Made in New Zealand, but it’s ok.


Next year Seven will be featuring more New Zealand landscapes in its dramas, in 800 Words and Wanted but Seven CEO Tim Worner recently denied they were to help the network hit local quotas.

“We haven’t had to use New Zealand series that we’ve bought in to hit our quota. We’ve never had to do that. Seven’s always over-indexed on local quota,” he recently told the Screen Forever conference.

800 Words is shot in New Zealand because it’s set there. It would be difficult to shoot it somewhere else! And it’s a great story, I love that story.

“In the case of Wanted Series 2 it is being made partly in New Zealand, but also partly in Thailand and partly in Australia. I wouldn’t see that Series 3 of that show would necessarily be made there.”

Three years ago 51% of the first release Australian drama on the Nine Network was from New Zealand, played almost all of which screened on its multichannels. NZ drama qualifies as Australian under the Australia-NZ Economic Trade Agreement.

Wanted is receiving NZ government funding, with Screen Australia’s preference to fund first seaons of new dramas.

Tim Worner commented on the NZ system saying,

“We all have to ask ourselves how do we ‘win smarter’ and I really think that the NZ industry has done an amazing job. They get a lot of assistance from their government, and all power to them. The government there has really fostered what I think is a brilliant industry. There are great creatives there, with a fantastic work ethic. It is, as it turns out, quite an economic place to actually make television.”

Currently filming in Queenstown ahead of its Thailand shoot, Wanted sees the return of Rebecca Gibney, Geraldine Hakewell, Stephen Peacocke and Nicholas Bell over 6 episodes.

Producer Tony Ayres told TV Tonight, “We have a small shoot in Australia, but predominantly in NZ and also in Thailand. But it sort of suits the nature of the show because it’s a road movie, and it feels like every incarnation of the show needs to find a new home.

“We feel like it could be better than Season One. It’s got a really strong narrative drive. The stakes are higher and certainly the landscapes are wilder.

“For season 2 the hunted become the hunters. They’re trying to find something that will help solve the problems that arose in season one.”

Photo: Rebecca Gibney


  1. The quotas will only be maintained so long as there are commercial TV channels. If all the ad and subscription revenue goes to a la carte platforms (like Netflix and Youtube), then the quotas become void.

    The NZ on Air method of paying people to make content works no matter what the platform.

  2. timmydownawell

    The reason NZ On Air (government entity) funds local productions is because without that funding there would not be any locally produced content in NZ. NZ television also airs a lot of Aussie programmes anyway. Doesn’t Australia have any federal funding for local production? And if not, why not?

  3. As Tim Worner pointed out, Ch 7 do not need to fill their drama quota, they do more than enough as it stands. Other networks (Ch9) use the “loop-hole” cynically as padding for their inadequate hours of drama on their slate, that is where the danger lies for local production. Taking advantage of favourable government incentives is standard practice for TV producers everywhere and putting together a good funding structure deal, whilst still maintaining high quality and entertainment value, is just good business.

  4. They just can’t admit the only reason they are shooting in New Zealand is because they’re getting a bucket load New Zealand government subsidy. The sad irony here is that New Zealand doesn’t have local television quotas but still brought High Court proceedings saying that under the Australian New Zealand trade agreement it was being discriminated against because their shows were not being counted as Australian under our local content rules. WTF! The Australian government has continually failed to rectify this anomaly and now close to 20 years later probably over a $100 million in lost production in Australia has occurred. The free to air broadcasters of course have lobbied government to not correct this situation and former Liberal Treasurer Peter Costello is being paid $458k a year as Chairman of Nine Entertainment to guarantee political access and influence. Pretty sad day for…

  5. Mr game show fan

    I feel New Zealand made shows (wholly or partially) should not count towards the local quota.

    New Zealand is not Australia the last time I checked.

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