Goverment cold feet on movie tax breaks?
As Onfilm went to print, it looked as though the Government was having second thoughts about cracking down on tax loopholes for the film industry.
Some producers were "freaked" at the prospect of tax breaks continuing after lobbying by vested interests included submissions to Parliament's finance & expenditure select committee. The push to keep tax breaks appears to be coming from The Lord of the Rings camp. It's thought casting of some of the bigger names could be jeopardised without investment incentives.
But others fear the loopholes could backfire on the industry by overheating the sector, devaluing its foreign exchange earnings and threatening public funding of the NZFC though tax breaks already giving filmmakers a helping hand and potentially being abused.
Fuelling the concerns of producers who survived the infamous 80s tax regime were visited by Cabinet members, including Jenny Shipley and Bill English, to the Rings set. "Treasury and IRD are against the loopholes but we're scared politicians will be seduced by the Peter Jackson factor, that they'll succumb to the magic of it," one said.
The select committee was due to report to Parliament in the last week of August. Onfilm will publish its findings in the October issue.
Blockbuster biz for Wellywood
Wellington has displaced Auckland as NZ's filmmaking capital, generating four times the forex of wine, says a report by Wellington City's Capital Development Agency. It predicts filmmaking will boost Wellington's economy by $379 million in 1999-2000. The eight-fold increase is due to not only The Lord of the Rings but more production generally, with the city producing 43% of NZ's film's. "As Wellington has taken off more production companies and support industries have moved here, CDA manager Clare Nolan said in the report based on research by BERL and SPADA.