March 23, 2020

NZ Screen Industry Announces COVID-19 Pan-Sector Response


In response to the immediate impact of COVID-19 on the New Zealand screen industry, the sector has today announced the formation of the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group and a screen-specific online information hub.

While the indeterminate hiatus of a number of large international line productions has already resulted in job losses, many essential New Zealand productions continue to strive to keep cast and crew safe at work, whilst ensuring their productions remain operational.

Now, more than ever, the screen industry needs to work cohesively for the benefit of the sector at large. While progress continues on theScreen Sector Strategy 2030, the Strategy Facilitation Group has acted quickly to establish the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group to address the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry. This pan-sector team comprises many key screen industry guilds and organisations, as well as major stakeholders.  

The website will act as a one-stop hub to assist screen producers and industry workers find screen-specific health and safety resources, wage and earning subsidy assistance and information, key updates on COVID-19 as well as relevant news and updates from screen guilds and industry organisations. 

Currently, the key focus for the wider industry is the health and safety of those working on domestic productions and it is vital that all productions in New Zealand adhere to Government advisories and safety measures. Currently, the key focus for the wider industry is the health and safety of those working on domestic productions and it is vital that all productions in New Zealand adhere to Government advisories and safety measures. ScreenSafe, the industry’s health and safety advocacy group, has added two documents on the website, Covid-19 Health & Safety Policy and Covid-19 Contact Declaration Form*.  These documents are intended to give production companies and heads of departments guidance and forms to manage COVID-19 on a working production.

The local screen industry eco-system right now is very fragile, and the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group recognises the importance of keeping domestic productions operational where possible, or ready to gear back up as quickly as possible should an increase in New Zealand’s COVID-19 Alert level necessitate work stoppages.

The other key priority for the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group during this initial phase of the COVID-19 crisis is working closely with key stakeholders, including funding bodies and financiers, to explore the various ways in which the domestic screen production industry can be supported in order to continue working safely during these uncertain times.

Beyond this acute response, the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group will also be looking at funding mechanisms and networks to facilitate training and development opportunities for affected businesses as well as individual crew members, performers, writers and directors.  

These unprecedented times call for calm and proactive decision-making in order to protect the local screen sector and to ensure that when recovery happens – and it will – the industry is ready to operate at maximum capacity again for our domestic productions and so that international line productions can return as soon as it is viable.

About the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group

Established in mid-March 2020 by the Screen Sector Strategy 2030 Facilitation Group, the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group is a pan-sector team, made up of representatives from many key industry guilds and organisations, as well as major stakeholders.

While the work of finalising the Screen Sector Strategy 2030 continues, the Screen Sector Facilitation Group felt it was essential to urgently establish a working group to address the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Screen Sector and to ensure that when recovery happens – and it will – we are all ready to gear back up and get the screen industry in Aotearoa humming again. 

A key finding of the Screen Sector Strategy 2030 is the desire for a pan-sector unified voice and while that pan sector body is some time away still, it is evident that now, more than ever, our industry needs to work cohesively and it is with that in mind that this working group has been formed.

The group’s members and stakeholders are as follows:


Alice Shearman             New Zealand Writers Guild

Brian Finn                     Weta Group

Felicity Letcher              Main Reactor

Grant Baker                  Auckland Screen Alliance / Film Auckland / Images & Sound

Hineani Melbourne        Ngā Aho Whakaari

Kelly Lucas                   Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand

Matthew Metcalfe          General Film Corporation

Patricia Watson              WIFT NZ (Women in Film and Television)

Peter Clews                  NZ Advertising Producers Group

Richard Fletcher            SPADA / Libertine Pictures

Sally Campbell             South Pacific Pictures

Sandy Gildea                SPADA (Screen Production & Development Association)

Sioux Macdonald           Screen Industry Guild of NZ / Filmcrews

Tui Ruwhiu                    Directors & Editors Guild of NZ


Domestic and international screen producers & productions

Government ministries: 

Screen funding bodies: 

Regional economic development agencies: 

Regional Film Offices of New Zealand

March 19, 2020

Screen Safe COVID-19 Coronavirus

ScreenSafe – COVID-19 UPDATE


The impact of Covid-19 has radically changed the New Zealand Screen Industry and the ability for us to work. Health and Safety is now PARAMOUNT. If you have returned from overseas in the last 14 days, if you have been in contact with someone who has returned in the last 14 days, including having those people self-isolating in your house, you need to self-isolate as well. You should NOT go to work or onto set. The eco-system is VERY fragile. We need to keep all the domestic productions that are still in production working and as safe as possible. This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.

As the situation changes daily ScreenSafe has created a page here with a list of links to websites that provide up to date information and advisory notices on the disease. Use them to keep yourself up to date with the current situation so you can make informed choices about how you keep yourself safe and healthy.

ScreenSafe has added two documents on the website, Covid-19 H&S Policy and Covid-19 Contact Declaration Form created with thanks by Health & Safety Officer Robert ‘Gibbo’ Gibson and Producer Rebekah ‘Bex’ Kelly. These documents are intended to give Production Companies and HOD guidance and forms to manage Covid-19 on a working production.

Links here:
- Covid-19 H&S Policy
- Covid-19 Contact Declaration Form

The New Zealand Film Commission encourages you to share any feedback, questions or suggestions regarding support for the screen sector at this time. Please email here 

Kind Regards

March 19, 2020

Can I make a COVID-19 wage subsidy claim?

The good news is that the rescue package announced by the Government does cover self-employed and contractors which will provide relief for the screen sector in the short term.

Included in the package is $8.7bn for business and jobs; and $5.1bn in wage subsidies. This is available for up to 3 months and will be re-assessed after that period.

To see if you are eligible, do you fall into one of the following three categories:

1. My business has been impacted by COVID-19 and I am/or about to experience at least a 30% decline of actual revenue

2. My staff are self-isolating due to COVID-19 or caring for a dependent who is self-isolating due to COVID-19 and cannot work from home

3. My staff are sick with COVID-19 or caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19 or caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19 and can't work from home

If the answer is yes, you will then also need to meet the eligibility for subsidy criteria below:

  • your business is registered and operating in New Zealand; and
  • the employees named in your application are legally employed in New Zealand; and
  • your business has experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue: 
    • over the period of any month from January 2020 through to the end of this scheme when compared to the same month last year, or a reasonably equivalent month for any business operating less than a year; and
    • that loss is attributable to the COVID-19 outbreak; and
  • your business has taken active steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on their business activities (such as engaged with your bank, Chamber of Commerce, industry association or the Regional Business Partner programme); and
  • you agree you will, using best endeavours, retain the employees named in your application in employment on at least 80 percent of their regular income for the period of the subsidy

You can read through the full declaration here

You can make a claim here

If you have any questions, are feeling overwhelmed or just want to reach out to us for some support, please email us here

March 18, 2020

COVID-19: Information for businesses

The Government has released an economic response package to help cushion the impact of COVID-19 and support the economy during the COVID-19 crisis.

The package includes:

  • wage subsidy scheme
  • leave and self-isolation support
  • business cash flow and tax measures
  • wider $12.1 billion package.

The good news is that the package does cover self-employed and contractors which will provide some relief for the screen sector in the short term.

For full details, click here

March 09, 2020

New Chief Executive appointed to NZ On Air

NZ On Air has appointed Cameron Harland to lead the public media agency. He will take up the Chief Executive reins from Tuesday 17 March.

Mr Harland is an experienced leader in the screen, sports and marketing sectors.  He comes to NZ On Air from a role as CEO of CriqHQ a global fan engagement platform for cricket, and was previously Chief Executive of Park Road Post Production. 

He is a Director of Weta Workshop and Te Papa and has served on both the NZ Film Commission and TVNZ boards. He has stepped down from the TVNZ board in order to take up the NZ On Air role. 

NZ On Air Chair Dr Ruth Harley says the agency is thrilled to be welcoming Mr Harland to the NZ On Air whānau. 

“We were blessed with an exceptional range of candidates to choose from, but Cameron stood out as an experienced Chief Executive who has established positive relationships with many of our key stakeholders. Cameron is equally at home with commercial and public sector entities and he brings strong cultural perspectives combined with sharp audience focus.”

Mr Harland says he is honoured and excited to be joining NZ On Air. “I want to acknowledge my predecessor Jane Wrightson as well as the Board and staff for the wonderful work of the organisation and the fundamental role it plays in reflecting and developing New Zealand identity and culture,” said Mr Harland.  

He continued, “It is an extremely exciting and challenging time to be joining the agency. With a renewed focus on public media and the challenges faced by our local platforms, production and music sectors, we have an opportunity to collaborate on long term positive impacts for New Zealand audiences.”  

Previous Chief Executive Jane Wrightson left NZ on Air at the end of January after 12 years, to become the new Retirement Commissioner.

February 12, 2020

Jacinda Ardern questioned about filming subsidies

An article by Matt Nipple published in the Herald has once again sparked discussion regarding whether the film industry incentives are justifiable compared to other New Zealand industries. 

Hayley Holt interviews Jacinda Ardern on the Breakfast show. Most of the show is about Waitangi Day, but around 7:43 am (at 1:16:00), they talk about Jacinda's position on the topic. 

Jacinda explains, "Treasury do not like incentive regimes. Fullstop. And as I've said, this is ultimately just an industry where if you don't have them, you don't exist."

She continues in support of our film industry by clarifying, "I should just acknowledge the way our incentive regime works; is you get a rebate on what you spend in NZ. So it's all based on if you spend a certain amount, you get a rebate on that, so it requires investment in NZ in order to qualify for that rebate scheme".

You can watch the full interview here