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Paul Little is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Paul Little: Minor players deserve a share

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Three new Avatar movies are set to be made in New Zealand.
Three new Avatar movies are set to be made in New Zealand.

Well, that's at least four Avatar movies too many, as anyone who endured James Cameron's first showy revision of the Pocahontas story will know.

I've been trying all week to think of another national leader who would take time out of his day to announce that three movies were going to be made - and to tease the announcement hours beforehand.

There's Kim Jong-Un in North Korea. And there's John Key here. Perhaps the late Idi Amin, but that's about it.

And although it's great about the jobs that will result - some of which will probably end up going to locals - an Avatar quartet has nothing to do with New Zealand films.

It has a lot to do with our ability to produce magnificent special effects for low cost at a highly popular end of the movie business. We can and should be proud of the expertise developed by Sir Richard Taylor and his colleagues at Weta.

But we shouldn't think that necessarily has anything to do with New Zealand filmmaking

If the Government really wanted to provide a fillip to local filmmakers it would provide help for people who make films about New Zealand subjects, not just someone wanting to make three sequels to one of the biggest grossing movies of all time.

This could easily be done by, for instance, including in deals such as this a requirement to give back a very small percentage of the rebate to a fund for totally home-grown cinema.

To fail to declare one free hotel room or upgrade looks like carelessness, to fail to declare $39,000 worth looks like trying it on.

In the beginning, the Len Brown affair could be dismissed - just - as a private matter that had no bearing on his ability to do his job leading Auckland. But the confirmation that he broke council rules concerning declarations and gifts changes everything.

This is the time of year when we like to think of the better human qualities - virtues such as generosity, grace and dignity. Sadly, politicians don't seem to have been infected with the Christmas spirit.

First, there was John Key signing off on a delegation to Nelson Mandela's funeral that appeared designed to offend - it was overwhelmingly white and noticeably short of people who supported Mandela when it mattered.

He compounded that by peevishly deriding Hone Harawira for organising his own trip, which he knew Harawira was within his rights to do. It was small-minded and petty.

And that's what is deplorable about the mayor's recent behaviour.

All we have seen in public is the giggling, cheering, clapping and singing side of Len Brown. He seems like an overexcited child, the sort of person who would think a tacky little treat like a hotel upgrade would be a neat thing to get.

With the suggestion that he contribute to the cost of the inquiry into his actions, Brown had an opportunity to display some grace and claw back just a little dignity and respect from the people who pay his salary. Even if there is no legal requirement for it and he can argue that his position means he should not have to pay anything, it would be a good look, and right now he needs to do something to improve his appearance.

Conservative Party chief executive and self-described "high-profile mother" Christine Rankin is threatening to bring even more entertainment value to what is already shaping up to be the most hilarious election yet by standing in Upper Harbour. She got off to a good start this week by describing Colin Craig as a "a great man". So, if Colin Craig is a great man, what was Nelson Mandela?

- Herald on Sunday

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