3 Feb 2015

Filming to get more costly in Auckland

4:44 pm on 3 February 2015

Filming in Auckland could be about to get a third more expensive.

The Auckland Council has proposed higher filming fees ranging between $50 and $1600 a day, depending on the impact the filming would have on public areas like parks and roads.

The council said the fees have not been revised in four years, but charges any higher were not being recommended as they could create barriers for local producers or prompt people to film without a permit.

Manager of Screen Auckland Michael Brook said the new blanket fees would be for the whole city, rather than the current system based on the territories of former local authorities.

"Until now, we've actually been operating with seven different fee structures. So you will find totally different fees for the same usage if you look at different parts of Auckland," he said.

Auckland producer Roimata MacGregor said increases in fees to film in the city needed to be carefully balanced so as not to put off film companies.

"We don't want it to negatively affect local production. There are very few local productions that have great budgets.

"We also don't want to target necessarily offshore productions to the point where we put them off coming here, but again generally speaking they are the productions that can afford it the most," she said.

When it comes to smaller projects, the proposed level of charges would put Auckland at the lower end of the fee scale for filming in big cities internationally. Larger projects would end up mid-scale.

South Pacific Pictures produces some of the biggest domestic shows on New Zealand television, and managing director Chris Bailey said budgets were already stretched.

Its funding came mostly from New Zealand On Air and had barely risen in the past few years, he said.

The company was already coping with inflation, and any cost increases needed to be considered and reasonable.

There will be public consultation before a decision, which was expected in July.

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