29 May 2020

Government launches $175m arts and music recovery package

4:59 pm on 29 May 2020

The government has announced a $175 million package to boost the arts and creative sector in the wake of Covid-19.

Napier MP and minister for small business Stuart Nash and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern address media in Napier on Friday, 29 May.

Napier MP and minister for small business Stuart Nash and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern address media in Napier on Friday, 29 May. Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

Speaking in Napier at midday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a jobseekers programme and four new funds to help the arts and music sector.

"The arts and music sectors have been decimated by Covid-19," Ardern said in a statement.

"Treasury forecasts suggests that without government intervention, the cultural sector will be hit roughly twice as hard as the rest of the economy, and 11,000 jobs could be lost within a 12-month period."

The Careers Support for Creative Jobseekers programme will be given $7.9m of the total and build on the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment (PACE) programme.

The government expects it could help up to 2000 people in creative jobs over four years.

Ardern said the intiatives would help provide more opportunities for those in the sector to keep earning an income and rebuild their careers.

"We know many of our creatives get income from multiple sources and it is an ongoing challenge to piece together the gigs and commissions to earn a livelihood."

Yesterday, the government also announced almost $100m of a funding boost towards the arts and cultural sector to recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

The rest of the money in today's announcement will be divided among the four new funds:

  • Creative Arts Recovery and Employment Fund: $70m over three years for supporting the rebuild of the creative industries by commissioning and supporting creative projects at a national and local level.
  • Cultural Innovation Fund: $60m over three years for a contestable fund to support new ways of operating, cross-sector partnerships, and create new ways to add value to the economy, particularly through digital exports. This will include supporting innovative approaches to Māori artforms and traditional knowledge.
  • Cultural Capability Fund: $20m for a focus on immediate needs in response to Covid-19, such as legal services, online delivery and audience development.
  • New Zealand Music Recovery Fund: $16.5m specifically directed towards the contemporary popular music industry (including $7.1m to boost NZ on Air's New Music programmes, $5m for a Live Music Touring Fund, $3m immediate support for safe music venues which will be administered by the NZ Music Commission, and $1.4m to help musicians recoup lost income via Outward Sounds and NZ Music Month.)

The government also announced an extra $60 million over two years for the nation's libraries.

The funding was designed to ease the burden on councils by paying librarians' wages, providing free internet and reducing other library costs.

In making the announcement, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin said half the library funding - $30m - would protect the jobs of 170 librarians.

That's a small proportion of the roughly 6000 librarians working in New Zealand today.

Martin said libraries played a vital role as community hubs which would become increasingly important to help people upskill and search for work.

The government expected the New Zealand Music Recovery Fund to help sustain 2900 jobs over two years, produce 455 new song releases and 150 live music tours throughout New Zealand.

The first wave of funding would available from July 2020.

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