Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A few (more) words on The Hobbit

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  • Matthew Poole,

    I have to say, the bill is far better than I feared. It's actually pretty reasonable, and contrary to Helen Kelly's musings it doesn't make PJ's secretary a contractor. It doesn't, however, put an end to a Bryson situation arising again. Makes it less likely, by legislating a presumption of contractor status, but doesn't remove judicial recourse.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    who thinks we should try and have a screening of the hobbit?
    in auckland, wellington and ChCh
    if Russell starts asking now it might happen?
    and maybe the money could go toward www.humans.org.nz ?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Man, is there even a union for computer game developers? Paging Mr Knightly..

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Film production work includes production work for video games, but not production work on programmes initially intended for television.

    I find it bizarre that video games (all video games seemingly, not just ones related to films) are included, but TV productions aren't. Surely the modeller example that everyone is worried about is more likely to come up in TV production than video games.

    Unless the law is just following the conditions set down by Warners - who will probably employ a couple of video game people here, but no TV production people.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    My Story of Matt McCarten:

    A friends of mine was working in an unpleasant job as a curator at a certain art gallery I shall not name. Very bad behaviour from a bullying boss, and incompetent board. She worked her ass off, did a great job, was constantly undermined by a jealous, bullying boss and was in tears a lot of the time (like three months being constantly on the verge of tears). She tried to talk to the board, the board went with the bullying boss and tried to restructure my friend out - no redundancy, nothing.

    A friend of ours pointed us towards Matt. Matt got a hold of it straight away, marched straight down, told the board to get their s**t together and threatened to bring all his UNITE members down to picket the art gallery if she didn't get some (very deserved compensation)!

    She got it, along with an apology.

    This is just one single artsy fartsy curator type he did this for, mind. Not a member - just someone he saw was being treated like s**t by some assholes who should have known better.

    The man is a f**king hero. An absolute champ. He barely sleeps working for his members.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve,

    I find it bizarre that video games (all video games seemingly, not just ones related to films) are included, but TV productions aren't.

    The Bill says:
    film means a cinematograph film, a video recording, and any other material record of visual moving images that is capable of being used for the subsequent display of those images; and includes any part of any film, and any copy or part of a copy of the whole or any part of a film

    That seems to cover TV by my reading (I work in TV)

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    The whole "class war" stuff makes very little sense to me in New Zealand in the 21st century - but I acknowledge that I am not an oppressed worker - I'm a self-employed contractor (absolutely by choice) and so I must be a Chardonnay-swilling liberal from [a nice suburb in Welly] - and therefore I don't count.

    However - I just don't think that NZ has remotely the class system that the UK had (maybe still has - I dunno - haven't lived there for nearly 20 years) - and so I remain unconvinced that class warfare in the old-school socialist/labour sense of the phrase is even relevant here and now.

    Actually, "class war" made no sense to me back in the UK either - I was there for most of Thatcher's reign and earlier and although I supported the Miners' Strike - as every good leftie did - in hindsight I can see what damage Scargill's strategy did - when placed against the ruthlessness of Thatcher and the police at the time.

    No idea what a good solution would have been, but I do know it pretty much destroyed the mining industry in the UK.

    Back in the 80s in the UK I had a boyfriend who was a member of the Socialist Worker's Party and I went to a couple of meetings with him. I was open to hearing what they said and what they believed in, and was quite willing to be convinced by them.

    They were all about class war and I remember being struck by how little each person there actually thought about what they were saying. They simply parroted what their leader at the time was telling them - down to using the exact same phrases and sentences - and I ended up deciding that I wasn't interested in being a part of a group that couldn't think for themselves.

    I accept that if you are a member of a union and that union decides to go on strike, you have to go on strike as well, even if you disagree with that decision - that's kind of the point, after all.

    But there are rules around taking industrial action that have to be followed, and which AE didn't follow in this case, and that's what concerned me (in addition to their overall lack of a strategy). The blacklisting call went out without ballotting their members, and that's a complete no-no.

    When I said here that I don't accept "my union right or wrong", just as I don't believe in "my country right or wrong" - a comment that was referenced in the comments on 'Reading the Maps' - I was thinking about the fact that AE didn't follow proper procedure.

    I was also thinking that, as a union member - if I don't agree with my union's proposal for industrial action I am free to a) argue against it b) vote against it and c) leave the union and accept I will no longer be protected by it or represented by it if the vote is for industrial action and I think that's the wrong decision.

    We should all be able to think for ourselves and make decisions that are right for us - and take the consequences of our decisions. Being a member of a union and/or being a left-winger shouldn't mean that we have to fall into line and accept decisions that we think are wrong.

    And that's where I have a problem with those of a fundamentalist political standpoint (in either direction) - because I am yet to be convinced that sticking to an ideological POV regardless of any other considerations is either a morally correct or strategically effective way of doing things.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 332 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    The Bill is a blunt instrument. I honestly thought they might try something more subtle than “if we agree you’re a contractor then you are one.”

    A precedent is being set. I imagine other industries will now be clamouring to have similar exemptions.

    and contrary to Helen Kelly's musings it doesn't make PJ's secretary a contractor

    Well it doesn’t change the status of anyone who’s already signed up. But if PJ gets a new secretary he/she may well be simply a contractor if that’s what they agree at the time of hiring. “Film production work” is extremely broadly defined in the bill.

    It doesn't, however, put an end to a Bryson situation arising again. Makes it less likely, by legislating a presumption of contractor status, but doesn't remove judicial recourse.

    What judicial recourse would there be if the parties have agreed that a person is a contractor? Isn’t that the end of the matter under the new bill? The exclusionary wording in the new subsection 6(1)(d) seems to take the matter out of the scope of subsection (2), which allows the ERA or court to look at the substance of the relationship.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Does this whole unions-display-core-incompetence-in-public thing hurt Andrew Little's chances to lead the Labour Party? Will Shane Jones be just that little bit more likely to be NZs next Labour PM?

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Dylan, look further:

    excludes work performed, or services provided, in respect of the production of any programme intended initially for broadcast on television

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And that's where I have a problem with those of a fundamentalist political standpoint (in either direction) - because I am yet to be convinced that sticking to an ideological POV regardless of any other considerations is either a morally correct or strategically effective way of doing things.

    Welcome to the "post-class liberal left", as Scott puts it. I actually quite enjoyed Scott's post, and I like the site, but there's an undertone in it, of the facts of the dispute being a lesser consideration than the broad sweep of ideology, that I simply cannot fathom. My fault for not going to university, I guess.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    But what about the game industry like Sihde?????

    Sidhe doesn't have a background in movie tie-in games, and they're primarily focused on platformer/arcade titles, rather than RPG or RTS style games. I'd be surprised if they would want to take something like a Hobbit-themed game on.

    Besides, Warner owns Turbine, and it's own games division (Warner BRos Interactive Entertainment) hasn't been shy about producing its own games: for example, this one (free registration required.) I know Turbine's been talking about producing a Hobbit-themed game since prior to to its aquisition by WB, too.

    But what shits me is that there was absolutely no mention of games at all in any converstaion over the last 5 weeks.

    I'd imagine it's because it'd be seen in the same category as soundtrack releases, merchandising, etc. Movie-based games are a weird market, but almost always sit at the bargain-bin end of things. Effectively, most movie tie-in games are just interactive advertising for the movie, except you have to pay to be advertised to.

    Man, is there even a union for computer game developers?

    Not as far as I'm aware. It's a really small industry.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Besides, Warner owns Turbine, and it's own games division (Warner BRos Interactive Entertainment) hasn't been shy about producing its own games: for example, this one (free registration required.) I know Turbine's been talking about producing a Hobbit-themed game since prior to to its aquisition by WB, too.

    Turbine also has the licence for D&D Online... well, the Eberron universe at least.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    Re: Reading the Maps

    Welcome to the "post-class liberal left", as Scott puts it.

    Or in essence, we're the Trotsky to their Stalin and they'd like to put an icepick in our heads...

    This debate has a much bigger historical context than just the immediate past, and there's nothing 'post class' about it.

    In other words, he's talking bollocks, and selecting one tiny part of history to prove an overall historical point.

    Not even a very good one imho.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    What judicial recourse would there be if the parties have agreed that a person is a contractor? Isn’t that the end of the matter under the new bill? The exclusionary wording in the new subsection 6(1)(d) seems to take the matter out of the scope of subsection (2), which allows the ERA or court to look at the substance of the relationship.

    I read s6(5) of the ERA as allowing a judicial determination as to the status of a person who is purportedly in an employer/contractor relationship, regardless of what is or isn't defined in s1. I don't see language in the Bill that would negate the availability of that option, and in any case removing the option of judicial review of a contract is a very significant imposition.

    Either I'm missing an interpretive link between s6(5) and s6(2), or this is precisely the kind of fuck-up that I envisaged when I talked about the inability to get it right when drafting in haste.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    My fault for not going to university, I guess.

    Actually, if you went to a university with a half-way decent politics department you'd have to read -- and apply some serious through to -- Heyeck and Marx, and see the flaws in both. Which wouldn't be a bad thing.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I enjoy Maps when it's debunking a mad conspiracy theorist or savaging the delusions of some nutter racist. Not so much when class warfare is the topic.

    But then I'm probably one of them Chardonnay Socialists as well. Even though I can't stand the stuff. A Reisling Revolutionary might be a more appropriate insult. Or a Pinot Noir Picketer.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    My fault for not going to university, I guess.

    It certainly can be an excellent place to learn doctrine. It's not the only thing they teach, though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I read s6(5) of the ERA as allowing a judicial determination as to the status of a person who is purportedly in an employer/contractor relationship, regardless of what is or isn't defined in s1. I don't see language in the Bill that would negate the availability of that option, and in any case removing the option of judicial review of a contract is a very significant imposition.

    I can't see how s6(5) could be used to determine that a film worker is an employee in a situation where s6(1)(d) expressly states that they are not. Surely in making a declaration a judge has to apply the law, which will now clearly state that certain types of workers are not employees. That's how I read it anyway.

    Would be interested if anyone else reads it in a similar way.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    After you with the Pinot Noir, Scott.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2937 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    The video game definition is interesting:

    video game means any video recording that is designed for use wholly or principally as a game

    But games are compiled, not recorded which perhaps means codegrinders working on There and Back, The Game are outside the ambit of the amendment.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    My fault for not going to university, I guess.

    It certainly can be an excellent place to learn doctrine. It's not the only thing they teach, though.

    Yeah, I know. I should drop that line.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    Helen Kelly should really shut up - she really doesn't appear to have a clue about the environment she is invovled in.

    HK in NZ Herald today - "In this case you could be a clerical worker at South Pacific Films, for example, or at Wingnut Studios, and be deemed an independent contractor, denied all your employment rights and not be able to challenge that."

    That is bollocks and she should know enough to know that - if she doesn't she really should not hold the postition she does.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    A Serious question-What if the movie(s) are crap and tank at the box office? Do we get our money back? Just askin' cause everyone seems to be assuming that they'll be LOR huge.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I don't even know if I'm a socialist. So far as economic theory and class war is concerned, I don't even have a position, other than "what seems best for the most people at the time". And I think what is best does change with time. On social issues, I'm a bit more predetermined "what people want to do, so long as it doesn't substantially harm others".

    Or a Pinot Noir Picketer.

    Pinot Gris, surely. The other stuff is red!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

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