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Arts report should be made public

Simon Upton

National Culture & Heritage Spokesperson

9 July 2000

Arts report should be made public

It is unacceptable that taxpayers money has been spent on a report that may never see the light of day, says National's Culture & Heritage spokesperson Simon Upton.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Associate Arts Minister Judith Tizard have announced that they plan to rewrite the Heart of the Nation cultural report because it was not what they wanted.

"Some hard questions need to be asked of the Prime Minister and her Associate Arts Minister:

* Why commission a panel to write a report at a cost of $200,000 if you're going to write it yourself?

* Why spend $86 million on the arts before you get the report which should tell you were it needs to be spent?

* Was the panel tasked properly or was the report doomed from the outset?

"If the Prime Minister disagrees with the report that's fine, but she should share it with the rest of us. The public should decide whether the
panel has covered a range of views, not the Prime Minister.

"This Government swept into power commissioning reports and inquiries on all and sundry when they didn't even know what information they wanted to get out of them.

"It should have been clear to the Government what they were after when the Heart of the Nation report was commissioned and that should have been clearly conveyed to the panel.

"I suspect this report was doomed from the outset. The Prime Minister has always had a clear idea of what she wants to do with the arts and it was surprising that she ever sought this report in the first place," Mr Upton said.

Ends

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