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National continues to support art and culture

Hon Chris Finlayson
National Party
Spokesman for Arts, Culture and Heritage

2 November 2011 Media Statement

National continues to support art and culture
National will continue to support the arts and culture to ensure they make a strong economic and social contribution to New Zealand, Arts, Culture and Heritage Spokesman Chris Finlayson said today.

“Culture and heritage are major parts of our economy, contributing to tourism, employment and other export earnings, as well as expressing who we are as a people,” Mr Finlayson says. “But large parts of the arts were sadly neglected under nine years of a Labour government.”

“National has already taken steps to improve governance in the arts and culture sectors and we will continue this work so fewer resources are spent on bureaucracy and can be freed up instead for artists, performers and institutions,” Mr Finlayson says.

“It’s vital we maximise value for money from public services during these tight economic times,” says Mr Finlayson. “It’s about doing better with the money we have so our arts sector can continue to thrive.

“In government we have introduced legislation to reform the top-heavy structure of the Arts Council and allowed it to focus on assisting artists and performers. We have also introduced legislation to reform and streamline the Historic Places Trust.

“We will improve governance at every level by developing a more strategic whole-of-government approach to commemorations so we can plan significant anniversaries in a coordinated fashion. We will also introduce better coordination between existing institutions, such as regional galleries and the national museum, Te Papa, to share collections across the country.

“National has shown leadership in the growing film industry, stepping in to save The Hobbit movies from being moved overseas as a result of an aggressive foreign union action,” Mr Finlayson says. “The Labour Party has said it would repeal amendments to the Employment Relations Act that clarified the status of film workers, no matter what implications this had for the future of international filming in New Zealand. They have even promised to amend the Commerce Act to allow contractors to unionise on film sets to delay filming.”

National has improved the environment for film-makers by changing the qualifying threshold for movies under the Screen Incentive Production Fund, ensuring more New Zealand films will be able to be made. National has also signed new film co-production agreements with China, South Africa and India, and would continue to pursue further opportunities.

“Over the past three years we have increased funding for Creative New Zealand and galleries and museums, to help these institutions through tough economic times,” Mr Finlayson says.

“National will look at ways of boosting support for the arts by providing better incentives for philanthropic giving by individuals and private enterprise.”

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