Equity and Justice for All in the Aotearoa/New Zealand Screen Sector

Equity and Justice for All in the Aotearoa/New Zealand Screen Sector

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An Open Letter to New Zealand Government Ministers and the Human Rights Commissioner:

Hon. Carmel Sepuloni (Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage)

Hon. Kiritapu Allan (Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage)

Hon. Willie Jackson (Minister for Broadcasting and Media)

Hon. Aupito William Sio (Minister for Pacific Peoples)

Hon. Priyanca Radhakrishnan (Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities)

Hon. Stuart Nash (Minister for Economic and Regional Development)

Paul Hunt - Chief Human Rights Commissioner


Kia ora koutou Ministers and Chief Human Rights Commissioner,

We are a group of film and television practitioners in Aotearoa who work on local and international productions. We urgently call on you to take action to address systemic issues threatening our screen sector industry.

The Problem

Right now, our entire sector is in a state of turbulence. Longstanding systemic biases continue to breed a culture of racism, sexual harassment, bullying, and discrimination at every level of our industry. Without meaningful and timely intervention from the Government and the Human Rights Commission, the future of our sector will have dire consequences for those bearing the brunt of these issues. 


The New Zealand film and television industry is a vital contributor to our nation’s economy and strengthens our national and cultural identity on an international stage. 

But, while lucrative for some, it is unsustainable and inequitable for many others in the industry.

Who benefits? Those in positions of power; namely, government funding agencies, platforms, and a handful of established “industry approved” production companies and producers.

Who bears the cost? Tangata Whenua, Pacific Islander and minority screen practitioners, independent productions, and marginalised practitioners who struggle to make ends meet.

Strategies for Change

The Government recognises that the industry needs to change. This year, a Crown Inquiry was launched to review the funding of the screen sector. But its limited scope avoids the fundamental systems and processes that determine how taxpayer money is spent in the sector. 

The Government’s decision to merge two giant public entities, Radio New Zealand and Television New Zealand, under the Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media Bill, has also caused confusion and panic across the sector. 

We are deeply concerned these strategies for change fail to address continued exploitation of and harm experienced by screen practitioners. In both cases the livelihoods of our artists and communities are directly at risk. The health, wellbeing, and working conditions of screen sector practitioners also remain at risk. 

A Way Forward

Our vision is a better future for our current and next generation of storytellers. We want to work with you to help create the conditions to enable this vision to happen.

To understand, address, and resolve the deeply problematic, systemic issues in the screen sector require a broad scope of inquiry and meaningful engagement with those directly affected.  


We, the undersigned, call on responsible Ministers and the Human Rights Commissioner to take action aimed at addressing the systemic bias operating across the screen sector through an independent inquiry. In particular, we seek an early public forum that will allow screen practitioners to table our issues – kanohi ki te kanohi – and be heard.

We appreciate your consideration of these critical issues and look forward to your reply.  

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