Economic and social benefits continue two years on from government’s cultural recovery package

  • Judith Tizard
Arts, Culture and Heritage

The rebuilding programme that has been taking place in New Zealand’s arts and cultural sector over the past two years has produced better economic returns, higher artistic returns and a wider acceptance of the sector’s social and cultural contribution to New Zealand, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Judith Tizard.

Today is the second anniversary of the announcement of the $146 million injection to the cultural sector by Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Helen Clark. (*This figure includes ongoing increases of $20m in each of the three years following.)

The funds boosted many organisations, including Creative New Zealand which passes on its funding in grants to the arts, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the New Zealand Film Archive, the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa) and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

New funding also supported the creation of the Music Industry Commission, to support the development of contemporary New Zealand popular music, and the Film Production Fund, to boost development of the local film industry.

“The mood of the arts and cultural sector has changed in the past two years,” says Judith Tizard. “When we came into government, key areas of the sector were in financial crisis. Now they are reporting bigger audiences, wider exposure to more New Zealanders, and better ability to plan ahead and attract other sources of funding and revenue.

“A Creative New Zealand summary of the impact of the cultural recovery package shows benefits in the regions, benefits in professional arts organisations, and benefits for Maori and Pacific arts. The arts in turn are having a positive impact on New Zealand’s economic, cultural and social life.

“Arts activities impact positively on many areas including employment, economic, regional and community development, health, education, tourism, Maori and Pacific Island development and New Zealand’s international profile.”

An Industry New Zealand report on the growth of the creative sector released yesterday shows the sector is growing faster than the rest of the economy.

Judith Tizard says this study supports the government’s Growing an Innovative New Zealand strategy, which places creative industries at the forefront of New Zealand’s economic development.

“We’ve encouraged strategic partnerships between other sectors so that the economic development of the creative sector continues alongside its cultural development.

“These strategic partnerships have resulted in initiatives such as Industry New Zealand setting up new screen production and design industry taskforces, and Trade New Zealand collaborating with the Music Industry Commission on a New Zealand presence at the Midem trade fair.

“The arts are not fringe activities. They are a major part of the way New Zealanders choose to spend their time and money, and how many make a living. Cultural businesses are real businesses, art is real work.

“Creative New Zealand Chair Peter Biggs told National Radio yesterday morning that because of the huge investment and support for the arts by this government, there’s an explosion of creativity in this country and more of our creative and artistic people are seeing their future here.

“With ongoing funding increases of over $20million a year in each of the three years following the initial injection, all New Zealanders will continue to benefit from the cultural recovery package.”