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$200,000 for a philosophy thesis

Simon Upton
National Culture and Heritage Spokesperson

Tuesday 18 July 2000

$200,000 for a philosophy thesis

The Heart of the Nation report reflects a complete failure by the Government to manage a $200,000 process, National Culture and Heritage spokesperson Simon Upton said today.

"Helen Clark asked for a strategic review of the cultural sector from the Heart of the Nation process but what she and Judith Tizard got instead was a cross between a stock-take and a philosophy thesis. It will require much willpower from the arts community to wade through it.

"This is what you get when you tell a group of people to go away and speculate on the future of the universe in just two months - and give them no clear brief on why they are reporting.

"It's clear that the Prime Minister and her Associate failed to keep in touch with the team - and were then surprised when the project went off the rails.

"The fact that the Government gave out $86 million to the arts before it even received the report shows how little store was placed in it from the outset.

"According to the Project Team Creative New Zealand should be replaced by a new Commission called CIDA (Creative Industries Development Agency) -- our own home-brew.

"It envisages an end to arms-length funding and proposes direct involvement by the Arts brew-masters from CIDA.

"CIDA would create a whole new avenue for political meddling in the cultural sector. It is a monstrous proposal that should worry anyone who fears that their views mightn't be fashionable in the eyes of the government of the day.

"It is ironic that a report which places 'heritage' as the first step on a value chain for the creative sector got the year in which New Zealand became a Dominion, so far out. The learned theoreticians declared that we attained national identity as a Dominion in 1901 not 1907," Mr Upton said.

Ends

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