Cherie Howie at HoS reports:
Foreign workers are being targeted for more than 500 visual-effects jobs for the production of the next mega-movie inThe Hobbit series.
Wellington-based special-effects giant Weta Digital, co-owned by Sir Peter Jackson, has asked Immigration New Zealand for approval in principle to outsource 526 positions.
Weta says most are just extensions to visas that are about to expire and the company has a great record of hiring Kiwis, but Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly is questioning the company’s commitment to the local industry.
Apart from ads on the company website, she could not find evidence Weta had let Kiwis know opportunities were available, and questioned why another application was being made when Weta asked for 369 temporary work visas last year.
“They’ve done very little to bridge that gap. They don’t want to invest in (our) people.”
But Weta general manager Tom Greally said the company had proved its commitment to this country – 70 per cent of its 1,100-strong workforce were New Zealand citizens or residents. The temporary work visas were for roles that would be spilt between about 140 new employees and 250 people who were already working for the company, but who needed new visas.
Weta’s created 1,100 jobs and the CTU attacks them for it. Their sin I suspect is that few of their employees are union members.
Of course some of their highly specialised jobs can’t be filled by NZers, but you know what – a huge proportion of the people who come to Wellington to work for Weta decide to stay on and live here permanently. They’re a great attractor of global talent.