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Arts Funding Decision Step In The Right Direction

Arts Funding Decision "A Step In The Right Direction"

United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, has welcomed the Government's announcement of investment in arts, culture and heritage as an important step in the right direction.

"It is especially pleasing to see the Government is recognising the need for immediate funding to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (a United NZ policy) the New Zealand Historic Places Trust And Te Papa. All are national icons, but their very existence had become threatened through poor funding

"Equally welcoming is the decision to fund specific regional initiatives, for example the Edwin Fox restoration in Picton and the new Christchurch Art Gallery.

"It is all too easy for arts funding to overly focus on Wellington at the expense of potential and endeavour elsewhere. We are a diverse nation culturally and geographically and must recognise that regional initiatives bring arts to a wider group of New Zealanders," says Mr Dunne.

He says the decision to delegate responsibilities to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage away from the Department of Internal Affairs and other government bodies will provide greater opportunity for an integrated heritage focus by the Ministry.

"United New Zealand while welcoming these and other structural changes believes they do not go far enough. United's proposal to incorporate the Historic Places Trust into the Ministry of Culture and Heritage with proper funding would ensure this integrated approach has a greater chance of success.

"It would have also been encouraging to see a greater commitment to developing the multi-cultural face of our nation.

"Overall, though I believe this significant funding package is extremely encouraging. The challenge for government and the arts community is to make it work and ensure we can return a positive cultural, social and economic dividend through more jobs and greater artistic endeavour and appreciation.

"United NZ as a pro-arts party unashamedly supports the announcement today, but will continue to highlight areas for improvement, especially advocating better structures for delivering arts, culture and heritage policy," concludes Mr Dunne.

END

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