Prime Minister John Key has to be prepared to cut deals with movie makers to entice them to come to the country, a Hollywood correspondent says.
The global competition to lure production is intense, Sam Rubin told Close Up tonight.
In his role as Tourism Minister, Key is in California pitching the country as a filming location and he has visited film studios and held meetings with industry executives.
Before his trip he said the Government was unlikely to offer further concessions to film studios beyond the 15% rebate for productions worth more than $15 million, but he would not rule it out.
"A lot of countries," says Rubin, "have film commissions whose only job is to essentially poach Hollywood productions, and it has been extraordinarily effective.
"People are cutting extraordinary deals," said Rubin. "Thirty, 45% tax kickbacks if you make your movie there."
To lure Hollywood to New Zealand, Key would have to offer more than just "incomparable" scenery, he added.
Rubin said the strong New Zealand dollar, which has doubled in value since The Lord of the Rings trilogy began to be shot here in the late 1990s, is a problem for the country's film industry.
He said Key must say to the studio heads: "Look, we in New Zealand want to deal. We have these incomparable natural surroundings and yes, there is a problem with our currency but we will make arrangements to get you to come make more movies here."
However New Zealand can't compete with China, which offers Hollywood executives access to its restricted market in return for using Chinese talent and locations in films.
Dotcom dogs Key
And despite saying he did not expect the Kim Dotcom spying saga to come up during his trip, Key said it was raised by former Senator Chris Dodd - now the head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
Dodd mentioned it "in passing" at a dinner hosted by Jon Landau, the business partner of Titanic director James Cameron, which was attended by a large group of studio executives.
The MPAA is the organisation that lobbies for the movie industry and Dotcom, wanted by the US government for copyright piracy, has accused Dodd of pushing the White House to close down his website, Megaupload.
Last week, Key apologised to Dotcom after it was revealed that the police arrest warrants and spying by the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB) on the internet tycoon before the January raid on his mansion were unlawful.