Claire Trevett reports:
Three Labour MPs, including its leadership team of David Shearer and Grant Robertson, will attend the red-carpet premiere of The Hobbit tomorrow despite strong criticism over the deal to appease the movie’s makers, Warner Bros.
The absolute hypocrites. You see it is not as if Labour just opposed the deal at the time – they have attacked it scores and scores of times over the last two years. Labour MPs rail against the deal constantly. Their policy is to reverse it. In fact their policy is to basically turn all contractors into employees, which would absolutely destroy global film production in New Zealand.
Mr Robertson denied it was hypocritical to attend the event after criticising the deal with Warner Bros which included a change to employment law to set out the legal status of film workers as contractors rather than employees. “I remain staunchly opposed to the legislation passed by the National Government in this matter. We thought it was wrong and unnecessary and still do.
Labour still seem unable to understand or accept that restrictive labour laws discourage films like this being made in New Zealand. They think you can have your cake and eat it also. Worse of all they backed the Australian union that instituted a global boycott against The Hobbit against the thousands of Kiwis who gained employment on it.
Normally I am an advocate of civility in politics, but this hypocrisy stinks to hell. If you see the Hobbit hypocrites on the red carpet tomorrow I encourage you to let them know what you think of their hypocrisy.
Mr Robertson said it was appropriate for him to attend – he was the MP for Wellington Central and The Hobbit had employed a large number of people in his electorate.
No thanks to you. Your union backers almost saw the film move overseas – and you backed them – and still do. Grant has a history of not backing his constituents – as when he filibustered his own local bill on behalf of the Royal Society of NZ based in his electorate.
The Green Party also criticised National at the time and a spokeswoman said none of its MPs were going.
In 2010, the stoush was exacerbated by the Actors Unity proposing a “blacklist” on the Hobbit movies to push for a collective contract – a blacklist which was subsequently lifted. Actors Equity has said it was a scapegoat after official papers showed Mr Brownlee had advised that the real concern of Warners was the employment law change rather than a blacklist.
The very change that Labour fights against, and has vowed to repeal. They want contractors to be employees, even if the parties have agreed to be contractors, which is hideously complex and expensive for film productions.
And if you think there was no danger of The Hobbit moving, then read this:
“[Warner Bros] had sent a location scout around England and Scotland to take photos, and they literally had the script broken down to each scene, and in each scene there were pictures of the Scottish Highlands, and the forests in England… and that was to convince us we could easily just go over there and shoot the film,” he told Radio New Zealand.
All thanks to the Australian union and its supporters in NZ.