The CTU trolls through the past again

April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

In the last couple of days an extensive release has come from Helen Kelly of the CTU revealing what is claimed to be the CTU’s side of events. This is a disappointing re-dredging of an issue where progress has been made in the intervening months.

At this stage NZ Actors’ Equity and SPADA are scheduled to be in talks, “The Hobbit” is filming providing job opportunities for hundreds of New Zealanders and NZ actors are employed and will continue to be employed on fantastic contracts. The NZAG has several members already working on this film and all report excellent conditions and a great work atmosphere.

One of the things that irks us most is the CTU’s failure to acknowledge that almost all actors prefer to be self-employed contractors. This is a key value underpinning the NZAG and yet Helen Kelly cannot see past her employer vs employee class struggle model. We do not see ourselves as craven beneficiaries, rather we have chosen the path of self-employment because it gives us choice. As actors we have all worked in less than ideal conditions but we have also often enjoyed conditions or work that was better than we could have hoped for. But this is our choice. A choice we enter into with the advice of trusted peers and our agents.

To be an actor in New Zealand is to take a step outside the normal paths of employment and career. It is not a choice that we always find ourselves supported in and to make such a choice for a career path takes a certain individuality of spirit that makes a person less likley to desire working within a traditional work and union environment. Most actors enjoy the flexibility their profession provides – and Helen Kelly must understand this point of view, so removed from her own, if she is to truly understand some of the issues that were at play in last year’s events.

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