Half a billion dollars spent on movie making subsidies

Over half a billion dollars has been handed out to movie makers to encourage them to come to New Zealand.

Is this money well spent? Or is it subsidising the already rich?

Matt Nippert (Herald) – Inside Wellywood: How NZ taxpayers forked out $575 million for Hollywood to film here

Act leader David Seymour isn’t willing to dance around this issue of whether subsidising Hollywood’s costs – including for their celebrity starlets – is worthwhile: “I think New Zealanders can decide for themselves whether they feel good about likely having given Scarlett Johansson $3m.”

“Every dollar spent on subsidies is a dollar that can’t be spent elsewhere. Who amongst us believe politicians are the wisest at investing our dollars?”

An otherwise boosterish recent government evaluation of the latest iteration of the subsidy scheme, released yesterday, found $177.1m in grants paid out over the past three years resulted in a significant economic boost for the country but only generated $126.9m in additional tax revenue, costing the government $50m.

It isn’t stated how widely additional tax revenue was considered in that equation. It would be difficult, for example, to quantify the financial and tax benefits that tourism gets out of movies made here.

While Seymour put a firm foot forward in opposing the decades-old scheme, Grant Robertson, the Minister of Finance but perhaps more saliently member for Wellington Central – the location for two-thirds of the country’s subsidised film production – was keen to stay light on his feet.

Robertson wasn’t willing to weigh in on whether ScarJo was worth it, but said criteria letting productions qualify for the maximum subsidy had “been tightened in recent years”.

“I think it’s an area we want to be in. There are obviously always limits to how much you put in – what the scale of any subsidy scheme might be – but from my perspective, New Zealand has done well, produced good people, and this is part of being in that particular industry,” he says.

Sounds a bit like Labour’s immigration rhetoric while in opposition turning around to a more pragmatic approach in Government.

There’s a lot more about it in the Nipper article, and Rod Emmerson has his take on it too:

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14 Comments

  1. PartisanZ

     /  June 30, 2018

    Damn … Why can’t they just give it out as a ticket subsidy at the cinema?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 30, 2018

      Nearly as bad as Air AllBlacks board paying out half a mill of their depositors’ money to bring ONE rich golfing buddy of Key’s to play NZ’s most expensive golf courses for free. And I think I read that we taxpayers had to also fork out for bodyguards which Key could have paid for himself.

      Reply
  2. PartisanZ

     /  June 30, 2018

    Fact is, cinema is still one of the main mechanisms of acculturation, manipulation and control in our Western “managed democracy” …. It’s literally a management technique or ‘school’ we’ve euphemistically called “entertainment” ….

    It teaches us things like … issues and problems are simple … Black & White … Good & Evil

    Evil is dark and ugly … Good is White and Light … and usually Right or Conservative too …

    The ultimate resolution to problems is always competition, conflict and violence …

    Film breeds irrational fear via certain genres … and like heaps of other shit …

    Consequently, is it any surprise that governments – who are the ‘governance arm’ of corporate-capitalism – in marketplaces too small to support cost-effective film-making (like happens in the USA) still want or have been ordered to subsidize film-making?

    Reply
    • David

       /  June 30, 2018

      Can to explain the difference in storytelling between films and any other story from the Iliad to Shakespare?

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  June 30, 2018

        Yes, very very easily David … the difference is BIG CORPORATE MONEY …

        Reply
        • David

           /  June 30, 2018

          Shakespare had big corporate money. How the hell else did he get his plays published.

          Reply
          • PartisanZ

             /  June 30, 2018

            There’s no comparison really … mainly because of the amount of money required in film-making …

            Certainly there was patronage in Shakespeare’s day, and popular support from the masses – ticket sales – so his plays are hardly an incitement to revolution …

            But the formula of ‘protagonist vs antagonist through conflict and crisis to change or denoument’ is a grossly simplistic overlay on creative reality – which often involves mysterious elements like ‘channeling’ and precognition – mostly wrought by people who are attempting to make money from ‘teaching’ writing …

            Reply
            • David

               /  June 30, 2018

              He had the patronage of the monarch for crying out loud. The big corporate money doesn’t get any bigger than that.

  3. Blazer

     /  June 30, 2018

    Academy award winning Spielberg movie the Final Days a fine example of propaganda dresssed up for mass consumption.

    Reply
    • PartisanZ

       /  June 30, 2018

      You downtickers would love to think its all just freedom of choice, wouldn’t you?

      Interestingly, this highly manipulative and managed form of creativity is one of the more collaborative things human beings can do …

      Reply
  4. Blazer

     /  June 30, 2018

    its the dole Jim…but not as we know…it.

    Reply
    • PartisanZ

       /  June 30, 2018

      … U.S.S Enterprise …

      The Federation … against the Klingons …

      “Live long … and prosper”

      Reply

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