NZ ups filming incentives

Bigger rebate part of latest package

The New Zealand government on Monday upped the incentives it offers to foreign producers making feature films and television here, the first major changes to its production incentive plan since it launched four years ago.

Changes to the Large Budget Screen Production Grant, which is administered by the New Zealand Film Commission, go into effect immediately, offering "a financial incentive that compares very favorably with incentives available in other countries," said Trevor Mallard, New Zealand's economic development minister.

The changes include an increased rebate on production spending (to 15% from 12.5%); an OK on the bundling of lower-budget productions to qualify for the grant; and the removal of the 70% production spending threshold for productions spending between NZ$15 million-NZ$50 million ($11.85 million-$39.5 million).

The changed grant also will extend to postproduction digital and visual effects work with a production expenditure of NZ$3 million-NZ$15million ($2.37 million-$11.9 million); allow producers to set an exchange rate at the start of production; and allow large productions to access the grant every time their expenditure goes over the NZ$50 million ($39.5 million) threshold.

"This puts New Zealand and the country's industry capabilities in a very favorable position," Film New Zealand chairman David Madigan said.