Arts organisations have welcomed the news of targeted funding for the sector – but say the Government's announcement is "bare bones" and more certainty is needed for the long term.
Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni has announced the Government will be bringing forwards $37.5 million from the Covid Recovery Programme to support the creative sector, including $5m to the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund for organisations and individuals in need of urgent relief.
Figures from Manatū Taonga show that the sector has lost $466m – or $13m a day – between August 18th when restrictions began to September 21st.
"While the Government's $374m Covid Recovery Programme announced last year is bringing relief and longer-term support, we recognise something more immediate is needed too," Sepuloni said in a statement this morning.
"I'm confident this package will help those in need of immediate relief and who have been unable to continue operations. It'll also give the sector confidence to plan and host performances and events without fear of significant losses if cancellation or postponement occurs due to Covid-19."
It comes after organisations earlier this month called for targeted funding, after initial 'Delta level 2' rules meant that venues would see capacity capped at 50 people.
As part of that long-term planning, $22.5m has been set aside to "provide confidence" for cultural performances and events and future-proof the sector, though specific details are yet to be revealed.
Auckland Pride director Max Tweedie said he is "overall happy" with the funding announced today, but hopes that more details come soon to provide greater certainty, particularly with how that funding will be delivered.
"Festivals and live events are making decisions now for shows that are five or six months away," he said. "We [are] all feeling risk averse, and we don't want to commit funding to events if we don't have certainty."
Tweedie said that this is a "good first step", but it won't pull the arts sector out of the woods and more certainty is needed.
Greg Innes, chief executive of Auckland's Q Theatre, welcomed the announcement but described the funding as "bare bones".
"I know they are planning something, but I couldn't tell you what it is."
He said that what their organisation, and many others, need to know right now is how they can get through level 2, as an extended time spent there in Auckland could be devastating.
"Our bookings for October are pretty well non-existent," Innes said, with "99 per cent" of people who had hired the venue for that month no longer booked with them.
Applications can be made for the Emergency Relief Fund through the Manatu Taonga website starting October 1st.