The ten year budget for the Capital is a transformative plan to stimulate the local economy through an unprecedented $700 million investment package with zero cuts to existing services.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Arts Portfolio leader Ray Ahipene-Mercer agree that the Long Term Plan recognises the importance of the arts sector to Wellington’s economy, culture and identity through the proposals to fund key organisations.
“Wellington is New Zealand’s creative capital,” says Mayor Wade-Brown. “Our plan will ensure Wellington’s place as the Arts capital will continue, with over $200 million budgeted in the draft plan for direct cultural and arts spending. The Events Fund also grows from $3 million to $4.7 million.”
Arts portfolio leader Ray Ahipene-Mercer says,” Councillors have supported the arts community by increasing funding to the Royal New Zealand Ballet and Orchestra Wellington, as well as a tranche of valuable organisations, for example the Randall Cottage Writer’s Trust, Footnote Dance Company, Tawata, BATS Theatre, Orpheus Choir and Urban Dream Brokerage,” he says.
“In addition, the extra $100,000 allocated to the Arts grant pool will enable other artists and arts organisations to continue presenting innovative and cutting edge performance and visual interpretations.”
While arts funding was already a considerable part of the draft budget, in response to submissions Council has made further increases.
Over $200 million is budgeted for cultural and arts spending, including:
- Funding for the New Zealand Festival at approximately $1.5 million per annum
- Orchestra Wellington total funding for next three years $272,000 per annum
- Royal New Zealand Ballet, total funding for the next three years $153,000 per year
- Additional $40,000 per year to support arts organisations supported by Council, through three year contracts
- The contestable Arts and Culture Fund increases by $100,000 from 2016
- The Civic Precinct proposes a national music hub.