Skip to main content

On this page

The Screen Production Rebate

The NZSPR is a rebate on qualifying expenditure undertaken in New Zealand by eligible screen productions, which used to be the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (or NZSPG). The rebate aims to incentivise high-value screen productions that provide economic and cultural benefits to New Zealand. The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) administers the rebate.

The NZSPR has two components:

  • The domestic component provides a 40% rebate for eligible New Zealand productions. Eligibility includes a requirement for the production to contain significant New Zealand content (a points-based test is used to assess this requirement) or to be an official co-production. Manatū Taonga has policy responsibility for this part of the NZSPR.
  • The international component provides a 20% rebate and an additional 5% in certain circumstances, for eligible international productions that locate in New Zealand. Hīkina Whakatutuki the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has policy responsibility for the international rebate.

NZSPR for New Zealand Productions (NZFC)

International and domestic productions accessing the rebate spent around $5.2 billion in New Zealand from 2014 to 2022, including on local jobs, hospitality, building and construction. This represents a significant investment into New Zealand’s economy and far outweighs the cost of the rebate over the same period of around $1.15 billion.

Alongside the immediate benefits of productions’ direct spending, there are wider benefits of supporting screen productions. Economic benefits include skills development, attracting tourism, and contributing to New Zealand’s goal of becoming a high-wage, low emissions economy. Cultural benefits include showcasing our unique New Zealand stories, perspectives, and identity on screen.

Government-funded incentives such as this rebate are common around the world including in notable screen production locations like Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Canada. These schemes help to ensure high-quality local content can continue to be seen on our screens. They are also very important to international studios when deciding where to locate their production activities.

The NZFC website provides more information about the NZSPR, including relevant criteria and processes:

Incentives and Co-Productions (NZFC)

The Review of Government Investment in the Screen Sector

From December 2021 to May 2023 the government reviewed its funding to the screen sector. The review considered ways to generate more economic and cultural value from this investment, for the sector and for New Zealand. The review focused on the rebate and its place in a rapidly changing screen production environment.

We jointly led the review with MBIE. Public consultation on options for changes to the NZSPG took place in late 2022, with the screen sector providing constructive and insightful feedback. Officials also worked with the NZFC throughout the review and engaged with other screen funding agencies Te Māngai Pāho and NZ On Air.

On 30 May 2023 the Ministers for Economic Development and Arts, Culture and Heritage announced the review’s conclusion with some key changes to the New Zealand Screen Production Rebate.

Supporting a strong future for screen sector (Beehive)

Final policy details, and three further technical changes to the domestic rebate, were confirmed on 31 July 2023. We will conduct a ‘check in’ along with MBIE after one year of operation, to ensure the changes are working as intended.

Summary of screen production rebate changes

Rebate name change

The New Zealand Screen Production Grant has been renamed the New Zealand Screen Production Rebate, to more accurately reflect that it is a rebate on spending in New Zealand by Kiwi screen companies and international production houses.

Domestic rebate changes

Access to other government production funding

All domestic screen productions can now access the rebate alongside other government funding, such as from NZ On Air, Te Māngai Pāho and the NZFC.

This change encourages more high-quality, uniquely New Zealand screen content that delivers greater cultural value by allowing all types of New Zealand productions to combine funding sources.

To access multiple government funding sources, productions simply need to meet the relevant requirements for each (no additional criteria will apply).

This change applies to productions starting principal photography on or after 31 August 2023.

Interim rebate payments

Domestic productions can now apply for an interim rebate payment before the production is completed. To be eligible, the production must have spent at least half of the relevant expenditure threshold, and the NZFC must be satisfied the production will be completed.

Interim rebate payments can help producers to pay down loans earlier, minimising ongoing interest costs, saving taxpayer money, and freeing up cashflow for the remainder of the production.

Productions that began principal photography on or after 31 August 2023 are eligible for interim payments under the new provision.

Cap on ‘above-the-line’ costs

‘Above-the-line’ costs that can qualify for the domestic rebate are now capped at 25% of the production’s budget.

As with the international rebate, the definition of ‘above-the-line’ costs covers spending on production development and the pay and travel costs of writers, directors, producers, and lead cast.

To minimise any unintended consequences, rebate payments for above-the-line costs may exceed the cap in exceptional circumstances.

The cap applies to productions that receive an acknowledgement from the NZFC of their provisional certificate application after 31 August 2023.

Market attachments

The ‘market attachment’ requirement has been tweaked to recognise legitimate sales, distribution and licence fees from parties that are related to the rebate applicant, provided the parties are operating truly independently from one another.

This change recognises changing market relationships in the New Zealand screen sector, while still ensuring the rebate goes to productions that have the best chance of reaching audiences and performing well commercially.

The change applies to productions that began principal photography on or after 31 August 2023.

International Rebate changes

Elements of the international rebate are changing to ensure New Zealand continues to attract screen productions from overseas that deliver value for the sector and the wider economy.

You can find out more about the changes to the international rebate on MBIE’s website:

New Zealand Screen Production Rebate (MBIE)

Public consultation documents

Summary document: Increasing value from government investment in the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (MBIE)

Read the independent summaries of consultation:

Keyword: Review of government investment in the screen sector: summary of our workshop findings during the public consultation
3.15 MB
PDF
Review of government investment in the screen sector: summary of our workshop findings during the public consultation
Keyword: Increasing value from Government investment in the New Zealand Screen Production Grant Engagement with Māori
782.11 KB
PDF
Increasing value from Government investment in the New Zealand Screen Production Grant Engagement with Māori
Keyword: Review of government investment in the screen sector: summary of email and survey submissions analysis, insights and findings
1.84 MB
PDF
Review of government investment in the screen sector: summary of email and survey submissions analysis, insights and findings