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3. Instruments of cultural policy

3.1 Financing of cultural activities

In its annual Budget the New Zealand government appropriates sums, known as Votes, to each government department.  These Votes are divided into output classes including which are linked to government outcomes. In determining the total of Vote Arts, Culture and Heritage, for example, the government allocates portions to Creative New Zealand, the New Zealand Film Commission, and the other agencies for which the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is responsible.

The work of the Ministry in the 2017/18 financial year is expected to cost $16.915 million.  In this financial year we will administer $296.104 million for Vote Arts, Culture and Heritage (includes broadcasting) and $89.595 million for Vote Sport and Recreation.  Several other Votes also allocate money to cultural activities, including Vote Education, Defence and Conservation. 

The New Zealand Lottery Grants Board (LGB) also provides a proportion cultural funding (currently approximately 5%).  This is done under its statutory role to distribute the profits of government-run national lotteries for charitable purposes. At the request of the government the Lottery Grants Board allocates fixed percentages of its income to Creative New Zealand, the New Zealand Film Commission, Nga Taonga Sound & Vision and Sport New Zealand.  

$233.6 million of Lottery profits is being made available to communities in 2017/18. The Board will continue to support arts, culture and sporting initiatives through funding of $94.5 million to the four statutory bodies supported by the Board: the New Zealand Film Commission including Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, Creative New Zealand and Sport New Zealand.

The Creative Communities Scheme managed by Creative New Zealand offers funding to city and district councils for distributing in their area. The scheme supports more than 1,800 projects every year. Closing dates vary for each council.

3.2 Legislation

There is no single piece of legislation relating to cultural policy.  The Ministry of Cultural Affairs (now the Ministry for Culture and Heritage) was established by Cabinet minute, rather than by legislation.  The following Acts of Parliament either have a general application to the sector or regulate aspects of the sector such as:

  • Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975,
  • Copyright Act 1994
  • Bill of Rights Act  

while others establish the cultural agencies described in section 2.2.  The name of each Act includes the year of its original passing; several have had later amendments.

The Ministry has responsibilities in relation to the following Acts of Parliament:

  • ANZAC Day Act 1966
  • Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa Act 2014
  • Broadcasting Act 1989 (Parts I-IV and Section 81)
  • Cultural Property (Protection in Armed Conflict) Act 2012
  • Flags, Emblems and Names Protection Act 1981
  • Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act  2014
  • Massey Burial Ground Act 1925
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Act 1992
  • National War Memorial Act 1992
  • National War Memorial Park (Pukeahu) Empowering Act 2012
  • New Zealand Film Commission Act 1978
  • New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Act 2004
  • Protected Objects Act 1975
  • Radio New Zealand Act 1995
  • Seddon Family Burial Ground Act 1924
  • Sovereign's Birthday Observance Act 1952
  • Sport and Recreation Act  2002
  • Television New Zealand Act 2003
  • Waitangi Day Act 1976

These Acts can be viewed on the New Zealand Legislation website.


Updated on 14th July 2017