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MSM as Hobbit PR

01 Nov

The MSM continue to publish Peter Jackson and Hobbit PR as if it was news.   This is a 4th estate fail, as it does no critical examination of Jackson’s complicity in undermining NZ unions andworkers’ rights in order to get funding for his movies.

As Gordon Campbell has shown, this is a highly political issue:

This morning’s release by RNZ of its OIA requests on The Hobbitis not ancient history.

It offers a rare glimpse into the fashion in which this government “negotiates” with major corporates, and this could hardly be more timely – given the secrecy that continues to surround a Sky City casino deal that (like the Hobbit situation) involves the government being (apparently) willing to scrap existing New Zealand laws and regulations, in order to meet the demands of a foreign corporate.

We’d done this sort of thing before of course, over the change in tax laws to accommodate the Lord of the Rings project. Clearly, the only way that successive New Zealand governments have known how to ‘negotiate’ with Hollywood studios has been to fall to their knees.

Even so, The Hobbit situation is in a class of its own. This was a national embarrassment, from the outset. What the studios wanted was a change to our industrial law – in essence, an overturning of the industrial law distinction between ‘contractors’ and ‘employees’ established by the Bryson case in 2006, which required employers to extend the same rights and conditions as permanent employees to those ‘contractors’ able to demonstrate that their employment conditions were indeed those of permanent staff.

Such uncritical reporting of news creates a positive pop culture association that masks the underbelly of Jackson and the NZ government’s collusion with US corporate interests.

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