Screen Sector Changes Announced

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Monday, December 16, 2013

The New Zealand Film Commission and Film New Zealand welcome changes to the structure and level of support for New Zealand screen incentives bringing more financial assistance for mid-budget level New Zealand productions and encouraging more international productions to do business here.

Prime Minister John Key, Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson announced the changes at the New Zealand Film Commission in Wellington this morning.

The rebate on international film and television productions now rises from 15 per cent to 20 per cent.

A further 5 per cent will be available for international productions that deliver significant economic benefits to New Zealand. Eligibility will be assessed through a points system to be released in due course.

New Zealand productions will continue to be able to access 40 per cent, but that will now be extended to television and productions with larger budgets.  The two tiered system will take the form of a rebate on productions up to $15m qualifying New Zealand production expenditure (QNZPE) and equity on productions between $15m and $50m QNZPE.

The changes come as the existing Screen Production Incentive Fund and Large Budget Screen Production Grant are combined to form the New Zealand Screen Production Grant, an uncapped fund.

There will be a process of engagement with the New Zealand industry early in 2014 to finalise the points test that will apply to New Zealand productions.

The New Zealand Film Commission and Film New Zealand are working closely together to help the sector capitalise on these changes for the benefit of the New Zealand screen sector and the economy.

“These changes will enable larger scale New Zealand productions to be made as well as encouraging more New Zealand stories to be seen on screen,” says NZFC Chair Patsy Reddy.  “The growth in New Zealand’s screen sector will lead to the development of more screen businesses, successful careers and employment.”

“This sends a strong message internationally that New Zealand is competitive and that the screen sector is backed by the New Zealand Government,” says Film New Zealand Chair Julian Grimmond.  “When combined with New Zealand’s reputation for talent, and some significant cost advantages, it makes a convincing argument for international production to come to New Zealand.”

More information:

The criteria and details on how to apply for the New Zealand Screen Production Grant will be available on www.nzfilm.co.nz from 1 April 2014.

More details on these changes to New Zealand screen incentives can be found here.

A video clip of the announcements can be seen here.

A number of reports were commissioned ahead of this announcement and you can read them by clicking the links at the bottom of this page:

The Competitive Environment for New Zealand Film and Television 

NZ Screen Production Future 

Earlier August and October 2013 changes still apply

The New Zealand Government made a number of significant changes earlier in August and in October 2013 that will remain in place within the new fund. These include the agreed thresholds for QNZPE:

  • NZ$15 million QNZPE for a feature film
  • NZ$4 million  QNZPE  for a television production
  • NZ$1 million QNZPE for a post, digital and VFX project

Criteria introduced earlier this year relating to international television production in New Zealand remains the same with:

  • genres broadened to include drama, documentary, factual, reality and children’s animation
  • no minimum duration per episode
  • no minimum per commercial hour expenditure requirement
  • production duration extended to 24 months
  • eligible distribution/delivery platforms to include all forms for television, DVD/Blu-ray, internet, video on demand, mobile phone or other mass distribution device
  • applicants are able to apply for grants for pilots and subsequent series separately (normally an applicant can only apply once for the same screen production)

Changes: At a glance

From 1 April 2014:

  • The Large Budget Screen Production Grant (LBSPG) and Screen Production Incentive Fund (SPIF) will be combined to form a single scheme called the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG).
  • Existing rebates of 15 per cent for the LBSPG and up to 40 per cent for the SPIF will be replaced by two rebates: 20 per cent (plus an extra 5 per cent for productions that meet extra criteria); and up to 40 per cent for New Zealand film and television productions
  • ·For international productions, 20 per cent will become the new baseline rebate accessible on the basis of qualifying New Zealand production expenditure over certain qualifying expenditure thresholds. To gain an additional 5 per cent rebate, applicants will need to meet a points test relating to significant economic benefits. 
  • The Government will also continue its commitment to New Zealand productions. For New Zealand productions, a two-tier system will be created.  For New Zealand productions of up to $15 million QNZPE, the existing approach will apply i.e. a 40 per cent rebate is available to projects that satisfy a points test.  Proposed arrangements will be fully discussed with industry and other government funding agencies before decisions are made. 
  • The second tier is for New Zealand productions with QNZPE in excess of $15 million and up to a maximum of $50 million. Support for these productions will be provided as an equity share as opposed to a rebate, and will be subject to a points test relating to business as well as cultural factors.
  • Under the new scheme, the distinction between film and television will be removed, with both being eligible for the 40 per cent incentive.