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 ..."

Comments (15)

by Robert Winter on October 27, 2010
Robert Winter

Nosotros, los mexicanos del pacifico del sur, estamos contentos en nuestra vida con celulares y con un gobierno tan servil. Viva Jackson, viva Warner, viva Key.

by Simon on October 27, 2010

Unbelievable! More special legislation... More tax rebated to big business...

But why be negative! Let me get into the spirit of a Hobbit fan!  Imagine some great New Zealand "100 percent pure" scenery for the production.

Why don't they set Smaug's destruction of Lake-town in liquefied Bexley; the Lonely Mountain could be the Cashmere Hills; and Mirkwood could be set in Deans Bush?

Then Gerry could just issue some orders-in-council under the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010. ! Dame Margaret could throw in some air discharge permits too!


by Chris Webster on October 28, 2010
Chris Webster

And dont forget how we all laughed out loud at their silliness in wanting to rename the capital -- Wellywood

OMG -- its coming true!

Who'll toll the bell?

I said the bull. Because I can pull.

I'll pull the bell.

by Mr Magoo on October 28, 2010
Mr Magoo

Its not funny if its true...

Or perhaps it is more funny?

NZ was voted the least corrupt country in the world yesterday. That is because we are so fricken stupid Key can sell us down the river to a US corporate while glad handing his good mate who works there in public. All organised of course long before the "big meeting" PR stunt.

And not a whisper of revolution was to be heard. They will probably hold a parade in his honour. Cheering, confetti, etc.

It is not corruption folks if it happens in public and we are just too stupid to see it...

by Mark Wilson on October 28, 2010
Mark Wilson

The stupid are the ones who think NZ can pick and choose how competitive we are going to be and that we can opt out of dealing with the global corporate world. Fat chance. Why do the wealth consumers (you know who you are) always want to diminish the ability to compete of the wealth creators such as Jackson? 

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

by Claire Browning on October 28, 2010
Claire Browning

Hm. How much wealth would Jackson have created, I wonder, without "wealth consuming" actors in his movies?

by Andrew Geddis on October 28, 2010
Andrew Geddis

Oh, yawn Mark. Command X - Command V comments are very boring. People will respect you more if you put some effort into it ... like you did with your actual post.

Plus we don't want to diminish Peter Jackson's ability to compete. We just want to tax him at 99c in the dollar for everything he makes over the average wage. Quite different things.

by Claire Browning on October 28, 2010
Claire Browning

People will respect you more if you put some effort into it ... like you did with your actual post.

He means, the one we actually posted.

by Mark Wilson on October 28, 2010
Mark Wilson

Hey with CGI he won't need them in the future (Avatar) and CGI people don't wreck movies.

by Claire Browning on October 28, 2010
Claire Browning

Avatar had actors in it.

by Andrew Geddis on October 28, 2010
Andrew Geddis

Woah there, horsey ...

"In 1941, Disney's animators joined the Screen Cartoonists' Guild and went on strike on May 29 for the profit promised from Snow White (which many animators took unpaid overtime to complete) and in response to the firing of prominent lead animator Art Babbitt for joining the Guild. Six weeks later, a federal mediator found in favor of the Guild, and "The Mouse Factory" has been a union joint ever since."

by Mr Magoo on October 28, 2010
Mr Magoo

You two should know better than to suggest facts should get in the way of a good right wing argument!

The corporation is the new head of state. The USA's system of government is the future for us all. A many headed hydra with deep pockets.

Everyone who disagrees is just a commie pinko.

by stuart munro on October 28, 2010
stuart munro

CGI replacing actors looks like another version of the Detroit fallacy - that you can have a perfect car factory if only you could get rid of the workers.

You might want to think about how that worked out before concluding that switching from one to the other is going to solve all your labour problems. Assembly robots need tech support, and so does CGI. The effect on marketing of a lack of named stars might also be significant.

by Frank Macskasy on November 17, 2010
Frank Macskasy

"Why do the wealth consumers (you know who you are) always want to diminish the ability to compete of the wealth creators such as Jackson? "


Is that a trick question?


Ok, on the premise that it's not, my answer is relatively straight forward;


* Why does a multi-billion dollar corporation like Warner Bros require $80 million from the wallets of us taxpayers?

* Will we be offering similar amounts to the next Wide Boys from IBM, Toyota, Microsoft, Newscorp,  Nestle, ITT, Ford, etc, to hit town with open palms extended?

* And just whatever happened to the free market (as espoused by Uncle Sam) where business stands independent of the need for state subsidies???

* If a foreign corporation wants the minimum wage reduced to, oh, say, $2 an hour to make us "competitive with Mumbai or Manila" - will we be accomodating them as well? If not, why not?

* After Jackson spent several truckloads of cash on building Hobbiton, were we seriously ever in doubt that his movies would actually go offshore to Uzbekhistan? (Even if Uzbeki yaks are cheaper to run than the Kiwi variety.)

* How far do we go to prostitute ourselves to earn foreign cash? I know soliciting was made legal in 2002 - but I never expected the whole country to be pimped out to the highest bidder!

* Mark. If you're content with your fellow New Zealanders having their working conditions/wages screwed at the behest of a foreign company - can I take it that you don't mind if you're next?

* And will we ever get another series of "Outrageous Fortune"? Now that is something I will be missing...



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