The Government's fight to keep The Hobbit movies in New Zealand is well known, and now their creator, Sir Peter Jackson, is calling for more subsidies for the movie industry.
So on the morning of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey premiere, does Prime Minister John Key feel the fight was worth it and would he do it again?
There has been a lot of controversy over subsidies, incentives and labour law changes around the filming of The Hobbit, but Mr Key says the Government’s fight was “absolutely worth it”.
“If it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t be standing here, the red carpet wouldn’t be behind me and the world premiere would be in London.
“I think that would be a great tragedy for the New Zealand film industry, for the capacity to show the world what a great country New Zealand is and for our tourism industry.”
And he doesn’t think the New Zealand film industry is getting more attention than it deserves.
“What is honestly unusual about the film industry is it gets some kind of subsidy. Nothing else in New Zealand gets that and I understand the controversy in that and the fact that it seems a little unfair. The problem you’ve got is that’s the worldwide playing field. You can choose not to participate in that, but then you don’t get films made in your country.”
Mr Key says it is hard to measure what return the country will get from The Hobbit.
“It’s a little bit diff to know absolutely everything.”
But there has been lot of spending while the first film was being made.
“The crews drank $380,000 worth of coffee and ate $1.4 million worth of food,” Mr Key says. "Let's celebrate. It's been a tough few years economically for New Zealand and the rest of the world."
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says filming created about 3000 jobs with around $1.5 million a week paid to the crew.
About 93,000 hotel beds were occupied, 1800 rental cars and 1650 other vehicles were used, just more than $9m was spent with local suppliers on set construction and just under $1.5 million went on food.
"The impact on tourism will be felt for years to come," Mr Joyce says.
Ministers are using the premiere and the revenue figures to justify the $67.1m helping hand the production company received through tax rebates.
The movie, produced by Warner Bros Entertainment subsidiary 3 foot 7, also reaped $46.9m from New Zealand's large budget screen production grant.
Watch the video for the full interview.
source: newshub archive