Rodney Times : Rodney Times 1st November
www.rodneytimes.co.nz Tuesday, November 2, 2010 Offer on film park Film action: Wainui's Kelly Park Film Village may have a new owner by the end of the year. Inset: Kelly Park studio in motion. By CARALISE MOORE DEALS securing The Hobbit in New Zealand should help Kelly Park Film Village close a sale and secure its future. The 332-hectare Wainui site has been marketed throughout the country for several months. Kelly Park has now received a conditional offer from a buyer the Rodney Times believes to be an Asian or subcontinent-based com- pany. The company can t be named for confidentiality reasons and has made an offer which has to go through the Overseas Investment Office. The park must prove the international investors are the best option for the country and economy. Usually it will take around 60 days for the office to consider the application, Kelly Park developer Steve Barker says. Then we can get the inter- national business s per- mission and go public with details. Kelly Park first has to prove there is insufficient interest in New Zealand before considering inter- national offers. The site already has a special filming zone passed by the Rodney District Coun- cil in 2009. This allows for the development of 11.7 hectares for film and television pro- duction, along with associ- ated support services, edu- cational, tourism and accommodation facilities. Three large buildings on the former equestrian centre site are used for film pro- duction -- a 4750 square metre clear span studio, a 2100 square metre building for film work and a block con- taining offices and workshops. It also has 38 consented titles ranging from one hec- tare to 64 hectares in a new subdivision with roads, fenc- ing and building sites. Kelly Park has contributed more than $20 million to the district s economy during the last four years. It was the set for the pro- duction of several Hollywood blockbusters, including The Chronicles of Narnia -- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, 30 Days of Night, and local productions such as The Ferryman. Kelly Park has been occu- pied by the Barker family for 37 years. We ve spent eight years getting to where we are now, Mr Barker says. This is the end of a huge family project. We ve done huge things like bring $20m to Rodney from the film pro- duction industry. We are proud of that. To grow from here the park needs $300m to $400m investment, and that is far beyond us as a family, he says. But we do want something to happen like this in Rodney that will give employment for our children and grand- children. The government s recent announcements on tax breaks and labour laws for film workers will have a signifi- cant impact on the industry, Mr Barker says. That s going to be huge for the country. It will affect Kelly Park as more film investors will be interested in coming to New Zealand as a result of the changes. The deal we have made with The Hobbit will put New Zealand tourism on every single Hobbit DVD sold, he says. The government spent $35m on the last America s Cup and what benefit did that bring? This is an instant and dir- ect benefit with the same amount spent, Mr Barker says. Prime Minister John Key is a businessman and what he has done is very smart.
November 4th 2010