Living in a Post-Hobbit World: Perspectives on New Zealand Film: In Another Introduction in Another Recent Australian Journal (a Co-Edited Issue, with Mary Griffiths, of Media International Australia No. 117, November 2005), I Pointed to the Instructive Lessons Australian Readers Might Find in the Recent Experiences of New Zealand Television, Film and Cultural Policy

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I SUGGESTED, for example, that Television New Zealand was in the vanguard again, after a decade or so of leading the charge towards unparalleled deregulation of state-owned television and a full embrace of market ideology. Just as the rest of the world began to follow suit (and Australia began to consider easing cross-ownership rules), television in New Zealand has done another switcheroo, in the wake of the Labour Government's endeavours to turn Television New Zealand back to public service objectives, through the Television New Zealand Charter and targeted funding.

Whether this has been successful is still to be determined (some would argue, as Neil Young put it, 'the needle in ... the damage done') but the narrow victory of Labour in the September 2005 elections means that it can now continue its work, without the major restructuring of broadcasting which customarily accompanies a change of government in New Zealand. (In advance of the 2005 elections, for example, there were suggestions that National would attempt once again to sell off TVNZ if it came to power.)

In its third consecutive term in government, Labour will continue to place film production as a centrepiece in its creative industries policy. Stan Jones, in his article, explains how this has worked in the recent past, in respect of both local film production and New Zealand as film location. He explains how filmmaking in New Zealand is full of both promise and problems. Despite the global success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the industry seems to have become even more dependent on enticing overseas productions to New Zealand shores. There was, for example, a visible sense of relief in Wellington film circles in October 2005, when it was announced that Peter Jackson would executive produce and shoot the film version of Halo in New Zealand, given that no other significant projects had been lined up once his version of King Kong was finished.

Obviously, there are echoes of the New Zealand experience in the current un certainties of the Australian film industry. …


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