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$175M Economic Boost For Arts Sector

$175M Economic Boost For Arts Sector

A new $175 million economic boost package to support the arts and creative sector recover from the blow of Covid-19 was announced by the Government on May 29. Modelling based on Treasury forecasts has indicated that without government intervention the cultural sector will be hit almost twice as hard as the rest of the economy, and 11,000 jobs could be lost within the coming year.

“A healthy cultural sector has many positive flow-on effects for other important parts of our economy, such as technical production, hospitality, venues and domestic tourism,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“This suite of initiatives will help protect cultural sector jobs and create new employment opportunities, build skills, knowledge and resilience, protect Māori knowledge and art forms, and continue to provide inspiration for all New Zealanders.”

Included in the announcement were:

$7.9 million for Careers Support for Creative Jobseekers – a programme that will be progressively rolled out to support artists and creatives back into sustainable work envisaged to help up to 2000 people over four years.

$16.5 million for a New Zealand Music Recovery Fund specifically directed towards the contemporary popular music industry. This includes $7.1m to boost NZ on Air’s New Music programmes, $5m for a Live Music Touring Fund to support NZ acts on the domestic circuit as alert levels permit, $3m immediate support for music venues to have safe environments for audiences, workers and artists and $1.4m to help musicians recoup lost income via Outward Sounds and NZ Music Month. 

$70 million over three years for a Creative Arts Recovery and Employment Fund to support the rebuild of the creative industries by commissioning and supporting creative projects at a national and local level, ensuring vital skills, talent and creative infrastructure is not lost. 

$60 million over three years for a Cultural Innovation Fund to support cross-sector partnerships and create new ways to add value to the economy, particularly through digital exports.

$20 million for a Cultural Capability Fund to focus on immediate needs in response to Covid-19, such as legal services, online delivery and audience development.

The first wave of funding becomes available from July 2020.

Almost 10% of the $175 million support announced as above has been aimed squarely at the contemporary popular music industry.

The $16.5 million NZ Music Recovery Fund includes $7.1m to boost NZ on Air’s New Music programmes, $5m for a Live Music Touring Fund to support NZ acts on the domestic circuit as alert levels permit, $3m immediate support for music venues to have safe environments for audiences, workers and artists, to be administered by the NZ Music Commission, and $1.4m to help musicians recoup lost income via Outward Sound and NZ Music Month. The support for new contemporary music and live music is expected to sustain a combined 2900 jobs over two years, produce 455 new song releases and 150 live music tours throughout NZ.

More details are expected in the coming weeks but the Music Commission has provided the following overview of some components.

NZ Music Month Make Good Fund: This will enable NZ artists and music businesses to apply for a contribution towards recouping lost income and costs incurred for original NZ music activity that was scheduled to occur in NZ Music Month 2020 which was cancelled as a result of Covid-19. Applicants will need to provide evidence of expenditure or loss of income. 

Outward Sound Make Good Fund: This fund will enable Outward Sound supported artists to apply for the reimbursement of costs incurred for approved offshore activity that was cancelled or disrupted due to Covid-19. This includes costs incurred by Outward Sound supported artists for travel and accommodation, hireage and rentals, and publicity and promotion. 

Music Venue Infrastructure Fund: This fund will enable music venues to apply for a contribution towards the costs associated with operating an environment safe for artists, audiences and staff. It is for music venues with a track record of original NZ music performances, both in the main centres and the regions. Grants of up to $50,000 per venue will be available for expenditure that could include contact tracing facilities and security, facility upgrades, equipment hireage and ensuring the safety of technicians and staff. 

Aotearoa Touring Support Programme: This programme is intended to reinvigorate the live music sector and grow the potential for touring across Aotearoa. It will support production costs, and touring both nationally and regionally. 

An outline of the work that will be undertaken across the arts and culture sector is available on the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website at www.mch.govt.nz