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Govt Plays Roulette With Taxpayers' Money

Govt Plays Roulette With Taxpayers' Money

Tuesday 26 Oct 2004
Deborah Coddington
Press Releases -- Broadcasting

The latest River Queen movie debacle, whereby Director Vincent Ward has been sacked, is yet more proof that governments have no business "investing" taxpayers' money in risky projects, ACT New Zealand Arts, Culture and Heritage Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"No one doubts Mr Ward's enormous creative talents, but the reason this movie struggled to get backing was because it was considered high-risk," Miss Coddington said.

"Nonetheless, the Film Commission handed over $3 million - around one quarter of the total budget. This money was taken from New Zealand taxpayers, yet those same taxpayers are being kept in the dark about just exactly what's going on.

"Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard always cites 'commercial sensitivity' when hard questions are asked on behalf of taxpayers about film funding. She must remember her government has forced taxpayers to invest in this film. Today taxpayers should receive from the Minster a written guarantee that their money is safe.

"River Queen has been plagued by problems and now the producers are saying they are now desperately seeking a new director. If this was private money at stake it would be sad. That taxpayers are being treated by government in such a cavalier manner is despicable," Miss Coddington said.


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