18 Aug 2021

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Stephen Wainwright
Posted by Stephen Wainwright

Chief Executive | Pou Whakahaere

Stephen Wainwright responds to level 4 lockdown

Tēnā tātou,

Tumanako ia e noho haumaru ana tātou. I hope everyone is well.

We’re all coming to terms with last night’s announcement that we’re all in level 4 ‘lockdown’ until at least Friday; Auckland and Coromandel until next Tuesday.

Tuatahi (firstly), we’re thinking of you all – the arts community is always among the first to be hit by lockdowns, with upcoming gigs, events and projects immediately affected. COVID-19 has been particularly tough on the international gateway cities like Auckland and Sydney, and we’re mindful of the additional disruption and toll that has been endured by our colleagues in the north. Kia kaha Tamaki Makaurau.

Like so many New Zealanders, we’re keeping a very close watching brief on the trajectory of the emergence of the Delta variant in Aotearoa.

A crystal ball that could tell us when the alert levels will change would be extremely helpful right now, but sad to say we don’t have one of those. However, as an arts community we’ve become familiar with responding to whatever COVID-19 throws at us.

Since our first experience of lockdown in March 2020, we’ve been constantly evolving our offering to the arts community, guided by the Arts Council. We’ve done our best to future-proof our grants programme so that we don’t have to suddenly put everything on hold while we figure out what to do or change direction, like we had to do when COVID-19 first hit last year. We appreciate that providing as much certainty and consistency as we can in this COVID-19 context is important.

While we’ve got contingency plans in place (and as we’ve done throughout our COVID response we’ll make adjustments if needed), we don’t foresee a need to make radical changes to our offerings at this stage, and we’ll continue with our funding programmes as planned. For example, round 2 of Arts Grants (project funding) and the Toi Ake – Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund will open next Monday 23 August, and assessments for round 1 of Arts Grants will continue as scheduled. We’ve been asking applicants to provide COVID-19 contingency planning in their applications and we’ll continue to make funding decisions based on the alert level of the time.

We’re encouraged, as we were last year, by the speed at which the Government has announced its wage subsidy support.

  • A wage subsidy will be available from this Friday (20 August) to all New Zealand businesses and self-employed people that meet eligibility criteria. Take a look on the WINZ website.
  • The COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is a payment to help support viable and ongoing businesses or organisations due to a COVID-19 alert level increase to level 2 or higher. Applications for this latest alert level increase will open on 24 August – more on the Inland Revenue website.

Finally, lockdown can be an anxious time. The Ministry of Health has some information and tools to support your own and others’ mental wellbeing and where to get help if you or your loved ones need it.

Kia haumaru tonu ō tātou whānau. Whaia i ngā kupu āwhina a ngā āpiha.
Please keep your whānau safe, and follow advice given by officials. 

Nā Stephen Wainwright