27 October 2010

How long til he buys Elephant Man's skeleton?

This evening, we learned the outcome of negotiations held between Sir Peter Jackson's personal agent, the Hon John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, and the media multi-national Warner Bros.

Key has 'brokered' with Warners a special deal for Jackson and "The Hobbit" film project.

Jackson gets special legislation to clarify the distinction between independent contractors and employees in the film production industry. (PS the NZ Supreme Court says there is nothing to clarify)

Warners get $US15 million of tax rebates over two films and $US10 million for marketing.

So I wrote to Key.

Since when should Government be acting as an agent for private sector parties such as Warners and Peter Jackson? I had thought it was a central principle of your party that “Government should keep out of matters of business” and that “Government should not try to pick winners”.
Secondly, as a taxpayer, I am aghast that you have announced ad-hoc changes to film tax rebates to advantage only specifically Jackson and Warners, apparently in response to your meetings with Warners.
Thirdly, I am very disappointed that you intend to introduce legislation to Parliament apparently at the request of Warners and Jackson. And that this legislation is to clarify the law solely to specifically benefit the NZ film industry and Peter Jackson, instead of to achieve a general public goal. The Supreme Court has clarified the law of contractors and employees in Bryson vs Three Foot Six Ltd. This should only be amended by Parliament if due process is followed. This does not appear to be the case here.

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