Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Equity sets record straight on new claims in OIA documents

Equity sets record straight on new claims made in OIA documents yesterday


NZ Actors Equity Press Statement 27 February 2013 3:30pm

NZ Actors Equity has rejected claims by the producers of The Hobbit that Equity and its sister union Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance were financially motivated in their attempts to gain fair wages and conditions for NZ actors working on the film. The claim was contained in statements by Peter Jackson this week and also included in the OIA documents released yesterday.

NZ Actors Equity and its members have only ever been motivated by a desire to improve the working lives of New Zealand performers who have for years struggled on non-union contracts. NZ is one of the few countries in the English-speaking world where actors have no right to share in the financial success of their work or the right to a standard contract that protects their basic entitlements such as sick leave.

As the documents released yesterday unequivocally show, NZ Equity’s attempts to bring NZ terms and conditions for performers into line with those of the rest of the world in no way placed the film’s production in NZ in jeopardy.

NZ Equity members voted that MEAA would collect residuals earned by actors and distribute them. Residuals are payments for the re-use of performers work in recorded media. The MEAA charges a five per cent fee on residual payments for members and a 15 per cent fee for nonmembers.

As the vast majority of New Zealand Actors are members of Equity (over 600 members out of 900 actors counted in the census), the majority of New Zealand actors would be charged a five per cent fee.

This fee is used to pay the salary of an accountant and several financial staff to chase up payments from a multitude of producers around the world with residual agreements, dating as far back as 30 years. This is way in which residuals are processed world-wide.

Any remaining money from fees goes to the Equity Foundation for education and training purposes including acting master-classes for performers. This benefits both actors and producers by creating a growing pool of highly skilled actors. The MEAA and NZ Equity do not profit from the collection of residuals. Performers are the sole beneficiaries of residual commissions.

NZ Actors Equity today also noted that two of New Zealand’s most treasured actors Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Robyn Malcolm were subject to death threats and harassment as a consequence of Government and producer actions following the calling off of the boycott.

At a point when the producers and the Government were fully aware that the dispute had been resolved, the producers deliberately mobilised film crews, fans and the country against NZ Actors Equity and many well-known actors. The ensuing protest march was potentially an explosive situation.

It was an extremely unsafe time for many union members. Robyn Malcolm and several other Equity members and staff were confronted by angry members of the public in the streets of Wellington and were labelled “Hobbit killers”. Others were subjected to death threats by email and phone; and a violent cartoon was circulated depicting Robyn Malcolm bleeding with a wooden stake driven through her heart. Jennifer Ward-Lealand was subjected to vitriolic attacks and one top actors’ agency was also targeted, receiving threatening phone calls. They were labelled on national television “damaged goods” and were painted internationally as ringleaders of an unreasonable boycott. All this because the government and the producers failed to communicate that the boycott was off and that the Hobbit would remain in NZ. Personal and creative relationships dating back decades were destroyed as actors were deliberately pitted against others in the industry.

The documents confirm that the NZ employment laws were changed in haste and against internal advice from the government. Equity calls for these changes to be reversed at the earliest opportunity. We urge the NZ Government to release the last remaining secret document – the Crown Law opinion about the dispute. This should allow the NZ industry to finally lay the Hobbit dispute to rest.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

#SaveCampbellLive : Mediaworks Delivered 104,000 Petition Signatures At TV3's Newton HQ
#PonyTailGate #TailGate Full Coverage

Pukeahu Park : ANZAC 100th Anniversary Dawn Service In Pictures

Roughly 18,000 people gathered this morning at Pukeahu Memorial Park for the Anzac day centenary. Anticipating the large turnout, patrons arrived as early as 4.30. It was virtually impossible to get near the Memorial after 5am. By 6, the crowds on Taranaki Street had stretched as far back as the Z Petrol station.

The screens erected around the park displayed the live events to those who had turned up. The heat generated by the huge number of people caused many to take a turn. Medics and ambulances were on hand for the fainting crowd members. Only twenty minutes into the ceremony, one medic said they had already dealt with 15 to 20 spells. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

War: What’s To Commemorate?

Gordon Campbell in Werewolf: Is there anything that can be validly commemorated on this 100th anniversary of Gallipoli? Beyond, that is, a fleeting sense of empathy with the thousands of soldiers killed or wounded on April 25 1915 and in the months thereafter, until the whole thing was finally called off in December 1915. More>>

MORE IN WEREWOLF:

ALSO:

Peter Ellis Case: Minister Declines Request For Commission Of Inquiry

Justice Minister Amy Adams has declined a request from supporters of Peter Ellis for a Commission of Inquiry on the basis that an inquiry cannot be used to determine the liability of any person. More>>

Quakes: New Process For Red Zone Crown Offers

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced a process to give everyone a say on the Crown offers to owners of vacant, commercial/industrial and uninsured properties in the Residential Red Zone. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Battle Obama Is Waging Over The TPP

For the past two and a half years, this column has been arguing that the fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will hinge on whether US President Barack Obama can win Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from Congress... Last week, the White House finally, finally unveiled a draft TPA Bill. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Govt Breaks Free Doctors Visit Promise To Kids

Documents obtained by the Green Party show that the Government decided to fund only 90 percent of doctors’ visits for children suffering from an injury in an attempt trim the cost of the so-called “free” visits. More>>

ALSO:

Other Wars: Extension Of NZDF Commitment In Afghanistan

The New Zealand Defence Force’s commitment of mentors and support staff to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Afghanistan has been extended out to December 2016, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

PM's Press Conference: Auckland Property Prices Increasing "Too Rapidly"

John Key accepted that Auckland property prices 'are going up too rapidly” in a press conference held today in Wellington, however he said that this is not anything new. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: ANZAC PMs Concerned About ISIL Bringing The War Home

Prime Minister Key and Prime Minister Abbott spoke of the bond formed between Australia and New Zealand in the “baptism of fire” of Gallipoli. Abbott stated that New Zealand and Australia’s values and interests are linked, and this is reflected in the joint operation in Iraq which will begin shortly. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news