Make a big difference to The Big Idea.  Help us tell the most creative stories.

Home  /  Stories  / 

Resale Royalty Bill Update - Positive Steps For Visual Artists

24 Aug 2023

The Government has confirmed the latest details - after the Resale Right for Visual Artists Bill passed its third reading in Parliament.

Image: Shutterstock.

The next step in ensuring New Zealand artists don't get cut out of the ongoing profit of their mahi has been made in Parliament today (Thursday 24 August).

The Resale Right for Visual Artists Bill has passed its third reading unanimously, guaranteeing that visual artists reap the rewards when their work is sold on the secondary art market.

The regulations to support this new legislation have now also been confirmed, giving clarity to artists on how this scheme will operate.

“We are building a scheme fit for Aotearoa New Zealand, one that values the important contributions our visual artists make to our country,” Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni said in a statement.

“Artists have been waiting for a resale royalty scheme for years and have watched other countries around the world establish and implement equivalent schemes.

“Aotearoa New Zealand is finally going to join these countries and ensure artists are properly recognised for their contribution to New Zealand’s economy and culture.”

“These changes will help the sustainability of New Zealand’s world-class arts and culture.”

According to information released by the Government, The Bill will enable the collection of a five percent royalty each time an eligible artist’s work is sold on the secondary art market.

“Currently, each time that an artwork is bought at an auction or via an art market professional after its initial purchase, the artist does not see any of the benefits – even if the artwork has gone up in value due to the artist’s increasing reputation or fame" Sepuloni explains.

"It was past time we changed that.”

The Government has also today confirmed the regulations that will sit behind this legislation - to help operationalise the scheme.

Carmel Sepuloni at the opening of Tauranga's Incubator Creative Hub. Photo: Supplied.

“Only artworks that sell for $1,000 or more will include a royalty payment,” Sepuloni states.

“In return for collecting and distributing the royalty, the collection agency will deduct a percentage as an administrative fee. The regulations have set this fee as 20 percent of the 5 percent royalty, comparable with international standards.

“The regulations also set requirements for the prospective collection agency which will administer the scheme. This includes acknowledging and respecting the role of Māori as tangata whenua and providing culturally appropriate support to Māori artists.

“The collection agency will also establish and operate a cultural fund that will support the career sustainability of the wider artistic community and will engage meaningfully with participants on the operation, changes, structure, and purpose of the scheme and the cultural fund.

“I am immensely proud of the work that has been done to get us to this point. This has been years in the making and has taken dedication and patience to get right,” Sepuloni concludes.

Among the amendments made to The Bill on recommendation by the Social Services and Community Select Committee, there is a requirement that artists’ successors who hold resale rights should meet residency requirements, along with amendments to definitions of ‘visual artwork’, ‘professional resale’ and ‘art market professional’, while the collection agency's regulation-making powers and accountability mechanisms have been more clearly defined, along with confirming it will be subject to the Official Information Act, the Ombudsman Act and the Public Records Act.
The scheme will be operational by the end of 2024.

It's been met with applause in some quarters of the creative community - but not universally.

Abstract artist Melissa-Jane Skehan responded to the news on The Big Idea's Instagram "This govt deal won't do a thing for 99.9% of NZ artists. A LOT of art is priced under $1000, so will never make a resale dime. Also 'if' a painting actually resells at auction or dealer for $1000 or more, the artist only makes $50, minus the 20% fee. So there's absolutely no value in it apart from the really big-time artists. So, I see this as a big smoke and mirrors Government feel-good, lollipop policy."