The Avatar 2 production is causing drama in New Zealand. James Cameron and crew were recently granted access back into the country and arrived shortly afterwards. Cameron and the rest of the crew are in the middle of their 2-week mandatory quarantine and will be able to get back to the studio in less than a week from now. However, many New Zealand residents and owners in other industries aren't exactly happy about having the production resume since it seems to highlight some "political favoritism."

New Zealand is one of the first countries to attempt to go back to business as usual, though their borders are still shutdown to make sure they are stable. With that being said, Hollywood productions and other industries need waivers from the government to cross the border and get back to work, which Avatar 2 was granted. Other industries have had a hard time getting these waivers in order to get back to work. ACT Leader David Seymour called the move "an insult to working New Zealanders." He had this to say.

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"What are the rules at the border? At the moment, it seems that if you're a friend of the Government, you're in business. If not, you're on your own. There should be one rule for everyone... It's unacceptable for politicians to be picking and choosing who can enter the country."

It has been reported that nine out ten of the New Zealand border waivers are denied. Avatar 2 had no problem getting theirs because it's a massive production that will bring a lot of jobs to locals and inject some much needed money into the economy. National Party economic development spokesperson Judith Collins says she isn't opposed to the Avatar 2 crew's border exemption being granted, noting that the economy needs all the help it can get. However, she believes there should be clearer regulations. Collins explains.

"It certainly would seem some are not getting that same treatment. There must be a lot of small businesses wondering if there are different rules for different people... why does this particular venture get preferential treatment?"

Another big and unnamed Hollywood production has its eyes set on shooting in New Zealand, but they have threatened to pull the plug unless they can get a timely border waiver for the entire crew. Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment's Iain Cossar says both productions were given the go ahead since they both, "met the criteria, providing employment to around 600 New Zealanders, and because of the significant level of economic activity from each production."

It seems that the larger industries are having no problems getting the necessary waiver to get back to work in New Zealand, but the smaller businesses that depend on outside travel are having some major trouble. It is unclear how much longer New Zealand will keep its border shut down, but it has certainly benefitted them quite a bit since they have not reported any new cases in over two weeks, which is in stark contrast to other countries like the United States. Stuff was the first to report on the Avatar 2 production drama.

Kevin Burwick at Movieweb
Kevin Burwick