A plan is under way to develop a massive film park — complete with a replica of a New York park — on the outskirts of Wanaka.
An Oscar winner is among the trio behind the project. They have already bought 322ha for the facility.
Silverlight Studios has fast-tracked approval to apply under special Covid-19 legislation to build film studios, production offices and a film and technology school on the site.
The development will occupy half the land area.
A spokeswoman said the Silverlight Studios team of Weta Digital veteran Mike Wallis, double Oscar nominee Ra Vincent (The Hobbit and Jo Jo Rabbit production design) and film accountant Jonathan Harding, had been looking around the country for possible sites for three years.
In August, they bought Corbridge Estates, a farm between State Highway 6 and the Clutha River, 6km east of Wanaka.
"The park will include four purpose-built sound stages, VFX stages, workshops and unique features such as a replica portion of Central Park, New York, one of the most-used film locations in the world," she said.
A Ministry for the Environment report said building would take place on the southern half of the site, with the balance being maintained as open paddocks.
It said the development would be focused around an artificial lake which would be created by modifying an existing reservoir.
Queenstown Lakes District Council deputy mayor Calum Macleod said he and mayor Jim Boult signed a letter of support for the development in October.
"In terms of diversification of the economy, it ticks every box."
"This will bring in thousands of employees, it is of a scale that is irrevocably going to change the South Island, forget about Wanaka," Macleod said.
Great Southern Television part-owner Phillip Smith, the executive producer of One Lane Bridge, which is being shot in Queenstown, said he knew of four proposed film studio projects and hoped at least one happened.
"As makers of content we need studios, because it is a lot more expensive to shoot on location constantly, so to be able to build sets, have bad weather days and get crews in there is far more economical."
Smith said the growth of drama production in New Zealand and Australia was "incredible" at the moment.