In an official press conference a few hours ago, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced that both “The Hobbit” and its untitled sequel are keeping their productions in New Zealand according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Following on from labor disputes, media fights and considerations of moving the production to Europe or other locations, the announcement essentially brings to a close a media whirlwind that has been making headlines for several weeks now. It also means the production will continue on track for its planned start of production in February with the two films to score releases on December 2012 and December 2013.
Keys added that the government would immediately introduce into parliament legislation sought by Warners that would clarify the distinction between contractors and employees in the film production industry.
Securing the films however comes at a price – $25 million U.S. dollars to be exact. The Government plans to broaden the criteria for its large budget incentive program, resulting in an additional rebate to Warners of $15 million. They will also offset up to US$10 million of Warners’ marketing costs in a planned strategic partnership that will promote New Zealand as both a destination for tourism and film production.