Everyone knows that Peter Jackson is a fan of ‘The Hobbit’. With the ‘Lord of the Rings’ having been so incredibly successful, it is pretty much a given that ‘The Hobbit’ will also be a major blockbuster. But although everyone, from producer to actors to officials, was happy with Peter Jackson’s decision to make this movie in New Zealand, the Australian (!) actors union decided to intervene and claim for higher wages and better working conditions for its members.
The developing row reached a level where the producers were seriously considering moving production offshore as the possible cost implications and interruptions were just daunting (and expensive). And the case of Bryson v Three Foot Six was also on everyone’s mind (in which the Supreme Court held that Mr Bryson, a model maker for the Lord of the Rings movies, was an employee, and not an independent contractor).
In order to ensure that production of the (two) Hobbit films actually remains in the country, the government has amended the employment law legislation by clarifying that film industry workers are independent contractors rather than employees.
And just as a reminder – all the excitement, all the anger and flurry of activities only because a non-NZ union decided to start a dispute for no apparent reason.
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