The Government offered Amazon no extra sweeteners to film its Lord of the Rings TV series in New Zealand, according to a senior minister.
Trade Minister David Parker told reporters this morning that he had made it clear to Amazon that New Zealand had "a pretty effective scheme" in place already, through the Major Screen Production Grant.
He said he told Amazon officials before Christmas: "We weren't proposing to change [the deal] to make it more beneficial for them in particular".
Although stopping short of confirming the Lord of the Rings TV series would be filmed in New Zealand, Parker said an announcement on this was "imminent".
But he said it would be coming from Amazon, not the Government.
This comes after the Herald on Sunday reported that a "huge" part of the $1.5 billion series would be produced in New Zealand.
An industry insider, who spoke to the Herald on Sunday on condition of anonymity, said they had signed a confidentiality agreement with the New Zealand Government and Amazon – along with everyone else involved in the Auckland production.
Parker told media this morning that "strong interest is being shown by Amazon in basing that series here".
He said he had one meeting with Amazon before Christmas and Parker said he "made it clear they were welcome in New Zealand".
But he said he also made it clear that there were no further incentives other than those already part of the major screen production grant.
He said the Government "obviously wanted" the series to be made here – "but you don't want these things at any cost; you want them on terms that are good for New Zealand and those are the things that are being thrashed out".
He said Amazon was offered the Major Screen Production Grant – a subsidy scheme which provides up to a 25 per cent refund in tax for international productions.
But Parker confirmed nothing beyond that had been offered.
In fact, he was sounding downbeat on having to offer any incentives in the first place.
"All of us, at some level, begrudge the film subsidies that the film industry have around the world, but it is a reality that they are subsidised."
But he said if New Zealand wants to have a big film industry, it has to match the world market when it comes to those industry supports.
Meanwhile, Parker denied reports that Amazon needed reassurance after the March 15 terror attacks in Christchurch that New Zealand was still a safe place to film.
"I have never heard it said that they were worried about security ... I don't think it's been a big issue, otherwise, it would have come across my table."
As part of Budget 2019, the Government added $25 million to the domestic filming grant and $130m to the international filming grant.
Last month, the Government said it would introduce a new law to allow film industry workers to collectively bargain from next year, but striking will be illegal and the "Hobbit" law will not be repealed.