PM Going to Hollywood | Peters Living in "Fantasy Land"
Post-Cabinet Press Conference - 1st Oct, 2012
By Mark P. Williams
The Prime Minister spoke today about his forthcoming trip to Los Angeles, at the invitation of Film New Zealand. He said that during the trip he will be a guest of director James Cameron and his business partner John Landau at a private dinner, and would make visits to Warner Brothers, Walt Disney and Sony Pictures. He added that he would also be meeting with heads of Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures and the Motion Picture Association of America.
Mr Key described the trip as an opportunity to further open up relations between New Zealand and Hollywood which would create thousands of jobs for New Zealanders.
The questions were inevitably dominated by the interlocking cases of the proposed extradition of Kim Dotcom and the unlawful activities of the GCSB in pursuing the case.
The PM was asked whether he thought that, given the Kim Dotcom affair, his trip might be considered badly timed. He responded that he would describe it as "excellent timing", saying that the film industry was worth $3bn dollars to New Zealand and that 3,000 jobs were created on the back of the Hobbit films, adding "there'll always be conspiracy theorists out there but I'm interested in jobs not people who live in fantasy land and want to make things up".
The PM was asked several times whether he expected the movie studios to raise the Kim Dotcom affair with him. He responded that he would be "extremely surprised" if it was raised to him since it was not raised when he spoke to Google or to US film companies during previous meetings.
The PM was asked what was being put on offer by New Zealand to invite Hollywood studios. He responded that the trip was to make clear that the changes made to accommodate the Hobbit films were not restricted only to those films but would apply to other film projects. He added that he was not thinking of offering anything new in terms of incentives or tax breaks but only to promote New Zealand's competitiveness and existing opportunities.
The PM was asked whether he would consider making changes if someone like James Cameron were to raise an "impediment" with him while he was there. He said that he would consider such things but was not setting out to offer further changes.
The PM was asked what he would say if he was asked about Kim Dotcom while he was there. He responded that he would say that the matter was before the courts. Pressed further he emphasised that it was a legal process issue related to the extradition treaty arrangements between New Zealand and the United States.
The PM was asked whether the secondment of Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Kitteridge was a vote of no-confidence in the GCSB. He responded that it was more of a statement of absolute confidence in the abilities of Rebecca Kitteridge
The PM was asked about the possible damage that the issue was doing to New Zealand's international reputation. The PM said that it was a matter for the police.
The PM was asked about the comments made by MP Winston Peters on what ought and ought not to have been known by him about the Dotcom case. He responded that "some people live in fantasy land", adding that he thought there was a serious misunderstanding of the degree of involvement and direction that the Minister for GCSB ought to have over operational matters.
The PM was then questioned further about the nature of his briefing and whether he ought to have been notified since the Dotcom case was a high profile one. He said that operational matters were simply not a matter for the Prime Minister, adding that he had only been notified when briefed about the matter that the Dotcom raid was likely to be high profile, not the individual, who, he reiterated, he had never heard of prior to the briefing.
The PM was asked if he was confident that the problem only went back to 2009. He responded that he was as confident as he could be, explaining that it was the change to the new act in 2009 that caused the problems and led direct to the GCSB error.
The PM was questioned
on the comparisons made between the GCSB breaching the law
and the matter of the so-called "Teapot Tapes". He
differentiated the two scenarios in terms of their legal
interpretation and responsibilities of the police to
investigate. He stated plainly that he considered the
police complaint to be a political stunt but that in the end
it remained a matter for the police to decide whether or not
to investigate, saying "why would the police investigate
something where we know what has occurred?".
The PM was asked whether, in that case, there ought to be charges for someone. He responded by repeating that it was a matter for the police to decide.
The PM was asked whether Cabinet had discussed Housing Affordability. He said that they had not specifically but had talked about RMA reform and had made some progress.
The PM was asked about New Zealand's place in the world economy and employment. He responded that he thought New Zealand was doing relatively well, emphasising that it was in a better position than many other developed nations.
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