Why you should join NZ Actors’ Equity

A year ago, NZ Actors’ Equity became a fully-funded autonomous part of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA). In that time we have established ourselves as an effective and respected advocate for NZ actors. Now we want every person who works as an actor to join with us today. Your membership will ensure better pay and conditions for us all. This is why you should join NZ Actors’ Equity.

• We are amongst the lowest paid actors with some of the poorest working conditions in the English speaking world.
• Overseas, generally 10 – 15% of a film’s budget is allocated to cast fees. Here it’s between 2 – 5%.
• In the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia performers have standard contracts, which include minimum pay rates and working conditions, superannuation, and residuals on all screen work. In New Zealand we have none of this.

Here are some facts

• In Australia, with its 80% + union membership, an established actor in a supporting role in a low to medium budget film can earn up to $4000 per day plus 10% superannuation and residuals.
• For an established actor in New Zealand that figure is generally between $700 - $1000 per day, with no super and no residuals.
• Dollar for dollar, production costs between Australia and NZ are basically the same. That is, a film that costs AUD$5 million to make in Australia, would cost approximately NZD$5 million here.

For us, it’s about fairness. NZ Actors’ Equity is committed to giving NZ actors a unified voice. We believe this is the only way we can build strong relationships with our industry partners. In the last five years the NZ film industry has produced record earnings. In 2005 it contributed $2.6 billion to the New Zealand economy – this was comparable to forestry or fruit growing. So why are New Zealand actors earning less than they ever have? And it’s not just on the screen…

More facts

• 11 years ago an actor just out of drama school was earning $600/week in a NZ professional theatre. This year a similar actor was earning $350/week at the same theatre.
• In the past 11 years the cost of living has risen by 28 %

You do not have to accept sub-standard conditions simply because you are grateful to have a job. NZ Actors’ Equity is here to represent you. We now have a full-time union representative. We have a growing membership. We have expert legal advice and advocacy. And we’re no longer alone. The Screen Actors' Guild (SAG - US), Equity (US), ACTRA (Canada), AFTRA (US), British Equity, and all the other actors’ unions who make up the International Federation of Actors, support us in getting a better deal for New Zealand performers. Don’t you think it’s time you did too?

Click here to join Equity. We urge you to fill it out today. And it doesn’t matter how often you work, if you’re reading this we want you with us. You can join for as little as $3.40 per week. Your membership will ensure a fair working environment for all New Zealand performers.