Cit y ar t s gr oups s aved by bill
A $572,000 rescue package will keep two Auckland arts groups alive for another year.
The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and New Zealand Opera were in danger of folding before being allocated the funding from the new Auckland Regional Funding Amenities Bill.
The Auckland City Council will put up $90,000 for each organisation to tide them over until funding kicks in from July next year.
It’s conditional on the rest of the cash – $125,000 for the opera company and $267,200 for the orchestra – coming from Creative New Zealand.
Auckland mayor John Banks told the arts, culture and recreation committee on Wednesday that Auckland wouldn’t be an international city without the two organisations.
“We’ve got a lot of expenses on our plate but we can’t walk away from our friends who have helped us for so long,” Mr Banks said.
He recommended the committee “step up to the plate” and approve the funding.
The money will come from unallocated arts funding.
NZ Opera board of directors member Donald Trott says the deal is “very satisfying”.
“It’s a great thrill. We’ve had wonderful support from the council over this,” he says.
Delays in setting up the re- gional funding processes put the opera company in “a very precarious position”.
And the withdrawal of two s p o n s o r s h i p s worth $500,000 created significant deficits for coming years.
The Auckland Philharmonia already receives $500,000 of annual support from the council.
Chairwoman Rosanne Meo says she is absolutely delighted and proud of the leadership shown by the council.
She says the organisation was reluctant to approach the council for the money, but didn’t know how to bridge the gap.
“With the light at the end of the tunnel we just had to keep on going.”
She says the new regional funding law will help to spread the load more equitably between councils.
The opera company and the philharmonia are among 10 regional arts, education and rescue groups included in the Auckland Regional Funding Amenities Bill.
The bill was passed on August 27. It requires regional authorities to contribute according to population.
Previously the city council carried the bulk of the funding burden for many of the groups.