Parliament will today pass legislation the Government says is the most important part of the deal to keep The Hobbit movies in New Zealand.
Labour intends fighting the Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill to the last clause, arguing it isn't necessary and the Government is "sticking it to the unions".
The bill changes the Employment Relations Act to make sure a film industry worker engaged on an independent contract won't be able to go to court and claim employee rights and conditions.
Ministers say movie producer Warner Bros would have pulled out of New Zealand without the commitment to change the law, but Labour and the Greens are accusing the Government of capitulating to a foreign company, abusing parliamentary process and making a mockery of democracy.
During debate on the bill last night Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee, who played a key role in the negotiations with Warner Bros executives, blamed unions for causing the crisis by putting a "do not work" ban on the $670 million production.
The ban was rescinded but by then the producers had taken fright and Mr Brownlee said the Government had to pick up the pieces.
"We've pulled a dreadful situation out of the fire," he said.
"It is our workers who have won. Their jobs were put at risk by an Australian union."
It was the Australian Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, an umbrella for the New Zealand Actors' Equity, which initiated the ban with the backing of the Council of Trade Unions.
Government MPs say the unions came close to costing thousands of jobs and the potential destruction of the entire $2.8 billion film industry.
With Parliament sitting under urgency last night the bill passed its first and second readings on votes of 68 to 51, with ACT, United Future and the Maori Party backing National.
It still has to pass its committee and third reading stages. Parliament will sit at 9am today to continue debating it.