Stuff reveals the price we are paying to subsidise movie moguls – and then Sepuloni announces a new film-making fund

There is apparently no shortage of politicians with a not-so-secret Hollywood love affair – or so said Mark Milke, an independent Canadian analyst and consultant, in an article for the Fraser Institute some seven years ago.

They love to throw tax sweeteners and direct subsidies at the film industry to lure film production to their province or state, he observed at a time when the film industry in Canada was pressing provincial and federal governments to pony up most of the cost of a C$32-million film studio in Calgary.

He proceeded to challenge the claim that – in Alberta – for every buck in direct taxpayer subsidies, a ten-fold return in economic activity would result.

Such crony capitalism for film is then akin to miraculous manna from heaven.

Our politicians are not immune from being bedazzled by film industry pixie dust

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni yesterday launched the Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund, making $50 million available

“ … in a unique opportunity for the screen sector to tell New Zealand’s stories to a global audience”. Continue reading “Stuff reveals the price we are paying to subsidise movie moguls – and then Sepuloni announces a new film-making fund”

Lights, camera – action: govt sets the scene for a film industry to flourish (maybe) in Christchurch

 

 A command economy (we reminded ourselves today) is a system where the government, rather than the free market, determines what goods should be produced, how much should be produced, and the price at which the goods are offered for sale. It also determines investments and incomes.

Investopedia says the command economy is a key feature of any communist society.

Is a part-command economy a key feature of a part-communist society, therefore?

Our thinking was prompted by yet another government decision to allocate resources or encourage the allocation of resources for a development which – so far as we can tell – would be supported by private-sector investors if it had any economic merit.

The latest example is the government approving a proposal to provide for the development and operation of commercial film and video production facilities in areas of Christchurch.

More correctly, Poto Williams, glorifying in the title “Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration” , said she has approved the proposal, which was prepared and submitted by Regenerate Christchurch. Continue reading “Lights, camera – action: govt sets the scene for a film industry to flourish (maybe) in Christchurch”

Oh, look – a trough for creative and cultural Kiwis (but ethnicity considerations might curb a rush of applications)

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One of the less challenging jobs for a Minister of the Crown is dipping into a trough within his ministerial gift and hoping for favourable headlines by dishing out grants.

Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford – who has fallen short of counting Kiwbuild and Auckland light rail among his political triumphs – proved to be a dab hand at distributing money from the Creative and Cultural Events Incubator trough at the weekend.

Four Māori and Pasifika events will receive up to $100,000 each in funding.

The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, had the similarly unchallenging task of announcing the inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week as part of the 2020 Pacific Language Weeks programme.

The government – or rather, taxpayers – will provide “resourcing support” to the Kiribati community in New Zealand to help them run their language week activities for the first time. Continue reading “Oh, look – a trough for creative and cultural Kiwis (but ethnicity considerations might curb a rush of applications)”

Farmers, foresters and fishing folk rejoice – the govt is fixing your wellbeing to a 10-year plan (and film-makers have not been forsaken)

Latest from the Beehive

The government’s economic engineers were hard at work yesterday.  One minister was set on establishing a base for film production in Christchurch while – much more critically for the wellbeing of the nation – a cluster of others led by the PM were unveiling their grand design for reshaping the primary sector.  If they get it wrong (and we should never be sure politicians will get this sort of thing right), our economy will be dealt a greater mischief than ever was done by a pandemic.

Environment Minister David Parker was busy in the planning business, too, announcing appointments to the newly established Freshwater Planning Process and the Expert Consenting Panels for fast-track consenting.

Wearning his Attorney-General hat he also announced a new Judge of the High Court.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, meanwhile, was announcing immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised.

This is being done by – Continue reading “Farmers, foresters and fishing folk rejoice – the govt is fixing your wellbeing to a 10-year plan (and film-makers have not been forsaken)”

It looks like a family-friendly policy but border curbs have been eased because favours for film folk set a double standard

Information on the Immigration Department website seems to spell out a rigid line on the opening of our borders, which would raises the risk of importing Covid-19.  It says:

The starting point for consideration is that the New Zealand border is closed for all but critical travel, and that protecting public health in New Zealand is paramount.

The critical word – of course – is “critical”.

This word is used also in advice on the Ministry of Health website:

Under Alert Level 1, people in New Zealand are able to travel and mix more freely, and any new COVID-19 cases would be able to spread more quickly.

It’s critical that we keep it out at the border, where there is the greatest risk of COVID-19 coming into the country.

People entering New Zealand must stay in managed isolation or quarantine for at least 14 days and test negative for COVID-19 before they can go into the community.

Some people may apply for an exemption from managed isolation in exceptional circumstances, or for a brief period of leave for compassionate reasons. Continue reading “It looks like a family-friendly policy but border curbs have been eased because favours for film folk set a double standard”

Salesa advises struggling companies to check out the govt help available – but maybe they should move into movie-making

Nelson MP Nick Smith raised good questions in Parliament the other day around the Government’s policy to refuse entry to vessels for engineering and maintenance work.

According to one businessman in Smith’s home patch, this is costing jobs and millions of dollars in work.

Customs Minister Jenny Salesa’s responses highlighted a double standard:  yes, many businesses are being hurt by the closed-border policy but the government has got to be tough to protect our health and wellbeing.

The trouble with this defence of the border policy is that we all know the government can be persuaded to make an exemption in the case of the film industry and workers coming here from Covid-plagued Trumpland. Continue reading “Salesa advises struggling companies to check out the govt help available – but maybe they should move into movie-making”

A French lesson: those film industry subsidies could become an instrument of gender-balancing policy

Announcing the Government’s backdown on capping film subsidies, Economic Development Minister David Parker said without the subsidies, the film industry wouldn’t exist.  

We suppose he meant it wouldn’t exist in New Zealand.

The subsidies are reckoned to result in  studios getting cash payments of up to 25% of their local spending on productions, amounting to $575 million since 2010.

The Government had considered cutting them after questions were raised about what taxpayers are getting for this money, according to Radio New Zealand.  But it was persuaded by officials and the film industry that the subsidies needed to stay. Continue reading “A French lesson: those film industry subsidies could become an instrument of gender-balancing policy”