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Judith Tizard must wake up

Chris Finlayson MP National Party Associate Arts, Culture & Heritage Spokesman

21 June 2006

Judith Tizard must wake up

"Judith Tizard should stop digging and just recommend some changes to the selection criteria for the next Venice Biennale," says National Party Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesman Chris Finlayson.

In a media statement last night, the confused Minister posed a question about why National was raising serious concerns about the selection process for the prestigious Venice event, in light of the controversy cause by et al. at the last biennale.

"Because, Judith, the process went off the rails. That's something that the $80,000 report glosses over.

"Even Helen Clark said the selection process had 'gone awry'. Instead of defending the indefensible Ms Tizard should show some leadership.

"No one is suggesting the Government should make artistic decisions. The issues are about process. Obviously, Ms Tizard cannot distinguish between the two concepts."

According to the Prime Minister, there is an expectation that the successful biennale artist should be available for publicity and ambassadorial duties.

"This didn't happen at the last Venice festival, and no one has been held to account, despite veiled threats about funding from the Prime Minister.

"Ms Tizard is hanging her hat on a shallow report which, to its credit, looks to the future rather than the past. But the real problem is that there are no guarantees around the selection process for next time.

"It's clear Ms Tizard hasn't learned any lessons at all from this whole affair," says Mr Finlayson.

ENDS

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