Carmel Sepuloni has triggered two Point of Order monitors – our Trough Monitor and Jobs for the Boys (and Girls) Monitor – in the past 24 hours.
As Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister, she called the hogs to sample the goodies in something she called “The Cultural Activators Pilot”, which implies this is a brand-new trough.
As ACC Minister, she announced the appointment of a former Labour Cabinet Minister as a new member and next chair of the board of the Accident Compensation Corporation.
But wait. There’s more.
As Social Development and Employment Minister, Sepuloni was caring for the wellbeing of more than 1 million New Zealanders in the form of the Winter Energy Payment.
But she wasn’t the only Minister kept busy in the Beehive’s Wellbeing Department.
The Associate Minister of Health and Foreign Affairs, Aupito William Sio, issued a statement jointly with Fiji Health and Medical Services Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete. This was to announce New Zealand has offered, and Fiji has accepted, sufficient doses of AstraZeneca for 250,000 people from New Zealand’s domestic vaccine portfolio.
The Ministers “met virtually last week” – does this mean they chatted on the phone or via some internet wizardry? – to discuss New Zealand’s offer, which includes $2 million of Official Development Assistance to support Fiji’s vaccine rollout.
Our more eagle-eyed readers will have worked out there are obvious benefits in being a near neighbour of this country.
The Government’s help for India to deal with the Covid calamity in that benighted country amounted to just $1 million.
The new trough for the culture crowd was revealed when Carmel Sepuloni announced the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is accepting applications from cultural sector organisations to host cultural activators in eight communities around New Zealand.
“This pilot, as part of Te Tahua Whakahaumaru (Creative Arts Recovery and Employment Fund), aims to build their creative skills, and connect them with opportunities in the wider cultural sector.” Carmel Sepuloni says.
“This pilot underlines the Government’s commitment to help the arts and cultural sector to adapt, survive and thrive.”
At Point of Order we wondered if we could slurp a few bucks as “cultural activators”.
Perhaps not. The press statement said these activators will be established cultural sector practitioners and hosted by local organisations.
They will focus on collaborating with communities to tell their stories, build their creative skills, and connect them with opportunities in the wider cultural sector.
Sepuloni tossed a nice big economic number into her rationale:
“Culture and creativity are experiences which bring us together and enhance our daily lives, contributing around $17.5 billion to New Zealand’s GDP. That’s why we’re taking a targeted approach to investing in and unlocking creativity in communities where there is considered to be barriers to access and participation in the arts.”
Cultural Activators will be hosted in the Far North, Māngere-Otahuhu, Kawerau, Gisborne, Wairoa, South Waikato, Buller, and Invercargill.
Oh, and the need for special race-based arrangements has not been overlooked.
Two of the roles will focus on Māori and one will focus on Pacific peoples.
The Cultural Activators Pilot will run for one year and be evaluated to measure its success in increasing access and participation in cultural activities in the selected communities.
But don’t lose heart if you miss out.
Sepuloni reminded us she has other troughs – the Cultural Activators Pilot is the third funding opportunity in the CARE Fund to launch so far.
It follows the Creative Spaces initiative launched in February and the Cultural Installations and Events initiative launched earlier this month.
The Creative Spaces initiative is part of the $70 million Te Tahua Whakahaumaru Creative Arts Recovery and Employment (CARE) Fund within Manatū Taonga’s Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme. The CARE Fund aims to create employment and training opportunities, ensure vital skills, talent and creative infrastructure are not lost, and maintain and expand public access to creative and cultural experiences.
Applications to host a cultural activator in one of the eight selected communities will close at noon on Wednesday 26 May 2021.
More information about the pilot and how to apply to host a cultural activator is available on the Manatū Taonga website at https://mch.govt.nz/te-tahua-whakahaumaru-care-fund/cultural-activators.
There’s more information about other CARE Fund initiatives at https://mch.govt.nz/care-fund.
Sepuloni’s ACC appointee is Steve Maharey CNZM, who will begin work as a board member tomorrow and become chair on the retirement of Dame Paula Rebstock on 31 July.
Maharey already is being kept busy as chair of UCOL, Pharmac and Education New Zealand.
He was a Senior Lecturer in Sociology, a City Councillor, a Labour MP for 18 years and a Senior Cabinet Minister (holding a wide range of portfolios including Education, Social Development, Employment, Housing and Child, Youth and Family).
Maharey will take up his new job on the same day that more than 1 million New Zealanders who receive either a Main Benefit or New Zealand Superannuation will get more money each week through the Winter Energy Payment.
The Winter Energy Payment started as part of the Government’s December 2017 Families Package designed to help older New Zealanders and many of our poorest families heat their homes over winter, Sepuuloni noted.
Last year the Government doubled the Winter Energy Payment as a response to more people staying at home due to COVID-19. This year’s payment returns to “normal”.
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