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Appeal for more information on Biennale exhibit

Hon Georgina te Heuheu MP

National Party Arts and Culture Spokeswoman

14 July 2004

Appeal for more information on Biennale exhibit

National Party Arts and Culture spokeswoman Georgina te Heuheu says the public deserves more information about the installation which taxpayers are sending to the world's most prestigious arts event, the Venice Biennale.

"Taxpayers have every right to be asking why Creative New Zealand has selected an installation by a group of artists whose claim to fame to date is the creation of a port-a-loo toilet which brays like a donkey.

"The public has been given no detail whatsoever about the conceptual installation Creative New Zealand chose 10 days ago for the Venice Biennale.

"At that time I suggested that New Zealanders had a right to expect that Creative New Zealand's criteria for selection should be robust enough to ensure that only the most excellent of New Zealand's works go overseas, and preferably work that could be distinguished as a New Zealand creation.

"When the work is also to be displayed under the name of 'et al', one has to ask what is the New Zealand connection and what is the value to New Zealanders?

"When $500,000 of precious taxpayer money is involved, it is not good enough for the public now to be told that there is no going back on this decision.

"Helen Clark, in her role as Arts Culture and Heritage Minister, should review the criteria by which works are selected. If the process does not ensure a distinguishing New Zealand feature to an exhibit, then Creative New Zealand should go back to the drawing board.

"It is not acceptable for Judith Tizard to review the trip next year, after the event," says Mrs te Heuheu.

ENDS

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