Hobbit union boss 'a snake' – Jackson
Tue, 26 Feb 2013 1:52p.m.
By Lloyd Burr
The Government has released 41 pages of emails and documents regarding the filming of The Hobbit trilogy in New Zealand.
Many of the documents show correspondence between director Sir Peter Jackson, studios and ministers about Australia's Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance trying to acquire New Zealand’s Actor’s Equity group.
The MEAA’s director Simon Whipp, wanted to unionise the production of The Hobbit with his union which gave Warner Brothers cold feet and nearly forced filming offshore.
In October 2010, Sir Peter warned the then Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee that Mr Whipp was “playing the Government for fools” and succeeding in delaying The Hobbit’s production in New Zealand.
“You engaged with a snake. He is in revenge mode, intent on inflicting as much damage as he can to our film, to our film industry, to our country,” he says.
Other emails show Sir Peter was at the end of his tether in relation to Mr Whipp’s interference.
“We cannot carry on for much longer in this insanity […] I really can’t take much more of this toxic nonsense. All I want to do is make films!,” his email says.
He claims Mr Whipp was focussed on making money rather than the rights of actors.
“Simon Whipp is doing this so that he can claim to have negotiated The Hobbit contract. This in turn will give him and the MEAA access to a very large chunk of money via the actor’s residuals.”
“In the end, it’s not about Actor’s Equity, nor is it about The Hobbit – it is about an Australian trade union making a blatant play to take a controlling hand in the NZ film industry for their own political and financial gain.”
Sir Peter asked the Government to amend the Employment Relations Act - which it eventually did - to clarify which workers are classified as employees and which as independent contractors.
“This grey are is something we must assume Simon Whipp will endlessly exploit.
“We are very concerned that studios no longer view New Zealand as a safe place to make films as the perceived risks are now simply too great,” wrote Sir Peter.
The documents were released at the request of the Ombudsman after the Government initially denied releasing them.
“The Government originally sought to keep some of the information confidential in order to protect information that was provided in confidence and was commercially sensitive,” current Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.
Mr Whipp was replaced in his role at the MEAA early last year.
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6/03/2013 9:02:48 a.m.
We can see the posters with their heads up the unions backside so far, it seams to be Simon Whipps speaking in the interests of the overseas Aussie Union, not NZ.Jacksons Hobbit film will be a failure? Yeah right. Even though the release of the movie not over it has already grossed in the top 10 movies of all time.Yes we can see he is such a failure!The law change just defined the grey area of NZ law, that didn't distinguish between a empoyee and a contractor, its someting that has been a grey area since Labour repealed the Employments Contracts Act and threw democracy under a bus and ran over it, making unions compulsory again to give their buddy unions more union dues! Yes it was all about money, the union dues money. Through NZ the union dues have cost billions and been a parasite feeding and destroying jobs thorugh industrial action. The unions need to move on from 15th century Stand and Deliver tactics to work for the benefit of businesses and their empoyees, as a good business will pay well, but a dead business has only unemployed.NZ already gained millions from the deal as GST and PAYE from making the hobbit already total over $100 mil collected, which more than pays ALL the concessions given to Warners. Lets not forget, the biggest concession of the Hobbit, the 15% tax rebate was signed not by Key, but by Labour. Even $1 billion revenue and Warners still probably haven't made a profit, as revenue is not profit. The Hobbit was an expensive productions with most of the money spent in NZ for NZ gain, but we will have revenue=profit idiots claiming warners making billions form it next as they didn't pay anyone to make the film, nor were anyone employeed in the cinemas to view it?
4/03/2013 7:21:27 p.m.
this Jackson is two close to key he is only a movie maker after all . peter an his quest of socialism for the super rich thats the us corporate way . any way Joyce is the minister for propaganda .
2/03/2013 6:16:09 p.m.
richard foulkes jnr wrote:
Jacksons films will fail in the box office the national party will fail in the next general election.
Was Tolkien a Maori a Kiwi.who cares about his stories? Is the All Blacks haka by Te Rauparaha written by John Key Jerry Brownlee and their bedpals from Warner Brothers?..New Zealand employment law can be changed..by the general populace voting National OUT!!!. My prediction is New Zealand films written about real New Zealand people in our own shores by our own writers, acted by an intensely staunch politicised MEAA Union Actors equity and directed by equally talented directors born in this country... Look at the facts of predominantly Maori stories in the box office "Boy" "Once were warriors"..in other words when WE kiwis Back ourselves, believe that we can MAKE WORLD CLASS MOVIES with ACTORS EQUITY and with a Labour Green Maori Asian Centre Left government. Believe it Join Actors Equity enrol to vote.As Playmarket says"change the world write a play, write a screenplay ..about things in our own country.We have enough per capita per town per whanau per hapu per iwi in our country drama,comedy,romantic comedy,thrillers in our own country , lets "farm this produce" like the Alll Blacks haka..United we stand Divided we fall...for all of you anti union cowards Te whiti o Rongomai Mahatma Gandhi Martin Luther King Jnr..Michael Joseph Savage. Jesus Joan of Arc..Mother Teresa Radha Soami Satsang Beas,3 world class Charitable Hospitals.."In love there is no politics in politics there is no love." We New Zealanders will be galvinised over a good cause 1981 Springbok Tour and it is my opinion that New Zealanders join Actors Equity write about kiwi stories etc fight drugs ,alcohol, depression ,self harm,,nicotine,gain self esteem through good lactovegetarian vegan food, do a 12 step programme, politicise their anger into non violence and share LOVE AROHANUI via the written words plays,screenplays, learn te reo maori,te reo gaelic..english ..we will all benefit RS
2/03/2013 11:00:30 a.m.
Orcs who eat our taxes and labour laws wrote:
Is Greymouse seriously suggesting that poor, meek Warner Brothers and Weta were quaking at the awesome force of a bunch of their contract workers and their 'demands'? The ones exercising and mis-using power were Warner Brothers and the NZ Govt, and Peter Jackon, and the real issue all along was that Warner Brothers wanted bigger tax breaks. Our Govt gave them what they wanted and threw some of our labour laws into the bargain. The suckers here were tax-payers and the film-industry workers who lost the rights of all other workers in this country.
2/03/2013 10:16:03 a.m.
4. The Actors debacle, again nothing to get excited about, how this came about is simple.. Actors who are under a union can demand certain conditions, i.e. that the work place is a safe environment, that they get lunch, that they are treated with up most respect by all cast and crew, that they have so many days off etc... now ALL of these things where already in place during the filming of LOTR it was a given (without the need of a union) everything above where already in place without the need for a union to begin with! so did Whipp have a leg to stand on, no not really because the actors where already treated in the above mentioned conditions anyway.
2/03/2013 10:13:41 a.m.
1. The Australian film industry is dead, Simon Whipp and his unionists have managed to scare off all major film studio's over there and its it highly unlikely that anyone will film in Australia any more. Then he set about disrupting the New Zealand film industry (someone from aussie! interfere in NZ) this leads to Helen Kelly kicking off a storm in NZ, this was passed on the SAG in America saying no members are allowed to sign up to the Hobbit. Later Helen Kelly backed off retracting her statements because she saw the death of the NZ film industry as a whole by her and Whipps actions.
2. When a movie is going to be made, many countries vie the studio to get the film made in there countries, they all have to compete to get the studio to film there, they do this by offering financial incentives all countries have a minimum they offer as an incentive but are prepared to offer over more (which the News coined the word sweetner which is total B/S) just to win the bid, we won by paying some more money.
3. Employees vs contractors, the law change which people are up and arms about. NZ didn't have a law (though many other countries already had) to differentiate between the two. The reason for the change is simple if you are a set builder for 3 weeks and then you leave the job, you'll classed as a contractor not a employee, just like when you build your house the builder he contracted out for a short period of time and gets paid based on the contract. reason for the fuss? money. employees get paid more and a contractor who only gets payed for the 3 weeks he's worked.
4. The Actors debacle, again nothing to get excited about, how this came about is simple.. Actors who are under a union can demand certain conditions, i.e. that the work place is a safe environment, that they get lunch, that they are treated with up most respect by all cast and crew, that they have so many days off etc...
2/03/2013 9:28:20 a.m.
Well done NZ this is likely to be the end of NZ film industry, death by public and media.. thats cool though PJ will just take ALL the work off shore, Weta can still help out where ever he goes, since kiwis don't want anything to do with it, shooting yourselves in the foot..
when the hobbit was in doubt of filming here, there where many countries who where really keen to have the hobbit franchise filmed in there country they see the benefits,they were clambering to get WB to make the films there, they didn't b*tch and moan like kiwis are atm
like dragging across the finish line
we shall see what the fall out is of this.. Avatar visual effects by Weta but filmed in US etc plus prop many other projects we don't know about..
film companies will prob think twice about filming here..
28/02/2013 10:02:15 p.m.
What hystronics from Jackson and what a pointless heading to this story - the heading should be 'Warner Brothers and our Govt are snakes and Jackson is a bit of an orc'. Jackson and colleagues misled actors about what the real risks were, and where the greed was coming from - it wasn't coming from the union at all, it was coming from Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers wasn't worried about union pressure (which had been lifted when Jackson organised a pro-Hobbit protest); they were focussed on getting tax breaks. Because of Jackson's hystronics and our Govt's general greed and incompetence, our Govt did a deal with Warner Bros whereby they wouldn't give WB as much of a tax break and would instead change our labour laws so film industry workers wouldn't have the same rights as other workers to secure work(as opposed to multiple, rolling contracts). So who are the suckers here? The tax payers and all those very same film industry workers who helped make Jackson and Warner Brothers very rich.
27/02/2013 2:45:28 p.m.
P H wrote:
Jackson should pay for his movies to be made. It's not as if he can't afford to.
Why should the NZ public pay for his moneymaking enterprise ?
27/02/2013 11:16:24 a.m.
thought Peter was a good bloke but he does seem to be overly aggressive and I think that the whole situation of enacting an urgent law in these circumstances which effects employees rights to the extent it does is dodgy and bad practice.
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