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Arts Minister Reckless With Film Funding Dollar

Arts Minister Reckless With Film Funding Dollars

Thursday 5 Aug 2004 Deborah Coddington Press Releases -- Other

It is totally irresponsible for Prime Minister Helen Clark to recklessly spend $3 million of taxpayers' money on a feature film when she can't guarantee the investment is secure, ACT New Zealand Arts, Culture and Heritage Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Filming of River Queen has been suspended because the lead actress is sick. Taxpayers are spending millions of dollars on spa pools and portaloos because a film is being made in the middle of winter, up in the bush on the Whanganui River," Miss Coddington said.

"Yet Miss Clark, who is also the Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister, is on record as saying she is `satisfied with the decisions made to invest in the project'.

"That's not good enough. She should've ensured strict criteria were met before throwing taxpayers' money at this. For instance, it is obvious to most people that making an historical movie, involving period costume, set up in the back and beyond, when the weather is extremely unpredictable, is high risk.

"This is not the first time the taxpayer-funded Film Commission - under the watch of Miss Clark and Associate Minister Judith Tizard - has tossed money at risky ventures.

"In 2002, Peter Jackson slammed the Commission for funding Larry Parr to the tune of $2.2 million when it knew his company, Kahukura Productions, was bouncing cheques.

"The Film Commission spent a further $600,000 getting itself out of that mess - but both the Minister and Associate Minister have refused to investigate.

"The Prime Minister is fond of spending taxpayers' money on portaloos in the name of art. She has shown herself to be totally incompetent when it comes to making wise investment decisions on the arts with our money.

"Miss Clark should stop taxing hard-working New Zealanders, let them keep their own money, so they can invest it in the arts they themselves enjoy. I'm sure they'd make much safer decisions than the politicians," Miss Coddington said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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