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Tizard 'toothless' on biennale farce

Chris Finlayson MP National Party Associate Arts Culture & Heritage Spokesman

20 June 2006

Tizard 'toothless' on biennale farce

National Party Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesman Chris Finlayson says Labour has shown itself to be "utterly toothless over the farce that was our last contribution to the prestigious Venice Biennale".

"Helen Clark gave everyone the impression that she was unhappy with the selection process which saw et al. represent New Zealand at the biennale.

"She said the process had gone awry, that the issue would have a bearing on future funding for Creative New Zealand, and that in her view the artist should be available for ambassadorial duties.

"Now it turns out those comments were nothing but empty rhetoric."

Mr Finlayson says a recent report into New Zealand's participation all but failed to address the process which led to et al.'s selection.

"In fact, Creative New Zealand has been rewarded for its handling of the debacle with EXTRA funding. That's a long way from the impression given by the Prime Minister."

Mr Finlayson, who is a former chairman of the Arts Council, says Judith Tizard should direct that future contributions to the Biennale must have some kind of Kiwi flavour.

"When I was involved in Venice, we made sure it everyone knew we were from New Zealand.

"I agree with the Prime Minister when she said that when half a million dollars of taxpayer money is involved, there should be far more accountability. So where is it?" asks Mr Finlayson.

ENDS

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