Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Anatomy of a Shambles

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  • Peter Cox,

    This is an intresting alert... Seems to me if it does move to Ireland actors will still not be able to work on it untill a contract is written in NZ (unless they change the name of the production..)

    The Irish Actors will enter into a collective agreement, and then the no work order will be lifted.

    And if SAG do remove the alert if it moves off shore arnt they endorsing what is it 'run away' productions?

    Pretty much. But that's the rule.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Nightwyrm,

    She also called Sir Peter Jackson a "spoilt brat" on Hosking's show this morning.

    A spoiled brat? Really? The man who has done more for our international film industry than anyone else?

    There's a distinct arrogance in the union's dealings. Yes, they may have some valid concerns (once they actually agree on what they want), but their approach smacks of the self-entitlement and hubris that unfortunately seems to come with industry success in this country. For a relatively small group of people in a small country to think they could hold a large multinational conglomerate in an internationally-competitive industry to ransom was high-handed and full of ego.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Geoff even suggests at one point 'Simon Whipp' brought up the issue of AE voting on the boycott itself and was shouted down (?!).

    Was Whipp actually even in the country though? I don't think so.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17915 posts Report Reply

  • Tinshed,

    I'm really amazed that a group of New Zealanders in a internationally-competitive industry thought that an Australian union had their interests at heart, especially when Australia subsequently put their own bid in for the movie.

    Repeated for truth. Australian unions do not have the interests of NZ workers at heart and even less understanding of the different cultural norms here. This is my experience of many Australians (in the business arena) who come here, expecting to find a smaller version of a small Australian state. We are different countries with different histories, geographies, demographics and so forth.

    I don't say this in the nationalistic sense, but rather that in my experiences many Australians aren't attuned the differences between us.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Jul 2008 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Herald reports Helen Kelly's interview with Radio NZ:

    Ms Kelly said other countries had offered a deal that was double New Zealand's 15 per cent tax rebate for films.

    "There is a theory that this whole thing has been blown up, that the genuine request by performers to negotiate the terms and conditions has been used to put pressure on the Government to change the terms in which this film will be made in New Zealand," she said.

    "It's an international corporation bullying our government to match conditions that are available in other countries."

    And from the same story:

    NZ Equity member Robyn Malcolm said she wondered how asking for better conditions could have derailed a multi-million movie in New Zealand.

    "I feel there is an enormous amount of inflammatory and dramatic language" and the dispute could have been solved by a mature conversation about a month ago," she said.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15701 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Australian Unionism is very different, from what I hear, more powerful than ours, yet still, they have the high wages.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    Was Whipp actually even in the country though? I don't think so.

    No idea, just reporting back what I read:

    GH:

    The "ok well it seems to disagree" anonymous-

    I was there too and we DID NOT vote to boycott. That clause (3 from memory) was shouted down despite Simon trying to get it back in a couple of times.

    We voted to have a cup of tea, I voted for that, everyone bar one voted for that.

    Now I re-read it though, I think he's talking about the shouting down of clause 3 (to do with dubbing) rather than a boycott vote. I assume he's talking about Simon Whipp though, and not some other Simon.

    I thought that thread was quite an interesting read though:

    http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/hobbit-equity-found-alive-and-well/5/67378

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I was there too and we DID NOT vote to boycott.

    Sigh ... they didn't need to. The boycott was already in place.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17915 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Repeated for truth. Australian unions do not have the interests of NZ workers at heart and even less understanding of the different cultural norms here. This is my experience of many Australians (in the business arena) who come here, expecting to find a smaller version of a small Australian state. We are different countries with different histories, geographies, demographics and so forth.

    I don't say this in the nationalistic sense, but rather that in my experiences many Australians aren't attuned the differences between us.

    My experience in Australia, albeit in a very different industry, is consistent with your observations Tinshed.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2185 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I think Robyn Malcolm and her cohorts don't understand that they have given Warner Bros the trigger they need to pull production out of New Zealand. Up until now, Peter Jackson's mana within the industry had been keeping the movies here.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Idiot/Savant just characterised the screen works who met and marched yesterday as "useful idiots".

    And we've had "lynch mob of outsiders".

    The minute we get "media gang rape" and "faux-feminist", I'm calling Chris Trotter bingo!

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    It's like when I say that I miss kumara, I get told that there are plenty of sweet potatoes. Well, yes, there are, but they don't have the same flavour or texture. Differences of nuance.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Up until now, Peter Jackson's mana within the industry had been keeping the movies here.

    That seems like a big claim. I think we have a very capable industry with a proven track record of keeping to schedules. It just so happens we're not the only ones, but I would hesitate to say it was all down to Jackson's clout.

    I'd also point out that Ireland trades in Euros, and that the New Zealand dollar has butchered the Euro in the last twelve months.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    I was there too and we DID NOT vote to boycott.

    Sigh ... they didn't need to. The boycott was already in place.

    Yeah, he (at least) is aware of that. My quote is a bit out of context from the rest of what's being discussed in that thread. Like I said, it's worth a read though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Nightwyrm,

    NZ Equity member Robyn Malcolm said she wondered how asking for better conditions could have derailed a multi-million movie in New Zealand.

    Sorry Robyn. It wasn't the asking... it was the blackmail attempt with the boycott. Next time, find which methods have worked successfully overseas (read Ireland), and try those.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've obtained and uploaded a PDF of the backgrounder that the film techs were given at yesterday's meeting at Weta, here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17915 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    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.

    This paragraph from Kelly's release is pretty key. If all three of those points are true then there is still some credibility on the union side. If they're false then they've dug themselves further into a hole.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    It's not exactly clear, but SAG seem to be suggesting they only got the recommendation today?? Or maybe they're just saying they're only rescinding the no work order today, but might have gotten the recommendation earlier? Interesting wording.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Pat Hackett,

    Reading SAG's statement, and the Spada release about Sunday's meeting, it doesn't seem to marry with Kelly's insistance that the delay was due to Warner's wanting to issue a press release about the boycott being lifted.

    Why is Kelly's version of events so at odds with everyone else? And why does the CTU want to own this debacle?

    Auckland • Since Oct 2010 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Ackroyd,

    If, as well as AE, Warners gagged Wingnut re boycott lifting would that explain why they couldn't relay that to the technicians last night?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • Nightwyrm,

    Why is Kelly's version of events so at odds with everyone else? And why does the CTU want to own this debacle?

    And doesn't the CTU usually represent the unions of the film techs, costumers, etc. as well?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I've obtained and uploaded a PDF of the backgrounder that the film techs were given at yesterday's meeting at Weta, here.

    "Most kiwi actors, almost without exception, choose to be independent contractors, because it carries enormous tax advantages"

    Why, what's the alternative? Being permanently employed by... whom?

    I like how legislators have managed to make it seem like a profession that has to live from job to job which may wish to organise is guilty ipso facto of "price-fixing". How charming.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Wow, what a mess. So according to Weta this is a small local union with questionable worker buy in taking on Hollywood.

    Hollywood is changing and these huge gusts of big money productions probably wont last. Argueably this is a bad project to work labour relations out in. Peter Jackson has waved down some multi millions for us , we've got to be strategic about how we help him.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Key joins the fray. From Newztalk ZB:

    The Prime Minister, John Key, says the Government has not been lobbied for better tax incentives by The Hobbit's producers. He says he understands the union's actions and potential industrial disputes are the main bugbear, not tax breaks.

    He says he'd like to be able to give Warner Brothers assurances when they're here next week because losing the films would be a tragedy for the country and the industry. "We need to recognise it's the actions of the unions that's taken us to the position we now find ourselves in which is the Hobbit movies may not be made in New Zealand".

    And from Stuff:

    Key said New Zealand did not need to sell itself as the place “with the biggest subsidies in the world for films to be made here".

    "Our understanding is the major impediment to The Hobbit films being made in New Zealand is the actions of the union not tax incentives," he said.

    "The film grants scheme in place to support the making of The Hobbit is generous. It's no question that other countries around the world have higher schemes but there needs to be some balance.

    "New Zealand is a very good place to make movies… I think we have a strong position but industrial action from the unions and the threat of industrial action have substantially undermined the confidence Warner Brothers have in New Zealand. The Government needs to talk to them about that confidence."

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15701 posts Report Reply

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