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When is a symphony orchestra not an orchestra

When is a symphony orchestra not a symphony orchestra - when Helen Clark decides it needs its functions enshrined in legislation

The announcement by the PM today that the government is introducing legislation to clarify the role of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is a clear indication that the PM’s much vaunted intellect has already gone into holiday mode said Katherine Rich, National spokesperson for Arts, Culture & Heritage today.

“The NZSO is already covered by legislation - the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Act 1988 - though the PM claims it does not specify the purpose or function of the Orchestra. How will legislation ensure musical quality and ability, and who will be the arbiter of the musical standards?

“Is the Prime Minister ignorant of what a symphony orchestra does? Surely not? Are some of her caucus - possibly? Are the New Zealand general public unaware of what a symphony orchestra does? The Prime Minister obviously thinks so. Will it guarantee more funding to the NZSO? Who knows? This is yet another waste of paper and time. Slow day on the 9th Floor?

“With a packed legislative programme which the government will struggle to complete prior to the Christmas break, perhaps the Prime Minister was carried away with the rarified air of getting away from New Zealand two weeks earlier than the rest of us - our Christmas and summer holiday break won’t start for another two weeks - but Helen’s jetting off now to New York and sundry other exotic locales.

“Happy Christmas Helen - and the rest of us need yet another extraneous piece of legislation like a hole in the head,” says Katherine Rich.

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