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Government delivers lifeline for arts and culture sector

Ministers’ release: 2 February 2022

Beehive media release.

  • The Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme will be boosted by $70 million, enabling the coverage of the Scheme to be extended right through to 31 January 2023 for events that were being planned before the move to Red on 23 January 2022. Key eligibility criteria have also been extended.  
  • The Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund has been provided an additional $35.5 million to fund more direct support for individuals and organisations  
  • 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/sole traders in the arts and cultural sector who have lost income or opportunities to work. 
  • The Screen Production Recovery Fund has been boosted by a further $15 million. 

Following the Government’s shift to the Red traffic light setting and ongoing pressures on the arts and culture sector, the Government is moving swiftly to cushion the blow, providing further support for the arts and culture sector, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni announced today.  

“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,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The arts and culture sector contributes approximately $10.9 billion to the New Zealand economy, making up about 3.4% of GDP.  

“Our strategy continues to be to slow the spread of Omicron down. New Zealanders have helped put us in a position to fight Omicron, but as we’ve said before, when COVID changes, we change. And we are in a solid position to do that.     

“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. That’s why we’re committing to a one-off $5,000 grant for self-employed individuals/sole-traders who can show proof of a loss of income or opportunity to work. 

“We’re also extending the Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme, the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund, and the Screen Production Recovery Fund. 

The Arts and Cultural Event Support Scheme will receive a financial boost, extending coverage to events scheduled to take place before 31 January 2023, that were being planned before the move to Red on 23 January 2022. This also includes extension of criteria to cover cancellations due to a lead performer getting Covid or needing to isolate.  

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

The Government are also making it easier for people to apply for the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund and increasing financial support available for organisations by making changes to payment limits and the eligibility criteria. This will include setting up an application stream dedicated to self-employed people and sole-traders, in addition to the application stream for organisations. 

“Internationally, Omicron is having a significant impact on the film industry, with cast/crew sickness in some cases causing productions to shut down, resulting in higher costs. Aotearoa New Zealand’s screen industry will not be immune from these pressures, so we are acting now to provide extra support for this key sector of our economy.  

“The Screen Production Fund will receive a boost to enable an extension of the fund through to 31 December 2022, to maximise production activity and minimise the impacts of any COVID-19 outbreaks.  

“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.  

“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,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

Updated on 24th February 2022