My precious

My precious

On Tender

This issue’s rant centres on the sandwich-spitting moment when this commentator found out that actors in this country used to be somewhat protected from the influx of overseas talent by the Immigration Act.

The blurb on the Immigration NZ web page says this: “From 30 April 2012 there will be a streamlined process, without any professional association, industry guild or union referral, for applicants whose engagement in New Zealand is: for 14 days or less, or on an official co-production, or with an accredited company. Applications that fall outside these criteria will be subject to the same industry-led labour market testing that currently applies.”

Snore... What it means is that many people who are applying for a job here, as an actor or involved in making movies, will no longer have to wait to see if there is an unemployed genuine true blue Kiwi who could fill the role in their place.

Of course this is all blamed on troublesome little hobbits with their hairy feet and pointy ears. Wouldn’t it be a bit more sensible in this economic climate to actually give ourselves a hand up instead of a slap in the face? A quick look through the GETS web confusion pages will tell you that government departments, ministries, institutions and indeed Sauron himself issued only one out of the last ten juicy contracts to wholly owned Kiwi companies. You Shall Not Pass!

That elusive contract was awarded by the State Services Commission to Agile Integration, so a big ‘well done’ to those fine folk of the Shire. No doubt they are now holding on to that contract as if it were very, very precious and if I were them I would call it 'My Precious'.

No doubt they know how hard it is to get to Mount Doom and have many stories to tell of how they encountered Orcs in the form of page after page of RFPs to respond to. Maybe they had a Fellowship of Respondents that helped them on their quest.

Expect no favours though. We are competing on a world scale these days. Even if it is to work for our own government, that we pay taxes to, so that in return we can pay taxes back to them from our wages and then spend our hard earned money on things that we like doing in good old NZ. Things like having a second breakfast every now and then.

Yes, it’s a fact that nine out of ten juicy government contracts are awarded to folk not from the Shire. The money is paid to elves or men from Gondor, and we say goodbye to it. It’s not rolling around our economy generating good feelings. Instead it’s rolling around the rest of the world in an endless circle, or is that a ring?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we not only brought back that lovely law that wraps our lovely actors in cotton wool (it's true that actors are very precious and need to be comforted in every way possible, including doing anything possible to stop them crying because they’re good at that) and apply that same principle to the rest of the money that our elected Lord Sauron uses to keep good old Middle Earth ticking along?

With ten to one odds of winning a slice of our own pie it’s no wonder so many NZ companies refuse to embark on the quest to throw their hats in the ring. Or should that be ring in the fire?

Or will we remain the hardened Kiwis? Like the staunch Dwarfness of Gimli says, “Certainty of death, small chance of success... What are we waiting for?”

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