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National’s arts funding – a cut in real terms

Hon Jim Anderton

Member of Parliament for Wigram
Progressive Leader

15 July 2008 News release

National’s arts funding – a cut in real terms

Arts funding under National would be cut in real terms, Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton says.

National today claimed that in government it would “be maintaining funding at least at current levels.”

Jim Anderton says National was forced to rush out an announcement about arts funding because its spokesperson was embarrassed at a forum on the topic last Friday.

“National’s backbench MP promised not to cut funding. When I pointed out that keeping funding at the same level amounts to a cut in real terms, National’s spokesperson said “I am not the finance spokesperson.”

“He has had another five days to phone National’s finance spokesperson at his holiday resort in Samoa and ask whether arts funding would be cut in real terms. And all he can tell us is ‘in these tighter economic times it is not appropriate to significantly grow funding.’

“This government has substantially increased arts funding and support for initiatives such as large budget film productions. If spending were kept the same it would amount to even bigger cuts under National because inflation will be much higher under National. That’s because National has confirmed it will borrow for tax cuts and increase government debt to buy groceries. That has a hugely inflationary effect.

“In other words, prices will rise more quickly than they do now, but National’s real spending will fall. The same number of dollars will buy less. How is that not a cut?

“Under National there will be less of New Zealand on air. There will be fewer – if any – big international movies filmed here, such as Lord of the Rings, King Kong and Narnia. National would happily shut down a blossoming industry,” Jim Anderton says.


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