The information must be released

February 9th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Alex Fensome at Stuff reports:

Film giant Warner Brothers has told the Government it will jeopardise future film investment if it releases “sensitive information” about the deal to keep production of The Hobbit in New Zealand.

Ombudsman David McGee has ordered the release of 18 previously withheld Government documents about the 2010 deal.

They include emails between Warner Bros’ New Line studio, Sir Peter Jackson’s Wingnut Films and the Government about the union dispute that threatened to take production offshore.

The Government, which had refused to release the documents, can now prevent their publication only by issuing an order in council, signed by the governor-general. Such a power has never been used.

It is not unusual for an information release to go to the Ombudsman for a ruling. As far as I am aware the Government has not indicated in any way that it would over-rule the Ombudsman. But it goes without saying, that of course they should not.

In Mr McGee’s ruling, New Line warns that, “if the Government is not willing to adequately protect this sensitive information from disclosure, this will operate as a major disincentive to motion picture studios as well as local and foreign talent to utilise New Zealand as a location for future productions”.

It said the documents reflected “negotiations and innermost thinking, including certain strategic decisions, legal and personal opinions, offers from third-party governments and other private information”. If made public, the information would damage New Line’s business relationships and impair its ability to negotiate with unions and third parties, it said.

There are a number of grounds on which information can be with-held. The Ombudsman is the authority that decides on if the information qualifies. He has decided it does not. Companies should know when corresponding with Government that pretty much anything they say is likely to be made public unless it qualifies to be with-held.

Prime Minister John Key said the Government was “quite relaxed” about releasing the paperwork and he expected it to happen.

It had not released the information in the previous two years because of commercial negotiations during the filming of the movies.

While he acknowledged that Warner Bros and Wingnut did not want the information released, he said it was unlikely the Government would use its veto powers.

Good.

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8 Responses to “The information must be released”

  1. Brian Griffin (22 comments) says:

    It’s better not to behave like a banana republic, even if that’s how the US view us. I’m all for creating employment, and our film industry should measure up on it’s ability, and unique locations as competitive advantage, not by having their arm twisted over price, then have the US corporations try to control our semi-constitutional process.

    Mr Key is right.

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  2. flipper (3,589 comments) says:

    Why?
    I could not care less about the left wing union-driven desires of Red Radio…. or all the sticky beaks.

    What I care about is the creation of employment and the actual/inferential promotion of New Zealand as a tourist destination, not to menbtion a nation where movie technology is on (in some cases, as in Hoibbit, in advance) the cutting edge.

    McGee is a silly fart who would better serve the nation as Clerk of the House of Representatives , from whence he came.

    Red Radio, as always, will attempt to sell the nation down the gurgler. Plain dumb.

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  3. Johnboy (15,006 comments) says:

    “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

    Groucho Marx.

    :)

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  4. dime (9,472 comments) says:

    “if the Government is not willing to adequately protect this sensitive information from disclosure, this will operate as a major disincentive to motion picture studios as well as local and foreign talent to utilise New Zealand as a location for future productions”.

    Hey New line, GO FUCK YOURSELF!

    However would we cope if we never got to film a new line romantic turd here?

    The hobbit is done.

    Jackson will never have to face leaving NZ again

    new lines track record is average at best. their last 5 movies before the hobbit:

    Rock Of Ages – lost money. Garbage.
    Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – starring the Rock
    New Year’s Eve – Dime would never watch it, but judging by the premise its a big steaming pile of shit
    A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas – cant believe it was snubbed at the oscars
    Final Destination 5

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  5. Johnboy (15,006 comments) says:

    I heard that they were planning to film an epic about the adventures of the worlds greatest rooter in all the whorehouses of south east Asia dime.

    They just hadn’t got round to signing the multimillion dollar contract, with a yet to be announced new star!

    Shit happens! :)

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  6. Steve (North Shore) (4,500 comments) says:

    Warner Brothers should not be interfering with NZ Politics. They are cheapskates.
    Robin Malcome where are you?

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  7. OneTrack (2,621 comments) says:

    So the CTU and Radio New Zealand don’t want New Line or Wingnut (or anybody else?) to make any more movies in New Zealand. We already knew that.

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  8. KevinH (1,132 comments) says:

    I agree with Dime, Key is saying ok Newline, you got your cut and made some good bucks now fuck off and bludge off someone else and hey, we don’t need you.

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