|New Zealand Herald
September 14, 2001
Minister of the
First we had a Minister responsible for the America's Cup. Now we have our own Lord and Minister of the Rings.
The Government had appointed Energy Minister Pete Hodgson as the minister responsible for the $600 million film trilogy that stars Elijah Wood, Sir Ian McKellen and Liv Tyler.
Mr Hodgson did not get the position just because he has a wizard-like white beard.
The Government was keen for New Zealand to use Lord of the Rings, filmed here and directed by New Zealander Peter Jackson, to raise the profile of the country internationally through agencies such as Trade New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand and the Film Commission.
Sources said negotiations between the Government and the film's backer, New Line Cinema, were near completion and a meeting would be held in Los Angeles next week.
An announcement of the Government's plans is expected soon. A spokesman for Mr Hodgson confirmed yesterday that the minister would oversee opportunities that New Zealand could seize from the film. Tourism Minister Mark Burton would also be involved.