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Employment Issues In Sir Peter's Hands To Address

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Claims by Sir Peter Jackson that NZ Actors' Equity is threatening the viability of The Hobbit in New Zealand are entirely within his hands to address, says President Jennifer Ward-Lealand.

"The Union is simply seeking an opportunity to sit down calmly with the producers to find a suitable solution," she says.

"Advice we have received today from Miriam Dean QC, a senior barrister specialising in competition law, confirms our views that: "There's no legal impediment to negotiating fair wages and terms for actors taken on as employees. "Nothing in the Act prohibits us from having some meaningful engagement with the producers on non-price terms for actors taken on as independent contractors, such as rolling credits to acknowledge New Zealand actors' input into the movie. "Nor does the Act prohibit us from discussing pricing in general terms with the producers to enable us to help our independent contractor members in their individual negotiations with producers. The Union accepts that these could only be recommended prices - nothing more. "Our members are simply seeking fair and equitable engagement terms for NZ actors, more in line with those that protect actors from Australia, the US or the UK who will be working on the production," she says.

"I can assure the producers that our requirements are entirely reasonable. Many relate to basic conditions of engagement with no cost implications at all, and the overall impact of our demands is likely to be miniscule for a production of this scale.

"As we've been unable to secure a meeting with the production, Sir Peter does not yet have any idea of what we're seeking.

"We urge him to meet with us as soon as possible to resolve this.

"With goodwill on both sides, we are confident the issue can be resolved quickly in the best interests of New Zealand and local performers."

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