Joyce 'vehemently' opposed to film industry subsidies

Steven Joyce has revealed if he had his way, the Kiwi film industry wouldn't get any Government subsidies at all.

But he understands it would be a death knell for the local industry if they stopped the flow of cash.

In his first Budget on Thursday, Mr Joyce allocated $304 million in screen industry production grants. About $222 million of that is to attract big international productions to New Zealand.

"Our screen industry has a reputation for being one of the best in the world and this grant helps the industry compete internationally for a wide range of projects which bring jobs and economic opportunities to New Zealand," Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said on Friday.

"Since 2014, the grant has supported around 50 international productions. The industry now employs 14,000 people working in over 24,700 jobs or contracts."

Speaking to The Nation on Saturday, Mr Joyce said he disagrees with the subsidies "quite vehemently", but said it's practical to end them.

"Unfortunately the way the world industry operates, if you don't provide that level of support then you won't have an industry," he told host Lisa Owen.

"New Zealand is a small player in the world. We have to make a judgement - do we want to have a film industry here, like the Hobbits, like the Avatar movies and so on? And does that give us benefits beyond the film industry?

"Quite obviously it does, because we've had a big increase in our tourism industry, and a lot of that has been because of the high profile some of those movie industries has given us.

"I'm not a big fan of it, no, but I do suck it up because it brings real benefits in other areas, like the tourism industry."

Mr Bridges said on Friday the couple of hundred million spent results in up to $3.3 billion in annual revenue.

"Eighteen percent of visitors say they chose to come here following the Hobbit trilogy."