Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Carmel Sepuloni, has announced additional support for the arts and culture sector.
“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,” Ms Sepuloni said.
The arts and culture sector contributes approximately $10.9 billion to the New Zealand economy, making up about 3.4% of GDP, the Minister said.
“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.”
“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 planned before the nation’s move to Red. This also includes extension of criteria to cover cancellations due to a lead performer contracting COVID-19 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,” Ms Sepuloni said.
“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,” Minister Sepuloni said.