For Immediate Release

Monday 30 October 2017

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ) welcomes the opportunity to collectively bargain on behalf of its membership in the event that the new Government repeal the controversial ‘Hobbit Law’, an amendment rushed through Parliament that classified all film workers as ‘independent contractors’, unable to bargain collectively and receive other benefits associated with being an employee.

“In our recent Annual Survey of the membership conducted independently by Trace Research, an overwhelming 84 per cent of directors and editors wanted the Guild to collectively bargain on their behalves,” said Executive Director of DEGNZ Tui Ruwhiu.

“In the same survey, 32.5% of directors saw a decrease in their income in the last year compared to the year before, and 32.5% of directors earn less than $1,000 per week. This is obviously a concern for us.”

“It’s not unusual for directors to be one of the more poorly paid roles on set, particularly in feature and short film and non-drama TV,” Ruwhiu added. “Unlike technicians, directors do not receive overtime payments, their pay rates can be poor, and their hours generally longer that most others in the execution of their work.”

“Director rates have been trending downward in many sectors of the industry over the last 10 to 20 years and we need to do something about it.”

New Zealand directors get very few opportunities to work on international productions coming to New Zealand, depending almost exclusively on domestic New Zealand production to make a living.

With the number of local feature films produced each year in New Zealand numbering between five and fifteen, only five to fifteen New Zealand directors get a job on those productions, and in many cases the director is required to reduce or defer their fee to get the production made.

The majority of the Guild’s directors are contracted to productions for New Zealand television, documentary, advertising and in the corporate arena where they make videos, promos and branded content.

“The status of directors within the industry and with the wider public is generally high. Unfortunately, the reality when it comes to terms and conditions and particularly income for many of our director members is poor,” Ruwhiu concluded.

“Collective bargaining would provide a positive means for the Guild to improve the lot of directors in New Zealand, which is not possible under the current individual contracting regime.”


For more information contact:

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director
Directors & Editors Guild of NZ
+64 21 659 950



15 September 2015

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ) supports the Australian Directors Guild’s (ADG) and the Australian Directors Authorship Collecting Society’s (ASDACS) criticism of the multimillion dollar organisation, Screenrights, for its recent introduction of a policy that undermines Australian and foreign screen directors’ entitlements to royalty payments.

“ASDACS collects royalties on behalf of New Zealand directors as well, and our directors’ rights are equally impinged by this blatant disregard of directors’ royalty entitlements by Screenrights,” said Executive Director of DEGNZ Tui Ruwhiu.

Under the EDRP, Screenrights makes two critical assumptions that clearly undermine directors’ entitlements to royalties:

  1. Against Australian directors ‐ Screenrights refuses to presume that Australian directors are entitled to retransmission royalties unless their share of entitlement is specifically set out in the contract. Meaning that many Australian directors may miss out on their fair share of royalty payments.
  2. Against foreign directors ‐ Screenrights refuses to recognise laws in other countries such as Europe and South America where directors have well‐established and clear legal entitlements to royalty payments. For example, if a Spanish film is aired in Australia on FOXTEL, the Spanish director’s royalties may now be paid incorrectly to the producer rather than the director.

One of the key differences between the current Australian and New Zealand laws is that since 2005, Australian directors have been able to claim retransmission royalties for their television programs and films while New Zealand directors have not.

“The nub of the issue revolves around authorship rights, which unfairly reside largely with the producer in Australia and New Zealand,” Ruwhiu added. “As long as directors are denied their due as the authors of their audiovisual material, New Zealand and Australian directors will miss out on royalties for retransmission.”

DEGNZ (formerly the Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand) has for many years sought legislative change in the New Zealand Copyright Act so that directors are fairly recognised as authors of audio-visual content.

“It will be a major effort to effect the change needed, but it is necessary to ensure directors receive fair and equitable remuneration as creators of audiovisual content,” Ruwhiu concluded.


For further information, please contact:

Tui Ruwhiu

Executive Director

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ