16 Nov 2011

Government changed rules on hiring foreign actors

9:16 am on 16 November 2011

The National-led Government changed the rules to make it easier for foreign actors and other entertainers to work in New Zealand, though the existing process had posed few problems.

Official papers reveal the change appears to have been made to keep big film studios in Los Angeles happy.

Under the previous rules, guilds and unions such as Actors Equity had to be consulted before people could be brought in from overseas for short-term work.

But the Department of Labour says the perception of a union veto made this country less attractive to the big Los Angeles studios.

The studios believed the immigration process had made it more difficult to do business in New Zealand.

The papers reveal, however, that visas were granted readily and it was rare for guilds or unions to object.

And compared with other countries, the papers say, New Zealand's policy was relatively simple.