Hobbits To be Made Here


At last the Hobbit saga has been resolved. It’s great news.

Prime Minister John Key tonight announced an agreement has been reached between the government and Warner Bros that will enable the two Hobbit movies to be directed by Sir Peter Jackson to be made in New Zealand.

The deal involves

  • Industrial legislation to cover contractors in the film industry
  • The Govt and Warners Bros will work together to promote film production in NZ and NZ as a tourism destination, including NZ tourism material on Hobbit DVDs.
  • One Hobbit movie will have its world premiere here
  • There will tax rebates and deals (US$7.5m a movie, about NZ$10m)

This is Key’s statement:

“I am delighted we have achieved this result,” Mr Key says. “Making the two Hobbit movies here will not only safeguard work for thousands of New Zealanders, but it will also follow the success of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy in once again promoting NZ on the world stage.”

As part of the arrangement the Government will introduce legislation in Parliament tomorrow to clarify the distinction between independent contractors and employees as it relates to the film production industry. It is this clarification that will guarantee the movies are made in New Zealand.

“The industrial issues that have arisen in the past several weeks have highlighted a significant set of concerns for the way in which the international film industry operates,” Mr Key says.

“We will be moving to ensure that New Zealand law in this area is settled to give film producers like Warner Bros the confidence they need to produce their movies in this country.”

Mr Key confirmed the Government has also moved to widen the qualifying criteria for the Large Budget Screen Production Fund to improve New Zealand’s competitiveness as a film destination for large budget films like The Hobbit.

The impact of this will mean an additional rebate for The Hobbit movies of up to US$7.5 million per picture, subject to the success of those movies.

The Government and Warner Bros have agreed to work together in a long-term strategic partnership to promote New Zealand as both a film production and tourism destination.

“My Government is determined to use the opportunity that the Hobbit movies present to highlight New Zealand as a great place to visit, as well as a great place to do business,” Mr Key says.

The strategic marketing opportunities for New Zealand from the movies will be worth tens of millions of dollars. The Government will offset US$10 million of Warner Bros marketing costs as part of the strategic partnership.

New Zealand will also host one of the world premieres of the Hobbit movies.

“I’m very pleased that we have been able to ensure that the winning combination of Sir Peter Jackson, New Line, Warner Bros, MGM and New Zealand as a whole will have the opportunity to produce these movies together,” Mr Key says.

“It’s good to have the uncertainty over, and to have everyone now full steam ahead on this project.”

* Speaking of tourism, the government released figures today showing record earnings for the tourism sector, especially Aussie visitors. Spending by international and domestic tourists increased to $22.4 billion for the year ended March  - an increase of 1.6 percent, or $150 million, to $9.5 billion. Tourism generated $1.7 billion in GST revenue and the figures claim adds $61 million a day to the New Zealand economy.




  1. Joshua says:

    Thanks to the Unions now us the taxpayer needs to foot a bill we should never have needed to.

  2. Nats hate rail says:

    Tomorrow morning John Key and the Warner Bros heads will have a meeting after second breakfast.

  3. karl says:

    “Thanks to the Unions now us the taxpayer needs to foot a bill we should never have needed to.”

    That’s right, Joshua. Those bastards in the unions - how dare they even talk about their rights when Hollywood wants to make money! They basically FORCED John Key to give Warner Brothers that money. I have it on good authority that John would have preferred to hand it to them in secret, but they ensured it became public it so that National now has a reason for next year’s budget cuts in health care or education or farebox subsidies, because, you know, all that money has to come from somewhere.

    “Industrial legislation to cover contractors in the film industry”

    Go to NZ, get some money handed to you by the government, get custom laws made for you. WHAT A SWEET DEAL!!!!

    Heck, we are already #1 in terms of business freedom, according to various world institutions. With National so on the ball, soon our wages will be twice Australia’s!

    [Full disclosure - I am happy the Hobbit movies will be made here. It will be good for NZ tourism, and easily worth the tax breaks. That does not mean the deal itself, or the anti-union sentiment National and others are creating around this don't stink to high heaven]

  4. William Ross says:

    Awesome news.
    We were forced for whatever reason to do a sweet deal but that has been happening for ever with the movie industry. Labour gave how many millions to LOTR?
    But very clever that Key as tourism minister tied it in with promoting NZ tourism. That is worth real money, the tourism money we saw coming in thanks to LOTR. In the end its not about the movies.

  5. Andy says:

    Am I the only one who is sick of seeing Hobbit news?

    (I don’t mean you Jon, I mean the media….even though you do provide more informative news!)

  6. Suwooop says:

    The taxpayer subsidies given to Warner is a small price to pay for the substantial gains New Zealand will make as a result of the film being made here. I’m just glad the debacle is over, and now Peter Jackson can work his magic once again and recreate the success he had with the LOTR trilogy, that brought NZ to the forefront of the film industry in the first place. Great to see everything did not turn to custard overall :)

  7. Jon C says:

    @Andy i have been sick of it for days - but it’s great to have some good news for a change and an end to all the bickering (although vested groups will continue to complain). I’m probably not bright enough to be able to follow all the complexity of the dispute but I’m passionate about the NZ film industry and have friends working in it and am thrilled NZ will continue to be involved in the making of films - and think whatever the rights and wrongs of the dispute it’s great to see tourism of NZ being promoted as @William says. I have met heaps of people who have come here because of LOTR scenery.
    And before the usual people send me those nasty personal emails as they do … I know its not transport news but it’s my blog and I can talk about my own passions occasionally!! LOL

  8. Scott says:

    I’m not sick of it.

    Any product costing over $500m + is worthy of news coverage.

    Even excluding the tourism advantages the economic advantages to having movies shot here is significant.

    I am really happy about this news

  9. Joshua says:

    Yes but all of this could of been avoided by the Unions, but hey we will let the Aussie Union which ruined their film industry come down and ruin ours, why not, the actors were already getting a sweet deal! Now we NZers have to pay to get it made here, before it would of been done a little to no cost.

    Karl, in the end when someone is investing over 600million in a film they need security, unless the Union members are willing to put their pay packets on the line to either make more profit or write a check to cover the loses then they have no sympathy from me. They almost cost thousands of NZers their jobs. They did cost every NZer money we shouldn’t of forked out, for trying to arrange an illegal discussion, literally against NZ law. Don’t complain about getting a shear of any profits unless you are willing to cover a shear of the losses.

    And before you make up some crap about Warner Bros wanting the conflict to get money out of NZ, think of who gave them that opportunity, the government needed to protect the interest of this country’s economy, however the Unions opened the door for Warner and co.

  10. Ian says:

    If Jackson never makes another of his over engineered, over computerised, over hyped movies it will be to soon for me.

  11. Kurt says:

    I would dearly love to know all the facts of this matter but unfortunately our abysmal media went into hyperventilation mode over the whole debacle trying to out do each other and put their spin on it, read ratings ratings ratings.

    For example if it was just labour issues why the big payola to Warner Bros?

  12. Joshua says:

    Kurt - because Warner Bros would have pulled production here and headed overseas to gain more stable employment and minimise risk. Who would blame them, it’s a 600million dollar investment they are making. To big of a benefit to our national economy to lose the production because of stupid Actors Union.

  13. karl says:

    So we simply roll over, hand taxpayer money wholesale to WB, make laws to suit foreign business interests and so on?

    Sell ourselves for pitiful gain? We already rank highest in the world for business freedom, yet our wages keep slipping more and more behind. You can’t build a great country on undercutting others via weaker labour laws and lower wages.

    It’s interesting how clearly the Herald has been stating that in multiple editorials and articles - I had expected them to ignore that side, or side with the Nats.

  14. Matt L says:

    Karl - I read the other day that since the tax rebate scheme for large films has been in place we have paid out about $180m in rebates but it has resulted in over $1bil worth of films being made here with obviously a large proportion of that going to locals in the form of wages etc.

    Put in perspective it doesn’t sound to bad although in this case the additional money paid is something that wouldn’t have had to have happened should the strike action not happened


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