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Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill — Third Reading

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Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill

Third Reading

Hon KATE WILKINSON (Minister of Labour) : I move, That the Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill be now read a third time. We have said it before: this bill provides certainty and clarity to the film industry in New Zealand, an industry that is worth $2.8 billion to our economy. The two Hobbit films alone are worth $670 million. This is not a minor issue. The Government gave serious thought to how it would respond to the threat posed to the entire New Zealand film industry. Although this bill is a direct response to ensure that The Hobbit is filmed here, it is also a response to the fact that if we had lost The Hobbit, our reputation as a filming location would have been in tatters. It is clear that Labour would have sacrificed the film industry for the sake of its union friends. The Hobbit would most certainly have disappeared from our shores if Labour had had its way. This Government was not going to let that happen. We were not prepared to see thousands of Kiwi jobs disappear, and we were not prepared to see the hard work of the many talented New Zealanders who built our film industry from scratch being destroyed.

The facts are clear: on 17 August an international union without a mandate issued an international boycott against The Hobbit as its first action in an effort to negotiate a collective agreement, which is illegal under New Zealand law. That action immediately put the production of The Hobbit in New Zealand under threat. How anyone can claim that issuing a global boycott as a starting point for negotiations is acting in good faith is beyond me, particularly when the very agreement that the union wanted to have negotiated is not lawful. The unions went too far and put the jobs of thousands of New Zealanders at risk. They have since complained that the producers did not believe their pledge that industrial action had been rescinded and would not occur during filming. But it is no surprise that the producers had no faith in that promise. Once credibility is lost, it is difficult to regain it. The actions of the unions raised concerns for Warner Bros that our industrial relations environment was unstable, and that it could again be held over a barrel.

That was a legitimate concern for us. The Government has recognised that concern, and today we are addressing it. The bill clarifies what is already widespread industry practice: that actors, crew members, and other production personnel in the film industry who sign on as independent contractors are just that—independent contractors. If they sign on as employees, they are employees. It recognises that in some instances the parties may agree that rather than a contract for services, an employment relationship is more appropriate in particular circumstances. In those cases, the parties can enter into an employment agreement that provides that the worker is an employee and therefore will be covered by the employment relations legislation.

The film industry makes a very important contribution to our economy, provides employment, and promotes tourism. This bill gives the industry the confidence that it needs in order to continue to invest in and make films in New Zealand. I commend this bill to the House.

Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) : The very first thing I want to say is that the Labour Party is thrilled that, at the end of all this, the Hobbit film will be made in New Zealand. When we left Government it was a firm expectation of the country that the Hobbit film would be made, and it would be made in New Zealand.

Two members who are very close to me represent electorates with a high level of interest in the film being made here. I am sure they are both very pleased. Both the member for Waikato and the member for Rongotai have pushed very, very strongly for it. I think it is fair to say that the member with the most technical knowledge in this area, going back quite a long time, is the member for Wellington Central, who was actively involved in making sure that the film industry and broadcasting generally thrived in New Zealand well before he was a member of Parliament. So members here are very, very pleased that a solution has been found.

But we are still very unhappy about this approach and the fact that the situation had to come to a crisis for it to be sorted. If one looks at a Dominion Post of July of 2009, one sees an article by Greer McDonald indicating that the industry was in a fragile state. Then, in December last year, Peter Jackson was warning of the loss of blockbuster films being made here unless the incentives scheme was adjusted to make it appropriate for modern times. The Government has known ever since it came in—it knew from the briefing papers it received—that there needed to be a more or less annual look at the arrangements. It is not always about more money; sometimes it is about looking at money being spent in different ways, at different times, or on different areas. And that is what the Labour Government did.

I thought we got in to a pretty virtuous cycle where we would regularly have consultations in New Zealand with New Zealand film makers. Often, New Zealand film makers would have discussions with film industry people in the United States while they were over there, they would come back to New Zealand, we would have some more discussions, and then we would either do nothing or do something. Most years we made some sort of change in order to stay up with modern times. We would look at what had happened internationally, not in order to be driven by it but to find out whether we were getting good value for money and whether some small tweaks—often, tweaks that did not cost anything—could make a difference. Sometimes they were around incentives and sometimes they were around immigration. On occasion, that was important. Some of it was around timing, entry requirements, and things like that. And in December 2009 Peter Jackson—he was not a Sir at the time—made it very, very clear that the Government needed to catch up in order to get this sorted.

All of us will be looking at the details. I want to put on record that I am very sorry that the Government has announced X million dollars in particular incentives but has not detailed what those incentives are or the method for their allocation, which means that other people cannot apply. That is not a good approach to decision making. It is not a good approach to having an even playing field for Kiwi film makers as well as film makers from the United States. It is, clearly, a result of the panicked approach that the Government has taken.

I think this legislation and this approach to Government from National exemplify the chaotic approach to Cabinet decision-making that John Key leads, and the fact that a number of his Ministers are not on top of the job. Mr Brownlee clearly did not stay in touch with the US film industry in the way that was necessary. Mr English, the Minister of Finance, as recently as 10 days ago, ruled out any more money or any law changes in order to satisfy Warner Bros. We had Mr Brownlee indicate in an answer to my friend and colleague Keith Locke that this legislation is not being introduced at the behest of Warner Bros, yet we had Mr Joyce indicate that Warner Bros dictated it. I do not know which one of them is telling the truth, but they cannot all be, because the stories are 180 degrees diametrically opposed to each other and are inconsistent. Again, I think that is a result of the Government’s decision-making methods.

I now want to focus on an area that I as a former Minister of Labour am very, very concerned about. When I was in that position, I had responsibility for the department in the oversight of small parts of two of our free-trade arrangements. There was P4, which is the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement involving Brunei, Singapore, Chile, and New Zealand, and the China free-trade agreement. There has been a lot more focus on the latter one over time, but they are both important. The language in both are similar, although I want to make it clear to the House that, to be fair, the language in the Chinese arrangement is stronger from a New Zealand perspective. It is similar, but stronger. In the China - New Zealand free-trade agreement, the memorandum of understanding on labour cooperation is described as a side document. It was signed before the free-trade agreement was signed. Both the environment one and the labour one were my responsibilities, and they were signed hours, as it happened, before the main documents were signed in China. We signed these ones off here, and, as people are aware, the Prime Minister and others went to China to sign the free-trade agreement.

I am one of the people who take contractual undertakings seriously, and that memorandum of understanding is a contractual undertaking. It says that the parties—in this case, New Zealand and China; in the other case it is New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, and Singapore—recognise that it is “inappropriate to encourage trade or investment by weakening or reducing the protections afforded in domestic labour laws, regulations, policies, and practices.” I want to say that in my opinion we have breached that. I am absolutely certain that the AFL-CIO, or the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, which Tim Groser has been working with, along with the New Zealand labour movement, in order to get them onside for a free-trade agreement with the US, will say that this legislation weakens labour laws in order to get investment in the form of The Hobbit being made here. And they will be right. I think the Government has taken its eye off the ball. It has panicked, it has been shaken down, and this legislation is an unnecessary result of that.

I want to make a few comments in conclusion. I think the whole episode has been unfortunate. As a number of my colleagues have said, I previously had a role in this kind of matter, and during this process I gave advice to my colleagues basically to shut up. I said that if I was a Minister involved in this sort of negotiation and debate, I would appreciate a “New Zealand Incorporated” response from Parliament at least. That is the approach we took. We gave the Government the chance to get it sorted. We were not critical during that process; we were reserving for now our views. The labour problem was resolved on 14 October, and on 18 October US time there was an email from Warner Bros to show that that was the case. It is available; I think the Leader of the House has seen it, as have a number of other people. So this problem was sorted 2 weeks ago. We are left with a sour taste in our mouth. The Council of Trade Unions has done a good job. In my opinion it is the role of Sir Peter Jackson now to take some leadership, to sort this out, and to rebuild relationships.

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Minister for Economic Development) : There has been an attempt over the last number of hours in the House to rewrite history in a way that conveniences the arguments being put forward by opponents of the Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill.

Firstly, the Hon Trevor Mallard said that this has been a sorry saga; I agree with him that it has been. There was a suggestion throughout the contributions offered from the other side of the House that somehow New Zealand was put in a difficult position and was required to capitulate to some foreign national corporation. We should be very, very clear that if it had not been for the actions of the Australian Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance and its director, Mr Simon Whipp, we would not be in this position right now. The blinkers on the members from the other side of the House have absolutely prevented them from seeing that point, which has been a little bit disappointing in this argument.

If we look at the history, we see that there is no doubt there were some financial concerns about the future of The Hobbit. Everyone knows that. Those concerns have been sorted. There were some concerns about the effect of Bryson v Three Foot Six, but there had been a history over a period of 4 years where it felt like we were getting to a slightly more settled position. Indeed, Warner Bros came here earlier this year and made a movie called Yogi Bear, which was about $160 million worth, and there was no issue at that point.

Where things tipped over seriously is when the Australian union decided through the International Federation of Actors to issue a ban on anyone signing a contract for The Hobbit unless that contract was negotiated by the Australian Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance. That was the problem. At that point, everybody who was likely to have a stake financially in the picture asked themselves what that would mean for the next 4 years as they went ahead producing those pictures. It was pretty clear that there was an unsettled industrial road ahead.

People might say that there was no need for this legislation, because I convened a meeting in Auckland where the screen producers gave their position; where the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance of Australia gave its position and the Actors Equity sort of watched on sad and forlorn, not knowing what was going on; and where Helen Kelly from the Council of Trade Unions played a very constructive role. There was a possibility that the Pink Book conditions, which form the basis for contracts in New Zealand and have done for some years, could be updated with negotiations. It is wrong for anyone to say that it was settled at that point—quite wrong.

Repeatedly Simon Whipp went to the media and said that all the actors wanted was a collective contract with the producers of The Hobbit. That was exactly the problem. Under our commerce law it is not possible for people who want to engage others in a production as contractors to negotiate collective arrangements of those contracts—that is anti-competitive. Sure, a piece of legal advice floated around and was provided at huge expense to the New Zealand Actors Equity, but equally a piece from New Zealand Crown Law made it abundantly clear that that was the situation. Our question was whether we believe Crown Law or the Queen Street lawyers who have produced an opinion for the man who writes the cheques, Mr Simon Whipp.

In the end, it was clear to us that this was a problem. At some point, we had to sort out how big it was. We met with Warner Bros executives, as everyone knows, and their nervousness was very clear to us on this particular issue. It was an interesting exercise to find out what was on the table for them from other jurisdictions, and for us to come to the realisation that relocation was a serious prospect. There was lots of talk from people on the other side of the House that Warner Bros was never going to go, that it would never walk away, and all the rest of it. But no one will commit NZ$600 million to NZ$700 million to an investment based on securing people to offer their talents to that endeavour if they are uncertain that those talents would be there at the end, as they were at the start, particularly with film, where even one person going off the reservation can cause such huge cost and devastation to production.

Once that was understood, it was incumbent, I think, in the short time space we had for us to come up with a solution, and that is what the Government has done. Nothing in this bill takes away from the rights of those who participate in the production of those movies—nothing at all. All it does is codify the arrangements under which their engagement is contracted. That is perfectly reasonable.

Carol Beaumont: But will it work?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: I believe it will work, I think it will work, and I am quite confident it will work. It will mean that if people decide part-way through a production that they are not a contractor and they go off to the court and say that actually they are an employee, the courts will not have jurisdiction to determine that matter. It is stated as a piece of law through the New Zealand Parliament.

The other suggestion—that is, that people who work in the back office or anything else will caught up in this legislation—also steps too far. In any of these circumstances things will always be placed in the worst possible light. In the end, we have in New Zealand a $2.8 billion screen production industry, which was at risk. If the production of the Hobbit movies had exited here, so much of the expertise that is domiciled in New Zealand would have had to move with it. How we would have ever got that expertise back is beyond me.

I am in no doubt, having been close to this issue for a long time, that if it had not been for the influence of the Australian union over the hapless people who call themselves New Zealand Actors Equity, we would have been in severe trouble. I will go even further and say that if the Council of Trade Unions—and this is a big statement from me—and Helen Kelly had been involved right from the start and were not put in a position of having to defend an Australian, who frankly has very little going for him at all, then I think the situation may have been different. But it was not. The gun was put to Warner Bros head, and the dreadful attacks on Sir Peter Jackson and Lady Fran were completely unacceptable. New Zealand is a country that should value that talent. We do value that talent, and I know that the Labour Party deep down supports these pictures being made here. I accept that completely, but there can be no uncertainty for those who are making such a big investment. We need to understand that that investment, although it can be quantified as around $600 million or $700 million, is far, far bigger, because others will come here as a result of certainty; there is already evidence of that.

This is a good move by the Parliament of New Zealand to support the income opportunities of our most talented New Zealanders.

CAROL BEAUMONT (Labour) : In rising to speak on the third reading of the Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill, I will start by acknowledging the Hon Gerry Brownlee for what he has just said. Finally, somebody on that side of the House has said what is true and what is evidenced by the facts—that is, members on this side of the House support the New Zealand film industry. Of course Labour supports The Hobbit being made in New Zealand. We have a very proud record of supporting the New Zealand film industry and I challenge anybody to disprove that. I thank the Hon Gerry Brownlee for making that statement and for putting it on the record. In fact, I would go as far as saying there is not a single person in House, from any party, who does not want to see The Hobbit being made here. Of course we do—it is important for our country.

In the first reading, when I started my contributions, I said I would ask a number of questions. I have done that in a number of speeches and I still think there are many unanswered questions. Unfortunately, the debate from those on the Government benches has largely been a number of key points that go something like this: the Prime Minister has done a great job and has saved the day, the union movement was setting out to destroy The Hobbit, and Labour does not want to see The Hobbit being made here. I have dealt with the third of those points, and again I thank Gerry Brownlee for recognising that that bit was not true. There were very few substantive contributions from members on that side of the House on the actual issues. I think there are still a number of unanswered questions. The question of what role foreign corporates can have in dealing with a domestic matter and in raising and seeking changes to domestic legislation like labour laws is still deeply troubling. I have had no assurances from the Minister of Labour on where she sees any boundaries around that or what matters are not on the table for foreign corporates to raise in terms of New Zealand labour law, and I would still like to hear her answer that question.

There have been many questions about how this dispute was handled. I have put on record my concern that in terms of labour issues, this Government seems to have no ability to intervene in any constructive way when there are problems. The Minister of Labour was completely absent from this whole process. If it comes down in the end to the solution being to give some more tax incentives—well, that is not her responsibility; that is the Minister for Economic Development’s responsibility—and to deal with a matter of employment law, which is her responsibility, then I ask why she was absent from the whole process. That question remains unanswered, and this is not the only time that the Minister of Labour has been missing in action.

This dispute has been mishandled. Even in the debate here, we have seen contradictory points of view being made by Government members. Minister Joyce said that Warner Bros wanted this amendment and that it required the change. Gerry Brownlee said very articulately that, no, it was nothing to do with Warner Bros, but that the Government saw the need to clarify this point of view. Both statements cannot be true, as others have said. Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen all sorts of people jumping in and making different sorts of statements.

This dispute has not been handled well, and what I find particularly unpleasant is that there has been a real desire to use it as an opportunity to say that it is all the union movement’s fault. I do not think everything was handled perfectly, and I put that on record. Those who say that this dispute has been all down to the actions of actors and other people working in the film industry and their union are wrong. The vilification of Helen Kelly and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has been absolutely unpleasant and uncalled-for. Again, I note that Gerry Brownlee has taken a slightly different tack on that one, and I am glad that that is also on the record, because some of it has been most uncalled-for. This is our central trade union body, and any Government that really wants to see this country succeed has to engage with employers and engage with the unions, who represent working people in New Zealand. It has to engage properly with the community. To say that one part of that, the union movement, is outside and is unable to speak on behalf of the people who work in an industry, and to say that the union movement is wrong to try to improve those people’s wages and conditions, is, I think, quite despicable. I think that all of those elements of the dispute have been poorly handled. I am sure that my colleague Charles Chauvel will be saying some more on this; he has already very helpfully pointed out some concerns.

The bill before us raises an issue of competence. Firstly, we do not believe that the bill is necessary. There is settled law in the matter of whether people are contractors or employees. The actual issue of dispute was not over that issue; it was over a concern that independent contractors were trying to deal collectively—again, I say that Gerry Brownlee reflected on this point—with improving their conditions of employment. It may not be as easy for independent contractors to deal with collective matters as it is for employees who have the right to collectively bargain for a collective employment agreement, but it is not impossible. There are examples from around the world both in the film industry and in other industries of independent contractors working collectively to try to set some standards for the way that they work in light of the nature of the conditions they face. I do not think that the competition laws rule that out, at all. Yesterday we had an example of the Irish film industry, which is grappling with this very issue. I think that a much more constructive response here would have been to look at improving industry standards. An agreement was reached that the Pink Book, which has set industry standards, would be renegotiated, and that it would be done in a collective manner in order to set some standards. That is not anti-competitive.

I argue not only that this bill is not necessary but also that it is of concern for two other reasons. Firstly, the film industry has always had a number of independent contractors operating in it, and the law is quite settled in the matter, as I have said. But there are other people in that industry who are not independent contractors, who are not well paid, and they are employees. This bill says that, as a default mechanism, people in the film industry will be seen as independent contractors. I ask what the implications are for those people, and what the wider implications are if this Government seeks to expand this amendment to other industries under the Employment Relations Act. We do not think that is too farfetched an idea to be considering. This Government has shown that it is backward-looking in terms of employment law. It wants to go back to workers having fewer rights. It looks back fondly on the Employment Contracts Act, so we are worried about the implications.

Secondly, we are not confident that this bill will do what it sets out to achieve. In fact, it could potentially cause a great many more problems than it sets out to resolve. One of the things I will particularly highlight again is the use of urgency, which denies scrutiny of legislation. It means that the public, experts, and members of this House cannot properly scrutinise legislation to make sure that it does not have any unintended consequences and to make sure that we are all fully aware of what the legislation means and what it may or may not do. I think it is shocking to force this bill through under urgency. It makes no difference in practical terms to have this bill passed this week. Again for the record, I say that this Government is overusing urgency. It is overusing—

Charles Chauvel: The 42nd bill.

CAROL BEAUMONT: This is its 42nd bill under urgency, with no scrutiny by select committees. That is shocking.

I will conclude by saying that there is a better way to deal with these matters. I feel very concerned that we have a Minister for Economic Development and a Minister of Labour who do not seem to take responsibility for looking at what the real issues are here. I put on record the fact that the issue of The Hobbit and whether it would proceed is not related just to recent matters. Last year, in December, the Dominion Post had an article headed “Jackson calls for incentives to keep NZ industry alive”. It was known by Gerry Brownlee that there were concerns about the level of incentive and the need for more money to support the film industry. That article was published in December 2009. In July 2010, another Dominion Post headline was “Movie jobs head north as Hobbit delays continue”. The article stated: “Film-maker Sir Peter Jackson can’t guarantee The Hobbit will ever be made as concerns grow that a lack of jobs is causing movie industry workers to leave Wellington.” That brings me back to the Minister of Labour. She does not have a clue about looking at productive employment relationships, better conditions of work, higher wages, and situations where workers can get together collectively and have their voice recognised as part of a modern economy.

KEITH LOCKE (Green) : This bill is an anti-union bill, and the Green Party will be opposing it. The aim of the bill is to de-unionise the film industry. In the debate over the last 2 days, Government speaker after Government speaker has been demonising the actors’ unions. Clearly, from the Greens’ point of view, we support the unions. The Green Party stands beside Actors Equity and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance in trying to protect the pay and conditions of actors. It is hypocritical for the Government to engage in Aussie union - bashing. The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance is a trans-Tasman organisation, like many others in the business field, the professional field, and the sporting field, and it is welcome, as long as the New Zealand component has a proper voice in the organisation. They generally strengthen the professional body, the union body, whatever it is, on both sides of the Tasman. There are very strong reasons for New Zealand actors to be a part of this trans-Tasman union. One of them is that many actors have to work on both sides of the Tasman, so it makes sense for them to belong to one union and to have some coordination in work, pay, and conditions.

This bill has rightly been called the “Warners Bill” because it came out of a deal with that multinational film company. The change in this law, which is a law to weaken unions, was a condition that Warner Bros put on having the film made here. It sets an incredibly bad precedent. What next? Will McDonald’s, another big American multinational, come down here and say: “Look, you can’t keep putting up the minimum wage. We are having to put up the wages of a lot of our workers because you are putting up the minimum wage, and we might pull our restaurants out.”, or some sort of leverage like that? Even the New Zealand Herald, which is not necessarily the most left-wing, pro-Green, pro-union newspaper in the land, has an editorial headline “Price to keep Hobbit in NZ is extortionate”, and I think that is true. It is quite a good editorial.

The real villain in this piece was not the unions, but Warner Bros, with John Key, Peter Jackson, and Richard Taylor as supporting actors. In fact, it is unfortunate—and I have great respect for Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor and their work here—that they, along with John Key in this case, were helping Warner Bros to screw New Zealand and screw the film workers. It has cost us a lot in terms of what money had to be provided to them and in terms of the law that is being passed in Parliament.

All this panic about it being a national disaster if The Hobbit was not made in New Zealand, the protests that Richard Taylor and Peter Jackson organised with Weta Workshop workers, and the scapegoating of the actors’ union meant that when Warner Bros arrived on our shores they knew that our Government was putty in their hands. The Government had said, basically: “What do you want?”. Warner Bros was able to manipulate the sort of deal that the New Zealand Herald calls “extortionate”. We do not even know where this extra $10 million to market The Hobbit is coming from. An article in this morning’s Dominion Post states that nobody knows whether it is coming out of the tourism budget, or from where. It was just John Key saying: “Here; have it.” The New Zealand Herald said, and I think it is correct, that although it is great to have The Hobbit here, and the Green Party is totally supportive of that, “it is not important enough for New Zealand to jettison part of its workplace law and compromise its economic principles.” The Government did not have any bottom line whatsoever.

Again, on behalf of the Green Party I pay tribute to the unions for what they have done throughout this whole saga. What did they do? Let us go over it. For a long period, over many months, they pressed simply for a discussion with Warner Bros on pay and conditions over the Hobbit production. For month after month Warner Bros refused even to sit down and talk. So what did they do next? The International Federation of Actors came in, and it is good that the federation comes into things like this, because it is normal union activity. There are a lot of these bodies. There is a group called the International Transport Worker’s Federation that looks after seamen’s pay and conditions in different ports around the world. It is very highly coordinated between different national unions of transport workers. The International Federation of Actors is a good organisation. Its aim is to stop what it calls runaway productions—that is, a drive to the bottom where countries de-unionise workforces’ pay, have poor conditions, and lower the standards in the film industry as a whole internationally. It is a perfectly legitimate union tactic, which is used over and over again to put a hiring ban on a particular film, or whatever, in that context. There is nothing wrong with that; it is a tactic.

I will not comment on all the controversies that have taken place over the union’s public relations, timing, or any of those issues, and I do not think it is useful to be an armchair commentator and say that the union did this wrong at that time, when none of us are close enough to the particular situation to know. The general tactic of trying to use union activity and union solidarity across the world to try to get a meeting, just a meeting, between the actors’ union and Warner Bros was correct. The viciousness of the response was something to behold, including the whipping up of protests outside Actors Equity meetings, and personal threats, and they are listed in this morning’s New Zealand Herald. I pay tribute particularly to some of the people who were threatened—Robyn Malcolm, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, and Helen Kelly—for standing up for actors’ rights, and I hope they will continue to stand up for actors’ rights.

Instead of going on about union-bashing, perhaps we should have a look at the way the film industry operates in Australia. Australia does not just dish out money to companies like Warner Bros. It actually gives a much higher contribution to local Australian-produced films. I think they get something like a 40 percent tax break—something substantial. Australia has a really dynamic film industry, and there is also a much a better relationship between the film companies and the unions. That is the sort of thing we should be working towards in New Zealand.

There has been a lot of talk in this debate about the national interest. Nick Smith said that this is all about the national interest. It is not in the national interest to sell one’s soul to a foreign multinational, like Warner Bros, and in urgency to rush legislation through that is confusing and will be subject to all sorts of legal challenges, and that undermines workers’ rights in this country, particularly in the film industry but it could easily be extended to other workers. The way the Green Party looks at it, the national interest is the rights of people and the rights of workers, and having legislation to protect particularly those who are low-paid, particularly those who are in vulnerable circumstances, and film workers are in vulnerable circumstances. Because of the intermittent and temporary nature of their employment it makes it more difficult for them to exercise the normal influence that unions can exercise to get decent pay and conditions. Rather than their having fewer rights, in some ways we could argue that they should have more rights.

I have said previously that the provisions in this bill could be extended to other workers. There is no particular reason to single out film workers in legislation. In fact, the term “film workers” in this bill covers everyone, including someone who might be employed for 8 hours a day, on a regular shift, to sweep the floor of a film set. That person is part of the film workforce, and in every other respect under our Employment Relations Act he or she would be considered to be an employee. But under this bill the company can come to that person and say: “Look, if you want this job sweeping the floor, and I know that in every respect you are an employee, you have to say you’re an independent contractor and then you lose all your rights under the Employment Relations Act. You have no rights; you just have to work for whatever we want, and under the conditions that we impose.”

The Green Party will be opposing this bill. It is a bill that is one of the most undermining of people’s rights that has ever been before this Parliament, and the way it is being rushed through, under urgency, without the ability of employers, unionists, members of the community, and MPs to properly address the problems in it is shameful. Already Kate Wilkinson, the Minister of Labour, has admitted this by moving in the last couple of hours to make amendments. It shows that any bill like this, particularly industrial law, has to have proper scrutiny.

HILARY CALVERT (ACT) : I think the Opposition might have been missing the whole point of what is going on here. Businesses do not need to operate in New Zealand. They can choose to go some place else. The further we push them, the more likely they are to go some place else.

This bill is about allowing working arrangements between businesses that do want to work here, which we all want them to do in this particular case, and allowing them to have some certainty. This encourages the chances that they will work here. We all agree that we want them to work here, and they do have choices. People seem to be behaving as if for some reason people are obliged to do things here. They are not.

Thank God the Government has managed to produce something that will allow a business to operate here that otherwise was in serious danger of leaving. We can only hope that we can extend those sorts of things to other companies and other businesses that may want to leave in the future.

RAHUI KATENE (Māori Party—Te Tai Tonga) : As we have debated the Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill under urgency it has been clear that although not all the unions have been cheering in support, those within the film industry have, in general terms, been broadly in agreement with the fundamental purpose of the bill. In fact, when the news first came out about the incentive package put together to resolve the economic concerns of Warner Bros, one of the first statements made was from New Zealand Actors Equity industrial organiser, Frances Walsh, who said the move was nothing but good news for the country. That purpose, to remove consideration of employment law under the Employment Relations Act 2000 exclusively for the film production industry, has been soundly debated and has generated enormous interest both here and across the globe. We should be under no illusions that when executives from New Line Cinema and Warner Bros flew into New Zealand earlier this week, they had already received approaches from other countries, offering lucrative inducements for them to abandon New Zealand in their favour. That is the nature of the international market in which this legislation will operate.

I would have to say that from the outset the intense heat generated by the debate—and the extent of the international interest—was not something that any of us had anticipated. In the world of the entertainment industry, the New Zealand fight for The Hobbit even made headlines in the prestigious magazine Variety. That source claimed that “the recent actors’ boycott highlights the country’s fragile relationship with Hollywood”. And in the New York Times the paper fronted with the question: “Is Wellywood burning?”. Of course, the adverse impact of global headlines like this should not be underestimated.

But how does this legislation matter on the ground in Murihiku or Murupara? What will it matter to Māori? That might be a good question to ask of one of our leading Māori innovators, Ian Taylor of Taylormade Productions and Animation Research Ltd. Ian Taylor from Kahungunu has advanced some landmark graphic developments, including the award-winning Moka Toa series and, from home, the Whalewatch Kaikōura World of the Whales animated virtual tours. We have been thrilled by the influence of his company, Virtual Spectator, which brought the America’s Cup into homes around the world by the use of real-time tracking of races, and his skilful manipulation of the software.

During my colleague Te Ururoa Flavell’s contribution to this debate he also talked about the impact that this deal will have for many Māori engaged in film production work as actors, stunt performers, extras, singers, musicians, dancers, entertainers, and more. If he had known about Tau Henare’s contributions to the film industry, I am sure he would have spoken about them, as well. We believe that those who work in the film industry are closer to being self-employed contractors than employees, and, as such, this legislation clarifies that situation.

We cannot deny that the multimillion-dollar package negotiated this week lays the foundation for creating thousands of jobs, as well as tourism opportunities and international exposure. It is simply too good an opportunity to miss. New Zealand has secured one of the world premieres of the movies, and Sir Peter Jackson has agreed that part of the arrangement will ensure that material to promote this country as a tourism destination will be included in all DVDs and digital products for The Hobbit. At a conservative estimate, this is expected to reach an international audience of tens of millions of people. We simply have to appreciate the tangible difference that these films will make in the lives of so many New Zealanders. If The Hobbit had gone offshore, the local movie industry would have been seriously threatened, and, with that, the many industries associated with this work. We simply cannot afford that.

But throughout this entire situation we must continue to remain concerned that minimum terms and conditions are employed for anyone working in these movies, or indeed in any future movies. There must be protection for workers, and we must be able to hold our heads up high, not only for the quality of the work onscreen but also for the quality of the relationships built in producing the final outcome. We must be on high alert to prevent the unscrupulous treatment of workers or conditions that might serve to erode the integrity of our reputation. The Māori Party is proud to support this bill.

DAVID BENNETT (National—Hamilton East) : We are coming to the end of the debate on the Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill. During the debate on this bill there has been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, especially from Opposition members in trying to put a slant, a different approach, and a definition on the history of the matters and events that took place in regard to this bill, and to The Hobbit being filmed in New Zealand.

In the context of what happened, it was a situation whereby the union—in this case an Australian union—went too far. Things got to a situation where the union jeopardised the production of the film, which was going to be lost to the country and lost to the New Zealand film industry. At the end of the day the Government came forward and found a solution. John Key and his team negotiated and delivered a binding deal, which will mean that The Hobbit is filmed in New Zealand and that our position as a film maker will be retained in an international perspective. If we had lost this film, the whole industry would have been put in a very delicate position. Throughout this debate Labour members have attempted to rewrite history, to say that the matter is a matter of sovereignty and that we are selling out to overseas interests, and to say all of those things, which are simply not true.

Hon Annette King: It’s not just Labour. Read the New Zealand Herald.

DAVID BENNETT: OK, it is Labour and the Green Party, but it is simply not true.

The reality is that this bill is to save the industry, to save jobs, to promote New Zealand, and to deliver the brighter future for New Zealand that people want, instead of what Labour would have done to the film industry. Labour had no intention of letting this film go ahead. It would rather see the film not go ahead and New Zealanders suffer, for the prospect of making political capital. That is how Labour works. National does not work that way. We go out there and deliver solutions. We have provided a solution in this case. That is what has happened here, and, no matter what kind of slant Labour members try to put on the facts, those are the facts of the case.

The New Zealand public have judged that and said that they are very, very happy to see this movie being filmed in New Zealand. The public are very supportive of what the Government has done. They think it is important that this bill is passed so that we can make that a reality and deliver this film to New Zealanders, and not let the Labour Party put its slant on it.

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE (Labour—New Lynn) : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Under Standing Order 106, “Misrepresentation”, although it is not possible to interrupt another member’s speech to explain a misunderstanding or misrepresentation, following the conclusion of the speech a member may clarify a point. Certainly, it is a complete misrepresentation to say that Labour did not want to see The Hobbit filmed in New Zealand. Labour speakers have successively made that point patently clear, and it would have been Labour’s policy to have the films made here. However, we not have used the craven means used by the Government.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Rick Barker): The member may raise that as a point of order, but if he wants to make a point, then it should be succinct and pithy; the member was starting to expand on it to make it a speech. But the point was well made.

CHARLES CHAUVEL (Labour) : On 16 June 2005 the Supreme Court delivered reasons for its judgment in the Bryson v Three Foot Six appeal. The court on that occasion comprised five of New Zealand’s leading jurists, including the Chief Justice and a judge who is now a member of the International Court of Justice. The court heard submissions from the parties, as well as from Business New Zealand and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions as interveners. It was one of the last appeals that I had a role in arguing before I came to this House.

I can assure every member here that the case was fully argued, as the 20-page judgment from Justice Blanchard indicates. There is proof of the soundness of the decision of the court in the fact that the Brysoncase was the last appeal, 5½ years ago, to have been heard on the question of how to resolve whether a workplace relationship is one of employee or contractor. The law reports do not contain another such case. The appeal settled the proposition that the law that has characterised an employment relationship at least for the past century in this country was unchanged by the Employment Relations Act. The law is this: all the attributes of the employment relationship have to be considered, not just the label attached to it by one or the other of the parties, whether at the start of the relationship or at some point while it is on foot.

This law has served us well. When I was in legal practice, my international employer clients, especially those from the US, Europe, or Australia, were generally struck by the flexibility that New Zealand law gave them in being able to set up business arrangements here. All that is needed is to take care to properly and honestly document the relationship at the outset.

The background that I have just described makes this amendment all the more outrageous, even before we consider the circumstances of its introduction. The lack of a basic understanding of the law that we have heard exhibited by Government speakers, including the Minister of Labour, just makes it worse. This amendment deprives workers in the film industry of the right to bargain collectively, by specifying that they should always be treated as contractors. But then it goes on to undermine that primary provision by specifying that if a worker is a party to an employment agreement, then he or she shall instead be an employee. Thanks to a further amendment tabled by the Minister last night, any such employment agreement must be in writing.

The first point is that there is no need for this amendment. As I said earlier, the Supreme Court settled the law in this area 5½ years ago. There has been no litigation since, because it is clear that as long as the parties describe the relationship between them honestly and accurately at the outset, no problem arises.

More important, this amendment will actually create uncertainty. The default position is that film workers will be contractors, but if they wish to argue for the greater protections that employment status would give them—as they are heavily incentivised to do in the event of a dispute—workers whose status is arguable will invoke that proviso. They will say that they are employees. If they say they are employees, what will they have to prove to the Employment Relations Authority? First, they will have to prove that they are parties to an employment agreement. In order to do that, they will have to show that the reality of the relationship is one of employment, not of independence. In other words, they will have to take the Employment Relations Authority through all of the tests that were traversed in the Brysoncase.

The Supreme Court settled that law 5½ years ago, but here we have Parliament, under the misguidance of the Minister, reopening the issue and making many more Bryson-type cases more, not less, likely. In many cases, thanks to industry practice, those workers will win their argument that they are, in fact, employees.

There is something worse than this. The Minister thinks that by specifying that any employment agreement has to be in writing, she can fix the problem. Well, she has not read the Bryson decision, because in that case the court was very clear that very few employment relationships are comprehensively documented in one place. I ask what an employment agreement in writing is, in terms of the Minister’s typed amendment. Is it a standard term sheet? Is it a letter of appointment? What about a written agreement that is labelled to be an employment agreement but that clearly documents an independent contracting relationship? The Minister’s amendment to her amendment actually raises many more questions than it solves. Again, it will create much more, not much less, litigation potential.

Section 6 of the Employment Relations Act is a very carefully drawn provision. What arrogance this Government showed yesterday, in its attempt to amend that section. It introduced a clumsily worded amendment—which it has already had to amend once—thinking that without a select committee process or the nicety of a second reading speech from the Minister of Labour that was more than 5 minutes long, the Government could adequately exempt the film industry from the operation of the Act. That attempt will not work, and it is simply a recipe for further uncertainty and more litigation. It is the exact opposite of what John Key appears to have promised Warner Bros, Peter Jackson, and everybody else.

We have a bad law, achieving the reverse of what was intended, being passed under a defective process by a Minister who is not on top of her brief. But, as has been pointed out time and time again in this debate, although these things are bad enough, they are not the worst aspects of the work that the Government is forcing on Parliament today. The worst thing about this amendment is that it clearly comes at the behest of a Government that, only 2 years into its term, has just run out of ideas. Mining national parks did not work. Appropriating Canterbury’s water and turning the emissions trading scheme into a big subsidy for polluters may have led to lots more dairying, but it has not delivered prosperity. So I ask what the Government has left to do but to give in to any multinational that asks for a labour standard to be diluted in return for some investment.

Hon Annette King: And then balls it up.

CHARLES CHAUVEL: And it cannot even do that right; that is right. I ask what will be offered up next. Will it be environment standards, human rights norms, or health and safety in employment law? What will be next on the bidding block, we ask ourselves.

I will pause for a moment to reflect on the path that this Government has begun to tread. Phil Goff, when he was the trade Minister, signed an agreement with China that is being implemented over 12 years. It records that China and New Zealand regard it as inappropriate to encourage trade or investment by weakening or failing to enforce labour laws. We have agreed with the Chinese not to weaken our labour laws. Well, what a fine example we have set today for the implementation of the New Zealand - China Free Trade Agreement, and what a great negotiating signal we are sending to the United States and others in the context of seeking agreements with them over our commitment not to arbitrage the terms and conditions of our workforce!

People thought that they were choosing a brighter future under this Government. They thought that members opposite were ambitious for New Zealand. But once the euphoria of retaining The Hobbit in New Zealand wears off, and once all the union-bashing blood-lust dies away, people will be pretty disappointed with what remains: a Government that has reduced New Zealand, in the words of the Financial Times today, to the client status of an American film studio. People will realise that only under a Labour-led Government will Kiwis have any hope of owning their own future.

Dr JACKIE BLUE (National) : I am pleased to speak to the Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill in the third reading debate. This is a very simple bill. It is not about weakening employment law; it is about clarifying employment law. It amends an area for clarity.

The bill basically looks at the status of employees and contractors: employees are employees, and contractors are contractors. In particular, a person employed as a contractor cannot later be considered to be an employee. It is as simple as that. There is nothing more than that. It is clarification and it gives certainty. It gives confidence to the film sector, which is worth almost $3 billion to our economy. It will also ensure that thousands of jobs are secured.

The two Hobbit movies are worth $670 million to our economy; that is certainly significant. Yes, movies have in the past been produced in New Zealand, but we have never had the situation before where there have been threatened strikes and boycotts. This naturally caused a lot of nervousness for the film sector and for those wanting to invest in film in New Zealand. Confidence was eroded and, as Wayne Mapp pointed out, the trust that had previously been there was totally destroyed.

There are no guarantees in life, and certainly if I were a part of Warner Bros and I were going to invest a lot of money—these are two big-ticket items it is putting money into—I would want to minimise risk. I think the concessions made were very reasonable, because we know that our economy will be boosted, tourism will be boosted, confidence is back, and thousands of jobs will be assured. I agree with my colleague Hilary Calvert from the ACT Party. She said that we can push businesses so far and then they will go somewhere else. It is as simple as that—it is as simple as that.

If the Australian unions had not waded in we would not be in this situation, and we would not be discussing this bill. But they did wade in and they raised the issue of this uncertainty with the law. So the Government has quite correctly responded. We should probably thank the Australian unions for making a point of the clarification that was needed.

This bill is all about free choice. Goodness me, one would think from listening to the other side that we were basically coercing people, and that they were being bullied into signing up as employees when they wanted to be contractors, and vice versa. It is not taking away workers’ rights; it is clarifying a simple piece of employment law. It is about free choice. It is voluntary. People can sign up how they want to when they want to work on a film.

This Government is determined to use the opportunity of the Hobbit movies to present and market New Zealand in the best way, and we will see tourism and our economy grow as a consequence. It will return confidence to the sector.

The Hobbit movies will not be the last movies. There is talk in the Dominion Post about the Avatar sequels coming to New Zealand. That will be fantastic. This Government is determined to grow the economy, despite what the Opposition says. It will promote tourism and bolster the film sector. The Prime Minister, quite frankly, saved the day, and I am grateful to him. I commend this bill to the House.

Hon DAVID PARKER (Labour) : The underlying dispute with Warner Bros was always about money. It was always brinkmanship on the part of the various parties that have been involved as they tried to maximise their share of the spoils of this commercial endeavour. We know that those involved in brinkmanship included the union movement. We also know that the union movement pulled out from its brinkmanship earlier than was acknowledged by other sides.

We know that as early as 14 October Gerry Brownlee in his press release thought things were reasonably under control. He now denies that they were completely under control. That may or may not be the case, but we know that certainly by 18 October American time, the Americans thought that all the industrial disputes were behind them. The brinkmanship that was then left alive was between two parties that we know of: Warner Bros and the Government, both of whom were trying to get the best deal possible.

I certainly accept what Gerry Brownlee said—that the National Government wanted The Hobbit filmed in New Zealand. I agree with him and I think that everyone, except people like David Bennett, agrees that other parties in this Parliament share the ambition that these films be filmed in New Zealand. In fact, the New Zealand unions—not necessarily the Australian unions—the New Zealand workers, the National Party, the Labour Party, and Sir Peter Jackson all wanted this movie in New Zealand.

How long has it been about money? We have Sir Peter Jackson recorded in the Dominion Post on 15 December last year saying that New Zealand’s film industry was being squeezed by a high dollar, making movies more expensive to shoot, and increased competition from other countries offering better incentives.

Hon Trevor Mallard: When did he say that?

Hon DAVID PARKER: He said that on 15 December 2009. He said that if that happened, New Zealand could lose out. He said that New Zealand had already lost two major productions to Australia: the third Chronicles of Narnia film, and a film about Sea Shepherd anti-whaling campaigners—again, on 15 December. He also said—and I am referring again to the news article from the Dominion Post on 15 December—that people thought New Zealand had some magical quality that attracted movies, but that it will come down to the dollars.

Since then the Government and everyone in New Zealand has known that a negotiation was afoot. We also know from history that that is how Warner Bros and New Line Cinema operate. Labour members had that experience when we were in Government. No one is surprised that they were trying to relitigate the deal to try to maximise their share of the profits. We know that brinkmanship was still alive on the part of Warner Bros and on the part of the Government.

We do not know whether there are other disputes. I actually hope that the fourth estate asks questions as to whether some other negotiations, not involving the unions and workers were afoot between Warner Bros and other parties to this deal. It is a question that is yet to be answered. I think that the commentators have got the general point. We have seen all of the major dailies in New Zealand pick up on this point.

I quote an article from earlier this week from Vernon Small in the Dominion Post. He was talking about what would have happened if Warner Bros had pulled the plug without an excuse: He wrote: “Had Warner Bros pulled the plug without that excuse,”—that is, the excuse of the union dispute—“Sir Peter could have come under attack for abandoning his home country to direct ‘our’ movie elsewhere. Warner would have looked greedy for asking for more to stay, or venal for leaving, and the Government would have looked weak and compliant if it had failed to retain the movie or bent to blackmail.” That is what is behind this. The brinkmanship had gone too far.

The Government was worried that it was going to lose, so it wanted someone to blame other than itself. Despite the record being clear that by then the industrial disputes had been settled, and despite the record being clear that the Labour Party has not been involved at all in these negotiations, John Key stuck it at every opportunity to the union movement and tried to link the Labour Party with the earlier disputes, which by then had been resolved anyway. It has been clever politics on the part of National; I acknowledge that. It has succeeded in fooling many people in New Zealand that this was caused by an industrial dispute. The reality is that it was caused by brinkmanship. The brinkmanship worked. Warner Bros got an extra $34 million of taxpayer money, which increases the profitability of this movie for them by that amount.

Why was the Government motivated to do this? Of course, it is at risk—it already knows it—in respect of its failed economic development plans. We have heard this previously, but I will list them again. The Government has been shown to be failing in its ambition to close the wage gap with Australia. What has its economic plan been made up of so far? A cycleway, which has not created many jobs, and a plan for a financial services hub, which has gone by the wayside. Mining in national parks was going to be the way we closed that wage gap. That has gone.

Then the Government faced the risk of losing these movies. It needed someone else to blame, despite the fact that it is absolutely clear from what I have read out from the Dominion Post article of 15 December, 2009 that it was money that was behind this issue. The Government did not get on to it earlier. It let this go down to the wire. Actually, it was not totally within the Government’s control, I have to admit. It was in the interests of Warner Bros to let this go to the wire, because the closer it was to leaving, the stronger its negotiation position was with the Government, and therefore it could screw an extra $34 million worth of concessions out of the taxpayer.

This legislation is completely unnecessary. There is already the ability to contract with workers in the film industry as independent contractors rather than employees; that is already permissible under our law. It just has to be done properly, and it has been done properly in all the films since the decision of the Supreme Court 5 years ago—including Avatar, that award-winning, enormous blockbuster, large parts of which were made in New Zealand by Weta Workshop and others.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Discussed with James Cameron in Los Angeles years before we were trying to attract them.

Hon DAVID PARKER: I thank Mr Mallard for that.

Avatar shows that this was not a necessary change to the law. We only have to contract properly. These are multimillion-dollar enterprises, multi-hundred-million-dollar enterprises; they can afford to—and do—purchase the best of lawyers, and the best of legal advice. Weta Workshop is a multimillion-dollar organisation. It purchases the best of contractors and the best of advice. I bet that after it lost that Supreme Court case it got its contracts right subsequently.

There was no need for this change of law. I do not think that this change of law was even central to what Warner Bros wanted. What was central to what Warner Bros wanted was more money. It got its $34 million. This was convenient for National; it enabled National to stick it to the unions, and it enabled it to try to link Labour with the earlier actions of some of those Australian unionists. You know, we have not, in this House, been defending what those Australian unionists did when it came to trying to call for a worldwide boycott. Not one Labour person has been heard defending that, because we do not defend it. But we will not put up with the misrepresentation, long after the labour dispute was settled, that that dispute was the reason for what is going down here. It was not.

What was going down was a shake-down by Warner Bros of an extra $34 million of taxpayers’ money. What was going down from National was that it wanted someone else to blame. It wanted to stick it to the unions and stick it to Labour. No one is fooled by that. We are pleased that The Hobbit is being filmed in New Zealand and that other films will continue to be filmed in New Zealand, but what drives those films is the creativity of the New Zealand film industry and the competitiveness of the financial rewards of those who back those films.

Hon TAU HENARE (National) : It is pretty obvious why that lot over there on the other side of the House cannot bring themselves to support the Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill. It is because of the shame of it. Their mates in the unions will be standing candidates like Matt McCarten all over the place. They could not bring themselves to support this legislation.

We would have been out of here last night if it had not been for their feeling of guilt in the face of their mates up the road: Helen Kelly, Andrew Little, and the mob from Australia. That is right—the mob from Australia. Those members talk about overseas influence, and I have never seen the like before. I have never seen the like in any country. A union from overseas waltzes in—waltzes in—to this country and tells workers what to do. It was not the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and it was not the Labour Party that told workers what to do; it was the Australian mob from across the water. What happened in the last 24 hours? Up popped Matt McCarten in Mana. There go at least 3,000 votes—at least 3,000 votes—and Labour is shaking in its boots.

This debate is not about the film industry. We are about the film industry, we are about saving jobs, and we are about creating opportunities. I will turn on my little iPad for a minute and read to members; I have to hold it quite far away. It says: “The Hobbit has not only rescued the film industry but also preserved a way of life, industry workers say.” Industry workers said that—

Hon Darren Hughes: A way of life!

Hon TAU HENARE: —and I say to Darren Hughes that if he does not believe me he should look at Stuff. That is where it is. The spectre of the Alliance and of Matt McCarten is coming home and it is a scary thought. It is a scary thought—that is what it is. It is a scary thought. Kris Fa’afoi thought he was going to waltz in in Mana, but he has a bit of a fight on his hands. He has a bit of a fight on his hands. Three thousand votes will rip apart the left. They will rip apart the left. Guess what! We will put up a good campaign and we will see.

I thank Sir Peter Jackson for what he has been able to achieve. All those people out at Miramar, all those people who work for Weta Workshop, all those actors, all those independent people—all those people, who are looking to put bread and butter on the table, can now look towards a good future for the film industry. They can now look towards a confident future because companies like Warner Bros are willing to invest nearly $1 billion dollars into this country. OK, so we have had to pay an extra $30 million - odd, but for a return of $1 billion into that industry.

Sue Moroney: It was already there.

Hon TAU HENARE: No, it was not already here. Warner Bros was about to bugger off. Warner Bros was about to hop on the plane and take its film somewhere else. It might have been Bulgaria; it might have been Ireland—who cares? It would not have been here. A billion dollars would have gone.

Who wins after today? It is the industry, it is workers, it is children, and it is the whole New Zealand economy. I tip my hat to the Prime Minister, John Key.

A party vote was called for on the question, That the Employment Relations (Film Production) Amendment Bill be now read a third time.

Ayes 66 New Zealand National 58; ACT New Zealand 4; Māori Party 3; United Future 1.
Noes 50 New Zealand Labour 41; Green Party 8; Progressive 1.
Bill read a third time.