Labour MP slams Hobbit law change

  • Breaking
  • 28/10/2010

By Dan Satherley

Labour MP Clare Curran says the Government's law changes surrounding the Hobbit movies are a "shambles".

In a post on the official Labour Party blog titled 'NZ law: brought to you by Warner Bros', she accuses National MPs of inconsistency in their explanations.

"Yesterday Steven Joyce said in the House that if we didn’t change the law under urgency then the Hobbit films wouldn’t be made here," writes Ms Curran, but: "In question time yesterday Gerry Brownlee insisted that Warner Brothers had no role in requiring this law change to go ahead."

The change to the law stops film industry contractors from claiming they are employees in disputes.

"The changes they are proposing to employment laws are entirely unrelated to the earlier dispute with the New Zealand Actors' Equity and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance," says Ms Curran.

"That was about independent contractors wanting to remain as independent contractors but to negotiate collectively. This law change is about whether an independent contractor can be considered to be an employee."

Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee says the unions are at fault for jeopardising the shoot.

"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."

Ms Curran however, says: "There’s no need to amend the Employment Relations Act. We’ve been making movies in NZ without problems for years… It’s about a shambles, opportunism and populism."

Read Ms Curran's blog entry here.

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