Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Anatomy of a Shambles

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  • DexterX,

    NZLemming - I don't agree with you.

    Whether it is ACC issuing bus lane fines without a valid by-law or NZEA telling members to wait for a recommendation then imposing a blacklist before holding a meeting the source of the problem is the same.

    The problem is an organisation not fulfilling the purpose for which it was created and failing to follow it rules or process.

    I use ACC to illustrate an example how an organisation making it up as it goes along creates massive problems. In breid form making it up as they went along without reagrd to the law and priocess is what NZEA MEAA(NZ)I have done.

    I could have used another union though some of this is still in process before the Court.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report

  • Petra,

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report

  • DexterX,

    Petra - classic

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report

  • Petra,

    Gotta love The Onion, Dexter. It never fails to lift me up when I'm down. :)

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report

  • Islander,

    nzlemming-that correlation with collectors of residuals and the CLL rings echoey resounding bells with me - there is NO oversight of monies collected or distributed by that body to any recipients. I personally think they are a rip-off organisation intent on building their own bureaucracy-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    The problem

    *A* problem

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • DexterX,

    The common source of many problems.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    Hollyweird, making us feel oh so grateful for our down-to-earth NZ actors.

    Randy Quaid has told Canada's immigration board that he and his wife are seeking asylum there because eight of their close friends, including Australian actor Heath Ledger, have been "murdered" in the US and they don't want to be next.

    He said they were fleeing "the murderers of Hollywood" and were applying for refugee status in Canada, after they were arrested on US warrants related to vandalism charges.


    During a break in the proceedings, the Quaids' lawyer, Brian Tsuji approached the media to read a single-sentence statement from the Quaids. "We are requesting asylum from Hollywood star whackers," he read, declining further comment on the mental state of his clients.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Petra,

    Randy Quaid:

    "We are requesting asylum from Hollywood star whackers,"

    Sorry to tell you, Randy, but... where ever you go, there you are.

    *EDIT: heh, just realised he means murderers when he says whackers. On first read, I took whackers to be crazies (but not necessarily murderous ones, just long term drug-induced psychosis ones, that happen to be Hollywood Stars).

    Time for bed, methinks. Tired brain keeps tricking me.

    G'night. :)

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report

  • Jaymax,

    so grateful for our down-to-earth NZ actors

    So grateful for NZ period. At some point, chasing parity (whether with Oz generally, or with overseas actors specifically) has to be balanced against being somewhere so, well, NZish. (per all those global surveys where we come out ~4th - often just under the Scandinavians)

    Auckland • Since Oct 2010 • 25 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'd rather talk about the fact that people are still being shot by hunters.

    Don't think I've got anything to say about Rosemary Ives that doesn't involve increasingly incoherent, spluttering repetition of "what the frak? Really, WHAT? THE? FRAK?"

    BTW, Jackie, I know quite a few hunters and they wouldn't consider "spot-lighting" hunting. It's stupid, dangerous and illegal for a reason. It sure as shit doesn't meet any definition of sport that I understand. I certainly wish the media would stop describing Ives' death as an "accidental shooting" -- she was going about her lawful and legitimate business in a DOC campsite after dark. The gentleman who has been charged with careless use of a firearm causing death was (IIRC) clearly breeching the terms of his hunting permit, which explicitly forbids "spot-lighting" on DOC land. It's not a "mistake" or a "tragic error" that he was breaking the law in the first place.

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

  • Blake Monkley,

    AE members should have been there and made a point to be there.

    Sara Wiseman attended the rally.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 215 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Sara Wiseman attended the rally.

    So did Celia Wade-Brown. Class traitor! :)

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

  • Blake Monkley,

    A class act....

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 215 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Well, Mr Whipp didn't have a whole lot to say for humself on Morning Report today -- lord knows how he'd have fared under more pointed questioning.

    But I did feel fairly vindicated when he declared he was "hoping" for Irish-style law changes to establish the bargaining rights of independent contractors. Bit late now, mate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia,

    lord knows how he'd have fared under more pointed questioning.

    Never thought I'd say this, but I miss Sean Plunket. There - said it - need a lie down.

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

  • Ian Dalziel,

    You manufacture and sell long bows, then?
    I wish you well.

    More like very cross-bows, I'd have thought... ;- )

    Maybe shitload is the proper collective noun for masons.

    How about a Hod of Masons?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Andre Alessi,

    It's interesting how, if you piece together all the statements from AE and MEAA, you're left with the impression that noone actually ever made a decision to go for the boycott-they were all just following someone else's lead.

    I guess it's a great example of noone wanting to put their hand up and admit they were responsible. (And certain conversations I had with those in the know over the weekend back that impression up.)

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

  • Neil Morrison,

    The AE strategy was written on two sides of a piece of paper.

    On one side was "But there is no boycott!" and on the other "But the boycott was lifted!".

    But I see Whipp is still maintaining that all they wanted was to "talk" - to talk to Jackson about the Hobbit.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report

  • Pat Hackett,

    Let's not forget this:

    MEAA's Simon Whipp told The Hollywood Reporter that success with "The Hobbit" might pave the way for unionizing other productions in the country

    or this:

    The dispute ratcheted up on Friday with the member alert from actors unions in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia.
    "The (MEAA) agreement for large-budget international studio films ... provides for residuals that are equivalent to those under the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) agreement," the member alert states. "The residuals proposed by the producers of 'The Hobbit' are less in every respect."

    It was always about the money, and more importantly, the control of the money. The MEAA contract stipulates that all residuals are paid to the MEAA. They clip a precentage off the top, and pay them to the actors quarterly. On the Hobbit Jackson was setting up a separate entity/account to collect the residuals on behalf of the actors.

    The dispute was never about just wanting to "talk", because NZAE ignored offers from SPADA for 18 months to renegotiate the Pink Book. Suddenly the CTU are claiming discussions with SPADA as some sort of win.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2010 • 95 posts Report

  • Carol Stewart,

    The dispute was never about just wanting to "talk"

    That seems to be news to AE members: (from the story that Blake linked to above):

    Among them was actress Sara Wiseman who, despite supporting the union, said film workers never wanted the debate to get so out of hand.

    "What upsets me is that all we asked for was a meeting to discuss the terms and conditions like any employer should do with their employee on any job. I don't understand how it go to this," said Wiseman.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 830 posts Report

  • Kyle Matthews,

    No, sorry, much as that is very dumb, "I would not have supported Len Brown if I had known about the blacklisting of the Hobbit" is actually dumber. Amazing, I know.

    Particularly given that the blacklisting came out in September, and the local body election finished on 9 October. Plenty of time to go "woah" and stop pushing Brown to his friends.

    An Otago University employment law specialist has criticised the Government's suggestion that law changes could be made to suit the producers of The Hobbit movies.

    Got some particularly nasty emails as a result too.

    However, the fact that MEAA clip the residual ticket at 15%, as opposed to SAG at 2-3% I'm told, should give anyone pause.

    "Under the SAG Basic Agreement, producers must contribute 13.8% of actors' salaries to the Pension and Health Fund." ['Global Rule One: SAG's Answer to Runaway Production', Kathryn Pietrolungo, Brian Tinkham]

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    Hey Petra, thanks for the Onion clip. I probably sounded depressed due to having to use this horrible computer instead of my MacBook, and appreciate the thought.

    It's not all slave labour

    Look, let's get one thing straight. Film work pays well. The big point about working in film, for crews more than actors most of the time is that the hours are usually horrible. No life outside film, for weeks and months (or years if you worked on LOTR). Actors have their own problems and challenges working on film, but as the discussion has never gone there yet, and at so many pages one wonders who has the stamina and interest to even take that on board for even more pages, I will leave that out.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Philippa Boyens was the NZWG Executive Director for years FFS. She's not anti-union. Enlist her, get her onboard with helping the union image, by pulling your socks up and showing some maturity even if it means biting your lip a bit. Keep it positive.

    Amen. I've been struck by the way that people who are anything but anti-union, and even have a history of union leadership, have been turned off by NZAE's style in recent years.

    One element of this that hasn't had a lot of air is the reflexive opposition to permitting foreign actors to work -- seen in the Vincent Gallo silliness, but far more widespread than that.

    This has become a real problem, and I don't think it actually helps get roles for NZ Equity members. It just makes production companies think there must be easier places to work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Petra,


    Mr Key is to meet several high-powered executives from the film's main producer Warner Brothers and head of production company New Line, Toby Emmerich.

    "It's a fairly heavy duty team that's actually come down to New Zealand and I think that's actually a good thing," Mr Key told Breakfast on TV One.

    "If they were just coming to say 'no' then they wouldn't bother actually to send such a senior team."


    One area the Government was willing to look at was amending the definition of a contractor following a successful court case where former Weta Workshop model maker James Bryson was deemed to be an employee, not a contractor.

    "There's no question that industrial relations issues around the definition of a contract vis a vis an employee run to the heart of this whole issue," Mr Key said.

    Issues around getting a direct line to Government for the movie makers would be easy to fix but any push for movement on money was more tricky, he said.

    "The reality is we don't make a lot of money out of this movie, the (tax) breaks are any where between $60 million and $80m at the moment which is a 15 percent subsidy. Essentially what that means is it is a wash from the Government's point of view, what we earn we give back to them."

    There were wider benefits to the economy, for example through a higher tourism profile.

    "You have to ask yourself at what point would you want to write out a cheque to have these movies and what would it do to the fundamental scheme that operates for every other movie company that wants to come here. Once you start negotiating really you are in no-man's land, really there is a limit here."

    It's not as bad as I thought it would be...

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report

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