Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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WORD Christchurch Festival postponed; NZ lockdown extended

The 2021 WORD Christchurch Festival, which was due to start on 25 August, has been postponed due to uncertainty around Covid-19 alert levels and lockdowns.

Organisers are working on a new date for the festival later in the year, and hope to announce the new program in the next few weeks. ‘It’s disappointing to have to postpone the festival,’ said program co-director Rachael King. ‘But this is the reality of the times we live in. It is much better to lock down and keep Covid at bay than to put everyone at risk.’

On 23 August the government in Aotearoa New Zealand announced the level four lockdown of Auckland has been extended until at least 31 August, while lockdown for the rest of the country has been extended four days until 27 August.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, the definition of ‘essential’ items able to be sold online was the subject of some debate as the entire country re-entered Level 4 lockdown on 18 August. Last Friday, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) clarified its guidelines around which items could be sold online, with ‘urgently required educational materials and books’ added to the categories of essential non-food consumer products.

Books+Publishing understands that the Publishers Association of New Zealand, Te Rau o Tākupu and the NZ Society of Authors are still waiting on a response to a letter sent to MBIE last week requesting that all books be classified as essential items under the educational and health and wellbeing category.


Category: Local news