COVID-19: New Zealand event industry calls on Government to revise support scheme as it struggles under red traffic light restrictions

All over the country different events are struggling to take place under the red traffic light restrictions.

Some are being cancelled, but others are going ahead with vaccine passes and a maximum of 100 people in a defined space.

It almost looks like a pre-pandemic day at the races. But step back from the rail and there are huge empty areas that would usually be packed with people.

"We've got now 18 separate pods with up to 100 people in them, each treated as a separate venue," Race Incorporated CEOTim Savell says.

And that's hitting organisers where it hurts.

"With five or ten thousand less people here then it's a massive financial impact," Savell says.

The cricket is still on too, but without many spectators at Hamilton's Seddon Park.

"Yea nah she's actually not too bad! As good as it can be with the settings we are under," a spectator said.

Many other events have pulled the pin. There'll be no celebrations at Waitangi Park next weekend and Wellington's Round the Bays has been scrapped.

"There's been events all around the country cancelled, all sorts of events," NZ Events Association general manager Ségolène de Fontenay says.

The association wants the Government to revise its support scheme so that events are covered if they cancel more than four weeks out.

In Hawke's Bay, the Horse of the Year show is yet to decide if and how its March event, which brings in millions of dollars to the local economy, will go ahead.

Meanwhile the region's Art Deco Festival has decided the show will definitely go on.

"It has its challenges but nothing we can't overcome. We're kinda really looking forward to still being able to deliver at least 50 events we've got planned under the red system," Art Deco Festival's director Greg Howie says.

So no more car parades or Gatsby picnic, but there are new, smaller events.

"We've got cabaret performances, radio plays, some dinners," Howie says.

The racing industry has also managed a Plan B.

It's easier for events like this to operate under red restrictions, they set up areas with 100 person bubbles, they have separate entrances and separate toilets.

But many organisers aren't this lucky.

"It's carnage out there," de Fontenay says.

Hoping that large events will be up and running again soon.