Written By: - Date published: 12:45 pm, December 16th, 2013 - 77 comments
Categories: colonialism, employment, film, national, overseas investment, tourism, trade, tv, workers' rights - Tags: cultural colonisation
The NZ government have just announced some changes to their ways of supporting NZ’s screen industry. It’s a mixed bag.
The Government today announced changes to the structure and level of support for overseas and New Zealand film and television productions to ensure the further development of New Zealand’s screen industry.
The new changes are designed to encourage the growth of mid-sized New Zealand-based productions that can compete successfully on the world stage; while also increasing the competitiveness of our incentives for international productions in the short to medium term.
The part in bold in the quote above is part of The Good.
Medium-sized productions (between $15 million and $50 million) which feature New Zealand content and significant local creative control will qualify for more support than previously, in order to harness and grow the benefits from local intellectual property.
·For New Zealand productions, a two tier system will be created. ‘New Zealand productions’ means productions with very high New Zealand content, such as a New Zealand story and a high level of New Zealand creative control
For New Zealand film and television productions of up to $15 million, it will be necessary to gain a certain number of points on the New Zealand content points test to gain the 40 per cent rebate, payable as a grant.
For New Zealand film and television productions in excess of $15 million and up to a maximum of $50 million, support will be provided as an equity share as opposed to a grant payment and be subject to scoring a certain number of points on a points test relating to business as well as cultural factors.
“The Government will be consulting on these changes with the local screen industry early next year particularly how the new points system will be implemented.”
A Mixed Bag:
“These changes will help ensure a screen industry that is more sustainable, brings greater long-term economic benefits to New Zealand, and avoids the peaks and troughs that are solely dependent on large international productions,” Mr Joyce says.
“New Zealand is recognised internationally for our world-class expertise in making quality film and television. Our screen industry has grown significantly over the 15 years and is an important contributor to our economy and to our international profile.
“New Zealand has a lot to offer with a skilled and capable workforce, flexible employment laws, proven expertise in post-production, natural scenery and competitive labour costs.
My bold indicates the especially bad bit for Kiwi workers – it’s a recipe for exploitation.
On the other hand we do have a great screen industry workforce and post production expertise. Operation 8 is a great example of what can be done in NZ.
Some of the past contributions to our economy have been dubious in the way they were brought about, and the long term impact on NZ workers: e.g. The Hobbit financial incentives and law changes to benefit Hollywood corporates.
All international movies made or filmed in NZ are not equal in their long term contributions to NZ’s economy.
“It is intended that Ministers will keep reviewing these incentives over time, with the overall aim of encouraging more New Zealand-sourced creative intellectual property which is less dependent on competing with other countries’ international incentive schemes.”
It all depends on how it’s done, and opens the possibilities of uncertainties and instability.
Talking up NZ’s “flexible” and low cost workforce is a biggie.
The continuation of some dubious international projects in NZ. It seems the alleged protections to NZ’s screen industry, is not fully thought out – i.e. their needs to be further consultation with the industry. key’s government does not have a good track record on how they respond when under pressure from powerful Hollywood corporates.
So it looks like a rushed effort, a bit of a sop to the local industry, in order to be able to announce this: Tom Hunt on Stuff reports,
Prime Minister John Key has announced that the next three Avatar movies will be made in New Zealand.
At least $500m will be spent in New Zealand making the films, Key said.
Key made the announcement of a memorandum of understanding with Lightstorm Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox alongside Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Arts Minister Christopher Finlayson.
Also present were Avatar director James Cameron, producer Jon Landau, and Paul Hanneman of Twentieth Century Fox.
Joyce said the sequels would provide “hundreds of jobs and thousands of hours of work directly in the screen sector as well as jobs right across the economy.”
The deal means New Zealand will host at least one red carpet premiere and a “featurette” on New Zealand would be included on DVDs and Blu Rays.
Finlayson said: “The filming of the Avatar films will be of substantial benefit to New Zealand economically and culturally.”
Culturally? As Morgan Godfery Tweeted:
Neo-colonial movie with massive white saviour complex to be made in New Zealand. Again. Boo colonialism. Yay jobs. But still boo
We need a government that is truly committed to ensuring the future of a sustainable NZ screen industry that also supports democratic NZ cultural values; one that just isn’t a film industry to support and reinforce, neocolonial, “neoliberal” values.