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Changes to New Zealand Screen Production Rebate

Details of the changes to the government-backed New Zealand Screen Production Rebate (NZSPR) have been released by NZ’s Hīkina Whakatutuki/Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Manatū Taonga/Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH).

The changes to the NZSPR are focused on generating economic and cultural benefits for New Zealand.

With the new settings announced, Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), says that as the administrator of the NZSPR, it is focused on fast and effective implementation to ensure the benefits to the sector and New Zealand are realised quickly.

The NZFC recognises that it is important that the implementation is simple, clear, and straightforward to garner confidence in the sector both in New Zealand and offshore. We will work with industry members to ensure implementation is clear and effective.

MBIE and MCH will conduct one-year operational focused check in to ensure the changes are operating as intended.

The New Settings

International productions – a redeveloped 5% Uplift will enable New Zealand to attract high value international productions and generate greater economic and cultural benefits for New Zealand.

According to the NZ Film Commission, the redeveloped 5% Uplift:

  • Is simple to navigate, and the criteria is clearer and more objective.
  • Has increased opportunities to earn points in the test.
  • Has increased weighting on New Zealand screen workforce development and production activity.
  • Recognises repeat business to encourage studios and productions to return.
  • Introduces sustainability criteria to support Aotearoa New Zealand’s shift to a low-emissions economy.

Applications open for the redeveloped 5% Uplift on 1 November 2023, documentation and guidance will be provided before this date.

The Post-Production, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) rebate returns to a flat rate of 20% and the qualifying expenditure threshold will be reduced to $250,000, creating opportunities to attract a broader range of activity to New Zealand

The new PDV setting will come into effect from 31 August 2023, so productions beginning an ongoing schedule of PDV activity from that date will be able to benefit.

Domestic productions – Domestic productions benefit from the confirmation of funding changes that will bolster New Zealand content by allowing productions to access the NZSPR as well as production funding from NZFC, NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho.

There are three technical changes also being made to the domestic criteria:

  • Making permanent the allowance for Interim rebate payments, following the success of this through COVID. This recognises the benefits of allowing production loans to be repaid earlier.
  • Introduction of 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 to assess claimed costs.
  • Update to the ‘market attachment’ requirement, which ensures government support goes to productions that will reach audiences, to recognise sales, distribution and licence fees from related entities – provided they are operating independently.

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

For further details, visit https://mch.govt.nz/screen-changes

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