Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Anatomy of a Shambles

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  • BenWilson,

    And what if any of those 'contractors' decided that they wanted to be employees with SECURITY.

    Then they could seek to follow your advice for employees with security, which was:

    Um, Jackson offers a contract, for terms and conditions over a fixed period and then when it runs out the actor goes and looks for another job. As I understand it, thats what they do in places like farming, etc.

    Which, when I did it, was called "contracting". It's not the only kind - I'm still a contractor, but the kind who could be dropped at a minute's notice. Curiously, I've been on this contract for around 8 years.

    btw, my name is Ben Wilson.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8323 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Oil and gas money, as well as farming money contribute a great deal to my home province,

    You mean massively polluting, hugely subsidised and unsustainable industries?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    but I may be mistaken about that

    It is fairly easy to find multiple sources quoting that part back on the 29th of September.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    "Which, when I did it, was called "contracting"

    I thought it was fixed term employment?

    As I said before, why is is so difficult for Jackson to grasp. He seems like an intelligent man.

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    This is probably a case where there needs to be one union for all workers in the film industry.

    but what if they don't want to be in the same union?

    actors don't even have to all be in the same union, or any union
    I think freedom of choice is kind of important for everyone

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    "You mean massively polluting, hugely subsidised and unsustainable industries?
    "

    I actually agree with you that there is a lot wrong with oil/gas/and farming, but I would rather have the high paying jobs that those industries create, then low wage, low security tourism and hospitality and film jobs.

    I would love to see how many people got sacked from an oil and gas industry job under the 90-day law and compare that with how many from the tourism industry get sacked.

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, you can stand by whatever you please, I post here under my own name in good faith and found your response as offensive as it was unnecessary.

    I find it damn offensive that you keep disingenuously pretending that being told you're in a "lynch mob mood" is somehow less offensive than being called a "lynch mob". It's called being wilfully obtuse -- and I know people who were on that protest who aren't gullible idiots, and certainly weren't calling for anyone to be strung up from the nearest lamp post.

    And, yeah, I make no apologies for getting pissed off at hearing people I know and respect being pissed on as members of a lynch mob "wound up" by a lying corporate tool, "useful idiots" and "trolls". As far as I'm concerned, people like Kelly, Idiot Savant and Chris Trotter shouldn't dish what they can't take back.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11874 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    And before you people cry about the amount of jobs that get lost when The Hobbit goes to Poland (where by the way we will get a vastly inferior film), you have to remember that the Key government has cut more jobs from the civil service than that would be gained from The Hobbit, not to mention the thousands thrown on the scrap heap because we wouldnt pay our workers 50c per hour.

    For the record: I am not opposed to a film industry, sometimes I think that who/whatever created this country somehow future-proofed it to be a backlot, but if we are to have the filmic version of a Chinese sweatshop, then I think we need to go back to the drawing board.

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Heather W.,

    Watched the clip from tonight and went back to check the letter that the FIA sent out with contact listed as being MEAA PDF of FIA letter sent to 3 Foot 7 in August.

    FIA now has the lifting of the not-boycott listed. International Solidarity advances the cause of Performers in New Zealand. That was not there earlier this evening.

    North Shore • Since Nov 2008 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I thought it was fixed term employment?

    I am pretty sure it is not fixed term, because the length of time is not know (it is based around projects where the finish date is not necessarily known).
    You might be able to approximate it with a fixed term casual contract, but that is, in employment terms, the worst of all possible worlds: It has none of the cash benefits of contracting and none of the security benefits of being an employee.
    But none of the unions involved have been ask for that, or anything like it.
    Now personally I think that if N.Z. is going to be involved in international film projects, it will ultimately have to fit its film model into one compatible with both the international production companies and the international unions (so will need some kind of collective bargaining model compatible with the SAG). But I also think it will only get there long after than ranker over the hobbit has died down, and with the co-operation of all of the parts of the industry.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I would rather have the high paying jobs that those industries create, then low wage, low security tourism and hospitality and film jobs.

    You set up a false dichotomy. Those are not the only options. We could have those high paying jobs (which I would not work in for any pay, thanks), and also high paying film jobs. Which is what the LOTR provided, and it is likely The Hobbit will do the same. The spin offs in other lesser paid things riding the coat tails are still livelihoods for New Zealanders in a recession that I would just as soon not lose over your ideology.

    Furthermore, many people like those jobs, and would not like working in a bloody freezing works. What offends you about that? Quite a few of them are doing it for the glamor and excitement that a massive project like this provides. Others see it as a massive skill builder and a huge thing to have on their resume. Others are simply trained in things like catering, it's what they do, it's their trade, and they should be allowed to ply it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8323 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Brendon, how come you believe film jobs are low paid? Or that security is the most important thing for every worker?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16500 posts Report Reply

  • Malcolm,

    Peter Jackson had negotiated residuals for the first time ever. I can't help wondering if that was what drew in the Aussie union - the opportunity to clip the ticket on Peter's generosity.

    So ironically, if Peter had been less generous, perhaps none of this would ever have happened.

    Since Apr 2007 • 69 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Okay, Brendon.

    if we want a high skill high wage economy, then our film industry needs to shrink, if it is to continue slashing wages and conditions.

    And where exactly (cite your source material, please) are wages and conditions being slashed in the film industry? Jackson was offering more than SAG rates for small parts and residuals - how is that "slashing"?

    you see more people queing outside the local meatworks than outside peter jackson's backlot (generously provided to him by the crown - I seem to recall the army base in Fort Dorset was rented to him). Simply because there are better wages and more security in the primary processing industry (and its probably way easier to get a job).

    The only part of that that might even vaguely be correct is that it's possibly easier to get a job in a primary processing industry, though I wouldn't say it in front of any former workers that have been made redundant. And why would that be? Because there are more jobs. Very simple. The film industry is small - every one knows that, but it has been growing, not shrinking, despite your dubious analysis.

    And I think if there were hundreds of people queuing up outside every AFFCO plant, we'd be able to find some evidence of that. Perhaps you could direct us to it? In the meantime, we can read this .

    As for Ft. Dorset - it closed as a military establishment in 1991, well before Jackson used it to build the village of Bree. And how was renting the base (which entailed Jackson paying money to the Crown for the temporary use of something that wasn't being used for anything else) any sort of generous provision? It's called business - look it up.

    Your comments on the oil and gas industries are magnificently irrelevant - well done!

    If you'd like to come back with more research than rhetoric, I'd be prepared to listen. But mere left-wing soundbites will not suffice.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1893 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    fulsomely apologise

    Craig, you might want to check fulsome in the dictionary. Unless you know exactly what it means.....:))

    Could someone please remind me - the residuals offered by PJ: wasn't there mention a long time ago that they don't actually kick in until many months after the DVDs come out?

    Freelancing, film contracts, and all that stuff - it doesn't suit everyone, and in New Zealand, it's very much a young person's game. Some of the folk who were the stalwarts of the industry a few years ago, no longer do it. It's a killer for relationships, for planning, for financial security. It can set someone up because the hours are shitty, but the pay makes up for it, and you don't have time to spend it much, so it adds up nice and fast. But make no mistake - it's not an easy road, for anyone. Crew or actors.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Or that security is the most important thing for every worker?

    Indeed - Hell, Public Address Radio could lose its funding in the next round, or get dumped by Radio Live the day after the next management re-shuffle. Doesn't make the work any less fun.

    I must track down a simply lovely interview with Dame Judi Dench where she said she tried to talk her daughter out of being an actor -- it is a hard, shitty insecure life especially when you're a woman in that awful wasteland where you're too old to play Juliet, but too young for the Nurse. But she said actors are people who can't do anything else.

    Craig, you might want to check fulsome in the dictionary. Unless you know exactly what it means.....:))

    I do - perhaps its a function of my sheer bloody-mindedness, but on the rare occasions I do apologize for anything I do tend to over-compensate. Though always, I hope, erring on the side of "generous in amount, extent, or spirit" instead of William Congreve's in The Old Bachelor

    BELLMOUR. Who? Heartwell? Ay, but he knows better things. How now, George, where hast thou been snarling odious truths, and entertaining company, like a physician, with discourse of their diseases and infirmities? What fine lady hast thou been putting out of conceit with herself, and persuading that the face she had been making all the morning was none of her own? For I know thou art as unmannerly and as unwelcome to a woman as a looking-glass after the smallpox.

    HEARTWELL. I confess I have not been sneering fulsome lies and nauseous flattery; fawning upon a little tawdry whore, that will fawn upon me again, and entertain any puppy that comes, like a tumbler, with the same tricks over and over. For such, I guess, may have been your late employment.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11874 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Shand,

    but I may be mistaken about that

    The former NZ EA executive have spent far too much time convincing each other of their own reasonableness that it reasonates in everything they say but not in everything they have done to date.

    Is it reasonable that 8-12 elected union representatives can initiate an international boycott (that is proving difficult to rescind) all in an effort to have a 'conversation' about New Zealand-wide collective terms and conditions with one film maker who believes he can't legally negotiate that kind of conversation?

    On the bright side solidarity has been seen to be alive and well in NZ ha raaaa .... unlike Mr Whipp who did not look well or lively.

    I think it will be reasonably cloudy and sunny tomorrow on Lonely mountain but I may be mistaken about that

    auck • Since Aug 2008 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Just watched some of the Malcolm interview. Even Mrs Lemming (who is so uninterested in politics she makes me look like a frothing radical) was saying "She can't keep her story straight for 5 minutes"

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1893 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    The post from Nick Shand and Peter Hacket are noteworthy.

    Reading all of this, and more, the driver behind the blacklist is primarily the union (NZAE - MEAA) wanting to create leverage to secure a funding stream residuals and all (as they do in Australia and take a cut) for the benefit of themselves and the CTU to whom they would be affiliated to – the cost of providing such sterling support and sound advice.

    Advancing this grab for leverage against the Hobbit as part of a laudable goal when there is no resolution from the membership and the union had no legal status fall well short of the union fulfilling its purpose. That purpose is to advance the interests of the members by consultation and acting on the resolutions of the membership.

    NZEA lack of legal status up until 23 September 2009 and failing to file accounts is unreal though not without precedent - although it is against the law – the Registrar is quite lax in following such matters up even when prompted. Some unions in NZ have not filed returns for almost 20 years.

    The rebranding from NZEA to MEAA – NZ stepping out of one constitution into another would need to follow the process in the original constitution and is likely not to have happened the way it should have.

    The involvement of Oakley Moran (Peter Cranney) would stem from the fact that they also act for the CTU.

    I would say Robyn Malcolm is at a loose end and has been to a degree used as a willing and witless pawn.

    The Employment Law that needs to be reformed is to have union executives consult with and be able to be held accountable to the membership - industrial action needs to come from the members and not the executive as it is the members who bear the consequence.

    I have mentioned the shortcomings in the ERA in more detail in earlier posts here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1186 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    ...some of the people, some of the time...

    Craig, you might want to check fulsome in the dictionary.

    As I understand it fulsome is losing its old hold on being just a pejorative term
    - negative, loathsome and insincere and is drifting towards
    the positive pole of generous, profuse and abundant.
    Words evolve as worlds revolve...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4696 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I would say Robyn Malcolm is at a loose end and has been to a degree used as a willing and witless pawn .

    Surely you're not saying that she's a "useful idiot"?

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1303 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    The involvement of Oakley Moran (Peter Cranney) would stem from the fact that they also act for the CTU.

    Ah. Okay. That makes sense. Thanks.

    However, that makes the failure to file accounts even more egregious. In agreeing to be the registered office, Cranney/Oakley Moran take on a special responsibility and even more so, in terms of the Incorporated Societies Act, given their professional expertise.

    For those who don't know what I mean, if you are an officer of an incorporated society and you have some specific professional standing (say, lawyer or accountant), you are more liable for misfeasance within your field of expertise than other members of the committee, whether or not you were personally party to the cockup.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1893 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Surely you're not saying that she's a "useful idiot"?

    Define "useful"... :-p

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1893 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Duignan,

    Just got back from an interesting conversation with an union official mate of mine, now living in Australia, who offered another, depressing, angle to consider.

    Just as the NZAE action seems to have opened a door for Warners to move offshore (or at least get a better deal from the IRD). It also seems to have created a crisis that might allow the National govt to undermine contractor's rights to negotiate across the board, and not just in the film industry.

    There are people who are contractors now, who, unlike actors and film technicians, don't really have a choice in the matter: ie people who just want a job, any job; the economically vulnerable, such as cleaners, service workers and the like.

    There are literally tens of thousands of working poor in New Zealand and they need a strong and legitimate union movement if they are to improve their lot. Obviously this is not NZAE's concern, but I'm just not sure how the CTU wading into the complex, rarified, and comparatively very privileged world of screen acting is helping those people...

    When did the CTU decide it would be a good idea to be the very visible front person for a chaotic industrial campaign with murky objectives which pits one group of working people against another, larger group of working people?

    It's bad enough that the whole thing has been counter productive for actors, but it seems a travesty that other far less glamourous and visible people in this country might also suffer from the backlash.

    Since Oct 2010 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Shand,

    The rebranding from NZEA to MEAA – NZ stepping out of one constitution into another would need to follow the process in the original constitution and is likely not to have happened the way it should have.

    Just to expand on this thought with 2 points.

    1) the process for changing the constitution for the newly listed MEAA is the unaminous consent of attendees to an all members meeting (AGM or SGM)

    2) elected executives that bypasses their own constitution in my experience have very limited accountability. They will manipulate every thing they can to protect their position of power. The best someone who seeking accountability can do is embarrass them in the hopes that they will resign. Such things are not pretty. Personal attacks are the norm

    auck • Since Aug 2008 • 77 posts Report Reply

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