Home sweet home is still Hobbiton
It’s official – The Hobbit will stay in Hobbiton after a deal was struck last week between the government and Warner Brothers.
The Lord of the Rings franchise has significantly increased visitors to Matamata over the past eight years with movie set trips popular. Matamata-Piako District mayor Hugh Vercoe said he is delighted with the decision.
‘‘It is a definite boost for Matamata and the region. I always felt it was going to happen here but it’s very satisfying now that it has. Money will be spent in the Matamata community,’’ the mayor said.
Waikato MP Lindsay Tisch agreed that the two Hobbit movies will continue to benefit the area economically.
‘‘ The entire Matamata-Piako District will benefit ... people stop and buy meals, fuel and accommodation and this all helps boost our economy,’’ he said.
As part of the deal, legislation was passed clarifying the distinction between independent contractors and employees, as it relates to the film production industry, and to improve New Zealand’s competitiveness as a film destination for large-budget films such as The Hobbit.
The movie companies will get an additional rebate of up to US$7.5million per picture, subject to the success of the movies.
‘‘I have often joked that I am the MP for Hobbiton and I am delighted that with this legislation I can again be proud to use that by-line,’’ Mr Tisch said.
The deal also includes the promotion of New Zealand as a film production and tourism destination and the hosting of one of the world premieres of the The Hobbit movies.