25 Jun 2019

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Creative New Zealand welcomes Governments new investment in career sustainability for artists

The Government’s Budget 2019 included a welcome $1 million annual increase to Creative New Zealand’s baseline funding, to improve career sustainability for artists and arts practitioners.

Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon Grant Robertson reinforced the Government’s commitment to the arts sector today, while addressing Creative New Zealand’s annual Nui Te Kōrero, a sector gathering focused on capability building.

As noted in Budget 2019, this investment “emphasises the value of [arts practitioners’] work in our society, improves career sustainability and personal wellbeing, and helps to create a more resilient arts sector.”

Creative New Zealand will match the Government’s investment by at least the same amount, and direct the total towards increasing arts project funding through upcoming changes to its grants programme (including supporting fair reward for artists, lifting per-project grant limits and introducing an annual round aimed at activity over a 12-month period).

Arts Council Chair Michael Moynahan says, “Creative New Zealand welcomes the Government’s increased investment in the arts sector and further recognition of the sector’s value. Together, we’re helping make important progress towards more fairly rewarding creative professionals and improving the sustainability of the arts sector, which benefits us all.”

This is the first increase in Government funding Creative New Zealand has received in a decade, taking the annual total to $16.689 million (a 6.4 percent increase). The balance of the organisation’s funding comes primarily from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board (71% in the 2017/18 financial year).

To align its funding with its Investment Strategy Te Ara Whakamua 2018–2023, Creative New Zealand has already made provision for an additional $4.5 million annually for its longer-term Tōtara and Kahikatea investment clients, increased by $600,000 its investment in the Creative Communities Scheme administered by local authorities and set aside just over $2 million for a new ‘Arts in the Regions’ initiative.

Recent research findings

Creative New Zealand and NZ On Air recently released co-commissioned research on creative career sustainability. The research found that New Zealanders employed in creative professions have to juggle creative and non-creative jobs and rely on safety nets to survive.

The median total personal income for the close to 1,500 creative professionals surveyed was $35,784 – but that includes other non-creative sources of income. The median income from creative work alone was just $15,000. The median income for all New Zealanders earning a wage or salary is $51,844 and, for self-employed New Zealanders, $37,900.

The research also found that the point from which creative professionals start to feel they’re being fairly rewarded for their endeavours is $26 per hour.

Over and above its detailed findings, the research points to the need for concerted and connected efforts in the area of sustainable careers – by government, agencies and the industry – to address the barriers and limitations around current support arrangements.

Regions and schools to get targeted support for the arts

In addressing Nui Te Kōrero, Hon. Robertson also announced Creative New Zealand’s new, three-year ‘Arts in the Regions’ initiative. Arts in the Regions will target local and regional communities outside the main centres of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Its purpose is to:

  • increase opportunities and engagement for local and regional communities to experience high-quality arts
  • increase investment in the arts by local or regional partners
  • develop high-quality arts within local and regional communities.

The initiative is in the early planning stages and likely to be delivered in 2020.

Creative New Zealand also welcomes the Government’s announcement of a ‘Creatives in Schools’ initiative – an opportunity for professional artists and creative practitioners to partner with schools, sharing specialist artistic knowledge and creative practice with students. To be delivered by the Ministry of Education, Creative New Zealand has assisted in the programme’s development.

“We’re excited to see more paid opportunities for our creative professionals to share their invaluable knowledge and creative practice with young people. We know that creative experiences enrich all of our lives,” Michael says.

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