29 Oct 2010

Security guard employed after Hobbit 'threats'

4:56 pm on 29 October 2010

The New Zealand Actors' Equity union has employed a security guard for its Auckland office after what it has called disturbing threats made during the industrial row over The Hobbit.

Union organiser Frances Walsh says hate mail and disturbing phone messages have been sent to the union.

She says she is shocked that union officials, or anyone, should be intimidated and threatened in this way.

However, Ms Walsh says she is optimistic that the security will no longer be needed after this week.

And, in what she describes as a positive development, Ms Walsh says the union has started negotiations with SPADA, the body that represents producers and production companies.

A set of terms and conditions will be in place by 31 March, she says.

SPADA says it first offered to renegotiate those terms and conditions early in 2009, and is looking forward to engaging on the review.

Chief executive Penelope Borland says the talks will be kept private.