Home sweet home is still Hob­biton

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By NICKI DAVIDSON

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.

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