Auckland’s Q Theater has lost “99%” of its upcoming business due to Covid. Photo / Kate Little.
Arts organizations have welcomed the news of targeted funding for the sector – but say the government’s announcement is “rudimentary” and more certainty is needed on how to file bankruptcy in the long term.
The Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Carmel Sepuloni, announced that the government will allocate $ 37.5 million from the Covid Recovery Program to support the creative sector, including $ 10 million to the Emergency Relief Fund for the cultural sector for organizations and people in need of emergency assistance.
Figures from Manatū Taonga show the industry lost $ 466 million – or $ 13 million a day – between August 18, when the restrictions began, and September 21.
“As the government’s $ 374 million Covid recovery program announced last year brings relief and longer-term support, we recognize that something more immediate is also needed,” Sepuloni said in a statement. this morning.
“I have no doubts that this package will help those who need immediate assistance and have not been able to continue their business. It will also give the industry the confidence to plan and organize performances and events without fear of significant losses. in the event of cancellation or postponement due to Covid-19. “
It comes after organizations called earlier this month for targeted funding, after initial “delta 2” rules meant venues would see capacity limited to 50 people.
As part of this long-term planning, $ 22.5 million has been set aside to “build confidence” in cultural shows and events and sustain the sector, although specific details are yet to be revealed.
Auckland Pride Director Max Tweedie said he was “generally satisfied” with the funding announced today, but hopes more details will be available soon to provide greater certainty, particularly on how this funding will be provided.
“Festivals and live events are making decisions now for shows in five or six months,” he said. “We [are] all feeling risk averse, and we don’t want to commit funding for events if we’re not sure. “
Tweedie said this was a “good first step”, but it would not pull the woodworking arts sector forward and more certainty was needed.
Greg Innes, managing director of Auckland’s Q Theater, welcomed the announcement but called the funding “straightforward.”
“I know they’re up to something, but I couldn’t tell you what it is.”
He said what their organization, and many others, need to know right now is how to pass Level 2, as an extended stay in Auckland could be devastating.
“Our reservations for October are virtually nonexistent,” said Innes, “99 percent” of the people who had rented the venue for that month had no longer booked with them.
Requests for emergency aid funds can be made on the Manatu Taonga website from October 1.