We want to extend our heartiest congratulations to the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance. It seems that the MEAA can now count amongst its achievements causing the death of New Zealand's internationally-succesful film industry.
With just three hours' notice, a group of up to 1500 film technicians gathered at Stone Studios in Mirimar late yesterday to attend a meeting called by Sir Richard Taylor. The Dom-Post reports:
Within three hours, more than 1500 film workers and technicians turned out. Material distributed to the workers claimed the MEAA was trying to steer lucrative work to Australia or the United States.
"This is not about Actors' Equity, nor is it about The Hobbit. It is about an Australian trade union making a blatant play to take a controlling hand in the New Zealand film industry," a flier read. Film workers then went to picket outside a planned meeting in central Wellington at which Actors' Equity members were to discuss their priorities for negotiations.
This is an amazing response. We had no idea that so many people were employed by or associated with the New Zealand film industry. It also makes the CTU's anti-government protests from earlier in the day pale into insignificance. The CTU protests drew around 15,000 people nationwide after weeks of planning; Sir Richard gathered together a crowd of 1500 from one single industry with justy three hours' notice!
The crowd was so large and so vocal the the CTU and Actor's Equity called off a proposed meeting in Wellington last night. It seems that the CTU can't take a dose of its own medicine, which is truly ironic. It's fine for CTU members to protest, as is their legal right, but they don't like it when someone counter-protests, as the film workers did last night. Sir Richard and his band of skilled, talented and creative people deserve huge plaudits for fighting back against the bullies.
And Helen Kelly from the CTU still doesn't get it; read on:
Ms Kelly said union members would not be at fault if The Hobbit moved overseas. Instead, it was Warner Brothers seeking to gain greater tax breaks and lower wages.
That's complete and utter bollocks. This is not about a big corporate trying to rip off the little guys. This dispute has been about one thing only; Simon Whigg and the MEAA making a power play for the New Zealand market. The union rode in on its white steed, made outrageous demands and threats, and has had its bluff called. Instead now of receiving a pittance as the MEAA was claiming, its members will receive nothing. We hope they've learned something.
The bottom line to all of this is that The Hobbit is likely as not gone from New Zealand. The blacklisting of The Hobbit has been lifted, but it is, in our ever-humble opinion far too little far too late. The powers-that-be from Warner Brothers arrive in New Zealand next week to start the process of moving Peter Jackson's film offshore.
Simon Whigg, the MEAA, Actor's Equity and the CTU all need to take a good, long look in the mirror this morning. If their faces appear to be without noses, they should ponder whether or not it was all worth it. The greedy few have stuffed it up for the many.