NZ Union Ends Hobbit Boycott in Hopes to Win Production
On Thursday, The New Zealand Actors Equity recommended calling off a boycott, which had been imposed on The Hobbit film after claims were made that producers would not negotiate a minimum wage with unions. It is clear that the unions sensed that they were losing the battle, when Hobbit producers planned to visit the country with the objective of moving the film off shore. In regards to the battle, Peter Jackson said, “It appears now we cannot make films in our own country – even when substantial financing is available.”
At this point, even the New Zealand government is getting involved and plans to sit down with producers to see how they can accommodate production. The NZ Actors Equity said, “In an effort to re-establish stability in the New Zealand film industry, NZ Equity has recommended to all international performance unions that they rescind any forms of advice to their members that they not work on the feature film production ‘The Hobbit.’”
Unfortunately, the appeal may be too late. Warner Brothers executives plan on flying to the island next week with plans to begin moving production. I expect New Zealand will do all that they can to try and accommodate the movie, but unfortunately people got too greedy. The Tolkien movies have brought a lot of exposure and money into New Zealand, so to try and gamble that, was risky. We should find out within the next few days what the plan going forward will be. We will keep you posted.