The Hobbit jobs

November 28th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins at Stuff reports:

As Hobbit fever builds, the Government is touting job creation as the biggest win from incentives that add up to hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies for movie producers.

But Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says those jobs did not come cheap – and at tens of thousands of dollars a job, he questions whether the Government should be backing other industries instead.

Taxpayers have reportedly shelled out more than $500 million in the past decade subsidising Hollywood productions like Sir Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. is expected to snare as much as $60 million in subsidies.

Hollywood Studios have pressed the Government to raise the subsidies even higher – and Hobbit director Sir Peter Jackson reiterated that call yesterday.

Prime Minister John Key suggested that was unlikely, but said the Cabinet would be looking at extending them to television productions.

The Hobbit had created 3000 jobs, he said.

But Dr Norman said there needed to be a cap on the cost of producing those jobs. If 2000 jobs were created over a year at a cost of $100 million that was a cost of $50,000 a job.

“If the Government is willing to pay $50,000 a job for a Hobbit job, it does beg the question why they won’t give any support whatsoever to the manufacturing sector and are happy to see us lose tens of thousands of jobs there and do nothing about it.

Firstly it is good to see Russel Norman concerned about inefficient job subsidies. I hope his concern extends to his proposals for massive investment on “Green Jobs” as these tend to represent a subsidy of over $100,000 a job.

I’m not a huge fan of the film subsidies, but as I understand them they are close to fiscally neutral. They basically represent the a refund on the GST spent by the production. Now as the movies can be made anywhere, the argument is that if there was no subsidy then they would not be made here and the Government would not gain the GST on the production.

This is a reasonable argument. It is also quite different from subsidising a particular industry over another, where the investment would be happening regardless.

So the argument is that the taxpayer doesn’t actually lose money on the subsidy, as they gather it back from the increased GST take. And on top of that you have the wider economic activity from the production.

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57 Responses to “The Hobbit jobs”

  1. iMP (2,149 comments) says:

    NZers (Labour & Greens in particular) have to realise that we’ve got to prime the pump sometimes. The payoff for LoTR and Hobbit being so symbiotic with NZ is priceless. It will run and run for years to come and inextricably links New Zealand with LoTRings forever. Generations of tourist’s will come here (at the mo. 6% of all tourists) for this reason alone. It especially plays into our UK market as well as the US. This is a ready made industry we don’t have to create. AirNZ understood this from the beginning.

    Heaps of Hobbity stuff for groupies here that is a bit inhouse. Indulge. http://conzervative.wordpress.com/

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  2. tvb (3,938 comments) says:

    These Hollywood jobs are heavily subsidised and could disappear overnight. Even more so in this case because they are really dependant on one person Sir Peter Jackson.

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  3. queenstfarmer (696 comments) says:

    Oh dear. Russell Normal again demonstrates his utter unsuitability for anything remotely involving economics. Let the grown-ups handle this one, Russell.

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  4. campit (438 comments) says:

    You do wonder why the Government doesn’t take the broader view for the manufacturing sector though. For instance Kiwirail laying off 90 skilled workers from Hillside undoubtedly has a negative impact on the wider Dunedin economy, but Kiwirail just take the narrow and short term least cost route.

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  5. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    You Neolibs crack me up – All for the ‘free market’ until it doesn’t suit you and your rich mates. Then it’s “stuff the market, we need subsidies”.

    If Warner Bros, Peter Jackson and their cronies want to make movies in New Zealand, no problem, come and do it.

    But they shouldn’t expect multi-million dollar bailouts from New Zealand taxpayers. Perhaps Jackson could just pay his fair share of tax instead of buying a $50 million private jet.

    There is also an expectation they will obey New Zealand laws, after all this is a democracy.

    This means:

    1. No contracting out (or buying out) of labour laws.
    2. No cruelty to animals.
    3. Paying the same taxes everyone does.

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  6. Monty (944 comments) says:

    Under no circumstances should anyone believe that if Labour and Clark were still in Government (God forbid) they would have done anything different in similar circumstances – A Labour Government would be happy to change legislation for clarity around contractors and in definitely would have been happy to increase subsidies to ensure the movies were made in NZ.

    The main difference is that the Nats would have supported such legislation for the good of NZ. Instead we have the Labour Hobbit Haters now becoming hypocrites and walking up the red carpet like the duplicate pricks they really are.

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  7. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    Hamnida: If you’re going to claim that they should obey the laws of the land, then name one law that has actually been broken instead of repeating silly lines.

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  8. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    Agree to some extend with campit’s point: some wider analysis should have been taken on the cost of getting hillside to build some of the new wagons (say, 10%).

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  9. RF (1,128 comments) says:

    Here we have Ham the Hobbit Hater calling us Neolibs and slagging off at our so called rich mates being looked after by the Govt. Christ I have never meet anyone who is so envious of the right. I bet you sit there drooling and crying out why not me when new products are advertised on TV.

    I presume that you are working and paying taxes

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  10. Colville (1,769 comments) says:

    campit/scubone.
    I do not believe it was possible to come close to making Hillside competitive. We are a tiny nation and we cannot set up a facory from scratch to make a product just because we need a few.

    I used to own a sheetmetal workshop. We stopped making extract hoods (for fish and chip shops) because they came out of a container from china for less than it cost us for the sheetmetal. $1200 versus $3000. Bollocks quality but the buyers dont care.

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  11. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    scrubone – Good Faith bargaining in the Employment Relations Act 2000 and animal cruelty in the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

    Disgusting human beings, the lot of them. As if being terrible to workers wasn’t bad enough, they went ahead and killed twenty innocent animals that can’t even speak up for themselves.

    What standards do you Neolibs have? Is this the New Zealand you really want?

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  12. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    But Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says those jobs did not come cheap – and at tens of thousands of dollars a job, he questions whether the Government should be backing other industries instead.

    Taxpayers have reportedly shelled out more than $500 million in the past decade subsidising Hollywood productions like Sir Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Hobbit is expected to snare as much as $60 million in subsidies.

    DPF:
    I’m not a huge fan of the film subsidies, but as I understand them they are close to fiscally neutral. They basically represent the a refund on the GST spent by the production. Now as the movies can be made anywhere, the argument is that if there was no subsidy then they would not be made here and the Government would not gain the GST on the production.

    Norman talks about “taxpayers shelling out” as though the government literally wrote Warners a massive cheque?

    Whereas I thought I understood that what happened, was that they were offered their own special tax break?

    So the NZ Govt took far less tax from the production than they would have, if the production had been paying the same tax rates as any other NZ company doing the same project.

    HOWEVER – if they had not been offered this special tax rate, they may not have done the project here at all, in which case the NZ Govt would have received ZERO tax from the project, and presumably far fewer NZ citizens would have been paid contractors to the project also.

    So to talk about the tax break being a cost to taxpayers of tens of thousands per job created is completely wrong isn’t it??

    If there’s a lesson in all of this, isn’t it that the Hobbit / LOTR projcts have illustrated quite nicely, roughly what order of changes need to be made to New Zealand’s tax system, to get this country into a position where big overseas companies choose to do their projects in New Zealand, in preference to anywhere else in the world they might just as well choose to do them?

    (I’m no right-winger so please point out any errors but please excuse any clunkiness in this half-baked theory!)

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  13. Cunningham (746 comments) says:

    God Hamnida you must be one very sad and miserable prick to be around. If you have a family, I feel sorry for them having to put up with your negative attitude if you are such a troll outside of posting in Kiwiblog. Can’t you just be positive about this huge achievement? Regardless of whether you agree with subsidies or not, this massive blockbuster series of movies is being made here. Imagine the amount of money, jobs, businesses that have been created because of it. Some credit goes to Labour for getting it started (although I can remove that for their attempt to get the Hobbit shitcanned).

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  14. Colville (1,769 comments) says:

    RRM, same thought was in my skull.

    If Gummint enticed say Volkswagon to move its plant here from germany and employed 10,000 people (whose wages get spent in NZ) and we chaged VW ZERO company tax. Isnt NZ still a clear winner?

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  15. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    Ha ha hamnida, craking me up again:

    “Taxpayers have reportedly shelled out more than $500 million in the past decade subsidising Hollywood productions like Sir Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Hobbit is expected to snare as much as $60 million in subsidies.”

    Who was in government when the LoTR Trilogy was being produced? Hint – the films were released in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
    Now I certainly wasn’t complaining about them being subsidised as they were fantastic for the economy. Were you complaining back then?

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  16. RF (1,128 comments) says:

    Ham the Hobbit hater – You are ranting about 20 innocent animals being killed. Enjoy your steak tonight !!! Note for self…. Shucks where does my meat come from – not from animals I hope.

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  17. lastmanstanding (1,154 comments) says:

    My own experience having travelled the world before the LOR/Hobbits and since is that NZ has gained significant recognistion and interest in all things Kiwi.

    Back in the 1970s when I first ventured overseas the only thing Kiwi known as the ABs and that was only by people who had an interest in sport. I lost count of having to try and explain exactly where NZ was on the map to the extent i would carry a pocket map so I could point us out.

    Since the LORs no problem. Soon as I mention Im a Kiwi its all about the LOR the scenery the people they have known who have visited and how they would love to visit.

    Does this translate to jobs and exports? Well I suggest my 1970s experience was that most of the world knew FA about NZ even where it was. Now they do and also know stuff we produce and sell.
    Got to be better than it was before LOR/Hobbits.

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  18. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    Hamnida: and how exactly have those laws been broken?

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  19. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Question:

    Would a foreign actor like Sir Ian McKellan have had to pay income tax in NZ for work he did here on the Hobbit?

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  20. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    Hamnida: also, nice to see a tacit admission that your 3rd point was indefensible. Of course, the fact that you made a point that was never going to be defendable…

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  21. queenstfarmer (696 comments) says:

    Perhaps Jackson could just pay his fair share of tax

    Two questions, Hamnida:

    1. What is he currently paying?
    2. What is the “fair share” that he should be paying?

    I await the deafening silence of your response…

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  22. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    RRM: Given how long they do filming for on these PJ projects, I’d guess yes.

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  23. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    @RRM,

    Spot on.

    Russel knows this. He understands it completely. It just doesn’t fit with the message he wants to deliver, so he pretends it is actually something else – that the govt is paying WB to produce the films here.

    It is completely false – they are simply agreeing to take less in tax in return for the movies being produced here. If the incentives were not offered we would have zero income from them and zero tax – as you correctly pointed out.

    Russel is a shyster and the media is complicit in this by not calling him on his false statements and/or reckless policies (such as printing money.)

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  24. Kleva Kiwi (267 comments) says:

    “Hamnida (876) Says:
    November 28th, 2012 at 11:29 am
    scrubone – Good Faith bargaining in the Employment Relations Act 2000 and animal cruelty in the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

    Disgusting human beings, the lot of them. As if being terrible to workers wasn’t bad enough, they went ahead and killed twenty innocent animals that can’t even speak up for themselves.

    What standards do you Neolibs have? Is this the New Zealand you really want?”

    What nonsense you continue to peddle. Not only do you get your facts wrong, you simply regurgitate shock headings that have no founding in reality!

    Laws where not ‘changed’. They where clarified as they where not written clearly and mostly ambiguous to begin with. This occured as a result of a Judge incorrectly declaring an individual who was employed as a contractor on set being made an employee, yet still receiving all the benefits and financial incentives of private contracting, plus all the securities of individual employment. He did not have to pay back his employer the additional incentives. So now we have employment law that correctly differentiates between contractor and employee. This was a concern raised by WB and rightly so.

    Second of all, parroting unfounded and discredited accusations with regards to animal treatment does not make them true. Simply put, this was a disgruntled ex employee who was FIRED from his job trying to get one back at them, and PETA and some other animal NAZI’s seen an opportunity for free publicity. A horse broke its ankle and had to get put down. So what. It happens all the time and putting them down is the most HUMANE thing to do.

    So tell us Hamnida, why has your Liabour cronies attended the premier after trying to discredit it and its supporters for so long, going as far as actively supporting moving it offshore? A bit hypocritical dont you think? You have rallied against WB having influence over our governance and independence as a country, yet have openly supported other outside political influences like animal welfare groups and unions from the states and Auz…

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  25. swan (651 comments) says:

    As much as I hate to agree with Norman, he has a point here. Subsidising investment in a particular industry is generally not worthwhile unless there are some externalities. However even if you believe in intervention, surely a better industry to subsidised would be one that invests in physical capital. That way the investment is actually tied to NZ long term.

    The whole “doesnt cost us anything” argument that DPF has put forward is basically an extension of the lump of labour fallacy. If the hobbit wasnt here, these people wouldnt just sit around and do nothing.

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  26. iMP (2,149 comments) says:

    The difference between Hobbit and Manufacturing job subsidies, is:
    1. Hobbit jobs create wider payoffs and are a short term subsidy
    2. Manufacturing jobs are a long-term loss in NZ that will drain Govt coffers because we can’t compete in this industry internationally.

    Better to look at scoring US military plane, ship or other hardware maintenance contracts as part of our Allies relationships. Manufacturing has always been marginal in NZ and is now much more so.

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  27. lazza (296 comments) says:

    Well David lets see, shall we how well your single issue “GST” Hobbitt cost-benefit contention stacks up.

    Quote … “but as I understand them they are close to fiscally neutral. They basically represent the a refund on the GST spent by the production. Now as the movies can be made anywhere, the argument is that if there was no subsidy then they would not be made here and the Government would not gain the GST on the production.” Un quote

    DNF: “as I understand it?” … suggests received wisdom a’ la bar room Beer/chattering classes Latte-talk … a little.

    Far better-read on

    * Obtain the services of two neutral-independent qualified analyst/cost-tax accountants

    *set them to developing a methodolgy that properly assesses the cost-benefits of the Hobbitt case to include consideration of

    * not just GST collected but GST deductions received! netted off (Does DNF do this? does not look like it). Now this! is more likley to “be neutral”.

    *Accumulate measureable costs “Total A” comprising time and effort of public sector/political involvement lobbying plus advisors costs, subsidies from WCC re parade day et al, Wellington CBD assessed disruption loss of productivity.

    *Assess intangible costs “Total AA” including workforce opportunity cost of more productive enterprise

    * Accumulate direct cost benefits”Total B” … I can’t think of any! but lets say a small residual net GST receipt. Offset wages of Hobbitt employees what? … with assessed unemployment benefits foregone?

    * Assess intangible benefits “total BB”… Enormous? Country exposure/economic activity/tourism boost. See if the two experts agree … when inevitably they don’t … then use the “average of both”.

    *What have I omitted?

    * Compare totals of A + AA with B + BB … result expressed in hard dollars for A and B totals and in “soft” dollar terms for AA and BB

    Then we have An Analysis? worthy of the name.

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  28. wat dabney (3,434 comments) says:

    Exactly RRM.

    A tax break is not a subsidy.

    Given that fact, most of the complaints are exposed as entirely fallacious.

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  29. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    I do not believe it was possible to come close to making Hillside competitive. We are a tiny nation and we cannot set up a facory from scratch to make a product just because we need a few.

    Waa? You *do* know that there *is* a factory there right now, don’t you?

    In fact, this factory was the most viable way of making “a few” wagons. The issue was that the order was far too large for them to handle it, or do it cost-effectivly.

    I’ve no trouble with having big jobs awarded to the most cost effective option. But if giving say, 10% of the work to the company’s own factory saves the government dole payments, we gain twice. We’ve certainly lost a good facility now which may be needed in future.

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  30. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Keep chanting neolib, it doesn’t make you look like a sad twisted dick at at all.

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  31. queenstfarmer (696 comments) says:

    Hamnida, you accuse them of:

    animal cruelty in the Animal Welfare Act 1999 … they went ahead and killed twenty innocent animals

    I trust, then, that you will be filing a criminal complaint with the police? Please let us know when you do file your complaint. What, you’re not going to? Oh, why not? Do you hate animals, Hamnida? You either have information about illegal animal cruelty and are choosing to let the bad man get away with it, or you’re full of shit. Let’s see which it is.

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  32. lazza (296 comments) says:

    Oh Sorry I forgot/don’t know … “Taxation”.

    In whose juridiction do the taxable revenues from the Films reside?. The British Virgin Islands, USA , NZ?. If it is/is not the latter … then should’nt this be Public Knowledge?

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  33. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    Swan “If the hobbit wasnt here, these people wouldnt just sit around and do nothing.” – of course not, they’d follow the jobs overseas mostly.

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  34. wat dabney (3,434 comments) says:

    To educate Russel, here’s an example of a genuine subsidy:

    ‘The U.S. wind industry is in despair. The Production Tax Credit (PTC), a subsidy of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour to producers of electricity from wind turbines, is set to expire at the end of this year. The American Wind Energy Association cites a study by Navigant Consulting, claiming that, “…37,000 Americans stand to lose their jobs by the end of the first quarter of 2013 if Congress does not extend the PTC.”’

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/11/26/a-subsidy-thats-blowin-in-the-wind

    (And, by the by, the article continues:

    ‘The 39,000 U.S. wind turbines generated only 29% of their rated output during 2011. When the wind doesn’t blow, conventional power plants must provide backup power if continuity of electrical supply is to be maintained.
    In fact, electricity sourced from wind turbines does not cut CO2 emissions from a power system. Because of the rapid variation in the wind, backup coal or natural gas power plants must frequently and inefficiently cycle on and off to support demand. Studies from electrical power systems in Netherlands, Colorado, and Texas show that combined wind-conventional systems emit more CO2 and use more fuel than conventional systems alone.’)

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  35. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    lazza – I eagerly await the results of your analysis. When will you have it completed?

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  36. Colville (1,769 comments) says:

    Scrubone, there is a vast gulf between what is there and what is required to manufacture a decent modern product and that aside the Hillside shop would still be importing 3/4 of the gear made up anyways. From China.
    Or are you saying we should build a mine , steel mill and foundry as well?

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  37. Colville (1,769 comments) says:

    lazza, I wouldnt stress about tax, films never make “profit” because of the interesting accountancy practices of Hollywood.

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  38. swan (651 comments) says:

    Rightnow: “Swan “If the hobbit wasnt here, these people wouldnt just sit around and do nothing.” – of course not, they’d follow the jobs overseas mostly.”

    So Right now, are you suggesting that all the flights out of Wellington will be full of emmigrating Weta workshop artists over the next month?

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  39. lazza (296 comments) says:

    Oh Yes Ta Colville … I forgot (again)… Tax is for dodging!

    But Hey see today’s Guardian. They have done “an amazing number”, naming and shaming the Big Boys sheltering their taxes in London Property. Ever wonder why a lil Flat in Westminster costs a Good Lotto Win. Answer: The same as for Hollywwod do with their profits … they lose em all somewheres. The Fiscal Cliff, Obama, Europe’s meltdown, Gecko, and The Occupy Movement all signify … that the tax evasion/avoidance industry will soon be behind bars … unless they play ball. End Of Sermon.

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  40. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    I’d suggest some of them will go overseas swan, some will get jobs working on other productions (that would be first choice for most of them), some will get jobs in different industries and some will go on a benefit.

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  41. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    lazza – hi philu, long time no see.

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  42. PaulL (5,774 comments) says:

    I agree Hobbit is a great accomplishment. I even sort of agree with the tax breaks.

    Here’s the problem though. There are an awful lot of things that would be done in NZ if they were tax free, that are not done here today. Are all those things also things that we should give tax breaks for? Following that to it’s logical conclusion, shouldn’t we take tax off everything, as that would then allow us to have a much larger economy?

    The reality is that we do have a government to support. Whilst I’d agree that government should be smaller, and therefore every industry in NZ should be getting a tax break, I’m not at all sure that it makes sense for the govt to pick and choose industries that get a break. Because when you do that, it just means that other industries need to pay more tax than they otherwise would – when you give movies a tax break you’re choosing to have less farming, or less tourism, or less something else.

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  43. Lance (2,309 comments) says:

    @wat dabney
    Slightly OT….
    BTW that variable power issue can be sorted with a technology known as ‘demand side’. It is quite do-able but alas there is little more than talk on the topic. Too many vested interests going for the quick buck and convincing those shelling out any subsidies to exclude anything else and instead end up screwing up the whole system. The answer is more like Edison’s light bulb. The light bulb was great but it needed an entire infrastructure to make it work including generators, transmission even practical electrical switches etc.
    The worst thing is subsides are more trouble than they are worth, it promotes one sector and kills another, also usually collapsing the one it favored after the subsidies are removed. Some get in quick and make the bucks but the industry is left in tatters.
    Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water on renewables, it’s just that the implementation was been fucked up by officialdom (I could go on for hours on this topic… shitsheads a-plenty in this game)

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  44. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    PaulL – did you account for (as just one aspect) the 3000 people employed to make the movies who pay tax on their income (and don’t collect a benefit) thus resulting in a greater gain to the government coffers ?

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  45. Sam Buchanan (499 comments) says:

    “If the hobbit wasnt here, these people wouldnt just sit around and do nothing.”

    Dunno about that – seems to be an awful lot of people sitting around on the dole in between Jackson’s productions. One of the reasons why film-making hasn’t just shot of to an even lower wage location is that you need to be able to maintain a fairly skilled pool of workers who will only be needed from time to time. Social welfare’s pretty good for that.

    “Or are you saying we should build a mine , steel mill and foundry as well?”

    Last I heard we still had those.

    http://www.nzsteel.co.nz/about-new-zealand-steel/operations-/glenbrook-steel-site

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  46. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    @RightNow,

    * Don’t forget the ‘foreign capital investment’ element of the deal else Russel will be using that argument as evidence of the ‘Keynesian multiplier’ and insisting that printing money is a good thing. [Which it absolutely is not.]

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  47. PaulL (5,774 comments) says:

    RightNow: doesn’t change the point. That would also be true for the hypothetical VW manufacturing plant above, or my preferred theoretical “IT company tax break” that encourages services exports from NZ. In both cases NZ still gets some benefits in jobs and income tax and other bits and pieces. So arguably it’s still net good for the economy.

    Basically this is a full-costing v’s marginal costing argument. You can always say that at the margin, it is beneficial for NZ so why not do it. But the problem is that if the entire economy is priced based on marginal costing, nobody’s paying the overheads.

    It has been suggested before, however, that we could drop company tax to a very low level – say 5%. Any NZ company owners still have to pay tax on that – since when the company distributes the profit it is taxable to the owner. Any offshore company owners would arguably have incentive to recognise more of their profits in NZ, and to open companies in NZ. So not much loss to the NZ tax system, and arguably would increase employment a lot. To the extent that subsidies take this form I have little against them. My understanding is that the Hobbit subsidy wasn’t structured in this way.

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  48. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    Scrubone, there is a vast gulf between what is there and what is required to manufacture a decent modern product and that aside the Hillside shop would still be importing 3/4 of the gear made up anyways. From China.
    Or are you saying we should build a mine , steel mill and foundry as well?

    Again, your comments are utterly bizarre.

    Just because we import steel to make stuff doesn’t mean we shoudn’t make stuff. Yes, the steel is imported as are many of the components. But that’s the way manufacturing works, you purchase components, make others yourself and put them together.

    There *is* a foundry there, already. I’m staggered that you think there’s isn’t. What do you think they have there!

    And they have been making wagons and carriages for years – very, very good ones.

    How on earth can you make such comments when you clearly know so little about what you are talking abouth.

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  49. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    Hamnida, you accuse them of:

    animal cruelty in the Animal Welfare Act 1999 … they went ahead and killed twenty innocent animals

    I trust, then, that you will be filing a criminal complaint with the police?

    Backup.

    Hamnida is acusing Warner Bros, Peter Jackson of killing twenty innocent animals.

    But Warner Bros were not in charge of the animals, and no one working for Warner Bros killed them. Neither did Peter Jackson.

    Let alone that he’s claiming that killing them was cruel. That isn’t even the allegation, the allegation is that they were kept in pasture that was unsuitable for horses, and had accidents that means they needed to be put down. Killing an animal isn’t cruelty per se.

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  50. wat dabney (3,434 comments) says:

    swan,

    The whole “doesnt cost us anything” argument that DPF has put forward is basically an extension of the lump of labour fallacy. If the hobbit wasnt here, these people wouldnt just sit around and do nothing.

    This is the only real argument. Although no subsidy was paid, we don’t know what the opportunity cost was.

    lazza,

    But Hey see today’s Guardian…

    Would that be the same Guardian notorious for its own tax avoidence scheming?

    http://order-order.com/2009/02/02/guardians-tax-hypocrisy-is-ridiculous/

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  51. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    A tax break is a subsidy by another name. Smoke and mirrors, not that I place any factual credence in DPF’s sycophantic analysis. It’s sounds like one of English’s staffer gave him a bell and said, “Hey, run this past the punters! It might take a bit of the heat off. Cheers, mate.”

    However, if it’s OK to forgo GST on films, why is it not OK to forgo GST on food (you know, like the Aussies do)?

    Oh, that’s right, subsidies are for the rich, the powerful, the successful and the well-connected…

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  52. queenstfarmer (696 comments) says:

    why is it not OK to forgo GST on food (you know, like the Aussies do)?

    Wrong (as usual). The Aussies do not forgo GST on food. Only some food, and it’s a nightmare to administer.

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  53. thedavincimode (6,102 comments) says:

    Tax break = subsidy.

    WFF = subsidised rooting.

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  54. V (660 comments) says:

    Russell, you might like to f*ck off back to Australia and see how well their film industry is doing.

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/entertainment/movies/call-for-action-as-australia-loses-200m-film-20121126-2a2x2.html

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  55. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    Luc, perhaps you could comment on the fact the LOTR trilogy got $300-$400 million in subsidies and tell us why it was ok for Helen to do that at $100-$133million per film but not ok for Key to ok $65-$85 million for the Hobbit?

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  56. kiwi in america (2,333 comments) says:

    A few comments. I have to agree with lastmanstanding. I first lived in the US for 3 years in the late 80′s – NZ was unknown virtually – the only way I could identify it was that it was by Australia. Americans knew all about Australia from Crocodile Dundee and The Man from Snowy River movies. Movies are a fantastic way to ramp up name brand recognition. Since TOTR it’s the opposite – almost everyone I meet here has heard of NZ and rave about its beauty because of TOTR. Having spent some time in the travel industry promoting NZ when I lived here in the 80′s it is a very difficult and costly thing to do for a small country in the massive northern hemisphere markets. TOTR has provided NZ with hundreds of millions of dollars of free publicity (because he movie production costs are sunk regardless of any country specific promotion). The Hobbit is getting publicity big time here – the number of times Hobbit themed NZ promotion advertising pops up here is astounding and shows the wisdom of the deal with Warner Bros that Key insisted – that of the $50m in NZ specific promotion. The ROI on that alone will be tremendous.

    The movie industry is cutthroat and ruthless – the big Hollywood producers are used to playing one jurisdiction off against another to squeeze the very best deal so the tax inducements that were offered are standard and par for the course if you want to play with the big boys. Each movie is a new deal – there’s no decade length deal just a deal for a movie (or in this case a trilogy). Jackson haters love to say that Jackson overplayed the threat – knowing a few people who’ve invested in movies here I can tell you that the threats were absolutely real and that the big name production houses always have a Plan B and C ready to move to. NZ is beautiful for sure but the scenery for The Hobbit could’ve been recreated in a number of places anxious to host a blockbuster movie like that.

    The Hobbit hating expressed by the left is part and parcel of their vicious class envy. Ideology trumps everything and so doing the bidding of the Australian Actors union was deemed by the NZ union movement and their Labour Party lackies to be of far greater importance than any job creation or promotion practicalities. To see prominent Labour front benchers at the premier was an abject lesson in political hypocrisy and it was marvelous to see Steven Joyce skewering them in Question Time yesterday. The whining, screeching, lying (animal cruelty) and outright distortion of the financial facts has been one of the more disgraceful acts of economic treachery in NZ history and the animus directed at one of our most successful businessman in our history and John Key for his role in brokering the deal, whilst predictable politics as usual, was the NZ tall poppy syndrome at its absolute worst and is one of THE most compelling reasons why so many successful entrepreneurs have taken their skills, heir wealth (and tax) creating abilities to climes more favourable to their skills. NZ is all the poorer for it and yet when we actually get it right and make a splash on the world stage rather than be proud (as most kiwis are) we get the sneering, moralizing and lying from the left.

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  57. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Any means is justified it seems…fuck the consequences.

    Helen Kelly and the green affiliated haters think its fine to try and derail a great promotional event for the countries brand and tourism.

    Economic treason sums it up KIA.

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