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Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund

This page has been significantly updated on 16 November 2021. It is being updated regularly. Check back often and look for information marked 'new' to easily see important updates.

If after reading the information here you want to apply for the Fund, you must also read the Key information for Applicants (PDF) when completing your application or reapplication. We may not be able to accurately assess your application if you do not follow the guidance in that document.

The Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund is a $5 million fund of last resort which provides support for cultural organisations, including sole traders, at clear risk of no longer operating viably. It is being administered by Manatū Taonga and is open for application or reapplication.

This Fund is not for general relief. It is intended to support the financial shortfall for organisations that are in danger of imminent collapse.

It is part of the $37.5 million Delta Relief package announced in September 2021 by Hon Carmel Sepuloni to help address immediate relief needs.


Questions and answers

General

What is the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund? 

The Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund is a $5 million fund of last resort which provides support for organisations, including sole traders, at risk of no longer operating viably by meeting the shortfall between income and expenses over a six-week period.  

This Fund is not for general relief. It is intended to support organisations that are in danger of imminent collapse. One of the key criteria is that applying organisations are in a situation where, without financial support, they will not be able to operate viably within eight weeks of their application.

Because it is a fund of last resort, this Fund is not intended to be ‘income replacement’ to meet all an organisation’s expenses. To ensure we can assist as many people as possible the intention is to fund only essential business costs, and only the amount of those costs that the organisation’s income and reserves cannot cover.

Applicants will need to demonstrate they have exhausted all cash and reserves on hand and explored all other avenues of government support, including but not limited to Wage Subsidy, Resurgence Support payments, and support from cultural sector agencies.

Eligibility

Who can apply?

This Fund is open to cultural sector organisations, including businesses and charities who have current legal status in New Zealand, and also to sole traders who have a New Zealand Business Number. 

Cultural sector organisations are those who contribute to creating, presenting, protecting, and distributing arts, culture and heritage in any medium. News content and sports are not in scope for this funding.

To be eligible to apply for this Fund the organisation’s primary purpose must be to contribute to the cultural sector.

Note: Sole traders who work in other sectors as well as the cultural sector will need to demonstrate that their main source of income comes from services provided to the cultural sector, or their continued financial viability is dependent on the cultural sector.

If your financial situation is eligible, and all other eligibility criteria is met, applicants may apply to the fund more than once.  

Further detail is available in our Key Information for Applicants (PDF)

What are the eligibility criteria for the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund?

To apply for the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund organisations will be in a situation where:

  • the organisation has exhausted all its reserves and without financial support will not be able to operate viably within eight weeks of application, and
  • that this inability to operate viably is due to the August 2021 COVID-19 increase in alert level, and
  • the organisation has exhausted/ explored all other avenues for government support, including but not limited to Wage Subsidy, Resurgence Support payments, and support from cultural sector agencies, and
  • at the time of application, the organisation is operating in a region at Alert Level 2 or higher or is at Red under the COVID-19 Protection Framework, or the organisation can demonstrate reliance on performers, crew, or other critical personnel or resources located in a region at the higher alert levels or Red, thereby preventing travel between boundaries.

Can organisations apply for this fund if receiving other types of funding – e.g., Resurgence Support Payments or funding from a cultural sector agency? 

Yes, they can apply if they have received funding from elsewhere, but they will need to demonstrate that the funds were insufficient or unable to be used to cover their costs. The Key Information for Applicants (PDF) has more details.

What does 'no longer operating viably within eight weeks' mean? 

This means that, because of the 18 August 2021 increase in COVID-19 alert levels, an organisation will not have sufficient income, reserves or other financial support to meet essential and non-negotiable operating expenses and debt payments in the eight weeks following the date of application (or reapplication).  

This lack of viability could result in the closure of the organisation, staff redundancies or a need to leave the sector to find employment. 

For sole traders, ‘no longer operating viably’ would mean that as a result of a loss of income from your work in the cultural sector, you are unable to meet your business expenses associated with operating in the cultural sector and you are at risk of going bankrupt.

Funding available

What level of funding is available? 

Subject to eligibility requirements and the availability of funds, the amount of funding available to each applicant is the shortfall between income (revenue) and expenses (costs) over the six-week period following their application (or reapplication). 

Organisations that receive funding can apply for additional funding again at the end of the six weeks.  

The maximum funding available for each applicant, over all applications, is up to $100,000 for organisations and $30,000 for sole traders.

Are there further funding 'rounds' after the current one? 

No, applications will be considered as they are received, and funds are allocated on a rolling application basis. 

Subject to the availability of funds and again meeting eligibility requirements, organisations that receive funding can apply for additional funding at the end of the six-week funding period and organisations who were declined funding can reapply if their situation has changed and they believe they will now be eligible.  

Organisations submitting subsequent applications for additional support will need to demonstrate that the previous funding was appropriately used and will need to again meet the eligibility criteria. 

What other support is available for those within the sector who are struggling as a result of COVID-19 and who might not be eligible for this Fund?

As part of the $37.5 million Delta Relief Funding Package, $10 million funding from the Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme was brought forward to enable cultural sector agencies to support at risk organisations, key infrastructure, artists, and projects.

This includes funding for Creative New Zealand, the NZ Music Commission, the NZ Film Commission, the Museums Hardship Fund and Museums Aotearoa.

The details are available on our Cultural Agency Supports page.

More generally, across all sectors there is government support such as the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy and the Resurgence Support Payment as well as other Income Support.  See what financial support might be available here: COVID-19 Financial Support Tool.

Application Process

How does my organisation apply?

Applications (and reapplications) must be submitted online. Before doing so, it is essential that applicants read the Key Information for Applicants (PDF) document.

What information will be required as part of the application?  

The requirements are outlined in the Key Information for Applicants (PDF) document. We strongly recommend that applicants thoroughly review this document before starting an application as we may not be able to accurately assess the application if it does not reflect the guidance in the document.

Why is so much financial information needed?

For each application this information enables us to:

  • Understand the applicant’s overall financial status
  • Consider the income and expenditure over the last six months in order to be sure that the request is consistent with prior financial activity (or to understand why the situation has changed), and to check that the applicant was operating viably prior to the August alert level changes (note that this is a requirement for first time applicants only)
  • Scope what support is needed for the next six weeks by calculating forecast income and expenses.

Please note that there is a separate, shorter, reapplication form to submit online. This application form requires less information and evidence than the first application form but will still require some financial documentation.

How long will it take for applications to be assessed and the funding paid? 

We are working to advise applicants whether they will receive funding within two weeks and to deliver payments within four weeks. 

Applicants are urged to ensure their application is supported by the required documentation as this will help us work through the process more quickly.  If further information is required, an application may be delayed while we seek that additional information.

A list of all required documentation can be found in the Key Information for Applicants (PDF)


If you have further questions, read the Key Information for Applicants (PDF) document. Please email us at [email protected] if you still have questions after doing so.



Updated on 16th November 2021