New Zealand government launches insurance scheme for large events

The New Zealand government has announced new financial support to give organisers of large summer festivals greater certainty to proceed, with the government to shoulder the lion’s share of risk during planning stages.

The Events Transition Support Scheme will cover 90 per cent of unrecoverable costs for paid, ticketed events with audiences of more than 5,000 vaccinated people, if organisers are forced to cancel or postpone due to Covid-19 public health measures.

The new scheme will apply from 17 December until 3 April 2022.

“Organisers of large-scale summer festivals have to make decisions now about whether to proceed as their risk window is closing,” said Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.

“There aren’t insurance options in the market to cover this so the government is stepping up as a type of underwriter.

“Events typically only generate revenue on the day or weekend they take place, yet incur significant costs in advance. A quick shift in public health measures could see an event cancelled with no opportunity to recoup costs or generate revenue.

“Organisers of these festivals are great entrepreneurs who give back to our communities. They take a lot of risk to deliver fantastic experiences that are part of the cultural fabric of a Kiwi summer and create lasting memories. Covid-19 has made their job even harder and these grants recognise they need our support if summer events are to go ahead.”

The scheme only applies to live events that require vaccine certificates for entry and when at least half of tickets have been sold.

A payout will be made to if the event is cancelled or postponed due to Alert Level 2 or higher restrictions or if the event is in an area that is operating under the Covid-19 Protection Framework and is at Red Level or a localised lockdown.

“Big summer events are crucial for our economic and social wellbeing,” said Nash.

“The scheme will go live this week and event organisers will be able to apply via the MBIE website to check their eligibility. This will give them greater confidence and allow them to continue to plan and deliver events over the summer.”