Jackson big fish in small tank - Key

Last updated 16:54 24/11/2012
John Key Peter Jackson
FILM FRIENDS: John Key on The Hobbit set with Sir Peter Jackson.

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Prime Minister John Key has denied New Zealand's multimillion dollar movie strategy is based on one man - Sir Peter Jackson.

"Peter is a very, very big fish in quite a small tank," he has told the New York Times in an extensive piece on New Zealand published this weekend.

Key denied that creating a movie industry in New Zealand was based on him.

"Peter Jackson might make movies for the next 50 years, or he might not," said Key.

"You can't base an industry solely on one person. That's a very vulnerable business strategy."

The Times said Key would not predict when a next major film would follow The Hobbit.

"It's too early to say," he said.

The piece described interviewing Key as he stood in his office brandishing an ornately engraved sword.

It was used, he said, by Frodo Baggins, the protagonist of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and in the films it possesses magical powers that cause it to glow blue in the presence of goblins.

"This was given to me by the president of the United States," said Key said, marveling that President  Barack Obama's official gift to New Zealand was, after all, a New Zealand product.

The Times described how union disputes nearly ended the making of the Hobbit and recounted that Key, in "a breathtaking solution", went to Parliament and rewrote labour laws.

It said there also claims the government was taking cues from the US film industry in handling a request for the extradition of Kim Dotcom so he can face charges of pirating copyrighted material.

Key denied claims his whirlwind trip to Los Angeles in early October was tied to the Dotcom case.

"No studio executive raised it with me," Mr Key said.

Sir Peter Jackson said in the interview that the film industry in New Zealand rested on him.

"If I started to think like that my head would explode," he said. "I can't take responsibility for everyone's employment."

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