10 Sep 2008

NZ Opera begs for money

8:48 am on 10 September 2008

New Zealand Opera says it needs $90,000 from the Auckland City Council on Wednesday or it may be forced to close.

The company and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra are waiting for Parliament to pass the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Bill which provides funding for several arts and service groups.

Passage of the bill has been delayed and the groups have not made sufficient provisions to get them through until next year.

Creative New Zealand will contribute $125,000 if the Auckland City Council gives $90,000

New Zealand Opera's general director Aiden Laing says the company has already had to cancel a production planned for next year.

A production of Jenufa is about to open but another show planned for next year's Auckland Festival has been called off.

General director Aiden Laing says the two parts of the rescue package are contingent on each other and the company is in grave danger of closing if both do not contribute.

Requests for funding have been made to other councils in Auckland: Manukau City Council has given a little to the opera company, but the others have either declined or resuled in reduced funding.

However, Auckland City Mayor John Banks is all for the bail out and says the other councils should have been too.

The proposal goes before the council's arts, cultural and recreation committee at 9.30am.