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Posted by Philip on 1 November 2010, 6:30 pm in ,

An Hobbitual reflection

(Take 2) I’ve held off putting my two gold coins’ worth into the “Ring” about The Hobbit until now, fearing being impaled by a spear in the didactic and dualistic argument being hurled from either side.

However, in conversation with people over the last week or so, my thoughts have been affirmed.  So, here goes.

In short, I think that the outcome of the dispute was fine – but how it came about was not.

As both an employer and a contractor I believe that the lack of clarity over the employment status of contractors in the film industry needed attention. Both actors and employers were disadvantaged by the anomaly in the law.  

Actors, because it reduced clarity about rights and responsibilities; employers, because contractors could reap the benefits of contracting as well as those of the employment tribunal in the case of a dispute.  Both parties should benefit from the clarification.

The main problem I had with the situation was the Prime Minister leaping head first into a commercial dispute. However, as someone pointed out, he is also the Minister of Tourism and perhaps it was this hat that he wore most prominently.  

Indeed the tourism outcome he negotiated was rather clever and it is the ability of John Key, to negotiate with innovation and intelligence, that I admit I rather admire. I don’t always agree with his politics, though.

The cost of investment in the tourism outcome is a red herring, in my opinion. We are, after all, beholden to a monetary system and Hollywood is a key player in this.  

The financial outlay is completely consistent with capitalist values. Unless, as I am, you are committed to rallying against capitalism in its entirety, it is the height of hypocrisy to object.

Finally, I believe the Union's was the most disappointing performance of all. A strategy of protesting at the beginning of the production was bound to fail.

Who would not expect a company the size and weight of Warner Brothers to be able to defend with agility this ancient kind of attack?  A far more robust approach would have been to wait until half way through the production and then threaten stop-work action in return for industrial negotiations.

Is this the last we will hear of this fracas? 

Roads go ever ever on

Under cloud and under star,

Yet feet that wandering have gone

Turn at last to home afar,

Eyes that fire and sword have seen

And horror in the halls of stone

Look at last on meadows green

And trees and hills they long have known.

— JRR Tolkien