From December 2021 to May 2023 the government undertook a review of funding to the screen sector. The review was focused on ensuring that Crown investment in the screen sector is effective and generates economic and cultural value for the sector and for New Zealand.
The review was jointly led by Manatū Taonga and Hīkina Whakatutuki the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.
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On 30 May 2023 the Ministers for Economic Development and Arts, Culture and Heritage announced some key changes to the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG).
The changes to the New Zealand Screen Production Grant are:
- Allow all types of New Zealand productions to apply for the NZSPG alongside other Government production funding (for example from NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho). This change will encourage more high-quality, uniquely New Zealand screen content that delivers greater cultural value.
- Redevelop the additional five percent ‘Uplift’ rebate under the international component of the Grant to make the process more efficient and simpler to navigate and the criteria clearer and more objective.
- Return the Post-Production, Digital and Visual rebate to a flat rate of 20 percent to make it more competitive.
- Reduce the qualifying expenditure threshold for the Post-Production, Digital and Visual Effects rebate from $500,000 to $250,000 to enable smaller productions to also benefit.
- Change the name of the New Zealand Screen Production Grant to reflect it is a rebate on expenditure undertaken by private screen producers and companies, rather than a grant. It will now be called the New Zealand Screen Production Rebate.
The announcement of these changes completes the formal Review. However, work will continue over a longer timeframe on:
- Supporting skills and career development within the screen sector, which consultation highlighted was critical to the sector’s sustainability and ongoing delivery of wider benefits
- Resolving technical issues with the NZSPG criteria that were raised during the consultation process
- Promoting New Zealand as an attractive location for international productions.
Next steps and timing
Details around the redeveloped Uplift criteria and process, and any additional criteria that may apply to local productions accessing other Government funding alongside the NZSPG, were announced on 31 July 2023.
It is important to note that while these details are being implemented, screen productions can continue to access the New Zealand Screen Production Grant.
Feedback from consultation
As part of the Review, public consultation on options for changes to the NZSPG took place from 27 October to 18 December 2022.
Three online public information sessions about the Review and the options for change were held near the start of the consultation period. Independent facilitators then ran eight in-depth workshops with sector participants, two of which were by and for Māori.
Officials also held additional meetings with a range of domestic sector bodies and international studio executives. Written submissions and survey responses were received throughout the consultation period.
Two overarching options, with a combination of proposals in each, were targeted towards:
- 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.
Ministers, and the Review team, are grateful for the sector’s constructive and insightful feedback through the consultation period.
Feedback generally supported the Review’s aims, and there was support for some individual proposals within each option. However, views on both options were mixed overall, with a range of issues and alternative ideas raised.
What was clear from feedback was the need for simple, consistent and objective rebate settings and for clarity on the review’s outcomes as soon as possible.
Read the independent summaries of consultation:
- Report on feedback from general sector in-depth workshops (PDF, 3.15MB)
- Report on feedback from Māori sector workshops (PDF, 750KB)
- Report on feedback from submissions and survey responses (PDF, 1.8MB)
Questions and answers
Answers to some common questions about the Review of Government Investment in the Screen Sector and the NZSPG.
Why did you carry out a review?
We announced a review of government investment in the screen sector in December 2021. We wanted to ensure the New Zealand Screen Production Grant remains competitive globally and that we are capturing the best benefits to the sector and New Zealand as a whole from this investment. With the rapid and ongoing changes in the screen industry, we also wanted to consider whether the settings for our investment were still fit for purpose.
The review was jointly led by Hīkina Whakatutuki the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and Manatū Taonga the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
Who did you consult with?
Throughout the review officials had conversations with a wide range of stakeholders from across the screen sector (both domestic and international), hearing views on the current opportunities and challenges facing the sector and views on existing New Zealand Screen Production Grant settings.
We held public consultation on two options for changes to the rebate in late 2022 with strong engagement from across the sector and related industries and interests. We received feedback through in-depth workshops, written submissions and survey responses.
Officials worked with the New Zealand Film Commission throughout the review, and also engaged with other screen funding agencies Te Māngai Pāho and NZ On Air.
What is the NZSPG?
The New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) is a rebate on qualifying expenditure undertaken in New Zealand by screen productions. It is designed to incentivise high-value screen productions that provide economic and cultural benefits to New Zealand. It is administered by the New Zealand Film Commission.
The NZSPG has two main components:
The domestic component provides a 40 percent rebate for eligible New Zealand productions, provided they contain significant New Zealand content (a points-based test is used to assess this requirement) or provided they are an official co-production. Manatū Taonga the Ministry for Culture and Heritage has policy responsibility for this part of the NZSPG.
Co-productions (NZ Film Commission)
- The international component provides a rebate of between 20 percent (or 25 percent in certain circumstances) for eligible international productions (including post-production, digital, and visual effects work) that locate in New Zealand.
Why does the Government invest in the NZSPG?
The NZSPG was introduced in 2014 to support the development of a sustainable and resilient domestic screen industry; provide economic, industry development and cultural benefits to New Zealanders; and to increase the competitiveness of our incentives for international productions.
International and domestic productions accessing the NZSPG have spent around $5.2 billion in qualifying expenditure in New Zealand since it was established in 2014. This represents significant investment into New Zealand’s economy (on things like local jobs, salaries, hospitality, building and construction), and far outweighs the cost of the rebate over the same period of around $1.15b.
Alongside the immediate benefits of this direct expenditure, the wider benefits of supporting screen productions. These include economic benefits (such as skills development, raising the international profile of New Zealand, and attracting tourism), and cultural benefits (such as showcasing our unique New Zealand stories, perspectives, and identity on screen). The rebate also provides an important lever to incentivise more strategic sector development, contributing to New Zealand’s goal of becoming a high-wage, low emissions economy.
Government-funded screen investment schemes such as the NZSPG are common around the world including in notable screen production locations such as Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Canada. As well as supporting high-quality local screen productions and the cultural, social, and economic benefits they bring, these schemes strongly influence the decisions of international productions as to where to locate their production activities. New Zealand’s screen sector would contract without an internationally competitive scheme such as the NZSPG.
Where can I find out more about the NZSPG?
The New Zealand Film Commission website provides more information about the NZSPG, including relevant criteria and processes:
Updated on 9th August 2023