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Labour "would boost NZSO"

By Simon Vita

THE NZ Symphony Orchestra stands to receive increased funding if a Labour-led government comes to power next month.

So hinted Labour spokesperson Judith Tizard at last Thursday's City Voice-Scoop-Artists Roundtable forum held at St Andrew's on the Terrace.

"What we're saying is that the NZSO has never been funded to be an international level touring orchestra," said Tizard.

"We're not promising to make up all the shortfall...we are certainly making commitments to more funding for the NZSO and ongoing discussions with them."

She was answering a question from an orchestra player who asked if any parties supported tax concessions and endowment schemes to help fund the NZSO.

National list MP Annabel Young and United MP Peter Dunne both said while their parties didn't have any special tax concessions on offer, people were able to set up charitable trusts with the orchestra as a beneficiary.

For the Alliance, Labour's potential coalition partner, Vernon Tile said, "In terms of organisations like the Royal Ballet, the NZSO, we're looking at tax concessions. We're also looking at some sort of basic income that then could be topped up by donations."

Of the nine parties represented, the Alliance, the Greens, United and Libertarianz have released their arts policies and spoke to these the others, National, Act, Labour, Christian Heritage, Future New Zealand, and McGillicuddy Serious made positioning statements.

Lines were drawn with between left and right with the Alliance, Greens and Labour advocating increased state assistance for arts with local content quotas and other initiatives. The rest are anti-quota. Kathryn Asare (Act), Colin Cross (Libertarianz) and Young said quotas and state funding would mean government meddling in the arts.

Here parts of the lively audience made up mainly of arts practitioners interjected, saying government could inject money with no strings attached.

- first published City Voice Newspaper - republished with permission.

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