Has the Screen Sector Strategy been completed?

  • The Screen Sector Strategy has been finalised and has now been delivered to government. On Monday August 24, the finished strategy document was delivered to the screen sector across New Zealand. It was released digitally and will be available to download from our website. It has the support of the sector’s nine professional guilds and other related organisations representing those who work in the sector. Pleasingly, it also has the support of wider sector-related organisations, such as funders and regional film offices.

Why have we developed a Screen Sector Strategy?

  • The Prime Minister on behalf of the Government called for the creation of a sector-led 10-year strategy for the New Zealand screen sector.
  • The strategy is the culmination of an extensive consultation process spanning more than 15 months, and a draft of the strategy – circulated earlier in April – attracted close to 300 submissions. 
  • The benefit of any long-term strategy – as so many other sectors have seen – is to set the broad vision, purpose, goals and outcomes and then a work plan (initiatives) to start achieving these.

What kind of document is the strategy?

  • This is a high-level strategy (framework). It is not a research report based on a survey or study, nor is it a detailed action plan. This is different to some past evaluations or assessments of the New Zealand screen sector.
  • It is intended to be a living framework – that will necessarily evolve. As stated at the front of the strategy, it is a living document. It can be updated and its scope and ambitions expanded as the sector matures and addresses the challenges, and opportunities, of Covid-19.  In that sense it is a starting point rather than the finishing line. 
  • It does not stop guilds, industry groups and those representing specific communities within the screen sector to advance their own plans and programmes. Ideally, this strategy will act as a framework that can guide and encourage that to happen.

 Who led and developed this strategy?

  • A facilitation group made up of a cross section of industry groups, screen businesses and individuals came together to engage with the whole industry and to guide the development of the strategy. 
  • This group was chaired by Linda Clark who was succeeded by Miriam Dean when Linda was appointed to the board of NZ On Air.
  • The government has been involved in, co-funded and supported the process from the outset, including through feedback and regular dialogue. People from a number of agencies and Ministries attended last year’s hui. The Ministries have been clear, however, as has the Prime Minister, that this be a sector-led strategy.

Who did you consult and what feedback did you have to create this strategy? 

  • The strategy document  follows extensive input and feedback provided during the sector consultation period in 2019, which involved a series of nation wide hui, workshops, and an invitation for written submissions. During the feedback period in April-May 2020, the Screen Sector Strategy Facilitation Group received 270 submissions and held numerous meetings and discussions with interested individuals and groups from across the sector. 


Given COVID-19, is the strategy still relevant?

  • Yes – and perhaps more so.   The sector is uniquely placed to help with the country’s recovery, given its contributions simultaneously to New Zealand’s economic, social and cultural wellbeing.
  • Through both the government-led public health response to the pandemic and the screen sector’s combined efforts, New Zealand’s screen sector has been among the first to resume production for local production, international production and new original intellectual property development which has been a huge boost. The screen sector is well-positioned, as a result, to contribute to New Zealand’s economic recovery and make an even greater contribution in the future.
  • This strategy is focused on the medium to long-term but the core principles align with the sector’s immediate needs and opportunities emerging from the COVID19 disruption.
  • The sector greatly appreciates the support from Government during this period of disruption caused by COVID19 including its responsiveness during lockdown and subsequently through the various screen and creative sector packages it has announced and the supportive role played by government ministries and funding agencies over the past five months.
  • The sector now has an opportunity to work together collaboratively with the Government and public sector agencies to move beyond countering the immediate effects of COVID-19. 

What impact has the latest community outbreak had on the current and future prospects of our screen sector?

  • As we saw in March, any closedown has a huge impact on the whole economy, not just the screen economy. 
  • Thanks to the collaborative effort across the screen sector and the great work of ScreenSafe, we are now prepared for the various levels so many productions, companies and contractors were able to move more quickly this time to adapt to the changing levels.


What are the main elements of the strategy?

  • The strategy’s strategic framework includes long-term (10 years) over-arching goals; and is supported by a shorter-term (three years) set of initiatives to set us on the path to fulfilling the 10-year vision.
  • Its goals are admirably ambitious but also entirely achievable
    • to create compelling content that resonates with audiences everywhere;
    • to increase the sector’s capacity and capability with well-paid jobs and successful businesses for New Zealanders;
    • to make a greater contribution to New Zealand’s economy, culture and international identity; and
    • to reflect New Zealand’s unique and diverse culture.
  • Many parts of this framework and plan were directly suggested by the sector. Other parts drew on best practice from other places (locally and internationally), appropriately adapted to suit the New Zealand context.
  • Each business and even sub-sectors within the screen sector will have their own specific strategies but it is important that the sector, as a whole, has one to achieve its wider collective objectives and longer-term opportunities.   

The strategy says the three year plan will be reviewed annually – by whom within the sector specifically? 

  • Each area of work has been allocated to different groups based on expertise and capability. 
  • However, the strategy did demonstrate the need for some form of pan sector representation and coordination, and that will be one of the focus areas for the industry to consider in the coming months and could then play a role in monitoring and reporting on progress.

It seems like the sector can’t agree on the structure of the pan-sector body – if so, how effective can that proposed pan-sector body be?

  • The screen sector signalled strongly during the feedback phase of the screen sector strategy process that it wants a pan sector body and strong representation for the sector. 
  • However, having tried various approaches in the past, there is a desire to ensure that whatever is developed is sustainable and enduring. 
  • As a result, the facilitation group has proposed further industry dialogue on finding the best structure to represent and advocate for us.


What happens now?

  • The sector now has an opportunity to work together collaboratively with the Government and public sector agencies to move beyond countering the immediate effects of COVID-19. 
  • There are plans to discuss the strategy at Big Screen Symposium.

Who is responsible for driving the strategy outcomes?

  • The sector as a whole is responsible. This will be shared across the sector initially with the possibility of a new pan sector organisation taking on some of the responsibility for monitoring and reporting on the strategy’s progress in the future.