Hobbit Still Homeless
After meeting with ten Warner Bros. executives who had flown to New Zealand to participate in crisis talks over the filming of The Hobbit in that country, Prime Minister John Key told reporters that, while the talks were "constructive," chances of the production remaining in New Zealand were no greater than 50-50. Although Key had earlier expressed concern that the executives would be seeking an increase in the government "subsidy" for the film, he said that the Warner executive's primary concern was the industrial climate in the country. "They were very open and honest," Key told the New Zealand Herald . "They have a lot of goodwill towards New Zealand, but there's no question that the industrial action caused concern on their side. If it wasn't for the industrial action, they were good to go." Key was referring to the boycott called by a small New Zealand actors' union that received support from the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The boycott was rescinded when it became apparent that the production would leave New Zealand if it was enforced. Key told the Herald that Warner executives had requested changes in New Zealand's labor laws. "We wouldn't want to say we could definitely do that, but we also wouldn't want to rule it out," he said. He did not indicate what sort of changes Warner execs had requested.