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Review of Government investment in the screen sector

The government is undertaking a review of funding to the screen sector. The review will ensure that Crown investment in the screen sector is effective and generates economic and cultural value for the sector and for New Zealand.

The review is being jointly led by Manatū Taonga and Hīkina Whakatutuki the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.

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Public consultation now closed

Public consultation on proposals for changes to the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) closed on 18 December 2022.

This public consultation was part of the review of government investment in the screen sector that was agreed by Cabinet and announced by the Ministers in December 2021. You can find the review’s Terms of Reference here.

Through the consultation, we are seeking views on options to lift the value of government investment in the New Zealand Screen Production Grant to bring more economic and cultural value to New Zealand and New Zealanders, and build the sector’s resilience and sustainability.

The proposals aim to increase the benefits generated through government investment in the New Zealand Screen Production Grant. Particular areas of focus include:

  • encouraging a steady pipeline of screen productions to support business growth, sustainable careers and sector resilience,
  • enhancing screen sector skills,
  • supporting the development of compelling and ambitious New Zealand content.

Read the summary of consultation document on MBIE website

Read the full consultation document on the MBIE website

Next steps and timing

The feedback we receive in this consultation will help us develop policy advice about what changes should be made to the New Zealand Screen Production Grant.

It is important to note that while the review and consultation proceeds, screen productions can continue to access the New Zealand Screen Production Grant.

We expect any changes will begin being introduced through 2023-24. Longer timeframes may be applied to some changes, where producers and others may be required to make changes to their current policies and practices.

The table below outlines the key stages of the review and indicative timing for decisions.

Review phase Indicative timing
Determining facts and building evidence January – May 2022
Developing options for change June – September 2022
Public consultation on proposed options October – December 2022
Final report to Ministers and Cabinet By June 2023
Implementation of policy decisions From June 2023

Screen sector funding questions and answers

Answers to some common questions about screen sector funding.

How does the NZ Government/taxpayer invest in the screen sector?

  • The Government supports the sector through the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG), administered by the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), which offers a rebate on production expenditure to both international and domestic screen productions.
  • The NZSPG has enabled significant growth in the sector.
  • Production funding is also provided to the domestic sector by New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho.
  • NZFC administers the NZSPG and has a role in attracting international film productions to New Zealand.

Why do we invest in in the screen sector?

The screen sector has:

  • supported domestic productions that have produced New Zealand stories reaching wide audiences such as Hunt for the Wilderpeople, The Luminaries, Mystic, Kiri & Lou and Juniper.
  • attracted over $3 billion of international spend to New Zealand between 2014/15 and 2019/20;
  • in 2017, employed over 16,200 people directly; and
  • stimulated spend in the wider economy with over 60% of production spend accruing to sectors including hospitality, transport, and construction.

Why is the review needed?

  • It is important that Crown investment is well spent, that it generates economic and cultural value for the sector, for the New Zealand economy and for New Zealanders.
  • The screen sector is changing both here in New Zealand and globally. These changes include how productions are filmed, edited and watched, the impact of streaming platforms, and of course COVID-19.
  • We are undertaking a review because we want to address:
    • how Government can most effectively contribute to a sustainable and productive screen sector; and
    • how we can increase the economic and cultural value of government’s investment into the sector.
  • In 2017 the Prime Minister asked the screen industry to consider a 10-year sector strategy and in 2020 the Screen Sector Strategy Facilitation Group presented the Aotearoa Screen Sector 2030 Strategy to the Government.
  • This review of government investment in the screen sector was foreshadowed in Strategy 2030 through one of its proposed actions.

Does the review include a review of the New Zealand Film Commission?

  • The role and function of the NZFC is not in scope in this review, nor is the operational funding for the NZFC. Depending on the outcomes of the review, and any government decisions for change, subsequent consideration may need to be given to the appropriate arrangements that would best enable the NZFC to deliver on any intended policy settings.
  • The review will also consider the settings for other funding to the screen sector provided through the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) from the areas of Arts, Culture and Heritage and Economic and Regional Development.
  • Looking at the settings for these funds will enable us to consider where and how they work together and interact to support the sector.
  • This could include consideration of changes to the New Zealand Film Commission Act 1978, which may also require amendment to give full effect to any changes to the NZSPG - domestic.

Is the gaming sector in scope of the review?

  • As there are links between the screen and gaming sectors, the review will consider any impacts of proposed changes on the interactive media sector (including gaming).
  • The development of the interactive media sector is being considered through the Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan (ITP). 
  • Opportunities may be identified through the screen review for future policy work that may support the gaming and screen sectors, including on skills development. 

What assumptions underpin the review?

The review assumes that the Government will:

  • continue to invest in international screen productions taking place in New Zealand through screen production grants;
  • continue to invest in New Zealand owned screen productions; 
  • not cap funding to the sector (i.e. not introducing a programme cap to the NZSPG) but will explore options for increased fiscal sustainability that will also increase benefits from the investment; and
  • not propose changes to direct funding mechanisms when the majority of funds are sourced from outside the areas of Arts, Culture and Heritage and Economic and Regional Development. 

The Aotearoa NZ Screen Sector Strategy 2030 detailed a number of initiatives – why is this review only addressing one of those?

  • The Screen Sector Strategy NZ 2030 (Strategy 2030) is a comprehensive, long-term strategy, which outlines a number of initiatives. 
  • This review of government investment in the screen sector was foreshadowed in Strategy 2030.
  • In addition to undertaking this review, MBIE is also reviewing how to better support the sector with data reporting, which was an action in Strategy 2030. Funds have been provided for this work through Budget 2021. 

Will this not undermine New Zealand’s international reputation and the confidence of the domestic screen sector?

  • It’s business as usual for the screen sector throughout the review. International and domestic productions are still able to access funding. Support provided to the sector through funding agencies will continue to be available throughout the review process. There will be no changes to the NZSPG until after Cabinet decisions have been made.
  • New Zealand has a globally competitive and thriving screen sector. 
  • We will continue to support the domestic screen sector and attract international productions to New Zealand through the review process.
  • To provide certainty to the domestic and international screen sector, we are publishing the Terms of Reference for the review. This will help provide clarity about the review process and opportunities for the sector to engage. 

Who will be involved in the review?

  • The review is being jointly led by Hīkina Whakatutuki the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
  • We will work closely with and draw on the experience of the New Zealand Film Commission throughout the review. We will also engage with other funding agencies, such as Te Māngai Pāho and NZ on Air. 
  • Sector representatives will be consulted throughout the process.
  • The public will have an opportunity to provide feedback through a public consultation process in 2022. 

When can we expect to know the outcomes of this review?

  • Work analysing the key issues and developing options for the future will progress throughout the first half of 2022.
  • A public consultation document will be released and the public will be invited to contribute during the second half of 2022.
  • We anticipate reporting back to Cabinet on any changes to the Government’s investment in the screen sector by April 2023.
  • Implementation of any changes will depend on review findings and subsequent Cabinet decisions. 

What’s happening in the sector while this review is happening?

  • Government support to the screen sector will continue throughout the review process.
  • The NZSPG it is still available and eligible international and domestic productions can still apply for funding under the Grant.
  • Other direct funding and support provided to the sector through the NZFC, NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho will continue to be available through the review process. 

Updated on 15th March 2023