Why are we consulting on government investment in the New Zealand Screen Production Grant?

The Government currently invests in a mix of international productions, domestic productions and official co-productions through the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG).

The NZSPG has helped support screen production activity to grow in New Zealand. This has helped to create a globally competitive screen sector with established infrastructure, technology and labour force. Global shifts in the way productions are filmed, edited and watched are now creating challenges as well as opportunities for the sector.

Our spending on the New Zealand Screen Production Grant has been increasing over time.[1] Given the dynamic and fast-changing environment, we want to ensure the policy settings driving our investment in the sector are fit for purpose and generate the greatest amount of value for New Zealand and New Zealanders.

In December 2021, we as joint Ministers responsible for the NZSPG announced a review of government funding to the screen sector to be undertaken by MBIE and Manatū Taonga. Terms of Reference were published to outline the purpose and, scope of the review and the assumptions underlying it (see figure 1). This review is consistent with the direction of the Government’s economic plan for a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy. Screen has been recognised as a growing sector with potential to contribute to New Zealand's GDP, employment and economic diversification.

We will also continue to coordinate with several significant pieces of work currently impacting the broader screen sector, including the Māori Media Sector Shift, establishment of the new Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media Entity, the Lotteries Funding Review, and the Screen Industry Workers Act.  This also applies to significant shifts taking place in relation to skills and workforce development, including the formation of the Regional Skills Leadership Group, Workforce Development Councils and the Reform of Vocational Education.

What is this consultation about?

Through this consultation, we are seeking public input on how NZSPG settings could be updated to respond better to challenges and opportunities facing the screen sector. We also want public input on how the settings could be changed to increase the economic and cultural value returned to New Zealand through our investment.

We want to hear your views about the proposals to address some of the issues found by the review and to improve government investment in the screen sector more generally. Particular areas of focus include:

  • Increasing the value generated from our investment in the NZSPG
  • improving how we attract productions to New Zealand and how we promote New Zealand as an internationally regarded screen sector. 

Findings from the review of government investment in the screen sector

MBIE and Manatū Taonga have undertaken research and analysis, and have engaged with stakeholders to support the development of this consultation document. This work has identified several issues in the NZSPG and the wider screen-sector funding landscape. The review also identified a range of opportunities. These findings have shaped the options for change put forward in this consultation document.

Annex 1 includes a summary of review findings and themes from engagement with stakeholders:

Read Annex 1

Objectives and scope of the review

To guide the review, the Government has developed a set of objectives aimed at maximising economic and cultural benefits from its investment in the screen sector. The objectives seek to:

  • support the development of a more resilient and sustainable New Zealand screen sector;
  • support improved conditions, pay and career pathways for New Zealanders in the screen sector;
  • improve social cohesion by supporting the development of New Zealand cultural content that reflects the diversity of New Zealand and reaches a broad audience; and,
  • maximise the benefits generated to the wider New Zealand economy from the screen sector.

The NZSPG is the focal point for the review. However, other screen funding streams (specifically within the Arts, Culture and Heritage and Economic and Regional Development portfolios) have been considered to ensure that the options proposed take the broader funding landscape into account.

Out of scope of the review:

  • Operational funding to the New Zealand Film Commission
  • Lotteries funding to the New Zealand Film Commission
  • Government funding from the Broadcasting and Media and Māori Development portfolios.

While the review acknowledges the links between the screen and gaming sectors, the development of the interactive media sector (including gaming) in New Zealand will continue to be considered through the Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan.

We recognise that structural issues related to the wider screen-sector funding landscape may require further discussion. However, we want to keep the scope of the consultation limited to areas where we think immediate improvements can be made.

What do we want changes to the NZSPG to do?

The Government wants to increase the value generated from its investment in the NZSPG. To do this, we propose changes to the NZSPG to incentivise more directly a steady pipeline of screen productions to support business growth, sustainable careers and sector resilience. We also want to incentivise more directly improved screen-sector skills and support the development of compelling and ambitious New Zealand content.

We expect that directly targeting sector-level benefits, such as skills and career development, and business growth, through changes to the NZSPG will go on to generate wider economic and cultural benefits for New Zealand and New Zealanders over time. For example, through deepening our connections with global centres of knowledge and innovation, enhancing capital flows and attracting and supporting skills that work for New Zealand.   


1. Crown spending from the NZSPG-International and NZSPG-New Zealand appropriations has increased from $133.9m in 2015/16 to $218.2m in 2020/21.