Details of improvements to screen production rebate revealed

Published: 31 July 2023

Details of changes to the Government’s investment in the screen sector were released today, designed to attract and support quality productions that generate great economic and cultural benefits for New Zealand.

Hīkina Whakatutuki MBIE and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage released further details about changes to the New Zealand Screen Production Rebate which were announced in May. The changes will take effect over coming months.

Supporting a strong future for screen sector(external link) — (May announcement)

Changes for international productions

“The new process for the 5% Uplift incentive is simpler to navigate, and the eligibility criteria clearer and more objective,” says Gina Williamson, MBIE’s Industry Policy Manager.

“We want to encourage international productions to actively contribute to the ongoing success of our New Zealand screen sector which is why we have enhanced the workforce development components in the Uplift. 

“We have also introduced sustainability criteria into the Uplift, to support Aotearoa New Zealand’s shift to a low-emissions economy and we have widened the incentives for repeat activity to encourage productions to return.”

Applications for the redeveloped Uplift can be made from 1 November 2023. The necessary documentation and guidance will be available from the New Zealand Film Commission as soon as practicable before then.

Alongside improvements to the Uplift rebate, the Post-Production, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) rebate will return to a flat rate of 20%, making it more competitive. The qualifying expenditure threshold will be reduced to NZ$250,000, enabling smaller productions to benefit from it.

The PDV changes will come into effect soon so productions that begin an ongoing schedule of PDV activity from 31 August 2023 will be able to benefit from the new settings.

Changes for domestic productions

“Following on from the change announced in May to the domestic rebate, we can now confirm that access to other government production funding alongside the rebate will not be subject to any additional criteria, beyond those that already apply to the relevant funding,” says Emily Fabling, Pou Mataaho o Te Aka Deputy Chief Executive Policy and Sector Performance at Manatū Taonga.

Supporting a strong future for screen sector(external link) — (May announcement)

“This change is about supporting and encouraging more high-quality, locally focused screen productions with strong cultural value for both the sector and New Zealand.

“To ensure these benefits start flowing as soon as possible, it will come into effect on 31 August 2023 for productions that have not begun principal photography at that date.

“We’ve also taken the opportunity to address some of the technical issues raised during the Review and from public consultation, which can be implemented at the same time. 3 additional changes will be made to the domestic rebate criteria, to help future proof the scheme.

"Following on from its success through COVID-19 and recognising the win-win benefits of allowing production loans to be paid down earlier, the provision for interim rebate payments will be made permanent.

“The 'market attachment' requirement, which ensures government support goes to productions that will reach audiences and perform well, will be tweaked to recognise sales, distribution and license fees from related entities – provided they are operating independently.

“We are also introducing a cap on ‘above-the-line’ costs that can qualify for the domestic rebate, at 25% of a production’s budget, to provide a clear and consistent way of ensuring costs claimed are reasonable.”

More information

The New Zealand Screen Production Rebate is administered by the New Zealand Film Commission, with Manatū Taonga responsible for the domestic component and MBIE the international component.

More detail about the changes is available at:

Summary of screen sector rebate changes(external link) — Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage

MBIE media contact