How Government could subsidise world's richest man with Lord of the Rings grant

Middle Earth is set to return to New Zealand's shores - but this time as a television series.

Internet giant Amazon is expected to announce its $1.5b Lord of the Rings television series will be filmed in New Zealand.

And it could mean the world's richest man, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, gets a fat subsidy from the Government.

If Amazon applies for a screen production grant, it could get 20 percent to 25 percent of its New Zealand spending back. That could be a subsidy of between $300m and $375m for Bezos.

Trade Minister David Parker admits it's an uncomfortable thought.

"I think all of us at some level begrudge the subsidies the film industry has around the world," he says.

There is no cap on how much film productions can claim in grants.

"We considered that and rejected the idea of a cap because it creates uncertainty in work flows," Parker told Newshub.

An MBIE-commissioned report last year found the economic benefits of the grant "significantly outweigh the costs".

It's also been reported that Amazon sought assurances from the Government that New Zealand is safe after the Christchurch attacks.

Both Parker and MBIE said they have no knowledge of any request for reassurance.