Minister’s blunder costs New Zealand $4.5 billion

Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash has fumbled negotiations with Amazon and now the billions of dollars that would’ve been spent in New Zealand will now go to the UK economy, National’s Economic Development spokesperson Todd McClay says.

The extra 5 per cent rebate paid to production companies is only used in exceptional circumstances to entice a company to New Zealand. Stuart Nash agreed to the 5 per cent rebate for Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series after production in New Zealand was well underway and with no commitment for any further season to be filmed in New Zealand.

“This is a huge missed opportunity for New Zealand,” Mr McClay says.

“Stuart Nash didn’t even bother to ask the company to commit to filming a second season, if there was to be one, in New Zealand.

“Mr Nash’s excuse is that he would ‘never get a commitment from a studio to film season two’. This is a departure from past screen production negotiations, James Cameron’s team committed to filming three Avatar sequels in New Zealand when receiving their 5 per cent rebate increase.

“Stuart Nash has shown a lack of interest in negotiating with Amazon, despite the huge impact the production could have on our economy.

“When questioned at Select Committee, Mr Nash tried to shift the blame onto his predecessor Phil Twyford, falsely claiming the memorandum of understanding was signed in April 2020 before he became the Minister. But it was actually signed on 23 December 2020, after Mr Nash was appointed Minister.

“Mr Nash said himself that Amazon could film up to seven more seasons here in New Zealand. Losing out on this means New Zealand misses out on more than $4.5 billion worth of spending and 2000 jobs have been put at risk.

“The film scheme set up by the previous National Government has worked well over the years.

“Stuart Nash needs to be transparent with Kiwis about why he didn’t even ask for future seasons of the show to be filmed in New Zealand.

“The New Zealand economy has lost out because Stuart Nash was asleep at the wheel.”