Cit y ar t s gr oups s aved by bill

Central Leader - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

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.

John Banks

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