In Budget 2023, the Government provided funding of $40 million per annum for delivering and administering a rebate for the game development sector, with a view to support the ongoing development and growth of game development in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Game Development Sector Rebate (GDSR) is a rebate on eligible expenditures of eligible firms, at a rate of 20%. A firm’s rebate payment will be capped at $3 million per annum and the minimum qualifying expenditure per annum is $250,000. The GDSR is effective as of 1 April 2023 which means that eligible firms will be able to count eligible expenditures from this date.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has policy responsibility for the GDSR while NZ On Air has been appointed as the agency to administer this rebate due to our experience as a funding agency and our experience in the gaming space (limited to children's games funding to date.)
After two years, MBIE will review the scheme to gauge uptake and early impact, and it will undertake a further review at around the four-year mark to assess whether the scheme provides net benefits to New Zealand and whether modifications should be pursued.
Game Development Sector Rebate Design Features
The Game Development Sector Rebate Design Features document below outlines the eligibility criteria, application process and scheme governance for the GDSR:
1 Sept 2023: Game Development Sector Rebate Design Features available
Mid Sept 2023: Pilot Phase Registration opens
1 Oct 2023: General Registration for Year One opens and Guidelines available
30 Nov 2023: Deadline for General Registrations for Year One
Nov - Dec 2023: Applications audited and claims processed for Pilot Phase
1 Apr 2024: Applications open for Year One rebates
19 Apr 2024: Application deadline for Year One rebates
Apr – June 2024: Applications audited and claims processed for Year One
Pilot Application Phase
As part of a pilot phase of the scheme - exceptionally for year one of the scheme - eligible businesses that anticipate eligible expenditures for the year 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024 of $5 million or above, are able to submit an application for a rebate on expenditures incurred in the six months 1 April 2023 to 30 September 2023 . This pilot phase has been designed so NZ On Air can test its rebate administrative processes with a small group of studios before the standard application process takes place in 2024.
A business that considers it meets that $5 million threshold is encouraged to register their interest with NZ On Air, to process and confirm its eligibility to submit an application into the pilot phase. NZ On Air will assess the application and, if the standard criteria outlined in this document related to eligible business, eligible games and eligible expenditures is met, NZ On Air will pay the claim. Payment will flow to the business in the October-December 2023 quarter.
A business submitting an application in this pilot phase is not required to provide a “statement of readiness”. However, it will be required to provide an auditor’s report as part of its submission, to provide NZ On Air assurance of the accuracy of the application. A business will also be asked to sign a declaration confirming it agrees to repay any payments made if NZ On Air determines at a later date that the business was not entitled or the entitlement changes.
A business submitting an application in this pilot phase may submit a second application at the end of the full eligibility period, in line with the standard process, for its expenditure incurred in the six months 1 October 2023 to 31 March 2024. Any over- or under-payment made to the business as a result of the pilot phase application will be balanced as part of their later standard application and assessment process that happens post 31 March 2024.
To register your interest and eligibility for the pilot phase, please contact NZ On Air at email@example.com.
We are looking for a Programme Director and a Programme Coordinator to come and join our hard-working, fun and friendly NZ On Air team.
Both these roles are an incredible opportunity to influence and contribute to the thriving world of game development in Aotearoa. These are newly created roles which will actively support the effective delivery of the NZGDSR.
The roles are fixed term for four years and full-time. With offices in Wellington and Auckland, we are accepting applications from individuals residing in either city but will also consider these roles operating remotely for the right candidates. So come help us with this awesome mahi to develop and grow New Zealand's burgeoning gaming sector.
Programme Director (there is one role but a link for Wellington-based or Auckland-based applicants):
- Programme Director Wellington-based - https://www.seek.co.nz/job/70138181
- Programme Director Auckland-based - https://www.seek.co.nz/job/70138074
Programme Coordinator (there is one role but a link for Wellington-based or Auckland-based applicants):
If you have any queries on the GDSR, please feel free to get in touch with us. Just email
Also, regardless of whether you are going to register as an eligible business for the GDSR, you can subscribe to newsletter updates from NZ On Air about the scheme. To subscribe, just click on the sign up button below.