STRAIGHT TALK: Column by Richard Moore

By Richard Moore

Backlash could annihilate our film industry
Like the shadow of Sauron moving over the lands of Middle-earth the threat of New Zealand losing The Hobbit is a dark and fear-inducing one.
It would ruin an adolescent film industry and destroy this country's movie-making reputation more surely than being stomped on by a war Oliphaunt.
A flood of highly skilled technicians and CGI whizzes would sail overseas never to be seen again and employment opportunities for actors wanting to remain within these shores would plummet.
And, to cap it all off, the economy would lose hundreds of millions of dollars from the actual production of the two-part The Hobbit and even more from not having the country's beauty freely showcased on film as a prime tourist attraction.
We may find out this week if it's ta-ta to The Hobbit as Warner Bros has sent out a high-power team to find out just what the heck is happening here.
They will meet Sir Peter Jackson, Lord of the Rings maestro and national hero, and then Prime Minister John Key will get in on the act in a desperate bid to stop the move.
That will no doubt involve more tax breaks for Warner Bros coming out of our pockets.
So who do we have to thank for this mess?
Well some drongo Wormtongue got in the ear of Actors' Equity and suggested a global boycott of The Hobbit while they negotiate a minimum standards agreement for those involved in the industry.
In effect it was about the question of are film workers employees of the production company or independent contractors.
Anyway, Jackson refused on the grounds it would set a very bad precedent and the unions tried to ride over the top of him.

Only in order to force through a dubious benefit to a few, the actors have jeopardised thousands of jobs.
Now the unions are running like screaming be-aches ducking for any cover they can find.
They are promising no disruption during the filming of The Hobbit in a last-second bid to stop the trouble they've caused killing off a massive number of jobs within the $3 billion a year industry.
It may be too late and if it is then those responsible should be made to pay for their arrogant stupidity.
It is not easy at times but I do try to turn the other cheek when it comes to responding to people plying half-truths and misconceptions about what I have written.
However a letter from Roy Edwards responding to my column on the need for a Maori Cultural Centre in Tauranga and the need to wrest some tourism from Rotorua needs to be answered.
I'll have to answer his query and say yes, Roy, you did not understand what I was trying to say.
How you came about your mischievous suggestion I am a closet spender of public money is beyond my comprehension. I clearly stated the centre would not be publicly funded but you must have glossed over that paragraph. Money for it would be private funding and money coming from tourists.
The other matters I'll leave for another time.
I should point out I have had many emails of support from people within the tourism industry.
One of my grandfathers was a very keen hunter and spent a lot of time shooting deer in the Southern Alps.
What he would make of the clown who mistook a 25-year-old teacher for an animal and shot her through the head would be anyone's guess.
The woman was in a campsite brushing her teeth.
Once again it's a case of an irresponsible, unthinking idiot wandering around playing Rambo leading to the death of an innocent person.
I reckon that in order to get a gun licence you need to have a higher IQ than that of a zombie.
Almost 205 years to the day after the Royal Navy's glorious victory over a French and Spanish fleet at Trafalgar, its tradition seem to have hit rock bottom.
The newest addition to British naval power - the $3 billion nuclear sub HMS Astute - was tootling along on a sea trial when oopsadaisy it went off course and ran aground.
What would Admiral Horatio Nelson have said?
It's not known what caused the embarrassing incident although we may surmise a bit too much rum and yo-ho-hoing!

- Bay of Plenty Times

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