Creative New Zealand welcomes biggest government investment in the arts for two decades

Creative New Zealand is thrilled with the Government’s multimillion-dollar investment in the arts and culture sector – the biggest government investment since 2000 – which will strengthen the organisation’s ability to support the arts community’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

29 May 2020

“The arts community has shown resilience, creativity and great optimism through this difficult time. – Michael Moynahan, CHAIR, Arts Council

The Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, announced yesterday that the Government would inject an additional $25 million into Creative New Zealand’s funding to support artists, creative practitioners and arts organisations across the next two years.

“The arts community has shown resilience, creativity and great optimism through this difficult time. They continue to give comfort, connection, joy and humour to New Zealanders, despite suffering hugely themselves, and we thank them for their incredible contribution to our lives,” says Arts Council Chair Michael Moynahan.

“Arts and creativity will be fundamental to our country’s ongoing recovery from COVID-19, so we’re delighted to have this additional investment to deliver to our hard-working arts community – a community that’s core to the heart and soul of Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s terrific to see the Government’s confidence and appreciation of the role of creativity and culture in our society. This investment will enable us to build on what we’ve delivered already under urgency.”

The investment will help Creative New Zealand confidently advance planning for the next phase of the emergency response, launched in April in reply to the impact of COVID-19. Phase 1 was developed within a short timeframe and a quickly evolving COVID-19 environment. Phase 2 will be about easing out of emergency settings and designing support that enables the sector to transition into a ‘new normal’.

Creative New Zealand is also expecting to receive advice from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board about its funding for the coming financial year, within the next few days. The organisation receives 15 percent of Lotto NZ’s profits, via the Board. This news will also give further confidence about the overall level of funding Creative New Zealand can expect in the year ahead.

“We’re aiming to announce the shape of our Phase 2 response by the end of June 2020. This may not include all programme details, but we expect to signal what we’ll be bringing on and broadly when. We will, however, need to complete Phase 1 (with applications having closed today) and continue to respond to the changing environment brought on by COVID-19,” Michael says.

“We anticipate that, working with the sector, we’ll be able to amplify Creative New Zealand’s current support, as we prepare to deliver opportunities in the coming financial year, from 1 July 2020.”

A further Government announcement today, of $175 million for a wider arts and music recovery package, will support thousands in the arts and creative sector to find jobs, through a suite of initiatives the Government has said will “help protect cultural sector jobs and create new employment opportunities, build skills, knowledge and resilience, protect Māori knowledge and artforms, and continue to provide inspiration for all New Zealanders”.

Creative New Zealand will work with Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage over the coming weeks and months to understand what role Creative New Zealand can play in supporting the announced initiatives, including funding for Mātauranga Māori and Pasifika Festivals announced earlier in the month.

“We’re so heartened to see this support for our wider arts and culture whānau. This is new territory for most of us to navigate, with the last significant ‘arts funding package’ arriving 20 years ago,” says Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright.

Earlier today, Friday 29 May, marked the closing of applications for two of the opportunities under Creative New Zealand’s Phase 1 Emergency Response. Due to the high volume of applications received, the organisation anticipates that processing will continue through June.

“The response to Phase 1 has been tremendous. We’ve supported at least 1,730 individuals (both emerging and established artists and practitioners) and 104 arts organisations (including groups and collectives) so far, and anticipate these numbers will only increase before assessments and decisions are completed,” says Stephen.

Support totalling $14 million of the $16 million initially allocated for Phase 1 has so far been approved, as follows:

  • $7.3 million for 296 Arts Continuity Grants (for short-term projects)
  • $5.8 million for 1,536 emerging and experienced artists and practitioners (for loss of income)
  • $0.9 million for Short-term Relief for Investment Clients

“We thank the arts community for their kindness and patience as we keep working through the high volume of applications,” Stephen says.

Applications for Phase 1 are processed to a target of three weeks from submission, meaning Creative New Zealand will be processing applications for some weeks beyond today’s closing. It will continue to post results each Friday on its website (links below).

The Arts Council laid a framework for Phase 2 of Creative New Zealand’s COVID-19 response at its 29 April meeting, enabling the organisation to begin initial planning from then.

Phase 1 results to date (updated on Creative New Zealand’s website weekly, on Friday afternoons):

Other government announcements:

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