Government takes next step to lift artists’ incomes

Arts, Culture and Heritage

The Government is introducing a scheme which will lift incomes for artists, support them beyond the current spike in cost of living and ensure they are properly recognised for their contribution to New Zealand’s economy and culture.

“In line with New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement with the UK, last year we announced that the Government was establishing an Artist Resale Royalty Scheme. Today, we took the next step in delivering on that, representing a huge milestone in a journey that began fifteen years ago,” Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni said.

“Today we have introduced a Bill that will ensure creators of visual arts are recognised and rewarded when their work is resold on the secondary art market. Artists have some of the lowest median incomes in New Zealand and have limited opportunities to benefit from their work on an ongoing basis.

“It will establish an Artist Resale Royalty Scheme, which ensures a five percent royalty is collected every time an artist’s work is re-sold, meaning artists will benefit from their creations on an ongoing basis. Currently, if an artist’s reputation grows and their art attracts a higher price on the secondary market, the artist does not receive any of the profit in recognition of their intellectual property, hard work, or success.

“Through this Bill we are recognising the role and contribution of visual artists to our economy, and going some way to ensuring their contributions to New Zealand culture do not go unnoticed.

“Establishing the Artist Resale Royalty Scheme upholds our commitment to New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement with the UK and also signals our commitment to our pending Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.

“More than 80 countries, including Australia, the UK and all EU nations, have a similar royalty scheme in place for their artists, and it’s time for New Zealand to join,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

Insights and experiences of international schemes have been incorporated into the Resale Right for Visual Artists Bill, while also considering New Zealand’s unique context.

“This is seen in the definition of visual artwork in the Bill, where visual works of cultural expression of Māori and Pacific peoples are included in the scheme. I’m proud this Bill has been developed specifically acknowledging our country’s vibrant and unique visual arts scene,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“Extensive engagement with key sector stakeholders in the arts and culture sector and secondary art market has already helped design the Bill. Members of the public will also have an opportunity to provide submissions through the select committee process and I encourage everyone with an interest to do so.

“I am confident that Aotearoa New Zealand will reap the benefits of such a scheme. Australia put a similar scheme in place over a decade ago, and from June 2010 to April 2022, $11 million Australian dollars has been generated in royalties for visual artists.

“An artist resale royalty scheme in Aotearoa New Zealand is long overdue. I’m confident that this Bill strikes an important balance between recognising the contribution that artists make to our communities and the economy, whilst allowing a valuable secondary art market to flourish and protecting artists at the same time,” Carmel Sepuloni said.