30 November 2012 4:18 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The New Zealand government colluded with Warner Bros to give the impression that unionised actors threatened the film

Guardian readers may have followed the industrial dispute that played out in New Zealand over The Hobbit. This dispute arose because a union of performers (Equity) sought to exercise its members' internationally recognised rights to collectively bargain. It was nothing more and nothing less. What played out was an unexpected journey of misrepresentation, led partly by the Hollywood studio Warner Brothers, but particularly by the New Zealand government.

Already anti-union, the government collaborated with Warners to create a narrative that by seeking to bargain collectively, the actors would cause the movie to be moved overseas; meaning job losses, destruction of the film industry and a dent to national pride. This dubious claim was used to justify a law change removing employment rights from workers in the New Zealand film industry, and the »

- Helen Kelly

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