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New Zealand government injects NZ$175m into arts and music to support recovery

The New Zealand government has announced a series of targeted support funds totalling NZ$175m (£88.9m/€99.8m/$111.8m) for the music and arts industries to help them recover after COVID-19.

The Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage has unveiled a new NZ$7.9m jobseekers programme for the arts and creative sector that will support around 2,000 jobs over four years.

Four new funds, which are all available in July, have also been set up by the government to help music and arts bounce back after COVID-19 decimated the industries.

The Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Jacinda Ardern, announced the government would inject NZ$70m over three years for a Creative Arts Recovery and Employment Fund to support the rebuild of the creative industries by commissioning and supporting creative projects at a national and local level.

The new NZ$60m Cultural Innovation Fund, which will be rolled out over three years, will support new ways of operating, cross-sector partnerships, boosting digital exports and supporting innovative approaches to Māori artforms and traditional knowledge.

In addition, NZ$16.5m will be dedicated to a New Zealand Music Recovery Fund, which is expected to save 2,900 jobs and 150 tours over a two-year period. The music industry fund also includes NZ$5m to support local acts on the domestic touring circuit “as alert levels permit”.

Venues will receive NZ$3m, which will be distributed by the NZ Music Commission, to create a safe environment and adhere to social distancing and hygiene regulations.

Earlier this week, New Zealand saw live events return to the country via Live Nation’s socially distanced Together Again concert series.

Meanwhile, an additional $1.4m has been dedicated to helping musicians recoup losses incurred by COVID-19’s shutdown of live events, through the New Zealand Music Commission’s international investment programme, Outward Sound, and NZ Music Month.

Finally, a $NZ20m Cultural Capability Fund has been launched to focus on immediate needs in response to COVID-19, such as legal services, online delivery and audience development.

Arden said: “The arts and music sectors have been decimated by COVID-19. Modelling based on 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.

“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.

“These initiatives will provide hundreds of opportunities for creatives to earn income and rebuild their careers, and at a time when we have all been reminded of the importance of our creative industries.”

In addition, Creative New Zealand has received an additional NZ$25m from the government to help the organisation advance planning for the next phase of the emergency response to COVID-19, which it launched in April.

The national arts development agency of the New Zealand government said Phase 2, which it expects to announce details of by the end of June, will focus on the transition to a ‘new normal.’

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