Two senior ministers have made themselves available to mediate in the industrial dispute surrounding The Hobbit.

Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee and Arts and Culture Minister Chris Finlayson met husband and wife filmmakers Sir Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh at the Beehive this morning over the issue, which has actors and producers locked in an industrial dispute over employment terms and conditions for actors on their planned two-part adaptation of the JRR Tolkien book.

A spokesman for Mr Brownlee told NZPA the meeting was "just an opportunity" for the filmmakers to meet the ministers and "outline their view of how the issue had evolved".

They also discussed the wider risks to the screen industry in New Zealand if a resolution could not be reached.

No commitments were made but "the minister had said they are available to mediate in getting a solution", the spokesman said.

The film's co-writer and co-producer, Philippa Boyens, today warned it was far from certain that it would be shot in New Zealand.

The dispute had damaged New Zealand's film reputation and "thrown doubt on how stable our industry is in terms of industrial relations", she told Radio New Zealand.

"That is what is being put in jeopardy - not whether the production goes forward, but whether it's made here."

A number of countries were lobbying for the film to be moved offshore, including Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia and countries in Eastern Europe.

"It's not a game because right now, in America, Warner Brother's studios are running the numbers on five to six different locations. That's very real - and that has put at risk the livelihoods of countless thousands of New Zealand industry workers."

The actors' unions had been naive in their demands, and had jeopardised the production's future in New Zealand, Boyens said.

The New Zealand Actors' Equity union said yesterday it was "hopeful" its disagreement with producers could be resolved.

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly declined to confirm reports the spat was near resolution.

Meanwhile, Boyens confirmed Hollywood media reports over the weekend that a deal over the rights to JRR Tolkien's book was close to being signed, and the film would soon get the go-ahead from studios.

"I think it's looking hopeful, but it's not signed yet," she said.

"The rights are tied up in an extremely messy entangled way, and the studios involved in the making of the picture -- MGM and Warner Brother's New Line -- have been going through extensive talks to resolve that issue."

The reports cited anonymous sources which said a production could begin as early as January for a 2012 release.

It was also reported the film would be shot in 3D.

- NZPA