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Support measures a shot in the arm for local screen industry

16 December 2013

New support measures a well-needed “shot in the arm” for local screen industry

NZ Equity today welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister John Key that the New Zealand government will be boosting the tax rebate for large budget productions from 15 to 20 per cent with the possibility of an extra 5 per cent in some cases. The Government has further announced the combining of the Large Budget Screen Production Grant (LBPSG) and the Screen Production Incentive Fund (SPIF) schemes into one scheme to be known as the New Zealand Screen Production grant (NZSPG), the removal of the distinction between film and television when supporting local productions through the 40 per cent rebate and changing the support structure for local productions from a grant to an equity stake to incentivise more middle sized NZ-owned and developed productions.

“This is a real shot in the arm for the local screen industry,” Equity President Jennifer Ward-Lealand said. “The screen industry has experienced some lean times recently brought about by the fluctuations of the NZ dollar and increased international competition. So we are very pleased to see the government has responded positively and in a balanced manner. Equity has for some time now been arguing that while we very much support large scale foreign productions coming to New Zealand, we must not forget about the local industry, the local industrial base and of course the creation of local stories. The policy announced today seems aimed at doing just that and Equity welcomes the renewed approach to build a sustainable local sector and subsequently, sustainable local careers for performers and crews.”

The changes to the rebate coincide with the announcement that James Cameron will be shooting the next three Avatar films in New Zealand. The MOU established includes the possibility of additional incentives an internship programme and employment guarantees for crew.

“Equity strongly supports the principle that when international productions shoot in New Zealand that we must leverage these opportunities to support the development of a sustainable local industry. The producers of Avatar have shown significant good faith in working with the local industry and this must be acknowledged. Equity congratulates James Cameron and Jon Landau in taking steps to serve as founding members of the new screen industry board to provide advice and guidance to the NZ screen industry. The difficulties faced by the production service sector working on international productions has shown us that we need to nurture our local industry and local industrial base if we are to build a sustainable, vibrant and successful industry. We would expect that this principle would also extend to developing and providing opportunities to the talented performer base we have in New Zealand. Avatar provides an exciting opportunity for local performers and Equity looks forward to the films coming to our shores” said Ms Ward-Lealand.


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