You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘The Shannara Chronicles’ and More Take Advantage of New Zealand’s Tax Incentives

The big winners of a recent change to New Zealand production incentives will be local physical effects companies, as specialist props and models become qualifying spend for the first time.

“For international, the key change was dropping the PDV (post, digital and visual effects) threshold down to $500,000” from $1 million, says Catherine Bates, head of incentives at Film New Zealand. The Kiwis revamped the New Zealand Screen Production Grant — a 20% straight cash rebate — in April 2014, with a planned review to follow this year.

“For us, the incentive and the exchange rate — which improved since we began production — obviously made NZ very attractive,” says Al Gough, exec producer of MTV’s “The Shannara Chronicles.”

But a recent surge in the New Zealand dollar, which bounced back from a six-month low in August to rise nearly 6% in the past month, has made the incentive less attractive.

“For us, the incentive and the exchange rate obviously made NZ very attractive.”
Al Gough

Currency fluctuations are not the only cloud over the coin in recent years. Papers released to the Cabinet in 2013 suggested that Hollywood productions actually cost the country money.

That same year opposition parties tried to use Hollywood’s perceived sway over the John Key government for political gain. But Key was comfortably returned to power in 2014.

“Shannara’s” showrunners, Gough and Miles Millar, found compromise in an initial lack of flexibility over labor hours, a cultural difference where New Zealand has shorter working days than the U.S.

“We ended up adding a week to our schedule,” Miller says. “But that was the one drawback (to working in New Zealand). We got everything we needed.”

Bates also points to the 5% uplift. In addition to the 20% rebate, the extra coin from the uplift is for companies that are willing to go beyond just shooting in the country.

“The screen industry can have impacts in other areas, for example tourism, education and innovation,” Bates says.

More TV

  • Richard Parsons. Ricard Parsons attends the

    Richard Parsons Steps Down as CBS Chairman; Strauss Zelnick to Take Role

    The big winners of a recent change to New Zealand production incentives will be local physical effects companies, as specialist props and models become qualifying spend for the first time. “For international, the key change was dropping the PDV (post, digital and visual effects) threshold down to $500,000” from $1 million, says Catherine Bates, head […]

  • Former Lionsgate Exec Guy Avshalom's Blackbox

    Former Lionsgate Exec Guy Avshalom's Blackbox Developing Crime Skeins (EXCLUSIVE)

    The big winners of a recent change to New Zealand production incentives will be local physical effects companies, as specialist props and models become qualifying spend for the first time. “For international, the key change was dropping the PDV (post, digital and visual effects) threshold down to $500,000” from $1 million, says Catherine Bates, head […]

  • Actor Scott Wilson arrives at the

    Scott Wilson of 'The Walking Dead' Remembered at Memorial

    The big winners of a recent change to New Zealand production incentives will be local physical effects companies, as specialist props and models become qualifying spend for the first time. “For international, the key change was dropping the PDV (post, digital and visual effects) threshold down to $500,000” from $1 million, says Catherine Bates, head […]

  • 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' Stars on

    'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' Stars on the Netflix Show's Feminist Themes

    The big winners of a recent change to New Zealand production incentives will be local physical effects companies, as specialist props and models become qualifying spend for the first time. “For international, the key change was dropping the PDV (post, digital and visual effects) threshold down to $500,000” from $1 million, says Catherine Bates, head […]

  • Amazon Studios Head Jennifer Salke'Beautiful Boy'

    Amazon's Jennifer Salke Defends Broadcast, Touts Upcoming Projects

    The big winners of a recent change to New Zealand production incentives will be local physical effects companies, as specialist props and models become qualifying spend for the first time. “For international, the key change was dropping the PDV (post, digital and visual effects) threshold down to $500,000” from $1 million, says Catherine Bates, head […]

  • Max Mutchnick and David KohanGLSEN Respect

    'Will & Grace' Co-Creator Doesn't Want to See Tim Allen Get Political on 'Last Man Standing'

    The big winners of a recent change to New Zealand production incentives will be local physical effects companies, as specialist props and models become qualifying spend for the first time. “For international, the key change was dropping the PDV (post, digital and visual effects) threshold down to $500,000” from $1 million, says Catherine Bates, head […]

  • Ellie Kemper book my squirrel days

    Ellie Kemper’s Irreverent New Book Tracks Her Missteps and Misadventures in Hollywood

    The big winners of a recent change to New Zealand production incentives will be local physical effects companies, as specialist props and models become qualifying spend for the first time. “For international, the key change was dropping the PDV (post, digital and visual effects) threshold down to $500,000” from $1 million, says Catherine Bates, head […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content