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Government invests $73m in screen sector

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Thousands of Kiwi jobs and investment in New Zealand productions will be protected through a screen sector support package announced by the government today.

The package also includes investment in broadcasting through the NZ Film Commission and NZ On Air including a boost for Pacific, student and disability media.

“The Screen Production Fund of $73.4 million ensures more than 230 productions that employ thousands of New Zealanders are not abandoned due to additional costs incurred as a result of COVID-19. It also protects an estimated $250 million of public funding already invested in them,” says Associate Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni.

“It means productions can resume, Kiwis can start working again, and the flow on effects for auxiliary businesses continue. Part of the Screen Production Fund investment is for new content, which translates to new jobs for Kiwis, and enables a robust pipeline of local content for New Zealand audiences.”

Sepuloni says the screen industry contributes around $3.3 billion to GDP, and employs 16,200 people, as well as indirectly supporting technical production, hospitality and venues.

New Zealand’s competitive advantage under COVID-19

Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford says the Government’s proactive response to COVID-19 means not only is it safe to resume screen production sooner than our international competitors, but New Zealand gains a competitive advantage.

He says this year’s Budget includes $140 million to cover New Zealand’s ongoing commitments under the New Zealand Screen Production Grant for International Productions. This includes $25 million which we have reallocated to support the funding for New Zealand feature films.

“New Zealand continues to attract a number of international screen projects, including the Avatar sequels, and Amazon’s TV series based on The Lord of the Rings. Beyond these large projects, we are also pleased to be attracting a range of other international productions and interest in New Zealand as a screen production location remains very strong.

“The Screen Production Grant has enabled New Zealand to consistently attract large international productions which employ thousands of New Zealanders, support local businesses and provide an invaluable training ground for those who go on to work on our world-class domestic productions,” says Twyford.

Enabling a range of voices on air

Minister of Broadcasting Kris Fa’afoi says the cultural sector was hit hard by the impacts of COVID-19 and that the experience of COVID-19 has reinforced that vital information such as health messages, need to be easily available to everyone.

“Many media have had a significant increase in audience numbers during COVID-19, which highlighted the crucial role our media play in connecting people with information. At the same time our media, which has been grappling with financial challenges for some years, is now experiencing a further dramatic drop in advertising revenue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“New funding for diverse audiences will provide $25 million over four years to NZ On Air to ensure audiences that are otherwise not well served by broadcast media can get the information they need,” says Faafoi.

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