Pay it back


Oh dear.

Winston Peters has never let selective memory get in the way of political point scoring but Keeping Stock has come across this which would be difficult to beat for hypocrisy:

Winston hypocrisy

A huge 70% of Kiwis back our call for Hollywood companies to pay back the $67 million Government subsidy they got to make The Hobbit. They should do the right thing & give the money back.

If polled I am sure an even more huge 99% (that’s everyone minus the few deluded who believe Peters can do no wrong) would back the call for him to give the money back too.

He might have forgotten but we still remember the  $158,000 he took from taxpayers to fund his 2005 election campaign which has never been repaid.

Hobbit sequel


Steven Joyce, in his role as acting Minister of Finance, explains the plot of the next sequel to the Hobbit:

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Word has reached me of a drama that is currently playing out, which might be suited to the big screen or perhaps go straight to DVD. In this particular performance—it is a very similar movie—the “Fellowship” is led by a tall, thinning, grey wizard, who surrounds himself with a loyal legion of— . . .

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: In this particular performance, the “Fellowship” is led by a tall, thinning, grey wizard, who surrounds himself with a loyal legion of halflings sworn to protect him against a slimy, bearded creature hiding and plotting in the darkness, consumed by jealousy, and relentlessly in pursuit of his “precious”. Their journey is made more difficult by the presence of a number of goblins still loyal to their former leader, an all-powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing eye, watching from a distance—roughly, between here and New York. We are due to hear more about the conclusion of this particular story in February of next year, but I understand that it might be a little bit of a flop, because, rather than giant eagles, the fellowship have decided to put their faith in an elderly mallard.

On a more serious note, he also details the contribution the screen industry makes to New Zealand economy.

Mr Speaker, may I be the first to wish you a happy “Hobbit Day”, and say that New Zealand has a vibrant screen industry, which directly supports more than 2,700 businesses, over 95 percent of which are involved in production and postproduction work. The Statistics New Zealand 2010-11 screen industry survey reported that revenue from the screen industry increased to almost $3 billion in 2011. Feature film revenue for New

Zealand has been trending up since the screen industry survey was first released in 2008. In 2011 feature film revenue increased by 15 percent to more than $700 million, and international revenue also grew by 17 percent, to more than $440 million, with almost $390 million coming from North America.

Hon Tau Henare: How are the Hobbit films supporting New Zealand jobs and the wider community?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The Hobbit films have led to around 3,000 jobs to date, with about $1.5 million per week being paid to the crew. There has also been a significant flow-on effect: 93,000 hotel beds have been occupied, 1,800 rental cars and 1,650 other vehicles used, just over $9 million spent with local suppliers for set construction, and just under $1.5 million spent with local food suppliers. Further, the media exposure for New Zealand tourism from the films and from today’s world premiere will be felt for years to come. The Government realised the benefits that would come from making these films in this country, and is proud to have actively supported The Hobbit films from the very beginning.

Hon Tau Henare: What reports has he seen opposing development of the New Zealand screen industry?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I have seen a number of comments, which included, firstly, opposing and, then, pledging to repeal the legislation passed to enable the filming of The Hobbit, even if it meant losing the films offshore. I have seen other comments that label the passing of that legislation as “staggering”, “a day of shame”, and also “a disgrace”. I note with interest, though, that these people, who are loosely described by the media as “Hobbit-haters”, have clearly changed their tune, with a number of their rank now attending the red carpet world premiere of The Hobbit in Wellington this afternoon. These same people will no doubt attend the opening of the Auckland International Convention Centre when it happens, will no doubt attend the opening of the Denniston mine when it happens— . . .

The H word is considered unparliamentary but it applies to the Hobbit-haters who moan about job losses and the sticky economy but oppose legislation and development which will lead to economic growth and create more jobs.



Was The Hobbit worth it?


The making of The Hobbit hasn’t been without controversy and the naysayers are doing their best to spoil the party to celebrate its opening.

However, it’s hard to argue with these numbers:

<>National has been actively committed to supporting The Hobbit from the beginning.  We protected 3000 jobs for NZers. We're bloody excited for the world premier!

Hobbit film to be NZ made


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.

Word of the day


Bebother –  bring extreme trouble upon.

“Confusticate and bebother these dwarfs!” he said aloud – The Hobbit.

Not a good week for unions


It should have been a good week for unions.

The CTU and EPMU got plenty of publicity at the Labour Party conference last weekend and they tried to capitalise on that with marches against the government on Wednesday.

But that was all overshadowed by stories which put them on the wrong side of public opinion.

Few question the difficulties teachers face in their job. But demands for a 4% pay rise are out of step with the generally accepted need for frugality, and refusing to teach some classes when pupils are close to exams isn’t winning them any sympathy.

Nor is there much sympathy for claims by health workers when doctors say  strikes are putting patients at risk.

But the most damage to unions is that by the actors whose actions have put the filming of The Hobbit at risk.

Weta Workshop’s boss Sir Richard Taylor last night said the New Zealand film industry was “at some level of peril”.

He said a $670 million US-backed production of Tolkien classic The Hobbit could be produced elsewhere if a union boycott of the project was not lifted.

“We are deeply concerned it may [go overseas].

“Our industry is being put in a very dire place by very few people who have nothing to do with the film industry in New Zealand.”

A poll on the New Zealand Herald website last night showed 88% of respondents blamed the union for the Hobbit debacle and only 16% blamed Peter Jackson.

Phil Goff and his MPs have been notable for their silence on this issue.

That’s probably because it’s difficult for outsiders to discern much difference between unions and Labour so a bad week for one is a bad week for the other.

September 21 in history


On September 21:

1792 The National Convention declared France a republic and abolished the monarchy.

1756 Scottish engineer and road builder John McAdam was born.

1834 British troops were used in New Zealand for the first time when they rescued Betty Guard and her children who had been captured by maori after the wreck of the ship Harriet.

1866 English writer H.G. (Herbert George) Wells was born.

1874 English composer Gustav Holst was born.

1897 The Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus letter was published in the New York Sun.


Francis Pharcellus Church, writer of the famous editorial.
1902 Allen Lane, founder of Penguin books, was born.
1931 US actor Larry Hagman was born.

1934 Canadian singer, songwriter Leonard Cohen was born.

1937 J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien’s book The Hobbit was published.

Cover to the 1937 first edition
Cover of the 1937 first edition.

1947 US writer Stephen King was born.

1950 US actor Bill Murray was born.

Bill Murray Get Low TIFF09.jpg

1957 Australian Prime Minsiter Kevin Rudd was born.

1964 Malta gained its independence.

                  Coat of arms of Malta.svg

1968 US talk show host Ricki Lake was born.

1972  English singer Liam Gallagher was born.

1978 All Black Doug Howlett was born.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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