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Screen Initiative To Benefit Auckland Economy

Wednesday 8 December 2004

Screen Production Initiative To Substantially Benefit Auckland Economy

A just-announced $2 million funding injection into the local film industry is set to substantially benefit the entire Auckland region.

Up to $2 million, spread over the next three years, will support a major regional initiative to build the Auckland screen production industry infrastructure and increase awareness of its capabilities.

The announcement was made today by the Minister of Economic Development, Hon Jim Anderton.

According to a detailed economic impact report prepared for the Auckland Economic Regional Development Strategy (AREDS), it is expected this initiative could see the local region generating additional GDP of between $32 - $34.7 million between 2005 and 2010, as well as the addition of more than 250 jobs each year.

AREDS chief executive, Susan Macken, says the initiative, funded by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) and complemented by significant private sector contributions, forms part of a major thrust for economic growth within the Auckland region.

“We believe this major regional initiative will be a catalyst for significant growth opportunities for local industry,” Dr Macken said.

“New Zealand is currently attracting strong interest from overseas. This initiative will strengthen Auckland’s appeal to a wider international market.”

Currently screen production in Auckland accounts for around two-thirds of all industry activity in New Zealand. The region has a strong history of producing local dramas, television commercials, post and visual effects, as well as international tv and film projects – such as the Hercules and Xena series and The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe currently in production.

Film Auckland executive manager, Natasha Christie, says the funding is set to have a significant impact on the national as well as local screen production industry.

“Screen production is a high value industry relying on a combination of infrastructure, skilled personnel, industry capability, locations and a film-friendly environment to attract new investment at the international level to boost local industry,” she said.

“This grant allows will trigger private sector development in a 20,000 sq ft world-class sound stage, sustained regional marketing campaign and a significant up-skilling training programme in place.”

Film production has been identified as one of the key industries earmarked for regional growth and lead to AREDS and local authorities providing foundation funding to support the industry-led Film Auckland.

Dr Macken said the initiative provides an integrated approach to growing local industry.

“The result will be a vibrant and growing industry leveraging from existing film production success to attract greater foreign investment and earnings – substantially contributing to our aim of expanding the Auckland region’s horizons, building its wealth and future community.

“It’s a great outcome for Auckland, building on our initial investment in the film sector and delivery real value to this industry.”

ENDS

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