By Deanna Harris
An agreement has been reached between the Government and Warner Brothers that will keep The Hobbit in New Zealand.
Prime Minister John Key made the announcement this evening after two days of meetings with the Warner Brothers senior executives and New Line production company head Toby Emmerich.
“I’m please to announce an agreement has been reached between the New Zealand Government and Warner Brothers to enable the two Hobbit movies to be directed by Sir Peter Jackson, to be made New Zealand.
“Making the two movies here will not only safe guard work for thousands of New Zealanders but will also allow us to follow the success of the Lord of The Rings trilogy and once again promoting New Zealand on the world stage,” says Mr Key.
To keep the filming in New Zealand there will be changes to employment laws and The Hobbit will get a $15 million tax rebate - $7.5m per film.
“As part of the arrangement the Government will introduce legislation in Parliament tomorrow to clarify the distinction between independent contractors and employees as it relates to the film production industry. It is this clarification that will guarantee the movies are made in New Zealand,” says Mr Key.
He says the industrial issues over the past few weeks have highlighted concerns for the way in which the international film industry operates.
“We will be moving to ensure that New Zealand law in this area is settled to give film producers like Warner Brothers the confidence they need to produce their movies in this country.”
By keeping the filming in New Zealand will mean a significant boost to tourism worth tens of millions of dollars.
Mr Key says the Government will offset the US$10 million of Warner Brothers marketing cost as part of their partnership.
“My Government is determined to use the opportunity that The Hobbit movies present to highlight New Zealand as a great place to visit, as well as a great place to do business,” says Mr Key.
New Zealand will also host one of the world premieres of the Hobbit movies.
“I’m very pleased that we have been able to ensure that the winning combination of Sir Peter Jackson, New Line, Warner Bros, MGM and New Zealand as a whole will have the opportunity to produce these movies together,” Mr Key says.
“It’s good to have the uncertainty over, and to have everyone now full steam ahead on this project.”