New Zealand’s government has announced changes to its rebate schemes for both international and local production, the conclusion of a major review of the country’s incentives programmes that started in late 2022.
The tweaks include a name change – New Zealand’s Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) will now be known as the Screen Production Rebate (NZSPR). However, the core rebate offered to international productions of 20% of qualifying New Zealand production expenditure remains unchanged.
The 5% uplift to the rebate, first introduced in 2014 to generate “greater economic and cultural benefits for New Zealand”, has been redeveloped to make it “simpler to navigate”, while the application criteria has been made “clearer and more objective”, according to a government statement.
The statement also said that the redeveloped uplift will have more weighting on New Zealand screen workforce development and production activity; recognises repeat business to encourage studios and productions to return; and introduces sustainability criteria to support New Zealand’s shift to a low-emissions economy.
Eligible productions, with a minimum of $18.5M (NZ$30M) Qualifying New Zealand Production Expenditure can apply for the 5% uplift from November 1, 2023. See here for full details of changes to the uplift.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Post-Production, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) rebate will also remain at 20%, but the qualifying expenditure threshold will be reduced from $308,000 (NZ$500,000) to $154,000 (NZ$250,000), in an attempt to “attract a broader range of activity to New Zealand”. The lower threshold will kick in from August 31, 2023.
New Zealand’s NZSPG has attracted productions including Avatar: The Way Of Water, Sweet Tooth, M3GAN, The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power and more recently Taika Waititi’s Time Bandits. The PDV has been used by productions including Thor: Love And Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Batman.
The changes were confirmed today by New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH), which will both conduct one-year checks to ensure they are operating as intended.
New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) administers the rebates and said it is “focused on fast and effective implementation to ensure the benefits to the sector and New Zealand are realised quickly.”
Changes have also been made to schemes for local productions, which will now be able to access the NZSPR as well as funding from NZFC, NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho.
Three other technical changes have also been made for local productions: the allowance for interim rebate payments, introducing during the pandemic, has been made permanent; a cap has been placed on above-the-line costs that can qualify for the domestic rebate, at 25% of a production’s budget; and the the ‘market attachment’ requirement has been updated, to ensure government funding goes to productions that will reach audiences.