Summer festivals get government backing

Big summer festivals get financial certainty to proceed in face of COVID-19 threat
Government takes lion’s share of risk for upfront costs that can’t be recovered
Open to paid, ticketed events with audiences over 5,000 requiring vaccination certificates
New financial support will give organisers of large summer festivals greater certainty to proceed, with the government to shoulder the lion’s share of risk during planning stages.
Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash has announced an Events Transition Support Scheme designed to give festival organisers greater confidence to plan and incur costs, in the face of public health risks from COVID-19.
“Organisers of large-scale summer festivals have to make decisions now about whether to proceed as their risk window is closing. There aren’t insurance options in the market to cover this so the government is stepping up as a type of underwriter,” Stuart Nash said.
“Under the scheme the government will cover 90 per cent of unrecoverable costs for paid, ticketed events with audiences of more than 5,000 vaccinated people, if organisers are forced to cancel or postpone due to COVID-19 public health measures.
“Events typically only generate revenue on the day or weekend they take place, yet incur significant costs in advance. A quick shift in public health measures could see an event cancelled with no opportunity to recoup costs or generate revenue.
“Organisers of these festivals are great entrepreneurs who give back to our communities. They take a lot of risk to deliver fantastic experiences that are part of the cultural fabric of a Kiwi summer and create lasting memories. COVID-19 has made their job even harder and these grants recognise they need our support if summer events are to go ahead.
“Big summer events are crucial for our economic and social wellbeing. We are in a unique period of transition from the Alert Level system to the new Protection Framework which relies on 90 per cent vaccination rates. An immediate solution is needed this summer.
“The scheme will go live this week and event organisers will be able to apply via the MBIE website to check their eligibility. This will give them greater confidence and allow them to continue to plan and deliver events over the summer,” said Stuart Nash.
The eligibility criteria for an event are summarised below, while definitive terms and conditions will shortly be on the MBIE website.
The event must require the use of COVID Vaccination Certificates;
It must be a live, in-person event at a single location between 17 December 2021 and 3 April 2022 with expected ticket sales of at least 5,000;
The event must have been actively ‘in the market’ through promotion or ticket sales prior to the announcement of this scheme;
The event must be open to the public and run by a New Zealand organisation;
The event cannot be funded by other government sources such as the Major Events Fund or the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, nor have underwriting from another source such as local government or an insurer;
Costs incurred by local government organisations are not eligible for recovery;
The payment will cover actual direct costs associated with the event that cannot be recovered, and will not cover lost profits or shareholder salaries;
The event organiser will be the primary applicant and must agree to honour the eligible costs incurred by their suppliers.
The Events Transition Support Payment will be made if a cancellation or postponement occurs due to one of the following:
The event is in an area operating under Alert Level restrictions which prohibit the event from occurring (Alert Level 2 or higher); or
The event is in an area that is operating under the COVID-19 Protection Framework and is at RED LEVEL or a localised lockdown; or
At least 50 percent of tickets/paid registrations have been sold to attendees located within an Alert Level 3 or higher boundary or within a RED LEVEL or localised lockdown area (if regional boundary restrictions are in effect).

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