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LG Act an opportunity for cultural growth in NZ

Local Government Act a unique opportunity for cultural growth in NZ communities

The explicit inclusion of cultural well-being as one of the ‘quadruple bottom-line’ purposes in the Local Government Act 2002 represents an exciting opportunity for local authorities, Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard told the Central Government-Local Government Forum today.

“We have amended the Local Government Act to ensure that looking after the cultural well-being of communities is one of the four purposes of local government,” said Judith Tizard.

“Arts, culture and heritage have an intrinsic value. They are vital to our communities for the fundamental human satisfaction they give. Culture makes an important contribution to a wider sense of social well-being and social cohesion. Our arts and culture also help us to define and assert our national identity as a unique, creative and confident nation.

“There are also strong economic spin-offs from supporting cultural well-being in the widest sense. Creative industries have enormous potential to generate employment, entrepreneurial opportunities and economic benefits for New Zealand’s regions and the nation as a whole.

“We recognise that local councils across New Zealand have had a broad and long-standing commitment to the development of cultural activities in their regions, providing facilities, making grants and supporting in many other ways the provision of libraries, museums, galleries, theatres, sport and recreation facilities, public artworks, festivals, events and arts organisations.

“The government supports local councils in these endeavours on a number of levels, such as Creative New Zealand’s Creative Communities scheme and Regional Strengths Strategy projects. Te Papa National Services, the National Library, Tourism New Zealand, Film New Zealand and other central agencies also collaborate with local government on creative endeavours.“

Judith Tizard said there were still many more ways that the cultural well-being of communities could be expanded, from providing spaces for social service organisations that incorporate the arts into their programmes, to ensuring that live music venues and residential developments can co-exist in inner-city areas.

“In implementing the cultural well-being purpose of the Act, it will be crucial for local authorities to have a sound base for their planning activities,” said Judith Tizard.

“I welcome two initiatives that will help achieve this. Local Government New Zealand has begun discussions with cultural sector agencies over the possibility of holding cultural well-being workshops for local authorities in 2004.

“And over the next few months, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage will disseminate more widely key findings from the cultural experiences survey carried out by Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry.

“The survey has rich material on experiences and spending broken down to a regional level which will be of assistance to planners.

“I look forward to seeing more and more cultural innovation and diversity around New Zealand.”

The Statistics New Zealand and Ministry for Culture and Heritage cultural experiences survey can be found at: http://www.stats.govt.nz/domino/external/web/nzstories.nsf/htmldocs/A+Measure+of+Culture

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