Support for arts and music sector recovery

  • Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
  • Hon Grant Robertson
  • Hon Carmel Sepuloni
Prime Minister Arts, Culture and Heritage

A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19.

Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package in a crucial economic boost to support the arts and creative sector, which contributes nearly $11 billion a year to GDP, employs 90,000 people and supports the wellbeing of communities.

“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.

“This suite of initiatives will help protect cultural sector jobs and create new employment opportunities, build skills, knowledge and resilience, protect Māori knowledge and artforms, and continue to provide inspiration for all New Zealanders.

“A healthy cultural sector has many positive flow-on effects for other important parts of our economy, such as technical production, hospitality, venues and domestic tourism,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“As we saw after the Canterbury earthquakes, creativity and culture creates jobs, drives economic recovery and enhances social wellbeing,” Associate Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Grant Robertson said.

Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni said: “During lockdown so many artists and cultural organisations were innovative in how they could continue to share their talent and work with their communities across New Zealand.

“Artists contribute so much to our economy, the fabric of our country and our communities. It makes absolute sense to put a plan in place that is focussed on sustaining their ability to work and remain employed.”

Today we are announcing:

  • $7.9 million for Careers Support for Creative Jobseekers – a programme that will be progressively rolled out to support artists and creatives back into sustainable work and builds on the most successful aspects of the former Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment (PACE) programme. We envisage this will help up to 2000 people over four years.
  • $70 million 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 fund will be managed to create employment, mentoring and apprenticeship opportunities, ensure vital skills, talent and creative infrastructure is not lost, and maintain public access to the arts. 
  • $60 million over three years for a Cultural Innovation Fund – a contestable fund to support new ways of operating, cross-sector partnerships, and create new ways to add value to the economy, particularly through digital exports. This will include supporting innovative approaches to Māori artforms and traditional knowledge.
  • $20 million for a Cultural Capability Fund to focus on immediate needs in response to COVID-19, such as legal services, online delivery and audience development.
  • $16.5 million for a New Zealand Music Recovery Fund specifically directed towards the contemporary popular music industry. This includes $7.1m to boost NZ on Air’s New Music programmes, $5m for a Live Music Touring Fund to support NZ acts on the domestic circuit as alert levels permit, $3m immediate support for music venues to have safe environments for audiences, workers and artists, to be administered by the NZ Music Commission, and $1.4m to help musicians recoup lost income via Outward Sounds and NZ Music Month. The support for new contemporary music and live music is expected to sustain a combined 2900 jobs over two years, produce 455 new song releases and 150 live music tours throughout New Zealand.
  • The first wave of funding becomes available from July 2020.

“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,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“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,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Full details of the funding are available at