03 Aug 2021

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Councils supporting arts and culture through their Long term Plans

A number of councils have made significant commitments to supporting arts and culture in their communities through the long-term planning process.

A long-term plan (LTP) sets out the work councils plan to do over a 10-year period, and how that work will support community wellbeing. Councils are required to review their LTP every three years, and ask the community for feedback on their draft plans.

Creative New Zealand made submissions to 13 councils’ LTP consultations, to encourage councils to invest in arts and culture and to recognise artists and arts organisations as partners who they can work with to deliver wellbeing outcomes.  

Our submissions focused on supporting the good work that’s already happening in many cities and towns, identifying the gaps in support, and encouraging councils to directly involve their arts communities as they plan for the future.

We’re delighted to see a number of positive results emerging from LTP consultation processes.

In Ōtautahi Christchurch, the draft LTP initially proposed a reduction to the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū opening hours and a 25 percent reduction to public and school programmes. Following consultation, Council decided not to make any reductions to the Gallery’s levels of service. Christchurch City Council has also committed to a number of key investments for arts and culture in the city, including a capital grant of $5.5 million for the Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora. The Arts Centre is New Zealand’s largest collection of Category One heritage buildings, and provides access to a wide range of creative activities across galleries, film, craft workshops, concerts and visual art.

In Tauranga, the arts community led a groundswell of submissions advocating for greater investment in arts and culture through the city’s LTP. Council listened to the community, and approved $750,000 of new funding for arts and culture. The new investment includes increased funding for Tauranga Art Gallery, the Incubator Creative Hub, a new fund to develop the local film sector, and support for the development of two cultural and heritage centres.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council agreed to invest $5.4 million in a new arts and cultural facility. Te Atamira will be located in the Remarkables Park Town Centre, and include theatre, music, dance and artist studios, workshops and a gallery. 

These decisions are great examples of councils listening to the needs of their community, and planning for the delivery of services and facilities that are fit-for purpose and promote community wellbeing.

“As one of the largest investors in arts and culture, local government is a key partner in our work to ensure all New Zealanders can benefit from the arts,” says David Pannett, Senior Manager for Strategy and Engagement. “Many councils are already doing great work around the country to make their communities vibrant and creative places. We’re encouraging them to make sure artists and creatives in their communities are heard, and are brought to the table. They’ve got so much to offer.”

Making submissions to councils’ long-term plans, annual plans and policies is an important and effective way to make sure decision-makers in your community recognise the value of supporting and investing in arts and culture. Guidance for the arts community and copies of our recent submissions can be found in the ‘How you can advocate’ section of the Advocacy Toolkit on our website.

To support the LTP process, we also published guidance for local government–  Arts and culture: part of your community’s future—Ngā Taonga Toi: ngā taonga pāpori āke ākeon ways councils can continue to support arts and culture through their planning processes.