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Blockbuster movies - Where to now for NZ?

Media Release

25 February 2004

Blockbuster movies
Where to now for New Zealand?

New Zealand must remain a competitive and attractive market for international film makers if it wants to reap major economic benefits, according to a report released today.

Commissioned by Venture Taranaki in partnership with Investment New Zealand and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and undertaken by BERL, the report looks at the economic impact of the $170 million movie "The Last Samurai" on the national and regional economy.

The study finds that while "The Last Samurai" is proving a showcase for New Zealand, and Taranaki in particular, there are lessons to be gained from the burgeoning high-profile movie experience.

The report suggests more input from central Government, saying the appointment of a "champion for film" - an expert dedicated to the particular production - is the best answer to a well-run project.

"New Zealand places its film strategy at risk if people that get involved in projects over-promise with the best intentions, but at the end of the day do not have the authority to deliver... (hence) the importance of adopting a whole-of Government approach to ensure the consistency across Government, industry and regional film offices."

The report notes that while investment in the film industry generates many direct benefits, the intangible benefits of bringing film production to the regions should not be ignored.

"Positive energy, pride and motivation within a regional community can provide a kick start to the economy. This can even be achieved in regions without an established infrastructure in film."

It also says taxation, immigration issues, the consents process and regional tourism opportunities must be properly addressed in order to attract more major film productions like "The Last Samurai.

"New Zealand needs to be competitive as opposed to cheap and we need to identify where New Zealand actually does things better than other industry locations," it says.


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