New York Times says NZ govt geared around Hollywood
Out in Coatesville, Kim Dotcom will be rubbing his hands and preparing another conspiracy tweet.
For New Zealand has made the front page of today's New York Times, with an article that suggests our entire apparatus of government is geared around Hollywood.
Two writers from the paper, Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes, met John Key in his Beehive office, where the PM brandished a Lord of the Rings-style sword gifted by President Barack Obama.
The pair see the moment as symbolic of the fact that:
In New Zealand, the business of running a country goes hand in hand with the business of making movies.
For better or worse, Mr. Key’s government has taken extreme measures that have linked its fortunes to some of Hollywood’s biggest pictures, making this country of 4.4 million people, slightly more than the city of Los Angeles, a grand experiment in the fusion of film and government.
The article goes on to trace the the so-called Hobbit Law changes to keep the trilogy in NZ; the GCSB's illegal spying on Kim Dotcom, tourism promotions around the films and the success of Weta (the latter being the most natural territory for Messrs Cieply and Barnes. The pair are the Times' Hollywood correspondents and the recent co-author's of a four-page Times' travel piece on NZ's "Hobbit trail").
NBR thinks the government can't afford to bend over any further for Hollywood.
As Rob Hosking recently wrote:
Giving any business or sector special concessions of any kind from any government, especially tax concessions, is bad policy and bad in principle.
All it does is encourage lobbying, favouritism and the kind of poor economic performance – and a soft form of corruption – that bedevilled New Zealand for many years
But if you subscribe to the any-publicity-is-good-publicity-school, or subscribe to the downstream benefits theory, then this is more great Hobbit-inspired exposure for Godzone (the Times has around 45 million unique visitors to its site each month).
And it certainly beats the paper's last piece, inspired by the Prime Minister's tour around Hollywood studios to drum up business.
That New York Times piece, originally highlighted by @toby_etc, began: