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PM: Address at Film Auckland function

Wednesday 20 August 2005

Rt Hon Helen Clark Prime Minister - Address at Film Auckland function

Hilton Hotel Auckland

Wednesday 17 August 2005

It is encouraging to see the region’s screen production industry coming together to promote Auckland as a great place for making film and television.

Already, film and television production has become an important contributor to Auckland's regional economy. Auckland is estimated to produce between sixty and seventy per cent of New Zealand’s $1.3 billion per annum screen production industry.

The screen production industry in Auckland has a strong record in producing local dramas, television commercials, post-production, and visual effects. International television and film projects worked on in Auckland have included the Hercules and Xena series, Power Rangers, and The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, currently in production.

For the future success of the industry in Auckland we need investment in our screen production industry’s infrastructure. That’s why Waitakere City Council, with support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's regional partnership programme, is looking to develop a new international standard, purpose-built sound stage in Henderson.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise has approved $2 million, subject to the raising of $2.5 million of private sector funding. It is great to hear that Film Auckland is confident it they will reach that target. This is envisaged as the first step towards the provision of a multi-dimensional studio complex for the region.

Film Auckland’s plans for the future also include a training programme, and the international marketing of Auckland and New Zealand's screen production capabilities.

These initiatives are expected to boost Auckland’s screen production capability, benefiting the entire industry, and help secure further international investment by offering more post-production options.

The economic impact report prepared for the Auckland Regional Economic Development Strategy estimates that the screen production industry is capable of generating additional economic growth of between $32 million and $35 million per annum for the region between 2005 and 2010 for the region, and would create another 250 jobs in the industry each year.

The phenomenal success of Lord of the Rings and Whale Rider shows how powerful the screen industry can be both in profiling and branding our country, and in providing tangible economic spin-offs. These movies and others since have put the world’s spotlight back on New Zealand, and interest in us as a country which generates great movies has been growing over the last four years.

Not only are we welcoming many more travellers who just want to see where the movies were made, but also we are attracting the attention of more film makers and investors from all over the world. The government’s Large Budget Screen Production Grant scheme was designed to attract more offshore film investment.

That, together with new state-of-the-art facilities and a skilled screen production workforce, should ensure that the industry continues its solid performance.

New Zealand will never be the biggest global player in the film and television industry, but we can be up there with the best by investing in the infrastructure, technology, and skills needed to make the most of our creative talent.

I am pleased that the government, through NZTE, has been able to work with Film Auckland on new initiatives. We do believe that central government has a role – in partnership with industry and local government – to facilitate the development of industries which can contribute so much to our regional economies and our whole economy.

Congratulations to everyone involved with Film Auckland. We look forward to seeing the screen industry grow and develop with the implementation of Film Auckland’s plans for the region. Thank you.

ENDS

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