Movies such as The Dead Lands are part of New Zealand's growing film industry.

A council body has four months to produce a viable film studio plan at Hobsonville Pt or the land will be used for housing.

The council's economic development arm, Ateed, says 16 parties have shown an interest in a film precinct, which could create 435 jobs annually and attract film schools from AUT University and Unitec.

The opportunity of a dedicated precinct for Auckland's film industry tempted the Auckland Development Committee yesterday to grant Ateed a four-month extension to come up with a firm proposal.

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The extension follows plans by the council's property arm to build 441 houses and apartments on a prime 20ha site - part of the Hobsonville Pt development where more than 3000 new homes are planned.

A masterplan by Auckland Council Property Ltd (ACPL) envisages recouping $36 million spent to date on the land with a tidy $34 million profit for the cash-strapped council.

Councillor Cameron Brewer said: "Auckland needs houses and council needs cash."

However, Mr Brewer and most committee members were happy to keep open the option of a film precinct on 10ha of the site until October 31.

The other 10ha will be used to build 315 homes.

Councillor Wayne Walker said the most certain thing that people needed was jobs.

"If there is one area where jobs are growing it is in screen, and especially in digital," he said.

Ateed chief executive Brett O'Riley said the original BOOT (build-own-operate-transfer) model for a film precinct had moved to a leasehold or freehold option for the land, which could change the financial implications for council.

He said Ateed would also take the concerns of the community into account.

If Ateed cannot find a "definitive and commercially viable proposal" by October 31, the ACPL masterplan will be adopted by the council.

• Supporters of film precinct at Hobsonville Pt have four months to firm up plan.
• Precinct could provide 435 jobs annually.
• Film schools at AUT and Unitec could move to precinct.
• Alternative plan for 441 houses and apartments if film precinct flops.