New Zealand devs hang onto 20% tax rebate perk after three-way-tie election | Pocket

Good news for New Zealand-based games developers. Following the October 2023 election in the country – which resulted in a three-way coalition government taking control – doubts had been raised as to the validity and continuation of an existing (and generous) 20% tax rebate currently enjoyed by game developers within the country.

New Zealand is the home to notable developers such as Grinding Gear Games (makers of Path of Exile), Black Salt Games (Dredge) and Balancing Monkey Games (Before We Leave).

Now the ruling coalition has confirmed that the existing Game Development Sector rebate will continue unabated.

Doubts as to the government’s ongoing generosity had arisen after David Seymour, leader of ACT – one of the three parties taking control of New Zealand alongside the National Party and New Zealand First – had described the rebate as “corporate welfare”.

Fortunately technology minister and National Party member Judith Collins has stepped up to confirm that the rebate – which is worth $40 million NZD per year – will still be in place under the new government.

“In the last Labor budget put forward it was one of the best things in it and probably the only good thing,” said Collins to local news service Newshub. “This is an industry that once it gets on its feet – once it gets going – is really going to go gangbusters. The Finance Minister, the Prime Minister and I have all said we support this sector. It’s a commitment that you have a lot of support at the very top of the Government. I look at it and I get why people love it,” she continued.

Following Finland

Commenting on the news New Zealand Game Developers Association (NZGDA) chair Carl Leducq said “In the games ecosystem, having something like the 20 percent game sector rebate is a huge bonus that helps put us on the same playing field as other countries in the world.

“The game market in Finland, they have a revenue of over $6 billion NZD annually and they are a similar size to New Zealand. So, they really showcase the potential of where the New Zealand game industry could become if we had that support over time.”

According to the 2023 NZ Games Industry Survey, published by the NZGDA, studios based in the country earned $434.4 million during the year ended March 31, 2023.

“The commitment to the New Zealand Game Development Sector Rebate means the sector’s strong growth will resume. Our studios have stood strong amidst these challenges, and I am certain of their resilience and potential for future success,” said Leducq.

Meanwhile, in the UK, TIGA, The Independent Game Developers Association continue to call upon the UK government to provide similar incentives and investment for the British video game industry.