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Art resale royalties to be considered

Ministers’ release: 16 April 2007

The government is to consult on a royalty payment scheme for artworks resold on the secondary market, Prime Minister and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Helen Clark and Associate Commerce Minister Judith Tizard said today.

Helen Clark, and Judith Tizard, who is also associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, today released a discussion paper inviting public feedback on options for a resale royalty right for visual artists.

Also known as an ‘artist’s resale right’, the arrangement is in place in about 50 countries. It allows visual artists to receive a royalty payment each time an original art work is resold on the secondary art market.

“In tackling this complex issue, Labour is honouring another election promise to examine international developments relating to resale royalties for artists and their possible application to New Zealand,” Helen Clark said.

“We are also very aware of the significant growth in the local art auction sector, with total sales across our six main art auction houses alone doubling over the past decade.

“Sales reached a peak of nearly $19.5 million in 2003 and have settled back to around $14 million for each of the past two years. Art commentators predict another surge in New Zealand art auction sales in the next year or two.”

Judith Tizard said international practice showed the arrangement tended to apply to work sold through art market intermediaries, such as dealers and auctioneers. Works sold privately were not usually included.

“A resale royalty right helps address the limited access to economic benefit which visual artists derive from creating an original work. The original sale of a work is currently, often the only real chance an artist gets to benefit from that creation.”

Judith Tizard said specific issues in the discussion paper include:

  • the range of art works covered by a scheme
  • the scope of re-sales
  • the royalty rate
  • who would be liable for the payment
  • whether payment would be made to living artists and/or the estates of deceased artists
  • reciprocity with countries operating similar schemes.
  • which agency or agencies would collect the royalty.

Submissions are due by 22 June 2007.

Updated on 7th October 2019