14 Jan 2013

Peters questions Hobbit jobs figures

9:57 pm on 14 January 2013

New Zealand First has accused the Prime Minister of having no idea how many jobs have been created by providing subsidies to film the Hobbit movies in the country.

Emails obtained by New Zealand First under the Official Information Act reveal that the Prime Minister's office wrote to Wingnut Films in October 2011 for an estimate of how many people would work on the trilogy in New Zealand.

The email said Mr Key wanted to be able say something like about 3000 people would work on the films and that if the Labour Party's industrial relations policy had been in place, then all those people might never have got a job.

Wingnut replied that 3000 was a good number.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said on Monday the figure was plucked out of thin air.

"Of course I accept there's been economic benefit - but nothing to the extent that Mr Key and the Government sold to the country and sought to flim-flam some New Zealand people about this issue."

Mr Peters says the figures the Government provided on job creation have no authority.

However, a spokesperson for Mr Key says the figure of 3000 jobs is accurate and does not take account of extra jobs created in businesses and communities that serviced the Hobbit films.