8 Oct 2012

Hobbit production company defends NZ film subsidies

2:31 pm on 8 October 2012

A spokesperson for the production company behind The Hobbit films has defended taxpayer subsidies, saying without them the films would not have been made in New Zealand.

Wingnut films spokesperson Matt Dravitzki said the subsidies are justified because of the huge economic spin-offs from the three films, which have a total budget of $500 million.

The large budget screen production grant scheme provides a rebate of 15% on qualifying expenses of $15 million or more, while post, digital and visual effects work can access the grant on qualifying expenses of $3 million to $15 million.

Mr Dravitzki said 3000 people have worked on the films and many have bought houses in Wellington.

Since shooting started in March 2011, he said, 91,000 hotel room nights and 11,000 rental cars had been booked.

Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown on Monday launched the countdown to the world premiere for the film on 28 November.

The council is spending $1.1 million on the premiere, which will include a 500-metre-long red carpet leading to the Embassy Theatre.