Evaluation of the New Zealand Screen Production Grant

An evaluation of the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) has provided a useful insight into its cultural and economic value to New Zealand. It highlights positive economic and cultural impacts for New Zealand, but also confirms the difficulties in calculating the net economic benefit arising from the NZSPG.

Established in 2014 to support New Zealand’s screen sector by incentivising international and domestic production activity, the NZSPG provides a rebate of 20 per cent for international productions (25 per cent in certain circumstances) and 40 per cent for domestic productions.

The evaluation was commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and completed by Sapere Research Group.

It was designed to assess the economic and cultural impacts of the NZSPG, and its role in the development of the industry.

Key questions the evaluation sought to address included:

  • the net economic benefits, including spill-overs and economic activity, generated as a result of the NZSPG;
  • whether the NZSPG has encouraged screen production in New Zealand that would otherwise not have been made; and
  • whether the NZSPG supported the creation of New Zealand content and stories that would otherwise not have been made.

Evaluation findings

Key findings include:

  • The NZSPG generates additional production activity that would not occur in New Zealand without the grant
  • The screen sector appears to generate spillover benefits for other sectors of the economy
  • The screen sector is growing but is not yet sustainable without the grant
  • There are linkages between the international and domestic grants that support industry development and New Zealand content creation
  • The existence value and public support value for New Zealand screen content is significant

The evaluation sought to quantify the net economic benefit of the NZSPG to New Zealand. This relies on a calculation of the counterfactual, i.e. what would happen in the economy if the grant did not exist. Data limitations made calculating the counterfactual challenging. Sapere made assumptions based on their judgement and knowledge of the screen sector and the final evaluation report includes a positive figure for the possible net economic benefit of the NZSPG.

However, given that using a different set of assumptions would result in a different net economic benefit figure, MBIE has to conclude that we do not definitively know the net economic benefit of the NZSPG to New Zealand.

Independent peer reviews of the evaluation

Two independent peer reviews of the evaluation were carried out by Infometrics and Sense Partners. Both peer reviews raised the issues that MBIE was aware of concerning calculation of the counterfactual. However neither peer review was able to suggest more robust assumptions given the chosen methodology to achieve this. The peer reviews did highlight the evaluation contained useful and insightful qualitative material.

Evaluating the New Zealand Screen Production Grant [PDF 1.3MB]
Sapere Research Group

Review of “Evaluating the New Zealand Screen Production Grant” [PDF 1.6MB]
Sense Partners

Review of Sapere Report Evaluating the New Zealand Screen Production Grant [PDF 402KB]
Infometrics