Tag Archive for: screen industry workers bill

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The Governor General recently gave the Royal Assent to the Screen Industry Workers Bill, making it an Act that will come into force on 30 December 2022.

I know I’ve said it before, but I am going to say it again:

“This is the single biggest thing to happen to the New Zealand screen industry.”

It will affect a large part of professional screen production from marketing content, commercials, web series and short films to television and film production.

Every new contract presented to screen workers by producers/production companies from 30 December 2022 on must have the mandatory requirements of the Act. You can learn what they are in the blog I wrote here. For a simple 101 explainer on the Screen Industry Workers Bill, click here.

The Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA) is doing its best to educate producers before the Act comes into force—they will be required by the Act to conform.

For you as a screen production worker likely to be engaged by a producer/production company, here is what you should expect.

  • To receive a written contract with sufficient time before the contract starts for you to consider, take advice on and negotiate the terms and conditions presented to you.

In other words, no more getting contracts the day before you start, the day you start, after you start, or not at all.

This includes on low-budget short films, low-budget web series or other qualifying low-budget screen productions.

Any new contract from 30 December 2022 on will need to include:

  • A term saying parties will comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act, and Human Rights Act
  • Bullying, discrimination, and harassment processes
  • Dispute resolution processes
  • Termination notice periods and payments

We will issue a notice about the mandatory clauses that you can expect to see in your contract—all the guilds DEGANZ (directors, editors, assistant editors), NZWG (writers), Equity NZ (actors), SMSG (Screen Music and Sound), SIGANZ (Techos), VEPGNZ (Visual Effects) and MDGA (Motion Designers and Animators) are working with  SPADA (producers/production companies) to agree on these mandatory clauses.

One of the key rules for all parties (the contractor [worker] and the contracting entity [Engager]) with the new Act is:

  • Duty of Good Faith

This sounds like a benign term but it has an important meaning that everyone will need to understand and apply, on both sides (worker and engager):

Duties of good faith for parties in workplace relationship

(1)  Parties in a workplace relationship must not, whether directly or indirectly, do anything—

(a)  to mislead or deceive each other; or

(b)  that is likely to mislead or deceive each other.

The idea that you had to get the express permission of the producer or production company before you showed your contract to an advisor (guild, lawyer, professional advisor) has always been an unacceptable clause put forward under the guise of confidentiality.

If you are a Full member of DEGANZ, you will be able to come to the Guild to have your new contracts checked to ensure that they conform.

For those with existing contracts under which they are working, the producer/production company has 12 months from 30 December 2022 before they will be required to incorporate the mandatory terms of the Act.

DEGANZ collective bargaining will take some time to start and conclude. We expect to enter bargaining around the middle of next year.

It’s vitally important that we start preparing for this now, so that when we move to collective bargaining we are truly representative of all directors, editors and assistant editors. Everyone should have an opportunity to participate in the democratic process required for collective bargaining over the minimum payments, and terms and conditions of their work.

To this end we want all directors, editors and assistant editors to be covered by the Act as a Full member of DEGANZ.

For those of you reading this, please actively encourage everyone you know who is not a member of a guild to become a Full member.

The power of numbers will be very important as we all move forward from here. And it’s our Full members that DEGANZ will represent in any discussions with engagers over contracts, once collective agreements are in place.

A note here: Ngā Aho Whakaari (NAW), Pacific Island Screen Artists (PISA), Pan-Asian Screen Collective (PASC)  and Women In Film and Television NZ (WIFT) are not guilds representing workers under the recognised occupational groups of the Act. Members of these associations should also join the guild that best represents their occupation as a worker.


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

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Select committee oral submissions are underway on the Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media Bill, which will ultimately become the act for the new entity ANZPM, combining TVNZ and RNZ.

There were 892 written submissions on the Bill. It was introduced to the House on the 23rd of June this year. With the new entity ANZPM intended to be up and running on 1 March 2023, this effectively means that the Third Reading of the Bill needs to be done before the end of the year. Six months in total in the House. Hare speed for such a complex and crucial piece of legislation.

Tortoise speed defines the passage of the Screen Industry Workers Bill in comparison. It was introduced into the house on the 18th of February 2020. It had its Third Reading on the 27th of September this year. Which means it’s a done deal. Yay!

Granted, COVID sat within the two and a half year passage of the SIWB. But what it gave us was two years of Film Industry Working Group effort to work through the many issues of moving thoughts, ideas and good intentions onto paper, and then into a two and a half-year government process to become legislation.

From watching a number of the oral submissions for the ANZPM Bill, it’s pretty clear that while most support it, very few think a good job has been done in coming up with the current proposed legislation under consideration. There’s so much wrong with what’s been put up—or more pertinently what’s lacking/missing from what’s been proposed—that it’s clear that a lot more time and careful thought is required to get it right.

Problem is, the Government is on a seeming agenda to get it through in case they lose the election, hence the 1 March 2023 start date for the new entity. So much money, time and effort will have been spent getting it done that it won’t make sense for the Opposition to reverse it if they come into Government late 2023.

This approach doesn’t serve the wider New Zealand media industry, including us in the screen sector, all of whom are nervous or quaking at the thought of ANZPM as the behemoth it will become.

The attitude from Government seems to be: trust us and trust the new media entity. All will be okay. And TVNZ smiles and says it promises to play nicely and look after us all as it licks its chops at the thought of being able to go its merry commercial way as a bigger, richer beast.

The hare is definitely getting across the line first in this particular race. The tortoise… here’s hoping it doesn’t end up in the summer sun, wondering how it’s going to right itself while being picked over by vultures.

The only thing we can pray for now is that in the remaining months a significant effort goes into rewriting the current draft into something that’s going to work for public media service and the sustainability of the independent media sector.

A big ask.


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

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There has been a flurry of activity around the Screen Industry Workers Bill in the last month.

On the 23rd of August the Bill had its second reading in the House.

Then it went to the Committee of the Whole House on the 31st of August.

We expect that the Bill will have its third and final reading in the house next week. We hope. It’s No. 5 on the Order Paper, so it may not be gotten to on the day if things drag out.

But if it doesn’t, what happens from there?

If the Bill gets its third reading, it is then destined to become law but not until it receives Royal Assent from the King’s (?!) representative, the Governor General. The Bill will come into force three months after it’s signed by the Governor General.

While we all prepare for collective bargaining, which the Act will allow for contractors in the screen industry, six new rules will come into effect immediately when the Bill comes into force:

  1. Duty of good faith applies between workers and their engagers
  2. Individual contracts must be in writing
  3. Engagers must follow process rules for making and varying individual contracts
  4. Individual contracts must contain mandatory terms. Existing contracts will have extra time – 12 months – to comply with this
  5. Terms must not be worse than any applicable collective contract (once it has been negotiated)
  6. Engagers can’t cancel contracts in retaliation for workers exercising their rights

If you are working as a contractor in the screen industry and are covered by the Bill, four of the above six rules will apply straight away, being 1., 2., 3., & 6.

Rule 4. will also apply if you enter into a new contract.

Rule 5. will apply when a collective agreement is negotiated.

These six rules change the dynamic of the relationship between you as the contractor and the person or company contracting you. They will be law. They must be abided by. And they are enforceable.

In other words, you will have protection as a contractor in your working relationship with the entity contracting you that you didn’t have previously.

This change in dynamic is going to take some time for everyone to get used to. It’s important however that everyone understands what it all means and how it will affect them.

We have published a simplified guide to what the Screen Industry Workers Bill means, with links to additional information.

Please take the time to read and learn about the Screen Industry Workers Bill because it’s going to become an important part of your working life.


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director





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As if we didn’t have enough on our plate with the Screen Industry Workers Bill, the Reform of Vocational Education, The Screen Sector Investment Review, and an NZFC still in managerial stagnancy sans a permanent CEO (David Strong has resigned but there’s now a need to find a replacement), we now have the combining of TVNZ and RNZ under the new entity Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media (ANZPM) to contend with.

Following a decision by Government to move ahead with this new approach to public media, a Governance Group was established. The Group has been busy, and has published a couple of important documents.

The first and easiest to read is the Business Case Governance Group Report. This report takes an overview of the need for a restructuring of public media in New Zealand, including thoughts outside the formal review they were asked to deliver by the then Minister of Public Broadcasting and Media, Kris Faafoi.

The second document is the Business Case they were required to construct—a long document laid out in the format required by Treasury. Often repetitive in nature, it is still worth a read for the truly interested.

And for those into literary self-flagellation, you can review the draft legislation here.

Faafoi then appointed an ANZPM Establishment Board whose responsibility it is to oversee the detailed design of the new entity and the change required to create it. The new entity will come into full operation by July 2023.

With the resignation of Faafoi, the portfolio has moved to Willie Jackson, who has been quick to express his views on ANZPM and other media matters in an interview with Duncan Grieve at The Spinoff.

The ANZPM is a massive undertaking. And like so much in the New Zealand screen sector, long overdue. It will affect everybody producing content for TV and Radio and thus is of utmost interest to the entire production sector. Strangely, there is nary a mention of the New Zealand Film Commission in any of the documentation, which I find curious considering the convergence of content and distribution channels and the expressed objective of the new entity to engage, inform, educate, enlighten and entertain. NZFC after all is a public media stakeholder and the only government funding body seemingly left out of the mix in considerations.

There is a call for submissions out now with a deadline of 8 September. DEGANZ will be responding and we encourage all of you in the screen sector to do the same, whether you are a content creator or viewer/listener. The ANZPM is going to shape the way we consume Aotearoa New Zealand content for decades to come and we want it to be done right.


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

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DEGNZ President Howard Taylor signs off.

I am retiring from my role as president of the DEGNZ. Going, but not quite gone. As required by the constitution, I will be continuing as a board member for another year to ensure a smooth transition.

I regard being on the Board of the Guild an honour and a privilege. It is also a lot of work – as my fellow board members will attest. However, I believe that giving back in this way to the industry that has given me such a wonderful career is the least we can do.

I have been on the Board since we set the Guild up 25 years ago and I have been president for five years. I turned the role down twice because I felt, rightly or wrongly, that while I had spent a lifetime in the world of television, I was not familiar enough with the film world. That changed when, having written a feature film screenplay, I took part in a year-long course in international co-production of features. The new-found knowledge gave me the confidence to finally say yes to the role of president.

I am a great believer in Guilds and the role they play in the industry. The lobbying we do on our members behalf is very often unseen. There is a tendency for government and industry bodies like the NZFC to listen to producers and either forget the creatives or assume that producers speak for everyone. The voice of the director (and editor) in the debates that arise is vital.

While it would be wonderful for us all to have the freedom implied by the fact that film is an artform, we are constrained by the pressures of the commercial world. Those pressures impact us directly as an erosion of conditions and fees. The Guild has a key role in protecting what we currently have and promoting improvements. This will be tested when we put on our Union hat and go into negotiation with SPADA to negotiate minimum rates and conditions as set out in the new Screen Industry Worker legislation.

The Guild’s role in providing education and skills training to members is important in an industry where most training is for beginners.

Directors live in silos. It’s many years since I was on another director’s set. Watching other directors work is a valuable learning experience and it’s great the DEGNZ can give directors (and editors) that opportunity.

What I value most is the sense of fraternity that Guild membership brings. We look after each other. Yes, we are competitors for jobs, but in my experience the willingness of directors and editors to lend a hand to their fellows trumps any sense of competition. Guild membership gives me a sense of connectedness to the screen industry that I have never found anywhere else.

The Guild has evolved hugely over the years, becoming a sophisticated organisation dealing with a plethora of active issues. I am proud of what the Guild has achieved and look forward to its robust and noisy future. Kia kaha.

Howard Taylor
(Ex.) President