NZSO Announcement A Policy U-turn
“Is the Prime Minister’s stern financial warning to the NZSO a sign that she is doing another U-turn on Arts policy?” says ACT Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesman Penny Webster.
“After the rejection of the Heart of the Nation report, which industry commentators believed made a lot of sense, this reprimand may leave the Arts community feeling quite confused.
“The Prime Minister initially placed great emphasis on advancing the Arts, but appears now to be backtracking rapidly.
“A discussion paper about the NZSO dated 4 October 1999, obtained under the Official Information Act, explicitly stated that ‘simply granting more funds is not likely to solve any fundamental issues with regard to the culture and long-term future of the Orchestra’.
“Yet the Prime Minister doggedly pursued this option anyway.
“However, now that she and Associate Minister, Judith Tizard, are under fire for their Heart of the Nation fiasco, she has decided to take her officials advice.
“Maybe she has realised that with business confidence at an all time low the public don’t want to see their Prime Minister using taxpayer dollars to fulfil her personal ambition to be an Arts patron.
“Will today’s back track mean she will not be invited to take up the baton again?”, said Penny Webster.