The Hobbit Is Staying In New Zealand

New Zealand government bends over backwards to keep Peter Jackson’s production in Kiwiville

The Hobbit will film in New Zealand after the New Zealand government virtually bribed the production to stay, according to an article in The Hollywood Reporter .

The country’s prime minister John Key announced in a live press conference last night that the government would “broaden the criteria for its large budget incentive program, resulting in an additional rebate to Warner Bros of up to US$15 million, depending in an unspecified way on how each part of the two-part movie performs.” Quite what this actually means is a bit unclear at the moment because, “Key refused to spell out how the criteria would be broadened, saying this was a commercial secret for the studio.” But, basically, the New Zealand government is desperate for the country not to lose The Hobbit .

The article continues, “Key also said that the government would introduce in parliament legislation sought by Warners that would clarify the employment status of film industry workers. The presumed effect would be to make unionization of the film industry more difficult or impossible.” In other words, all that posturing by the actors unions has probably left them worse off.

Key also announced a “long-term strategic partnership” with the studio, which will see joint promotion of New Zealand as a film production and tourism destination. The government will offset up to US$10 million of Warners’ marketing costs.

New Zealand will also host one of the world premieres of The Hobbit movies.

You know, if this was the 19th century and we were Ye Olde SFX Times , we’d be publishing a satirical cartoon of a hideously leering Bugs Bunny leading a simpering Kiwi on a leash. But we’re not, and while it’s slightly embarrassing seeing a Prime Minister beg like that, hurrah for The Hobbit and the film industry in New Zealand.