After concerns from members of the arts industry and Te Pāti Māori calling on the Government to provide relief funds immediately - the Government announced on Wednesday it would provide extra support for the arts and culture sector. 

Here is a breakdown of what the Government will be doing: 

  • The Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme will be boosted by $70 million which allows this scheme to continue through to January 31, 2023 for events that were planned before Red. 
  • The Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund will provide an extra $35.5m to fund more direct support for individuals and organisation.
  • The limit on funding for individual organisations has been increased from $100,000 to $300,000.
  • A one-off grant of $5,000 will be available to eligible self-employed individuals in the arts and cultural sector who have lost income or opportunities to work.
  • The Screen Production Recovery Fund has received an extra $15m.

This support comes after Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi said in a statement last Friday that “the Government has used and abused our artists, musicians and creatives by using them to front vaccination campaigns for the purpose of participation at summer festivals, only to leave them out to dry by cancelling those festivals without a back-up plan to cover the loss they suffer as a consequence".

It also comes after recent analysis from economic and political commentator Bernard Hickey, found New Zealand’s Covid-19 relief spending helped make homeowners and businesses $952 billion richer, while the poorest are $400m more in debt and need twice as many food parcels.

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni said on Wednesday that “the Government has been actively engaging with the arts and culture sector to understand their needs as the pandemic has progressed, and we’re responding by delivering much-needed financial relief".

The arts and culture sector contributes $10.9b to the New Zealand economy, Sepuloni said. 

 “The Red traffic light setting, whilst needed to protect the health and safety of New Zealanders, has had an impact on the livelihoods of those who make a living out of arts and culture."

This was why the Government was providing extra funding to schemes, funds and grants, she said.  

 “It’s important to reassure artists and crew that they will get paid despite their event being cancelled due to Red. The [Arts and Culture Event Support] Scheme includes an obligation to make full payment, as if the event had gone ahead, to artists, performers and production crew and/or organisations.” 

“I’m confident that our move to extend critical support schemes for New Zealand’s arts and cultural event sector will provide some relief and help our wonderful creative communities to get back on their feet," Sepuloni said.

“I want to acknowledge the huge financial and emotional strain and uncertainty that everyone in the sector is facing, but I want to underline our Government’s commitment to supporting the revival of the arts and culture sector."

Top Image: A person performing at a concert. (File photo) Photo: recep-bg/iStock

More stories: 

Te Pāti Māori calls on Govt to make relief funds available to the arts industry

No wage subsidy for artists during Red: 'Frightening and stressful' 

Five summer events still going ahead at Red