Other matters we are seeking feedback on
Administration of the NZSPG
There are a range of ways the NZSPG could be administered. Broadly speaking, the NZSPG could be managed through the tax system or through direct funding (as is the current arrangement for the NZSPG).
Administering funding to the sector via the tax system would provide a high level of government commitment and a corresponding high level of certainty for those operating within the sector. However, a sector-specific tax intervention like this might not be conducive to supporting the integrity of our tax system. It would also be a significant departure from the current approach to administering the NZSPG.
The review has indicated that clarity, consistency and certainty of government funding required for business planning and decision making can be successfully achieved with the current approach of providing NZSPG funding through the Budget process via on-demand multi-year appropriations. On this basis we are not considering administering the NZSPG through the tax system at this stage.
Currently the NZFC-administered NZSPG process is criteria-based, with applications assessed by a panel comprised of members from the NZFC, relevant government agencies and industry representatives. The rules-based approach to NZSPG decision-making via a clear and established set of assessment criteria helps to enable fairness, transparency and consistency of process, which can enhance business certainty and support firm-level planning.
However, there may be some aspects of the proposed options put forward that could benefit from a more flexible approach to decision-making, to ensure each application is considered on its own merits and the assessment criteria are applied in a way that takes account of the specific elements of the proposed project as well as wider contextual factors. The proposed cultural content and creative talent test is the main example that would benefit from a more flexible approach.
Through the review process, stakeholders have emphasised the importance of maintaining flexibility to determine cultural value on a case-by-case basis and avoiding an overly prescribed or tick-the-box approach. This type of selective assessment approach is not uncommon and is used in a range of international screen funding contexts, as well as in the assessment processes of New Zealand’s other screen funding entities, for example NZ on Air. The NZFC also takes a selective assessment approach to discretionary decision making for cultural funds.
Have your say – NZSPG administration
34. What changes, if any, would you make to the current the NZSPG administration and assessment process?
35. How do you think cultural content should be assessed and by whom, to enhance the cultural value of government investment in screen?
Monitoring, evaluation and reporting
Robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are critical to ensure maximum value is being generated by public funding to the screen sector, as well as helping government remain agile and responsive with its investment settings. Meaningful and timely reporting provides clear information to those in the sector to help support business and workforce planning and to identify trends. Transparency of decision-making in relation to government investments ensures accountability for public funds.
The multiple pathways for accessing government funding and investment, the different public funding administrators, and the mix of public and private funding presents challenges for accurate and meaningful monitoring and reporting on the screen sector. Data and information making up the ‘whole picture’ for the sector is held across multiple agencies and organisations, and collected, stored and reported in different ways.
In recognition of the gap left by Statistics NZ ceasing its Screen Industry Survey after 2018, MBIE developed the Economic Trends in the Screen Sector report (published in 2021), and intends to continue and evolve this reporting.
There is opportunity for this monitoring and reporting to target specific public and sector stakeholder needs as well as informing government investment and policy decisions. This ongoing programme of work will be responsive to any changes in policy settings made through the review.
When making policy changes, it is important to track progress and evaluate whether the policy intent of changes has been achieved. To measure the impacts of any changes to the NZSPG arising from this review, we will be developing a robust monitoring and evaluation programme to monitor the outcomes intended to be achieved through this investment.
Have your say – Monitoring, evaluation and reporting
36. What monitoring arrangements or reporting measures would improve transparency of decision-making in relation to NZSPG expenditure?
Renaming the NZSPG
The structure of this scheme fits closely to that of a rebate, where funds are credited to a production studio upon completion of their qualifying production expenditure. On this basis, we intend to rename the NZSPG as part of any final advice on changes to the NZSPG. It will be called the New Zealand Screen Production Rebate (NZSPR) from 2023 onwards.