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New Zealand Comedy Trust says nation’s alert level two ‘make it near impossible to plan ahead’

New Zealand Comedy Trust says nation’s alert level two ‘make it near impossible to plan ahead’
September 8, 2021

The NZ Comedy Trust, producers of the NZ International Comedy Festival, have highlighted New Zealand’s status under Coronavirus alert level two guidelines will have a significant impact on the comedy and live entertainment industry and affect all who work in the live events sector.

Commenting today, the Trust advised that “reducing indoor gathering limits to 50 people with physical distancing means that most live events are no longer financially viable at alert level two”.

While supporting the New Zealand Government’s elimination strategy, which, the Trust says “has seen us return to relative normalcy while the pandemic continues to rage off shore”, it states “during previous outbreaks we have rewritten the rule book to adapt to restrictions and presented shows safely, while continuing to support New Zealand artists, crew, venues, and staff.

“The new restrictions, while necessary, make it near impossible to plan ahead.

“After the extreme uncertainty of the past 18 months, the entire sector has been stretched to breaking point and requires targeted support.”

Calling for increased support for live performance, the Trust urges the New Zealand Government to:

  • Extend the Wage Subsidy Scheme to live events workers and artists under alert level two, recognising that our work is not able to be safely carried out under the new guidelines.
  • Provide specific funding to Creative New Zealand to offer (or another organisation to provide) additional financial support to artists and organisations until live events are able to resume at full capacity.

The Trust’s statement adds “while New Zealanders are doing it tough, we look to our comics for laughter, connection and an escape from a challenging reality.

“Our artists work continues to be essential for our wellbeing, as it has been throughout the pandemic.

“Now, when our artists are hurting and staring into an uncertain future, we need the Government to provide this vital support. Live gigs are the lifeblood of the comedy industry and many venues across the country.

“We support the increased restrictions keeping us safe from the Delta variant, but we must make sure that our live events industry is not decimated in the process. This will ensure our sector is still standing when we are able to return to venues around Aotearoa and share the joy of live performance with all New Zealanders once again.”

Image: NZ International Comedy Festival. Credit: NZ International Comedy Festival/Kate Little.

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