Avatar delivers $307m to New Zealand economy

Monday, January 25, 2010

Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee says the filming of the Golden Globe Award winning movie Avatar in New Zealand delivered more than $307 million expenditure to the economy.

Avatar is on track to be the biggest grossing movie of all time, having overtaken "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and sold over US$1.6 billion worth of tickets at the box office.

"Attracting large budget film productions here offers wider benefits to the economy, including increased opportunities for New Zealanders as well as tourism benefits from having New Zealand locations shown to an international audience," he said. "Avatar has set a new standard for visual effects and this showcases our capability in what is a high value, high technology sector of our economy."

Mr Brownlee said this expenditure was made possible through the incentive of the Large Budget Screen Production Grant (LBSPG), which offers a 15 percent rebate on production expenditure over a certain value within New Zealand. Based on Avatar's qualifying production expenditure of $307m in New Zealand, it received a grant of around $45 million from the LBSPG.

Since the inception of the LBSPG in 2003, overseas movie and television productions have spent more than $1.42 billion in New Zealand, which has resulted in grant payments of $189.4 million.

Mr Brownlee says it is unlikely these productions would have decided to film in New Zealand if this grant had not been available as most locations offered an incentive to film in their territory or country.

"New Zealand's connection to the success of Avatar will continue to deliver huge benefits to the country and will help to attract more large budget productions here in the future."
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