Govt investment in arts delivers strong economic results

Arts, Culture and Heritage
  • cultural sector employment grew by 4.2% in the 12 months to March 2022
  • cultural sector businesses nationally grew by 8.2% to March 2022
  • strong cultural sector GDP contribution of $12.9 billion in the 12 months to March 2022, a growth of 10.6% compared to 5.3% for the total economy
  • High level modelling suggests up to 1,000 more new jobs in the arts and cultural sector and over 1,600 additional jobs in the wider sector

A new report evaluating the economic impact of the Government’s almost half a billion dollars investment in the arts and culture sector through COVID-19 shows heartening results, with employment, business and GDP growing in 2022.

“Following our Government’s largest ever investment in the arts, culture and heritage sector in Aotearoa New Zealand’s history, this is pleasing news,” Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni said.

“We’ve remained steadfast in our commitment to these sectors over the course of the pandemic and as we get through the current cost of living spike. We’ve protected peoples jobs and livelihoods, as well as helped to sustain the important contribution the sector makes to our economy,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“Despite a forecasted loss of nearly 11,000 jobs in the sector, employment actually grew by 4.2 per cent in the 12 months to March 2022. Similarly, the number of businesses in the cultural sector grew by 8.2 per cent to March 2022.

“Supported by our Government’s investment, these employment and business results contributed $12.9 billion to our economy’s GDP, a growth of 10.6 per cent compared to 5.3 per cent for the total economy.

“We know the economy has grown strongly and is showing its resilience with the arts and culture sector playing its role to support our wider economic recovery.

 “Our Government’s investment has and will continue to see more jobs created. High-level modelling suggests that we will see nearly 1,000 more jobs for the sector and over 1,600 more jobs in the wider economy – these are the flow on effects on employment when the arts and creative sectors are supported to flourish and thrive.

“When COVID-19 hit, we acted quickly to put in place programmes that could protect and preserve the financial viability of arts and cultural organisations, keep them operating and thriving and create further employment opportunities.

“I’m pleased that these programmes have delivered on their purpose. The Screen Production Recovery Fund is one such example, supporting more than 41 productions to adopt COVID-19 health and safety measures to enable them to maintain operations, and preserving and creating over 2,850 jobs for crew and actors.

“Support has also gone directly into the pockets of artists, through the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund, with nearly 1,300 individual artists receiving financial support.

“The economic and trading outlook for our music industry remains strong too, with 95 per cent of music venues supported by the NZ Music Venue Infrastructure Fund still trading following the pandemic. 76.5 per cent of venue owners surveyed had also said their venue would not have survived the pandemic without the support of the Government’s NZ Music Venue Infrastructure Fund.

“Over the course of our term in Government, we’ve moved quickly to support the arts and culture sector with a real and tangible emphasis on putting money into the pockets of artists who deliver arts for a living, protecting livelihoods and businesses, and delivering arts funding into as many pockets of the motu as possible.

“The mahi doesn’t stop there though. That’s why we’re introducing the Artist Resale Royalty Scheme which will lift incomes for artists, support them beyond the current cost of living spike and ensure they’re properly recognised for their work and contribution. That’s the bread and butter for artists.

“Artists first called for a scheme like this fifteen years ago, and alongside our Government’s ongoing investment in the sector, we’re a Government that is proudly delivering for them, for all New Zealanders who enjoy the arts, as well as the economy which benefits from their contributions,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

Editors Notes:

Click here for the Impacts Report 2021/22

  • The CRP 21/22 Impacts report uses a programme-wide assessment across multiple initiatives and data and insights methodologies. Findings in the report are based on available data from some initiatives delivered in 21/22, collected through performance and grant monitoring, economic and cultural participation research, and initiative evaluations.
  • Economic modelling and programme evidence shows that the Government’s investment has preserved jobs and created new employment and career opportunities


  • Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme—Reimbursement and financial security was provided to thousands of creative and support staff and organisations in the events sector for events affected by COVID-19.
  • Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund—Funding was provided to 64 organisations (totalling $3.6 million) and 1,299 individuals (totalling nearly $6.5 million, with individuals receiving $5,000 each).
  • Screen Production Recovery Fund—Funding administered by the New Zealand Film Commission supported more than 41 productions to adopt COVID-19 health and safety measures and maintain operations and staffing. This included preserving and creating over 2,850 jobs for crew and actors.
  • New Zealand Music Recovery NZ Music Venue Infrastructure Fund—Funding supported more than 680 employees across 70 small venues in 25 towns and cities. Of the venues supported, 95% have continued trading. Of the three venues that closed, two are seeking new premises. 76.5% of venue owners surveyed in May 2022 said their venue would not have survived the pandemic without the support of the fund.
  • New Zealand Music Recovery Aotearoa Touring Programme—Funding supported 142 tours by New Zealand artists across 132 towns and cities. This provided income for musicians, music workers and support personnel involved in the delivery of the tours.
  • Public Interest Journalism Fund—Funding Rounds 2 and 3 supported 140 new roles and 10 training schemes (six training new cadets and four upskilling existing journalists) to preserve and enhance at-risk public service journalism in newsrooms at the local, regional and national levels. These roles included journalists and reporters, editors, translators and audience engagement staff.
  • Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku—More than 180 employment opportunities were supported across the Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kotuku programme. The programme also supported projects that pay fees to artists and other specialist practitioners to ensure continuity of practices and support intergenerational knowledge transmission. Eight internships were created in partnership with Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, the National Library of New Zealand, Archives New Zealand and Te Papa Tongarewa, as well as two internships in partnership with Te Matatini to support preparations for the national kapa haka festival.
  • Pasifika Festivals Initiative—Tasi ’21 Wave funding supported 16 festival organisations across 10 regions to remain financially viable and continue operations. This included preserving and creating 56 FTE roles or fixed-term contracts.
  • Museum Hardship Fund—Funding covered basic operating costs, staff wages and collection and building maintenance. This included the preservation and creation of 59 staff roles (mostly part-time).
  • Creative Spaces (CARE Fund)—Funding supported 54 creative spaces to deliver additional resourcing hours with an average of 0.7 additional new FTEs per year per organisation. This led to a 19% increase in the number of employees across the creative spaces compared to employment numbers pre-funding.