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Information law too precious to be sold

8 February 2013

Information law too precious to be sold

The Government should not cave to Warner Bros’ threats to dictate official information law in New Zealand to hide their dirty secrets, say the Green Party.

Warner Bros are threatening the Government not to make information contained in the Ombudsman’s ruling relating to The Hobbit deal public, stating it would act as “a major disincentive” for future productions to come to New Zealand.

“Warner Bros are using bully boy tactics by threatening against future film-making opportunities in New Zealand,” said Green Party open government spokesperson Holly Walker.

“Disclosing documents under the Official Information Act (OIA) is the law in this country. If you are doing business with the Government here, then you need to understand that disclosure comes with the territory.

“Warner Bros were able to convince the National Government to change the law once for this film with their changes to employment law in 2010.

“It seems like these companies think that if they don’t like the law in New Zealand, they can just get the government to change it. So far, this Government has seemed quite happy to play along.

“Now the Government is considering changes to the OIA to make it easier to withhold commercial information, apparently as a direct result of this case.

“If the Government is contemplating a second Warner Bros law, the Warner Bros OIA law, then they need to remember that the sequel is always worse than the original.

“If the arrangements for filming The Hobbit were so beneficial to New Zealand, as is claimed, why are the Government and Warner Bros at such pains to hide the details?

“Warner Bros should not have a higher level of protection than other companies or New Zealanders. This Government needs to respect our world class information law and make these documents public,” said Ms Walker.

ENDS

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