New Zealand To Remain Stand-in For Middle Earth
Picture: No Doubt on tour 11th July 2009
In an announcement that no doubt touched off sighs of relief throughout his country, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said today (Thursday in New Zealand) that he had reached an agreement with Warner Bros. executives "that will enable the two Hobbit movies to be directed by Sir Peter Jackson to be made in New Zealand." Key said that he had assured the Warner executives that labor laws in the country would be changed to define more clearly the differences between a contract worker and a studio employee. "We will be moving to ensure that New Zealand law in this area is settled to give producers like Warner Bros the confidence they need to produce their movies in New Zealand," he said at a news conference in Wellington. Key also agreed to provide an additional $7.5 million tax rebate for each Hobbit movie on top of the 15 percent tax break that the country already provides. In addition, he said that the country will contribute $10 million to a joint marketing deal -- Key called it "a strategic partnership" -- that will promote New Zealand as a film production center and tourist destination. However, as the prime minister pointed out, "Making the two Hobbit movies here will not only safeguard work for thousands of New Zealanders, but it will also follow the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in once again promoting New Zealand on the world stage."