Monday, December 07, 2020

Film subsidies are not worthwhile

Stuff has a piece on the spiralling cost of film subsidies, which have grown to more than 5% of the government's new operating allowance. And the opportunity costs of that are significant:

But by 2019, the scheme already required topping up. An extra $155m was approved for the rest of that year. This year, the Government approved a further $206m.

To put that in perspective, the money paid out to a handful of Hollywood films this year is only marginally more expensive than increasing benefits.

Upping benefits by $25 a week for people on jobseeker and emergency benefits is estimated to cost $283.6m this year. Upping benefits for sole parent support cost just $104m this year – half the amount set aside for film grants.

Or, to put it another way: we could have increased benefits by another $15 a week. Instead, the government chose to shovel money at the world's third richest man, Jeff Bezos, for his Lord of the Rings TV show, to help him make even more money. Which seems to be a pretty weird set of priorities for a "Labour" government, or a New Zealand one.