Mayor Hails Triple Film Boost for Capital

16 December 2013

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said today that the announcement that three new Avatar films are to made in the Capital, boosted by increased Government incentives for filmmaking in New Zealand, is great news for Wellington.

The Mayor attended today’s announcement between the Government, Avatar director James Cameron and industry representatives that at least NZ$500 million will be spent on production in New Zealand, including most of the live action shooting and visual effects. It was reported at the announcement that work has already commenced with Weta.

The Government also announced it would raise the tax rebate from 15 percent to 20 percent, with an additional 5 percent available if certain conditions were met.

Thirdly, medium-sized New Zealand films ($15 million to $50 million budgets), which feature significant local content and creative control will qualify for more support.

The Mayor says the agreement provided certainty for the Capital’s film industry and had considerable flow-on effects for the wider sector.

"This is a very welcome early Christmas present for the creative communities in Wellington and across New Zealand," said Mayor Wade-Brown. "There’s the direct economic impact of at least a half billion dollars, and the wider effects are substantial.

"In particular, I’m delighted that the medium-range New Zealand films will qualify for more support. These films tell our story abroad, and define New Zealand as a good place to visit with great people to do business with. Pandora and Middle-earth values resonate in New Zealand, particularly the Capital.

"The first Avatar generated around $100 million directly for Wellington, and there’s the broader effect where Wellington’s innovative industries have benefitted from the location of so much expertise, talent and technology in the Capital.

"For example, Matakina’s 3D breast cancer detection imaging technology would not have been possible without development work at Weta Digital," she said.

Cr Jo Coughlan, chair of the Economic Growth and Arts committee said the news was great for Wellington’s economy.

"Today’s announcement shows real confidence in Wellington and the talent who call the Capital home," said Cr Coughlan.

"This is great news for jobs and will boost economic growth in the city. Wellington’s film industry generated $828 million in the year to April 2012, creating thousands of high-value jobs and attracting talent from all over the world to work and live here, and we want to see more of this in the Capital."