December 5, 2021

Allow TV commercial production in Level 3.2, says NZAPG to govt.

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The New Zealand Advertising Producers Group (NZAPG) is calling on the Government to allow the TV commercial production to resume operation when Auckland shifts to Level 3.2 next week.

Aotearoa’s TV commercial production industry and hospitality businesses are among those sectors that are staring down the barrel of insurmountable losses or even closures as Waikato retail outlets were back in business this morning and Auckland next week.

Under step two, however, TV production, hospitality and close contact personal care services are not included, with the Government offering no indication as to when these services will finally be able to resume.

Tāmaki Makaurau is the national hub of New Zealand’s TV commercial production sector, an industry which generates more than $100 million each year.  Under the current Level 3 conditions, commercial production in Auckland remains shut down for the majority of crew and talent, with the exception of small or very limited shoots. 

“Our industry is in crisis and this ongoing paralysis continues to have a detrimental effect not only on advertising producers, workers and suppliers but also on many Kiwi businesses who rely on commercial advertising to sell their products and services and who’ve been hurting badly over lockdown,” says Nik Beachman, Co-Chairperson of the New Zealand Advertising Producers Group. 

“This is becoming particularly critical as we enter the lead-up to Christmas and what should be a much-needed boost for New Zealand’s retailers. What’s frustrating is not only the lack of clarity from Government agencies, but also the lack of consistency, communication and understanding around some of the decisions being made, particularly around travel exemptions for crew.”

During the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, ScreenSafe (the New Zealand screen industry health and safety body) worked alongside WorkSafe to create the world’s first Government-sanctioned, built-for-purpose health and safety guidelines.  As ‘close contact’ work is required to be undertaken by hair and make-up technicians,  majority of New Zealand’s screen production sector remains at a standstill. 

 “We acknowledge that some close contact hair and make-up work may be required on a commercial shoot. However, our industry prides itself on high levels of compliance and stringent self-imposed COVID-19 protocols that include contact tracing, health declarations, vaccination declarations, pre-shoot saliva testing, on-set health and safety officers, compulsory mask-wearing and more,” says NZAPG Co-Chairperson Claire Kelly.

“We differ markedly from other close contact businesses like retail and hairdressing because our screen workers are limited to on-set interactions with work colleagues and all our cast and crew members are subject to regular testing and compliance measures, as opposed to dealing with the general public.”

The NZAPG has engaged in discussions with ScreenSafe, WorkSafe and MBIE.  But according to NZAPG, they are yet to receive any clarity on how and when their work can resume.