Cockies expect plenty of Hobbit spin-off cash

Our precious

Cockies have jumped on the Hobbit tractor, figuring the film series may help down on the farm.

Federated Farmers is pinning its hopes for a bumper international wool price this season off the back of Sir Peter Jackson’s latest movie.

Meat and fibre chairwoman Jeanette Maxwell believes Wednesday’s world premiere in Wellington will spur overseas demand for all things wool.

She says the 2012-13 lamb crop is the third smallest since the 1950s but is still 1.9 million lambs up on last season.

“Hopefully, the increased lamb production may offset softer international prices and the high New Zealand dollar.

“Being an optimist we now have an international marketing opportunity off the back of The Hobbit. I am certain it will spur interest in all things Kiwi and we need our exporters to maximise this opportunity.” 

The oil-based red carpet used at The Hobbit premiere, which Ms Maxwell says could have been in wool

She says as the New Zealand Inc brand goes global there is more of an opportunity to leverage the country’s primary products.

“Let’s face it, not everyone will be able to afford a trip to New Zealand, so they can experience New Zealand by what they eat or wear.”

However, Ms Maxwell would have preferred to see a woollen red carpet stretching the 500m down Courtenay Place, not an oil-based one.

She says it seems a lost opportunity, given the positive momentum Prince Charles recently gave wool growers and the Campaign for Wool.

“I just think of what could have been with a New Zealand wool red carpet given the flock of international media present for the world premiere.”

Ms Maxwell told NBR ONLINE the carpet could then have been cut up into small squares, branded The Hobbit and on-sold.

The government’s figures show 3000 jobs were created by the making of The Hobbit, 93,000 hotel beds were occupied during production, $380,000 was spent on coffee and $1.45 million on local food suppliers by the crew.

However, those same figures do not mention the expected spin-offs for New Zealand’s primary industries.

The film industry remains big business for Wellington – last year, feature films generated $495 million in revenue. Statistics New Zealand says the figure is nearly 50% up on 2008 levels.

The capital has 753 businesses connected with the feature film industry.

bcunningham@nbr.co.nz

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