Government has now invited Equity to the Screen Sector Review meeting on Tuesday
The Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage has this afternoon extended an invitation to NZ Actors Equity to take part in the Screen Sector Review meeting in Wellington on Tuesday (see below). NZ Actors Equity welcomes the invitation and will attend this important meeting.
UNION CONCERNED ABOUT GOVERNMENT'S SCREEN SECTOR REVIEW MEETING TO BE HELD ON TUESDAY
NZ Actors Equity is concerned about the non-representative nature of the government screen sector review meeting being hosted by the ministries for Economic Development and Arts, Culture and Heritage in Wellington on Tuesday June 19, 2012.
The union's request to attend the meeting was rejected this week by a government representative. Actors' agents have also been excluded. Government has confirmed that there are no individual high-profile actors invited and as a result, actors will not be represented at this important meeting.
The meeting will discuss whether the large budget screen production grant, which provides a 15% rebate for large budget productions with qualifying New Zealand expenditure of at least $15 million – has achieved its stated aims of creating additional jobs and led to the transfer or creation of new skills and technology.
It will also discuss whether the Screen Production Incentive Fund, SPIF- which currently provides a 40% rebate for feature films with qualifying New Zealand expenditure of at least $4 million, and a 20% rebate for television productions and short form animation – has achieved its stated aims of increasing the production of medium and larger scale New Zealand cultural screen content and supporting the retention of New Zealand screen talent.
Government's failure to open up discussion on the screen sector review to all the groups who work in screen is of great concern, given the substantial amount of public money being provided through incentives.
Given the record numbers of New Zealand citizens moving to Australia for job opportunities, it is vital that majority organisations from the screen sector be allowed to provide feedback to government on the value of these large incentives in creating local employment.
Despite the fact that articles about the documents to be discussed have already appeared in the press this week, government initially said that these documents were so sensitive that participants would have to leave the information behind when they left Monday's meeting. While they have now agreed, after much pressure, to provide Equity with a copy of the documents to be discussed, they have insisted that the union not discuss the documents with our membership, which is against our democratic tradition.
Last year, government promised all the different organisations working in screen that if we participated in their evaluation of the screen sector, we would be consulted again this year. This has never happened.
Given the purpose of having an open discussion, Equity does not believe there is any need to limit participants. The stated desires of the MCH and MED is to provide their ministers with full and accurate information when they come to consider the report. This will not be possible without all stakeholders in the room.
Government has dictated that Equity should be represented at this meeting through a pan-industries forum which only meets once a quarter – Screen Industries New Zealand (SINZ).
Equity has informed government that this is not appropriate since SINZ members only have the knowledge and capacity to represent their own sectors, and a representative would not be able to debate with government in the meeting on behalf of a sector whose core issues they are not familiar with.