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Sides in ‘Hobbit’ boycott tight-lipped

No announcement of a breakthrough made

SYDNEY – The main parties in New Zealand’s “The Hobbit” boycott have emerged tight-lipped from a meeting today in Wellington.

Actors Equity NZ (and its sister org Australia’s Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance) and the producers’ guild, the Screen Production and Development Agency (SPADA) met with NZ economic development minister Gerry Brownlee in an effort to overcome the dispute. ?

But when the meeting was over there was no announcement of a breakthrough, though they called the session “useful and productive” in a joint statement.

“The parties have agreed to work together to update the conditions of engagement for performers in the New Zealand screen production industry,” the statement said. “The parties believe this process will help to ensure New Zealand remains an attractive screen production environment.”

The parties are in deadlock over claims from the union that Peter Jackson and other “Hobbit” producers would not allow it to negotiate a minimum wage for actors. Going into the meeting hopes were that the boycott could be lifted but the silence suggests that there are hurdles yet too overcome.

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