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The vocational education system for all industries is undergoing massive reform right now. It’s come at a time when the New Zealand screen industry has been suffering from a lack of experienced workers due to the high levels of domestic and international production going on in the country.

It has also brought to the fore concerns about the lack of real-world preparation of students by film schools and media courses at tertiary education facilities. The industry needs workers to hit the ground running and that’s just not happening with the current levels of haphazard training that’s going on.

In 2018, the Government launched the Education Work Programme. One of the four reviews undertaken was the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE), with the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) tasked with undertaking structural change.

Six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) were established to assist with the structural change. The Screen Industry falls under Toi Mai, the WDC for Creative, Cultural, Recreation and Technology.

A small number of guilds including DEGNZ have together with WeCreate (former Copyright Council), the Council of Trade Unions and others been working to ensure that our WDC is getting the right input so that the resulting vocational education is fit-for-purpose for the screen industry. Recent appointments to Toi Mai reflect our efforts to have people with screen industry knowledge and experience involved:

  • Alice Shearman of the New Zealand Writers Guild as a screen union rep
  • Aliesha Staples, founder and CEO of Staples VR and a TVNZ board member
  • Annie Murray, Head of Sky Originals at Sky
  • Jana Rangooni, former General Manager Radio Live and Newsroom and Group Programme Director at Mediaworks
  • Rhonda Kite, previously owner of Kiwa Productions and audio post house Native Audio
  • Victoria Spackman, ex CEO of the Gibson Group

Right now, guilds and associations are mapping out career pathways to identify the skills needed for each individual role. Determinations will be made as to whether or not apprenticeships are suited to certain roles, while others may require trainees.

We will be involved in creating Skill Standards building to micro-credentials for new entrants coming into the industry. The overall outcome is to have a simple, efficient and appropriate vocational education delivered via the various educational providers. At the same time we seek an administration system that suits the very unique nature of project-based work that happens in the screen industry.

DEGNZ board member Annie Collins is now leading the work on behalf of DEGNZ, SPADA, SIGANZ, SMSG and NZWG, all of whom have been active in this space for the last two years or so. We are now going out to everyone in the screen industry to bring them up to speed with what’s happening.

RoVE is a massive undertaking that will impact on every industry in New Zealand. For the screen industry, we have undertaken this work so that it can develop and grow its capacity and capability to service productions well into the future with skilled workers who have the right education and training to make a positive contribution from Day One.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

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There are a few key unresolved issues in our sector and we are sitting on our hands waiting for action. The transformation of TVNZ into a proper public broadcaster is one. Then there’s the Screen Industry Worker Bill that will allow contractors to engage in collective bargaining. Another, the underwriting insurance needed to get the domestic film industry up again.

I know there is an election on, but we are still some ways away from the transformational change needed to get going properly, as well as grasp the opportunities on offer in the new world we are in.

In the UK, the new Director General of the BBC is moving rapidly to address the challenges there. Amongst them the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of diverse representation, political pressure, pay disparity, technological disruption, the emergence of competing news outlets, a battle to maintain relevance and the threat to the licence fee. A number of his changes will undoubtedly prove unpopular as he drives the organisation to be leaner and more commercial as well.

Yet here we sit still waiting for the Government to address the public broadcaster issue. It was December last year when Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi proposed merging TVNZ and RNZ. In January, he presented a revised plan and was asked for a business case due last month. Meanwhile, streamers have become the new global studios, YouTube has become the most popular source of video content in New Zealand, and TVNZ continues to lose money. The only wait that’s been blessedly terminated is what’s happening to TV3. The good news is Discovery’s acquisition of some of Mediaworks assets including the network—perhaps the first time in the channel’s history that it’s going to have real money in the bank to draw on.

Starting in 2018, the Film Industry Working Group toiled for months to unanimously come up with recommendations to help shape the Screen Industry Worker Bill. This extended process together with the time to draft the Bill, the Select Committee submissions and the interruptions caused by COVID mean we have to accept there will be no passage of the bill into law prior to the election. We are now faced with its fate hanging on the election result. Even after all the Select Committee submissions were predominantly in support of the Bill, National continue to oppose it. They will throw it out if they come into power. Accepting the rejection of the Hobbit Law they were responsible for putting in place would obviously be too much for them.

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block for the industry right now is the lack of commitment from our Government to underwriting the local film industry, replacing the insurance companies who won’t insure for COVID. In June, the Australian Government put in place an AUD$50 million fund to provide financial guarantees because insurance companies are not providing coverage for COVID-19. In July the British government launched an emergency £500M (US$646M) film and TV coronavirus production insurance fund. NZFC and SPADA have already made representations to Government to underwrite local production. Nearly two months later and we still haven’t heard an answer.

I know that the New Zealand screen sector has received monies to address the impact of COVID. We are all thankful for that. But this underwriting is necessary if any new New Zealand films are going to get made. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too much longer to find out.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

 

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Important information: Here are the links to the updated ScreenSafe COVID 19 Health and Safety Protocols including the updated information on the Alert Levels 2 and 3. All updates are highlighted in yellow on these documents.

All productions need to ensure they are operating to the ScreenSafe Health and Safety Standard and Protocols as they relate to your region and alert level.

To help with the individual production departments the Departmental Roles have been updated to include the alert levels 2 and 3.

It is now mandatory for any business or service to display the QR code for the tracing app at all entry points. Download your posters here.

Download updated important information for Level 3 here.

Thank you to ScreenSafe / SIGANZ for this information.

ScreenSafe banner

All productions need to ensure they are operating to the ScreenSafe COVID-19 Health & Safety Standard Protocols as they relate to your region and Alert Level. Visit the ScreenSafe COVID-19 page for the full toolkit and information on how to apply the Alert Levels to your production.

** IMPORTANT ADDENDUM: WorkSafe have confirmed that our ScreenSafe alert level procedure should remain the same with the addition of using masks. MORE INFORMATION HERE.

It is now mandatory for any business or service to display the QR code for the tracing app at all entry points. Businesses have till Wednesday 19th August to comply. Download your posters here

Download updated important information for Level 3 here.

Overview:


Mask Wearing

Mask wearing is now recommended for all crew at Levels 2 and 3.

It is also required when performing close proximity tasks within level 2 and above, i.e for make-up or hair. 

Talent should wear masks when possible/when interacting with crew, although this will not be practical whilst on screen. 

Travel to/from Auckland

Travel to/from Auckland is only allowed if you are returning to your place of residence OR if you’re an essential worker.

Physical distancing and mask wearing is required for public transport and flights. 

Contact Tracing

All NZ businesses are required to use the NZ Government Trace App (or another appropriate digital tracing app). This includes all work sites, offices, locations and suppliers.

ScreenSafe Registration

ALL productions, including 1-person shoots, MUST register with ScreenSafe. 

It only takes 1 minute to do this: https://screensafe.co.nz/covid19/registration/

Numbers on Set

There are no restrictions on the amount of people on a work site. However, each production needs to assess their own requirements vs. the overall need for physical distancing, hygiene and risk to cast, crew and the public.

Talent

1m physical distancing is required for all scripted action.

Talent must be able to dress themselves and do their own make up (under the guidance of crew if required).

No extras at Level 3.

Covid-19 Safety Notes

Every work site MUST have a site specific Level 3 Covid-19 plan in place.

Note: councils will not issue filming permits without a thorough Covid-19 plan + a ScreenSafe registration.


Thank you to ScreenSafe, The Screen Industry Guild and SPADA for putting this information together.

Unite against COVID-19

Dear Members,

We are all in this together. As your Guild, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you need support. Please find information below on the changes to Alert Levels, what this means for productions, and useful links. Our thanks to SPADA for collating the following information.

In case you missed last night’s breaking news – four positive cases of COVID-19 have been detected outside of managed isolation facilities, resulting in community detection for the first time in 102 days.

In response New Zealand’s COVID-19 Alert Levels are changing at 12 noon on Wednesday 12 August.

  • Auckland will move to Alert Level 3
  • The rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2.

WATCH:  the full announcement from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield(announcement begins at approx. 26:40).
From RNZ: Under level 3 in Auckland, people are to work from home unless they are essential workers, and stay in their bubbles. Bars and restaurants will have to close, and restrictions come in place for funerals and weddings.

“Travelling into Auckland is prohibited unless you normally reside there and are travelling home.”

People in Auckland but not from the city can return home, but must be aware of symptoms. Anyone with symptoms is advised to get a test

All key services, including pharmacies and supermarkets remain open. Food delivery is available under level 3. Childcare and schooling is only available for essential workers.

The government would provide the public with an update on Friday.

Screen Sector

All productions need to ensure they are operating to the ScreenSafe COVID-19 Health & Safety Standard Protocols as they relate to your region and Alert Level. Visit the ScreenSafe COVID-19 page for the full toolkit and information on how to apply the Alert Levels to your production.

Contact your industry Guild for support as required. For more information on the Alert Levels and how this relates to your work and home life, please see below.

Changes to Alert Levels

Auckland

Under Alert Level 3, you are encouraged work from home if you can.

Travel and self-isolation
If you are currently in Auckland and do not live in Auckland, we suggest that you go home. Practice good hygiene and be conscious of your health. We recommend that you keep your bubble small.

Businesses
Businesses are able to open, but should not physically interact with customers.

Essential services including healthcare, justice services and businesses providing necessities are able to open.

Bars and restaurants should close, but takeaways are allowed.

Education
Schools in Auckland can safely open but will have limited capacity. Where possible we encourage students to learn from home.

When you’re out and about
Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres outside your home, including on public transport.

It is highly recommended that you wear a mask if you are out and about.

Public transport can continue to operate with strict health and safety requirements. You should maintain physical distancing and wearing a mask.

Public venues should close. This includes libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds and markets.

Gatherings
Gatherings of up to 10 people can continue, but only for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Physical distancing and public health measures should be maintained.

At-risk people

People at high risk of severe illness such as older people and those with existing medical conditions are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home.

Detailed information about life at Alert Level 3 is available.

Rest of New Zealand

The rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2 at 12 noon on Wednesday 12 August.

You can still continue to go to work and school, with physical distancing.

Wear masks if you can in public.

No more than 100 people at gatherings, including weddings, birthdays, funerals and tangihanga.

Businesses can open to the public if they are following public health guidance, which include physical distancing and record keeping.

People at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, for example those with underlying medical conditions and old people are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home.

Practice good hygiene – stay home if sick.

Detailed information about life at Alert Level 2 is available.

Useful Links

NZ COVID-19 Page
ScreenSafe COVID-19 Page
RNZ COVID-19 Coverage
Health & Wellbeing during COVID-19
NZ COVID Tracer App – on App Store / on GOOGLE PLAY

Look after yourself, look after each other, be active with your hand washing and your contact tracing, and ask for help when you need it. 
He waka eke noa. We’re all in this together.