Equity New Zealand welcomes Government’s commitment to repeal Hobbit Law
Equity New Zealand welcomes the Government’s announcement that they will repeal an ill-considered and unnecessary law introduced in 2010 in a bid to strip actors and other film workers of basic employment rights. This move is a clear vote of confidence in New Zealand's world-class screen industry.
The Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Act 2010 was rushed through Parliament, classifying all film workers as "independent contractors", unable to bargain collectively and receive other benefits associated with being an employee.
At the time Labour and Green Party MPs voted against the bill, accusing the government of relenting to a foreign company and abusing parliamentary process.
“This is a law that is deeply unfair for workers, so it is wonderful to see our new Government make its repeal a priority” said Equity New Zealand president Jennifer Ward-Lealand.
Ward-Lealand said the Government’s announcement demonstrates a genuine commitment to creating and supporting employment conditions that are fair and equitable.
“The repeal of this law is a step in the right direction but much more needs to be done to enable collective bargaining in our industry, as is the case in every other major film industry in the western world.”
Ward-Lealand said the alleged purpose of this law was to create certainty, but it did just the opposite.
“One of the best ways to create certainty around employment conditions – for both employees and employers – is to have collective agreements that very clearly outline wages and conditions.” said Ward-Lealand.
“We look forward to working with Prime Minister Ardern and her team to create a thriving arts and entertainment industry that still manages to treat its workers with dignity and respect.