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Let's have hip-ops, not hip-hop

Katherine Rich

National Social Services Spokeswoman

17 March 2004

Let's have hip-ops, not hip-hop

National MP Katherine Rich says she is appalled that the Government paid over $26,000 for two "social entrepreneurs" to travel the world learning about hip-hop and rap music.

A total of $26,100 was paid for this through the Government's Social Entrepeneur Scheme, Mrs Rich says.

The "project purpose" in the Labour Department papers could hardly have been more vague or more ludicrous. It was for "two people to do a whole lot of travelling for hip-hop."

The two spent 70 days in New York, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Fiji and Samoa, and since returning Mr Maharey says they have reported a "more in-depth knowledge of the genre and the industry".

Mrs Rich says: "Is there any limit to the rubbish Steve Maharey is happy to fund?

"His creative arts policy already pays the unemployment benefit to clowns, finger painters, and tattoo artists. And just this week he has defended taxpayer-funded polytech courses on golf and radio sing-alongs.

"70 days is not a 'fact-finding mission' - it's a junket. If people want to listen to rap music that's fine, but they should pay for it with their own money.

"If New Zealanders were given a choice I suspect most would prefer their tax dollars to go on hip-operations rather than hip-hop.

"Labour treats public money like it grows on trees. How many more ridiculous politically-correct scams have to be uncovered before the rules are tightened?" says Ms Rich.


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