CINZ’s MEETINGS has received support from the $10m Domestic Events Fund. Image: CINZ
The allocation of $10m Domestic Events Fund to 200 projects is a “great relief” for the struggling industry, says the New Zealand Events Association.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has selected the 200 events that would share just under $10m from the new fund, unveiled at Budget 2020.
Among the 200 events supported were Conventions & Incentives New Zealand’s MEETINGS, Queenstown Winter Festival, Fullers Great Sights Bay of Island Beast, World of Wearable Art, Wild Dunedin, and Warbirds Over Wanaka.
NZEA general manager Ségolène de Fontenay said it was “a great relief after at least four months of no activity and no income”.
“Large parts of the events industry, including the critical supply chain, continue to experience Covid-19-related impacts due to reductions in sponsorship and trust funding, and alert level restrictions on gatherings,” she said.
However, Covid-19 alert level 2 was “not workable” for the majority of events organisers.
“There is, therefore, a need for additional targeted support such as the wage subsidy extension at level 2 for the events sector, including its supply chain,” de Fontenay.
MBIE said the fund received more than 400 applications, of which half had been approved for support. Recipients were required to pay a certain percentage of funding to key event suppliers as up-front payments to ensure funding reached the supply chain in a timely manner.
“Half of the funding going to the events will be passed on as early payments to the critical event supply chain, ensuring support reaches beyond event organisers,” de Fontenay said.
MBIE’s general manager of tourism, Iain Cossar, said events were “important at a community, regional and national level, providing both economic and social benefits and giving New Zealanders the opportunity to learn and experience new things”.
“By helping more events stay viable, we ensure that events are available to New Zealanders both now and in the future.”
Cossar acknowledged it remained “a challenging time for the industry”.
“It is a credit to the sector that the applications demonstrated resilience, agility, and initiative, particularly regarding rescaling.
“However, some events, despite their best efforts, still faced significant financial challenges making delivery impossible, and it is these events that the fund was always intended to support.”
The support comes as Conventions & Incentives New Zealand, which has received funding for its MEETINGS event, called for more transparency about the difference between events in a controlled environment, such as conference venues, and social gatherings.
CINZ chief executive Lisa Hopkins said it was crucial people knew conferences and business meetings could go ahead at level 2.5 in Auckland, and level 2 in the rest of the country.
“Visits to public and event venues are not classified as social gatherings, which in Auckland are limited to 10 people or 50 at funerals and tangihanga,” Hopkins said.
“This means public and event venues, such as conference rooms can have up to 100 customers within any defined space. One-metre physical distancing is required and this applies across New Zealand.”
Hopkins said reports on social gatherings had been confusing, and that had led to “uncertainty and lack of confidence for people wanting to book and participate in business events”.
“We want to ensure people understand they can continue to book their business events,” she said.
“We also want people to understand that Aucklanders can attend business events throughout the country and reports to the contrary are misleading.”
Advice to event organisers was available on the Government’s major events website.
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