Manufacturing the Hobbit crises
Hobbit co-writer: 'We've had it'
The Hobbit is slipping away from New Zealand despite the best efforts of its producers, the film's co-writer Philippa Boyens says.
The producers of the Lord of the Rings prequel overnight issued a statement saying preparations were being made to move the film off-shore.
Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh said industrial action by NZ Actors' Equity and Australian union Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance had "undermined [Warner Brothers'] confidence in New Zealand as a stable employment environment."
Oh this is utter bullshit now, you would need to be a Paul Henry Supporter to believe that Actors asking for fair rights is what has derailed the Hobbit. This manufactured crises has always stunk to high heaven and seemed cheaply scripted, a film company with a sure fire two movie hit that will generate billions is not going to stop because Actors wanted a better deal, this has EVERYTHING to do with an international corporation muscling the Government to go from a 15% tax rebate to a 30% tax rebate and Peter Jackson has enabled that to be sold as the Actors fault.
Watching the astro-turf 'protest' hurriedly thrown together last night at the Weta Workshop seemed disingenuous in the extreme and horribly manufactured.
Here's how this Hollywood cheese script ends, John Key comes riding in and gives this international corporation the 30% corporate welfare they want - (National do corporate welfare better than anyone, just look at SCF) while blaming the Actors and Unions in general.
It's so obvious it's embarrassing to watch the msm lap it up unquestioningly.
IF the Actors calls for a fair deal is honestly the reason this multi-million dollar deal goes off shore, then all the work Jackson did to show NZ was a creatively skilled and brilliant place to make movies goes down the drain, because the reality they are claiming here means NZers really are just 'Mexicans with cell phones', and we will get under cut for wages every time.
Hardly a highpoint for Jacksons 3 decade long career.
The FACTS about what the Union are actually asking for that 'supposedly' led to the derailing of this multi-million dollar movie,
• The union is seeking basic terms and conditions such as hours, breaks, overtime payments etc.
• The union has always been prepared to agree those conditions as an industry standard rather than a collective agreement.
• The union advised Warners on Sunday (their time) that they had asked the Screen Actors Guild to lift any "don't work" orders in place. A statement has been prepared by Equity but Warners have asked to control the time of the release and have delayed several days. We understand Wingnut were aware of this when they met with Technicians last night but failed to pass on this information.
• MEAA (Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance New Zealand Incorporated) is a registered union in New Zealand. They affiliate to the CTU in New Zealand and are a trans-Tasman organisation. We are used to having hundreds of Trans Tasman businesses in NZ and that appears to be perfectly acceptable. Many of our performers work in both countries so a Trans Tasman union makes sense.
...this has got nothing to do with Actors asking for basic rights and everything to do with demanding more of a tax rebate, this crises at best is manufactured at worst it means NZ will always get undercut for lower wages elsewhere.
PS: That's not to suggest for one second the Union's feckless manner hasn't helped, but the claim that this is to do with Actors and not the tax rebate is ridiculous, I'm interested to see if John Key caves in with a bigger rebate and keeps the Hobbit in NZ and manages to club the Union movement at the same time, as RB points out...
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.