Hard News by Russell Brown


A few (more) words on The Hobbit

I don't really have all that much to say about The Hobbit today. I'm delighted that the movies are to be made here, and well aware of the benefits that will flow from that. I'm queasy about the way the change to labour law is being passed, and still of the opinion that the change is unnecessary – ironically, the two parties to this dispute most convinced that the 2005 Bryson case established a general precedent have been Warner Brothers and New Zealand Actors' Equity.

I'm relieved that the law change has at least been relatively tightly quarantined, and mindful that it won't have great practical impact, if only because most of the people working in the film industry have no quarrel with their status as independent contractors.

I sincerely hope that the people who work making films here can move swiftly beyond recrimination, and that better and more effective means can be established to represent those workers. I'd like to see the Labour Party take on the kind of law passed recently in Ireland, explicitly providing for film industry contractors to negotiate collective agreements, as manifesto policy.

And I'd like to thank everyone who has participated in discussions on this site over the past five weeks, over literally thousands of comments. The knowledge, experience and wit that have been shared benefit everyone. Given the passions stirred by this dispute, I'm also hugely impressed that the Public Address System culture has held up, and that the discussion has been very largely civil and intelligent. So thanks, people. Thanks.

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