Prime Minister John Key says luring the television market to
New Zealand with subsidies is just as economically important
to the country as the movie industry.
He said big movies helped employment here, but because they
came about only sporadically, work on television series would
supply more constant opportunities for jobs.
Mr Key travelled to Los Angeles last week to woo the film and
television industry to New Zealand.
Actor Cliff Curtis and Weta head Sir Richard Taylor joined Mr
Key in meeting the heads of Fox, Disney, Warner Bros,
Universal, Sony and MGM studios at a dinner hosted by Avatar
director James Cameron and his associate John Landau.
The meal followed a day of meetings in Hollywood for Mr Key,
including a visit to the set of TV show Body of Proof, where
he was introduced to the cast, including former Desperate
Housewives star Dana Delany.
But despite Mr Key's assurances that the film and television
industry would bring higher employment opportunities to the
country, recent reports say Wellington's Weta workshop was
planning to bring 300 foreign workers here to work in post
Mr Key told Radio New Zealand today Warner Bros had estimated
about 3000 people were employed while movies were made here.
"I don't know how many of those are from overseas and how
many are local, but my guess is the majority would be local."
He said he told studio bosses New Zealand was a "great place"
to make movies and television shows, due to our expertise in
However, he acknowledged some had raised the question of
building more sound studios and film sets.
"It certainly helps in terms of their production. It hasn't
stopped them [movie makers] coming down here in the past.
That might be a private sector response. There are quite a
number of people looking at sound stages in New Zealand."
The timing of Mr Key's trip to the States had been criticised
due to the ongoing revelations around the New Zealand
investigation into internet mogul Kim Dotcom and his
multi-million dollar company Megaupload.
A bid by US authorities to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand
to face movie piracy and racketeering charges is currently
mired in legal wrangling compounded by a domestic spying
He said the chief executive of the Motion Picture Association
of America, Chris Dodd, had raised the Dotcom Megaupload
issue "in passing" during the dinner.
"I wouldn't say the conversation was very long about the
topic, simply noted the case was ongoing in New Zealand and
we left it there."
He said New Zealand was just "playing its part" in
cooperating with the extradition treaty it had with the
Mr Dodd did not raise any of the illegal search warrant
issues or the illegality of the GSCB's involvement in the
case, Mr Key said.
He said his trip to the States was worthwhile, and as Prime
Minister he had access to a number of people who were vital
in the industry.