12 May 2017

Screen industry gets pre-budget bump

9:11 pm on 12 May 2017

The film industry has scored a budget boost of $303.9 million, with most of it to be used for luring big overseas productions.

Taika Waititi on set for Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Director Taika Waititi made the film 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople' with help from a domestic screen grant. Photo: Supplied

The money, allocated in next month's budget, includes $222m over four years and $18m in 2016/17 for the International Screen Production Grant to bring international productions to New Zealand.

Up to $63.9m will be available over four years for the domestic grant.

Minister for Economic Development Simon Bridges said New Zealand's screen industry had a reputation for being one of the best in the world.

"This grant helps the industry compete internationally for a wide range of projects which bring jobs and economic opportunities to New Zealand," Mr Bridges said.

The government said the film industry employs 14,000 people generating $3.3bn in annual revenue.

Mr Bridges said without the grant much of that money from international productions would not have been spent here.

Ministers Maggie Barry, Simon Bridges and film producer Rob Tapert at the pre-budget announcement.

Ministers Maggie Barry, Simon Bridges and film producer Rob Tapert at the pre-budget announcement. Photo: RNZ / Rowan Quinn

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry said the domestic screen grant has supported 23 New Zealand productions since 2014, accounting for approximately $100 million spent in the local screen industry.

"The number of eligible films tripled when the NZSPG was introduced in 2014 with money spent locally on films such as Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Pork Pie and Chasing Great."

Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency chief executive Chris Whelan said the the announcement was good news for Wellington, which was at the heart of the country's screen industry.

He said a recent survey showed the sector generated $728 million in revenue for the region in the 2016 financial year.

Dean Butchers from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development said the grant system was crucial for the industry and he was delighted with the renewed commitment from the government.

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