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Labour Can't Buy Authors Off

23rd May 2002

Authors won't be taken in by the last minute crumbs thrown to them today, says Belinda Vernon MP, National's Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson.

"The Government has let authors down by failing to grapple with the key issues around the Authors' Fund; that is to re-establish the Fund as a Public Use Right Fund, with its own legislation and stand alone funding.

"The effect of the extra $1 million 'to support authors and literature' is diminished by the Government setting up yet another working party to figure out how best to allocate the money.

"There's already been a working party. It reported its recommendations 18 months ago. There's no need for another one. The Government just needs to make some decisions.

"Helen Clark is happy to take photo opportunities at book launches but can't make a decision on the issue that is of paramount concern to authors.

"Labour has failed to deliver on its 1999 election manifesto. It's let authors down badly.

"This last minute announcement is nothing more than an attempt to buy authors' silence as the election looms. My bet is they won't be bought off and they won't be taken in," says Ms Vernon.

Ends

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