22 Dec 2010

Union demands apology from Peter Jackson

3:45 pm on 22 December 2010

The union representing actors in New Zealand is demanding an apology from film-maker Sir Peter Jackson for allegations he made against the union.

In an email to Radio New Zealand News, Sir Peter said the blacklisting of the Hobbit movies - led by Australia's Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance - was unjustified and illegal.

Sir Peter made the comments in response to the release of an email he sent to the Government in October, saying the blacklisting had no bearing on whether the movies would be made in this country.

In a statement on Wednesday he said the alliance - to which New Zealand Actors' Equity is aligned - had an agenda to unionise the film industry by using a grey area in employment law.

Sir Peter said the blacklist was dropped only because it was illegal and the union faced the threat of a damages suit from Warner Bros.

'Potentially damaging' to union

The alliance says, however, that no legal action was ever threatened and the blacklisting was not illegal.

"We think a statement has been made for which there is no factual basis," assistant federal secretary Simon Whipp says, "and it's a statement which is potentially damaging to our union."

Mr Whipp says it's clear Sir Peter is not happy about any union involvement in his workplace.

He says they will be seeking an apology and a retraction.