New Equity submission to government on screen incentives
Equity vice-president Jeff Szusterman and board member Alistair Browning attended a government hosted workshop on the new screen production incentives system.
The meeting took place on 26 February with a number of producers, senior crew members and screen directors. Under the new incentives system, NZ productions (and official co-productions) with $15m budgets can apply for a 40% grant (of a maximum of $6 million) if they meet the “Significant NZ Content Points Test”.
Equity argued that a star system needs to be built in NZ by increasing the points for using local actors as leads. This has worked very well in Australia.
There were issues with the total NZ$ production spend on a production threshold being set at NZ$15 million. This is a very large amount compared to the realistic production spends on NZ productions and even most co-productions. There are very few filmmakers who can raise this amount or more to make films here. Screen productions over NZ$15 million can apply for the government to become an equity investor. The grant is, again, 40% and maxes out at NZ$20 million. A panel of “suitably qualified persons” will decide which films qualify. This is not the best idea because in a small screen industry, there are inevitable potential conflicts of interest. The argument was that surely an objective points test should be enough - in and of itself.
Equity has since submitted a full submission to the government. Click read more to see it: