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Key to LA for air-kiss fest with movie moguls

(BusinessDesk) Prime Minister John Key will make a whirlwind visit to Los Angeles at the end of the week for a series of visits with senior US movie industry figures, hosted by Avatar producer-cum-Wairarapa farmland investor James Cameron.

Just as Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria arrives in New Zealand to launch a TV shopping channel, Mr Key will be jetting out to attend a dinner with the heads of Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures and Paramount, and for meetings with senior executives from the Universal and Walt Disney studios, as well as the Motion Pictures Association of America.

Announcing the trip at his post-Cabinet press conference late yesterday afternoon, Mr Key was at pains to insist he was not about to add new incentives for US movie-makers, but was intending to plug the fact that labour law changes and big budget film rebates were intended for any foreign movie, not just The Hobbit.

"We don't have any money and incentives cost you money. What we do in New Zealand is extremely good. We have to ensure we are on the radar."

Warner Bros was instrumental in pushing a labour law change in 2009 that ensured contractors on film projects could not be treated as employees, which would have triggered additional production costs.

Mr Key says the film industry is worth $3 billion a year, employs 2700 people and has potential to grow.

He hoped "Avatar 2 and 3" would be made in New Zealand, and it was appropriate for the prime minister to open doors where others perhaps could not and to leverage the relationship with Cameron, who has made substantial land purchases in the Wairarapa and proposes to become a New Zealand resident.

Mr Key did not expect the studio heads to raise the Kim Dotcom extradition, despite the motion picture industry being among those to target file-sharing services such as Dotcom's Megaupload as sources of internet piracy of copyrighted material.

He returns to New Zealand on Sunday.

Comments and questions

There is a stench to all this

The moguls will have to be ordered not to mention Dotcom or they surely will.

Our PM & Minister of Tourism, jumps in and saves the movie biz in NZ, helps creates close to 3ooo well paid new jobs, increases our export earnings by more than 1 billion dollars and is now on a mission to seriously step this up to another level, to help create exciting new career opportunities for ave Kiwis and greater tax revenues for all NZers to enjoy - and you're not appreciative?
Thank you Mr Key, for once again putting NZ ahead of yourself - for giving up your own time to meet some of the most influential on the globe in this industry to help make NZ an even stronger economy.

Are you serious? Do your homework and find out what Key did when some of the studio execs breezed into town after Peter Jackson infamously threatened the government to take The Hobbit elsewhere.
Key is over in Hollywood not to drum up business for NZ's tiny movie making business but to save his own skin from being cooked in the growing Dotcom fiasco. Wise up, kid!

Shonkey is off to sort out the Quid Pro Quo before it all unravels and the moguls decide NZ didn't deliver and Dotcom lives to fight another day.

Fantastic that our own PM would represent NZ as a country that "doesn't have any money". Yes, it's great to be focused and look at ways of achieving things more cost-effectively but really...

Or maybe he is projecting ahead to once Kim Dotcom wins all his damages claims?

Good work Mr Key ... take Dot Con with you please.

Why is John key going at all? There must be plenty of industry people who can talk up our location, tax breaks and cheap labour. Honestly, why is the pm going. Not enough to do at home?

Isn't John key supposed to be at the Chinese business summit this Wednesday at the langham?

"Mr Key did not expect the studio heads to raise the Kim Dotcom extradition,.."

And pigs might fly.

Whether it stinks or not this country needs that work, you'd be mad not to take up this opportunity, whatever you say about Key it would be irresponsible for any PM not to give this pitch maximum effort especially with James Cameron in the picture... remember these people actually take the risk and make the movies as opposed to those who quite happily share them around others like they owned them.

The truth. is that Key's been ordered to be at a sit-down before the Hollywood moguls for a Please explain. The titans want to know how the cops screwed up so badly with Dotcom. Let us pray that our Dear Leader gets to come home safely and he doesn't get to sleep wih the fishes.

Can you please tell us who has ordered him to go to Hollywood? We'd love to know.

What a dumb lot of posters.
A) The trip was organised a long time ago.
B) It could mean a helluva boost for NZ.
C) And of course they'll talk "Dotcom", but you losers are never going to know.

Can you prove any of what you say?

Thanks John, the other responses are so 'kiwi' but its not surprising. Policically motivated without a clue. Here we have a PM attempting to generate income for the country while the PM this lot admire so much spent 9 years spending what we didn't have on dumb stuff.

Yes, school holidays indeed.

You're welcome.:)
Thanks for the support and thank goodness the lefties aren't in Government.
Sheesh, just reading their supporters posts is enough to give anyone the creeps.

So his trip while the Dotcom business gets front page coverage is just a coincidence then?

Yet another school holiday timed trip for the priveldged one.

yes, I'm sure that's his plan. He just wants a free taxpayer paid trip to LA. Are you aware that he donates his entire salary to charity?

I reckon the comments that Key has been summonsed for a swift carpeting are more on the mark. Either that or its a junket.

How many of you posters have seen Avator or one of the lord of the rings movies? Do you know how much money these movies injected into the NZ economy?

Like John Morrison says, the trip was probably organised ages ago and its kind of cool to see our PM putting some skin into the game. So stop wingeing and get a life

Good opportunity for NZ film - is it really any trickier than that?

What's the point of this visit again?...maybe no one told the PM.

The Guardian 1 Oct 2102...Looper review..

During a five-day visit to Beijing last month, Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron said he was looking very seriously at the possibility of a co-production with China. He said he was visiting the country on a fact-finding mission to "find out what restrictions need to be met, find out what content guidelines need to be met, and find out the economic incentives are".

If Cameron chooses to run with the China option, it will prove that copyright/pirating issues aren't such a stumbling block after all.

Wow. Just, wow. There seem to be a large percentage of extremely misinformed NZer's around these days. It's rather depressing.

1. Us taxpaying NZ citizens literally helped fund The Hobbit by giving the world's largest media conglomerate, Time Warner, a tax break. P.A.T.H.E.T.I.C. I recommend all taxpaying NZer's should download the films we're helping fund. Will us taxpayers get a cut of the profits? HA!

2. Of the alleged "thousands" of jobs created due to this immoral golden handshake farce between Key, Warners, and Peter Jackson, a lot of them already actually existed. I should know, I know a lot of people who work in the NZ, sorry, Peter Jackson film industry. I also know a lot of people who recently lost these miraculous (sic) jobs.
People, you're being seriously lied to.

3. How much of a cut do you think SIR Peter Jackson gets? A modest amount? Think again.

4. The Hobbit films were always going to be made in NZ, for a variety of reasons.

I'm getting real tired of how many ignorant people there are in New Sheepland whoops I mean New Zealand.

Have any of NZ's Prime Ministers spent as much time globe trotting as the incumbent PM? His media profile seems to be inversely proportional to any positive results he has achieved while in office.