1 Oct 2012

Key to pitch NZ's advantages to Hollywood

8:00 pm on 1 October 2012

The Prime Minister is off to Hollywood this week for meetings with major American film studios.

John Key leaves on Wednesday night for a whistlestop visit to Los Angeles where he'll have meetings with Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures, the Walt Disney Company, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures, as well as the Motion Picture Association of America.

He says he will be promoting the advantages of film-making in New Zealand, such as easy-to-do business, government grants, skilled crews and spectacular scenery.

Mr Key says the screen industry contributed almost $3 billion in revenue to the New Zealand economy last year - and it keeps growing. He says the four-day trip is about jobs for New Zealanders.

The Prime Minister has been accused of bowing to the wishes of the United States government and film industry, which both want the internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom extradited and prosecuted for internet piracy.

Mr Key says that's the stuff of fantasists and conspiracy theorists and his sole aim is to highlight the reasons why films should be made in New Zealand.

In 2010 the Government struck a deal with film executives from Warner Brothers to keep the two "Hobbit" movies in New Zealand. The deal involved changes to labour laws and increases in tax rebate for the films.

CTU supports trip

The president of the Council of Trade Unions, Helen Kelly, says the CTU supports the Prime Minister's trip and his involvement in film industry development but says he should be very transparent about what he is doing.

"We've now got rumours and shadows of Dotcom cases being linked to Hollywood which people are discussing," Ms Kelly says, "so what he needs to do is be absolutely transparent - who he's meeting with, what he discussed, what the outcomes were, any agreements reached - including revealing what the last lot of agreements were."