Kiwis mull tax break for ‘Lion’

Helmer looking for most 'bang for my buck'

AUCKLAND — The government is mulling a one-off tax break for a production of children’s classic “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

Oscar-winning expat Kiwi helmer Andrew Adamson (“Shrek”) has eyed locations in the South Island region of Canterbury and wants to use his homeland to shoot at least part of the Walden Media production, based on the first of the Narnia chronicles by Brit writer C.S. Lewis.

But he said tax incentives — axed in New Zealand after “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy wrapped — may lure the production to wherever he can get the most “bang for my buck.”

“The fact that tax incentives have gone away and at the same time the New Zealand dollar has been rising rapidly means filming may not be easy to justify financially,” Adamson said.

Finance Minister Michael Cullen confirmed Tuesday that the government was looking at a range of options for the wider film industry but he was lukewarm on tax breaks.

Industryites, including “Lord” helmer Peter Jackson, are urging him to bring back tax breaks to lure lucrative runaway production to the territory.

A decision on the Narnia project is expected in 10 days.

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