Bilbo Woke Up with the Early Sun in His Eyes

In which the author confidently predicts the resolution of The Hobbit saga. Accuracy, or indeed any connection with the real world, not guaranteed.

Prime Minister John Key announced today that The Hobbit would be filmed in New Zealand, following an agreement with the Warner Brothers studio.

"This is great news for the Kiwi film industry and New Zealand as a whole", Key said. "Warner Brothers just needed some reassurance on a number of matters, and the Government has been able to give it the message it wanted."

Full details of the agreement have not been released, but Key did confirm that it included a firm commitment that legislation to reintroduce slavery would be enacted under urgency.

"Frankly, we're competing in a global market for these sorts of films. While there are limits on the amount of taxpayer money we can offer to studios in the current environment, the involuntary indentured servitude of actors is one of the advantages we are able to deliver."

Key said that Sir Peter Jackson was enthusiastic about the proposed change, stating that the ability to deploy whips and branding irons on set would reduce the special effects budget for those scenes involving goblins and Wargs. He also doubted that the public would be concerned about the law change.

"There may be a few unionists who grumble, but they aren't real people so I don't listen to them. And Sir Peter is happy with it, so I think most reasonable people will see the sense.

Also, Robin Malcom will be one of those subject to the new law, and frankly Outrageous Fortune really hasn't been delivering the goods this season, so there's that too."

While the change to employment law allayed Warner Brothers' main concern, Key also hinted that other law changes might be required to allow the movie to be completed.

"Another problem is that in order to fully realise his vision of Smaug's complete destruction of Lake-town, Sir Peter is going to have to level all of Lower Hutt. The RMA processes make that impossible to achieve for a 2012 Christmas release date, so Gerry Brownlee will have to do some fixing there, too.

Sir Peter's also indicated he'd like to turn Mount Victoria into Lonely Mountain, which might interupt traffic flows a bit. We've got Steven Joyce looking at building a new motorway through Wellington harbour, which should sort that out."

CTU President, Helen Kelly, responded cautiously to news of the dispute's resolution.

"We've always said we want The Hobbit made in New Zealand, and it was never our intention to see it go off-shore.

While we're clearly not thrilled at seeing slavery brought into New Zealand, we are pleased that the Government doesn't appear to be removing the rights of actors to collectively organise to negotiate conditions and pay union subs. Certainly the use of cat-o-nine-tails and ankle chains will make negotiations more difficult, but New Zealand's actors remain committed to winning fair conditions for all in the industry."

Labour leader Phil Goff issued a statement criticising the Government's agreement with Warner Brothers.

"What we see here is another example of National selling out New Zealand to wealthy foreign interests. Labour would have never sacrificed our national interest just to get a movie made here, even though we gave The Lord of the Rings $200 million in tax breaks.

What New Zealand needs is a Government that will stand up to bully boy foreign companies and support bully boy foreign unions. Or something. Oh god, is anyone even listening to me? I mean, is there any point? Maybe if I said this from the back of a borrowed Harley ..."