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NZ Writers day of action 28 November

Press Release from the New Zealand Writers Guild

Wednesday the 28th of November

NZ Writers day of action 28 November

The NZWG is calling on New Zealand writers to do whatever they can today in support of the American film and TV writers' strike, whether it's taking to the streets or calling, emailing or sending non-nuclear missives to the representatives of the major media conglomerates.

In a show of support for the ongoing American Writers Guilds' strike, 21,000 screenwriters worldwide are today joining in an "international day of solidarity," with protests set for Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Mexico, France and Canada.

There are very few of the US media conglomerates currently active in New Zealand, which limits the relevant action NZ writers can take.

Guild President, Allan Baddock, says "We're encouraging NZ writers to inundate representatives of the major media conglomerates with calls, letters, and emails making it clear that this is a global fight."

"We want to give the message loud and clear that it's time writers got a fair share."

"The American writers are in the frontline of a battle we're all facing."

"Any deal by the media conglomerates that weakens or undermines our American counterparts will ultimately have a ripple effect here. Our producers are playing in the same international markets and with the same international conglomerates. Their fight is our fight."

"Hollywood is the frontline, but writers are being shafted everywhere on the same issues. Ask any NZ producer or broadcaster what share of internet revenues they're offering writers. The media conglomerates tell the financial markets they're making vast profits from the internet, and tell us internet revenues aren't enough to give writers a share."

"Screenwriters rely on that revenue sharing to survive between projects. At any given time, 48 percent of American screenwriters are unemployed. In New Zealand, the figure is probably closer to 80 percent."

"Even when they're working, most writers' rates in television here haven't changed for 20 years. Who else do you know who hasn't had a pay rise for 20 years."

"Producers and broadcasters like to play down the importance of the writer in creating the value in the industry. Well, our American colleagues are demonstrating what the film and television industry is worth without writers."

"It comes to a dead stop."

Baddock derides any suggestion the American strike might be a golden opportunity for New Zealand writers to get a break with the major studios.

"The Guild has been approached by a few New Zealand writers looking to cash in on the strike. Most have far more intelligence. They may get work as long as the strike lasts, but they'll never work in the US again because they'll be blacklisted. That's as it should be."

"I have every sympathy for someone who finds themselves with what could be their big break, but if we're going to support an industry practice that says any time you're in dispute with a producer your own colleagues will step in and steal your job, we're headed into a dark place few thinking writers would want to head."

"It's the kind of sweatshop practice we're trying to stamp out in exploitative, backward economies. There's certainly no honour in it for anyone with any self-respect."

"If you can only get work as a writer during a strike, you'd be better to go and do something you're good at."

ends

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