Warner Brothers used the threat of filming The Hobbit movies elsewhere to gain changes to New Zealand's employment laws, it was reported tonight.
An email obtained under the Official Information Act showed the production company wanted "stability" to film the movies in New Zealand and was worried about "grey areas" of employment law, Radio New Zealand reported.
The government secured the movies in October by an urgent amendment that prevented independent contractors from claiming entitlements as employees, as well as an agreement to increase the tax concession for big screen productions.
The report said the email was signed "Peter J" – apparently director Sir Peter Jackson – and was sent to the office of Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee, who was involved in the negotiations with Warner Brothers.
It said there was no connection between union action against The Hobbit movies and choice of location, which contradicted government statements at the time that said Warner Brothers was concerned about strife caused by the blacklisting of the movies because of a row over collective pay conditions.
Union opposition was withdrawn after an outcry from New Zealanders who would lose their jobs if the movies were not made here.
The report also said Warner Brothers executives who came to Wellington to negotiate the deal were worried about being questioned by journalists.
Another email to Mr Brownlee's office said they wanted to enter through the Beehive basement to avoid the media.
The negotiations took place in Prime Minister John Key's official residence, Premier House, with the media excluded.
This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags
- Brownlee relaxed about North Korean threat to nuke Australia
- Trump promises 'biggest tax cut ever' will be unveiled Wednesday
- Joyce promises more spending to keep services, infrastructure up with immigration
- Weekly Hit: Brownlee has earned foreign affairs prize
- Bob Jones Unedited: Statues – the saviour of zombie towns
Most listened to
- Sunday Business with Andrew Patterson featuring Dr David Skilling
- The total stupidity of the Waitangi Tribunal was fully on display last week, says Rodney Hide
- Gerry Brownlee has earned the foreign affairs prize, argues Matthew Hooton
- Rob Hosking on the Age of the Unprecedented
- The best NBR Radio interviews from the second week of April, with Grant Walker and Andrew Patterson