Thursday, October 13, 2016

Putting the fun back into funding

You may recall that back in April Creative NZ went into a spiral of despair. Lotto, one of its major funders, had announced that ‘due to the lower level of jackpots on offer it is estimated there will be $25 million less to dole out to community groups such as Sport New Zealand, Creative New Zealand and the Film Commission.’ Even worse, ‘Peter Dunne, who chairs the Lottery Grants Board, told CNZ he would not confirm exactly how much less there will be until July’. Creative NZ did some sums and figured this would mean it would ‘receive $11 million less this financial year than it did two years ago.’

After a bit of stick for being so dependent on gambling money, everyone went to ground until June. It was then that the Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage, Maggie Barry, somewhat embarrassed Creative NZ by stating that it ‘had "jumped the gun" by predicting a funding fall, and the Government expected a small rise in Creative NZ funds.’

Since then things have been kind of quiet in the media, so what happened funding-wise?

From CNZ's website it turns out that at the end July at one of its two monthly meetings, Creative NZ’s Arts Council updated its we-are-doomed budget to reflect ‘a significantly better funding forecast from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board.’ This is the same Lottery Board that was predicting major cuts only three months previously so who knows what pressure was put on whom. This new generosity couldn’t have been caused by a huge upswing in NZers gambling, could it?

You might think that the volatility of Lotto and its dependence on hopeless dreams might still give Creative NZ pause (#oncebitten). But no, it has a secret weapon. Creative NZ’s Arts Council in its post meeting summary goes on to say that, ‘An important feature of the approved budget is the new “double buffer” approach that will allow reasonable shifts in NZLGB funding to be better managed.’ Double buffer eh. ‘Reasonable’ shifts. Yes, that should work.