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PM Ignores Treasury Advice to Axe Big Film Funding

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
30 January 2013

Prime Minister Ignores Treasury Advice to Axe Big Film Funding

New Zealand First says Prime Minister John Key ignored Treasury advice to cut Government subsidies for big films such as The Hobbit.

Rt Hon Winston Peters says Mr Key was advised just months before the $67 million subsidy for The Hobbit was approved that Treasury wanted to end Government assistance for the film industry.

“The Treasury advised the Government that it should axe the Large Budget Screen Production Grants (LBSPG) because the grants actually lost money for the country.

“Treasury evaluations showed that the economic impact of LBSPG grants for films such as Avatar and King Kong had likely caused a net economic loss of $36 million.

“That is completely at odds with Mr Key’s insistence that The Hobbit created 3000 jobs for New Zealanders”

Mr Peters says Treasury’s advice went further by suggesting the LBSPG would be better used in areas such as tourism and support for private sector research and development.

“The advice was that instead of funding Hollywood bigwigs to make films, the money would be better used in areas where there were clear and significant economic benefits.

“Mr Key will try and spin his way out of this with a load of baloney that The Hobbit will tempt tourists to our shores in the same way as the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

“But all three LOTR’s movies were released during economic boom times while now there is a worldwide economic crisis.

“Couple that with our seriously overvalued dollar which makes New Zealand an expensive place to visit and it means the economic return from The Hobbit tourism is, just like JRR Tolkien’s book itself, a complete work of fantasy,” says Mr Peters.

ENDS

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