Hobbit film to be NZ made

October 27, 2010

The Hobbit film will be made in New Zealand.

A media release from Prime Minister John Key says:

Prime Minister John Key this evening announced an agreement has been reached between the New Zealand Government and Warner Bros that will enable the two Hobbit movies to be directed by Sir Peter Jackson to be made in New Zealand.

“I am delighted we have achieved this result,” Mr Key says. “Making the two Hobbit movies here will not only safeguard work for thousands of New Zealanders, but it will also follow the success of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy in once again promoting NZ on the world stage.”

As part of the arrangement the Government will introduce legislation in Parliament tomorrow to clarify the distinction between independent contractors and employees as it relates to the film production industry. It is this clarification that will guarantee the movies are made in New Zealand.

“The industrial issues that have arisen in the past several weeks have highlighted a significant set of concerns for the way in which the international film industry operates,” Mr Key says.

“We will be moving to ensure that New Zealand law in this area is settled to give film producers like Warner Bros the confidence they need to produce their movies in this country.”

Mr Key confirmed the Government has also moved to widen the qualifying criteria for the Large Budget Screen Production Fund to improve New Zealand’s competitiveness as a film destination for large budget films like The Hobbit.

The impact of this will mean an additional rebate for The Hobbit movies of up to US$7.5 million per picture, subject to the success of those movies.

The Government and Warner Bros have agreed to work together in a long-term strategic partnership to promote New Zealand as both a film production and tourism destination.

“My Government is determined to use the opportunity that the Hobbit movies present to highlight New Zealand as a great place to visit, as well as a great place to do business,” Mr Key says.

The strategic marketing opportunities for New Zealand from the movies will be worth tens of millions of dollars. The Government will offset US$10 million of Warner Bros marketing costs as part of the strategic partnership.

New Zealand will also host one of the world premieres of the Hobbit movies.

“I’m very pleased that we have been able to ensure that the winning combination of Sir Peter Jackson, New Line, Warner Bros, MGM and New Zealand as a whole will have the opportunity to produce these movies together,” Mr Key says.

“It’s good to have the uncertainty over, and to have everyone now full steam ahead on this project.”

Before anyone gets upset about the government giving money to foreign film makers, read not taking isn’t the same as giving at Lindsay Mitchell and “Subsidising”  Hobbit enterprise? Sounds like a good deal at Not PC.

Union stupidity put the filming at risk and provided Warners with an opportunity to pressure the government.  But any tax forgone will be negligible in comparison to the tens of millions of dollars which will now be spent in New Zealand because the film will be made here.

Kiwiblog reports that the $10 million the government is putting towards marketing is in exchange for NZ tourism information being included in materials such as DVDs. That’s a smart deal.

Nick negates nanny state

October 27, 2010

Good intentions can lead to poor legislation and unnecessary regulations.

Fortunately governments have the power to cut through red tape introduced by previous administrations.

Legislation introduced by Labour to keep children safe would have swept a lot of common and relatively safe cleaning products from supermarket shelves. National has brought some much needed common sense to the rules.

In parliament yesterday Nick Smith did an amusing show-and-tell on how he negated nanny state’s excesses.

Word of the day

October 27, 2010

Obelize -to mark with an obelus;  to condemn as spurious, doubtful or corrupt.

Lockwood not seeking re-election in Rodney

October 27, 2010

Speaker Lockwood Smith is not seeking re-election in Rodney, the seat formerly known as Kaipara which he’s held since 1984.

He said he would not seek re-election in the electorate but would stand in the general election next year as a National Party list member.

“I will continue to help my constituents and push the major roading projects in the electorate, but as Speaker I have found it to be a little more difficult to be involved in political debate,” he said in a statement.

“I feel that no matter what the future may hold for me the people of Rodney will be able to select a new member better able to voice their views in wider political debate.”

His decision is a good one. It enables the party to select a new candidate in what is a pretty blue seat while, subject to the deliberations of  National’s list ranking committee of which I’m a member, still retaining his services as an MP.

Dr Smith has won respect across parliament and outside it for his role as Speaker and the impact he’s had on improving the standard of MP’s behaviour, particularly during question time.

McCarten to contest Mana

October 27, 2010

TV3  reports that Matt McCarten intends to contest the Mana by-election.

Unite Union general secretary Matt McCarten has announced he will stand in the Mana by-election.

Mr McCarten will hold a press conference at 2pm to announce his candidacy.

That’s very bad news for Labour.

It will split the left vote and it’s also a sign that at least one union isn’t happy with the party it would normally align itself with.

National’s Hekia Parata is still the underdog in this very red electorate but her campaign will be less difficult if some of the other dogs are fighting amongst themselves.

NZ more urban

October 27, 2010

Population figures from Statistics New Zealand for the year to the end of June show more than half of us (54%) were living in the four main urban areas – Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.

  • All 16 regions recorded population growth in the June 2010 year.
  • The fastest-growing regions were Auckland (up 1.6 percent), Waikato (up 1.2 percent), and Canterbury (also up 1.2 percent).
  • The fastest-growing territorial authority areas were the Selwyn and Queenstown-Lakes districts (both up 2.5 percent).
  • The North Island population continued to grow at a slightly faster rate than that of the South and that the country is becoming increasingly more urban.

    Auckland is now home to about 1/3 of New Zealanders with an estimated resident population of 1,459,700. A little more than half the population lives in the four northernmost regions (Northland, Auckland, Waikato, and Bay of Plenty) and about 76% of the population lives in the North Island.

    The country is more urbanised with 78% of people living in a main or secondary urban area.

    The estimated resident population of the 16 main urban areas was 3,163, 400 which is 72% of the total population. A further 253,500 people lived in secondary urban areas (6%).

    All of this makes it very important to close the urban-rural divide or we’ll find that even more policies are designed by and for people who don’t understand what happens outside the city boundaries.

    Save The Cities

    October 27, 2010

    A group of concerned farmers has set up a lobby group called Save The Cities.

    “If city folk want to Save The Farms, it’s the least we can do to reciprocate and Save The Cities,” group spokesperson Fairly Emotional said.

    “Overseas buyers are lining up from all countries to purchase our houses, apartments, office blocks, factories and other residential and business property.

    “We believe the Government must take urgent steps to address overseas ownership of our homes and work places. The first step to place a moratorium on the sale of any sensitive residential or business property  to overseas ownership until there has been informed public debate and suitable protections incorporated into a review of the Overseas Investment Act 2005. New Zealand must retain ownership of our the homes, offices and workplaces of Aotearoa New Zealand.

    “Overseas investment can bring positive economic benefits to New Zealand and there are a number of examples, equally there are examples where those benefits quickly move off-shore. Much of our prime residential and business property is now in overseas ownership. Can we afford to sit back and let this happen to our large cities and the communities they support?

    “The culture of New Zealand is one of partnership with the land and the waters of Aotearoa. As partners we ask for the chance to be heard and the opportunity to best protect our properties for future generations.”

    Ms Emotional said she hadn’t been in a city for some time but used to stay with urban relatives when she was a child.

    “I have very fond memories of playing in quarter acre sections with my cousins but they tell me with in-fill housing and apartment developments there aren’t many of them left.

    “Quarter acre sections are Kiwi icons like pavlova and jandals. We can’t have foreigners buying them and turning city folk into tenants in their own homes, even though many of them already are.”

    Ms Emotional said she was aware that banning foreign buyers could precipitate a collapse in property prices.

    “But that could be a good thing. It’s too difficult for young people to get a foot on the property ladder these days. If we limit the market the rungs will get lower and make it easier for people to become home owners.”

    She said a fall in urban property prices would also help retiring farmers who’d had the price of their farms depressed by moves against foreign ownership but denied that was what was motivating the Save The Cities campaign.

    “As New Zealanders we are proud of our place in the world. We have always batted above our weight on the international stage, be it on the sporting fields or in our role as an international citizen and the responsibilities that brings with it.

    “We have a beautiful country and wonderful traditions which must never taken for granted. There will always be pressures economically, socially and culturally to make accommodations and that is the reality of a modern country. One of those traditions is property owning and the way that continues to support not only our country but the local communities which rely on the homes and businesses. We cannot let that be lost without questioning, why?”

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