The Hobbit dispute

December 22nd, 2010 at 9:55 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports an e-mail from Peter Jackson:

“There is no connection between the blacklist (and it’s eventual retraction) and the choice of production base for ,” he wrote.

Sir Peter will no doubt put the e-mail in context at some stage, but I wonder if the word “now” is not missing. In otehr words what he is saying is that just because the blacklist has been or will be retracted doesn’t mean that The Hobbit is safe here.

“What Warners requires for The Hobbit is the certainty of a stable employment environment and the ability to conduct its business in such as way that it feels its $500 million investment is as secure as possible.”

It has always been clear that to some degree Warners used the dispute as a way to get better terms. But if the global boycott had never been instituted, I don’t see that they would have done so – the location had been long agreed.

Tags:

23 Responses to “The Hobbit dispute”

  1. Andrew (31 comments) says:

    Jackson said “lifting the blacklist doesn’t have anything to do with it” (referring to Warners threat of moving the hobbit) back in October. It’s not some new revelation. The left are trying to spin it like there is no tomorrow though.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. trout (921 comments) says:

    The Unions seem desperate to recover ground on the Hobbit fiasco. I cannot see how these published e-mails justify their claim that various people are liars. Jackson may well have believed that the ‘blacklist’ did not affect the choice of location of the Hobbit filming ( note that the ‘blacklist’ was applied internationally so would also apply to Union actors working in other other locations). The issue was uncertainty, given that the Union was flexing muscle; that there was an underlying disagreement over Actors conditions of employment. All parties knew this. Warners were right to be nervous given the commitment they were making, and justified in screwing a better deal, given the window of opportunity created by the Union, especially because the US dollar was tanking.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. jaba (2,096 comments) says:

    fk me .. I thought this fiasco was all over. Why don’t kelly/little shut their mouths and move on?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Andrew (31 comments) says:

    The unions tried to play hardball with Wingnut and Warners, and in turn Warners played hardball back. Unsurprising really that Warners won.

    What would have happened if the unions had decided not to target The Hobbit? I guess we will never know, but I’m guessing everything would have carried on as normal and no requests for extra tax breaks or law changes would have been made.

    Which ever way you slice it, it is still the fault of the unions.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    You’re right David, context is very important. Trevor Mallard and Helen Kelly can try and re-cast history in their preferred mold all they like, the fact remains that the boycott was real and triggered the risk that the film would be produced in another country.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    Looking forward to Sir Pete’s “context” too…

    “There was a word missing in my email”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. RightNow (6,844 comments) says:

    This is so funny, the unions are trying to spin this to make Jackson look bad. Fantastic, I hope they keep peddling the line that he’s an evil capitalist. I can’t think of anything more prone to lose votes for Labour.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Diziet Sma (109 comments) says:

    Hey it’s Xmas, let’s be charitable. Let’s celebrate what this Union has created …. oh …. nothing but expenses, disgust & wasted energy.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. BeaB (2,084 comments) says:

    Little for Labour leader. Kelly as his deputy. Priceless.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Nick R (500 comments) says:

    Reminds me of the old line (not mine, alas), that once the media gets their hooks into a story, the truth is lost forever, even to the protagonists.

    There is a hell of a lot of spinning going on from all sides here. The unions are desperately trying to look like they did not score a spectacular own goal, or at least get played by someone a lot more devious. Good luck with that.

    Meanwhile, the government seems to be hoping it is close enough to Christmas to avoid answering questions about whether Gerry Brownlee misled the House or his fellow Ministers (as Peter Dunne now seems to think), and why they have given Crown Law legal advice – paid for by the NZ taxpayer – to Warners, but are not willing to disclose it to the public. No doubt the plan was “dump the documents just before Christmas then leave the phone off the hook”, hoping everyone will have forgotten about it by the time the summer torpor wears off in February.

    Happy days.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. lastmanstanding (1,241 comments) says:

    The only relevant question is

    Will making the films here add to NZ employment and bring a net economic benefit to the country.

    If the answer is Yes which it is then tell the Unions to go pull themselves off. They are a 19th century waste of oxygen

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. adze (2,005 comments) says:

    I take no pleasure in this at all – I was at the Civic Square rally. But I wish Jackson would speak up on the matter because it isn’t a good look.

    1. In 2005, a NZ film contractor is declared an employee
    2. In 2010, MEAA institutes global boycott of Hobbit film contracts until Hobbit production is unionised
    3. Jackson goes public with the Australian bully-boy release (the implied threat of the boycott to the production locality is VERY CLEAR – see http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU1009/S00283/statement-regarding-the-hobbit-and-claims-by-meaa.htm):

    - I also feel a growing anger at the way this tiny minority is endangering a project that hundreds of people have worked on over the last two years, and the thousands about to be employed for the next 4 years. The hundreds of millions of Warner Brothers dollars that is about to be spent in our economy.

    - why is this endangered? Because the “demands” of MEAA cannot be agreed to, or even considered – by law – and therefore the only options that remain involve closing the Hobbit down, or more likely shifting the production to Europe. It could so easily happen. I’ve been told that Disney are no longer bring movies to Australia because of their frustration with the MEAA.

    4. The boycott is lifted
    5. Government makes a deal with Warners that includes tweaked labour laws for film & video game industry.

    It is plausible that Warners never planned to shift production and just used anxiety around the boycott to negotiate desired changes – but it is a matter of record that Jackson implied the production location was at risk as a result of the boycott.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    and this just in – joint statement from Brownlee and Sir Peter.

    “Apologies New Zealand, i didnt mean to pretend that the Hobbit was going overseas. I know that caused lots of heartache” said Sir Pete.

    “Me too” said brownlee. “But I dont regret paying 6k to drive Warners around. It was awseome to have proper movie moguls here.”.

    ENDS

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Yvette (2,745 comments) says:

    A question also not clarified is whether both HOBBIT films would be made concurrently or, with one having been made, the union could totally compromise the second production.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. merlinnz (53 comments) says:

    adze, thanks for a lucid post. I have lost respect for you, DF, as someone who claims to be able to see both sides. You admit that the film was never in danger of moving offshore and then seem to justify the rushed law change and increased funding because of the blacklist? Are you saying John Key and Brownlee NEVER said publicly they were concerned about us losing the movie to another country?

    Not like you to be this late with a response to a political lie story.

    Those of you who choose to hate the unions at all costs, including the cost of honesty and integrity of our Ministers (which t he PM campaigned on) and extra tax payer money are hypocrites. If Carter had to go, which you all say he did, Shane Jones was a bad boy, Clark bad over the Glen + Peters affair, then how can you justify Brownlee’s lie on national TV. Coupled with his lie over the Great Barrier mining worth…a pattern emerges.

    You lose credibility when you seem to defend lies from those whose power you favour but berate those liars you dont so favour.

    [DPF: I have never said the film was never in danger of moving. To the contrary, it was in serious danger]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. merlinnz (53 comments) says:

    lastmanstanding

    THE FILMS WERE NEVER LEAVING

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. lastmanstanding (1,241 comments) says:

    merlinnz

    Evidence please

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    What certainty? Overturning the Bryson case ruling, means this will all end up in the super court again. Big winners- the lawyers.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    DPF: I have never said the film was never in danger of moving. To the contrary, it was in serious danger]

    ” the location had been long agreed.” !

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Dean Papa (782 comments) says:

    Please, let it go Mr Farrar, you great big pudding. It’s over, we won. The Hobbit movies are going to be made in NZ. We put that nasty Aussie Bully-boy union in its place. Hooray!!

    Of course the truth is we (well, some of us) were taken for a ride by Sir Peter and Warner Bros. But let’s not dwell on that too much. We shouldn’t feel in any way embarrassed, even though the Hobbit movies were never going to go anywhere, and some of us did make prats of ourselves. Let’s be honest, some of us did get just a little bit overwrought by the whole situation, didn’t we? Some of the rather more vulgar attacks by the goon squad, on the likes of Robyn Malcolm and Jennifer Ward-Leeland, were on reflection, a little unseemly. Wouldn’t you agree Mr Farrar?

    But that Sir Peter, he’s a cunning little fellow. But that shouldn’t be a surprise either. Forget the image of the simple bloke, the short tubby hairy fellow in shorts making movies on the cheap. Those days are long gone. Sir Peter is now a very wealthy and powerful man, and Warner Bros are in great debt to him. Sir Peter didn’t get where he is today without being something of a control freak. If Sir Peter wants to make movies in NZ, where he can be in control, then that is exactly what he’ll do. The Lord of the Rings movies would never have been made without him. Warner Bros know that. They were never going to take the movie out of NZ. Although they, along with Sir Peter, did a pretty good job of whipping some of us up into a frenzy.

    Just the mere mention of Aussie bullying and unions was more than sufficient to mobilise the great unwashed. Sir Peter was clever to stay well out of it for the most part. Only a couple of appearances in public, playing the part of the helpless victim to those Aussie bullies. That was some acting. No need to utilise his position and status to call for calm and reason. No need to attend the rallies in person, just sending a message to be read out was enough. If I recall correctly, in one rally I saw on the news, Sir Peter’s message to the protestors was some cringeworthy line about LOTR being in our DNA, and something about NZ not becoming a state of Australia. Magnificent stuff indeed.

    Were Warner bros really rushing to NZ to make arrangements to shift the production elsewhere? Was the rest of the world waiting in the wings, ready to pounce , should the Hobbit be relocated. Of course not. But we were only too willing to believe it was all true. I wonder why?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Sonny Blount (1,847 comments) says:

    Some real thickos out today.

    Amazing how quickly the left begins their attempted rewrite of history.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    A lot of people seem to have got lost on their way to The Committee of Public Safety and the Simon Whipp Fan Club

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    Sonny and Neil – is that all you got tonight????

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.