Thursday, 21 October 2010

The Hobbit: An obituary for a film industry [update 2]

It looks like Australian union MEAA has been using the New Zealand actors union to shut down the competition of the New Zealand film industry, using The Hobbit as bait. And Helen Kelly and the local union were dumb enough to play along.

Australian Simon Whipp, head of the MEAA, seemed to reason that NZ rates were lower than Australian rates, which was pushing films and post-production that “should” have been done in Australia over the Tasman to NZ. Simon didn’t like that, so he chose this big budget movie to rattle the cage. (What better time to roll your flag up the pole than when the budget is there to pay for it.)

But why did Helen Kelly and the local Actors Equity Union go along with this plan to make us move the film industry back to Australia? Because they saw themselves as part of some international power play, presumably. They wanted to “feel the power.” Whatever reason you want to pick, all they showed the world however is how dumb and self-destructive they are, essentially munting what could have become a billion-dollar industry in this tiny country.  As Russell Brown says in laying out the Anatomy of a Shambles,

_Quote If production of the Hobbit does indeed go to Ireland, there will be an extraordinary irony: the industrial relations environment around the film will be benign because Irish Equity did what New Zealand Actors' Equity would have done had it been even minimally competent.

The result of all this it not just no more Hobbit in NZ. It’s that Simon Whipp and NZ Actors Equity have between them destroyed an entire industry.  Make no mistake, says the Dim Post,

_Quotethis is a PR disaster for the union movement – whatever the reality, its going to look to the public as if they’ve bought about the destruction of a multi-billion dollar industry that was the source of great national pride, and although the instigator was an Australian union they were facilitated by the president of the CTU who went out of her way to insert herself into the dispute.

Thanks Helen, Robyn and Jennifer. I'm sure all the sound techs, prop builders, make-up people guys, and all the other thousands of people affected are real proud of you.

UPDATE 1:  IMPERATOR FISH: “Thanks Sir Peter, and All The Best”:

_QuoteIf the Hobbit films move offshore that may well be regarded by [Australian union] MEAA as a victory.

UPDATE 2:  MARK HUBBARD: “Hobbit: One ring from an Aussie union has stuffed them all.

_QuoteA film technician's placard on the protest against the actors union (an Australian union) says it all.
        'Thirty years to build an industry, one union boycott to destroy it.'

Related Posts at NOT PC:


  1. It's a sad ending to a success story, but unfortunately not entirely unpredictable, it's yet another example of the tall poppy mentality of NZ at work.

  2. This was my take on it.

    We need to think up some good NZ actor jokes for your other post.

  3. This is the same group of famous-for-being-famous interfering prats that scotched the recent mining in the DOC estate. Reality is a strange and fearsome planet for them. They live in a world where others pay the bills and take the risks and the world should listen to them because their botoxed visages are 'on TV' They have been played like a harp by the likes of Kelly and the haters and wreckers of the Aussie unions.

    They are imbeciles of elephantine proportions. Self-centered feckless, narcissitic prats. Dumber than bricks. Welcome to Planet Reality girls and boys, oh and by the way you're out of work, -- along with the thousands of others in the industry. Enjoy!


  4. I reckon George has about hit the nail on the head :)

  5. Bugger the nail.....take a swing at Malcom and Kelly!

    (He mused whistfully....)

  6. Not Ireland. It's going to move to London, don't you know?

  7. American Extremist23 Oct 2010, 08:48:00

    They can do the movie at my property in Tennessee, if they want. I won't tax their profits at all, and if any union members come on my property, I'll spray them with a water hose--one that's hooked to my sewage lines. (They could secretly use my apartment here too, but I can barely fit one Hobbit in here.)

    It's utterly amazing how much unions tend to destroy--and they never seem to acknowledge it. They're like amorphous outstretched-hand-monsters rampaging through the china shops of industries. And when they've broken everything, they rampage harder, demanding to know where all the pretty stuff went and demanding that we bring it back. :/

    The more I observe collectivists, the more I regard them as ill-mannered children. Particularly, ill-mannered children in 'mine!' phase.


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