Impact of COVID-19 on the Arts and Creative Sector

Date published:
Apr 2020
Author:
Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Report providing an overview of the anticipated effects of COVID-19 pandemic for the arts and creative sector in New Zealand.

Executive summary

This report provides an overview of the anticipated effects of COVID-19 pandemic for the arts and creative sector in New Zealand.

COVID-19 presents the greatest economic shock in living memory, and although the full extent of the shock is still to play out, it is clear is that the economy will be irrevocably changed by this pandemic.

According to modelling undertaken by Infometrics, the arts and creative sector will be hit hard by the COVID-19 recession. We are forecasting a decline of 11.7% in employment in the sector and a 16.4% contraction in GDP in the year to March 2021. This compares to declines of 9.8% in employment and 8.0% in GDP across the New Zealand economy.

GDP is therefore forecast to decline significantly further than employment. This is due in part to the fact that the arts and creative sector contains a high percentage of people who are self-employed, and to the fact that many people working in the sector do so on a parttime basis, or rely on financial ‘safety nets’ to fund their activities. This implies that many people are likely to continue working in the arts and creative sector even though the amount of work available (measured in hours worked) will decline.

A number of factors will contribute to the decline in demand for arts and creative services, including declining household incomes, the collapse of foreign tourism and the likelihood of behaviour changes on the part of consumers.

This report was prepared by Alistair Schorn and Andrew Whiteford, with assistance from Paul Barkle and Dr. Adolf Stroombergen and released by Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage.