Govt moves to mitigate loss for summer festivals

Source: 1News

The Government is making a deal with festival organisers to give them confidence to plan events this summer despite the looming threat of Covid-19 cancellations.

A crowd at a music festival (file picture).

In a statement on Tuesday morning, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash said the Government would shoulder the lion's share of risk during planning stages in what is being called the Events Transition Support Scheme.

"Under the scheme the Government will cover 90 per cent of unrecoverable costs for paid, ticketed events with audiences of more than 5000 vaccinated people, if organisers are forced to cancel or postpone due to Covid-19 public health measures," Nash said.

"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."

Nash said organisers of the events were "great entrepreneurs who give back to our communities" but they have to take big risks to deliver the events.

"Covid-19 has made their job even harder and these grants recognise they need our support if summer events are to go ahead," he said.

"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."

But Nash said big summer events were crucial for both social wellbeing and New Zealand's economy.

"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," he said.

The full eligibility criteria for an event will be made available on the MBIE website here.

Criteria includes the use of Covid-19 vaccination certificates, the event must be open to the public and run by a New Zealand organisation, and it must be a live, in-person event at a single location between December 17 and April 3, with expected ticket sales of at least 5000.