Hobbit bill becomes law
Fri, 29 Oct 2010 1:31p.m.
By Dan Satherley
Parliament has passed the controversial Hobbit bill into law, under urgency.
Officially known as the Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill, it clarifies the difference between contractors and employees in the film industry.
“It clarifies what is already widespread industry practice," says Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson. "That actors, crew members and other production personnel in the film industry who sign on as independent contractors are just that, independent contractors.
"If they sign on as an employee, they are an employee."
National, ACT, the Maori Party and United Future all voted in favour of the bill.
The law is aimed at stopping contractors one day saying they are an employee, and claiming the extra benefits that come with being one.
Special effects contractor/employee James Bryson took legal action against Sir Peter Jackson five years ago, after being made redundant. He claimed he was an employee, and the court ruled in his favour.
This, along with threats of a boycott from actors' unions, rattled studio executives at Warner Brothers. National ministers in the past have both denied Warner Bros asked for the law change, and said without it, Warner Bros would pull the film.
Labour's Clare Curran said the law change was completely unrelated to threats of a boycott made by actors' unions.
"That was about independent contractors wanting to remain as independent contractors but to negotiate collectively. This law change is about whether an independent contractor can be considered to be an employee," she said.
Labour's Claude Chauvel, who acted as a lawyer for in the 2005 Bryson case, said the law change would create more uncertainty, and will have the opposite effect to what the Government plans.
"It is simply a recipe for further uncertainty and more litigation - the exact opposite of what John Key appears to have promised Warner Bros and Peter Jackson and everybody else," he told stuff.co.nz.
"We've got a bad law, achieving the reverse of what's intended being passed under a defective process."
Labour MP Trevor Mallard held up a depiction of the New Zealand flag with the film-maker's logo in place of the Union Jack in Parliament today.
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13/11/2010 7:16:34 a.m.
Arwen Legolas Wilson wrote:
I hope that the intent of the Law will win out. I experienced the same thing in reverse. My husband worked for an upholstery
shop and whenever there was little to do they payed him by the piece when there was not much work, but then when there was lots of work, they only paid them by the hour. So you see, that this is going on not only in NZ.
Lady Arwen L. Wilson
30/10/2010 12:45:20 p.m.
what a joke.. i got some mad advice..go to australia like russell crowe did..you'll get better pay..better conditions and make a better life for yourself..and u wont have to worry about so called sir-peter shafting you and getting rich at the same time..ozzy ozzy ozzy..
30/10/2010 11:42:16 a.m.
What a bunch of moaning wankers who would complain if NZ lost the Hobbit movie and now complain because John Key has ensured that it remains here. These moaning arseholes are the ones who pay little or no taxes yet insist on handouts and welfare as their only means of existence. Well for once in your life face reality and get a job or better still 'go export yourself ! '
30/10/2010 11:38:18 a.m.
Everyone can bitch and complain all they want but i guarantee no one will be complaining when the films are released.. Jackson is just trying to make a damb film here in his own country, any other country would jump at this chance.. and seriously these actors talk all this sh*t now but i find it hard to believe that any individual actor would turn down a part in the hobbit.. let the man do what he does best, making epic high budget, high grossing films which bring more money, people and attention to our country
30/10/2010 11:25:53 a.m.
To put his in perspective: an Aussie union supported by a few local malcontents blackmailed Warner Brothers into pressuring National to clarify labor relations to the detriment of said union & malcontents? Great. Maybe we can now get on with making movies.
30/10/2010 7:59:43 a.m.
'Jml' - typical of left thinking - form a committee, and then a subcommittee, get submissions, wait a year and by then the Hobbit would be long gone. J.K. used his initiative to do this - something the left don't do.Head in the sand Labour, the Greens and the corrupt Unions were happy to see a $2.8 billion dollar industry go off shore. There reaction is unbelieable and they were happy to see NZ loose billions in tourism, untold exposure, international exposure and thousands of jobs. Tourism is now our biggest earner.'Watching NZ' - U talk crap. Actors would leave NZ. This bill offers security for the big film companies to make movies here ie. Avatar 11 and 111 is coming here.'BB' - the Unionist had everything to do with this fiasco don't be so ignorant and one eyed. That's why they are currently hated. The public are not stupid.Re. the rich under the Nats. - THIS IS A FALLACY.By the time the last National Party government went out of power in 1999, the Rich List had 135 individuals and 36 families, with wealth estimated at just over $9.8 billion, so the growth of the fantastically rich has speeded up under Labour. The graph of the rate of growth of wealth by these is therefore interesting. Under National in the 1990s it went up relatively modestly, and then after Labour entered government in 1999 it curved dramatically upward. The rise in the 2004-2005 year – when the super-rich got over $9 billion richer – makes the upward curve especially pronounced.FACTS NOT FALLACY.
30/10/2010 1:20:17 a.m.
@watching NZ If they do leave it will be a bonus, since the ones that go will be the ones that can't act. That includes the entire cast of 95% of all local content. Maybe then we can actually have some decent programmes on the television instead of drivel like Shortland Street.
29/10/2010 10:48:50 p.m.
Not being picky (much) but I thought that we needed to wait for our head of state's assent before the hobbit bill law.? Maybe bunch of hobbits rushed it from parliament to government house on the way to hitting the turps over at hobbit central in Miramar?
29/10/2010 6:40:13 p.m.
watching NZ wrote:
Many NZ Top Actor will be leaving NZ because NZ precious Public-Pete Jackson have soled out their Right of negociation Fair equital Contractual Agreements and have layed personal threating intentions on them & their Future in NZ.....Well Done PJackson & Warner Bros..you have just driven Future kiwi s out of NZ,all for your greedy intent...
29/10/2010 6:29:57 p.m.
The unions and the “left” had little to do with this fiasco. It was the high dollar and terrible fiscal policies of Key. Other means could have kept to Hobbit here, other than union bashing and changing our laws….though one would not know this from the media. Progress?! Key is simply repeating the same right wing rubbish his Nats did 15 years ago when the Massey report stated that these policies caused “the gap between New Zealand's rich and poor to be one of the widest amongst developed economies. Four out of five households had a smaller share of the country's total income than they did 16 years” previously.
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