And it has come to pass…
…let’s remind ourselves what the hell happened 7 years ago because a vast majority of New Zealanders still don’t seem to appreciate how horrible this all was.
Confronted by actors who no longer wished to be taken advantage of, Peter Jackson co-ordinated with National to throw a tantrum over Union demands for better conditions. National saw this as a plum opportunity to turn public sentiment against the union movement as a whole and jumped in on Jackson’s side to whip up union hate.
The moment Key sided with Jackson, Warner Bros knew they had the NZ Government over a barrel and they strong armed Key into not only giving them more corporate welfare to film here, they also forced National into passing employment legislation that hurt NZ actors while helping a fucking multi-national corporation.
Let’s get this clear – there was NO risk to the Hobbit being filmed in NZ, that was a bullshit lie and National manipulated the situation for political capital. It cost us tens of millions in corporate welfare and we passed employment law that actually hurt NZ workers.
I don’t begrudge the cash stumped up to help make the Hobbit trilogy. It’s nice to have NZ actors on screen, the booootiful scenery and all those design geeks getting employment. Who doesn’t want that? Chuck in a few academy awards, Peter Jackson able to afford a private jet and Wellington feeling self important and the $200million in taxpayer subsidies seemed like a steal didn’t it?
What I did detest was the $32.5million we had to give Warner Bros while changing our employment law to give them that $200million. Allowing Key to manufacture a crisis with The Hobbit so he could bash the Unions and blame them seems like one hell of a cost for 3 mediocre films.
The irony was that the legislation they passed ended up making the process more difficult for actors and films being filmed here by demanding a judicial review of each case which left open production costs.
Labour’s changes will make the process more administrative than judicial and the quickness of that process will give film makers budget certainty while ensuring Actors get a fair wage and conditions.
This wasn’t going to make the list of things to do in the first 100 days but the symbolism of telling a multi-national corporation that we won’t write our laws for their benefit was too compelling for NZ First.
The Hobbit fight was nasty, needless and spiteful. Rectifying it isn’t just symbolic, it is righteous and will actually help the industry and strengthen it.
Helen Kelly who had to take so much shit for this will be smiling down from heaven that it will be wiped.
PS – It was a shit yawn fest of a trilogy Peter with too many stone giants.