NZ film funding counters Australian Offset

By Simon de Bruyn

The New Zealand Film Commission has welcomed the increased funding for medium-scale films with approved New Zealand content, which was announced in the country’s 2008 Federal Budget yesterday.
“The Commission views it as a positive response to the Australian Producer Offset Scheme which had potentially put at risk some filmmaking capability in New Zealand,” said NZFC Chairman David Cullwick.
As announced as part of the 2008 New Zealand Budget yesterday, a new government incentive scheme for New Zealand film and television production is to be established from 1 July 2008.
The New Zealand Screen Production Incentive Fund (SPIF) will provide a government grant of 40% of qualifying New Zealand production expenditure (QNZPE) for eligible New Zealand feature films, and 20% of qualifying New Zealand production expenditure for eligible television and other screen production expenditure.
For feature films, the minimum QNZPE threshold is be $5 million.
The new Screen Production Investment Fund has been allocated $27.8 million over four years in new funding, plus $26 million from existing funding to the New Zealand Film Commission, providing a total of $53.8 million.
It is intended that this funding will be structured in such a way as to accommodate fluctuations in demand over multiple years.
The SPIF will only be available to screen productions qualifying under section 18 of the New Zealand Film Commission Act 1978 as having significant New Zealand content. The SPIF will be administered by the Film Commission, with QNZPE verified by the Inland Revenue Department.
The full SPIF criteria including the Significant New Zealand Content Test will be approved by government in late June 2008, to allow the SPIF to be operational from 1 July 2008.