Launch of PACE - Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment

  • Judith Tizard
Arts, Culture and Heritage

Tena Koutou, Tena Koutou, Tena Tatou katoa.

This is a really exciting day for me.

Firstly, I would like to bring you the greetings of Prime Minister Helen Clark – who is also the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage.

Greetings from Minister for Social Services and Employment, Steve Maharey – who will be here later today. We have worked very closely on developing the PACE scheme – Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment.

We’ve had a wonderful two years in the arts. I was delighted when Gilbert Wong wrote in the NZ Herald, as he was leaving his job as arts editor, that what we have done has meant that artists feel there is more recognition for what they do. He wrote that with Helen Clark taking the arts and culture portfolio, she has elevated it from a position outside the cabinet, into the mainstream.

He’s right. New Zealanders were sick and tired of being told that the arts are frivolous. The Government has made arts, culture and heritage a priority for three main reasons. The arts are intrinsically good – they are about passion, communication, confrontation and identity.

Our culture is who we are and the arts are how we say that. Our arts, culture and heritage play a huge role in defining our nation. In a globalising world, it is important that we continue to tell our own stories. If we don’t know who we are, how as a trading nation do we know what’s for sale? We do have a special and unique story to tell.

Creative industries can make a significant contribution to New Zealand’s social and economic well-being. Arts and cultural activities are a rich source of employment, foreign exchange earnings, productivity and cultural tourism. The arts have the potential to make a huge contribution to NZ’s GDP earnings, and they already are.

When we formed the Government, we decided that the arts sector was far too precarious, so we put our money where our mouths were.

We made a significant injection of funding into the arts, culture and heritage sector with the Cultural Recovery Package in May 2000.

The Cultural Recovery Package was designed to quickly stabilise our major arts organisations and institutions, revive creative industries, and create jobs.

Major institutions such as Te Papa, the NZ Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal NZ Ballet were in dire financial straits, so we moved quickly to remedy that.

Major arts bodies such as Creative New Zealand needed more funding to expand their own capacity, as well as the organisations they fund on an annual and recurrent basis, such as Sounz, Opera New Zealand NZ Book Council, regional orchestras like the Auckland Philarmonia, and theatre companies.

But also if we wanted to be serious about building an environment in which jobs in the creative industries would be plentiful, we needed to put some tools in place to do this. We set up the Music Industry Commission, Film Production Fund. They are organisations that are catalysts, advocates for the arts in New Zealand. They are designed to grow their respective industries and move the quality the work we produce to “the next level”.

We have taken a cross-Government approach to developing the creative sector, because we don’t think it’s something that works in isolation.

On top of all the Ministry for Culture and Heritage activity, we have a range of other Government Ministries and Agencies lending support to the sector.
-Ministry of Education has developed the new Arts Curriculum which comes in in 2003. The Ministry has put a lot of effort and resource behind that.
-Industry New Zealand has set up Enterprise Awards and industry incubator programmes, such as the Dunedin Fashion Incubator.
-The Ministry of Economic Development has carried out studies on how music, film & other creative industries can be assisted to increase their foreign exchange earnings. There are exciting programmes being developed in these areas.
-Tourism New Zealand has developed a formal partnership with Wearable Arts, and has been working directly to recognise that snowboarding and rugby are not the only things people come to New Zealand for. Our cultural assets are also a huge attraction.
-The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade has been doing a lot of work around cultural diplomacy, recognising that the exchange of arts and creative ideas are important to our diplomatic and trade relations.

PACE is another example of this cross-Government approach to supporting the arts and cultural sector. Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment is an initiative that will see Work and Income NZ reflect our commitment to support individual practitioners in their career development.

The Government is committed to ensuring that our individual artists are supported as well as our major arts institutions

We have always believed that a career in the arts and creative industries is a viable option.

New Zealand's arts practitioners are talented, well trained and highly motivated people who significantly contribute to this country's economic and social well-being.

In our 1999 election policy, “Uniquely New Zealand”, we stated that we believe that by delivering appropriate support to the sector, significant growth can be achieved in a sustainable way.

Income can often be the breaking-point issue over whether or not to continue with a career in the arts. This is not a decision any emerging artist should have to make.

This Government has brought about a 'cultural change' in the way Work & Income interacts with job seekers.

PACE does two very important things:
1.Identifies the vital role that Work and Income plays in supporting emerging artists and cultural workers to develop their careers
2.Allows artists and cultural workers to register “art” as their first career choice.

PACE will be accessible to all 'cultural workers' - this term incorporates 'artists' as primary creators of work but also those working in arts administration, production, preservation, curation, tuition and other aspects of the arts and creative industries.

This broad term recognises that arts practitioners often engage in several of the above activities in the pursuit of their career. It also reflects and values the contribution made by all the participants in the sector.

It really is an important departure, where we can say to young artists, “go and get the skills and contacts you need, work on your craft, develop your professional skills, we believe in you.” Now, when you go to Work and Income, you won’t be told to go and work as a dishwasher.

The real potential of PACE will be realised in regions where the arts sector and Work & Income enter into partnership to deliver services to arts practitioners.

This is the strength of what has occurred in Dunedin, Auckland and Nelson. In these regions Work & Income has partnered with local arts practitioners to deliver tailored arts specific employment programmes. Isabel Evans and Antony Deaker are here to talk in more detail about these partnerships.

I want to emphasise that strategic partnerships are vitally important in the arts. I would like to particularly thank Creative New Zealand for their help in developing these programmes.

I would like to finish by encouraging arts organisations in Auckland and other regions throughout New Zealand to work in partnership with their local Work and Income Regional Commissioner on employment opportunities for artists.

I hope that PACE will be the first step to better incomes for artists, recognising the vital work they do, that helps us all to be better New Zealanders.

Thank you.