The Hobbit Law to be repealed [New Zealand Politics]
A truly lovely bit of news:
The forcible de-unionisation of the New Zealand film industry is about to end.
As a bit of background, in 2005, New Zealand’s Supreme Court decided a case called Bryson v. Three Foot Six Limited – which clarified that Peter Jackson’s so-called contractors were really employees, with all the rights that came with that. Then in 2010, during the industrial dispute over the production of The Hobbit, one of the sops the National Government made to Jackson and Warner Brothers was a passage of a special law, the Employment Relations (Film Production) Amendment Act 2010, aka the Hobbit Law – which overturned Bryson. This legally redefined New Zealand film workers as independent contractors, and so ended the right of collective bargaining within the industry.
To add insult to injury, it was subsequently revealed that a deal between Warner Brothers and the union had already been reached, and that the Government knew about this when it passed the legislation. Basically, this wasn’t about saving The Hobbit from being taken off-shore, it was straight-out union-busting. Oh, and did I mention that the Hobbit Law was rammed through under urgency, without any capacity for public input? Classy.
Anyway, that’s the law that our new Labour Government is repealing, and it couldn’t come a moment too soon. Never mind the actual movies themselves, this really has been another reason to loathe Peter Jackson – in the event I ever get asked by local media about a Wise Phuul adaptation (a man can dream…), I’ve long planned to say that Jackson wouldn’t be interested, seeing as I’d require any such adaptation to be made under collective bargaining.