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Nats in disarray over quotas for NZ content

2000 web siteLabour Leader Helen Clark is calling on the Prime Minister to clarify National's position on local content quota on radio and television, following the suggestion of Cultural Affairs Minister Marie Hasler that her officials should investigate the issue.

Helen Clark said that when Labour released its creative industries policy calling for local content quota last October, it was criticised as a backward step by senior ministers like Max Bradford and John Luxton.

"This is very confusing. On the one hand, we have National's new right ideologues ridiculing the idea of local content quota. On the other, we have junior figures like Marie Hasler talking supportively of quota.

"Mrs Shipley must front up and explain what National's position is: will it support New Zealand's creative industries through quotas on radio and television, or is it still vehemently opposed to quotas?

"I strongly suspect that Ms Hasler is out of step with her colleagues. National has been in power for nearly nine years, and in that time has done little to support New Zealand's arts and culture. It seems a looming election disaster is prompting National's threatened MPs, like the bumbling Ms Hasler, to cast around desperately for a lifeline.

"If National was sincere in its support for quota, Labour would welcome that. But given National's total hostility to the concept to date, Ms Hasler's comment smacks of rank hypocrisy," Helen Clark said.

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