The decision follows a New Zealand government review of the local and international production incentives and the post-production and visual effects schemes that began in late 2022.
They also follow expansion announced earlier this month of the rebate schemes in Australia. The two neighbors compete for international or ‘runaway’ productions on criteria including: locations, English-language skills, studio space, post-production and digital effects facilities, as well as cash rebates.
The screen sector contributes more than NZ$3.5 billion ($2.12 billion) to the New Zealand economy each year and directly employs over 13,900 people. The sector also has indirect benefits for other industries such as hospitality, construction and tourism, the government said.
The renewal of the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) system come with a handful of tweaks. One of these is to the scheme’s name. It will become the New Zealand Screen Production Rebate.
For international live-action productions the core rebate of 20% of qualifying New Zealand production expenditure will remain unchanged.
The secondary mechanism where certain large productions which deliver a durable benefit to the New Zealand industry can apply for an additional 5% “uplift” is to be “redeveloped to make the criteria clearer and more objective and the process more efficient, while retaining a focus on wider economic benefits to New Zealand,” the government said.
The Post-Production, Digital and Visual Effects Grant (PDV) will return to a flat 20% rebate. And the threshold for qualifying expenditure will be reduced from NZ$500,000 to NZ$250,000 ($151,000). (Under the current system, the PDV grant pays out at 20% for the first NZ$25 million ($15.1 million) of work and reduces to 18% of additional spending.)
Under the rule changes, all local productions will be able to access the NZSPG and production funding from NZ On Air, Te M?ngai P?ho and New Zealand Film Commission. This builds on the success of the Te Puna Kairangi Premium Production Fund which has enabled screen productions “The Gone,” “Mystic,” “Our Big Blue Back Yard” and soon to be released titles “The Convert,” “A Mistake” and “After the Party.”
The NZSPG for international productions recently lured Taika Waititi back to New Zealand for Time Bandits and Our Flags Means Death Season 2. It previously enabled “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Mulan,” “Sweet Tooth,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” “M3GAN,” “X” and “Pearl” to be made in New Zealand.
The PDV rebates have been applied to projects including: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “The Batman,” “Black Adam,” “Cocaine Bear,” “Thor: Love and Thunder” and “I Am Mother.” Peter Jackson’s “The Beatles Get Back” was also made with the support of the PDV rebate.
“It’s important to ensure stability and certainty for the screen sector through all phases of this project. Productions will continue to have access to the existing NZSPG and we will be working closely with Ministries and industry to ensure a smooth transition,” said NZFC acting chief executive Mladen Ivancic.
Final details of the changes, including implementation timeframes will be announced by the end of July.
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