the profit without putting up a stake in the film to start with.

      • Vicky32 8.1.1

        “Actors wages and conditions are PRETTY FUCKING DECENT as is, especially considering the ‘work’ they do !!!”
        Have you tried acting? It really is work, boring, annoying and terrifying by turns, which is why I haven’t done it for years!
        “Besides, that shit flew out the window back in the 80′s and will probably never return. Jobs for life in any industry”
        No one expects that, but basic job security is a right..
        Deb

  9. Gosman 9

    So why hasn’t the Labour Party come out fully in support of the Union position then?

    Where’s Phil Goff on this issue?

    • millsy 9.1

      Why dont you want film workers to have decent wages and conditions, and guaranteed employment, and earn more than minimum wage?

      Why do you want slavery in this country.

      Go on…ANWSER ME?

      • Gosman 9.1.1

        Slavery???

        Is this the position you think the Labour Party should take on this issue then, that Peter Jackson was trying to reintroduce slavery?

        • millsy 9.1.1.1

          Well he effectively is.

          The low wage crap conditions model that Peter jackson wants for our film industry will only wreck living standards in this country, but youre OK with that. You dont mind single mother living in their cars so long as you get a tax cut.

          • Cnr Joe 9.1.1.1.1

            mexicans with cell phones – mwcp – y’now, when the LotR were being made here I saw this place as becoming a backlot of hollywood – but no, they don’t have mwcp, they have unions over there, and now Mactional want to change employment for Jackson Inc?
            Take it to Poland, lets get on with our lives

          • pollywog 9.1.1.1.2

            I’m gonna echo russell here millsy and say…

            ‘you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.’

          • salsy 9.1.1.1.3

            Are you serious? Do you realise the NZAE dont have issues with pay and conditions? Do you actually understand the issue you are commenting on? The left needs bright and brave new minds, wake up people !

  10. Gosman 10

    Would anyone on the left care to comment if they think placing a blacklist on the film was a good idea as a negotiating tactic?

    • The Voice of Reason 10.1

      Yep, it worked. It got the bosses around the table and an offer on improved conditions, so as a tactic it was quite effective. The overall strategy, on the other hand, might have done with some tweaking.

  11. the trade union movement will be just fine thank you

    I really hope this isn’t what people in the union movement are telling themselves. If the movie goes offshore then the public and the media are going to blame the unions and Helen Kelly will become one of the most hated people in the entire country. How do you think that’s going to benefit the other – very legitimate – industrial relations disputes she’s involved with, all of which require a degree of public support to succeed?

    • IrishBill 11.1

      So your argument is that because the company has more power and better PR than the union the actors should just suck it up?

      And the trade union movement will be fine. It’s been around for over a hundred years and will continue to be around for another hundred. This is a blip in that history and over time the truth will come out. Probably after the government increases the tax break.

    • lprent 11.2

      Regardless of how this exercise goes, I’d have to say that I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that we shouldn’t be wasting tax breaks on the film industry.

      It is quite apparent that SPADA and Jackson are playing a PR game and doing with bad faith. I suspect that they are inflating the whole union issue to strengthen their hand in hunting tax breaks. The question in my mind is why they’re bothering to go through all of this because the amounts of money in settling a agreement with the unionists is piddly. It just reeks like a distraction and a way to put pressure on the government for a better deal.

      My question is why? Are they having problems putting an economic case together?

      • Gosman 11.2.1

        Did you see Peter Jackson on Television yesterday? The guy looked like he hadn’t slept for days.

        This is obviously a very emotional matter for him which he cares about very deeply, (unlike say Helen Kelly it seems).

        Either that or he is an incredibly good actor but you would have to be the world’s biggest cynic to think that.

        • lprent 11.2.1.1

          Don’t watch too much TV due to lack of time..

          But I suspect having to negotiate with Brownlee will do that to you. That is one minister who is a bit light on doing the detail work. It’d be exhausting.

        • Marty G 11.2.1.2

          the guy’s got a hell of a lot of money to make on making NZ think the hobbit is going offshore. Follow the money.

      • Carol 11.2.2

        Yes, I am coming to question this too (ie tax breaks for overseas movies). More specifically, why is it so important to have Hollywood movies here? Do we need to help Hollywood maintain their dominance when times are uncertain for them too?

        Why not put the tax payer money into supporting the NZ industry in other ways, and with other partners? I thought we had a bit of an agreement for making movies with other countries (like South Korea) anyway.

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/movies/news/article.cfm?c_id=200&objectid=10356032
        (2005)

        New Zealand and South Korea have signed a bilateral arrangement for co-operation between the two countries’ film and television industries.

        The agreement was signed today by Prime Minister and Arts Minister Helen Clark and South Korean Culture and Tourism Minister Chung Dong-Chea in Pusan where Helen Clark is attending the Apec leaders’ summit.

        I think people should look more closely at the whole industry, locally and internationally, and re-consider the way forward.

        Why are so many Kiwis into worshipping Hollywood movies and US pop culture? There’s more going on in the world than that.

  12. Carol 12

    The film is not being blacklisted. It is clear where all this is heading, confirmed by Key’s announcement:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/4261375/Laws-to-change-to-save-Hobbit

    As Gordon Campbell and Mallard said, the Warner’s rep wouldn’t be coming to NZ if the filming location had not been decided.

    Key (and English) is pretty certain that Warners will be interested in talking. The Hobbit will not be going offshore. Key is being set up as the person to resolve this and it has been in the interest of all the main players to smear the unions, and make themselves look good.

    • Gosman 12.1

      Do you believe in any other Conspiracy theories Carol?

      Perhaps you’re with Travellerev on 911 being an inside job. Or you might even think the US faked the moon landing.

      For your take on this to be true you would require the active collusion of the National Government, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsg, Philippa Boyens, Richard Taylor, and of course Warner Bros.

      Do you think that is remotely realistic?

      • Marty G 12.1.1

        it doesn’t take collusion – it takes opportunism from independently acting parties.

        and you’re a climate change denier, so don’t talk to us about conspiracy theories.

        • Gosman 12.1.1.1

          Ummmm… do you have any evidence I deny climate change?

          Stop making things up.

          • Marty G 12.1.1.1.1

            do you deny climate change?

            • Gosman 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Nope. Never have and, so long as the Science is sound (as it currently is), never will.

            • lprent 12.1.1.1.1.2

              He actually doesn’t. His attitudes tend towards the mitigation side of the response – which tends to indicate that he doesn’t understand the scale of the problem. But I’ve never noticed him as one of the anti-science bunch.

              But if you want to argue this, then how about in OpenMike or a more appropriate post?

              Note to myself: Why in the hell have I had to expend so much time defending G in the last few days? Tends to point to a lack of clarity in G’s posts about his own attitudes..

              • Gosman

                Awwww… thanks LP.

                So as to remove any temptation of either one of us taking this lovefest further I have decided to voluntarily ban myself from the Standard for a few weeks.

                I’ve had an overdose of fun the last two days anyway and don’t think I can take anymore.

                • lprent

                  😈 It is all part of the moderators job to defuse potential assertion flame wars based on irrelevant suppositions about positions…

                • Maynard J

                  Is that because you made a big deal about Kelly being a liar based on a press release, and now the Herald has seen emails that show the exact opposite and that the press release, taken by you as Holy Writ, seems to be a great big fat lie?

  13. And the trade union movement will be fine. It’s been around for over a hundred years and will continue to be around for another hundred.

    Yeah, and how’s it doing now in terms of membership and influence compared to thirty or forty years ago?

    • IrishBill 13.1

      What? When it was compulsory to be a member? I wouldn’t want to go back to those days at all. It’s doing better in terms of organisation and influence than it was ten years ago. I don’t think you can claim that taking a hit from the massive aggressive change in employment law in 1990 (which included removing the word “union” from legislation altogether) is a sign that the unions are going to disappear (although a few smaller ones did).

      The union movement has adapted to a more democratic voluntary environment pretty well. It was pretty bloody traumatic and required some significant changes to the ways things operated but it was managed and I don’t think they’re going away in a hurry now.

    • Marty G 13.2

      unionisation rates have risen over the past decade.

      It’s strange that your analysis tends to be so simplistic and reactionary when you’re a scientist.

  14. Carol 14

    My union has had quite a big increase in membership lately. I think it partly has to do with the supercity, and the need for many contracts to be re-neogtiated. It has taught many people the value of a union. Thanks, Rodney

  15. Francisco Hernandez 15

    I’d hate to be saying this because I think Danyl, while being an immensely clever satirist of considerable talent is someone not smart enough to be avoid being duped by the crosby/textor lies of the last election. I see someone like Danyl as having plenty of tactical nous but no indepth strategical thinking.

    But. Danyl is right on this issue.

    At a time when the left was on the resurgent with a successful Labour Conference, at a time where 25,000 ordinary kiwis marched in support of fairness at works a silly ill-disciplined union has to cause bad PR like this.

    From a PR perspective, and I’m sorry to say this. Helen Kelly has fucked up immensely.

    We all know what’s going to happen from here on.

    Smile and wave Key is going to step in, save the day and claim credit.

    I’m not entirely sure why we’re attempting to defend the actions of AE, more and more they’re seemingly like a Militant-Tendency-esque faction of lose cannons (pun intended) that could potentially cause Labour to lose (geddit?) the next election.

    catchpa: Bind. As in the CTU and Helen Kelly are caught in a bind.

    • Carol 15.1

      I don’t think Kelly has f**ked up so much as being out-maneuvered by some pretty slick and wily operators. Kelly comes across to me as pretty straightforward, and aiming to trouble shoot the porblem, using well-used approaches and legal guidelines for dispute negotiation. But while she has been operating in gooid faith, others have been operating in bad faith, with the aim of getting what they want, one way or another.

      • Gosman 15.1.1

        By others you mean Peter Jackson.

        Did you see the guy on Television last night? He looked tired and upset, like he could see his life work slipping away. Not someone that is secretly working on some sort of ‘evil’ agenda.

        • Kaplan 15.1.1.1

          Oh cry me a river. Perhaps he should have negotiated much earlier, you know back before this got in the media, over the fraction of a fraction of a percent of the project budget that it would have taken to resolve this from the start.

          • pollywog 15.1.1.1.1

            Just so as i’m up with the play…

            Peter Jackson colluded with Simon Whipp to blacklist the movie and draw the govt into increasing the tax breaks while smearing the unions so John Key could step in, save the day and look good as the economy tanks.

            is that the current theory ?

            …and it wasnt about actors, being manipulated by an ozzy union, to want more money from profit sharing in the financial success of the movie by holding the NZ film industry to ransom ?

            • sdm 15.1.1.1.1.1

              Yup thats the current theory. No doubt the unions will have another theory by the end of the day. How hard is it for them to say “we were wrong”

            • Carol 15.1.1.1.1.2

              No, pollywog, there’s elements of coincidence and opportunism here, and some c**kups, plus probably some collusion along the way. There’s rarely fully orchestrated conspiracies. Things are usually far messier than that.

              But I think there have been struggles between major US studios and unions in recent times, with studios being in an uncertain state (the industry is having financial problems generally). Maybe some unions and Warners, though NZ was a good little place to draw the libne in the sand.

              The overall uncertain economic and financial climate is like a shadow in the background that has some influence too.

  16. James 16

    The Hobbit wasn’t going overseas.

    Industrial action happened.

    Now it is.

    What’s so hard about that equation?

    The Actors and Helen Kelly had CONVINCED THEMSELVES it could never go overseas. And as it slowly looks more and more like it might, they want us to swallow this rubbish that it had nothing to do with them?

    Give me a break.

  17. Big Dog 17

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

  18. Tiger Mountain 18

    Brownie and his attack poodle Craig Ranapia should hang their heads in shame. Public Address System has been allowed to become a film producers bulletin board in recent weeks. The roughest comment I saw went unremarked upon.

    One Mr “Deep Red” commenting thus…“And even more unfortunately, unionists could well be viewed in the same light as kiddy-porn smugglers, with the matching egg-stained houses and broken noses to boot. Something I hope doesn’t come to pass.”

    The ‘liberal’ PA work from homers true cuddly wuddly politics have been laid bare.

    • pollywog 18.1

      Thats the trouble when you’re an expert commentator from the sidelines without ever having played the game.

      seriously, what the fuck has RB ever done that’s worth shit except ‘dance about architecture’…PFFFFFTTT once a ligger, always a ligger.

      By siding with the moneymen he’s definitely improved his stock with the powerbrokers in the film and TV industry.

      That’ll help no end when it comes to blagging your way up the food chain at screen NZ. Can’t be too long before he’s troughing it up large, dishing out funds for Arts and Culture via the Film Commission or NZ on Air.

      I’m pickin after the NZ on Air music broadcasting review, they’ll separate music video funding from ‘radio hits’ and look for a panel of experts to decide which acts get to contribute to our musical visual record and our boy brown will be right in there lips at the ready, pursed to suck hard and long on the public tit.

      captcha : televisions

      • handle 18.1.1

        Made any movies lately then, or just a sideline loudmouth? The chip on your shoulder about Brown is sad.

      • handle 18.1.2

        Arguing in bad faith and borderline defamation wasn’t it? This site’s moderators should probably take note.

        • pollywog 18.1.2.1

          Nah thats bullshit…Your boy brown just expected all his negroes to be house ones and if not, thought he could tame us street ones.

          …honestly, you PA softcocks need to harden up.

        • lprent 18.1.2.2

          Moderating, we don’t really care what happens on other sites, just what happens on this one.. Apart from anything else, I have limited time and I don’t spend much time reading comments sections except for here

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