In a Worlds first, New Zealand’s Prime Minister has announced a $175m NZD (~$107m USD) fund to rebuild the Arts and creative sectors post COVID-19. The money will be ready to use by July 2020.

Speaking at a press conference today (Friday 29th May) she said: “The arts and music sectors have been decimated by Covid-19. Treasury forecasts suggest 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.”

This comes as a huge relief to a sector that is reeling from the decimation caused by COVID-19 and the loss of revenue from 1000’s of artists postponing tours, gigs and shows.

Firstly, the Careers Support for Creative Jobseekers programme receives $7.9m of the total to build on the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment (PACE) programme. Government projections estimate this will help some 2000 people in creative roles over the next four years.

This funding is in addition to the $100m Ardern has announced already to assist tourism via museums, galleries and heritage sites. The rest of the money will be distributed among four newly created funds. The Creative Arts Recovery and Employment Fund will receive $70m over three years to support rebuilding the creative industries by commissioning and supporting creative projects around the country. The Cultural Innovation Fund gets $60m over three years to support new ways of adding value to the economy, particularly through digital exports.

The Cultural Capability Fund receives $20m to respond to the immediate Covid-19 issues, such as legal services, online delivery and audience development. And finally, the New Zealand Music Recovery Fund ($16.5m) is specifically for the contemporary pop music industry which will include $7.1m to boost New Zealand on Air’s New Music programmes, $5m for a Live Music Touring Fund, $3m immediate support for safe music venues, and $1.4m to help musicians recoup lost income.

Widely regarded as a progressive leader, Jacinda Ardern has given the New Zealand creative industries the boost they needed at the lowest ebb of their lives. Let’s hope other world leaders see the importance to the Arts and Music industry and follow suit.