Right off the heels of my last post comes a debate in NZ parliament yesterday about increasing the amount of subsidies offered to the film industry. It’s eerily similar to the recent debate in British Columbia where the incumbents already offered huge subsidies for film, but the opposition wanted to offer even more after losing work to other provinces.
The points made in the debate are exactly the problems I’ve written about for years concerning New Zealand’s film industry: The amount of subsidies doled out to US studios by the NZ government has stayed the same while other countries have raced to offer more money. The NZ dollar has hit record highs making it more expensive to do work for US studios and erasing the benefit of the subsidies.
According to the minister in the above video, NZ has handed out $NZD 411 million in subsidies since 2008. As large as that sounds, British Columbia doled out $CAD 437 million this year alone! New Zealand has a major challenge ahead of itself. With a GDP of 160 billion, it’s one of the smallest competitors in a big subsidy race. British Columbia by comparison is quite small also with a GDP of 215 billion and yet it too has trouble keeping up while handing out significantly more money.
The subsidy bubble keeps getting larger and the big bang in the end will be one of the most important events in VFX history.