Government COVID-19 Delta Relief Funding: FAQs

These FAQs focus on the $5 million New Creative New Zealand has been allocated by the Government (in September 2021) to provide short-term support to the arts sector in response to Delta.

Last updated: 15 October 2021

Snapshot:

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni announced on 29 September 2021 that the Government is providing a targeted support package of reprioritised funding to help the arts and culture sector respond to the challenges of the Delta variant.

Part of the package to provide short-term relief includes a $10 million funding boost to cultural agencies to enable them to support at-risk organisations, key infrastructure, artists and projects. Through this package, Creative New Zealand has been allocated $5 million (of the $10 million being distributed to agencies) to provide short-term support to the arts sector. 

Creative New Zealand will distribute the $5 million by:

  • increasing the budget for its Arts Grants programme (with decisions on upcoming rounds to be notified on 22 October and 4 December 2021)
  • increasing the budget for its Annual Arts Grants programme (with decisions to be notified on 1 October 2021)
  • increasing the amount of resilience funding for at-risk organisations in its investment programmes (with the fund to open from mid-October 2021)
  • increasing funding for the Creative Communities Scheme (by distributing additional funds to territorial authorities by the end of 2021 to support local arts activities).

1. COVID-19 Delta Relief Funding: What's happening?

1.1 Where is the funding coming from? 

All of the eligibility requirements arThe $37.5 million package is sourced from uncommitted funding for 2022/23 from the existing $374 million COVID Arts and Culture recovery programme. This funding is from some longer-term initiatives originally intended to be supported from the $374 million programme (announced in late May 2020).

The proposal to bring forward this funding has meant revision of some longer-term initiatives originally intended to be supported from the $374 million programme, however ongoing refinement has always been anticipated due to the evolving nature of this global pandemic. 

Read more about the package on Manatū Taonga’s website.

1.2 How much money is Creative New Zealand getting? 

Creative New Zealand has been allocated $5 million (of the $10 million being distributed to agencies) to provide short-term support to the arts sector.

1.3 Who else is getting additional funding/money?

Part of the package to provide short-term relief includes a $10 million funding boost to cultural agencies to enable them to support at-risk organisations, key infrastructure, artists and projects. Through this package, Creative New Zealand has been allocated $5 million (of the $10 million being distributed to agencies) to provide short-term support to the arts sector.

Other agencies receiving support include the New Zealand Music Commission ($3 million), Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa/Museums Aotearoa ($1 million) and the New Zealand Film Commission ($1 million).

2. Creative New Zealand's additional $5 million and what we're going to do with it

2.1 How will you be distributing this $5 million? 

We’ll distribute the $5 million by:

  • increasing the budget for our Arts Grants programme (with decisions on upcoming rounds to be notified on 22 October and 4 December 2021)
  • increasing the budget for our Annual Arts Grants programme (with decisions to be notified on 1 October 2021)
  • increasing the amount of resilience funding for at-risk organisations in our investment programmes (with the fund to open from mid-October 2021)
  • increasing funding for the Creative Communities Scheme (by distributing additional funds to territorial authorities by the end of 2021 to support local arts activities).

We’re working through the details and will provide further breakdowns when able. 

2.2 When can we access this additional $5 million funding? 

  • Arts Grants programme: Round 3 opens 4 October with decisions on upcoming rounds to be notified on 22 October and 4 December 2021.
  • Annual Arts Grants programme: Decisions to be notified on 1 October 2021.
  • Investment programmes: Fund opens from mid-October 2021.
  • Creative Communities Scheme: Additional funds to be distributed to territorial authorities by the end of 2021.

2.3 Will the assessment criteria for these funds still remain the same?  

Yes.

2.4 Will you be pausing any of your funding opportunities?   

No. Our priority with this additional $5 million is to get it out to artists and arts organisations as quickly and efficiently as possible. The best way we can do this is by distributing it through our existing funding and investment programmes. This won’t affect our other programmes.

2.5 Will preference be given to artists in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland because of their higher alert level?  

Artists and organisations in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland are at the forefront of our minds as the most heavily impacted. We’ll consider these applications in the same way that we have treated all previous applications. Where possible, and in line with our funding guidelines, we’ll support quality proposals from our Tāmaki arts community.   

2.6 How will Māori or Pasifika artists, arts practitioners, arts groups or arts organisations be supported in this funding? 

Māori or Pasifika artists, arts practitioners, arts groups or arts organisations can continue to apply to Arts Grants through the Māori Arts and Pacific Arts funding pools respectively, or the general arts funding pool.

You can find out more on our website

2.7 You’ve mentioned you’re increasing the budget for Arts Grants. Are you therefore lifting the limit of 225 applications per round? 

We won’t be increasing the application limit. The limits are in place to manage demand and budget and speed up decision-making timeframes.

Given our priority with this additional $5 million is to get it out to artists and arts organisations as quickly and efficiently as possible, increasing the limit may hinder our ability to turn around decisions and get funding out the door quickly.

2.8 Why are you not lifting the limit of 225 applications?

We’re acutely aware of the need to distribute the $5 million as quickly and efficiently as possible – the best way we can do this is by distributing it through our existing funding and investment programmes. Increasing the number of applications would delay the distribution of funds to the sector.

2.9 Why were application limits introduced in the first place?

2020 we increased the number of Arts Grants rounds while limiting the number of applications each round, to manage demand and budget and speed up decision-making timeframes.

2.10 Won’t this mean that some artists will miss out?

Demand for arts funding, particularly in the contestable grants space, has been intensifying for some time – well beyond our ability to meet all requests – and rose above all expectation last year. We receive many more applications that meet our criteria than we’re able to fund, and a decline is not necessarily a reflection of the quality or value of an application.

The additional funding will enable us to support more applications than we otherwise have been able to support.

2.11 Will Creative New Zealand be reviving its Emergency Relief Grants for loss of income?

We won’t be reviving our Emergency Relief Grants for loss of income (topped up the WINZ Wage Subsidy). That offering was a focus of our Phase 1 Emergency Response when we drew on our financial reserves.

We currently have limited capacity to deliver additional support over and above our current offerings.

However, as part of this Government package to support the arts and culture sector, Manatū Taonga will administer a $5 million Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund to support organisations at clear risk of no longer trading viably – applications open Friday 1 October. More information is available on their website..

2.12 What’s the difference between this package and your Phase 1 Emergency Response Package?

In 2020, the Government injected an additional $25 million into our funding to support artists, creative practitioners and arts organisations. This was in addition to our initial $16 million investment, so we had more pūtea to invest in a response package. 

Having spent down our reserves in 2020, we’ve been constantly evolving our offering to the arts community. 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. 

Based on this, our priority with this additional $5 million is to get it out to artists and arts organisations as quickly and efficiently as possible. The best way we can do this is by distributing it through our existing funding and investment programmes.

2.13 How will you distribute your $5 million across the funding programmes you’ve identified?

Our priority with this additional $5 million is to get it out to artists and arts organisations as quickly and efficiently as possible. The best way we can do this is by distributing it through our existing funding and investment programmes. We’re working through the details and will provide further breakdowns when able.

What we can tell you in the meantime is that we’ve based our planning on the assumption that alert level restrictions – that prevent the arts community from operating business as usual – will be around until at least the end of the year and so this timeframe is our first priority. If this proves inaccurate, we’ll revise our plan accordingly.

2.14 What are you doing for investment clients?

Another iteration of our Resilience Fund for current Kahikatea and Tōtara organisations will open on 18 October and its core focus remains the same as what was offered last year. We want to ensure the ongoing viability of investment organisations who have been impacted by Delta alert level changes, and minimise the impact of alert level changes on the artists and arts practitioners who work with these organisations.

2.15 What are you doing for individual artists?

Arts grants offer short-term project funding for New Zealand artists, arts practitioners and arts organisations (including groups and collectives). Round 3 opens 4 October 2021. More info on our website.

For immediate relief, those in the sector will be able to apply for the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund from Friday 1 October through Manatū Taonga’s website.

Additional support available:

  • Applications for the third COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021, known as Wage Subsidy August 2021 #3, are open for two weeks between 9am, 17 September and 11.59pm, 30 September 2021. The Wage Subsidy is still available under Level 2 (if any part of the country is at level 3 or 4). A wage subsidy will be available to all New Zealand businesses and self-employed people that meet eligibility criteria.
     
  • 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.

2.16 What are your plans for further supporting the sector after this $5 million is exhausted?

We’ve allocated $5 million to be shared across our programmes before Christmas. We’ve based our planning around the scenario that Alert Level 2 will be around until at least the end of the year – if this proves inaccurate, we’ll revise our plan accordingly.

Our focus in the third phase of our COVID-19 response is largely about future-proofing our programmes so that recipients of our support can do their work in different COVID-contexts.

We’re heartened that the Government is also proposing making up to $22.5 million available to help future-proof the sector’s planning and hosting of performances and events. This is to give the arts and culture sector confidence to plan and host performances and events over the next six to eight months given the uncertainty of COVID-19 alert levels.

We’ll continue working closely with Manatū Taonga, providing regular updates and offering advice where we can.

3. Other support for the arts sector and community

3.1 What other support is available to the arts sector and community? 

  • Manatū Taonga will administer a time-limited $5 million Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund to support at-risk organisations. More information is available on their website.
     
  • Applications for the third COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021, known as Wage Subsidy August 2021 #3, are open for two weeks between 9am, 17 September and 11.59pm, 30 September 2021. The Wage Subsidy is still available under Level 2 (if any part of the country is at level 3 or 4). A wage subsidy will be available to all New Zealand businesses and self-employed people that meet eligibility criteria.
     
  • 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.

3.2 What does the wider Government COVID-19 Delta Relief Funding package include?  

The Government’s $37.5million package to support the short-term needs of the cultural sector includes:

  • $10 million for cultural agencies to enable them to support their sector’s at-risk organisations, key infrastructure, artists and projects
     
  • $5 million Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund to be administered by Manatū Taonga to support organisations, including sole traders, which are not supported by cultural agencies but are at clear risk of no longer operating viably
     
  • up to $22.5 million has been made available to give the cultural sector confidence to plan and host performances and events over the next 6-8 months given the uncertainty of COVID-19 alert levels
     
  • extending the Screen Production Recovery Fund to at least June 2022.

Manatū Taonga is also working across Government to explore options for further medium-term support.

Visit Manatū Taonga’s website for more information.

3.3 Where can I find more information about the COVID-19 Delta Relief Funding package? 

The best place to go is the Manatū Taonga website.