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More Support For New Zealand Authors

The government is to make an extra $1 million per annum available to support authors and literature in New Zealand, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark and Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Judith Tizard announced today.

“New Zealand’s authors have long played an important role in expressing and projecting what is unique about our country,” Helen Clark said. “That essential role has not been well supported. This initiative will increase annual expenditure on literature by about 40 per cent.”

Helen Clark said that over the last two years the government had injected significant extra funds into the arts and cultural sector. “Of necessity, our priority was the fragile arts and cultural infrastructure. Now this budget specifically address the needs of writers,” she said.

Writers of literature currently receive public support through Creative New Zealand’s language, arts, and literature funding, and through the New Zealand Authors’ Fund which Creative New Zealand administers. The Fund compensates authors for loss of royalties as a result of their books being made available in libraries.

“This extra $1 million per year is being made with the support of the Green Party. A working party, comprising representatives of Creative New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, is being set up to consider how best

to allocate the money. It will consult with a group of leading writers before making recommendations to the Government and to Creative New Zealand,” the ministers said.

Judith Tizard said that she expected that the working party would make recommendations on alterations to the Authors’ Fund. Proposed changes which would fundamentally alter the scheme would undergo further consultation with the sector.”

The working party is also being asked to consider broader issues around the needs of New Zealand literary authors at different stages of their careers, ways of enabling writers to write fulltime, the possibility of additional support for writers of works with limited markets, such as history, biography or poetry, and initiatives to extend the market for New Zealand literature nationally and internationally.

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