The New Zealand Screen Production Rebate, originally named the New Zealand Screen Production Grant, is a Government-backed screen incentives scheme, first introduced on 1 April 2014. Eligible productions can access a 40% cash rebate on Qualifying New Zealand Production Expenditure.
Recently announced changes are effective from 31 August 2023:
All domestic productions are able to access the NZSPR as well as production funding from the New Zealand Film Commission, New Zealand On Air and Te Māngai Pāho.
Additional technical changes:
- Productions starting Principal Photography on or after 31 August 2023 may be eligible to submit an application for an Interim Rebate. This recognises the benefits of allowing production loans to be repaid earlier.
- Introduction of a cap on Above The Line Costs that can be claimed as QNZPE, at 25% of the Production Budget, to provide a clear and consistent way to assess claimed costs.
- Update to the "market attachment" requirement - which ensures government support goes to productions that will reach audiences - to recognise sales, distribution and licence fees from related entities – provided they are operating independently. (Applies to non-feature films only.)
The purpose of the New Zealand Rebate is twofold:
- To build the sustainability, scale and critical mass of the domestic film industry and support the development of New Zealand creatives.
- To provide cultural benefits to New Zealand by supporting the creation of New Zealand content and stories.
The New Zealand Film Commission administers the NZSPR for New Zealand Productions on behalf of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
An NZSPR for International Productions is also available and includes a Post, Digital and Visual Effects Rebate. Click here for more information.
Effective Date & Transitional Provisions
New Zealand Productions that start Principal Photography on or after 31 August 2023 will be assessed under the NZSPR Criteria for New Zealand Productions dated 31 August 2023.
New Zealand Productions that started Principal Photography before 31 August 2023 will be assessed under the NZSPG Criteria for New Zealand Productions dated 1 July 2017.
Principal Photography is defined in Appendix 1 of the Criteria.
The cap on Above The Line Costs will apply to productions that start Principal Photography on or after 31 August 2023, unless:
- the NZFC has provided an acknowledgement letter confirming that an application for a Provisional Certificate is complete on or before 30 August 2023; and
- that application for a Provisional Certificate is subsequently approved; and
- Principal Photography begins before that Provisional Certificate expires.
There will be no extensions to a Provisional Certificate under this transitional provision.
See clause 6 of the Criteria for full details on transitional provisions. If you are unsure which Criteria applies to your production, please contact email@example.com.
Eligible formats include feature film, television and other non-feature film formats (single-episode, including telefeatures, series or season of a series) and short-form animation.
See clauses 8 and 9 of the Criteria for full details on formats, including ineligible formats.
|Format||Minimum QNZPE (NZ$)|
|Feature Film (theatrical release)||$2.5 million total|
|Single episode - scripted||$1 million total & no less than $800,000 per hour|
|Single episode - unscripted||$250,000 total|
|Series - scripted||$1 million total & no less than $500,000 per hour|
|Series - unscripted||No less than $250,000 per hour|
|Short-form animation (single or series)||$250,000 total & no less than $400,000 per hour|
General Eligibility Requirements
Special Purpose Vehicle
Applicants must be a special purpose vehicle set up solely to make the production, unless one of the exceptions in clause 10.2 of the Criteria applies.
Applicants must be a New Zealand resident company or a New Zealand resident partnership. Where an applicant is majority owned by another company, the majority owner must also be a New Zealand resident company. See clause 11 of the Criteria for more details.
The applicant, or the applicant’s parent company, must have been significantly and actively engaged in the business of film or television production in New Zealand for at least 18 months prior to the scheduled start of Principal Photography.
The applicant must be the entity responsible for all activities in making the production in New Zealand.
A production cannot receive a New Zealand Rebate (including the Additional Rebate) and an International Rebate (including the PDV Rebate).
Income earned by producers from successful productions helps create sustainable New Zealand screen production businesses. All New Zealand Rebate applicants must have an equity share in the production, for both recoupment and net profit, that is commensurate with the expected value of the NZSPR. The equity position of the applicant must be similar to that of other equity investors in the production.
New Zealand Distribution
Feature films must have a binding agreement for theatrical distribution in New Zealand and demonstrate audience reach commensurate with the value of the NZSPR.
Other formats must have a similar distribution agreement on an appropriate and accessible platform.
Significant New Zealand Content
Productions must have significant New Zealand content as determined by a points test - guidelines are detailed in Appendix 3 of the Criteria. Productions certified as Official Co-productions are deemed to have significant New Zealand content for the purposes of the NZSPR (except those applying for the Additional Rebate) and do not need to meet this points test. More information on Co-productions can be found here.
Non-New Zealand Government Funding Threshold and Market Attachments
Feature films must have at least 10% of their budget funded by non-New Zealand government sources. For television or other non-feature film productions, this threshold is 25% of the production budget or higher. Television or other non-feature films must also have market attachments that comprise 10% or more of the production budget. See clause 9.6 of the Criteria for details on funding that qualifies as a market attachment.
Other New Zealand Government Funding
Productions may receive production funding from other New Zealand government agencies plus a New Zealand Rebate.
The New Zealand Rebate is capped at NZ$6 million per production unless the production qualifies for an Additional Rebate. Productions that can meet additional criteria and have QNZPE from NZ$15 million to NZ$50 million, can access the Additional Rebate, provided that:
- the applicant is eligible for a New Zealand Rebate (up to NZ$6 million) in respect of the production; and
- the applicant meets the additional eligibility requirements detailed in Appendix 4 of the Criteria, including the requirement that the production demonstrates significant cultural benefits to New Zealand and meeting the requirements of the Significant Cultural Benefits Test. (NB - Official Co-productions applying for the Additional Rebate must also meet this points test).
Qualifying New Zealand Production Expenditure (QNZPE)
QNZPE is eligible spend incurred by the applicant on the production in New Zealand. In general, this means:
- services provided in New Zealand
- the use of land located in New Zealand
- goods purchased, hired or leased in New Zealand, provided they are sourced from within New Zealand
- goods sourced from overseas, provided those goods are not otherwise available in New Zealand, are located in New Zealand during the making of the production and are purchased, hired or leased from a New Zealand Resident who typically supplies that type of good.
QNZPE also includes the fees and expenses of non-New Zealand residents who work on the production in New Zealand, provided (in the case of non-cast members) they work on the production for at least 14 days in total.
Further details, including exclusions to QNZPE, are set out in section 3 of the Criteria.
Registration or Application for Provisional Certification
To be eligible for the Rebate, all applicants must either register with the New Zealand Film Commission, or apply for a Provisional Certificate, prior to commencing Principal Photography in New Zealand.
- if you choose not to apply for a Provisional Certificate, you must register the production before starting Prinicpal Photography.
- if you have not registered the production before starting Principal Photography, you will need to apply for a Provisional Certificate before Completion of the production.
if you are applying for the Additional Rebate, you must apply for a Provisional Certificate.
Registration forms are available here. A production will only be considered registered once the NZFC has issued a dated acknowledgement letter.
Once the application is accepted, the NZFC will issue a dated acknowledgement letter and the assessment process takes 6-8 weeks. A Provisional Certificate is not a guarantee that the production will receive Final certification, but it does indicate whether the production is likely to meet the eligibility criteria. Provisional Certificates are approved by the Rebate Panel and will lapse after six months unless the production commences Principal Photography within that time.
Productions that do not register or apply for a Provisional Certificate will not be eligible for the NZSPR.
If you are applying for a Final application under the 1 July 2017 Criteria, you can download this form here.
All Final applications must be made within six months from Completion of the production. Late Final applications may not be accepted.
Final applications must include an independent auditor’s report from one of the following approved auditors:
- Ernst & Young
- Grant Thornton
If you wish to use a different auditor, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for approval.
Final applications are sent to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) for review against the applicant’s tax records, and to an Independent Consultant for assessment of QNZPE. The application is then presented to the Rebate Panel for approval.
The Final application process takes up to three months. Once approved, payment is generally made within 10 business days once an invoice is submitted to the New Zealand Film Commission.
An application fee may be payable for making an application for the NZSPR.
All applications should be submitted to email@example.com.
A production may eligible to apply for an Interim Rebate - refer to clause 29 of the Criteria for full details on the requirements. Interim applciations should be made on the current Final application form.
On-screen Credit, Logo and Promotional Materials
The completed production must include an on-screen end credit and New Zealand Film Commission logo. Unless otherwise agreed with the NZFC, the required credit text is:
The filmmakers acknowledge the assistance of the New Zealand Government’s Screen Production Rebate.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain the current NZFC logo. Please note, unless otherwise agreed with the NZFC, the logo should only be used in conjunction with the end credit text.
Please see the Promotional Materials Schedule for information on required deliverables to be provided with your Final application. Promotional materials are not required for Interim applications.
If you have any further queries, please contact email@example.com or call the Incentives Team on 0800 659 754 (or +64 4 382 7680).
Images: Red, White & Brass (2023); Birds Eye View (2022).