20 years of Lord of the Corporates

So, it’s been 20 years of LOTR, and what is its legacy?

Politically Labour had to ensure the LOTR TV series was filmed here. Allowing National to paint Labour has Hobbit Haters was too politically damaging so David Parker was sent in to negotiate.

And what a deal David has cut.

$300million in corporate welfare to the richest man on the planet.


Surely we could just spend $100million and divide it all amongst every actor in NZ to get the same type of economic benefit?

We may as well, as Matt Nippert has highlighted, much of the supposed economic benefits from this corporate welfare are mostly bullshit.

So a $300million subsidy to the richest man on the planet to film an Anglo-Saxon Aryan fantasy with dubious economic benefits? Sounds like a documentary of NZ artistic culture rather than a TV series detailing the trials and tribulations of a magical kingdom.

This outrageous corporate welfare really shouldn’t be happening but NZers self esteem is sadly woven into the LOTR mythology so much so that we see ourselves as the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind with pride not self-reflection.

We paid the richest Billionaire NZ$132 million for LOTR and he then took season 2 to the UK?

Stupid Hobbits!

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings New Zealand exit a tourism nightmare

Amazon’s decision to move production of future seasons of the Lord of the Rings to the United Kingdom represents something of a nightmare scenario for New Zealand’s tourism industry, which sounded the alarm two years ago that a country like the UK could forever sever our reputation as the “home of Middle-Earth”.

Before the deal was inked with Amazon, tourism officials singled out the UK as a potential threat to the strong link New Zealand has to the film franchise.

“Should another destination ‘closer to home’ (for example the UK) deliver the same value proposition, then NZ should expect [the Lord of the Rings] legacy to quickly taper off – particularly in the current climate of slowing global travel and economic uncertainty,” warns one tourism document, released under the Official Information Act.

Tourism officials warned that the decades of investment New Zealand tourism has put into the Lord of the Rings could evaporate if another country were to become associated with the franchise.

So this damages our tourism brand, leaves our movie industry desperate and Stuart Nash is unable to explain why he didn’t cement into place season 2.

Surely the lesson from this Amazon LOTR fiasco is that the Government should be pumping that money into the local Film industry rather than subsidize American billionaires.

If the global movie industry are focused only on price we are always going to get played, surely the time is now to directly fund our own movies and our own stories with our own people.

I acknowledge that putting $100m annually into our own film industry might end up with the appalling echo chamber that NZ on Air social engineering has mutated into so any plan to do this would require a Film Commission with far better panels than NZ on Air.

I can’t see why we should keep subsidizing American movies, and that’s the 20 year legacy of Lord of the Rings.

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