Working Paper: An economic profile of the arts in New Zealand

Working Paper: An economic profile of the arts in …
01 Mar 2015

Creative New Zealand and Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage share a mutual interest in achieving a better understanding of the contribution the arts make to New Zealand’s economy, and also in measuring the contribution more accurately.

As a first step our two organisations commissioned Infometrics to gather information on the economic characteristics of the sector. While the findings are robust we recognise a significant portion of the arts economy isn’t captured by the data sets and the resulting calculations are conservative.

This working report provides a useful start towards gaining a better understanding in this area and the data sets available will be useful in informing government policy and funding decisions.

Key Results

The research resulted in the following findings:

• There was a rise over time in the total number of people employed in arts-related industries, from 13,100 in 2006 to 14,600 in 2013. Of those employed in arts-related industries in 2013, less than half (42%) were working in arts-related occupations, with the other 58% employed in other occupations such as accountancy.

• While arts-related employment rose between 2006 and 2013, sales data suggests that arts-related activity hasn’t yet regained the peak reached in 2008.

• Total household spending on the arts, which is estimated to have been about $433 million in 2006/07, rose to $538 million in 2010.

• The arts involve a considerable amount of services and products that are not sold to consumers at market prices (‘non-market activity’).

• For 2006/07, sales plus non-market activity (gross outputs) of the arts-related industries amounted to about $0.9 billion, with value added (the return to labour and capital) of about $0.4 billion. (We note that 2006/07 is the latest year for which the most integrated data is available.)

• Government support for the arts (both central and local government) is difficult to quantify, as there are multiple funding streams and it’s not always possible to identify funding for specific arts-related activities within the broader ranges of activities supported.

• The arts-related industries selected for this research account for about 0.56% of total employment in New Zealand, but for only about 0.24% of GDP. This suggests that the return to labour and capital (value added) is relatively low. However, given the cautious approach used for defining ‘the arts’ for this research, it’s likely that both of those figures understate the real economic contribution of the arts.

Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018