The Screen Production Incentive Fund

The Government has announced as part of the 2008 Budget a new scheme for New Zealand film and television production known as the Screen Production Incentive Fund or SPIF to be established from 1 July 2008.

The SPIF will provide a grant of 40 per cent of qualifying NZ production expenditure (QNZPE) for eligible NZ feature films of $5 million and over and 20 per cent of QNZPE for eligible television and other screen productions with varying levels of minimum expenditure including $500,000 per hour of series television.  The SPIF will only be made available to productions that meet a 'significant New Zealand content' points test.  Funding for the SPIF has been drawn from existing NZ Film Commission Funding and a new allocation from Government.

NZ Equity have serious concerns about the current shape of the SPIF criteria, which as drafted will potentially exclude NZ performers from being involved in SPIF productions.  The working of this scheme will therefore have a direct negative impact upon the working lives of performers.

New Zealand performers were not consulted prior to the release of draft guidelines nor invited to consultation sessions on the SPIF.  Equity only became involved in consultations after approaching the Ministry of Culture and Heritage (MCH) ourselves.  In contrast, the Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA) were consulted on the current draft of the SPIF criteria and producers were provided with special meetings with the MCH.

NZ Equity is seeking your support to fight for changes to the proposed SPIF to ensure that NZ performers are not left behind.  NZ Equity are calling for the following:

  • That the Significant NZ Content Test be fixed to ensure the involvement of NZ lead actors and cast;
  • That the rules applying to television productions be changed so that projects without NZ performers cannot access SPIF grants;
  • Funding to the NZFC to be restored until the SPIF is demonstrated to be successful so that there is no drop or lag in production levels;
  • The level of the SPIF feature film threshold be lowered to $1 million so as not to confine the benefits of the SPIF to a small number of high powered companies; and

That travel costs of foreign performers not count towards the qualifying production expenditure as it encourages the use of non-NZ performers;

Download our submission to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage here.