John Key returned yesterday from a quick trip to Hollywood. The purpose of his visit was to remind Hollywood movie companies that New Zealand is a good place for making movies. In return for making a movie which cost $15m or more, New Zealand would give back 15% to the movie studio. This is called a subsidy. The movie studios would like a bigger subsidy and some countries are offering more.
The Kiwi dollar is high at the moment – it buys around US83c – whereas when the first Lord of the Rings movie was made 11 years ago, the Kiwi dollar was worth only US40c. The high Kiwi dollar means it is expensive for foreign film studios to make films in this country.
John Key thinks it might be a good idea to also offer a subsidy for a television series made in New Zealand, even if it costs less than $15m. He said that when a TV series is successful, the company making the programmes would want to make another series in the same country.
The idea of giving subsidies is not popular. We don’t subsidise other industries. However, John Key said it was important for jobs in the movie industry in New Zealand. Also if a movie like ‘The Hobbit’, is popular, that can bring tourists to New Zealand. That is what happened with ‘The Lord of the Rings’
Listen to October 27th 2010 to hear about jobs in the NZ movie industry.
A subsidy (n) – money given by the government to a group to support that group’s industry; subsidise / subsidize (v) – some countries subsidise the dairy industry
1. New Zealand used to subsidise the dairy farming industry. Milk was very cheap because the government gave some money to farmers to help them produce milk. Does your country subsidise farmers?
2. Most public transport in New Zealand is subsidised. Does this happen in your country?
3. Sometimes subsidies are tax rebates. The government gives you a tax refund for things like child care costs. Do you think this is fair?