The New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) for New Zealand Productions is part of the Government’s screen incentives scheme. Eligible productions can access a cash rebate equivalent to 40% of Qualifying New Zealand Production Expenditure (QNZPE).
Temporary provisions have been added to the NZSPG Criteria for New Zealand Productions to assist applicants whose productions have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.
These provisions include NZFC and NZSPG Panel discretion around:
- Application deadlines
- Expenditure thresholds
- QNZPE definitions
- Flexibility around market attachment and non-government funding
- Flexibility around distribution; and
- The possibility of interim applications
Eligible productions will fall into one of the below categories:
- Covid-19 Lockdown Production - meaning a New Zealand Production that had started Principal Photography on or before 21 March 2020, provided the NZPSG Panel is satisfied that Principal Photography was disrupted to a material extent as a direct result of the Covid-19 Lockdown.
- Post-Covid-19 Lockdown Production - meaning a New Zealand Production that starts Principal Photography between 14 May 2020 and 30 June 2021.
For full details, you can download a PDF copy of the updated criteria here.
If you are unsure whether these provisions apply to your production, or you have any other queries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This grant is capped at NZ$6 million per production unless the production qualifies for an Additional Grant, which is available to productions that can meet additional criteria and have QNZPE from NZ$15 million to NZ$50 million.
The purpose of the New Zealand Grant is twofold:
- To build the sustainability, scale and critical mass of the domestic film industry and support the development of New Zealand creatives.
- To provide cultural benefits to New Zealand by supporting the creation of New Zealand content and stories.
The New Zealand Film Commission administers the NZSPG for New Zealand Productions on behalf of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
An NZSPG for International Productions is also available and includes a Post, Digital and Visual Effects Grant. Click here for more information.
New Zealand Productions that start Principal Photography on or after 1 July 2017 will be assessed under these criteria.
New Zealand Productions that started Principal Photography before 1 July 2017 will be assessed under the NZSPG Criteria for New Zealand Productions dated 1 August 2015. (NB - the 2015 Criteria is no longer online. Please contact email@example.com if you require any documents relating to this version.)
Principal Photography is defined in Appendix 1 of the Criteria.
Eligible formats include feature film, television and other non-feature film formats (single-episode, including telefeatures, series or season of a series) and short-form animation.
See clauses 8 and 9 of the Criteria for full details on formats, including ineligible formats.
|Format||Minimum QNZPE (NZ$)|
|Feature Film||$2.5 million total|
|Single episode - scripted||$1 million total & no less than $800,000 per hour|
|Single episode - unscripted||$250,000 total|
|Series - scripted||$1 million total & no less than $500,000 per hour|
|Series - unscripted||No less than $250,000 per hour|
|Short-form animation (single or series)||$250,000 total & no less than $400,000 per hour|
General Eligibility Requirements
Special Purpose Vehicle
Applicants must be a special purpose vehicle set up solely to make the production, unless one of the exceptions in clause 10.2 of the Criteria applies.
Applicants must be a New Zealand resident company or a New Zealand resident partnership. Where an applicant is majority owned by another company, the majority owner must also be a New Zealand resident company.
The applicant, or the applicant’s parent company, must have been significantly and actively engaged in the business of film or television production in New Zealand for at least 18 months prior to the scheduled start of Principal Photography.
The applicant must be the entity responsible for all activities in making the production in New Zealand.
A production cannot receive a New Zealand Grant (including the Additional Grant) and an International Grant.
Income earned by producers from successful productions helps create sustainable New Zealand screen production businesses. All New Zealand Grant applicants must have an equity share in the production, for both recoupment and net profit, that is commensurate with the expected value of the NZSPG. The equity position of the applicant must be similar to that of other equity investors in the production.
New Zealand Distribution
Feature films must have a binding agreement for theatrical distribution in New Zealand and demonstrate audience reach commensurate with the value of the NZSPG. Other formats must have a similar distribution agreement on an appropriate and accessible platform.
Significant New Zealand Content
Productions must have significant New Zealand content as determined by a points test - guidelines are detailed in Appendix 3 of the Criteria. Productions certified as Official Co-productions are deemed to have significant New Zealand content for the purposes of the NZSPG (except those applying for the Additional Grant) and do not need to meet this points test. More information on Co-productions can be found here.
Non-New Zealand Government Funding Threshold and Market Attachments
Feature films must have at least 10% of their budget funded by non-New Zealand government sources. For television or other non-feature film productions, this threshold is 25% of the production budget or higher. Television or other non-feature films must also have market attachments that comprise 10% or more of the production budget. See clause 9.6 of the Criteria for details on funding that qualifies as a market attachment.
Other New Zealand Government Funding
Feature films may receive production funding from other New Zealand government agencies plus a New Zealand Grant. Other screen formats may not receive production funding from other New Zealand government agencies plus a New Zealand Grant, unless they are an animated production or a children's drama production.
Productions with QNZPE of NZ$15 million or more may access the Additional Grant provided that:
- the applicant is eligible for a New Zealand Grant in respect of the production; and
- the applicant meets the additional eligibility requirements detailed in Appendix 4 of the Criteria, including the requirement that the production demonstrates significant cultural benefits to New Zealand, by meeting the requirements of the Significant Cultural Benefits Test. (NB - Official Co-productions applying for the Additional Grant must also meet this points test).
Qualifying New Zealand Production Expenditure (QNZPE)
QNZPE is eligible spend incurred by the applicant on the production in New Zealand. In general, this means:
- services provided in New Zealand
- the use of land located in New Zealand
- goods purchased, hired or leased in New Zealand, provided they are sourced from within New Zealand
- goods sourced from overseas, provided those goods are not otherwise available in New Zealand, are located in New Zealand during the making of the production and are purchased, hired or leased from a New Zealand Resident who typically supplies that type of good.
QNZPE also includes the fees and expenses of non-New Zealanders who work on the production in New Zealand, provided (in the case of non-cast members) they work on the production for at least 14 days in total.
Further details, including exclusions to QNZPE, are set out in section 3 of the Criteria.
Registration or Application for Provisional Certification
To be eligible for the grant, all applicants must either register with the Film Commission, or apply for a Provisional Certificate, prior to commencing Principal Photography in New Zealand.
NB - if you are applying for the Additional Grant, you must apply for a Provisional Certificate. (Provisional application forms for the Additional Grant are available here.)
Registration forms are available here. A production will only be considered registered once the NZFC has issued a dated acknowledgement letter.
Provisional application forms are available here. Once the application is accepted, the NZFC will issue a dated acknowledgement letter and the assessment process takes 6-8 weeks. A Provisional Certificate is not a guarantee that the production will receive Final certification, but it does indicate whether the production is likely to meet the eligibility criteria. Provisional Certificates are approved by the NZSPG Panel and will lapse after six months unless the production commences Principal Photography within that time.
Productions that do not register or apply for a Provisional Certificate will not be eligible for the NZSPG.
Final application forms are available here. (Final application forms for the Additional Grant are available here.) All Final applications must be made within six months from Completion of the production.
Final applications must include an independent auditor’s report from one of the following approved auditors:
- Ernst & Young
- Grant Thornton
If you wish to use a different auditor, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for approval.
Final applications are sent to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) for verification against the applicant’s tax records and to an Independent Consultant for assessment of QNZPE. The application is then presented to the NZSPG Panel for approval.
The Final application process takes up to three months. Once approved, payment is generally made within 10 business days once an invoice is submitted to the New Zealand Film Commission.
An application fee may be payable for making an application for the NZSPG.
All applications should be submitted to email@example.com.
On-screen Credit, Logo and Promotional Materials
The completed production must include an on-screen end credit and New Zealand Film Commission logo. Unless otherwise agreed with the NZFC, the required credit text is:
“The filmmakers acknowledge the assistance of the New Zealand Government’s Screen Production Grant”
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain the current NZFC logo. Please note, unless otherwise agreed with the NZFC, the logo should only be used in conjunction with the end credit text.
Please see the Promotional Materials Schedule for information on required deliverables to be provided with your Final application.
If you have any further queries, please contact email@example.com or call the Incentives Executive on +64 4 382 7680.
Images: Behind the scenes of The Luminaries (2020) at Crooked River, West Coast of the South Island; still from Daffodils (2019).