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Creative NZ Sets New Minimum Hourly Rate For Artists

02 Sep 2023

New guidelines have been released for the minimum hourly rate guidance for creatives applying for contestable grants.

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Image: Shutterstock.

How much is enough?

It's one of the creative community's most hotly debated topics - and Creative New Zealand (CNZ) has weighed in with an updated view on the issue.

CNZ has increased its minimum fair remuneration guidance rate for artists and arts practitioners applying for contestable grants - starting with the second round of the Festival Grants which opens on 4 September.  

“$30/hour is now the minimum rate that we consider can be fair pay for artists and arts practitioners,” says Elizabeth Beale, CNZ's Co-Manager Policy and Performance, lifting from the previous figure of $25 per hour. 

“We want to see artists applying to CNZ with budgets that reflect this rate – we want artists to pay themselves a realistic wage. 

"At the same time, fair pay for more experienced artists and arts practitioners should be well above the minimum rate, reflecting both their experience and the nature of the work.” 

The previous $25/hour rate came off the back of the research revealed in A Profile of Creative Professionals, which highlighted that artists and creative practitioners are underpaid compared to the average New Zealander - with the figure implemented in the 2019/20 financial year.

Unsurprisingly, The 2023 version of this research conducted by NZ on Air and CNZ found that the majority of creative professionals surveyed continue to have difficulty making a sustainable living from their principal artform or creative practice. 

 Beale explains “Our plea to practitioners is ‘pay yourself’ properly. We understand that there’s a limited amount of funding available for grants, and we know that even this modest increase in minimum rates likely means the likelihood of funding fewer applications. 

"However, spreading the funding too thin does the arts sector or more precisely, the people in the sector, a disservice.

“New Zealanders have indicated time and time again through our New Zealanders in the Arts Ko Aotearoa me ōna Toi research that they value the arts. This new minimum is one small way we can help ensure that artists and creative practitioners can achieve more sustainable careers.” 

With the new guidelines in place - and the likelihood that many may not receive the news before putting in their proposals - CNZ has stated it will not penalise applications for not including the updated rate but encourage applicants to pay themselves and their peers fair rates. 

Remuneration has been a central issue in many of CNZ's recent projects - including its Remuneration Policy for Artists and Arts Practitioners.  CNZ has also highlighted that inflation and the increasing cost of living, as well as the need to cover costs usually covered by employers, such as ACC levies, sick leave and public holidays factored into their update. The organisation states the new $30/hour ensures creatives are still paid more than minimum wage once these costs have been deducted.